I spent a good part of the day today making some changes to Vagablog in an attempt to make it more usable. The primary change is the addition of the markup menu to allow for easily inserting markup into the document. There are menu items that allow for inserting the begining or ending tags for underline, bold, emphasis, and italic. If you have text selected when you activate one of the items it will insert both begin and end tags around the selected text. This just seemed like the correct behavior, hopefully the users agree. There’s also an option to insert a link, which also can be used to surround a selection with markup. The link menu item pops up a form for filling in link details.
Check out this gem of an interview with Darl McBride. Talking about the quarter of a million dollar reward that he has put up for the capture of the MyDoom virus writer:
A recent string of articles and conversations have left me considering the tension between running a business and being a techno weenie. It’s a topic that other people have discussed before, but it’s something that probably has more general applicability than it seems to be given credit for. The point that really drove it home for me was an article in strategy+business about what business strategists can learn from existential philosophers (free registration required). The article touches on issues like how to carry out planning when it seems like more changes than remains the same from one iteration to the next. If there are very few known (or even guessable) quantities, how can one form a realistic plan for action? Excellent points in general.
There’s an article over at O’Reilly about mesh networking. It covers the basics of what a mesh is, the kinds of networks which fall into that broad category, and then give instructions about using an existing open source project to form a mesh network using commodity parts and Linux. Very cool!! The article also points to a wiki about mesh networking, which has links to lots of other open projects and resources. For a project I was working on I did a decent amount of reading about using 802.11 networks along with sensor networks to provide a dynamic mesh where just the simple sensors can’t do it. This fills in the blanks really well, as a few of these open mesh packages seem like they’re quite advanced systems.
An article at SmartMobs saying that there’s a Reclaim The Streets event planned for Valentines Day in San Francisco. This is an example of combination online and offline gathings of people, commonly referred to as a mob in some circles. People collaborate online, organize, and culminate in a physical meeting. I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions. For some more info about mobish activities there’s a page full of links to stories from the middle of last year. Mobs were big news a while ago, but I think that was just the flash of initial conception. They have been relatively quiet because people have been cooking up ideas and technologies I think.. and the real fun is yet to come. The events so far have mostly had the same social impact as those tricks you used to play in elementary school where everyone would drop their pencil at precisely 1:15. If you’re interested in the apps that could be coming, check out Rheingold’s book SmartMobs. Every once in a while I spout off about that stuff here too. (That was sarcasm by the way, I’m frequently haranguing just about anyone about the plight of mobile computing applications, and how businesses fail to realize the potential they have.)
When I connected to WINKsite this morning I noticed the link to the mobile version of BoingBoing in featured sites area. Woohoo!!! I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a WINKsite fan, and I think almost everyone in Silicon Valley reads the standard edition of BoingBoing. It’s one of those sites that serves as a hub for bloggers, pulling articles in from all over which other people pick and choose from to mention in their own blogs. I’ve mentioned WINKsite before, but for those who might be new readers the brief recap:
MyPalmLife posted yesterday that it got information that PalmOS 6 will include all the neat features that Russ and I were concerned about. Is this conflicting information? Or when Palm says that OS6 is going to concentrate on PDA functions does that mean that they’re also going to improve networking also? It could be, maybe they consider networking a core PDA function. That makes sense wo me. I would agree. But I would certainly like some clarification on that one. Maybe this isn’t conflicting info, maybe it is. It could just be ambiguity in the terms PDA and smartphone. If a smartphone is just a PDA with a cellular network interface built in, I would think that concentrating on PDA functions instead of smartphone functions would mean not paying much attention to that cell interface. But maybe Palm has definitions that don’t agree with mine. Maybe Palm considers smartphone functions things like MMS and SMS hookups, ringtones, and other enhanced handset features. There’s only one thing I can say confidently at this point: I have no idea what PalmSource is planning. And it doesn’t appear to be just me either. Russ sent along another great tidbit about the European arm of palmOne considering alternatives to PalmOS. It would appear that this confusion over PalmOS may cover more than just the peons like me.
Russell Beattie has an interesting post in his blog about PalmSource focusing PalmOS6 on PDA functions. I don’t think I could possibly agree with Russell any more than I do. I spent a decent amount of time thinking about it too, cause I do think that a limited function laptop is cool. For me at least, I can accept that what I want isn’t necessarily what others want. But because I think that the connected nature of the devices should be primary and the laptop features secondary, I don’t think that really counts as a disagreement. I was very happy when I thought that PalmOS6 was going to include features that would allow for easy syncronizaton of databases directly over a network using web services, and that the whole design of the OS was going to center around network usage. If PalmSource isn’t planning to do this, I agree that they really are missing the boat.
Elle posted a pointer to some information about smartphone and handheld trends in Europe. The information mentions the role of navigation packages, particularly GPS based services, in the increased adoption of devices. I would certainly like to get my hands on a device or two with geolocation capabilities. I think a few simple PDA apps to hook up to GeoURL or Atom/RSS feed software with mapping capability could spawn a couple of really interesting new usage patterns. I’ll have to keep my eye on some used Bluetooth GPS gear or something. I am personally of the opinion that geolocation services in one form or another are going to play a big role in mobile services in general, I think navigation systems are just the tip of the iceberg.
A friend was downloading the PHLAK ISOs the other day, so I decided to take a look over there today. I haven’t downloaded the CD images themselves, but I probably will. I have an HP that just refuses to run Linux in a stable manner. Maybe running most of it off CD will help. And the PHLAK site itself has some great news links. The Oracle paper on SQL injection attacks and the Zaurus tools page are both great. This site could be a great general souce of security info if the community keeps going as strong as it seems to be. I’m off to download some ISOs.
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