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    The Bungee Line was an audio podcast for web developers, covering web API's, software development, and the creation of richly interactive web applications.

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2010 in review


After this paragraph, the rest of the post is completely penned by WordPress.com. They give me seemingly high marks for my blog, while noting that I only posted 16 times in 2010. Remiss? Maybe. My top posts date back to early 2007 and before, when I was blogging actively for my role at Novell. But from the silver lining department, one of my top 5 referrers was bobjamieson.net, a paleo-geek’s blog. Perhaps a sign of things to come in 2011?

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 40,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 16 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 384 posts. There were 8 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 198kb.

The busiest day of the year was January 5th with 206 views. The most popular post that day was Mac vs. PC: How Would Linux Fit?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were stumbleupon.com, roseindia.net, linuxcompatible.org, bobjamieson.net, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for linux, wallpaper, mac, suse wallpaper, and opensuse wallpaper.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Mac vs. PC: How Would Linux Fit? March 2007
204 comments

2

Can Linux Desktops Live in an Active Directory World? September 2006
65 comments

3

OpenOffice.org and Excel VBA Macros July 2006
25 comments

4

SUSE Wallpaper #2 August 2006
1 comment

5

Show Me That New GNOME Main Menu June 2006
34 comments

Launching code.mozy.com


Since my start at Mozy in September, 2009, one of the internal programs in which I quickly took interest was Mozy Labs. Labs’ main champion was a former Google intern named JT Olds, who had witnessed directly the power of allowing engineers free time for innovation and wanted that for Mozy. After several months, Labs had spawned numerous projects, some of which are now on their way to becoming features for Mozy customers. But a few of the projects addressed lower-level needs in the Mozy service–such as helping Mozy handle massive storage (currently 50 petabytes) scale and data transfer demands. The Labs’ projects in this domain end up help us to serve our customers better, but are entirely the domain of deep-think developers. Nevertheless, the developers driving such projects want to share with others who would appreciate their innovations.

After several months of quiet preparations and effort,  we now have a way for those developers to do exactly that. Today, Mozy launched code.mozy.com, a site on which we can host free and open source software projects.

Related Resources

[updated 10/26]

Microsoft: Still Breathtakingly Evil (a rant)


Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.
— A. Guthrie

With the age of the netbook upon us, I can finally retire Heidi’s decrepit Dell laptop and get her a system that works perfectly for her needs. I found a sweet little Lenovo S10-2 that met her top requirements perfectly: It’s pink, and it has cute little flowers on it.

Knowing that I will be the person to support it, I read the spec carefully. Everything looks to be in order, but it comes with Windows 7 “Starter” thing. Uh oh. I’ve seen ominous naming like this before.

But how bad could Microsoft be? Surely in this age of increasing Linux love (Ubuntu Netbook Remix!) and Apple’s rapidly approaching eclipse of Microsoft’s market cap, pressure from above and below has squeezed the folks in Redmond enough to understand that how they do business has its costs, right? Nope.

SindowsOn Amazon, reviewers of this netbook reveal that some evil genius at Microsoft crippled this “Starter” edition. You can’t even change the wallpaper. Further research revealed Starter to have a numerous other You-Can’ts. They apparently changed the original idiotic 3-app-limit, an idea for which its originator should be publicly cannibalized.

Surely, they limited the OS to economize on disk space, right? Nope. They have this “Windows Anytime Upgrade” thing that allows you to instantly unlock all the capabilities that don’t work in starter. The bits are all there on your disk…you just can’t use them! Microsoft’s entire fat ass operating system is using up disk space so that they can sell you stuff, and that stuff is standard capabilities we expect from a computer operating system.

Where have we seen such temerity before? Credit card companies, who bury their terms and conditions deep in multiple pages of fine print, knowing that most people won’t read the fine print, and have little hope of understanding it. Mobile carrier, that refused to provide us with a simple display to show you how many minutes remaining each month. Or, Internet providers re-defining “unlimited” bandwidth as, well, limited.

