What I’m Reading on 09/03/2014

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What I’m Reading on 07/01/2014

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What I’m Reading on 06/17/2014

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What I’m Reading on 05/10/2014

iOS Development


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What I’m Reading on 04/24/2014

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What I’m Reading on 03/13/2014

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What I’m Reading on 03/10/2014

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What I’m Reading on 10/11/2013

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What I’m Reading on 10/10/2013

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What I’m Reading on 09/23/2013

  • “Some users are finding that updating to iOS 7 seems to have reduced the battery life of their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Battery issues are often reported with major iOS updates, but this time around the culprits of newfound battery drain are easier to identify, because much of it relates directly to some new features and new control mechanisms built into the new iOS release. Fortunately, this makes for easy identification and easy remedies, so if you’re encountering any issues with battery life not living up to your expectations, you can probably resolve the draining issues quickly with a few settings adjustments.”

    tags: ios apple iphone ipad

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Daily links for 04/23/2013

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Daily links for 08/30/2012

  • “During the two-week event, IBM will apply its predictive analytics, cloud computing and mobile technology expertise to connect tennis fans to what is happening on the courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. IBM also has enhanced the digital capabilities of the USOpen.org Website to give users front-row access to the action on the court. IBM has been involved with the US Open tennis tournament for 22 years and this year has created a unique digital environment—including a new iPad app—that provides US Open spectators, athletes and media uninterrupted access to data, facts, stats and content via their tablets, smartphones, PCs and other devices. This enhanced, interactive fan experience uses new technologies that thousands of businesses worldwide are embracing to up their game by uncovering insights from big data, IBM said in a press release.”

    tags: ibm analytics tennis cloud

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Daily links for 06/07/2012

  • “Keeping pace with the mobility market is daunting, and maintaining apps that need to work on various devices in this ever-changing market is like chasing a carrot around a dog track. How can you keep up? IBM’s acquisition of Worklight, a privately held Israeli-based provider of mobile software, will arm customers with the open platform they need to build, deploy, and manage multiple apps across various mobile devices with ease. For WebSphere customers this is especially exciting, as it allows them to quickly, easily, and securely leverage their existing WebSphere investments in their mobile applications.”

    tags: ibm mobile worklight

  • “Here are the major flaws in iOS that Apple needs to deal with now for power users as its “post-PC” lineup becomes commonplace and, dare I say, mature.”

    tags: apple ios mobile

  • “Several users have reported getting an error message, that says “The user name or password for Gmail is incorrect,” when trying to access Gmail on an iPad, iPhone, iPod or iMac. The problem arose because Gmail uses different techniques to try to stop spammers. Setting up an account on a mobile device can trigger it to be locked. To unlock the account, you must visit the following link and prove you are human.”

    tags: gmail password error apple

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Some views from 32,000 feet

As I flew from Chicago to Las Vegas yesterday to attend the IBM Impact conference, I was lucky enough to sit on the left side of the plane in a windows seat. As the 3 and 1/2 hour trip proceeded, I used my iPad to photograph some of the changing landscape underneath us.

The last three rather look like Mars, if Mars had water, clouds, a blue sky …

Click on an image to see a larger version.

US landscape US landscape US landscape
US landscape US landscape

The Apple iPad meets the 1964 NY World’s Fair

1964 exhibitI was 6 years old during the 1964 World’s Fair and so a perfect age to be hugely impressed by all its attractions and views of the future. IBM Research, the arm of the IBM Corporation that does science in the service of all the technological directions of the company, has now published a free Apple iPad app called Minds of Modern Mathematics which focuses on the original exhibit developed by Charles and Ray Eames.

From the press release:

Users can click through more than 500 biographies, milestones and images of artifacts culled from the Mathematica exhibit as well as a high-resolution image of the original timeline poster.

The app also includes the “IBM Mathematics Peep Show,” a series of playful, two-minute animated films by Charles and Ray Eames that offer lessons on mathematical concepts, from exponents to the way ancient Greeks measured the earth.

I first became aware of the Eames’ and their relationship to IBM in the PBS American Masters documentary Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter. The iPad app, which is available in the Apple App Store, includes, I believe, a couple of the videos from the documentary. I thought they were wonderful in the film and am looking forward to seeing the rest of them. They explain several interesting mathematical problems and concepts in playful and whimsical ways not often seen elsewhere.

Exhibits like this led many people to consider careers in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences. Coupled with the race to land on the moon, there was a tremendous amount of public support and recognition in the 60s for technological knowledge and innovation. We need to return to this, and quickly. I hope this app helps inspire students around the world to think about mathematics in new ways and to consider learning more of it.

Here’s an example of someone not “getting” the importance of the subject. When I was working on my Ph.D. in mathematics someone remarked to me that I “must know some really large numbers.” Yes, there are numbers, but mathematics is about relationships and structured systems that work together in coherent ways.

I challenge you to take a look at this app and find three things you didn’t know. If you’re pleased and impressed, recommend the app to others.


Daily links for 03/17/2012

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Daily links for 03/15/2012

  • “The biggest new feature is what Apple calls the Retina display: like the one on the iPhone 4S, it’s a very, very sharp screen. It’s four times as sharp as the iPad 2 — in fact, it’s the sharpest ever on a mobile device. This screen has 3.1 million pixels, which is 1 million pixels more than on a high-definition TV set. (At least Apple says that that’s how many pixels it has; I quit counting after three days.)”

    tags: ipad nytimes apple

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Daily links for 03/13/2012

  • “In the March index, released over the weekend, Google saw its Go language drop out of the top 50 while Google’s Dart language was ranked 78th. Oracle’s Java language ranked first, used by 17.1 percent of developers, while Microsoft‘s C# came in at the third spot, used by 8.24 percent of developers. The Microsoft Visual Basic language was ranked seventh, used by 4.37 percent of developers. Objective-C, preferred by Apple and used for developing applications for the iPhone and iPad tablet, was ranked fifth, used by 7.38 percent of developers.”

    tags: google programming languages application development

  • “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the “Buy Green, Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program” with $3.5 million in federal funds available to New York residents for the purchase of high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® refrigerators and clothes washers. The program begins Monday, March 19.”

    tags: new york rebate

  • “The latest version of WebSphere Application Server (WAS), V8.5 Beta – Liberty Profile, is now available via free download.  If you think you already know WAS, this version may surprise you.  The WAS V8.5 Beta – Liberty Profile, is small, fast and free, because you told us that’s what you wanted.”    

    tags: web ibm websphere liberty

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Daily links for 03/10/2012

  • “By IBM’s own admission, weather forecasting seemed like an unusual use for its supercomputing technology. But 16 years after it began work the parallel processing supercomputing system that would become known as “Deep Thunder” —- a targeted weather forecasting program — IBM has taken the technology mobile, putting it on an iPad app and showing it off to lawmakers on Capitol Hill at a breakfast event on Wednesday and to reporters at its New York offices later in the week.”

    tags: ibm weather ipad mobile

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Stats for browsers and operating systems accessing sutor.com

I haven’t posted the stats for browser and operating system access to this website since last July, but since I’ve been doing a lot of posting lately on mobile topics, I thought it would be useful to check the stats again. The numbers are from Google Analytics and are for the last six weeks of traffic.


Position Browser Percentage
1. Firefox 37.85%
2. Chrome 31.76%
3. Internet Explorer 13.46%
4. Safari 9.15%
5. “Mozilla Compatible Agent” 2.58%

Operating Systems

Position Operating System Percentage
1. Windows 60.13%
2. Macintosh 22.21%
3. Linux 9.31%
4. iPhone 2.73%
5. iPad 2.68%

Browsers and Operating Systems

Position Browser / Operating System Percentage
1. Firefox / Windows 26.72%
2. Chrome / Windows 19.19%
3. Internet Explorer / Windows 13.42%
4. Chrome / Macintosh 11.20%
5. Firefox / Linux 5.79%

Daily links for 03/09/2012

  • “Every time a new Apple product comes off the assembly line, it gets put under the biggest magnifying glass imaginable as crowds of onlookers parse the announcement with Talmudic intensity, hoping to piece together the “bigger meaning” and the likely impact on the computing world and mankind. For your consideration, then: four takeaways that you won’t find in Apple’s advertising materials about the newest iPad.”

    tags: apple ipad

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Daily links for 03/08/2012 – Apple (new) iPad (3) Edition

The new iPad

  • “This was surprising because our expectations were set for a new name. But it really shouldn’t be all that surprising. My iMac is not the “iMac 11″. My MacBook Air is not the “MacBook Air 4″. The iPod line changes, but the name remains the same. This will undoubtedly happen to the iPhone line as well. Just as the spec is dying (more than partially ushered to the grave by Apple), the ascending number naming race is dying too. It’s about simplicity.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “The new tablet, called simply the new iPad with no numbers or letters following the name, is an effort to keep growth chugging along in a two-year-old business that has turned into a major technology franchise for the company. Apple’s $9.15 billion in iPad sales over the holiday quarter were almost double the amount of revenue Microsoft brought in from its Windows software and not far from Google’s total revenue as a company during the same period.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “With the help of Ars’s Macintosh Achaia to refine the points for this article, here are ten annoyances that will remain with us as part of iOS—at least until the next iOS release rolls around.”

    tags: apple ios

  • “Apple announced both a new iPad and a new Apple TV during its media event on Wednesday, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at them. Ars spent some hands-on time with both devices in the briefing room after the event was over and managed to get a few answers to some of our questions, but as usual, Apple remained mum on some others.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “The dust has finally settled, the rumors have been replaced by facts, and now we know what the new iPad is all about. So what’s missing? Or what fell a little short of expectations?”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Why’s that? Because when you’re buying an iPad, you’re buying into the Apple ecosystem. The iPad isn’t dominant just because it’s a cool device, but because it stands alongside other immensely popular devices in the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook. Throw Apple TV and iCloud into the mix, and you have a set of devices that touch virtually everything you do. If you have one Apple device, it’s really hard not to consider getting the others.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Given all of the hype surrounding new Apple products, there are inevitably high sales expectations for the newest iPad. A recent survey from independent mobile advertising network InMobi found that nearly one-third of mobile users will buy the new iPad.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Bottom line, this hardware refresh is more than enough to keep the iPad ahead of the Android competition for the foreseeable future.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Unsurprisingly, Apple has managed to produce something that’s truly beautiful to look at, and while we’ve yet to see the full potential of having this many pixels on a 9.7-inch slate, we’re guessing a cadre of game developers are already hard at work in order to remedy that. Beyond being dazzling from a density standpoint, colors are sharp and accurate, and viewing angles are predictably ridiculous; even taking a peek from an extreme side angle gives way to a fairly solid image with next to no washout.”

    tags: apple ipad

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Daily links for 01/25/2012

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Daily links for 01/19/2012

  • “But 2011 was the tipping point. iPhones now have more users than BlackBerrys within corporate environments, and Aberdeen Group mobile analyst Andrew Borg notes that many organizations have figured out how to handle the Apple security model comfortably, lessening the dependence on BlackBerry Enterprise Server outside of a small percentage users with special security requirements. Additionally, iPads became the corporate standard, with Windows-like market share, for tablets the same year. In fact, Aberdeen Group says that 96 percent of businesses have at least one iPad in use. Who’d have thunk it?”

    tags: apple mobile blackberry

  • “Among the more than 700 IT professionals polled for a Check Point study (PDF) out today, iOS accounted for 30 percent of the collective traffic on their networks. But RIM’s BlackBerry was hot on Apple’s trail with 29 percent. As BlackBerry has long been a corporate standard, the rise of iOS is a clear sign of the consumerization of IT in which employees want to use the same devices at work that they use at home. The trend is even more notable since Apple gears its products for individual consumers with little focus on the enterprise market specifically.”

    tags: apple ios blackberry

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10 predictions for enterprise mobile for 2012

Yes, it’s that time of year of for predictions for what we might see in the next twelve months. Being in the IT business and in a company like IBM, I’m somewhat hamstrung in what I can say regarding the future because of confidentiality, but here’s my attempt at some prognostications that won’t be giving away anything secret.

These are my personal predictions and not those of IBM.

  1. There will be a huge rush to fill the developing void being left by RIM and Blackberry, and smart enterprise CIOs will focus on security and management issues first.
  2. Although there seem to be 1 or 2 new entrants in the mobile device management area every week, potential customers will learn that it takes more than being able to call an API to wipe a device to give you enterprise credibility.
  3. The differences between mobile application management and mobile device management will become clear.
  4. Companies that develop multiple applications will understand that some will be web/HTML5 based, some will be native, and some will be hybrid. You don’t need to support just one kind and your application platform vendors shouldn’t force you to do so.
  5. CIOs will realize that the connection between mobile and cloud is overhyped. CIOs will realize that the connection between mobile and cloud is underhyped. That is, your use of cloud for mobile applications may not be in the way you expect today.
  6. Traditional networks that support web applications will need to be reconfigured and re-optimized to support an increasing amount of traffic from mobile devices. The number of interactions will dramatically increase, their length will be shorter, and significantly more asynchronous notifications from the server side will all drive a lot of R&D.
  7. While Android fans continue to claim world domination and Apple keeps selling more and more iPhones and iPads, look for Microsoft‘s relative marketshare to start inching up.
  8. WebOS is done, but look for a new smartphone/tablet operating system to arise by late 2012 that will start to challenge RIM and Microsoft for the number 3 and 4 market positions.
  9. Amazon will have a serious tablet in the market by mid-2012 that will start to get some enterprise interest. The connection between that and the Amazon cloud will become clearer. The device may not be running Android.
  10. Apple will make changes to iOS to make it easier to support both personal and enterprise secure personalities on the same device. Yes, I know you can do this on Android today, but we weren’t talking about Android, were we?

Bonus: I will give up my Blackberry and get an Android smartphone for the first time (to complement my personal iPhone and iPad).

Daily links for 12/21/2011

  • “Just as 2011 saw the rise in dominance of Android, Apple basically opening fire on every Android device through lawsuits, and a flood of tablets and 4G devices, 2012 should see similar shake-ups in the industry. Below are five predictions for what will happen next year. Some are based on recent conversations with industry sources, others rely on where the market trends are heading, while a few are speculation and wishful thinking.”

    tags: mobile

  • IBM is rolling out eight new social-networking and collaboration mobile apps specifically designed to address enterprise-class requirements on Apple’s iPad and Android-based tablets. The new software, available for download now from most of the popular app stores, takes IBM’s industry-leading social-networking, real-time collaboration and online-meeting capabilities from behind the company firewall and places it into the hands of tablet users. The new offerings span a wide range of tablets, including the iPad. The software allows employees to more effectively collaborate and share data and images, and conduct meetings on the fly more securely as part of their everyday work experience, IBM said. Big Blue’s new apps offer social-networking capabilities for the iPad, online meetings, instant messaging, accessing business documents, and easier access to mail and calendar. IBM also released new software for building apps faster and better, and for improving the Web experience for users.”

    tags: ipad android ibm tablets

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Daily links for 12/16/2011

  • “The tablet market hasn’t been too friendly to Google’s Android operating system. Over the last year, consumers have been increasingly turning to Apple’s iPad to satisfy their tablet desires. Android-based products, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak and countless other slates, have been collecting dust on store shelves. Of course, there are some who say that that will change. To prove their point, researchers and analysts point to Android’s slow start in the smartphone space before Android won a dominant share of the overall smartphone market. But so far, Android hasn’t lived up to the hype in the tablet space. So perhaps it’s time to question if Android really can make it in the tablet market. There’s no debating that it will have some slice of the tablet market, but it’s becoming more likely that it won’t be dominant. What’s more, it’s becoming far more possible now that Android might just become the “odd man out” in the tablet market. Don’t believe it? You should. This slide show spotlights why Android’s chances for dominance in the market aren’t nearly as great as Google and its fans would have you believe.”

    tags: android tablet

  • “Open source is not a dumping ground, unless someone chooses to treat it as such. If it is not treated as a garden that must be tended, don’t be surprised when it does seem like a graveyard.”

    tags: open source

  • “A new analysis of licensing data shows that not only is use of the GPL and other copyleft licenses continuing to decline, but the rate of disuse is actually accelerating.”

    tags: gpl copyleft

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Daily links for 12/14/2011

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Daily links for 12/05/2011

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Daily links for 12/03/2011

  • “Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets deliver great graphics capability and processing to their users. Such devices enable access to applications that was previously unthinkable on mobile equipment, with terminal emulation screens and even full-screen browsers. And with the widespread adoption of Apple devices, which run iOS, there is a unique opportunity to link mobile users to IBM System z platforms.”

    tags: ibm systems ipad

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Getting started with mobile in the enterprise: The IBM Mobile Technology Preview

Over the last 15 years of my career, I’ve seen several ideas or technology trends capture a significant amount of customer, press, and analyst attention. There was Java, XML, web services, SOA, and cloud. In and around all those were standards and open source. To me, the unquestionably hot technology today is mobile.

To be clear, I’m not talking about what happens in cell phone towers or the so called machine-to-machine communication. I mean smartphones and tablets. Those other areas are important as well, but devices are so front of mind because so many people have them.

Apple is obviously playing a big role with its iPhone and iPad, not to mention the half million apps in their App Store. Google and the Android ecosystem have produced even more smartphones and a whole lot of apps as well. Then there’s been the drama around HP and webOS, plus RIM and the PlayBook and outages. So we’ve got competition, winners and losers, closed ecosystems, and sometimes open ones. What’s not to love about mobile?

It can get confusing, especially for people trying to figure out their enterprise mobile strategy. They are looking for strong statements, for “points of view,” that will help them take advantage of mobile quickly but also aid them in avoiding the biggest risks. This is made even more interesting by employees bringing their own devices to work, the “BYOD” movement.

Not every employee is issued an official company smartphone and the devices they buy themselves are often better than what the company might provide. So they are saying “I’ll pay for my phone and my contract, let me have access to work systems so I can do my job better.” The recent ComputerWorld article “IBM opens up smartphone, tablet support for its workers” discusses some of what’s happening in this space at IBM, my employer.

Next there is the whole web vs. hybrid vs. native discussion regarding how to build apps on the device itself. Should you write it to the core SDK on the device (native), stick to developing standards for continuity and interoperability reasons (web), or something in between (hybrid)? Which is faster and for what kinds of apps? Does the app cause a lot of network traffic or does it require great graphics? Are you willing to bet that HTML5 will get better and better? I’ve started discussing this in a series of blog entries called “Mobile app development: Native vs. hybrid vs. HTML5″ (part 1 and part 2). Your choice will involve tradeoffs among expense, time to market, reuse of web skills, portability, and maintainability.

What about management? If I bring my own device to work, how do the company’s apps get onto it in the first place and then get updated? Is there an enterprise app store? If I leave the company, do they zap my whole phone or just the apps they put on it? There are differences between Mobile Application Management (MAM?) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) that you need to understand.

Let’s not forget security, as if we could. A colleague of mine, Nataraj Nagaratnam, CTO of IBM Security Systems, told me the way to start thinking about that for mobile is that “a secure device is a managed device.” That doesn’t mean that all security falls under management, but rather you need to have device management to have a complete mobile security strategy. You also need to be handle identity management, authorization and authentication, single sign-on across apps, data loss protection, and all the things you need to worry about with the web today such as phishing, viruses, worms, social networking, VPN, etc. Security must be there but it also needs to be unobtrusive. Most mobile users will not know what a certificate is nor whether they should accept it.

Fundamental to managing and securing mobile devices compared to laptops is that people tend to lose their phones a lot more often than they lose their laptops. That’s a good starting point for thinking about the differences.

With that as prolog, let me introduce you to the IBM Mobile Technology Preview on IBM developerWorks at http://ibm.co/ibmmobile.

The Mobile Technology Preview encapsulates several technologies we’ve been working on in the labs. We’re making it available for you to experiment with it, comment on it, share your requirements for your mobile platform, discuss the pros and cons of different approaches to mobile app development on both the device and server side, and join the community to make it better.

We plan to update the Technology Preview as we add or change the feature set, ideally because of your stated requirements. In this release we’ve included

  • an application server runtime that uses the WebSphere Liberty Profile of the WebSphere Application Server 8.5 Alpha (runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows)
  • a notification framework
  • a hybrid app development model using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • basic management functions
  • location-based security
  • several samples featuring notifications, Dojo, PhoneGap, and a starter insurance app for handling car accidents.

The Mobile Technology Preview is available for Android devices.

I plan to use the tech preview from time to time to illustrate some of my discussions of mobile in my blog. I encourage you to try it out, track its progress, and influence its roadmap.

Employee mobile device + work = potential security problem

Employee: “I lost my iPad.”

Corporate security: “Why are you telling me?”

“I had company documents on it.”

“But you had the mobile security package installed, right?”

“Err, no.”

“I would have thought the company president would have known better …”

With the BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device to work, movement rapidly picking up steam, more and more employees are taking their smartphones and tablets to the office. This can be a boon to the CIO’s office if it no longer needs to foot the bill for those fancy new devices, but opens up all sorts of security problems.

The great thing about the current generation of phones and tablets is that they are so usable. Even forgetting apps, having mobile browser access wherever you are gives you access to information and processes that can help you do your work more efficiently and in a more time sensitive way.

Of course, being so convenient and light, it is also easy to lose them. This is why you can’t just tell your people to use their phones for work. You need to manage the access and resources they have, and be able to shut it down or delete them if the case arises. This could because because of a lost or stolen phone, but also because the employee should no longer be able to get to company data. There are levels of security access and people who are former employees should have no access at all.

All of this is on top of the security problems we already recognize and handle on laptops, such as phishing, viruses, and data loss protection.

And now a word from my sponsor …

IBM is today announcing the Hosted Mobile Device Security Management service. Capabilities in the new mobile security service include:

  • Configuring employee devices to comply with security policies and actively monitoring to help ensure compliance over time
  • Securing data in the event that a device is lost or stolen
  • Helping to find a lost or stolen device – wherever it is
  • Protecting against spyware and viruses
  • Detecting and removing malicious and unapproved applications
  • Monitoring and tracking user activity
  • Enabling more secure connectivity

And now back to me …

Seriously, this is a big but I believe containable problem if you take the necessary steps to understand the security exposures of employee devices in the enterprise and take steps now to provide the necessary security. Many people are familiar with the security and management capabilities of RIM and Blackberries, and they are now asking for the same level of comfort for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

If you don’t have a security policy in place for mobile devices in your company, you should start putting one together and implementing it now. Think about how many devices will need to be supported, what kinds, to what they will need access in terms of processes and data, and what you need to do when something goes wrong.

An employee need to understand that if he or she wants to use that cool new tablet for company work then he or she will need to live by the rules and policies set down to protect the organization’s assets. There’s a spectrum of possibilities between “you can’t use your own to device” to “you can do whatever you want.”

As an industry we’re trying to help companies move from the first situation to something in the balanced middle that provides the right level of security while maintaining the convenience, usability, and power of the devices.

Also see:

Daily links for 10/27/2011

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Daily links for 10/26/2011

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Daily links for 10/25/2011

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Daily links for 10/20/2011

  • Google has confirmed that the source code for Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ will be made public, after it refused to release the code for its predecessor ‘Honeycomb.'”

    tags: android open source google

  • “RIM’s troubles started last week when the company’s services, including e-mail and BlackBerry messaging, went down across the world. After a few days, the company was finally able to get its services back online. But by then, the damage was done, and many users around the globe started complaining.”

    tags: blackberry apps

  • “With a unique, end-to-end view of their businesses, today’s CIOs are a driving force behind what makes companies work smarter. It is critical, as one CIO put it, to “ensure you understand the vision, have a clear strategy and execute where the business wants to go.” This is one of the many insights uncovered when we met face-to-face with over 3,000 CIOs to create The Essential CIO-the largest study of its kind to date.”

    tags: mobile ibm cio

  • “As is usual when dealing with mobile operators and corporate IT, some caveats apply. So far only Android devices will work with the Horizon hypervisor with VMware unable to offer the benefits of a hypervisor-enabled virtualization on Apple’s iOS devices including the iPad and iPhone for Verizon. Steve Herrod, the CTO of VMware, said in an interview that’s he’s happy to do it when Apple decided to let others play around with its operating system. Meanwhile he reiterated that eventually he hopes to get VMware’s Horizon product written into the Android code.”

    tags: vmware verizon mobile virtualization

  • “But Lookout, a start-up that makes security apps for phones, wants iPhone owners to use its product, too. On Tuesday, it plans to introduce an iPhone app that addresses what its founders say are worries unique to iPhone owners.”

    tags: lookout security iphone

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Daily links for 10/15/2011

  • “The challenge of developing and maintaining mobile banking applications that will run on an iPhone, an Android phone, a BlackBerry or a Windows phone, as well as browser-based or wireless application protocol apps that will run on anything, is daunting even for large banks with massive IT budgets, never mind the rest of the banking world. But Jeff Dennes, who led the development of some of the first mobile banking apps at USAA and was recruited to Huntington Bancshares, Columbus, Ohio, a little over a year ago, says a multi-platform strategy is necessary. And HTML5, the latest version of the hypertext language for structuring and presenting content on the internet, is the next development frontier for banks to ignore at their peril.”

    tags: banks mobile

  • “Two years ago, there was no such thing as an iPad. Five years ago, nobody had a smartphone. Before 2007, the year of the iPhone, mobile marketing was mostly about text-messaging and selling ringtones. The bottom line is that everyone is new at this thing called mobile marketing. So, it should be no surprise that marketers are still working out the kinks.”

    tags: mobile marketing

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Mobile app development: Native vs. hybrid vs. HTML5 (part 1)

I’ve seen and heard a lot of discussion about how people build applications for mobile devices. While there are literally hundreds of thousands of apps out there for Apple, Android, Blackberry and other smartphones, I can’t help but think the majority of these are one-off efforts. In this series in the blog, I’m going to tackle some of the issues with developing mobile apps, especially for enterprise use, and along the way propose some ideas for making the process easier and more repeatable.

mobile client technologiesI’m going to start this series by discussing the basic concepts of how you might develop an application for a smartphone or a tablet. I’m scoping it at this high functionality level and not looking at feature phones, at least not right now. I’ll use Apple as my primary example, but things are similar for other devices and mobile operating environments.

If you have an Apple iPad or an iPhone, many of the apps use the native software development kit, or SDK. It is available from Apple’s developer website and contains almost everything you need to start creating apps. Like any software you plan to use, make sure you read all the legal terms and conditions before you agree to them. If you work for a company, make sure your manager and local attorney also agree that you can use the SDK. This goes not only for Apple, but for Google, Blackberry, Microsoft, Samsung or any other SDK provider.

Most native apps on Apple devices are written in Objective-C, an object-oriented language. If you’ve developed software using C++, C#, or Java, Objective-C might take some getting used to. If you are comfortable with SmallTalk, however, it should seem much more familiar.

An Objective-C application is developed using the traditional write-compile-link-run-debug iteration, though the Apple XCode environment is quite powerful and makes this loop straighforward. Nevertheless, it is not a whole lot different from what programmers did 10 or 15 years ago. Objective-C is not a scripting language, is not interpreted, and on mobile devices you need to do your own memory management.

That said, when you create an app with a native SDK, you can use the very best and most powerful features on the device. You can optimize your app as much as you want and you have maximum control. This is very important for many software engineers. The app will be as functional, as beautiful, as secure, as bug-free, and as fast as you and your team can make it. It may also take you much longer to develop the app because you need to do all these things yourself.

Yes, the SDK makes your life easier, but it is still the case that when you go the native route you need to do more of the basic development yourself.

Here’s another important issue: if you write an app using a native SDK directly, you will essentially need to completely rewrite it when you use native SDKs for other devices. I say essentially because you may be able to write some of your apps non-UI program logic in C++ and re-use that for Apple, Android, and some other environments. There are some additional but similar tricks available.

To be on the safe side planning-wise, if you decide that you need to support multiple devices and you are using the native SDKs, assume that you or someone else will rewrite the app as many times as necessary to get the broad support you need. It is not uncommon to develop the first app for the iPhone and then outsource the creation of versions for other devices based on the original reference implementation. This can be expensive and time-consuming because you need a lot of people to get this done.

For some apps you will need to go the native SDK route for the reasons I stated above. If you do not have extreme requirements for look-and-feel, device functionality, or performance there are some other choices.

In future entries I’ll look are extending the native approach with libraries, something I call, oddly enough, “Extended Native.” I’ll also discuss the pure HTML5 web approach, and poke at the strange middle ground between Native and HTML5 called “Hybrid.” Tools that target multiple devices such as cross-compilers can also work, and I’ll get to them as well.

Next up: HTML5

Also see: “The spectrum of hybrid mobile app development with Worklight”

Daily links for 08/22/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 08/11/2011


  • “This IBM® Redbooks® publication contains a summary of the leading practices for implementing and managing a WebSphere® eXtreme Scale installation. The information in this book is a result of years of experience that IBM has had in with production WebSphere eXtreme Scale implementations. The input was received from specialists, architects, and other practitioners who have participated in engagements around the world. The book provides a brief introduction to WebSphere eXtreme Scale and an overview of the architecture. It then provides advice about topology design, capacity planning and tuning, grid configuration, ObjectGrid and backing map plug-ins, application performance tips, and operations and monitoring.”

    tags: websphere extremescale caching


  • “It’s amazing to me to think that August 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the IBM Personal Computer. The announcement helped launch a phenomenon that changed the way we work, play and communicate.  Little did we expect to create an industry that ultimately peaked at more than 300 million unit sales per year. I’m proud that I was one of a dozen IBM engineers who designed the first machine and was fortunate to have lead subsequent IBM PC designs through the 1980s.  It may be odd for me to say this, but I’m also proud IBM decided to leave the personal computer business in 2005, selling our PC division to Lenovo. While many in the tech industry questioned IBM’s decision to exit the business at the time, it’s now clear that our company was in the vanguard of the post-PC era.”

    tags: IBM Post-PC

  • “Much has been made about Apple’s recent changes to the iOS terms. At first, everyone was sure that many big players would be forced to pull their apps, such as Amazon’s popular Kindle app. But then Apple relaxed the rules a bit, and simply said that Amazon and others couldn’t link to their own stores from their iOS apps. Amazon complied. But at the same time, they were also working on an alternative.”

    tags: amazon kindle html5 mobile

  • “However the company is licking its chops from the juicy licensing fees it gains from Android handsets. According to Horace Dediu, Microsoft sold around 1.4 million Windows Phone 7 in Q2, which brought in around $21 million from the $15 per Windows Phone 7 that it earns. On the other hand, HTC sold 12 million Android smartphones in Q2, and as it earns around $5 per Android phone from HTC patent licensing fees, Microsoft made around $60 million. This is 3x the amount earned from its own OS from the licensing deal with HTC alone.”

    tags: microsoft android windows phone

  • “Microsoft plans to officially launch the next version of an operating system called Windows 8 next year. [3] Windows 8 is a touch-screen version of the OS and will work on tablets as well. However, similar to Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich, Windows 8 allows the iPad to make further inroads into the tablet market. By the time Google and Microsoft roll out their new tablet OS’s, Apple may well have launched iPad 3 to further drive sales.”

    tags: apple tablets

Open Source

  • “After years of slow, steady growth, OIN has been growing significantly in the last quarter. During the second quarter of 2011 alone, OIN had 35 new companies join its community of licensees. The consortium now has 260 corporate supporters. OIN licensees, which include founding members and associate members, benefit from leverage against patent aggression and access to enabling technologies through OIN’s shared intellectual property resources.”

    tags: cisco Twitter linux patent oin

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 08/10/2011


  • “Well, it’s happened. As TechCrunch noted today, Amazon has quietly launched read.amazon.com, a full-featured HTML 5 version of the Kindle that runs perfectly on the iPad browser, looks for all the world like a native application after it’s been added to the iPad home screen as an icon and can even store books to read offline.”

    tags: amazon ipad kindle

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal – June, 2011

The IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal is a great resource for the latest technical news, advice, and details about what’s happening within the WebSphere line of products. Yes, this is kind of a message from my sponsor, but there is no buy button. Don’t tell sales.

WebSphere graphic imageOne of the things that I’m doing now that I’m back here in IBM WebSphere is looking around at the resources that are available for the products in my portfolio. There’s quite a bit between the product pages, as you would expect, but also developerWorks. The articles, forums and blogs on developerWorks provide significant resources for those using all IBM products, not just WebSphere. That said, they do have a large section on WebSphere itself.

From time to time I’ll put up some pointers to WebSphere resources. Today I’ll start with the WebSphere Developer Technical Journal. It’s available to be read online, in PDF form, or on your Kindle.

Here are a few articles in the June edition:

If you wish, you can download this entire issue in PDF format. I download such documents and then use DropBox to read them on my iPad.

Daily links for 06/20/2011

  • “If you live an old home or building, you already know the limits of WiFi. Despite the improved range of 802.11n coupled with improved throughput at greater distances‚ WiFi doesn’t work magic. Buildings with brick or stucco-over-chicken-wire walls resist the charms of wireless networks, as do houses with thick wooden beams, cement elements, or with rooms spread out over many levels or floors.”

    tags: wifi networking

  • “OSGi is a very interesting set of standards today that it provides the component model for packaging components and provides the runtime functions needed to knit the components together to make an application. There is starting to be an industry acceptance of OSGi as the standard for developing components. This industry acceptances so far has been more around componentizing middleware runtimes to enable customers to use just want they need of the middleware, lightening the environment up. But this is also changing, with the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, is where the programming model concepts to enable customer applications is being standardized. Many industry players, including IBM, SpringSource, BEA, Oracle and others are working together to define this standard.”

    tags: websphere foundation architects

  • “AS it turned 100 last week, I.B.M. was looking remarkably spry. Consumer technologies get all the attention these days, but the company has quietly thrived by selling to corporations and governments. Profits are strong, its portfolio of products and services looks robust, and its shares are near a record high. I.B.M.’s stock-market value passed Google’s earlier this year. Not bad for a corporate centenarian.”

    tags: ibm longevity

  • “As we understand it, Project Spartan is the codename for a new platform Facebook is on verge of launching. It’s entirely HTML5-based and the aim is to reach some 100 million users in a key place: mobile. More specifically, the initial target is both surprising and awesome: mobile Safari. Yes, Facebook is about to launch a mobile platform aimed squarely at working on the iPhone (and iPad). But it won’t be distributed through the App Store as a native application, it will be entirely HTML5-based and work in Safari. Why? Because it’s the one area of the device that Facebook will be able to control (or mostly control).”

    tags: facebook apple iOS mobile

  • “One thing holding pure Web apps back is limited support for HTML5, the latest Web standard, which can be used to create a rich, native-app-like experience in some browsers.”

    tags: mobile hybrid

  • “Nortel Networks, once North America’s largest communications equipment provider, has sought bankruptcy protection and has sold most its assets.  Among its assets remaining are 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patent portfolios.  The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking, Canada-based Nortel said.”

