Month: May 2006

JavaOne: Fireside Chat w/ commentary

Summary (Not in any particular order):

  • Get rid of AWT (Gosling)
  • Operator over loading (good (Gosling) and bad (Hamilton))
  • Simplicity, Yes
  • Participate in the JCP
  • Tell your vendors to improve their Java support
  • Netbeans
  • class loaders hard
  • Schedule Builder yeah what ever
  • US mobile infrastructure sucks
  • Fewer wireless providers could be good
  • AJAX use Java Server faces
  • Uh Time for Beer

My commentary:

Ok, this was the first time I attended the fireside chat. Problem number 1, the session should really be called the fireside question and gripe (bidirectional) session. Problem number 2, the panel seemed to me to be a bit aloof. If the question seemed a bit off or on a topic a bit off someone would mumble some remark followed up by Graham Hamilton PR techno speak (he does it quite well). Problem number 3, the answers for the most part were not really candid, I guess that happens when you are a VP Muckety Muck at a publicly traded company gotta watch what you say. And for the most part I think it was Graham Hamilton did most of the talking.

There were some interesting questions, there were a few about simplicity and ease of use. The responses from the panel were okay, but they lacked something. James Gosling talked about netbeans wrapping all the complexity which makes sense given the state of Java. It is many things to many people and that is never a good thing, someone is always left wanting. From the remarks I think Sun gets the ease of use issue, the problem is that there isn’t a great deal they can do.

Graham Hamilton urged everyone to get involved in the JCP process and work to make it better. Now I am not familiar with the JCP process, but I am familiar with standards bodies. In the end it comes down to vendors working very hard to defend there products and their investments. The customer is not a prime consideration, because there aren’t a lot of choices for the customer out there. I have seen first hand all the big vendors fight over standards, there aren’t many vendors who don’t have standards blood on their hands. So, I guess the call by Graham Hamilton rings a bit hollow for me.

There were some questions about mobile and why there are so many issues around the distribution of applications. One question about VMs for PDAs came up and the response from Sun was fair. The PDA phone market are converging and Sun has significant penetration and support on the phone platforms. The question about why its so hard to distribute applications lead to a round of telco bashing and rightly so. The comment from the panel that seemed to be wishful was that consolidation on the wireless market into a few companies might help the mobile application and data market.

OK, when has a consolidation ever been good for the customers of a regulated business like telephone industry. The consolidation of carriers in the wireless arena in my opinion will only continue to limit third party mobile application distribution. The telecoms want to maintain complete control over the vertical market, and even with big player like Google things like tiered network pricing could be used to limit third party access to the handset.

Finally, the schedule builder was mentioned at least twice. The topic was brushed off by the panel, a panel who admittedly does not use the tool (there’s a problem right there). I understand the schedule builder is a weak topic, but the brush off stuck in my craw. I spent a couple of hours dealing with the tool, time I could have been using for something a bit more productive. People pay almost 2k plus expenses to attend, then take time to attend the fireside chat only to have the questions about the schedule builder to be brushed off. Let me see if I can make the suggestion more palatable, How about a contest to see who can build a conference scheduling tool that also throws t-shirts.

6 million missing Shopping carts

In the Los Angeles area last year a minimum of 6.2 million shopping carts went missing according to California Shopping Cart Retrieval corp and Hernandez Cart Service Inc. (via Harper’s). I find this number amazing. I wonder if the number of shopping carts that go missing are reflective of the number of homeless. I know scrap steel has gone up but where do these carts go. I also find it funny that there are companies specializing in shopping cart recovery. These companies in my mind are like Dog The Bounty Hunter for shopping carts. It just goes to show that there are niche businesses everywhere. This problem does beg for a technology solution like RFID or something. 6.2 million WOW, I wonder what the recovery cost is to the stores.

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Harper’s Magazine

A point of order: Linking within posts

I will no longer link within my writing instead I will provide links at the bottom of the post just above the tags. I was listening to the Gillmor Gang[1] and Steve Gillmor talked about linking being dead[2]. From a value perspective linking is challenged due to all the splinks. Companies that sell words within their articles, and spammers really are killing the informational value of linking. So in effort to make my text easier to consume, I am refraining from linking from within the post. Posts will have a links section at the bottom and eventually I will provide an icon that identifies off site links. I will also be offering the RSS feeds for sites I reference in an effort to drive folks away from a page click page model.

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[1] The Gillmor Gang Podcast

Get Steve Gillmor’s InfoRouter RSS here
[2] Links are dead, Doc: by Steve Gillmor

Attention economics, ah the possibilities

As I think more about the economics of Attention I am struck by the silos. Everyday of my life my attention is disrupted by the constant silo switching. I spend 2 to 2.5 hours per day driving to my place of employment. Today, that time is better spent thanks to my self programmed iPod. There exists a huge problem maintaining the flow of information into and out of my commute silo. I have to spend time to deliver information into that silo and its a pain in the neck, sync, plug in, navigate, unplug, plug in navigate, and unplug every day. So here is what I think would be nice.

In the evening as I review my schedule for the next day, iTunes detects my car as a device on my wireless network. iTunes updates my car with the content I have added and allows me to program my drive to work with content. My calendar also detects my car as a device on my wireless network (or as a client via EVDO, a nod to Steve Gillmor) my temporal data gets downloaded and is used to prime my navigation system. The car then could make suggestions regarding when and where to get gas based on price, route changes based on live traffic data, and provide access to my voice mail. The opportunities are all over the place. Why can’t I sync my contacts in Google or yahoo bidirectionally with my cell phone.

Creating attention efficiencies for people in their daily lives is just obvious. Jon Udell writes about the broader value of attention efficiency and effectiveness [1]. Technology has consistently increased the productivity of the individual within the context of a specific task. How about life productivity, how about increasing the continuity of experience of my life, I would be willing to pay for that. In the end, all the players (companies, customers ect..) will have to focus on collaboration, continuity of experience and increased situational awareness.

[1] Attention economics: by Jon Udell

The Passion of the early Police

I have long been a fan of the Police. I have listened to every album and I enjoy almost every song. The album I enjoy most is The Police Live. I enjoy this album for 2 reasons:

  1. Disc 1 is infused with passion and angst.
  2. Disc 2 provides a point of comparison that makes the passion on disc 1 so obvious.

Disc 2 shows how the band had lost its fire and passion at the end. This comparison is hard to make on studio albums, but is made simple with the 2 disc set. So buy the album and do the following:

  1. Listen to both discs in order.
  2. Hide disc 2 and hope never to hear it again
  3. Enjoy Disc 1 and the passion of the Police as it should be remembered

A clean Design

A clean Design

Originally uploaded by TomC.

I really like the design of this truck. GE it appears thought of the out side of the truck as an opportunity to create a useful interface. The warning is right at eye level, and the driving comment number is clear and easy to read. The truck also does not carry an information that is time sensitive, like campaigns or advertising slogans. Well Done GE.