Sun Changing Stock Symbol To JAVA

From Cnet:

In an effort to capitalize on the Java brand, server and software company Sun Microsystems will change its stock ticker from SUNW to JAVA next week.

Sun is making the shift because Java has far greater brand awareness than the company’s name, said CEO Jonathan Schwartz in his blog on Thursday. The current symbol, which stands for Stanford University Network Workstation, reflects the company’s origins but not its present, he said.

“The number of people who know Java swamps the number of people who know Sun,” Schwartz wrote. “JAVA is a technology whose value is near infinite to the Internet, and a brand that’s inseparably a part of Sun (and our profitability).”

Sun estimates that 1 billion consumers recognize the steaming coffee cup symbol of Java, it said in a press release.

Using similar logic, Microsoft will soon be changing it’s stock symbol to BSOD an ‘innovation’ for which it is well known and that people associate with the MS name.

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Infrastructure Spending

It struck me as uncomfortably timely and ultimately confirming that there was a Diane Rehm show (broadcast on 26 July 2007) discussing why the US needs to invest more in it’s infrastructure, rather than, say, giving tax breaks to the very wealthy. This discussion was unfortunately punctuated with the failure of a major bridge in Minneapolis just five days after the broadcast.

Give the discussion a listen.

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Nokia Software For The Mac

Nokia Media Transfer was quietly released earlier in June but it is good that Mac owners are finally getting some Nokia love with regard to supporting software. From the NMT site:

The Nokia Media Transfer application enables you to transfer pictures, videos, podcasts, music, and files between your Nokia mobile device and your Mac.

Looks like it is limited to N-series devices for now and requires iTunes 7 and iPhoto 6 or higher. Works fine with my N75.

Of course, this will do nothing to stem the feeding frenzy of people buying iPhones on Friday, but it is nice to have the additional synch features available for the N75 and other N-series phones from Nokia.

It’s worth pointing out that you can get the N75 on Amazon for less than $25USD (with an activation plan) versus the $600USD that the iPhone will set you back.

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A Day Without Google

Altsearchengines is proposing that today (Tuesday, 12 June 2007) be a day without Google and encourages you to use any one of the hundreds of alternate search engines on the inter-webs.

Some ground rules:

1. All day Tuesday, June 12th, don’t use any of the 5 major search engines.

2. Avoid Meta search engines, since most of them include the major search engines. (for this day only! Meta search engines are important; see the Great Debate Tuesday night!)

3. Likewise, the specialized vertical search engines may be too narrowly focused. (for this day only. It’s the vertical search engines that usually search the best; within their niche.)

4. Consider changing your homepage or downloading their toolbar. You can always uninstall everything and change back on Wednesday.

5. On Wednesday, leave a detailed comment under this post and share your experience with the rest of us. Which alt search engine did you chose? How would you rate the experience?

Of course, the sheer irony of this is that anyone who might read this blog post probably found it using one of the ‘major’ search engines.

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Thinking and Ceiling Height

A scientific paper to be published finds that the height of a ceiling can affect how a person thinks a feels.

“When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,” said Meyers-Levy. “They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

The research demonstrates that variations in ceiling height can evoke concepts that, in turn, affect how consumers process information. The authors theorized that when reasonably salient, a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Thus, depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.

So does this mean that you do your best thinking at the mall or in airports which tends to have sweeping open spaces and not while sitting on the toilet as has been the prevailing thought for some [think of the number of times you have seen Rodin’s The Thinker humorously hunkered down on the head]?

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Web 2.0 and Bad Design

Jacob Nielsen’s recent article on the BBC carried the title Web 2.0 ‘neglecting good design’. I would agree that those sites that implement AJAXy eye candy are not doing their users a service, but I also believe that used well, ‘web 2.0’ elements can add to the user experience. Flash-based sites, however remain in the absolute toilet of web offerings and should be avoided at all cost.

I also take Mr Nielsen’s views with a grain of salt as he seems to have this near luddite view of the web being a text-only medium (though I note that he is actually including a link to a video on his site now). All other interaction and decoration seemingly spurious in his thought. I, however, think there is an intelligent application of any of the new features. After all, it’s about usability, not one man’s aesthetic.

