Windows PP 2005

eWeeks has a good coverage on XP Reloaded.  According to the articles, Longhorn is going to be delayed even longer and Microsoft is thinking about an interim release.  I think it makes sense although I think it should be called Windows PP, a quick relief.  That would make Longhorn #2 in the restroom metaphor.

What features should Windows PP have?  Here is my list:

  1. News reader fully integrated with Outlook, IM and WMP.
  2. Blogging support inside IE and Office.
  3. Built-in open P2P client.
  4. .NET 2.0

That's it.

Windows PP Take A Leak at a Store Near You!

What do we get with PUT/DELETE?

I asked this question in response to proponents of HTTP PUT and DELETE verbs disputing the points made by Russell Beattie in his Hypocrisy: RDF and the Atom API post.

So exactly what do we get in return for doing all this? Using PUT/DELETE is designing for the future? All that does is replace four characters ('POST') at the head of a HTTP request with other characters ('PUT' or 'DELETE') which could have just as well been within the payload or headers.

What tangible rewards do we get for:

1. abandoning support for millions of J2ME cellphones already out there.

2. forcing us to wait until there are enough Atom-capable J2ME phones out there

3. require everyone to support both REST and SOAP?

What do we get in return?

A sensible question, I thought.  I was hoping that my question would help them see the issue more clearly.  No such luck.  Ken MacLeod answered on the atom-syntax mailing list:

Off the top of my head, we get:

* more software that uses standards-level features in ways they are
   supposed to be used

* bug reports against tools and libraries that aren't implementing

* network effect with other tools, libraries, applications and
   standards that already use these features in the same way

* raising people's awareness to the fact that an X/HTML editor
   "saving" its content via PUT, as _many_ do, is just as good as
   PUTting an Atom entry

* protocol compatibility (PUT/DELETE => FTP's STOR/DELE)

* an obvious pattern for application-specific extension

* API extensions with at least one less dimension of lock-in

As I suspected, I am fighting up-hill against gnomes on Mount Nevermind.  In case you are not a fan of Dragonlance, Mount Nevermind is:

A Great, Huge, Tall Mound Made of Several Different Strata of Rock of Which We Have Identified Granite, Obsidian, Quartz With Traces of Other Rock We Are Still Working On, That Has Its Own Internal Heating System Which We Are Studying In Order to Copy Some Day That Heats Up the Rock to Temperatures That Convert It Into Both Liquid and Gaseous States Which Occasionally Come to the Surface and Flow Down the Side of the Great, Huge Tall Mound…

Sorry, Ken.  I know you are a smart guy but I think you are being oblivious to common sense on this issue.

Wise fragger Tim Bray lobbed his wisdom into the fray:

In your list, I do not observe any entries that amount to "this will make it easier to implement" or "this will enable features that would not otherwise be possible." Thus you are missing the two most powerful engineering arguments are are facing an up-hill struggle. In fact, it is observable that insisting on PUT & DELETE in fact adds to the difficulty of implementation in some contexts; which seems fatal to me when the arguments in favor are so philosophical.

To which Sam Ruby replied:

Do the words of somebody who has actually implemented this count for anything?

Ben Trott has implemented both too, would it help if he were to weigh in:"

Sam, words of implementors are good but Ben's experience is limited to the server-side.  Their words and words of others such as J2ME client developers should be used as weights on a balance and not as shields to protect wrong decisions with.  Besides, taking Ben's word of the issue is like using a yogi's word to design a bed.

BTW, I have just joined the atom-syntax mailing list.  It looks like a hot bed of activities.  Ken's post sparked off a long thread of discussion which you might want to follow.

Iranians Love My Blog

Hottest news this morning:

TEHRAN, Iran – Pentagon (newsweb sites) and Pakistani officials on Saturday denied an Iranian state radio report that Osama bin Laden (newsweb sites) was captured in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan (newsweb sites) "a long time ago."

The director of Iran radio's Pashtun service, Asheq Hossein, said he had two sources for the report. The radio quoted its reporter as saying bin Laden had been in custody for a period of time, but a U.S. announcement of the capture was being withheld by President Bush (newsweb sites) until closer to the November election.

"Osama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election," he said.

Somebody over there must have read my Bin Laden's Capture and the Election post from two days ago and spread the meme.  Muhahaha!

News that makes me SMILe

Sorry about the goofy title.  I somehow got sidetracked this morning into tinkering with Java2D animation inside a SWT application and ended up reading the SMIL 2.0 spec.  Trail of thoughts from my Alternate News Reader UIs post stoked back into life along the way, this time focusing on scrolling.

Scrolling tend to interferes with reading because it is unnatural.  Scrolling amounts to keeping your eye focused on one spot of a book and moving the book around to read it.  As the book moves, your eyes defocus momentarily which is highly irritating.  If you haven't noticed it before, try it now.  Note that focus is maintained when eyes are moved instead.

What's really funny is that web browsers depend heavily on scrolling.  One way to remove or, at least, reduce amount of scrolling is to scroll in time instead of scrolling in space.  SMIL is, in effect, an XML standard for scrolling a document in time.  What does this mean for RSS?  How about playing RSS feeds on SMIL browsers by transforming RSS feeds into SMIL streams?

Proliferation of Blog Crawlers

The traffic to my blog has doubled in the past two months.  While some of that is due to new readers and subscribers, good part of that traffic is due to blog crawlers.  With the smell of money in the air, I am afraid we'll be seeing an explosion of blog crawlers in the near future.

How long before only a tiny fraction of the traffic is actually read by a person?  How long before the blogosphere is swamped by convenience-driven waste and greed-driven abuse?

Rediscovering Edward Tufte

My thanks goes to Scott Loftesness for his post which helped me rediscover Edward Tufte's wonderful site.  I have Edward's first book which is great but the pages in the Ask E.T. and E.T. Writings sections are even better IMHO.

Beside the preview of Sparklines chapter — a must read, sparklines are basically micrographs which are small enough to be inlined with text, stacked (piled?) for glance-sized pattern analysis, or embedded within another chart – from his upcoming book Beautiful Evidence, I liked this part of his comments about Gantt chart:

The chart might be retrospective as well as prospective. That is, the chart should show actualdates of achieved goals, evidence which will continuously reinforce a reality principle on the mythical future dates of goal achievement.

Reinforce is a big word in UI.  I liked his alternate design as well although I would have used a more color since I think more in terms of computer screens and interaction models instead of print.

A Note to Edward Tufte: Cheaper, normal size edition of your books would be nice.  Web versions would be even better but I guess I am asking for too much.

Bin Laden’s Capture and the Election

Can Bin Laden's capture affect the outcome of the Presidential Election?  I think so.  Korean dictators used to arrange sensational events just prior to the election and they worked.  If Bush can snooker us into invading Iraq with misinformation, influencing the date of his capture should be easy.

Maybe we should start a betting pool on the date of Bin Laden's captured.  I'll pick October 28th.  Why? The moon will be full and people do get more emotional under full moon.

Disclaimer: John Kerry has my endorsement for the next Presidency.  I like the guy and what he stands for.  Only bad thing I could say about him is that he looks like he just swallowed a whole sourdough bread.  Somebody get him some water.


Since there has been attempts to brush aside this post as a looney rant, I felt a clarification was needed.  Here it is.

Suppose it's early October and Bush's election campaign is going pretty badly.  While Bush and his campaign advisers are looking for ways to turn the tide around and someone jokingly say how nice it would be if Osama Bin Laden was captured.  Bush starts showing more interest in the capture of OBL.  It could just be as innocent as asking about OBL more frequently.  Is this illegal?  No, he is just doing his job.

The surge of interest travels down the ranks and reaches those who are in charge of finding OBL and affects how intelligence reports are analyzed and judgements based on those reports are made.  Fast forward past some costly operations and OBL is captured.

Is this a conspiracy?  I don't think so but I think similar events probably took place when Bush became President and showed a strong interest in Iraq.  Are Democrats immune?  Definitely not.  Presidents should be more careful with what they show strong interests in.

Startling Picture of North Korea

I visit GlobalSecurity occasionally because I am interested in anything related to wars.  Maybe it was those seven green plastic soldiers my father gave me when all the hair I had was on my head.  Anyhow, I saw this Landsat picture of North Korea which startled me and thought you might be interested in being startled too.

The bright spot near the middle is Seoul.  Black area above that is North Korea.  The little cluster of light in the middle of the dark area is Pyung-yang, capital of North Korea.  I guess there aren't many nightclubs in North Korea.  If China can look that good in a couple of decades, North Korea can too.  I hope I can boogie in North Korea before I croak.

RSA Conference 2004

I am going to be loitering at the RSA Conference today (Wednesday) so flag me down if you see me in the exhibits area.  Assuming, of course, they won't force me to fill it out the same registration form as the one online.  I won't put up with nosy forms.


Just got back.  I was there from 3PM to 5PM, checking out the exhibits.  How was it?  Well, spending $50 for 2 hours of boredom is not exactly my idea of good spending, but I got some walking out of the deal.  Flat foot and conferences don't mix too well I am afraid.

USB secure token vendors were out in force along side identity management and intellectual property protection.  I think USB-based secure tokens will breakout into mainstream in the near future because they doesn't require a reader.  All you need is a USB slot which is commonly available.  Smartcards?  Smartcards are dead.  Actually, they never lived at all.