Goodbye Summer

As we approach the final weekend in the Summer of 2009, it’s remarkable how quiet it’s been, at least with regard to tech news and happenings.

Summer is always a slow time for news, and if you don’t believe me, I present to you Facebook buying FriendFeed and MJ’s death all over Twitter as two of the more memorable news items from the tech blotter.

Photo by teofilo on Flickr used under Creative Commons

Photo by teofilo on Flickr used under Creative Commons

Still not convinced? How about the coverage of why teens don’t use Twitter making Techmeme in not one, but two months over the Summer. That “story” refused to die between early July and late August.

I guess the release of Snow Leopard last week counts as news. My urge for shiny things is fighting my fears of OS upgrades right now. It didn’t help today when I got the dreaded flashing folder with a question mark when I rebooted OS X today. Luckily, the recovery process was easy, not like recovering Windows. Score another for just working.

Doesn’t look like Windows 7 will make it this Summer, and Ubuntu is between major releases right now.

Chrome turned one year old today, and yet, the Mac version still isn’t even in alpha yet. Not sure why. I’ve been running the developer preview for a few months now, and it’s very solid. The nightly builds of Chromium (the open source version of Chrome) continue to add functionality and stability. So, I’m guessing Chrome/Chromium will soon enter an alpha or beta phase.

While we’re on browsers, Firefox 3.5 launched at the end of June. It’s running fine for me, but some people have reported that it’s generally prone to crash. There is a bug with automatic proxy configuration that made the rounds inside the firewall here as people updated. Don’t think that’s fixed yet, but soon, we hope.

Safari 4 came out of beta, and I continued to ignore it. The availability of the development release of Chrome for Mac made Safari obsolete for me. Not sure if it still accumulates tons of data like the beta version did.

Not much else that I can remember. Find the comments if I missed something obvious.

On a more somber note, LA is on fire again. There are some pretty disturbing images of the scope and size of the fires, including this jaw-dropper from space. I hope John and Floyd are fine and not evacuating. The air quality has to be terrible, even for LA.

Anyway, I hope news picks up soon, or I may have to take a hiatus. It’s been tough keeping the content going. I found myself wondering why I blog, and the best answer I could come up with was because of the community we’ve built here and other places around the intertubes.

Interesting question, why do you blog or tweet? Or why don’t you?

Find the comments to answer, or to leave any random comments.

Happy end of Summer.




  1. At lunch Monday the smoke and odd weather looked like a mushroom cloud (from about 50 miles south of fire, near smaller dark spot next to ocean on your nasa link). It is still threatening Mt. Wilson, which is just covered with electronic communications of all types. I like the volcano icons.

    If you aren't in the path of the smoke, the air quality is actually pretty good aside from allergens. What usually happens is, Santa Ana winds cause dryness, fires start, offshore winds blow smoke out to sea, gorgeous sunsets, Santa Ana conditions end and all the smoke blows back further south (ie, San Diego). Of course, Baja now has a hurricane, which will probably move to AZ as a monsoon system, but a small chance it will come here and wash out smoke.

  2. Dude, sorry I forgot you were in SoCal too, albeit not in LA. Hope you stay safe. I know that area isn't immune to wildfire.

    The volcano icons are nice. Too bad Portland is the only US metro with a real volcano within its city limits (Mt. Tabor).

    I was in LA for the fire season of 2003, which was a pretty bad one out in the IE especially. I don't recall sunsets, but I do recall the air quality sucking. SoCal has some funky weather.

  3. News? I hear your company released a new version of one of its core products yesterday. 😉 Summer has felt anything but slow to me, so I'm kinda glad there's been relatively little news for me to miss.

    I blog (when I do) as an attempt to contribute in whatever small way I can to a community from which I've derived both diversion and immense professional benefit. I tweet for more or less the same reason, though the diverting:professional ratio is weighted much more differently there (NHL playoffs cost me a handful of Oracle-related followers, for example *ahem*).

    FWIW, I appreciate the effort you put in here at the AppsLab. Community for one, and because the content is often relevant to my geek life, and yet sufficiently orthogonal to my work life that I get intellectual variety. So, thanks.

  4. Did John really just use “orthogonal” in a sentence? He must be married to someone really smart.

    Speaking of blogging, someday John will do a guest post for me…someday.

    re: fires
    I lived in Simi Valley (amusingly I really have no idea where it is, other than SoCal) and I remember one of those monster fires coming over the mountains into the valley. Mom was at work or something, so Dad and I pulled down all our pictures and put them in the Ford Grand Torino station wagon. Clothes? Nope. Food? Nope. Water? Nope. Just pictures. I think I was 10 or 11 at the time, so 1981/82.

  5. why do you blog or tweet?
    that's a good question. I have spent many times to blog & tweet… But I don't know why i tweet and blog.

    Anyway 2 things I get from tweeting and blogging…
    – Community (friends???… but can share idea)
    – Follow news and get idea about something what i interest.

    I hope to hear some idea else too 😉

  6. >Did John really just use “orthogonal” in a sentence? He must be married to someone really smart.

    Nah, just too much time spent in one too many project meetings.

    “Someday” I might even write another post on my own blog. And if it goes beyond my usual “here's how to do some weird, obscure thing that I hope even *I* don't have to do ever again,” perhaps it'll be guest-post worthy. 😉

  7. I'm not a DB guy, but yeah, I guess the release of 11gR2 is news. I wouldn't have anything useful to say about it though.

    Interesting you should mention “professional benefit”. Talked with Chet about that re. blogging/tweeting earlier in the week.

    Glad you like it here. Hoping to have a better balance of real news going into the Fall.

  8. Fires are scary, especially wildfires. They're super dangerous for the firefighters. When they hit populated areas, any yard could have a propane BBQ, which is essentially a shrapnel bomb.

    Of course, once the fires are out, then come the mudslides in the Winter.

  9. Those posts on obscure stuff are the best and contribute the most to the community. First, you have a record for yourself. Second, someone's bound to need that tip later, and Google will serve up your post. Win.

  10. I think your reasons are good and pretty common, at least in this crowd. I use Twitter for social search, especially local search, since I follow a lot of Portland people.

  11. Otherwise, California is awesome, except for the earthquakes (Chet will be pleased to note that I decided against “tectonic activity,” at least until just now 😉

  12. Maybe there are risks out here on the left coast (see the volcano comment), but you couldn't pay me enough to move back East.

  13. Yeah, I get it. 🙂 The combo of volcanoes, wildfires, and mudslides all in one thread was just too good to pass up. I'm about to move to a place that could slide into the Strait of Georgia if “the big one” hits, so it's all good.

  14. I don't blog because I haven't got much to say, and I'm much too uptight to have my opinions online. This is the only blog I regularly read, mainly I think because there's a real person behind it, so it feels personal and real, and the content is v. interesting and the comments and community around it add a lot to it as well.

    I came across the Boston Globe Big Picture site last week – was looking at photos of the wildfires last night:

  15. Thanks, appreciate the kinds words. There should be real *people* behind this blog, but alas, you're stuck with me 99% of the time. I agree that the community around us lends to the fun.

    Wow, that image collection is phenomenal. That first one is surreal. Thanks for sharing those.

  16. The images are fantastic. Too bad most of them aren't licensed for reuse.

    During last year's SoCal fires, the one on Catalina yielded a great shot of Avalon threatened by the fire. Intense.

  17. I'm stunned by the image quality. They all seem to be professionals though. I guess that makes sense for a news outlet, but I'd like to see a collection of on-scene shots from regular folks.

  18. Boy, I'm going to need a dictionary to read AppsLab, and a thesaurus to comment :).

    Jake, Ontario, where I live, is sufficiently away from the fires for any major issues other than a little ash on the car (and I was in college in Portland in 1980, so I got used to ash on the car back then). The last fire that affected me directly was last November's fire that stretched from Brea through Chino Hills. That was right on my commute between Ontario and Orange County, so I went through the residual smoke twice a day for a few days.

  19. Glad to hear you're unaffected so far. Stay safe. Having lived exclusively west of the 405 by design, my LA geography gets hazy (pun intended) to the east.

    John is raising the bar with all his big words. Egghead.

  20. > John is raising the bar with all his big words. Egghead.
    Hey, the bulk of my day-to-day conversation is with a 3.5-year-old. I have to stretch the other end of my vocabulary to keep my average up. 🙂

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