Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:37:28 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Shirky: Situated Software:  Stimulating essay.  Reminds me of CGNET's helpdesk.  And what we'll do as programming gets really cheap.  "Part of the future I believe I'm seeing [in my students' work] is a change in the software ecosystem which, for the moment, I'm calling situated software. This is software designed in and for a particular social situation or context. This way of making software is in contrast with what I'll call the Web School (the paradigm I learned to program in), where scalability, generality, and completeness were the key virtues. ..  Situated software isn't a technological strategy so much as an attitude about closeness of fit between software and its group of users, and a refusal to embrace scale, generality or completeness as unqualified virtues..

We constantly rely on the cognitive capabilities of individuals in software design -- we assume a user can associate the mouse with the cursor, or that icons will be informative. We rarely rely on the cognitive capabilities of groups, however, though we rely on those capabilities in the real world all the time. ..  There is another strategy, however, analogous to asking the user to recognizing icons; the designer can simply assume the group has a certain capability, without needing to recapitulate it in code. If you have an uncollected payment in a communal buying pool, the software can kick out a message that says "Deadbeat alert. Deal with it." A real world group will have some way of handling the problem ..

So what happens next? If what I'm seeing is not transitory or limited to a narrow set of situations, then we'll see a rise in these small form-fit applications. This will carry some obvious downsides, including tying the developers of such applications to community support roles, and shortening the useful lifespan of the software made in this way.

Expectations of longevity, though, are the temporal version of scale -- we assume applications should work for long periods in part because it costs so much to create them. Once it's cheap and easy to throw together an application, though, that rationale weakens. Businesses routinely ask teams of well-paid people to put hundreds of hours of work creating a single PowerPoint deck that will be looked at in a single meeting. The idea that software should be built for many users, or last for many years, are cultural assumptions not required by the software itself. "

  11:45:09 PM  permalink  

StreamSage, Inc.: Search audio and video with speech and video recognition.  CPU-intensive, possible grid application.  "StreamSage's Audio/Video Search Engine finds relevant content and displays it in a prioritized list of search results. Whether the content is a news story, training presentation or web conference, StreamSage automatically identifies the precise intervals of content that are relevant for every topic addressed in the media file. The resulting index of "Relevance Intervals" allows you to quickly find the information in audio/video content that you need."  Example: NASA indexes a lecture series.  11:08:33 PM  permalink  

GrassFire.org: Right-wing answer to MoveOn.org, complete with Kerry-Kennedy comparison ads...  10:47:28 PM  permalink  

Richard Clarke and cybersecurity:  Refers to a speech he gave in 2002: "At the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas in the summer of 2002, Clarke gave a keynote address in which he outlined several bold ideas to secure the Internet. Clarke drew a round of applause from the gathered security professionals when he said the software industry "has an obligation to provide software that works." He further called upon software makers to ship products with unused processes turned off by default. And he suggested that broadband suppliers supply their customers with firewalls and antivirus protection--a recommendation I still think should be implemented. [Clarke believes not doing so is "like selling cars without seatbelts."]

More daring, however, was Clarke's suggestion that the U.S. government could lead a security revolution by procuring only computer products certified by the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum (NIAF) testing program. While this satisfied the current administration's desire to let the marketplace decide which products it wants to use, NIAF testing apparently sounded like too much government regulation to the creators of the NSSC." His recommendations were watered down, with no enforcement, no NIAF testing, and no broadband firewall requirement. 

  10:41:26 PM  permalink  

Panasonic lightweight notebook: The Panasonic ToughBook CF-W2 weighs 2.8 pounds with a drive that burns CDs and plays DVD movies.  It's about 10-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches and 1-1/4 inches thick.  12.1 inch display.  Up to 8 hours battery life (!).  $2200.  Limited distribution.  Poor choice of bundled software (updates required upon purchase).


  10:37:57 PM  permalink  

Ultrawideband roadmap: "The closer the devices are to each other, the faster the UWB transfer speeds. Inside four meters, data move at 480 Mbps, comparable with the wired USB 2.0 transfer rate. "  First devices expected xmas 2005, then built onto motherboards 2007.  Hi def TV is somewhere in the middle.  "Flash memory used in digital cameras could become obsolete, proponents say. When shooting photos with digital still or video cameras, UWB will allow hobbyists to stream their creations right onto [iPod-like] hard disks stored in their briefcases or backpacks. "  10:33:58 PM  permalink  

Search NextGen: Survey of many companies with search applications or extensions.  10:28:55 PM  permalink  

Indian Lake Unwired: Dal lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, now has WiFi service available for the houseboats.  9:32:11 PM  permalink  

Arrests foil terror blast, Manila says: "A terrorist bombing was averted with the arrests of four members of Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic terrorist group, and the confiscation of 36 kilograms of TNT, the Philippine president said Tuesday. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who faces a tough re-election vote on May 10, said the explosives were to have been used to bomb trains and shopping malls in Manila.  "We have prevented a Madrid-level attack in the metropolis," she said.. She said one of the men arrested claimed responsibility for a Feb. 27 explosion and fire aboard a passenger ferry that killed more than 100 people. Officials have not concluded what caused the disaster. Arroyo said she was ordering a fresh probe into the claim, despite earlier having played down the terrorist factor in the ferry fire...

The Abu Sayyaf is known for kidnapping and beheading hostages and is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. The government considers the group a spent force, down from about 1,000 guerrillas four years ago to about 300 after the United States sent troops and instructors to help Filipino troops dislodge the rebels from their stronghold on Basilan Island. "

  9:10:14 AM  permalink  

UK Anti-Terror Raids: "Police seized a large amount of explosive material and arrested eight men across London and southeast England Tuesday in Britain's largest anti-terror operation for years. Peter Clarke, head of Britain's anti-terror branch, told a news conference more than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was discovered in a 6-foot-high plastic bag in west London. An anti-terror source said the fertilizer was similar to explosive materials used in the 2002 Bali bombings, although there was no evidence that a bombing was planned or any possible target. However the source said there was enough material to launch an attack on the same scale as the huge 1996 bombing near Canary Wharf in London's financial district. "  8:40:06 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:37:28 AM.