Tuesday, December 22, 2009

building a dev environment for golang

the first steps include to setup some comfort, in other words, to have something like an ide for developing at hand, so that you don't have to set all the env variables each time you want to run a program or to have basic comfort like syntax highlighting.

unfortunately no eclipse plugin is available at the time when these lines were written (i feel so prosaic today) but there is one under development on google code http://code.google.com/p/nefarious-ide/ which should integrate go smoothly into eclipse - so stay tuned for the release :-)

for those of you who think that the gedit is a acceptable intermediary solution there is a fantastic step-by-step guide available, how to configure gedit as an ide for the go programming language: http://gohelp.wordpress.com/. i setup gedit following that guide and it works just fine, so i recommend you stick to that guide as well.

right, after everything is setup correctly i recommend to start with the official tutorials to get to know the basic libs and operators: http://golang.org/doc/go_tutorial.html. a nice guidance is also the google-homemade effective go guide: http://golang.org/doc/effective_go.html.

happy coding :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

how-to install go programming language on opensuse

alright, after a few searches on google, i wasn't able to find a proper how-to install guide for golang on opensuse, so i decided to write a step-by-step guide on my own.
why i do that? because on the official how-to installation guide http://golang.org/doc/install.html, the example installation seems to be done with ubuntu or a similiar distro.

  1. set standard go variables
    • export GOROOT=/home/you/golang
    • export GOOS=linux
    • export GOARCH=386

  2. create folder for binaries, set optional variable GOBIN and add to PATH
    • mkdir /home/you/bin
    • export GOBIN=/home/you/bin
    • export PATH=$PATH:/home/you/bin

  3. check golang environment variables and check if GOBIN is added to PATH
    • env|grep '^GO'
    • env|grep '^PATH'

  4. install mercurial
    • sudo zypper install mercurial

  5. check-out the go repository from googlecode
    • hg clone -r release https://go.googlecode.com/hg/$GOROOT

  6. install development environment stuff (can also be done via yast). i had the opensuse dvd at hand, so i installed it from there, if you don't have the dvd, you should be able to find the necessary packages online as well. the required dev-stuff is: gcc, bison parser, make, ed editor, glib2-devel
    • sudo zypper install gcc bison glib2-devel ed make

  7. to build go, you need to have the variable GOBIN in your PATH environment (see step 2) and build it :-)
    • cd $GOROOT/src
    • ./all.bash

  8. when everything is finished you should see the following 2 lines in your shell
    • --- cd test ../test
    • N known Bugs; 0 expected Bugs
    • according to googles official how-to, N varies from release to release
if you run into troubles while building go (step 7) the issue http://code.google.com/p/go/issues/detail?id=178#makechanges might be helpful

i had a building problem, that had to do with my locale management on opensuse, but after reinstalling the locales everything was fine again

i installed the go programming language on a freshly updated opensuse 11.2 release, i guess it should work with older releases as well, but i didn't test it

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the power of the people

first i wanted to name that post "the power of google", but when i made my notes (yes, i do that before i spread my insanity to the web), i thought what makes googles power? is google the only megapower on the web? no, because there are also facebook, twitter, yahoo and others. what makes their power? the answer is: we, their users, we, the people.

throughout the rise of the web 2.0 hype, it was all about user experience, user generated content and collective intelligence. web 2.0 is the new new economy, the phoenix that has risen out of the ashes of the new economy that the dotcom crash had brought down.

google created quite an amazing model. they are indirectly giving the people a voice. indirectly because they are giving away all their services and stuff for free and thus in order, a large and often huge number of people is going to use their offers. this is what google makes so powerful. a recent example is their books project. they are offering thousands of books to be read for free. many people use this, and so they are creating a demand for free book content. and because so many people like that, they are getting powerful. this leads to reactions from the classic book industry, who are seeing a big threat in googles doings (and indeed they should be frightened).

thats the way google is going continuosly. through giving away everything for free to the end-user, they are creating an audience and the target audience is much bigger for free stuff than it is for stuff that costs. through that, they are spreading into every niche of the market to reach audience and often to create audience.

another aspect of their success is their independence. they are currently not dependent on any investors (*cough* yahoo/ms merger + carl icahn *cough*) or shareholders - at least thats the perception. therefore they have the freedom and also the money to simply try things and not worry on any return on investment. the countertrade between a user and google is easy described: you get everything on the service for free, google gets your data. i don't worry about any privacy on the web anymore, because its not-existent. (just read the cover story, 'gone', in the current wired issue).

so why is google so mighty and popular on the web and ms is not? although ms is offering countless free services on the web, most of which are really not bad at all. e.g. windows sky drive offers you 25gb free space, ms virtual earth is really not bad either and not to forget bing. okay none of them was really innovative, all rather reactions on googles stuff.

i think the problem of ms is, that they have grown too big and forgot to really focus on the user resp. the user experience. they are simply stuck in itself. the perception of ms is that of a really conservative and proprietary company (what in my opinion apple is as well, but they are focusing more the end-user market; got it?). i think that ms could move faster, but they are risking a lot when they eventually would. the problem is that their customers don't want to move faster or don't want to move at all.

prime example? windows vista. sure the first release was buggy and crappy, but hey, thats the problem with all software products that have to hit deadlines. how many companies upgraded from xp to vista? not many i guess. how many really large companies did that? probably not one. the problem is that it is nowadays way too much risk and effort for large companies to update all their (ms-)monoculturised it stuff. upgrading was not that kind of a problem back in the days of win95 where there were no real systems for erp, cms, bi and what the hell else. when you now change one screw in your it infrastructure, something, somewhere will go badly wrong.

another example of ms being stuck are their new office guis, which i consider as really good. the problem is, that it was a bit of a radical change, especially people in companies are a bit frightened of that new things, 'cause they wouldn't find the functions on their usual place.

but the power of the people is also not always an innovative force, especially when you have only one service to offer and millions and millions of customers. right, thats the problem in that facebook and twitter ran only recently. every tiny change on the gui causes users to get crazy and boycot the system. they are going that far in claiming that the makers of facebook or twitter are tyrannic dictators. in the modern web 2.0 era you have to be aware of that effect. people spend quite an amount of their spare time on facebook and twitter, many who are not skilled with the internet or computers. and many who don't want to change their habits in using something.

so therefore, be aware of the online democracy. thats the power of the people and changing things easily, replacing stuff and getting rid of legacies is no longer. you have to take the users into account, and you should, as they are the capital (remember, f.e. myspace was only bought because of their user's content, twitter is only hot, because it seems to be (and wants to be) the pulse of the world). web 2.0 might not be user generated content, but it is user generated content and users that count.

to what that might lead, is a personalised internet sooner or later. everybody who uses firefox is customising the browser with specific plugins. thats whats going to happen to services like facebook and twitter as well. you have to offer the users certain services as plugins and not kill olders to be replaced by newers. some users prefer the old way, some want the new. that is an important thing to consider technologically, because it is quite impossible to maintain the whole range, to address all users needs and wants.

the web 2.0 era is creating a voice for the independent internet users, and in order that all our personal data are online, the future will be, that we are not addressed as a mass, but as individuals. that, of course, is as much a threat as it is a blessing, but at least, in a big enough number, the people have power again.

Friday, October 23, 2009

requirements to an e-book reader

with the worldwide rollout of amazons kindle and the launch of several other e-book readers, i thought it would be useful to state some requirements, that make, in my humble opinion, a good e-book reader.

  • flashy design (hey, good looks is important, i want to be able to boast with that thing)
  • superhuge choice of books (fiction + nonfiction) + regularly & free updates on any book (fiction + nonfiction). i want to be able to have every tiny update of a technical book and i want to choose between several editions of one and the same book (hey, i pay a lot for the reader after all...)
  • superhuge choice of newspapers and magazines
  • i want my newspaper and magazine abos both, in print and on my e-book reader (probably more dependent on the publishers but anyway)
  • i'd also like to read my newsfeeds
  • i want support for all important and also for all excentric file formats (such as pdf, html, txt, docx, odf, chm, epub,...and all others i forgot)
  • no damn proprietary file formats (thats the reason, i won't buy the kindle), you can "reinvent the book", but please don't try to invent any abstruse "standards" only you are using...
  • i want an easy plugin system to support new file formats
  • good readability (e-ink is just the beginning...)
  • i want a fast and not recogniseable creation of the next page when i turn a page (sorry sony, but your page creation sucks)
  • colour would be nice (any diagrams in 13 shades of grey is not what i expect of a paperbook-replacement)
  • light, not too small, not too big
  • looooooong battery life (we're talking about weeks not days or hours)
  • i want to use it for research purposes; i want to be able to mark textparts and i want a software on my notebook that collects these bookmarks and gives me a nice presented overview and probably automatically creates a sourcelist
  • wifi is an absolute must, also mobile broadband (as the us kindle)
  • big standard memory (not beneath 16gb) + extensible memory
  • i want to test-read books before i buy them
  • borrowing books to and from my friends would a nice feature (not only 14 days, a month at least)
  • i don't want anyone remote accessing my e-book reader (yes, i am looking at you amazon)
  • and dear e-book vendors, if you can't stop yourself from adding communication capabilites to a book (which i know you can't), please, integrate a hardware switch (analog to the silencer switch on my iphone) that activates a reading mode (which means no damn interruptions by e-mails, google waves, im messages or any other chat messages)
  • writing/reading blogs/tweets would be nice anyway
  • please don't overload it with functionalities either, if i want to have an allround gadget, i'll take my iphone...
anyway, i will buy an e-book reader for sure, but i'll probably wait for the next generation to come.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the world after google

