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And the beat goes on…

I got hold of a copy of Steve’s manuscript earlier today…

*Cue the music
*His Steveness enters
*iTunes growth has been OUT OF THIS WORLD, WE’RE “BEAT”ING THEM ALL
Everyone is on iChat these days, let’s see, hmm…Hi Sir Paul!
Do you have an iPod? Yes, yes I have SEVERAL, you keep making new ones. Well I might have a surprise for you later, and tell us about the merger of Apple Inc. and Apple Corp…
*Do you remember what the BIG jeans pocket was for? Now you can put it to use again, with the brand-new iPod Video, if you can get it to fit next to the iPhone you’ll need as well to get it online.
*Phil can you show us how that works? (Phil is in the audience with his Power…ahem MacBook – oh there you are! – Phil is on iChat with the new Leopard default theme).

*And now back to you Sir Paul.

*Oh one more thing…NAH! That’s so last year:

*Thank you and goodnight!

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KEWL Laptop from Dell (XPS M1330) – featuring Devo

WOW! What’s going on these days…

Dell is seriously challenging Apple with their new laptops, and I just LOVE Devo, great new track. Even HP and especially LG delivers nice and cheap sub-notebooks these days.

And now that I’m turning to the “dark side” for my new job (ASP.NET development), I might get one – now do they have them in green 😉

Freedom OF choice is what you GOT – Freedom FROM choice is what you WANT (or that’s what Apple would like us to believe)

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How to implement native Danish spell-checking in Mac OS X – Apple: steal it, I’ll post bail

Bad Apple

A discussion on the Danish Macintosh community, Macnyt, about the missing native Danish spell-checking in Mac OS X, let me to speculate on what it would take to implement it. Apple you’re more than welcome to steal it, and I’ll even post bail ;-).

NOTE to Danish Mac users: What follows will not give you native (Danish) spell-checking in Mac OS X, but it describes what I believe would be required, by Apple, to implement it.

What? No Danish?

Apple’s Mac OS X comes with a very nice, integrated spell-checking service. Unfortunately there’s no support for the Danish language, and this omission hits all Mac OS X applications that plug into Mac OS X for their spell checking services. This excludes Microsoft Office:mac and most open source software like Open Office and NeoOffice, that has their own spell checkers, but it hits all system applications as well as Apple’s own iLife, IWork and most other 3rd party applications.

I know from experience that this is a major issue with Danish Mac users, the question surfaces again and again.

cocoAspell to the rescue

The current solution is to install cocoAspell, a Mac OS X wrapper for the Aspell open source spell checker, and download the Danish dictionary. If you understand Danish, you can also get help from Æbletræet and this detailed guide (ZIP file) made by a Macnyt user.

Unfortunately that is not something the average person knows how to do, and it’s relatively complicated.

How to implement native Danish spell-checking in Mac OS X

So here it is: This is what I have found out, that it would take to implement native Danish spell checking in Mac OS X.

From an implementation point-of-view, it looks like it is quite straightforward.

Everything is located in the AppleSpell.service package, that is located in /System/Library/Services.

The file is organised like a .app package, first a Contents folder, that contains a Resources and a Mac OS X folder, along with a PkgInfo file and some .plist files.

Each supported language is represented by an entry in a .plist file called info.plist located in Contents, and a .lproj folder located in Contents/Resources.

The .lproj folder contains two files, one is called bindict, the other Dictionary.dat.

Problem: bindict and Dictionary.dat are binary files, and I haven’t been able to locate ANY documentation of the formats.

Step-by-step guide (for the Apple engineers):

  1. Get a copy of the “Store Danske Ordliste”
  2. Organise it “in a manner that is compatible with your indexing software” (this is the hard part, and I’m sure you could get community involvement in this).
  3. Run it through your indexing application (or lend us a copy)
  4. Create a new AppleSpell.service package
  5. Add the entry for Danish to the Contents/info.plist file
  6. Add a folder for Danish language to Contents/Resources
  7. Add the bindict and Dictionay.dat files created by the indexing application to the folder for Danish language
  8. Replace the old AppleSpell.service package with the new
  9. Ask the Danish Mac community to help test it
  10. Release it with the next, minor, update of Mac OS X

I estimate that it would take no longer than 1 man-week to implement and test this – so Apple come on

p.s.. do you really need to reinvent the wheel?

In many ways cocoAspell, is a better and, not least, open solution, so Apple you should really consider the alternative: drop the native spell-checker and embrace cocoAspell, there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel is there?

Blogs Computere og Internet Kim Blog (English) Technology

Jaiku-Jabber-Doo: Your “presence pusher” has arrived

Jaiku LogoI’m obviously not done writing about Jaiku, the remarkable microblogging web-application, that you can use to stay updated on what you, and your contacts are “up-to”, by following the so-called presence streams, or log of “Jaikus”, that are maintained by your contacts.

A “Jaiku” is a short message, that could be a link to a weblog entry, a photo or a TEXT message sent from your phone. Each “Jaiku” become a “presence message”, i.e. something you produced – indicating that you’re “present”. As written earlier, I love the concept.

The reason I’m writing about Jaiku again, is because they have released, in closed beta-testing, integration with the instant messengering (IM) protocol Jabber. Jabber is, for instance, the IM protocol that is used by Google Talk.

Besides the possibility of receiving presence updates as IMs, you can also update your presence by simply sending an IM to the Jaiku bot.

It works great, and it’s really convenient to have your presence stream pushed as Instant Messages, instead of having to pull it manually, by updating the web-page.

The only problem I had was that I couldn’t sign up for the beta from the web-based Google Talk client, so I had to fire-up my favourite IM application, Adium.

After I sent the activation code from Adium, I immediately began receiving messages from Jaiku in both Adium, web-based Google Talk and on my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.

You can track progress on “Jaiku-Jabber-Doo” on the #imku Jaiku channel.

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iTunes U: “e-Learning” done right?

iTunes U: the campus that never sleeps

I just discovered that Apple has launched a new section of the iTunes Store, called iTunes U – the U must be short for University.

Promising and FREE

My first impression is that iTunes U looks very, very promising.

iTunes U features video and audio lectures, lecture notes etc. from major US universities, like MIT; for instance an entire course on “Electromagnetism” from MIT with titles like “What holds our world together?…”, all organised in the familiar iTunes Store.

And the best is that the content is FREE – yes FREE.

Where are the Danish Us?

So when will we get content from Danish Universities on iTunes U? I’m not optimistic!

The reason I’m pessimistic, is the ongoing debate over “e-Learning” in Denmark. As usually, when it comes to anything remotely related to ICT, the debate is mostly about technology and ICT-skills.

STOP TALKING! Get producing!

I say: STOP TALKING: Get the infrastructure in place, and you can immediately begin producing and distributing lecture notes, audio and video content. It requires almost no ICT-skills to use an application like iTunes – all students has the skills to do so today.

Later on, more advanced e-Learning applications could be made, even though I doubt that they’ll ever work – I’m a firm believer in the fact that you’ll never be able to replace the teacher, and with the infrastructure in place, we can all become teachers as well as students.

Benefits of partnering with a commercial infrastructure provider

A major benefit of partnering with a commercial infrastructure provider like iTunes Store, is that it removes the hassles of making the technology work from the institutions, leaving them to worry about what they do best, producing content.

I’m sure that the content offered on iTunes U is available elsewhere, and that there are downsides to trust Apple with distributing the content, most likely in their proprietary formats, but the convenience of having it all show up in iTunes, which makes it so easy to access the content, and have it synced to the iPod, means that I can live with it – for now.

Despite concerns iTunes U is a wake-up call

I realise that Apple also is doing this to draw traffic to the iTunes Store, and to sell more iPods, Macs and Apple TVs, iTunes U is actually one of the biggest selling points for Apple TV I’ve seen so far.

Despite my concerns over iTunes U, it remains a great initiative – they’re getting so many things right – and it’s my hope that it will serve as an inspiration to the Danish Educational System: WAKE UP!

Blogs Computere og Internet Kim Blog (English) Technology

A-synchronous “swimming”: How I stopped worrying, and learned how to love “presence”

2 years ago I had this crazy idea: “How do we get rid of phones” – I thought hard about it, asked friends for ideas, but I concluded that it was just too early – or maybe I didn’t have the vision at that time. People that know me would agree that my vision was somewhat blurred 2 years ago (understatement).

Synchronised “swimming” – because a-synchronous has failed

Synchronized Swimming - Russian TeamSynchronous one-on-one tele-communications, i.e. using phones and instant messengering (IM) is, in many ways, a terrible invention, it’s so stressful, at least to me, when people expect immediate answers.

To top it off, it is so rare that you really need to establish “synchronous contact” with anyone far away. “Asynchronous contact” is so much better.

Unfortunately the current batch of asynchronous communication technologies (i.e. e-mail) has failed, mostly due to lousy implementation.

  • You can’t rest assured that your e-mail is received
  • You can’t rest assured that your e-mail is opened
  • It breaks if more people are involved, endlessly forwarding revisions of documents
  • Unsolicited e-mails (spam) are filling our mailboxes, and has undermined our trust in e-mail
  • People write too long e-mails
  • People expect immediate answers
  • If you don’t provide an immediate answer, the e-mail might disappear “out of scope”, due to the constant flow of new e-mails
  • There’s no concept of body-language, and smilies doesn’t cut it 🙁

Community service for “Big Brother”

Thanks to recent technologies, I believe that it is almost possible to do away with the phone and IM.

So what recent technologies shows this promise:

I believe that it’s the so-called “presence services” like Jaiku and Twitter that are paving the road towards asynchronous Nirvana.

If you inform people, about your whereabouts and what you’re “up to”, and make it possible for them to “pull” that information on demand, they don’t really need to call or TEXT you.

What they do instead is check the log (“pulling” information), usually by subscribing to it in some way (having information “pushed”), so that they’re automatically updated, this means that they rarely have the need to call, TEXT or IM you.

I know that there are problems with the presence services. The biggest problem is that the majority of the world, isn’t ready to volunteer personal information to the public. It’s a bit like doing community service for “Big Brother”.

Another issue that many people will have, is that you, by telling the world,that you’re not at home, also are providing would-be thieves with the same information.

Finally you run the risk of becoming too personal in your presence, because you believe that you’re engaged in a conversation with friends, not realising that the entire world could be listening in.

How I stopped worrying, and learned how to love “presence”

Currently I use the presence services like a public notebook, and it’s so convenient that you can update the log simply by TEXTing the server, most of my presence messages on Jaiku can only be understood by yours truly and, sometimes, people that know me well.

The rest of the world might gain some insight later, because I tend to use the presence messages, as a stepping stone to a blog-post, like the one you’re currently reading, or it might serve as an inspiration for posting some pictures. The positing of a presence message, can also act as an inspiration for what pictures I actually take.

Think of my Jaiku presence stream as a (public) brainstorm.

Here’s my presence messages (“Jaikus”) for yesterday (the 14th of June 2007):

  • “Hello! My name is Richard”
  • Mindbender – Stringtronic
  • Synkronsvømning er “So 80ies”

As you can see the last of these messages, resulted in this blog-post – strangely enough, I got the inspiration from an IM session!

The other two are somewhat cryptic, the first one can’t be understood by anyone but my colleges at work, the second is the name of a group and an album, that was being played at “Kaffe & Vinyl” in Skydebanegade, Copenhagen, when I was there yesterday. Both messages will likely result in blog-posts and the second one, a music purchase.

I predict that the “presence services” will migrate into mainstream business applications, like e-mail and IM has already done. These implementations will likely address, and solve, the privacy issues.

A-synchronous “swimming” revisited

Synchronised “swimming” is SO 80’ies. Welcome to the Nirvana of a-synchronous “swimming”, where the majority of synchronised “swimming” will be performed in the same “swimming-pool”, the “swimming-pool” called IRL.

Now why didn’t I come up with that idea two years ago?

Photo from Wikipedia (Image:Synchronized swimming – Russian team.jpg – originally uploaded to Flickr by Jesus de Blas and released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license)

Blogs Computere og Internet Kim Blog (English) Technology

“Weapon of choice”: “Tölva” friendly public hotspots

HUMAN? Tölva and Kim Bach @ SjakketAs you might remember, I just found a surprising winner in the contest to find the device best suited for basic Internet access – like Jaiku presence checking – at a public hotspot: the Nintendo DS, with the Opera browser. Since all my “computers” have “names” – a practice I learned from Jerry Pournelle @ Chaos Manor – my DS is now officially baptised “Tölva”.

For the last week I’ve been carrying my “weapon of choice”,”Tölva”, around town, and I’ll be maintaining a list of “Tölva” friendly hotspots on my web-site (most likely the wiki).


I’m still amazed at the battery-life of the Nintendo DS. I hope to be able to compare it to other highly mobile Wi-Fi capable devices like the Nokia N95, in the future.

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Urban: Marie Østerbye har svært ved at huske sine kodeord – lad os hjælpe hende!

Marie Østerbye fra Urbans bagside kommer med nogle spændende og relevante betragtninger i hendes klumme Indtast venligst…Øh? fra Urban den 11-Juni-2007.

Uden at vide det (tror jeg) rammer hun faktisk hele den digitale verden hårdt og præcist, og hun giver os da en klar udfordring, der kan opsummeres med dette:

“Hvorfor skal vi have alle de kodeord, et burde da være nok”.

Vigtigheden af at have et sikkert system til vores digitale infrastruktur kan ikke undervurderes, og det er uhyggeligt at folk føler sig så utrygge, og det med god ret, ved at gemme kodeord på deres computere.

Problemet skyldes egentlig web-browseren, der aldrig har været tænkt som en platform til at køre deciderede programmer, og problemet er at stort samtlige hjemmesider har udviklet deres egne systemer til login, uden at tænke over standardisering.

Til jeres og Marie Østerbyes information, kan jeg oplyse om at der foregår en hel del standardiseringsarbejde på dette felt, bla. i offentligt regi, hvor det også hører hjemme, selvom løsninger det offentlige tidligere har promoveret, som f.eks. digital signatur, ikke fået den udbredelse som forventet.

Der forgår bla. et godt arbejde i projekter som OpenID, der er et åbent, decentralt og frit system til bruger-centreret digital identitet, der får stigende støtte i f.eks. open source miljøet, og listen over software der bruger OpenID vokser.

Så der er håb forude, selv om jeg nu ikke tror det kommer fra folk som Janus Friis, William Henry Gates III og Steve Jobs – som Marie Østerbye håber på – men man kan jo håbe at de følger trop, eller tvinges til at gøre det, hvis der kommer nogle åbne standarder.

De nævnte mennesker er ganske vist meget interesseret i at folk kun bruger et enkelt kodeord, men det skal naturligvis være til de tjenester de selv tjener penge på (hhv. Skype og Joost, MSN og iTunes).

Så jeg tror virkelig på at Marie Østerbye meget snart kan nøjes med at huske et kodeord, nemlig det til hendes computer, men lad os tage os sammen og sørge for at det sker.

Der er i øvrigt intet mere kedeligt end at udvikle systemer til bruger identifikation – je’ ve’ det je’ har gjort det – så kære udviklere: spar besværet, sæt jer ind i standarderne og nyd det gode vejr, i stedet for at sidde inde og genopfinde hjulet.

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John Perry Barlow: The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace – Amen

John Perry Barlow - from the Wikipeida articleListening to an old issue of one of the best technology podcasts Go Digital from the BBC, I was reminded of John Perry Barlow ((born October 3, 1947) is an American poet, essayist, retired Wyoming cattle rancher, political activist and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead (source Wikipeida)).

In 1996 he formulated a Decaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, and after listening to the BBC, I’m focusing on this quote!

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.


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Reboot9: BBC “caught” using the “two-dot-O-M-G” word

BBC News Logoreboot 9 logoAs you might have noticed, I attended the reboot “(un)conference” in Copenhagen last week, and it was great.

I’d like to draw your attention to the feature “Rebooting the Web 2.0 age” on reboot 9 that BBC ran during the “(un)conference”.

Here’s a quote from the article:

The future of the web is being debated at Reboot 9.0, a leading European grassroots technology and design conference in Copenhagen.

But…”oh-my-two-dot-oh-NO” they’re using the “two-dot-O-M-G” dreaded “two-dot-oh-YEAH” word…

The big question here for the start-ups and opinion formers is how to use Web 2.0’s focus on community to build the next generation of web tools and become Europe’s Web 2.0 poster child.

I guess I can forgive the BBC, since the feature is “more than decent” ;-), and they capture some of the spirit of reboot in this quote:

This year’s conference theme is Human? with many speakers grappling with such deep philosophical queries as what it means to be human. One session was called Humanism 101.

Understanding human behaviour and how to adapt those behaviours to technology and the web rather than the reverse is rare for technology devotees. LogoAnd deserves all the love in the world, iTunes might never know what hit them.

However, it is no surprise as the big subject in the bars and on the grass outside was this week’s sale of London social software music service

Its creator Martin Stiskel, explaining why US broadcaster CBS would want to buy a music preference tool said: “They want to move from a content company to an audience company, giving the audiences control and learning from this and that’s why was their choice.”

I’m nominating for the price of being the “greatest service on the planet”, even though it makes it look like I have absolutely no taste in music – is it about time to get more discriminating, and start “acting my age, not my shoesize” – nah some people have actually expressed love for my personal radiostation ;-), and I get shouts like this:

Du er på alder med min far, men jeres musiksmag ligger usandsynligt langt fra hinanden. Det er meget godt klaret! Respekt herfra 🙂

(translation from Danish: You’re the age of my father, but your taste in music is unbelievably far from each others. That’s well done! Respect :)).