Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Google joins hands with Band of Angels

Google joins hands with Band of Angels

From the article:

Said Alok Mittal, who is an active member of BoA and is also leading Canaan Partners, an early stage VC fund in India: “Google has signed up as an institutional member recently. There is a limit till which each angel can invest in a company. Beyond that, an institutional member can co-invest with any angel if it finds the idea or the company interesting.” Google could not be reached for comment.


Now this sounds like the beginning of exciting times for India, and the World. India is a hotbed of growth for technology training and startups. Joining the angel investing front there will build good will and opportunities for Google.

Continued investment in India will mean more money of course, but also more jobs. People in the US tech industry often worry about more jobs going to India, but funding like this often produces new companies and new jobs. It provides, if anything, for healthy competition. Not necessarily he competition of the underbidder, but the competition of upstarts and one day equals.

I believe, based on nothing but a my view of history, that increasing wealth in India will also increase the expectations of those on the receiving end. Today an outsource job to India might bring that man or woman little more than minimum wage. Perhaps a few years from now, they will rightfully be demanding higher pay, and benefits.

Three cheers for Google...again. :)
Your Google fan blogger,
Todd

Embedded SQL - RPGIV/RPGLE - Gotchas

Several of you have visited my earlier posting on Embedded SQL in RPGIV. It is clearly an under addressed subject. In that light, I wanted to present a couple of small things that cause programmers problems when using embedded SQL.

Let's take this series of commands as our working example:

Exec SQL Declare Lines Cursor for
Select PEPSN from F5542330 Where PEDOCO =1148919

Exec SQL Open Lines

Exec SQL Fetch next from Lines
for 100 rows into :PSNS

Exec SQL Close Lines


1) Open - it is a common confusion that Open opens the file for access within the program globally. This would imply that the program has full access to all fields in the file that cursor is over. Not true. The Open and Close statements open and close the cursor only.

2) Fetch - another common mistake is that into creates the variables that the fields are moving into. Not true. Variables prefixed with ':' must be declared in the D specs.

3) Select - old school coders might assume that a Select statement requires a cursor. Surprise! Not true. For single line retrievals the following can be used.

Exec SQL Select PTCUST into :Customer from CSTMST
Where PTCUST = 'Farber';


4) Fetch - though often used to gather several records, it can be used to retrieve a single record.


Between avoiding these common mistakes and creating a library of working examples, you can be well on your way to adding SQL to your programming toolbox.

Another RPG coder,
Todd

Monday, July 23, 2007

Netflix - Cut backs!

Netflix Announces Q2 2007 Financial Results: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

"Online DVD rental is a large and attractive opportunity and we remain committed to investing in our long-term growth. With yesterday's price cuts in two of our most popular subscription plans, together with the reductions in February and June, we are choosing to lower price and reduce marketing as the most efficient means of sub growth and retention in the current competitive environment, and we are lowering our full-year guidance for revenue, subscribers, and earnings accordingly," said to Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and chief executive officer.

The gist is that Netflix has lowered their low-end priced customer rental plans. All commentary sees this as another move against Blockbuster. The war is raging they say, and Netflix is fighting on the price front.

In my opinion, they've taken the first step to losing the war. (Insert warning that I'm a Netflix customer here.) Sure Blockbuster had the lower prices, but what else did they have? Were they the largest customer base? Did they offer more options? Is there speed of service better?

From all appearances Blockbuster had no clear advantage other than price. Netflix also had them beat on sheer visibility. From my personal experience, most everyone I've run into at least knows about Netflix, but I've yet to meet anyone in my circles that even knew Blockbuster rented online. Of course that could be the point here.

Perhaps Netflix is cutting back their direct marketing and really passing on the savings. And of course it's just happens to help in the price war?! Maybe Netflix also realizes that their biggest marketing strength are their customers. Folks like me that having nothing but good things to say about their service.

I'd heard of it and seen the commercials but had little interest until a couple of my friends really talked it up. From there, I worked actively to market, um, mention, it to my friends. So maybe the Netflix user base isn't growing as fast as before, but is a price drop going to work on their prime means of recruiting?

