Tuesday, December 18, 2007

DNA and social networking

Even biotechnology company is building up social community. 23andme, a newly startup biotechnology company is offering Personal Genome Service, the service cost USD1000, they will send you a kit, follow the instructions, send back your saliva sample. They analyse the DNA and help you to find out more about yourself, they can help you on friend matching by DNA as well.

23andme offer Personal Genome Service.

23andme is not the only company provide such services. In a news title, 'online dating site offer DNA matching', the story tells a company-- Scientific Match, use DNA to look for a match for married partner. For me is more like, 'Biotechnology company offer online dating service'.

23andme is a privately held company. Google has invested 3.9 millions into the company a few months back. Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder of 23andme, she married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Now you should not surprise why Google invested in 23andme, with 23andme join in the social community website, it make more sense.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

When WiMAX is popular

Can you imagine, purely just imagine. When WiMAX is popular, Intel launch a mobile phone with build in Intel WiMAX mobile cpu, it is not using GSM or 3G network, but pre-installed with a Skype software. Skype became of the biggest telco in the world.

Before Intel launch its Intel mobile phone, Google already launch its Google phone with Google Talk client software, and not Skype. May be Intel, Google and Apple will form an alliance against traditional mobile phone maker like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. Sony Ericsson is not sure to create a phone, a camera or a mp3 player.

When WiMAX is popular, just imagine, purely imagine, what will happen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Google buy Jaiku

Google is one step further into mobile market. After Google ported their Gmail, search portal, youtube and news (quietly) to mobile version, Google now buying mobile community website Jaiku.

Jaiku is a Finland's micro-blogging website started in year 2006, it was described as a pownce and twitter like website.

Micro-blogging normally refer to short blog post which less than 200 characters, so you can send and received these post through mobile SMS.

Recently my friend introduce me a Malaysia local website call pacmee, I was quite surprised by pacmee, because is simple and the idea is good. Later I just found out that is just another twitter-like website. (Yes, I am a bit out dated)

Google is moving to mobile market, and they are acting fast.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sony close its online photo sharing service

I received an email a few days back. Sony is going to close its online photo sharing service, ImageStation.

Sony to close down ImageStation.

I am not surprised. If the photo sharing web site can not build up its community or not as interesting as flickr, it will be closed down as a matter of time.

In another word, you must upgrade your web site to version 2.0, or at least make it as interesting as flickr. Is easy to browse, upload and add comments in flickr, there is a lot of third parties application build for flickr.

Yahoo already have its online photo sharing service, but Yahoo acquire flickr in year 2005, deal amount is not disclose, there is rumors says is about 30 million, that will be a very good buy for Yahoo, and Terry Semel has do something right before he left Yahoo.

On June 2007, Yahoo announce to close down Yahoo! Photo which has been launch for 7 years, move their online photo service to flickr. It start with Yahoo! Photo and now ImageStation, who's next?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Go green

I notice some company started to be environmental friendly, running some campaign and conform to the ISO 14000 standard. The ISO 14000/14001 is an environment management standard. Simple steps you do may help the environment, like switch off the light before you leave your office, don't keep the water pipe running if you are no using it...

IT people try to be environmental friendly these days, by cutting down paper usage. They use email, and not fax, they exchange documentation using PDF attachment in email. They use electronic yellow stickies on desktop...

Most software developers read their program source on their screen (monitor). I notice a lot of the junior programmers (or you can call the rookies if you want), always print out their source code on papers for reading, it is a waste of paper usage. Read it on the monitor or read it on printed paper is just a habit. Once you get use to it, is not a problem for most software developers to read program source code on monitor.

I know some senior programmers still need to print out their source code on papers, they must be born at 60s or earlier, then be it. If you are newer generation, please read your source code on your monitor, just get a bigger (19", 20") monitor, if one is not enough, get two.

My first job as a programmer in a MIS department, print a lot of papers. When they found out any bug in a program, the first thing they will do is print out the program source code (on paper). Even is just a minor change like adding an arithmetic operator or one line if condition checking code, they still print it out. Even we use up both page of the paper before we recycle it, is still a waste of paper.

The modern CPU design is not just go for speed, but target for low power consumption. It generate less heat, save more power and more cost efficient. Especially for those data center, running hundreds of cpu, lower down the power consumption will save the cost.

blackle.com, dark surfing experience.

Black web page surfing idea, try to create web page with back insteed of white background. They claim that back display consume less watts compare with a white display (refer here) on cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, but not LCD. Some software developer quickly develop a dark google search page, like Blacke. But there is a debate on white web page display really consume more energy or not.

This girl send 30 to 35k sms per month!

Recently I read a news on the internet, an iPhone user (Justine Ezarik) received a 300 pages bill, printed both side, from AT&T. The phone bill are so detail that, every call and data transaction was listed on it. The user has posted the video on youtube. AT&T announce that they will simplified the phone bill. That is good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

VMWare and VMWare server

I should buy VMWare's company share. VMWare was acquired by EMC in 2003, EMC is a company provide storage solution, I was wandering why they are buying VMWare. I think buying VMWare is a good decision, VMWare has good products, and they keep improving it.

(VMWare listed on 13 Aug, when I write this, VMWare is not listed yet)

vmware server
vmware server, boot with OLPC image.

I have seen a lot of people using VMWare, especially my friends who use linux. VMWare normally refer to the software which allow you to create a virtual machine on you desktop (or server) machine, which allow you to install another operating system on your machine. VMWare will create a virtual machine with clean environment, without affecting your existing system. My friends will normally install and tried the latest Linux distribution on their windows system using VMWare, after they have finish testing it, they just remove it from their system.

I have not tried VMWare before, even I know this product for many years. VMWare is not free (at that time), and you need more resource like hard disk space, memory to run the virtual machine. VMWare release their VMWare server and VMWare player as freeware (you can download from their website here), which runs on Windows, Linux and even Mac OS X. The OS X version of VMWare called VMWare Fusion. Since WMVare products only runs on x86 base machine, VMWare Fusion only runs on OS X intel.

