Friday, January 26, 2007

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Energy Independence?

"There is no free lunch. Producing energy is going to produce waste. You pick your poison and you find a way to manage it. Want to do something about global warming? How many global warming activists are willing to say the word nuclear?

So much easier to say ethanol. That it will do farcically little is beside the point. Our debates about oil consumption, energy dependence and global warming are not meant to be serious. They are meant for show."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog

'Clearly, they’re exploiting the lawless, Brave New World of the blogsophere, where, since they’re Not Quite Journalists, they don’t feel constrained by any of those pesky journalistic ethics guidelines. Like the one that says, “You don’t keep $2,200 gifts from the subject of your review. You might think you can still write an impartial review, but it’s highly unlikely-and either way, nobody will believe it.”'

I'm willing to endure David Pogue's wrath, risk my (non existent) journalistic integrity and accept one of the free laptops from Microsoft. I'll also guarantee a bad review of Windows and Office, comparing them unfavorably in every way with Open Source Software alternatives. I have nothing against Acer or AMD though, so I can't promise to pan those products. You can use my negative review to demonstrate that this was not a bribe.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Hey, today at Sam's club I noticed the formerly empty shelf normally filled with laptop computers now has three new residents. The top price was $900 and there was a quite nice system for around $500. Better hurry Microsoft the value of this bribe "loaner laptop" is going down all the time.

Apple Fixes First Flaw From 'Month Of Apple Bugs' - News by InformationWeek

"A day after LMH unveiled the QuickTime flaw, a Mac developer posted his own patch as part of a response to the bug-a-day project. Landon Fuller, who works on the DarwinPorts project, said he stepped in as 'part brain exercise, part public service.' So far, he and other researchers have published fixes for 20 of the 23 bugs listed on the Month of Apple Bugs site. Earlier this month, Apple declined to confirm any of the Month of Apple Bugs vulnerabilities and only issued a standard statement saying, 'Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users. We always welcome feedback on how to improve security on the Mac.'"
Closed, secretive, non-responsive, Apple-Microsoft II?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Apple: Computers Are Sooo Last Year -

"'Outside PCs, I think the company is, or has the potential to become, dominant. The PC market is growing slowly, and Intel-based Mac sales have hit a wall, unfortunately for investors,' Seyrafi says. 'Apple just has a much stronger position with consumer appliances than they do with computers.'"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wired News: How Yahoo Blew It

*** Spoiler Warning ***

"One could have made a convincing argument two years ago that such deep technical knowledge didn't matter much. But now we have empirical evidence: At Yahoo, the marketers rule, and at Google the engineers rule. And for that, Yahoo is finally paying the price."

But marketers rule at Microsoft too, probably now more than ever. Does this spell their doom too?

(One can only hope!)

Transcripts from House of Lord Microsoft Hearing Published

Laurie: As an example of the security of an open source product, there is a web server many people will not have heard of called Apache. Quite often when I am speaking at a high level conference I actually ask the question of the room, "Who here has heard of Apache?" and maybe ten per cent of the people in the room will know. I will then ask, "Who has heard of Microsoft?" - big laugh, of course everyone knows Microsoft, and then it surprises them to learn that Apache SSL, which is the secure web server version of it, has 70 per cent of the world market in secure servers. In its ten-year history there have only been three security alerts and two of those were because of external libraries that were being used, so there has only ever in its ten year history been one issue specific to Apache SSL itself.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Real Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming: Skeptics Have Valid Arguments

As incredible as the letter may seem, one must pause to understand the “new think” being foisted on our society. In the August, 2006 issue of The DeWeese Report, (Vol.12, Issue 7), I reported on the root of the new edicts on thinking, called “globally acceptable truth.” This is not just an Ivory Tower intellectual exercise. Those who practice it believe the only way we can have a well-ordered society is for everyone to think and act in unison. Those who break the rules and think for themselves or take action contrary to the “consensus” are evil.


Countering this massive onslaught of globally acceptable climate change “truth” is a tiny, dedicated band of scientists, political leaders and non-profits that are seeking the truth. Their assets are literally in the low millions of dollars -- simply a drop in the bucket when compared to the war chest of the climate change church. They don’t have the media’s attention. They don’t have the ability to issue massive grants. Hollywood certainly isn’t making movies to promote the “skeptics” point of view. And the federal government isn’t allowing the contrary opinions in many classrooms.


*Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at “The Weather Channel” probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

End of Science

In addition, Cullen’s December 17, 2006 episode of "The Climate Code" TV show, featured a columnist who openly called for Nuremberg-style Trials for climate skeptics. Cullen featured Grist Magazine’s Dave Roberts as an eco-expert opining on energy issues, with no mention of his public call to institute what amounts to the death penalty for scientists who express skepticism about global warming.

Can Technology Trends be Forecast Based on Book Sales?

O'Reilly Radar - State of the Computer Book Market, Q406, Part 2: Category Winners and Losers

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Analysis: iPhone a 'wake-up call' for the industry

I'm glad they put that in quotes.

According to figures quoted by Steve Jobs during his keynote, 957 million mobile phones were sold in the U.S. last year. (That compares to 209 million PCs.) Just a 1 percent market share would mean selling around 10 million units, the Apple CEO figures—and that happens to be Apple’s goal for 2008.

But get this:
While it will be some time before the full effects of the iPhone will be felt, Apple has strong feelings on what its impact will be. “It will do for the phone market what the Mac did for personal computers,” Joswiak said.

Uh... and what exactly is that? This is one of the few times when I think the acronym "ROFL" might be appropriate.

I'm just about the only person I know who uses an Apple computer and I'm sick and tired of the fact that it is easier to use, more reliable (etc. etc. etc) getting absolutely no traction from my Windows using friends. If a Microsoft representative came to their homes to personally tread on their private parts they'd have no problem paying for the experience.

Apple "addicts" or "Mac Addicts", as they call themselves have true brand loyalty. But most Windows users are oblivious to what brand of anything they are using. It's "just a PC" and for most people it will be "just a cell phone", "just a music player", and so on.

One Slashdotter today referred to the US as the "third world of electronic gadgets". Do most Americans even know this?

What would be great for Apple at this point would be some new wave of American isolationism (not out of the question that this could happen, but I wouldn't place a large wager just yet): "Samsung, Nokia, LG, Sony and on and on, you guys all go experiment on the Asian and European market. Once you get something that works, bring it over here and we'll slap an Apple logo on it."

That must be the fantasyland (pun intended) that Apple is moving into. And once 2008 comes along and they've captured ONE PERCENT of the cell phone market... what next? Refrigerators? Window unit air conditioners? HEY! Office furniture! No wait, that's too limiting, HOME furniture! Your imagination is the limit.

Never mind the fact that there most certainly is going to be a tech retrenchment soon, and based on the "wonders" from CES, VERY soon, I think it's time for some mergers. Didn't someone let slip a joke about an Apple/Google merger? I think it needs to become non-joking material.

The most versatile company in America right now is (drum-roll, and in spite of my, um, non-fan status) Microsoft. Maybe this is Apple's attempt to diversify better too, but frankly, I don't think they are that well positioned. As dominators of only one market (online music) which has hardly gotten off the ground yet (really, when you look at the numbers it's peanuts) they are not in the same league with Microsoft. Microsoft is diversifying from controlling both the Home and Office software market to getting into portable devices (poorly at the moment) entertainment equipment (XBox is at least viable as a profit center), they compete in the online service and advertising business with Google, Yahoo, etc., and they claim to be moving into business consulting and a few other things (although I have my doubts still that they have the stomach for it). No American company is going to make hardware PERIOD. Intel and IBM have nice businesses designing chips, and AMD isn't going anywhere for a while, but in terms of end user products, we just slap the label on the box, uh, I mean we ask the nice people in Singapore to do that for us before they ship it to the customer.

So Apple, is a BRAND, and name recognition is a good thing. The Apple brand is a rising star as is Google, while a lot of older brands are sinking or stagnating. Marrying off one of these rising stars with a company that is otherwise in decent health could have some great synergistic effects.

