Archive for July, 2010

WordPress And Thesis

Posted: July 25, 2010 in Software
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been reading a little on the debate over whether themes built on WordPress need to be GPL. It’s an interesting issue for more than just WordPress itself. In the history of the GPL there has been a lot of FUD thrown around where some were basically trying to give the impression that the GPL was ‘viral’ and would stretch beyond the boundaries of any software that you use to require anything so much as developed near it to be released under the GPL.

I’m honestly curious to see how this debate will play out for its own sake, because if all WordPress themes should be considered derivative of WordPress itself that’ll have some major implications for the WordPress community as a whole. Some people will probably leave and stop developing themes, and others will be happier than ever to work on things related to the software.

The bigger implications might be for the GPL. On one hand, if this really does turn into a lawsuit it could be an opportunity to get more definition for the boundaries of the GPL in court. The GPL seems to be pretty legally solid (though I say this as someone who is a definite non-lawyer), but the exact amount of clout it carries isn’t very clear since there isn’t much in the way of actual decision making by judges on how it should be interpreted.

The other issue is the implications that this could have for GPL products in general. This seems to feed nicely into the potential for fear-mongering along the lines of, “Look, you’ll work hard to build a project based on something and then when you start to make money off of it they’ll come back and take it away from you because of the GPL!” That’s not an outcome I’m particularly eager to see, since it could be harmful to GPL projects in general.

I’m not saying that I don’t want Matt to pursue this, though. I think the people who are most opposed to the GPL will grab onto anything they can get in order to make it seem scary and troublesome. You can’t just resign yourself to never enforcing the license because you’re too worried that someone might try to turn it against you.

Twitter Advertising

Posted: July 18, 2010 in Random Musings

I was reading some commentary on the way advertising is done through Twitter and it’s actually a pretty interesting concept. I’m sure that they would never come out and say that they need one advertising program for things people love and another one for things people hate, but even if they don’t do it on purpose it’s an idea that makes sense.

In another sense, I think that it sounds like companies could be using the Earlybird program in a way that’s similar to the way that some companies treat the Amazon Vine program. There are some things that come through that are actually just hitting the market, and other things that either received no attention at all or very negative reviews.

One of the dangers of social networking for companies seems to be that if version 1.0 of a product has some kind of serious flaw it can attract so much immediate negative attention that it’s very difficult to get people to give you another chance later so that you can improve your reputation. Programs like these give you a shot at convincing a specific group of people to try your product out so that you might get some feedback out there that’s a little bit more favorable.

This seems like it has the potential to become a more necessary part of product marketing as the reviews of other users becomes a more central part of the average’s person’s decision making for purchases. I’m curious to see how it plays out.

I’m playing with a review copy of this CompTIA Cert Kit and while I haven’t exactly decided yet what to say in the review, it’s not inspiring much confidence so far.

One of the interesting issues that I’m having with this is the fact that the kit includes software but doesn’t mention system requirements at all. I realize that this is pretty basic software they’re putting out, and that it should run on nearly any Windows machine out there. I guess it’s the fact that they’re behaving as if Windows machines are all that’s out there that drains some of my faith in the product.

Anyone who’s knowledgeable enough to create a product of this type should also know enough to be aware that you just shouldn’t be selling software without trying to make it clear what computers you intend should be able to run it. It’s like skipping over commenting your code. Sure, the comments have absolutely nothing to do with how well the code is ultimately going to run on the computer, but if I look at a screen of code and I don’t see a single comment I’m going to be bracing myself for the worst case scenario of untangling a serious mess.

Doing the little things that make it clear that you’re serious about creating an excellent product is important.

I went to a meeting of Cocoaheads on Thursday. It was nice to have an outing among Geek-kind. I was a little late due to getting turned around a couple of times. First, I was thrown off by construction along my route to the meeting. Then, I went to the wrong side of the campus out of old habit.

Everyone was really nice, and of course since both the iPad and the iPhone 4 have come out in the past few months there was a lot of gadget-admiring to be done. We even joked a little that all the conferences with presentations and official talks are really just cover for an excuse for geeks to gather and admire a wide variety of gadgetry.

It was great of the guys from Google to host the meeting so that we would have a nice place to meet. I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to go again to the next meeting in August. I’m really glad that Mark Dalrymple took the time to let me know that the meetings had picked up again and that there would be one this month.

Firefox 4 Beta 1

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

Firefox 4 has gone to public beta and PC Mag has some details.

I like the idea that they’re splitting Flash off to be handled as a separate process so that it’s less likely to be able to bring down the browser. The tendency to kill the entire browser when it goes wrong is one of the particularly annoying bits with Flash.

I’m too busy trying to catch up on several projects that I’m juggling to do any beta testing right now, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try. It’s nice to see support for HTML 5 building on the client end. With several major browsers building up their support of it, it’s going to become a lot more appealing to the people who are creating content on the server side.

I joined the challenge on the Plus 3 Network to try to get at least 417 points a month. They released the list of people who met the goal in the first month on the Plus 3 Network blog and I got to be on it.

It’s a three month challenge, so I’m looking forward to trying to do it again for the next couple of months.