Geert Claes announced a new Smalltalk website. It has a cool name and URL: www.world.st. Check it out!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Great, my school gave me a laptop so I can be spied on. So, when I go back to school the next morning, school officials can berate me for my behavior at home. Isn't that great? Source here.
And please note: do not attack schools for this. Go after the people that engaged in this ridiculous behavior. People, you know, like computer technician Mike Perbix:
Or people, you know, like technology coordinator Carol Cafiero:
Mark Haltzman, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Robbins and his family, said evidence now shows the district used the tracking software for non-authorized reasons — for instance, when students failed to pay the required insurance or return the laptops at year's end. At least once, a name mix-up led the district to activate the wrong student's laptop, he charged.
"Thousands of webcam pictures and screen shots have been taken of numerous other students in their homes, many of which never reported their laptops lost or missing," Haltzman wrote in a motion filed Thursday.
According to Haltzman, technology coordinator Carol Cafiero refused to answer his questions at a recent deposition, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. She and technician Michael Perbix were the only employees authorized to activate the webcams. Perbix did not fight the deposition.Haltzman called Cafiero a possible "voyeur" and wants access to her personal computer to see if she downloaded any student images. To support the charge, he cited her response to an e-mail from a colleague who said viewing the webcam pictures was like watching "a little LMSD [the name of the school] soap opera."
"I know, I love it!" Cafiero allegedly replied.Moreover,
- Possession of a monitored Macbook was required for classes
- Possession of an unmonitored personal computer was forbidden and would be confiscated
- Disabling the camera was impossible
- Jailbreaking a school laptop in order to secure it or monitor it against intrusion was an offense which merited expulsion
Finally, for a disturbing view of privacy gone out the window, check this article.
Posted by Andrés at 13:57
So you like the latest movie, huh? Check it out: when you watch that movie for "entertainment" purposes, you're supporting people who argue the following:
- Consumers should voluntarily install software that constantly scans our computers and identifies (and perhaps deletes) files found to be "infringing".
- Copyright protection measures can be trojan horses for consumer surveillance.
- You must declare pirated electronic content at customs crossings, and customs agents can scan and seize your electronic devices.
- Trade sanctions should be imposed on countries that have technology friendly policies, e.g.: Chile was named for considering fair use-style exceptions to its copyright law; Canada was listed for requiring that its customs officers have a court order before seizing goods at the border; and Israel was highlighted for refusing to adopt DMCA-style anti-circumvention provisions after legislative debate concluded that anti-circumvention laws would have no effect on copyright infringement.
- Big Hollywood studios should be allowed to enlist the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to provide taxpayer-supported muscle for summer blockbuster films, so that they can "interdict... and to react swiftly with enforcement actions". Would you like some SWAT team busting your house to determine whether you have any pirated content at gun point?
Posted by Andrés at 13:41
I just got an email from Lulu saying that if customers use the code FREEMAIL305, then they will get a $3.99 discount on their shipping. According to Lulu's email,
Posted by Andrés at 13:26
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Like it or not, the iPad is selling like hot bread.
Sigh. Just because things look cool, it doesn't make them good. For example, somehow it's a good thing to carry 1000 books in our pockets. What's the point, since we cannot meaningfully deal with even 5 serious books at a time? Moreover, 25% of Americans don't read books at all, and the rest reads about 1 book a month. Are Kindles or iPads worth so much just to read 1 book a month?
Really. Let's say that you read 15 books a year. If you buy them electronically, then you lose the rights to the works you bought (because e.g.: Amazon decides to delete the book you bought from your device). Also, assuming you buy new books only, you might save something like $150 on the books. However, you have to spend $259 on the device. The device which, by the way, will become obsolete in about the time it takes you to save enough on new books to justify buying the device. If you bought used books instead, or got the books free from the library you already pay for, it would be even more cost effective. But, in this way, you give your money away in exchange for an unnecessary and counterproductive luxury. I see. Incidentally, if you are a book author dealing with even mildly sophisticated matter, have you noticed you can't really format your book to look nice on an eBook device?
Also, we won't "facilitate" the distribution of knowledge just because a particularly efficient middleman enters the marketplace. In other words, people won't read more just because it is possible to get books more conveniently. After all, before the Internet was publicly accessible, you could just go to a library and read whatever you wanted to your heart's content. And yet, it hardly ever happened...
When devices make information readily available to us, they also interrupt us more frequently. Hence, these devices that offer you things you don't really need serve as a pervasive source of distractions that work against you accomplishing anything meaningful. Why check email every minute? Do we really need to engage in SMS traffic like crazy? Twitter? Really? Have you tried achieving something difficult with so many things requesting your attention?
To me, the real problem is the sophistication of the audience. Alas, it takes hard work to become "sophisticated" (as opposed to "trivial"), and we don't really promote that personal and instrospective work as much as we could. If we did, perhaps more of us would create things, or perhaps more than ~5% of the population would be technologically inclined, or perhaps more of us would be "haves" as per the above quote, or perhaps we would have more of an appreciation for non-trivial results (e.g.: the iPhone application that allows you to "make music" by blowing on the microphone while touching the screen as if it was a flute... if you really want to "make music" then get a real music instrument or, failing that, whistle). In short, more of us might decide to stop amusing ourselves to death. And then, maybe then, we would have more of a say (mod e.g.: using a GPL OS). Until then, I think we need an updated version of the below quote...
Posted by Andrés at 01:33
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Oh yeah sure, I need a quad core to check my email, edit a photo, and run a virus check in the background, all at the same time.
Really? You know, back in the day when a text editor program was ~100kb, we did not need all this ridiculous amount of horsepower to... gasp!... check email... even today, the compressed installer for Thunderbird fits many times over in the cache memory of modern CPUs. Exactly why do we need a quad core to run an antivirus check in the background, particularly given that such checks are I/O bound anyway?
Admit it. Confess it already. Some people just don't know what they are selling, some folks don't know what they are buying, and hence we get this kind of confusion going on... this, you know, exploitation market similar to that set up for teenagers...
Posted by Andrés at 03:41
Monday, April 12, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
We recently noticed an uptick in questions about Smalltalks 2010. Are we going to have a Smalltalk conference in Argentina this year?...
But first, we need to do our homework so we can have a wonderful event like the ones in 2007, 2008 and 2009, so stay tuned. In the mean time, did you see Dan Ingalls' Smalltalks 2009 presentation video at FAST's website?...
Posted by Andrés at 03:05
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Posted by Andrés at 21:55
Friday, April 02, 2010
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Posted by Andrés at 17:45
I really appreciate the interest you have shown in my books. I thought I'd pass on this bit of news. If you use the code APRILFOOLS when you check out at Lulu, you will get a 10% discount. To get the discount, you have to make a purchase today (April 1st). Enjoy!
Posted by Andrés at 00:31