OS X is Dead

Steve Gillmor likes to talk about MS Office being dead. I’m ready to say OS X is dead, shambling dead, but still dead. Once the Mac hardware switch to Intel, it’s just too easy to run Windows. In the end, dual-booters will find themselves hanging out in Windows more often than not. The story will be, “I like the look of Apples and I need reliable hardware for this messed up Microsoft OS.” Nevermind that Apple has had a series of hardware goofs in the past year.

Check out this story about how a Microsofty ran presentation about Vista and Office 7 using Vista running on a Mac laptop. Then check out Cory Doctorow’s annoucement that he’s switching to Ubuntu. Cory admits to being an Apple fanboy. When people like him publicly switch, it tends to inspire a lot of people. And it usually means that the smartest people already connected the dots a year before.

I’ve recently switched my desktop machine at work to Ubuntu after running Dapper on a little Dell laptop for four or five months. After I figured out that I could run Meeting Maker under WINE, I only had to wait for client work to ease off to make the switch. Nearly everything just works. I have an ATI video card, which is less convenicent than one from nVidia. nVidia play nicely with the open source crowd. Anyway, it’s a minor annoyance and kind of fun to play around with.

Marketing News

CMP Trademarks Meaningless ‘Web 2.0’ Moniker

I read on Slashdot that CMP trademarked the term ‘Web 2.0’ and promptly started suing people who use the term in association with their conferences. CMP and O’Reilly started the Web 2.0 meme, I believe, with their conference of the same name. It’s become clear that the term in fact has zero meaning. It’s an interesting exercise to ask several people what they think it means. The best consensus you’ll find is it means “cool” or “modern”.

I was already tired of the term, and now I have a good reason to refuse to use it any more. I just removed all of the web2.0 tags I had and replaced them with tags I wouldn’t be embarrassed to see a couple years from now.

News Politics

It’s Time to Destroy Iran

It appears that world is finally waking up to a reality some of us have recognized for a long time. Iran is a cancer we must now remove. A headline in the San Diego Union-Tribune (I was on vacation last week) read something like “Iran is years away from nuclear weapons”. It probably came from a New York Times article on 4/13. The claim is that the terrorist state is 5 to 10 years away from developing nuclear weapons. I’m sure the statement was meant to imply that we have time–time to procrastenate, time for more terrorist attacks, time to let Iran come up with better defenses. I read it as “there are only a few years to act before Iran uses nuclear weapons against us.” What if someone told you in 1993 not to worry, it would be years before the terrorists came up with a plan that would bring down the World Trade Center?

I’m afraid we’re in for a long slog–one of valueless debate in the U.N. But after that, we will likely see the unfolding of a scenario similar to the one in Iraq with one key difference. Iran will have no strong neighbor able to send terrorists across its border. If the Bush administration is sucessful with regime-change in Iran, it will be very hard for anyone to talk about Iraq being a failure.

When we’re through, let’s replace the Islamic Republic of Iran with the Republic of Persia.

If you haven’t yet, please read Robert Tracinski’s argument for war against Iran, titled Time to Fight the Real War.

Update: while I still believe the government in Iran is capable of creating a real tragedy, I have abandoned the idea that any government, including the United States, can do anything positive to prevent it. The idea of government ought to be buried in a garbage pit along with religion, slavery, war and all the other bad ideas of antiquity.

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Core PHP

“Angels sing when I open [Core PHP]”

I love it when I read comments about my books that go like the following.

I also picked up Core PHP Programming (3rd edition) by Leon Atkinson and Zeev Suraski (Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference. Angels sing when I open it. Pithy, example-driven text. The binding and page layout are beautiful as well!

(From the Renaissance Geek blog.)


Al-Qaeda Uses Orkut

Yesterday, USA Today posted a story titled “Osama bin Laden fan clubs build online communities” which outlines how community sites such as MySpace and Orkut, powerful community-building tools, aren’t just for teenagers and business people seeking connections. The article claims, “one of the largest insurgency groups in Iraq”, the Islamic Army, has ties with the most popular Osama bin Laden community on Orkut.

The purpose of these communities appears to be similar to any other community with less detestable aims: to attract new members who agree with each other about certain ideas. It doesn’t concern me when people organize to worship George Lucas. It does worry me when people gather around the idea of killing me and everyone I know.

After the 2004 election, no one can be blind to the Internet being a powerful tool for political efforts. It’s obvious that in addition to organizing rallies, the Internet can also help organize acts of violence. The Internet is vast and uncontrolled, exactly as it was designed to be. We shouldn’t want it otherwise. But, as Spider-man would say, with great power comes great responsibility. In other words, the Internet, like life, allows you to be good or evil. Don’t be evil.

Unfortunately, Google appears to be looking the other way, probably out of neglect. I can imagine it’s a big problem to sift through all the activity going on. And service providers have traditionally avoided attacks from the government by claiming they do no editing. But Google does edit some material if it violates their terms of membership. And Google did remove some material after USA Today brought it to their attention. I’m sure they just aren’t willing to put the resources behind keeping the system free of this junk.

On the other hand, you can’t just wander into Orkut. You must be invited. The site itself claims this is a tactic for keeping traffic on the site low. Orkut is not the same as MySpace. It should be small enough for Google to manage.

Some argue that this is a free speech issue. It isn’t. Google isn’t the government. They have no obligation to protect free speech on their services, and spokeswoman Debbie Frost says as much.

Google ought to be halting any activity on their service that encourages their own destruction. I suspect there aren’t any Orkut communities dedicated to digging up dirt on Google employees, or discovering Google’s trade secrets, or organizing attacks on Google facilities. Yet they allow more general efforts to continue.

Google ought to be cooperating with law enforcement to hand over all the information in these communities to aid the effort in stopping these terrorists. Maybe they are and just don’t want to admit it. They famously cooperated with China in censoring part of the Internet for Chinese people, but just as famously fought our government on handing over aggregated search data. Since the second act seemed to be a PR move to counteract the first, I suspect if they are pushed on this issue, they will claim they are upholding freedom of speech and privacy.