April 30, 2004
The Great Beyond
I took my daughter (7) to school this morning and we listened to REM all the way - and she enjoyed it. I had to repeat-play this particular tune. Real music. So there is still hope. I'm keeping flowers in full bloom.
Google goes IPO
April 29, 2004
Geronimo 1.0 M1
The first milestone release of the Apache j2EE server is out. Congratulations guys!
Erik on Java Development
Back in the days when I was knee-deep in Java projects, I would have wanted this guy on my team. Erik has so much to say about pragmatical Java development and he says it so well. Even in a foreward. On a personal side note - I connected to this small sentence from there: "[They] made one of life's greatest sacrifices, the authoring of a book". How true. But I'm sure they will also witness one of life's greatest pleasures: To see the book you wrote on a bookshelf somewhere or in a bookstore. Or even to find it on Amazon.com. Priceless.
April 28, 2004
The 2 Daves
Dave Winer is travelling in Europe and voices his thoughts on SMS. Of course we don't think Dave has really adjusted to this part of the world yet (it ain't RSS Dave). Our very own Mobitopian Dave replies.
April 27, 2004
Google IPO invitation?
Frank signs-off from Orkut and makes a grave mistake. You see I have it all figured. Orkut - you got an invitation to join; Gmail - people are getting invitiations to join the beta-test. And Google's upcoming IPO? I wonder when my IPO invitation will arrive :-).
Webwasher sold for 40 Million $
Some local news - the Paderborn company Webwasher has been sold to Cyberguard for 40 million $. Not bad when I remember how the company started out in 1999 as a small spin-off from Siemens.
Martin also bought himself a Garmin Forerunner and is now using the PC software plus the GPSVisualizer site to present a visual track of his run. GPSVisualizer generates SVG output that you can then view in your browser if you have the plugin from Adobe.
April 26, 2004
Warp speed, Mr. Zulu
I risked it. Following these instructions I downgraded my Airport software to 3.3. And the signal strength is back up where it was before. Yippee. Note that I don't have an Apple Wireless BaseStation - so the problems also affect just the client side (i.e. my Powerbook).
Update: Apple releases 3.4.1 just minutes after I downgrade.
I've been meaning to write about my increased use of "chat" programs for a while and now Matt has beat me too it. For a long time I really hated and avoided chat software - because all the conversations I witnessed were just too mixed up and I couldn't make sense of what was being said. I also rarely use SMS - so perhaps it's an age thing as well. Anyway, since becoming involved in the (global) Open Source world, about 4 years ago, I have found that AIM and IRC are ideal additions to other methods of communication. We use IRC a lot in our Orixo work to coordinate meetings and stuff - which sure is a cost-saver as opposed to meeting face2face each time. I use iChat - when I need it - to chat to Steve in Canada and Gianugo in Italy. When I can, I fire up #mobitopia on IRC to keep in touch with other geeks all over the world. People like Matt or Russ, who I may never meet in person, but who provide me with insights into their part of the world (both techie and personal) that are priceless. And even though I may never actually meet them - I consider them to be an important part of my "small" world. Sure, there's a lot of smalltalk involved sometimes - but isn't that part of any community?
Update: Martin had similar thoughts recently. Shared neurons.
April 24, 2004
For the last couple of days I've been experiencing problems with my wireless setup at home. Perhaps someone out there has an answer. I have a Belkin Wireless router set up in the basement. Up to a day or so ago I have had a good strong signal a floor above. However, I am now noticing a reduced signal that also fluctuates a lot more than in the past. I haven't changed anything in the setup (no new software etc.) so I am guessing that the cause is a neighbor's WLAN that seems to have been installed about the same time my problems started. Now, we're running on different channels (he's on 6 and I've tried 1 and 11) but nothing helped. Is there some configuration option I should be looking at to prevent interference? Any ideas?
Update: Thanks for all the comments - I guess I just found the reason. Hopefully this will help.
April 23, 2004
Breakfast for the rest of us
After seeing a "20 year later" rerun of "The Breakfast Club" (one of my all-time favorites), Russ philosophizes about age and stuff. Now he's 7 years younger than I am - so I think it's time I start shoveling my little hole in the ground this weekend. Later folks.
Monster chews up Jobpilot
Jax - be there!
2 weeks until the Jax conference in Frankfurt, where Carsten and I will be talking about all manner of things from Cocoon to Social Software. I hear that the conference will be quite a bit larger than last year which is great news. Drop me an email if you plan on being there.
Update: I forgot to note that Martin will be there too talking about Maven. Now Martin refuses to write a weblog, so I can't link to him.
April 21, 2004
German court upholds GPL
According to the report, this ruling seems to be the first case of the validy of the GNU GPL license being upheld in court (via #mobitopia).
It doesn't scale - so what!
Clay Shirky writes on the advantages of targetting small groups of people when building software applications. Situated Software.
I'm currently trying to make more use of my Sony UX50 and yesterday I bought a copy of Missing Sync for my Powerbook. And it's really good. I like the integration into the iApps and also the ability to easily mount the memory stick. Copying files back and forth is a breeze. Recommended.
April 20, 2004
Mobi - huh?
Mobilopia? Now why did they use that name?
I received an email that the German social software site Friendity is closing next week due to lack of participants. I guess this is just a sign that the world has enough of these sort of things now and there doesn't seem be enough of a market on a national scale. Although I also wonder how well the more famous sites like Orkut are doing? It seems ages since I last logged in and really I don't see any reason to. These sites don't provide me with anything I need.
April 17, 2004
Film at 10 - on Channel 9
You have to hand it to Microsoft. They leapt onto the weblog bandwagon relatively late (as is often the case) but with Channel9, they have what I consider to be one of the best uses of "social software" in a corporate environment. Even though most of my work in the last couple of years has had little to do with Microsoft products, I still try to follow what goes on in Redmond. And boy do they know how to milk a meme for themselves. Channel 9 combines all your favorite social software tools (wiki, weblog, moblog) into an enjoyable environment and in addition short films provide insight into what makes MSDN tick.
This is the future of corporate communication.
April 15, 2004
Losing the human voice?
Blogs were something special because they allow the author to write with a personal voices - and indeed that's always been one of the main "selling points" when comparing blogs to traditional marketing media. But now that blogs are mainstream, your blog gets aggregated into "meta-blogs" (when will we see the first PlanetPlanetBlog?) and every month more eyeballs rush to read your blog - don't you feel you should start cutting the personal injections? Or at least you start thinking more about what you write - because of the high number of comments and/or email you're likely to get? Isn't that a Bad Thing?
German Cocoon book
Just released. Written by Stefan Niedermeier.
April 13, 2004
I've been invited to try out Googles new email system - Gmail (thanks!). I'll be updating my impressions here during the evening.
Signup was pretty easy although I tried several browsers on the Mac before I had to use Firefox. Google lists the ones they don't fully support - and that would seem to be true. At the moment I am using 0 MB (0%) of my 1000 MB. I first sent a couple of test emails and in one of them I just put the words Cocoon, XML. Now when I click on the email (in my sent folder), Gmail shows me adverts for some Cocoon related stuff, so the adverts aren't limited to just incoming email.
In all the web interface handles well and is not as cluttered as some other web mail services I know. Basically there isn't a lot of difference either. Except of course that you can't create any additional folders (or subfolders). But maybe you don't need them either - that remains to be seen when I have a bit more email in there.
Actually I've just discovered the label functionality - which is basically the same as folders (I think anyway). You can define labels (like: "family", "important"). Once the labels are defined you can select an email and apply a particular label (so the email is marked as say "important". But it is also possible then click on the defined label and get all messages marked with that label (which is really the same as selecting a folder "important" isn't it?)
Two interesting options on incoming email are that you can report a particular email as spam (I wonder what happens then - I guess I'll find out soon :-)) and you can mark a particular thread with a star - allowing you to later select all threads with a star (sort of like flagging them I guess).
You can move mail into the trash folder and then choose the "delete forever" option to permanently erase. Gmail then shows a little message: No conversations in the trash. Who needs to delete when you have 1000 MB of storage?!
Gmail recommends that you in fact "Archive" rather than delete (after all, you have a gig). If you select an email and click "Archive" the email actually vanishes (which got me a bit at first). It only reappears if you click on "All mail". I was sort of expecting an "Archive" folder to appear.
You can also set up filters based on search criteria. The filters are then applied automatically on incoming email. The filters can then perform the following options - you can apply a label (see above for more on labels) to the email, automatically archive it or move the email to the trash folder.
Screenshots (click for larger ones)
April 12, 2004
I just noticed that first details of O'Reilly's Open Source Convention 2004 are up. It doesn't look as though I'll be able to make it over this year - unfortunately.
April 10, 2004
I'll be posting some pictures over here during the day. Not during the run though :-).
Update: I finished in 2:22:55 which is pretty good compared to my times during training. In pain now. The SMS notification worked too.
April 09, 2004
How the ASF works
SMS finishing time
So, tomorrow I will be running my first half-marathon and I've just discovered that it's possible to receive my finishing time (which should be somewhere between 2:15 and 2:30) via SMS. Just send an SMS with the following text: "FM OSTERLAUF-PADERBORN 4137" to the number 84422 (cost is 0.49 Euro). 4137 is my number. The complete explanation is here (German). This probably only works if you have a German mobile contract. I wonder what sort of message you'll get if I collapse half-way through....
