January 31, 2004
HP distributes Cocoon
January 30, 2004
Cocoon goes TV
Update: Check out the Cocoon mailing-list for details.
January 29, 2004
Slip sliding away
New Blog on Identity
Frank has started a German language blog on Identity related subjects. Link love.
January 28, 2004
Running for a cause
I have decided to try and make some money off this weblog - not for myself but for children in need (and no, not my children either).
In September I plan on running in the Berlin marathon (my first) and this is your chance to buy a piece of that run (or sponsor me if you prefer). Over on the left of this page you will see a link to PayPal where you can go and donate 10 Euros (or whatever that is in your currency) for 100 meters of my 42 KMs. What this means is that during my run I will hopefully be able to curse someone different every 100 meters (just joking). Hopefully it will be an additional motivation as well (and I'm sure I'll need every motivation I can find :-)). I'll be regularly updating the total over on the left.
The total amount raised will go to a kindergarten for mentally and handicapped children here in Paderborn. My wife (aka RoboWife) works there and so we'll see that the money is put to good use.
Just back from a 5 Km run in a blizzard (another first). A quick mobi-shot is here. If you look close you can see the snow in the background (yes I know the camera in the T610 sucks, thanks).
Google goes Switzerland
January 27, 2004
I just realized how funny it is to put "Overnight delivery" in a spam mail for Viagra.
January 26, 2004
Ebay Germany has bought the online automobile marketplace Mobile.de for 121 million Euros in cash. Mobile,de was started in 1996 and Ebay says that spending those pennies won't affect it's quarterly figures much. (via Heise, German).
Torsten Jacobi (with others) has launched a service aimed at providing a variety of weblogs with "vertical" themes. Check out what's there already and look at the subjects they're interested in. Perhaps there's something there you can write about! The aim in the end is to allow weblog authors to actually earn money through the platform. I am slightly curious as to where the USP is in that model - when compared to just setting a specific weblog up yourself. Obviously the infrastructure is provided for you and you won't have to pay for web-space etc.
Martin beat me to it and has additional comments (in German).
January 25, 2004
You will remember that I've entered myself for the Berlin marathon in September (plenty of time, yeah right). Anyway - yesterday I ran 12 Kms - just so you realize I am taking this seriously.
Alas, today I am in pain..
My wife "the one with the broken knee" returns to the physical rehabilitation clinic tomorrow, which means that for a period of around 4 weeks - I will be knee-deep (get it?) in running the family. Luckily, and compared to the period before Christmas (faithful readers will remember), we now have a "familienpflegerin" (like an au-pair on steroids) who takes over the afternoons (picking the kids up, cooking etc.). Lucky me.
Be my friend - or else!
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out. (Clarke)
It looks as though Orkut has a few security related problems at the moment. Today I received about 10 spam emails into my Orkut in-box.
January 24, 2004
Happy Birthday Macintosh
20 years old today.
While I really like the social software sites that have appeared recently (and hey VC people - we have enough now!) I always find myself wondering just exactly what advantage I have from being on (in?) one. After I've entered my profile, invited my friends and clicked on a few communities I'm interested in - then what? Ok, if you're in the dating game then I can understand that. Even though social software sites link the people together - they don't link to anything else. Yet.
January 23, 2004
Cocoon supports JSR-168
In a move that has so far gone unnoticed, Carsten checked the first version of JSR-168 support into the Cocoon CVS. This means that the Cocoon portal now supprts the portlet standard. You may applaud.
January 22, 2004
Countdown to JSR-168 in Cocoon
User forums on OSDir
What is myCokeMusic.com missing?
Looking at myCokeMusic.com this morning and apart from the fact that they don't support any of us Apple fans, what's missing? The community. Imagine a site like that with an additional tailored version of Friendster.com with forums and RSS feeds of new releases. Don't just get the people to "buy" your wares - that's too old fashioned. Build a community around your site and get the people to come back - even when they're not buying.
Update: The Apple iTunes music store offers a way of generating RSS feeds - here.
January 21, 2004
Gump on Planet Apache
May I suggest we move the Gump output away from the main Planet Apache aggregation. Pretty please?
January 20, 2004
Ok, so here is the most weblogged politician of all time (maybe) and what happens in the first primary? He comes in third. So what does that mean? Probably not a lot - but on the other hand....
