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[GEEKY] Mac will be discontinuing support of Java

This is a weird development. Java is a super well established language, why would Apple decide to stop developing it:

"Apple's announcement that they would be ceasing future development of their version of Java for the Mac has generated concern amongst Java developers." (from : Steve Jobs Comments on Apple's Java Discontinuation - Mac Rumors.)

N.B. Apple is not saying they are ceasing support of Java, but development of Java. I guess on other platforms (Windows etc.) the Java support and the Java code provided all comes from Sun/Oracle.

Up to now Apple has been on the forefront of providing a strong Java implementation on OS X. This presumably was because Apple felt strategically that they needed to have a strong Java, and that Sun/Oracle would not be providing it, presumably^2 because the OS X installed base was not large enough to justify it. So in summary:

Apple previously believed:

  1. OS X can't be credible if it doesn't have a strong Java implementation.

  2. Sun will think that OS X is not a big enough market to justify the investment.

And now Apple believes:

  1. OS X no longer needs Java for credibility

  2. Perhaps the tables are now turned, and Sun/Oracle will need to have OS X to be credible going forward.


p.s. I just saw this blog post where James Gosling comments on Java on Mac and other recent developments.

Robot wars

Two very contrasting ways of looking at our relationship with Pakistan. I don't know where I stand, to be honest.

If you are interested in the topic you owe it to yourself to read both articles , because I had a hard time finding an appropriate section to quote in each case.

Here is Johann Hari in The Independent, "Obama's Robot Wars":

"David Kilcullen is a counter-insurgency expert who worked for General Petraeus in Iraq and now advises the State Department. He has shown that two per cent of the people killed by the robot-planes in Pakistan are jihadis. The remaining 98 per cent are as innocent as the victims of 9/11. He says: "It's not moral." And it gets worse: "Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially as drone strikes have increased." (from The Independent)

At the same time, here's a quote from Zalmay Khalilzad in a New York Times piece "Get Tough on Pakistan"

"The United States should demand that Pakistan shut down all sanctuaries and military support programs for insurgents or else we will carry out operations against those insurgent havens, with or without Pakistani consent. Arguments that such pressure would cause Pakistan to disintegrate are overstated. Pakistan’s institutions, particularly the country’s security organs, are sufficiently strong to preclude such an outcome." (from The New York Times)

Tunnel Vision

This article by David Brooks in the New York Times addresses a problem that I was wondering about too. New Jersey cancelled the building of a multi-billion tunnel into downtown New York City. Everyone without exception says that the tunnel is crucially needed and will benefit New Jersey citizens enormously. Clearly, New Jersey cancelled the project because it could not afford it.

I assumed that their position would be something like, we've already laid off tons of teachers, policemen and so forth, we cannot possibly pay for this, no matter how important, which seems on the face of it to be a hard to argue with position. So given that the tunnel is clearly highly desirable and given that New Jersey legitimately cannot afford it, what's going on? Read this article by David Brooks in the New York Times:

"In states across the country, elected leaders raise state employee salaries in the fat years and then are careful to placate the unions by raising future pension benefits in the lean ones. Even if cost-conscious leaders are elected, they find their hands tied by pension commitments and employee contracts." (from article by David Brooks in the New York Times)

Read the whole article by David Brooks in the New York Times.

Do you procrastinate? I do…

Here's an insightful New Yorker article about procrastination. There are some useful ideas and techniques in this article. One of my favorites is the concept of 'self-binding' (not a form of masochism):

"The idea of the divided self, though discomfiting to some, can be liberating in practical terms, because it encourages you to stop thinking about procrastination as something you can beat by just trying harder. Instead, we should rely on what Joseph Heath and Joel Anderson, in their essay in “The Thief of Time,” call “the extended will”—external tools and techniques to help the parts of our selves that want to work. A classic illustration of the extended will at work is Ulysses’ decision to have his men bind him to the mast of his ship.

Ulysses knows that when he hears the Sirens he will be too weak to resist steering the ship onto the rocks in pursuit of them, so he has his men bind him, thereby forcing him to adhere to his long-term aims. Similarly, Thomas Schelling once said that he would be willing to pay extra in advance for a hotel room without a television in it.

Today, problem gamblers write contracts with casinos banning them from the premises. And people who are trying to lose weight or finish a project will sometimes make bets with their friends so that if they don’t deliver on their promise it’ll cost them money." (from the New Yorker)

What we can learn from procrastination : The New Yorker.

Big Changes coming in Curaçao!

You may not follow the news, but Curaçao is undergoing major constitutional changes, as are all the Netherlands Antilles. In fact, as of this Sunday, Oct 10, ("10-10-10") the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist as a legal entity.

The easiest way to explain this to Americans that I have come up with is, that it's as if all the islands of the State of Hawaii decided that they should all be their own state, the state of Oahu, of Maui, etc.

This is from an article in the BBC Caribean:

"A series of negotiations, with Holland in the role of part partner/part arbiter, resulted in an agreement in which Curacao and St Maarten will become ‘separate countries’ with direct ties to Holland.

