Windows 7 has gotten to semi-open beta status: they have a beta release that anyone can register to download.
I have to just laugh at the "don't let your vehicle's warranty expire" robo-call I just got. Recorded message about how my car's warranty "just expired", but I can renew it now! Sure - I drive a 20 year old vehicle with over 150k miles on it. The warranty is very expired, but it's a bit of a stretch to say it "just" expired :)
Sometimes I wonder whether the people who work in the patent office reside in the same century with the rest of us. iPods and iTunes came out in 2001; Apple is getting sued for for patents issued during or after 2007. Does the phrase "prior art" just never come up over at the PTO?
Today's Smalltalk Daily gives a practical development build example: how to build a BottomFeeder development image. To watch, click on the image below. To get the script, click here, or scroll down to the bottom for the full script text.
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Or on YouTube:
Here's the script:
"build a dev image. NOTE: If you aren't on Windows, do a global search/replace of the backslash with the appropriate character - a / on anything but Mac 8/9, which should be a : " "To use this script, simply start your base image with this command line: visual visual.im -filein build-bf-dev.st" | profile | #( '$(VISUALWORKS)/database/OracleThapiEXDI.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/contributed/PostgreSQL/StoreForPostgreSQL.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/store/StoreForOracle.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/contributed/LessProgress.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/parcels/RBSUnitExtensions.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/net/NetClients.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/contributed/Heeg/GHSpeedUpXMLParser.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/parcels/Model-Observables.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/parcels/CE.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/preview/Unicode/AllEncodings.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/preview/Unicode/UnicodeCharacterInput.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/dllcc/DLLCC.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/parcels/XSL.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/parcels/UIPainter.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/opentalk/Opentalk-STST.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/webservices/UDDIInquire.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/parcels/MacExtra.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/packaging/RuntimePackager.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/contributed/VRGoodies/VRFileReading.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/contributed/CraftedMemoryPolicy/CraftedMemoryPolicy.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/waveserver/Wave-Server-Base.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/waveserver/Wave-Server.pcl' '$(VISUALWORKS)/obsolete/Tools-FlyByHelp.pcl' ) do: [:each | Parcel loadParcelFrom: each]. "set space sizes to a bigger client state" ObjectMemory sizesAtStartup: #(5.0 5.0 10.0 5.0 2.0 10.0 3.0). "read in VW Settings - the next two sections assume that you have saved your settings for Store, and that you have a connection named cincomsmalltalk" Store.RepositoryManager importRepositoriesFromStream: 'repositories.xml' asFilename readStream. "load from Store - connect to public store first" profile := Store.RepositoryManager repositories detect: [:each | 'cincomsmalltalk' = each name] ifNone: [nil]. profile ifNil: [^self]. Store.DbRegistry connectTo: profile. "now load from store" (Store.Bundle newestVersionWithName: 'SpellChecker') loadSrc. versions := (Store.Package withName: 'ImageConfig' version: '7.10'). versions notEmpty ifTrue: [versions first loadSrc]. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'WinGDIPlusInterface') loadSrc. (Store.Bundle newestVersionWithName: 'EpiWin32Folder') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'GIFSupport') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Weaklings') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Emote-Support') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'ExtraEmphases') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'ExtraActivity') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'VRCommonDialogs') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'XmlRpcClient') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'SubForkPreload') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'SubFork') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Http-Overrides') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'NetResources') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'NetResourcesHTTP') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'NetResourcesHTML') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'LibTidy') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Browsing-Assist') loadSrc. versions := (Store.Package withName: 'TimeSoZone' version: '8'). versions notEmpty ifTrue: [versions first loadSrc]. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'XML Configuration Files') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'PatchFileDelivery') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Twoflower') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'TwoflowerHTMLParser') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Win32TaskbarSupport') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'Windows TrayIcons') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'SandboxedSmalltalk') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'RelativeURL') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'File Repository') loadSrc. versions := (Store.Bundle withName: 'WSBundle' version: '2.41'). versions notEmpty ifTrue: [versions first loadSrc]. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'CommonTypeMappings') loadSrc. (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'BtfNamespace') loadSrc. "now load BottomFeeder" (Store.Package newestVersionWithName: 'BFSharedicons') loadSrc. versions := (Store.Bundle withName: 'Blog-Tools' version: '7.16'). versions notEmpty ifTrue: [versions first loadSrc]. versions := (Store.Bundle withName: 'BottomFeeder' version: '18.29'). versions notEmpty ifTrue: [versions first loadSrc]. "disconnect" Store.DbRegistry disconnect. "set version and release date info" RSSPersistence.SystemStartup version: '4.6'. RSSPersistence.SystemStartup releaseDate: (Date today printString). RSSPersistence.SystemStartup logo: 'watermark.bmp'. RSSPersistence.SystemStartup helpLogo: 'watermark.bmp'. "save image" ObjectMemory saveAs: 'btf-dev1' thenQuit: false.
I've read some nice reviews of the Zune - like Vista, it seems that Microsoft has mostly lost the PR battle with Apple on this front. Given that, I find it interesting that there's a Zune twitter feed, which is not affiliated with MS. Signs of a budding community around the device?
As the world gathers 'round again to chuckle at an all-too-faithful GPS user in the UK, we're looking this time at a man who literally drove his BMW to the brink of disaster while following his sat nav down a skinny, steep lane on the way to imminent deathTodmorden. As the story goes, his navigation system apparently told him to drive directly into a fence just before the road fell off of a cliff
I'm starting to think that Skynet won't have to try very hard to win :)
Tim Bray wrote about interfacing with Rack, and, early in the piece, this came out:
Since I need to get this done in a hurry, I wanted to write the code in Ruby.
Later he mentioned that it was easier to print information on objects to output than to find docs. Which got me thinking... Imagine if he had a system that had inspectors and a real debugger. You know; something like this.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
The news about TV watching is fascinating. Overall viewership is rising, even though I think the business model behind it all (ads) is falling apart. Why is viewing up? I'd say there are three reasons:
- DVRs - if you like a show, it's very, very easy to catch up now. You no longer have to bail on an episodic series because things came up
- The long tail - there's not a large audience for the sorts of things you find on Discovery, the History Channel (et. al.) - but that audience exists. There's simply a wider variety of possible content available now
- It's possible to watch stuff on computers and mobile devices now. Missed an episode? Off to iTunes or Hulu, and you're good to go
What I'm not at all sure about is how this is all going to be paid for in the future. maybe I'm wrong, and broadcast ads will hold up. Either way, it's clear that there's demand for the content itself.
I'm not sure what to say about this proposal for primary education out of the UK:
Children to leave primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication. They must gain "fluency" in handwriting and keyboard skills, and learn how to use a spellchecker alongside how to spell
For some reason, it makes me think of this video...
Gigaom notes that Skype is in the process of disintermediating international calling - and it looks like one result is that carrier revenues in that space are being driven down. I certainly understand why; when we do our weekly podcast, we use Skype. I have to believe that the various carriers aren't happy about this :)
I did a screencast this morning on Smalltalk processes, and it generated a few comments. Given that, I figured it was worth following up. The basics:
- Smalltalk Processes are lightweight - i.e., they are managed within the single OS process running the Smalltalk image
- You can create OS level threads by making external API calls - assuming that it's safe to call those APIs in a threaded fashion
I've gone into a lot more detail on this stuff - head on over to Smalltalk Daily, and start with this page of screencasts on the processes model. If you have questions on any of that, shoot them my way.
PC World reports that the recent surge in Twitter usage has brought back the Fail Whale:
Twitter appears to be experiencing more growing pains. Users and the service itself recently have reported a spate of problems
I find it fascinating that so many people use, enjoy, and even rely on Twitter - while at the same time, there's nothing that even vaguely resembles a revenue plan for the company. Eyeballs aren't enough, especially if - like me - you think that advertising is mostly a dead end...
Today's Smalltalk Daily looks at how Smalltalk processes run - i.e., in what order two processes will run based on their runnable state and their priority. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Understanding Which Process will run from James Robertson on Vimeo.
Or on YouTube:
PC World is reporting that Dell is looking to get into the smart phone space. That makes sense - they have to move into the growing end of the business if they want to stay relevant. They mention that Dell might buy Palm - that would certainly breath new life into that entity...
While I'm skeptical about Twitter's ability to make money, I'm not skeptical about the corporate adoption; as Wired points out, that's happening at an expanded pace. Cincom has a Twitter presence, as does our Smalltalk suite. It makes a lot of sense for companies to track Twitter mentions of their products and services, and to offer a feed with important announcements.
Advertising around "important" Twitter users? Quick, show of hands - how many Twitter users visit the website versus use a tool such a Twitterific? Follow up - why do you even care what the "executive" tweets are?
This isn't just laughable; I'd say it borders on desperation.
Aparrently, the Economist agrees with me:
Ultimately, though, every business needs revenues -- and advertising, it transpires, is not going to provide enough. Free content and services were a beguiling idea. But the lesson of two internet bubbles is that somebody somewhere is going to have to pick up the tab for lunch.
Two weeks ago, they were talking about this on "This Week in Tech", and one of the panelists (I forget who now) said that sooner or later, Twitter and Facebook were doomed without a real revenue model. Lots of eyeballs are one thing; actual dollars coming in to pay the bills is something else again.
Consider how I'm using Facebook - I throw the "Smalltalk Daily" videos up there every day. Now, they aren't huge, but they take up some amount of storage, and anyone who watches them (I'll be darned if I can find metrics from Facebook for that) consumes bandwidth. Who's paying for that? Right now, no one. You think the audience for the Smalltalk videos is interested in the ads that pop up on the page? Right now, I see an "Easter in Howard County" ad, and another one for Lasik. That kind of non-targeted ad simply doesn't work well, and - once the pleasant delusion on advertising passes, will simply disappear.
I really have no idea how either Facebook or Twitter are going to survive. They've gotten us used to the idea of free, and told us that we can upload virtually infinite amounts of content to them for nothing. Where's the revenue for that?
Update: Doc Searls ads some relevant points, and a few suggestions as to what the future might look like.
Technorati Tags: revenue
"They filmed my favorite scene in the whole script," Sawyer said in an exclusive telephone interview. "And I actually got misty-eyed when they were filming it, because it didn't matter if the character names were the same as the character names in my novel. They were saying things that were the heart and soul of the novel that I had written a decade ago. What they're doing is Flash Forward, and I to the core of my being feel that they are doing my book."
I'm glad Sawyer is happy with the filming - I really liked the book "Flash Forward" (as well as a lot of his other work). What I'm less sure of is whether the book works as a series. I can definitely see it as a movie, or a mini-series, but an ongoing set of shows?
Interesting reporting from ComputerWorld:
A new survey says that a majority of respondents would avoid a hotel in the future if they had bad cell phone reception. And nearly half would make the same decision for office space, meeting facilities and even hospitals. Is bad cell phone reception driving away customers?
I haven't paid much attention to cell coverage, but I have paid attention to wired/wireless net access - and whether it's free or charged. When we last scouted for a "default" hotel near corporate HQ in Cincinnati, network access definitely came up, both in terms of quality and expense. Saving $10/night on the room is meaningless if you have to pay it back with a daily net access charge, for instance.
I pay attention when I travel for personal reasons as well - I'm far more likely to stay somewhere with reasonable internet access.
That's the premise of this post from Eric Clemens - consider this:
The internet is the most liberating of all mass media developed to date. It is participatory, like swapping stories around a campfire or attending a renaissance fair. It is not meant solely to push content, in one direction, to a captive audience, the way movies or traditional network television did. It provides the greatest array of entertainment and information, on any subject, with any degree of formality, on demand. And it is the best and the most trusted source of commercial product information on cost, selection, availability, and suitability, using community content, professional reviews and peer reviews.
I thought about that in the context of what I do every day. I post screencasts on how to work with our products, I post podcasts with long form conversations about Smalltalk, I post videos from events, and I post a lot of other content about the products. We use AdWords, but that's not traditional advertising - it will present information about our site to people searching for related information. That's very different from the broadcast model used by TV, radio, and lots of websites.
Put another way - how often do you click on ads you see on websites? When a search using your favorite search engine can find specific information for you from sources you trust, why do ever need an ad to get your attention? This is the huge shift that's coming at the entire market: TV, radio, and net. I've said before that advertising has been a pleasant fiction that we've all chosen to believe in; what Clemens is saying is that more and more people are noticing how few clothes the emperor is wearing...
Technorati Tags: marketing
Head on over and add your own answer, or vote mine up :)
On March 9th, Alan Knight, our engineering manager for Smalltalk, gave a talk at the Ottawa (Canada) Smalltalk User's Group. He presented the roadmap for the product suite from the engineering side of things. I released the video for the talk earlier; this is the audio-only version. I've cleaned up the audio quite a bit - it came out pretty well. You can listen to it here.
If you have feedback, send it to email@example.com - 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!
"Now at times you don't want that. You don't want people accidentally pulling the scroll bar off their mail system. But my philosophy has always been: Make it first dynamic and malleable and then you can always turn off those capabilities. But you're in much less of a position to go forward in the world if you start out with stuff that can't be changed."
