cool isv product

One of the products I was disappointed in the other day just posted a comment clearing up some things about where their blog is. Turns out their main blog wasn’t linked up where it was easy to find. Now it is! If you’re a Buyer and in need of some nifty Excel templates to do the heavy lifting for you then you should check them out

Also if you’re an ISV or future ISV you should take a look as well. I think this is a great niche product idea.

extreme makeover home edition

“This show makes me feel good, and yes sometimes I get a little teary eyed, and there just aren’t enough shows on TV that can evoke that kind of response from me.” (via Joseph Scott)

  • I couldn’t agree more. Me and my wife watch this show every weekend. When was the last time a TV show made you feel good? I honestly can’t remember. This show has single handedly restored a little of my faith in TV.

I also think this show is the future of television advertising. Now that our cable box has a PVR we rarely watch commercials. This trend is definitely going to continue as more and more “normal” households figure this out. EMHE of course has commercials but also does a great job of product placement. It’s integrated into the show in a way that’s not too obtrusive, because often I actually do want to know the company that provided the windows or what type of flooring that is. The Sears parts are a bit much but even they are better than watching a standard commercial.

smart people bad formats

“I thought we were avoiding some RSS-related damage when we chose one and only one format — Atom — for our feeds. I thought it was nice that we were using the same thing Blogger was, and that we used a big, prominent icon to label it. I thought we were making it easy for people. Nope. I was wrong.”

  • More smart people wasting their time fighting a losing battle over a more “pure” data format when a working defacto standard already exists. Don’t people have better things to do?

The full sad article is here

mad as hell switching to the mac

I normally don’t reproduce full posts but this one is fantastic and I couldn’t pick out just one part.

ps. This is from a company that specializes in computer security.

” This is my first rant written on a Mac. Ever.
Maybe I should have done it a long time ago, but I never said I was smart; just obstinate.

Here?s the deal. ?I?m Mad! And I?m not going to take it anymore.? Of course I am talking about the WinTel world. Before anyone in Redmond or Inteland freak out? well maybe you should. I have had it.

Brief history. I grew up an analog geek. Tubes ? valves. Built an analog computer in 1961. Programming in 1966 and on. First home machine in 1974: SWTC with binary switch encoding on the front panel. (Boooooring?) PET in 1977. Trash, too. Compaq, 1981 was it? DOS 1.0 and Lotus 1,2,3 1.0 and I still have the disks. CPM and pip.

Things used to work.

And this is exactly why I am coming to subscribe to the view that indeed, the WinTel hegemony is a threat to the national economic security of any organization or nation-state that relies up it.

In the coming weeks I am going to keep a diary of an experiment that I began in my company at 6PM GMT-5, April 29, 2005.

An experiment predicated upon an hypothesis that the WinTel platform represents the greatest violation of the basic tenets of information security and has become, indeed, a national economic security risk. I do not say this lightly, and I have never been a Microsoft Basher, either. I do not and will not dis any one company without a fair bit of explanation, justification and supportive evidence or experience.

So bear with me as I attempt to document the results of my experiment and I will attempt be fair to myself, my company, our clients and the computing public at large.

I am coming to the belief that there is a much easier, more secure way to use computers. Since I have spent several years focusing my security work on Ma, Pa & The Corporate Clueless, I have also come to the conclusion that if I and my kind (reasonably fluent) are having such problems, what about the other 98% of humanity who merely want a computer for e-mail and multi-media (Porn).”

apptranslator launches

Congrats to Serge on getting his localization application out the door ahead of schedule! This is a really interesting app. HelpSpot has a localization file as well, though I’ll probably only ship with English in v1 and then do other translations as demand warrants. Hopefully Serge is successful and comes out with PHP appTranslator down the road!

Check out the application and follow it’s development on his weblog.

whew we can all delete ms office now

Oasis announced that the OpenDocument format is now an “offical” standard. Tim Bray says anyone who’s putting anything in “other” document formats is stupid. So I guess he’s talking to basically everyone in the world.

OK you say, but now there’s a standard! Oh boy great. So now I can put my data in this great format that 99.9% of the world probably can’t open.

But now new applications will spring up around this format you say! Really? It’s a revolution you say? I say no.

Go ahead and download the 706 page spec doc. Just a little light reading. Got any great ideas on how to implement it in your app? Any guesses at the number of years it would take to build an app that supports it?

Microsoft isn’t going to blink an eye at something like this. No single company (or organization) can compete with them in the office document world and with a format like this only large companies can even afford to build to it.

I still say the office document revolution either IS RSS or needs to be something simple like RSS. A simply format like that would let an entire community of apps be developed and that would have a chance, maybe, of beating Microsoft.

So after you download the PDF above, take a look at the RSS spec. You can build a useful app with that spec in an afternoon.

how not to do a small biz blog

I was checking my referrer logs and noticed an interesting post on the Free From 9 to 5 blog about a bunch of people starting small companies and blogging about it (I was in the list thanks Eric!). So of course I clicked through to most of the others. I was very disappointed to find that many of them are only sporadically posted to and even then not in over a month or more.