But is the Internet really changing the way we "do politics"? I doubt it. In much the same way that political TV advertisements don't really change the way we vote anyway. And I should know as I can't vote anywhere currently. As a Brit in Germany - that doesn't work. And as a Brit "who has been in Germany for a long time" I can't vote in the UK either.
It's not the media, stupid. That would be too easy.
By the way, I've learnt more about US politics by watching West Wing than from any weblog.
I don't think I've linked to this classic picture before. I finished German Gymnasium (Grammar School, High School, whatever) in 1985...yikes....ok, forget the date. See if you can spot me. (hint: There is an imagemap there somewhere).
It's the people, stupid
January 19, 2004
Mum on AOL and Blogger
Mum is having problems using Blogger via her AOL software. When she posts a new entry to her weblog she can't see it in the AOL browser. Not even via refresh. She has to minimize the AOL software and then use Internet Explorer standalone to see it. Anyone know why?
Movies are not razor blades!
An interesting interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over on Red Herring (via Stefan). Lots of good stuff about customer acquisition and the difference between selling movies and selling commodities. The Netflix business model is a good example of one of my favorite subjects at the moment: Business Scalability.
Forerunner 201 power supply
I was thinking of getting a Garmin Forerunner 201 in the US next month. I sent Garmin an email about the power supply (i.e. whether I could use the charger on 220V - obviously I would need a plug converter). Well, according to the email I received from Garmin Europe, it would seem not. So, I would also need a power converter too. Can anyone with access to one of these neat devices confirm it will only "stand" a US power supply and let me know - thanks!
I should be able to get a European power supply for around 30€ - so I could do that once I'm back.
Tech economy rebound
Signs such as this one seem to indicate that the tech economy rebound is underway. The current upsurge of tech stocks is another indicator in the same direction. Google's "rumored" IPO is sure to do its part as well.
January 18, 2004
Stefano goes MIT
January 17, 2004
Coffee to go
Russ launches MobKnowledge. The site is aimed at becoming a repository of information around mobile phones and operators. Stuff you would normally spend hours searching Google for. And anyone can jump in and help.
Join the Mafia
iTunes Music Store goes Europe in Spring?
More and more reports are showing up that would suggest Europe will see the iTunes Store open in Europe in the Spring. This report on Heise quotes Larry Kenswill from Universal Music as confident that Apple will open the store in the second or third quarter. Late Spring then.
January 16, 2004
iLife '04 and Microsoft
Has anybody wondered about the quote Apple is using for iLife '04: "It's like Microsoft Office for the rest of your life"? (I'm sure they have and I've just missed all the comments). But isn't it a strange way for Apple to advertise the package? Why did they choose that particular wording? And in the true spirit of all the rumor sites - it can only mean one thing: iLife is coming for Windows. Just think about it - does Microsoft have comparable programs? Wouldn't that be an ideal addition - as a package - for the Windows platform? And Apple wouldn't need to change the slogan. Ok, so where are the comments I missed on this?
Digital Democracy Teach-In
Ok, so O'Reilly changed the name of this additional event that takes place during ETCon. The day is full of sessions about how the Internet (sites such as MoveOn) and technologies such as Weblogs and RSS are influencing the way people can participate in politics. This sort of stuff is relatively unknown here in Germany (correct me if I'm wrong) and even though I'm more of the techie guy (at least in the articles I write) I'm going to be spending some time at the teach-in to see what's "happening". If you're in Europe and interested in an article on the subject (after the conference) then drop me an email.
January 15, 2004
Go there for an aggregated view of weblogs from members of the Apache community.
January 14, 2004
This Spiegel report tells all. We Europeans are going to the Moon and Mars. And all before 2030. Where can I register my sons as Eustronauts?
While Steve freezes up in Canada, we're having one of the windiest and wettest Novembers I can remember. What do you mean it's January? Oh yeah - that white stuff, now what was that called....
Marvin on Mars
January 13, 2004
This evening I'm watching the finalists from the Bush-In-30-Seconds contest. Recommended.
TheServerSide goes .Net
TheServerSide .Net was launched today.
Looking at the panorama pictures from Mars, tell me, why do we want to go there?
Twenty-one and not one-and-twenty
In another case of "do they have nothing better to do", a German professor is demanding the German language be changed so that numbers can be spoken in the same way they are in say English or French. Go for it.
Opera supports RSS
January 12, 2004
Stefan launches Friendity, a German language social software site targeted at connecting you to the friends of your friends. Stefan is running the site together with Seyed, the "Blogshares guy". I wish Stefan the very best of luck! I wonder why the site seems to be missing out on the business context. This is something I like about LinkedIn. Something like that would be interesting in Germany too. I guess the market for personal sites like Friendity is probably higher at the moment.
Update: I hate it when people send me a corrective email just after I post something :-). Stefan emailed and points me to openbc for a business site in Germany. At least I was right about the larger market for private social networks.
January 10, 2004
The incentive of participation
Stefan writes on of giving your employees stocks or stock-options as an incentive. Until today I thought that the "incentive value" of both versions would be roughly the same. But Stefan shows some interesting differences.
January 09, 2004
Mum's return home
At last Mum returns home tomorrow, after providing weeks of invaluable support. Armed with her laptop and new WiFi card she will be scouring the streets of Holt, Norfolk in search of open (and closed) WLAN networks. Chances are slim - but if you live in the area and have a network to share then grab the chalk and make sure she can find your sign.
LOAF Meetup at ETCon
European Cafepress alternative?
Getting ready to launch Silent Penguin merchandise - but how? Cafepress is good - but not if you're in Europe (shipping costs - ugh). What's a good alternative?
January 08, 2004
I booked my hotel for San Diego this evening and will be staying at the Holiday Inn, San Diego Harbor View. About a mile from the conference and 139$ a night. If you're staying there too then let me know and we can do beers :-).
Customer service works
I order quite a bit of my "stuff" from the German mail-order company Cyberport. Today I received my credit-card statement to find that they had taken the wrong amount on the last order. So I rang them up. Typical "hold the line stuff", talk to someone who tries to shake you off stuff "I don't think we make that kind of mistake" and then...."Hello, I'm xxx and we have checked the whole thing through. I'm afraid I made a mistake when charging your card. I will correct it immediately. I will send you an email with the PDF document showing I booked the amount back onto your card. I'm very sorry". And a few minutes later I received the email. Now, mistakes happen - until we get rid of those humans - but until then, I'll go back to companies like this who are able to actually say "yes I made the mistake and I'm sorry". Priceless.
Between the lines
Even though it's great to see what people are thinking via their weblogs, how much nicer to be able to pick up the phone and actually talk to the person. It allows you to read between the lines.
If you look closely you'll notice that I changed the logo slightly. I think it looks a bit more professional now. The logo was designed by a colleague. Watch this space for upcoming Silent Penguin merchandise.
January 07, 2004
Investing in Open Source companies
IT Managers Journal has an article on the state of VC investment into Open Source companies. It is certainly interesting to see the focus moving from Linux to other Open Source solutions like JBoss or MySQL now. However the licensing problem ("who owns the software") is certainly relevant if you are a VC investing your money into the startup. It also caught my eye that there is no mention of Open Source service companies in the article.
January 06, 2004
Let's be honest we're all a bit upset at the price of the iPod mini aren't we. I mean it's a cool looking thing but 249$? And there I was all looking forward to picking one up next month in San Diego, thanks to the good Euro/$ exchange rate. Ah well, looks like it'll just be the Garmin Forerunner 201 then. Can anyone tell me where to get one in SD?
It's that time again
Sitting down to watch his Stevieness speak. Let's see what he has up his black turtleneck today.
Steve starts off with a trip down memory lane and shows the 1984 ad that was only broadcast once. Next he recaps OSX success ("Microsoft's copying us and it feels great"). Showing off the new version of Final Cut Express 2. Next is Microsoft's Office 2004. The new version will be available in "the Spring".
New XServe with G5. 30 million songs purchased from the iTunes store. That's 70% of all legal downloads. Top spender has spent over 29 thousand dollars (!). New version of iLife (iLife '04). New versions of iTunes, iPhoto. iPhoto now supports over 25 thousand photos, time organization, smart albums, picture rating. Picture sharing via Rendezvous. New version of iMovie. Import movies directly from the iSight camera or share your movies onto the Web. New version of iDVD. Enhanced features. Transitions, Menus etc. And you can now use iDVD on a Mac without the Superdrive.
New application: Garage Band. Digitally mix 64 tracks, Play 50 software instruments, Connect any USB or Midi keyboard, 1000 pre-recorded loops, live recording. iLife '04 will cost 49$.
Last quarter, 730 000 iPods were sold. 31% share of all MP3 units in that quarter. 10 GB version will be updated to 15GB for same price. New headphones.
New iPod version "iPod mini". 4 GB, 1000 songs, 0.5 inch thick. 249$. Different colors.
The Silent Penguin is here!
This site has a logo at last and my mug-shot has been removed. What do you think?
January 05, 2004
Dave on Fawcette
Dave Winer takes Jim Fawcette's side on the "Great Open Source Debate". Dave is obviously someone else who has never looked inside an Open Source project. Why oh why do they think that all Open Source programmers work for free? Obviously many do - but also many don't. Dave, you can build a profitable business working in and with the Open Source community. Let me know if you want to know how.
Ok, so tonight I set myself a 2004 goal. I registered for the Berlin marathon. Don't get excited now - I hope to reach the finish-line. That's all.
7 million and counting
According to this report on Heise, the 7 millionth German domain (.de) will be registered in January. And I don't own a single one.
I thought an update on "the knee" (aka RoboWife) would be in order. I looked after my 4 children :-) over Christmas and the New Year (thanks also to my Mum being here). At first, RoboWife tried to walk the normal walk - but she eventually realized (read: was ordered) to take it easy. She's still here and has resorted to ordering people around ("talk to my hand") :-). Treatment for the injured leg has now started and hopefully by the end of February she should be walking without sticks again. It looks as though a six week
vacation phase in rehab clinic will commence in a couple of weeks or so.
Cocoon supports JSR168!
January 03, 2004
High Definition TV in Europe
On January 1st, the first European HDTV channel officially started broadcasting via satellite. Now all you need is a new satellite receiver and a new TV and you can receive (currently free of charge) 4 hours of HDTV programming.
Open Source - pure cloning?
Jim Fawcette writes a response-provoking article on Open Source over on FTPOnline. His main criticism of the Open Source movement is the often aired "clone instead of innovate" argument. This argument basically states that Open Source solutions are just clones of commercially available solutions and therefore Open Source is stealing jobs from people who program for a living.
Here the original paragraph from Jim's article
I was originally excited by the idea of open source, collaborative development. But the direction open source is headed seems like a waste. Creating clones of commercial software isn't impressive creatively. But more importantly, what does it contribute? Why would anyone with excellent computer skills want to work long hours to create code so that millionaire executives at IBM can use it to sell expensive mainframe computers and middleware with six-figure licenses? All for no compensation and little recognition.
Jim views the opinion that Open Source solutions are limited to just clones of commercial applications. That is just plain wrong. There are a large number of Open Source frameworks and solutions available that were started for reasons of innovation and not for cloning.
I especially like the thought that anyone working Open Source projects receives no compensation and little recognition. Jim obviously has not really taken a deep look inside Open Source projects and seen how in fact many companies are paying their employees to work on the software. Jim, take a look at Apache projects like Cocoon to see solutions that are pure innovation. Solutions that are being used as the base for a wide variety of enterprise solutions such as mobile portals, multi-channel publishing and CMS.
Sure, these solutions will be used by companies like IBM to sell their systems - but count the number of Open Source projects IBM has donated or is actively working on.
January 02, 2004
European domains anyone?
European domains (.eu) are set to start in November 2004. Get them while they're hot. Why exactly do we need an EU domain?
Dax over 4000
For the first time since 2002, the German stock market indicator crossed the 4000 mark this morning. Going up.
January 01, 2004
A Hobbit wins
Kurt Nielson wins World Idol. Often described as resembling a Hobbit, I don't agree. I've spent the past few days watching LoTR I and II and I've yet to see a Hobbit sing a U2 song.
I moved my weblog over to Silent-Penguin in June. Here are some statistics. What happened in October?
It took 60 years
Germany has been invited to attend the D-Day anniversary celebrations in June. This is the first time the Germans have been invited. As a Brit, who grew up in Germany I can only applaud this decision. Although it is many years too late.
Austrian tolls well
The Austrian toll system started successfully today. The Austrian system uses small microwave transmitters that each truck has to be equipped with. The devices are cheap and very easy to use. The Austrians do not plan on using a satellite-based system before 2005. Still no word on when the German system will commence service.
New Year's Day
Some songs just have to be played on a certain day. Today it's U2 and New Year's Day. And as they say .. "Nothing changes on New Year's Day". Or does it.