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My Computer Class 1987 Kleinmachnow East Germany

my_computerclass_1987.jpgI know this might be amusing to some so as a sunday laugh I post a photo I just found while cleaning up. It shows part of the Mr. Aschbrenners Computer class anno 1987 in deep red socialistic Kleinmachnow / East Germany. Its me sitting in the middle on a kick ass KC85/II sporting 8 KiloByte RAM, a NO SMALL CAPS rubber round keyboard, a whopping "HD ready" 320x256 pixel screen, a "save me 10 times and you have one functioning copy" cassette recorder and an operating system called CAOS (Cassette Aided Operating System) with lovely BASIC. When I remember correctly this photo appeared in some kind of newspaper at the time. I actually programmed an animation on this thing back then even so there was no direct graphic access - I hacked around it by creating a custom font set and then cycling through the typefaces... ah the old times...

Movable Type 4.0b its back to OpenSource baby :)

Years ago I decided that I wanted to have a real blog after doing some "offline blogging" with .mac and an application whos name I have forgotten. Back in the internet eons there was only ONE viable platform to do blogging and that was Movable Type. It was great and did what you wanted. Until the spam invasion came and a big gaping hole became apparent - the lack of anti spam technology in the movable type core. The plugin engine was too weak and the "fixes" available not good enough. Then SixApart - the "company" group of people who programmed movable type made a big "nono" in the free internet and made the once for free blogging software available only if you pay them hefty money - the problem was to make any use of your comment function you better upgraded - or switched. At that time the comment spamming took levels never seen before.
So at that time my movable type installation hosted six blogs and a couple of secret personal ones. It was a do or die decission. The only viable other option was of course WordPress but at the time there was no converter available that easely would have converted the 2000+ messages on these blogs into its own format. So the decision went to go with a "noncommercial" "cheap" license from Six Apart - with a lot of teeth grinding. I learned to live with the decission and am still quite happy with Movable Type.
Now 4 years later it seems - in a rare moment of luck - the patience and all the ground teeth might pay off. Six Apart has announced Movable Type 4beta. First of all its going to be Open Source if it will be available for free they don´t say (one is NOT the other) but my guess is they might as SixAparts main income seems to come from support and from their LiveJorunal, vox, typepad services these days and I guess the actual salesprice of MT is not such a big thing on their endbill - but I could be wrong I have not found information on this on their site.
Anyway the opensource thing is good for plug ins and that brings us to the next big development - widgets as "easy writable plugins" - say "write a Quicktime Uploader" in under 5 minutes and I am sooooo sold as EVERY OTHER BLOG APP OUT THERE does not have this or if it has it the usage is very restricted to "special pages burried under a load of internet tubes".
But this does not stop it because they will include all features of LiveJournal, TypePad and the multimedia (ah so 90s) VOX service. This is great - because if you ever tried to publish mp3s, videos in various formats and other type of documents on the same blog you should have an MA in programming and then your content will very likely look crap because you had too much programming to do to take care of the content.
A new template language that listens to real world booleans "Do not show me posts by "AppleBasher101" in category "microsoft" - yes thats a valid template. Oh and you can use templates to publish single pages - making this not a blogging software anymore but a light CMS system.

All new features can be found here.

I will install a test version on a test site soon and will probably write something about it at one point.

You can test out the beta yourself if you head over to www.movabletype.org

Light Emmitting Fabric Available to Endusers

Jacket.jpgA very long time ago I wrote about a cool invention - a special kind of fabric interwooven with glassfibres where you could put colored LEDs on one end and the whole fabric starts to light up in the color of the LEDs. I stumbled over that tech again today and its actually available for bying. Sadly the company called "Lumigram" seemingly holding the patents and marketing this knows nothing about the latter - marketing. Their website looks like it came out of a internet horrorflick of the early 90s and the actual designs of things they market with their very very cool fabric are pretty similar bad - and since only economy of scale would make such a product affordable for joe and jamie we will probably wait until the patent becomes fair game to a wider market before the prices get into any kind of affordability range. But if you have 200 Euros to spare you can see your girlfriend run around in a poorly designed lit up top or for just 1000 Euros you light up your whole 4,00m x 1,50m dinner table with some selfilluminated tablecloth (good thing you can not do anything wrong designwise on a tablecloth - this company would have).
LumiGram clearly should just sell the patent to true design companies who understand something about it and should continue to innovate interesting fabric - the enduser game is something they are not well prepared to operate in and it would be sad to see such a nice tech go down the drain because some management people are to greedy and "wanna do it all" instead of letting people with some understanding bring this to the market.


