At the Trusted Computing class this past weekend Seth mentioned that he was engaged in some online sparring with someone who had a blog on Invisiblog. In particular he was talking about the postings by someone calling themselves Unlimited Freedom, which do make for interesting reading. I completely disagree with the stuff that Unlimited Freedom says, but in the interest of providing both sides of the story I felt I should at least link to the blog.
According to a post in the Blogger Developers Blog Blogger now offers the Atom API and feeds. I haven’t yet tried them out, but you can bet that I’ll be working with them before the end of the day. The announcement includes a link to AtomEnabled.org, a site with what looks like lots of great resources related to the Atom API. So with that, I’m off to learn.
There’s an article over at MobileWhack about a desktop cradle called the Blue Dock. It allows a PDA to be used like a full desktop system, with keyboard, monitor, and network connection. Still not available for quite some time, but it does work somewhat towards an idea that Mike Rohde was also talking about recently. I’ve been following systems based on the MCC, such as the products from Antelope, for a while now. The concept has been around the block a few times, and it would appear to me that the technology has been up to the task for a while. The iPod seems to be an excellent example of a compact system with almost all the trimmings necessary to serve as a computing core. But something has kept these little guys out of the mass market. They seem like a great idea to me, but I guess I could be in a very small minority who would go for a device like this. Perhaps once the wireless technologies have a little longer to ferment we’ll see something like the Personal Servers that Intel has been working on instead. There’s quite a bit of info about them available already, and of course I’m quite happy that all those technologies seem to be Linux friendly (hell, the article is at LinuxDevices.com, how much better can it get?!?)
There’s an article at TheFeature about PalmOne deciding that smartphones are going to be way bigger than PDAs in the future. It says that PalmOne is going to be shifting attention away from PDAs cause they see sales being relatively flat in that area. I can certainly agree there, it does seem like smartphones are getting snapped up pretty quick. But I also have heard quite a lot about cellular data networks really being in a lot of financial trouble. To give a concrete example, Paul Saffo mentioned that people within the 3G and 4G industries were really nervous. The numbers indicate that those technologies are trending towards failure. I would question if the smartphones being used are really an indicator of convergence. Are people getting smartphones so that they can work over the cellular network? Or are people getting smartphones so that they have PDA functions and still only have to carry one device? I hope that people use the data functions, I would like to see the cellular networks succeed and grow. Maybe people are using the data functions in smartphones, but smartphone adoption isn’t enough to affect the figures for cellular data significantly. My unfounded feeling is that setting up the data services you want is still too difficult and restrictive for the normal user. There are services that cellular providers can setup to make this a bit easier for users, but these tend to be too restrictive for early adopters. The only applications that have really been addressed on cellular networks are sending pictures and images, and even these are done mostly with the network as both originator and recipient. There is a whole different level of applications capability, network capability, and support which is needed to make richer applications available. This does not yet exist.
I went to Seth Schoen’s class on trusted computing at the Freedom Technology Center yesterday. The class itself was GREAT! Trusted computing is an area that I really wanted to learn about, but never had the time for. This was a chance to get a whole boatload of info in one big braindump. Seth did a great job of presenting an overview and then delving into some details. This was perfect for me cause I was coming in with little background. Given the set of info that’s available online already, I think it will probably only take a bit of “connect the dots” to provide a nice resource for those looking to learn about what makes up trusted computing, and what is currently being worked on. So as I promised a few days ago, I’m going to atone for my sins in recommending the Stanford VLAB security event and provide some real info. I have developed a very strong opinion on the issue, so you’re going to get that as well.
While joking in the IRC channel at pilot-link setuid pointed me to an analysis of Darl McBride’s behavior. It is a pretty funny read on its own, but what struck me after reading even a few of the quotes from Darl is that he doesn’t understand that everyone benefits from using open source, even software vendors (the competent ones at least). He seems to think that people using open source software means that the commercial software market is dead. That is not what it means at all. It means that software vendors have to ADD VALUE in what they do. It means that they can’t just sell the same old piece of shit year after year and expect to protect their “market position” using the law. Darl thinks that he has a right to sell software because he has customers. Weird. For some reason Darl thinks that the only way that software can get written and that ideas can be formed is by people working in companies:
I ended up at an article about content management predictions for 2004. I really don’t have a strong feeling about that article at all, but the overall site, MarketingProfs.com, seems like a great resource for the independent businessperson in general. I’ve only skimmed a few of the articles so far, but in general it looks quite promising.
There’s a post by John Udell about database lockin. I think the issue with SQL dialect lockin is probably more troublesome. I agree that transport independence is a problem though. Databases have been like this for a long time - a standard language to query them, but different libraries for the different databases to actually access them. There’s probably some issue in there that I’m not aware of that keeps it from happening, but why isn’t there a standard transport? ODBC is cool, but it’s a shim on the application end to allow different drivers to be swapped in as needed. At least in all the uses I have seen. Is there an “ODBC native” format that can be used by an RDBMS? I’m thinking probably not. And if so, why is no one using it? For the proprietary systems like Oracle and DB2 I could certainly see why, they don’t want people to be able to switch easily. But for open source databases why isn’t there transport level standardization? Any database gurus out there who might know the answer, please chime in. I vaguely remember something about an XML based query exchange from a number of years ago. That ever make it anywhere?
This site describes how to use a physical bluetooth device from a POSE session running under Linux. That’s just really cool. I with the people actually at Palm would realize the market they lost in open source advocates, but if that isn’t going to happen at least a couple of talented people can provide an alternative. Of course, this only works for emulating older devices, Palm doesn’t have anything available for Linux to simulate their newest devices. Thank you BeeCon, this is a great tool.
There are images online from a couple of people who constructed a high speed photo lab using a BASIC stamp and some off the shelf parts. I have no idea how expensive high speed photography normally is, or just how hard it is to construct one of these, but the pictures are pretty. I think it’s also cool they did it for $40, although I’m assuming that doesn’t include air compressor, controller, and the various cameras they used. I figured the flash would be the hard part given their description, but it says they just used the flash from a disposable. Mmmmm, impaled fruit.
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