Monday, February 27, 2006

Yahoo claims start-up stole trade secrets | CNET

"'(Yahoo) is now so desperate over the fact that they are losing several experienced software engineers with years of experience in the mobile industry, that they are now taking the exact opposite legal position,' Sacks said in the statement. 'These cutting-edge, mobile-content engineers are leaving because MForma is a company of the future.'"

So is that what's holding up my AJAX based e-mail request?

Nah, didn't think so.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Deal of the day: Toshiba Satellite notebook for $800 | | CNET

"Circuit City's price was competitive to begin with, but the rebate (good through Saturday only!!!) is what makes this a bargain."

Well, not such a bargain when the deal expires an hour from now. I can just imagine all the hours spent on the phone trying to straighten out the mess when the rebait check doesn't arrive (what, six months from now?) No thanks.

This is why I go to Best Buy and Circuit City LAST.

LXer: Microsoft and Officials in IBM's Linux Hot Tub

He really started to lose me here:

"Have you ever chronicled the US Government's efforts to litigate Microsoft? When you step back and take a look, it seems as though the Department of Justice shopped around for a friendly judge and finally got one. You might even consider that we have a former president with conflicts of interest with Microsoft and his cabinet."


Well, my post (reproduced below) was listed 5 minutes after I posted it, but it is gone now. That's one reason I started this blog. People deleting things they don't agree with rather than responding to them burns my toast (second time it has happened too). This adolescent attitude doesn't do the Open Source movement any more good than partisan politics does. Too bad. I really respected this guy for a while. Now the LXer blog joins the ranks of kooks who show up on Coast to Coast AM. Amusing background chatter.

Oh please.

It just occurred to me the other day what an oxymoron the expression "Vast (right or left) wing conspiracy" is. There are indeed conspiracies that go on from time to time and the rapidity with witch they become unraveled I suspect is directly proportional to their size.

More frequently these "conspiracies" are simply people with common interests, working independently and going in the same general direction. The fact is, that for most politicians, of either party, the open vs closed source software debate isn't even on the radar screen. I don't expect that to change once Bush leaves office either. Clinton was a computer ignoramus, I bet Bush is too. Gore was said to be comfortable working his speeches on a laptop and had he more than a typical politicians knowledge of computer technology he would have been much more precise about how he stated his accomplishments with regard to the Internet.

You are one of the best proponents of "Open Source in the public sector" out there. I've read your stuff in various venues for several years now, but lately some of your articles seem more appropriate for Maybe you should start a politically oriented blog along the lines of Eric Raymond's "Armed and Dangerous".

Linux, and open source will succeed or fail in spite of corrupt politicians, and surprisingly, in spite of corrupt entrenched middle management (which I think is a more fertile ground for conspiracy theorists). When I was at the Departments of Energy and State, Windows software became the required standard from those petty bureaucrats right about the time Clinton took office. Well, that certainly helped me dislike the man even more intensely, but it would have never occurred to me that the White House was the source of the problem, and it still doesn't occur to me today.

Give Microsoft credit where it is due, as an effective marketing organization. If you want parallels in history, go back to when IBM was letting technology take back seat to marketing in the 60s and 70s. I advised some relatives to invest in Digital Equipment Corporation at the time, and they got rich. Microsoft stock is being punish for being an "all smoke and mirrors" company. I see no change in sight, other than it possibly getting worse. Let them stew in their own juices, maybe with a little help from embarrassing IBM/SCO disclosure documents and so on. Leave politics out of it. I really think you are injecting your own political emotions where they don't belong and where they can't do anything but muddle the issues involved.

I would have loved to see Microsoft broken up back in the Judge Jackson days, but he shot his mouth off in public about a case still under consideration. You can't blame any politician for that. As you've noted, lawyers like Boise play both sides of the fence in both politics and technology, let's leave the lawyers out of it too. They're all suspicious characters in my view. And most lobbyists are nothing more than lawyers who have chosen not to practice law. An even worse group of characters.

But consider that if Microsoft had been broken up back then they might be much more of a powerhouse than they are now. There are in fact quite a few Microsofties who WANT the company to break itself up, downsize, or simplify their product offerings. I'd like nothing better than to see Microsoft plop their user interface on top of a Linux base. It could happen. The only downside is I'd have to stop hating them so much. It would be tough.