the world after google is a widely discussed topic. the opinions ranging from "we are already in a past-google world" to "nobody will take down google". my valued opinion to that topic is, in a short sentence: of course there will be a world after google!!

why? because every big company had come to the point where they missed a development (yes, i am talking about ibm and yes i am talking about microsoft. who would have thought 30 years ago that there will be anyone but ibm dominating the it world? and who would have thought 15 years ago that there will be anyone but microsoft dominating the it world?) and google already missed an important development.

of course google will always remain a major player, their product portfolio is too broad and good to crash completely, but they're not that big herd of innovation that they have been a few years ago. with stuff like google earth, street view, maps or books, they started huge projects with enormously high goals, which, i am sure, they are going to reach. but in the last time, i miss the real innovation on googles course.

first they came up with android, which was acutally a good idea, because the mobile os market really needs innovation and consolidation and android is definetley a good platform to switch to. but then, there was their own webbrowser, chrome. who needs that? for what was that really good? not that chrome is a bad browser, its definetley better then the internet explorer and maybe the fastest of all browsers, but who needs another browser, when there's already, safari, opera, firefox, internet explorer,...? and after all, the browser has exactly zero real points of innovation.

then they announced chrome os. to tackle microsoft obviously. but who needs another desktop os? i don't want to be too early to say that that os is useless, because maybe they come up with some really cool features (i am talking about the go-together of web & desktop), but anyway, announcing an os is definatley NOT an innovation and NOT a step forward.

a few years ago, i would not have thought that google is threatened so early because they also put their hands on another big it issue of the future: health. with google health and the aquiration of 23AndMe they made the basis for that future market, earlier than the rest, and probably successfuller than the rest. i don't think that microsoft is going to have a chance with their ms health vault. ms is making good stuff, like ms virtual earth and also bing is not bad, but this is actually less innovation than googles announcement of chrome os...

so, and finally i get to the main point of why google is going to lose some of their internet monopoly position.......yes, you guessed right, social networks, mainly facebook (there is an "if" on facebook...) and twitter. when you are a frequent reader of my blog (what i know you are not, because no one is reading my blog so far..., and i don't count as reader...) you'd already know that twitter has a big and bright future. with the real time search engine (read also wired issue #17/10) they have an enourmously great asset.

and facebook after all has private data of about 300 000 000 million user, hard data after all (i call hard data, things like, birthdate, name, hobbies,...; things that are not going to change or not going to change so fast than soft data, namely thoughts, do). but facebook is now under pressure to come up with something new (after they failed to buy twitter, they really need to come up with something hot and new). with their big number of users, they have not so much more potential to grow much bigger (i know how many people exist on earth, don't worry).

in my opinion i start to dislike facebook a little. the main reason is the huge spam load of applications, i've had enough of going wild with sb in vegas for the 1000000th time and i am bored of any stupid group invitations like "when its going to cost something i quit using facebook" (more spam than i get on my free mail account). in my eyes, that is simply too much, better would be, less but better applications, like real personalisation tools or anything else. but, facebook after all has the potential to become web #1, they simply haven't found yet THE one innovation that is going to secure their place.

in their earlier days google came up with new projects all the time (news, maps, reader, books,....) or made good aquirations like blogger (i really like blogger, thank you evan williams). but facebook had no real innovation after the start of facebook. in my eyes they need to come up with something in the next 1 - 2 years or they maybe meet the same destiny as myspace (what or who is myspace???, hehe, no good move rupert...), because there will be another cool social platform, that might be a facebook clone, but one, that has some more hot stuff to offer. and in my eyes they are orienting themselves too much on twitter, hey, mark, come up with an own idea!!!

twitter has a little more time, because they're still hyping like hell (i'd say on the web 2.0 chasm bell, they're still at the early majority, whereas facebook is at the last third of the late majority, (if you don't know what i am talking about read geoffrey moore's "crossing the chasm")) and they have are sitting on a hot asset, our thoughts (read my post "thoughts on twitter"). i am really curious with what they will come up with, because right now, i love twitter. twittering is fun after all and there are a few twitterers that make it, to really post information (i know what i said in my post "thoughts on twitter"). so guys think about your next step, 'cause you have the best cards at hand at the moment.

why i also think that google will lose a little of their absolute #1 position on the search engine market, is, that there's a real renaissance going on at the moment. leave bing away, because that is not what i call innovation (hey steve you threw 100 000 000$ for marketing out of your window for bing???? what the hell man????). what i am talking about is, again, the real time search potential thats within twitter and facebook (yes they have that potential as well) and stephen wolframs newest project wolframalpha. this is cool stuff, as it really answers questions, at the time its mostly answering mathematical questions (hey stephen built mathematica after all), but it really has the potential to explode in popularity, because it answers all questions on the same side, using the same look-and-feel, so no more #right-click + open in new tab# on 167 384 736 search results.

another absolutely cool search engine is eyeplorer.com, they're building a chain of association with your search input. e.g. you enter "apple" and you get a circle full of associations, first, the fruit, apple, than the computer company apple (i love my iphone!!, thank you steve), than isaac newton (for that symbolic apple that fell on his head), and new york, the big apple, and so on and on. the second level of the associations are then associations of the first level, so on new york that might be 9/11 or the statue of freedom, on isaac newton that would be the royal society or cambridge, and on it goes again.

so concluding, there's a lot going on at the moment, google is threatened from more sides and has to move, also facebooks now top position in the social networking world is not safe, they have to move as well, twitter is, in my eyes, on the jumpseat upward and maybe one of the new search engines is starting to hype...we'll see

Friday, August 21, 2009

open source vs. commercial software

not an open source vs. commercial software blog again, please!! - oh yes, again, sorry!!!

the open source software community is growing bigger and bigger. now, for almost every commercial software product there is a open source pendant (well, thats at least true for home users). you get open source operating systems, office packages, development tools,... but is open source software actually good or bad? i would say its good for most people, as all home users get affordable (free) high quality software. its not bad for the it industry as well as open source software is a hoard of innovation and invention.

but, and of course there is a but, it changes how people think about software. open source software creates the impression that all software is for free and that all software should be for free.

software enterpreneurs always had the problem of pirate copies, and it definetley is a problem of explaining the system of software licensing to standard computer users. many think, that, when they buy a software product, they actually buy the product itself, but that is not quite true of course, because they only buy the right to use the software (often only over a limited period or without updates).

so with the rise of open source software the very lucrative business with software licenses will come to an end sooner or later, as people just don't want to buy a license for the product, a support license,...

you might think, "who cares??, its primarily a problem for microsoft". that is true, of course, but only partly. its a much bigger thread to small software enterpreneurs and small start-ups who have a really cool application and wants to sell it for maybe 50$ - 150$. they are the real losers of the rise of open source software. this software are mostly specialised tools and are aimed to home users primarily. but as mentioned above, home users don't want to buy software, they want to have it for free.

so are those small business all going bankrupt? - the answer is maybe they are, but with the rise of open source software, there also appeared a different light for small software businesses. the light was the iphone. yes, the iphone, no typing mistake. what the hell has the iphone to do with open source software as the iphone is definetly not open source?

the answer is apples appstore. i think this is a revolutionary development. it offers everybody, capable of programming, a global sales platform. yes, yes the internet might also be a global sales platform but you have to get interent users on your website, unlike the appstore where you search for products or only keywords. the appstore also created a market place for small, cheap and specialised tools.

if you are offering a software product on your homepage for about 50$ for an unlimited license you may be happy when you sell a dozen per month. but in the appstore, you have a lot more audience so you may create for your software product a mobile version and you offer it for about 5$ and you may sell it hundreds of times per month.

