Remixing Youtube

An interesting approach to chains of copyright but these are really interesting. None of the participants were involved in making these songs. At the same time all of them were. A guess is that remixes like these will become more and more popular. Where can I buy these songs? Who will get paid? More information at Continue reading

What Sun Should Do

Tim Bray has an interesting post titled What Sun Should Do where he lists some suggestions. I have been thinking about Sun for a while and how my own image of the company has changed over the years. A long time ago I was working for Cambridge Technology Partners (later acquired by Novell). We did a lot of interesting projects, some of which were deployed on Sun hardware. At that time (around ’97-’98) my image of Sun was that it was a huge company selling huge hardware at huge prices. Continue reading

November 3: Twitter friend icon impersonation week begins

For a long time I have been amazed how much expression you can get into the twitter icon. It is only 48 by 48 pixels but many of my contacts manage to squeeze a lot of style in there. So, starting on monday november 3 I will change my twitter icon once every day trying to impersonate people who follow me on twitter. At the end of the week I’ll publish all icons side by side for your viewing pleasure. Anyone else up for the challenge?

(note: if everyone in my feed does this there might be a slim possibility to see all my followers looking like me. Apart from me, who will look like someone else. Ah, the excitement!).

Software architects as management deadwood

Two interesting quotes from Dietrich Kappe:

So no, we don’t hire architects. We hire developers. In a small team, there is no room for management deadwood.

I agree completely. My view is that the title “Software architect” is a misnomer for what most architects in the software industry do, or at least what they should be doing.

It is part of the weird trend that career advancement means getting away from actual programming for some reason. Maybe that is part of a bigger problem when the only way to get a higher pay is to become a manager of some sort? A couple of years ago, most programmers I knew aimed for a project management position. Programming was a dirty job that you had to put up with during the first years in consulting.

When my title was “business analyst” I tried to do as much programming I could and I haven’t regretted that for a moment. In fact, I believe that more people from the business side should get involved in programming to get a better understanding of the fundamental principles. For example, it would be great if business people could write their own acceptance tests and with the booming trend of DSL:s you will probably get involved anyway.

If you’ve made the transition from a hierarchical environment to an agile, self-organizing team, you know what I’m saying. You won’t ever want to go back.

Absolutely. It is the same thing as discovering things like Ruby/Python/Rails: it makes you wonder what the hell you were doing earlier. In many ways I feel sorry for young software developers that go straight into Rails or similar frameworks today. They are not as appreciative as the rest of us:-)

Prism – web apps as desktop apps

When people started making applications available in the browser a number of interaction challenges appeared. How do you launch a web app compared to a desktop app? How do you prevent people from navigating away from your app? The Mozilla people have been hard t work with Prism – basically a customized version of Firefox, which lets you create desktop apps pre-configured to load a certain URL at startup. The desktop app is launched like any other application. Pretty sweet as the user experience becomes more consistent. You can also customize the application icon and other parameters. Continue reading

How the Swedish OOXML Vote Was Bought for $57,000

Microsoft hijacked Swedish OOXML vote?Sweden is represented in the ISO through the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS). This means that our country has one of the 100 or so votes.

The member countries have had six months to consider if the Office Open XML (OOXML) format should become an ISO standard. In Sweden, SIS arranged a working group that have looked through the material. As you may know the OOXML format has been heavily criticized (by many e.g. Google (PDF)) for allowing embedding of closed Microsoft-specific objects in the document standard and thus making it difficult for non-Microsoft software to read OOXML documents.

Unfortunately, SIS is an organisation where anyone can become a member. Member organizations can send participants to a working group for a fee. The current rate is 17,000 SEK (~$2,500). The day before the vote that decided if SIS would say yes to OOXML in the ISO there were a couple of new members in the SIS/TK321/AG17 working group:

Company name Relation to Microsoft
Exor Microsoft Partner
Formpipe software Microsoft Gold Partner
Cybernetics Microsoft Gold Partner
Ibizkit Microsoft Partner
Emric Microsoft Partner
Strand Interconnect Microsoft Gold Partner
Nordicstation Microsoft Partner
Sourcetech Microsoft Partner
Cornerstone Sweden Microsoft Gold Partner
Solid Park Microsoft Gold Partner
Fishbode systems Microsoft Gold Partner
KnowIT Sverige Microsoft Gold Partner
Modul 1 Microsoft Gold Partner
IDE Nätverkskonsulter Microsoft Gold Partner
Connecta Microsoft Gold Partner
Camako Data Microsoft Gold Partner
Sogeti Microsoft Gold Partner
Tieto Enator Corp. Microsoft Gold Partner

And so, Sweden will be voting yes to make OOXML an ISO standard.

For more information see:

Content-aware Image Resizing

I am guessing this would be a valuable addition to web browsers in the future. With this technique it is easy to target an image for viewing in multiple displays (e.g. a 4:3 screen or a 16:9 TV).

“Seam carving” allows an image to be resized non-uniformly, so you can change the height to width ratio in the image without cropping, but also without distorting important features in the image (such as faces).

The video shows some intresting results when using this method too much, but the overall result is very impressing.

Hackzine has more details.

MySpace Layouts and Markup Quality

I have received an increasing number of advertising inquiries from MySpace layout sites. Apparently the term “MySpace layouts” is a very popular search term these days. Looking at the default MySpace layouts one can unserstand why. I am confident that they didn’t hire a designer to create the default MySpace look and feel. Looking at the MySpace HTML, they certainly didn’t hire a GUI developer. The markup looks like it was ripped from a teenage fan site from the early nineties:

  • There is no doctype declaration. Not that it would have mattered anyway…
  • The markup starts out nicely with divs and spans and then freaks out with some classic table layout. I though that went away in the nineties…
  • Inline styles are used all over the place.
  • Headings start at level 5. And continues to level 4…
  • Images are missing an alt attribute.

This contributes to making MySpace an inaccessible mess. What does it prove? That you can be successful with a crappy site? Maybe the laugh is on me.