If you think I was somehow making a crack at internet-boom risktakers, you're dead wrong. I even work for a 2 guys < 25 yrs old + 4 powerpoint slides => 4 M$ in funding-company...
Just a brief summary of Wireless Networking Business Basics as I understand them.
The fact that Organic's idea so resembles what one hears about Boingo and the further fact that this idea seems so highly copyable reminds one of the early internet. The promises are the same, and may be summarized as Pure Network Effect. The business problem could also be the same : There is no barrier to entry, so a stampede effect at any sign of momentum is a very real danger. Basically there is no first mover advantage in pure wireless IP traffic. IP is the great equalizer of networks, which is of course both a blessing and a curse.
The winner would be anybody able to leverage a platform advantage in any way shape or form. For a while there the mobile phone networks looked as if they might be that advantage to their owners, having a solid network already established of radio transmitters and receivers. They are presently aggresively squandering their advantage by asking the same prices, that make some sense for voice, for data transmitted over the GPRS networks which makes no sense at all. The value of data, per unit of information, is significantly less than the value of voice traffic.
They seem to have no recollection of the speed with which proprietary network providers like CompuServe and Prodigy lost market power on initial web uptake. With WiFI on the horizon and fixed networks at flat rate prices widely deployed traffic prices like the current GPRS pricing seem positively archaic.
Ironically the phone-oligarchies (i.e. the almost monopolies that used to be monopolies) could have the platform advantage to beat out everybody in the WiFi space as well. A combined WiFi/ADSL plan with a rebate (e.g. more bandwidth at the same price) for letting your ADSL line serve as a WiFi hotspot could be a plausible way to cover metropolitan areas with WiFi.
There used to be a time when a group of people organized around a good idea immediately formed a society or foundation to propagate the good cause. These days they form companies.
A new Danish networking upstart, Organic, will build a wireless broadband network, street by street, caf? by caf?, throughout (one would guess) Copenhagen. The businessplan sounds like it was stolen from Sky Dayton's Boingo but that of course remains to be seen when actual products arrive from the company.
A new initiative (I think it is new at least) gives you that good old 1999 'everything is possible' feeling. A network for Danish Entrepeneurs.
Gone are the elevator-pitches and the "2 guys < 25 yrs old + 4 powerpoint slides => 4 M$ in funding" equations, but the attitude, the out-there nonconventional meeting formats and the general mantra, that loose knit networks (this time it's only made of people) are everything, remains. Even the sound bite is from 1999!.
Just bought Beck's new album (Sea Change), Terence Trent D'Arby's most recent album (some D'Arbyesque obscure title), Saint Etienne's new compilation album (Smash The System), and Neil Young's rather old compilation album (Decade).
The shortest description I can give of of Beck's new album is that it is his personal version of Lou Reed's Berlin. A sad album about loss, produced with an Empty Concert Hall echo allover the place and Beck singing in a faded, sad vocal style throughout. This man is no Midnite Vulture. It is a good album.
Saint Etienne must be the most versatile pop-band of the 90's spanning samples and breakbeats as well as extremely poppy synth-beats and Cardigans style acoustic pop (and that's pre-cardigans by the way to answer a question I was once asked). But it is charming throughout and brilliant most of the time.
Neil Young's Decade was released in 1977 and is a good introduction to the Neil that was when one is mostly in the know about the present Neil, i.e. the Farmer John, Rocking in the Free World, Harvest Moon Neil Young of the 1990's and beyond. The songs are of course classics and in particular it is nice finally to have one of my personal favourite songs regardless of artist or genre, Helpless, on disc.
An interesting coincidence is the fact that Saint Etiennes very first hit single featured a Neil Young song: "Only Love Can Break Your Heart".
TTD sounds like he does - less rockish than recently, and I don't think this will be one of my favourite TTD albums.
Every hacker watching The Matrix would know this: While the greenish glyphs streaming down the screen in the hacker submarine look really cool they do not represent in any significant way the use of visual information when hacking.
