Want a Puffin?

Wired: "The engineers at NASA have combined every one of our geeky transportation dreams into a single little vehicle called the Puffin. It takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane. It can cruise at 140 mph and, with a boost mode, hit about twice that. Oh - and it's electric." - Do you want one? I'm not thrilled with flying but it will be interesting to see if something like this ever takes off, no pun intended.


Posted by Rob at 9:29 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Looking back on CrunchPad

Back in November, 2009, Michael Arrington announced the death of the CrunchPad
"It's a sad day at TechCrunch HQ. Hitting the publish button on this post, which makes all of this so...final...is a very hard thing to do. I'm enraged, embarrassed, and just...sad. The CrunchPad is now in the DeadPool."
I can't help but believe it was a good thing it failed. Yes, a good thing. Just think what would've happened to it after the iPad announcement? Sales would've dried up and he'd have been selling them out of his garage at a heavily discounted price just to get rid of them.

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Posted by Rob at 7:41 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Uses for a tablet

Scobleizer: "Tablets make a HUGE amount of sense in healthcare. Remember Epocrates, the iPhone app that Steve Jobs' own health team helped influence? Now imagine they came out on stage and showed off their new version which has much better integration with your entire health chart." - My brother has been touting tablets and handhelds for use if healthcare for YEARS. I think Jay (that's what the family calls him) is in the wrong field. At heart he's a Software Engineer, or at least a Program Manager. He has great ideas with regards to solving problems in healthcare with technology, especially as it applies to the Pharmacist in a clinical setting. He really needs to get a job with someone like Apple, Google, or Microsoft. He has a lot to offer guys, and the healthcare market is still wide open. I'm sure his brain is spinning on uses for the iPad.

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Posted by Rob at 9:04 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Yes, I love NetFlix Instant Queue

James Robertson: "We just picked up an XBox this fall, and I signed up for Netflix not long after that - for a flat monthly fee, I can stream a whole bunch of content whenever I feel like it. Apple just bought a streaming outfit (LaLa), so it seem slike they know where things are headed, too." - I know James is posting about something else, but he hits the nail on the head when it comes to the XBox Live/NetFlix deal. Kim and I have become addicted to this lovely service. We've just finished season one of Dexter and are off to season two. After one of our Dexter marathons I scrolled through the movies and television shows available to us via instant queuing and was shocked to find a great many options.

Bravo NetFlix, bravo Microsoft. Pairing XBox Live with NetFlix was a win for both companies, and fulfills this movie fanatics dream of video on demand, and I think we've only scratched the surface. Things are only going to get better.

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Posted by Rob at 9:46 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

New York, a Tech Haven?

Scripting News: "First, New York has become much more interesting in the tech world. I spent just two days hopping from rock to rock, and didn't land on most of them, but wow, there's something going on there" - I have a friend spending a LOT of time in New York, and finds he loves it. He says there's a lot going on there.

Will we see a Move East trend?

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Posted by Rob at 8:21 AM | 4 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

My Own Universe

Like many I use Twitter and Facebook, and I have my weblog, which I consider the center point of the Rob Fahrni Network.

Dave Winer has been working to de-centralize micro blogging, that's not a bad thing, it's a very good thing. I like the idea of being in charge of my very own nightmare. I need a center point, a launch pad, that works with all these services, including my weblog, and pushes updates to Twitter, Facebook, my weblog, and the other services that are a part of the Rob Fahrni Network.


Open for Business.Well, I see my weblog as a personal history of my adventures in life. Apparently it's next to impossible to get your full Twitter history, Dave has done so by constantly backing it up. I'd like to do so moving forward. To do that I'll need a tool I can use for weblogging as well as one for microblogging that will push to Twitter and Facebook, as well as keeping a copy of everything for myself.


That is the question. I have server space and I'd like for it to live there. I have a desktop tool I love, MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software, but it's just a way to push data to the server. So, are there existing web services I could use to tie it all together? There's Ping.fm which offers a gateway to many different services, including Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and Flickr, just to name a few. There's FriendFeed which will aggregate posts from your weblog, or Twitter, or Facebook, and publish to other services.

I'd like to find a CMS, or weblogging tool like WordPress, that I can use as the center of the Rob Fahrni Network. Here's what I'm after.

