Scripting News for 7/22/2008

Poster for Obama rally in Berlin 

Future-safe archives, again 

I was on a cleanup and backup binge today, and came across a folder on one of my disks entitled Trade Secrets in a place where it didn’t belong. I did a search on my LAN and found it was my only copy, not just here, but on the net too.

I had made a point of blogging about this folder in October 2006, that much showed up in Google, but the folder was on a machine that I shut down some months later, and it pointed to a folder on the new owner of the IP address’s machine. There was no evidence of the files anywhere on the net.

So I’m rescuing it again. Back shortly with more info.

The links work again.

http://secrets.podcatch.com/ is the folder.

And http://secrets.podcatch.com/tradeSecrets.zip is the archive.

But this highlights something. Even when you make an effort to make something permanently available, less than two years later, it’s gone again.

If we want the web that we’re creating to last, we’re going to have to be deliberate and systematic about it. It’s not easy.

Time for an EVDO sidegrade 

One of the benefits of writing this blog is that when it’s time to make a technology decision, I get advice from the best informed most opinionated and smartest people in the business — you!

Anyway, last year I got a Sprint EVDO card for my MacBook laptop. It was probably the wrong decision, I figured the card version would be faster, but then I wanted to use it with my new Asus EEE PC that of course just has USB.

So the question is this…

What should I get to replace the card?

I want something that works with both Mac and Windows. USB-based. Reasonable price and performance, for the occasions that I’m out of range of wifi but want to connect to the net.

Here are the products the 3GStore is recommending.

1. Sierra Compass 597 USB Modem.

2. Sprint Novatel U720 Rev A USB Refurbished Upgrade.

3. Cradlepoint CTR500 Cellular Travel Router.

I think they all look pretty interesting esp #3.

We won in Iraq, a long time ago 

I know this goes without saying, but it keeps coming up.

Remember when our troops marched into Baghdad, took the place over, drove Saddam into a hole and arrested or killed the government. Then we disbanded their army.

When you go to war that’s what victory looks like.

Then came the occupation. There is no such thing as winning an occupation. You either continue to occupy or withdraw. It’s semantic nonsense to apply the verb “win” to the noun “occupation.”

Winning in war or sport is not vague or ill-defined. When the clock runs out in football the team that’s ahead wins. When two runners are in a race the first to cross the finish line wins. When you fight a war, when you take the other guys’ capital and disband their government and army, that’s winning.

As I said it goes without saying, but it keeps coming up in the news, this weird idea that there is such a thing as winning an occuption, when there isn’t.

Update: Cross-posted at Huffington.

Vanity Fair covers The New Yorker 

Click here for the story.

He’ll make a cool president 

How to for Time Machine? 

I have a surplus of disk space, so I decided to give Time Machine a try.

I have a 500GB disk that’s empty. I designated it as the Time Machine disk.

I have one external disk that I want to keep backed up. I don’t care about the internal disk, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to tell Time Machine not to back it up.

The internal disk has 95GB of data on it.

The external disk has 193GB. Its name is Ohio. This is the only disk I want backed up. I don’t mind copying things onto it to be sure they’re backed up.

Yet Time Machine reports that there is 1.4 terabytes of data that it wants to back up.

Of course it fails when it tries to do this. (Only 500GB on the backup disk.)

The Help docs don’t cover this circumstance, nor do any of the articles I have found on Google. What gives. Hasn’t anyone had this problem yet? Where is it finding the 1.4TB of data to back up and how do I tell it not to bother.

Here’s a screen shot of the Options panel for Time Machine.

Never mind. I didn’t understand the UI. The + in the UI means exclude something from the backup. Dumb old Dave. I thought a plus would mean “add it.” Why would I think that? (Sorry for the sarcasm.)

Credit where credit is due 

It was very gratifying to see Twhirl support Identi.ca yesterday. They got some glowing press for it, but let’s make sure a fair amount of the credit goes to the two companies that went for compatibility and helped create what’s beginning to look like a standard — the Twitter API.

First, to Twitter for having the guts to put an API on Twitter, and making it open and clonable. And second, to the team it Identi.ca who made complete compatibility the goal, so much so that you just need to change the address in a client and everything “just works.” My initial testing showed that they did attain that level of compatibility, and it was confirmed by the experiences of the developers.

When people say they don’t care about APIs, they miss the point that if developers do it the right way, as these guys did, then compatibility is not a competitive issue, users have choices, and products compete on virtue: performance, features and economics, not lock-in. It’s the exception not the rule in the tech business that APIs and format compatibility is respected by the vendors, and it should be celebrated when it happens, as it did here.

Bravo! Everybody who made this happen. Good show.πŸ™‚

MacBook Touch coming soon!?!? 

There’s much speculation about a refresh on Apple’s laptop line, a permanent thread in tech bloggerland, we’ve been waiting for it for a long time. Here’s my bet. The MacBook Air was the leading edge of a new form factor at Apple, the low-end of a new lineup of super-thin laptops.

In the next round you’ll see one with two or three USB ports and a removable battery as well as a tablet version. Both will run the iPhone software at least as an option. The tablet might run it as its only option.

Mike & Nik will have what they want but it won’t cost $200.πŸ™‚

BTW, my guess is they extrapolated the same thing, and their challenge is a clever way of getting an I Told You So when Apple announces the tablet MacBook Touch™ in Sept.

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