November 2009 Archives

William Stanek here, continuing the e-reader discussion with an in-depth look at the Nook from Barnes & Noble. Anyone who's been watching the e-reader and e-book market knows, the Nook is the latest entry in this highly competitive space where...
Some computer processes have technocrats in control: we tell the user what datatypes and structures they need, and everyone else basks in our munificence. All is well with the world, everything is in order, Santa Claus is coming to town.

Newtongate

By Rick Jelliffe
November 27, 2009 | Comments: 0

The final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment 'thinking' !...
William Stanek here, continuing the e-reader discussion with an in-depth look at the Nook from Barnes & Noble. Anyone who's been watching the e-reader and e-book market knows, the Nook is the latest entry in this highly competitive space where...
I am perversely enjoying Climategate: the conclusions that some people are reaching, with seemingly no actual evidence, that their opponents fudged their data looks like high farce. I can understand that the extent of the impact of human activity can reasonably be debated; but I find it difficult to understand those who first insist that there can be no human impact, and then go from there to deny there is any climate change at all, or at least that there needs to be no real human response to climate change. Whether Rome is burning a little or a lot, and whether a person caused it or the Gods, and whether it will eventually burn anyway, we should at least stop fiddling and get out our buckets.

Vale JCP?

By Rick Jelliffe
November 25, 2009 | Comments: 3

I am really impressed by Scala, though I have not used it on any real projects yet. Apart from reflection, it seems to be much stronger than Java in all the kinds of features that are good for XML document processing: co-routines, pattern matching and so on. The built-in XML tree that documents can be parsed in to does not contain back pointers, so up-going axes require extra coding; Scala is obviously more congenial for OmniMark or XSLT programmers than Java.
I find myself feeling optimistic. Why? Because I know we have the capacity and tools to make more and more of these positive changes. We have the network. And the network can help everyone and everything it connects maximize their potential.
I tried a few sites for calculating carbon footprint. It seems my carbon footprint is probably between 3 and 6 tonnes, and this is maybe 1/3 of Australian average and maybe 1/4 of the US average. I suppose because I walk to work and the local shops. Actually, I don't think I have any close friends who even have cars, now that I think about it. But what is noticeable is that my typical one international flight per year contributes such a lot of carbon: maybe 2 tonnes.
I have written in the past about the the vision that drove Steve Jobs in pursuing his ambition for Apple. A cursory glance at the significant milestones in the careers of Walt Disney and Steve Jobs suggests an otherworldly ability to invent, re-invent and extend 'unfair advantages' across seemingly orthogonal domains. Steve Jobs is the closest thing to Walt Disney since Walt Disney, now forever bound by Pixar.
William Stanek here, continuing the e-reader discussion with an in-depth look at the Nook from Barnes & Noble. Anyone who's been watching the e-reader and e-book market knows, the Nook is the latest entry in this highly competitive space where...
SAMBA's Jeremy Allison has a great post Why writing a Windows compatible file server is (still) hard. What leaps out to me? First, that the method of requiring complete documentation outside a formalized QA process doesn't work real well. The second thing is that even if there is documentation, some incompatibilities come down to capability mismatches.
Stuart Myles has a quick slide presentation Schematron and Other Useful Tools at the IPTC Autumn Meeting about how the Associated Press reduced manual checking & QA of incoming iAtom feeds using open source tools.
Are you looking to take advantage of social media for your business or organization? With easy-to-understand introductions to blogging, forums, opinion and review sites, and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, The Social Media Marketing Book will help you choose the best--and avoid the worst--of the social web's unique marketing opportunities.
William here, continuing the e-reader discussion with an in-depth look at the Nook from Barnes & Noble. Anyone who's been watching the e-reader and e-book market knows, the Nook is the latest entry in this highly competitive space where Sony, Amazon and now Barnes & Noble look to be the global leaders. The Nook features a third generation e-ink VizPlex electronic paper display as well as a touchscreen LCD.
From Bruce D'Arcus' Darcusblog comes a pointer on a U.S. Library of Congress initiative for a better date format Extended Date Time Format (EDTF). ISO 8601's problem is that almost anything is a date: if my memory serves me, some date values are ambiguous so you need to make a subset or add some attribute to say which kind of date you mean.
Continuing my effort to spare newcomers to Drupal from falling into this powerful content management system's most common traps, this time I look at a frequent cause of white screens - the sudden and scary devolution of a previously healthy Drupal site into a blank browser window. This can be caused by coding mistakes, such as neglecting to conclude a line of custom PHP with a semicolon.
While I'm very positive about the openSUSE team I must say that I am a lot less sanguine about some in their community. Some fans (or really fanatics) came out in force ready to attack the reviewer (me), to question my skills and even my sanity, to attack Ladislav Bodnar for posting the review, to blame the hardware, anything at all but the distro code which is, according to some, "the best release ever".
In today's networked world, connecting with customers has never been easier. Savvy marketing professionals know that they must engage with individuals directly on the Web, and smart businesses know that their customers can be their best friends--with benefits. Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo cover all of this and more in their new book from No Starch Press, Friends with Benefits: A Social Marketing Handbook.

CarTunes

By Peter Drescher
November 18, 2009 | Comments: 25

Green Technologies and Interactive Audio are two fields not generally considered related, but a new trend may change that: "Generated Sounds for Electric Vehicles", aka "EV Audio", aka "CarTunes". When I first heard that "electric cars are so quiet, manufacturers want them to make noise", I had a strong memory flashback to 1995, when I was contracted to produce my first ringtone (Fur Elise for Sprint PCS). At the time, I thought "mobile phone plays melody when it rings" was the stupidest idea I'd ever heard of; now, it's a multi-billion dollar industry. If you think audio personalization of your cellphone is an important statement of your individuality (as many do), imagine how much more important personalizing the sound of your car will be!
Muzak grew from constant technological innovation and originally succeeded as a broadcast medium using spare spectrum, a business model rarely examined today.
Adobe today launched the help system for Lightroom 3 Beta! You can access it by pressing F1 while in Lightroom 3 Beta or by pointing your browser at http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Lightroom/3.0/Using/index.html . Commenting will be enabled shortly so get ready! for more...
Stackoverflow releases a monthly XML data dump (CC-licensed) of all the data in their system. Unlike a lot of other data sets that just reflects what developers are buying, this data reflects what developers are actually using and asking questions about, which is pretty cool. I used this dataset to create a topic map that reflects the relationships among the top topics (based on how frequently the topic was used as a tag on a post) for the month of October, 2009. There was a lot of interesting stuff in here. For example, I love the fact that plain old "regex" is the main link between "php" and "c#." Also, it's interesting that only PHP has a direct link to various database topics; I would have expected databases to be more central.
William Stanek here, continuing with the in-depth look at e-readers and e-books. The recap: In my earlier blog entries, I've explored the ins and outs of e-ink, electronic paper displays (EPDs) and e-readers. Now, I'm examining individual readers as a case study in how e-readers work. As I stated in previous posts, my hope is that if you are better informed, you can decide whether e-readers are right for you. So here's another installment in the Sony Reader discussion, focusing on the features of the Sony PRS-700.
The PRS-505 has an internal storage capacity of 192 megabytes (MB) and two expansion slots: One expansion slot for Sony Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo cards up to 8 GB One expansion slot for SD, SDHC, or miniSD...
If you've had to build a multilingual website, or worse retrofit an existing website to be multilingual, you know this can be a time consuming and expensive process. The Worldwide Lexicon open source translation platform is now beginning to ship...
William Stanek here, continuing with the in-depth look at e-readers and e-books. The recap: In my earlier blog entries, I've explored the ins and outs of e-ink, electronic paper displays (EPDs) and e-readers. Now, I'm examining individual readers as a...
sys includes low-level functions for controlling and debugging thread behavior.

