What I’m Reading on 09/05/2014

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What I’m Reading on 07/24/2014

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What I’m Reading on 07/10/2014

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What I’m Reading on 06/20/2014

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What I’m Reading on 05/28/2014

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What I’m Reading on 05/20/2014

  • “The power of wearables is to make the invisible visible. To show us what’s really happening around us. The last time I felt this way about a device was Fitbit. Seeing how you actually move during the day, versus what you think, is a profound realization, and Fitbit has motivated the world to move more and remember activity as the key to wellness. Perhaps the Clip’s power is similar. Perhaps through vivid memories and moments, we can become more present, more aware and yes, more happy.”

    tags: bs camera wearable

  • Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.42% introduced a larger-screen version of one of its Surface tablet computers, offering a lighter and thinner device Microsoft touted as a potential replacement of existing laptops.”

    tags: bs microsoft surface tablet

  • “As virtual reality gains steam, the question of virtual worlds is never far behind. Philip Rosedale is best known for online community Second Life. But since last year, we’ve been watching for news on High Fidelity, a new project meant to blend his previous work with cutting-edge telepresence technology. The system, announced in 2013, was compared to the OASIS of Ready Player One: a series of worlds connected to each other by a central network and economy, provided — obviously — by Rosedale himself. At the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference in Mountain View, we’re seeing the first hints of what that could mean, as well as a sense of the many hurdles left to jump.”

    tags: bs v inside fidelity

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What I’m Reading on 05/16/2014

  • “The news today at Bloomberg  is that Rackspace has hired Morgan Stanley to look at “strategic options” for the future. Rackspace has long been something of a bridesmaid in the cloud infrastructure space. Previously dwarfed by the number one player, Amazon Web Services, the San Antonio-based company now has to contend with some very strong cloud infrastructure plays from others including Microsoft MSFT -1.54%, Google GOOGL -1.02% and IBM – all companies with far bigger footprints, and deeper pockets than it has.”

    tags: bs cloud

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What I’m Reading on 05/13/2014

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What I’m Reading on 05/02/2014

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What I’m Reading on 04/25/2014

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What I’m Reading on 04/23/2014

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Second Life and OpenSim revisited

Several years ago I spent quite a bit of time in Second Life when it was the hot 3D social world. The promise was that you could build and visit worlds that had been uniquely constructed by the users. As such, it was dynamic environment that tended to be slow as all the shapes, buildings, and textures were loaded.

Second Life alter egoPeople can customize their in-world presences extensively, from body shape to the clothes and decorations worn. Indeed, you don’t even need to look like a person. Note, however, that you probably should not show up to a business meeting in Second Life in the form of a squirrel, as my now-retired IBM colleague Irving Wladawsky-Berger once said.

Over time, Second Life fell out of fashion as a world where businesses could set up sites where clients or interested people could visit, learn about products or services, and talk to real people, albeit in avatar form.

For internal business meetings, the lack of truly secure conversation was a problem. We used teleconferences for the voice, and Second Life for the environment. As meetings went on, participants often went inactive, or fell asleep, in Second Life, and we were back to phone meetings as usual.

Second Life lives on today as a social world. That’s never been much of an interest to me, but to each his or her own. It seems to be quite vibrant across a broad range of what “social” means.

My interest in it was always more in the construction aspects, and I’ve written extensively about the techniques involved. See Building in Second Life, By Example. I still get many links to this site from people looking to build moving doors, for example. I also had a long series of blog entries about how to do things in Second Life called My Second Life. Note that this is from 2006, so it is getting a bit old.

You can see all my writings on Second Life by going to the top of this page and entering “second life” in the search box on the right side.

Here is the net for me with Second Life: it is too expensive to be as slow as it is, especially if I only want to use it as an advanced 3D building environment. While new ways of building objects have been introduced, it’s hard to see a lot of difference from the way it was five years ago. I still visit from time to time, but I own no land and spend no money there.

OpenSimulator, or opensim for short, is a reimplementation of the Second Life server in open source. It is written in C#, so requires Microsoft Windows or the Mono environment on Linux. It does not include a browser, but several are available.

Other than the OpenSim site itself, the best source of information about the technology and the worlds built with it is Maria Korolov’s Hypergrid Business. It is excellent.

Some of the features of OpenSim include:

  • an active development community
  • better in-world programming options
  • the ability to host a world on your own computer, which is completely free
  • many online paid hosting options
  • the ability to connect your world to several choices of “grids,” or collections of worlds
  • teleporting from one world to another across a grid

This means that I could set up a world on my local computer, do all the building I want on it, save an image, and then transfer it to a hosted server. If you can and want to connect your computer to the Internet, you can host your world from there and have others visit it.

To see a modern use of OpenSim, read the article $250,000 project models cities in OpenSim.

Some of the potential downsides are:

  • hosting providers come and go, though some have been around for years
  • it may be more difficult to find assets you need at the quality you want, for example textures, but there are guides for finding free content
  • it is probably best if you have some technical chops or know someone who does

So Second Life costs money to own land and to buy some assets, and is more restrictive. OpenSim and the worlds and grids associated with it provide more freedom, but you are more on your own and there might be some long term risks related to hosting. For me, the freedom is worth the risk.

In 2010 I wrote a blog entry called Virtual Life with Linux: Standalone OpenSim on Ubuntu 9.10. I’ve recently gone through the experience of doing this on Ubuntu 13.10. I’ve published some notes on what I did this time to install on my pc in Virtual Life with Linux: Standalone OpenSim on Ubuntu 13.10.

What I’m Reading on 02/04/2014

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My annotated programming language history

I’ve been coding, a.k.a programming, since I was 15 years old. Since then I’ve used many programming languages. Some of them have been for work, some have been for fun. I mean, really, who hasn’t done some programing while on vacation?

Somewhat chronologically, here are many of the languages I’ve used with some comments on my experience with them. In total I’ve written millions of lines of code in the various languages over four decades.

Basic: This is the first language I used. While primitive, I was able to write some long programs such as a Monopoly game. In between coding sessions, I saved my work on yellow paper tape. I fiddled with Visual Basic years later, but I never wrote anything substantive in it.

APL: Now we’re talking a serious language, and this is still in use today, particularly by one statistician in my group at IBM Research. I was editor of the school newspaper when I was a senior in high school and I wrote a primitive word processor in APL that would justify the text. It sure beat using a typewriter. Some modern programming languages and environments like R and MatLab owe a lot to APL. They should mention that more.

FORTRAN: My first use of this language was for traffic simulations and I used a DYNAMO implementation in FORTRAN in a course I took one summer at the Polytechnic Institute of New York in Brooklyn. Forget interactive code editing, we used punch cards! FORTRAN was created at IBM Research, by the way.

PDP 11 Assembler: I only took one Computer Science class in college and this was the language used. Evidently the course alternated between using Lisp and Assembler and the primary language in which the students wrote. However, our big project was to write a Lisp interpreter in Assembler which got me hooked on ideas like garbage collection. No, I did not and do not mind the parentheses.

csh, bash, and the like: These are the shell scripting languages for UNIX, Linux, and the Mac. I’ve used them on and off for several decades. They are very powerful, but I can never remember the syntax, which I need to look up every time.

Perl: Extraordinary, powerful, write once and hope you can figure it out later. Just not for me.

PL/I: Classic IBM mainframe language and it saved me from ever learning COBOL. When I was a summer student with IBM during my college years, we used PL/I to write applications for optimizing IBM’s bulk purchases of telecommunications capacity for voice and data. It was basically one big queuing theory problem with huge amounts of data. It was big data, 70s style.

Rexx: This language represented a real change in the way I viewed languages on the mainframe. Rather than being obviously descended from the punch card days, it was a modern language that allowed you to imagine data in more than a line-by-line mode, and help you think of patterns within the data. It was much easier to use than than the compiled languages I had used earlier. My primary use for it was in writing macros for the XEDIT editor.

Turbo PASCAL: This was my main programming language on my IBM PC in the 1980s. The editor was built-in and the compiler was very fast. I used it to write an interactive editor like XEDIT for the mainframe with it, as well as a Scheme interpreter.

Scheme: A very nice and elegant descendant of Lisp, was considered an important programming language for teaching Computer Science. That role has been largely usurped by Java. I liked writing interpreters in Scheme but I never did much actual coding in it.

VM Lisp: This was a Lisp dialect developed at IBM Research for mainframes. My group led by Dick Jenks there used it as the bottommost implementation language for computer algebra systems like Scratchpad, Scratchpad II, and Axiom. Like other Lisps this had two very important features: automatic garbage collection and bignums, also known as arbitrarily large integers.

Boot: An internal language at IBM Research built on Lisp that provided feature like collections and pattern matching for complex assignments. It had many advantages over Lisp and inherited the garbage collection and bignums. From time to time I and others would rewrite parts of Boot to get more efficient code generation, but the parser was very hard to tinker with.

Axiom compiler and interpreter languages: The IBM Research team developed these to express and compute with very sophisticated type hierarchies and algorithms, typical of how mathematics itself is really done. So the Axiom notion of “category” corresponded to that in mathematics, and one algorithm could be conditionally chosen over another at runtime based on categorical properties of the computational domains. This work preceded some later language features that have shown up in Ruby and Sage. The interpreted language was weakly typed in that it tried to figure out what you meant mathematically. So x + 1/2 would produce an object of type Polynomial RationalNumber. While the type interpretation was pretty impressive, the speed and ease of use never made the system as popular as other math systems like Maple or Mathematica.

awk: Great language for regular expressions and sophisticated text processing. I wrote a lot of awk for pre- and post-processing the Axiom book.

C: Better than assembler, great for really understanding how code translates to execution and how it could get optimized. Happy to move on to C++.

C++: Yay, objects. I started using C++ when I wrote techexplorer for displaying live TEX and LATEX documents. I used the type system extensively, though I’ve always strongly disliked the use of templates. Several years ago I wrote a small toy computer algebra system in C++ and had to implement bignums. While there are several such libraries available in open source for C and C++, none of them met my tastes or open source license preferences. Coding in C++ was my first experience with Microsoft Visual Studio in the 1990s. The C++ standard library is simply not as easy to use as the built-in collection types in Python, see below.

SmallTalk: Nope, but largely because I disliked the programming environments. The design of the language taught me a lot about object orientation.

Java: This is obviously an important language, but I don’t use it for my personal coding, which is sporadic. If I used it all day long and could keep the syntax and library organization in my head, that would be another story. I would be very hesitant to write the key elements of a server-side networked application in something other than Java due to security concerns (that is, Java is good).

Ruby: Nope. Installed many times, but it just doesn’t make me want to write huge applications in it.

PHP: The implementation language for WordPress and Drupal, in addition to many other web applications. If you want to spit out HTML, this is the way to do it. I’m not in love with its object features, but the other programming elements are more than good enough to munch on a lot of data and make it presentable.

Objective-C: Welcome to the all Apple world, practically speaking. It hurts my head, but it is really powerful and Apple has provided a gorgeous and powerful library to build Mac and iOS mobile apps. My life improved when I discovered that I could write the algorithmic parts of an app in C++ and then only use Objective-C for the user interface and some library access.

Python: This is my all time favorite language. It’s got bignums, it’s got garbage collection, it’s got lists and hash tables, it can be procedural, object-oriented, or functional. I can code and debug faster than any other language I’ve used. Two huge improvements would be 1) make it much easier to create web applications with it other than using frameworks like Django, and 2) have Apple, Google, and Microsoft make it a first class language for mobile app development.

Javascript: This has been on my todo list for years and I’ve written a few dozen lines here and there for some web pages. To me, the object system is strange, but I need to get over it. Of the languages that are out there now, this is probably the most important one missing from my coding arsenal and represents an intellectual deficiency on my part.

What I’m Reading on 12/10/2013

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What I’m Reading on 12/04/2013

  • “A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work.”

    tags: nasa warp drive science

  • “Nintendo Co. (7974)’s prospects for meeting its profit and sales forecasts for this year are diminishing after Sony Corp. (6758) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) each sold more game consoles in 24 hours than the Wii U maker did in nine months.”

    tags: nintendo wii

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What I’m Reading on 11/19/2013

  • “Thus, ASF can only agree to the TCK license if Oracle will amend it consistent with the 2002 side-letter referred to above — i.e. by removing or reconstruing restrictions that are incompatible with ASF’s licensing and development practices — and to make available under these terms all of the TCKs Apache has previously had access to. We would be eager to work with Oracle on these revisions.”

    tags: apache oracle

  • “The acquisition will see Microsoft pay €5.4bn to buy the unit and also license Nokia patents for the next 10 years. All of the 4,700 Nokia’s Finnish employees who work in devices and services will be transferred to Microsoft, and the country will become a new centre of mobility R&D for the company.”

    tags: nokia microsoft

  • Google is getting even more proactive about security. In a blog post on Monday, Google announced that it is expanding its Patch Reward program to pay users that uncover security flaws in Android.”

    tags: google android hack

  • “Dropbox has always had a flair for the dramatic. Its CEO and co-founder Drew Houston, for example, appeared on a YouTube clip in 2012, belting out “Rocket Man” with a pint in hand at a Swiss bar—just one of several bravura performances. The company’s offices in San Francisco—replete with swings that dangle from the ceiling, a full bar and a recording studio—are among the most decadent. And, of course, Dropbox has garnered attention for raising an incredible $257 million in funding during its five-year journey.”

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What I’m Reading on 11/16/2013

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What I’m Reading on 10/31/2013

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What I’m Reading on 10/24/2013

  • “A “space cannon” scheduled to fire a metal bullet at an asteroid in 2018 has been successfully tested, according to press reports. A spokesman with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) told AFP that the Hayabusa2 project, set to carry the cannon into space, “is progressing as planned.””

    tags: japan space cannon

  • “The teardown also shows just how the device is put together, with a combination of both gluing and screwing. iFixit counted more than 90 screws. Just getting the thing open required unscrewing 52 screws of assorted sizes. This abundance of fasteners, combined with the use of glue, prompted the company to award the device with a repairability score of just one out of ten. This seems bad, but it’s also essentially meaningless. It’s true that Surface Pro 2 isn’t particularly user serviceable. But that’s not because of glue and screws. It’s because it’s a highly integrated device, built using custom parts that aren’t available off the shelf.”

    tags: microsoft surface

  • “”This collaboration is a powerful demonstration of the value of analytics. We are very proud that text-analytics algorithms developed by IBM Research have made U-report a smarter and even more innovative tool that allows UNICEF to more accurately identify what matters most to the youth in Uganda,” said Dr Rick Lawrence, Manager of Machine Learning, IBM Research.”

    tags: unicef ibm analytics africa

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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 09/04/2013

  • “Frankly, the industry had come to a point where most of the mobile hardware looked the same. If you stripped the label from a Samsung or HTC device, it was difficult to distinguish between the phones. Iconic design didn’t fit the mold of outsourced components and manufacturing.  Nokia was one of the exceptions to this rule. It makes beautiful hardware in shocking colors. The camera design for its latest Lumia line offers world-class quality and an unusual design. But it wasn’t enough. Perhaps Nokia’s hardware prowess could’ve saved them if it had retained and evolved the Symbian OS, but the deal with Microsoft in 2011 changed the company’s path.”

    tags: microsoft nokia

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What I’m Reading on 08/26/2013

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What I’m Reading on 08/23/2013

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What I’m Reading on 08/08/2013

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What I’m Reading on 08/06/2013

  • IBM‘s Irv Lustig was one of the first INFORMS members to take the new INFORMS CAP (Certified Analytics Professional) exam. In this interview recorded at the 2013 INFORMS Analytics Conference in San Antonio, Irv shares his view on taking the exam, prepping, and how the exam benefits both analytics professionals and employers.”

    tags: ibm cap exam informs

  • “The alliance, called the OpenPower Consortium, was formed to break into Intel’s server chip prowess. The move could open up new designs and alternatives to the x86 architecture. The x86 architecture is under fire in the datacenter from ARM too. For instance, HP’s Moonshot effort will offer a series of various special use processors. IBM’s OpenPower Consortium appears to be aimed at HP, which could get traction with hyperscale servers. “

    tags: ibm consortium nvidia power

  • Apache OpenOffice 4.0 is now available for download from our official download page.  Building upon the great success of the OpenOffice 3.4 release, which has seen over 57 million downloads, this major update brings exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes.    OpenOffice 4.0 features an innovative new Sidebar user interface,  additional language support for 22 languages (including 3 new languages), 500 bug fixes, improvements in Microsoft Office interoperability, enhancements to drawing/graphics, performance improvements, etc.”

    tags: openoffice apache open source

  • “This guide explains one method for creating electronic books (“eBooks”) in the ePub format using open source tools available on most popular computing platforms. ePub is the International Digital Publishing Forum’s open standard for digital book publishing, and most major electronic reading devices support it (except for the Kindle—sorry, Amazon fans!). But more importantly, formatting an electronic book as an ePub guarantees that many online eBook marketplaces will host and distribute the work.”

    tags: open source ebooks

  • “The newest generation of Mindstorms, the EV3, has capabilities that would have blown my mind back in the mid-’80s (if a set could have been sent back in time, my reaction would have looked a lot like the kid in this Onion story). First demoed at CES back in January, the EV3 set features a new controller with an ARM9 CPU with 64MB of RAM, 16MB of NAND flash storage, a USB 2.0 interface for expansion modules (like Wi-Fi), and Bluetooth. The brick runs an ARM version of Linux and is capable of driving four separate motors and receiving input from four separate sensors. It can also be linked to other Mindstorms bricks (including previous-generation Mindstorms NXT controllers) for truly large creations.”

    tags: lego mindstorms robots

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What I’m Reading on 08/03/2013

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Daily links for 06/03/2013

  • “While Microsoft apologists focus on Windows continuing to be the dominant desktop operating system, they keep missing the two elephants in the room: Windows 8 continues to fall behind Microsoft’s previous top operating system failure, Vista, and Windows is no longer the dominant end-user operating system.”

    tags: windows

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Some questions to ask yourself if you want to be a data scientist

Last October, the Harvard Business Review published an article called “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.” I could virtually hear the rejoicing in the work hallways of analysts, mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists everywhere. At last, recognition!

While it is debatable in this case if the job really is sexy or even hip and will make you either, there’s really no question that the rise of analytics and big data are making these skills increasingly in demand. Is this the right job for you?

A good place to start to understand what is needed to be a data scientist is at the INFORMS Analytics Certification website. It costs money to get this, but the program information gives you an idea of the kinds of questions on the test, the sorts of case studies with which you should be comfortable, and the books and websites you can use for further learning.

In a more informal way, let me here ask some questions you should answer about yourself and your knowledge to see if this is a career or job you might consider. I’ve included a few technical questions to encourage you to learn more about some of the disciplines involved.

  • Do you suffer from math anxiety? Does solving equations, working with matrices, or making sense of table or graphs scare you? If so, this probably is not the field for you.
  • Are you comfortable with statistics? Could you in your spare time over the next month do what would equate to a first, solid, mathematically sound statistics course? Would you get an A for your efforts? You’ll need statistics to understand the data and to give yourself sanity checks about the conclusions you are drawing.
  • Is Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc your favorite tool in your office productivity suite? Doing real analytics and big data often goes well beyond what you can do in a spreadsheet, but if this kind of software terrifies you, data science might not be a good match.
  • Do you know how services like Netflix choose what movies you would like to watch? Make an educated guess and then go learn some of the techniques. I won’t give you a reference, go explore what you find on the net.
  • Do you understand the differences between descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics? Where does optimization fall among these?
  • Do you like saying the word “stochastic”? Do you know what it means?
  • Who was Andrey Markov and what was his obsession with chains?
  • What criteria and analysis would you use to predict who will win the next World Series, Super Bowl, or World Cup?
  • Under what situations would you use Hadoop, Hive, HBase, Pig, SPSS, R, or CPLEX?
  • How would you go about constructing your personal profile from all the public data about you on the web? This could be from yourself (e.g., your Twitter feed) or produced by others. Include your gender, your approximate age and income, the town in which you live, the high school to which you went, your hobbies, the name of your significant other, the number of children you have, your favorite color, your favorite sport, your best friend’s name, and the color of your hair. Does this scare you?
  • When can Twitter add to your insight about marketing campaigns and when does it just add unnecessary noise?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if these topics intrigue you, you have or are willing to get the technical background, and you know who Nate Silver is, you just might have a career in data science.



Daily links for 02/08/2013

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Daily links for 11/25/2012

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Daily links for 10/23/2012

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Daily links for 10/20/2012

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Daily links for 06/12/2012

  • Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) on Thursday is unveiling new Windows Azure cloud services, including support for Linux-based operating systems. Microsoft, which thought of Linux as a rival, will now offer several Linux distributions. They are Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, openSUSE 12.1, Ubuntu 12.04 and CentOS 6.2.”

    tags: microsoft linux azure

  • “It’s always a tricky thing for developers, who seek to provide applications which add value on top of the mobile hardware and software that Apple has released. But as time goes on, more and more of the applications that developers build end up being replaced by features that Apple builds directly into its software. With the launch of iOS 6, here’s a list of apps and categories that could be affected by features Apple has added directly into the OS.”

    tags: mobile app apps

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Daily links for 05/30/2012

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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 03/08/2012 – 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 02/22/2012

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IBM: Going Mobile with two big announcements

Today IBM announced some important enhancements to its Mobile strategy for supporting customers looking to grow and transform their businesses, whether they are B2C, B2B, or B2E.

