Obituary for netbooks off the mark

 Business, netbook  Comments Off on Obituary for netbooks off the mark
Nov 232008

InRe: Jason Chen on why the netbook market is dead in three years | T3 magazine

Jason’s reasons for netbook’s demise, underpowered for Windows and underoutfitted for Windows, while true to a degree, are not going to be the reasons for any so called demise of the netbook market.  What he is really talking about is a failure of Windows, both XP and Vista.  Netbooks are not small laptops just as miniature golf is not golf in miniature.  They are a different class of device, bigger than a phone but smaller than a laptop.  Trying to run windows on a netbook is as frustrating as a phone with windows mobile.  Microsoft is becoming less relevant in the fastest growing market segment.

While I agree that what we now call netbooks (screen < 10 inches) may dissappear in three years it won’t be because of consumer apathy but because the device platform will become wildly popular and manufacturers will struggle to differentiate themselves.  Jason goes on to compare netbooks with tablet PCs but that analogy is false.  There have only been a handful of tablet PC platforms, where as the market is exploding with netbook devices.

His closing statement about price and weight is exactly what will sustain the market.  At a price of 1/3 to 1/4 of a full featured light weight laptop, more people can afford to have both a laptop and a netbook.  If they were to buy the MacBook Air or X360 they would have to live with the tradeoffs they bring.  A netbook/laptop combo comes in 1/4 less the cost.

CrossOver Chromium vs. Firefox 3 – Javascript performance results

 Business, Firefox, Google, Ubuntu  Comments Off on CrossOver Chromium vs. Firefox 3 – Javascript performance results
Sep 152008

An interesting thing happened on my way to the web today. While reading through my rss feeds, I came across a story about CrossOver doing a Proof of Concept port of Chromium to CX. Interesting since the mighty “g” can’t seem to get it together for Linux. I’ve already downloaded and played with Chromium at work on my XP box and was impressed with the speed. It seemed much snappier than FF3.

So being an overly curious bugger, I downloaded the deb pkg for Ubuntu32. Yeah, it looks pretty rough — but what the hey, it’s a PoC right? So, I thought maybe a little speed test is called for, so I googled “javascript test” and my cloud brain returned, “Sunspider JavaScript Benchmark“.

So I fired it up in the cxChromium port and then it the standard FF3 on Ubuntu. Here is what I saw for cxChromium. I then swing over with FF3 and get these results.   Javascript in FF3 is 2.44x slower than cxChromium.  Man oh Man, is the v8 javascript engine a hummer.

Google App Engine — Runs on Python

 Business, Google, Python  Comments Off on Google App Engine — Runs on Python
Apr 082008

Now this is truly an interesting development. Google’s just announced App Engine is sure to super-charge the Python community and convert a number of disillusioned developers of other languages in to Pythonistas. There have been lots of interesting comments floating in the blogosphere about what this could mean.

I think it is a great opportunity on a smaller scale than anyone might imagine. Sure, this could serve as the platform for the next YouTube type social-2.x site, but what I think this really means, is that Google is rounding out the Google Apps for Domains by giving the ability to create something more than a brochure-ware style site offered by their current Sites for Google Apps.

Many are looking for Google to use this as an opportunity to expand advertising revenue, and that is certainly possible for widely popular webX.x sites but what they really needed is another tool/knife to hold to the competition’s throats. Looking at the tea leaves in the bottom of my glass, I see something more akin to a SharePoint attack; Going after the S in SMB market.

App Engine allows for authenticating users via Google system, how much longer until we can interact with other Google services in a similar fashion?? Calendaring, GTalk, etc — I’m not talking mashups, something much more refined.

 Posted by at 10:23 pm

Automating Checklists with nose

 Business  Comments Off on Automating Checklists with nose
Jan 222008

Grig has an interesting post today about enforcing checklists via nose, Agile Testing: Joel on checklists  Now that is an interesting idea.  I do lots of PCI compliance testing and documenting the tests and procedures is par for the course.  Automating those procedures goes a long way in helping out in this regard. Dora, handles scheduling, running and reporting which makes life nice, but I’ve got a variety of scripts and it would be nice to unify them in overall architecture.  Using nose could do just that.

Interesting things/thoughts happen when your programmers are sys-admins too.  This idea of translating the framework we use for testing code to testing systems has a number of interesting dimensions to it.  Just like Alton Brown, I insist that my tools multi-task too.

 Posted by at 9:29 pm

Plugin Framework/Architecture

 Business, Python  Comments Off on Plugin Framework/Architecture
Jan 222008

There is an interesting write up on plugin architecture — g :: A Simple Plugin Framework

A project that I’m working on is going to require a plugin framework for a number of things: Logic, Data Storage, Reporting and I’ve been keeping my eyes open for papers/articles on plugin frameworks.  Do you know of any resources/articles?

 Posted by at 12:08 am

More Blogging, Faster?

 Business  Comments Off on More Blogging, Faster?
Jan 212008

ScribeFire has been installed again.  After a tumultuous summer, fitful fall we are in to the Winter.  Time to get back on the post wagon.  There will be more to follow now.

Powered by ScribeFire.

 Posted by at 11:26 pm

Omaha Python Users Group

 Business, pycon, Python  Comments Off on Omaha Python Users Group
Feb 242007

I believe that it is time to resurrect the Omaha Python Users Group. I attended that Python Advocacy meeting on Day 1 of PyCon and listened to Jeff Rush and then talked to the leader of ChiPy, Chris McAvoy. There is an advocacy open session tonight @9pm after the OLPC show and tell session. I am hoping to work with others there to set up a system to share web resources, mailing list, website, etc between users groups. People should be able to go to the python site and “Find a local users Group”. The users groups could video tape speakers, and then share those videos for use at other user group meetings and for advocacy in general. A central point for available speakers and a centralized place for companies like O’Reilly, to offer products, books, and other give-aways that could be requested and used by the different users groups.

 Posted by at 10:50 am

How can Microsoft make my life better?

 Business, Great Plains, Microsoft  Comments Off on How can Microsoft make my life better?
May 182006

Today, in Scoble’s post, “Missed big HR meeting“, he closes with “Now, let’s get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.”

Well here is some advice for Bob and the gang over at Microsoft from a customer, “Fix what you got before you go trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” and “Eat your own dog food.” There has been one constant theme out of Microsoft Business Solutions since they purchased Great Plains. And that is, “Make everything look like Outlook, don’t worry about broken or half implemented features.”

Here is a hard example. Notes for customers, products, sales orders, you name it, are stored in a single table as a 32K text chunk. There is no revisioning of the notes and if one user accidentally deletes a note by clicking on the wrong poorly named action button the note is gone. Poof it never existed. This has to be one of the most rinky dink set ups I’ve ever seen. Apparently this feature was implemented by a high school intern and since no one in Microsoft Business solutions uses the notes — it’s never been fixed. This architecture bug is so bad and can be so costly, I’ve had to write a specialized “diff” utility to track and keep a revision history for notes. Nothing like blowing a 10K deal because some fscked up and missed an important note that had been inadvertently deleted.

This is just one of many architectural blunders that MS never seems to get around to correcting — I guess if you make it look pretty enough people won’t care that their headed twoards the poor house.

Come on folks, this is an accounting application. An ACCOUNTING APPLICATION not an image editor or a roll-up cube. Boring and reliable is what brings the boat back to port. Fix the issues, then worry about making it look like something it isn’t. I can’t believe that sysadmins at MS don’t lie in wait for these geniuses to go strolling down a dark hall alone.

 Posted by at 10:05 pm

Microsoft to “Standardize” file formats…

 Business, Microsoft, Web 2.0  Comments Off on Microsoft to “Standardize” file formats…
Nov 212005

Microsoft, today, announced that there were going to “standardize” their Office 12 XML file formats. Looks like someone from Microsoft read my article on ODF. But there is an awful lot of word parsing coming out in these announcements. To wit, the use of the phrases, “standardize” and “openess.” Either they are playing word games to trick the public or the managment at Microsoft. If Microsoft was truly serious they would approach OASIS and participate in the ODF work going on there.

Another problem is their use of Ecma International as their “standards” partner. Need I remind you of the Ecma Script/ javascript dichotomy? This is something for you to decide, but I would point to their list of standards as a place to start. Anything there ring a bell with developers or doesn’t it seem more of a “safe harbor” for corporate interests.

Here is some more “marketing speak” from Scoble interview with Jean Paoli:

“we are offering the Office XML file format technology behind billions of documents to customers and the industry as an international standard.”

Well, to my knowledge, it is highly questionable that a non-shipping product and a non-shipping format can behind billions of documents.

Now I know that the smart people at Microsoft are probably going nuts trying to convince upper management to give up making buggy whips — but that isn’t going to happen until Ballmer is gone. Ballmer is still a firm believer of grabbing a company’s corporate jewels (Data) and wrapping it up in a Microsoft format. Steve needs to learn that it is “our” ball and not his. We’d love for Microsoft to keep playing but throwing these tantrums and then trying to talk around it is making companies more than a little….impatient with Microsoft.

So in short, until Microsoft starts participating in Open Document Format and OASIS — I wouldn’t read anything into this more than trying to FUD Open Document. After all, when was the last time anyone read a book on Ecma Script?

 Posted by at 7:18 pm

More machines than people on the Internet, Duh!

 Business, Web 2.0  Comments Off on More machines than people on the Internet, Duh!
Nov 202005

Some rocket scientist, Nick Farrell, over at The Inquirer makes the seeming apocalyptic statement that, “More machines than people on the Internet.” Oh my, when did that happen? What this genius fails to recognize is that there has always been more computers than people on the Internet.

Let’s review the simplest case, a single person surfing a web site. For that person to access the Internet they must be on some device that has a processor or “computer” and that device connects to the web server, another computer. So completely disregarding routers and switches that person is already outnumbered 2 to 1. In fact, in the simplest view the number of computers will always be n+1 where n is the number of people “on” the Internet.

