Thursday, January 24, 2008

From <a href="" target="new">Twitter</a>

If you both write "large systems suck" and "I don't need type checking", you do not belong in production Software Engineering.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


My bet is that when the music labels allow iTunes to drop DRM, the biggest losers will not be those studios. I doubt their wares will be pirated any more or less. No, the biggest loser will be Apple as suddenly all kinds of other players besides iPods will be usable for the contents of the store. I want to use my phone as my player, but can't yet.

In other brainstorms, Apple is saying the WiFi-enabled iPod Touch could be a whole new computer platform. Well, Nokia has had one for a while, pretty equivalent in many ways, but I think it has been positioned wrong. It shouldn't now be positioned as some kind of media player, no, that space is taken, and certainly the current branding as Your Mobile SSH Solution is, um, limiting. But it would be really useful and notable if it was an adjunct to the phone, a real one, with which I could SMS and MMS and email and browse the phone-book and adjust the settings of the phone it is paired with when in proximity. In fact, when it can see the phone it has been paired with over Bluetooth, the N pads should be the ones that ring when a message has been received, and some trials should be done how headsets and cameras should be distributed across the hardware for video calling or browsing while calling. This way I could have a tiny phone, comparable in size to the 6100 or even the 7380 that I could carry everywhere, even in the shank of my boot, when I am in a state where my outfit uh, has very few pockets, yet when I have jackets and cargo pants I can also carry a messaging and media device that is comfortable and has lots of storage, and these items work together and apart. I kept seeing this weekend people having to make trade-offs between having usable small phones and liking full thumb keyboards or large surfaces to get with their friends and have plenty of music to play. Usually they had committed to some kind of hardware that was ok in some situations, but making other situations difficult.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dear Google Maps, Get To Work

The 'How Bad Is Traffic Now' stuff is nice, but what also would be useful is if you also had a week-by-week or month-by-month average of traffic on major routes over the years you have data, so users can predict how bad traffic will be if they do their trips next week at 6 AM or 3 in the afternoon. Or you find out the patterns in some places are mathematically chaotic, and that would be good to know too.

Friday, January 11, 2008

But We Did This!

"And there's something else Thompson recommends. Limit a cell phone's abilities. Allow it to make and accept calls to and from parents and 911 only."

Oddly enough, I know of this cellphone company that allowed a parent to do just that, with some other monitoring features. It's defunct now, because it couldn't get its phones into stores.

Also interesting is that the article asks parents, one of whom monitors her children's email and chat logs, why they aren't checking up on phone-calls and text messages. The parents say they do not think about it, but CNN fails to mention a twist here: the parents actually can't while they are happening. While the parents can certainly see on the bill who is calling and texting who and how much, FCC rules forbid any intercepting of text messages. Text messages are considered part of phone communications, and those are actually heavily protected against eavesdropping in the US. I once did an exploration at Disney Mobile to use Disney's enormous and amazing chat-flagging system to warn parents of questionable text conversations their kids might be having (although my angle was bullying since I consider that a far more prevalent problem than sexual predators) and we just couldn't find a structure to make it work. Even if it was just warning the parents without showing the message it would be illegal, I was told by a DC expert on FCC regulations, since (IIRC) he had worked on kids and commercial text-message issues. No eavesdropping, no 3d party recording. Even a machine that was doing any kind of textual processing and alerting of a 3d party based on content was not allowed, never mind a machine doing filtering.

Parents are allowed to demand their kids show them their phones so they can go through the messages stored on the device, but it is far easier to delete those traces on a phone than it is to remove all caches and stores from a PC. We did once hear at DM of Verizon offering an add-on service for a parent to get all the texting logs from a child's phone at the end of the month, but we were all wondering about the legality of that. It certainly could not be done at all in any way as a real-time service like I was thinking.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yeah Goodbye

I stopped reading Perez Hilton because I realized he is a creepy person, saying mean things using mean business practices, while at the same time desperately wanting to be part of what he tears down. I am about to do the same to TMZ. Fortunately I am no longer in a job where I have to know what the kiddies are thinking and watching as much. And is Perez gonna notice that one ad-impression less? Not really, but it makes me feel better.

I have made a filterpage on LJ that amalgamates the RSS feeds of the technology sites I read, so they all show up together cleanly in one page. And as someone with terrible stage fright, who has worked a trade-show floor once for 3 days, and has heart attacks before having to give a presentation, I am about to take Gizmodo off that list, and have Engadget supply all my gadget news. Will they notice the lack of my viewership, of one person clicking through the RSS feed less? No, but I will feel better not having those mean shits in my life. It's all funny until you remember how you were praying for your demo to go ok in front of an audience.

Edit: I am screening comments on this one. I'll post your comment of how hysterical it is to fuck with presenters and booth people after you tell me how many 3-or-more-day stints of ten hours or more you have done of demoing product on a floor for 17 bucks an hour or less.