IBM Advances Mobile Capabilities with Acquisition of Worklight

From the press release:

In a move that will help expand the enterprise mobile capabilities it offers to clients, IBM today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Worklight, a privately held Israeli-based provider of mobile software for smartphones and tablets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

With this acquisition, IBM’s mobile offerings will span mobile application development, integration, security and management. Worklight will become an important piece of IBM’s mobility strategy, offering clients an open platform that helps speed the delivery of existing and new mobile applications to multiple devices. It also helps enable secure connections between smartphone and tablet applications with enterprise IT systems.

IBM Announces New Software to Manage and Secure the Influx of Mobile Devices to the Workplace

From the press release:

IBM today introduced new software to help organizations better manage and secure the explosion of smartphones and tablets in the workplace, while also managing laptops, desktops and servers.

IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices helps organizations support and protect the growing mobile workforce. Through this software, firms can use a single solution to secure and manage smartphones and tablets, as well as laptops, desktop PCs, and servers. It manages Apple iOS, Google Android, Nokia Symbian, and Microsoft Windows Mobile and Windows Phone devices.

The software extends security intelligence to deal with the growing threats from mainstream adoption of the BYOD trend. Organizations can install the IBM software in hours, remotely set policies, identify potential data compromises and wipe data off the devices if they are lost or stolen. The software helps configure and enforce passcode policies, encryption and virtual private network settings.

Why I think this is important

After spending the last several months speaking with customers, I’ve concluded that 2012 will be a very significant year for Mobile in the enterprise. I think this is the year when customers will decide on the mobile platforms and tools that will carry them into the middle of the decade, and begin to discard earlier experiments.

The old category of MAP or MEAP (Mobile Application Platform or Mobile Enterprise Application Platform) is not sufficient anymore. Customers need everything to build, run, connect, manage, and secure mobile applications. Remember that we’re not just talking about the apps on the devices (and there are many devices), but also the backend server infrastructure necessary, and this needs to be enterprise-ready. By this I mean that it needs to scale and you must be able to integrate it with the services, applications, processes and data that are essential to your organization.

Therefore the modern Mobile platform needs device-side and server-side application development and lifecycle tools; support for multiple devices and mobile operating systems; mobile application an device management; security capabilities from the devices all the way to the back-end; and scalable, transaction-capable connections to the IT systems on which your organization depends for its business. This is what IBM is demonstrating today in these strategic announcements in addition to its existing products and solutions.

Join me today in Tweetchats

I’ll be using Twiiter today for 2 one hour sessions to discuss these announcements with Scott Hebner, VP of Marketing and Channel Management for IBM Tivoli.
The first session is planned for 10:30 to 11:30 AM ET and the second for 1:00 to 2:00 PM ET.

Both sessions will use the hashtag #ibmmobile. My Twitter name is @bob_sutor and Scott’s is @SLHebner.

You can follow us via your usual Twitter client or else use the Tweetchat tool at http://tweetchat.com/room/ibmmobile.

Also see these blog entries

IBM mobile infographic

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 12/14/2011

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Daily links for 12/07/2011

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Daily links for 11/30/2011

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Daily links for 11/09/2011

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Daily links for 11/04/2011

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Daily links for 11/02/2011

  • “But at mobile application developer Big Nerd Ranch, President Aaron Hillegass has seen mobile Linux efforts before and stressed the need for a viable ecosystem. “It isn’t enough for Canonical to announce that it is making the OS available — what makes the [Apple] iOS platform so compelling is the entire ecosystem: the OS, the devices, the iTunes store, iCloud, and the iTunes application. When that ecosystem exists for Ubuntu, we will be developing apps for it and offering the relevant training and consulting to our clients.””

    tags: ubuntu mobile

  • “There’s a growing list of venues and dates, for events starting 7th November and spanning the rest of the month, but the biggest party is no doubt the one to be held at  EclipseCon Europe that opens today, 2nd November. This evening’s  keynote for the conference, is being delivered by John Swainson who will talk about the events that led to IBM’s 2001 decision to sponsor the creation of Eclipse with a donation of the people, code, and intellectual property. The creation of Eclipse marked the first time that a major IT vendor had open-sourced a strategic piece of technology and Swainson, who was the general manager of the Application Integration and Middleware Group at IBM at the time, will tell the delegates about why IBM made such a risky decision.”

    tags: eclipse birthday

  • “Internet Explorer still retains a majority of the desktop browser market share, at 52.63 percent, a substantial 1.76 point drop from September. However, desktop browsing makes up only about 94 percent of Web traffic; the rest comes from phones and tablets, both markets in which Internet Explorer is all but unrepresented. As a share of the whole browser market, Internet Explorer has only 49.58 percent of users. Microsoft‘s browser first achieved a majority share in—depending on which numbers you look at—1998 or 1999. It reached its peak of about 95 percent share in 2004, and has been declining ever since.”

    tags: browser

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A browser to resolve mobile app development confusion?

I read with interest the recent announcement by AppMobi that they are producing a browser for Apple iOS and eventually Android that will go beyond the basic HTML5 capabilities.

Typically, browser-based apps cannot access all the native capabilities of the device such as the camera and the address book. HTML5 does provide geolocation, local storage, and some other features, but that doesn’t come close to what a pure native app can give you. This has caused the growth of so called hybrid applications that use a library to provide JavaScript APIs and hence access to the native capabilities.

