Walter Bender, who was once President of the OLPC movement has moved his sugar to a new project. Sugar Labs will continue the software development, but as Bender stated:
As a separate foundation, we will be able to advance Sugar’s development even further and make it available on multiple distributions and hardware platforms.
The company states it enhances the Linux experience with an interface that doesn’t inundate people with Application, file or folder structures. The “Activity” will include program and data. Best part is it is all open source.
The OS GUI add-on is definitely based with children in mind. Icons like “Pippy” for Python programming and Tam-Tam for music creation. If you’re planning to load up the old computer with a system for the kid, or a new machine like a EeePC or even an OLPC with Linux, this is something to think about.
First impressions, much faster, smaller memory foot print, websites look much crisper. Overall A+ and as in comparison to IE there is simply no comparison.
Although Firefox 3 is still a beta, they have really hit a home run here. As of today I will use the beta version. Drawback to doing this is that most of my plugins don’t work. But the lower memory footprint really convinces me this will be the browser to use for a very long time. PcWorld/Reuters
Why is Apple shoving Safari down our throat. If I had wanted to install that worthless browser on my Windows box I would have simply have downloaded it. The last thing I want is a half functional browser cluttering up my hard drive.
Apple is trying to be slick here in offering Safari via a iTunes update. Nothing like trying to have world domination through some back door way of getting the worthless browser on my windows machine.
Next time you get a iTunes update notice be real careful or you will end up getting Safari installed even when you don’t have it installed. Gizmodo
Over the past week the site at TinyURL.com has been down several times, and when you need to shorten a URL to post via IM or Twitter, it is not good for a service that you have learned to trust to become unreliable.
I asked around to see if there was a open source solution that I could run myself, and I was pointed at Get-Shorty.com by someone that commented on a thread over at scripting.com.
The Get-Shorty.com team there has built Get-Short – a PHP- based application that allows you to run your own TinyUrl type of service.
I found three domains that would serve the purpose I want, but sadly I cannot just open them up to the public to use as the interface is not that fancy and only allows a single login. This is near a perfect solution for someone that does not want to rely on Tinyurl.com and has their own hosting account capable of running php applications. Get-Shorty.com
I was working on a reply piece to an article on Publishing 2.0 that claims that Facebook has no use for business. I absolutely disagree with this and while I was listing out the reasons why a Facebook style platform would be brilliant in a business situation (found on BusinessGeek if you are interested), two things popped into my head
- The back-end application I was describing sounded a lot like Microsoft Sharepoint with a better front-end
- This story from earlier in the week where Steve Ballmer claims Facebook is a fad, even though he values it at $10 Billion.
It clicked into place what MS wants a stake in Facebook for. In an earlier posts on GNC and BG, I talked about them wanting either technology, a business contract, or a denial of these to other companies. I am now confident that what they want is access to Facebook IP.
I now expect to see a Facebook like interface on MS Sharepoint in the near future, possibly with extra integration into other MS applications. They will either be getting some code from Facebook to help achieve this quickly, or will be licensing whatever patents they may have to prevent costly litigation in the future. Knowing Microsoft’s history they have probably already done a lot of due process on the strength of the Facebook patent holdings.
There is a great video on YouTube explaining the downside of modern copyright law using the story of a very famous drum loop called the Amen Break. The video is called Amen Brother. It is 18 minutes long so be warned, but if you want to skip to the explanation of why current copyright law hurts the economy rather than encourages it, this part starts at 14:46. If even that is too long I’ll provide a summary.
Prior to the ‘Sonny Bono’ act and subsequent extensions in 1998, it was generally possible to sample small sections of other artists work and re-interpret them, as long as there was substantial difference from the original, or the original artist did not complain that the work infringed on their copyright. Music scenes like Hip Hop and Drum and Base, blossomed with the invention of the sampler, using snippets of existing music to build a new work. These genre’s started with people mixing new tracks at home and playing them in clubs and the like, making little or no money. With few exceptions, the new works, while borrowing from the original, where so radically different from it to be considered an original work of themselves. If you listen to the video you will see how unless you were told there would be no way to associate some of the derivative tracks from the original 6–second drum break. Both genre’s eventually grew into significant markets generating huge revenues.
Under todays laws any length of sample, regardless of how it is modified, must be credited and licensed. While this does not matter to big Hip-Hop artists of today, it prevents any new backyard artists from experimenting with new forms without breaching copyright.
The justification for copyright as it applies to music is that it encourages innovation. The argument goes that if people have protection for their creation then they can gain the financial benefit of that creation and are therefore encouraged to produce. This is only accurate to a point. While the recording industry tries to gloss over it, copyright is not binary (present or absent) there is a scale of control. While moderate controls can promote innovation, extreme controls can actually stifle it. If the laws of today were in place in the 80’s then the Hip-Hop genre would not exist. Regardless of whether that appeals to you or not, it would definitely make the music industry smaller than it is today.
While this is an interesting story in itself, the true connection with IT is its correlation with other intellectual property (IP) law. All other IP regimes (e.g. patents) mirror copyright in their application. Moderate enforcement encourages development. But if the application is too weak or too strong, then the opposite is true and innovation is stifled. I think we are seeing this in patent law today, and we in IT should take a lesson from the mistakes we can see in the music industry and get behind efforts to rationalize IP law.
My team at RawVoice has been working with a Offshore development firm for some development jobs we out sourced, and they are about done with the current jobs we have for them.
The experience was ok but not great. In a previous post on this topic I was recommended a company from one of you, yet I have not been able to dig it out. If you have a company you have worked with offshore that has done good work and has good English skills I would really like a recommendation.
The next set of projects we have are going to need a bit of a higher experience level, and I need to engage them for 3-6 months. If you know a developer or are one we can use some more domestic help as well depending on skill sets, perfect for the person looking to make some extra cash before the upcoming holiday period firstname.lastname@example.org
TechSmith the company that brought you Camtasia and SnagIT have launched a new project called the Jing Project. The Jing Project is an application that lets you capture things happening on your screen and then very easily publish that to their Screencast.com service.
The big down side to this and the reason I will likely not use the product is as of this moment your locked into using their screencast service. I don’t like walled gardens and would rather pay for the application versus being forced to use their website.
One thing that is unusual is that they have a MAC application as well. JingProject
Update: it appears you can save the file that you have produced locally and upload it to another website which is good the Automated process made it look like that was not possible.
I have been a big fan of OneNote for quite some time and use it exclusively for research projects. I can easily dump items to a page in OneNote and then come back later and organize it. If your a OneNote fan then you may be inclined to use a new plugin that allows you to export a set of pages in OneNote as a web page. Very cool. CodePlex