XML and software
XML, web and software in general, with notes on Radio Userland resources

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Friday, April 29, 2005


FT/James Boyle: Deconstructing stupidity: Well written commentary on the "evidence-free zone" in which IP policy is made, both in the US and Europe.  "If we don’t look at the evidence and we ignore the role of the public domain in fostering innovation, how can we possibly hope to make good policy?" Links to other useful articles.  8:23:18 AM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, April 27, 2005


The GoogleSmear:  Juan Cole on how others use Google News and the blogosphere to spread falsehoods and smear (or at least distract) opponents.  12:19:21 AM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Microsoft - Introduction to Windows Script Technologies: Useful reference, tailored for system administrators.  10:42:21 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, April 24, 2005


Stephano points to an interesting new programming language called Subtext, with a cool 17-minute demo, and quote my favorite professor from my undergrad years in the process.  "Alan Perlis once said "a programming language that doesn't change the way you think about programming is not worth knowing"... Well, Subtext is not a programming language that you can use today to write your next blog with, but it made me think.''  Two key ideas:  building a data structure rather than writing text, and thereby abandoning variables; and always executing code as it's written, like a spreadsheet, shortening the code/test/recode loop.  11:59:23 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, April 17, 2005


Mere mortals and great ideas: FT Review of the new book Democratizing Innovation. "[The book] argues that "users are the first to develop many, and perhaps most, new industrial and commercial products". This being so, competitive advantage might be expected to flow to manufacturers who systematically harvest this crop of ideas. For example, 3M, the industrial products group, has had programmes in place since 1996 to harness ideas generated by lead users. After crunching the numbers, von Hippel found that "lead-user-developed product concepts" at 3M were likely to be more novel, enjoy higher market share, have greater potential to develop into an entire product line and be more strategically important.

Mass-producing products developed by lead users is only one possible approach. Alternatives include selling toolkits with which customers can build their own creations, or developing products that complement user innovations.

This latter strategy is useful in circumstances where - to the consternation of economists - lead users give away their innovations. Thus the Linux operating system was developed by members of the open-source software community, many of whom are lead users of computing power. Since Linux is freely available, commercial software companies are unable to sell proprietary versions. Instead, they have responded with software and services that complement Linux.

The toolkits approach has been used by companies including International Flavors & Fragrances, which supplies customers with the tools to design their own food flavours.

These examples turn on its head the traditional division of labour between producer and consumer. .. This has profound implications not only for corporate management but also for public policy. If the goal of policy is to increase social welfare by encouraging innovation - and if user-generated innovation really is more successful than other types - then rules and regulations should encourage this activity. At issue here is patent law, legal constraints on product modification and tax breaks for research and development. Why should manufacturers get all the incentives when users do such valuable work? "

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daily link  Thursday, April 14, 2005


Mesdames et messieurs, the semantic web!  "Wanna have a taste of what the semantic web will do for you?  craigslist + Google Maps = http://www.paulrademacher.com/housing  And there are still people thinking that the semantic web is about making everybody agree to one uber knowledge representation, bah."  Beautiful application, perfect example of Tim O'Reilly's Web 2.0.  Reminds me of using gopher every day, then seeing Mosaic for the first time.  11:11:26 PM  permalink  

Folksologies: de-idealizing ontologies: Great short piece from MIT's Stefano Mazzocchi on folksonomies, ontologies, and how the semantic web can work to bridge the two.  The philosophical intro is super.  "categories are embodied, espression of humanity, not abstract metaphysical entities (Plato's ideas) that we aim to obtain. .. [Ontologies] are just contracts, a (more or less explicit) agreement between different parties. Language is a contract as well. So are categories. So is metadata. So are APIs, protocols, plug shapes and their voltage, meters.... you name it! Many make the mistake of associating an 'ontology' with Plato's metaphysical ideas..

The semantic web is a bad name for an attempt to make data interoperability scale at a web level. Ontology are a bad name to describe relationships between symbols. That's all there is, really.

Now, you use tags to categorize things for yourself, but instead of using a 'controlled vocabulary', taxonomy or ontology (depending on what field you come from, you will like to call them differently... which also is a metaproof of the point, but let's move on), you invent your own."  He demonstrates how semantic web markup can distinguish terms that are identical with different meanings, and combine terms that are different with the same meaning.  [Thanks for the tip, John]

  11:05:12 PM  permalink  

Enterprise software defined:  Excellent thread on how enterprise software is different.  Includes excellent examples of very large databases, almost none of which use "enterprise database" products.  10:43:10 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, April 11, 2005


ActiveGrid - Grid Application Server: Interesting take on an application server with grid functions:  "The ActiveGrid Grid Application Server is a next-generation application server designed to scale applications across horizontal grids of commodity computers. The ActiveGrid Grid Application Server is built on top of the open source LAMP stack. In contrast to traditional three-tier architectures, where statically defined applications are bound to a particular deployment architecture, the ActiveGrid Grid Application Server interprets applications at runtime and can deploy them using a variety of proven deployment models and multiple data caching patterns. .. The ActiveGrid Grid Application Server extends the open source LAMP stack with grid-aware features such as dynamic node registration, data caching, session management, transaction management and interface fragment caching. These features are implemented as an Apache Module and as libraries that run within ModPHP, ModPython, ModPerl and Tomcat. The ActiveGrid Grid Application Server interprets applications at runtime and can make decisions based on context, such as how to most appropriately cache a set of data across the grid, or how to render a form fragment for a particular type of client and user role."  10:46:23 AM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, April 04, 2005


U3 - New USB memory/device standard:  "U3 makes the promise of anywhere, anytime, any PC computing a reality. By combining the widely adopted storage capabilities of today’s UFDs (USB Flash Drives) with the ability to transport and run applications from a small UFD, U3 ensures truly personal and portable computing.   The U3 standard enables developers to create easy to use applications that minimize the complexities of today’s digital life. From your own email folders to healthcare history to fully functional work applications, U3 makes everything available anywhere without having to access multiple devices or lug around a laptop." 

Memorex, Kingston, and Verbatim have promised products: "Called a smart USB flash drive, these drives enable consumers to carry all of their personal computer settings, applications and data for use on any PC wherever they go. The new Verbatim smart Store ‘n’ Go USB flash drives will be availabe worldwide [in 2005]. .. The U3 platform includes three components. U3’s hardware specification gives manufacturers the core technology to build their smart USB flash drives. The U3 software developer kit includes sample code, a standard set of application programming interfaces (APIs), and thorough documentation. The U3 Launchpad is a friendly graphical user interface that is used to access and run applications." 

This could improve the utility of internet cafes: users can keep an offline personalized environment and secure information store for a small purchase price.  Many of today's UFDs play and record sound; with U3, they could rapidly download and upload voice mail at an internet cafe to extend VOIP services (e.g., in developing countries).  The U3 could be added to an entertainment device, like an MP3 player, radio, game machine or camera, making the net cost per user negligible. 

  9:58:25 AM  permalink  

Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/25/2005; 12:08:19 AM.
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