# Monday, 31 January 2005

The browser definitely isn't dead

The Outlook Web Access team is looking for web developers.  

Web-based mail is hot.  Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook Web Access...  OWA uses a wide variety of technologies.  Candidates must have experience with C#, C++, JavaScript, DHTML, XML and ActiveX. Right now we are looking for both full-time and contract team members ... [via Microsoft WebBlogs]

Now you would have thought that the next generation they were working on would be .NET WinForms. And the MS AntiSpyware is written in VB6 - are MS actually going to use .NET client side for anything 'serious'?

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# Tuesday, 25 January 2005

The Scotsman blasts the scotsman

UK debt blasts a hole in Brown's public finances.  THE level of the UK's public-sector borrowing has outstripped Chancellor Gordon Brown's target for the whole of the current financial year - four months ahead of schedule. [via Scotsman.com Business - Economy]

What worries me is arriving at a tipping point. To date, economists seem happy that 'trend' growth in GDP is being maintained by growth in government spending. But, what happens when they decide the figures have gone too far pear shaped - which set of figures are they going to want fixed? It seems to me that fixing one set will break another and things, in the view of the economists, could quickly spiral out of control and so the experiment in just how much economic theory (or the practitioners of it) is a maleable thing susceptible to 'cocktail offensives' will be over.

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# Thursday, 20 January 2005

Politics - yawn

Labour and the Liberal Democrats say the party's sums do not add up and claim it would cut frontline services.  [via BBC NEWS | Politics | Howard dismisses Tory tax fears]

Yawn, yawn - everybody says everybody else's sums do not add up - thereby observing that none of them add up and which is what we observe in reality.

Ho hum, then mix in that it seems to be the view of the current establishment that whatever a Prime Minister has done the only way he can be removed is at an election - enquiries must not reach a conclusion that might force the person to resign. Apparently this is democracy (since Magna Carta!). So, somehow, the great British public has got to come up with a way to vote that gives them the Government they want and yet get rid of the man they loathe (at this point the establishment looks smug and think themselves very clever). Perhaps if no one were to vote ... might wake 'em up.

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The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

This thing appeared after the recent Windows Update - an EULA appeared that I duely accepted (without reading of course, these things are dull. It just registered as ahhh, this sounds good) and then ... nothing. No explanation, no dialogs, nothing in Control Panel Add/Remove programs, nothing in Program files, not listed as an update. Where did it go I wondered, how am I supposed to use it?

It didn't go anywhere and you don't use it is the answer, as described in this Microsoft Knowledge base article. An even quicker summary, look in %windir%\debu\mrt.log to see when it last ran and what it found (if anything).

I think if they do this sort of thing again there should be more than a simple EULA, perhaps there was, but it should be clearer as to what is going on.

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Bad day at the office

So yesterday started with writing a post to this here web log and it failed - dasBlog had got its dates messed up again properly. While trying to switch off the system so that the files could be fixed I saw a new version announced (sorry, link lost, but it is on SourceForge now) - sounded like it would solve the intermittent problems I have been having so off we go...... Hours, if not a day later here we are runing dasBlog 1.7, along the way my ISP banned me (twice) while trying to upload the new code and I managed to build a version of Zeepe that installs the framework via a merge module and in the final build process Wix suddenly stopped linking with the merge module. Reboot the machine didn't sort it, power down last night and restart this morning did. I don't like this at all - why would something run from a command prompt in such a intermittent fashion - don't like it at all. This morning's problem was I couldn't connect to the internet at all - computers, who needs the darn things?

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# Tuesday, 18 January 2005

What's in a name (for DHTML)

There is dissastisfaction with the moniker DHTML:

DHTML is dead.  Jeremy Keith declares: DHTML is dead. In case you missed my rant about the term DHTML last week, I agree:... So, I’m going to avoid the term in the future and use one of the more logical ones: JavaScript or DOM scripting. [via The JavaScript Weblog]

It is a term I have used, though really only because it seemed to be a term in use, I've never been that happy with it since one is being 'dynamic' with more than just HTML and what does 'dynamic' mean anyway, what is C++ programming (or C or assembler); 'Dynamic Memory'?

DOM Scripting is perhaps more accurate but heck, it ain't half dull. Javascript is too limiting because in something like IE/Zeepe you are not limited to Javascript but any ActiveScripting lanaguage available on your machine.

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# Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Microsoft read my e-mail (just kidding, no they don't - do they?)

MSN Search supports RSS. This is very cool, and it's a differentiator for their search service because Google doesn't do it, nor does Yahoo, Jeeves, etc. It's also nice because they listened to us at the design review meeting late last year in Redmond. It was nearly unanimous among the bloggers that RSS support should be part of the search engine, both on the sending and receiving sides. Now one half has been taken care of. I'm sure this feature will gain wide use among bloggers. Very good. [via Scripting News]

Back last year I wrote this:

I had an idea - search results as rss feeds. I know that services like technorati do this but I wasn't aware that you could do it with things like Google and to my amazement there does seem to be little in this space. I found GoogleAlerts (www.googlealerts.com), who are not affiliated to Google and Google Web/News alerts (e.g. http://www.google.com/webalerts, but they don't do rss) there also seems to be a way to do it on yahoo but not particularly public. Obviously one might fear that all Google have to do is add rss to their service and bam you're stuffed but Google seem to be spraying stuff around and keeping them in beta for ages - not clear what their strategy is. It is interesting that Googlealerts are using the Google api and Google have given them an 'unlimited' use key. There is always space for competitors with a better variation on service.

I then went on to say:

Plain search results as rss is not that interesting - its what you can do on top of this that becomes more interesting, for example bayesian analysis of 'this result is interesting' to come up with more stuff that is intersting, aggregated ratings of results to come up with more stuff that is interesting (this is the sort of area I was into with my Profundis search thing from years ago). Googlealerts does some of this stuff but I think there is room for more innovation.

While there doesn't seem to be much innovation yet I suspect that search is going to move beyond the type text in input box, wade through 4,260,000 results (.33 seconds) we have all got to know and love. Google et al are good, but it is still too much work when you are looking for more than an 'I'm feeling lucky' result. Aggregators are going to become more than just the display of RSS feeds.

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# Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Mobile phones

Mobile phone risk to kids.  Time to put on those tin foil hats again [via The Register]

Absolutely. Though the power output is, as I understand it, less these days but it used to be the specification/advice that the arial (20 years ago in the days of car phones) went on the middle of the roof - as far away from every occupant's head as it was possible to get. 

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# Monday, 10 January 2005

vast cognitive wasteland

I just really liked the phrase - and could be a description of one's life; or middle age! Ooh, ooh, another (not so nice, but heck) idea - a description of Scoble's blog [now he's 40]. (now will his technorati etc searches find this I wonder).

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# Thursday, 06 January 2005

Picking a fight

BBC defends decision to air profane Springer show.  LONDON (Reuters) - The BBC has defended its decision to air "Jerry Springer-The Opera" uncut, despite outrage over a libretto peppered with more than 3,000 swear words. [via Reuters: Top News]

Personally, I don't care but this is another example of the internal confusion at the BBC as to just what each of its myriad channels (there are more than you might think) is for/about. It is/was thought that in the era of the EPG, channels must have a distinct genre orientated identity - so why isn't this program going out on BBC 4 (I say this because they describe the show as a serious work, isn't that how BBC 4 is marketed, for serious work)? Or, even more worrying for the Beeb, has the show already been out on BBC 4 where it didn't get noticed and the fuss is only about BBC 2 transmission? If so, then what is BBC 4 for? An alternative analysis, which isn't much cop either, is that they knew that if they put it out on BBC 4 it wouldn't get noticed but on BBC 2 it will; they are picking a fight for marketting purposes.


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Scary, but interesting

Thinstall's virtual machine technology allows developers to package entire applications into a single file that can be run without an installation process. [via Introduction]

Some of the diagrams of what it is doing look really scary but if it works in a required scenario an interesting solution for neatly packaging up stuff and getting it on users desktops.

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Not much Longhorn

In terms of our agility to do things on the browser, people who underestimated us there in the past lived to regret that.  [via Gates taking a seat in your den | Newsmakers | CNET News.com]

I've not seen an interview with Mr Gates for a while, this one is quite interesting. As I predicted, lots of stuff about media and the scrap going on there and interesting for the only mention of Longhorn is in the context of desktop search. I reckon there is something going on in OS configurations that we don't yet know about.

Note also 'We need to innovate in IE, do more add-ons, do improvements. We have some very exciting plans there. '; so, there might be some information to look forward to.

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# Wednesday, 05 January 2005

Move from newsgroup?

WebHosting4Life Now With CommunityServer Support. ... While browsing thru the content I noticed that they will now install CommunityServer for you, for no charge.  ... WebHosting4Life and CommunityServer is the way to go. [via DonXML Demsak's Grok This]

We run a newsgroup for supporting the MeadCo products; ScriptX et al (server news.meadroid.com) - maybe time to move off of that technology and on to the 'new'?

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# Tuesday, 04 January 2005

Something goin' on in media land?

A MIAMI teenager is basking in the glory of helping to create a new internet browser at 17 that is now challenging the grip of Microsoft, which once held a virtual monopoly on web surfing. [via ActiveWin.com - Is this internet prodigy about to knock Microsoft off its pedestal?]

Or so says The Times Online. Perhaps it is a slim time of year for news but a browser with a very low market share hardly seems to merit a full page article and leader item. The lad hardly seems to merit the praise heaped upon him either, as he says himself, he's only one of a team and left before the project was/is finished.

What is more interesting is the articles are heavy handed at bashing Microsoft. The Times is part owned by the Murdoch empire that also has a stake in BSkyB (Sky) who put out a story at the weekend that they had patents on PVR technology for automatically removing adverts. Media land are rattling sabres at each other.

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Gráinne Ní Mháille

According to a newspaper (I have a feeling it was the, ahem, Daily Mail) recently, Grace O'Malley is 'recommended' as an alternative to Florence Nightingale for the KS2 History Curriculum.

Bizarrely, the "Irish Sea Queen" is another of my relatives by marriage. For those already miffed and think that I am well connected be comforted that the relationship is distant. Personally, I find it funny to have a pirate as a relative, however distant. Best I can do on the close relative side is a grandfather who has a street named after him.

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