Narrowcasting on Channel 9

Channel 9 is some sort of broadcasting thingy for Microsoft right? Right…

Now, I rarely go to Channel 9, because I really don’t like Microsoft very much, but if something interesting comes along, I’ll take a peek. Following is my user experience with Channel 9, which may or may not be typical for most Mac users, I don’t know…

I followed a link to a video with Dean Hotchpotch the IE guy at Microsoft.

On the page was a screen shot of the video with a link to the video, but the link uses the protocol mms, of which I am not familiar with. I know http, ftp, scp, etc, but not mms.

I also notice the file extension of ‘wmv’ which I’m guessing is ‘Windows Media Video’ or something, I’m not sure.

Of course clicking on the link (which starts with mms:// gives me a ‘mms is not a registered protocol’ message from Firefox. Hmmm, I try changing ‘mms’ to ‘http’ which does download a file named ‘DeanH_Hottest_Seat_56K_110K_300K.wmv’ which seems to be a stub file pointing to the real video that should launch Windows Media Player.

It does not launch Windows Media Player, but that’s ok, I double click the file to launch it, and Windows Media Player tells me ‘Windows Media Player cannot play this file because the player does not support this codec’ which makes sense I guess because I’m using version 7.1.x and it seems that Windows Media Player 9 for Mac OS X is the most recent and probably has the right codex, but since I’ve wasted all this time just trying to see a freaking’ video clip about the guy in charge of Internet Explorer, I no longer care to waste anymore time on this so I give up.

Once again, I can’t help feeling that Microsoft just doesn’t know how to play well with others… If this is evangelizing their stuff, they’ve got a lot to learn.

Channel 9, signing off!


Jabber Redux

I started toying with class.jabber.php a bit, and am thinking about tying it into my hacked up version of Feed on Feeds to provide some notifications.

Jabber is like SVG, one of those really interesting technologies you keep wishing will move into the mainstream a little quicker, but you just keep waiting, and waiting…

There’s a lot of interesting projects at JabberStudio to dig into, and in the past I’ve messed with Perl and Net::Jabber, but sady enough, my old Perl code doesn’t seem to be working now, but the new PHP code using class.jabber.php is. Hurm…

So anyway, if I get into it, I’ll probably build some other notification apps, though there is one thing that has always bothered me about Jabber, and correct me if I’ve got it wrong, but you can’t seem to send from your own account to your own account. What I mean is, if I’ve got an account and try to write code to log on, and send a message to (myself) it doesn’t seem to work, which means I have to create another account. This seems silly. I mean, I can send myself an email, right? This might not be unique to Jabber, I think AIM has the same limitation. Still, it makes it just a bit more difficult for quick & dirty things…


Why is neat

I’m here to tell you why I think is neat.

Perception, baby! I go to and it’s simple. really simple. Too simple. Can it be this simple?

The About page has some disclaimer text:

This system is pre-pre-alpha; many features have yet to be added. Additionally, many, many bugs remain. Please be careful.

I reserve the right to take appropriate measures if you misbehave.

Is that it? It’s run by “some guy” and it’s “pre-pre-alpha” and it might go away at any second. That’s all ok though, really it is.

When I go to Furl (and even though it’s at .net and not .com) I see that it’s Copyright 2003-2004 Furl, LLC. So I start to wonder about the business model, and how they plan to move forward in the future, and if it’ll be free, or subscription based, or whatever… (See: Say farewell to Blogs and Bookmarks and get your Furl on for background info.) I know, Furl is not exactly the same as, but they share similar traits.

Ok, forget about Furl for a minute and go to Spurl. Hmmm, similar name (and another .net and not .com) and it looks really nice, and they have a privacy policy and terms of use that look ok, but they have this page about partners that mentions:

Spurl is building a group of strong partners to help us reach our goals.

Though what those goals are, I’m not quite sure.

I’ll admit, I have not dug deep into Furl or Spurl (are there others in this space I don’t know about?) but the beauty of is in it’s simplicity and it’s elegance, as well as it’s depth. On the surface it’s really not that complex. From a front end view, a good programmer could write a clone of it for personal use in a few days time. (Of course part of the value of is in the “social” aspect of it all.) As for the API, that might take a bit more time, and if you wrote your own version, you might not even bother with it. But the API is where the action is, it’s what allows you to easily backup everything you’ve put into the system at any time, and you should do this regularly in case it does disappear one day. (There are many links to backing up your data, or pulling it into your own site, do some searching…) almost begs you to do cool things with the data, and people do… Ok, here’s a few random links:


Tux Racer: Arcade Edition

Tux Racer: Arcade Edition

I really don’t go to arcades much, but was visiting some family from out of state and ended up at the Mineshaft and as we’re looking for games to play, I walk past one and see this penguin encased in plastic, pause, and say to myself “Hey, it’s Tux” and then a few seconds later realize it’s actually Tux Racer!

I’m not a big game player, but Tux Racer is a classic, and it’s available for Mac OS X as well as Linux and some other platforms. I remembered that there was supposed to be an arcade version coming at some point, and it looks like the folks at Roxor Games pulled it off.

Now here’s the funny part. I had just one game token, and I try to play it, but it requires two. Lo and behold, there’s a token sitting in the slot! So I play… Later, I convince Emma to play it, and then I find another token on the floor in front of the game! But wait… Later, when we’re almost ready to leave, I walk by and there’s a ticket hanging out of the front of the game!

Thank you, Tux Racer…


DIY IT versus Vendor Fawning

I’ve been thinking about Doc Searls IT Garage, which deals with DIY IT, where organizations take things into their own hands to provide the solutions they need by putting together various bits and pieces themselves rather than rely on vendors to do it all for them.

As someone who is a proponent of open-source, and a long time DIYer, it’s right up my alley. I’ve always tried to find my own solutions to problems in an organization rather that try to find someone I think can solve my problems with a boxed solution. It’s just the hacker mentality I guess.

But why do some people choose the vendor solution, or the in-a-box answer to problems? I think part of it might be social, and ego related. Years ago I used to deal with vendors, and vendors like to make you happy. They like to talk to you, and tell you things, and invite you to events, and give you gifts, and check in on you. For someone who wants an ego boost, or really likes that sort of interaction with people, it’s a great thing. Building a relationship with a vendor probably looks good in the corporate view of things.

Then there’s the other side, finding you own solution, dealing with developers of open-source projects on mailing lists and IRC, and compiling and installing things, and configuring them and getting them to work… Most of this is not glamorous, and no one is trying to “be your buddy” but in the end you get things to work and you solve a problem. No gifts, no “best friends” or “building relationships with a vendor” but in the end you get your solution. Problem solved. Your way. Probably for less money…

Vendors can also give you a support leg to stand on. Doesn’t work? Talk to the vendor! Work with the vendor to figure it out. It’s a failure? The vendor proposed the wrong solution! With the DIY method, you’re all on your own, with no one to blame. (Accountability!)

There will always be a need for vendors, and that’s fine, as long as they provide a real “value-added service” and that service is more than just boosting someone’s ego or making a new contact in your social network…