ACTA runs afoul of the Law

Or at least 75 law professors.  This is a great introduction to the objections to ACTA …


PIJIP: – American University Washington College of Law


Over 75 law professors sent a letter to President Obama today asking him to “direct the USTR to halt its public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to a meaningful participation process that can influence the shape of the agreement going forward.” The full text of the letter is at bottom. 

The letter comes as U.S. government officials this week have been telling public interest advocates that this may be the last week of consideration and the parties may decide shortly to initial the text, ending all further changes. Officials have previously described an intention to initial the agreement before the U.S. elections Tuesday.


The letter makes three main criticisms of ACTA.

First, the degree of secrecy in the negotiation — …

Second, the use of the “sole executive agreement” model for the agreement — through which it would enter into force without congressional assent or Presidential signature — is unconstitutional….

Third, the scope of the agreement has been misrepresented to the public…


Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google Docs Spreadsheet Charts get facelift

Redesigned and with new chart types: like org charts. 

Using new visualizations to tell your story – Official Google Docs Blog

Spreadsheet data can tell compelling stories when placed into charts and other visualizations. Today we’re excited to announce a new editor for charts, redesigned from the ground up as well as a set of new chart types. Check out our video to see these charts in action:

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Apple Java Hits the Road


So I just had to post this (as seen on Slashdot).   Apple decides to cut bait and get out of the Java business on Macs.  The timing (following Oracle’s Java lawsuit against Google) as well as the announcement of the Mac OS X App Store yesterday can’t be a coincidence. 

As background, Apple used to provide a JVM as part of Mac OS X, distributed so that it fit in with the rest of the system Frameworks.  Although they were always a day late and a dollar short on having the latest vversion of Java available,  Apple must have tried to make sure that adding a new Java release did not introduce any system instabilities in Mac OS X (or at least that’s the thinking) and then pushed the safe copy along with other system software through the Apple software update facility.  Convenient!

Anywho, they probably started looking at what it would mean to sign up to supporting Java for the flood of Apps written for Android that would likely show up in the Mac Apps Store.  Then looked again at what happened to Google when they fielded a slightly non-standard JVM for Android.   And finally did the Math and saw that Java on the Mac was all risk to iPhone market share and exposure to Oracle’s legal department.



Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3 and 10.5 Update 8 Release Notes: New and Noteworthy


New and Noteworthy

This chapter lists high-profile features in these releases.


Java Deprecation

As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated.

This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products.



Mozilla man accuses Jobs of ‘bypass the web’ scheme • The Register


As revealed by one Mac developer, the store forbids “beta”, “demo”, “trial” and “test” apps, and if an app crashes or so much as “exhibits a bug” – yes, exhibits a bug – it will be rejected as well.

Jobs also bars apps that use Java and other “deprecated or optionally installed technologies.” And all apps must use the “appropriate Mac OS X APIs for modifying user data stored by other apps”. And so on and so forth.


Update 2: Good analysis over at JavaLobby: developers are not Apple’s demographic.



Apple Shuns Java in Mac OS X | Javalobby



In the next year or two, we may not see Eclipse on Macs anymore.  This slow death could begin if Apple doesn’t ship a JVM in Lion.  The other major IDEs, NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA, will have an even tougher time staying on the OS because they rely directly on AWT and Swing.  A port of OpenJDK might use X11 instead of native OSX windowing components.

Published in: on October 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm  Comments (1)  

OpenOffice gives LibreOffice splitters the boot.

Open is as Open does.   Here’s the new Oracle OpenOffice being about as open as you’d expect.


Oracle wants LibreOffice members to leave OOo council

“Your role in the Document Foundation and LibreOffice makes your role as a representative in the OOo CC untenable and impossible. [I]t causes confusion, it is a plain conflict of interest, as TDF split from OOo,” he told TDF members during a council meeting that took place on an IRC channel. “If the TDF members do not disassociate themselves from the [Document Foundation] then they must resign by Tuesday.”

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

IPhone durability


So yesterday there was an article that glass breaks on iPhone 4 were almost twice as common as on iPhone 3GS.  Of course it failed to account for the fact that iPhone 4 has twice a much glass (see article). 


Be that as it may, iPhones have recently demonstrated themselves to be pretty durable.  Steve owes these guys.


iPhone Equipped Balloon Leaves Brooklyn for the Edge of Space (NASA Hack Space)

Armed with just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone, they basically did just that. The father-and-son team from Brooklyn managed to send their homemade spacecraft up nearly 19 miles, high into the stratosphere, bringing back perhaps the most impressive amateur space footage ever.


iPhone 4 Glass Breaking at Alarming Rate, But There’s a Catch

If this sounds like a disaster in the making, we’re in agreement, but consider this: Unlike the iPhone 3GS (or any other iPhone), the back of the iPhone 4 is also composed of glass — meaning it’s twice as likely to suffer a shatter — a variable that wasn’t computed in SquareTrade’s study. SquareTrade states that the iPhone 4 is breaking 82% more than the iPhone 3GS, but this is the sort of sleight of hand statement crafted to grab headlines.


Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Useful Guava Tips and Tricks

Guava has been on my list of Java libraries to try out for a long time now.  Here are some handy ways to make it pay off.

Google’s guava java: the easy parts | Coppery Keen Claws

Google’s guava is one of the best, most useful all-purpose java libraries to come out in a long time. It’s surprising that it isn’t standard in most projects now. Maybe there’s too much in there. If the functional and concurrency packages seem like too big an investment of time to understand and use in your code, just focus first on the easy parts.

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Keeping your GMail Secure


Take the test, stay secure.

Gmail Security Checklist Takes a Comprehensive Walk Through Webmail Safety

Google now offers a security checklist for Gmail users, a five-part process with multiple steps in each designed to reclaim the feeling that nobody can get into your inbox. It starts out obvious (security updates, plug-ins, passwords) then gets into trickier tactics.

Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Get Your One-Click PostgreSQL Installers for Mac OS X Right Here

Free databases for fun and profit.  Enjoy.

EnterpriseDB: PostgreSQL Installer Guide

The one-click installers are packaged by EnterpriseDB for the PostgreSQL community, and are available for computers running Linux 32 or 64 bit, Mac OS X or Windows.

Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

A couple of visual data processing pipeline frameworks


Over at OUseful, there’s a post for those of you looking for a way to build pipelines.  The two systems that are mentioned take their cues from Yahoo pipes, but allow for extending the set of functions to make pretty sophisticated data processing pipelines.   If you’re in the market for something new … it might pay to have a look.


It’s All About Flow… « OUseful.Info, the blog…


In doing so, I came across a couple of other visual pipeline environments that are maybe worth looking at in a little more detail.

PyF is a “[flow based] open source Python programming framework and platform dedicated to large data processing, mining, transforming, reporting and more.”

PyF - flow based pythin programming

On the other hand, Orange claims to offer “[o]pen source data visualization and analysis for novice and experts. Data mining through visual programming or Python scripting. Components for machine learning. Extensions for bioinformatics and text mining. Packed with features for data analytics.”


Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment