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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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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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weather

The Great Non-Event

December 26, 2010 16:14:06.192

Well, the storm missed us by that much (imagine two fingers really close to each other :) )

NYC, Philly, and other points north? Looks like they get a big one.

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holiday

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2010 10:55:11.194

Merry Christmas to all, and thanks for reading!

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weather

December Snow?

December 24, 2010 23:25:24.728

Looks like we could get a serious snowfall the day after Christmas:

The storm track is still unclear - it could sail out to sea. But if it does hit here, boy, will post Christmas travel be screwy around here :)

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itNews

Public Speech

December 24, 2010 19:11:47.000

Dave Winer has a thoughtful post up about our ability to trust vendors with our public content - what if they decide to pull the plug (as numerous vendors have done with WikiLeaks)?

The question is this: What service-level guarantees do we need from vendors to make it possible to use their services in our public writing.

The problem runs even deeper, I think. Even if I bought my own server, and then paid to have, say, a T1 run to my house - I still have to rely on my domain being registered. Heck, even if I register a non US domain (or, if a person outside the US registers one beyond their borders), that doesn't get out from under the problem.

Right now, the entire system runs on trust and a general lack of centralization. That's why I worry about the FCC and their "net neutrality" rules - to my way of thinking, centralizing runs the very real risk of making control easier to assert. I think the best we can do here is leave the system with as little central control as possible.

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smalltalk

Smalltalk Choices: Good!

December 24, 2010 13:01:11.408

GuyWhoSteals has a nice post up comparing and contrasting the options for Seaside development and deployment. The upshot: you have a lot of good options across multiple platforms:

Both Squeak/Pharo and VisualWorks are cross-platform, with the virtual machine and IDE working almost identically on Windows, Linux and MacOS X. Currently, I do development on Windows and Ubuntu Linux (depending on which machine I’m working on), and deploy to a web server running Linux. I hope this sheds some light on this very individual set of decisions. One last thing I’d like to reiterate: If you’re new to Smalltalk and Seaside, you essentially can’t go wrong with the main 3 distributions (VisualWorks, GLASS or Pharo). All three are excellent cross-platform environments, and the choice between them comes down to commercial support, licensing fees (and, in the case of Gemstone, whether or not you need a first class object-oriented database).

Keep in mind that the VA Smalltalk product is a good choice as well, if OS X isn't in your list of platforms.

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podcasting

Hiatus

December 24, 2010 12:14:24.184

The daily screencasts, and the weekly podcast are on hiatus until the New Year. I may have one more podcast before the end of the year, but most likely, it's back the first week of January.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and have a great end of the year!

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holiday

More Christmas Prep

December 23, 2010 17:57:14.386

My daughter and I finally got the tree decorated:

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esug2010

Torch at ESUG 2010

December 23, 2010 17:32:02.536

Here's another video from ESUG 2010, which was held in Barcelona, Spain, the week of September 13, 2010. In this presentation, Veronica Uquillaz-Gomez talks about analyzing system changes using their Torch tools. You can watch using the embedded player below, or follow this link to Vimeo.

Torch: Analyzing Changes from James Robertson on Vimeo.

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smalltalk

Deploying with Pharo and Seaside

December 23, 2010 13:51:45.439

Smalltalk Zen has another post up in the series.

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smalltalk

Irony

December 23, 2010 10:43:33.100

The STIC website - the one that's supposed to promote the power of Smalltalk to business? It's running on WordPress. At least the Squeak and Pharo communities understand the whole dogfooding thing :)

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st4u

ST 4 U 28: Multi-Select ListBoxes in VisualWorks

December 23, 2010 6:38:39.851

Today's Smalltalk 4 You looks at an issue I ran into with VisualWorks at my new job: the way listboxes with multi-select turned on behave with drag/drop. I've posted the code to the package MultiSelectPatch in the Public Store Repository. 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:

Code Exploration

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:

Enclosures:
[st4u28-iPhone.m4v ( Size: 5971584 )]

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humor

The Diner Lives!

December 22, 2010 21:42:42.038

How did I miss The Diner returning? I love Lileks' stuff, and the podcast seemed to disappear in 2009 - there was a gap between March and October, and I just dropped the subscription. Now I wish I hadn't!