Matchmakers matchmakers make me a match: Let the speculation begin. Who's it going to be? Apple-Yahoo, Google-Apple? Sony could use some diversification too at this point, and IBM... it's been a while since they tried to get into the consumer business, are they over embarrassment about the PC Jr? They could have course OWNED the PC business if they had taken it more seriously, was that failure so colossal that they can never think of the possibility again? A tech retrenchment might make strange bedfellows.

After all, the most fun part of the roller coaster ride is that big drop. Everyone hold your hands up and start screaming!

Update: I forgot to mention... some say that the BIG news today from Apple was their name change, from Apple Computer Inc. to just Apple Inc. I tend to agree. Maybe I should have just titled this post that way, but I got such a jolt from the two quotes in the Yahoo article that I couldn't stop myself from just linking it.

I even went over to one of the Apple forums to throw cold water on the iPhone thing and found them already shivering over the name change. Oh yea, more on names:


Monday, January 08, 2007

Scott Rosenberg: What Makes Software So Hard

Clearly, people have succeeded in creating amazing software systems that do work, and do serve people's needs. In many cases they are very large, from the scale of the Internet to the scale of enterprise platforms. So it's doable. But when you pick up the rock and look underneath the surface of every one of those systems, you find stories of delay and difficulty and problems. And it seems the software industry tends not to be introspective. There isn't a lot of history; there isn't a lot of examination of past mistakes. In the physical world, the examination of past mistakes and failures, and the application of principles based on what you have learned, is the classic technique of engineering. There is a thread of that kind of post-project review running through the software field, but overall it doesn't seem to be as closely studied or as widely known as it probably should be.

Back to you, Steve

Meanwhile, Steve is now in deeper than ever. He no longer is being portrayed as ignorant, he apparently had a direct hand in backdating, and - worst of all - the company apparently faked a board meeting to justify the process.

Hoh boy...


Sponging off the same title, I wonder what if anything Apple will have in response to the new Windows home server:


Gates even addresses the Apple weakness here:


From the video... the good news is that the home server (I wonder what it will cost?) doesn't exactly seem to require Windows, on the other hand the set-up demo all seemed to use a Windows client application, there were other bits (like accessing it remotely) that could be done with a web interface (surely they wouldn't require IE would they?). The Q&A about Apple and Linux compatibility went so fast I thought maybe they sped up that part of the video, but the answer seemed to be in the affirmative.

Yes, it is just SMB, disappointing, but what else could they have done? Well, other than fully documenting it, eliminating any secret back-doors, nailing down some things about timestamp handling, you know... that sort of thing.

I still prefer the idea of some sort of generic box to do this sort of thing, but hey, if it will make life easier for all the Windows users I know who can't spell the word "backup" then I'm all for it.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Nokia's Linux-Powered N800 Internet Tablet Sneaks Out Early

The unit also has two SD (Secure Digital) flash memory card slots, whereas the 770 only had a single RS-MMC (reduced size multimedia cards) slot. One of these slots is located as an internal slot under the back cover, and the other is located under the memory card cover on the front corner of the tablet. Both memory cards can be hot swapped in and out while the unit's powered up.

Santa come back, I need to make a few changes!

Talk about bad timing. I can can only imagine that they wouldn't have been able to meet demand anyway. While far from perfect, this machine looks, finally, like something that is usable without too many constraints (pretty much a basic requirement for a "general purpose" computing device wouldn't you say?)

Microsoft chief totes/touts a server for every home from CES 2007

Video from CNet who misspells touts:
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates speaks with CNET's Ina Fried and discusses his vision of each home having a server that will host files for multiple PCs.

Almost contradicting the video though, the Yahoo/AP article quotes Gate's presentation thusly:
But more work remains, Gates said.
"There's still a lot to be done there, especially when you get into rights-oriented content and how simple that can be made so the creative people are happy with it and yet the flexibility (for consumers) is there," he said.

Yahoo also gets the prize for spelling.

Shouldn't "independent" sources at least pick their own headlines?

Ooops. Never mind that idea!

So, the question is: Isn't this so very yesterday?

Is a Windows file server in the home a rescue mission for mass-consumer client/server architecture?

If it makes sense for me to house all my files on a central machine that can be easily accessed by all the other machines in the house (and haven't quite a few of us done this already?) then why doesn't it make more sense to house all my files at Google/MSN/Yahoo/etc?

Wouldn't a good first step toward the "computer is the network" paradigm be a final discarding the SMB file sharing? Buggy, undocumented, exploit prone, it has nothing going for it other than being lowest common denominator technology.

Will the Gates version of what many of us are already doing only work if everything in the house is running Windows or some other product from Microsoft?

Raise your hand if you are not interested in such a solution.

Netgear Unveils Products With BitTorrent, Skype

Once connected, the EVA8000 searches all PCs and Macs on the network and integrates all the HD movies, standard-definition video, audio files, and photos it can find into a single media library that users can browse via the TV screen and the included remote. It also sports two USB 2.0 ports for attaching additional storage devices or MP3 players, whose content will be added to the same library.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Copyrights and Congress - Surprise! (not)

In 2002, he introduced a bill that would have allowed media companies to hack into peer-to-peer networks to “disrupt” or “impair” illicit file trading. The proposed law would have limited the liability of copyright owners to $50 “per impairment to the property of the affected file trader.”

Critics said the measure, which never got out of committee, would have essentially allowed copyright holders to destroy people’s computers with near impunity. Mr. Berman labeled the loudest criticism as “hysteria,” and insisted his bill included adequate limitations and consumer protections.

Putting Mr. Berman in charge of the copyright committee “is like making a congressman from Detroit head of an automobile safety subcommittee, or a senator from Texas head of a global warming subcommittee,” Mr. Lessig wrote.

(click title for link to original NYT article... that's how all my posts work)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Will the Dems do any better, or make matters worse?

UPDATE: Lessig's pretty hard on the Democrats and Howard Berman over intellectual property, which makes me wonder -- yet again -- why the Republican Congress never took the opportunity to expand fair use rights, gut the DMCA, and generally stick it to the entertainment industries, which are a crucial source of funding for the Democratic Party and the left generally. It's not like this tactic wasn't obvious. (I wrote in 2002: "Will Republicans take advantage of this opportunity? That depends on whether they want to be a majority party - or history." Well. . . .) Plus, it was the right thing to do.

Go to the story at Instapundit for links.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Audi's new luxury cars engineered on Linux

For several years, German automobile manufacturer Audi AG, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, has been steadily migrating its engineering systems over to Linux. The company hopes to finish the job in 2007 and have the bulk of its servers and workstations running 64-bit Linux by the end of the year.

Recently Audi, whose longstanding motto is "Vorsprung durch Technik" ("Progress through technology"), has been upgrading to 64-bit Linux in deploying its automotive CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) servers, where simulation software is used in the design of casts, frames, and components, as well as for crash-test simulations and other 3-D visualization problems, as part of the greater migration to Linux.

"2003 and 2004 saw an explosion in the use of x86 systems using Linux," says Audi spokesman Florian Kienast. "These systems are now being replaced by x86_64-based systems."

Kienast says that most CAE applications that the company uses perform well on the x86_64 architecture. "The systems have enough memory and I/O bandwidth to cope with the requirements of the applications," he says. "The notable exceptions are MSC Nastran and ABAQUS -- these products are extremely power-hungry. Here, the large cache available on the Itanium 2 has proved to be extremely valuable."

The move to Linux is occurring not only on the server side; the company is using Linux for workstations, too.

Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 for PS3 now available for free -- how is it?

Engadget demonstrates cluelessness:

what have your experiences been like with the Dog? Has it been worth your while? We're still holding out until Ubuntu gives us the love we crave.


Why don't you just go run out and get an XBox instead? Or wait for Windows on the Wii? A whole new generation of technical wusses is out there waiting for everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.