Blog Reader done in Flex

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-04-07 06:29

Again, Laszlo was there first! But this is cool nonetheless.

From Dylan Greene dot com - Blog Reader done in Flex:

QUOTE

Thanks to Foo for find this simple Blog Reader created using Flex.

Flex is Macromedia's XML-based UI API, which I talk more about here.

This is the first almost-real-world Flex example I've seen. I've played with XAML a small bit, but haven't seen any real-world examples like this.

What I want to see now: A MXML (Flex) to XAML (Avalon) translator done in XSL.

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Bloghorn: A Blog Reader Built in XAML in a Lazlo stylee

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-04-07 06:27

Look ma, no procedural code! Laszlo was there first but it's good to have competition in this area.

From joemarini.com .::. Tutorials:

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The next version of the Microsoft Windows® operating system, code named "Longhorn", contains an exciting new technology called XAML, which is an acronym for the "eXtensible Application Markup Language". XAML (pronounced zam-el) allows you to specify the user interface portion of your Windows® applications using markup to represent the usual items in an application, such as controls, text, hyperlinks, images, etc. XAML itself is built on top of a technology named Avalon, which brings a compositing, vector-based rendering engine to the Windows desktop.

The implications of this are pretty profound. This type of approach makes it much easier to separate the business logic of an application from the user interface right from the beginning. It also provides a much more modular method for building applications, allowing, for example, a designer to work on the UI portion of an application while a developer creates the back-end code. That is, of course, assuming that the application even has any back-end code — there's a lot you can do in pure XAML without having to write any logic in a code-behind file. You can connect to data sources such as Web Services and XML feeds, tie UI elements directly to the data, and have them respond automatically to changes in the data and the selected element in a control.

In this example, I'm going to build a XAML-based blog reader that does exactly that, with no coding required other than the markup to create the user interface. MSDN subscribers who have Longhorn installed on their machines can download the code for this article and try it out. Here's what the application, which I've named Bloghorn, looks like when it is running under Longhorn:

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Exefen - Automagically create XFN files from HTML pages

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-04-07 06:21

Useful but even better if this was built into my blogging system.

From Photo Matt » Tools » Exefen:
"Exefen is tool for easily adding XFN values to hand-rolled links. If you're using a system like WordPress to manage your links, adding rel values is a matter of a few clicks, and this tool brings that ease of use to any page on the world wide web. It parses a given page, returns all the external links, and lets you choose XFN values for each. When you submit it then returns the original markup enhanced with XFN for the links you specified."

Core versus Context - Core creates value that competitors can't replicate

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-04-06 18:38

From :: Under the Buzz - "April 2004 - Vol 5, Number 1 - The Unattainable Real-Time Enterprise (by Geoffrey Moore) (PDF):

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My analysis in a nutshell is that core activities are those that increase the sustainable competitive advantage of a company. Core activities create value for customers in a way that is hard forcompetitors to replicate, and by doing so increase the market power of the company. Investors notice this, and reward the company with a higher stock price.

Of course in today's market, core doesn't stay core for very long as competitors copy successful companies. At one point a web site to distribute marketing information was a core activity. Now it is a context activity, something that is required by the market that does not differentiate. Political factors also drive context to encroach on core. Everyone wants to feel important, meaning to feel like core, even though their activities might more reasonably be considered context. In most organizations, context activities compete for resources with core, and when they win, the company loses.

My recommendation is that companies never lose site of the distinction between core and context as they do business. Invest as much as possible in core activities. Seek to reduce costs and outsource context activities. If you have to cut spending in downturn, don't do it across the board, cutting core and context by equal measures. Instead, seek to actually increase your investment in core while making even more drastic cuts in context to achieve the total cost-reduction goal.

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Near-Time: Flow

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-04-06 17:31

Totally grok the vision. Let's hope the implementation lives up to the hype! Can't wait to try this!

From Near-Time:Products:

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Near-Time is proud to introduce Near-Time Flow™, the first peer to peer collaborative content manager for Mac OSX Panther. Near-Time Flow enables individuals and groups to collaborate via the web with unprecedented power and ease. With web familiar interfaces and standards based services, Flow extends the Internet. Whether your interest is professional or social computing, or both, we invite you to experience Flow.

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Why Google Will Probably Win over Hotmail

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-04-06 13:40

Way too early to call this race! But an interesting article about Gmail vs. Hotmail.

From Gmail:The Tao of Mac - blog/2004-04-02:

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It's getting late (and it was a very exausting week to be doing guesstimates about a webmail service at 1AM), so I'll make this one a shortlist:

It will be as great as using Zoë.

You can compress the messages - especially if you index them for searching, as Google aims to do.

They will not try to stick it to a particular operating system or browser (even though it currently doesn't work with Safari).

They will actually earn money with the ads (more on that another day).

They will probably do it better.

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Google is a single, very large custom computer

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-04-06 12:41

Fascinating!

From Topix.net Weblog: The Secret Source of Google's Power:

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Competitive Advantage

Google is a company that has built a single very large, custom computer. It's running their own cluster operating system. They make their big computer even bigger and faster each month, while lowering the cost of CPU cycles. It's looking more like a general purpose platform than a cluster optimized for a single application.

While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.

This computer is running the world's top search engine, a social networking service, a shopping price comparison engine, a new email service, and a local search/yellow pages engine. What will they do next with the world's biggest computer and most advanced operating system?

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Newspapers must use non traditional sources like blogs if they are to survive

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-04-05 20:33

Amen! Must read!

From OJR article: What Newspapers and Their Web Sites Must Do to Survive:

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This also means that newspaper companies should even acquire distribution rights to stories and information from reputable sources that might not traditionally have been parts of newspapers -- such as trade journals, newsletters, magazines, blogs, other Web sites, etc. The communications, indexing (notably XML), and billing technologies already exist to do this.

Jim Chisholm, senior strategy advisor to the World Association of Newspapers, told me that editors must understand that consumers' definition of news is changing. "The issue is what they are consuming. It is not necessarily in the form that we think of as content. We need to think a lot harder about what constitutes news.

"News needs to be more attuned to readers' personal priorities and this means journalists moving from 'wide audience, low relevance' stories (i.e., small earthquake reported in Peru) to 'low audience, high relevance' stories. A news event that most journalists might regard as trivia may be life-changing for 10 people. We must learn to serve the groups of 10, or even media markets of one." (In this month's Newspapers & Technology, Chisholm expands on the concept of a new type of news.)

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Laszlo is independent of Flash and can do more than Flash since it is based on XML

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-04-04 21:40

Awesome new blog from Laszlo's CTO (via Ted Leung)! I want more rich internet applications built using Laszlo!

From Laszlo is XML technology, not Flash technology:

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Again, Laszlo is about XML, not about Flash. But wait, you say, Laszlo applications run in the Flash player. So how can that be true? And why is that meaningful or relevant?

First, Laszlo's platform and APIs are abstracted from the client APIs. In contrast, Macromedia's MXML includes ActionScript and relies on UI components built in Flash MX -- it's tightly bound to the Flash player and authoring tool. Or consider Microsoft's upcoming XAML, which is tightly bound to Microsoft's Avalon/WinFX client framework.

Laszlo's XML language and framework is self-contained (no need to use ActionScript APIs, Flash MX, C#, "code behind," or any other external language) and designed expressly for development of rich interactivity. Even Laszlo's own UI components are defined in LZX; there's no notion of "intrinsic" widgets or an escape hatch such as embedded Flash-authored components. For Laszlo, the SWF format is simply a compiler output format. An analogy is C++ -- a developer writes in C++ and the compiler targets a given CPU, whether it's Intel, PowerPC, or SPARC. Here, a developer writes in LZX, and the compiler outputs SWF bytecode.

(As an aside: Flash developers sometimes assume that Laszlo, since it targets Flash 5, cannot offer capabilities beyond the Flash 5 authoring tool. This is not the case; as an obvious example, Laszlo's language offers capabilities well in advance of Flash 5 -- e.g, a formal class/object model. But that's a topic for another day.)

Over time, Laszlo wants to make LZX a universal, runtime-independent, rich Internet language. Imagine writing a single Laszlo application and using Laszlo Presentation Server to deliver this application into Macromedia (Flash), Microsoft (Longhorn/Avalon), and Java/J2ME runtimes. This is the architecture we've built for from day one, and we have designed the system so that compatibility will be preserved as the Laszlo compiler targets other runtime environments.

Take a close look at LZX and you'll see that with its view hierarchy, constraints, XPath-based data binding system, and animators, it delivers unprecedented expressive capability for rich, data-driven UIs. With a clean language designed from the ground up for the purpose of delivering RIAs with highly customized behaviors, this is possible.

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Steve Gillmor - Why Microsoft needs RSS

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2004-03-26 13:46

Steve nails it! RSSify your org or die!

Memo to Steve Ballmer:

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Perhaps it's just as a friend of mine suggested: RSS is not a high-priority item in the queue, dwarfed by the challenges of security, open source, digital rights management and the Longhorn evolution. These issues are rightly top-of-mind, but that doesn't mean RSS shouldn't be up there too.

First, RSS offers a powerful evangelism tool for your security efforts. For example, distributing Windows update information via RSS would let you annotate hot fixes and updates with timely information and tutorials about the reasons why the update should be accepted. Delivering the updates as RSS enclosures might mitigate the concerns of people who are concerned about unauthorized changes to their configurations.

Another opportunity presents itself in the instant messaging space, where important collaborative information is often lost to the ad hoc IM bit bucket. Instead, IM data could be pipelined into an RSS feed for archiving, auditing and indexing. RSS enclosures could speed the adoption of audio and video messages, as well as provide a persistent transport and collaborative synchronization for Tablet ink, OneNote meeting recordings, music and photo sharing.

But the biggest Microsoft opportunity is in the authoring space, where you could perform the same powerful ratifying effect you first rendered with SOAP. What if you were to authorize a freely redistributable runtime version of InfoPath that produced XHTML-ready RSS content? The tool would empower users to drag and drop RSS objects into the container, annotate and format them, then post them via an IETF-standardized API mechanism that you would participate in producing.

Not only would such a tool promote substantial adoption of well-formed XHTML, but it would also promote the use of RSS as an event mechanism in workflow apps and even calendaring and scheduling. RSS enclosures would be a convenient addition to InfoPath forms' e-mail distribution methodology to boot.

If InfoPath can't be opened in this manner, there's another prime candidate for RSS authoring: OneNote. As the strategic core (at least for me) of the Tablet platform, OneNote promises a terrific environment for rich text/ink/audio/video micro-content creation, management and routing. With an XML API waiting to be switched on for its second release, now would be the time to act to gain significant market share in the developer community where RSS is already well-seeded.

Steve, thanks for listening. RSS may appear to be just a niche technology, a hippie miracle cure for everything from information overload to e-mail dysfunction. But I'd like to see the data on relapsing from RSS. Once you kick the browser, it's very hard to go back to the old way of doing things. I look forward to hearing from you, perhaps via your own RSS feed. That's one channel I look forward to subscribing to.

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Scoble is rewriting the rules of a whole new form of Public Relations through his blog

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2004-03-26 00:21

Terry Heaton nails it again. Must read! It's not about control and the message. It's about having a conversation in real time without hierarchical filters or delays. That's what bloggers do!

From TV News in a Postmodern World, Part XXI:

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If markets really are conversations, as Cluetrain asserts, then the work of Robert Scoble is writing the rules of a whole new form of PR. From his office at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, Scoble talks with consumers, writers, critics, suppliers, customers and competitors in a way that is decidedly Postmodern. His blog, Scobleizer, is a unique blend of the person and the company. Scoble works for Microsoft and writes about Microsoft, but he does so as part of a conversation, not as from the mountaintop. He doesn't work for the PR department, although he's quoted more than anybody with a PR badge.

"People don't trust corporations," he says. "They trust individuals." And they trust Scoble, because he has a three year history as a blogger, even as one who used to attack Microsoft. That gives him what he calls "street creds" that traditional PR people would never have. That he is still free to take his employer to task (and he has) is a central factor in maintaining that trust.

"I don't speak for microsoft officially," he says. "I try to give the insiders opinion of what's going on, which is often useful, but I let the executives do the product announcements, etc. I'll watch what's being said and comment about them later on."

Affable and friendly, Scoble is more like a neighbor than a corporate flack, and that's why he's been so effective at inserting Microsoft into a host of technical community conversations. "Have you noticed that the shrillness is gone from the community?" he asks concerning the views of former Microsoft critics. "They were like this, because they didn't think they were being listened to." Scoble listens and writes and links, and he has opened a welcomed doorway to a formerly impenetrable fortress.

His "Corporate Weblog Manifesto" is must reading for anybody in the public relations industry. Tell the truth. Post fast on good news or bad. Use a human voice. Talk to the grassroots first. If you screw up, acknowledge it. Never lie. Never hide information. Be the authority on your product/company. These, and more, are the lifeblood of the new public relations.

Scoble says posting fast is one of the most critical things in today's environment. By the time most corporate PR departments have prepared the "official response" to an event, most news organizations have long since made up their minds and are only looking for a quote. News moves at Internet speed these days, even (and often especially) overnight. If he can post comments early in this process, the chances are much better that they will be considered as the story develops, rather than the story taking off based on the reporter's own knowledge or bias.

One of the refreshing things about Scoble and his manifesto is the lack of rules, guidelines or orders under which he must work. "There are no official restrictions," he says, but he is quick to point out that he knows what he can and can't do, much of which is basic common sense. His gut is his governor, not some codified set of instructions from on high. This, of course, terrifies traditional PR types, who live and work in a tightly controlled environment.

But control is exactly what's under assault in today's Postmodern world. The Lippmann/Bernays issue of who gets to decide what is and isn't news was never supposed to include the readers and listeners and viewers. That's the paradigm shift. People have increasing control over their own lives, including the information that influences their beliefs and opinions.

We have to adapt to them, for a change, and that's great.

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Jim Roepcke loves Shrook 2

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2004-03-26 00:12

OK, I really am going to have to try Shrook now. Jim and Cory Doctorow are enough triangulation for me!

Jim Roepcke's weblog: Shrook 2: NetNewsWire has company:

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I installed Shrook 2 today. I had low expectations, and I'll admit the only reason they were low was because the web site was rather unprofessional looking.

Even if the site had been a thing of beauty, this app immensely EXCEEDED my wildest expectations! Shrook 2 is truly awesome software. It has a number of features that are truly incredible, like Distributed Checking (which means you get updates way faster without added bandwidth burden on the RSS feed servers), Smart Groups, the ability to flag (mark) items, and the ability to view the web page the item points to right in the app (it uses WebKit).

Oh, and you can have multiple Shrooks have synchronized subscription lists and read-status of items. That alone is a killer feature. At the bottom of the File menu is an "Import from NetNewsWire..." command. It worked perfectly and seemed to do its job instantaneously on my PowerBook G3 500.

I love NNW as well, but Shrook 2 meets my needs better.

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Microsoft smoking gun from Minnesota trial

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-03-25 22:46

Read the whole thing. Looks like a dam*ing indictment to me. Of course that's in the past. I hope Microsoft has changed for the better in 2004!

From A wary eye on Go:

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In a Minnesota civil antitrust trial, Microsoft is accused of eliminating competitors so it could overcharge consumers for software. The evidence includes these internal documents in which Microsoft reacts to the perceived threat from Go Corp.

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Phil Agre- How to help someone use a computer

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-03-25 20:55

Excellent advice from Phil who I have been reading for over 10 years! (via Puzzlepieces) How to help someone use a computer:

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Computer people are fine human beings, but they do a lot of harm in the ways they "help" other people with their computer problems. Now that we're trying to get everyone online, I thought it might be helpful to write down everything I've been taught about helping people use computers.

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Panic's next cool app

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-03-25 16:57

Great teaser! I am definitely intrigued.

From MacDevCenter.com: Dev to Dev: James Duncan Davidson Interviews Panic [Mar. 23, 2004]:

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I got a sneak peek at the next little app that Panic will be releasing. I won't give away any details, but it's something that I really, really want for my Mac. And you very well might want it too. Stay tuned to the Panic web site.

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Dijkstra - it's a superstition that programming is so easy that even a Republican can do it!

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-03-25 15:16

Ha! Laugh out loud as they say! Programming well like doing anything well is hard and anybody, even Republicans can learn to program (just like I painfully taught myself how to assemble Ikea furniture :-) !). But not everybody can put together and design great software just like not everybody can write design great furniture.

So anybody who thinks all programmers are just equal units that can be shuffled around and tries to manage programmers that way is doomed to failure or worse mediocrity.

From Dijkstra paper in his own handwriting: Why American Computing Science Seems Incurable":

QUOTE

In the essay, Dijkstra argues that the pressures that the high-tech industry is adversely affecting academic research. He says that industry pressure is causing the definition of being a good programmer to change from someone who is "able to design more effective and trustworthy programs" and who knows "how to do it efficiently" to somewho who thinks of "'industrial acceptance' as quality criterion" and writes programs such that "its main feature [is] that one could apply it unthinkingly." Programming, he says is becoming less a branch of applied math and more a branch of keeping the high-tech industry afloat, a problem aggravated by "a total lack of faith in [America's] educational system and a deep-rooted mistrust of intellectuals."

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Pydoc - online docs of all the Python modules installed in your system

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 17:20

Python is awesome and so is Pydoc
From Simon Willison: Pydoc:

QUOTE

Pydoc is awesome; I don't know how I missed it for so long. Simply type the following at the command line:

pydoc -p 8888

Then point a browser at http://localhost:8888/ to browse interactive documentation for every Python module available on your system. This includes moduldes installed in your site-packages directory. If you keep code you've written yourself in site-packages you'll be able to browse the documentation for that too. If you're even remotely consistent about writing docstrings you'll be amazed at how useful the resulting documentation is. I can't believe I only just discovered this!

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Vonage working on Mac but it's a kludge

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 17:17

Great news. Eventually we will have a fully compatible softphone!

From bestkungfu weblog:

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I've been waiting with bated breath for a voice-over-IP phone on my PowerBook. I have a Vonage account with a Cisco terminal adapter, which works great when I'm at home, but is a little bulky to carry around with me. So I signed up for a "softphone" with Vonage, a second account that works with a connected PC. Unfortunately, for the first couple of months, I could only get it to work on Windows.

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Feedster Alerts aka RSS for the rest of us

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 16:36

Awesome Feedster stuff is now available in both RSS and email! Go Feedster Go!

Now if only somebody would fund them so they could do the equivalent of Google Alerts for both the RSS generating websites and the non RSS generating sites, that would be great. I am sick and tired of my Google Alert emails clogging up my inbox and the fact that Google doesn't support RSS.

It's great that Feedster is providing email alerts for those still not using an RSS reader but in terms of knowledge flow, I know it would be impossible to keep up with all my knowledge sources without my RSS reader. Having RSS as email simply wouldn't work!

From Feedster Alerts:

QUOTE

"But Scott I Have an Aggregator..."

This is definitely a paradoxical feature.  Feedster News Alerts deliver an alert to you via email that something matching your query has been found.  Yes I know -- you have an aggregator and you don't want email.  I know.  I know.

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