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itNews

Cable and Telcos Win

December 22, 2010 15:58:50.251

I hope all of the people who've been pining for network neutrality know what they just got from the FCC - it's a huge win for the existing carriers and cable companies. Why do I say that? Take this statement:

"A commercial arrangement between a broadband provider and a third party to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic in the connection to a subscriber of the broadband provider (i.e., 'pay for priority') would raise significant cause for concern," the Commission then elaborates. This is because "pay for priority would represent a significant departure from historical and current practice."

So to take a for instance - NetFlix couldn't pay to get priority for their traffic. Meanwhile, the local cable outlet (or telco) ships video on demand down the "cable" channel (although it actually comes down the same pipe), and gets to prioritize the heck out of it.

I sure hope all the idealists are happy now. The only good news here is this: based on recent court decisions, it's likely that the FCC overstepped its authority. I certainly hope that's how this plays out.

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humor

News You Can Use

December 22, 2010 15:19:05.000

You can find holiday tips everywhere, but only Team Unicorn can tell you how to survive a zombie apocalypse during the holiday season

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smalltalk

Smalltalk to the Cloud

December 22, 2010 11:11:43.522

Smalltalk Zen has started a series on deploying a Smalltalk (Pharo) server to a cloud hosted service - looks like you should stay tuned for more.

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holiday

Christmas Prep

December 22, 2010 6:51:46.683

We got started on the Christmas tree yesterday afternoon - the main decorting will happen today:

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js4u

JS 4 U 19: Events

December 22, 2010 6:39:21.713

Javascript 4 U

Today's Javascript 4 You. Today we start looking at exception handling in Javascript. If you have trouble viewing it here in the browser, you can also navigate directly to YouTube.

Join the Facebook Group to discuss the tutorials. You can view the archives here.

To watch now, click on the image below:

Exception Handling

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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Enclosures:
[js4u19-iPhone.m4v ( Size: 2403858 )]

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games

Fallout New Vegas DLC: Sierra Madre

December 21, 2010 23:59:18.054

Fallout New Vegas

I spent a fair bit of the evening playing the new DLC for Fallout: New Vegas . It's not bad - but it does have a fair bit of similarity to one of the DLC packs for Fallout 3 - "The Pitt":

  • You get captured and lose all of your equipment
  • It's a one way trip, with your return dependent on finishing the task at hand
  • The whole thing is being run by a whack job escapee from the Brotherhood of Steel (I'm giving nothing away by saying that it's Brother Elijah, the guy who really wanted to stay at Helios)

Mind you, there are huge differences as well. I was able to run through Pitt and find all the guns, ammo, and armore I wanted. Theer seemed to be plenty of stimpacks lying around too, as I recall. In Sierra Madre, that's just not the case. There's virtually no guns or amm to be found - I've been pumping up my melee skills since I started it (the level cap goes up to 35 with this dlc). Still, my health has been running at 50 percent or less most of the time. The only health I manage to find is out of the vending machines, and that requires me to find lots of casino chips. To be fair, those are all over, albeit in small-ish numbers.

You also lose your entire party - again, a lot like "The Pitt". Inside, you end uphaving to take the crew you find and deploy them to various places on the map (and convince each of them to stay there) as you go off to open up the casino proper. That's as far as I've managed to get - I was on my way to the bell tower when I ran out of time for the day.

My advice? Bring in a leveled up (at least 20th) guy with both melee and survival pushed up. Your gun and energy weapon skills just won't help you that much.

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itNews

Should Be a Disqualification

December 21, 2010 20:13:02.709

The fact that the people in charge of the FCC actually seem to believe this tells me that they have no business regulating anything more complex than their utensils drawer - and that might be pushing it:

the release says that only "measured steps" to regulating wireless are necessary because "open operating systems like Android" have been released, and that it wants to see how Verizon and other 700MHz spectrum winners handle the hotly-contested openness requirement when building out 4G.

Right... because how a carrier handles bits over the air has so much to do with what OS is running on the receiving device. I'll be over here, in the corner, laughing my whatever off at all the clowns who think the FCC is doing anything useful.

