June 2009 Archives

In my last blog, I discussed the U.S. Clean Energy and Security Act that passed the House and is now up for debate in the Senate. Legislation of this kind is key to understanding future technology trends and requirements, particularly around Green Tech. For example, its passage could spur greater investment in teleconferencing technologies, accelerate smart grid projects and increase interest in building automation tools. Why?
While we may have had the weekend to try to digest the House's passage (by a close vote of 219-212) of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, I find there's still no consensus on what it means for the U.S. It's not just because it is hard to extract saliency from the 1200 pages that make up the bill, but rather because it's virtually impossible to understand what form the bill will ulitimately take if (and that's a potentially sizeable if) it gets through the Senate. (You may fondly remember the catchy Schoolhouse Rock song "I'm just a bill").
Josh Clark, author of O'Reilly's Best iPhone Apps: The Essential Guide for Discriminating Downloaders says he waited three decades until the iPhone finally arrived in 2007. "Apple's fabulous device is the only thing that's ever resembled my childhood notions of the 21st century, the first time the future got here," writes Clark. "A computer. In your pocket." And for his new book, Clark scoured the App Store to find the best apps that will make your iPhone shine and you more productive, more creative, more happy. The PDF of Clark's Best iPhone Apps is available now. Check these excerpts to find some of the cool apps Clark recommends.
It almost goes without saying that you won't find anything that runs Windows at anywhere near these prices. Oh, and no, that doesn't mean that Linux is somehow inferior as Windows fans would want you to believe. It is, however, free of charge.
pyclbr can scan Python source to find classes and stand-alone functions. The information about class, method, and function names and line numbers is gathered using tokenize without importing the code.
Last week, Matt Kloskowski on his blog Lightroom Killer Tips (which, by the way, is an excellent Lightroom resource. If you haven't been there yet ... What are you waiting for?) posted an article Is it wrong to steal Lightroom presets? discussing the ethics/legality/morality of copying someone else's presets and applying that to your own work. With the exception of Matt's drug company argument (drug companies use patents to protect their drugs. It's only when the patents expire that others can produce generic copies) I have to agree with him. To equate the process with the final product is not something copyright law contemplates. It's ludicrous to think that Michaelangelo could sue because you happened to sculpt using marble because he used marble! You could give me all the marble you want and there's no way you'll get a David or a Pieta out of me! LOL
Ed Bellis, the chief information security officer at Orbitz, is trying to design a secure online system for credit card payments.
At first I was afraid, I was petrified
The TableView is a common way to display data on an iPhone. Combining a tab bar with a table view and navigation bar isn't very difficult, but it took me forever to figure out how to do it properly. In my screencast, learn how to avoid common beginner errors and enjoy a practical follow-along exercise to build an app with a tab bar, navigation bar and table view controllers.
An update to Lightroom version 2.4 is now available! To update your copy of Lightroom simply start the application and you should receive an dialog asking whether you want to update. To download the update directly from Adobe Mac user can click here, Windows users can click here.
Leveraging the pattern recognition of others is one of the best ways to build upon best practices, while sidestepping avoidable mistakes. What follows is a primer of nine key lessons learned from doing eight startups (four as co-founder, four liquidity events).
A key to successfully integrating the public cloud into your IT infrastructure is identifying a first application that will provide you with measurable results and learnings that can apply to future deployments without putting your business at risk. IT annoyances make the ideal first cloud projects.
Longtime security professional John Viega reports on the sorry state of security in his new book, The Myths of Security: What the Computer Security Industry Doesn't Want You to Know. "Today, the tech world might hear a lot about security issues, but the world at large rarely does," writes Viega. In this excerpt from The Myths of Security, Viega explains what motivates bad guys to break into computers.
"Green" has a definite role in business, while politics and religion are probably best left outside the board room. Why does "green" matter? Setting aside issues around climate change - which is often where religious debates occur - from a practical standpoint, there are real business implications.
Presenters at O'Reilly's Twitter Boot Camp, held June 15 in New York, offered a variety of best practices and case studies revolving around Twitter's business, marketing, branding and advertising opportunities. Presentations include Tim O'Reilly's Keynote, "Create More Value Than You Capture" and Steve Rubel of Edelman Digital's presentation, "Using Twitter to Market Your Corporate All-Stars." Other slides from the day's presentations are available for viewing.
I just started learning how to develop for the iPhone. After helping to put together an iPhone workshop with my friend Joe Heck, I got really excited about this new platform. I've dabbled in Cocoa and Objective C before, many years ago, and figured it was time to relearn Mac development so I could write my own apps for the iPhone.
Beautiful Security from O'Reilly, which I just finished reading, is truly an awesome book. Now, I will probably have a high opinion of my own chapter ("Beautiful Log Handling") since it took some work (eh... and one near-complete rewrite) to...
robotparser implements a parser for the robots.txt file format, including a simple function for checking if a given user agent can access a resource. It is intended for use in well-behaved spiders or other crawler applications that need to either be throttled or otherwise restricted.
Here in Japan, the one available Wi-Fi signal comes with some intriguing restrictions. It's part of FON, a worldwide system of hotspots comprised of people who share their bandwith -- in this case for $5 a day. But Google services are free, so I'm seeing the Web as Google does. And I want more.
A colleague asked me why I said to use a ratio of response time to service time of 2:1 in Sizing to Fail. Was it just magic, or was there any science behind it? It turns out to be a range, found by observation, rather like the number of things you can keep in your mind at once: "five, plus or minus two".
According to my balance principle, I would say that SC34 WG1 needs more participation from (non-MS) vendors to get a good balance: it is currently tipped in favour of users/governments/standards bodies.
Many of the algorithms presented in the book, Algorithms in a Nutshell, can take advantage of multi-core chips by using threads. In this column we explore effective uses of threads and report on situations where using threads will not help.
At O'Reilly Media, we're looking for reader reactions to help guide our new books, workshops, conference sessions, etc. Is it a hurdle you have to leap or a start to a whole new programming style?
Give the Geek Dad in your life what he really wants. SAVE 40% on O'Reilly books, courses, workshops plus the OSCON and Velocity conferences. Use discount code DAD40. And, don't forget MAKE Magazine's online store, Maker SHED. Get 20% off all DIY kits, books, magazines and other fun stuff for the man that made you when you use code DAD40.
Last week, Jonathan Zdziarski, the author of iPhone Forensics and other books, took part in a webcast in which he shared his latest technique to recover the live user disk from an iPhone over USB, without the need to bypass the iPhone passcode security or re-enable a disabled phone. At the end of the hour there were still a few questions unanswered, which Jonathan was kind enough to answer for us.
In the beginning.....Jim created Zope. On the seventh day....he created Bobo....
Finally, having a chance to decompress following his Maker Faire visit, Mark Sigal ruminates on what Maker Faire's 78K attendees means, concluding that it's all about creative destruction, mass customization and the rise of DIY (do it yourself) class.
I assume that many of you who may have interest in Amazon Web Services and, in particular, their EC2 Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, and CloudWatch services, will likely only visit the support forums on an as-needed basis. As such, I...
I am looking forward to seeing the report from the ODF Plugfest 2009. The Dutch government is doing everyone a great service in organizing this.
I've been looking for simple things I can do make my life more convenient. By "simple" I mean they have to take less than 10 minutes to accomplish. I'll gladly trade 10 minutes to solve 1 minute of frustration (or...
OpenBSD 4.5 was released on May 1st. I had the privilege to collect some q&a with multiple developers about new features and improvements included in this release.
The "Smart 2020" report, commissioned by the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), with analysis by McKinsey & Company, estimates that information and communications technology (ICT), of which the network is a key component, has the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2020. But it is also true that the ICT industry contributes to overall emissions during their lifecycle. And as more information and resources are digitized and the reliance on our connections to these online assets increases, those emissions will increase too. So there is work that needs to be done within the industry to ensure maximum benefit is derived from communications technologies, while minimizing their impact.
The gettext module provides an all-Python implementation compatible with the GNU gettext library for message translation and catalog management.
Waiting on this wintery Sydney day for my flatmate's Chinese roast pork knuckle with bamboo to cook, I thought I'd check up on a suspicion that had formed in my mind: had Growlaw ever published anything on OOXML/ODF recently that was not just Big Blue's message of the week?
A new academic paper looking at running code and open standard says "A running code requirement would have led Massachusetts to defer adopting ODF"
I just saw this piece in the weekly print edition of the Christian Science Monitor. It's a great overview of a lot of the offerings out there. In Your idea, "printed" in 3-D, Jesse Emspak writes: "'rapid prototyping' relies on a simple concept: building an object one cross section at a time, similar to laying down LEGO bricks to make a larger shape." The products they mention are priced out of reach for most of us, but there is an offering they didn't mention, the MakerBot CupCake CNC, a cheap ($750) rapid prototyper that you can build yourself.
Have you ever wanted to create an authentic looking Andy Warhol silkscreen? One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Warhol was known for his avant-garde paintings and screenprintings. If you want the real thing, join Deke McClelland in the final episode of this dekePod series, as he dissects Warhol's process, and shows you how to use Photoshop to render your favorite portrait in bona-fide Warhol magnificence.
To see Alex and my comments as part of some denial of service attack on ODF is laughable; indeed to see the volume of what we write as a sign that there must be some large team behind us (or even that we are in some way co-ordinated) is I suppose something we should take as a compliment.
If you're dreaming about your summer vacation, check out the new travelers' guide from O'Reilly, The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science & Technology Come Alive ($29.99), by John Graham-Cumming. In this excerpt you'll learn about India's Samrat Yantra, the largest sundial in the world and capable of telling the time, day or night, with an accuracy of about two seconds.. A discussion of the celestial coordinate systems is also included.
Fair or unfair, Apple has done such a good job of delivering technical wizardry over the years that when they merely execute, we hammer them because...well, we expect magic. With that in mind, this analysis of Apple's WWDC Keynote yesterday tries to make sense of the key storylines likely to play out for Apple in the coming months.
Dear Apple and AT&T, By this point, we of the early adopter/loyal customer community have come to expect, nay to cherish, the abuse that you rain down upon our heads. What other alliance of companies would take the bold step...
Note that the quoted story wasn't referring to netbooks running Linux. It was referring to all Intel Atom powered netbooks. I am assured over and over again by tech pundits like Mr. Weinberg that nowadays almost all those netbooks run Windows, not Linux. Did it ever occur to people that Windows might actually be the cause of the disappointment customers face and the high returns?
There is another design or implementation option for validation, which is to generate a trie for the document, then to validate that trie. Because our schema languages attempt to validate more than a trie can represent, we also must extract a feature set from our schemas: this is true whether the schema is a grammar-based schema or a Schematron-style schema.
After almost a decade of Schematron schemas, here are the three errors I see most often.
The folks at Verizon Wireless and Weber Shandwick Worldwide sent me a review unit of the Verizon Mi-Fi2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. It's a great device that combines the broad coverage of EV-DO (the 3G cellular data system used by Verizon...
Ignite is finally coming to Sebastopol, the hometown of O'Reilly Media! Join us June 10th at the Hopmonk Tavern for a night of contests, presentations, and overall fun.
Tacit understandings among companies to refrain from snatching away each other's staff are illegal anti-competitive behavior. But going back and forth between large and small companies is key to cross-pollination.
The YouTube for slides: SlideShare has a nifty little game they call SlideShare Karaoke. You put in a keyword and it randomly selects one deck of slides for you to present. If you want to improve your presentation skills, there is no better way than going to weekly Toastmasters meetings. You can use the SlideShare Karaoke feature as the basis for Table Topics in your next Toastmaster meeting.
As I'm writing this, twenty people are watching their peers write code. They aren't looking over anyone's shoulders, or doing peer programming - they're watching mirrors of screens at the TopCoder Open, seeing exactly how competitors work their way through algorithm problems in C++, Java, and C#. Is this something we should be doing more of?
This week, we have a chat with John Viega, co-editor of Beautiful Security, the latest book in O'Reilly's "Beautiful" series, about what makes security beautiful, as well as what steps consumers and enterprises need to take to be secure these days. When asked how to make security beautiful, Viega explains, "Security is not beautiful in the same way code is, it's often a lot of grunt work... the idea behind beautiful security is more that it's beautiful when you can actually provide someone an experience that's both secure and easy to use."
As Schwartz touts the massive market penetration of Java on "Billions of PCs and Mobile Devices". Sun introduces a Java-centric App Store to bring the advantages of this distribution to Java application developers. Scott McNealy invites Larry Ellison to the stage to talk about the future of Java, how JavaFX is better than AJAX, and how he intends to compete with Google's Android.
Information security has always been one of the largest barriers to e-commerce. Those of us who spend most of our waking moments thinking of new and different ways to secure these systems and applications know it starts with the data. After all, it's information that we are trying to protect.
So a particular phrase in the US Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities stood out: a voluntary consensus standards body needs to have a balance of interest. This balance of interest can only come out of broad representation: indeed, they are two sides of the same coin. Openness gives the potential for a balance of interest, but it does not guarantee it.
Amazon recently made available to the public three new services that will have a huge impact on the way people architect systems to be deployed in the Amazon cloud. I have put together my first look thoughts on these new offerings. . All three pieces significantly enhance what you can do with an infrastructure deployed in AWS, but they have their limitations.

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