RSS WinterFest is an RSS webcast that went on over the last two days. Along with the webcast went a wiki a weblog and tons of other resources linked in through both of those. There are some great points brought up, and some points that I really don’t agree with but might have to put some thought into. I also found Roland’s blog quite useful, as he seems to be interested in a lot of the same areas as I am. I had trouble connecting to the actual cast the first day, and didn’t have the time to listen in live for most of today. I wish I could have, the information linked in and generated by the event seems to be of very high quality. This is a group that’s really taking the time to work through the issues beyond the technical details of getting down a file format. I liked the points under Syndication in the Enterprise from Bill French in particular. Once I work myself out from under the pile of crud I have to do now I need to finish up the Palm XMLPRC work and get onto some of this stuff as well.
I went to the Weblogger Meetup in San Francisco last night, but only one other person showed up. I think that it just isn’t going to happen at all. During December lots of people showed cause the crew from Blogger.com were there. But besides the people that Jason Shellen invited, and the people that I invited, there wasn’t anyone new. This time around I sent out some emails and got not much response, but figured that there might be people there anyway. I was wrong. Not a big deal, communities shift over time. I guess there just aren’t many people into the technologies looking to meet.
Last night I went to what I thought was a panel discussion at MIT/Stanford Venture Lab. The event description claimed that Whitfield Diffie was going to moderate a discussion covering topics like untapped areas of the security market and the implications of shift to a risk analysis based model for security. This is not at all what this event was. It started with Wit saying a few words about security in general, calling up mostly issues that those of us who have worked in security are already very aware of, but framing the overall security issue very well. But then it launched into a product pitch by ArcSight. I had no idea that was going to happen, and I don’t think I would have paid for the event if I had known that a big chunk of it was just a podium for someone trying to pimp their new product. ArcSight does seem to be interesting, but it’s certainly not revolutionary. Someone just had the business sense to actually write this “security nervous system” that those in the industry have been speculating about for a long time. The good ones have already written their own, possibly more than once. ArcSight decided to make a product of it, good for them. It’s a nice position, I like it, but I don’t care. If I wanted to hear about the product I would have gone to the website, not paid to hear them pitch.
Joi Ito had a post yesterday that mentioned he thinks of himself as a “Social Entrepreneur”, and pointed to this definition at Stanford Business School. I found the commentary to be a pretty interesting overview of entrepreneurship in general. I’ve just discovered that I’m a huge Schumpeter fan, and now I see the name all over the place. I actually thought this concept of “creative destruction” that Schumpeter describes wasn’t very well known, or maybe not well accepted. I hadn’t heard it till just a few months ago. But now that I’ve read about it, and I’m looking for it, it appears all over. I have to get some of his other writings, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy those as well.
MyPalmLife reports today on a GPS solution from TomTom, and last week there was news about an option from Navman. Both of them seem to offer Bluetooth based GPS devices, which I would love to get my hands on to try out. Of course, I would be more interested in hooking the information into something like lookups against GeoURL. Both of those navigation options seem to be at least partially focused on being able to provide navigation to “points of interest”. I’m sure most of those won’t match up well with what I consider interesting. Of course, I won’t know if that assumption is true unless I fool around with them for a while. But the Navman at least seems to focus on static maps pulled off an SD card. Hopefully some of the people who pick up these things end up hacking at them a bit. Sounds like the Palm is really gaining potential as a platform for geolocation services.
I’ve been working on mobile computing stuff for a while, but I don’t normally follow developing standards that closely. Normally my work starts after other people have done the standardizing, and I have the onerous job of getting a dozen different “amazing new technologies” to all work together to do something that a normal human would want them to do. You know, like looking up a location on a map or showing you a picture of your kids getting home from school. Little details like that, normally necessary when turning technology into product (a step some people tend to forget). But quite a few people have called my attention to this new standard from the W3C. Enough people that I think I’m actually going to have to give this one an advanced reading. Supposedly it’s already being used by quite a few devices. It provides an RDF based description of device capabilities, so that a web server can tailor content to the device being used. I’ve heard that promise from a number of protocols before… but I’m trying to keep an open mind so that I can give this one a fair chance. The spec was just recently passed, just a few days ago actually.
There was an event close to where I lived about RSS, but I had to miss it. Looks like there’s a chance to make it up however, a webcast about RSS called RSS Winterfest. I signed up and I’ll probably drop in on some of the sessions. I wish they had a little more info about how they’re posting the summaries. I probably would have skipped the signup and just read about it, but I think participation is important if someone has put the time into setting up an event like this. So I’m going to put my realtime time into it and listen as it happens. They have some great speakers.
Russell Beattie has started a new website to serve as a “knowledge base for mobile phones”. He posted about it in his blog, describing why he chose the collaboration format that he did and what the goals are. I immediately signed up and added info for a bunch of the US providers I’ve tested equiptment with. I think this site is a great idea, and I even agree with the knowledge base format. One thing I would like to see is access to the KB from mobile phones. If it were possible to get to the knowledge base from a mobile phone, the KB could have info about services like SMS shortcodes, WAP services, links to other sites with more info. I think that keeping the site a knowledge base instead of a news site is a great idea, but I also think that these other features really are part of mobile computing.
The Register is reporting that Nokia is planning a Perl port for series 60 phones. This would be really cool. Not only cause I think more development options are a good idea, but because the language is an open source option. I admit I’m not familiar with most of what Nokia has been doing, but I did recently inherit a Mako. That prompted me to look around at some of the software, cause the Mako/Psion run what is apparently an early version of Symbian. I was surprized to see how open the Symbian platform seems to be. When I finally get a chance to get a new phone, I’ll have to take a serious look at Symbian instead of a PalmOS based device. Especially if their developer community is strong and supported with open development tools. Palm has really been slacking in respect to their support for open source developers. And it’s resulted in lots of bitter and disappointed people. Bad luck for Palm if those people migrate to another platform, somewhere that they’re supported and able to produce enhancements that they feel good about giving away. That’s the kind of thing that turns a normal product into a segment dominator, lest Palm forget. That old claim about Palm having “thousands of add on applications, many of them available for free” is starting to dwindle. The free apps are showing their age, and are dwarfed by commercial offerings. It leaves everyone except Palm and their commercial developers very frusterated.
I’ve been setting up software RAID for the guys at Zamples, and I found the Boot Root RAID Lilo HOWTO to be quite informative. I had never seen that doc before, and it addressed exactly what I was trying to do. I wasn’t able to get the second drive booting directly, probably cause it’s a 200gig and the geometry reported is all screwy. But at least it appears that it should work if this were a normal configuration. What I’ve ended up doing is creating a boot floppy to load the system should the primary drive fail. It’s not pretty, but until I can dig into LILO and figure out what’s up (Yea! I’ll have time for that, sure ;-) this is a good enough solution.
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