1) It must install on my server.
2) It needs a UI to publish directly to social networks, ala Ping.fm.
3) It needs a weblogging UI, that in turn pushes the title and shortened link to social networks.
4) It needs to publish to my weblog and publish to a microblog, ala Twitter, that's lives in my network.
5) It must have API's. One for blogging, one for microblogging, so I can point my favorite desktop at it. Basically MarsEdit would become my frontend to tweeting.
5) Everything points back to a center point, my weblog.

Instead of going to Twitter, or Facebook, or Blogger, I go to my network, where everything begins life, and it pushes to other services. For your average person this is Facebook, I want more, I want to control it. It is, after all, my content.

Hopefully I'll be able to do this with a combination of WordPress and Ping.fm. If not, maybe someone has already explored this and has a nice solution.

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Posted by Rob at 12:35 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Gruber on OS's

Ack!John Gruber: "Hardware and software both matter, and Apple's history shows that there's a good argument to be made for developing integrated hardware and software. But if you asked me which matters more, I wouldn't hesitate to say software. All things considered I'd much prefer a PC running Mac OS X to a Mac running Windows." - Very interesting. There was a time, not so long ago, when you could essentially buy a "PC" running Mac OS, but Steve Jobs killed that off when he returned. Much to the benefit of Apple. It is kind of weird to see a Mac die hard make a statement like that.

I'd still like to see the Mac OS X UI and services on top of Microsoft's NT Kernel, which has a bad reputation because of decisions made to support legacy behaviors. Anyway, the NT Kernel is a very good OS Kernel. It would be interesting to see other UI looks on top of it, and yes, that is possible.

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Posted by Rob at 7:58 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Droid and photographers

Dave Winer [on Twitter]: "I can't leave the netbook. I'm taking a realtime photography trip. Without the netbook there's no realtime to it." - Depending on the type of storage your camera uses the Droid could be the perfect companion for Photographers. If you want to upload photos realtime, take your shots, pop your card out of camera, pop it in the Droid, and upload! No need to take your netbook with you for realtime support.

Now, all you need is someone like Fraser Speirs to create some super applications to get the job done.

This is another thing Apple should consider with the next version of the iPhone. Support for a microSD card would be quite nice.

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Posted by Rob at 7:53 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Droidie: "Some people have asked if I like the Droid because I don't like the iPhone, and yes - that's true too. My early enthusiasm for the iPhone was dampened by the fact that it didn't achieve what I felt was its basic promise, that it would be a Mac but in a small form factor. I wanted my Mac software to run in this environment. The iPhone did not even try to do this." - Dave, the Droid won't help in this matter. It's my understanding Droid is all Java based. You'd have had better luck porting your existing OPML Editor to the iPhone, at least there you can write plain C code, yes I know the UI is Cocoa, but underneath you can still write code in C. There are so many modern weblogging systems today that have great support on Mac and the iPhone why not take the plunge and move forward? WordPress is a great example. You can use the web UI, which is fantastic, you can use a desktop tool like Red Sweater's MarsEdit on the client side, and use WordPress for iPhone to get mobile weblogging.

Just a thought.

BTW - How many Droid applications do you think you'll write? Apparently it's free to grab the SDK and write apps. Will we see the OPML Editor rewritten in Java? That would certainly make it extremely useful on many platforms, not just Windows, Mac, or Droid.

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Posted by Rob at 8:46 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

A Droid Review

Chris Brogan: "I've been using AT&T for over a year now, and switching back to Verizon was a breath of fresh air. The web browsing is markedly faster on the Verizon 3G network. Calls stayed up on the three times I made a longer call while driving. In short, it just worked. iPhone fanboys, you have to admit that's a weakness." - Apple, please, please, get your phones out from under the crap network that is AT&T. My brother just went out and bought a Droid out of his allegiance to the Verizon network. Hey, if you can't have the best phone, the second best is good enough when the phone actually works like a phone.

I'd considered a Palm Pre a little over a month ago mainly due to the great pricing; $70.00 unlimited text, voice, and data, and a nice clear network, but I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger because the iPhone is just that good. I'm not at a point where I'm willing to pay full price for an iPhone, even $299.00 for a 3G is too much for my tastes, but I'm getting closer every day. When I can get one for $99.00 I'm in.

Now, having said that, if we decided to switch to Verizon for the great network I'll definitely go Droid, unless the iPhone is there, then it's a no brainer. iPhone wins in my book, but sometimes #2 is just good enough. Think Mac vs. Windows. I'd rather use a Mac every day, but I can make due with a Windows box, even though I'd rather not. Then again, who knows, maybe Droid can become the best phone on the market? Only time will tell, and Apple being tethered to the AT&T ball-and-chain is not helping matters.

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Posted by Rob at 8:33 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Facebook Scaling

Dare Obasanjo [via James Robertson]: "Haystack runs on commodity hardware (i.e. Dell Linux boxes with a terabyte SATA drives) and is a custom file system which keeps all file indexes in RAM to speed up lookups. Today Haystack is so optimal that it only takes one I/O operation to load a photo compared to 3 I/O operations for the previous optimized implementation and 10 I/O operations for the initial NFS based system. Haystack is so scalable that they once accidentally disabled their CDNs and Haystack served all photos on the site without breaking a sweat. The service was built by 3 developers in a couple of months. It will be Open Sourced in the near future." - Very darned cool post. The Facebook guys are really tearing it up. I know I've been critical of them in the past, believing them to be the next MySpace, but they've gone so far beyond anything before them.

A side note. I love Dare's soft sell at the end of the article, "If you're interested in working on or building systems similar to the ones described above for the 500 million users who utilize Windows Live services. Send me a resume, we're always looking for good developers."

Microsoft has lost its luster, I'm afraid. I don't know many, if any, people that have Microsoft on their places to work list. There are too many exciting startups, especially in the social space, to work for the "New version of the 80's IBM."

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Posted by Rob at 8:58 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Cause, meet Effect

Jerry Fahrni: "Information can be stored, altered, and shared via free tools like DropBox and Live Mesh. Why can something available for free to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the universe handle data better than our multi-million dollar hospital information system? Simple, the general public would never use something that was so poorly designed and unreliable."


Posted by Rob at 1:39 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

How to kill a product

Ned Batchelder: "Tabblo is written on the Django framework, and therefore, in Python. Ever since we were acquired by Hewlett-Packard two and a half years ago, there's been a debate about whether we should start working in Java, a far more common implementation language within HP. These debates come and go, with varying degrees of seriousness." - Ned may be talking more about the debate they continuously have within HP but the bigger nastiness is how easy it would be for Tabblo to fail by doing a rewrite. Where's the benefit to the user? There's nothing wrong with Python and there are plenty of successful projects in Java. If HP needs to interop with Tabblo, they have web services, communicate with Tabblo using whatever makes sense to you. End of story.

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Posted by Rob at 10:05 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Ev hasn't a clue?

James Robertson: "Comedy Gold ensues as Ev bobs and weaves - it's pretty clear that he has no clue whatsoever. It amazes me that people keep throwing money at this guy." - Go check the link in James' post. I think their revenue model are the deals they just signed with Google and Microsoft. That's it!

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Posted by Rob at 9:56 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

The need for Doctor computer order entry

Jerry Fahrni: "There are two medications contained in the hand written orders below. I double-dog dare you to find them." - Wow, no way I could figure out what that doctor had written. Go take a look if you like puzzles.

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Posted by Rob at 9:53 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Custom URL shortening

I purchased a new domain a while back with the intent of creating my own URL shortening service.

I'm writing this now because I just noticed an entry, from Mr. Bob Kepford, on Twitter about setting up his own. It reminded me, I need to get this show on the road.

But what should I use? I've decided to go with Adjix. They have a very simple setup for creating your own custom shortening service by using Amazon S3 as the storage mechanism and they simply redirect from your URL, through Adjix, and off to the desired URL. Pretty sweet!

So, what do you need? Simple, Adjix has a weblog post to explain the entire thing. After you've read it, and configured your own service, read the next entry to complete the full setup.

Dave Winer, A.K.A. Dr. Bootstrap, was one of the first to do this, and it's working quite well for him.

Dave's own custom label shortening service, r2.ly, has been online and working for a while now.

Example r2.ly shortened URL.

I will be applying this to my own, white label, URL shortening service, soon, I hope.

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Posted by Rob at 11:36 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


TechCrunch: "Wow. T-Mobile and Danger, the Microsoft-owned subsidiary that makes the Sidekick, has just announced that they've likely lost all user data that was being stored on Microsoft's servers due to a server failure." - If this is true, which I have such a hard time believing, it's inexcusable, and shows a level of incompetence I can't quite believe from a corporation the size of Microsoft. Believe what you want about Microsoft, they're typically very serious about this kind of stuff. I can tell you this much, it won't happen again.

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Posted by Rob at 3:46 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Crazy Drug Delivery

Jerry Fahrni: "I worked on something similar as an undergrad. We applied various currents to polyaniline, forcing the polymer to take up and hold certain molecules. Reversing the current resulted in the polyaniline dropping the substance."


Posted by Rob at 9:59 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Great Job, if you live in New York

jobs.joelonsoftware.com : "Fog Creek is looking for top-notch developers with super awesome talent and the burning desire to get things done. We have a very successful core product (FogBugz), and we're coming out with two new products: StackExchange--the engine behind the enormously successful developer site StackOverflow--and another product we'll be revealing in a few months"

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Posted by Rob at 7:33 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Visalia Technology Companies - The Definitive List

Downtown VisaliaOk, inspired by Robert Schultz recent post, Fresno Technology Companies: The Definitive List, I've decided to do the same for the Visalia area.

The companies DO NOT have to be pure software companies. They can be companies that develop software internally. There's some cool stuff out there that never "ships!" Ask me about my time at The Nut Farm(Paramount Farms.)

So, if you will, please post a comment with the following information.

Name of the Company
What skills they utilize? E.G. C++, C#, ASP.NET, Python, Java, etc.
Are they hiring?

It would be nice to see the Fresno, technology black hole disappear.

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Posted by Rob at 7:50 AM | 5 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Scoble on Twitter's SUL

Robert Scoble: "OK, so when Twitter came out with its Suggested User List I went through a bunch of emotions. Hatred. Jealousy. Self loathing. Blaming. Anger. Denial. All that kind of stuff. I have lashed out at it over the last few months here and there. Pissing off Tim O'Reilly and Veronica Belmont and a whole raft of other people. After all, I had more followers than any of my friends did before this list came along and now they all have millions of unearned followers that were gifted to them by winning a lottery called 'the Suggested User List.' Also known as the 'SUL.'" - Robert, Robert, Robert... why does this matter so darned much? Make the R.S.U.L. and get on with it. Would you be happier if Twitter removed the "Following" and "Followers" stats from your page? That way you wouldn't know how many people you're following and how many are following you. Ahhhh, bliss! What if people could categorize what they talk about in a better way, or better yet, what if Twitter did a Google-like job of categorizing what you're talking about and had killer search so you could find like minded people. I know you believe followers equals revenue, although I'm not sure how it works, but it would seem you already have quite a following. Are you more interested in being the Paris Hilton of Technology? Being famous for being famous? You're a good guy Robert. I don't want you to become the Paris Hilton of Tech, I like Scobleizer much better.

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Posted by Rob at 8:38 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Tablet Comparison

Jerry Fahrni: "Both tablets were readable in direct sunlight, but I think the J3400 may have a slight advantage over the XT2 secondary to better viewing angles in sunlight. Either tablet would be preferable to my laptop which is nearly impossible to read while in direct sunlight; I've tried several time." - Jerry, or Jay as the family calls him, has a nice comparison of a couple of Tablet PC's. He includes some pictures of his outdoor experience with these mobile devices.

A side note. Jay is a Tablet PC FREAK! If you're in the market for a Tablet he's a very knowledgeable source. He's also a mobile freak. He evaluates handheld devices all the time, a new one ships, he's at the store checking it out. So, he's not a bad source of information if you're comparing, say, an iPhone against a Palm Pre.

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Posted by Rob at 7:47 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Mini on The Company Meeting

Mini-Microsoft: "Did he talk about how we're losing the edge on client development for Windows and how it's all a confused multi-SDK technology mess centered around everything being .NET based?" - Interesting take. When your own devs say your SDK offerings are a mess, well, that's a problem. As for .NET, it makes developing applications a whole heckuva lot easier. The runtime plus framework are brilliant; pick your favorite language and get busy, C#, VB.Net, Iron Ruby, Iron Python, [insert your favorite here.] Some would say "Hey, that's too confusing." Not really. Everything being equal from the runtime and frameworks perspective is really nice. They have great tools; UI creation is way easier in Windows than on the Mac, at least it is for me.

All that said, I'd rather spend my days writing Mac, or iPhone, software and beat my head against the Interface Builder wall than spend another day writing Windows applications.

Maybe someday I'll have that opportunity. For now, Windows, and to a lesser degree Linux, pays the bills. It's strange. Not that long ago I'd have considered working for Microsoft again, maybe. Now, now I don't think I'd consider it, unless it was on a pure Mac, or iPhone, application.

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Posted by Rob at 4:52 PM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

All a twitter about the death of RSS, NOT!

James Robertson: "Out here in the real world, the rest of us are using Twitter, and RSS, and search, and basic web pages based on what we're looking for at the time. Inside the echo chamber? It changes all the time, and everything old is worthless..." - Well said.

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Posted by Rob at 8:38 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pen and Paper vs. Digital

Jerry Fahrni: "As I got up from my work to get another cup of coffee I felt a little amused at the image in front of me. My days are spent working with various types of pharmacy technology, computers, automated storage devices, barcoding equipment, etc., but there on the table in front of me was a paper notepad and an ink pen." - I love this post, I really, really do. There are just some things that are hard to replace digitally. I worked on an application, for 10-years mind, intended to replace pen and paper for diagramming, but the diagrams always started life on a white board or on paper. It's just easier. Once they needed to become "real" they'd move into digital form, using Visio of course.

I have a super nice iPhone application I've been meaning to evaluate. It's called Instaviz and it could be just what the doctor ordered for banging out "on the spot" diagrams, maybe a replacement for pen and paper?

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Posted by Rob at 11:59 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

12-hour laptop battery life?

Jerry Fahrni: "One can only imagine the usefulness of a machine with three to four times the battery life of currently available laptops and less eye strain. I for one can't wait to see this new LCD technology on a commercial scale. Replace the current screen in the MacBook Air with Pixel Qi's new LCD screen and you might just have the perfect business machine." - Watch the video Jerry linked to, it's pretty darned slick, and the Pixel Qi folks mention 12-hour batter life, all for the price of an LCD display.


Posted by Rob at 7:26 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Interesting question

Jerry Fahrni: "On a side note, when is someone going to create an e-ink monitor (desktop or laptop)? I spend anywhere from 10 to 16 hours a day on a computer. LCD screens are great, but it's like looking into a flashlight all day. I don't even need color, just something crystal clear that won't make spots appear in my vision when I forget to blink." - I wonder what the cost of a display like that would be. Not as a primary display, but as a complementary display to your setup. Use it for reading e-mail, documents, etc. It's an interesting idea.


Posted by Rob at 8:19 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Yes, that is a Kindle

Jerry Fahrni: "Speaking of the Kindle, my brother purchased one for his wife on Mother's Day. I had the opportunity for a little "hands on" this week. My impression of the Kindle prior to laying my hands on it was that it was lame, very lame. Now I feel silly because the device is completely and totally awesome. The online photos simply don't do it justice. It is a sleek, sophisticated device that was a pleasure to hold and read with. I'm placing an order for the new Kindle as soon as it's available. Hopefully the waiting list won't be too long." - Jerry, or Jay as we call him, came over last night and got a first hand look at Kim's Kindle, don't know if I mentioned I'd bought her one for Mother's Day? He had the same impression I did. It's a totally different experience if you can actually hold the device in your hands. It's sleek, very sleek, all the way down to the packaging. When my wife opened the box I instantly thought "This is something Apple would ship."

I actually took pictures of the experience, I need to grab them off the camera and post them somewhere.

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Posted by Rob at 1:10 PM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

New York Times Reader, subscription?

The New York Times: "Subscribe to Times Reader 2.0 for just $3.45 per week*. Now powered by Adobe AIR, Times Reader delivers everything you'd expect from The New York Times in print - straight to your computer. And with a new browsing feature, news in video, and our interactive crossword puzzle, it's The Times like you've never experienced it before." - So, the new reader is more than a pretty face on top of RSS feeds, it's meant to make money. Interesting. I'd like to see their subscription numbers for the reader in a months time.

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Posted by Rob at 2:26 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

NY Times Reader

NY Times - First Look Blog: "Next week we'll be introducing Times Reader 2.0. This version is powered by Adobe AIR and will run equally well on Windows , Mac and Linux computers. With this latest release, Times Reader resembles the printed paper even more closely, and it updates every five minutes with the latest news from the Web." - Here's a great example of AIR done right. The application looks fantastic. Now, question is, will someone go out and create a generic RSS reader that can be crafted to look like this by other newspapers. Then when you subscribe to their RSS feed it also includes some extra bits that tell the reader how to skin itself so it's branded properly for the newspaper.

I think the NewsGator folks better get on the ball. Brent, Nick, are you listening?

More on the application at Adobe INSPIRE.

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Posted by Rob at 1:15 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Great low tech design

Christopher Fahey: "An elegant solution, designed and patented in 1901 by the German engineer A.A. Newman, is called the 'watchclock'. It's an ingenious mechanical device, slung over the shoulder like a canteen and powered by a simple wind-up spring mechanism. It precisely tracks and records a night watchman's position in both space and time for the duration of every evening. It also generates a detailed, permanent, and verifiable record of each night's patrol."


Posted by Rob at 7:30 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Cringely on the setting Sun

I, Cringely: "It's easy. First drop all the bits of Sun that don't make money. Then drop all the bits that don't fit in Oracle's strategic vision. Bring the back office entirely into Redwood Shores. The cut what overhead is left to match the restructured business. Sell SPARQ to some Asian OEM. Cut R&D by 80 percent, saving $2.4 billion per year. I'm guessing sell StorageTek, maybe even to IBM. And on and on. Gut Sun and milk what remains." - So it would appear Sun could've been purchased for a few core items; Java, Solaris, and MySQL. Oracle could make some killer rackmount appliances now. Traditionally Oracle ran best on Solaris running on Sparc. It'll be interesting to see if they beef up efforts to run Solaris on Intel. Could you imagine an Enterprise level database-in-a-box appliance running Intel, Solaris, and Oracle Database? I can.

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Posted by Rob at 8:02 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

New blogger on the street

Pharmacy LogoJerry Fahrni: "This time of year always comes with a lot of requests for medication usage data from the Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator. This year has been no exception. The most recent request was for a report identifying all medications in the pharmacy drug master that were used less than ten times in 2008. Seemed simple enough. Right." - Yes, Jerry, or Jay as the family knows him, is my brother. Jay has a PharmD from UCSF, and an insatiable need to solve Pharmacy problems using technology. He's the IT Pharmacist for Kaweah Delta District Hospital is sunny Visalia, California.

If you're into Pharmacy Informatics, you should be following Jay, he's one of the smartest people I know, and he knows how to make your hospital pharmacy operate to its' fullest potential. I'm subscribed out of curiosity.

You can also follow him on Twitter, @jfahrni.

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Posted by Rob at 10:41 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

What is Twitter?

Twitter birdy with signScripting News: "In a way, as a user of Twitter, I have the same business model as the investors in Twitter. I don't know what it is, but I have a feeling there's something here. I look at it this way, if you tried to tell me what we're doing on Twitter has nothing to do with what we'll be doing with networks in the future, I'd be 100 percent sure you were wrong. There's something here. The challenge is to figure out what it is." - Look at Twitter, now look at Facebook. A while back I said I didn't get Facebook, but a wise man informed me it was a way for non-techies to have a presence on the web. He was right. If you take this weblog, combine it with Twitter, Friendfeed, Flickr, and possibly some others you get something like Facebook, only as the author you have complete control over the "dashboard" to your life, the weblog portion.

The weblogging community is a loose community, Twitter is only slightly tighter knit, and Facebook is the tightest knit. Twitter and Facebook integrate search which makes it seem easier to locate people you might share interest with. I know I've mentioned things on my Twitter feed, like "I'm having a Firestone DBA, while BBQ'ing" and the next morning I have two new followers, one with interest in beer and one with interest in BBQ.

How long will it be before we have a Twitter like service that's embedded into your weblog that federates our loosely coupled community? Maybe Twitter could fill, or is filling, that need.

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Posted by Rob at 7:28 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Almost Perfect

Word Place: "The book, Almost Perfect, was originally published by Prima Publishing in 1994. It is the story of the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation from my point of view. The book sold a little less than 10,000 copies and is now out of print. The copy published here is almost identical to my original manuscript and does not contain Prima's edits. In this version, I have corrected two factual errors, fixed five typos, deleted a few pages at the end, and added a final paragraph." - This book is well worth the time it takes to read it. I'm just getting started and though I'd post about it so I could revisit later, to continue reading. I'm old enough to remember what I'd consider the golden age of software. A time when we had all sorts of competition. It wasn't just Microsoft and some small players, it was Microsoft vs. Lotus vs. WordPerfect, and that was just for one application space, word processing. We had companies with law firm names, names like Ashton-Tate. It was a very exciting time.