The three smaller islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, (the BES islands) will be incorporated administratively into existing Dutch provinces in Holland." (from 10-10-10: Why It Matters)

Much to my surprise, no one can find a t-shirt commemorating this big day, so with my new found graphic design swagger, I decided to design my own. Get yours here!

[PRETTY-GEEKY] Interesting article about secure elections

Check out Fort Knox vs. the Barking Dog(from Benlog:

"The Barking Dog model is different. You still build fences. Maybe even a fancy lock. But more importantly, you get a well-trained dog, maybe even two or three for redundancy. And you assume that some of your fences will fail, because that’s what fences do when faced with smart intruders. When they do fail, and someone comes in, that’s where the barking dog comes in. Your defenses may fail, but your detectors will sound the alarm, allow you to respond and, hopefully, recover from the intrusion." (from:Fort Knox vs. the Barking Dog)


Yes but was it charged?

Check out Actor Tony Curtis Was Buried With His iPhone(from iPhone Download Blog:


Do you love your iPhone so much that you’d want to take it with you in the grave when you pass away? Famous actor Tony Curtis died last Wednesday and was buried earlier today in Las Vegas with a few of his favorite personal items, including his iPhone.

According to MSNBC, “Actor Tony Curtis was buried Monday with a melange of his favorite possessions — a Stetson hat, an Armani scarf, driving gloves, an iPhone and a copy of his favorite novel”. Now that’s love for the iPhone!

[9 to 5 Mac]

[story] This did happen


Now, such a long time after first contact, it was hard to remember the times, so much earlier, when the elders had established the borders, such as they were, of the terrain, such as it was. The elders, The Elders, were no longer around, or visible even. But their influence certainly was felt.

Yes, their Designees, in uniforms and head gear, were always around, and apparently in control. But really, they rarely meddled in these small disputes. Or was it a small dispute? Would it turn into something ugly to be retold over and over as plans were made for the future?

First contact, in fact, had happened quietly, so quietly, it would have been easy to miss it. Or did it even happen? The problem lay in the system, or Method, that the Elders had established, but more of that later.

The first hint of a possible incursion came when, sightless, the outposts at the extreme edge of the border detected some movement. Now thinking back, you have to admit that calling it a border is misleading. Each Corpus in turn would test and nudge to see the resistance that would be met, and the risk that could be taken. Neither party wanted to escalate, and this is usually the way detente was maintained.

But in this case, first contact occurred, quietly, while mostly no one was really paying attention, and while one side was arming and preparing for confrontation, the other, attending to other matters was unaware until, suddenly they were. Alarms were sent up the chain of command, and also across. The diplomatic corps immediately brought into the decision - what was the recent history of the relationship? The Intelligence (we called it that, but really it was more like a Defence) branch activated the tactical response machinery, manned the situation room, and raised, sharply raised, the sensor scanning across all parts and all borders. And the Legal unit was called up.

Under the rules and traditions, the original intent of the elders, who as you recall were no longer around, what were our rights under law? Certainly we, the innocents, would never want to be the ones to have overreacted to an accidental probe across, lets face it, a vaguely defined border area. More than vaguely defined, it was disputed.

The elders. Those who came before us, had been confronted with a problem -- far too little land for far too many communities. Yes the communities, each quite small, were vying for this space. Without a legal framework, anyone could see there would have been trouble, lots of trouble. The Communities, for they were not families (sometimes they were,) certainly were loyal to each other. And they did share with the others a tradition - a sense of higher purpose and direction.

But other than that they were all over the map when it came to raw force and power, and the willingness to enter battle, even over seemingly tiny issues. The Elders saw this and devised a plan which was simple in its concept and fit well with the physical geography.

As it came to pass, each member of each community would be assigned a minimal rectangular space: the world became a checkerboard of tiny private plots, and communities located in different areas with a plot per inhabitant. Orderly, which was the mindset of the elders, and manageable by Designees, long after the elders had turned their attention to other matters, other universes, other planes.

Now, the battle was becoming ugly. First contact had been in the distant past, and what started as an apparently minor, perhaps even accidental contact, was threatening to turn into an out and out tug of war. Each side seemed to be ready to dig in. The Mids (the good guys) were feeling pressure to brace for a major incursion, a multi-point attack, but in an area that was so remote that it had been detected late. The Iles (the bad guys) had cleverly used a distraction caused by the Designees patrolling up and down (as they were wont to do) to move a major arm of their forces directly into the airspace of their neighbor.

The three teams, assembled in the situation room, came together in emergency session. A decision had to be made, in minutes, about how to respond. If Intelligence, Diplomacy and Legal could not decide, and respond, quickly, the borders would be redrawn perhaps permanently.

I never remember anything

Finally someone writes about something that happens to me (and yes, to you) all the time.

  • What was that movie about that we saw LAST WEEK?

  • How come did it take till page 102 before you realized you had already red this book?

No friends, no need to feel shame anymore. It seems like it happens to everyone (should I add, for you smart alecs out there - it happens to everyone -- eventually.)

"Did this mean that it hadn’t been a waste of time to read all those books, even if I seemingly couldn’t remember what was in them?" (from New York Times)