Spooky, huh? Actually it is worse. Mr. Farrell is reporting on the UN’s telecommunications agency prediction. What is spooky is that the UN think’s it can govern the Internet. They don’t even understand it — Now that is spooky.

 Posted by at 5:11 pm

on Open Source Patch Management

 Business, FreeBSD  Comments Off on on Open Source Patch Management
Nov 172005

Today, Dana Blankenhorn on opines about the need for open source patch management. More specifically he talks about notifications of vulnerabilities. Well the best kept secrets in open source, the BSDs handle this just fine in my opinion.

Being a FreeBSD user, I have to say that portaudit and the FreeBSD Security Advisories are a very good existing answer. I stay in the know and the gap between release and me knowing is as small a delta as I want. It is completely up to me. The other BSDs have similar mechanisms.

The best thing about the FreeBSD Advisories is that they tell you, as soon as they know, the unvarnished truth.

 Posted by at 10:06 pm

What fat clients can learn from the Web

 Business, Great Plains, Web 2.0  Comments Off on What fat clients can learn from the Web
Oct 212005

One of the beautiful things about the web is that you can share discoveries with others by merely sending a link to a friend or co-worker. Find a cool new shoe or a laptop and want their input on the item? You just click on “send link” in your browser, or cut and paste the link in an email message and off it goes. They click it and voila! there it is. The item of your attention and the thing you want to talk about. No muss, no fuss. The other person gets instant context when they click on that link. No big explanations are necessary. They can respond with their ideas and links to some other possibilites. The gift of sharing your contextual vision with another by only clicking.

Now say you are in your accouting application and you have a problem or need a resolution from a co-worker or superior. What do you end up doing? You end up emailing them account numbers and dates and telling them what view you are looking at so that they can look at it too and give you the feedback/information you need. Starting to see the lesson? Why aren’t fat client developers taking a clue and incorporating one of the most powerful features of the Internet in to out bread and butter fat clients? Why can’t I send a “link” from the view I’m looking at in my accounting application to a co-worker or superior. Think of the time savings. Got a question on a receivings, send a link and the respondent gets instant context.

And finally, a word to the Web 2.0 developers: The lesson is for you too. Don’t give up the ability to link to an item in your sweet new AJAX weblication otherwise you end up costing more than I think we should pay.

 Posted by at 10:00 am
Oct 202005

Every once in a while you come across a good Idea. Tonight, I just read one. David Berlind, on posits the idea of Open Document Format (ODF) could be a transport mechanism for moving content between different wikis.

Could ODF be the Net’s new, frictionless document DNA? by ZDNet‘s David Berlind — There’s no reason, for example, that, regardless of what proprietary markup languages the different wiki solution providers use to put a pretty face on Web authoring, that they cannot natively store those documents in the XML-based ODF. […]

Now this is the type of idea that I believe will happen more frequently once ODF picks up steam. It is the open format of HTML that gave rise to most of what we have on the Internet today. Everyone competes to make it better and more compelling. With closed formats, ala Word, there is not the same kind of pressure to advance the format and when it does change we are at the mercy of one company to give us solutions for migration. With an open format, market pressures and new ideas will create a dynamic system that gives users the benefits.

The only reason to keep a document format closed is to keep your customers locked-in. There is absolutely no advantage to users from using a closed document format. This will force the market giant, Microsoft, to once again compete solely on the merit of its product and not rely on lock-in and the advantages that they get from being the only one to fully support the document format. Remember how much better Word became when it was competing with WordPerfect? The features implemented really had the user in mind. However, once they crushed the competition the goal of new features was not to improve the users productivity, it was to use those new features to reinforce the tie-in/lock-in with other upstream Microsoft products.

There are benefits for Microsoft as well. Because of a standardized format, their upstream products could work with different word processors and different platforms. This, in my opinion, is the direction that Microsoft needs to move to stay relevant for the next 20 years. There are smart people at Microsoft and they do have some very good tools, however those people are often hamstrung from having goals that are in direct opposition to Microsoft’s current philosophy of product tie-ins. Now is the time for Microsoft to use its brains and not its market muscle. It will stop the hemorahging of talent and bring you real customer loyalty in the long run.

 Posted by at 11:23 pm

Critical Windows patch may wreak PC havoc

 Business, Microsoft  Comments Off on Critical Windows patch may wreak PC havoc
Oct 152005

A story on speaks to the problems that Microsoft continues to have in regards to regression testing on their patches. After the “no patches” last month, to the 9 this month, (what a joke, 9? Did you look at the number of updates downloaded by WSUS? Also, they never talk about the number of “updates” to existing patches, which in my mind are new patches that need to be counted too.)

Microsoft, where do you want to get wormed today? Ok, so you patch so you don’t get wormed but then you can’t access your computer — so in fact you still get stung. Either by malware from a malicious individual or malware from a corporation. Thanks for the gumball, Microsoft.

 Posted by at 2:00 pm