But let's keep emotions out of it shall we? Emotions of all kinds, political, corporate, and even technical. I know some of us love Linux and Open Source even when they don't deserve to be loved. But let's keep that our little secret. We don't want to be thought of as a conspiracy do we?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Judge faces 'reality' in BlackBerry case | CNET

I think RIM stockholders (if there are such things) may just as well start jumping out of their windows now.

Too bad this judge wasn't presiding over the much ado about nothing SCO vs IBM case.

Apple - Support - Discussions - Painfully slow downloading over ...

Oh my...

the terms "Painfully slow" and "Core Duo" are now being used in the same sentence.

Apple needs to institute a recall on these users. It CAN'T be the hardware.

Sometimes Copying Google Isn't as Easy as it Looks

"live site issues has been encountering some issues as of late thursday for some of our users. the issues have been mainly concerning feeds and gadgets such as weather or stocks not rendering. you may have seen 'oops, we seem to be having a problem' a lot. we use everyday and definitely feel your pain.

we recently had an update to our services layer that caused some funkiness. we think we have addressed the problem, but if you're still encountering the issue please email us at '' or post a comment and we'll look into it asap."

And I still haven't figured out why they need,, and, all of which seem to be just clones of things elswhere on the net. I'll forgive technical ineptitude (which we've come to expect), but doesn't the marketing department know that a big part of brand loyalty is picking a name and sticking with it?

So far nothing web-based from Microsoft has gotten close to things I use at Yahoo, Google, and even lowely AOL. But I'll keep checking back... if I can keep the names straight.

Luxury Laptop and the End of the Jobs Reality Distortion Effect

Maybe I was a smaller minority than I thought when it came to liking Apple products becuase they were NOT Intel based. From a Slashdot posting:

"My laptop is a 1.5 GHz PB G4. I love using it because the design and ergonomics are perfect. But it's embarrassingly, painfully slow compared with any higher-end Windows book from the last year or so. Once more apps are native and the 64-bit mobile processor (Merom) is here I'll be thrilled to switch."

I like my 1.5 Ghz PB G4 too. But I didn't buy it because it was the fastest laptop at the time (it wasn't). In fact I didn't even care that much that it was a laptop. I just wanted something that was quiet. It still does the job for me, and if Apple had simply gone to current G4s and upped bus and memory speeds people would be happy with them too. But guess what: If I run Linux on my PB it is blindingly fast. My much older iBook runs Linux faster than the PB runs OS X. As much as I like the look and feel of OS X it is in fact the OS that is the pig. Faster hardware (of any kind) simply makes it seem less of a pig.

My next laptop (now that Apple has taken this path) will probably be either an AMD 64 or one of their new dual processor systems. Both AMD technologies are equal or superior to equivalents from Intel (which has frequently failed to meet their "roadmap" promises lately). Look at the stock charts and you will see that both Apple and Intel are looking for PR stunts to revive their suddenly flat performance (in the market). I'd say the stock analysts could teach the Slashdot and Macrumors crowd a thing or two about what is coming up on these companies "roadmaps".

The other thing that I think the Apple marketing people have figured out is that Apple no longer has a monopoly on upscale "fashion statement" laptops. Consider these for example:

Long ago Apple actually MADE computer systems, but economics drove them to spec them out to China (mainland, Taiwan, Singapore, etc). Those same economics are squeezing them out of the design business as well, and ultimately (or maybe already) Apples involvement will be no more than as a shopper for what is available wholesale over there, and THAT, my fellow Apple loving friends is what is more behind this move than anything else. At any given time there are hundreds of ready made designs (almost exclusively Intel compatible of course) available that the manufactures will customize only insofar as the external appearance (and only then to a limited extent).

Apple wants to "simplify" its profit making to nothing more than a commissioned sales rep with their own logo. Bye bye Firewire or anything else that makes an Apple computer truly unique.

Apple is positioning itself as three more and more independent profit centers: hardware, OS and related software, iTunes (media). As far as I know, each leg of this stool is profitable. But each leg also has foreseeable problems that could make them money losers. (See: "Steve Wozniak Slams Apple Over IPods, Intel")

Clearly they are preparing themselves to jettison whichever profit center goes negative first. They have given up on the synergistic effects of the Apple product suite, and are now quite happy to have iTunes run on Windows, OS X to run on non-Apple equipment or Windows run on Apple equipment. This flexibility is a good thing in a way, but can also be a very bad thing which can get rapidly worse as this synergy breaks down.

I just ordered a gig of memory for my PB 1.5 G. This will be my computer for everyday use for another few years I expect. When Apple support for the PowerPC starts to get weak (which I'm afraid could happen really quickly as it becomes a second class citizen) I'll switch over to Linux and get an immediate supercharged effect. In the mean time I'll probably get a fairly fast AMD desktop system for under $1K for gaming, and by the time I'm in the market for another notebook, I'll have my choice of models in fine Corinthian leather, graphite, or for all I know, nano-particles.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Brief History of Apple's Open Source Efforts

"Even with all these detriments, it was still possible for a determined individual to work with Apple developers and make meaningful contributions to the project. However, this was not to last. Something happened that caused Apple to get defensive and start removing some of the transparency: success. Apple started developing a developer base around Darwin that was fixing bugs and helping the product. They also got users interested and involved, following commits, bug reports, and mailing lists."

No matter.

They've peaked.


At best, they picked the wrong company to partner with. At worst, they'll exit the hardware or software business in an effort to hit the bigtime, then wonder what happened to them when whatever business they decide to stick with evaporates.

IBM vs. SCO: Now It's IBM's Turn

"That October, BayStar Capital put together a $50 million investment in SCO. Rumors quickly spread that Microsoft had been behind this investment. Both companies denied this story. However, a leaked memo showed that there was a connection between the companies, and in March 2004 BayStar finally confessed that Microsoft had midwifed its SCO investment."

Maybe this story will get interesting again. Or end.

Free software? You can't just give it away

"In the end, I just had to say that the fact that I am capable of receiving and replying to e-mail addressed to would have to be sufficient. She would just have to take it on trust that I was not a router-cracking banana merchant. She must have done so, as I never heard from her again.

While the identity verification aspect of this incident is amusing, what is more serious is the set of assumptions her e-mails implied. It demonstrates how the free software model disrupts the old proprietary way of doing things, where copying was theft and you were guilty until proven innocent."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Windows Finally Beats Unix, But Linux Is Coming on Strong

"Which hardware company fell the hardest? It's a tie between Fujitsu and Sun. Fujitsu runs a mix of its own systems, such as BS2000/OSD-BC, Solaris and Windows. Sun, although it flirts with Linux, still gets most of its declining dollars from Solaris.

Now, none of these companies is going to be going out of business anytime soon. But, it doesn't take a Wall Street financial analyst to see that Linux, and the companies that support it, are on a remarkably fast growth rate.

Enjoy your stay at the top, Microsoft. You won't be there for long."

The Politics of Honest Voting | Linux Journal

"My writing of this editorial was inspired by what sounded like an effort to get an open-source solution in place. I read an article about the Open Voting Consortium and went to the group's Web page with great hopes. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of reading, I saw more politics.

The most prominent information on the site is the group's request for contributions totaling $1.5 million to 'take back our election system'. The Consortium uses the word 'open' over and over on the site, but what it wants to do with that $1.5 million isn't very clear."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Linux OS used by ex CA chief exec to dispose of evidence

"Former CA chief executive Sanjay Kumar, has been accused of erasing his laptop's hard drive to destroy potential evidence, by reformatting it to run the Linux operating system."

What a versatile OS!

Or something.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gentoo Linux founder leaves Microsoft

"Hilf also said he planned to replace Robbins in the near future and was already looking for a suitable replacement, who could come from within Microsoft or be recruited from the outside. "

I just want to go on record that I'll shill for Microsoft for anything over $500K per year. I doubt they will make me an offer though as there are so many more qualified people who will do it for less.

But hey, I have quite a track record of characterizing the company as liars and scum-bags. It would be quite a conversion story, and I'm prepared to stick to it for at least a couple years, which is important you see.

Light Blue Optics

Laser projection using computer-generated holograms (CGHs) represents a compelling alternative to conventional image projection. Video projectors based on this CGH technology are efficient and require only a very few components, which means they can be made very small - and the smaller the CGH, the bigger the image that results. So a tiny projector producing large images could, for the first time, be integrated into a laptop, a PDA, or even a mobile phone.

Every time I look at the type of projectors used for business presentations (aka Powerpoint slideshows) the thought goes through my head: "Why are these things so expensive, so hot, so prone to burnout etc., and why can't someone do this with lasers and non-moving parts."

Well, apparently others have had this thought. I hope it is for real. First target market of course is those Powerpoint shows. Carrying the projector around in your pocket could make everyone an instant presenter. Well, OK, there are downsides to this too.