If you start off with handcuffs, it's hard to get much flexibility, ever. If you start off with flexibility though, you can always add in hard edges later.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I just finished reading "Spring Forward", a history of Daylight Saving time written by Michael Downing. It's a short, funny book - I never realized how much confusion surrounded this whole topic. Never mind the recent change here in the US and Canada - this book traces the long century of confusion surrounding the idea, and how - before the 1970s - the adoption of daylight saving time varied all across the country. Worse, before the 1880s and railroad time, time keeping varied across the country, period. It's a fascinating little book, and a very entertaining read.
Microsoft has figured out how to advertise - they show real people doing cool things with Windows, and how easy it is. Apple has been pushing that line for years - and while Microsoft has caught up in a lot of ways, they've let the "Mac is easier" tag stick for way too long. The latest set of ads, where they have kids (the one I just saw had an 8 year old) doing things like photos and movies are great stuff. Way, way better than the Seinfeld/Gates silliness they tried last year.
This all gets back to something I dislike in current marketing fads: story telling. The first set of Gates/Seinfeld ads were all about telling a story, but they were utterly disconnected from the product being promoted. The new ads also tell a story, but they tell one that promotes the product in question. As I've said before, connected stories work. Disconnected ones don't. Unless you tell people what kinds of problems your product/service can solve, you're not telling a useful story - no matter how many people hear it.
I'm interested in finding people who have:
- Recently downloaded Cincom's non-commercial Smalltalk
- Just learned Smalltalk
- Would be interested in talking about the experience on our Podcast, "Industry Misinterpretations"
If that sounds interesting to you, please drop me a line. I'm not looking for experienced Smalltalkers with ideas about the products; it's not that such feedback has no merit, it's that I've heard that kind of feedback already :)
Technorati Tags: podcast
A few posts ago, I said that the one thing MS should do with Windows 7 is this: get rid of the pre-load "feature" that allows applications to load all (or part) of themselves at boot time. I had one commenter express amazement that I'd call the "Apple Tax" (the premium you pay for getting a Mac) worth it on those grounds alone, and sure - that's hardly my only beef with the revs of Windows I've used. However, in XP (the one I've run the longest), it's a huge problem.
Why? Well, you end up rebooting any system - Windows or Mac - more often than you would like. There are lockups - fairly rare on XP, from what I hear very rare in Vista, and very rare in OSX - but that's not really the source of boot time frustration. The source is the frequent reboots required by vendor provided updates. Most of the recent OS X updates have required reboots, and the vast majority of Windows updates also require a reboot. Here's where the frustration enters:
- I see an update notification. All the tenets of safe computing tell me I should apply it
- I have a bunch of applications open, and I'll have to get out of all of them, then allow the system to reboot
- On the Mac, outside of patch application time, the reboot is fast - when I login, I can start working immediately
- On Windows, I'm forced to wait for all the apps that have registered for pre-load to get done before I can do anything
Once that happens, Windows is stable, and based on the feedback I hear from Vista (SP1) users, pleasant. The entire problem is this antiquated "time saving" system that now wastes time. Get rid of that, and the ground between Windows and OS X will be a lot more level.
I just finished watching the series finale, and I liked it. The "God's plan" idea that has threaded in and out of the series was made clear, and all of the story threads were wrapped up within that context. I don't want to drop any spoilers yet (what with the various air times for the show, and DVR usage, etc) - but everything did get answered in a consistent way at the end.
Wow, the best seats at the new Yankee Stadium aren't cheap:
If you want to buy a front-row seat at the new Yankee Stadium for an individual game, the list price of a ticket is $2,625. Individual game sales for the first season of the $1.5 billion ballpark start Tuesday, and the Legends Seats that ring the infield start at $525 a game, according to the team's Web site. Those seats cost $500-$2,500 as part of full season tickets, and they include food and soft drinks.
Grandstand seats start at $23, and the bleachers are $14. Better get that third mortgage before you head out :)
Hot off word that Apple's Mac and iPod sales for February took a 16 percent hit compared to last year, Steve Ballmer says the "tide has really turned" after recent Apple market share gains: "Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction. The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be
Hmm - I'll buy the idea of expense keeping people back, but those of us who've made the switch to Mac have done so for more than "just a logo". My MBP still boots as fast as it did when I got it, during the summer of 2007. My old G4 based Mini still boots as fast, and it goes back a lot longer. The iMac that I bought last summer - same story.
The old Windows notebook next to me? I can get in a decent workout while I wait for it to boot and log me in. My wife's media center PC? Same story. There's one major thing MS could do that would help a lot: eliminate the "pre load" capability that so many apps (Microsft's and others) use at boot time. It used to serve a purpose back when machines were slower, but all it does now is make Windows look a lot slower than it really is.
Just as CD's replaced LPs, digital (both mp3s and streaming services) are replacing CDs:
While overall music sales were up 10 percent in 2008, the year saw a drop not only in CD sales, but in the number of customers actually purchasing music. But according to a new report, the act of music listening is actually on the rise. While digital music purchases remain strong, the numbers show that there is still much more work to be done in the industry's transition to a new, more diverse set of business models.
Services like Pandora are the new radio. I have Pandora on about 50% of the time now, and my iTunes collection on the rest of it. I listen to things like podcasts when I'm exercising. The good news is, we seem to have passed through the denial stage of this transition (where DRM was seen as the way to go), and onto something like acceptance.
Over in video land, denial is still king - but as consumer level bandwidth improves, I think we'll get to see the same kind of dynamic play out there.
Earlier this year I mentioned that Cincom would be coming to you with Smalltalk information - we've got our first seminar date and location planned: April 29, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It should be a great day, with lots of information from the experts here at Cincom. There are some general details on the seminar series here; if you would like to request one in your area, send an email to the Smalltalk Star Team.
Stay tuned - I'll push out more information as I get it.
On today's Smalltalk Daily we take a look at customizing the display of list elements in VW with VisualBlock objects. The specific example changes the alignment of the text in the list, either left, right, or center - but the main point is how to use VisualBlocks. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Or on YouTube:
"Oh, bollocks." No, we can't definitively prove that Gordon Brown said that after witnessing a "Wrong Region" code when inserting a DVD given to him by Barack Obama, but we're sure something of the sort was uttered. You see, the ridiculous DVD region coding system recently prevented the British Prime Minister from viewing a set of 25 "American classics" on DVD, all of which were bestowed upon him by President Obama during a recent visit to Washington, D.C. We hate to bludgeon a dead mule, but seriously, when will the DRM madness end?
Leaving aside any politics, this whole thing illustrate the silliness of region codes. In a world where anyone can download just about anything they want via BitTorrent, why do we have region codes? What exactly is being protected here? Even before the net came on big, was there any real risk of piracy stopped by this? Region free players do exist....
I think Dvorak has this right:
These phones are still a little weak for word processing and full docking capability. By that I mean the phone should be dockable, but not into another computer -- into a simple dock that attaches a keyboard and screen. The smartphone should have enough power to run the software it has as full-blown application software. Combined with some nifty cloud applications and remote storage, these phones should give people enough to get by. In fact, the newer processor chips coming out for the smartphone will deliver a lot of computing power.
It would be nice to be able to hook an iPhone up to an LCD screen and keyboard, and have it function as a fullblown system. I suspect that kind of capability will arrive soon - certainly Google would be happy to see the g-phone used that way along with a suite of Google cloud apps :)
We've had some great interviews and shows lately, and we have some more coming up. This weekend, I'll be releasing Alan Knight's talk to the Ottawa Smalltalk User Group (which he gave on March 9th). We also spoke to John McIntosh recently, about some of the work he's been doing of late - specifically, his work in getting Squeak running on the iPhone. We'll also have Alan on the podcast directly soon, to talk more in depth about managing the Smalltalk team here at Cincom. We also have some other interviews lined up that aren't finalized yet, but we have high hopes for.
Producer Donald De Line told Dark Horizons that a live-action movie based on the 1960s animated TV series The Jetsons is still a go. The movie was first announced in May of 2007.
I'd love to know who thought this would be a good idea. How hard would it be for the bright guys in Hollywood to try perusing the SciFi section at Borders (or B&N, you get the idea) and find something new to film?
Today's Smalltalk Daily demonstrates a simple HTTP based interface to Twitter. The code works in either VW or ObjectStudio - it's domain level only, with no associated API. To try it out, load TwitterInterface (bundle) from the public reposittory in either toolset. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
You can also watch it on YouTube:
A long while back, Michael and I wote a simple Twitter Client. That client is obsolete now, but there's some useful code in it that I'm in the process of harvesting. When I publish this morning, I should have a small bundle that contains:
- A simple client for posting to Twitter
- A simple client for fetching updates from Twitter
What it won't have is any kind of UI. The idea here is to provide a small interface that could be used by anyone interested in Twitter for their own projects.