Archive for October 2009

Snow Leopard, Windows 7 Upgrade Problems

Quicken 2006 doesn’t run under Windows 7 and there will not be a Mac version until 2010.

I can’t get Hugs or Mercurial running under Snow Leopard due to architecture incompatibilities (32- vs 64-bit) in various support libraries. It’s frustrating wasting so much time downloading, building, tracking dependencies, etc. Especially since these are both essentially optional tools, and not directly related to the bottom line.

Update: According to Ports wiki :

An installation of MacPorts and the ports installed by it are only designed to work on a single OS release and a single CPU architecture. If you upgrade to a new OS version (e.g. from Leopard to Snow Leopard) or migrate to a new machine with a different type of CPU (e.g. PowerPC to Intel), you may get lucky and have your ports keep working, but in general, things will break.

And the solution is “reinstall all your ports”. Argh.

Tutorial: MonoTouch Custom ViewController, Port of Sadun’s Recipe 2-1

I just uploaded a MonoTouch tutorial porting Sadun’s Recipe 2-1 (Stepwise Subviews) to MonoTouch. Let me know if you find it useful.

Review Disclosure: Separate Treatment for Bloggers and Traditional Media

The FTC recently produced new rules governing disclosure for bloggers and other “word-of-mouth-advertisers.” Basically, the take-away is that a blog, Tweet, Facebook, Amazon review, etc. is now viewed as a paid endorsement if you receive the product from the manufacturer for free. Okay, fair enough. But the FTC “does not consider reviews published in traditional media…to be sponsored advertising messages.” The Commission believes that “knowing whether the [traditional] media entity that published the review paid for the item in question would not affect the weight the consumers give to the reviewer’s statements.”

As a guy who makes maybe a grand a year reviewing stuff for traditional media, this strikes me as wrong (and unfair). There is an enormous disparity in the review policies of traditional media. At one extreme you have Consumer Reports, with a famously rigorous policy of avoiding vendor influence, at the other you have, say, dive travel magazines where you can find “reviews” written by advertising representatives! Such policies are not obvious to readers and are relevant to their judgment. On the matter of fairness, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: drawing lines between “old” and “new” media is a sucker’s game.

It doesn’t make sense to me that in a review published in this blog, I am legally obligated to add a line that reads, say, “I received a free copy of this book” but that very same line doesn’t have to appear if I write the review for my column in SD Times. It’s not the obligation to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose in the blog that I object to, it’s that traditional media are exempt from disclosing the exact same “material relationship” between the manufacturer and the reviewer.

I plan on writing a little “standard disclosure” page that reveals the (I hope not surprising) fact that I receive a lot of books, software, and conference registrations for free. I’ll link to that when I write reviews in my blog. I don’t see why a similar disclosure of review policies is a burden for traditional media.

But you tell me: when you read or view a review in traditional media, does the knowledge of whether the product was paid for affect the weight you give the review?

Meijer Giving Functional Programming Intro Course Online

Erik Meijer, an excellent lecturer and one of the smartest people at Microsoft, is giving a 13-part lecture series on “Functional Programming Fundamentals.” It begins here.

I am absolutely positive this will be worth the time invested. I just listened to the first lecture, ordered the textbook, and fired up MonoDevelop to do the homework from the first lecture…

Update: That was fun. It highlighted that I don’t know LINQ as well as I ought: I spent more time trying to deal with flattening lists than with the quicksort algorithm…

“You Put In Other Details”

Young Denis grew up to be every client you’ll ever develop software for:

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Rails And PHP Are The Access(es) Of The Web

Ted Neward wonders “Where is this decade’s Access?” From 2007: same question, For me, Rails was the answer.

There are two issues: one is the ease with which a person with some knowledge can solve some (relatively simple) task (the classic “build a doghouse” project). If I want to build a doghouse on the Web, I’ll do it in Ruby on Rails (in part because I always want the option of evolving it into a more sophisticated structure).

The other issue is the bridge between power-users and programmers.  Although I suspect that most people with an interest in computers would “get” Python or Ruby and might be intrigued enough to learn how to build doghouses, I think that the reality is that PHP has become the dominant bridge — it’s the Basic, dBase, VB, Access, etc. of the Web. Almost every resume from young programmers I’ve seen in the past few years includes some reference to PHP.

For almost 50 years we’ve seen programming languages succeed and fail. But no one talks about the lessons to be learned from that. Everyone just wants to walk through the carnival, gaping at the pretty lights and giving up their money to the hucksters.

Xanadu Trackbacks

Jeff Atwood’s brief post on Ted Nelson’s Xanadu failed to mentioned briefly the aspect of Xanadu that I expected to be worked out by now, which is that links were bidirectional in Xanadu. The closest thing the Web has are trackbacks / pingbacks, which are problematic to spam. I gave some thought to trackback techniques and anticipated blogspam in 2002, but I think with OpenID and FOAF, these issues can be overcome. (More here)

Big Island Internet Professionals

One of the great delights about Hawaii is the diversity you get at events where one might expect a niche crowd. At today’s Big Island Internet meet-up, there were entrepreneurs, people commending the “global consciousness” enabled by the Internet, and a surprising number of martial artists.
The speaker, Tom Callos, is a serial entrepreneur. He told a fascinating story about developing and maintaining a premium- priced Web business for owners of martial arts studios, a group not known for their free- spending ways.

Many thanks to Damon Tucker and Larry Czerwonka for organizing the meeting and to Big Island Pizza for hosting (and providing some excellent pizza!). Meetups are scheduled for the 2nd Saturday of the month; there was some talk about trying to do one on the Kona side but for now they are centered in Hilo.

[Composed with ShapeWriter — www.shapewriter.com]

Sent from my iPhone

Enterprise Development for the iPhone

Novell’s MonoTouch makes iPhone development much more appealing for enterprise developers, but enterprise development on the iPhone requires solid database solutions (Want to understand enterprise development? Follow the data).

I have begun investigating DB solutions for the iPhone, by which I mean solutions whereby the iPhone can access the big 3 server-side databases: Oracle, SQL Server, and MySQL.

The big question is whether there can be a single strategy for iPhone development that mitigates DB risk: is there one solution that “just works” no matter which of the major DB vendors happens to be in use?

Stay tuned…

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