Duncan Davidson:

The harshest sign of all for me, however, was spending a day with my youngest sister last week during the Thanksgiving holiday and realizing just how much of her life is occupied with figuring out what to buy, when to buy it, and what storage to buy to store everything else that has been or will be bought. I think we talked about other things for all of about thirty minutes.

Follow the link to read the quote in context, but it mirrors experience I’ve had with others I know. It’s disarming to say the least.

Why bother with Frontier again?

I’ve asked myself the question “Why bother with Frontier?” many times in the last month.  I spent some time talking to people on the Frontier Kernel mailing list about getting involved with the project again.  I learned many things, including the fact that I’m not qualified to help in a meaningful way right now.  Sometimes knowing your limits is as important as knowing your strengths.  In my case, I would need to learn 10 years of C coding to catch up to the complicated environment that is the Frontier kernel.

I think instead I’ll spend my time building the software that I want instead of trying to fix the issues with the existing project.  There are many things about the Frontier coding environment that are appealing:

  1. Editing code in an outliner
  2. Scripting applications to automate tasks
  3. Building applications that work on more than one platform

That said, I think that I can build my own software while addressing my shortcomings.  I have the books and the tools to learn C, compile programs and run them under MacOS X and Windows.  I have the motivation to learn and some spare time.

So, why bother with Frontier again?  Why indeed.

Dave Winer’s open community?

I’ve tried posting some comments on Scripting News lately but each has been moderated away by Dave. Here’s the last one, a request for him to point out to me the moderation reasons:


You seem to moderate all of my comments but I believe I’m posting relevant content to your discussion. Can you point out a mistake I’m making and help me correct it?

Steve Kirks

I’m posting this here because I think that’s Dave’s preferred method of communication: open and honest.

iTunes Match is great

I enabled iTunes Match last night on our account and our home Mac dutifully uploaded 14,000+ songs overnight.  It was still working on some of the songs and the album artwork today.  I’m listening to “Blair’s List”, a custom iTunes playlist from the home machine, curated by my brother-in-law the orthodontist and music expert.  In the background, my iPhone is downloading (streaming) songs from the cloud as needed.

Way better than storing all of that on my phone.  Way, way better.  It “just works”.

“Boom” as Steve Jobs would have said…

Don’t pile on Stallman

So Richard Stallman (RMS, father of the free software movement) publishes some guidelines about booking him as a speaker.  The “rider” is excessive in it’s detail and that is pushing several people to poke fun at it.  Before you jump on that bandwagon, try writing down your requirements in the same level of detail and see if it reads the same.  Write every preference, situation and detail you can think of, colored through the lens of your staunch beliefs.

That said, does it sound so odd anymore?

Frontier Lives (again!)

So I have a long history with UserLand Frontier, a scripting and database environment that runs on the Mac and Windows.  I spent some time in 2004 as a product manager for UserLand, trying to shepherd the Radio UserLand blogging tool in the fledgling community.  I wrote my fair share of UserTalk scripts for UserLand and myself and shipped some nice code–at least for my skill level.  I worked with some great people with big ideas and even met some big people with great ideas.

One of those people was Adam Curry, long time Radio UserLand blogger, podcaster and former MTV V-jay.  Adam still uses the software and it’s cousins (OPML Editor by Dave Winer) to produce a website and RSS feed for his regular podcasts.  That’s an oversimplification, but for the few readers of the weblog, it will have to do.

Adam’s looking for some help with Frontier–the core of what has become many similar products–to make it run on a new platform and a new environment.  He’d like it to run under Linux for a few simple reasons, mainly to prevent vendor lock-in and give him control of his future PC environments.  I get that.  He’s reached out to the community that’s left looking for someone to take on the Herculean task of creating another “cousin”–Frontier on Linux.

While I know the source code structure and have a basic understanding of how it works, I’m not fluent in the kernel programming environment.  But, since I’m an architect for technology and some of that knowledge will carry over, I’ve decided to approach this problem from that direction.  I’ll jump in the pool again with both feet, trying to architect a direction forward.

Sometimes it’s easier for people to point out a mistake in someone else’s plan than to come up with one on their own.  Maybe my plan will get some people thinking and sharing and finding a way forward.

PS–I’m doing this for fun.  Let’s all have fun together! 🙂

Stripes = movie quote gold

Harold Ramis (Recruit): “What happens if I don’t get on the bus?”

Sean Young (MP): “Aww, you look like a sensitive, intelligent guy.  Don’t make me have to shoot you.”

John Candy: “I hope this is the mess hall–How ya’ doin’ Eisenhower?”