I've been heads down at meetings here at Cincom HQ all day - we've made some good progress on some of our short term business/product planning. I don't have much more that I can say about that right now, but I'm happy with how things have gone today :)
I shouldn't be surprised by Muzak Corp. entering chapter 11 - I can't recall the last time I heard Muzak anywhere. Even the big department stores now play "real" music instead of the Muzak variety. Still, it was always there when I was a kid - and the linked article gets into that history.
I think TechDirt is exactly right about this - going over a lawsuit filed by Gatehouse Media against the NY Times, they point out the problem. What was the suit about? Supposed copyright violations - The Times was copying headlines and ledes with links back to the source. Gatehouse claimed that this was stealing readers, but TechDirt says that's bogus:
What more could you have done? You could have competed more effectively. Owens complains about "substitute home pages," where the Boston.com was trying to take away GateHouse's readers. There's a pretty straightforward response to that: if that's all it takes to take away your community, you've failed your community.
That's exactly right, and it's not limited to newspapers. If any media source starts to fail its community, that community will go elsewhere. Some people will - like too many media managers - point the finger of blame elsewhere, but they really need to look in the mirror. If you are losing readers, it's not because someone else is stealing them - it's because you aren't providing any reason for them to come to you.
This is pretty cool news - Amazon has released "Kindle for iPhone" software (I'm installing it on my iPhone as I write this). This part of their explanation is interesting to me:
Mr. Freed says he expects that users of the iPhone application would read their books for 20 to 30 minutes at most, after which eye strain or battery life might become a problem.
I don't know about that. I installed the "Classics" application awhile back, and I've been using it to read "Huckleberry Finn". Doesn't give me any eye strain, and battery use seems to be no worse than using any other application.
This is almost what my wife really wants - she wants this kind of software directly on her Macbook, because she'd like to have all the media she consumes in one place. Looks like all of that is getting pretty close.
We had a great turnout and a lot of good questions at the meeting tonight - I want to thank Mark Windholtz for rescheduling after last month's snow-out. Here are some pics from the meeting - that's me getting ready:
Mark Windholtz giving some basic background on Smalltalk:
This is me after the talk ended, as we were just wrapping up:
If you're interested in Seaside and Web Velocity, and in the Cincinnati area tomorrow night, then why not come to the Agile Roundtable meeting? I'll be presenting Smalltalk, Seaside, and Web Velocity. It should be a great time!
You can get all the location information here.
If I feel burnt out, what do I do? I go for a jog, maybe take a "mental health day", where I mostly read or play with the Wii. What does the rich guy do? Spends a month in Hawaii. Mind you, I have nothing against rich people. I'd love to be rich myself - if for no other reason so that I could spend an idle month in Hawaii...
Twitter has been fairly stable over the last few months, including during the election night and inauguration crush - but it's back to fail whale status today, at least for me. Is this a problem with Twiter, or an east coast snow related problem with the network operations?
Technorati Tags: twitter
I was reading an article about the financial situation, and there was one of those "also writing about this" boxes with presumably related links. Except...
This morning we spoke to Julian Fitzell about Seaside 2.9 - in many respects, this podcast is an update to Julian's ESUG 2008 talk. We spoke about the changes in Seaside 2.9 - especially the partial continuations work. To keep up with what's happening in Seaside, it's probably a good idea to subscribe to Julian's blog. To listen to the podcast now, click here.
Julian recommended the following links for more information:
- Seaside history/background
- Seaside 2.9 development
- Partial Continuations in Seaside 2.9
- Seaside 2.9 Exception Handling
If you have feedback, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org - or visit us on Facebook or Ning - you can vote for the Podcast Alley, and subscribe on iTunes. If you enjoy the podcast, pass the word - we would love to have more people hear about Smalltalk!
I saw this pop up in the vwnc mailing list:
We are proud to invite you to a small meeting of Smalltalkers in Prague, which will start Thursday 5th March 2009 at 6pm in Rainbow tearoom in Prague, Czech republic. Janko Mivsek promised us a presentation of Swazoo & Aida web technologies, which will be the first part of meeting.
Sounds like fun - I'll be heading home from Cincinnati at the time.
At last summer's ESUG 2008 conference, the Code City presentation was one of the most interesting ones I saw. The tool (built in VW) parses code (for many languages), and visualizes the results as city blocks. It's a really cool piece of software. Get the slides here - to watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Apparently, a set of middlemen somewhere isn't getting paid off when the Kindle does text to speech for you - read the utterly ridiculous assertions by Roy Blount, Jr. as to why allowing publishers to disallow text to speech is a good thing. Right. Because you just know that Kindle owners have been planning to stay up nights recording the text to speech renditions (in real time, no less) off to disk, and then heading off to Pirate Bay with the resulting mp3s.
Sure. And I'm the Queen of Romania. Lessig has this one right.
I love software that tries to give me a time estimate on completion - especially when it works like this:
So the task has been running for 10 minutes or so, is at 69% done, and has seconds to completion? The fun part is watching it count down to zero and then count back up :)
Mathew Ingram explains:
Yes, the rumors are true. I am starting a hyper-local blog about my apartment and the area outside my window
Music vendors ended up creating a single dominant player - Apple with iTunes - by demanding DRM. They got device lock-in that made Apple the big player in that space. TechDirt explains:
Back in 2005, we noted that Apple's dominance over the online music space, which upset the record labels tremendously, was actually the record labels' own fault for demanding DRM. That single demand created massive lock-in and network effects that allowed Apple to completely dominate the market. If the record labels had, instead, pushed for an open solution, then anyone else could have built stores/players to work as well, and it could have minimized Apple's ability to control the market.
So with that history, what are book publishers doing? Why, they're demanding DRM, and thus ensuring that Amazon (with the Kindle) becomes the dominant force in that space. Like Apple, Amazon will be able to dictate terms that the publishers don't much care for. But hey - at least their valuable works will be safe with all that DRM... just like music was.
You can almost excuse the music vendors - digital music was just beginning, and there really weren't any examples to learn from. The book publishers? They're apparently too dumb to learn.
Update: Where the publishers will end up, if they decide that the RIAA's path is the right one.
Okay, so Verizon offers two channel lineups in our region: Essentialsfor $47.99/mo. and Extreme HDfor I can't find it now. $57.99/mo, I think. Essentials has the about same minimun channel line-up I get for free over the air. Extreme HD has what you want if you watch in HD: all the main cable and sports non-premium channels. Add DVR rental (for which one has no choice) for $12.99 and I'm at $140 or so, if I want the Extreme HD.
Doc is looking to drop down his monthly tithe to Verizon for TV, and I'd like to do the same thing with Comcast. The trouble is, it's way more complex than it should be. The Comcast DVR defines new levels if user interface atrocities, so paying a monthly tab for the "pleasure" is annoying. I'd really, really like it if just about everything beyond basic cable was pay per view.
Apparently, the Japanese market is rejecting the iPhone (as they've previously rejected Nokia and other vendors. Why?
What's wrong with the iPhone, from a Japanese perspective? Almost everything: the high monthly data plans that go with it, its paucity of features, the low-quality camera, the unfashionable design and the fact that it's not Japanese.
The article from Wired goes on to explain that Japanese customers expect cheaper data plans, video capabilities, and TV on their phones. That sounds cool, but I have to wonder: if you watch/record video on your phone, what kind of battery life do you get? One of the things I really like about my iPhone is that it gives me enough battery life for a full day's usage.
Saunders blames the web and ideologically motivated haters for the demise of newspapers, but she ignores the fact that major dailies have been dying for decades, long before the Internet came along. Back in the '50s when Saunders was a child, the legendary journalist A.J. Liebling devoted numerous New Yorkerarticles to the sad demise of major papers and the societal hole that each left behind when the presses rolled to a halt. The industry has been dying for as long as many of us have been alive. Multiple newspaper towns became two paper towns, morning and afternoon. Two-paper towns became single-paper towns, usually when one paper killed the other. I can still remember where I was on Dec. 8, 1991, when I heard the news that the Dallas Times-Heraldhad been bought for $55 million and immediately shut down by the rival Dallas Morning-News. When a paper dies, a sizeable chunk of its readership doesn't move to another paper. People just break the habit. Even though half the reporters in town were gone, I don't recall any stories in the Newsback then lamenting the stories that would never be written.
When I first moved to the Baltimore area back in the late 80's, there was a morning paper, and an evening paper. The evening paper, which had far better comics, died soon after I got here, and - as Rogers says - I just didn't bother getting the morning edition. That was a long time before the internet popped up.
There are problems with newspapers, and the death of printed classified ads is making their lives more difficult - but the downward trend started a long, long time ago. What the net did was tilt the ramp.
Technorati Tags: newspapers
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we look at a tool that allows for usage based menu item order to be figured out. It's not something you would deploy, but it may be handy as a testing tool. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch on Vimeo:
Or on YouTube:
The daily screencast is delayed - I have a workman finishing up on the bathroom, and the work involves a power saw and hammering - which isn't really conducive to recording audio :)
I should have a cast out later today
"We made this film not for Trekkies but for future fans of Star Trek," Abrams told a news conference. "The studio wanted to give the film a fresh start, and I was originally brought in as a producer, but upon reading the script, I saw so much potential and possibility that the original had failed to realize due to technological constraints, so I got very greedy and I decided to direct it myself."
This makes me hopeful that the movie might be good, and that there might be hope for the franchise. For good or ill, the old franchise has long since reached intellectual exhaustion - it either needed a full reboot, or retirement.
Perhaps AT&T should not have named their latest phone the "Quickfire" - Engadget explains why:
Please take special care when charging your Quickfire GTX75 mobile phone. There have been a few reports of significant overheating of the phone when the AC Charger adapter is inserted incorrectly and forced into the phone.
Technorati Tags: irony
The next Smalltalk User's Group meetup in the UK will be on March 9th. They have a mailing list you can join, too.
Today's Smalltalk Daily covers scripting a development build. Just as you need to go from development to deployment, you need to go from base development tool to a work environment. Today I demonstrate how I do that for BottomFeeder. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
or on YouTube: