February 27, 2003
Give Russell a new job
Give Russell a new job: Here is my plea to you the Telco-People out there: Give Russell Beatie a job! Ok, he may not want (yet) another job - but I don't care. Rapidly becoming the Source for mobile news - our man on the mobiles - deserves more. Look at the service he is providing - without being payed to do so (at least I think that's the case). Now just imagine what this could be - if he were payed to write! This could be the chance you've been waiting for, dear Telco-People, to get UMTS off the ground (remember those debts you have...yeah) - get Russell to do a write-up. Get him to make a guest-appearance on the next Vodafone-Live commercials....use his name in your advertisements ("The new P742 - as seen on the Russell Beatie Weblog")...fly him to the next 3GSM and treat him to some cocktails.
So run - don't walk - to your email programs and make him an offer he can't refuse. Thanks.
That's (nearly) it
That's (nearly) it: Although not much of a football (soccer) fan - I spent most of my childhood in a region of Germany that only has one football club - 1 FC Kaiserslautern. Now that part of Germany (the part of Rheinland-Pfalz that is just referred to as "die Pfalz" has really nothing going for it. No real industry to speak of, the wine area of Rhine and Mosel are on the very perimeter, just countryside mainly with a few scattered larger towns. It was the area of Germany where most of the US armed forces were stationed - but now only a couple of bases still remain.
Unemployment is high as many people worked for the US forces (including my parents back in the 70's and 80's.). After most of the Americans left - well the whole area pretty much collapsed and new industry and jobs have been slow to move in. Sad. Anyway - the football club had a very strong following and many people used their Saturday outing to the match to get over other problems. People would make long journeys into Kaiserslautern to see their team play and in that part of Germany you were either for the "1 FCK" or you remained quiet. Very quiet.
Until this season the team played well and was always amongst the best teams in the nation. Suddenly however (obviously this was longer in coming) they are a) bankrupt and b) last in the table. They are currently trying to find enough money to continue playing this season and if they are relegated to the second division then that will definitely be it. Gone. Dead. Not just a football-club full of tradition and home to some of the best German football players - but also another knell for a whole region.
You'll have to wait
You'll have to wait: Looks like the new 17-inch Powerbooks will not hit the streets until April at least. Although I am currently still favoring the 12-inch or a rumored 15-inch it will at least give me more time to save my pennies.
Mobile payment inside
February 26, 2003
More than just code
Off we go again - mobile payment
Off we go again - mobile payment: Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefónica and Orange are starting a new joint venture aimed at developing a platform for mobile payment. The Mobile Payment Service Organisation (as it is currently called) will provide a standardized way of paying for purchases using your mobile. This German article has more.
No food for you
No food for you: Danish pizzeria bans French and Germans from dining there. We're off to Denmark this Summer, so luckily I will still be able to eat. My wife however.... :-).
February 25, 2003
Three Degrees: And I thought the postings were about a revival...Anyway: Microsoft has just announced their new attack (whoops - wrong word) on the teens of this planet. Three Degrees is the next generation of IM (or so they say). The product (currently in beta) is supposed to make forming groups easier and let the participants share in listening to music together and "winking" at each other. Before you rush off to try it out - it only works on XP and read this review from Yoz Grahame first. Be afraid.
Spring weather: Warm sunny weather here in Paderborn. Time to shake-off the Winter blues.
Lenya vote started
Lenya vote started: The vote has started on accepting Lenya as a sub-project to Cocoon. Lenya is targetted at becoming an Apache CMS framework and will build on both Cocoon and Wyona. Read the proposal here.
February 24, 2003
Tabbed Safari: Safari to get tabbed browsing. It just keeps getting better.
NewsGator 1.0 released
NewsGator 1.0 released: Greg has released NewsGator 1.0 the RSS plugin for Outlook. The released version costs 29$ after a 14 day trial.
80's revival: Like PapaScott, I grew up on Nena's music back in the 80's. I quite like some of the remakes on the new album and it certainly brings back warm fuzzy feelings. My favorite German band back then was BAP - a group from Cologne that sang in the famous Kölsch dialect. Even though I was still learning German at that time I enjoyed listening to their songs. They were very active in the peace movement back then ... and I'm now waiting for the "BAP featuring BAP" revival album.