I just don’t understand why this is. If you’re taking the time to build a product, the risk of venturing out on your own, and already have the blog setup then post to it! There’s alot of people out there who want to read about what you’re doing. I’ve certainly found that out. Just the fact that you can have a sounding board for ideas is a huge help not to mention all the marketing possibilities, etc.

So you ISV’s get blogging!

revenge of the sith

So it was OK. There may be a few spoilers in here so if you haven’t seen it yet you might want to stop reading.

It was alot like the other 2 new ones in it’s feel. I think I’ve finally pinned down for me what I don’t like about them all.

  1. There’s not really a core group of characters. The only character who feels like a main character is Obi Won (who I think is a good character and the only actor who properly acts his part imho). It just doesn’t seem like you see enough of the others. Lucas spends too much time with other people on other worlds. The scope is too big. In the first 3 there was almost no scenes without Luke, Han, Darth or the Princess. He managed to give you the big picture through them as opposed to leaving them to show scenes of other characters you don’t care about. In Sith, even after watching the romance between Anakin and the Princess for 3! movies I just don’t buy it. I don’t feel like I know them. You don’t buy it the way the romance between Luke, Han, and leia worked.

  2. I think Lucas has access to too much damn money combined with the fact that he doesn’t have the passion for making Star Wars that he did with the first 3. Too many scenes rely on special effects. The special effects are perfect, especially in this movie, but they don’t add to the story. Many scenes were better in the old movies, because you could tell that Lucas couldn’t actually do what he wanted to do and had to compromise. Now with the great technology he can do anything. I think that takes alot away from the creativity.

  3. He knows we know how the story ends to why doesn’t he shake it up a bit? I mean basically everything happens how you know it will and there are very few surprises. You get the feeling through the entire picture that he’s just going through the motions. That every scene is just there to get you to an answer you already know. Why not through us some curves? Give me some traitors, spies, double crosses, something.

OK now some specifics in Sith, I’ll start with stuff I didn’t like:

  1. For being 3 movies long I just don’t buy how Darth falls to the dark side. It all happens way to quick. I think his fall to the dark side should have really started in movie 2 so that this movie could have dealt more with it. Instead all we get is a few scenes of the chancellor talking to him and a vision of his wife dying and that drives him to kill all the Jedi???

  2. I wish Vadar had become Vadar half way through instead of at the very end. That’s what everyone wants to see, we want to see the big black menacing figure dominating worlds. Instead we get 1 minute of him and a very poorly done final scene. Give me some more James Earl Jones damn it!!!

  3. Yoda. Come on. I thought Lucas did a good job with Yoda coming back to challenge the chancellor, but then he falls down and sneaks away in a pipe???? That’s it? He was winning the damn fight! OK I know he can’t actually win because that wouldn’t work, but can he be a bit more powerful? I mean they’ve made him look like an idiot in all these movies, making all kinds of bad decisions. Can he have one moment of glory?

  4. More Yoda. One of the biggest things I wanted to see is how Yoda ends up on the swamp planet. It’s one of the few aspects where you don’t know how he got there with no ship, stranded, etc. Well we don’t find out!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At the end of this movie he’s at a rebel base on an asteroid, huh?? How the heck does he get to the swamp? If he was with the rebels then why isn’t he with them in the old movies? This is where I think they needed a few more scenes with Vadar in his full attire fighting and dominating Obi Won and Yoda and sending them into exile. Not them just hanging out with the rebels and that’s it.

Alright there’s probably more, but here’s a few good things:

  1. I looooooved General Grievous. Finally a character that’s interesting. He coughs, he’s got a good personality, he uses 4 light sabers! But I have to say Lucus lets us down here too. They show you that he’s part human, that he has a heart, he uses light sabers. Can you give us the scoop? Was this some type of v1 Vadar? Make him a Sith or something. That would have been cool. Instead he just gets killed and you don’t hear about it anymore. Bigged missed opportunity there.

  2. There was about 20 minutes of thrilling scenes near the end which I really liked. The battle between Obi Won and Vadar and the Yoda/Chancellor battles were very good.

  3. Lucus did make it much more gory than the others and it needed to be. He took it about as far as he could get away with which I thought was good.

  4. He finally got the cities right. The first 2 movies the cities were far to bubbly. Not believable at all. Here many of the buildings are more square, some of the night scenes look like a really big Manhattan and are much more convincing, I’d say very close to perfect. The only downside is that he uses them way too much. The cityscape is in every single scene and is distracting after a while because the camera almost seems more focused on the background than the actors.

There’s probably a few others, but I can’t remember them right now. Overall you need to see it because you’re supposed to but I won’t see it again in the theater. It wraps things up, though a bit too predictably. Think I’ll watch the Empire Strikes Back today and get some of that old Star Wars feel.

safari javascript debug tip

I do most of my development in FireFox on OSX. Today I’ve been testing some javascript widgets from HelpSpot in Safari and running into some trouble. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any way to enable a javascript debugging console in Safari. After a little bit of hunting I found that the only way to do it is by issuing this command in Terminal:

defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1

Restart Safari and you’re all set. After setting it up I found my bug in literally 1 second.