The Little Things

I’m knee deep in several projects right now, some using darcs and some using subversion for version control. There are things I like about both, but that’s a different topic. There’s really only one thing I loathe about Subversion, and it looks like this:

$ svn propget svn:externals .
  svn: Inconsistent line ending style


Insert rant about how the hell line endings get inconsistent on something Subversion should have complete control over here.

date:2007-01-30 08:00:21

Give Me an SDK or Give Your Product Death

Yeah, I know it’s not nearly as catchy as the Patrick Henry original, but then what is? That Patty knew how to turn a phrase.

But what I’m referring to is the Apple iPhone, announced this week at MacWorld in San Francisco. Does it look cool? Absolutely. Will I buy one? Hell no. At least not right now.

See, I love me some red-hot tech gadgetry. I am more than willing to plunk down US$600 for a sweet gadget. But lately my phone purchases have hinged on one thing: what can I write for it? My Nokia 6620 was purchased because I could run Python on it. My Blackberry 8700 because I had been doing some [STRIKEOUT:J2ME] phoneME work and really liked their developer tool set. And that’s my biggest beef with the iPhone: no third part apps that aren’t cleared by Apple[1]_. OK, it’s really my second biggest beef — no user replaceable battery? Morons.

But I think that the lack of openness will be a huge blow to iPhone sales. Now, perhaps they’ll still be huge, and maybe huge is enough. But if the phone runs OS X[2]_ and you give developers an SDK, you suddenly make the device that much more valuable. Sort of a software-platform-network effect. And that could make your sales gi-normous.

My favorite bit of FUD regarding this decision? Pope Steve’s comment to MSNBC:

“You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider’s network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

So first, if Cingular’s network can be brought down by an application on a single handset (or even a few hundred or a few thousand handsets), they have bigger problems. They are, as they say in the biz, fucked. Second, if it could be brought down, why hasn’t it been, given that many mid to high end handsets have support for loading 3rd party applications?

And finally, yes, I do want an open platform. And I don’t intend to purchase a handset that can’t deliver that. And a replaceable battery.

[1]I think I’ve seen some reports that there will be no 3rd party applications what-so-ever. However, in this New York Times article, Jobs says, “It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment,” which leads me to believe that there will be some sort of “Works with iPhone” certification program. A program that probably won’t be free.
[2]Or at least a stripped down OS X stack.
date:2007-01-12 09:10:49

Wiki Licensing for MoinMoin

I’ve been using MoinMoin for managing the non-blog content of for some time now, and its mostly been a great choice for me. Just enough through-the-web management to make maintaining the content less burdensome. One feature I noticed it was missing (compared to MediaWiki, which we use at work) is Creative Commons license support. After I started to do some digging I found that there is support for a wiki license page. If enabled, this adds some text to the editor pages notifying contributors that their content will be subject to the site license.

So over the weekend I put together MoinLicense. MoinLicense is a pair of actions and a macro for MoinMoin which enables license selection. In addition to supporting a site-wide license, MoinLicense allows you to select a particular license for any page. Details, download information and known issues are in the wiki, natch.

date:2007-01-10 17:11:10

PyCon 2007 Early Bird Registration Closing Soon

So I’m registered and have my plane ticket for PyCon 2007, taking place once again in the lovely Addison, Texas. Early bird registration ends in 12 days, so save US$65 and register now.

I’m actually really excited about this years conference: the slate of talks looks really good, and for the first time I’m not speaking. Why is this a good thing? Because in the past last minute preparations and general public-speaking-nervousness have made it difficult to really enjoy things. So taking a break seems… welcome.

See you in Texas.

date:2007-01-03 17:41:00