nice neighborhood in Rome

March 30th, 2006

Just returned from a short trip to Rome. Via Craigslist we ended up in this Appartment in the Via Laurina. It’s just around the corner from Corso and Piazza del Popolo and worked well for us.
Best Coffee I ever had just across the street in a ‘BAR’ that really looks like nothing.

this is gonna be weird

March 26th, 2006

I will be offline until 3/30. No internet. No phone. No nothing. A first for almost ten years.

I am sure that everything that can go wrong will.

five years

March 24th, 2006

OS X is out since five years

Almost as long as Vista is delayed.

I think that the PS3 and Vista will both come out together: Never. They share the sickness of the incumbent king. Too fat and saturated to really move. Sony is dreaming about 100 Million PS3 sold, only because they did so with PS1 & 2. And likewise Microsoft thinks that everybody will have to have Vista. Both are in for a surprise.

The same patterns can be found elsewhere: Google Video is not really amazing. It’s outright lame. Google is the incumbent search engine. Not their core business sucks yet. But new launches like Video or base or personal pages are less than great.

Ryugyong

March 24th, 2006

google maps This planet, really.

wikipedia link

It must suck if your capitals skyline is dominated since fifteen years by a gigantic failure. I wonder if the leadership of North Korea has ever considered flying a passenger jet into it. Isn’t it that tall buildings will collapse if that should happen?

thirty million weblogs

March 24th, 2006

Just crossed the thirty Million weblog mark at BlogsNow tracks. Jason installed new memory, CPU and motherboard on the machine eight hours ago. I hope that the random crashes (MCE …4 ) it had are now a thing of the past. But it still could be the raid controller that causes the troubles. We will see.

Thirty million blogs! It’s online since almost two years, ran on three different machines in three different hosting situations.

There are about a quarter million web-pages in google with the term BlogsNow. popurls has roughly the same number. I think popurls started two weeks ago.

I find it very interesting to compare BlogsNow and popurls. The later one shot to internet fame instantly while BlogsNow only caters to a small and very slowly growing audience. Popurls is better than what I wrote in many many hours. The actual implementation of popurls would have taken me a week. Of course I did BlogsNow and not popurls. And also obviously I have hoped for instant internet fame when I wrote the fastest memetracker possible.

Technically I achieved my goal. BlogsNow’ performance is unsurpassed: It will reliably track _everything_ that people talk about. I still like it better than all others.

But let’s have a look why popurls got what BlogsNow wanted so badly and could never get. Popurl’s author is the first to say that the concept of a meta meta tracker is hardly new: diggdot.us paved the way into the mainstream, but I think there have been others.

The implementation of popurls works, it’s simple and nothings gets in the way. The design is what matters. It turns out that the idea of a meta-meta-track added with decent-design adds up to go over the threshold to become a meme in itself.

In the new attention economy you have to raise the interestingness of something above an imaginary threshold. It is almost impossible to push something there. Not even the biggest media buy will get you there. If your concept is not worthy then every person in the chain works against your piece (work, meme whatever it is). The resistance will become infinite. Many companies have wasted millions of ad dollars in the last years by ignoring this simple fact. If your idea raises above this threshold then it will attract more multipliers along the way. It’s too bad that ‘viral marketing’ became such a bad rep, since all agencies attached it to their failing attempt. Real meme’s do indeed work very much like a virus. The big difference is that every ‘host’ has the ability to alter the ‘virus’. We give those links, files and words new meaning when we pass them on. We comment them and make them our own. I could not say that from that last cold I got from someone and also probably gave to somebody else. The term ‘viral’ already contains the arrogance of agencies: They think they just can ‘infect’ the audience and then save their client some money in the media buy. Of course that’s now how it works: Most of their ideas are simply not good enough to compete with what is out there. There were some single incidences where commercials got some viral traction. None of them made room for a follow up. ‘Viral Campaigns’ by their definitions are one hit wonders. With the broadening of the tools and people getting more connected every day the odds move against the traditional marketers use of viral campaigns. Does this have anything to do with a BlogsNow vs. popurls comparison? Hardly. How did we get here?

