Joel Again

Just don’t miss Joel‘s latest article! As always, it’s full of insights.

Qtek 9100

Just before Christmas, I got my Qtek 9100, a Windows powered smartphone. A really nice gadget!
It runs on Windows Mobile 2005, so of course you need to be kind to it, and avoid doing stupid things. Before I realized that, I had to perform one "hard reset", erasing everything I had installed so far (except for what was on the storage card), but after that, everything has been working just fine.
At first, I had some problems with ActiveSync synchronizing tasks incorrectly, but I think that problem finally corrected itself (or it’ll show up later, we’ll see!).
So far, I’ve installed and run Skype, VNC, Pocket PuTTY and .NET Compact Framework 2.0, without any problems.
The most stupid thing I’ve done with it so far is to try to use it for my shopping list. It took me twice as long to get what I wanted, because the list went in alphabetical order instead of in the order of where things are placed in the supermarket. And holding the Qtek with one hand while trying to put apples in a plastic bag isn’t exactly easy (the stylus and the apple in the same hand, of course). Not recommended!

[Update, 29th of December] Well, I’ve installed Skype, but it doesn’t work very well. I think that the CPU frequency of the Qtek is too low, actually, just 200 MHz. We’ll see if there’ll be a Skype update optimized for the Qtek. Let’s hope!

The Probabilistic Age

Chris Anderson has written a nice post: The Probabilistic Age. I’m afraid I wouldn’t do it any good by trying to summarize it, so go ahead and read it! But generally, it talks about why we’re having such a hard time accepting systems which are statistically correct on a large scale, but generally can’t be trusted in every detail, even if those systems scale much better than the corresponding "controlled" systems. Compare for instance Wikipedia to Encyclopædia Britannica. Or democracy to totalitarianism. (By the way, I wonder how China makes its totalitarianism scale!)

RSS Bandit: Newspaper View is Unsafe

In a recent post, I wrote about the latest release of RSS Bandit, and a fix of its newspaper view. Then, I thought that it was "safe" to use it for reading all posts in all blogs under a category. But after some thinking, I’ve changed my mind. Let’s look at the available options, after having selected the category and waited for the newspaper view to show up.

  1. Read all items, and finally press Ctrl-Q to mark all items as read.
  2. Press Ctrl-Q to mark all items as read, and then read all items.
  3. Read one item at a time and mark each as read by pressing the "envelope" icon.

We’ll analyze them in order. The problems come only when the feeds in the category are updated, so if you know exactly when each and every feed is updated, and it’s OK for you to read while the feeds aren’t updated, there’s no problem for you. Congratulations!
Another essential piece of information in order to understand the problem is that the newspaper view doesn’t change when new items arrive in the selected category.

  1. If some feeds in the category are updated and new items are added before you’ve read all items in the newspaper view, those will be marked as read, too, when you press Ctrl-Q, so you’ll never get to see them. Unsafe!
  2. In this case, an update of the feeds might have started just before you press Ctrl-Q, and so some items (but fewer than in case 1) might have been marked as read although they aren’t in the newspaper view. Unsafe, but safer! And anyway, I never remember to click Ctrl-Q before I start reading, so I usually end up with option 1.
  3. This option does work and is safe, but involves too much clicking for my taste. I’m using the newspaper view for skimming through a large number of posts, and I wouldn’t call it "skimming" if I’d have to click lots of buttons.

Now, how can we resolve this? I’ve got only one good suggestion, actually, to make the newspaper view safe: When I press Ctrl-Q after having skimmed the newspaper view, I want only items that are in the view to be marked as read, and if new items have arrived during the time, they will still be marked as unread afterwards. In order to read them, I would need to refresh the newspaper view, or to click on them one at a time.
Better solutions, anyone?

Finally Trackback Spam

Finally my blog is being attacked by trackback spam, so I have to turn on comment and trackback moderation until there’s a better spam filter in TypePad‘s system. I wonder why there isn’t one; it should be quite easy to let for example SpamAssassin have a look at comments and trackbacks before letting them through.
But hey, this means either that the spammers are quite technically unsophisticated (of course they are unsophisticated in most other ways), or that my blog is getting more popular! 😉

The Death of Traditional Book Publishing

Michael Hyatt has written a thoughtful post on how and why the traditional paper book will eventually be replaced by a computer equivalent, even if that development doesn’t seem to be close in time (“You just can’t beat the battery life of the traditional book!”, as Michael says). He even outlines what such a hardware device would need to be like in order to succeed. Nice reading; it really doesn’t seem too long until such devices are possible! But I’m not convinced that "running an Apple operating system" will have to be a requirement! 😉


Since it’s almost Christmas, don’t forget to prove to your children that Santa really exists!