RossCode Weekly #015

posted on 2005-08-29 at 02:43:32 by Joel Ross

Welcome to RossCode Weekly - coming to you from Sunny California this week! I left early this morning (got up at 4:00 AM ET) and made it out here by 11:00 AM PT. I ended up with a Dodge Charger as a rental. Nice car by the way. It's got cojones! And it's odd to drive around and have people pointing at you. I feel like a rockstar! But that's not why you're here, is it? On to the content.

Would a RossCode Weekly be complete without Google news? Of course not. And this week's no exception. Two big things from Google this week, and the first is Desktop 2.0. There's been some confusion - this is not Google OS. This is an application that runs on Windows. Yes, it brings the web (the next OS?) closer to your desktop, but it's not an OS. I didn't bother with the download. I used to use a sidebar, but quickly realized I used it solely for the shortcuts. Since reloading and moving to SlickRun, I don't have a need for the sidebar. I don't want to read 700 feeds (or are they called RSS's?) in a sidebar. Nor do I care to check out the weather that way. Or monitor my system. But maybe that's just me. On a similar note, I don't see much of reason for widgets either. Back on track though. The other reason I didn't install it was because I don't care about the search integration - I use MSN's desktop search, and I'm happy with that. Not that I use it much, but it works when I need it to.

One more reason I didn't install Desktop 2.0? One nice feature is the Gmail integration, but on Wednesday, that became a mute point. After what? A year of speculation? Maybe longer? I don't know for sure, but I remember hearing about a Google IM product long ago. And it never came to fruition. That's why on Monday, when I saw the first reports of it, I was skeptical. It didn't get added to my RCW list - I didn't think it would happen. Then Tuesday night, the rumors were flying - Google had an active Jabber server. And shortly after midnight, the download was available. And what's this? VoIP? Skype killer? I guess that $4,000,000,000 isn't going to be buying Skype after all. Sound quality for me was pretty good. The client is pretty simple, but there's two features it has over other IM systems. First, it uses an open protocol, meaning you can connect to it using any Jabber client, albeit without voice. Next, it's got the Wumpus game. I remember messing around on Gopher and playing a simple text game, moving from room to room looking for whatever enemy you were hunting. It was much more elaborate, but the Wumpus game is entertaining (add as a contact to play). If you're interested in contacting me on Google Talk, my info is in the left sidebar on this blog.

So how do you get a Google Talk ID? Well, it's your gmail account. What's that? Don't have a gmail account? Well, if you've got a cell phone, you can now sign up for a gmail account without needing an invite. I've had 50 of those for a while, and no one's clamoring for them. Is there anyone left in the world who wants one and doesn't have one? Or better yet, is there anyone who wants one who wants Google to have their cell number? Will Google now call you with search engine results?

Speaking of VoIP companies, it sounds like Vonage is going to have an IPO. They hope to raise $600,000,000. That's a big chunk of change, but not as much as I thought they'd be worth. Does Skype (which had rumors of a $3,000,000,000 price tag) have more market share? Yeah, Vonage isn't on the PC, but that's the beauty of it - you don't need your PC for it. It's just a phone, as far as most "regular" users are concerned. Of course, this is just a rumor, and may never pan out. But hey, rumors are fun too. What would you do with that money? Skype doesn't sound like it's for sale at that price. Advertising? 911 service?

One more VoIP story. Skype's opened up more API - this time allowing developers to show presence information on the web.? This was available (and on this blog for a while) through Jyve, but you had to add the Jyve presence user to your contact list. So does this make Skype more like Google or Microsoft? On the one hand, they are opening more and more services to the outside world. On the other hand, they're waiting for someone to develop something, and then making it better and easier.

A large open source CMS system is in trouble. Miro, the corporate entity holding copyright on Mambo, recently transferred it to The Mambo Foundation, upsetting it's core developers. Why? Well, none of the developers were brought into the conversations. So they left. Has Miro and the Mambo Foundation learned nothing from the blogging community? Transparency! It sounds like the developers will take the source and continue under a different name at

Want a new search engine? Try Jeteye. It's a new service that allows you to perform searches, package them up, and share them with anyone you want - and to them it's searchable. Nice. Now I could create a jetpack for RossCode Weekly, and attach it to the RCW, and then it's searchable. It's in beta, and I'll probably mess around with it later this week. I'll probably have more to say later, but it's an interesting concept.

Got a highspeed connection on your cell phone? MP3 support? Like podcasts? Well, now you can stream podcasts to your cell phone. I think they're a little ahead of the game, but hey, that's what pushes technology right?

Wednesday brought two things for Microsoft. First, MSN Messenger 7.5 was released. It's got some new features - mainly that you can record and send 15 second messages. Nice, but if I want to do that kind of thing, I'll use a dedicated VoIP client like Skype. I use MSN Messenger (the network) all the time, but rarely use MSN Messenger (the client), so unless they change the communication protocol, they can do whatever they want with the client. Until there's a compelling reason to run MSN Messenger (the client) aside Trillian, it's not going to matter.

The other Microsoft news isn't really news. It's an anniversary - of when Windows was changed forever. Yup, that's right. Wednesday was the 10 year anniversary of the release of Windows 95. I took a while to get it - I didn't wait in lines at midnight (what am I, a geek!?), but I got it and I was excited. Remember the days when Windows could run on 8 MB or RAM?

One last item. Newsgator released a set of APIs that it used by it's own applications. It allows you to do anything Newsgator Outlook Edition or FeedDemon can do, which is very cool. I ported my TopBlogs tool, a tool that tracks who my subscriptions are linking to, to use the new API to get the feeds, and it was relatively painless. Now I'm not banging on people's RSS feeds anymore. I do have one (minor) issue with the new API. Well, not the API, but the samples. When you sign up, you get a token that's unique and that you have to include with every request in the header of your web service call. No problem, right? Well, not if you look at the samples. I didn't go get the WSDL from their site, mainly because I use WSCF to generate my proxies, rather than adding a web reference the "old fashioned" way. Well, the WSDLs included in the samples don't include the token in the header. I banged my head a while until it finally occurred to me that maybe the WSDL in the sample may be different than the WSDL on the server. Sure enough, it was. In my opinion, if you're going to provide a sample, expect developers to use it the same way the sample does. That means that if you expect me to provide you with a token, the sample should provide one too.

Ok. Enough ranting. It's late, and it's time to go to bed. One nice thing about the West Coast is that I can sleep in until 10:00 AM and still get to work by 8:00 AM.

Categories: RossCode Weekly