Popurls became an instant ‘meme’, BlogsNow did not. I think in very simple terms I think it comes down to the fact that design matters. Popurls is an instant hit since it instantly communicates. The natural reaction is :”this is nice. I want to use this.” Within those 2 seconds a website has with a new visitor it is able to convey what is different about it. It tells it’s story well. The ‘elevator pitch’ of the internet must be over before the user blinks another time. There are always ten real and hundreds of potential other sites comparing with the one you are looking at.

My son is seven. He wants to write a computer game. He found google, and was very frustrated, that could not find ANY instructions how to make a computer game for seven year olds after he entered his request into google. I never told him to google it, or even to research it on the internet. His experience is that the internet might as well contain all the answers to everything. It’s this unprecedented amount of instantly available content that is the evolutionary pressure on every meme out there. The pace in that online (media) experiences grow in their quantity, variety and maybe even quality is equally unprecedented. So is the spread of the audience and their level of engagement: 1 person, 1 computer with internet connection, 1 hour. To say that the range of experiences is huge would be an understatement. It is awing. And spreading. We have the user on dial with internet explorer trying to get some news about balinesian dancing to the CEO on a laptop playing WOW while being on a plane. These are not the two extremes. These are two random points in an infinitely complex cloud of usage patterns. Hundred people watch a movie in the cinema. Their experience is pretty similar, they don’t even need to have seen it the same place or at the same time. Watching an old black white movie is almost a time travel experience. Hundred people what the movie on TV and the possibilities broaden. It used to be that the whole country watched the same stuff. There was the concept of a “Stra├čenfeger” in Germany in the 60s. It meant that a specific radio or TV series had such a big draw that it would ‘clean the streets’ (from people). There are only few events left that can obtain this mass attraction. Hundred people watching the same movie on TV might do so from a DVD, on the seventieth rerun, because their Tivo thought they should be watching it, or just because they are waiting for the show that follow this program. These hundred people might pay attention or might not. Since TVs tend to everywhere and just run after you turned them on, it is also one of the most ignored media outlets there is. Hundred people watching a clip that they got on a computer one way or another will have the most diverse media experience.

It is in this jungle of possibilities that the ability to communicate your idea between two blinks becomes mandatory. The idea needs to be decent, and then it needs to be easy to understand. Popurls instantly tells you that it’s a decent looking meta-meta tracker. Just when you think, ah so many links it kicks some pretty pictures your way. Your peaking ‘into it’ will be rewarded. By the time you have seen the entire page (2.5 seconds into your visit) you will have glimpsed over nine headlines, at least three or four are known items. popurls is a good mix of known and the new. All known is boring and will be clicked over quicker then you can say ‘boring’. All new is confusing. People are usually not curious enough to give new things the time to understand them.

The good design of popurls makes it work. As an engineer I thought that people would understand the aspect that BlogsNow is faster and more comprehensive than anything else. Even though it is, I did not manage to communicate this. And maybe it does not even matter. The first meme trackers got the webs attention, because they were a new concept. The fastest one is not a big deal. It’s functional difference needs repeated use an comparative analysis to understand. Memetrackers are not that important that people would do this sort of analysis. BlogsNow is a classic example for the fact that people and projects overestimate their own importance. Many web 2.0 startups think that they are Moses coming down from the mount Sinai. BlogsNow first goal was that it would keep me up to date with what is going on on the internet. And BlogsNow I can trust and, if needed, even tweak to let it behave better. Enough reason to let it keep going for next thirty million blogs. Popurls is not the first too and certainly not the last tool that will surpass BlogsNow in the amount of web attention it gets. It just is such a clear case that engineering does not really matter. The upside is that it was and is fun to code the fastest Memetracker there is. That, my constant use, and the fact that I have a neat copy of what mattered on the web in the last two years is enough reasons to keep it going. Despite the fact that nobody cares ;-)

on attention

March 24th, 2006

Scott Berkum writes about attention

SoaP

March 24th, 2006

The accidental hit that is not so accidental. A movie that takes 1 second in your head. From start to finish.

Also a first is that the fan base alters the actual piece. Curious how this one develops.

As the HR article points out: the actual movie website is probably not worth mentioning. I never been there.
The real discussion happens everywhere. Or nowhere. Which also means that you can not buy it.

Of course I am sure there are 20 wannabees “SoaP” clones being pitched: “Spiders in an Elevator”, “Lions on a Boat” wait a minute, “Crocodiles on a Bus”.

An idea sometimes only needs four words. And then there are millions and millions of words around it.
Just copying the original thought and altering randomly by 2%. Till something else hits.

A380 making of

March 24th, 2006

The soundtrack is boring. The editing uninspired. The camera angles lack anything that I would consider to be good work. It’s seven minutes long. It’s about an industrial process.

And still I think it is really really great. I am a geek and I like technology. I spend to much time in airplanes not to care about them. Every new A380 will fly over my house once when it will go from the Factory in Toulouse to the client center in Hamburg where it will get readied for the hand over. I think that clips like this will have a great future. There are fans for all sorts of products. People care where things come from. And most things are being made in a very interesting environments. You think people would watch a clip how an iPod is been made? How workers in a google data center push a shopping cart with replacement servers down an ever ending aisle of computers? Of course we care. Enough people do. If Airbus would have needed to buy 7 minutes TV airtime then they would have not had a success at hand. With those internets that is a different story now. Different technologies have allowed content to develop and take new forms. It takes a surprisingly long time though. For years early movies were nothing else then filmed theatre performances. For years the internet had to cary TV movies and ripped CDs. Only recently people realised that the internet can cary different content than existing / older media. There are hundreds of new genres to be discovered. This clip is a good example for one of them.

as we move forward

March 23rd, 2006

the images change new content still lags behind years.

linux, I hate yer

March 23rd, 2006

As nice as a working default install can be as terrible can things go with the very same software. I just wasted three hours trying to get lm_sensors to work on a Fedora Core4 install on a different, yet not exotic hardware. While I am convinced it can be made work, I just don’t feel the need to spend 4 days on something that took 4 minutes on another machine. What I really hate about Linux is that it is almost impossible to find out how long something will take. The range is usually between four minutes and four weeks. Just that some things are worth 7. Minutes or Hours, it really depends.

The other thing that I hate about Linux is that people just assume that the whole god damn world knows about their specific prerequisites. Of course you have this, that and the other thing installed and configured so that all these modules do indeed find each other. There needs to be a definition of ‘mainstream’. You go on a web page and see: Supported on mainstream, not supported on mainstream. As simple as that and you already could know if you are in the 4 minute range or not. Of course there is always a fix. Of course it can be all done easily if you just learn this, and install that. And oh, yes, of course you need to get some other things as well with it. Nightmare, that’s what it is.

The fix will be that a couple of ‘distros’ dissapear into obscurity. Would be also nice if the same configuration files would live in the same place on different distros.

the ten k dell

March 23rd, 2006

Sadly I know people that would file a PO against it if it were not for the flames on the chasis.

And on the same day they say that they will buy Alieanware

weird

March 22nd, 2006

while I was looking for images of ‘bullet trains’ on google images I came accross this odd ‘gallery’ [Mildly NSFW].

Sometimes I really have a hard time understanding other peoples fetishes. Of course I don’t have to.

Will Wright on games

March 22nd, 2006

I have no time to read this, but I certainly will try to see what Will Wright says about games

temperature monitoring redhat fedora core 3 with asus A8V board

March 22nd, 2006

BlogsNow started crashing. I wonder if it is the CPU temperature. Since I am a 5000 miles away from the computer I needed something to measure the temperature. This was harder to google to than it should be. In the end it was as simple as:


yum install lm_sensors
/etc/rc.d/init.d/lm_sensors start

sensors-detect
[accept all defaults]

sensors
[will output what the machine feels like]

now I need to copy this to another machine and then I know what happens when the machine dies.