Neilsen changes rating : Network TV sees end of life?!

Neilsen ratings - the american monopoly that tracks what and how many viewers watch on TV based on a "statistical measure" that noone really knows how it actually works - has bend down and changes its rating system after decades with the same one. This move will be seen in the future as the biggest pin into the coffin that will bury TV as we know it. The new rating system is based on DVRs and how many people actually watch ads (and not skip them). As we all know – DVRs are just a stop gap measure until delivery mechanism of the internet are fast enough to stream high quality content into the couch potatoes living rooms. Now why is this such a big move? A quote from an article on popular mechanics gives a very good explanation: Why should this matter to us—you, me, my wife? Because if the way television is funded changes, then the way it’s programmed probably will, too. That means PER SHOW advertising models which in return means there is NO FREAKING NEED for a television network at all if there is an ADVERTISING network and we all know that google just bought a big advertising network and looks how it can incorporate this into its adsense program. The monopoly of the airwaves is sinking very fast. Now people argue that "books and radio and cinema also has not gone away even there was 'new' technology like television itself, though in return TV will be around forever". There is one big problem in this equation. Books (text) and radio(music, spoken word) are a complete different medium then television (moving pictures and audio) – cinema is/was a social experience (compared to the couch potato sit ins you actually have to go into public). Therefore these are all distinctive different medias in themself - yet the internet is a new delivery media with completely different rules. The interesting thing is that they all - except for cinema (which faces different dilemma) - face revolutionary change with the internet. Books might be the most robust media to survive the storm but not without much "damage". Books will have an "ebook" version soon as much as you will say "i need to turn pages have a heavy thing in my hand" your grandchildren will not be so "old school" and just enjoy having a fold open ebook in their backpack with ALL schoolbooks ALL comic books ALL handwritten loveletters, everything searchable indexed sharable light and readable under any condition (darkness for example). With this change books will invitably change especially nonfiction books who will mostly be read by skimming through keywords or are even live recomposed with other books based on a keyword search or whatever. But as said books in their current will have a slim survival in a niche chance. Radio already faces problem. iPods fastly exchange the "always on" radio in the car during jogging/communiting. So radio as a "musicjukebox" with commercials is already dying out fast (they just have not noticed it yet). I am for one completely switched to internet radio streams (mostly just jukeboxes) and podcasts and I was a very regular radio listener. Give me a networked radio in the car where I can access my music at home (basically all thats needed is a stable on the road internet connection and this is coming fast at least here in germany) and for me there is no need with traditional over the air radio. I would just listen to the program that I want, if they have too much commercials I am already switching to others. There is noone that can have a say over my time anymore and force me to hear things that I have no interest in (especially commercials). Too much interaction for the normal person? Maybe today but just watch how proficient modern day young people are and you see that this is only half a generation away. But then TV. Its such a passive medium. Everyone wants to just sit on the couch and be brainwashed right? Wrong. Over 17% of all households in the US already have a DVR. a DVR is interactivity. It requires you to record specific shows that are of your interest. Thats highly interactive and - much more complicated, timeconsuming and nonrealtime then the internet would give you, me us. Because with enough fat pipes (100Mbit upward) this is all instant its all bi-directional (sender and viewer can be the same person). You wanna watch something specific? Its a search engine question away. Don´t know which news to watch? Go to a blog which objectively/subjectively rates newsprograms. This is a nightmare scenario for every TV network. First independent production companies just will market their shows without a TV networks, why have a middle man when you can get the whole cake. Its a self inflicted wound as TV networks have been outsourcing all productions these days to safe costs. So the most successful shows/magazins or whatever will leave the networks first and a death spiral follows because no content worth watching no viewers no ad revenue no nothing to continue and this spiral is starting to spin now because with the new rating system two things will happen. Shows where everyone just skips ads will drop off the networks. Now these are not necessary the shows that the fewest people watch, its only shows people watch that are clever enough to skip the advertising - these are the shows that the most technical knowledgeable educated people - the multiplicators - watch. If these go to the internet in return (because the production companies see a hit and now have a distribution model without network dictating price taking 90% of the income and having control over you) you have the multiplicators go to the internets and tell their friends that this is so cool and that you do not need a TV anymore because all "the cool shit" is in the series of tubes. You might ask now: What about YouTube/Blip and the like? Isn´t that already what you are talking about and it hasn´t hurt TV? YouTube solves a very imminent problem that was huge just a year ago: how to serve up video content without going broke when your show hits 100 watchers. This is fused with a "community" styling. So is MySpace/Virb the other way around - a social network with the ability to freely host video content. Both are small version of what the internet in general is just with a nice interface and controlled by mega corporations. Because the internet IS a social network - the biggest one of all. YouTube has been a great platform to host experiments of the early times of mass internet video. What is shown in only very very small quantities is quality content - in content as in style. These sites are hard pressed to resist the pressure that will come to them when the network companies will grasp the last straw - their IP catalog. They have made sure that every show ever produced FOR them is now partially theirs (happily there are lots of blocks in the way so they can not "just put it on the web" without paying extra money to the makers). That works for another 25 years until their copyright runs out (in my opinion the number one reason why there is such a push for 200+ years copyright laws at the moment). So to stay alive and generate money these monoliths are flocking to YouTube and offer "their" content. This is a much more apparent commercialization of those "social networking" sites then just slapping adsense ads on the webpage and the users - so initially happy - will probably be offended - at latest when their "illegal" rips of TV shows or "mash up" are removed due to the pressure of the "tv" networks that actually do not have any much say in the big world as such. Its an easy way for ANY social networking site or "internet video portal" to go the drain. In the long run there is no need for these anyway other then to specialize in a certain topic (a snowboard video portal, a news portal, a cooking... ) because the emergence of a internet wide functioning track-back system (it will come rather sooner then later maybe through something like yahoo pipes where you can link up your site with your friends sites through pipes or whatever) will eliminate the need for "all your friends to be on one social network platform" as is the case at the moment. So the internet itself will be redefined the social network platform and you just host your stuff yourself. A good hosting service today already installs mostly everything you need for you and the administration time of this will also be less in the future. Or you just choose to partner with a specialized site and produce content just for that or both or all but you DO NOT NEED and WILL NEVER NEED (except if they pass laws which is not out the question these days) the middle man that is today a TV network no matter how big or small your Video/Filmproduction is. The only worrisome thing is that at the moment they have tremendous power and they must be well aware of these things and I have not a single moment of doubt that they will use their power to a) limit the internet itself (why do we still have DSL with only 1/10th the upload speed? there is not a single technical explanation why they do not start rolling out 100Mbits normal ethernet! How is this done? By pushing "conservative" candidates in TV who will just not run ahead and lay new fiber... b) they will fight with all their lobby might tighten the copyright laws until everyone is choked to death. then they will patent certain camera moves/angles and disallow anyone from shooting new content. Ok a) is a conspiracy theory but its not too far fetched and if you see the traditional media bias towards "conservatives" you have to wonder why and how they gain and then this is much clearer somehow (they help them by slowing down innovation in every step) and b) is already happening we have seen one successful push in the US and in Europe in the last years to extend the copyright and a new push is in full swing as I understand it. Which means that they are afraid very afraid and they should be, but never underestimate a bleeding dog. Timeframe? Well 2012 is all over like the Mayan calendar or the collapsing money-cycle so I also go for 2012 to see the freedom of airwaves (firstly eminent that you can now get airwaves for free from the government because nobody wants them :) The Nielsen rating was just the beginning and it will make them do one stupid "stop gap measure" that I have not commented on - it will make them try to interbreed commercials with the content - the worst stupid dumbass idea ever because that will certainly drive more people away in the long run. There is also an interesting Slashdot discussion with very insightful comments about this.

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Chiming in on the iPhone SDK discussion

There is a lot of bubble talk lately about the decision from Apple to make "Web 2.0" the only SDK the iPhone will get - for now. Nobody on the big news sites talking about it seems to be looking deeper into the issue. Its all so apparent.
Steve specifically mentioned "sandboxing the applications" in his keynote to be the biggest problem with an open iPhone SDK. The last - very last - things Apple needs are any kind of malware on the phone that starts dialing your sprouse and connect her to a sex line while the phones speakers are turned off and the phone is in your pant pockets. Thats a VERY big concern because if that happens its a marketing backlash that will drop the Applestock back to $10 in less then a month. So especially for the first round its all about making this device secure as hell therefore overly controlled. Giving users the ability to run Web 2.0 apps is already a wide stretch in this security model but then some other developments that steve talked about in his keynote are very interesting things.

The original iPhone released end of this month will run Mac OSX 10.4.10 (or 10.4.9 or some other chimera in between) Mac OS 10.4 and earlier does not have any systemwide secure sandboxing model in place as is. BUT Leopard - according to Apples own developers talking "publicly" at the WWDC - will have a system wide sandboxing mechanism for all apps. So an iPhone 2.0 which will probably run a spec'ed down version of Leopard will maybe bring an SDK where all 3rd party apps run inside a sandbox.

Safari 3 is probably on the iPhone and Safari 3 might run its own ultra secure sandboxing mechanism (windows version seems not to)?!

Until then I am sure there is a way to "hack" this thing easily as this seems Apples way of doing things lately, because if it is a hack then Apple does not have to support it until they have figured out a way to do things right (which not always works of course).

I for one think that MOST application that might be usefull for a PHONE could be small widgets (and dashboard widgets are basically what will become "Web 2.0 iPhone 1.0 apps"). Exception is of course games and media managment and manipulation stuff.

Very interesting would be to know if it runs Quartz Composer Compositions (if the Quicktime for the iPhone supports these that is) because if it does then media manipulation can be done without any core level functioning (at least to the degree where the iPhone makes sense). Leaves us with games...
For those I think Apple will initially sell some through a trusted partner network (iTunes store) (EA games anyone? ID with its "we have another mac related announcement at the next games conference" Carmack comment?) to then with iPhone 2.0 and sandboxing modell of Leopard opening up the platform to any developers? (next years WWDC?)

As said it all makes a hell of a lot of sense and seeing the immense news coverage for this phone Apple has to pull out all its legs to make sure this thing is absolutely secure and bug free in its first iteration. There will be enough people complaining about the keyboard and "Video loading times" etc to manage a virus outbreak or similar on the device is absolute publicity hell.

So I will still not get a Apple 1.0 product no matter how cool it is EVER again in my life and a lot of Mac diehards who have been with Apple gear for more then 5 years probably are going down the same route. Its nice to have unsuspecting windows users betatesting apple hardware now :)

PS: And noone says that the Safari Web 2.0 SDK has some iPhone specific extensions to like read out the iPhone sensors etc. It already has the "transparency window mode" for dashboards so that seems like a clear path.


G8 Summit: Excerpt in German Law, Protestors might need it

Grundgesetz Artikel 20

[Staatsstrukturprinzipien; Widerstandsrecht]

(1) Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist ein demokratischer und
sozialer Bundesstaat.

(2) Alle Staatsgewalt geht vom Volke aus. Sie wird vom Volke in
Wahlen und Abstimmungen und durch besondere Organe der Gesetzgebung,
der vollziehenden Gewalt und der Rechtsprechung ausgeübt.

(3) Die Gesetzgebung ist an die verfassungsmäßige Ordnung, die
vollziehende Gewalt und die Rechtsprechung sind an Gesetz und Recht

(4) Gegen jeden, der es unternimmt, diese Ordnung zu beseitigen,
haben alle Deutschen das Recht zum Widerstand, wenn andere Abhilfe
nicht möglich ist.