The Unofficial Apple Weblog repeats and comments on a rumor that Apple has invested in, and is possibly cooperating with, Symbiot. I am purposely not linking to the Symbiot site because these people don't need any more publicity. The premise behind their product is that, if you detect that you are under a denial-of-service attack, you will counter-attack. This is just so stupid on so many levels that I don't know where to start, and fortunately many other folks have already posted about that. What worries me is that some idiot at Apple thought that this was a good investment and has convinced others at Apple that they should help Symbiot. If so, that Apple employee should be fired and Apple should apologize to the Internet community for their participation in the damage to the Internet. Or maybe this is just another "look how stupid Apple is" rumor...
Tim Bray talks about an interesting question, but I think he comes up with the wrong answer. He says "I think the Java answer is about as good as anyone’s at the moment", and maybe his recent overexposure to the Sun has affected his vision. Few of the corporate folks buying into Java are doing it from a long-term perspective; most are doing so because of the current coolness factor (well, current a few years ago).
One of the things that got people to trust long-term projects to COBOL 20-25 years ago was the fact that it was being standardized outside the vendor community. Sure, there were efforts by IBM to railroad the standards; fortunately for IBM's long-term sales, they failed. Java, on the other hand, is still tightly in the hands of Sun and no one expect Sun to do the Right Thing with it.
So, how does an IT director who is looking at decommissioning some COBOL-running mainframes pick a new language platform? They look at what has been fairly stable for ten years and seems fairly free of a single entity's control. Java isn't even an option; C, C++, and Perl 5 are. They all run on commodity hardware and commodity OSs (Linux and FreeBSD), they all play well with external database tools, and they are fairly easy to teach to the crop of new programmers who are being born today. It is likely that at least one of them will become as disliked 25 years from now as COBOL is today, and I predict that it will be C++: "too hard", "too arcane", and so on.
Good computer books are hard to come by, but I have just finished reading one that is exceptionally good. Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks by Brian Jepson and Ernest E. Rothman (ISBN 0596006071) is complete without being padded, and is full of information that any Mac user who is familiar with Unix systems will find helpful. It covers everything from day-to-day maintenance to program development. Check out the table of contents: there's lots there.
One really nice feature is that they talk at length about non-Apple freeware and shareware packages that are useful to Unixy Mac users, showing where they have features that the Apple-supplied packages lack. The coverage of the Fink package system is in enough depth to make any Linux or BSD fan happy. There is also an appendix with 'man' pages for dozens of undocumented OS X commands.
You don't need to be a Unix geek to get value out of the book. Advanced OS X users who have never touched other Unix systems will still find lots of good stuff here that won't appear in other books (or, if it is there, is glossed over and not put in context). Even if you just want to know some of the geekier parts of OS X (like what happens when the system starts up, or how to use XWindows), this book will serve you well.
David Strom titled his piece Taking ownership of the customer, but the story clearly shows how HP lost a whole family with cruddy tech support. Although I have found that Dell's tech support ain't what it used to be, it sure is better than anything I have heard about HP/Compaq. I still say the acquisition of Compaq will be the death of HP's reputation.
I ate lots of Korean food when I was in Korea this week. (Don't laugh; many folks at the meeting didn't.) Normally, I don't eat hot food, but I figured I should just give in this week. I'm glad I did. After the first couple "oooh, I'm not going to like this" thoughts, I just gave in and let the hot be hot. It was actually quite tasty, and more varied in the other spices than I expected.
I doubt that I'm going to become one of the people who purposely adds hot sauce to what I'm eating, but I hope to not avoid foods just because they're labeled hot in the future. Next up: the red curry at my favorite Thai restaurant.
I was in Korea last week at the IETF meeting. On Wednesday, I gave a talk at KISA. Many elevators in Korea have TVs in them, and the KISA elevator had news. On the screen Alan Greenspan was talking. I asked my hosts if they knew who he was; they didn't, so I explained how powerful he was. After a bit of thinking, one said "he looks like Woody Allen". A great summary of American politics today...
The new album from the Indigo Girls, All That We Let In, is a wonderful return to their best songwriting and playing. The past few albums have felt like they were trying too hard to go different place musically ("OK, here's the hard rocker", "OK, here's the really weird song", "Notice the banjo here", and so on). This new one is back to the musical attributes of their first four albums, with lots of other influences. "Tether" has Neil Young and REM and a bit of U2 all over it, yet it is still an IG song, and as good of an anthem as "Closer To Fine". "Dairy Queen" could have been the hit from "Nomads, Indians, and Saints". Lots of good stuff here!