A super simple monitoring way is to create an executable cgi file in your webservers path like this:

#!/bin/bash
echo Content-type: text/plain
echo ""
date
sensors

And then you wget / cron on a different machine to get the status and pipe it to one file …

Apple PowerMac G5 DIY list of user replacable hardware components

March 21st, 2006

Apple’s DIY list for the PowerMac G5

tv is not dead

March 21st, 2006

says Mark Cuban

Of course he is right. I do dissagree with the focus on the last mile. Bandwidth between one and 5 Megabit a second is actually good enough for lots of uses. The real problem will be the backbones. Right now everybody and his dog tries to get a big user base. Subsrcibers rarely change services. The more highspeed client Telco and Co rake in the better they think. Performance and price are two main criteria in choosing an internet provider.

Since Cuban kicks predictions around here are mine:

I think that most Telco’s oversold their inventory. Maybe not by todays surfing habbits. But these are radically changing. A thing called “RSS 2.0 with media enclosures” will cause serious troubles. Your average Internet ISP CEO might not have a concept of it yet. He probably still mumbles ‘google google google’ every minute or so in a failing attempt to get what made these people so sucessfull. If the ISPs see it coming or not: “RSS 2.0 with media enclosures” is the dragon that will burst into their board room and will bite a head or two off.

Right now a very very small minority of people subsrcibes to these media enclosure feed. Since 95% of all users do not use their internet connection 99% of the time you can seriously oversell your available back bone bandwidth. Imagine you are an airline and for whatever reason only one out of hundret passengers that bought tickets show up. You probably will reduce your prices in order to get more clients. Same happened to the ISPs.
“RSS 2.0 with media enclosures” changes that once you load videos that way. It has been around for almost two years. Tools were cumbersome but they get better. If they should become mainstream then there is simply not enough bandwidth to make people happy. The problem is that the internet will become slower. Since an ISP has to throttle it’s clients. Right now they can afford to be as fast as possible, since almost everybody only uses his bandwidth for surfing html pages and the occasional jpg or video file. It has been said that a third of internet traffic is BitTorrent. Now go on the street and ask people that you see

A. if the use the internet
B. if they use BitTorrent

Most people will say yes on ‘A’ and on ‘B’ you get a blank stare. Bittorrent is still very geekish. So is “RSS 2.0 with
media enclosures”. It is not likely to stay that way.

We will look at 2006 and sigh. Saying “Remember when you could get a FIOS with flatrate”
Almost like: “Remember when you would go to America and traded Manhattan for a couple of pearl necklaces”

worse is better

March 19th, 2006

It used to be to that I spend Sunday mornings with the paper. If you don’t go to church on Sundays, then you have this amazing time that you can read just for your own joy. These days it’s the internet. Of course. But I follow different stories on a Sunday morning. Today is was Worse is Better by Richard P. Gabriel, via Math for programmers via BlogsNow background info on this important essay from seventeen years ago. It probably is so important that I should pretend that I woul have just ‘reread’ it. But, no: Never had heard of it before. Much like a really good movie that you see for the first time after it has been out for 20 years and that you picked up via DVD it makes you feel good since there might be countless other gems out there. Burried in all that history, waiting for to come back to light much like diamonds emerge from the soil in heavy rain. The “test of time”. Or it can make you sad, since you lived without this piece for 20 years. Might have gotten hundreds of references and jokes not all or only half way. Digressing entirely here I am considering to show my seven year old son the original Star Wars movie, even though I think he is WAY to young for that. But there are so many references in the culture around him that I feel he should see it, only that he can decipher all those references. Finally the fact that an important piece went on noticed for me for so long could also have a vastly depressing aspect: How many other items are lingering out there and I never came accross them. And, at least that is a fact, I spent the last seventeens years rambling about everything, including software creation, without being able to put into a context to “Worse is Better”. Now that I have had it my coffenated head for half an hour I am almost tempted to reference to it as “WIB”.

The essay might also only intresting to me, since I was writing in Lisp seventeen years ago and switched to Unix/C. I have to correct this, since I wrote my first code for legal money in AutoLisp under AutoCAD Version 2.18. Lisp was not my choice, C was. Very much so.

Of course now we can read things like

Unix and C are the ultimate computer viruses.

or


The good news is that in 1995 we will have a good operating system and programming language; the bad news is that they will be Unix and C++.

with a historical perspective. 1995 and it turned out that Mr Gabriel thought to be worse would be pushed from 90% of all CPUs by something that is even worse than worse: Windows 95. Ironically Windows 95 could also be seen as Version 1.0 of a virus (real ones here) API disguised as an ‘operating system’.

… and then a fast forward to the world of software development in 2006. “totally”

since sxsw sucks

March 18th, 2006

maybe it’s me. sxsw of course does not suck. But I could not find a RSS feed with media enclosures.
I can not be bothered to listen to mp3’s in my webbrowser. That’s that rss 2.0 with enclosures aka podcast
is good for. Their xml file did not work with iTunes. It was quicker to write a quick scraper than to navigate their site and make a big R&D project out of it. So here it is the homemade rss feed that will work in iTunes:


http://www.vilodex.com/sxsw2006/podcastitunes.xml

This might even work directly in iTunes

os x: no /dev/mt/tps0d1 or /dev/nst0 for you!

March 18th, 2006

Apple tells us since years whenever it feels approiate that OS X is based on unix. They are not lying of course. But there are some nasty details. One that drives me crazy right now:

Since it’s beginnings unix always supported tape drives. All of them, sometimes there were updates needed etc etc.
But data management via data tapes was always a thing that just worked. On every unix flavor I know. Actually it worked pretty much the same and usually is very reliable once you are a couple of months away of the bleeding edge and if you don’t have to battle broken hardware.

OS X is different: The parts that make tape archiving work have been removed. OS X is the only unix system where this happened. The hardware is there and it works. The software was there and it works. Just that Apple decided “No Tapes for you”. Which is super lame.

On one side Apple wants to be in the pro market. With XSan they like to become a storage vendor, and on the
other side they cripple the operating system by not creating /dev/mt/tpsXdY or /dev/nstX devices.

This is nothing less than Microsoftesc. It really is lame to break working things, just because you have decided that a couple of tape archiving software vendors is more important than the pro market. No, I can not use “retrospect” to manage a Peta Byte for the the movie that I am working on right now. The linux boxes doing the job would have not moved into this Apple heavy environment if Apple would not have broken OS X. To me OS X is only 95% unix and 5 % got soaked in Koolaid and fell apart. Tape device support is some of that. What a shame.

the story of the movie Tron

March 17th, 2006

Looks like an interest article about Tron.
Just that I have no time to read it right now.

tron on youtube

tron on google video

I let you decide what is more relevant and more interesting.

nine trillion???

March 16th, 2006

nine million million US dollars
That’s more than thousand US$ for every person on the planet. Billions of them make less than that in a year.

umount: unmount(/Volumes/your disk name): Resource busy

March 16th, 2006

turns out os x has no ‘fuser’ command. oh well. But

umount -f /your/device/path

does the trick in many cases where the pansy finder rejects to eject (aka unmount) a volume

machine woes

March 16th, 2006

This computer has had issues. It has been down for the greater part of March 15. Hope google picks this entry up before it craps out again.

what has the world come to

March 15th, 2006

15 year old creates 15 minutes of fame and Microsoft has a sense of humor

Bush and Iraq

March 14th, 2006

The Prez says:

"As more capable Iraqi police and soldiers come on line, they will assume responsibility for more territory with the goal of having the Iraqis control more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006,"

Let me guess: it probably will be mostly the vast deserts of iraq that will make up those non US controlled area of “territory”.