Is comparing Microsoft to industries that have instilled self doubt in Satan himself (“Maybe I’m just not that good at this Prince of Darkness stuff,” he says, sweeping one of his scarlet hooves across the floor) perhaps going to far? Nope.

The Truth about Innovation Patterns


In “The Truth about Mobile Application Stores,” ReadWriteWeb’s Sarah Perez calls out several slides from Distimo’s MWC presentation about app stores. The short of it: Apple/iPhone leads by far; Google Android comes in a distant second (but growing fast); Blackberry and the others lag at the edge of irrelevancy.

It’s fascinating to compare and contrast Apple and Google in this context. Their approaches are both so different.

Apple has a first-up innovator’s edge over all the other players. They are vehemently proprietary, fanatical about UX, and notorious about privacy. Re-order the adverbs however you see fit, people still love what they produce.

Google pushes an open, webby agenda. It’s chock full of good will, freedom of information, and the gift economy ethos. Real or ruse, people still love what they produce.

In the post-Microsoft reality, only the absolute best of the proprietary can lead, as Apple demonstrates. The “the wisdom of crowds” crowd follows, quickly gobbling up the Good Enough gap so that everyone else scrambles to stay in place.

So, aspiring tech companies, what fits you best? Do you have the guts to be radically open? Or, do you have the intensity to be fanatically dedicated to quality of user experience to the point that your CEO lives outside of the boardroom and executive bathroom? Or, would you prefer the third option, mediocrity?

Nat Friedman & the Personal Cloud: “Personal data warehouse”


Ximian co-founder and intrepid technologist with SUSE Linux, Nat Friedman recently blogged about a “Personal data warehouse,” stating:

What I want is a giant elastic bit bucket in the cloud, with a powerful search engine on top of it.

He goes on to describe several capabilities that he wants the search capabilities to have, essentially bringing together several disparate services available on the web today–such as face recognition (Polar Rose) and Optical Character Recognition  (OCR, the simplest form right now may be Evernote‘s)–in order to make his data imminently accessible and usable.

Nat describes several other aspects, all of which in my view comprise not a single service, but a data platform. This Personal Cloud concept really cannot be delivered well by a single service provider–you don’t want it to be. Once you have your personal data in the cloud, the next step is to have a selection of relevant applications to choose from for helping you to manage your Personal Cloud. That means APIs that allow developers to offer best-of-breed services, such as face recognition, as applications that you can use with your cloud-hosted personal data.

All of that reminds me that I really need to write up a post about the necessity for data owners (you and me as individuals) having ultimate control over who can access our data (and what data they can access).

The Coolness of Clipperz


clipperz logoAnd now…a short recommendation for an under-appreciated service called Clipperz. I use it every day.

Clipperz is an online password manager. It can help you do the following:

  • use different passwords for each site on which you have a login account (if you use the same username/password combo on some new user forum that you use for your online banking, you’re asking to get robbed)
  • generate complex, secure passwords for each account you use
  • sign on to sites quickly with one-click “Direct Logon”

And a lot more…

Even though I am these days mostly using a Mac, and therefore I can use 1Password, Clipperz remains my primary tool for password management. It’s both free of charge, and Free Software. Please check it out.

That’s the main point of this post. Unless you’re interested in Free Software licenses…

<eom>

Note Clipperz did not solicit me to post this. I chose to do so after seeing their upcoming “gamma” release. That same preview prompted me to send them $20 as an appreciation for the service they have provided me for the past year.

Free, as in GNU Affero General Public License

I came across Clipperz while I was still at Bungee Labs. I was doing some research on open source licenses, especially the Affero GPL (AGPLv3). I spoke about AGPLv3 in several posts around that time.

Clipperz is a perfect example of a product that should be licensed under AGPLv3. First, open source has big advantages for security-related software so that flaws can be identified and fixed quickly. Second, since Clipperz is essentially Software-as-a-Service, AGPLv3 provides the creators with protection against the SaaS Loophole (that is, someone taking their source code, replicating their service, making improvements, and choosing to keep the source code closed). Third, it means that if you’re the deeply paranoid type who doesn’t trust having someone else host your passwords, you can use the software to host the your own service. And if you have the technical chops for it, you can examine the code and determine whether it meets your standards for security.

Jono Bacon: The Art of Community


If you were great at [online community management], I’d imagine you’d never ever have trouble finding good work.

–Seth Godin
Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer

Consider a few types of communities for which managers are needed:

In my past three roles as a “community guy” of some form or another, I have had a lot of inquiries. “How did you get started doing that?” I’ve always been stuck for an answer better than, “Well, you know, there’s not really any book about it…” (Godin again: “Since there’s no rule book…”)

Until now, you just had to start doing the community thing and learning as you go: from what seems to have worked elsewhere, from peers that you meet along the way, and from trial and many, many errors.

Enter the latest opus of Jono Bacon: The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice).

Jono is the illustrious community manager for Ubuntu, a founder of the late, great podcast LugRadio, and one of my favorite people. Although I may be a veteran community manager myself, Jono’s immense natural talent and passion is something I can only aspire to. I know of no person who puts as much deep thought, positive action, and general blood, sweat and tears into the practice of Community Management.

There is still no paint by numbers guide: every community and every community manager is different. But if you aspire to build a career in community management–are a community manager already–I encourage you to dive in and learn some of the fundamentals.

Open Source for America


Open Source for America logo

If you have not yet looked into Open Source for America (OSA), the advocacy organization recently announced at OSCON, I recommend checking it out.

The recent increased focus on governmental transparency is long overdue. In the 1990’s, we saw a trend in the US toward putting public records online. The trend reversed drastically over the last decade, as new justifications for government secrecy arose. Coinciding with the new US administration, the public is expressing a renewed interest in transparency, with increased attention to Lobby Reform. (In a representative democracy, should it be permissible that elected officials should be able to make secretive backroom policy deals with lobbyists from the tobacco, health insurance or energy industries?)

In the context of open government, the transparency of government technology must also be considered. Free and Open Source Software gets used by government. But when software can be acquired and deployed at no charge, is it going through the same security and other reviews as proprietary software? Conversely, are there times when proprietary software is unacceptable? Consider electronic voting machines. If “We The People” fund the creation of the software ran on these machines, is there any way a vendor can justify not disclosing the source code? I state these observations as questions not to open a discourse about them, but to point out that there are many issues to consider about the role of Free and Open Source Software in government. The establishment of OSA may help shine light on such issues and provide help and guidance to Federal, state and local governments.

To find out what the organization plans to do, I recommend listening to the series of interviews with various OSA board members recently hosted by my good friend Erin Quill (also my former co-presenter on–and now host of–Novell Open Audio).

Freedom-free Week: A Viking Reports from the Front Lines


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, November 19 (RT)Hein-Pieter Van Braam, self described as “an arrogant viking,” has engaged in a David Blaine-style self-imposed total isolation experiment. The task: to survive a week using all proprietary Software. Van Braam has dubbed it, “The Freedom-Free Week.”

For seven days, or until he chickens out, Van Braam will use the proprietary operating system Windows Vista for all of his daily computing needs. In an early, exclusive interview Van Braam stated: “Well, I hate to admit it, but after you’ve looked at it for a while it looks kinda slick.” Adding, “But I haven’t gotten much further than the desktop, Internet Explorer, and the screenshooter app.”

Best knownfor his blogroll link on the prominent open source blog Open Source Advocacy with Reverend Ted, and minorly for his participation in the LugRadio community, Van Braam is well known for his extremist Free Software viewpoint. Said Ubuntu community manager and LugRadio host Jono Bacon, “Oh, yeah, he’s a real nutter, that one. Seems like he gets on one of his barely articulate Free Software rants just by telling him hello. Makes me quite uncomfortable, actually.”