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Google Name Cred

This article on the WSJ Online about having a good google search value for your name gave me a chuckle. Since I de-cloaked about two years ago, I am (not surprisingly) the number one search result for my name. By de-cloak, I mean that previously I was very conscious about not leaving many personally identifiable signs on the internet over the previous 10+ years or so that I had been using it. Note that that includes, usenet, gopher, telnet, command line ftp and all of that pre-browser stuff. After many complaints from people trying to (legitimately) find me (or find out about me) I created the mobrec.com domain and linked in most all of my online stuff.

Back to the WSJ article — So unless there are a huge number of new Campoamor’s online (or those wishing to pretend that they are), I think that I am safe in having ‘a name that Googles well’, as will my daughter.

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Lost In Mapping Software

It was recently reported that Google cedes Chilean village to Argentina where a mis-drawn country border is the culprit. One of many such mishaps in my experience.

Closer to home, my wife was trying to get directions to a roller rink were one of my daughter’s friends was having a birthday party. When the in-vehicle navigation system failed to find the destination, she called me on her mobile. I plugged the info into Google Maps, only for Google to display three different destinations all with the exact same address. None of which, by the way, was the actual venue. Curiously, if you searched on the actual address that it returned, a more forthright response of “We were not able to locate the address” was given.

Granted, there has been some growth in that area and Google might not have caught up with the change. It would also be nice if they had a link on the page that would let you indicate that the directions are bogus and even offer a correction. While I could see that such a feature could be abused (a competitor could modify an address to point to it rather than the actual business) it would certainly go a long way toward fixing misdirected directions.

Newness doesn’t explain all of the anomalies. The in-vehicle navigation system claims that there is no such place as the Cincinnati Zoo (established in 1875 and the second oldest zoo in the country) but thoughtfully directs us to ‘the nearest zoo’ in circileville, west virginia. Google gets the location of the Cincy Zoo horribly wrong as well — ‘A’ is actually the entry gate to the zoo (though curiously listed as “Cincinnati Zoo Academy High School”) and “C” is clearly no where near the actual zoo location. Room for improvement, indeed.

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Catching Up

After seven and a half years with my previous employer, I called it quits in early April to pursue an Enterprise Architect position at a Fortune 25 company. In between jobs, I took a previously scheduled vacation, ten days in Argentina (flickr link).

I now have my first full week in at my new employer and it looks like it is going to be a very good opportunity, indeed. The first week was filled with trying to ramp up on where they are and where they are going. There is a lot of positive energy in the entire IT department (which is a good thing to start with).

Consequently, there has not been much time for blogging (or other things) as the transition and vacation has consumed the last three weeks or so. I am hoping that this week things begin to equalize and the pace becomes a little less hectic. Time will tell.

Motivations For Tagging

I think that this blog posting over at librarything is spot on when it comes to peoples motivation for tagging: they will do it for ‘their stuff’ but are less likely (or even motivated) to do it for other peoples stuff. I love the analogy of spending time tagging stuff at Amazon is like going down to the grocery and tidying up the shelves. Yes, it looks nicer, but it is the grocer that benefited and not you.

In reality the same thing goes for writing reviews on Amazon, you do the work, they get the benefit. At least if you write a review on your own blog (and are an Amazon affiliate) you might make a few cents if some one clicks through your review and buys the book (or whatever item).

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More Not Necessarily Better

…When it comes to megapixels supported by digital cameras:

More subtle problems also are possible. Camera image sensors rarely get larger from one generation to the next, so squeezing more megapixels out of a sensor means each pixel on the sensor is smaller. In most of the chip business, smaller electronics are dandy, but with cameras, they translate to less light per pixel.

That light difference means it’s harder to distinguish the signals produced by light from the electronic noise in the sensor. The idea of making the signal-to-noise ratio worse may sound pretty technical, but possible consequences are easily understood: images suffer from color speckles and cameras work poorly in dimmer conditions such as indoors.

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