What Netflix needs here isn't to start a conversation about price. A dollar is a dollar but a dollar a month escapes a lot of folks' radar. It would have been a nice surprise on the bill but only for about 5 minutes. The question is what story do they need to tell now.

I'd like to recommend to Netflix that their next move be to ignore what Blockbuster is doing about price and tell a different story. Tell the story of the satisfied customer. What about the story about think of a movie and bam, add it to the queue. Or maybe the story of finding a rental at Netflix at anywhere on the Internet.

Want a good one Netflix? How about jumping in on a Facebook app! I already share movies I like there, how about letting me share my queue and my rented lists.

Another idea? How about tiny Firefox plugin so I can highlight a movie title and click the button and be taken to the matching Netflix page.

My final idea? Work the blogger angle. Give us bloggers a widget for our favorite movie(s) on Netflix. I'd really like being able to review a rental and get a referral credit of some sort for getting folks to rent it from my blog.

So Netflix, please reconsider your story. Do I mind the dollar discount? Not at all, but I'd like you to consider that a month later that conversation will be over and that story too boring to tell.

As for you Blockbuster, you can skip the price wars too. Give me a story interesting enough to come over and visit you.

Yours,
Todd, an avid movie buff.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Apple iTMS - Just For You - Feature request

Okay Apple, I love the iTunes Music Store, iTMS, but I have a small feature request. Please add the ability for me to flag songs I already own.

See this page for example:



It shows some recommended songs in the bottom half, and recommended albums at the top. Notice a difference? For the albums, I have Add Album, Already Own It, and Don't Like It. But for the songs? Add Song. Hm.

What would really be helpful is another column for marking as already owned. Maybe I'm the only one with this issue, but iTMS keeps recommending songs I already own. Maybe just a check box would be helpful.

And why not a Don't Like flag while we are at it?

All that said, iTMS is still the number one place I'm purchains music thee days. Keep up the good work Apple.

%Error in RPGIV - Free your statements

Have you ever wanted a better way to avoid hard errors in your RPG programs? Well, aside from MONITOR, you can use the (e) option on several commands.

For example:
Read(e)
SetLL(e)
Update(e)

Each case above prevents error from 'breaking' the program. But what to do now?

This is where %Error comes in. %Error, when placed immediately after any of these commands will indicate an error.

Example:

Read(e) I4111;
If %Error = 1;
ErrMsg = "Read Error";
EndIf;

I've found %Error most useful on Write and Update commands, where there is a chance the record or file is locked.

Additional commands with (e) qualifiers:
Close
Exfmt
In
Open
Read - all types
Reset
Set - all types
Unlock
Update
Write

There area few other less used ones, but these are the most common. I recommend using %Error in place of Monitor around these types of commands.

Is %Error and admission you might have a problem? Not at all. The busier and more complex the system, the more likely that a file problem, such as a lock, will be encountered.

The biggest plus to using error capture is that it allows the programmer to dictate a postive and controlled response. It avoids interrupting the user experience, and allows for backing out partial changes in case of an issue.

Please let me know if you have any other tips or commands you have questions about.
Your fellow coder,
Todd

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pownce my event!



Pownce, one of the new kids on the social networking block, allows you to post messages, files, links and .... events. An event is just that, an activity at a place at some date and time. Though it isn't sophisticated, it works.

As you can see by the screen capture above, it's got some Ajax goodness. Simply, you select to add an event, and you are prompted for the what, where, and when. You are also provided a space for notes.

After populating the event, you can then select to sent it to one or many friends, or for the really brave, the Public.

So far, you might be saying so what. Well here it what your friends receive.



On their copy, they have the ability to RSVP your event. Additionally, they can forward that event on. Did you forget someone on the original list? You can also forward it to whomever.

So far, events don't appear to be portable or exportable. My feature request would be for iCal support going both directions.

Have you made use of Pownce for an event? Tell me about your experience here.
Yours,
Tojosan

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Contact Me - Pownce, Twitter, Facebook, oh my!

Pownce

Facebook

Twitter

MyBlogLog

TJ On Photography


So Possible

Monday, July 16, 2007

Social Networking in Plain English



By Lee Fever

Post to Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku and Tumblr at The Same Time OR One Post to Post Them All

Post to Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku and Tumblr at The Same Time | Frantic Industries

Okay, this is just what the doctor ordered for us social networking addicts. Can't figure out how to get one post to post them all? Well this short article maps it out for you. It's all about the feeds my friends.

I won't spoil it here, but this works do to the fact that Twitter, Jaiku and Tumblr all take feeds. For me, this the lazy man's way to spot posting and micro-blogging.

Thanks to Robert Scoble via Pownce.

By the way, Pownce has started to cycle down a bit. The are more invites than the invitees, so if you want in on the party, let me know.
Email me at tojosan - gmail.com, subject Pownce.

Again, the article is here.

Take care,
Tojosan

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Programming and Management Blog: What motivates programmers?

The Programming and Management Blog: What motivates programmers?

An interesting and insightful post by Nick Halstead of the Programming and Management blog. To quote:


Programmers program because they love to solve problems.


Duh! Sadly we complain more about the money and work conditions than the thing that bugs us most, we don't spend time solving problems. As a programmer, few things frustrate me more than a manager tell me he's sure there's a table or stray bit of code that will probably save me many hours of coding and design.

Another good point is this:

Programmers see meetings as wastes of time. Most communication between programmers is done via email or by a quick wander to another desk to clarify something that is beyond the scope of an email.


Hint, don't schedule me for a meeting unless you are giving me critical information that is highly time sensitive that can't be conveyed easily or appropriately via an email or at my desk. At one point on a recent project, I was spending about 10 hours each week in meetings. Amongst the programmers on the team, we decided we'd make them optional. Eventually we dropped to fewer and much shorter meetings and only when necessary to have more folks talk than one on one.

Click through at the link above and give Nick's article a read. Especially if you manage programmers.

Your programming fool,
Todd

Friday, July 13, 2007

Invite Share - Social Network Invite Sharing

I tried Invite Share for the first time this evening. Within the last hour and change I've already received invites to a handful of new services. Services still in beta and alpha. If you know me, you know I can't resists beta stuff.

Go and give it a look if you are interested in Pownce, Grand Central, 8apps and more of their ilk.

Speaking of which I have invites for those three if you email with your information.

Again, it's Invite Share. Registration is quick and easy, and you can get some invites almost immediately. The theme here though is sharing back invites. The more invites you share, the higher up your name is placed on the waiting lists for other invites.

Emails are displayed using graphic images to avoid spam grabbers.

Enjoy,
Todd
tojosan - gmail.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Robot Fights

Shoot 'Em Up

Shoot 'Em Up | In Theatres September 7 | New Line Cinema

Go! Watch! Drool!

GameTap brings 500 PC games to Intel Macs

MacNN | GameTap brings 500 PC games to Intel Macs

GameTap is going to get some attention over this. They'll definitely get my eyes for a day or two. There are tons of old games I'd love to give a few hours to.

From the article:


"GameTap today announced that it is expanding its offerings to the Mac community by providing Intel-based Mac users access to its Lite Player, which offers more than 500 new and classic game titles as well as more than 600 streaming videos of original programming from GapeTap TV. "Mac users will now be able to enjoy hundreds of games that have never been playable on a Mac before," said Stuart Snyder, Turner’s executive vice president and chief operating officer of Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media."


I'm looking forward to giving it a try and at $0.99 for the first month, what's to lose?

Yours,
Todd

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Tech-Blog Carnival: July 5th Edition | Odds and Ends of Contemporary Life

The Tech-Blog Carnival: July 5th Edition | Odds and Ends of Contemporary Life

The Tech-Blog Carnival is a collection of links to fun, interesting and informative blog posts across the net. The topics include posts about Apple, general technology interests and the Web. Click through, take a peak and find something interesting.

Maybe your next blog post could be included in an upcoming edition.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

PhillRyu.com - The Hunt Begins: Pownce vs. Twitter

PhillRyu.com - The Hunt Begins: Pownce vs. Twitter

Here's a lot more in depth Pownce vs. Twitter post by Phill Ryu. Follow the link here, and let Phill know what your take is, or comment below.

I'm already liking Pownce above Twitter.

A real-world troll story

A real-world troll story @ Scobleizer
Follow the link and read about Robert Scoble's encounter with two teen trolls. They ran into him, so to speak, while Robert was waiting in line to purchase an iPhone. Go figure!

Too Many Social Networks Causes Headaches

One By One Media - Too Many Social Networks Causes Headaches

Are you on too many social networks? Jim Turner thinks he might be. In this post on One By One Media, Jim takes us through his networking journey from Twitter to Jaiku to Pownce.

Jim talks about making the switch as well as the frustrations in doing so. Is he done with swapping networks? From the tone of his post, and from my personal experience, it's doubtful.

Click through and read the whole post, and let Jim know how you feel about this Internet social problem.

Thanks,
Todd

Pownce me! Invite?

Pownce : Tojosan

So a Pownce invite came my way via a friend of a friend. It's the latest project from the folks that fathered Digg.

What is Pownce? Pownce is yet another social network. (YASN) This social network has much in common with Jaiku and Twitter. The primary commonality is the use of person to person and public message sending. All three of these support that. So what does Pownce bring to the table? Pownce not only allows you to post a link or a note, but Pownce allows you to post a file or event.

Files are limited to 10 MB unless you go Pro. That should cover most images you'd want to send as well as a wide range of other documents.

That aside, what else makes it interesting? Pownce also supports the ability to reply to a message. Not just messages sent privately to you, but to public messages you receive. To top that, there is a forward message function as well. This is something neither Jaiku or Twitter currently support.

How useful is that feature? I'd say it's my favorite so far. That feature, as well as ability to address to public, friends, or private give this application a slight edge in this niche.

As an added bonus to get folks started there are already Mac and Windows clients available. These are in alpha release.

So you are asking yourself (okay some of you anyway), "how do I get an invite?" Well, I have a couple of invites I'd be willing to pass on. In exchange for you providing a reply to this post with your email addy, I'd ask that you'd provide at least one free invite to anyone that mentions my nick, Tojosan.

Any takers? Reply below. First two folks to reply to this get the invites. Don't make me find some geeky gamer kid down the block to give these to.

Thanks,
Todd

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Okay, one last bit of iPhone - Magic

Pownce Invites

Pownce Invites

Mashable has a great idea. Start a comment chain of invitees to share the Pownce invite wealth. Apparently they started with a few of their own and gave those out to the first six comment responses. Each responder was in turn supposed to invite the next six down the list.

Well, I responded about half an hour ago and no invite yet, but I'm hopeful. To get your chance at a Pownce invite, click here and leave a comment.


Pownce is the new "stuff" sharing community site. It is the brainchild of Kevin Rose, one of the founders of Digg. I'm sure it will be a big hit once it gets rolling.

The big selling point is quick and easy sending of just about anything to your contacts. No longer do you have to find some FTP site to host your stuff, or trust email. Now you'll be able to shoot that file directly to your friend.

At first I have to admit I was a bit skeptical, but from the buzz around the net, Pownce might be the next best thing since buttered FTP.

Good luck, get Pownced!
Todd

A new programming language for learning to program

A new programming language for learning to program | PodTech.net: Technology and Entertainment Video Network

Robert Scoble introduces us to Brandon Watts, the developer of the Leopard Programming Language. The Leopard Programming Language is not a Apple Mac Leopard OS programming language, but rather a learning language.

Brandon created this Windows programming language to help people get a good introduction to programming. The language is higher level than say the Turtle programming language but a significant step down from something like C++.

Brandon makes a great person to interview as you'll see in the video. He was able to not only explain the purpose of the language, but demonstrate an actual application and it's source code. The application was both short and readable, was running on Windows.

I'd like to see more about Brandon, and this language, as well the the Weather Bug Achieve Program which he mentions.

Please click through and enjoy an introduction to Leopard.

Todd