July 2009 Archives

It is interesting to see the differences in approach between the ISO JPEG group and the ISO MPEG group on IP. Licenses, even peppercorn payments, are a real stumbling block for artisan developers, who were the bedrock of FOSS until the coporates co-opted it. You cannot attach payment to something you give away for free: the difficulties with H.264 are a current example of this. The solution seems to be that the codecs must be provided as part of the graphics card (which is paid for): NVidia is associated with this approach. Developers have to reach outside the self-constructed FOSS gilded cage to something posing as hardware.
For almost a decade, thanks to privacy laws, U.S. government web sites have been prohibited from using cookies to maintain information on visitors between sessions. (Session cookies are allowed because of their short duration.) Because so many useful features are enabled by cookies, the Office of Management and Budget released a request for proposals this week seeking new perspectives on the cookie policy and ways to enable the features that will make public participation in government more appealing. I took the opportunity to re-examine the federal approach to privacy, and submitted the proposal that follows in this blog.
In the last week or so, the office I use at Allette Systems has stunk of sewerage. The culprit seems to be Google's new office building down the road. On this Google map of Pyrmont, Sydney, my office is at...
The new iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 software have arrived, and New York Times tech columnist David Pogue is on top of it with a thoroughly updated edition of iPhone: The Missing Manual. The latest edition covers all models with 3.0 Software--including the iPhone 3GS. Here are David's top 10 tips.
Basic product attribute questions (what's the best price, size, length, etc) are crucial elements in any product or marketing strategy, but it's often too difficult or expensive to get timely market information. However, a quick script that pulls data from a relevant website's API can often give you an answer that's good enough. This post provides a few techniques for using this powerful new resource for market research.
How fast can you respond to customer requests? How quickly can you bring a product to market - from concept to delivery? How effectively can you make changes based on new market environments or opportunities? The answers to those questions often depend on how well you are able to leverage technology...
Andy Updegrove has a worthwhile article up Parsing the Microsoft - EU Interoperability Commitment. As far as I can read it, Microsoft is now promising to, among other things: release things it has already released, and follow the relevant standards, except where it doesn't. There were some other parts of the Microsoft proposal that caught my eye, as being pretty positive. I like the clearer and more objectively verifiable commitments.
Python's standard library includes a variety of tools for working with text data.
I've always wondered if obscuring email addresses on web pages does any good, for example writing "bob at example dot com" instead of displaying the actual email address. It turns out it does
Zoom packs a staggering number of features into its audio gear. Here are a few that were surprisingly useful when I had to record some magazine and radio demos.
Palm needs software. Songbird needs mainstream music devices. What would you do?
A group of companies and projects announced Open Source for America at the O'Reilly Open Source convention on Wednesday. I already have five projects they could take on.
The Henry Ford, the museum associated with Henry Ford and his company, will be launching a new web site focusing on recent innovation and the people who make it happen.
The most likely future for documents and their formats, is that each document will start to look/act/be implemented more and more like a tiny, self-contained website. There is a flip-side: as documents become more like tiny websites, the desktop application will become more become more like a browser with an internal web-server.
Opening dispatch from OSCon: another look at the effects of Software as a Service on opens source plus awards, APIs, and more.
While the network gives people a voice that can be used en masse to try to affect change, the resulting proliferation of news sources has some very real challenges. It can fracture and lessen the impact of any particular voice and, because information can come from anyone and anywhere, it is hard to verify...
The world lost Walter Cronkite, who represented the TV news age. Now it's the Digital Information Age and the network is changing everything. Think about how much Cronkite had seen in his 92 years and then think about how the last few probably eclipsed all of the previous decades in terms of accelerated change, due to the proliferation of so many new outlets (cable and Web sites) and online tools...
What does the Open Formula draft say about the kind of interoperability it is aiming to provide? Here are some of the relevant extracts, for a taster
An unconference such as the Community Leadership Summit 2009 feels like one of those long, lingering meals you can enjoy with friends in a fine European restaurant, full of lively conversation. Or an intense experience like an arts festival, which perhaps suggests why one participant at the end of the Community Leadership Summit suggested it be held in conjunction with South by Southwest instead of the O'Reilly Open Source convention.
The urllib2 module provides an updated API for using internet resources identified by URLs. It is designed to be extended by individual applications to support new protocols or add variations to existing protocols (such as handling HTTP basic authentication).
Using the referrer URL to detect what brought users to your site can let you help them find what they're looking for. The almost magical asynchronicity of Ajax lets you provide additional content for users from search engines. It requires only minor changes to your site and doesn't affect the experience for others.
O'Reilly is presenting, in conjunction with 360 Conferences, the InsideMobile training and networking event in San Jose, Sunday and Monday, July 26 and 27th. We designed the program to cover the other parts of the story in this summer of...
There are many resources on the web for learning about Lightroom. Sometimes it's good to go back to the source. Adobe has a few great resources for Lightroom users that you should add to your list of favorites. Here are a few.
Hi, It is about time I got started on this blog. Computer Security Basics was a landmark book when it was first published in the early 90s. I was honored to have the chance to update it in 2006. Now...
With all of the different ways to track your twittering friends, search for interesting tidbits of news, and keep an eye on those "trending topics," it seems like there are new twitter applications popping up every day! Tell us which app is your favorite, and why, for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Twitter Book.
Since the publishing of the 4th Edition of "Oracle Essentials", Oracle has continued to evolve the business capabilities and sources supported by what are referred to in the book as the former Siebel Analytics applications.
I was a fervent activist in several communities long before I started working with with Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon on his book The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation. We've just released the first chapter of this book (as HTML on the O'Reilly site and a PDF on the, artofcommunityonline.org, companion site Jono created).
In a previous article (I Have Lightroom. Do I Need Photoshop?) I discussed whether or not a Lightroom user needs the extra power that Photoshop affords. A few readers asked if Photoshop Elements was enough or is Photoshop the way to go. So, let's take a look at what the differences are and whether you need one or the other. Photoshop is the gold standard when discussing pixel based image editing software. It has a broad and deep set of tools that address the needs of a wide variety of users. Whether you are a designer, graphic artist, 3D modeler, filmmaker, photographer, or forensics expert there are tools for you. Of course all this power and functionality comes at a price. The current list price for Photoshop is $699.00. If you need the additional tools of Photoshop Extended then you are looking at $999.00!
I recently returned to SQL and Relational Theory: How to Write Accurate SQL Code by C.J. Date, a leading researcher in the field of relational databases, as I learned more about some of the alternative forms of data storage that are becoming popular for Web-based or text-heavy repositories.
I have been ruminating a bit about the onset of the Mobile Broadband Age and the rise of Cloud Computing models, and will blog about the topic shortly. This quote by Carver Mead struck me as pretty relevant to thinking about the fulcrum that is forming before us.
How to bring Wikipedia up to the scientific standard that many in the Universities are claiming it is missing: The Wikipedia Paper. Every student that takes a class, no matter what topic, has to create or improve a Wikipedia page of the Topic of the class.
It seems that Apple is poised to launch its Tablet Computing entry later this year for a (rumored) price ranging between $500-800; wedging it from a pricing relativity perspective at about a grand less than a MacBook Air with solid state memory. But, perhaps the real story with respect to the forthcoming Apple Tablet Device is that Apple has already released a tablet computing device. It's called the iPod touch, and because it's often overshadowed by its noisier sibling, the iPhone, we sometimes forget that it has already sold 15M+ units.
Social media expert Tamar Weinberg cuts through the hype and jargon to give you intelligent advice and strategies for positioning your business on the social web in her new book from O'Reilly, The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web. In this excerpt adapted for the web, Weinberg discusses what power account holders should do to build credibility, establish identity, and make them memorable among the community. Weinberg offers 10 easy to follow rules. "Anyone, however, can follow these rules on social news sites to become a respected and valued participant of the service."
Will Unbreakable Linux be pushed to the sidelines by another open source operating system?
Our local Linux groups are getting ready for OSCON and have put together a flyer for the Bay Area LUGs. Regions include the North and South Bay, Sacramento, San Francisco, Peninsula, Santa Cruz, and more. Now is your chance to support your local Linux group by going to a meeting.
Every time I talk about Lightroom I am asked some variation of this question. I usually answer it by saying "I don't know.... Do you?" Of course I quickly follow up with a short explanation of why someone would or would not need Photoshop in addition to Lightroom. Lightroom is for photographers. Photoshop is for graphic artists and designers. OK, put down the torches and pitchforks while I explain!
I got some great feedback on my first screencast - thank you! A few of you asked: how can you show a different view for each of the rows in the table view, instead of just showing the same view for each row? I can think of a couple of ways to do this. Here's a new screencast that expands on the previous O'Reilly Books example, with code samples.
On first glance, a properly-done cloud computing agreement sounds like it should save a customer company the work of doing any capacity planning at all. You can let the cloud supplier do all the work. However, even the best cloud service is more expensive than running your own small data center, so it doesn't make sense to have everything in the cloud, always. What cloud or utility computing does allow is for you, the customer, to radically simplify capacity and financial planning, and only provide enough resources for the load that you're sure to get, letting the cloud carry all the spikes and year-end rushes.
These poor web browsers are always saddled with unreasonable expectations. Seems like the moment a new web browser is born, it's proud parents and family tell it "someday you'll grow up to unseat Microsoft..."
Ubuntu has enjoyed fantastic success over the past few years, becoming one of the dominant Linux distributions, and the distribution of choice for netbooks. Jono Bacon's job is to make sure that that success continues, by keeping the huge Ubuntu developer community happy and productive. We caught up with Jono in advance of his appearance at OSCON, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, and he was more than happy to talk about the efforts underway to not only improve the Ubuntu community, but also bring together other communities, such as Gnome and KDE, to help them work better together. Jono officially works for Canonical, a company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth for the promotion of Ubuntu and other free software projects.
Guest blogger Josh Clark, the author of Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders, offers his tips for managing a mountain of iPhone apps. "A healthy collection of iPhone apps calls for an equally healthy hygiene regimen for your iPhone," says Josh. "Here are a few pointers for keeping your apps tidy and your data safe."
If you're considering purchasing an iPhone, planning on developing applications for one, or if you prefer troubleshooting and maintaining your iPhone (rather than taking it to the Apple Store for a tuneup), you'll want to check out the new book excerpts we posted at oreilly.com/iphone.
Postfix is about to add a new tool to the anti-spam arsenal called "postscreen" for now, but the name is likely to change before it goes into a production release. Among other things postscreen detects when a client starts talking before it's supposed to. It's a daemon that accepts connections ahead of the current SMTP daemon and provides various types of filtering based on the client connection.
Gmail had a great idea: replacing the limitations of hierarchical folders with the flexibility of labels. Now they are promoting the notion that they've "improved" Gmail by making labels work more like folders. How is that an improvement?
Inspiring. Thought-provoking. Invigorating. Life-changing. These are just a few of the words we've heard used to describe the Aspen Ideas Festival, the action-packed, weeklong exploration of some of the most important ideas and pressing issues we face presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine.
So begins the overview for the Aspen Ideas Festival, a yearly event devoted to the promotion of ideas -- new or old -- related to "some of the most important ideas and pressing issues we face" as a society. Ideas related to some of the most important ideas and pressing issues? You would think that such a bill would garner some serious attention. And given the lineup of speakers, certainly respect from someone representing the good people of Colorado's 1st Congressional District, right?
The trouble with ABNF and EBNF is that there iare not the kind of ubiquitous, free tools around to support them that XML has.
Social networking sites face a unique economic challenge when it comes to monetizing the value they create. Any attempt to capture a piece of the value they create inevitably damages that value.
Define and use abstract base classes for API checks in your code using the abc module.
The theme of this year's OSCON is "Open for Business." Times are tough, making open source technology a smart choice for staying competitive. It gives you the means to drive down costs while increasing system and staff efficiencies. In anticipation of the conference, we've lined up three free webcasts featuring OSCON speakers. And if you're planning to attend OSCON, you can save 40% off registration pricing right now. In celebration of Independence Day—and freedom from commercial software—we're offering the discount code os09jul4, good through July 7.
In an amusing press release, Blue Microphones reports that the new Star Trek movie is crawling with its Mouse microphones. Here's a photo of one apparently recording the young Captain Kirk. Somehow I imagined it would look different.
One of the most common questions from the iPhone workshops we held recently is: "What is key value coding and why the heck am I getting this error?"
Today is the day we officially launch Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g. Fusion Middleware 11gR1 is the result of a herculean effort that is 3+ years in the making.

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