Future Salon with Neil Gershenfeld. Raw notes, you know the deal, maybe cleaner stuff coming later.
I’ve been using a PowerBook G4 for just about a month. It’s pretty nice actually, I like the environment quite a bit. And it’s the first time I’ve had a nice modern laptop to use. Normally I have some rejected hardware kept alive through the necromantic power of Linux. Today I had my first real disappointment though. I use the builtin Bluetooth to connect to my phone and use my GPRS connection from my laptop on my way back and forth on Caltrain. It’s nice and slick, I just whip out my laptop and click on the little phone dealie, and magically I have a connection (well, after I downloaded the dialup scripts that actually use GPRS instead of just saying they support GPRS, but that’s another issue). Every once in a while the Internet Connect app apparently hangs however. I’ll try to disconnect and that little phone handset up in the menu bar will constantly scroll “Disconnecting…” and never stop. Of course, I can’t form another connection at this point, as the menu affords only a “disconnect” option, something which is apparently already and process and not affected by repeated frusterated clicking. I tried all sorts of clueless noob stuff like shutting off the bluetooth and turning it back on, putting the system to sleep and waking it up, turning off my phone and trying to clear the connections on it (holding down the hangup key on a Nokia apparently clear all open descriptors for all connections by the way), and even killing the apparently hung pppd out from under the Internet Connect tool. Nothing worked though, so I would just reboot the system. It happens pretty infrequently, and when it does happen I’m normally in no mood to dig at the issue. It happened this morning however, and I was finally ready to deal with it. So I left the “Disconnecting…” scrolling and found an access point to search out potential solutions. Google turned up nothing. Some mentions of people saying they’ve also seen the Internet Connect hang when disconnecting and they had to reboot. But no proposed solutions. So I decide to give the folks at Apple a call and find out how to reset a hung Internet Connect. Their answer is to reboot the system!!!! I was floored. There’s apparently no way to deal with this hung process except to reboot the system. So we have a Mach microkernel running an abstracted visual user interface… but if I want to use Bluetooth to form an outbound connection sometimes I might have to reboot to do it a second time? I don’t even have words for that. To me it seems odd that the “super-modern operating system that combines the power and stability of UNIX with the legendary elegance of the Macintosh” would require a reboot after using Bluetooth. Perhaps the good folks at Apple have a slightly different definition of super-modern in mind than I do? An unavoidable and unpredictable persistently nonfunctional state arising from normal usage is not what I would consider a trait of any operating system at all, let alone an super-modern one. And a forced reboot is about as elegant as an icepick lobotomy. Disappointed. I’m very very disappointed.
I posted raw notes yesterday for this event, here’s the cleaned up version. The event was “Recent Innovations in Search and Other Ways of Finding Information”. There’s going to be audio of the event posted, I’m not sure if it’s going to be to the BayCHI site or somewhere else. The panel started with a 5 minute show and tell by each panelist, they had slides or walked through the tools they’re working on.
These are notes from the “Recent Innovations in Search and Other Ways of Finding Information” panel at BayCHI. It was an absolutely fantastic panel! Very well done, the panelists were great all around (although personally I think I liked the contributions from Udi the most). I’ll have to come back at some points and clean up these notes, they’re in kinda rough shape.
Just a quick note, I need to get back to work after having a late lunch but didn’t want to let this slip through the cracks. Patently Absurd: How New Wireless Technologies Get Strangled By Patents is worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:
Yesterday there was a session during the Open Source Business Conference titled Meet the Community. The lineup of speakers was stellar. Ross Mayfield posted a transcript and Niall Kennedy posted some commentary. I think my favorite comment was from Brian Behlendorf, who said that he never really considered companies special entities in the context of the projects he works on. That’s really a great comment, as long as you remember to say it without a derisive sneer. As a company interfacing with an open source project you probably don’t get much special consideration from the developers already working on the project unless your goals line up with their own. However, you do have a couple of options available that don’t always exist for individuals. Here’s a basic rundown of the options you have as a company looking to use an open source project but needing features.
When Elle and I got home from New Orleans our phone wasn’t working and our DSL connection was bouncing up and down. They got that fixed up during the day, thanks to some poking and prodding from Elle. But this evening when I went to send email I kept getting errors. Fire up netcat, no response at all from the mail server on port 25. My first reaction is that it must be either network problems or Dreamhost bouncing servers (they seem to like to do that). A while later and I’m still getting errors though. So just for the hell of it I connect up over GPRS and try to send the message like that. Works no problem. Interesting. Sure enough there are random reports scattered all over the place about SBC turning on outbound port filtering for SMTP. Motherfuckers!
Thad White speaking at the April MoMo.
Jeff and Marc presenting at April MoMo.
Fabrizio speaking at the April MoMo.
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