From the haacked.com weblog, this picture of an html tag I haven’t seen before
This is where you say something clever
From the haacked.com weblog, this picture of an html tag I haven’t seen before
We’re going to see the artist once again known as Prince play tonight! I am soooooo excited!
It’s hard for me to think of another popular musician who’s given me as much consistent listening pleasure over the years as Prince – while driving in this morning I was listening to 1999, and it still sounds sexy and fresh, and the grooves are just as delicious as they were 21 years ago (!)
I’m not known to often agree with Seattle Times pop music critic Patrick McDonald, but I have to love this quote from his preview (free registration required) on Friday:
Prince is one of the finest musicians rock has ever produced.
Lots of people are writing of this tour and Musicology, Prince’s latest album as a triumphant comeback – but I can’t see that he’s ever been gone, and as a matter of fact, I think I actually prefer the music on his previous release, The Rainbow Children, over Musicology (though I could live without the goofball processed voiceovers), and the private release One Night Alone…Live of the last live tour is jaw-droppingly good.
As the tickets say on them: wear something purple! I’ll report back later in the week…
The Storage Link is a nifty looking little under-a-hundred-buck device that connects USB 2.0 hard drives to an Ethernet network. This could be very handy.
Does the NSLU2 have the right stuff to be a music server? It’s small enough to tuck into your entertainment center. It’s silent, and its storage capabilities are limited only by the the size of the disk you plug into it. It looks promising to me!
I haven’t had time to catch up on blogging any of the important stuff that requires real thought (like our meeting with OSAF last week, or the recent developments on calendaring standards), but I didn’t want to let it go unnoticed that the Grateful Dead’s catalog of Warner Brothers releases has now been made available through the iTunes Music Store – it’s about time!
While the Dead certainly don’t play the large part in my musical consciousness that they did back in the mid-seventies (I think I saw the Dead something like a dozen times between 1969 and 1975), there’s a nostalgic piece of me that remains a Deadhead. So it’s nice to see these available – and I’m listening right now to Dark Hollow, from Bear’s Choice.
Paul Graham’s essay entitled Great Hackers (based on a talk he gave at Oscon this year) is both great fun and insightful commentary on the social context of great programmers.
Productivity varies in any field, but there are few in which it varies so much. The variation between programmers is so great that it becomes a difference in kind. I don’t think this is something intrinsic to programming, though. In every field, technology magnifies differences in productivity. I think what’s happening in programming is just that we have a lot of technological leverage. But in every field the lever is getting longer, so the variation we see is something that more and more fields will see as time goes on. And the success of companies, and countries, will depend increasingly on how they deal with it.
If variation in productivity increases with technology, then the contribution of the most productive individuals will not only be disproportionately large, but will actually grow with time. When you reach the point where 90% of a group’s output is created by 1% of its members, you lose big if something (whether Viking raids, or central planning) drags their productivity down to the average.
If we want to get the most out of them, we need to understand these especially productive people. What motivates them? What do they need to do their jobs? How do you recognize them? How do you get them to come and work for you? And then of course there’s the question, how do you become one?
Jay Allen was kind enough to drop a comment to tell me that he has now released MT-Blacklist v2.0e (e for emergency), which will work with Movable Type 3.0x! Great news!
You can find out all about it here. Thanks, Jay!
Later this week I, along with several colleagues from other universities, are heading down to San Francisco for a “re-calibration” meeting with the Open Source Applications Foundation about the future Westwood version of the Chandler personal information manager. I’m looking forward to catching up with folks at OSAF about their latest thinking.
Recently, Mitch Kapor announced that OSAF’s initial implementation of Chandler will not be a true peer-to-peer application as was originally envisioned, but instead will be based on a client-server model, with the Chandler repository residing on a WebDAV server. This is a huge change of focus, and, I think, an overall positive realization of what is possible with the current state of technology.
Trying to understand the relationship between OSAF’s P2P vision and the enterprise server architectures that are widely deployed at universities has always presented unresolved issues in the discussions between OSAF and the Common Solutions Group about the use of Chandler in higher education.
I’ve always wondered what technology problems are solved by P2P applications that aren’t better addressed by having well managed servers instead – the environment where P2P came of age, music file sharing, was largely a response to the legal issues raised by the music companies as they clamped down on people distributing files from ftp servers. I wrote about this in this post last October.
In the case of sharing personal information the problems of authentication, authorization, and synchronization in a P2P environment are extremely complex and largely unsolved, at least in the open source community (Mitch points out in a later post that Groove has largely dealt with these issues in a closed, proprietary p2p application).
Mitch notes, I think I’ve unfairly maligned servers in the past. It’s not the server I dislike, it’s the idea that as an end user I am disempowered if the work I want to do depends on the administration of a piece of software I don’t control, can’t get access to, and plays by a different set of rules. The PC-era pioneer in me says, “get rid of it”. Another approach might be, “tame it and make it serve me”.
I think that’s largely what we’ve been trying to within higher ed for many years – putting highly available, high performance, highly reliable, servers within the reach of average computer users in our institutions. Sometimes we’ve succeeded better than other times, but in general I think it’s been a good approach.
I have been impressed with Mitch and the OSAF organization for some time now, and I think his willingness to reconsider approaches speaks well for both his intelligence and for the future success of this important project.
A learning: We wound up focusing on the client software first, not the network architecture. Having had my formative software design experiences in the era of stand-alone PC’s, it was easy to repeat the pattern of paying more attention to what is going on on the local machine than to what is happening across the network. While the repository is network-aware, and, in fact, very early versions of Chandler supported a simple form of accessing items from a remote repository, I didn’t fully appreciate until this year the importance of considering issues of network availability, reliability, and performance as first-rate issues in and of themselves. You’re never too old to learn (or to admit mistakes).
Thanks to Tim Bray for pointing out this wonderful, short, post from Adam Bosworth the value of doing useful things in simple ways, as opposed to creating lots of complex technology to accommodate things we might want to do at some point.
If the message is a simple query, send it as a URL with a query string. In the services world, this has become XML over HTTP much more than so called “web services” with their huge and complex panoply of SOAP specs and standards. Why? Because it is easy and quick. Virtually anyone can build such requests. Heck, you can test them using a browser. That’s really the big thing. Anyone can play. You don’t have to worry about any of the complexity of WSDL or WS-TX or WS-CO. Since most users of SOAP today don’t actually use SOAP standards for reliability (too fragmented) or asynchrony (even more so) or even security (too complex), what are they getting from all this complex overhead. Well, for one, it is a lot slower.
Highly amusing, and a reminder not to get too swept away by hype.
A couple of months back we started blocking all email containing .zip file attachments, as a lot of security exploits were showing up in zip attachments. The block has caused a continuing number of complaints from people on campus, as zip files are common ways of bundling information and attaching it to email.
But just in case anyone thought there wasn’t still a reason to keep the block in place (from Eweek):
Another variant of the ubiquitous Bagle worm is now making its way across the Internet, flooding in-boxes with infected Zip files. The newest member of the Bagle family, named Bagle.AQ, arrives via an e-mail message with a spoofed sending address and no subject line. The only text in the message body is typically one or two words, either “price” or “new price.”
The name of the infected Zip file that accompanies the message is some variation on that theme as well. The files often are named Price.zip or New_price.zip, and may have a number appended to the end of the file name.
Bagle.AQ first appeared Monday and began circulating in earnest in the early afternoon Eastern time. Some users reported getting as many as 100 infected messages in an hour. Virus researchers said they first began seeing Bagle.AQ at about 8 a.m. Monday and have been seeing thousands of copies an hour.
If a user opens the Zip file with an application such as Windows Internet Explorer that is not a standalone Zip file handler, the user will see an HTML file that contains exploit code. The file will then execute an included .exe file, which is a Trojan, according to McAfee Inc.’s analysis. The Trojan then connects to a number of remote sites to download the actual viral code.