As Van Braam slogs his way through this seven-day trial, he reports his findings on his blog. In our exclusive interview, Van Braam shared that, “The small [Aeroglass] 3d effects are executed quite nicely, in my humble opinion. I can’t really compare it to compiz as I don’t run it.” Concluding, “Although…user interface consistency is an entirely alien concept to Microsoft. It feels like I’m running WxWidgets, Qt, GTK+ and Tk apps.”

To learn more about Van Braam’s “Freedom-Free Week” experiment and findings, visit http://blog.tmm.cx.

____

Addenda and Errata:

  • If I have mischaracterized Mr. Van Braam in any way–especially in a libelious way–it was entirely unintentional.
  • The genesis of this fake news report was a simple request from Hein-Pieter to me, asking me to simply mention and link to his project.
  • Jono Bacon’s quote is not so much a quote as a paraphrasing of Mr. Bacon’s general sentiment about Mr. Van Braam, albeit with far fewer expletives, colorful gesticulating, and complete-loss-for-words halting pauses. Check comments below, frequently, to confirm whether Mr. Bacon refutes, endorses, or embellishes upon the quote.
  • The link to David Blaine implies that Mr. Blaine is an idiot. I do not support this position, as it could be proven libelious. However, I do support the position that Mr. Blaine is a self-absorbed, batshit fucktard.

Identi.ca: What’s the Point?


Note: Contrary to the title’s implication, this is not an anti-microblogging post. Originally a skeptic, I’m converted to the value of microblogging.

Addendum: Please be sure to read some of the very thoughtful comments made by Bob Jonkman, Hein-Pieter Van Braam, Craig, and Odin Omdal Hørthe. They managed to sway my opinion about Identi.ca.

A listener of the Linux Action Show left a comment about a statement I made on the show, something to the effect of, “I’m not on Identi.ca, because…what’s the point?”

I knew right after saying it that would rub a few people the wrong way. I don’t really have anything against Identi.ca. The glib tone of that comment is rooted in something I have asserted many times in my advocacy of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). I’ll state it again, this time in the context of web applications and services.

Let’s first lay out a couple definitions:

  • Identi.ca is a microblogging service that is very similar to Twitter
  • Laconica is the FOSS offering that powers Identi.ca

Onward we go…

Is Laconica Cloneware?

Long, long ago, I posted some thoughts on “cloneware”: free software that simply knocks off the functionality of a proprietary offering mainly for the sake of replicating the proprietary offering. Typically, what results is a cheaper, crappier version of the original. There are notable exceptions, and I hardly mean to suggest that its wrong to replicate just for the sake of doing it. But if the only goal is to replicate–meaning there is no other driving reason such as new innovation–then I don’t expect a very inspiring offering. (SourceForge is littered with many such dead-end projects.)

So is Laconica cloneware? No, I don’t think it is. Laconica is useful. For example, with Laconica organizations can freely implement their own microblogging hosts for whatever need they may have, such as hosting a confidential microblog. Laconica also demonstrates innovation. As an example, it allows you to federate your Laconica host with other Laconica hosts. So, if Laconica perhaps started off as mere cloneware, it then demonstrates that cloneware can beget innovation.

So, my “What’s the point?” comment was not at all aimed at Laconica. It was about Identi.ca. Why would I use Identi.ca?

Religiosity & FOSS: Why I Use Twitter instead of Identi.ca

I disagree with those who feel that we should all use FOSS for the principle of it. That sentiment is arrogant B.S. promoted by those who spend too much time enagaged in technological omphaloskepsis. Sure, you can make a case for how we all need to support OSS at every opportunity, but to me, it starts to sound a lot like religious dogma after a certain point.

I love innovations that provide me with a new and useful tool that just works. So while I advocate Free Software as a great delivery mechanism of new innovations, I have no issue with using a proprietary service that gets a job done. Twitter is a great example of such a service.

Twitter costs me nothing. Usually, it just works. For the price, I’m okay with when it doesn’t. It has an API that gives sufficient freedom for my data. Twitter also has a user base that dwarfs any other Microblogging service, which is very important. Much like Facebook, I can find almost every wired person in one place. The originators of Twitter were responsible for the advent of microblogging, and consequently they have a massive user base. I see nothing inherently evil with Twitter. In my opinion, they earned their success, and I’m comfortable to be one of their millions of users.

So, when I asked “what’s the point?” about Identi.ca, I was being deliberately provocative because I don’t see any advantage to using Identi.ca. Identi.ca cannot lure me away from Twitter merely by virtue of its use of a FOSS offering instead of a proprietary system. As I see it, Identi.ca is simply a knock off of a well-established service. Unlike Laconica, I don’t see its purpose.

Google Chrome Bluescreened My Windows XP VM!


Google Chrome

…and in a sick way, it was really kind of cool.

I’ve been playing with Google Chrome for a couple days.

But because Chrome is only available (natively) for Windows right now, I have to run a Windows XP virtual machine on my Linux machine (which still runs openSUSE).

And since I hardly ever need to use Windows anymore, the VM needed several updates, see?

So, I’m a-browsin’ and a-updatin’, and really enjoying how well the browser performs–especially with AJAX–while wondering how much the snappiness will decrease when Chrome is laden with more full set of browser features…

…and then Windows Update completes its work and tells me to reboot.

So, I click the “Close” option and skip the “Restart” so that I can do a Shutdown-and-Apply-Updates instead, because that’s how I want to do it, see?

But Chrome doesn’t want to close down. In fact, it stops responding altogether. Now Google Chrome is in a stare down with Windows shutdown.

Well, you know what Windows does to programs that don’t stop. That’s right, it puts up dialog messages. This one essentially says, “He don’t wanna go, boss. Can I kill’im?”

But before I can even respond, Chrome frickin’ blue screens Windows. As the kids say these days, >Snap!<

Next thing I know, I’m watching the VMware POST process emulation, and hoping that my VM is not hopelessly corrupted.

Good old nostalgia…I haven’t seen a Blue Screen of Death on my own machine in ages.

Now Seeking My Next Gig


As a short update on my status, I’m now beginning to seek my next exciting role in technology.

As of Monday morning, I no longer work for Bungee Labs. My departure is part of Bungee Labs’ continuing restructuring that started with a larger layoff in late August.

I gained a lot from working with the Bungee team. I come away with a solid basis in object-oriented programming, its major design patterns, and an innovative re-take on the Model-View-Controller architectural pattern.  I learned how to work with RESTful, SOAP and other XML web APIs. And I gained an enormous amount of experience in relating to developers and building a developer program. All in all, I leave with new experience and skills that are particularly well suited for today’s technology market.

I’m still in the process of assembling my go-to-market-myself plan, but if you know of an organization seeking an innovative evangelist/community manager/developer-marketer or other tech generalist-specialist, please point them to my LinkedIn Profile.

Thanks,

Ted

Heading to FOSScamp!


FOSSCamp is coming up on December 5 & 6 at the GooglePlex, and I just got cleared to attend.

FOSSCamp is an un-conference designed to get different Open Source projects together to discuss how to work together in different ways.

Several of my friends and fellow followers of Free Software will be attending the event. I hope to have a lot of discussions regarding some ideas I have been working on around choices for Free Software licenses.

If you’re planning to attend FOSScamp, too, please leave a comment.

FOSScamp Facebook Event

Google Chrome’s Evil User License Agreement


Google’s first EULA for Chrome:

Then, they back off:

Perhaps heard in the hallowed halls of the Googleplex:

  • “You mean, somebody actually reads those things? Dang.”

Most interesting will be Chris DiBona‘s response. I suspect that it was a dumbshit in Google’s legal department rather than actual evil intent, but as I write this, I’m suspect that a million paranoid trolls are pecking out the complete works of Shakespeare in blogcomment pentameter.

Biking in the Sun with MindTouch


At OSCON, Sun threw a little party with free beer for all.

Evil genius Aaron Fulkerson (of MindTouch) had a rabbit costume.

I had a bicycle.

I wonder what kind of trouble we could get into…

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