“Mission Accomplished” it said on the aircraft carrier where he held the premature victory speach. More than 90% of US soldiers think they are in Iraq because of 9/11. Whatever happened to those change in alert states that we saw before the last election? It has been awfully quiet: Have the terrorists all been caught? Probably because they got tortured so well. At least nothing has changed in the area of Weapons of Mass Destuction: Iraq never had them, and North Korea still has. Which is -what a surprise- pretty much what their respective rulers have been saying all along. Oh, one thing changed during the last three years: The supply of cheap heroine has never been better. Thanks to the worlds number one producer: Afghanistan. The Taliban are unbelievable idiots, but they did a much better job in the war on drugs than the current regime. Ah politics, it all makes so much sense.

May 23: blue ray DVDs

March 14th, 2006

Sony will release a couple of blue ray movies. It is nice to hear that they set a precedence by outputing the analog signal at full resolution. How could the growing HD DVD competition not follow suit?
Having test signals as an ‘easter egg’ on the first blue ray disks makes sense: People that spend one thousand dollar for a device with ten titles instead of 300 dollars for one with 1,000 titles two years later really need ‘test charts’ to justify they purchase. This is the small, yet luctrative, market where you can sell a power cable north of a hundret US.

iPod Hi-Fi

March 13th, 2006

I am not an Apple fanboy. Really. It has been 8 months since I sent some money to the Infinite Loop. Not counting the “Ride of the Walkyers”. That one euro was an excusable exception: Imagine a middle class car car with it’s hatch open driving through a middle european middle class neighborhood, having two kids on a sled in tow blasting this song. I could not resist to put this mental image into reality. I thought this was the best way to introduce Anton and Ella to Wagner.

So today the HiFi got delivered. A couple of days ahead of schedule. “Apple Deutschland” starts to have decent service. Amazing, not how it used to be.

It’s smaller than I thought. I am a fanboy. A Dieter Rahms fanboy, ever since I saw the first brAun stereo. Logically I like the looks of the thing. The way the iPod is put in on the top I am not crazy about. It comes with lots of plastic inserts to accomodate all those different iPods Apple came out with.

Overall it sounds ok. It is very loud. From what I read I expected it to be really loud, and that is not the case.
The first song on the shuffle playlist was a piano piece by Satie. Tragically this was a very dissapointing performance for the debutant: Mid to high tones are simple not clear. Hearing a couple of more Piano pieces by now I think that the ‘Hi-Fi’ is an orwellian title. If Jobs really wants to give up his stereo for a Hifi then this can only have one of three reasons:

- he spend less than 349 US$ on the one that get’s replaced
- he has the Koolaid coming out his ears
- he tested every 1,000th iPod Apple sold personally and on full volume.

The Hi-Fi is not going back. We needed a decent looking noise maker. And it will work for that. I just had expected better sound from it.

With a fresh set of D batteries it can make for some noise open air noise. I hope somebody comes with a concept to place 50 or so in a public park: “Concerto for 50 iPod HiFis in Central Park”.

They just should not have called it ‘Hi-Fi’. My twenty five year old stereo sounds MUCH better. But that was not 349. Worked for it for months to able to afford it.

double take

March 11th, 2006

“Imagine the car igniting the environment that it passes through”

“Brilliant”

This dialog happened twice:

Ford Fusion AND
Toyota Avalon

both have these amazing capabilities.

microsoft

March 10th, 2006

marketing
future

Thinking another day about UMPC. It’s doomed. Unless somebody comes up with a killer application that generates a blackberry like niche this will go the way of the Newton. Just faster, since there are less hardcore M$ fanboys compared to the number of Apple fanboys.

yeah for yahoo!

March 10th, 2006

nice framing

this will fold fast

March 9th, 2006

The cocoon called Origami contained only a UMPC. Microsoft tried some hyping. They have to learn allot before they are able to launch products like Apple: This one folded. During those three weeks between Scoble’s plug of some hollow flash teaser and the actual release at Cebit lots of people saw an Origami concept video at the digital-kitchen website. The ill fated hipster assemblage sat prominently for one year next to a similar piece about the “SPOT Watch”. It should be in the interest of the company in Redmond not to mention this device in the context of Origami. It is not only the wireless component that the digital dud from 2003 shares with the latest greatest: In both cases Microsoft tries to innovate. Actually the leap for the SPOT device seemed even further: Microsoft started it’s own content distribution network based on FM for it. Big deal, specially since it tanked.

Is the UMPC doomed? Is there really an uncanny valley between cellphone and laptop? Will the bones of the UMPC get bleached next to the one of the PDA in the unforgiving sun of tech history?

Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and a couple of mid sized electronic makers are behind the UMPC. 100 Million UMPC devices till 2008 is the number that they floated. A 50 billlion US market. That is nice. Would be nice. The Microsoft Origami team is made up of eleven people. Not including Mr. Scoble.

Microsoft tried to push the tablet PC. And it did not work as hoped. Outside of the corporate Cool Aid sprinklers it is hard to find a person using such a device. The UMPC is featuring the same operating system: Windows XP in it’s tablet Version.
That is great, since there is so much software for it. That is not so great since there is so much malware for it. Those 100 Million networked UMPC’s could make lots of evil guys in Russia happy. An army of mobile nodes in your bot net, what could you ask for more?

The bigger problem is, is that XP is an ok desktop operating system and interface. Not great, not terrible. The tablet edition I don’t know anything about. Now the poor thing has to serve in yet another iteration on the UMPC. Which is where there is a problem: Usability. In the marketing videos people interact magically with the thing: They barely look at the thing and it jumps into action. Does exactly what they want it do it. Which would be great for a desktop system, but it is critical for a mobile device: All these ‘wouldn’t it be great’ scenarios that these clips dream up only work along our busy lives if they can be used effortless. I never saw anybody use a XP install effortless. Not having a keyboard and using a touch screen with 800×480 does not make things easier. To say the least. Things need to move very very smooth in this field of dreamed up application. And that’s where the UMPC falls into the void. It does not deliver on the promises that it makes. The core technologies are interesting: A touch screen, 2 pounds, Wifi and bluetooth. That oughta work. Some of them even have cameras and microphones and smart cart readers.
It’s not the hardware that’s broken. It’s the idea that you want to deal with Windows XP while you are standing on an intersection. Yes, that is a scary thought. XP is not compatible with real life. Period.

It is true that there is a gap between Laptop and Cellphone / ipod. The form factor will make for a very sucessful and nice media player, if managing media is as easy as it can be. Don’t think that XP is particularly great at that. Media Center is made for that. Is it good? I have no idea.

Vista? It will run, so they say. They have to. Would be funny to launch this cat right away into a dead end. The minimal specs for vista are pretty far away from what these little guys have to offer. We will see. Maybe there will be a 7th edition for UMPCs.

The average UMPC might do rather well under Linux. Imagine Samsung hiring a decent designer (and one for the hardware while they are at it, please!!) and a couple of geeks that boil down a nice distro that auto updates etc, etc. Then they would be up to something. OK, Mr. Scoble would not hype them anymore, but apart from that that side of the road is only pretty: Media center features under an UI that is made for the device.

People have high standards these days: Something does interact less than google does with search for instance and they walk away. UMPCs are priced between 500-1000. You expect it to be useful for something if you spend that kind of money on it. The hardware is certainly capable. The problem is to make it all work smooth enough to make it worth while. Running XP you can use the biggest software library there is. Just that you have limited resolution and battery life compared to a laptop at home. And on the road you need to figure out how to get EVDO or similar to work. And you need to cary it around. I used to develop software for the Newton. The thing was interesting, but in the end just way to heavy.

So, final word: two thumbs down

Not gonna work. Come back here in a year and see if I was wrong.
Try that with the rest of my blog ;-)

The Coriolanus attitude

March 9th, 2006

The political right is quick to point out that the US military fighting in Iraq is defending liberty. The argument has the under current that the efforts of brave men and women of the military don’t get appreciated by those ‘liberals’.

Along those lines one could argue from the other side:

All those people favoring the bible over science should maybe stop using the products of pure science? Like computers. The Bible has been around for thousands of years. Progress only started after science got pursued. Cherry picking scientific views seems an american attitude.

googlebomb that man!

March 9th, 2006

Bill Napoli Senator in one of those Dakotas ( I flew over that every month or so) truly deserves to be googlebombed. And then some.

Rumsfeld and his interpretations

March 8th, 2006

Donald -Iraq is just like post war Germany- Rumsfeld now says that it is the media that is making this all up.

fake miniature

March 7th, 2006

portland

The image is of the real thing. Interesting what a some added lens blur does to our perception.

is BlogsNow evil?

March 7th, 2006


right now the rank number seems to indicate that
right now. I hope I go back an update this once the number has changed.

somebody is trying to give up memetrackers altogether

I sometimes I wish I could do that too. Tricky to check if the spam filters need a tweak by looking at the results and then not to click on something that people blog about right now.

youtube vs google video

March 7th, 2006

compared here

The bigger question is, when youTube.com will have burned their funding on Bandwidth. Since google has more money than god, they could care less. But youTube.com has some VC money pushing it. Which is nice. But at some point yahoo has to buy it in order for the thing to go on …

/. 0 - mac mini 1

March 7th, 2006

Being slashdotted used to be every webmasters dream and nightmare: That one popular website linking to your obscure site would bring you those fifteen thousand clicks of fame and mostly take your webserver with it.

Things have changed:

This page runs on Apples cheapest computer that they offer. It got the ‘link love’ a couple of hours ago, yet it seems unharmed. There are a couple of reasons for this: The page is static html. The connection is able to cope with the load. A mac mini is actually quiet able to handle lots of web traffic. I don’t think that it has anything to do with the fact that slashdot has lost it’s bite.

canon service sucks

March 6th, 2006

Canon makes the cameras that I do like the most right now. As much as they products are great their US service is sucks. A little SD20 of mine failed: The lens is not able to open anymore and i get the dreadful E14 error. Canon says that this is due to sand. One could argue if putting a small camera into your pocket is considered use or abuse. But I did not want to argue. I just wanted to pay the 109 US for the repair. They have in theory a web interface for paying repairs. In reality this is a waste of time. Actually I feel not so good to have given this piece of web-junk my CC info. Despite 5 attempts with two different (and working) CC cards the site was unable to process my request.

The usual problem: Canon makes great products in Japan. Their US service part can be broken around the fringes: Will not put them out of business. Just a shame to see a world clas maker of amazing equipement having a website that works less than that of the muffler shop around the corner.

quick links

March 3rd, 2006

ping get’s it’s pong

the pope get’s a pod

Brown bites back

A looser is loosing it

And the AC 130’s are going back to Iraq.
They, of course, have only one purpose: to spread democracy in the middle east. That’s how you spread democracy, right?

LTO labels

March 1st, 2006

A tape robot is kinda nice. Sometimes. In order to operate on several tapes you need to have labels.
In the case of the Exabyte Magnum 1×7 LTO robot it turned out that one sheet with 20 labels did cost 29 US$.

That is highly ridicolous. The fact that such a 10,000% markup scheme can exist is almost depressing: I don’t even want to know how many corporate drones order sheet after sheet from these people. And then it get’s hidden in some IT budget.

Don’t do that: LTO barcodes are simple. They are the ‘Code 39′ kind. I had to print them out with a scale of 122% (not
sure why and or if that was needed). It ended with L2, so I did that and the robot was very happy eating those selfmade labels.