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Bent Rasmussen esoteric λ
  • Longhorn concept Video

    I miss the original Longhorn Concept Video series by Carter Maslan. I can't find them anymore. Are they nowhere to be found?

  • Another  British Bomb

    The problem I see is the increasing amount of data that consumes space. As we get more space, we use it up. And the media we store on do not last that long. At some point we probably need to prioritize and just overwrite what es less essential. The top scientific and artistic achievements of mankind should be stored redundantly on high-density near-indestructible media. I saw something about some titanium discs used for storing scientific information, I believe. Compression is okay, as long as the medium is truly persistent. Otherwise it is dangerous and counter to the whole idea of backup: creating redundancy as a means of data persistencesafety.

    I believe in format conversion. If these formats are somehow cryptic (read: complex, binary, etc.), then the software and knowledge of how they are formed need to be preserved. In that case it's worth converting them, unless the old software still actively runs and depends on the old structure. In that case it may also be worthwhile examining abstraction views or two-way transformation virtualizations. A technology which could be implemented generically in a virtualized filesystem.

    I don't really know WinFS, but technology like RDF appeals to me. Maybe we'll see a more semantic filesystem in the future. I like the idea of the filesystem being able to view files as datastructures. A simple example of that is zip, but it could apply to many types of files.

    Another aspect of readability is code. As frameworks such as Java and Net get more and more complex and tie into various other technologies. How hard will it be to get it to work in 200 years when Net and Java is long antiquated and passe.


  • It was all about the OIL.

    It's so easy to make fun of all this and to be better-knowing and cynical in retrospect, but at some level, this news has to be shocking. I do see it as a sign of progress, the admittance of the real motivation. It may be forced because how much more horribly bad could the existing PR war of the coalition had gone, if they'd told the truth to begin with? Well, worse probably... But it's hard to be surprised anymore.

  • ie8 ideas

    A few more comments.

    The Office 2007 ribbon design is awesome. A jump in usability for sure.

    I don't know if this is transferable to Internet Explorer.

    One thing I dispised going to newer versions of Internet Explorer, was it's increased use of screen real-estate for user-interface (i.e. not rendering markup). Big icons and the like.

    I've also never come quite to terms with tabs. I use them and they're helpful, but somehow it annoys me that there are two grouping mechanisms: the taskbar and the browser tabs.

    The use of screen real-estate is not critical anymore, except just because there is more space, for many users, doesn't mean you should now employ "baby-size" icons for the hell of it, or start wasting space in other ways.

    That being said, an entirely different problem, it appears to me, is the constant annoyance of homepage designs, designed for some resolution even generally, homepages in a browser window that is maximized on a wide-screen monitor. It looks really awkward. So one could scale the window for the right size. That doesn't look all that great either. I don't have a solution to this though, it just annoys me somehow....

    All these different screen resolutions can be annoying. What would be nice is very-high DPI monitors and non-pixel based rendering. Anti-aliasing becomes irrelevant above some resolutions because the resolution can account for high-frequency variations and at some point the eye doesn't "care" as much. Imagine ditching sub-pixel rendering and anti-aliasing and just "going for it".

    An Office 2007 style ribbon design for Internet Explorer 8 may be just the thing, it depends...


  • ie8 ideas

    The problem isn't adding stuff. The problem is adding stuff with total disregard for other browsers and interoperability. The web is built in specifications. Break them, and you create a horrible horrible nightmare for developers and designers. There are two points of view:

    a) We own the market, we just add stuff and let the others keep up, or suffer

    b) We don't have the only browser and we should respect the web as an open place where one company doesn't control it's evolution but instead works together with other companies to create better solutions

    That being said, I see the common web standards and technologies as being out of date now. They are great for simple things, but it's just this total "mess" of ad-hoc specifications.

    I blame Microsoft for being unilateralist and not trying harder to get the industry to converge on holistic solutions. But I also recognize that Microsoft has been at the forefront of technology with Internet Explorer and functionality much more mature and advanced than found in other browsers, even to this day, in some respects, and in other respects the opposite is true. But that's what comes out of what seems like a five year hiatus.

    There comes a time when evolution has gone so far and you need to try a completely different approach, or simply one based on major refactoring and holistic integration. A design where all pieces fit nicely together. A design that isn't bloated.

    One can argue whether Avalon and Silverlight is that design. The thing I like about Silverlight, is

    a) CLR

    b) DLR; use scripting like Ruby, Python, Javascript

    c) XAML and scripts embedded in HTML; bytecode not necessary

    d) Assemblies for more static languages, like C#, are also possible, enabling more robust client-side libraries and frameworks

    This is cool, but ultimately it is suboptimal. Ultimately one doesn't want a major machinery as overhead (the old stuff).

    I liked SVG, the Adobe SVG viewer worked like Silverlight because scripts were embedded int he markup. That was nice. Unfortunately the true vision of SVG - native integration, never became reality. I see SVG as a key missing component. No, VML doesn't count. The two C's count: Convention and Concensus.

    That is not to say that HTML+CSS+SVG+etc is the answer - as I've said, it appears to be a bloated monstrous machinery that keeps evolving new limbs and parts. It's grotesque but it lives.

    It might be interesting with native browser integration of Silverlight. But it appears, from words uttered by browser developers, that integration isn't that easy or doesn't give that many benefits. (Back to the monster...)

    One could create an HTML render engine in Silverlight perhaps. It has been done in Flash, including xforms capabilities, if I remember correctly.

    Anyway. I'm out...

  • What do you want to know about Vista?

    W3bbo wrote:
    binah wrote:
    Why did it take Micro$oft six years to produce an OS which is basically a new color scheme for Windows XP with added bugs?

    Will it also take six years to get answers to any of this questions?

    esoteric wrote:

    Now there is a troll, if I ever saw one...

    Not necessarly. Let's face it, this is the perception many users of Vista have. Whilst there have been significant improvements, modifications, and rewrites under-the-hood, the only changes the end-users really see is the new GUI (and not a universally accepted one either).

    Microsoft needs to emphasise the real changes to the kernel and OS from XP if they're to battle this kind of consumer ignorance.

    <straying-off-path say="sorry"/>

    I agree. This is one of the biggest problems I see Microsoft facing. Avalon is a major component of Vista, but there are lots of other major things going on. But because it's the component with the most visible consequence to the end-user. That's what they're selling Vista on, besides security. Then we have all the Linux engines (one for every developer it seems sometimes), but although waterdrops look cool and although wobbly windows are fun, it has no consequence for productivity. It's just a hollow shell. Avalon is an entirely different beast. It's a major boost for developers as well. It doesn't look like Linux developers really take this aspect serious, or I may be ignorant. It seems like it's "oh that looks cool, let's throw together yet another engine to render wobly windows". I don't dig that. I suppose they're missing the "developers, developers, developers, developers, ..., developers" aspect of it all.

    Anyhow, I'm intrigued to see what Microsoft will come up with next time, to sell the Vienna, and how it will begin to affect the direction Windows takes. I still expect some strategic bets but a lot of easy-to-grok stuff as well, and that's fine.


  • What do you want to know about Vista?

    Now there is a troll, if I ever saw one...

  • Yes or No: are humans naturally moral?

    Quite right - empaty is an interesting notion. The imagination of consequences projected onto oneself. To understand others through the consquences they have suffered, self-inflicted, or not, by imagining those same consequences upon oneself. It is tied to the "Kantian" imperative, or rather golden rule that you should "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". The problem with the scope of consequences taken into consideration. It's easy to look at a few consequences in isolation and say "If I did that, I should suffer the same consequences", without imagining or being aware of what went before those consequences. The level of empathy on an intellectual level is highly reflected in any society and legal system.

  • Software & Cars

    That's the easy answer "I'll trust it when it works" when the whole question is more like "how far off is it to working".

    It's sort of like flying cars. I would want an overarching networked system with knowledge of every vehicle and constrained freedom within a managed space of paths. In case of network failure I'd want a fallback mechanism and perhaps a managed "proximity network" (peer to peer communication).

    I'd also like multiple layers of security, fail-safes and fallbacks. As well as manual override (but still perhaps managed and constrained, to the extent the rest of the system is able to, under fail conditions).

    I bet it'll be 2-3 decades before secure systems become real.

    In the end, however, I don't think I'll ever completely trust any system. There's not much that can't fail somehow. But it's just a calculated risk one takes. Car accidents happen today. Planes fall out of the sky today. Accidents happen in the home. Natural disasters happen. Nowhere is security absolute.

    A nuclear reactor in each car? Eh, what happened to specialization, rationalization and distribution grids?

    Overrationalization is bad as well, no doubt, as it creates fewer and shared points of failures and means increased interdependency.

  • Yes or No: are humans naturally moral?

    To some degree. I feel that complexity, intelligence, love and solidarity is born out of interaction with the environment and has proven to be the best survival techniques. There is survival on an individual level and there is survivial on a group level and on a species level. The individuals with good survival instincts and tactics will survive. The groups with good survival tactics will survive. Specialization is a tactic for individuals within groups and for groups within larger groups. Industrialization and globalization are examples of extreme group specialization tactics and strategies. Morals form out of group tactics for survival. Different times and stages of evolution and civilization require tactics and strategies. I see religious scripture as a formalization of survival tactics. I don't know to what degree aspects and traits of these tactics over time propagate to our genetic makeup and become part of our personalities.