Archive for October, 2003

Corporate Paranoia

October 29, 2003

I’ve long documented the slimy and stupid things that Microsoft does from time to time. Add two more actions to the laundry list: implementing a feature that Apple’s already patented and firing someone for taking pictures of a pallet of dual G5s at a Microsoft campus.

The first is Microsoft’s innovative new feature that sounds an awful lot like Piles, Apple’s patented, innovative UI feature. I mean, Apple Legal isn’t exactly a lazy bunch of do-nothings and the patent is pretty old with no prior art. Is Microsoft just begging to be sued? Do they maybe think that this might get them some more publicity? Or will they say that it’s yet another feature that a competitor has stolen? The hubris is amazing.

The second occurred when a temporary worker who was also a blogger snapped a picture of a pallet of dual G5s outside of a Microsoft office and then blogged about it. Somehow someone at Microsoft saw the entry and fired him for it. It wouldn’t be the first time that a blogger has been fired over entries in his blog, but it would be a very stupid action since Microsoft publicly develops software for the Mac. One would expect that they would need the newest hardware in order to fully test their software out. If they were trying to avoid any negative publicity engendered by using a competitor’s products, they certainly botched it in classic Microsoft fashion since there’s been a maelstrom of negative publicity already. Slashdot picked up the story right away and Slashdot is often the vanguard of big news items in the computer industry. This’ll probably rank up there with the fake endorsements.

Shame on you, Microsoft.

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Blog Vacation Day

October 28, 2003

I’m taking a blog vacation day today and possibly tomorrow. I imagine that I’ll be pretty consumed with taking care of two little ones. If you want to know all the pertinent details, check out the PregoBlog, which I will be updating.

Plone

October 27, 2003

For future reference: Plone Conference Archives. Plone is built on top of Zope and Zope is a free, open-source content management system.

AppleScript

October 26, 2003

AppleScript for Absolute Starters, a free e-book, comes highly recommended from several sources. I haven’t read it yet so I can’t add my accolades, but it looks pretty solid after a quick scan.

Pair Programming

October 26, 2003

Simon Willison has a great list of reasons why pair programming is such a great idea. This is another link I will be passing along to the boss man.

Good Interview

October 26, 2003

There’s a good interview with Evan Williams up over at CNET. Evan is the founder of Blogger—the software used to power this and the other blogs at the Bill Brown Information Center—and is now working for Google, which bought his company.

Evan and his employees have created an internal version of Blogger called BIG that he says has taken off. According to Evan, several hundred Google employees use blogs internally to track projects, share links, and whatnot. That is so cool: I’ve suggested to my employer numerous times how internal blogs could really work wonders on reporting and project management. I believe I will pass him this link as further data.

OmniWeb

October 26, 2003

Does anyone know if OmniWeb has a feature, preference, or option to prompt before quitting? I’ve inadvertently pressed CMD-Q a few too many times, thinking I was in a different application than OmniWeb, resulting in the loss of whatever sites I was browsing. No big deal thanks to OmniWeb’s excellent history drawer, but it gets really maddening when I’m working on a blog entry.

I just want to know before I shoot off yet another email to OmniGroup suggesting a feature that has already been implemented.

Why Not?

October 26, 2003

I thought that I had already posted an entry about WhyNot and its accompanying book, but I can’t find it after looking through the archives. Damn! It’s a really cool site and the book sounds intriguing.

Tom Ehrenfeld, whose book I have mentioned, just reviewed the book in his blog. He recommends the book highly, stating that it stands out in the crowd of books about innovation. Good enough for me; added to my Wish List.

I’m an innovation and creativity junkie, reading just about anything on the subject. I like to think of myself as a creative type, but I know my limitations. I’m always sure that I’m missing something and that that something is out there for me to find and discover. I read IdeaFlow regularly, looked into TRIZ, and contemplated Taguchi.

I might be kidding myself, thinking that I’m worse off creatively than I really am. But I usually garner at least a morsel of useful information from the books I read and the sites I browse, so I guess it’s not a complete waste of time.

Acrobat Tip

October 26, 2003

Sanjay has a great tip to speed up your Acrobat 6 startup for Windows. I don’t know if it works for Mac OS X as well—it probably should—because Panther‘s Preview app is so freakin’ fast that I don’t care. That and I only have Acrobat Reader 5 installed because I never saw a need to upgrade, which is very unusual for me, the Upgrade King.

The Case for Python

October 26, 2003

I’m trying to decide what language to learn next and I’m really leaning towards Python. I figure that I can master C# at work since the big project relies on it and I’m pretty much done with Java (as much as I like it) because I just can’t seem to get any traction on using it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Python and the PyObjC seems to have reached stable, mainstream status. Plus, Panther now lets Python into the Quartz graphics libraries, which suggests that Python is poised to break into first-language status in Mac OS X—joining Objective-C, Java, and AppleScript.

This essay about the utility of Python as a first language in computer science swayed me. Perhaps after getting comfortable with Python (and mucking about in Zope), it will open me up to getting comfortable with Cocoa and Objective-C—my inevitable goal. Plus, there’s so many great books online about learning it.

[UPDATE (11/4/03): I just found this great series of interviews with Bruce Eckel on the subject of Python. Awesome perspective!]