Love you too, Apple

What do you give the CEO who has everything? How about a little appreciation?

I’m occupationally inclined to belittle Steve Jobs’ emotional MacWorld keynote declaration of his company’s deep affection for its customers. I might characterize as needy his opening plea to the crowd that they show him what they think of Apple’s fast-rising installed base and new products. Was it manipulative shmaltz for him to have Apple staff stand up and be recognized at the end of the keynote?

Nah. Screw professional cynicism. Were I in Steve’s shoes, addressing the masses who pulled Apple through the recession, I’d weep like a heart transplant patient on waking in the recovery room. I’d thank every doctor, nurse and janitor in the hospital personally.

There is no car in your driveway with an Apple logo bow around it. But the new $49 iLife is an embarrasingly extravagant gift to Mac users, plain and simple. Stack up sampled synth voices, pro-quality music loops (from actual musicians) and recorded audio and play them in real-time on GarageBand. Burn two-hour set top DVDs with hierarchical menus, playlist audio–not the looped audio you get on commercial discs and transitional effects. Cruise around waitlessly in a library of up to 25,000 images. Apple doesn’t care what kind of pictures you’ve got, but iPhoto does let you rate each image with one to five stars. See, it pays to know your customers.

Look, even if you just play with the new iLife to see what a Mac can do out of the box (it will be included with new Macs starting Jan 16), I promise it will make you go “ow.”

I find Final Cut Express 2.0 equally ow-inspiring. A casual or event videographer willing to spend $299 will get an editor with real-time transitions and 2D scale/motion (DVE) effects along with audio and video timeline scrubbing. In other words, you shall see no pinwheel when you preview or drag the cursor through around your storyboard.

I assume that FCE 2 can’t sketch out ten composited video layers without a short pause to rub its eyes. I don’t imagine GarageBand could play back 64 simultaneous stereo audio tracks smooth-as-you-please on an 800 MHz iBook.

Still, damn. Just, damn. Believe me, I’d say the same thing, just as eloquently, if Microsoft, Avid or Adobe even hinted at anything like this for $49 and $299. C’mon, guys. Are you slackin’ or what?

So Altivec isn’t just for gene sequencing. Quartz Extreme can do more than shlurp open windows down into the dock. Who knew? (wink)

Steve, dude, I did feel the love at MacWorld Expo. I got a little misty myself. Manly hugs to all y’all.

[Tom Yager]

mySQL As A Data Warehousing Platform?

Julian Ford passed on a link
to an article by Michael J. Radwin on Buildng
Data Warehouses With mySQL
. The article refers to a presentation by John
Ashenfelter
who’s also written a book
on mySQL and data warehousing
which is due out in July 2004.

Data warehousing using mySQL on one hand sounds counter-intuitive but also
has a few things going for it. On the plus side, data warehouses don’t need
to be 24x7x365 available, and transaction integrity and support is less of an
issue, which are usually seen as weak areas for mySQL.
Continue reading “mySQL As A Data Warehousing Platform?”

Know when to put a bullet in something

Sometimes the best solution is to stop throwing good money after bad. Even if the idea was yours … no, especially if the idea was yours … you’re far better off killing a going-nowhere project than to continue flogging it.

In fact, your ability to terminate an initiative that isn’t working out as expected will, in most organizations (and all healthy ones) brand you as someone able to make tough decisions.

[Advice Line by Bob Lewis]

You now have a can opener

InfoWorld: Microsoft to make Longhorn vulnerability-aware: February 26, 2004: By : Security

The new technologies will allow Windows to detect irregular system behavior — in terms of network traffic, memory usage and system calls, for example — and respond to them automatically, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said in a presentation at the RSA Conference in San Francisco Tuesday.

Would non-Microsoft software be considered irregular?

Lack of blogging not indicative

My lack of blogging here is not indicative of my state.

I am actively working on blogs and other interesting RSS-related things on my work sites…I don’t link to them here. If you know where to look, there they are.

klog hints


Yahoo! Groups : klogs Messages : Message 313 of 367

One thing I found with new KM projects is the tendency to dive into complexity.
In other words: these projects attempt to slice and dice available knowledge
in so many ways that it is almost impossible to understand. This, in my view,
can tank a project.

My recommendation: Start simple. Get that working and then add complexity
when there is demand for it.

There is only one good approach to approach bottoms up KM development:

1) Start with a simple system (ie. like a weblog publishing tool like Radio)
using tools that allow future innovation. Try it out with a small team to
pilot it. Post the weblogs to the Intranet (all you need is an FTP location
for each weblog — very simple).

2) Get people publishing daily what they are working on. Make sure they
understand the basics of publishing to the Intranet. The chronological format.
The archives.

3) Help them to start subscribing (via RSS) to each other and essential news
sources. This is again a simple thing to do. That way, they have lots of good
fodder for posts.

4) Next. Ask team members to begin to create category specific weblogs. Show
them how they can post from inside their tool to as many or as few category
specific weblogs as they choose. Ask the team to create similar categories
dedicated to specific projects or topics. Encourage people to subscribe to
projects that they are interested in.

5) Build a community system for the weblogs. This will allow people to get
community pages that include recently updated weblogs, top weblogs by pageview,
etc. This will help people find each other.

6) Write up the results and begin to encourage other teams to join the
community. Sell the concept. Encourage use by having the pilot team read and
recommend changes to the new community members.

At this point, there should be a steady flow of great information, data, and
knowledge flowing to the Intranet and between community members.

7) Next, begin to experiment with ways to slice and dice the knowledge that is
being generated. Try a search engine, build directories (ie. Active Renderer),
add metacontent to the publishing process (ie. Live Topics), enable e-mail to
weblog publishing, aggregate RSS streams, connect to Web Services, etc. There
is so much that can be done at this point.

The key to making this work is to make it easy and valuable for people to
publish. Success here will solve the knowledge “capture” problem. Community
development will help spur greater involvement and more frequent updates. Only
at the point when you have a viable system should you start to try more
innovations in how the information is organized. In fact, what you will see is
that people will start asking for new ways to organize information/knowledge in
order to save time and get more value out of the process. Without this demand
side of the equation, selling complex KM will not work.

Sincerely,

John Robb