My feed

By Rick Jelliffe
November 14, 2009 | Comments: 1

A couple of people have asked again this week for the RSS feed address for my blog. Here is is: I believe you can get the individual feeds for other bloggers on OReilly sites using the same URL and the...
I have been thinking a little bit about whether Schematron's pattern approach could be applied to complex event processing where the input is a stream of discrete XML documents, for example each one being a reading from a set of...
Shree Nayar, chair of Computer Science at the Columbia University has created BigShot, a digital camera kit for kids from eight years old and up to construct their own digital cameras. The purpose of the camera is primarily education, and testing indicates that it does a good job at that, but it also takes honest-to-goodness photos just like grown-up, pre-assembled adult versions.
William Stanek here, taking a slight detour in our continuing e-reader discussion. When it comes to favorite technologies, call me a zealot because I probably am. I'm not afraid to proclaim that I love technology that works, and I think...
As more and more of our activities are translated to the digitial world, we need to ask the question "Is the sustainable network unsustainable?" How do you balance 3+% of the world's emissions coming from a single industry with the potential to lessen environmental impacts of virtually every other industry?
I enjoyed Adam Bosworth's Talking to DC. But don't his points apply to most software/interface specifications, without being doctrinaire? What is the difference between his Standards work best when they are focused and, say, Agile's YAGNI?...
Two months ago I alerted readers Europeans: only two weeks left to comment on ICT & standards whitepaper. I am not sure on which dots actually join up, but a Dutch website has what is claimed to be a leaked late draft in English of European Interoperability Framework for European Public Services (EIF) Version 2.0. Here are some of the general recommendations related to standards and issues raised on this blog.
This article provides a brief introduction to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) that aims to cover most of the ground, if at a fairly shallow depth. The CMMI is a process-based model that sketches out a comprehensive picture of development. It builds on that to define a method for developing organization standard processes and for keeping them relevant. Those processes are leveraged to ultimately deploy statistical process control to improve organizational performance. The model is supported by a standard method for assessing an organization, SCAMPI appraisals. My hope is that after reading this article, the reader will be able to make an informed decision on whether or not digging into the CMMI further is warranted. Note that the notion of the "organization" in the CMMI allows for smaller groups within a company to be the focus of CMMI-based process improvement - so you don't have to wait for your whole company to get on board to get started.
William Stanek here, continuing with the in-depth look at e-readers and e-books. In my earlier blog entries, I introduced EPDs, discussed how the technology works, and delved briefly into ways they're being used. Now, I'm examining the Sony Reader as a case study in how e-readers work. My hope is that if you are better informed, you can decide whether an e-reader is right for you. And who knows, an e-reader may just replace your MP3 player as your favorite device. And now, back to the Sony Reader discussion of the PRS 505 and the PRS-700.
There are two ways to inject code to watch your Python program run: tracing and profiling. They are similar, but intended for different purposes and so have different constraints. The easiest, but least efficient, way to monitor your program is through a trace hook, which can be used for writing a debugger, code coverage monitoring, or many other purposes.
William Stanek here, taking an up close look at e-readers. First up, the Sony e-readers. Sony unveiled its first reader device in January 2006 and the device became available in early 2007. The Sony Reader, like all currently available e-readers, has a black-and-white active matrix EPD display. As with other devices and E Ink itself, the Sony Reader has evolved through several generations of products.
So I guess when we look at a system's architecture, the first thing we can do is ask 'Is this XML here being used strategically or tactically?' A strategic use might be, for example, to allow long-term archiving; a tactical use might be XML in AJAX (where using JSON would be another tactic.) If the answer is tactical, then we can ask 'Is it implemented in a way that allows flexible rearrangement, when a different tactic becomes appropriate?'
William Stanek here, talking about electronic paper displays (EPDs). In my earlier blog entries, I introduced EPDs, discussed how the technology works, and delved briefly into ways they're being used. Now, I'll dig in and take a closer look at...
A friend of mine, who has achieved repeated success in high-tech startup land, said that if you want to be successful, focus on segments where <10% of the crowd currently adopts the solution, and by virtue of dramatically simplifying the approach, you can toggle adoption rates to closer to 90%. Enter Posterous, a micro-blogging tool (it's free) that does a few things really well.
We're launching the beta of O'Reilly Answers, and I'm inviting you to be part of it. In brief, O'Reilly Answers is a community site for sharing knowledge, asking questions, and providing answers that brings together our customers, authors, editors, conference speakers, and Foo (Friends of O'Reilly). O'Reilly is at the center of an amazing exchange of knowledge sharing and idea generation, and we want you to join us in changing the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators.
We all know the network is everywhere. It's pervasiveness is what makes it the most endearing platform we have to address many of the issues we face today. Thanks to the convergence of increasingly affordable, powerful and mobile devices, access to the network has spread out and infiltrated parts of the globe that have typically remained impervious to previous technology advancements. There are some interesting numbers that I've heard recently that I wanted to highlight to articulate the scale and scope of today's network. Let's start with the fact there are close to 1.7 billion Internet users in the world representing almost one quarter of the world's population. Who are they and what are they doing?
Last week I wrote a post on Building Better Software called When Team Members Hate Each Other. I started to answer a question that I recently got from the audience at the end of one of my Beautiful Teams talks...
I just held a reunion with people I worked with at a real-time and data acquisition computer vendor 20 years ago, and was interested to see how many ended up in another, related line of work.
sys includes features for trapping and working with exceptions.

In Part 1 we examined how to use Publish Services to control target folders on the hard drive using the Hard Drive Publish Connection.

There's another Publish Service that comes with Lightroom 3 Beta. The Flickr Publish Service allows us to connect Lightroom to a Flickr account (or multiple Flickr accounts) and manage our photostream from within Lightroom. However, there are some pitfalls to watch out for. Remember, this is beta software, so as you come across issues or areas that can be improved please join the conversation over at the Adobe Forums and tell the Lightroom team about it. You can help make this a great release!

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