# Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Human being and fish ....

.... can coexist equally. After all these years, still one of the funniest things on any media - BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue.

 

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# Monday, June 06, 2005

Mixing music

Steven Levy of Newsweek takes a look at MusicMagic Mixer, which analyzes your music library and creates playlists that match your current tastes after you pick just one “seed” song (a version of the software is also available built into some audio players, like the Entempo Rubato),... Levy comes away impressed: Digital DJs Are Turning the Tables [via Engadget]

Looks like MusicMagic might be worth a look into - for the premium version there is also an API. What I would find most interesting is can it take one of one's own tracks as a seed and then build a playlist that includes stuff you don't own but is available on say 1p per play streaming servers?

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# Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Map wars

Over on BBC Backstage there has been a fair amount of activity bringing traffic and news items 'onto' maps; these have been using Google maps. A couple of demos, and how to bring generate Google maps for oneself are shown at Backstage Min-Data.

Now here comes Virtual Earth: MSN's answer to Google Maps  via Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger:

I've been waiting to talk about this for months. Yesterday morning Bill Gates showed off Virtual Earth at "D." Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour with the Virtual Earth team getting a demo and chatting with the team. The video (which is mostly demos), and more, is now up on Channel 9.

A few interesting things here:

  1. The blog-it link in the UI to MSN Spaces - will it support any other type of 'blog it'.
  2. The wonderful comment "The best way to share an app is over the web in a browser".
  3. The continuing mantra; Google are kids at this stuff, we've being doing it for years.
  4. Local advertising funding model.

Another interesting thing is can the backstage type work be put on top of Virtual Earth (assuming it covers the UK at some point); this means being able to take various 'web services' (News/traffic rss feeds, map systems) and glue them together. The browser (IE, Firefox etc) are only display surfaces, the richness of these things is about being able to build your own display surfaces, or new and original display surfaces and surfaces with additional layers.

 

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A price worth paying

Video phone.  ... eventually arriving at a walking, talking, living PGC on my screen! Was it worth it? ... yes it was ... [via Loft Blog - a blog aloft]

I was going to write an article ranting about managment in the UK but, saved from that <g>, it appears I can say that investment in a cam and a UPnP compatible firewall yields dividends.

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# Sunday, May 22, 2005

One is not alone...

Unfortunately for me this did not actually work since Virtual Internet, the host I use, has been having technical problems for weeks now and today was another bad day.

 [via BBC NEWS | Technology | Podcasting could be a revolution]

So, VI are indeed letting a whole swathe of people down - there are times when it is nice to know suffering is a shared experience.

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# Friday, May 20, 2005

New stories at Microsoft

Yesterday Chris Anderson confessed that Microsoft might have been neglecting some development approaches. I was mighty heartened to see Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life write:

I've actually been quite upset by how many programming language camps Microsoft has neglected in its blind pursuit of competition with Java and the JVM. ... We have neglected DHTML developers who have been building web sites and web applications against Internet Explorer, we don't even have a Javascript IDE let alone a story for people trying to build complex AJAX/DHTML applications like GMail or Google Maps.

... The focus of the developer division at Microsoft is the .NET Framework and related technologies which is primarily a competitor to Java/JVM and related technologies. However when it comes to areas where there isn't a strong, single competitor that can be focused on (e.g. RAD development, scripting languages, web application development) we tend to flounder and stagnate. Eventually I'm sure customer pressure will get us of our butts, it's just unfortunate that we have to be forced to do these things instead of doing them right the first time around.

I came across this .NET focus recently when talking to someone at MS about the Windows Web Browsing platform. I continue to find it weird that .NET is an obsession that, as Dare notes, precludes all other approaches; it is not clear to me why or what problem it is meant to be solving. MS are living, or have been living in a very 2D world as far as Windows is concerned, witness the dropping the ball on IE as well. Perhaps there is a growing realisation that they actually live in a multi-dimensional world and that they need good stories in many dimensions.

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# Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Something for nothing in schools.

... said Richard Rothwell, chairman of educational user group Schoolforge UK, ....  "If a dozen schools want something, for the cost of licensing the software, they could probably have it written," he said.  [via Microsoft's education claims rebuffed - ZDNet UK News]

Oh lordy I love these. Years ago I wrote Junior PinPoint (RiscOS and Windows). List price £39, but it was never sold at that price. But, lets be generous and call it £40 per license. Now that was single machine, I think whole school (primary) licenses were £100. So, he reckons they could write something like Junior PinPoint for £1200, lets be generous; £2000. Best of luck to them (and no, I never got rich from Junior PinPoint sales).

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Memory leak in IE

It appears that code like this:

document.getElementById("idImgSpan").style.backgroundImage = "url(dog.ico)";

leaks memory. Whereas, code like this:

document.getElementById("idImg").src = "dog.ico"; 

does not. This is for IE 6, XP SP2, a demonstration is here: IE Leak Demo (download of zip file, unpack locally). Open task manager, Processes tab, ensure the VM Size column is displayed and watch the VM size stay rock steady when the <img> element is used but climb when style background image is used. Perhaps this is already well known or I have done something daft.

 

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# Friday, May 13, 2005

A .NET Loss

I hadn't realised this:

Sauce Reader 2.0 is a complete rewrite and no longer requires the .NET framework. Using .NET for Sauce Reader v1 we were never able to achieve the level of performance we considered appropriate for a heavily used productivity application. .NET is a compelling and powerful platform, but currently unsuitable for widely adopted client side applications. [via Synop > Weblogs > Sauce Reader Weblog - Sauce Reader v2.0 (BETA)]

What is strange is presumably they had tried out .NET 2 which would seem to have a more compelling story than .NET 1, but found that lacking as well.

 

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BBC Backstage

This got released to the web yesterday at BBC Backstage. Unfortunately they seem to have rather over-hyped it even for a beta - an aweful lot seems to be missing; at the moment it looks like just another place to get a list of the RSS feeds available from the BBC. Once the APIs and search stuff appears then it may get better. Worth keeping an eye on.
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