Segway inventor Dean Kamen unveils his next act, and it’s a doozy. He’s invented two devices to address the power and clean-water problems in the Third World — essentially, a rugged still and a generator that burns cow dung. But the real challenge to conventional thinking is Kamen’s (rightly) contemptuous dismissal of conventional development economics,… Continue reading Ephemeralization against the bureaucracy
Recently, The Nation ran an article, The End of the Internet, that viewed with alarm some efforts by telephone companies to hack their governing regulations so they can price-discriminate. Their plans include tiered pricing so a consumer’s monthly rate could be tied to the amount of bandwidth actually used. They also want to be able… Continue reading Un-ending the Internet
A bit of blogging for the record here. Doc Searls wrote: “The Commons” and “the public domain” might be legitimate concepts with deep and relevant histories, but they’re too arcane to most of us. Eric Raymond has told me more than once that the Commons Thing kinda rubs him the wrong way. […] (Maybe he’ll… Continue reading Why “Commons” language gives me hives
A commenter writes, in reference to my letter to the Microsoft recruiter, BTW, I think abrogating to yourself the status of MS’s worst nightmare might be seen as presumptious, considering that FLOSS depends on a big community, and a lot of what FLOSS is about precedes your 97 work, but far be it from me… Continue reading Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare?
The following is, verbatim, a letter I received a few minutes ago from a Microsoft recruiter.
My friend Howard Tayler, the cartoonist behind Schlock Mercenary, invited me to post this.
Jamie Richards asks an intelligent question in response to my essay on deadly genius in the arts: I’m not programming-savvy at all, so maybe this is crap… what do you think about the idea that computer programming is a cultural area operating under the same conditions that set up the “Modernist disruption”? As I understand… Continue reading Software vs. Art
InstaPundit writes: This seems to me to suggest that free downloads don’t do much to cannibalize actual [book] sales. I have more (or at least longer-term) experience with this than anyone else. Back in 1991, The New Hacker’s Dictionary was the very first real book (like, with an ISBN) to be released simultaneously in print… Continue reading The Web and Identity Goods
The CSS designer for WordPress, the successor to the b2 engine that I may be upgrading to shortly, responded to my previous rant. In a generally thoughtful and responsive post, he said “But even if [pixel sizes] are defined for fonts, does your browser not let you easily resize this?”. This, I’m afraid, is CSS… Continue reading CSS designer cluelessness in a nutshell
People who put absolute pixel sizes in CSS layouts should be lashed with knouts. I’ve tripped over this problem yet again while moving my blog; I’m using b2, and the default stylesheet shipped with it was obviously produced by some graphics designer who has failed to grasp the fact that there are lots of different… Continue reading A rant — Why are CSS designers so utterly freaking clueless?
Mr. McBride: Late yesterday. I learned that you have charged that your company is the victim of an insidious conspiracy masterminded by IBM. You have urged the press and public to believe that the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation and Red Hat and Novell and various Linux enthusiasts are up in arms… Continue reading An Open Letter To Darl McBride
In 2001, there was a history-making conference of software-engineering thinkers in Snowbird, Colorado. The product of that meeting was a remarkable document called the Agile Manifesto, a call to overturn many of the assumptions of traditional software development. I was invited to be at Snowbird, but couldn’t make it. Ever since, though, I’ve been sensing… Continue reading Hacking and Refactoring
I have been thinking about UI design lately. With some help from my friend Rob Landley, I’ve come up with a classification schema for the levels at which users are willing to invest effort to build competence. The base assumption is that for any given user there is a maximum cognitive load any given user… Continue reading A Taxonomy of Cognitive Stress
In today’s episode of the Microsoft follies, we learned that Media Player 9 is un-uninstallable. Deliberately. A A Microsoft spokesthing confirmed that Media Player 9 is so deeply integrated into the operating system that it cannot be removed without doing a `system restore’. Which, incidentally, will wipe out your Office installation. It’s at times like… Continue reading Living With Microsoft
Last Saturday morning in San Diego I had breakfast with Steven den Beste, the redoubtable captain of U.S.S. Clueless. One of the side-effects of that meeting was a long critique of open-source development. Herewith my response. Steve and I agree on the scaling problem that has pushed software development efforts to the ragged edge of… Continue reading Right back at ya, Captain
Warning: The following blog entry provides way more than the recommended daily allowance of geeking. If you don’t have a serious propeller-head streak, surf outta here now before it’s too late. I’m mainly a software guy, but occasionally I build PCs for fun. Design them, rather; the further away I stay from actual hardware the… Continue reading Run Silent, Go Feep
In his latest Tech Central Station column, Glenn Reynolds complains of `version fatigue’, his accumulating angst over the fact that since the emid-1980s he’s had to migrate through three word processors and several different versions of Windows. I can’t fix the sad fact that every new VCR and remote control you get has a different… Continue reading Beating software version fatigue
The cat is out of the bag. During testimony before a federal judge, Microsoft executive Jim Allchin has admitted that some code critical to the security of Microsoft products is so flawed it could not be safely disclosed to other developers or the public. Allchin was arguing against efforts by nine states and the District… Continue reading Closed Source — Who Dares Call It Treason?