February 23, 2003
West Wing Quotes
West Wing quotes: A site full of good West Wing quotes.
WAP is dead. Not.
WAP is dead. Not. Russell reflects on WAP. As he rightly points out, WAP's death has been greatly overhyped in the past year or so. It hasn't died - but it certainly is in hiding. Notice how TV-adverts on "All things mobile"® aren't using the WAP-word anymore. Russell mentions the Vodafone-Live applications and looking at the current TV-spots for Vodafone you'll see that the emphasis has moved from technology "We have a great WAP service" to actually explaining what the applications are.
Also notice how all the discussions on why WAP sucks seem to have "gone away". A sure sign this sort of stuff is mainstream now.
Expect more of this as WAP is expanded on with the newer phones that support XHTML. Don't expect to see any mention of the fact in the ads though. In a couple of years nobody will even know (or more importantly - care) what technology is bringing them their mobile news and views.
Going Logo? Looking for something that will get Christopher interested in programming - so he doesn't spend his time just playing games. I thought perhaps Logo or something similar would be a good start (I learnt Logo back in school in 1982 or so). But I don't know if any good Windows based Logo versions are available. I'll go and take a look.
Anosmia: My son Christopher (8) can't smell. He had been telling us this for some time and at first we didn't take it too seriously as it soon became something of a game (or so it seemed). Anyway, lately he became quite upset at the fact and asked us to do something about it. So we took him to the doctor who did all the tests (which included x-rays and a smell-test). In the end he was diagnosed with "not being able to smell" (and the doctor shrugged "there's nothing we can do about it"). He can taste things ok - but it looks as though he will never be able to smell things like fresh coffee, flowers or perfume. Link.
Sick notes: This part of Germany is currently being hit by a wave of flu and similar type sympoms. On average 30% of kids attending school are currently sick - with peaks reaching 50% in some classes. We also had our share in the last couple of weeks.
February 21, 2003
News blogging - New York fire
Plugging in to Eclipse
Plugging in to Eclipse: We now offer a 2 day workshop called Plugging in to Eclipse. Martin introduces you to the Eclipse platform and will teach you how to write your own cutting edge plugins. As my man Biz would say - "Martin knows things".
AOL gets a lot of mail
AOL gets a lot of mail: This report on Heise-Online describes how AOL gets around a billion spam emails - a day. Wow that is an huge number - per day? According to AOL they are able to block 780 million. That still leaves...umm.....a lot.
Life in the West Wing
Life in the West Wing: If you follow the series - then check this interesting information out. The original. And I promise to blog less about WW now. Promised. Well...maybe....
NewsGator: Jon Udell gives NewsGator a write-up. I am using this neat Outlook plugin on a regular basis and it's great. A few extra functions would be nice to have (next unread, post to weblog) - but all in all I'm sold. (That's on my Windows laptop at work).
February 20, 2003
Russell is wired
Dave on Blogger
Dave comments on Blogger: At last Dave Winer comments on the Google-Blogger deal. He does in fact voice the one reason I also see as probably being key to the deal: "weblogs in business". So far I haven't seen that mentioned much and until Google spills the beans we can all but sit and .. well .. blog. In all I reckon Dave is probably really p*ssed off at the whole thing - although he tries not to let that show. After all if you consider yourself to be the inventor (or let's say one of the key inventors) then wouldn't you be angry/sad/upset that no-one at least offered to buy you - and it seems Google never asked.
Blogger has some advantages over Radio from a Google point of view as most of the weblogs are hosted at blogger and blogger controls the blogging software (there is no programm you have to install). So, Google can add new stuff - just like that - without having to roll out new client software to all the users. So expect a Google branding to appear soon. Internationalization as well. Many international bloggers are put off (I think) by English-only blogging software. Expect international versions of blogger soon.
West Wing in Germany
West Wing fan:
Stafan Stefan seems to be another West Wing fan here in Germany. I wonder how he "gets" his episodes? I've nearly finished watching season 1.
February 19, 2003
Monster RSS: Looking for more than just a simple RSS aggregator - Kevin Burton's NewsMonster may be for you.