April 08, 2004
It's the mobility, stupid
In the end the mobile operators will win. I came up with this simple outlook on the future this afternoon when the following event joined the dots (in my head at least):
I applied for an account on T-Mobile's HotSpot Anytime, which basically gives you a pay-as-you-go WLAN account to use T-Mobile's hotspots. Cost is 2 Euros for 15 minutes and the account works in several countries. I've yet to try it out - but anyway. Sign-Up was easy. As a T-Mobile customer I just sent them an SMS and received my T-Mobile hotspot login in the reply. Easy.
Now wait a minute. I applied for a WLAN hotspot account using an SMS? Think about it. It took a couple of hours for the relevance to hit me.
It's not about GSM or 3G or WLAN - it's about mobility and connectivity. And the mobile operators don't really care what it's called in the end.
Because they win anyway.
Update: Frank has some good comments.
April 07, 2004
Good news: I got a new laptop at work today after my old 700 Mhz, 256 MB RAM Windows laptop was becoming just too slow to do any serious work with ("not that you do much", I hear you say). Anyway the bad news is that I now have to move everything over from my old laptop to my new laptop. Of course I'll get rid of a lot of junk in the process, but moving all the programs over (or re-installing in most cases) and transferring settings etc. is really a task that I hate. It could be a lot easier - I want an Export and an Import function that works across the whole operating system and installed applications.
Microsoft launches Channel9 - a direct channel to a group of Microsoft developers. Just one quote from the Channel9 doctrine shows which book they've been reading: "Channel 9 should inspire Microsoft and our customers to talk in an honest and human voice."
Steve is looking for suggestions for a running watch (aka cool-gadget that you can pretend you really really need to become a runner). Get the Garmin Forerunner. It provides everything you need - except a heart rate meter (which you should also get). In particular, due to the GPS functionality you can run where you want to - when you want to - and the Forerunner will tell you how far you've run, your average pace and draw a neat little map of your track. It gives you the freedom to choose your course on a whim - spot something interested you'd like to look at - then just run there. No need to run a set course (which can get really boring). More details here.
April 06, 2004
Building Google's Brain
April 05, 2004
A longish report (with screenshots) on the much-hyped Google web-mail service Gmail (via #mobitopia).
April 04, 2004
Less than a week to go before my first half-marathon next Saturday and I am beginning to feel slightly "nervous". My last longish run yesterday didn't exactly help matters with nearly everything hurting in one way or the other. So, time to relax.
April 03, 2004
I took my kids to the RoboCup German Open 2004 this morning. This geeky event is being held here in Paderborn in the computer museum. All types of robots are playing soccer on the various pitches. Everything from small Lego Mindstorm Robots to kicking Sony dogs to large models that seemed to be more interested in trying to push each other off the pitch. The most interesting site was seeing a an area full of teenagers huddled over laptops and assembling their Lego Beckhams from tons of bricks, motors and cables. My kids were not impressed.
April 02, 2004
Gmail is really real
After all the April Fools jokes about GMail yesterday - well the site does have a SignIn box now - so I guess it really is real.
April 01, 2004
Gmail is real
Ok, I have to admit I thought it was just a joke - but now the first screenshots are appearing, I guess it's for real. Way to go Google. I talked to Erik and he thinks he might get thrown out for putting up the screenshot - but he said the service rocks and you really get a Gig. The ads are ok and currently related to the actual day you call up your email - like today. Can anyone invite me? I'm on Orkut - so surely that counts? Please?
In case you didn't catch this yesterday, Russell took a movie of his drive to work yesterday and uploaded it to his weblog. A 15 minute road-movie. The interesting thing is that he filmed it using a mobile-phone. Not a video-camera. Russ was lucky enough to test a new Nokia mobile that supports taking longer length movies. And the quality isn't too bad either. The implications of being able to do this using a mobile-phone are also very interesting. It is becoming increasingly easy to do "personal broadcasting". Expect more of this to start happening with easier uploading of movies to weblogs, better quality cameras in phones, more phone memory, cheaper prices for more bandwidth, a new Oscar award "best movie shot with a phone" ...
Google goes email. The service (announced today) is still in Beta but has some cool features like 1 GB of disk space per user. That's really something. There's also no need to delete any emails you may receive as the Google search capabilities apply to the email system and so finding that old email will be a snap. Other people are sceptical thinking this is some kind of joke. But I don't think so. It makes absolute sense for Google to go into this are and is a natural extension to stuff like Orkut. And hey, I've been to Google and know there are things inside the company that not even Ovidiu can talk about! And serious news publications like Computerwoche wouldn't fall for an April Fools like that would they?
Owning Open Source
JBoss plans on using it's recent VC money to "own" key Open Source projects. Marc Fleury's statements are definitely not going to gain him more fans in the Open Source community.
The top 100 April Fools jokes.