but apples appstore was only the beginning, nokia started ovi, rim started the blackberry appstore, windows started the windows market place, google started its android store and sun, announced a few month ago the java appstore. these are good news for all software developers as you have with these appstores, a global sales platform available - at very low cost.

back to open source software for a moment, because there is still a lot of money you can make with it, especially, when you offer it for enterprises. you may not charge them any license fees, but what you can offer is, implementation/installation, support/maintenance, customisation and tools or training. this is no revolutionary thought and sooner or later, i believe, that the licensing business will die, including licenses for enterprise software such as offered by sap, oracle and others.

so when one door closes (commercial software), another one opens (commercial software offered in appstores).

i am looking forward to developing software for the appstores and i am looking forward to participating in open source software. the it industry is heading towards a bright future full of innovation and invention

Saturday, August 15, 2009

thoughts on twitter

i'll give you a short introduction, because probably that post might get a little longer.

but before there's a warning: if my conclusions or arguments are wrong or if you think, all i'm writing about is either thrash or already known for decades, then simply tell me :-)

this post is going to be all about twitter, why i think its useless but also rocks.

are you considering twitter as "real hot stuff"? well actually i do and i don't. afaik they don't even have a real business plan. i think the final product, so the application itself that allows us to tweet 140 char blogs and allows us to follow celebs and find out how long they've been on the toilet today and other crap that is considered to be essential knowledge that the whole world should know about, is a nice wrap around for the actual asset that twitter has: their real time search engine. the technology thats under the hood is most interesting. and as always the more users aka twitteres there are the mightier twitter will become.

i always thought most of those 140 char blogs are just idiotic. everyday you have a whole bunch of tweets, no is absolutely interested like, "just got up and made a coffee" or "waiting for my plane/train/taxi/friend/whatever". tweets are also useless when cnn or bbc are posting the news of the day, because sometimes you don't even get the essence of it, "obama meets merkel to discuss bla bla bla". so this might be interesting 'cause you know they've met and discussed some stuff but is this really everything that happened??

but now back to the live search engine which really rocks. what twitter can do is statistically evaluating all those posts and then what? well if they really can evaluate all posts, then they may foresee new hypes. it's about the same as google did with its flu recognition, only much, much hotter.

you want an example? you have a few twitterers that are always posting stuff like "sitting at the airport", "waiting for my plane", "just landed in XXX and its raining heavily". is this useful information? not for mankind actually. for twitter yes. why? ads, ads, ads and ads. at least some refinancing for them. that's nice but what about hypes? that's the clue, most standard twitterers post what is on their mind. "only 2 days until the neil young concert", "just visited vienna, and it rocked!!!". so with posts like that you may find out which city is in and which is out. you find out which new movie rocks and which sucks. you know what are people looking forward to. thats potentially more personal information than those people have on facebook (ahhh that's way they just bought friendfeed...).

maybe this is just obvious (which i think it is, thats why i posted it and thats also why i am actually not a high paid analyst at fortune 500 company...). and analytic tools are going to have a really big future, so the war is going to be about who's got the hottest analytics tool. actually that's no news as hal varian just said so recently in the ny times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/technology/06stats.html?_r=2&ref=technology.

the web is full of personal data, and evaluating them is not just for advertising purposes. will there be the possibility that maybe some insurance companies evaluate tweets to find out who's a strong smoker? possible. is there the possibilty that maybe banks are trying to evaluate if there is much risk of giving any client a credit after their client posted "just lost 1000$ at the casino again". i am a software developer which implies that i am a nerd in one or the other way which also implies that i am paranoid...yes i believe all that is possible.

so concluding, twitter is sitting on a big treasure (all our thoughts) and they probably are smart enough to know that. and their treasure is probably bigger and worthier than googles and maybe also facebooks treasure. i think they know about that as well.

the good for twitter is they are absolutely hyping at the moment and can build and improve their real time search engine through that. even if, maybe tomorrow, no one is interested in twitter any more, they still have their analytics stuff which is their hottest asset.

Friday, August 14, 2009

hell yeah, this is my first post, in itunes beethovens 9th is coming to its climax to emphasise the importance to the world and the web of this moment. i am trying to think of any intelligent quote of maybe nietzsche or platon but that would be stupid.

as nobody but me will ever read that crappy post again, i am posting some own creation, of what i think is most philosophic:

behind the doors of heaven
is hell
behind the doors of perception
is yourself