Who will get the Nobel for Dark Energy?

This article outlines the history of the race to determine ΩM

Dark Energy – physicsworld.com

When and if a Nobel prize is eventually awarded to this amazing discovery, the Nobel committee will have to exercise Solomonic judgment in deciding how to apportion the award, to be shared maximally by three individuals, among two teams. For much of the small community helped one team or the other — or both — and the effect of the ambiguities, as most members of the teams are happy to see, is to spread around recognition. The final twist in this dramatic story of fierce competition may be the benevolent irony that the credit ends up going to both teams — in effect, to the entire supernova community.

Published in: on December 31, 2007 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is Java obsolete?

This is tagged over at Infoworld as one of the under-reported stories of 2007.  The quote below pretty much sums it all up, but in a couple words: in a corporate culture where everyone is expected to do more with less, a language that requires thought to produce innovative solutions is a business liability … or at best, a niche language where innovation is still important.

Is this an under-reported story … or just so obvious its not worth putting into print?  The thought-provoking part of the article is a survey result that points to .Net edging out Java in that niche.  Its lucky for Java progammers, that  C# is similar.  On the other hand, if you want to squeeze out shopping cart sites,  you’d better learn Ruby.

Java is becoming the new Cobol | InfoWorld | Analysis | 2007-12-28 | By Bill Snyder

Java, the oldest new programming language around, is falling out of favor with developers. When it comes to developing the
increasingly common rich Internet applications, Java is losing ground to Ruby on Rails, PHP, AJAX and other cool new languages. And there are even reports that Microsoft’s .Net, of all things, is pushing Java
out of the enterprise.

One bit of good news: developers and analysts agree that Java is alive and well for internally developed enterprise apps. “On the back end, there is still a substantial amount of infrastructure available that makes Java a very strong contender,” says Zephyr’s Shah.

Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 2:11 pm  Comments (1)  

Netscape goes belly up

AOL decides that Firefox is good enough …

End of Support for Netscape web browsers – The Netscape Blog

Q: What will this mean?

A: We’ll continue to release security patches for the current version of the browser, Netscape Navigator until February 1, 2008. After February 1, there will be no more active product support for Navigator 9, or any previous Netscape Navigator browser. This includes Netscape v1-v4.x, Netscape v6, Netscape v7 Suite, Netscape Browser v8, and Netscape Navigator/Messenger 9.

Q: I use Netscape now. Now that Netscape is stopping support, what do I do?

A: The Netscape Team fully stands behind the fine work being done by the Mozilla Foundation. We recommend that you download Mozilla Firefox and give it a try. We know you’ll enjoy it!

Published in: on December 29, 2007 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google Reader Goes Social

Google Reader Shows Shared Items from Your Friends

Google Reader finally becomes social and automatically subscribes to the list of shared items from your Google Talk friends (which is a subset of your Gmail contacts). Your friends will also see your shared items, but you can remove those you don’t want to read you favorite posts.

Published in: on December 16, 2007 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google begins to fix Identity and Contacts

Google Profiles

Until now, you could create profiles in Blogger, orkut, Google Groups, Google Co-op and all of them could contain different information. You could also add photos in Gmail, Google Talk and orkut, so the situation started to become confusing.

The new Google profiles are already available in Shared Stuff, Google Maps, Google Reader and will be added to other web applications. For example, in Google Maps you’ll find the link to your profile at the top of the page.

Published in: on December 16, 2007 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

LinkedIn on the move

New features including an API and a re-designed home page are in Beta.  So I wonder if this is connected to the delay in the release of OpenSocial until next year?  LinkedIn, like most of the the other OpenSocial partners is keenly aware of the moves that Facebook is making on their turf, and LinkedIn is poised for explosive overseas growth…provided they can get there before Facebook.

Tech Beat LinkedIn Makes Its Move – BusinessWeek

As for those rumors about News Corp. buying LinkedIn? Nye wouldn’t comment directly, but notes, “It’s all working well now. Why would we sell?” (LinkedIn is projecting it will have $75 million to $100 million in revenues next year.) That said, LinkedIn is clearly prickly about the competition from Facebook. And there are only so many social networks, personal or professional, that people will embrace with any kind of regularity. So the acceptance of these latest initiatives may well determine if LinkedIn is one of those chosen few.

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Interesting GMail Incident

This Google Groups discussion thread started when GMail users started being dis-usered for no apparent reason (on Dec 5).  16 hours later, a “GMail Guide” joins the discussion to acknowledge the problem and shortly afterwards everyone is unblocked.  They had instituted a spam filter change that tagged some innocent people as violating terms of use.

Its interesting reading.  Including the comments from people who are using GMail for their business.  Its also sort of interesting to look at the profile of the “GMail Guide”.

Account has been disabled – Problem-solving | Google Groups

From: Gmail Guide
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 12:42:31 -0800 (PST)

Local: Thurs, Dec 6 2007 3:42 pm

Subject: Re: Account has been disabled

Hi everyone,

I understand that some of you have had a frustrating experience with
your accounts being inappropriately disabled. Our team is aware of the
problem, and our engineers are continuing to investigate.

Thanks for
bringing this to our attention.

Gmail Guide

Published in: on December 7, 2007 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

No OpenSocial under the Tree

OpenSocial Delayed Until Next Year – The Unofficial Facebook Blog

Facebook could end up with having a close to one year lead on the competition in regards to social platforms. As Russ Whitman wrote into TechCrunch, “In our opinion the fundamental problem lies in the core value of Open Social – it’s a unique partnership between Google, Containers/Hosts, and Developers. Getting all on the same page is going to be a ton of work. The opportunity is clear, but the path to get there will be difficult for sure.”

Published in: on December 7, 2007 at 3:49 pm  Comments (1)  

A Primer on Wisdom of Crowds

Here is a superb article that classifies, explains, and lists examples of how the wisdom of crowds can be harnessed.  The review breaks the field down into three categories; content creation (collaborartive editing), organization (tagging, linking, voting), and prediction (markets).

It even lists the potential pitfalls to the general principle of “two heads are better than one”; like mass hysteria.

Crowdsourcing: A Million Heads is Better than One

The “wisdom of crowds” is a popular web 2.0 buzzword, popularized by James Surowiecki’s book of the same name. At its most basic, the term means that two heads are better than one, and that still more heads will yield even better results.

Published in: on December 7, 2007 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google charts API

Handy and simple.  But I didn’t see a way to encode real numbers (kind of a deal breaker in a lot of circumstances).

Google Code Blog: Embed charts in webpages with one of our simplest APIs yet

Today we’re launching the Google Chart API, a really simple tool for creating charts and graphs that are perfect for websites.

Published in: on December 6, 2007 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment