Archived entries for Info Mgmt

Cingular? The Cingular 8125?

I’m getting pretty close to buying the Cingular 8125 cell phone, and, in the process, switching from Sprint to Cingular. Advice or input?

The whole world of “Mobile” is about to get much much more exciting in the US in the next 18 months, and I’d like to be with a carrier and on a device that lets me experiement with as much of it as possible. Is this the carries, the device?

I’m moving from an old Treo (the 600), so it’s also a switch from Palm OS to Windows. Any words of advice in that regard?

Open Source for Web Services?

Tim O’Reilly wrote this[1] last week that Open Source Licenses are Obsolete. He points out that the excitement (or at least the newness) today is largely about web services. (Note the term “services”, not “software”.)

To these “services”, a license that deals almost exclusively with installed software doesn’t mean much. The software distributed under these various open-source licenses isn’t obsolete (in fact, I work on some fulltime), but rather these installation-based licenses aren’t sufficient or appropriate when “software as services” are concerned.

Granting somebody the rights to modify the source code behind the Yahoo! Term Extractor web service doesn’t make any sense. Instead, we need a way to license the service: How much capacity is provided? How much uptime is granted? What types of uses are legit? Etc.

This question that he’s raising makes good sense to me. I’ve got friends at agencies and startups that I encourage to use our extensive web service offerings. They want to (and do), but they have legitimate and real questions that a discussion like the one Tim’s provoking could begin to answer.

[1] I gotta get better about not losing things in the draft folder.

Outstanding Video on Global Development from TED Conference

I was just catching up on some blog reading, and came cross this sentence on Christina Wodtke’s blog: “When several smart people email you and say ‘watch this’ you watch that: Hans Rosling on TED Talks“. She’s right, it puts complex and often-oversimplified issues in a new and illustrative light. It’s good stuff to have seen as you think about the development of our world, and what progress might really mean. Here’s the blurb from the site:

Hans Rosling is professor of international health at Sweden’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, he debunks a few myths about the “developing” world. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA.)

The Technology Entertainment Design Conference, or TED, is where this was shot, and is a annual conference in Monterey, CA, self described as “a global community of remarkable people and remarkable ideas”.

Tip: Disable PDF Display in Firefox (Use Reader Instead)

Erik Bruchez on the XForms Everywhere blog walks through the steps necessary to make pdf files open in your dedicated pdf viewer instead of in Firefox. He also does a nice job summarizing why you’d want to do this:

  • The Adobe Acrobat Reader plugin, like any Adobe application, takes ages to start. While it is starting, your browser is frozen and you can’t do anything else.

  • When it doesn’t work, it crashes your entire browser, or just freezes it (the case with Adobe Acrobat 6.0 and Firefox).

  • When it works, usual browser shortcuts don’t work, including those to close your window or tab, navigate between tabs, go back and forward, etc.

  • To make things worse, there is really no reliable warning when you follow a hyperlink that you are going to open a PDF file. So you hang, crash or freeze without any courtesy notice.

Two Thunderbird Tips: Remove Duplicate Messages and Change Reply Headers

There are two tweaks I made to my Mozilla Thunderbird client in the last two days.

By default, Thunderbird places “Joe Smith wrote:” at the top of your message when you reply. I’d prefer to have a date stamp there toom like “on 5/12/2006 10:03 AM Joe Smith said the following:”. Firefox is a great browser and Thunderbird is a great email client for more reasons than extensibility, but extensibility sure is nice. The change is nearly-trivial in Thunderbird by modifing the User.js file in your Thunderbird profiles folder, and restarting Thunderbird (not your computer). How? Change Your Thunderbird Response Header

Another nice extensibility feature is Mozilla’s Extensions system which Thunderbird also shares wth Firefox. Returning from another time zone the other day, my POP server got confused and sent me all my recent messages again. Which stinks, because I ended up with about 1800 duplicate messages filtered and spread throughout my inbox folder structure. In the past I’ve just accepted that fate, but this time I looked for an extension.

Sure enough, the perfect tool for removing duplicate messages exists. One tip: switch which message (older or newer) is discarded, lest you delete your metadata (read, flagged) along with the older message. By default it seems to keep newer, but I’d recommend switching that. Aside from that, it’s a blazing fast tool that without fuss does exactly what it advertises.

Thanks,
Nate

NYTimes: “Google in China: The Big Disconnect”

Quick pointer: Great, long, interesting article on the the state of the internet in China. Censorship, culture, business, morals.

Discusses the experiences of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!; Cisco on the hardware/router side; local players like Baidu, Sina and Sohu; several journalists and bloggers active within China; and what it all might mean.

There are multiple eye-opening descriptions of cultural forces at play in China, and how those influence Internet usage in general.

All and all, a helpful and enjoyable primer.



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