Today I finally broke down and installed Adobe Air on one of my machines so I could get a closer look at some new RIA stuff. It wasn't until later I noticed the banal fact RIA and AIR are palindromes.

The first application I set up is pretty cool. It's called AlertThingy and it basically allows me to aggregate various sources of information in one app. I quickly set up a feed of my friend's Facebook status updates, my twitter feed and a couple of news feeds.

The application also throws up desktop alerts when updated feeds come through. I can filter the results but it is not smart enough to see the identical feeds coming from Twitter and Facebook, which I thought was interesting. I can also update my stuff through the application.

One more way to observe life. I think the benefit to using this type of application for the status stuff is I see all of them...instead of the top 3 or 4 the moment I happen to look at my Facebook page.


White House Technology Agenda...

It is interesting to see the new technology agenda posted on the White House web site. Right up at the top of the agenda is the Internet and at the top of the Internet agenda is network neutrality. This is very positive news for anyone who would like access to the World Wide Web to remain unfettered.

What this means is the Executive Branch of the Federal Government has established policy which is opposed to broadband provider's plans to impose restrictions on content, block applications and throttle bandwidth in order to increase their profits with self-serving schemes like tiered service models and eliminating competition in software markets like Apple's 'iPhone - App Store' trickery.

This matter, currently regulated by the FCC, has been the focus of much heated debate. Interestingly, the Telecommunications and Cable-communications industries claim they never planned any such tactics...Yet they are vociferously opposed to net-neutrality standards meant to protect their consumers long-term. I can't imagine any reason why they would waste money and resources lobbying against something they have no financial interest in.

Since it is widely accepted the United States entered the Information Age in 1990, it is also good to see the nation will finally have a Chief Technology Officer. Because of the intrinsically egalitarian nature of the Internet, access to the power of information technology is certainly not limited to those who would do good. Learning there will now be a person at the top of our government who understands what 'The Google" is and how to use it, is pretty comforting news.



In this case I am not referring to breaking out of prison and becoming el fugitivo. Although, under current law use of the Jailbreak software can land you in considerable legal trouble.

Jailbreak is a tool used to modify the iPhone OS so the rightful owner of the device may load any third party applications they like on it. Out of the box an iPhone is restricted and will only allow the owner to download apps from the Apple app store. This is a handy way to eliminate competition in the market place.

In real life, what Apple is doing would be like if someone went to Sears and bought a shiny, red Craftsman toolbox and brought it home. Once home the owner tries to put his own tools in the toolbox but finds he can't. Frustrated, the owner of the toolbox gets out the paperwork to figure out what the hell is wrong with his toolbox.

After hours of cursing and fumbling around with the instructions the owner gives up in frustration. The owner's wife picks up the sales contract and points out the problem there in the fine print: You can only put Craftsman tools in your toolbox. If you modify the toolbox to accept other tools you are going to jail. And what's more is, to pull the limitations of only doing business with AT&T into the equation...you can only use your toolbox to carry tools to places in a Ford truck.

Seem silly? It is a pretty accurate metaphor.


Down with the sickness...

I had to get up and write something, anything. I have been really sick for about a week but I think things are improving now. Today was my first day back at work all week so naturally there were a lot of emails to read. Not as many as one would expect though. I think the number of fresh messages in my inbox at any given moment is a solid indicator of the strength of the economy. But, the work keeps coming ...there is no shortage of things to do from my perspective.

After getting caught up I turned my attention to research. I need to answer lingering questions about how we are going to develop integrated, interactive maps and automatically translate web pages to foreign languages in real time. The results of my research would be going into a deliverable I call the 'Technical Specification' which, aptly, specify all the technical aspects of the site.

Naturally, I turned to Google. In this case however, Google is not the search engine I am going to use to find the answers I seek. In this case Google itself, in all of its wonder, is going to provide the solution to not one, but two complex technical challenges. It is going to make executing the development of each easy...And it is going to be free.

I just couldn't help but have a quiet little nerdgasm in my office when I discovered the hidden hamlet in Google's empire called 'Google Code'. I know this is old news for many developers and engineers...but it was all new for me. Of particular interest is the new 'interactive API playground' which allows you to edit code for most if not all of the popular API's and see the results immediately.

Freakin' awesome.