A few months back when I attended the Sun Tech Days, VMWare has a product which work together with a Sun Ray machine which attract me. According the representative from VMWare, you can install Windows and Solaris operating system at the server end and access it using Sun Ray thin client, I assume you can install Mac OS X and Linux operating system too. When I asked for more demos, the representative suggest visit to their customer site. Seems like VMWare does not have a good support here, they should closely with other company, not just Sun, but those company have a strong sales and support team.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Apple introduce new iMac

As most people and media expected, Apple introduced new iMac on Tuesday.

thiner, faster and cheaper.

Earlier news reported that Steve Jobs might not appear on this special event, but don't worried, Steve Jobs will always be there. I think Steve Jobs enjoy to be on stage, and he is good on it.

A new Apple product launching event without Steve Jobs, is not an Apple event.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Show girls at PC Fair (2) 2007

I don't know since when computer exhibitions are like motor show, employ a lot of show girls to promote their products, it happens these few years in PC Fair exhibitions. It did help to attract a big crowd. Even without those show girls, PC Fair exhibitions are just too crowded.

pc fair exhibition
I can’t move, but luckily I still can breath.

I don’t really like to go to PC Fair like exhibitions, is just too crowded, sometimes you could hardly move around, you don’t have the luxurious to just stand there and take a close look at those products. They have just make the PC Fair like sales carnival.

There is not much new IT products to be displays and shown in the exhibition. If you are looking for new product and technology, you should go to CeBIT. If CeBIT is too far, you can consider attend ACM.

HTC Touch
HTC Touch, the phone.

There are more show girls than new products, busy distributing flyers. What I can do is just take a few pictures and practice my shooting skills.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Size does (doesn't) matter

I always like to tell a 'joke' about my idea, about web site business.

Many years ago, I ask my friend to start web site business together, he ask me to give him a good idea about web site.

I told him, how about free web mail? "We already have hotmail, Yahoo! Mail." I said, "hotmail give 2 Mb email storage, Yahoo give 3 Mb (to 5 Mb), then we give 5 Mb, or may be 10 Mb."

Does it sounds like a joke for you now? Because Google is giving out 1GB email storage.

When Google launch its GMail services, instead of giving a 3 Mb or 5Mb storage quota, it gave gigabytes of storage, and increasing every seconds. It outshines Yahoo and MSN hotmail. Everyone started to get an gmail account, and so proud to own one.

MSN and Yahoo need to catch up, MSN increase their email quota 100 times, which is 250Mb. Yahoo give 1G for free email account and 2G for a paid email account.

So, size does matter!?

Gmail increase to about 2.8G by now, Yahoo must be so tired with the catch up game, so Yahoo give you unmilited email quota.

If you are a gmail user, are you going to switch to Yahoo! Mail?

So, size does matter, or size doesn't matter?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Please write a better software

Yesterday I tried to sync my Palm with Google Calendar with goosync, but fail.

They sync procedure just hang there like never ending story. I do a soft reset which results a non-stop reboot on my Palm device. I do a warm reset while stop the reboot, but my system data already mess up, most of the application on the Palm device is not able to launch properly.

I have no choice but perform a hard reset (what is all these reset?). Since I learn from experience, I always backup my data before I try new software, unfortunately after I retrieve my last image with NVBackup, I go back to the non-stop reboot again!

I have tried a few hours with different images and different solution, including restore back from Palm Desktop, It doesn't work. Restore image from InnerBackup was fail half-way. Finally I use "Selective restore" function in NVBackup, it works, I hope I did restore back my records.

"Selective restore" can restore a single or selected database, click on NVBackup menu, you should see the restore function there. "Selective restore" is not for casual user, because you need to know the original database name you need to restore, which was hidden from the user.

I retrieve the following database for my PIMS data (Palm OS 5):

CalendarDB-PDat, CalendarLocationsDBPDat.
ContactsBDIndex-PAdd (may be this is from HappyDay)
MemosDB, MemosDB-PMem.

(This is just for reference, not guarantee it will works for everyone)

Palm OS 5 (Garnet) is a good OS, it support ARM cpu and support Non-Volatile File System (NVFS). It make backup and restore on the storage card so easy. But I think Palm need to re-design the OS architecture, because it just crash too easily, this remind my the early days of Microsoft Windows.

I hope the next Palm OS will be stable and efficient, but I really have no confidence when this will happen.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Universal Music may not continue contract with Apple

The Universal Music Group of Vivendi, largest music company may not renew their contract with Apple Inc, which will expired soon. If this is true, a long list (estimate one third) of songs will be removed from iTunes online music store.

There were five largest music publishing company, British's EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, German's BMG and Universal Music Group which is own by French's Vivendi. BMG joint venture with Sony and form Sony BMG in 2004, and become the big four record labels (EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner). Universal has proposed to buy BMG Music Plublishing, and Warner is actively seeking to buy EMI (refer Warner Music mulls new offer to buy EMI).

Why don't Apple just buy one of the music company, since iPod and iTunes online music constribute a significant profit to Apple. Oh! Yes, they can't, in name infringement settlement with Beatles' music company-- Apple Corp (England) in 1980s and 1991, Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business.

How about iPod and iTunes music store? In September 2003, Apple Corps (Beatles) sued Apple Computer again, for breach of contract. The court ruled in favor of Apple Computer, base on section 4.3 of the agreement, Apple Computer field of use include software, hardware and broadcasting services. Apple Computer using the Apple name on their (online) store and not the music. Beatles catalog is not available on iTunes music store.

May be Apple Computer should have just bought over Apple Corps. Apple did consider to buy a music company, read a cnet story here, "Apple may buy Universal Music", which dated back in year 2003. The Apple share price is $13.20 at that time, and now is $127!

"When your customers are iPod addicts, who are you striking back against?," said Ken Hertz, an entertainment lawyer who represents artists like Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas (refer to the CNet news). Recently Apple Inc. and Apple Corp agree to reach a settlement (finally!), Apple Inc. are allow to use the Apple name and logo in all area including music.

I have a clean iPod

After collected a few hundred megabytes of songs on my iPod, I decided to backup today. When I try to copy the songs in my iPod using the iTunes software, it doesn't work.

I think may be I can do a sync again. I deleted everything in my iTunes library and do a sync, and hope iTunes copy the songs on iPod to my desktop. No, it doesn't work.

I search internet and read this:

"... iTune disable copy function since version 4.x... you have to use third party software like ephPod or iDump... sync a black iTunes library will erase all songs on iPod..."

I check my iPod, all songs has been deleted. Oh! Great, I lost all my songs, the ratings, and many hours of work, and I have a clean iPod now.

Hei! Apple, what you have done with the iTunes software?

You can't just copy back the songs from the iPod back to your desktop, after you encounter a system crash and re-install your PC.

I heard Apple disable copy function in iTunes to prevent users to copy DRM songs from the iPod device. I though Steve Jobs said that "DRMs haven't worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy,"?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Backup your Palm data

I do a hard reset for my Palm after encounter a crash in Y! messenger software and a non stop reboot, this is the second hard reset in between one week time.

There are three types of reset for Palm PDA, soft reset, warm reset and hard reset.

Soft reset. When system crash or application just hang there, press the reset button at the back of the device.

Warm reset. When soft reset doesn't work, eg. when you encounter a non-stop rebooting sequence, try this, hold the up key and press the reset button.

Hard reset. Sometimes warm reset doesn't work, because your system or data already messy. Hard reset will remove all data on the device. If you are not sure take a look at Palm site.

I must be very lucky this time. The earlier hard reset, cost me one whole day to recover about 99 percent of the data. After that I decided to backup data quiet frequently.

Normally we do Palm backup with HotSync, backup using the Palm Desktop software, but recovering all data from Palm Desktop could be quiet slow. I have tried NVBackup and InnerBackup.

When I recover back using InnerBackup, records in Contacts and DateBook are double, and application doesn't recover. I try NVBackup, it works, I have recover 99 percent of the records, in just about 15 to 20 minutes, so I must be lucky.

What is the lesson of the story? Do you backup frequently, especially before you try to install new software on your Palm.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Eclipse europa release count down

I read a news about Eclipse europa will be release on 29 June Friday as scheduled, and today is Friday!

Eclipse europa
1 day count down to Eclipse europa release

Asia time is much earlier, one more day to go.

I just upgraded to Eclipse 3.3.2 a few days back. Eclipse is a very powerful IDE for Java, and not just Java, I can compile my C program through the CDT plugins. Learning how to setup and configure the IDE is quite painful, as I use vi (a notepad like editor on Unix, if you know vi you know what I mean) for my software development all the time.

I can't wait to see, how's the new Eclipse will looks like.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Palm Desktop, Disk is full

I only encounter this error message on Mac OS X.

Palm Desktop background
Disk is full

After the message pop out, the Palm Desktop software just refuse to start.

I tried to reinstall the software, but is now working.

I google for answer, many encounter such problem, but seems like no answer, or it doesn't work for me. Some user bring it out at Palm's forum, but no answer since year 2004 (refer here. How poor the Palm's support!

I just try my luck, remove those files related to palm disktop at my home directory:-
$ cd
$ rm Preferences/Palm Desktop Info $ rm Preferences/com.palm.* $ rm Application Support/Palm Desktop $ rm Logs/CrashReporter/Palm Desktop.crash.log

It works! I don't know which files to be deleted, better make your backup before you try.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Safari 3 beta for windows

I have download Safari browser 3 beta version for windows for a try.

safari browser
Apple's Safari browser 3 beta is now available for Windows

The only thing it surprise me is, Apple make it available on windows. It seems like running very slow on windows, if it is the only browser that you prefer to use, I bet you will switch to Mac OS X. It doesn't seem that slow when running on Mac OS X.

Someone (and more than one) founds security issue on it, so I just try for while and remove it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A long way for Palm

Some history and interesting story about Palm.

Recently there are some rumors and news about Palm is looking for buyers, company like Nokia and Motorola could be the potential buyers. Finally Palm sell 25 percent stake to a private firm, Elevation Partners (read here). I am not worried about who will buy Palm, but after it was bought, Palm will still on its right track?

Palm started as Palm Computing in 1992, founded by Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan. The first successful PDA products are Pilot 1000 and Pilot 5000. Palm Computing is not the first company who develop PDA device, but their Palm Pilot PDA is the first successful commercial product.

Palm Pilot has done a few things right. Simple and easy to use operating system (Palm OS), working hand recognizing software (Grafitti) and a device with the right size, small enough to fit into the pocket. Before Jeff Hawkins start Palm Computing, he research on handwriting recognition, later he decide to create a successful PDA device.

Palm Computing was acquired by U.S. Robotics in 1995 to bring in more funding to support the company, later Palm become the subsidiary of 3Com, after 3Com acquired U.S. Robotics in 1998. Palm III together with Palm OS version 3 was introduced in 1998, and is a great success. The same time, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky left Palm and founded handspring, which create PDA devices like Palm, and using Palm OS license from Palm.

Handspring is not the only company license Palm OS, Sony is another company license Palm OS on their CLIE PDA products. IBM also have a Palm III like PDA which look exactly like Palm III but with their own brand name on it.

3Com listed Palm on Nasdaq in year 2000. After that a few things happen in Palm, and Palm doesn't know when they are heading to. In year 2002, Palm spin off the software as a wholly-owned subsidiary--Palm Source to develop Palm OS, from now onwards Palm split into a software and a hardware company.

Palm OS was originally designed to run on Motorola Dragon ball cpu. In year 2002 Palm introduce Palm Tungsten T PDA which using ARM cpu, the OS was upgraded to version 5, code name Garnet. Garnet consider an important milestone of Palm OS, it runs on new cpu architecture, with backward compatibility with those old Palm program. The old palm program can run on the new OS through the PACE (Palm Application Compatibility Environment) emulator. Garnet is still widely used on most Palm device.

Palm OS was designed as a simple and easy to used operating system, but its lack of full multi-tasking and multimedia capability was critized by most users especially when it was compared with Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system. In year 2001, Palm bought BeOS after Apple computer drop their 'Plan Be', BeOS being a multimedia capable OS, but this doesn't help much in Palm OS development after Palm had acquired BeOS.

