Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Dum Skype Firefox plugin

Hey, this so clever, Firefox's Skype plugin, thinks that 01 01 1970 is a phone number and alters the display of HTML tables to look that a phone number. As a fix, i'll have to display, Jan, Feb etc, but really the plugin should be cleverer.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Touch Screen and Guestures for the web

Here's a technology that's already common on mobile phones and hasn't yet made it to the internet yet. Touch Screen, and Gestures, the technology has been demoed for ages, e.g. Finger Scrolling Pages. Multitouch demoed some 4 years ago. The pace of innovation on the internet seems slow by comparison now. Yes HP are already selling touch screen PCs. But a lot of this is propitiatory, they aren't yet, common standards for connecting a touchable screen, to a computer. Hint to the industry, send a x,y, pressure single down a USB cable for each place on the screen touched of released.



Windows and Linux are of course built for one mouse, with single and double click, its been like that for years. Since I've over forty and slower to learn, I'll probably to happier with the mouse plus keyboard for the rest of my obsolete little life, but that doesn't mean its a superior interface. The new generation are already happy with there touchable I phones, and would no doubt like a computer with the interface of an Ipad and the huge amount of software as the existing PC.


Why no common framework for touch screen for the PC yet. Is it all patent and litigation threats, or guest laziness?


The Web also needs an update to work this touch screens, especially with mult-touch and gestures. A touch could be mapped to a button click, but can java-script events match more than one figure on the screen a time. The interface is x and y coordinate for a single mouse event. Event libraries need be written for multi-touch and standardised first for the OS and second for the web browser. Even after that, is not obvious at what stage we decide that combined movements become a gesture. OS layers, application layer e.g. browser, and web layers, might in the worst case, all define and recognise two fingers spinning as different gestures, triggering three event at three different layers. So plenty of work for user interface designers for the next tens years or so.

Friday, 21 May 2010

The farm and data center

This is a beautiful story, on combining a farm with a data centre. The approach uses clean energy from converting agricultural waste to power the computer in the data centre.


Its also funny because the many of the websites run on these data centres are already powered by bullshit.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Tapestry and Aspect oriented Webpages

I spent two days this week, at allfiled.com, a website/company designed to help you, file all household documents, it an interesting company, for the boring tasks, that nobody whats to do, but are essential do everyone. Governments, Utility, Companies, etc, can really stick it to you, if you forget to pay, fortunately this is normally direct debit, maybe if you lazy you just throw all those bills away, or perphaps you where like my father, who had big filing cabinets, where they we all recorded.

Since I'm a programmer, I have to remark most on its software they where using for the webdesign,
most websites if they need interaction today are based on LAMP, free commonly used software for web to database work. Allfiled.com use Oracle, Java, lots of Jakarta, Javascript and a system called Tapestry you might not have heard of. And I think when you want solid website engineering that exactly the place to go.

Tapestry makes a huge difference to the programming of a website, in most websites, one page, has one programmer file on the server, and any ammount javascript code on the clients side, (that may or may not work, depending on which web browser a user has. Tapestry means that each components of a web page, maybe a border, or a form box you fill in, has its own fragment of code. This either a lots easier to change the look and fill of every single form on your website in one go, or it means for 'changing one line or text, you going to have to search for program fragments in a absolute enormous filesystem of scattered one liners. Its a completely different style of web programming, and takes a lot of getting used to.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Cloud Servers 2.

I've just been checking out a recent cloud computer provider, Elastic Host .com. While that the
configurator is simple enough, it doesn't offer you a cloud of a computers, its the other way round, you get a single computer, vitually hosting many smaller simulated computers, and at quite an expensive price, £28.80 per/month for 1GB of disk . Plus it doesn't actually scale beyond the matchine i'm currently running, 8*2.4GHz core, and 16GB RAM, there best is 20000MHz and 8GB RAM. Now I thought that cloud meant on demand access to supercomputer level machine for render that are to much for a small company to manage, or being able to update all the computers in your Internet Cafe at the same time. But Elastic are selling access to ordinary servers at high prices, the machine is divided by accounting and virtual host as usual I think. I think I'll stick to co-locating a custom built server myself, for the moment.

Its also interesting that a hosting company, uses Youtube (free hosting), to host its demo. Isn't amazing how some some services come for free, and some come very expensive.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Blank

Internet Past: Fucked Company Gone

I regularly used to check the IT industry status down
at fucked company.com, sadly this site itself died.
This happens, sometime the owner just can't afford
to operated any more, or else, decided is that his own
website was bad taste. It happens there are several
stages of a company, and many reason for success or
failure. It important to know the warning signs. There
are plenty of chat rooms for floated companies, and
sometimes you get news about them.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Turkish Yogurt

I've loved this story from the BBC today. A Greek man, Minas Karaztoglu who had is picture used without his permission on pot of Turkish Yoghurt, is suing the maker on the Yogurt for 6.9 million Euros. The companies defence, we brought the picture clip art company, in good faith. The clip art company has not put up a defence yet. Its going to need one from Yogurt makers tries to recoup the 6.9 Million it all pay, the old man, who has spirit and maybe not to many years, and I'd like to see have a equivalent to a lottery win, (even enough to pay an extra penny on Yogurt for, and people do pay for packaging, where they like it or not, that Yogurt put that reaches the shopping basket in the one that catch the eye, unless you have time to scan all the items for price, quantity (please divide) and flavor. (semi-Interestingly choices in Flavours often get there prices differences driven down to zero).
Turks and Greek of course don't get on too well in most cases, the Island of Cyprus is divided politically because of this.

There's three morals in this story.
  1. Check where your clip art comes from.
  2. Get your picture known
  3. Learn to tell a greek from turk

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Google Result: Internet Advertising

Yes, from the Google results, advertising revenues are up 27% year on year, and since half of a last year was no growth at all, we can say that Internet Advertising is growing at about 25% for the last two quarters. Those of you, who fund there website by advertising can now expect continuing growth again in the future.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Internet Advertising back for 2010?

The quickest way to see that size and growth of the Internet advertising industry, is to head over to Google Investor relations, and have a look at there ad revenues for each year or quarter. Since Google own the lions share of the internet advertising market, there figures alone are enough to gauge how well the Internet is doing. As you can see, 2009 was pretty poor year of growth, just 9%, compared with 56% growth in 2007. Well 2009 was a recession year. Can we see an improvement for 2010?, the last quarter of 2009 was looking upwards 17% growth. We'll find out the state of industry when Goggle reports in the 15th of April.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Computerized Driving

A recent new scientist article predicted that computer assisted driving in we a feature of new cars
by 2015, in such vehicles the both the cars acceleration braking and steering can be taken over by the computer at short notice to avoid accidents. It might take a bit longer for cars that completely computer controlled, but when this happens, jobs in the delivery and haulage industry are gone forever. For those with little education, driving is a steady job that will be hard to replace. I wonder if our economy could handle that many job losses. Comments please.

Cloud Servers

I don't know if you seen that latest free ubuntu operating system. Probably not if your not very technical, but what it contains is a cloud computing setup, with either enterprise or local setup. This means it can either copy the configuration of new a machine, from a network host, or be configured remotely, over the web. Personally I don't think it will be that easy. When my server broke this weak, i had a drive down to the data center to get it fixed. If you've got the wrong IP address for the host, thats it, its down. If your apache isn't set up just right, the network stays down. There is a circle of interdependence here, we need the internet to download the extra software to configure modern servers. No doubt they'll be lots of problems with cloud serving starting, until both the technicians installing servers, and programmers making the operating system, have learned all the listens about what can do wrong setting servers up.

Despite the problems, though, being with the money and the problem that needs compute power to solve, ready to need a new server (cloud or otherwise), is a very happy place to be, for a company. Here an example lets say a bioinformatics company has decided to compute (quantum ab-inito) the possible interactions between every protein in the human genome and any other protein (starting another in the genome). That is a problem which requires immense about a computer power. Once they've got the money, they need to buy in the computers. In the amazon cloud module, the company though doesn't have to own or manage a single own of these. And neither do they need to hire the technicians to build and manage the computers. So its made life a little easier.

Thats the model for cloud copmputing, and it means and end to having most companies owning there own servers and employing system administrators, servicing engineers and many other jobs.

Monday, 5 April 2010

IPad comes out

So Apples new tablet come out, i've mixed feelings on it, on the plus side its a major new platform with chance to experiment with a whole range of user interaction for touch screens, seeing what works there. But on the other hand, it take the lock down of iphone from the security want on a phone, onto a computer. Apple has the control both of what applications you can place on your iPad, and what application might can be devoloped its very much not a free in the political sense of free platform. We've yet to see weather it will be successful, and with apples marketing might, i'm sure many will be sold, the question is how large the niche will be for the apple ipad.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The effect of google payment on webpages.

The google dole post, below of course, was just an april fool day joke. In reality though between Google search delivering the readers and Google adsense delivering payment just for readership (that clicks though), Google does by now in a very algorithmic way control what content get payed for on the web. This meant the Search Engine Optimising, link droping, etc has gone all across the internet, filling up places with content as advertising, in hope of getting rich. In fact though the average blogger content isn't going to make them money. Only a top writer with enough popularity is going to make money. In fact this isn't that much of a change from the print industry. The difference is, previously the publisher had to believe in the Author, and choose to print and advertise it. On the web, it depend on how much google rank, you get. Hence the SEO games, and an industry that tries to game under google algorithm, to get its content to the top of your browser. Sometimes the SEO is payed for, and sometimes its in interconnecting web of popularity. With Facebook now the top way of passing links around, this introdes into friendships, meetings, (e.g. Blogger meet up groups, which is actually gets enough sponsership to pay for some of the nights out, the content is sadly demised by the alcohol, and i even make an arsehole of myself at one), the idea of that the spoonser gets the bloggers to write about there event. Even grass root publishing seems to monetised, by link droping. One thing that i think hasn't been undermined in the day job. The just isn't enough money in blogging for that to happen.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Google Dole

A new advertising platform has been added to Google. Google Dole as its known, will allow writing to blog just about anything, even the most personal and unpopular, andd then be given a fixed almost infinitely large amount of money, in return to there services to the internet.

Said a spokesman for google, it just wasn't worth the compute time, of counting all those page views and clicks, and after we merged with the American national bank we had a literal license to print money. We decided the fairest way was to give anyone a huge sum each. Now people don't need money any more to measure there success, life will be completely about page rank and popularity.


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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Reading the mind to type by thinking

In an interesting piece of news here researchers in the Netherlands, have produced a device, a skull cap, capable of reading brain potential in order to let users type by thought alone. It doesn't state if the head, needs to be shaved for the skull cap to work, but I'm presuming it would. These prototype would be life changing for extreme paralytics, and might also be modified to measure the motor regions instead of the decision make regions, to control prosthetic limbs.

Its research like this that will over next few year, give AI researchers a chance to see deeper inside that brain than ever before. For my the goal is not just to enhance the lives of the disabled, nor to improve normal human computer interaction. For me the goal is mind uploading. If Moore law continues to hold than by 2030 we will have home computers as powerful as the human brain is. These computer could then be trained to learn to copy the signals of the human brain, learning over time, to replicate in silicon, the human mind. Your now immortal soul would be effectively copied into the
computer.

Of course its very long we to go from measuring signal in the surface of the brain, to measuring all the signal in the brain, but it is a small step along the way. For me magnetic imaging is a way to go, using SQUIDs, superconducting quantum interference devices. The technique is known as magnetoencephalography. Year of improvement of the technical would be need in to for it to have resolution to measure single neuron's firing or at least clusters of neurons, Need to upload a human mind. It was very long road, so promise to stay healthy while your waiting.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

10 Years since the bubble burst on the first dot com boom

March the 10th 2010, was the peak of the American Stock market during the first dot come bubble, soon after billion of dollars where wiped of the world wide markets, and many companies sent bankrupt as the world realised that .com, did't automatically mean rich. The failout led to long global recession, that was deepened by the 9/11 bombing a year and half later. Programming stop being a top job, and hasn't returned being, caused by outsourcing.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

3G Mobile Broadband Experiences

Being temporally hospitalized I've had the chance to see how it is to run an internet company entirely via my Laptop and Mobile Broadband. My bother gifted me with a T-mobile USB Stick, and that was enough to get me a Windows connections. Once I upgraded my Linux to Ubuntu 9.10 Jaunty Jackalope, the USB stick give me mobile broadband straight away, with the configuration tools in the menu. Of course it didn't run fine. Every-time I left the Internet alone for more than 5 minutes, the connection would drop and wouldn't come back, until I rebooted. Linux and Windows both behaved like that so it must be a problem with the USB stick.

T-Mobile came which a download policy that blocks out all adult material, and somehow classes Blogspot and You-tube as adult. The on-line prove you age by credit card page, didn't understand my USB sticks phone number, but a quick phone call to there support center, got me registered, and the content block removed. So far so fine. Of course my Vista partition decided to lose its System Event Notification Services, (somewhere near svchost.exe), and my Linux doesn't like my SiS onboard graphic card, several afternoons, editing xorg.conf, didn't fix it, so i'm working and browsing at 800 by 600 on Linux, and not at all on Windows. None of those problems are T-mobiles, it just part of the hassle of having a laptop.

T-Mobile has a 2GB per month, mobile broad band limit. Now some of you light
weight users, might think that enough. We all know that shared movies and porn downloads will fill that quick, but I wasn't trying any of those. In fact one download of a Windows Vista services pack, and a few Linux Updates, was enough to push me over that limit. Once over that limit you can't download anything between the pick hours of 4pm to midnight. But you can still browser the Internet. Topping up the broadband, can be done via a matching card, or over the phone and Internet, you'll probably find it expense and possibly even outside you budget. But when you stuck in Hospital, there really isn't a better way.

I'd say the mobile broadband with a laptop, reminds me a lot of my old modem days, you know its going to get good soon, but at the moment it full of snacks and traps. Roll on the next generation of mobile broadband. And Some Linux guru please fix up SiS 671 support, in Ubuntu. SiS may be a forgotten player in graphics land, but its still built in to many old laptops. Ubuntu even has xserver-xorg-video-sis in it, so it might just be my models that's missing.
To summaries mobile board band works we'll enough, if only the stick would correctly redial without losing dhcp or whatever, and have a large bandwidth limit, i'd be very happy with it.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The 2010's the decade the book changed

Idea of the Book, was perhaps the greatest development in mankind's history, it change the passing of knowledge from word of month, family by family to something that could remain permanent though history. The invention of the book, created the peoples of the book, ruled by religion and culture wide believes. The early book where used by the Babylonians and Egyptians, writing on early paper and stone. Old books became permanent believes as evidenced by the middle aged Christians, believing Aristotle works, without bothering to check.

The first major changing to the book, was the invention of the the printing press suddenly knowledge was cheaply distributable, even the poor could own a copy of the bible, and then any book, that would be popular enough to make a profit from publishing. The second major change to the book, is about to happen now, already Internet publishing is a major industry, weather as websites, or as blogs. But the book is only just making it to the internet.

Almost everyone knows the players of the internet book revolution, already, Amazon has been selling books by mail order since the late 90's. And Google has been bizzy indexing every book (especially the copyright free out of print books), since 2003. Publishers are beginning to fear for there profits. On the internet information is available freely. Where comes the money from publishing a book. Publishers have begun suing Google over its indexing plan. But perhaps publishers have more to fear from Amazon. Amazon has make the jump from selling paper books, to electronic tombs, readable only on Amazon propitiatory Kindle tablet. Despite being one usage, black and white, with worse contrast than paper, Kindle is a small success, and where success is seen, others are sure to follow.

The future of book, might go two different ways, or somewhere between. First the internet might become a free library giving every book away for free to anyone with internet access. Publishers would hate this, and they would have change they're business model to gain money by advertising, perhaps even product placing, inside stories, like sometimes happens in Hollywood. The other way the internet book might develop is with regulated digital rights management, DRM, for each copy of the book, paid for and read on propitiatory tablets. This would be far worse, for book owners, who tied to particular equipment, can no longer swap or sell books second hand. Likely a bit of both will development, and governments will be arguing about book ownership and copyright for a long time to come. Here are some of the threads about book lawsuits that are already happening.

Perhaps though, the internet will take the book even further the we can currently imagine, when I read a book, and become evolved in it, I begin creating an imaginary world inside my own brain, that matches the story or the knowledge the author is imparting. Unlike a web-page with its may links, book is a tome of knowledge that tries to be complete in itself. With each book, comes an imaginary world, that might become a movie, a play, or a computer game. This means that along with a book, a certainly amount of artificial intelligence should come. Paper books, just have indices and contents', and Internet book, might come with its own virtual world, automatic illustration. Books might be playable, (like Warlock of Firetop Mountain), with multiple endings. I believe that adding AI to the humble book, will be an even more transformative change to human knowledge than the petty arguments, about ownership and money. The decade of two thousand and teens may be the decade of the book wars. But the decade of the two thousand and twenties might well be the decade of the AI book.