The reason: Our perception of visual information is geared for an enormous ability to orchestrate information spatially and this is done at the cost of a very poor visual resolution for temporal information.
We all know from the cinema what the approximate maximal resolution of visual information is : Approx 24 Hz, the rate of display for standard film. If it were better, movies would not look to us like fluent motion.
Our shape recognition ability on the other hand is almost unlimited and the brain even has some amazing computing related tricks where we have very high spatial resolution in the focus area of vision, which comes at the expense of general sensitivity (amateurs guess : Sincy you need a certain number of photons for a difference over space to be present you need a higher level of lighting to realize good spatial resolution). Our peripheral vision on the other hand is extremely sensitive, but has less resolution.
So a better way to construct a new age visual hacking device would be to keep the complicated glyphs - which we can easily learn to recognize - for focal vision and add peripheral information that is important but only as background information that may require us to shift our attention.
An idea for debugging could by glyphs representing various levels of function from the highest to the lowest - all visible at the same time - and then use the peripheral information for auxiliary windows. In the case of a debugger you could have variable watches etc. in the peripheral view and they would only flicker if some unexpected value was met.
I think complex glyphs would be a workable model for representing aspect oriented programming. In linguistic terms we would be moving from the standard indo-european model of language form to some of the standard cases of completely different grammers (insert technical term here) where meanings that are entire sentences in indo-european languages are represented as complex words through a complicated system of prefixing, postfixing and inflection. Matrix-like complex glyphs would be good carriers for this model of language.
Aspect oriented programming is reminiscent of this way of thinking of meaning, in that you add other aspects of meaning and interpretation of programming as modifiers to the standard imperative flow of programming languages. Design By Contract is another case in point. Every direct complex statement has a prefix and a postfix of contract material.
What would still be missing from the debugging process would be some sense of purpose of the code. And that's where the temporal aspects of hacking that the glyph flows in The Matrix represent come into play. A group of scientists have experimented with turning code into music. The ear, in contrast to the eye, has excellent temporal resolution in particular for temporal patterns, i.e. music. That's a nice concept. You want your code to have a certain flow. You want nested parentheses for instance and that could easily be represented as notes on a scale. While you need to adopt coding conventions to absorb this visually, failure to return to the base of the scale would be very clear to a human listener.
In fact, while our visual senses can consume a lot more information than our aural senses, the aural senses are much more emotional and through that emotion - known to us everyday in e.g. musical tension, the aural senses can be much more goal oriented than the visual. This would be a beautiful vision for sound as a programming resource.
They should make some changes in The Matrix Reloaded. The perfect futurist hackers workbench would consist of a largish number of screens. The center screens would present relatively static, slowly changing, beautiful complex images representing the state of the computing system at present. The periphery would have images more resembling static noise, with specific color flares representing notable changes in state away from the immediate focus. I.e. changes that require us to shift our attention.
While working, this code-immersed hacker would listen to delicate code-induced electronica and the development and tension in the code/music would of course be the tension in the film as well, and this then would tie the emotions of the hacker as observer of The Matrix - i.e. the software world within the world of the film - neatly to the emotions of the moviegoer.
It appears that if you install Kazaa, Morpheous or LimeWire P2P filesharing apps you also install software so that all redirects to amazon.com from an Amazon affiliate is modified to look like redirects from Kazaa, Morhpheus or LimeWire affiliate bookshops, i.e. they are stealing the affiliate bookstore kickback from the original link-provider.
What complete and utter scum these people are! There's even a developer trying to justify this as somehow legitimate. What an asshole he is.
One would expect Amazon to promptly refuse these organizations access to the affiliate programs for good and in fact According to the NYT report on the matter they don't. Morpheus has already been kicked out of the affiliate program.
A group of scientists at SUNY Stony Brook has successfully attacked a simple case of one of the great unsolved mysteries of science - namely the so called "structure problem" i.e the prediction of a proteins three-dimensional structure from the sequence alone. The 3D structure of a small artificial protein has successfully been fully forecast.
The initial question is of course to what extent this is a breakthrough in the understanding of structural chemistry and to what extent it is merely a corollary of advances in the speed of the computeres used to compute the #D structure.
Just found the very nice Perl Oasis POD browser. A watering hole indeed. Simple access to all your POD's. The application cheats, since perls own module reflection properties aren't yet up to snuff (hopefully Perl 6 will fix this) but the cheats employed work well enough to be useful in a lot of cases. The explorer view of my @INC and POD's contained therein is a lifesaver. Missing: perldoc integration.
It is of course easy to find something to criticize (the definite association with violent left wing activists in the 70s and some questionable pictures of Fischer taking part in violent protest himself) but the successful reinvention of Die Grünen as a reform-friendly pragmatic modern political party is impressive. And Fischer has actually been able to communicate this new line of policy to a sizable group of voters.
If only something similar could happen in Denmark, we, the right-moving left-wingers, would be happy.
We are unfortunately much more likely to see something like Gerhard Schröders power-clinging, cheap attacks on American foreign policy. A new low point in election time sellout. It is one thing to see isolationist foreign policy rhetoric at election time in American politics, but in modern European politics it is just completely out of place. What's next? An attack on France?
Kierkegaard once remarked that luck is a perfectly legitimate route to genius. Therefore I must say that I am quite happy with the new proverb that forms the title of this entry. It is a machine-translation from german of Die Schimmelreiter auf dem brechenden Deich - which was a sentence used in Die Zeit in a commentary on this sundays election for chancellor. The translation was from Googles translation beta. I wanted to see if they had improved on babelfish in any significant way but it is hard to judge from a few experiments. Services such as this always look impressive at first sight.
For instance the translation "Pitch for Hans's acorn" for "Pech f?r Hans Eichel" is funny but not so meaningful.
The site appears to be utterly non-commercial, does not endorse vigilante method but urge abused wives to call the police, so you'd think it would be difficult to find something to accuse the site of.
It appears to be a case of non-profit America adopting corporate tactics to protect their operations.
The story has grotesque appeal of course, but is also interesting for a Dane. A similar action would make absolutely non sense in a Danish environment where the ties between the larger non-profits and government are much tighter making tactics such as the above unnecesary and in fact distasteful.
Dette er ikke en vittighed: En italiensk kistefabrikant er begyndt at lave en sexy kistekalender komplet med halvn?gne piger der k?rtegner kisterne. Kalenderen ville passe glimrende ind i ethvert bilv?rksted, hvis det ikke lige var for de smukke lakerede egetr?sbokse.
Og her gik man og troede at Arbejdernes Ligkistemagasin var for meget af det gode.
I hadn't noticed this new Google beta, but now you can get your news headlines in glorious Google quality. News sources are scanned and news are arranged by topic - and I don't mean crummy general topics but a specific headline capturing the story.
We are now avaiting another stupid lawsuit from the less than intelligent association of danish newspapers who as previously reported fail to understand the nature and benefits of the internet in general and the hypertext of the web in particular
Thinking about the news categorization offered, this is probably less of a feat than it could have been. First of all your typical news story will name a person or geographical location providing rare occuring words to correlate stories from different sources. Secondly the presence of a few global newswire services read by everyone in the industry probably correlates news copy more than you'd care to recognize if you like the free press and the free world.
With only five minutes of experience with the service here's another scary observation: In the minutes it took me to write this log entry the news listed on the site were completely changed ! The lead Headline News story was moved four slots down, the headline chosen as representative for the group of stories was changed, and another story was removed from the Headlines category and demoted to a subcategory.
That's news just a little too hot for me. Clearly there is desire to keep updated. The usual dead link experience encountered when jumping from web-indexes is not really acceptable either so the balance may be hard to strike. Andy Warhols 15 minutes of fame is turning into parts of a second as we speak.
Some of the most interesting ideas in generative programming are converging. Charles Simonyis idea of Intentional programming now has it's own research company
research company. He is joined by the father of aspect oriented programming.
The connection is obvious - at least from what little I know - and I like the initiative since it ties in with some of my own thoughts on software pragmatics.
I am a little worried about the whole-sale approach implicit in intentional programming.
Simonyi talks of 'lifting' source code into the intentional world. If he is unwilling to lift it back down, then I think the initiative will fail - as long as it is not a significant platform initiative from a major vendor, like .NET is. (In many ways .NET is what Microsoft did instead of intentional programming).
I like program generation, and I like the idea of structure editing instead of text editing, but program generation has to abide by very strict rules previously discussed and text editing has two very important advantages over structure editing, namely
The rules that must be followed by program generation to be successful have been previously discussed : The total analysis of software - from design to debugging to redesign to debugging once again - must be possible in the edited medium instead of some generated medium.
A very slow compiler is not efficient since you cannot reasonably rewrite the code and then re-debug, so you cannot analyze the edited medium (i.e. source code).
Similarly if the edited medium vanishes (e.g. a wizard dialog) and you need to reengineer you are lost with generated code.
Together the leveraging of natural language inherent in artificial languages, the ability to do and store incomplete ideas, and the continued acces to the ideas in the medium you expressed them in throughout the ENTIRE lifespan of the idea including design and reengineering are very important for a succesful pragmatic software solution.
What is required in addition to these features ?
Two things mainly: Automation of all that is not editing in the design medium and then one that is a little hard to explain other than as All the qualities of natural languages missing from artificial languages. I should like to point out that in this case the phrase 'natural language' means 'the complete set of utterances of human speakers' not some speficic language with a specific grammar.
The first is a matter of a good setup. Consumate pros have complete automation of tasks once the tasks leave the design medium. Continuous integration is the standard buzz-word for this and it is available to you in most environments if you are serious about it.
The second is where intentional programming makes it's move, but also where it is at least partially ill-conceived IMO. What do natural languages have that artificial languages don't have:
An alternative phrasing would be natural language is open by default - anything goes of the person you are communicating with 'get's it' - insertion of other languages, incomplete expression, new words.
The perfect system will be as open as natural language. Personally I think the best way to define something as open as natural language is simply to use natural language as the model.
Intentional programming adresses a lot of these points: The failure of any particular artificial grammar to catch it all, the need to view all utturances about a particular piece of software as part of the software. If it fails in the most important one, namely the requirement to be 'open by default' it will matter a lot less.
Anything goes is the most important quality of natural language.
Just changed the song-lyric motto of the weblog in honour of Neil Youngs latest album, "Are you passionate" - also the title track.
The band on the album is Booker T. and the MG's and I don't know if he's using them because of the songs that happen to be there or if the songs sound like they do because of the band, but the songwriting does have a new feel to them compared to a lot of the old albums. Calling them soulful would be a clich? and the departure from standard style is not that radical, but the album is sort of mellow, without being an album of typical Neil Young ballads. It's just not very Rock'n'Roll.
There's little of the 'Ragged Glory' Neil Young on the album.
Overall I think the album is fair but not groundbreaking compared to some of the remarkable classics in the Neil Young repertoire, but I am certainly quite happy with the album.
I'm going on vacation today - and I've been messing about with the template toolkit and mod_perl - emulating but DIY'ing CGI::Application, since I don't really like Apache::Registry that much (I think the actual mod_perl interface is much more intuitive than the contortions wrt. variable scope and lifetime introduced by Apache::Registry).
With any luck that will lead to a reimplemented F9S Real Soon Now.
The template toolkit is a very nice piece of software!
Thanks to a donation from Martin D. Nielsen - thanks, Martin - classy.dk now has 'little RAM' instead of 'practically no RAM'.
The new level (80 Megs) handsomely supports the limited requirements of classy.dk - What remains of bad performance is slow disks, poor network speed, and bad coding. There's quite a lot of that going around on classy.dk as followers of the nonsite Fedhedens 9 Søjler will know.
I should do better, really.
The always clear seeing Jon Udell has an article on the future of .NET server libraries and when servers will expose their functionality via managed code for ultimate extensibility.
This is the good old world where everybody just used the C libraries and good integration languages were available in source or at least in super integrable form.
Typically the C-library wrappers in the integration language (like mod_perl) define the 'managed code' layer.
The notion that server software is mainly a series of libraries that developers can then extend on is reminiscent of the war something like perl fits inside Apache.
Now if just Parrot can get some leverage and Postgresql, qmail and apache open their API's to Parrot we have the same thing only open and naturally reflective because of Perl/Python/Ruby power.
That said it is only further evidence that .NET really is an attempt to do something better than they ever did before even if the same kind of function has been available on Linux for years.
Fik endelig set Mulholland Drive, og ligesom for Paul Auster må man konstatere at David Lynch's teknik i denne film også virker meget velkendt og af og til noget gentaget (tavse kamerature gennem jordfarvede lejligheder kunne v?re outtakes fra Lost Highway, The Log Lady er på det n?rmeste med som en nabo til vore hovedpersoner - Som med ?ret i Blue Velvet er der st?jende kamerature 'ind under overfladen' af magiske genstande, Vore hovedpersoner modtager bes?g af fantasipersoner med sk?bnetunge budskaber). I mods?tning til i Auster tilf?ldet lykkes det dog for Lynch både at skabe forventningen og overraskelsen der g?r filmen interessant.
Stilm?ssigt minder filmen mere om Lost Highway end nogen af Lynch's andre film, ihvertfald til en begyndelse. Der er den samme statiske mystik. I mods?tning til i Lost Highway er der imidlertid indlagt en stort set 'naturlig' forklaring på de otrolige m?ngder af mystiske tildragelser, og i den forstand minder filmen mere om en film som Blue Velvet.
På den måde har man både den s?rlige Lynch oplevelse - bizarre tableauer med uklar betydning, men smukt og uhyggeligt sat op - og så alligevel en forståelig og vellykket historie at gl?de sig over
Har netop l?st Paul Austers "The Book of Illusions" og er egentlig noget skuffet.
Austers teknik er over tydelig i bogen. Dens emne er helt banalt ikke s?rlig interessant, og v?rst af alt så har man set de fleste greb og ideer f?r.
De markante gentagelser fra tidligere b?ger er
Caveat : Faktisk har jeg l?st "Illusionernes bog" - den danske overs?ttelse og den kan selvf?lgelig v?re skyld i noget af skuffelsen, men Austers stil er meget 'overs?tbar' - ikke s?rlig floromvunden og meget direkte. Sprogtonen er mere bundet op på fort?lleform end på de poetiske aspekter af sproget der overs?ttes dårligt.
Just when you thought Linux-powered palmtops were the coolest, most geeky portable computing devices available (Java phones appear not to be happening just yet in reasonable quality), you learn about theSony PCG-GT3/K. A full-featured portable with a built in camera - a real one, not a webcam - with 30 Gigs of harddisk space but unfortunately powered by the evil OS from Redmond. 17 hrs of battery time also! This MUST be the baddest portable computing device on the planet right now.
Judging from the choice of OS (2000 or ME) this is really old news btw.
I've been thinking of getting a new machine for classy.dk and while I'm thinking I've been updating the configurations of my email server and my web server for a low RAM environment . Since I rarely have more than one or two visitors for my sites that should help the pace of classy.dk which has been abysmal (at least in CGI interactions)
Initial results are encouraging for some parts of the interaction but storing pages is excruciatingly slow. They are slower than I think reasonable even. Since server load never goes very much up during interactions.
So in short - if you have som 72 pin RAM to spare in reasonable sizes (>8 MB) donations are accepted.
Just to add a little more info on e-begging: I do of course completely respect the right of the needy to ask the more fortunate for help. It's more this new high-tech approach and the sheer capability of these people that seems strangely self contradictory. It's a little like being asked for free cigarettes by well-dressed student types on the street. Buy your own!
Why this note. The above should be obvious - at least to people who now me. Well the original blog entry was commented. For some strange reason classy.dk is the fourth most relevant page on Google referencing the "Help Me Leave My Husband" site. This led to a complete stranger posting a note that the poor woman was actually on the level and that this was much nicer than actual poor people who look scary asking for money.
Well I guees it is a good thing that the money will not be spent on alcohol and drugs.
I leave the site open for comments to allow this, so fair enough. Post on. The woman posting the comment was however conveniently also posting a reference to her own porn site. She's more than welcome, and I am sure I'm being a prude and applying all kinds of chauvenist morals, but the porn advert does detract from the message as far as I am concerned.
This got me thinking...
...of all the new ways in which we imprint ourselves on each other when the digital life is gradually enriched.
First of all - it is clear that weblog comments could easily become a new carrier for SPAM. And this time built into a publication system which in turn hooks into search engines, etc. By using algorithms like Google's to relate sites, Jenna of tightdisplay.com has created a connection between me and her porn site that (if classy.dk was the web's most relevant anything - which it isn't) would be published regardless of my feelings on the matter. But of course Google also scans newsgroups so this is nothing new I guess.
Secondly, Jenna's digital persona (real or fictional) is an interesting choice to use for non-commercial communication.
To me classy.dk is a step up into the digital life. I have claimed a name (A tacky one, but that at least has ironic purpose) and the name is enabled with all kinds of technology: Web and on top of that publication. An open approachable feedback channel via the comment system. I have an email server that I use to manage various social relations around me - maintaining mailing lists etc. When posting elsewhere I would gladly include (a costum spam-filtered) email address and a site link to Classy.dk, which of course makes the me posting, more interesting to interact with - since people would be responding to a comment-receiving extrovert rather than just email@example.com.
My poster, Jenna Nugent (her emai l address is porn too), is now a (text-)pornographer with a heart of gold instead of just some anonymous poster.
This has both a technical and a social aspect: The technical aspect is the "I've got my own server" aspect. I am always present on the net, even when I'm not really there - and I am more so than just be being able to receive email and posting HTML pages. The company I work for has a take on this
The social aspect is the 'server-fabric' of the internet - The name classy.dk via DNS. The weblog notification service via weblogs.com. Search engines.
The two aspects have an interplay since the social fabric is what makes the technical aspect valuable.
The upgraded edge-network (I am not just a browser and email user) is on the other hand important both in term of sense-of-ownership (There's that physical world biting the virtual world thing again - but maybe that's just me not keeping up with the times) and as a driver of new things, e.g. weblogs as a real publication medium.
To me the enhanced Jenna, and the enhanced Classy Dee are examples of media-convergence. It's not the old convergence of phone, TV, and internet - But it is a convergence of different internet media, and the connection is made at the edge where the communicating entity resides.
Ascio's take on this particular convergence has been fat names. Leveraging DNS as an information source for personal information. Lately the technology has been refocused for commercial reasons towards a light website instead but the vision remains.
This technology is still server-based, i.e. pure web technology. Other takes - which appear to the user as Instant Messaging on steroids play with the technical side of things also by moving processing - at least for some interactions - to the edge of the network, by enabling clients as publication devices. In some cases - like Radio - the use of the client as server or peer is circumstantial. For others - like Groove - it is the very idea. Groove is interesting, but to me the pure peer-to-peer is also missing the benefits I derive from classy.dk: A presence when I'm not present. My personal view on what would be the most interesting vision for Ascio Digital Identity is something like server based Groove.
What is missing is the the "rich client part" of Groove.
At the amazing website HelpMeLeaveMyHusband.com you can make donations to an anonymous woman ("My name is Penny" is the identification given) claiming to be caught in a bad relationship. It may be true it may not - what's interesting is that this new approach for getting cash out of complete strangers appears to be working, and that it uses e-cash. Convenient and confrontation-free. Begging has never been less humiliating.
This is a trend, at least according to wired