# Thursday, 31 October 2002

Smart Guy Joins Microsoft Film At 11

Smart guy joins Microsoft, film at 11. ...

So it used to be that "memory management is fundamentally difficult" was the shibboleth; nowadays, it's "multithreaded programming is fundamentally difficult." And, to be sure, the concurrent programming model (note the singular!) exposed by Java and .NET does make it easy to deadlock and race and all that bad stuff. Meanwhile, there are academics who would say that multithreaded programming is, perhaps not "solved," but certainly made much easier by such things as Communicating Sequential Processes (Google search or the original paper here) or the Calculus of Communicating Systems (Google search). ...[Thinking In .NET]

Interesting little article.

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# Wednesday, 30 October 2002

MPs Back Commons Reforms The Centurie

MPs back Commons reforms. The centuries-old tradition of late night votes in the Commons is to be swept away after MPs backed a major reform of their hours. [BBC News | Front Page]

Do they really, really think that by talking from 11.30 till 7 rather than 2.30 till late I'm going to vote (other than none of the above)? Its what they say and do that counts, not when they say it.

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Nearly 800 Tablefree CSS Designs Courtesy Of A Hrefhttpwww

Nearly 800 table-free CSS designs, courtesy of Meryl who is thankfully mirroring the original archive from webnouveau.net, which has gone AWOL. Admire, view source, learn. [Scott Andrew]

If you have the time and/or inclination, indeed much can be learnt on the current power of css.

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# Tuesday, 29 October 2002

Connecting People To XML BLOCKQUOTE Citehttp

Connecting people to XML.

Structured editing of schema-controlled XML data is a hard challenge to meet. Tools that would make the task easy and natural are nowhere in sight. [John Udell]

Maybe John Udell still hasn't seen Xopus. I can't blame him. We (Q42) don't have a marketing department, and our Xopus site looks like we don't want you to use it. But Xopus does seem to be what John Udell is looking for.

All actions in Xopus are schema controlled. If the schema doesn't allow it, the user can't do it. This doesn't stop with structural actions, like 'can you add one or more Authors to a Book', but markup is also restricted by the schema. Can a user only add bold and italic, or also lists and tables? And if the user can add links, is he then allowed to add a target attribute? This is a big issue for CMSs, where the site designers want to give the site a consistent look and feel, but where the editors keep messing things up.

Another issue is usability and discoverability. Users know how to work with Word. And so Xopus provides the standard Word-like interface, like toolbars, context-menus, and some (not too many) dialogs. But a user must do more than edit some XHTML. For example, the University of Groningen allows teachers to edit course descriptions and other course related data using Xopus. The two options they had before were either teach the teachers to use an XML editor, or build huge amounts of html forms more or less by hand.

But Xopus allows the university to take a much easier approach. The webpages of each course were already built from the XML data with XSL transformations. Xopus uses these XSL files to show the XML data in exactly the same way, only this time the content is editable. So the teachers now have a familiar user interface to edit their data in a familiar layout. And that's not all.

The teacher doesn't even have to know the storage structure of the CMS. If he wants to edit his course, he fires up his browser and he surfs to the webpage of the course. And because the system can recognize the teacher, an extra link appears to edit the course. When clicked, the Xopus toolbar slides in and the course data becomes editable. (Not the whole page is editable, just the parts specific to the course.)

At Q42 we're very proud of this product, and we made it open source and freely downloadable. It works in IE5.5 and up, and we know we can make it work in Mozilla. Only we're missing the financial support to do this. Everybody who knows Xopus thinks this is a shame, and we really want to do it, but the reality of running a business doesn't let us. Just one link to end this story: the online demo.

There's something here, not sure what, but something.

[Sjoerd Visscher's weblog]
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# Friday, 25 October 2002

My Response To Larry Lessig A Hrefhttpwwwdo

My Response to Larry Lessig. [Don Park's Blog]

Battle has been joined, as it were, in a small way. Interesting read.

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Theres Been Discussion About The OSAF A Hrefhttpcyberlawstanfordedules

There's been discussion about the OSAF: Larry LessigDon Park and Dave Winer.

Personally, I can't see any other way of taking on MS, if that is your intent. But Don Park raises good issues about the potential problems that could arise down the track.

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# Thursday, 24 October 2002

Useful If One Ever Wants To Generate News Feeds RSS Validator

Useful if one ever wants to generate news feeds: RSS Validator
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# Wednesday, 23 October 2002

Using NET Sockets Using NET Sockets AA Href

Using .NET Sockets.

Using .NET Sockets

A brief article was just added to the .NET center of The O'Reilly Network which covers the basics of the System.Net.Sockets namespace. Defines what a socket is, explains the basics of DNS and finally touches on how data is sent and received. Not a bad article if you're new to socket programming or just new to .NET and want to get familiar with its implementation.

[Drew's Blog] [Sam Gentile's Weblog]
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IT Manager Looking For Microsoft Deep Technical InformationHere You Can Find Infor

IT Manager. Looking for Microsoft deep technical information?
Here you can find information and documentation which will help coders and IT professionals to get the most out of Microsoft products. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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Why We Dont Build Software For Users Im A Big A

Why We Don't Build Software for Users. I'm a big Alan Cooper fan and this is a recent interview. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

And the server won't give me most of the interview, but a couple of pages looked fun.

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Also Got A Very Supportive Message From Mena Trott Re The Post Below Thanks I Think Were Cocreating The Most Exciting

Also got a very supportive message from Mena Trott re the post below. Thanks! I think we're co-creating the most exciting market in the software business today. [Scripting News]

Such modesty is wonderful to behold. If it really is the most exciting market, then what is particularly interesting is that this "exciting market" is being built with poor quality product which would not have got passed the front desk to a magazine review. It may be that this is a good thing, that the Internet is providing a market place in which maybe poor quality, but functionality very useful software can make its place - and one hopes over time become good quality.

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VC Firms Be Wary Of P

VC firms: Be wary of patents. Venture capitalists dished out words to the wise at a conference focusing on fundraising in the high-tech industry. [CNET News.com]

Interesting that it should merit a story - that a company proposal should include making a profit - doh! But then, thats what went wrong with the so called 'New Economy'.

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# Tuesday, 22 October 2002

Using ATL Server To Build Web Services W

Using ATL Server to Build Web Services. "[W]here is the unmanaged programmer to turn [for building web services]? The answer is ATL Server. Developers familiar with conventional COM programming using Visual Studio® 6.0 and ATL 3.0 will find an extraordinarily empowering suite of tools and classes in the new ATL 7.0 library that comes with Visual Studio .NET. The classes that support such Web application development as building XML Web Services are collectively termed ATL Server. This article will explain how the C++ programmer can use the facilities available in ATL Server to develop high-performance Web Services quickly."

This is really Kirk's baby, I just helped get it dressed for public display. : ) [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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Weird XUL Is Getting Mentioned In The Oddest

Weird.. XUL is getting mentioned in the oddest places these days. Check out these links:

MSDN - Microsoft
joelonsoftware.com

I can only hope that Phoenix will help more people to appreciate that XUL can perform perfectly well when
it's written well. :)
[
Confessions of a Mozillian]

The MSDN link is most interesting since its XUL/Thinlets/UXP in .NET, an idea I had been thinking about.

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# Friday, 18 October 2002

Guess What Knowledge Management Is A BuzzwordEM

Guess what: "Knowledge Management" is a buzzword. KM Nonsense. Tom Wilson has a kickass article on knowledge management in Information Research. [JOHO the Blog] [Seb's Open Research]

At last, an article that bluntly points out how utterly confused we really are.

<G>

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Beta RSS Explorer Tool A Nice Checkbox Inter

Beta: RSS Explorer Tool. A nice check-box interface for discovering new RSS sources. It's a beta, which means there could be bugs, and more features and fixes are probably coming. But it's pretty darned useful right now. For those who don't have Radio yet, here's a screen shot. [Scripting News]

Subsequent to previous post, how does the word nice apply to this and if I was the word discover I'd sue. I think I'm going to have to give up his feed, its irritating me more and more :(, or should that be :)

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Wetware Britt Blaser Describes FONT Colo

Wetware. Britt Blaser describes the next killer app.

The endless hunt - personally I've never been convinced of the concept of a "killer app", and even if we accept it, that its repeatable.

Worth a read though - some interesting points.

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BBC Radio 4 Goes Bonkers Runs Last Years MS NewsE

BBC Radio 4 goes bonkers, runs last year's MS news. Over and over again... [The Register]

Thank heavans - I thought it was I who was going mad.

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Winter

.. must be nearly here, the geese are leaving (noisily).
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# Thursday, 17 October 2002

Teen Inventor Creates Mouse Mitt A Teenag

Teen inventor creates 'mouse mitt'. A teenage inventor comes up with a 21st century solution to the computer mouse¸ creating a device to alleviate RSI and spin-offs for the games industry. [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]

Is something seen in films/read about in books an invention or implementation?

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HCI Links

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Complex GUI Architecture Discussion A

Complex GUI Architecture Discussion? [Slashdot]

Ooooh, one of my favourite topics, must read what's said.

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Creating Applications With Mozilla A Hr

Creating Applications with Mozilla [Slashdot] ..  The Mozilla browser is one of the most extreme examples of this philosophy to ever emerge. Emacs was something special, but this is even more insane....

Its a book review, but worth a read.

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Rich Editing In Mozilla Composite Is A

Rich editing in Mozilla. "Composite is a chrome overlay which enables a streamlined Mozilla Editor for html composition in textareas. To use the editor, hit ctrl-e in a textarea." (50 words) [dive into mark]
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# Wednesday, 16 October 2002

Matt Neuburg Explains Tinderbox A Hrefhtt

Matt Neuburg explains Tinderbox. [Scripting News]

Shame its only for the Mac - is it only Mac users who want this sort of thing?

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# Sunday, 13 October 2002

Clemens Vaster Has Made Some Great NET Attribute Classes Free

Clemens Vaster has made some great .NET Attribute classes freely available:

Why did we choose a BSD style license? Because when we say "free", we mean "free". We are reserving the copyright on these things and ask for proper credit. Otherwise, you should be able to just use the things and go.

Our license differs from the BSD license specifically in term (4), which rules out any use of this software in conjunction with software licensed user the GPL, LGPL or similar licenses. Why? Because when we say "free", we mean "free". The GPL forces a political agenda upon developers that we do not agree with, and don't want our work to be any part of or used with.

Yep, if you want to be really really really free (its good to see Mr Ottway back again) - use BSD.

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Links

Fablets
Digital Harbor

The specific direction these richer, browser-based applications will take remains to be seen. This inaugural wave of vendors is clearly struggling to conceive platforms with enough value potential to entice enterprise-grade customers to fork over hard-earned budgetary dollars.

For the large number of companies that spent the late '90s invested in retrofitting Web front-ends onto their
enterprise applications, the dubious value proposition may appear to overshadow the merits.

Admittedly, many of the capabilities from today's innovators may ultimately take root directly within next-generation Web browsers, or they may be embedded natively within
operating systems and application servers.

The risk reward here, though, is favorable. And in due course the capabilities coming to the forefront of rich Internet
application development portend great promise for improving the sophistication and interaction in data and security-laden transactions.

By maintaining a focus on important features, such as an interdependence on XML, adoption of Web services and workflow mechanisms, and a moderate learning curve for developers, rich Internet application vendors will ensure bonding with corporate IT ideals and enable developers to bring to market more useful applications in less time.

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# Saturday, 12 October 2002

Building A Better Browser

Building a Better Browser. This piece in InfoWorld underscores the emerging trend towards rich Internet applications. It's great to see industry recognition for the category, though it still appears that people are just scratching the surface of what "rich" really means.

Macromedia believes that RIA's (rich internet apps) combine content (text/graphics/audio/video/motion), applications (complex UI, web services, biz logic and data) and communications (real-time n-way media messaging and shared data). While there are other companies focused on putting more power on the client, I haven't seen anything yet that shares this approach/philosophy to RIA's.

While smaller vendors and efforts attempt to break through, Macromedia community designers and developers are blasting forward with innovative RIA's in the thousands! [Jeremy Allaire's Radio]

Hmmmm......, follow up on the smaller vendors mentioned.

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SQL Server Centric NET Code Generator SQL Server Cen

SQL Server Centric .NET Code Generator. "SQL Server Centric .NET Code Generator (code named OlyMars) is both a flexible and powerful code generator based on database modeling. It allows instant generation of both SQL and .Net code providing a complete library of stored procedures, .NET classes and ready-to-use Windows/Web form controls (including associated documentation). SQL Server Centric .NET Code Generator is also fully extensible to use one's own custom templates and consequently can be adjusted to generate any custom code respecting a homogeneous implementation scheme within the company (can be written either in VB .NET or C# .NET)."

This isn't particularly new, but it's new to me and it's from Microsoft France. I also saw that Justin Rudd has used it. Can anyone contribute any comments about OlyMars?

[pinetree-tech.com/weblog] [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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# Friday, 11 October 2002

Write Once Run Anywhere The P

Write Once, Run Anywhere?. The programming language Java gains much of its popularity from its platform-independant nature - "Write once, run anywhere", as Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java, claims. Your Java program should run, without any code changes, on any computer with a Java Virtual Machine available - and JVMs are available for Linux, Windows, Macintosh, Solaris, IRIX, and many other operating systems. However, in practice things are not so simple, even for quite trivial applications. [kuro5hin.org]

Fascinating how the world changes in 6 years. Sun should have dropped the mantra years ago (and if you doubt, read the above thread), that it still continues the mantra and people are still getting sucked into it is sad.

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A Breakthrough In Outline Transclusion Funny

A breakthrough in outline transclusion!. Funny, I've just been toying around the last few weeks with doing just this, for AmphetaOutlines, to cut down on the wodge of HTML it feeds the browser all at once. Marc Barrot presents Transclusion Breakthrough: The Endless Web Page. The post reads a bit like an advert for Amazing Live Seamonkeys!, but I think the enthusiasm is understandable:This is the in-browser version of what Dave Winer and UserLand created for Radio's outliner. This is... [0xDECAFBAD]

The implementation is very cute.

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# Thursday, 10 October 2002

nbspScreen Shot Of XDocs On Microsoft

 Screen shot of XDocs on Microsoft's website. [Scripting News]

Screen shot and info - CJ might want to review for Forum.

Oh for goodness sake - note the new look of the toolbars and title bars on panels. Why oh why oh why do MS Office team have to redesign the look of their ui with every incarnation - I would much sooner the software worked (like for example when you say I want a 15 cm bit of paper and print crop marks that the marks actually come out at 15cm).

Big question is this written in .NET - if they won't eat their own dog food......

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XP SP1 Wierdness Anyone Else

XP SP1 Wierdness. Anyone else experiencing weirdness with their machine after installing Windows XP Service Pack 1? I've noticed after installing it, Internet Explorer will sometimes never return after you enter a URL. Once you close the window, the process (viewed via Task Manager) is using a LARGE amount of memory (around 30 MB), and cannot be terminated - even the "End Process" button won't kill it. Attempting to shutdown will hang, since the system cannot kill the process, and I am forced to hold down the power switch forcing a reset. Not exactly the most pleasant user experience.[The Furrygoat Experience]

XP is proving to be the worst MS OS I've used for a while - its beginning to feel like the days with NT 4 when I used to install MS beta software enthusiastically - till the OS became so unstable it had to be reinstalled. What's going on here? I no longer install betas, but theres a mass of hot fixes and service packs being installed - I can only presume these are causing the problem.

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# Wednesday, 09 October 2002

Its all about trust?

John Lettice, writer for The Register will quite happily accept a "do what we like to your machine" system from Red Hat:

I've clicked on the nice critical updates icon, clicked forward a lot, agreed they could have details of my machine, figure out what it needed and then install it, and yes, this is pretty much in the same department as Windows Update, about which I'd say something quite different. And maybe I should have read what I agreed to, but I have to do quite enough of that with Windows. Personally I view it as more a matter of how much you trust people than whether or not an automated update system is right or wrong. I'm prepared to trust Red Hat a little on this, and on that basis it's a handy service.

He's prepared to trust Red Hat on this, and not Redmond - fair enough.

Now we put a link to two .exes on a web page:

  1. Downloads an install application that you save to disk and run which then installs a whizzy application that aggregates news feeds from all over the place, calls web services from a number of sources to perform spell checking, update notifications, saves data to your local disk etc etc - because it was installed on the machine it has full reign.
  2. Uses some instant launch, lets say its .NET but it needn't be - its an application but it can't do anywhere near what application 1 can do - it can't write to the local disk, it can't call web services unless these are proxied by the .exe origin server (which makes what difference?), it can't aggregate content from multiple sources.

But what is the difference - the trust relationship to the web site must be the same in both cases - you were willing to download an application and then run it, trusting that it will not upload the contents of one's hard disk, yet if one tries to do 2 there will be all sorts of screaming about security (irrelevant of who the origin is, Red Hat or Redmond). Why do an extra couple of clicks give a user some sense of enhanced security (which is completely misplaced) - both are "Internet Applications".

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Back to the desktop

New Office product to simplify forms. CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday is expected to unveil a new product intended to turn Office into a data-collection tool and boost sales of the desktop software....

"In a traditional Office-type application, all of that information can be stored on the user's desktop," Bishop said. "There are some distinct advantages to moving things back to the desktop. This lets users actively participate in Web services, which until now primarily are server to server."

[CNET News.com]

But will it be written traditionally or using .NET, will it use new display xml technology or the web browser.

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# Tuesday, 08 October 2002

Broadband Sat Service For 1631499 Interest

Broadband Sat service for £14.99. Interesting [The Register]

Aimed at amongst others those miffed with BT's service.....

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Who do you believe?

No-Touch Deployment in the .NET Framework. There is a new MSDN article on .NET's No-Touch Deployment: This article demonstrates an exciting new feature to simplify deploying and updating a Windows Form Smart Client using a Web Server. The Task Management sample application referenced in this paper is provided in Visual Basic .NET. (yuck) [Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]

The article pointed to above says No touch deployment works with .NET SP1 (in the absense of further info, we assume .NET 1.0), whereas this article .NET Framework 1.1 Beta Overview says that 1.0 SP1 and SP2 switched no-touch deployment off, and 1.1 will switch it back on again.

I think MS must employ a team of tribbles.

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Compatibility Considerations And Version Changes

Compatibility Considerations and Version Changes. "The following document describes changes between versions of the .NET Framework that might affect the backward or forward compatibility of your application."

And so begins the grand experiment of whether it's actually possible to version the .NET runtime and keep everything running and working. [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

<G> (interesting if the experiment fails or end user resistance to lets say 5 copies of .NET on their machine (just how big does my HD have to get) becomes a problem).

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Microsoft Consolidates Server Map Componentiza

Microsoft consolidates Server map. Componentization [The Register] ... Titanium functionality will be exposed to third parties via the XSO managed API. XSO gives developers a single, XML-based interface to write to when developing web services. This means the Exchange calendar, diary or in box could be populated with data from an outside application without using the traditional Collaborative Data Objects (CDO) route.

Traditional - not for long it ain't been. So another new set of APIs - jeesh.

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Topic maps

And heres another idea for organising information - Topic Maps.

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Representational State Transfer Found A N

Representational State Transfer. Found: A nice presentation on REST, including a comparison to SOAP. [Bitworking]

And it is highly readable, but its bead seems to fall off the wire with .. we hinted earlier at how a client application may be able to reason dynamically about which link to traverse. Thus dynamic learning of response data combined with dynamic reasoning of link traversal would yield a self-reasoning automata. (As a statement indeed it would). This is the next step of the Web!

Is it indeed. While I'll grant that there are a number of people with brains vastly huger than mine (and I used to know some of them), my problem here is with the use of the words reason and learning. IMHO, this goes to the heart of the semantic web problem; what does he mean by reason and learn - is he using them in a more 'hyped' fashion than intended, that reasoning is in fact very limited within a set of rules for the problem space (or perhaps I'm not familiar with the terminology and the meanings implicit within its use in this conext). I've seen examples of rdf where logical deductions are supposed to be made, i.e. give A is a friend of B, then B is a friend of A - is this actually true in a particular case. Or have we fallen into the modern statistics problem; its true 90% of the time, therefore it is true.

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# Monday, 07 October 2002

Web Services In ZeepenbspnbspXara3D A Demo C

Web Services in Zeepe,  Xara3D a demo calling Xara3D heading generator available on the applications page.
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# Saturday, 05 October 2002

Matt Griffith That Is The Lamest Argument I

Matt Griffith: "That is the lamest argument I've heard. And I hear it all the time. Does anyone really believe that Microsoft is going to decide that .NET is a bad idea and go back to preaching the gospel of COM? " [Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]

It may not go back to preaching COM, but given MS history it is entirely possible that they will "move forward" to the .NEXT big thing. .NET is waiting for a big client side application - otherwise there really is no point in installing it (98...2K).

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# Friday, 04 October 2002

UK To Get Sat Broadband For 16330 Fingers A

UK to get Sat broadband for £30. Fingers and toes crossed [The Register]

For those amongst the 1000 (is that ALL!) who are hobbling about without an arm/leg.

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Government

Government report finds satellite security lax. Commercial satellites may be exposing sensitive data to snooping [InfoWorld: Top News]

Another in the series of why Satellites are the real solution for rural communities.

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Web Services

... Wilkes said the future of software will be in moving away from developers building applications to building platforms that make it easy to connect services.... InfoWorld

Well there we are then, Web Services are IT. Good job I've made Zeepe a platform that makes it easyt to connect services. And when I can get the service to be reliable there'll be a sample, testing stopped 'cos the service stopped :-( 

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and Another With A Wpx Problem Httpdanbricklincomlog Case Only Or General

and another with a wpx problem: http://danbricklin.com/log/, case only or general? (this one is topped: http://danbricklin.com/log/).

Its not general, 'cos both these work - so what is it about these particular pages that is hiding top?

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ServerSide Asynchronous Web Methods A

Server-Side Asynchronous Web Methods. Matt Powell shows how to make use of asynchronous Web methods on the server side to create high performance Microsoft ASP.NET Web services. [Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]
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# Wednesday, 02 October 2002

Ahhh Having Now Followed Up This Is What Watson Is Ought To Be Doable In Zeepe

Ahhh, having now followed up, this is what Watson is. Ought to be doable in Zeepe <g> - Watson developer pages here.
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What Is A Klognbsp Its Sort Of The Description Of What Im Thinking

What is a k-log - its, sort of the description of what I'm thinking and what I want but still searching for software that does this (i.e. that does more than just let me post articles to a set of web pages organised by date)
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# Tuesday, 01 October 2002

From The TimesA Fish Called Austin Trawls New Dep

From The Times:
A fish called Austin trawls new depths
By Tom Baldwin
Austin Mitchell, the sitting member for Great Grimsby, has changed his named by deed poll in an effort to promote the struggling fishing industry, once the mainstay of his Lincolnshire constituency.

Brilliant, wonderful. The best bit is that his wife might change her name to Mrs Chips.

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The Whole Linux Uprising Is Ludicrous From A Purely Economic Standpoint Many Do Not Want To Pay For Software Now That L

The whole Linux uprising is ludicrous from a purely economic stand-point. Many do not want to pay for software now that Linux is widely available for free (or very cheap). But, in actuality, more resources go into software, whether it is man-hours or intellectual property than into your Cisco router. People cannot continue to support a cause like this, as it will destroy the software market and crater productivity. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

Its a viewpoint. What I've never got a grip on is why free software is more 'worthy', or worthwhile, than free food. But then I've probably never properly understood the philosophy.

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