Friday, January 25, 2008

The Web, Looking Foward

The text below was in response to an email I received at work. I went off on a rant, that probably wouldn't be that much appreciated by my coworkers, but I liked my rant so rather then email it out I'll just post it here.


The sad part is that Netscape will sail off into the sunset in February. My first "real" tech job was installing Netscape on thousands of computers at various Motorola plants around Phoenix. Now there is no more Motorola in Phoenix and no more Netscape. And we are still developing apps targeting HTML, which was never intended to be used in any way other then to present documents. I wish there was a standard runtime that we could develop against. Java was the right idea but it got derailed by M$, and then kind of fragmented. Silverlight looks promising, but it has to mature a bit more I think. Flash/Flex is another option, but working in the Flash dev environments sucks. Eclipse for Flex is a little better I hear, but I haven't played with it much other then looking over someone's shoulder to see what Flex could do. Then there are other XML technologies like xforms, that at least would be a half step up from HTML, but we would still be building strings on the server to be downloaded and display on a client's webbrowser, which ultimately, if you really step back and think about it for application development, is lame.

What I would like to see is something like Unity3D or Director 11 not just be geared towards game development, but also build in some functionality for displaying datasets,and something similar to winforms. Then you would have something akin to the whole Minority Report movie interface. I've seen some things in Flash and other programs that look pretty Minority Report'ish, but again I think those apps look great despite Flash/Flex not because of it.

Sorry, I've just been thinking and reading a lot about the future of the web. I think Silverlight is on the right path, and Flash to a lesser extent. Director was on the total right path but then Macromedia/Adobe let it die. That literally could have put back web development by like 10 years without anyone even realizing it. Flash took off, but it should have been Director, which Flash was originally a subset of. The same with the slow death of Java, it M$ hadn't crushed it, we might be seeing Rich Internet Applications today, written in a much more robust and faster version of Java, the likes of which we probably won't see till the 2012+ range.

I hate to say it but it is time to choose between Flash/Flex or Silverlight, or go out on a limb and shoot for something like Unity. Allegidly Web 3.0 will be the "Game/Avatar" web, so maybe that wouldn't be a bad choice. Second Life was hailed as the new web, and it has its uses, but generally it is a dud due to stability and limited functionality issues. Also back in the day there was VRML. That was web 3.0 in 1997. Great idea, but it never went anywhere. Some people are trying to resurrect it as X3D. Not sure if X3D is ready for prime time. Maybe now with bandwidth and processor power up Web 3.0 might be ready. Ultimately I think HTML web development (ie HTML as a front end, ASP, ASP.Net, PHP, etc... on a server backend) will be around for years, but it will begin to fade in importance, probably starting this year. The server piece will still be there, but we will be piping info to Silverlight, Flash, or another interface rather then HTML.

I babble. I'm probably not saying anything you guys didn't know already. This is what the pain meds for my tooth do to me :) I used to talk tech a lot at my old gig, I kind of miss it. Sorry.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

USAF's Decline: The Numbers

As I heard one Air Force Pilot on one TV program state, "It may not be your Daddy's Air Force, but it probably is his plane."

Our Air Force is old. About a third of the Air Force's planes are grounded from one reason or another. As the U.S. goes bankrupt, how will the Air Force cope with replenishing our planes? By buying ultra expensive F-22's and F-35's?

Big questions.

Read move about the sad state of the Air Force [HERE].

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cow Boy Goes Mainstream

Here we go. Of course this has probably happened behind the scenes since the 60ies, but now we have main stream science working on unleashing a real life furry into the world. This one is a cow, human hybrid.

Read more [HERE].

Friday, January 11, 2008

It Looks Like Hell Just Froze Over... about it [HERE].

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Originally linked from

Good For Sony: No Porn on Blu Ray

As described in [this] article, Sony has decided to not allow Porn on Blu Ray disk. More reason to buy products from this Honorable company.

Hired Guns, Shody Journalism, and Illegal Immigration

I read an interesting article about the effects of illegal immigration in Arizona. You can read more [HERE].

I have opinions about immigration, but that isn't what my blog is about. I noticed several things about the article.

1) The journalism was weak. A 625 dollar an hour figure is tossed out there with no reference on how the journalist came upon that information, other then the statement "might" be a possible quote from someone that I got the impression on was being sarcastic.

2) The journalism was biased. The article's points are placed in such a way to attempt to lesson the impact of one sides argument while trying not to appear to do so.

3) The researchers in this article are essentially hired guns. This is systemic in our society. Pay someone enough, and they will spout out numbers supporting whatever it is you want them to support, and they will cloak their findings as "science". Our society tends to trust arguments that appear scientific, so there is a lot of political pressure to wrap ideology in pseudo science.

So people are making decisions based on pseudo science reported on by weak biased journalism. Not good for a democracy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Embryo-Friendly Technique Produces Stem Cells

Allegedly a company can produce stem cells without harming embryos, better known as developing babies. This has significance to the abortion debate.

Read more [HERE].

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Predictions for 2008

Since my RSS feeds are down, on my lunch break I'm pondering predictions for 2008. Here are a few.

1) Second Life will loose a lot of its hype. Many large American companies will exit Second Life. However, Second Life will still have a large user base, and many foreign companies and governments will still experiment with Second Life. Companies like Millions of Us and Electric Sheep will keep a finger in Second Life, but they will focus more on other emerging virtual worlds.

2) Russia will do some sort of quasi invasion in the Serbia/Croatia region. There are a few important decisions on the docket for the future of that region, and I don't think the rest of the world realizes how marginalized the Russians felt in the 90ies about what went on there. Now that the Russians are feeling like they are in more of a position to start pushing their will on the world, expect some moves there. It won't be an outright invasion or anything like that, but Russian troops will be moved around in defiance of the West.

3) I will be living in the state of Washington by March.

4) I wish I could make a good prediction on the Presidential race, but I can't. It is tempting for me to say the race will come down to between McCain, Obama, and Paul, but I can't be sure. McCain is doing better then expected in the primaries, but he is still considered a long shot. Hukabee might take it. I'm not sure if Ron Paul will run as a third party candidate either.

5) RIAs, or Rich Internet Applications, will start to become visible, but because of their difficulty to develop and maintain compared to traditional web apps, you won't see that many of them. You will start to see more Flash and Sliverlight "bling" in traditional web applications, but I don't think Flex or Sliverlight will take over the internet world just yet.

6) Web 3.0, the avatar/virtual world web, will start making a presence felt, that will also cut into the development of RIA's. I'd like to see runtimes like Unity3D or Oligoop or whatever it is called start to become more mainstream, and they will, so now we will have two forks in the web development road, the Avatar web and RIA's. Neither will dominate the web for a long time to come, but again they will make their presence known more and more.

7) It will be ok for people to say that Ruby on Rails isn't the end all end all web solution. It will become ok to criticize Ruby.

8) Virtual Worlds will still be hampered on developers insisting on wrapping data communications in bloated XML, and not using binary serializers or compiling maps, leaving Second Life to still be the biggest virtual 3D world for another couple years to come.

9) There will be at least two combat confrontations with Iran, but neither will lead to all out war between Iran or the U.S.

10) Israel will not attack Iran this year.

11) The dollar will make a limited come back.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Spell Check for Visual Studio 2005/2008

Mikhail Arkhipov wrote some cool spell checking extensions for Visual Studio 2005/2008. They don't work with the express versions unless you hack them, but for standard, pro, enterprise, and team, here is the link.

Thanks Mikhail.