Re-bowling: Out of my inbox popped an email pointing to this article that gives a different view on Michael Moore's film "Bowling for Columbine". Judge for yourself.
Back in the house
Back: Arrived back in Paderborn after an interesting meeting in Belgium. Lots of stuff to talk about - but not now. Information will be forthcoming. Sylvain was there too.
Morning from Belgium
Good morning Europe. A bright sunny - but cold - day here in Belgium. Nice ribs last night and plenty of interesting conversation.
February 18, 2003
Belgian thoughts: I made it - and only went wrong twice. Now sitting in the comfortable offices of Outerthought and hooked up via WiFi. A sunny and not so cold day here in Belgium. Roll on ribs-time.
Mixed morning bag: A quick few posts before I head off for Belgium to eat some ribs :-). Perhaps I'll even drop in on the NATO folks and see what's happening.
Bloogle: Evan has a write-up on the Google takeover.
Backup your Radio: Radio now offers backup and restore functionality. I have yet to try it out.
Cool phones: Sony Ericsson has some cool phones. Russell is talking about the T300 (the same phone my wife has). Yesterday I actually held the P800 and the T610 (which used to be billed as the T69) in my sweaty palms. Unfortunately none of the above jumped into my bag on the way out. Ah well. Now if the person who recognizes this could just pass on my address to the SE guys and tell them I will write great stuff about their phones here. That goes for Nokia as well - of course :-).
February 16, 2003
That's all for now
That's all for now: A weblog-busy weekend comes to a close and I am now preparing for a few (hopefully interesting) days on the road. So talk amongst yourselves until I get back some time next week.
Google-move reviewed: Google buying Pyra is sure to shake up the weblog world in the near future. Google is a well-known and respected brand now and so a GoogleBlogs brand (or whatever they decide to call it) is sure to attract a lot of new webloggers and switchers ("I used to be a Radio weblogger - but now I've switched to GoogleBlog" - or something similar).
Something easy to imagine is some form of Google-search-box being automatically added to your GoogleBlog. That search will then search other weblogs in the Google-verse for related topics etc. Also addititions like "more like this from GoogleGroups" are a no-brainer. So all in all a perfect tie-in.
Many people (myself included) turn to weblogs as alternate sources of up to the minute information - news. Google can tap into this and provide these sources in addition to their GoogleNews. Present a news piece of the wire of say AP and then provide links to weblogs currently commenting or reporting the same piece.Other weblog-players are sure to have some busy days ahead - rethinking strategies and looking for strategic partners.
It's never black or white
It's never black or white: Instapundit has a part of Tony Blair's speech and reading it shows that "no war" may also not be the answer in the end. There has to be a middle way - and we have to find it.
Meltdown: None of the radio.userland.com/ weblogs (including my own) seem to be reachable - as is www.weblogs.com. What gives?
Update: Seems to be ok now.
Audio blogging: Also at the Blogosphere event in LA (why are these things always on the other side of the planet?) Audblog was announced. The service will allow you to ring in via phone and then leave a blog entry which is linked into your weblog as an mp3 file. Check here for an example weblog that uses the service.
As I see it, this way of blogging has a major drawback when compared to normal weblogging and even photo-blogging. When I select the weblog to "read" I can only see an icon representing an audio-entry. I have to download the file in a seperate step to hear it. This breaks up the flow - or experience - of reading the weblog.
Weblogs get political
Weblogs get political: Apart from commenting on some of the stuff I've read (the mind boggles that some people really should think that) - here's one weblog you should read. Especially if you're American.
Google goes blogging
Google goes blogging: The big news this morning is Google buying Pyra (the makers of blogger). This is news. Of course I was expecting the tip-off from our man in Google-land - but he didn't come through. Lots of comments flying around. I got the pointer from Ben. Off to read more and then back with some thoughts of my own.
February 15, 2003
Peace demonstrations moving
Peace demonstrations moving: Anti-War demonstrations are underway in many different countries. 500000 people are on their feet in London. Berlin is reporting the same figure. The BBC is showing pictures taken by people and then sent in via email or MMS.
Sausages and Baghdad
Sausages and Baghdad: Well wadda ya know. From this entry over at dictionary.com it would appear that "War" and the German word for sausage "Wurst" come from the same Indo-European root - *wers- which means to confuse or mix up. There's a moral in there somewhere.