But if rendered in color, doesn't this potentially replace those 900 inch TV screens I see in ever increasing numbers at Sam's club? Given enough resolution couldn't you replace an arbitrary sized LCD monitor with any plain white surface?

Seems to me this technology has very long legs, and the guy who invented it, if he has good lawyers, will be very rich indeed.

Mini-Microsoft: "Rarely does a bad attitude solve the problem."

Sometimes the comments are more interesting than the blog:

"If you are by any chance an executive and you really want to make a difference, here's a hint: Office 12 and Vista absolutely suck. If they continue on their current course they will be a disaster for Microsoft. I shouldn't have to tell you why, but this blog has plenty of examples. Show me you care by noticing and doing something about it. Something big. If I could, I would. I try every day with partial success to make people see how our software and our approach toward software can be better. I like to think my personal code reflects that. But I don't have the top level power you have."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

AlterNet: MediaCulture: Son of Dot-Com

"It's all the fault of the post-Google hegemony, which has imposed a new buzzword regime on us: We must now refer to internet culture using terms like Web 2.0, digital ecosystem, folksonomy, social network, Ajax and tagging. What do these words mean? That investors have turned their burning, collective gaze from the wastes of Mordor to the human world of Silicon Valley again, and they're giving us money to build things that sound new."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Two ways Microsoft sabotages Linux desktop adoption

"The OpenOffice migration is floundering, as, once again, some employees have returned to using MS Word.

Microsoft's mindshare with some employees has been harder to overcome than the problems with the table and formatting. Holt now knows that the success of an OpenOffice migration can depend on early identification and deprogramming of employees who are fiercely loyal to MS Office. 'Just one person like this may upset the whole project,' he said."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

UniScientist predicts 'mini Ice Age'

"The Northern Hemisphere's most recent cool-down period occurred between 1645 and 1705. The resulting period, known as the Little Ice Age, left canals in the Netherlands frozen solid and forced people in Greenland to abandon their houses to glaciers, the scientist said."


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Debian founder takes over LSB leadership

"The Free Standards Group (FSG), the non-profit group behind the Linux Standard Base (LSB), has announced that Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock will be its new CTO (chief technology officer) and will chair the LSB workgroup."

Apple Risks It with Intel

I missed this analysis of the risks of the Apple-Intel move when it first came out. Sounds like it was spot-on (so far).

But now Dvorak hints a new rumor... namely that Apple intends to exit the OS X business and just sell hardware for Windows. I'll be looking for a link to the article on this.

Friday, February 03, 2006

IBM eServer BladeCenter Announcement

"IBM today announced the intention to form an industry community around BladeCenter� called, Companies that have expressed an interest in being founding members in the blade community include Brocade, Cisco, Citrix Systems, IBM, Intel Corporation, NetApp, Nortel, Novell and VMware. This community is planned to be a collaborative organization focused on accelerating the expansion of solutions for BladeCenter, a design co-developed by IBM and Intel�. This organization is aimed at spurring development and innovation around blade technology, will enable BladeCenter ecosystem partners to test and interoperate their products on BladeCenter. This will drive the development of this rapidly-growing community and innovations in Voice over IP, industry specific solutions, security and many other technologies."

Let's see... everyone but Apple on this list? Check. Confirming they want to grow up to be just like Microsoft and get out of that nasty dog-eat-dog hardware business. Next stop is for Apple to announce the phase-out of their server business so they can focus on more music gadgets and other "fun" stuff.

IBM's blade agenda: Cell chip, InfiniBand | CNET

I want one.

30 Boxes, Best... Calender... EVER!

I look forward to trying this. Too bad Google hasn't been more nimble and gotten something out by now, as I'd love to have this mesh with my Gmail. One thing for sure, unless Microsoft buys some company like this they are going to find themselves wondering what hit them. and only go to show how nimble Microsfot is at grabbing catchy domain names, after that, it all looks like copy-cat design to me.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Corporate Courage - Walter Williams

"This kind of government tyranny should be disavowed by every decent American. Stepping up to the plate is Branch Banking and Trust Co. (BB&T), headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C. BB&T is a full-service bank with 1,100 offices throughout the Southeast. On Jan. 25, BB&T announced it will not lend to commercial developers that plan to build condominiums, shopping malls and other private projects on land taken from private citizens by government entities using eminent domain."