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Archive for August, 2010

It’s unfortunate that Python on my Nokia E63 has only reached version 2.2, now that the rest of the world is speaking 2.5/2.6 or even 3.x. As far as I can tell, version 1.4.5 of the more or less official PyS60 package contains Python 2.2.2.

The bright side: the existing Python implementation for S60 3rd Ed. is well integrated into the hardware of the Nokia phones, thanks to the efforts of Nokia itself. Building applicationsthat do something useful shouldn’t be too hard, and perhaps Jurgen Scheible’s Python for the Series 60 Tutorial can be of help. I haven’t read it through, so I won’t comment on its qualities, but at least it has the merit to exist – with lots of sample code, available on the website.

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Here’s what happened. While checking my LinkedIn account, my eye fell on a message from one of my contacts. The message, however, originated from Twitter. I had a possible reply to his question, but I wondered: how should I reply? Not via a private message in LinkedIn, that’s clear. A “comment” on LinkedIn didn’t seem appropriate, since the message originated from Twitter. So I replied via a direct Tweet – but now I’m not sure that my contact actually got the message! We’re not following each other on Twitter, and we’re using different tools to create and read messages: he’s using Echofon, and I have installed Socially on my mobile phone. It’s good that different tools open up to each other, but in the current state of affairs the integration doens’t go far enough. Why, for example, doesn’t LinkedIn have a button/link that allows me to fire off a Twitter reply to my contact?

By the way, I like Socially a lot. It does what it promises, it looks good, and it has al the functionality a reliative newbie to social media like me needs.

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Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I had to reset (yup, “reset“) the Bluetooth headset I use with my mobile phone. No, the battery wasn’t empty. No, I didn’t leave the headset in extreme cold or heat. I use only a single button on it, so it wasn’t some fancy key combination that could have provoked the crash. And no, it doesn’t run Windows ;-)

I hadn’t thought about it in those terms, but the headset obviously contains a small computer. And apparently, computers still crash from to time – even when they’re small and simple. Software development is a craft, not science!

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#whyday

I first mentioned _why in 2004, when I discovered his guide to the Ruby programming language. When I republished that post a few days ago, I was annoyed by the fact that I had to resort to the Wayback Machine to find a copy of hat guide – even Wikipedia has broken links to _why. I applaud the Wayback Machine for what it does, but it can never be complete – by definition, of course. We have libraries to preserve copies of worthwhile books; why not have a sort of i-archive to preserve worthwhile digital/Internet material, more selective and specific than the Wayback Machine?

Anyway: hope you have a great #whyday!

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Understatement Of The Week

Says Matt Ford, on Ars Technica: “Quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory that describes the strong nuclear force, is odd even by quantum mechanical standards” (that’s the understatement, of course). I hardly understand quantum mechanics, let alone QCD – but his article on “Reexamining nothing: is the vacuum of space really empty?” is clear enough and worth reading if youcare about scinece.

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While cleaning up a few bookmark folders, I rediscovered the Rubicode website and their Mac OS X tools. A few of their tools, dating back several years (remember OS X 10.1 and 10.2?), have been upgraded less than a year ago. And they’re still worth using if you need what they deliver.

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You can check out a number of PyCon 2010 sessions on blip.tv, if – like me – you had wanted to be there but couldn’t. And by the way: there are more interesting “shows” to see on blip.tv – I won’t forget that presentation from Nicholas Negroponte  on the OLPC project anytime soon

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Critical, Not Grumpy!

A local sunday newspaper today succeeded in reiterating the wrong information about the Kids-ID card… and believe me: I know it’s wrong because we have just spent time in the UK, and our eleven-year daugther passed the border with an old-style paper document, without any problem at all. I know I should write this in Dutch to get noticed, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t make much of a difference. The CEO of Concentra, one of the largest media groups in Belgium, was interviewed in this weekends edition of the (competing) newspaper De Tijd, saying that there have never been more “professional journalists” working on his newspapers than now. I can only conclude that those professionals make mistakes,  and what’s worse: they don’t have to correct them.

Here’s another example. An email newsletter mentioned an article about the Google Alarm plugin for Firefox (in Dutch again). Since privacy on the Internet is something I care about, I read the article and had a look at the webpage of the plugin. So far, so good, but the comments over there were a bit conflicting, to say the least. To get more info, I checked the “incoming links” as well. Aha, the source of the belgian report could be traced to an article on Mashable, where the developer of the plugin is interviewed. And not everyone is convinced the plugin is useful: see “Das kontraproduktive Plug-in Google Alarm: ein Verriss” (in German) for a good analysis of what’s wrong with the plugin: it does a very shallow analysis, that will – by definition – generate false alarms and fail to detect real concerns; it doesn’t tell you what was “sent to Google”, and it won’t help you do anything about it…

I think any “professional” reporter should mention his (her) sources, and write about both sides of the story. Yes, readers must make up their own mind about using this particular plugin, but that does not relieve a “journalist” of his duty to report on facts. What was the journalist trying to tell, by the way? Was he reviewing the plugin? Obviously not. Was he concerned about privacy on the Internet? If so, then why pick on Google only? Or was he just copying something he read? Well, that’s not journalism in my book, that’s copying. And why copy something when you can link to the original? That’s what the “H” of the word “hypertext” in “http” stands for, no?

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Have you experienced this in person: “The More Leaders Make, the Meaner They Get” (from the Harvard Business Review blog) ? I’m sure you did: after all, if one team player earns a lot more than the others, (s)he quickly ceases to be a team member…

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Back From England

Just returned from the UK, where we spent a weeklong holiday. We had fun!

Remembering my grandmother...

Remembering my grandmother...

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Seth Gottlieb writes a great story about how not to buy a car: arriving at the dealer with loads of specs, but without any intention of driving the car. He then drives the point home that that is exactly the way how many enterprises want to buy software, specifically Content Management software. All in all, it’s a painfully accurate illustration of what I have seen in practice – although it must be said that in my case the main culprits aren’t necessarily the business analysts, but rather their (upper) management.

Apart from scenario-based requirements definition, there’s something else that can help clarify the problem space, and that’s the answer to the question “How will you know (measure) the succesful implementation of the system you want to buy/build?“…

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Dilbert.com

Thank you, Scott, for putting it so clearly!

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