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browsers

Back to Safari

December 27, 2010 11:16:55.666

I've been using Chrome for quite awhile, but today I got massively irritated with a page I was trying to read - and the built in "Reader" feature (yes, there are extensions for Chrome that do a somewhat similar job. No, they don't work nearly as well) was the only thing that made that possible. Why? Well, see how this page renders for you. For me, the Dubai add covers half the middle paragraph, and I can't see any way to dismiss the blasted thing. "Reader" at least centered it, letting me the see the page.

The real question is, how long will it be before Safari infuriates me over something, and I go crawling back to Chrome, or Firefox?

Update: A commenter pointed out that the Chrome 9 beta worked, and sure enough, it does. I'll stick with Safari until it irritates me though - which is certain to happen soon enough :)

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PR

Stuck in a Rut

December 27, 2010 11:35:51.256

Callie Oettinger has a nice take on the flaws that are inherent in the traditional PR/Marketing model: it's all designed to sell to the wrong audience. She's writing about books here, but the same thing applies in software:

Traditional media outlets have never covered even a dime in the dollar of books published each year. Everyone wants in, but there’s not enough room. And even though specific genres have never received equal coverage from traditional media outlets—military, science-fiction, and romance come to mind—many of the publishers and authors of these books continue traditional pitching, hoping something will stick. Why? Because that’s what’s always been done.

Very true. Consider software now - do "decision makers" actually evaluate the tools that developers or end users use? Of course not. Heck, most of them don't even look at such stuff - they have staff for that. Sure, at high levels, with truly expensive software, the golfing relationship between the (insert vendor here) and the CEO matters. For everything else? What matters is whether your product's value proposition reaches the right audience: the users.

Go back to books again. Pre-internet, all you had were book reviews from prestigious outlets (like the NY Times), and the advice of local booksellers, who had some notion as to what was coming out, and what might appeal to you given your tastes. Now? Now there's Amazon recommendations, book lists on blogs (I've picked up a ton of stuff based on posts from Glenn Reynolds, for instance) - and so on. The problem with the traditional outlets is that they are at least one step removed from the real audience.

Which takes me back to software - the "decision makers" are also removed from the actual use, and their only point of evaluation is price - it's the only thing they have. If you sell on that basis, and can undercut everyone else, then sure - bypass the users, and get into the race to the bottom. If that's not where you sell, then you really, really want to be active where the actual users live - because it's the only way you have to stand out from the crowd.

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gadgets

Catching Them by Surprise

December 28, 2010 0:28:50.905

Apparently, the launch of the iPhone back in 2007 caught RIM (and Microsoft) utterly by surprise:

The iPhone "couldn't do what [Apple was] demonstrating without an insanely power hungry processor, it must have terrible battery life," Shacknews poster Kentor heard from his former colleagues of the time. "Imagine their surprise [at RIM] when they disassembled an iPhone for the first time and found that the phone was battery with a tiny logic board strapped to it." Friends who were Microsoft employees at the time were also said to have had a similar reaction.

It's amazing to me that Apple managed to launch with so many of their competitors stunned.

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smalltalk

Bootstrapping Smalltalk

December 28, 2010 9:44:38.757

Ever wondered why you have to start with a pre-built image, rather than building up exactly what you want/need? Well, so did Yoshiki Ohshima - he's been working on that problem:

We've been playing with John's MicroSqueak and it occured to me that having a bytecode compiler that is implemented outside of Squeak opens some possibilities, such as generate a growable image file from all text files, or make deep changes to the system without shooting yourself.

Ironically, the harder part of this may be in getting the Smalltalk community to agree on a standard "outside the image" text format...

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smalltalk

More Training

December 28, 2010 10:48:46.462

A few weeks ago, I gave a light speed (2.5 days) Smalltalk training class to some new users of the project I'm working on; I knew then that they were going to have to come back for some real, in depth stuff if they intended to work on the internals of the thing, as they say they mean to.

So - I'm about to start gearing up for a two week training delivery. Not sure where - it could be in Texas (probably will be), or it could be at the new site, which is in Virginia (much closer to where I live). The materials are coming to me today, so I can start getting a handle on those - we'll see what happens from there.

This is starting to be "Back to the Future" for me - consulting and training, just like the 90's :)

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smalltalk

Smalltalk Solutions Registration is Live

December 28, 2010 13:14:25.935

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music

Living in the Past

December 28, 2010 16:09:03.000

In a long article about the success of Spotify in Europe, we find out why it's not available in the US - it's due to the lack of sense the labels have:

None of the major labels would talk to Wired about Spotify, but several have made their opinions known. “Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry,” said Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. during a February conference call to discuss his company’s quarterly earnings, “and as far as Warner Music is concerned, it will not be licensed. So, this sort of ‘get all the music you want for free and then maybe we can—with a few bells and whistles—move you to a premium price’ strategy is not the kind of approach to business that we will be supporting in the future.”