Hybrid apps are not pure native and not pure web, but bridge the gap in between. There are several ways of doing hybrid. PhoneGap is a popular open source technology for building hybrid apps, but there are others as well. You get to have all the display capabilities of a browser with the functionality of the underlying device.

Hybrid apps are not for every application design, but can do very well if there is a lot of network interaction, not too much necessary graphic performance, and whatever UI design you can handle in a browser with widgets coming from Dojo, jQuery, Sencha, or similar technologies.

The idea of this new browser is to include the PhoneGap and other APIs so you can write enhanced HTML5 apps with more access to the underlying features.

Is this interesting? Yes.

Does it cause people to think through the implications of native vs. hybrid vs. web? Yes.

Will people rethink app stores and how you can collect and manage apps that run in a browser? Yes.

Will it speed up development of HTML5 and mainline browser support for additional device features? Maybe.

Will this be the browser we are all using in 2 years? I really doubt it.

The web became successful because browsers became standardized. In the early days we had different browser functionality as Microsoft Internet Explorer tried to set de facto standards and Netscape tried to use real ones. Eventually Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all supported web standards, more or less, and competed on speed and quality of rendering. IE eventually caught up though it is losing share as we speak.

So I applaud AppMobi’s attempt to push the envelope here on what can be done in a mobile browser, but I think the mainline mobile browsers will eventually set the standard for how HTML5 and agreed upon extensions work.

We don’t need certain apps to require particular browsers to work. Check out this story from 2005 where the US Federal Emergency Response Agency required people to use IE to apply for aid after Hurricane Katrina.

Also see: Ars Technica – “The end of an era: Internet Explorer drops below 50% of Web usage”

Daily links for 10/26/2011

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Daily links for 10/21/2011

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Daily links for 09/23/2011

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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 09/17/2011

  • “Two weeks ago, in the wake of tropical storm Irene’s devastating flooding in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, local residents organized a MRV Flood Relief initiative. What began as a self-organized volunteer effort to match needs and help offered in our communities, using telephone, handwritten posters, and a Mad-River-Valley-Hurricane-Irene Facebook page created by the Chamber of Commerce, quickly grew into a coordinated project based in downtown Waitsfield’s Masonic Lodge. Now, two weeks later, in an effort to more effectively provide daily coordination for ongoing flood relief efforts in 10 central Vermont towns, Mad River Valley flood relief headquarters has launched a new open source web site.”

    tags: vermont flood relief

  • “The file system in Linux can be intimidating coming from other operating systems like Microsoft Windows. At first glance it may seem that there is no organisation to the files, but there is a method to this madness. After spending some more time with the file system in Linux, it will seem a lot more secure and organised.”

    tags: linux file system

  • “Despite dominating the enterprise server market, Microsoft is struggling to maintain a large presence in the world of Web servers and is seeing its market share decline. Netcraft, which surveyed more than 485 million websites this month, credits Apache with 65.05 percent of Web servers compared to 15.73 percent for Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services). This is down from 15.86 percent in August and 16.82 percent in July, but the more striking decline has occurred since June 2010 when Microsoft accounted for more than 26 percent of Web servers surveyed by Netcraft.”

    tags: microsoft server enterprise web

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Daily links for 08/19/2011

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Daily links for 08/17/2011

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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

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Daily links for 08/02/2011

  • “WebSphere Application Server V8 samples are new and improved! Although you will continue to find key sample applications installed with the product, most samples are now available online and can be accessed from a new section in the WebSphere Application Server V8 Information Center. Sample code, documentation, and other resources reside online, under one roof, which increases availability and collaboration, while providing samples in a time-sensitive manner.”

    tags: websphere application samples

  • “With the release of Java 7 this week, Oracle posted a support policy expressly stating that it would not support the new Java 7 software development kit on VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V. Oracle has since said that it “mistakenly created” the policy page, but that the company will stick to its standard policy regarding non-Oracle components in a mixed stack: They’re not supported unless users can prove the problem stems from the Oracle part of the stack.”

    tags: oracle java virtualization

  • “Microsoft is buying $100 million in additional SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates and the pair are going to continue to collaborate on interopability solutions through January 1, 2016. The SUSE certificates are designed to insure Microsoft customers who are implementing Linux that they won’t be caught in any Microsoft-Linux patent crossfire.”

    tags: microsoft suse novell linux

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Daily links for 07/22/2011

  • “Smartphone adoption will continue to skyrocket with or without HTML5. That said, the most used single app is the browser. As HTML5 support continues to make its way into mobile browsers and HTML5 markup proliferates across the web, the phones themselves will increase in value because they have become an “always on, always connected” doorway into a vast, rich space. The question that most people ask regarding HTML5 on mobile is about the web vs. native debate (i.e., whether consumption of native apps slow in favor of HTML5 apps). I think this is a false dichotomy. I predict that in the distinction between native apps and web apps on mobile will eventually fade away.”

    tags: HTML5 mobile

  • “Van Nest told the judge Thursday that former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz gave a sworn statement this week that he did not object to Android when it was released and that he still views it as a “positive development” for the Java ecosystem.”

    tags: google java license

  • Microsoft‘s perennial money-losing online services unit, which runs the Bing search engine and MSN Internet portal, posted a 16.5 percent increase in sales to $662 million, but its loss widened to $728 million from a loss of $688 million a year ago, as Microsoft continues to pour money into attacking Google. The unit has now lost almost $6.5 billion in the last three fiscal years.”

    tags: microsoft windows

  • “Now, the LibreOffice folks are working on their suite, and, with IBM’s renewed participation, the Apache OpenOffice project (which may or may not end up implementing the Symphony bits, although I hope they do) seems to have some new life as well. OpenOffice.org under Sun had gotten into a rut — there’s nothing like real competition to get things moving again.”

    tags: openoffice IBM apache

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Daily links for 07/19/2011

  • “At first, this code wasn’t open-sourced at all, but in 2009, it was discovered that some GPL code was already in Hyper-V’s Linux drivers. So it was that “In a break from the ordinary, Microsoft released 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community. The code, which includes three Linux device drivers, has been submitted to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree. The drivers will be available to the Linux community and customers alike, and will enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.””

    tags: microsoft linux ZDNet

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Daily links for 07/14/2011

  • “It’s no secret Google is searching for more patents to add to its portfolio. The search giant recently lost the bid for Nortel’s 6,000 mobile and wireless patents to a consortium of tech companies including Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and Sony. As my colleague MG Siegler wrote at the time, Google controls less than 1,000 patents, which is low compared to some of its competitors. Google currently owns 701 patents in total whereas Microsoft was granted 3,121 patents last year. Unfortunately, because Google doesn’t own a large number of patents, the company will continue to be vulnerable to patent lawsuits.”

    tags: google patent lawyers

  • “OK, enough is enough. While I don’t have any hard facts that anyone from Amazon will officially tell me, here’s what my sources have been telling me to expect. What I’m telling you here is from people both inside Amazon and from Amazon’s partners. Some of it may be wrong. I’m sure though that the broad picture is correct.”

    tags: amazon android tablet

  • “As a Google+ newbie, you might be wondering how to get all of your photos from your previous obsession (Facebook) to the latest spectacle, Google+. Facebook went on the defensive recently when users tried to export their friend lists to Google+ for easy adding. Facebook blocked the service, leaving us users to fend for ourselves. Well, listen, Facebook: you can take my friends, but you can’t take my photos.”

    tags: facebook google photos

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Daily links for 07/12/2011

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Daily links for 07/06/2011

  • Apple’s iOS is now the number two smartphone platform in the U.S., according to market research firm comScore. Apple rose to second place during the three-month period ending in May, up 1.4 percentage points to 26.6 percent of total U.S. market share. Android was the only other platform that gained share of smartphone subscribers during the quarter, growing 5.1 percentage points to 38.1 percent of the total pool and retaining its number one spot among mobile operating systems. All other major players besides Android and iOS lost share, with Research in Motion taking the hardest hit with a 4.2 percentage point drop for its BlackBerry OS, while Microsoft and Palm each shed 1.9 and 0.4 percent respectively.”

    tags: RIM apple ios mobile

  • “It’s a strong testament to the power of Linux that HP has chosen WebOS as the platform for many upcoming phones, tablets, printers and PCs. WebOS is, of course, based on Linux, and its official launch on HP’s new TouchPad this week marks its official debut in the tablet space.”

    tags: HP webos tablet

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Daily links for 07/02/2011

  • “Last weekend we gave our readers the challenge of picking their single favorite Bruce Springsteen song. It’s not an easy decision. Do you go for an iconic song like “Born To Run,” or a slightly lesser known (but equally brilliant) track like “Backstreets”? Do you pick a rocker like “Rostalita (Come Out Tonight)” or a quiet, acoustic track like “Atlantic City”? Our readers went for all of the above. Click through to see the winners.”

    tags: bruce springsteen music

  • Google Chrome’s rise in popularity has been remarkably fast and it’s just hit a new milestone: more than 20% of all browser usage, according to StatCounter. Chrome rose from only 2.8% in June 2009 to 20.7% worldwide in June 2011, while Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer fell from 59% to 44% in the same time frame. Firefox dropped only slightly in the past two years, from 30% to 28%.”

    tags: google chrome

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Daily links for 06/08/2011

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Daily links for 05/25/2011

  • “I told you so. I knew that Steve Ballmer could talk all he wanted about how Microsoft would continue to support non-Microsoft platforms, but that there was no way he’d actually do it. The first proof is here. Digium, the company behind the popular open-source Asterisk private-branch exchange (PBX) program, has announced that Skype has unilaterally ended its deal that allowed Asterisk to work with Skype.”

    tags: microsoft skype Open Source

  • Fedora Linux not for everyone. If you’re an experienced Linux user who wants an easy-to-use desktop Linux, I recommend Mint 11. If you’re new to Linux and just want something that’s easy to pick up and use, I think you should give Ubuntu 11.04 a try. But, if you’re a Linux expert, and want to explore the outer limits of what’s possible with Linux, then Red Hat’s new Fedora 15 Linux is the distribution for you.”

    tags: fedora linux

  • “Unfortunately, it’s easier to mess it up than to get it right, and the result is that employees end up confused, frustrated, and stifled. Here are six things that a lot of leaders and companies do to stifle innovation. Keep in mind that a lot of these things are done for good reasons — organization, systemization, and efficiency. Nevertheless, the effect is the same.”

    tags: innovation kill

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Daily links for 05/16/2011

Groklaw 2.0

  • “Last month PJ announced that because SCO as we knew it is no more,” she would stop publishing new articles today, May 16, Groklaw’s anniversary. Now she’s handing the reins over to Mark Webbink, former general counsel at Red Hat, law professor, and board member at the Software Freedom Law Center, to create “Groklaw 2.0.” Here’s what she had to say about Groklaw’s past and her future.”

