Archive | October, 2005

PySIG last Thursday: Jython

The Python Special Interest Group (, a chapter of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group ( had it’s monthly meeting last Thursday at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester, NH.

Kent Johnson put on a very good presentation and demonstration of Jython, complete with working demos, sample code and handouts. Everyone from novice to journeyman practitioner walked away with a better appreciation of what Jython is (simplifying, a Python interpreter/runtime written in Java) and what it isn’t, when to use it (working in a Java environment or wanting to use Java-based library functions). Great job, Kent! I’ve posted some notes from the meeting as well as Kent’s notes to the PySIG wiki at

Nearly a dozen people attended at the Amoskeag Business Incubator (thanks to them for the free space and projector), including new attendees brought in by Bill Sconce’s recent appearance at the ACM/IEEE seminar series and from my posts to the SwaNH lists. See, PR works!

The Way of The Yum

Bill McGonigle, over at Resigned to the Bittersweet Truth, blogs, “Automatic updates are the only rational approach for most businesses in today’s world of 24/7 Internet connectivity, malware and 0-day vulnerabilities…” read the entire post here.

Did MS flip-flop on supporting OpenDocument formats?

Slashdot post: MS Office 12 To Utilize ODF?. J. Random Luser writes “Groklaw is carrying a story about Microsoft quietly engaging a French company to develop Open Document filters for Office 12, due out mid-2006. The SourceForge project claims to be an import filter for MS Office, and that is how the developer describes it. But ZDNet quotes Ray Ozzie as talking about an export filter from MS Office, and this french blog takes Ozzie at his word. Ostensibly the tarball unpacks as OpenOfficePlugin, and SourceForge has the WindowsInstaller.msi listed as ‘platform independent’.” From the ZDNet article: “Ozzie told me that supporting ODF in Office isn’t a matter of principle. Microsoft isn’t opposed to supporting other formats. The company just announced support for PDF, and he added that the Open Office XML format has an ‘extremely liberal’ license.”

Follow-up: Check out the weasly words in Microsoft’s denial (citation lost): “We have no plans to directly support the OpenDocument format at this time,” I suppose that leaves open the back door of “indirectly supporting” by paying a third-party to write an import/export filter.

David Berlind follows up with long but insightful piece, “Hidden OpenDocument agenda uncovered in Massachusetts” concluding with the words, “If that’s not enough for Microsoft, then one can only assume that some other agenda is indeed in play. Just not the one that has so far been implicated.

Cheap plastic printers, consumables and razor blades

Rick Schummer, over at Shedding Some Light warns: Epson – you are on your last strike… “I really hate hardware. Yes, I have said this a million times, and I mean it. I hate recommending it, I hate buying it, I hate shopping for it, and I hate the fact that I need it to so the thing I love doing every day, which is creating software. OK, a million and four times.”

“So what the heck is the deal with “disposable printers”? I hate it. At least the US$300 HP InkJet printer I purchased years ago lasted several years. Maybe this is better though as I get the same life out of my US$300 bucks and get newer and better features each time.”

Well, that and a lot of aggravation. Like leasing cars at ridiculously low rates only to screw the consumer at turn-in time, print manufacturers have figured out they can sell flimsy printers at next-to-nothing costs, wear down the consumer with overpriced (and proprietary and DRMed) consumables (why is it printers always die when you have a new cartridge?) and then let the cheap plastic chassis die a quick death. Who loses? The consumer, who’s computer always dies at the worst possible minute, whose new software is likely 91% compatible, and whose toxic waste dump is filling up with this junk.

“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.” My time and energy is worth a heck of a lot more. I’d look for a medium-duty office printer rather than the bargain-of-the-week, and check some comparative reviews to ensure the complete cost, including consumables over the life of the printer, are reasonable. However, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve shopped for a printer. Are there any good bargains left out there? Not the $49 give-away-the-razor and gouge-em-on-blades bargains, but real bargains?

The Death Star meets Terminator 2000

The NYT > Home Page reports AT&T Lives On as New Buyer Adopts Brand Name. “SBC Communications, which is awaiting regulatory approval to buy AT&T, announced today that it will adopt the AT&T name once the acquisition is approved.” By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS.

So, the U.S. government split “The Phone Company” into little bits that have each grown separately and now merge back into a super-conglomerate again. Some may see this as a waste of money. Others think that the boom in cellular, VOIP, DSL, broadband and other innovations has moved far more quickly with more competition in the marketplace. I’m in the second camp.

Apache vs. IIS: 50 million vs. 15 million

Slashdot has its monthly feeding frenzy over the Netcraft numbers: Apache Webserver Surpasses 50 Million Website Mark. chris81 writes “For the first time ever, the Apache Web Server is powering more than 50 million websites, according to Netcraft’s Web Server Survey for October. Although relative share fell by 0.67 percent, the total number of sites powered by Apache grew to over 52 million. Microsoft’s IIS finished second with more than 15 million sites served.”

Taming Visual FoxPro SQL: Real World Data Solutions in VFP, the latest from Hentzenwerke

Well, Hentzenwerke Publishing has announced Tamar E. Granor and della Martin’s latest work, “Taming Visual FoxPro SQL: Real World Data Solutions in VFP,” available for purchase and download (in PDF format) from the Hentzewerke site. Follow the link above for more information, a table of contents, sample chapter (not yet posted) and ordering information. Looking forward to reading this one. Whil Hentzen writes,

“You know how once in a while you run into a book that grows on you – each time you read it, there seems to be more in there than the last time you picked it up?… 152 pages of sheer delight. For us programming types, at least. “

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.