In year 2003, the hardware Palm merge with Handspring and rename to PalmOne Inc. Palm trademark was held by a jointly-owned holding company by PalmOne and Palmsource. Two years later (2005), PalmOne bought back the Palm trademark from the software company for USD 30 million, Palm trademark was own by PalmOne, then PalmOne rename as Palm again. Many people will say that Palm spend 30 million just to drop the 'One' from its name.

In year 2004, PalmSource introduce version 6 of its Palm OS Cobalt, but unfortunately it was not widely accepted and consider a fail. At the end of year 2004, PalmSource acquire China MobileSoft, a company developing mobile Linux. Palm OS is moving to Linux platform.

In year 2005, after the Palm name was bought back by the hardware company, PalmSource was acquired by ACCESS, a Japanese company which is popular for its embedded browser software, Netfront. PalmSource continue develop its new version of operating system base on Linux.

In year 2006, Palm (the hardware company) introduced a Treo smartphone version which using Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. This surprised a lot of Palm users out there, Windows Mobile is a long time competitor of Palm, if using Windows Mobile is a success on Palm device, what is the future of PalmSource?

At the same time, most Palm device still running on Palm OS, which is own by ACCESS company. Other than Windows Mobile, Palm did venture into other solutions including Linux as the replacement of their current OS. This Linux solution is not the the same platform as ACCESS is developing. Speculate from Palm is hiring Linux engineer, Palm is developing their own Palm Linux OS. Both Palm and PalmSource is developing a Linux base OS, but could be heading to different direction.

The development of Linux OS doesn't seems to be successful for both company, Palm and ACCESS. At then end of year 2006, Palm decided to pay ACCESS USD 44 million to get the rights to the source code of Palm OS Garnet (version 5.0).

Palm use to write good software like the PIMS (Personal Information Software eg. Datebook, Contact...) and the synchronization software, but no more. They add more and more functions to their PIM software like graphic memo, which I don't use. Their new synchronization software give me more problems compare with the old one, deleted the category that I created manually and move everything to 'unfiled', convert the telephone number to xxx-xxx-xxxx format which I don't want. The palm desktop for Mac OS is much harder to use compare with the Windows version.

This is how I look at Palm and PalmSource company, they lack of vision and direction, doesn't know where they are heading to, try each and every available opportunities, but so far is not very successful. When Palm started in 1992, they are not creating the hardware or operating system, but on application software. Their first product--Zoomer is not so successful, but the application software-- Graffiti and HotSync is. When Palm sold off PalmSource to ACCESS, they seems like forgotten what they are good at.

In one way or another Palm is similar as Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.), both produce hardware and software, not many company is doing that, and most company did not success by making hardware and software. Palm is not the first one who create PDA, Apple is not the first company start making personal computer but both are very successful launching a good product that everyone likes it. Both have fanatic users. They are quite similar, just Palm has a harder way to go along the road than Apple.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

New news system for web 2.0

Users are changing their habit on reading internet news. We used to visit CNN, BBC website for news, these are the traditional news website. I visit cnet to read technology news, but now I read google news. I only read news header from the google news, if I think the news are interested, I just click on the url, it will link me to the original news website. (RSS and mash up)

A lot of readers like slashdot, where users subscribe stories that may be interested to the others. Readers not just reading the news but discuss news in slashdot, exchange their ideas. News are not recommend by editor, but recommended by readers. (User community)

These days blogger write their own news (eg. Techcrunch), readers rate them. Website like digg, where readers subscribe hundreds of news everyday, is getting more popular. Readers read the news from digg before it link to the original post.

These are the trend in web 2.0 that you can't miss out. Editor has less control but users have more, with web 2.0, things change, don't just ignored.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

a million dollar question

Why this software run so slow on this machine?

If your answer is, the hardware is too old, you should not continue reading this.

If you are still reading this, congratulation! The above question is not the million dollar question, you have to keep reading till the end for the million dollar question and answer.

The software is running slow because the software has performance issue.

The next question will be, how to improve the software performance?

This is the million dollar question.

There are many ways to solve it, upgrade the hardware is one of it. If one cpu can't perform, buy a two cpu machine. If money is not a problem, you can buy a Sun E10000 (e10k) computer which support up to 64 cpu.

E10k is a few years old product, I am sure they have a much better product now (check here). E10k is not my solution.

I don't like java and java script, because the performance is slow. Even today's hardware can boost up the software performance, but is not my prefer solution. That is the reason they invented Java Just In Time technology, with JIT, Java application can perform as good as a native application.

(Note: Java application was compile as byte code binaries, which need an interpreter environment to run it. Normally application which need an interpreter can't perform as good as the native application compile by C, C++ or the other computer language)

To bring down the cost of the hardware, some CPU was build without the floating point unit, it is common for embedded cpu. The drawback is, software which need extensive floating point calculation can't perform, eg. mpg123 for audio playback.

You are still able to bring down the hardware cost after added in the floating point unit in the hardware, but that's Intel's job, not for us. There are people invented algorithm which do the same job as mpg123, with integer calculation only, which is mpg321.

There is more than one answer for a million dollar question, is either cost you a million or save you a million. You just make your choice.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The new venture capitalist

For me, Google, Yahoo, and some other established web company are venture capitalist.

The story for a typical internet new startup company, get venture capitalist like Sequoia, later sell to Yahoo/Google like company, which have strong financial support and expanding their business.

Here are some of the recent news.

Yahoo may buy bebo, for one billion.

Yahoo buy Right Media, for $680M.

Google buy feedburner?, for $100 million.

Google invest in 23andMe, a bioinformatics startup founded by Sergey Brin's just married wife Anne Wojcicki.

Microsoft acquired aQuantive, for 6 billion.

AOL acquires Third Screen Media. Seems like these big players are competing in speed on acquire new startup company, and with a lot of money, so they are the new venture capitalist.

Google vs. the venture capitalists

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

iGoogle name official

Google personalize page change the name to iGoogle.

I can't really remember what is the original name of Google personalize page, it always end with ig like this:


I seldom access to Google personalize page, I believe a lot of people doesn't access Google personal page as well, because they like Google for its simplicity, not a page crowded with a lot of information.

iGoogle Screenshoot

Google's personalize page is a better and easier to use compare with Yahoo!'s personalize page, iGoogle is like netvibes.

iGoogle remind me of Apple Mac OS X's dashboard. I don't agree with the dashboard idea, or iGoogle or netvibes. Web application is popular because we can use the browser as a common platform access to web services. Dashboard is using a different client access to the same web services. Why don't we just launch a browser? People who like the dashboard idea, will still like it, same for iGoogle.

When a web services information can be displayed as a iGoogle module, it should work on PDA, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Google and Yahoo catch up

I always like to tell a story about Yahoo and Google, which I read from the internet. Larry Page (Google) once tried to sell their search technology to David Filo (Yahoo) for one million, but David Filo turn it down but encourage Larry Page to setup their own business.

Yahoo was using Google search engine from year 2000 to 2003, Yahoo always outsource their search engine to other company like Google and Inktomi, Yahoo focus on their portal business. You all should know what happen later, Google's search portal is getting more and more popular and become a treat to Yahoo. Yahoo drop Google search engine in year 2004.

Google and Yahoo just announce their first quarter financial result (here). Yahoo's revenue was $1.67 billion, less than half Google's $3.66 billion. Two years ago, the two company have almost the same revenue (refer to the cnet story here). Yahoo started three years earlier than Google, now Yahoo try very hard to catch up with Google.

Yahoo and Google are two very successful company, there are many company out there tried to be Yahoo and Google but fail. Yahoo started as a website directory, later transform to content portal and tried to be a media company. Google started as a search engine and focus on it. All Google services are build around their search and online advertisement business.

Yahoo is far behind from Google, in terms of revenue or profit figure, and user experience of their products (email, search engine ...), is time for Yahoo to work harder for a catch up.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Let's play with text

Do you know that, you can play mpeg video on text mode terminal?

Aalib (ascii art library) is an open source software library, render graphic and display in pure text (ascii) mode.

Is totally out of imagination, why people want to convert graphic to ascii text, especially for those windows users which never use dos before. There is a lot of reasons why people are doing this.

Reason 1: I only have daisy wheel printer. What is a daisy wheel printer (take a look at the picture here)? In the 80s, there is no such thing as laser printer (I mean normal people do not own such a printer), a laser printer may cost more than your desktop computer. The most commonly used printer is either dot matrix or daisy wheel printer. Most people will use a dot matrix (either 9 pin or 24 pin) printer because it can print both graphics and text, some people might prefer a daisy wheel printer for a better text output quality.

You can take daisy wheel printer as a type writer, which has a printer cable connected to your pc. Daisy wheel printer output a better text quality than your dot matrix printer, the down side is daisy wheel printer can't output graphics. With aalib (or similar graphic to ascii software), you can print graphics to a daisy wheel printer.

Reason 2: I am unix administrator. If you are a unix administrator, you might use a lot of telnet or only deal with a green color display dump terminal. With aalib you can view and manage your graphics (eg. gif or jpeg) files on your unix server with your text base terminal. Since you can view jpeg graphics, is should be easier for you to imagine, play mpeg video or video conferencing (streaming) on monochrome dump terminal is really possible.

display by aalib, move further to get a better view

original portrait
The original portrait

Since aalib is an open source software library, I like to compile it myself. Aalib is well written, is easy to compile:

$ tar xzvfp aalib-1.4.0.tar.gz
(extract out the source code)
$ cd aalib-1.4.0
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr
$ make
$ make install
(if you know how to make software package like rpm or deb, you should install the rpm, other than install the library directly from the source)

aalib will link with the X windows library (strange right?), aalib use X Window terminal for ascii display by default, if it can't get a X Window display, it will use the dump terminal automatically.

$ aafire

To play video on terminal, you can try apron, but since MPlayer and xine support aalib, apron development is discontinued.

There are people who ported VGA library to aalib, so you can play Doom and Quake game on console terminal. You might be still thinking writing such a library like aalib is just a waste of time. As I told you, aalib is like a Mercedes smart fortwo, if is not applicable, is just for fun!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

From Leisure Suit Larry to software development

I suddenly remember an old game call Leisure Suit Larry (in the Land of the Lounge Lizards). This is an adventure game released by Sierra Online during the 80s on PC (XT), the game feature with some adult content, but is a funny game. The game is about Larry looking for (real) love in the city of Lost Wages (the name is a humor by itself, isn’t it?) .

The game has a series of 7 (or 8? I am not sure), I play the part 1 and part 2, can’t even finish the game without the clues.

The game was written by Al Lowe. Al Lowe is a musician... and a game designer, I am not sure he does programming as well. The theme song of Leisure Suit Larry is composed by Al Lowe, you can download from here.

Many of the developers of the original Apple Macintosh 128k operating system like art and music. Jef Raskin who started the Apple Macintosh project like music and composing. Bill Atkinson, one of the key developers for the Macintosh operating system, is a photographer, he is on full time photographing now.

In later development of Macintosh OS, Apple always choose a musical term as the code name for the operating system, eg. Harmony (Mac OS 7.6), Tempo (Mac OS 8), Allegro (Mac OS 8.5). Rhapsody and Copland, the two projects before OS X are music related as well. Copland named after a composer, Aaron Copland. May be these two later project is just a naming convention after the early development of Mac OS, but those developers in early days of Apple, like music.

To become a software developer, other than programming skill, you must be creative and artistic, because programming is an art itself. In the 80s, musician and game designer learn about programming, so they can create, design and develop the software. These days software developer just coding, that will be sad.

In 80s, scientist, physician, musician learn programming because they think software development is interesting. In 90s, most people learn programming to secure a good job and good salary. In 2000s, I know some software development friends leaving the industry and work as art designer, film director and play in a band, that is real sad (for software development industry).

Monday, March 26, 2007

unplug for firefox browser


There are many ways to download an embedded streaming video, in youtube and apple movie trailer.

Using unplug plugins for firefox browser is just one of those, is easy to use. If you are not using firefox browser, may be you can consider install one in your system.

After installed unplug, you should see a fish icon with green color at the right side of url input box of the browser. You access to youtube website, click on the fish icon, it will extract out the video link.

unplug, download embedded video

Just click on the link should download the streaming video. You can use VLC player to view you video on desktop.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oracle at Sun Tech Days Malaysia 2007

I didn't attend any of the Oracle presentations because I seldom use their products.

Everyone should remember the "Wheel of Oracle".

Wheel of Oracle
Spin the wheel and see what type of free gift you get

You submit your feed back form, you get a free gift from Oracle. You spin the wheel and try your luck, see what type of gift you get. Most people get a red color plastic cup. May be they have do some tricks to the "Wheel of Oracle".

Is a free gift, so no complains.

speakers at Sun Tech Days Malaysia 2007

I like to evaluate speakers, because speakers are key to the success of the event.

James Gosling
James Gosling speak in Sun Tech Days

These are the list of speakers who speak in Sun Tech Days.

I can't remember all the speakers on stage. These speakers came from all over the world, like Malaysia, China, India, Australia, South America and North America. I just list a few of them.

Angela M. Caicedo. Most impressive with her j2me presentation and "Minority Report" demo. She don't speak fast during her presentation, so audience can digest what she says. She choose the demo to show the audience, simple and clear.

Lee Chuk Munn. I have seen Chuk Munn a few times in other Sun events, I think he is experience on stage. He choose the right content, not boring even though sometimes his presentation is quite technical. He is a Malaysian.

Peter Karlsson. He speak quite fast but still easy to understand, and he says he work with Microsoft before.

Chris Armes. Chris is big size, so you will not miss out him. He is the host on OpenSolaris day.

Matt Thompson. He speak in an open source session, I think he is a marketing guys.

Joey Shen. A lot of people don't like his speech, but I think he do a good presentation for the open source license.

All speaker do their homework, it need a lot of preparation before on stage. I think every speakers do a good job.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friends at Sun Tech Days Malaysia 2007

I meet a few friends that I have not seen for quite some time during Sun Tech Days 2007 at KLCC, like Aizatt, Tiang Hin, Lee Wee Jon, Ai Lin, Ethan Soo. I almost can't recognize some of the faces, and some of them can't recognize me too. IT world is a small world.

Sun Tech Days is great event, I am lazy to blog. I do a search in Google, Aizatt blog it. Aizatt blog quite frequent. I only blog when I have the mood to blog.

Open speech by Managing Director of Sun Microsystems, Mr. Gan Boon San, invited guest Deputy Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Malaysia, YB Dato’ Kong Cho Ha. Follow by James Gosling's keynote. Yes, James Gosling did came, but he just give talks on the first day (7 Mar 2007) opening, and not other session.

An air ticket was give out during the opening, winner can fly to USA to attend the JavaOne conference in May, I am not the winner. Early bird stand a chance to win an iPod, it was given out in the morning as well.

The following events as presentation split into three tracks, web, java and solaris, just choose what you like to attend.

They said about 1500 attendees, but don't worried, there is sufficient of food supply. Enough food for lunch and tea break, good review of technology during the presentation, a lot of freebies. If you pay one hundred and twenties for the event, it worth more than that.

Demos at SUN Tech Days Malaysia 2007

I think most people who attended the SUN Tech Days Malaysia was impressed by the few demos shown at the opening of events.

There a six demos:-

1. Java is fast. They compare the performance of a fibonacci program, written with Java and C/C++. The Java performance is as good as those C/C++ program (if is not faster).

2. Petstore 2.0 example. SUN has a popular J2EE petstore example, the SUN people make it more interesting with web 2.0. If you are developing web application and you don't know what is web 2.0, this will wake you up.

3. The remote tanker. Demo shown how to control the tanker movement and action using a mobile phones, definitely is a java enable phones. I heard there will be more java toys will be shown during the JavaOne in America, on this coming May.

4. Netbean IDE. A lot of users already know Netbean, now it came with java mobile edition, for java mobile application development.

5. Java mail client. Java can write application with rich GUI interface.

6. New search technology for multimedia. SUN develop a search technology, which search mp3 with tunes (not text), you can search mp3 with similar tunes, style or genes. I feel like I am in Apple conference, because iTunes and iPod are related to this type of technology.

7. "Minority Report" demo. SUN has a new desktop call Looking Glass, they write an interface to capture the hand movement (with the glove). Use the hand movement to move the cursor, and grab object on the desktop, just like the system use in the "Minority Report" movie. The system is not stable, but good enough to impress everyone.

Each demo was give about 5 minutes time. The demo is short, but very impressive.

Friday, March 02, 2007

iPhone Hello commercial

You know Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) is good at advertising, most remarkable is their Macintosh 1984 superbowl commercials. It only shown once during the superbowl game, but it repeated uncounted times on News and TV. That’s Apple.

iPhone Hello
iPhone Hello, Apple commercial

In sync with the OSCAR Academic Awards, Apple shown the first iPhone commercial, intercut movies/TV scenes of famous actors and actress say ‘Hello’ through phone. The commercial was shown during 79th Academy Awards.

Some people comment the iPhone Hello commercial is not as good as the other Apple commercial, but I think is nice.

There is 31 movie scenes, how many actors/actress can you recognized, and what is the movies name?

Refer here and here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Portable firefox

I bring along my firefox with my USB thumb drive. Some people asking me, why I need firefox? Ya! Why I need firefox? I don’t really have a good answer for it.

update firefox
updating firefox to version

My reply to open source users, firefox is open source software. For normal users, who cares!? Answer for normal users is, I like the dictionary plug-ins for firefox.

There is a few dictionary plug-ins available for firefox, earlier I am using a plug-ins connect to Altavista babble fish service (the plug-ins should be here), now I am using oak vocabulary plug-ins.

Oak Vocabulary
Oak Vocabulary pop up as a dialog box

It is quite powerful, you can configure to activate the dictionary service as a tooltips, and you can configure and add in different online dictionary services.

This is the reason which is good enough for normal user to use firefox.

Friday, February 16, 2007

portable life on internet

This is for internet beginners

Eric is going to New Zealand for one year working holiday, he plan to bring a notebook to New Zealand and ask me for some advice. I think he want to blog his life in New Zealand, but I told him notebook is not really portable.

What normally people like Eric will do on internet?

Read news and read blogs
Write blogs
Read/Write email
Chat with friends
Digital photo management
For me, all these can be done through web. What I need is usb flash drive, it is cheap these days, just get a 1G or a 2G storage, a portable firefox and a broadband internet access, so I don't have to bring along my notebook with me everyday.

What is a portable firefox? Portable firefox is a firefox browser can be store on a usb flash drive, once you plug in the usb drive into the PC, you can run the browser directly from the usb drive without install any software into the PC.

I prefer firefox browser because there is a lot of plugins avaiable, some of it like online dictionary could be very useful. When you access to the internet from public terminal (eg. in internet cafe) or your friend's PC, they might not allow you to install anything on the PC, portable firefox came in for the rescue.

If you are a new user on the internet, first thing to do is get yourself an email account, an email account is like your id on the internet. There is a lot of free email account available, hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, GMail, and many others, just choose one you prefer.

Now you have hardware (usb flash drive), software (portable firefox) and id (email account) ready, what you need is web services for your daily task.

Read and write email. Give up your Eudora and Outlook express, is out dated, if you have aditted to it just keep it as your own habbit but don't spread it around. Eudora and Outlook express email client store your email on your harddisk, it is not portable. Don't look for solution like portable Eudora or portable Outlook, just use your browser to access to your email account, most email account will provide a web mail interface.

Most people will like to chat with their family or friends on the internet, there are quite a number of online instant messenger available, but meebo is the only one I will recommend. If you are using Google Talk, chat service through gmail is available.

The last is online digital photo management. I don't recommend any here, I use flickr, I am happy with it, but since I didn't pay for a premium service yearly, I can only manage my last 200 photo.

That's what I mean portable, not a notebook, but a usb flash drive with portable firefox and many online services which is freely available on the internet.

I heard from an IT friend, virus/worm many infect your usb flash drive as an autorun program. Is good to know how to disable the autorun feature, one of the easy way to temporary disable the autorun feature by holding the shift key which plugging in the usb flash drive, but it never prevent the infected PC to infect your usb drive, too bad. Use your usb flash drive with causion.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Calendar for badminton open 2007

I key in the world class badminton cup schedule in Google Calendar, but in Chinese


我收到一份羽球賽的賽程表,我選了一些比較重要的賽事,鍵入 Google Calendar 。 Google Calendar 真的很好用,我大概只花了十五分鐘就完成輸入了。

加入你的 Google Calendar 請按

使用 iCal 可以加入 Mac OS X 的行事曆當中。至於其他格式,請自行轉換。

這就是 web 2.0 的觀念,資源共享。

Switching to Intel

Did you notice, desktop computer (Apple) and workstation computer (Sun) is switching to x86 platform, one after another? Choosing the hardware platform and CPU is just a business decision, but making the software (including OS and Application) to work on different hardware platform, you need some technical effort.

Mac OS first develop on Motorola 68000 series CPU and later ported on PowerPC, it never runs on Intel (or x86) CPU before version 10. If Mac OS runs on Intel CPU, I think most poeple will buy an IBM compatible machine and install a Mac OS on it during the 80s.

Mac OS X inherits NextSTEP OS from NeXT Computer, which Apple acquired at 1996. Before Apple acquired NeXT, NextSTEP already available on Intel machine, but when OS X was released, it only runs on PowerPC platform.

I am not surprised OS X can runs on an Intel machine, because NextSTEP already did it before. I am surprised by Steve Jobs want it to run on Intel machine, Steve Jobs never want his product on Intel CPU. Even at NeXT, Intel platform is not his first choice.

Recently Sun Microsystems announce will sell Intel base server machine. Sun has a great OS product, the Solaris operating system. I have been using Solaris (on SPARC machine) for many years, it is very stable and performing well. I am not sure how well it will run on Intel platform.

Solaris on Intel is not a new product. SunOS has been ported to Intel platform as early as in 1980s, but the most popular version that I can remember is Solaris 2.6. A lot of users doesn't know Solaris runs on Intel, may be the Intel version was not so popular and it was lack of support.

What Sun did is just like Apple. Their product on specific hardware platform which is not Intel, but Intel is some company that you just can't ignore. The recent switch to Intel for both Sun and Apple already prove it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Palm Dictionary

If you have a Palm PDA, definitely you are not using it just as a electronic scheduler and memos, because it can do more than that.

One of the most wanted features for me, is to turn the PDA into a electronic dictionary.

There two common dictionary software for Palm, KDic and ZDic.

Most early Palm users should know KDic, it was originally written for Japanese-English dictionary, but it is a universal dictionary, depends on what type of dictionary database you have loaded in.

KDic support DA hack, so you can call the dictionary as a pop-up from other application. KDic is a freeware, the latest version now is 1.46, it runs on Palm OS 3.x to 5.x.

KDic, english dictionary

The KDic development was slow down. KDic may have some memory leak as warning by Palm OS Emulator, but I am not very sure about it. I have been using an earlier version, which sometimes crash with CJKOS.

ZDic is a much newer application, updated quite frequent, written by ???. It can share dictionary database with KDic. ZDic is a freeware, it runs on Palm OS 3.x to 5.x, support DA, and voice support only on Palm with ARM cpu.

ZDic, list display

According to this Korean blog, the original 2.33 version can't run properly on Palm TX, so a blogger name zdyx, make a patch and corrected the problem. This Korean change some of the chinese message into english and provide a copy at his blog site.

KDic/ZDic database. KDic and ZDic are just dictionary software, it doesn't came with dictionary database. You need to install a database for the software to work. You can try this english-english, it is quite a big file. You can try english-chinse database too.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Gmail on microemulator

Can gmail mobile app run on Palm?

I hope the gmail mobile application can run on Palm, but I am not sure. Since I am able to get it run on j2me microemulator emulator, it should work on any midp 2.0 compatible vm.

Gmail App, running on midp emulator

This is how I do it. microemulator told me they are midp 2.0, but I encounter some problem while running the gmail application:

$ java -jar me-app.jar gmail.jad

I get a few error for class not found:
com.barteo.cldc.https.Connection (and a few other class)

I do a quick and dirty hack. I get CertificateException class from midp 2.0 from Sun, com.barteo package from cldc.jar (can be downloaded from http://www.littlespikeyland.com/mpp/ ).

The last part, where can I get the gmail mobile application? I download the generic program from:
http://gmail.com/app/v1.0.0/en/gm-Generic-Advanced_MIDP2.jad (rename to gmail.jad)

I get this 2 link from gmail help center.

Beyond wireless broadband

Thoughts for Singapore wireless@SG

Just after I graduated many years ago, I have an interview in NUS (National University of Singapore). There is a question from the interviewer, the professor ask me, "Malaysia have any vision plan?" (or something like that).

I don't know what he really means at that time, so the professor explain to me, like for Singapore, they have an IT2000 initiative (intelligent island). I think I was not able to answer the question well at that time, and I didn't get the job. Later I realized that the professor may refering to 'wawasan 2020'. (I think the MSC idea is not there yet)

Internet seems to be a hit in 90s, especially when US president Bill Clinton and Al Gore propose 'Information Highway' idea, all other country have a similar plan but with a different name, like Singapore's intelligent island, India's Technology Park, Hong Kong's cyber port and Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor. The idea is to have broadband network connection.

After year 2000, extend one step further than broadband network, with the wireless broadband. Recently Taipei city just win an awards for its WIFLY network. Singapore announces to have wireless connection coverage throughout the island, and it is free for the first two years (now extended to 3 years).

I read a article about WIFLY in Taipei, even they have 90 percent coverage in Taipei city, but not many users (40,000 out of 2.6 millions) willing to pay for the services. Definitely there is a reason behind it.

I think Singapore government is doing a good job, given it free for the first few years. They have spend million of dollars on implementing the wireless system, Wireless@SG. I hope they can do better, and all other country can do it better.

If you are familiar with personal computer history, you should know Lotus-123 is the killer application on IBM PC. Many users buy IBM PC not because they are IBM product or it is affordable, they buy PC just because they can use Lotus-123 on it. I hope all these governments who promote wireless broadband don't forget, a killer application needs to be there as the key to the success, be it a software application or web services.

New York Times, What if They Built an Urban Wireless Network and Hardly Anyone Used It?
台北無線網路新都,果真世界第一? Free access to Wireless@SG network
Todayonline, Singapore, one giant hotspot
More Wi-Fi hotspots become free in Singapore

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How to run j2me application on Palm

I skip my dinner today, which is not good.

Question: Is it possible to run midp application on Palm?
The quick answer is yes, but how?

This just give you some idea how it will work, but not showing the detail step by step.

You should know how to write an j2me midp application, there are many tutorial on the internet that you can follow. What you need to do now, is to convert j2me jar file to a palm prc file, after that install this prc file and midp VM to the Palm device will do.

Yesterday night, some web site told me, there is a jar2prc tools to convert a jar file to prc file. I was searching high and low, but can't find this utility file. Seems like this jar2prc file is not a standard utility, it came with IBM WEME (Websphere Everyplace Micro Environment), and not Sun wireless toolkit.

Seems like the j2me vm is still within the competition between Sun and IBM. IBM's j2me VM is the majority on Palm OS platform. I am more familiar with Sun's tools, because I was using it when I first develop j2me application.

My development experience on j2me is about four to five years ago, but I almost forgot everything now. Luckily I still keep some README note from other developers, and I take a quick browse. Sun wireless toolkit is using midp4palm to convert jar to prc.

(Please take note, the prc generated by IBM need WEME, prc generated by midp4palm need Sun's midp. I guess should be the ID generated by both tools are different)

Most website (which is very old), will point you to http://java.sun.com/products/midp4palm/download.html which already been removed by Sun. I am not sure how you are going to generate the prc file now, but since I still keep this midp4palm file, I use this 5 years old file to generate prc file.

midp4palm, convert j2me jar file to palm

If you really can't find midp4palm, you should use IBM as your development tools, now you know why WEME dominate on Palm platform.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Palm TX

Welcome year 2007 and happy new year.

Finally I get a Palm TX + 1G microSD (Yes! 1G) for RM999 just before the last day of year 2006. 999 sounds like a good number, definitely 888 is even better.

Most people will not buy a Palm TX PDA, is a 2 years old product, is not a smart phone and it doesn't run windows. (Ya! Is a big deal for many users because it don't support Microsoft Office). May be these people will prefer HP rx5915, which has WiFi and GPS system.

For a technical (hardware) user, Palm TX is still not their choice. Palm TX storage (128M) can't compare with Palm LifeDrive (4G), TX is using an Intel XScale processor which already sold to Marvell. TX could be the last product which use XScale, Palm's future product could be base on TI's OMAP or other ARM core base processor (eg. Samsung) like Zire 21, Treo 750v.

I don't really like Intel XScale, I am not sure if you compare with XScale and OMAP, which will perform better, but the XScale product used by Palm support WiFi, so that's the reason I choose the product. On the other hand, XScale is a good product, performing with low power.

Software people like me, Palm OS definitely is my choice, Windows Mobile have performance issue, they need a powerful device which will drain battery quickly. Even though both Palm and PalmSource (acquired by ACCESS) is moving to Linux platform, but we don't know when. Recently Palm license Palm OS source code from ACCESS. Palm OS is still simple and easy to use.

I have tried TX WiFi connection, is easy to setup, but I have no luck on configure Nokia mobile phone as an internet dial-up modem. I have download the midp j2me VM (from Sun), and my 5 years old j2me program still work on the TX!

Many old Palm OS v3 program doesn't work well on TX, but some still working fine. I think Palm has do some home work on backward compatibility, those old program actually compile for Motorola cpu. I don't really like the Graffiti 2 handwriting system, but I think I will get use to it soon.

I don't have much time to try for the 'new' device, but definitely will write more in the future.

This is my homepage for Palm TX.