What Bronfman doesn't realize is that he's living in the world now. People are sharing music over torrents and skype, never mind the "sneaker net" pastime of burning a CD. He can either get on board with a legitimate business and have a stake in that future, or he can fade off into the distance. At the moment, he's chosen to fade off.

The big problem is one you see a lot in software businesses being confronted with free, open source competitors - the first reactions are to clamp down harder and complain about the unfairness of it all. Here's the thing though: evolving business models aren't about fairness, they're about the way things are. Get on the bus, stay off the bus - either way, it's heading out. With the net's existence, it's going to remain easy to pass music (and other software, for that matter) around. You simply have to account for that fact in your business model.

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management

The Business of Software

December 28, 2010 18:35:13.510

After yesterday's post on who software is sold to (the people who use it, not the people who sign the checks) - I ran across this post from James Governor via the comments:

Salesforce avoids IT to sell to the business, while Heroku avoids IT to sell to developers

Exacty right. If you try to sell to the management team, all you have to offer is price - and in that arena, it had better be a low price. If, on the other hand, you get the developers (or end users) sold, there's virtually no limit to the upselling possibilities, because there, you're selling on emotion.

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law

Patents Jump the Shark

December 28, 2010 21:33:13.720

If the sort of patent trolling that Paul Allen is up to doesn't demonstrates the utter uselessness of the USPTO, then nothing does. Is it too much to ask that a patent have a working implementation associated with it?

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smalltalk

Old Dudes Who Know Smalltalk

December 29, 2010 15:11:26.233

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tv

Primeval Bridges Old to New

December 29, 2010 15:34:46.503

I was a pretty big fan of the show "Primeval", so I'm pretty happy that it's returning on January 1st - and the producers have released 5 webisodes to bridge the gap from the end of the last run to the present.

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smalltalk

Have Smalltalk Talk to your Phone

December 30, 2010 9:35:14.526

There's an interface to Tropo from Pharo and Squeak:

With tropo.com you can have users interact with your smalltalk application using their telephones or SMS messages.

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books

Evolving Book Norms

December 30, 2010 11:27:47.743

Here's something I hadn't thought of with the rise of ebooks - the loss of page numbers. I'm quoting John Holbo, who ponders the issue:

I’m thinking about quoting our John in something I’m writing (yes, on Zizek). But I can’t footnote a Kindle edition. No pages. What will the world come to? Bibliography has gotten a bit old and odd in the head in the age of the internet, but the existence of pages themselves is kind of a watershed.

The Kindle app (and presumably the Kindle as well) show you a "percentage reached" instead of a page number. I understand that - given the various form factors involved (multiple Kindle sizes, iPads, smart phones....), what does a page number even mean? It should be simple to graft the physical form page number into the metadata, but as we go forward, there may well be books for which no physical form exists. What then? Perhaps we'll have to footnote based on the word count of the reference? Some sort of standard will have to arise, I guess.

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smalltalk

Video in Smalltalk

December 30, 2010 18:22:07.883

Sean DeNegris continues to do some cool work in Squeak:

I have a working proof-of-concept to play any video file that QuickTime can handle in Squeak Smalltalk (or Pharo with slight modifications).

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smalltalk

New Cog VMs

December 30, 2010 22:49:39.375

Eliot Miranda has released new Cog VMs - I'm quoting an email to the Squeak list below:

I've released a new version of Cog that has a substantially improved code generator along the lines of Peter Deutsch's HPS (VisualWorks) and various of Ian Piumarta's VMs. These all use a simple tecnique to identify constant references in bytecode and to support a register-based calling convention. While this does produce faster code it tends to accelerate low-level code much more than high-level code

You can download them here - and follow Eliot on his blog here.

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games

Vault 101 Comes to Rock Band

December 31, 2010 11:10:59.058

There's more crossover between the fan bases of Fallout and Rock Band than I thought :)

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games

StarCraft Love Song

December 31, 2010 11:22:34.678

It's that sort of day, when music and video games blend - who would have expected a StarCraft love song?

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holiday

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011 2:21:16.688

Happy 2011!

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marketing

Disintermediation in Books

January 1, 2011 12:00:21.485

Richard Fernandez notes that more authors are starting to move away from formal publishing, and doing it themselves - they get to keep a lot more of the money that way. The problem for new authors trying to do the same thing? Visibility:

Maybe Joe Konrath can go direct to his audience. But he’s got a reputation. Authors without an established readership base face a chicken and egg problem. Nobody buys their books because nobody knows about them, and nobody knows about them because nobody has yet bought their books. New print on demand services like Createspace and Amazon’s Kindle have only solved the self-publisher’s logistics and distribution problem, but they have not solved the self-publisher’s more fundamental problem, which is marketing.

That's certainly a problem, but I wonder how much of one going forward. The Amazon recommendation engine has turned over a lot of books for me, many of them self published ones from fairly unknown authors. I've found the quality of those books varies about as much as it does for "professional" authors.

The thing I don't really know is how those authors make the leap from utter obscurity to that recommendation list. Clearly some people are making that jump, but I have no idea how many, or how hard it is.

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smalltalk

Musical Representation in Smalltalk

January 2, 2011 11:05:30.999

The Cyclades project looks pretty neat.

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podcast

Independent Misinterpretations 11: Pango in Smalltalk

January 2, 2011 11:13:52.079

Welcome to episode 11 of Independent Misinterpretations - a Smalltalk and dynamic language oriented podcast with James Robertson, Michael Lucas-Smith, and David Buck. This week I have a recording from ESUG 2010 - Travis Griggs talking about integrating Pango with Smalltalk. I apologize for the noise in the audio; it came to me that way.

You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes (or any other podcatching software) using this feed directly or in iTunes with this one.

To listen now, you can either download the mp3 edition, or the AAC edition. The AAC edition comes with chapter markers. You can subscribe to either edition of the podcast directly in iTunes; just search for Smalltalk and look in the Podcast results. You can subscribe to the mp3 edition directly using this feed, or the AAC edition using this feed using any podcatching software. You can also download the podcast in ogg format.

If you like the music we use, please visit Josh Woodward's site. We use the song Troublemaker for our intro/outro music. I'm sure he'd appreciate your support!

If you have feedback, send it to jarober@gmail.com - or visit us on Facebook - you can subscribe in iTunes using this iTunes enabled feed.. If you enjoy the podcast, pass the word - we would love to have more people hear about Smalltalk!

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[im11.mp3 ( Size: 15,222,327 )]

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podcastAAC

Independent Misinterpretatons 11: Pango in Smalltalk (AAC)

January 2, 2011 11:14:25.409

Welcome to episode 11 of Independent Misinterpretations - a Smalltalk and dynamic language oriented podcast with James Robertson, Michael Lucas-Smith, and David Buck. This week I have a recording from ESUG 2010 - Travis Griggs talking about integrating Pango with Smalltalk. I apologize for the noise in the audio; it came to me that way.

You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes (or any other podcatching software) using this feed directly or in iTunes with this one.

To listen now, you can either download the mp3 edition, or the AAC edition. The AAC edition comes with chapter markers. You can subscribe to either edition of the podcast directly in iTunes; just search for Smalltalk and look in the Podcast results. You can subscribe to the mp3 edition directly using this feed, or the AAC edition using this feed using any podcatching software. You can also download the podcast in ogg format.

If you like the music we use, please visit Josh Woodward's site. We use the song Troublemaker for our intro/outro music. I'm sure he'd appreciate your support!

If you have feedback, send it to jarober@gmail.com - or visit us on Facebook - you can subscribe in iTunes using this iTunes enabled feed.. If you enjoy the podcast, pass the word - we would love to have more people hear about Smalltalk!

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Enclosures:
[im11.m4a ( Size: 21,110,516 )]

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st4u

ST 4U 29: The Pharo System Browser

January 3, 2011 6:38:01.280

Today's Smalltalk 4 You looks at the system browser in Pharo - the tool you'll spend the most time with in Smalltalk. If you have trouble viewing it here in the browser, you can also navigate directly to YouTube. To watch now, click on the image below:

System Browser

If you have trouble viewing that directly, you can click here to download the video directly. If you need the video in a Windows Media format, then download that here.

You can also watch it on YouTube:

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[st4u29-iPhone.m4v ( Size: 4375862 )]

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smalltalk

A Free EC2 Instance with GLASS

January 3, 2011 6:45:14.040

Amazon is offering free micro-instances for a year, and Nick Ager is showing you how to use it with Gemstone and Seaside:

Deploy your Seaside application for free with an EC2 micro instance and Gemstone from Nick Ager on Vimeo.

Hat tip Torsten

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web

You Want a Dynamic Language on the Web

January 3, 2011 17:21:42.154

Unless you think recompile, kill, restart is an efficient way to run a website. In which case, go ahead, use Java :)

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