Sunday, November 13, 2005

Matrox DualHead2Go

Matrox is coming out with a new device that is very interesting. It is an external device that you connect to your laptop's (or any video card) VGA port and turns it into a dual head connector. What this allows is for your laptop to use two desktops.


Ars Technica has a review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Visual Studio Express

Microsoft announced that their Visual Studio 2005 Express editions will be free to download for 1 year. Based on their post, these are fully functional software (although less features such MFC) with no expiration date. During this promotional period, anyone can download it and use it for as long as they want. I haven't tried it, but am curious to see what it offers.

Postgres 8.1

There's some DB news lately. Oracle's purchase of the innodb technology that MySQL depends on stirred up some news and that was followed by Oracle's annoucement to release a free Oracle DB called Oracle Expresss. Now the Postgres team has release PostgreSQL 8.1. The open source DB marketing has really matured and Postgres is definitely worth a look.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Yahoo Alpha Geek Statue

Surfing the web as I often do, I stumbled on this blog entry about a statue Yahoo put up to to recognize the Yahoo Alpha Mail Team. There were two points that I took from the entry. One, the "killer dog-eat-dog" mentality of corporate competition and how far of that mentality has Yahoo adopted. Two, how appropriate is the statue and the wording of the statue.

I'm not prepared to comment on the first point. It's a complex issue with different parties all having their own interpretations of what's right and wrong. I would like to clarify the second point.

To clarify some misconceptions, the statue isn't a public statue. It was an (as far as I know) internal award to recognize the work of the Yahoo Alpha Mail team. A lot of people seems to interpret it as some public PR annoucement by Yahoo when it was just an individual who posted a picture he took while walking through one of the buildings at Yahoo.

Secondly, the blog states that it compares Google to the Nazi, I do think that might be a stretch. I guess the analogy could've been better by whoever wrote it, but the main reason probably was less to say Google is evil as much as they tried to pick a respected group of engineers to compare the mail team to. I didn't find the language to be as harsh as the blog entry itself. The harshest language used was "kicking an enemy's ass", but when put in context everything is really meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
The Yahoo! Mail Team's bravery, courage, and cumulative intelligence will not soon be forgotten. (At least not until the next version of Yahoo! Mail is released.)

Obviously this statement isn't meant to be taken seriously. It's meant to sound a little melodramatic, "Your courage won't be forgotten!!! At least not until tomorrow's breakfast if they serve sausages..."

I found the language of the article and the comments to be harsher then what was written on the statue. The comments included words and phrases such as "desperately clawing", "sodomize", and "duning it out over the customers". The tone of these is exactly what the blogger didn't like about how he interpreted Yahoo's tone.

Finally, just to be clear, the reward is an internal award toward the next version of Y!Mail and not what users are currently using so a lot of commentors are talking about how they don't see anything good but they're not even looking at the right thing.

I can understand where the writer is coming from, though, and I'm writing mainly to clarify the misconceptions. Competition is healthy and it is important. I believe that both Google and Yahoo strive to be good corporate citizens and without one pushing the other, we wouldn't be advancing nearly as fast.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Yahoo Maps

Yahoo released the beta of their next generation maps and it's pretty slick. The maps are cleaner and it sports a lot of nice modern features, but I'm mixed about the use of Flash to build it. However, at the same time, Yahoo also release their maps API and it supports both Flash and AJAX and I've seen some of the AJAX stuff which is very nice.

For some more details, the Y! Search team's blog also talks about the release of the new maps and APIs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Dvorak on Google

John Dvorak of PC Magazine, apparently out of topics to discuss, writes about how Google is not really original. What defines "original"? Are only completely new ideas original or does coming up with a new-and-better way for an old problem original? The irony is that while Dvorak is talking about Google not being original, everything he says in his article is not original either. Plenty of other columnists and publications have already talked about the things he wrote. If he puts an new spin on an already existing topic, does he consider it to be original?