British governments stance on software patents

The government has issued its response to a recent e-petition calling for “the Prime Minister to make software patents clearly unenforcible”. Here’s the actual details of the petition which also contains the governments response and a link to the Gowers Report on Intellectual Property which the response refers to.

Frankly, I don’t know what’s currently more flawed, the idea of Software Patents, or the laughable, and often corrupt, process through which they are granted.

Project Cenote

One of the projects on I worked on at Talis before christmas was our Project Cenote exemplar.

click to visit

Put simply Cenote allows you to search our platform for information on books and stuff. It’s a bit of a mashup since it seamlessly integrates our data and content with data and content from Amazon, and some other partners.

Cenote was created to serve as an example of how simple it is to create applications using the new Talis Platform. Rob and I worked on it for a few days, although we spent a lot of that time developing the rather unique look it has. The last thing we wanted it to look like was a traditional, stoic, boring OPAC. Amazing what you can do with a little CSS and some imagination, huh?

Looks aside what was really cool about Cenote was that Rob and I were able to build the application in very little time, we paired up on it, which meant we sat at one desk and pretty much coded it from scratch together over a couple of days or so. It’s actually a pretty thin skin built upon the platform.

Cenote is basically a small PHP5 application sitting inside Apache 2. The application makes web service calls to the Platform which returns data in RSS format. The application then uses a couple of XSLT stylesheets to transform the data into the UI you see.

You can find out more about Cenote over at the Talis Developer Network, we’ve decided to Open Source so it so that developers can see how simple it is build upon our platform services. It serves as one of several examples already published, and many more on the way. I’ve written an article on the TDN that explains briefly how to install the sources and get it running locally. So have a play 🙂

Pimpin’ your product’s.

Amy’s written another excellent article over on her blog Slash7, on how to go about pimpin’ your products. As with all Amy’s writing she makes some excellent points in her wonderfully unique style. She’s definitely given me food for thought, and I suggest that anyone who has a product to promote on the web should read her article.

What resonates the most is that whilst her advice appears simple it’s amazing how easily we overlook things that seem so obvious, and I’m kicking myself because I can see that I’ve made some the mistakes she mentions.

Google Apps Launches premium offerings

Everyone knew it would happen sooner or later but it’s official. Google is launching a premium service for companies wishing to use Google’s on-line app’s as opposed to traditional desktop suites such as MS Office. The premium package includes a custom 10GB Gmail inbox, Google Calendar, Writely, Google Spreadsheet, GTalk IM, Google Pages, Google Custom Home page, and iGoogle – the price will be around $50 per Employee per year, as opposed to MS Office which costs between $500-$600 per license..

You can read more about the competitive pricing in this articly over on NY Times. It’s going to be interesting to see how Microsoft react, however I doubt they’re will be any immediate impact from this, it will take time for Google to take any significant market share for the simple reason that I personally don’t believe large organisations are ready to trust Google with all their corporate data … yet!
I’ve been using OpenOffice for a while now, I also have MS Office on my works laptop. My own feeling is that as much people berate Microsoft, the Office suite is actually really quite good. Open Office is catching up, but does have a fair way to go in terms of a feature by feature comparison. Google’s Writely ( word processor ) doesn’t come close to having the same number of features in it as either of the other two, but the question is … does it need to? I don’t think it does. Most users probably dont use more than 30% of the features ( if that ) in MS Word – I know I don’t! ( admittedly I’d still love to use LaTex ).

Google’s new offering is not only a threat to both OpenOffice and MS Office, it’s an excellent example of how, with today’s technologies, you can liberate people from the desktop and deliver compelling Software as a Service Solutions, that users can use … anywhere! They’re not tied down to a single machine … and that’s really cool!

In fact find out more over at the Official Google blog.

7 habits for effective text editing

Here’s a really cool talk by Bram Moolenaar the creator of Vim. There’ some really great tips some of which are obvious others aren’t. I remember when Rob and I were paired on Cenote, we did most of our development work on Fedora Core, Rob re-introduced my to Vi and Vim and gave me loads of great tips, this talk was somewhat reminiscent of that. It’s definitly worth watching!

had a great weekend

Had a great four days away down in the south meeting up with a bunch of friends from around the UK and Europe. So many thanks to Wim, Alan, Matt, Eric, Jan, Kirstie, Shawn, Mark, Paul, Darren, Mike, Karl, Ian, Callum, Tracy and Dave for the big get together! I had an awesome time! We seriously have to do it again soon.

P2P has no effect on legal music sales

Rob recently talked about Steve Jobs views on how the music industry’s insistence on DRM simply doesnt work, which I agree with. Along similar lines I was very interested to read about a new study published in the Journal of Political Economy. I think the study refers to this paper, or perhaps a more recent version of it entitled The effect of file sharing on Record Sales, an Empirical analysis. that asserts that illegal music downloads have no noticeable effect on the sale of music – which is completely contrary to the claims made by the record industry.