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Posted by Rob at 10:48 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

On Tweet Quality

Daniel Jalkut: "As Twitter becomes more and more popular, the quality of tweets (Twitter updates) seems to be taking a dive. I attribute this to a couple side effects of the relentless population rise" - Twitter is evolving like many other social sites; Xanga, MySpace, and now Facebook and Twitter. It would seem folks don't have much of an attention span when it comes to social media sites. I remember when Xanga was all the rage, then MySpace, now it seems Facebook is the new destination for the web challenged, with Twitter a little less so, but it's still attracting tons of folks, even spammers.

I'm sure Facebook and Twitter will go the way of their predecessors. Another unknown will come along and steal the momentum.


Posted by Rob at 10:09 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Google StreetView car blocked?

CNN: "Fearing the appearance of their well appointed properties on the Web site would attract criminals scouting for burglary targets, villagers in Broughton, north of London, summoned the police after spotting the car." - Can't say that I blame them. If they ever come to Exeter I'm going to make sure I'm out in front of our house so I show up in the map. Smile, life is good!

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Posted by Rob at 9:29 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Last gasp?

NY Times: "The struggling video rental chain will announce a partnership with TiVo on Wednesday to deliver Blockbuster's digital movie library over the Internet directly to the televisions of people with TiVo digital video recorders." - All I have to say is, it's about darned time Blockbuster joined the modern world. Are they too late to the game? Possibly.

Maybe it's time for us to join the modern world and get a recorder in the house? Smile, life is good!

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Posted by Rob at 6:48 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Nail, meet hammer.

James Robertson: "As I said in another post though, why would I use that instead of, say, Pandora? Why pay a monthly fee when I can get music that I'm much more likely to enjoy without the fee? The answer might end up being what saved AM radio: talk (sports and politics)." - Someone I loved listening to on free radio was recently "downsized" and is now podcasting for FREE. Adam Carolla's new show is raw, meaning he likes to drop the f-bomb, but that's how he rolls. I guess the point is we already have alternatives to satellite radio, even for morning talk shows. I know it's not sports or politics, but it's very entertaining, especially for that hour drive to and from work.

The Adam Carolla Podcast has been number one on iTunes for the past two weeks.

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Posted by Rob at 6:40 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Publishing Static Pages

Brent Simmons: "It’s more than just a weblog system, though: it’s a small content management system, complete with templates and macros and snippets and all that good stuff. I’ll be able to use it to create the help manual for NetNewsWire and to manage the appcast feeds (both of which I’ve been doing by hand, to my extreme horror)." - Brent talks about his new CMS he's written in Ruby. Go read the entire post, it's quite good. He talks about his time at UserLand and how Dave Winer, and his time working for him, influenced his design.

I've looked at different weblogging systems over the years. I've wanted to replace Blogger, but I can't find a system that works the way I want. I used Radio, but didn't like the UI and it ran on my local machine. I gave WordPress a try, and loved it, but I really like the idea of publishing static pages. I don't want them generated with each hit of the website, a static page is just fine, and it's what I want. You'll notice old pages on this site do not change when the site look changes, that is important to me. So, until I find that perfect mix of CMS and weblogging system, that runs on the backend, publishes static pages, and allows me to use a client side application to post to it, I'll keep using Blogger.

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Posted by Rob at 11:00 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

The New News

Wired: "A Google map of the attacks has already been set up. So has a shockingly-current Wikipedia page, which features a picture of one of the gun-toting attackers." - Traditional media needs to embrace all these new outlets. I know CNN has a few anchors with Twitter accounts and that type of stuff needs to continue. Yesterday's attack on Mumbai, and subsequent coverage, was fast and furious. The flow of data was incredible. Google, or Twitter, or some new startup, could create some really cool data mining tools for these types of events.


Posted by Rob at 10:43 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Blockbuster movie machine

digg: "The Blockbuster version of the 2Wire MediaPoint digital media player is used to download videos from Blockbuster OnDemand via broadband, says Blockbuster." - I only posted this because of the comments, take a gander. Linux posts have finally grown tiring. I love the all caps "OH MY GOD A COMPUTER RUNS LINUX???" Of course you also have the zealot with "Where is the source code?"

I had to check out the device because they actually interest me, but I don't care what it runs on, as long as it works. It could run DOS for all I care if I can get video on demand.

We still have to try out the new Netflix/XBox on demand service, it may fill the need.

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Posted by Rob at 9:41 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Job of the week

jobs.joelonsoftware.com: "Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. (SCEA) markets the PlayStation® family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PlayStation®Portable entertainment system, PlayStation®2 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, for the North American market." - I'll bet it's a very tough place to work, but rewarding.

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Posted by Rob at 10:24 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Wii WOW!

James Robertson: "That's a ton of consoles. The other thing you have to keep inmind is this: while MS and Sony lose money on each console sale (and hope to make it up in software), Nintendo profits on each Wii. Oh, and all the speculation about how people buy a Wii, and then only play Wii Sports?" - Wow, go read this. I'm going to guess we'll see Sony and Microsoft releasing similarly priced consoles, or not producing a next gen console. I don't know much about Sony but Microsoft has, in the past at least, had the courage to scrap projects that didn't make money. Nintendo, the little company that everyone had written off, is making out like bandits!

There are other things to consider. Nintendo creates fun games with great characters. We still have our Nintendo 64 for one game, Mario Kart. Yes, it's that much fun. Something else to consider. We recently experienced the Red Ring of Death on our 360 console. Of course that prompted me to look around for solutions to the problem and read all kinds of horror stories. I've seen accounts of up to six, yes six, returns for a single person. That is a nightmare for Microsoft.

I'm hoping our repaired box will hold up for years to come, we'll see.

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Posted by Rob at 8:04 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Comcast, gotta love 'em

Scripting News: "Their issue isn't with the security on my net, it has to do with how much bandwidth I use. Can't work with them when their method of getting me on the phone is to shut off my service, without any warning. I told them to close the account. I'm no longer a Comcast customer. I'm sure they'll send me another bill, adding insult to injury. " - I have some friends at work that have had issues with Comcast. The good news is Comcast isn't your only choice, let your money do the talking and choose another broadband carrier.

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Posted by Rob at 9:46 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


James Robertson: "It's hard for free software to get there, because free projects usually progress right up to 'useful enough for me (the author), and no more'. Sure, there are exceptions - but they are rare. Usually, to get 'fit and finish', you have to pay." - I work with a bunch of bitheads that absolutely worship Linux. They love things like emacs and the BASH, which should tell you something. This OS is not built for real people. Open, Yes, easy to use, No. The community can't even decided on a unified look and feel, sure you can claim that's a benefit to open source, and it is a form of choice, but what about the average joe trying to get their job done?

The Linux Bithead: Oh, yes, of course you can do that, just start bash and type 'ps aux | cat | grep | more | lex | yacc | stuff', that will do exactly what you want.
The Average Joe: Huh? Where do I click?

Ultimate power for the developer, no doubt, I will NEVER that that away from Linux. But for the Average Joe, it can be daunting.

Apple has, without doubt, proven you can take the power of Unix (Mach + BSD) and make it something the average user can use. To top it off you can get to all that raw developer horse power if you so choose. The best of both worlds. Heck they even have a great IDE in XCode.

P.S. - Yes, I'm perfectly aware that 'command' I typed is complete and utter crap, but it's only for illustrative purposes, and it makes my point.

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Posted by Rob at 9:56 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Plug-in car

Wired: "Tony Markel drives a plug-in hybrid that runs 50 miles per charge, goes 100 miles per gallon and gets power from the sun. If he has his way, you'll drive one too before long." - This would work quite well for me, we have abundant sunshine 'round these parts to power the little bugger.


Posted by Rob at 8:43 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

New York, tech job leader?

New York Times: "If you’re looking for a tech job in the United States, the best place to go is not Silicon Valley. It’s New York." - We just lost a very valuable member of one of our teams to a company in New York, so there seems to be some validity to that statement.

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Posted by Rob at 9:14 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

LG Dare, dead on the vine

Apple Gazette: "The phone will retail for $250. You then get a $50 mail-in-rebate…which will bring the cost down to $200 when you eventually get your rebate check in the mail." - The only chance this phone has to compete against the iPhone, it's one and only chance, is it's offered by Verizon. If you don't want to switch networks you have a phone that is a distant second to the iPhone's design. We're going to see tons of clones now, but that's what happens when you're the best of breed.

Good luck with that LG.

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Posted by Rob at 9:07 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Scoble: "Answer: Android. Android is Google’s open source cell phone operating system and range of cell phones." - When is it going to be available?


Posted by Rob at 8:22 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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