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On Identity in Blogs

Posted by daniel on October 8, 2004 at 7:52 AM PDT

It matters who you are and where you post

It has been a great three days at the href="http://web2con.con/">Web 2.0 conference. Yesterday featured
presentations from Google labs on some aspects of search that they are
playing with including using statistical methods, lots of data, and
lots of machines to translate from one language to another. This
enables you to enter a search in your language and return possible
results that include sources in other languages that are returned to
you after being translated back into your own. The also showed some of
the work they are doing with mining texts for relationships among
entities. Larry Lessig received a standing ovation for his moving
presentation on the differences between our rights in quoting and
using content captured in text and content that is digital.

Many of the web content providers and service providers talked
about how they could better serve you if they could figure out where
you are and what you like or what you tend to do. In other words, it
matters who you are and where you are. I've been thinking about this a
bit with respect to blogs.

Consider, for example, Ken Arnold's blog entry today href="">Patentably
Idiotic. In this essay he explains what is wrong the Kodak vs. Sun
settlement. He is quick to point out that " One approach is to think
that software patents are just plain wrong. Maybe so, but this isn't
obvious to me. Patents have protected other technologies, and they
might be able to handle software. Software patents as currently done
are broken, [and] dangerous, [..] but maybe it's fixable." This is
consistent with Lessig's view. Lessig has taken on the excessive and
abusive use of copyright and yet he is clear that piracy is wrong
and that the rights of a content creator should be reasonably
protected. The feedback to Ken Arnold's blog shows that readers
understand his points.

So what does that have to do with who you are or where you are? I
would think that if Jonathan Schwartz had made these statements about a
law suit that Sun had lost, the reaction to these same words may have
been different. Even if he had done so in a blog where he specified
the views expressed were his and not Sun Microsystem's.

Eitan Suez has blogged about href="">
A change of heart on the issue of open sourcing Java in today's featured href="">Weblogs. He is
reconsidering the position he took following Eric Raymond's open
letter to Sun on this topic. Imagine how different we would feel about
this post if it were instead authored by James Gosling. Blogging is a
very personal medium and it matters a lot who said what and where.

Tim Bray tried to set out some href="">sensible
rules for bloggers. Although his advice is targetted at Sun
bloggers, it is full of good advice such as "Think of the
Consequences" and "Quality Matters". We've just passed out 350th issue
of and I'm really proud of the quality of most of our
bloggers and feel honored that folks like Ken Arnold and Eitan Suez
stop by now and then to share their thoughts.

The suggestions for Mustang are pouring in in today's

. Virtual Rob writes "Please implement the
following which are found in most languages and will make java
much more useful for href="">numerical
work;(1)JSR 83 - multiarray package (2)provide hardware
speed trig functions (3)provide an optimized Complex number
class (preferably with overloaded operators)."

Sourcer writes "One of the few concrete things which .Net has which
Java does not is href="">
the concept and implementation of AppDomains where multiple
applications can run in separate compartments inside a single VM
process. I think this would go a long way to address problems of VM
startup time and memory footprint. I have no idea how robust the .Net
implementation is in the face of application failures but I sure like
the idea in theory."

What about an href="">
area for Requests for Enhancements? ScoleBourne writes "Sun,
please (1) start a fresh area (not the bug parade) that is dedicated
to RFEs (2) have a suggestions area of free format threads/forums (3)
common proposals (that have some chance of success, or are worth
serious debate) should be extracted from the open discussion area to a
fixed topic list area (closer to the bug parade) (4) have
voting/discussion systems that indicate support for, and support
against each serious proposal. (5) be clear how seriously Sun is
taking a particular issue - if it has no chance be clear."

Also in Java Today
, David Astels is taunting you. He's
telling you that your code sucks if you can't prove that it
works. In href="">Why
Your Code Sucks, he writes that you need to make sure your
code is testable, readable, understandable, values a trendy
framework over solid practices, and has duplication.

Do you ever get hung up on the nit-picking of Java--a cast here,
proper getters and setters there--and wish for something that was
still as powerful as Java but maybe with a little more "whipupitude"?
That would be, positively...Groovy. In href="">Groovy,
Java's New Scripting Language, "Java Cookbook" author Ian
F. Darwin offers a whirlwind tour of Groovy, the Java-based scripting
language, which offers everything from servlets to Swing, with a heavy
dose of hassle-reducing "syntactic sugar."

In Projects and
, Java-savvy "hams" willing to develop and
test new drivers should contact the href="">Java
Communications community's href="">JHamTune which offers a
Java-based system for controlling amateur radio stations.

There is a new front porch for href="">
ActiveXML. In addition to the project development areas on, ActiveXML has created their own home page.

In today's
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  • October 8-10, 2004 href=""> Pacific
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  • October 15-17, 2004 href="">Atlanta Java
    Software Symposium
  • October 19-22, 2004 href=""> Educause
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    JXTA Developer Kitchen

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It matters who you are and where you post