Hosting Java Apps at Google?

Too soon to tell exactly what “support” for Java means, but it would be nice to be able to drop war files over at Google and have them served out.

Java: Coming Soon to Google’s App Engine

Google will soon announce comprehensive support for the Java programming language on its Google App Engine (GAE) offering. We are trying to get more details. Rumors of such a development emerged last year, but we can now confirm that it is going to happen. We have have confirmed the news and expect the announcement later this spring, perhaps at the much-vaunted Google I/O event on May 27-28th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google Voice

Google Voice is available.  It was reported elsewhere that GrandCentral users would get an email announcing the upgrade was available, but it turned out that a banner with an upgrade button was available upon logging in at the GrandCentral site already.

The upgrade wiped out the call forwarding restrictions on your pre-existing phones and they had to be reset.  Otherwise, no problems. 

Placing calls from Google Voice was a little bit confusing at first, since its not what you’d hope and expect: something equivalent to a Skype out, but free.  No.  Instead, placing a call from Google Voice results in your forwarded phones and your party’s phone all ringing at once.  If you both pick up, your call is connected.  Your computer is not involved.   Bummer.

The nicest addition of the upgrade is the seamless integration of your GMail contacts.   They also have added SMS alerts for missed calls, which could be handy.

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last.fm tightens the screws

Another business plan bites the dust.  The fundamental problem is that Big Content is organized to distribute their wares through an expensive and outdated manufacturing process (like carving it into vinyl discs or stamping it onto dead trees) and then shipping it.

It takes a lot of money to build and perpetuate a manufacturing and distribution system like that (even the auto industry is having problems with it).

By contrast, artists can now produce a superior quality product in their bedroom, promote it and distribute it for free.  Customers aren’t stupid.  They’re asking where that cash that used to pay for the distribution system is going.  Certainly not into the pockets of the artist. 

The problem for Big Content is finding a way to justify continuing to take a sizable fraction of the artist’s ( or journalist’s) income. 

Last.fm came close to being a unique and promising answer.  Last.fm would promote music to wider markets by allowing users to play it for free, on demand, a limited number of times around the globe.  In return, listeners used a social component to build artist reputation and contributed a noteworthy music database.

In addition, the site was ad supported, you could pay a nominal fee to remove the limit on replays (subscription), and link through to pay for music downloads. 

Today, Last.fm decided to force the subscription model on most of the world.  Just ask a newspaper how well this business plan is going for them.

Last.fm goes payware • The Register

Less than a year after unveiling what it called a “free global jukebox”, Last.fm is scrapping free radio listening, except in three key countries: the USA, the UK and Germany. The site, acquired for $280m by media giant CBS almost two years ago, will instead introduce a €3 monthly equivalent fee for music streams. The site cruft, such as recommendations, interviews and social networking, remains free.

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 5:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Mac Triple Boot Revisited.

I haven’t tried this recipe, but it looks like it offers some new twists on the old incantation.  Since the days when successfully triple booting were like hitting the trifecta – we now have Parallels, VMWare and VirtualBox as pretty good alternatives.

Msi Wind Forums • View topic – Triple Boot setup [GPT+MBR] [Retail Mac OS X, XP & Ubuntu]

This guide will help you set up a triple boot of Mac OS X, Windows & Linux using a GPT/MBR partition table (just like a real Mac). This is done using a retail copy of Mac OS X, and uses the Darwin bootloader.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shirky tells us what’s going to happen to newspapers

This article is well written, concise, accurate and persuasive.  Shirky quickly dispenses with red herrings and distracting side issues with brief yet compelling examples, all the while driving his main point home with historical analogues.  Newspapers are so doomed.  If you know any journalists, they need to see this.

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable « Clay Shirky

… newspaper people often note that newspapers benefit society as a whole. This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model…

Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Aggregating Google Calendars

This is one of my favorite topics.  You’d think it would be easy … but its not.   We’ve tried FuseCal only to find that some calendars cannot be merged (it may have to do with private calendars or complicated event repeat patterns).  We’ve tried using Yahoo pipes, only be stopped by its failure to expand recurring events.  And even Apple’s iCal program is supposed to be able to merge calendars using groups, but it does not allow you to group multiple Google CalDAV calendars together.  Anybody who has found a way to get this stuff working … leave a comment with the solution, or a link to the solution.

Until then, here’s a stop gap that is not as good as any of these options promise to be.  It falls short because you may not republish the merged calendar as a feed and re-subscribe to it in iCal or Google calendars.  But its still pretty handy.

Once again, this isn’t my idea but I pulled a couple of things together so it works reasonably well.

In a Google calendar account, subscribe to or create as many calendars as you would like to merge.  Make sure that the folks you plan to share the merged calendar with have been granted access to all the individual sub-calendars.

Then, to generate the embedded HTML for the merged calendar do this:

Displaying Events from Multiple Google Calendars in a Single Embedded Calendar View « OUseful.Info, the blog…

PPS aren’t comments wonderful (thanks Steve:-) – it seems thaqt you can generate the combined embed code within Google Calendar… Subscribe to the calenders you want to display, then go to the calendar settings:

via bavatuesdays

If you have a web site, you’re pretty much done.  Just grab the HTML for the calendar frame and add it to the page you want.

If (like me) you want to have a little more control over who has access to the page, you can create a page at Google Sites.  The irony you will run into is that Google Sites thinks its own Google-generated iframe HTML for embedding is unsafe and strips it out.  Sigh.

You can use this trick to save the day:

inserting Google Calendar ‎(Annuaire du Vin)‎

The code given by Google Calendar is an iframe :

Use the src attribute (in the iframe tag) as the File parameter of this gadget :

Add the gadget (by URL) to your Google Site page, then add the src contents from Google’s automatically generated embedding code into the “File” property for the gadget.  Share the page with whomever you please. Its a bonus that when you grant a user access to your site, Google will automatically strip calendars that they are not authorized to view out of the merged calendar.

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm  Comments (111)  

Using Twitter for software generated ops alerts

So this isn’t entirely my idea, but if you put this (or other non-java interface):

Twitter API Wiki / Libraries

Java

* Twitter4J by Yusuke Yamamoto. BSD licensed and Maven aware java interface for the Twitter API.
* java-twitter by DeWitt Clinton. Pure java interface for the Twitter API.
* jtwitter by Daniel Winterstein. Open-source pure Java Interface to Twitter.

together with this:

How to use Twitter as an error log | Interesting Things

Sure this has been done before, but I had a brainwave today – why not use Twitter as an error log for web apps?

You will probably get a cheap way to have your software system twitter your operations staff with alerts.  This looks so promising, its going into my next release.

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm  Comments (2)  

LimeWire goes social

A peer-to-peer application that actually lets you decide who your peers are … stunningly brilliant.  Now if you could just stream those files instead of copy them…

LimeWire Adds Private File Sharing | Epicenter from Wired.com

After you enter your Gmail user name and password (or other Jabber log-in), your friends show up in a list to the left. LimeWire product manager said they’re working to add the ability to import friends from Facebook and other sites. Friends who are online appear in a chat window so you can ask them to download and install it. Once they do, you’ll be able to decide which files to share with them and view the files they’re sharing with you.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

DoJ accuses EMC of kickbacks, overcharging

This is a pretty interesting case.  Not just because I feel overcharged, either.  It sounds like the federal government is going after the Channel.  It seems the feds have reached the conclusion that if a value added reseller (consultant or system integrator) adds no real value but simply promotes the product paying the highest “alliance benefits” – then that amounts to taking a kickback. 

You know … as if a record label were to pay a DJ (remember those?) money for extra spins of song that wasn’t really that good (like that one by Britney Spears) just so they could make more sales. 

So is the Channel just one big lump of payola? 

DOJ allegations against EMC focus on kickbacks, overcharges

The U.S. Justice Department believes that EMC Corp. gave kickbacks to federal IT consultants and overpriced hardware, software and technology services it sold to the government beginning in the late 1990s….

The government’s complaint asserts that these alliance relationships
and the resulting alliance benefits paid by EMC amount to kickbacks and
undisclosed conflict of interest relationships,

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment