There is an excellent article in c|net about a new version of SuSE Linux that claims to be a Real Time OS. This got me thinking about Windows, as I'm unaware of Microfost's entry into this small market segment. I'm talking about large enterprise level systems like Wall Street's infrastructure. I know that Microsoft has Windows CE, which is technically a RTOS. But I doubt we'll see a version of Windows any time soon that guarantees microsecond response time. Unless it can reboot that fast...
I ran across PCWorld's list of the top 25 worst tech products ever. I was surprised by some of them, but for the most part I agreed. Number 1 was AOL, and I pretty much agree with that choice. #4 is Windows Millennium, again I agree. #8 is MSIE 6, I agree but I'd put it higher on the list. Counting Microsoft Bob at #7, Microsoft has 3 products on the top 10. One could almost count #6 as Microsoft's problem, the Disney Lion King CD-Rom, because it's problem was that it relied on a graphics technology MS produced that was a predecessor to Direct X, and didn't work with most video cards.
One that surprised me was #15, the Iomega Zip drive. I thought that was a large success, although short lived. But I guess thousands of them had problems and ate the disks including all data on them. I wasn't aware of that. They also list RealPlayer as #2, and I didn't really like it but I wouldn't put it at #2 (I'd probably put IE up there ;) ).
CFDynamics announced (WebProNews) that they've formed a partnership with Dell to exclusively offer Dell PowerEdge servers to customers. I suppose this allows CFDynamics to get servers cheaper, because they won't offer hardware from Dell's competitors. But does this mean you are stuck with a Dell, even if you don't want one? My guess is no, but I'm not a CFDynamics customer (I prefer Linux hosting), so I don't know. I assume if you want to use an HP for co-location, they'll let you.
I tend to cringe when I hear about any company offering 'exclusive' products from one vendor. This means that regardless of features, quality and price, the company is sticking with a preferred vendor. This is usually bad news for customers, and the market in general.
I've noticed others talking about the March Tiobe Index, but I wanted to compare it to last month. March shows ColdFusion at #13. January had CF at 16 and last month it was 18. This just shows that there's a bit of inaccuracy when you are using web search engines to gauge a language's popularity. But overall I think this is an interesting, and probably close to accurate survey.
The February Tiobe Programming Community index is out. Last month's showed ColdFusion at 16 and this month it is at 18. This does NOT appear to be because CF's popularity is dropping (last Feb CF was at #30), but rather there are a couple other languages that are a bit more popular right now. What I don't get is Visual FoxPro. It is #16 for Feb...are there really that many people out there using it? If so, why? It's also interesting to note that C, PHP, Perl, and Python are all decreasing. Java is still #1, while VB and C# show continued growth.
If you are wondering how Tiobe makes this index, they've now got a separate definition page. This is NOT a market share analysis, but it shows how much activity there is for a specific language on the net, including websites, blogs, newsgroups, products, mailing list archives, etc..
There has been a pretty wild discussion the past few days in the ColdFusion (CF) community surrounding CF's cookie management and the NSA, sparked by a column written by cnet's Declan McCullagh.
I have been a cnet fan for years, since probably about 1997 or so. They have a lot of really good content beyond news (shopper.com, downloads.com, and yes news.com). As far as their news, I do see a bias sometimes when it comes to privacy issues, and sometimes an anti Microsoft bias (what's wrong with that? ;)). But news.com has some very professional reporters, and I for one really respect and admire them for not being afraid of offending their advertisers (like Microsoft).
I do disagree with this cookie/privacy nonsense everybody keeps spouting about (it should be mentioned that Declan McCullagh is a commentary columnist, he is supposed to write about his opinions, similar to John Stewart or Larry King). But most of their stories tell both sides of an argument, and give good evidence to support both opinions. So try not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Just because one news.com writer implied some negative things about CF (by quoting an industry expert that stated loose facts) doesn't mean the entire organization is bad!
One time I saw an error in one of news.com's articles. It was a minor technical error, but I went ahead and clicked on the reporter's name at the top of the article. I expected to be sent to a generic 'contact us' form, but instead I was actually sending an email to this reporter using his real email address! I never expected my email to be read, let alone responded to. However, within a few hours I not only got a response from the reporter, but he immediately went and corrected his story! That is a lot better than most news papers today, who are content to print a correction buried in the back of one of their minor sections, and that is if they decide to print a correction!
There's been a bit of controversy surrounding the latest Grand Theft Auto PC game. Apparently, you can download a 3rd party code that allows you to put your player into explicit sexual situations. The ESRB is investigating to find out of the original game contained the explicit code, or if it was added by the 3rd party. Rockstar Games did not reveal this content when they applied for an ESRB rating.
Well, there's a senator that is asking the FTC to investigate Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. She hopes to make the entire ratings system more strict, as it has become common practice to avoid the Adults Only rating because most retailers won't sell games with that rating. She also wants the retailers to be investigated to find out if they are allowing children to buy games rated above their age level.
The big surprise behind this news is the identity of this Senator. Its not any republican, as most would expect...it's Hillary Clinton! I guess the dems are finally showing signs of getting in touch with the parents and others in this country that don't want to see our media saturated with smut.
A few months ago I blogged about a browser test that would be created by the CTO of Opera software. This test uses most of the latest web standards, and is designed to help browser developers test their support. Acid2 is now finished and live. The timing couldn't be better, considering the browser wars are just heating up again. Microsoft is working on IE 7 which is supposed to be released in a couple of months, in beta. But the head of the IE programming group posted to his blog a few months ago, stating that the IE group would only code to the standards when their customers request it. Of course, their customers are dimwits and don't even know what browser standards are (excuse my bitter rant, this is a pretty big sore spot for me). So we'll have to see if Microsoft passes the acid test this time.
By the way, I ran the acid test in Firefox, IE, and Opera tonight. IE did a horrible job of rendering the page. Neither Opera nor Firefox rendered it correctly, but they both were a lot more correct looking than IE. However, I wasn't testing with the latest version of IE 6, because I haven't installed XP SP 2 (it caused problems with my hardware in the past). If I remember right though, XP SP 2 didn't make any changes to IE's rendering engine, it just made security adjustments.
I saw this article talking about the new list of top 500 fastest computers in the world. I put together my own version with the top 25, because I wanted to see the OS for each (not easily viewable in list form on the list). IBM dominates the list, using Linux on most of their systems. There were a few with Unix machines, and even one Mac OS X. But no Windows in site.
Is that because of the cost? I wouldn't think so, considering that Unix and Mac OS X are on the list (not usually free). Maybe it's because Microsoft hasn't released their supercomputer version of windows? Again, Mac OS X is a desktop OS, not intended for supercomputing. Maybe because the manufacturers on the list are competitors with Microsoft? That is the case with IBM, but I don't think Cray and SGI even enter the same markets as Microsoft. And Dell is on the top 25, and they are married to Microsoft in their PC business. So why no Microsoft?
The best reason I can come up with is that it's not feasible to use Windows for this kind of application. Indeed, Microsoft as much as admits this in the supercomputer article linked above, "Microsoft also cautioned that it is not aiming as much for the type of supercomputer that makes the annual list of the 500 largest supercomputers."
Do you think Microsoft would aim for the top 500 list if they could? You bet they would. That list is an excellent marketing tool for the manufacturers, not to mention Microsoft would make a LOT of money with each individual supercomputer produced. I just don't think they are capable of making an OS that is nimble enough to perform at that high of a level.
Linux is younger than Windows by a few years, and it's all over the list. But one of the main goals of Linux from the beginning was speed and efficiency. Microsoft has never shown any inkling to make each release of their OS more efficient. Indeed, MS openly admits that they want you to buy a new PC to get each new version of Windows, and we all know that is usually the best idea.
Cnet reported that IBM is asking its internal employees to move to Firefox. The company is making the browser available for download on its internal servers, and their IT staff has been trained to give support for Firefox. Apparently, 10% of IBM employees already use Firefox. I see this as a sign that more businesses will start to use Firefox, and Intranet apps should follow.