    tags: apple google nortel patents

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 05/18/2011

  • “Richard Dawkins has a new kids’ book coming out in October called The Magic of Reality, which explains just how gosh-darned awesome the actual scientifically explained world is, and how wondrous the universe is when considered as a material, non-supernatural phenomenon. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, the book is illustrated by the wonderful Dave McKean (whose work you might know from Neil Gaiman books like The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, or the US cover of my novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town).”

    tags: dawkins book science

  • “The Summer pyGames project is a six-week long competition during which high school students develop open-source educational software and games to be used and distributed to schools in South Carolina. Many of last year’s competing teams presented at the FIRST Championship in St Louis. The program has also been showcased at the FIRST Robotics Palmetto Regional, POSSCON and INNOVENTURE Southeast.”

    tags: pygames summer python Open Source

  • “And although Apple isn’t known for its corporate focus or market penetration, it’s the leader when it comes to tablets: 83 percent said they would be using iPads. That compares to 17 percent for RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, 14 percent for HP’s Slate, 13 percent for Motorola’s Xoom, and 11 percent for Dell’s Streak.”

    tags: ipad apple

  • Fedora is in the process of retiring our old “Individual Contributor
    License Agreement” (also known as the ICLA or CLA) and replacing it with the new Fedora Project Contributor Agreement (FPCA). All Fedora contributors with accounts in the Fedora Account System
    (https://admin.fedoraproject.org/accounts) who have agreed to the old CLA *MUST* agree to the new FPCA by June 17, 2011 to continue contributing to Fedora.”

    tags: fedora linux license

  • “Starting on Wednesday, Film Forum is offering a double feature of the literal Dylan, made up of “Don’t Look Back” (1967), by D. A. Pennebaker, and “The Other Side of the Mirror,” Murray Lerner’s compendium of Newport Folk Festival concert footage from the early 1960s. Both films highlight the mischievous, mercurial aspects of Mr. Dylan’s personality, while also providing undeniable proof of his musical prowess and incidental proof that he was, indeed, a young man once.”

    tags: Bob Dylan film

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Finished: “The Windup Girl”

book coverI just finished reading The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi and I have to say it was an excellent, excellent novel. It happens to be science fiction because it is set in a future Bangkok after most of the petroleum reserves have run dry and gene-ripping monopolies have tried to corner the market on “calories” while unleashing plagues that have destroyed the competition, but it’s a great human story as well. Highly recommended.

Like many of the books I’ve read recently, I read the e-book version on the Kindle app on my iPad.

Next up I might tackle one of the books on my Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reading List, or I may go back and work on A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. What’s most likely I think, is that I’ll go steampunk for a few days and read Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Yay, zombies.

Daily links for 04/28/2011

  • “A thick, heavy book with the equally weighty title A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming may be the single most important Linux book you ever buy.”

    tags: linux macosx book

  • “Canonical has announced the official release of Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narwhal. This major update introduces the new Unity desktop shell, which is designed to improve ease of use and deliver a more modern user experience.”

    tags: ubuntu linux

  • “In lab tests, people can distinguish between sounds as little as five milliseconds apart, and our involuntary timing is even quicker. If you’re hiking through a jungle and a tiger growls in the underbrush, your brain will instantly home in on the sound by comparing when it reached each of your ears, and triangulating between the three points. The difference can be as little as nine-millionths of a second.”

    tags: brain time newyorker

  • Python Math is a full implementation of the Python Programming Language with a restricted set of modules focused on mathematics processing. For more information, documentation, tutorials, downloads for other computers, and even merchandise about Python, go to python.org. No network connection is needed. The Python Math interpreter runs in your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Python Math is a universal app, meaning that it runs on iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, without downloading a separate app.”

    tags: ipad iphone programming python math

  • “iLuaBox provides an intuitive environment to learn, write, and run scripts written in the Lua Programming Language. This is not a stripped down version of Lua, but rather a full-featured implementation that is optimized for iOS 4.2. iLuaBox is a universal application that runs on any iOS 4.2 compatible device.”

    tags: iphone ipad iluabox lua programming

  • “Yet the stock is stuck, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its May 2 edition. It closed at $26.38 yesterday versus its average of about $27 since the start of 2001. The shares, which first surpassed $26 in 1998, have lost about 7.1 percent including dividends in the past decade while the S&P 500 returned 30 percent.”

    tags: microsoft stock

  • “Second beta for the LibreOffice 3.4 open-source office suite is available one week after Oracle dumped a commercial version of OpenOffice.org

    tags: libreoffice oracle openoffice.org

  • “As expected, the buyout of Linux power Novell by Attachmate has finally gone through. On April 27th, Attachmate acquired Novell for $6.10 per share in cash–approximately $2.2-billion. With this deal completed, Novell is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group, the parent company of Attachmate Corporation. Immediately prior to the merger Novell completed it’s “previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.””

    tags: novell attachmate linux

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Update to scifi and fantasy reading list

I’ve updated my list of Hugo and Nebula award winners for novels to include 2010. For the Nebula, the winner was The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. This book also won the Hugo, though it was shared with The City & The City by China Mieville.

I just finished reading Mieville’s book on my iPad via the Kindle app and it is quite good. For the first half I thought it was definitely a scifi book but by the end I wasn’t sure. There are certainly intentionally unexplained mysteries that keep it in the category, but as the author states in an interview at the end, it is a crime novel at its core.

The notion of two largely co-located but politically separated cities with serious sanctions for “breaching” the borders is a very clever one and the core idea on which the plot is based. It’s strong enough to allow sequels to further develop the implications.

I started Bacigalupi’s novel today while on the treadmill. It is intriguing but it’s far to early to report anything intelligent.

While the list only contains award winners, I do read other books in the category. However, to the degree that the list provides a compelling reason to read the best books by a broad selection of authors, I think it’s a good motivator and guide.

2011 Road Trip: From home to Pigeon Forge, TN

This last week was my son Will’s Spring Break from school, so he and I took a 1750+ mile (2800+ km) road trip from our home in upstate New York, USA, down south to Tennessee. Over several blog entries I’ll highlight where we went and what we did. This is the first entry in the series.

April in upstate New York can be very warm, or very cool, and very dry, or very wet, sometimes on alternate days. It’s the real transition month from winter to spring. It’s not quite either, though, so in order to try to guarantee some warmer weather, my 14 year old son Will and I decided to get away by driving down to Tennessee. I had never been to that state except for a brief stopover in an airport almost 30 years ago, and Will had not been there at all, so it seemed like a good destination.

To sum up what we were looking for: warmth, bar-be-que, and new experiences.

Map from home to Pigeon ForgeOur plan was to leave last Saturday and spend a week on the road. Unlike highly scripted trips where all flight arrangements and hotel reservations are made in advance, my idea of a road trip is to make one or two essential reservations, plan a rough route, do enough research so you can get to the good things along the way if the mood strikes you, and then take off.

Having your own car and the flexibility to bring along anything you want is a big plus. Having a smartphone and an iPad makes it easier to be spontaneous as well.

Several years ago my daughter Katie and I took a road trip to Hibbing, Minnesota, to see where Bob Dylan grew up. We both agree that it was one of the best vacations we ever took.

Here was the rough plan for the trip:

  • Leave on Saturday and get to Pigeon Forge, TN, by Sunday evening.
  • See Dollywood on Monday.
  • Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Tuesday.
  • Get ourselves farther west to Nashville by Wednesday night and spend two days there.
  • Start driving home on Friday, getting back on Saturday.

I don’t like to drive more than 500 miles in a day, and since the distance to Pigeon Forge from our house is 758 miles (1220 km), I knew it would be a two day trip. Though I planned to leave around lunch on Saturday, the weather didn’t cooperate and I was nervous about driving into the heavy rains and high winds that were left over from the destructive storm that launched tornadoes in Oklahoma and North Carolina.

I set a decision time of 4 pm to figure out if we would leave on Saturday or wait until Sunday morning. By that time things had cleared up considerably and we left a bit after 5 pm on Saturday evening. A Sunday departure would have compressed the trip quite a bit.

How far did we plan to go? As far as we could. Because of this, I did not make any hotel reservations for the night before we left. I’ve found that I can usually find a Hampton Inn or other suitable hotel along the way. The downside is that depending on the day of the week and what might be happening in a particular area, we might not get a hotel when we are ready to stop. If that happens, we have to keep going until we can find a vacancy. I won’t accept anything but a non-smoking room, so that lowers the odds a bit.

The usual route is to head west toward Buffalo, head southwest toward Erie, PA, on I-90, and then pick up I-79 to drop straight south. I modified this a bit by first going south to I-86/Route 17 and then picking up I-90 north of Erie. This is a bit longer but cuts down on the truck traffic. Just as we got on I-86 it was clear that there had been a  recent blow down of trees so we  were right to have left later than we had planned.

We got to Erie around 7:30 and I pulled into a restaurant parking lot to take stock of where we were. I felt that I could do more driving even though there were plenty of hotels along Peach Street, I-90 Exit 24, in Erie. The problem was, and is, that I don’t really like that area. It’s extremely busy with a lot of traffic and feels very artificial to me. Here’s an example: there’s a business right off the highway that advertises “fireworks, pepper spray, stun guns, and sugar-free fudge.” That’s no place in which I want to spend a lot of time.

I used my iPhone Hampton Inn app and discovered that there was a hotel with a non-smoking two bed room another half hour down the road. The receptionist said there were plenty of restaurants in the area and, anxious to get out of Erie, we got back on I-90 and merged onto I-79 south in a few minutes. We stayed in Meadville, PA, and had a very nice dinner at Montana’s.

We got up early on Sunday morning and drive the 572 miles (921 km) to Pigeon Forge in about 12 hours. It was a long day on the road.

Here are some notes on that portion of the trip:

  • We just skimmed the Pittsburgh area to the west, so I still can’t say I’ve been to that city.
  • Driving through West Virginia is: turn to the left, turn to the right, go up a hill, go down a hill, repeat 5000 times.
  • West Virginia would have been more pleasant if a truck hadn’t lost its cargo and forced all traffic to a single lane. We lost 45 minutes because there was no way to go around it. I was very patient, if I say so myself, but with such a long day I didn’t need the delay.
  • We got off the highway to go to a little bar-be-que place near Clendenin, WV, only to discover it was only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday’s. The Bob Evan’s Restaurant where we ate lunch wasn’t much consolation.
  • When we exited West Virginia via a very long tunnel on I-77, one that I found rather unnerving to drive through, we ended up in Virginia. Somehow that surprised me, but there’s an awful lot of Virginia that is just as far west as West Virginia. This was a failure of mine to read the map more carefully than just noting which interstate highways led to others.

Will in TennesseeIt was dark by the time we left I-40 in Tennessee and drove the 30 minutes south on Route 66 to Pigeon Forge. The man at the check-in desk at the hotel said we were lucky that we had not come the previous day because traffic congestion from a car show made the trip on the local road take 3 hours instead of 1/2.

The main attraction in Pigeon Forge is Dollywood, the theme park that Dolly Parton bought into in the 1980s. However, from the highway south through the town it is hotel after motel after restaurant after go cart place after attraction after … . Imagine mini Orlando meets mini Las Vegas. Also imagine a lot of road construction.

Whatever: we had gotten to our destination with a week’s worth of vacation in Tennessee yet to come. But that’s a tale for tomorrow.

The Entire 2011 Road Trip Series

Daily links for 04/11/2011

  • “Gartner projects that Apple’s iOS will hold 47 percent of the tablet operating system market in 2015 with Android at 38.6 percent. RIM’s QNX will have a respectable 10 percent of the tablet market in 2015. The big assumption for Gartner over the next 4 years: Microsoft will have no tablet answer.”

    tags: microsoft apple ipad android ios

  • “The new standard provides language features that make it easier to write correct and well-performing code in C++ together with more standard libraries. For example, C++11 provides facilities for writing concurrent code (e.g. for multicore machines) in a type safe-manner. The improved language facilities are focused on allowing better specification and use of abstractions (classes and templates). Examples are a more efficient way of getting results out of functions (move semantic), better facilities for object initialization, and a simpler for loop. Examples of new library components are hash tables, threads, and regular expression matching” says Stroustrup.

    tags: c++ programming

  • opensim Mobile is a project that seeks to provide access to virtual worlds (OpenSim based) from mid/low-range mobile devices. Created under J2ME using LWUIT library, we provide a unique user experience for these devices.”

    tags: virtual-world opensim

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 04/06/2011

  • “HBO is about to unveil an ambitious adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel Game of Thrones. Jace Lacob speaks to Martin; the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; and Sue Naegle, the entertainment president of HBO about the ruthlessly addictive show. Fans of the books should also read “10 Secrets of HBO’s Game of Thrones,” to find out about casting direwolves, forging the Iron Throne, creating the Dothraki language, and many other behind-the-scenes details. Also, read George R.R. Martin’s Curator feature of his favorite science fiction films.”

    tags: fantasy

  • “But this was no concert; there would be no encores or bows. Mr. Dylan’s powerful lyrics were the focal point, but not so much the performance of them. Instead, this was an examination of how Mr. Dylan’s music has influenced the American judicial system. A two-day conference titled “Bob Dylan and the Law” started Monday night with a panel discussion at Fordham Law School, featuring two law professors, a Dylan historian, a disc jockey and a guitar player.”

    tags: dylan legal

  • “For those of us who aren’t code slingers, what’s the easiest way to build a digital book? I’ve noticed a small but growing number of tools, ranging from big guns like those on offer from Adobe to iPad-based efforts that aim to make publishing a touch and drag affair. Below is a list I’ve been compiling over the past few weeks. Some of these solutions get you an iPad app, some get you ePub, some are for web-based books.”

    tags: ebook

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 03/18/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 03/16/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 03/15/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 03/11/2011

  • “PC sales are expected to be around 350 million in 2011. Apple will sell over 100 million post-PC devices. Apple isn’t just winning tablets; it’s winning computing in general.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Simply put, reefing is the art and practice of reducing sail area. Every sailor knows that the wind exerts its force over the exposed surface of a sail, but many don’t realize that even a small increase in wind speed can bring about substantial increases in the force of the wind. And, when you consider that spars and rigging, along with the sails, create windage that absorbs the wind’s energy, it’s easy to see that the more surface area that’s presented to the wind, the more impact the wind’s energy will have on the handling characteristics of a vessel.”

    tags: sailing reefing

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 03/04/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 03/03/2011

Things You Can Buy for 99 Cents

  • “99 cents is the inevitable price for best-selling iPhone apps, says the creator of Angry Birds. “If you look at the top games in the app store, 99 cents is the price,” said Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka (whose business card reads simply “Mighty Eagle”) in a presentation at Game Developers Conference on Monday afternoon. “There’s no point in arguing whether it’s good or bad for the industry,” he said — one buck is the sweet spot, and what remains is to figure out how to make your mobile game a success at that price.”

    tags: iphone ipad android Angry Birds apps

  • Kindle “First, a little history. Just last year, the magic price point for a lot of indie (self-published) authors was $2.99. Why $2.99? Well, if you price your e-book at $2.99 or higher, you get a 70 percent royalty or from Amazon when using its Kindle Direct system or 65 percent from Barnes & Noble when using its PubIt! self-publishing platform. That means that if you set your price to $2.99 you make around $2 on each copy you sell, which is damn good, especially if you sell a lot of copies, which certain indie authors do.”

    tags: kindle ebook amazon

iPad 2 vs. the Others

What to Use to Write Your Novel

  • Scrivener logo button“Scrivener is a tool for outlining, storyboarding, writing, and editing longer-form writing — think books, lengthy reports, movie scripts, and so on. Scrivener started as an app for Mac OS X, but there’s been a steady stream of users who’ve asked the company to produce a Windows and/or Linux version. Turns out, the company has been listening and is working on a beta for Linux and it’s looking pretty good.”

    tags: writers linux scrivener

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

So you’re thinking of buying an iPad 2

With Apple‘s announcement yesterday of the availability of the new iPad 2 in the US on March 11, a lot of people are probably wondering if they should buy an iPad for the first time or get a new one.

There are many articles out there that cover the news of the new device and purchase considerations. For example:

Here are some things to think about if you already own one:

  • What are you going to do with the old one? Can you give your older model to a family member or friend and have them think you are truly generous rather than just trying to justify a purchase? They will probably be able to live with it either way. Consider giving it to someone with children or to a school.
  • Have you had the old one long enough? I got my iPad 1 at the end of April, 2010, so it would be less than a year if I got a new one. That’s pretty soon as far as devices go. Of course, my birthday is in May …
  • Do you use your old iPad a lot? If not, what is so wonderful about the new one that will cause you to use it enough to justify the purchase? Check out the new apps like GarageBand that Apple will introduce on March 11 and see if they tilt the scale toward a purchase.

If you do not have an iPad, here are some considerations:

  • They really are very cool devices and with 65,000 apps there is a lot you can do with them.  As Scoble talks about in the article above and I discussed in the blog entry “Tablet wars: Those with the most and best apps win,” do not underestimate the health of the app developer ecosystem and the size of the app marketplace.
  • Check out the competition, particularly the Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom. Look at the features,  compare the hardware, the number of apps, and the costs. Don’t be overly impressed with a device having an SD card if you don’t know what an SD card is. I think Android 3.0 will be quite cool, but you might want to let the dust settle a bit and wait a few months to get a device that supports it and has many apps. By this I do not mean multiple editions of Angry Birds.
  • Windows tablets? Seriously, get real. That ship sailed and sunk, twice, and in my opinion will do it again, repeatedly. Move on.

And some final words for anyone considering getting an iPad 2:

  • Really consider getting a 3G model, though it will add monthly charges and increase the purchase price. I love that I can grab my iPad and have Internet and Web access almost anywhere.
  • Buy a model with more storage than you need today. Many of the hottest new apps will operate on multimedia files like photos, audio, and video. Those get big, very big. If your budget allows it, get the 64Gb model.
  • Verizon or AT&T? Verizon has better coverage in upstate New York where I live, so I would probably go with that. AT&T has worked pretty well for me, I must say, but I would probably bite the bullet and switch.

Daily links for 03/01/2011

GPL and the Apple App Store


  • “Why, in this day of razor-thin and elegant Macs, actually usable Windows 7, and cloud-connected gadgets would anyone bother to carve up their hard drive and install Linux, the geekiest of the major operating systems? Linux will never be everyone’s desktop, but here’s why it might be just perfect for you, as a workhorse or a hobby.”

    tags: linux

  • Novell today announced DB2, IBM‘s highly successful database software, is now available as an easy-to-use online download on SUSE® Gallery and as an adaptable template within SUSE Studio™. Today’s announcement builds on Novell’s momentum to deliver software appliances across a range of IBM software, including WebSphere, Lotus and Smart Business, all powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise.

    Novell logo

    DB2 is the first IBM software available for download from SUSE Gallery, an online showcase where users can browse, download and publish software appliances and cloud-based applications. The DB2 template is also available within Novell’s appliance-building tool SUSE Studio, which greatly simplifies the process of creating an appliance based on DB2 database software. As a result, ISVs have the choice of downloading DB2 as a software appliance from SUSE Gallery and using it immediately, or using SUSE Studio to customize the database image to fit their specific needs.”

    tags: novell suse db2 linux ibm

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/28/2011

Open Source iPad Apps

Other news

  • “The domain name was recently acquired by Linux Fund from the City of Salem, Oregon for an undisclosed amount. Salem’s public library was using the domain for a kids-to-Internet program entitled the Oregon Public Education Network. The Linux Fund purchased the domain at public auction.”

    tags: Open Source

  • ​”The Village lost a life-long partisan and a true voice last Friday, with the passing of Susan Rotolo after a long illness, at home in her Noho loft and the arms of her husband of 40 years, Enzo Bartoccioli. Suze Rotolo was a talented artist (the maker of artist books and delicate book-like objects), as well as an illustrator, a sometime activist, an erstwhile East Village Other slum goddess, a devoted wife, a proud mother, a poet’s muse, a good comrade, and late in her too-short life, a published author. She was intensely private but as the radiant young woman on the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, she became a legendary figure and even a generational icon. Just writing that I can hear her annoyed chortle–although she did humorously allow, after years of dodging rabid Dylanologists, that she was some sort of “artifact.””

    tags: rotolo dylan

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/27/2011

  • “So what will we see on March 2nd? We’re hearing it’s most likely a thinner, spec-bumped variation of the original iPad with a screen size and resolution identical to the current model. More RAM (512MB) and a more powerful CPU (the A5) are expected as well. It’s also a pretty safe bet the tablet will be sporting at least one camera up front — though if some of those case mockups we’ve seen tell us anything, expect a shooter around back too.”

    tags: iPad apple

  • “With the 83rd annual Academy Awards quickly approaching, media junkies will be hurrying to see this year’s latest nominees, while catching up on the latest buzz and predictions. Just in time for the Oscars, we’ve rounded up five apps designed to fill your insatiable hunger for Hollywood’s most important awards show.”

    tags: apps oscars iphone iPad

  • “Of course, literally thousands of sites and forums provide news and information about open source software. To narrow things done, we focused on sites that provide a lot of links of open source applications – the top places to download open source software.”

    tags: Open Source

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/25/2011

  • “Apart from the new iPad, that means one thing: speculation. I’m not immune, so here’s my list of things I think will make it into an already capable machine. I have stuck to features, rather than things like CPU speed, as the internal specifics matter less than what they actually enable you to do.”

    tags: iPad

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/23/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/12/2011

  • “The cell phone market has been undergoing massive changes over the past few years as Apple‘s iPhone and Google‘s Android platform are each competing to become the future of mobile devices. The winner of this mobile race will come down to a mixture of technical, community, and business factors.  I think there are five key areas where there are significant differences, and I’ll be watching for the next few years to see who will win this fight.”

    tags: ipad android

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/11/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tablet wars: Those with the most and best apps win

I just linked to an article over on PCMag.com called “Top Tablet Comparison: iPad vs. Xoom vs. TouchPad vs. PlayBook” that compares the in-the-market iPad with 3 possible contenders that have yet to be sold. The article very correctly discusses which of the tablets are likely to get the most applications (“apps”) built for them.

Personally, I think the market will end up supporting two top contenders: the iPad and the best tablet that runs Android 3+. Then there will be a strong #3, but with far less marketshare than the top two. Though it is really too early to make a fact-based prediction, I would not be surprised if that #3 eventually was a WebOS tablet from HP.

Samsung may be #4, but after that all other contenders will have share lost in the error term. That is, something, but so small that the top contenders’ share and revenue will dwarf it. Put yet another way, share so small that executives at the companies will ask themselves why exactly they are in the market at all. I think Microsoft will not be a significant player here.

I also believe that the dominant tablets will end up being in the 10 inch form factor and not the smaller 7 inch one. I’m not looking for a bigger smartphone, I want something that has decent real estate with which to work and read.

Aside from the variations in hardware, the quantity and quality of the apps will differentiate the contenders. I think some of the vendors are now saying “Well Apple has 15,000 apps [or whatever] but we have 15 REALLY GOOD ONES.” Pretty dumb.

Recommendations and ratings help separate the wheat from the chaff when deciding which one of the one hundred similar apps for a given activity is really the best, but I really think recommenders should be required to state how closely they are related to the app developer. (I’m joking, but some of the 5-star recommendations are really content free.)

It is not easy to write apps for these devices, so the quality of the developer programs will also help determine which hardware gets the most and best apps. This does not obviate the need for developers to support the most popular devices in order to support themselves. However, a bad developer program creates a lot of frustration and bad will. Apple has a very good one and Google appears to have a decent one, but less warm and fuzzy for people starting out.

An important factor is how much code can be shared across implementations on the different devices. For example, if you stick with Objective-C from Apple, it won’t help you with Android. Conversely, Java for Android won’t give you Objective-C. Cross platform kits like Appcelerator Titanium may help you, but I have no personal experience with it.

My philosophy would be to factor the app into a UI front end written in the main language for the device, then have most of the core logic in an engine written in C++. The advantage to this is that you may be able to put a simplified front end on the backend that is then used to drive a test suite on a desktop or server where it is easier to automate such things.

Devices that make it too hard to get high quality cross-platform apps written for them will die off unless they already have massive marketshare or can get it because of successful linkage to other very strong products. Developers will follow the money as well as the platforms with elegant and productive development tools and programs.

Daily links for 01/27/2011

  • “I like Honeycomb’s new features. They sound great. I just object to Google to turning Android into two separate but unequal platforms Sure, the hardware was never going to be the same, but did Google really need to make two platforms? Apple seems to be doing OK with iOS for everything from iPad Touch devices to iPad. For Android developers the bottom line is going to mean more work because they’ll need to write two different versions of every single application. Like I said at the top: “Ack!””

    tags: google android iPhone iPad

  • “Government agencies in Australia should actively participate in open source communities and will be required to consider open source options equally when going to tender, under new policy announced Wednesday.”

    tags: australia Open Source

  • “Developers from RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia got together last week at the SUSE office in Nürnberg to discuss how they might implement a universal application installer they are referring to as an Application Store. This is in response to the belief that end users aren’t interested in libraries, dependencies, compatibility, and other technical details. They think users only care about screenshots, basic descriptions, ratings, user reviews, and such. The idea is to define and write a tool to find and install applications.”

    tags: linux package manager

  • “OStatic reports on the rather massive undertaking. Last week, at the SUSE offices in Nürnberg, developers from RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia convened to talk about creating a universal installer and application store for all these various Linux distributions, bringing together various established technologies.”

    tags: linux

  • “One of the most common mistakes new desktop Linux users make is to give up too easily, often citing the frequently heard myth that “It’s too hard.” The truth, however, is that it’s just different. It may be difficult to remember at this point, but Windows took some getting used to, too.”

    tags: linux switching desktop

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 01/18/2011

  • “So perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the company’s first mobile application to use Alpha was similarly tailored for a refined audience and came with a correspondingly expensive price tag of $50. No doubt displeased with the response, Wolfram shortly after decided to “focus on ubiquity” and cut the price to $2. Now Wolfram is showing signs that indicate a deeper understanding of consumer sensibilities, announcing new iOS applications called Wolfram Course Assistants to help students with algebra, calculus, and music theory. They tap into Alpha’s Mathematica abilities behind the scenes, but they’re focused, packaged, and reasonably priced at $2 for algebra and music theory and $3 for calculus.”

    tags: education wolfram iPad math

  • “The World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has unveiled a new logo for HTML5 — and along with it, a new way of framing the conversation about newer web development technologies. The topic of HTML5 has been one of great debate and no small amount of confusion over the past year or so. With the ardent support of companies such as Google and a great deal of enthusiasm from developers in all areas of work, HTML5 has taken its place in popular conversation as the magic-bullet antidote for everything that’s wrong with web development (we’re looking at you, Flash).”

    tags: html5 w3c logo

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 01/17/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 01/15/2011

  • “When is Hadoop justified? For a petabyte workloads, certainly. But the versatility of tool makes it appropriate for a variety of workloads beyond quote unquote big data. It’s not going to replace your database, but your database isn’t likely to replace Hadoop either. Different tools for different jobs, as ever.”

    tags: redmonk hadoop

  • “A few hundred words from Google Product Manager Mike Jazayeri announcing that Google would be supporting WebM and Ogg Theroa instead of the H.264 video codec in Google Chrome for the HTML5 video tag has lead to enormous controversy in browser and video circles. Now, Google has explained in more detail what’s its trying to do, and ends up defining the sides in the HTML5 video fight.”

    tags: google video h264

  • “Several European newspapers have been informed that they will not able to offer paid print subscribers free access to an iPad edition, according to Apple Insider. The problem – from Apple’s point of view that is – is that this subscription strategy is an end run around the 30% cut Apple takes.”

    tags: apple ipad

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

What should an iPad/tablet math app look like?

Math apps for tablet devices like the iPad should teach you how to structure a problem and its solution so you become better organized and capable of learning more advanced topics.

As I continue to ponder math software for tablet devices like the Apple iPad, I keeping coming back to the core problem of what the user interface (UI) should be. For the record, I’m not thinking about early education math apps, so no counting leaping frogs or dancing princesses in my UI.

Rather, I’m thinking about the type of homework my 8th grade son does in math, with a continuation on up into high school and college. The work is not just computation with numbers and symbols, but can also include graphs. It needs to allow text so the student can explain what it going on and what the solution is.

For many years, students have used very sophisticated calculators from TI and others. Therefore, some apps try to emulate that UI model.

Classical computer algebra systems looked much like operating system console windows where the user would type in an expression or command, press enter/return, and the result would be displayed. So the process is: read an expression, evaluate it, print the result. Repeat. And so on.

Systems like this eventually evolved into ones where popup windows contained graphs and text could be included. The most sophisticated systems included notebook interfaces where all sorts of information could be placed on pages organized into sections. One page might look like a piece of graph paper while another could resemble a legal pad.

There are also dependencies among computations and graphs. For example, I might say “take the result from step 3, square it, and add 2″. You could also build a spreadsheet-like model where these dependencies are made much more explicit and the functions available go far beyond the floating point functions most spreadsheets provide.

So my model of the ideal math UI for a tablet is closest to a notebook that allows easy and flexible formatting of text, computations, graphs, and tables. Also, the math output should be displayed beautifully with subscripts, superscripts, integral signs, matrices, and so forth. If you know TeX, that’s what I mean.

You need to have some way of saving the contents to disk or for export, and be able to load documents that you or someone else worked on previously. Here you might be a teacher and a “someone else” might be one of your students. So the interface should allow the sharing of documents with others. For extra credit, tie this into a learning management system like Moodle or Sakai.

So we can think of lots of functionality this fancy interface could or should have, but the primary purpose is to help students or those doing the work structure and organize what they are doing and how they are doing it. It’s to get the problem solved but also to learn a logical way of doing it.

Math homework should not look like chicken tracks on a page. Those pages have lines on them for a reason. Text and lettering should be neat. Students should be able to explain in English (or their own language) what is going on at each step. The environment should help and encourage the student to answer the question that is asked. Where units like feet, quarts, meters, or km/sec2 are needed, the UI and system should allow them and enforce their correct use in computation.

Math is not about solving one particular problem enough to get credit and then moving on to something else. It is about learning how to think and recognize patterns. There are computational skills involved and those must be mastered, perhaps with help from calculators or apps, but the goal is getting to the moment of clarity where a problem and its solution makes perfect sense. The system should not do all the work for you, but it should train you in the techniques and how to avoid stupid mistakes.

Different UIs may be better for different people, but the best ones help you master the material in an organized way and enable you to synthesize the new material with what you already know. This then becomes part of the foundation on which you will layer more math, physics, engineering, economics, or perhaps just life.

Also see:

Daily links for 01/11/2011

  • “At a press conference in New York City today, Verizon said it will soon begin selling Apple‘s iPhone. The device will be available on its network starting in early February, COO Lowell McAdam said to a gathering of press at Lincoln Center. It’s the same model iPhone 4 that AT&T and international carriers currently sell except that it connects to the CDMA network instead of GSM.”

    tags: iphone verizon

  • “Of course, for any given organization these numbers may vary.  Some are 100% on the XML formats.  Some are 0% on them.   If you look at just “gov” internet domains, the percentage today is only 0.7%.  If you look at only “edu” domains, the number is 4.5%.  No doubt, within organizations, non-public work documents might have a different distribution.  But clearly the large number of existing legacy binary documents on government web sites alone is sufficient to prove my point.  DOC is not going away.”

    tags: microsoft

  • “Now come the iPadversaries. Here is what companies have to look forward to in their competition with Apple’s iPad. First, there will be a new iPad out sometime this spring. Anything introduced before this will be viewed in light of whatever Apple will have on iPad 2. One of Apple’s internal mantras is to always stay at least two years ahead of the competition. While that may not always be true at the pure technology level, the combination of an innovative device, coupled with its apps and services almost always keeps it many steps ahead of what any competitor can throw at it.”

    tags: tablets iPad

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 01/05/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Review of the blog for 2010 – October through December

I finish my survey of what I blogged about in 2010 as I look at the final three months of the year.

Last Time: “Review of the blog for 2010 – July through September”

Just as the third quarter of 2010 started with the buzz about IBM switching to Firefox as its defaults browser, the final quarter started fast in October with the news of IBM shifting its open source Java efforts to OpenJDK. Oracle, the new steward of Java after its acquisition of Sun,  was in the news a lot this year regarding open source, but I’ll let you find those stories yourself if you are not already aware of them.

On the sailing front, the boat finished its season a bit early as the headstay cable shredded. This spring I need to replace all the fixed rigging, but that’s a 2011 story.

I continued tinkering with the blog itself as I replaced the WordPress theme I used with a slight variation of one of the default ones provided with the software. I finally got fed up with Atahualpa, all its options, and the instability of the theme from release to release. When I finished the work to put the new theme in place, my wife confessed she never really liked the old one, something that might have spurred me to action a bit earlier.

One feature I did like in Atahulapa was the rotating header images. This doesn’t mean they spin around, it indicates that each time you view a page the theme will randomly select an image for the topmost section. I showed some code to implement this feature in a subtheme of TwentyTen.

In November I gave a keynote at ApacheCon in Atlanta called “Data, Languages, and Problems”. It was a fun talk to give and the research for it brought me back to an earlier part of my career, before Linux and before most of my involvement with open source. Every time I look at the Apache Software Foundation I’m amazed by the incredible work being done there.

I occasionally do a blog entry about cooking and on Thanksgiving Day I posted an entry on considerations when making apple pies. Two words for you: apple jack. In the pie crust. Ok, that’s six words. But try it.

winter snowIn early December I started to get the sense that news about open source was slowing down and I and then several readers offered some suggestions why that might have been so, if it was indeed the case. While it may just have been an end of the year occurrence, it will be interesting to see if and how things pick up again in 2011.

I looked again at math software for the iPad and decided that not that much had changed since my first review in July. That’s a bit like saying that the news is that there is no news, but I’m curious if downscaled versions of Maple or Mathematica will be released for the tablet in 2011. Of course, they’ll need to charge a lot less than they do for the desktop editions, so that might be giving them pause.

After speaking with several customers and partners on the topic, I posted a blog entry about open innovation. It’s clear to me that some very good work is being done by several visionary companies, but it also seems to be a field fraught with jargon and an imbalance between marketing and technology.

Just for fun, I published a piece about the basic ideas behind predictive analytics. I didn’t hear too much from readers on that one, though my sister said she found it useful in conversations about the travel industry. It’s a fascinating field with business implications as well as social and ethical ones.

I ended the year with some comments on predictions for open source made for 2011 by other people. While we wait to see if efforts started in 2010 turn out to be wild successes or spectacular failures, I can’t wait to see what gets announced that will be truly disruptive.

That’s what is always most intriguing to me as we start a new year: what will happen that we just do not expect. I hope for you and the rest of us that those surprises will be happy ones and lead to great new opportunities.