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tv

Broadcast TV: Sports, and not a lot else

December 21, 2010 14:09:06.000

The rise of various streaming TV options - from DVRs to Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, (etc) - has done a fair amount of damage to the traditional "appointment tv" model. Now there's some real evidence of what the future of that model looks like: sports:

Of the 20 highest-rated telecasts of any kind so far this television season, 18 have been N.F.L. games on CBS, NBC or Fox. In terms of the best of 2010, nothing else comes close. Of the 50 highest-rated programs during the calendar year, 27 have been N.F.L. games, including 8 of the top 10.

This makes perfect sense to me - watching recorded games is hard, because it's just too easy to hear about the results elsewhere. Beyond that though? Most shows now have a niche audience, which means that it's pretty easy to avoid spoilers.

Beyond mass audience things like NFL games though, it makes the standard ad supported model harder and harder to justify.

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st4u

ST 4 U 27: Code Exploration

December 21, 2010 6:44:42.950

Today's Smalltalk 4 You continues with "ProfStef", which is part of the "one click" Pharo download. Today we we take a look some of the code exploration tools provided in Pharo. 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:

Code Exploration

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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Enclosures:
[st4u27-iPhone.m4v ( Size: 4298964 )]

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smalltalk

Pier, Podcasting, and Tools

December 20, 2010 20:15:54.000

I found this interesting, because it's ground I've mostly covered with my Silt server - things like iTunes enabled feeds, XML-RPC interfaces for posting tools, and so on:

In which I hope to adequately explain how I used PierCMS to launch my new podcast, Those Optimize Guys.

Sergio advocates using Feedburner, which does most of the work for you. Probably a decent idea now, but I like the fact that all generation is under my control :)

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smalltalk

Installing GS/S 2.4.4 on Macintosh 10.6

December 20, 2010 18:25:37.190

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smalltalk

Seaside and AidaWeb

December 20, 2010 16:11:55.000

Robert Shiplett compares Seaside and AidaWeb for his end goal- generating Curl rather than HTML:

The Aida 6 web framework is rather different in objectives than Seaside 3 as a Smalltalk application server. My specific interest was to determine to what extent the services for web applications were orthogonal to any given web markup. Both default to HTML but I am looking at frameworks suitable for emitting declarative Curl markup using the Curl web content language (originally MIT and now Sumisho.)

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general

This is Overload?

December 20, 2010 15:25:52.605

I have two - count 'em, two - strings of lights across my doorway and the step railings outside:

As I was plugging them in, they went out. I thought one string had dropped a fuse, so I went looking for replacements - and found my battery backup in the basement (the one I use for the router) beeping. The ground fault on that plug had popped. How the heck are two lousy strings of lights an overload state?

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smalltalk

Why Smalltalk is Cool

December 20, 2010 14:08:08.791

Smalltalk Zen:

The two things that you spend most of your time doing as a programmer — coding and debugging — are made noticeably easier and more fun by that combination of Smalltalk language and IDE. The language syntax is small, powerful, expressive, introspective. The entire stack (and libraries, and IDE) is written in Smalltalk (turtles all the way down), and you have access to the source code, allowing you to study and extend all operations, basic and complex. The code organization — explicit, first-class visual IDE support for packages, classes, protocols (groupings of methods by intended use) and methods — is extremely helpful.

Follow the link and see what he says about the debugger - non-Smalltalkers often miss the power of the debugger in Smalltalk.

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js4u

JS 4 U 18: Throwing Exceptions

December 20, 2010 10:05:45.189

Javascript 4 U

Today's Javascript 4 You. Today we start looking at exception handling in Javascript. If you have trouble viewing it here in the browser, you can also navigate directly to YouTube.

Join the Facebook Group to discuss the tutorials. You can view the archives here.

To watch now, click on the image below:

Exception Handling

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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Enclosures:
[js4u18-iPhone.m4v ( Size: 3586487 )]

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general

End of the Year Schedule

December 20, 2010 8:59:32.124

It's the end of the year, so it's time to look at the schedule for the videos and podcasts. JS4U and ST4U will be on hold after Wednesday until the new year; there will be at lest one more "Independent Misinterpretations" before the end of the year, but then that will go on hiatus until January as well.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoy the archives until January rolls in!

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