Up close and personal
Getting personal: Russell finds out that people read his weblog. Which reminds me of a similar story that happened to me a couple of weeks ago: I was at a possible new client (large European company) talking about this and that. On leaving - one of the guys turned to me and said: "so how is your wife's new phone then"? I was so amazed I wondered how the heck he knew she had a new one. Of course it turned out he reads my weblog - which was kind of cool.
At the same time it reminded me about how the lines between personal stuff and work stuff can blur if you write a weblog. There is a certain danger in this as others have found out - on the other hand there is also a certain sense of cameraderie that can come out of it. And obviously lots of room for opportunities.
Weblog comments - no!
Weblog comments - no!: One of the things I think really suck about weblogs are the comments bit. Which is why I have them turned off. If you check out most of the comment threads on other people's weblogs - you tend to read things like this. Even on the few weblogs I read, I have already seen too many flame-baits and flame-wars. This gets too much like the usenet threads that end up containing no real information - just nasty bitching at each other. So my advice is: turn those comments off. Use trackbacks and pingbacks if you can. Then at least the person who replies is a weblogger him/herself and can comment in their own space.
BlogTalk: Papa Scott points to the upcoming European Weblogging conference in Vienna. I had plain forgotten about it. Already there a good number of people down for papers etc. and I am wondering whether to do one myself. Unfortunately I already have a possible something down for the 23rd of May so that may be that anyway. In case you are in my part of the world - there are cheap flights with AirBerlin from Dortmund to Vienna - if you're planning on going.
German book on Cocoon
Run - don't walk: To your nearest bookstore and buy a copy of this great book. Just out is "Portale und Webapplikationen mit Apache Frameworks" - and as you can probably gather it is a German book. Carsten and I wrote the chapter on Cocoon which contains a detailed description on the portal and authentication frameworks. The other chapters are good too and contain stuff on Jetspeed, Turbine, Velocity and much much more.
February 14, 2003
New stuff: Mac OS X 10.2.4 update arrives.
Good? morning Europe!
Good? morning Europe! A cold but sunny day here today. Elsewhere, things seem to be heating up with reports coming through that there are already US forces acting in Iraq. Interesting that this is on the front-page of the German Spiegel Online - but there is currently no sign of it over on CNN.
February 13, 2003
Man held in grenade scare: The BBC is reporting on a man being held at Gatwick airport with a live hand-grenade.
Message from Germany
Message from Germany: On Saturday, the influential "club" named Atlantikbrücke (Atlantic Bridge) will pay 140.000 $ to buy a page in the New York Times. Members of this club range from politicans from all parties, newspaper publishers and high-ranking board-members of firms such as Deutsche Bank. The club aims to detail the good relationship between the US and Germany (including thanks for freeing Germany from the Nazis, thanks for the trans-atlantic solidarity of NATO, thanks for support during reunification - you get the idea). Spiegel-Online has more (German).
A pity superbowl was a few weeks ago - they could have done a spot.
Paranoid? Me? I live near a large British army base here in Germany and now and again I am treated to the sound of helicopters landing/taking off or tanks being moved around etc. Well, I notice that for the last day or so there has been a lot of noise and movement going on. Actually I use the level of security at the gate (which I pass every day) as my own personal "what's going on in the world" barometer. They step up security sometimes even before things "happen". You've been warned - and here comes another helicopter as I write.
Send your karma this way
Make your links shorter
War against Geography
February 12, 2003
The end of the universe: I finished reading The salmon of doubt today. I put off buying and reading the book until a couple of weeks ago - because I thought it would be a very final experience. It was. I have all DNA's books (some in first-printing, many in German and English). I have a signed letter from him from way back when and managed to see him speak at JavaOne back in 1999. So that's it now. Nothing left to read. Ever.
And you know what - I don't even care if they are trying to cover up what companies may or may not have been delivering to Iraq. That's a problem we have courts to solve - not bombs.
It's not the heroics suggested by the Washington monument, but the crushed, burnt bodies and screaming destruction of massive bombing. If you want to know why the French, the Germans, and the Russians don't want to fight just yet, walk down their streets.
February 11, 2003
NewsGator: Greg has released version 0.9 of NewsGator, an Outlook plugin RSS aggregator.
Konfabulous: I took Konfabulator for a brief spin on my iBook last night. It really does look nice. The provided widgets are nice-looking (although most of them provide functionality that is already in Mac OSX. However it will be interesting to see how this progresses and how easy it is to actually write your own widgets.
Update: Wired has an article on Konfab here.
February 10, 2003
Donating money - the hard way
Look Ma - my pics
FOSDEM: Allen Noren from O'Reilly gives an overview of the FOSDEM open source conference that took place in Belgium over the weekend. Unfortunately I couldn't make it - next time hopefully.
Article in LinuxEnterprise
Article in LinuxEnterprise: My article on RSS appears in the printed edition of this months LinuxEnterprise (German).
February 07, 2003
Penguins revisited: Good news - Apart from the Cocoon power-workshop, I will be doing 2 presentations at JAX2003. One will be about RSS and Cooon. The other is titled: "Penguins are only human after all" and will focus on the story of our open source group over the past 2 years. In particular what happens when a commercial entity starts getting involved with open source (and what you can learn from our mistakes). I've submitted the same talk for OSCON - so perhaps I will get to do the same talk in Portland in July.
Help Frank: Frank is looking for someone to test whether his Trackback works. Radio doesn't support Trackback - so perhaps some kind person will help. Thanks!
Update: Thanks Matt!
RSS in Outlook
The party is over - RSS in Outlook: I've just installed the current version of NewsGator and now have RSS aggregation in Outlook. This is great and the current version performs reasonably well for what I need. Right-clicking on an RSS-link in a web page to add it to NewsGator is cool stuff.Of course Microsoft will eventually add this to Outlook anyway - won't they!?
Instapundit RSS sucks
Instapundit: I've started reading Glenn's weblog regularly - he gives a good roundup of the non-techie stuff going on - but his RSS feed sucks. It contains too little of the article to be actually worth reading. I guess he wants people to stick to reading the web version.
vlc sucks - mplayer rocks: Up to yesterday, I was using vlc as the video-player on my iBook 500. Playback was good in general - although choppy on some videos. Then yesterday I updated to vlc 0.5.0 only to find the performance had gone down the drain. I wasn't able to play a video without playback freezing on me. Luckily Frank had pointed me to mplayer for mac os X - so I uninstalled vlc and installed mplayer. Although not prone to strong language me - well mplayer just kicks ass. I was able to watch 2 episodes of West Wing in full screen glory as smooth as creamy peanut butter.
February 06, 2003
Weblogs.com monitoring: Thanks to Simon for pointing me to blogToaster for monitoring changes in weblogs.com via IM. I was thinking something more in the lines of a mail-alerter thought. Sits in my Windows tray and raises a flag each time a monitored weblog is changed. Add weblogs to monitor by right-clicking on the icon in the tray and typing in the URI. When a monitored weblog is changed then click on the icon and it launches the browser with the updated weblog.
Update: The little program is neat but doesn't seem to work correctly. When the flag goes up that a site has changed - it seems to always show the same URI (the first one from the list). Also - clicking on that takes me to a different entry from my list. Hmm..
Linux on iPod
February 05, 2003
Age is not a problem
At the moment Mum has 2 computers in her small house - the old PC and the shiny new laptop. Now she has a normal phone connection (courtesy of BT). So although she has a laptop she still needs to connect to the phone line using a modem (inside the laptop) and a long cable. Instead of the cable, I suggested a wireless connection last night on the phone. Now I have no idea what might be possible in the wireless area considering she only has a normal phone line (me knows only WLAN DSL routers).So - open to suggestions on that one (I suppose a normal modem equipped with bluetooth or WLAN is the answer..). Has to be cheap! And easy to install - or you can help her by making your way to the Norfolk part of the UK.
Weblogs.com question: How do you use webogs.com? I would like to be able to set an alert for when certain weblogs update (that could be tracked through weblogs.com) and then for some flag to go up in my task bar. Rather like: "You have mail". Another one for the LazyWeb.
Steve's back: Steve is recovering from the storm and noting the following:
As I get back up to date with the world I see that nothing has really changed. This is something to keep in mind as you check your email every ten minutes, update your rss aggregator every 15, and check slashdot every 30.
Remember my weblog subtitle Steve?
A bolt from the blue
Columbia mystery: At last - the revelation we've been waiting for. And we just knew it didn't just break up - didn't we.
Microsoft worried by open source
Interesting reading: Read this quaterly filing from Microsoft. Not all of it - just search for "open source" and read that paragraph. Here is a single line quote (actually 2 lines) from there (my emphasis):
Now go back and read this.
Nonetheless, the popularization of the Open Source movement continues to pose a significant challenge to the Company’s business model, including recent efforts by proponents of the Open Source model to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of Open Source software in their purchase and deployment of software products. To the extent the Open Source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the Company’s products may decline, the Company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline.
Now it gets ... um... strange....When I got to the bus-stop there was a girl waiting to catch the same bus. She was wearing a large button that depicted - you guessed it - two penguins. I smiled to myself at the coincedence. On the journey to work (which only takes around 20 minutes) I happened to glance out a shop window. There, hanging in the window was a large poster - depicting - yep you guessed right again - about 20 penguins.Ok - I'm ready - what gives?
Cancelled: Unfortunately we have had to cancel our weekend visit to go and see Frank and family. It will be a few days before the kids are over their bouts of sniffling, coughing and slight fever. On the other hand it will give me a chance to upgrade the family PC from Windows 98 to 2000.
February 04, 2003
Fate: "..there was probably nothing that could have been done to save the flight". (via Dave). The way this is turning out it would seem that the fate of Columbia was sealed some moments after takeoff. Did they (someone) know (suspect) what would happen?
Slow day: As you can probably gather from the postings, today is a bit of a slow snow day. Partly due to the fact that I am suffering a bit from the various bugs that are circulating the family.
Quote of the day
Quote of the day:
Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
Good morning Europe!
Location based services: Lots of snow here today. It took me an hour to get to work by bus. Now here in Paderborn, some of the bus stops are equipped with digital displays that show when the next bus will arrive. But unfortunately only a few have that. So, where I was waiting there was no way of finding out if my bus would arrive in a few minutes or a few hours. I would need some location based services available via my mobile-phone that allows me to find out where my bus is and when it will get to me. Please.
February 03, 2003
Snow'n'Thunder: Wow - we are having a snow storm with thunder and lightning - that's unusual. Of course it could be the end of the world - and it only looks like a snow storm with...
It's over when it's over
You get what you asked for: Kanzler Schröder's SPD party lost in landslide defeats in regional elections here yesterday. Losing Lower Saxony (Schröder's home state) and a massive drop in votes in Hessen really is a bad start to the week if you happen to be Schröder. Only a 100 days or so after starting his second term, it would seem that his days are counted.
Welcome to Europe
Welcome to Europe: I've just heard - by way of email from Joanna, that Mum has returned back to the UK after 39 years in Michigan. Or was it only a few months? Anyway, now that she is back in Europe I am interested to her perception on world events from this side of the pond.
New look: Russell has changed the look of his weblog - my comment reflects most of the others: the lines are too long.
That's all folks
Retirement: The oldest German TV programme on computers ("WDR Computerclub") is being axed after 21 years. The programme started in 1981 and has been going strong (still with the same presenters) since then.
February 01, 2003
Perspective shift: On days like today I find myself in front of the TV tuned in to CNN to get first-hand news and reports on the occuring events. BUT - on my lap is my trusty iBook and I am tuned in to weblogs like Daves - where I can find near real-time links to alternate sources of information. Today I found these to be even faster than the reporting on CNN. Thanks to weblogs I am not limited to just one channel of information any more.
Shuttle lost: CNN is reporting on the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. Like Ben I remember watching the Challenger explosion back those may years ago. The shuttle was travelling at 19,000 Km/hour when contact was lost. The video is showing what looks like a massive breakup. It was the 28th flight of Columbia. The shuttle airframe is certified to last 100 flights according to CNN. Columbia was 22 years old.
Mobile musings: Russell's weblog is a great way to catch up on what's happening in the mobile world. The last couple of days he has been posting about a few topics that are really interesting to read. So many good ideas - where does he find the time to write them all down?