    tags: groklaw webbink interview pj

  • “Now that the battlefield has shifted from SCO attacking Linux to Microsoft using patents against it and from servers to mobiles, I realized that Groklaw needs a lawyer at the helm. So I asked Mark Webbink if he would take on this role, and I’m thrilled to tell you that he has accepted. He is the new editor of Groklaw as of today. Mark was General Counsel at Red Hat, as you know, and he is on the board of the Software Freedom Law Center. He is also a law professor, which as I’ll explain is a vital piece of what he has planned. Mark is a visiting professor at New York Law School where he runs the Center for Patent Innovations, oversees the Peer To Patent project run with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has been active in seeking reform of the U.S. patent system, and teaches patent licensing. In addition, Mark is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law where he teaches intellectual property (patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret) licensing. Mark has access to law students at those law schools and many others. In addition, Mark has remained interested and involved in free and open source software and related intellectual property issues and he is the author of the chapter on U.S. technology law included in a soon to be released book on free and open source software law.”

    tags: groklaw pj webbink

Open Source

  • “OpenLogic analyzed which open source licenses are most used by enterprises versus those preferred by open source developers. Over two-thirds of open source projects are licensed under the GPL, which has created the impression that the GPL is the most popular open source license. However, the research examined data about enterprise usage and found that Apache-license projects were the most downloaded and most used in enterprise applications.”

    tags: openlogic gpl apache

  • “What needs to happen is pretty clear: we need more eyes on the ARM code, some determined work to clean up what is there now, and better high-level support to facilitate the addition of clean code in the future. Much of this work is already happening; the 2.6.40 kernel will certainly include a number of patches which consolidate duplicated functionality and make the code base smaller. There will be more review and guidance for embedded systems developers (who are often not full-time members of our community) as they work to get their code upstream. As the result of all this, we may well see the size of the ARM tree shrink, even as it gains functionality and supports more hardware.”

    tags: linux arm


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Daily links for 05/12/2011

  • “Should Microsoft worry? Yeah, I think so. They’ve got Apple making in-roads on the business desktop front with tablets and smartphones, may other companies, like HP, are also going after the business desktop with tablets, and now Google has finally thrown down the gauntlet on the business desktop. Dare I say it? I think for the first time in decades, Microsoft is facing real trouble on the desktop. Seem unlikely? Remember when everyone used Internet Explorer and then along came Firefox? I see the desktop market at a similar tipping point.”

    tags: linux google microsoft

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Daily links for 05/11/2011

  • “OK, it’s not too surprising that Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has switched to OpenStack for its Ubuntu cloud foundation technology. After all, Canonical started flirting with OpenStack back in February. What is surprising is that Neil Levine, who as Canonical’s VP of corporate services, which included the cloud, has jumped ship to start a new company, Soba Labs.”

    tags: canonical linux ubuntu cloud eucalyptus

  • “The Ubuntu project announces today that future versions of Ubuntu Cloud will use OpenStack as a foundation technology. The Ubuntu project is gathered in Budapest, Hungary to discuss future development plans that will culminate in the October release of Ubuntu 11.10. This announcement will move OpenStack to being a core part of the Ubuntu Cloud product, which enables users to build an open source cloud.”

    tags: ubuntu cloud openstack

  • “While Darrell thinks that Microsoft buying Skype in a $8.5 billion deal is probably good news for video chat users, there will probably be some Skype customers who are worried about the implications of the acquisition and may be looking for alternatives. While there’s probably no one service that provides a feature-for-feature replacement for Skype, there are plenty that offer great VoIP and video calling services, some of which are even better than Skype’s. Here is a list of some of our favorites”

    tags: skype alternatives

  • “There was a time when daggers were drawn on Linux and its demise was plotted in dark detail.  At that hour stepped out a shieldmaiden with a blog, and that blog was Groklaw.   Eight years later, we hear the news that Groklaw will cease new postings after May 16th.  My sadness in hearing this news is more than equaled by my gratitude to PJ and her community of researchers and commentators, for their enormous effort and unparalleled achievement over these years.   The world is a better place because of PJ.  Who can hope to say better?”

    tags: pj groklaw

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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

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Daily links for 04/27/2011

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Daily links for 04/19/2011

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Daily links for 04/14/2011

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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

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Daily links for 04/08/2011

  • “But others in the company have apparently been crunching the numbers to argue against such a rapid expansion. In order to match the appeal of the Apple Stores, Microsoft‘s stores have proven expensive to build. Plus, most of the stores have so far failed to turn a profit, according to Business Insider. One reason is that many of the products they sell are available at a variety of other retail chains.”

    tags: microsoft apple

  • “A consortium made up of Apple, EMC, Microsoft and Oracle which planned to purchase 882 Novell patents, following Novell’s takeover by Attachmate, has altered its strategy in order to defuse anti-trust concerns. According to the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the consortium will only exist for a further three months with the aim of dividing the Novell patents up between its members. All four members will be granted licenses for all of the patents. Microsoft is reported to have undertaken to sell its patents back to Attachmate and retain only the right to use the technologies protected by the patents. Similarly, VMware parent EMC is reported to have agreed not to acquire any of the patents relating to virtualisation.”

    tags: novell cptn microsoft emc apple oracle

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