Tuesday, August 7, 2007

More Videos of Julian

I've finished a bunch of videos of Julian. View them all here.
These are still pretty old - I'm working on the newer ones...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Borg that is YouTube

I finally have some video content of my own creation, so I'm assimilating myself.

We're starting to take a lot of video of Julian, so I'm succumbing to the Borg that is YouTube. Why not, it is a free way to distribute these huge video files to family and friends.

Here is the first one I've uploaded as an experiment (it is very low quality and over 6 months old):


Monday, May 14, 2007

Micro$oft pulls a SCO move

Out of ideas, the Redmond Giant has resorted to stealing ideas from maligned SCO.

Let's listen in on a high-level strategy meeting on location in Redmond, WA, USA....

SteveB: "OK, we are getting creamed by all this damned high-quality open-source free software."

BillG: "Why don't we give another try a making at better product, Steve?"

SteveB: "Huh? What does that mean? Bill, you're so out of touch with my company...
So anyway, we're turning to you, our attorneys, to solve the problem for us. What have you got?"

AttorneyA: "Well, sir, we could try to bomb their offices with smelt-flavored pudding. That would slow them down from making and marketing the good software."

SteveB: "No, that won't work you idiot - they don't have offices."

AttorneyB: "How about sending them all free copies of Windows Vista and asking real nice to stop making us look bad?"

Tech VP: "That won't work either - nobody can afford the hardware to actually run Vista with any useful features enabled. Except our development team, that is."

SteveB: "C'mon numbskulls! If you don't come up with a strategy, you're all fired!"

AttorneyC: "Um, Mr. B, sir? I have an idea. What about we 'pull a SCO' on the world and launch a FUD campaign. We could use the empty threat of litigation for 'stealing' our technology. And the best part is, SCO showed that we don't even have to come up with real details - just the innuendo about infringement is enough to make the world doubt those evil good-software makers."

SteveB: "Hmm, that just might work. Yes,... I like it! Let's see now, how many 'violations' can we get away with?"

AttorneyA: "I don't think it really matters, sir. Make it in the hundreds."

Tech VP: "We can write software to generate a random number to use for the campaign. I'll get our offshore team working on that right away, sir!"

SteveB: "How long will it take, Mr. TechVP?"

TechVP: "Initial estimate is... 265 man-months for development, sir. As usual, testing will be allocated 0.25 monkey-days."

SteveB: "OK, well we'd better get some funding for that effort. I'll talk to SalesVP about forcing another enterprise-wide upgrade on Mega-Customer. No, better yet, I'll just have him use the auto-disabling feature of Vista to force all the grandmothers to buy the new Office version. Yeah, we don't want to piss-off Mega-Customer any more this year, and how gives a rat's behind about the consumers anyway...
OK, men - we have a plan - let's execute!"

AttorneyB: "Sir, didn't SCO fail miserably with this strategy and end up taking the throne from us as the most hated company in the tech world? "

SteveB: "Who's SCO? And besides, Nobody hates us..."

And thus the FUD campagin begins and the ever-so-predictable reactions...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Java Closures

Here we go again with language syntax changes...but this time is it different?

Brian Goetz recently posted an article on IBM DeveloperWorks about closures in Java. It is a well-written description of both the theory behind closures and the two proposals that are currently being considered for including them in Java.

I applaud the article, but as for the issue, I don't really like either proposal very much. BGGA is just more of the increasing complexity of syntax that, IMNSHO, is going to kill Java. On the other hand CICE does not appear to go far enough in simplifying the syntax. It seems that what is keeping the syntax so ugly is the damn static typing, having to declare the types of all your variables; if we could get away from that we'd have lots simpler syntax options (and we'd not be in Java anymore :-)

I guess I'll root for CICE, since it is fairly obvious that one of thee two is going to be The One. However, I was delighted to see this at the end of the article, since it is precisely what I have been harping on for so long in relation to the Parameterized Types decision:

"The issue being debated is not whether closures are a good idea -- because they clearly are -- but whether the benefits of retrofitting the Java language with closures are worth the costs."

That quote notwithstanding, does anyone really believe this proposal won't be railroaded through now that the camel's nose is under the tent?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Get off iTunes' back!

Steve Jobs responded to critics of iTunes/iPod DRM, and he's right.

Steve Jobs has written an open letter to the critics who bemoan the DRM system of iTunes, and I have to say he is spot on with his reasoning and presentation. It is non-confrontational and follows a clear line of thought, detailing the history ("How did we get here?") as well as what possible future courses he sees. I've seen lots of people with apparently nothing better to do than criticize Apple for the DRM, completely ignoring these facts:
  • Without agreeing to strong DRM Apple would never have gotten the record lables (the real bad guys in this situation) to license their music to be sold online. In other words, the alternative was to have no commercial, legal solution to meet the market demand.
  • Under iTunes' system the consumer is given a lot more freedom to do things with the music than the labels originally demanded. In other words, Apple did a pretty good job of negotiating to slant the power more towards consumers than the labels would like. For example,it is trivial to burn DRMed music to a CD and then rip it back again, if you really want un-protected files from your music, and only the most audiophile of listeners can hear the quality difference.
  • The only alternatives are either illegal and, even by my own liberal view of rights ownership, immoral, or just as proprietary as iTunes. Sony and Micro$oft, the only significant competitors, have the same restrictions as iTunes.

The critics, for the most part, conveniently avoid these facts, none of which are disputable. They just want something to complain about.

I am by no means a "Mac person" (don't own one and have barely ever used one), but I applaud Jobs' response for its level-headedness, honesty, and direct approach. I am really tired of hearing those who just want to gripe and want the world without paying for it criticizing the company and system that has revolutionized the music industry. The digital distribution revolution is even more important than the CD "revolution" was, because it is not just a better quality package of the same old model - this is completely new and empowers consumers in ways that were only possible via illegal and immoral behavior before. We have Apple to thank for sparking that and for remaining aggressive and the market leader. As Jobs' letter says, people and governments should spend their energies trying to change the archaic, stone-age attitudes of the record labels who insist on treating their customers as criminals while not slowing down the real criminals at all.