Open Source Licensing Choices

InfoWorld has an interesting story on GPL’s decline (might be a strong word) in favor of some more permissive licenses, notably Apache, MIT, and BSD. I think this part hits the main deciding factor:

Originally associated with variants of Unix, these “permissive” licenses took their names from the universities at Berkeley and Massachusetts: the BSD and MIT licenses. These licenses allow you to do almost anything with the associated software, including making it closed, proprietary software to which the four freedoms no longer apply. This is also a source of controversy, as some people consider it wrong to take open source software and prevent others in the future from using, studying, modifying, and distributing it.

Many corporations out of licensing concerns forbid GPL, rational or not. In my experience if you want to keep your project open to as many enterprise and corporate uses as possible, BSD, MIT or Apache is your best bet. I don’t think many these days still forbid all open source. Some still forbid GPL. They will use GPL licensed software, just not the code.

Deciding what license you pick is an important part of any software project.

Steve Jobs Wanted To Play Willy Wonka

Steve Jobs Willy WonkaMacRumors is reporting that the new book Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success mentions Steve Jobs was looking to do a Willy Wonka like promotion for the sale of the 1 millionth iMac.

I find this so hard to believe, but I so want it to be true. Apple in many ways is like Wonka. It’s secretive, nobody knows how the popular products come out, it’s founder was fanatic about privacy, secrecy and was without question a little quirky and eccentric. In many ways, Steve Jobs was like Willy Wonka.

Whomever would have went on the tour would have had one heck of an experience to talk about.

Steve’s idea was to do a Willy Wonka with it. Just as Wonka did in the movie, Steve wanted to put a golden certificate representing the millionth iMac inside the box of one iMac, and publicize that fact. Whoever opened the lucky iMac box would be refunded the purchase price and be flown to Cupertino, where he or she (and, presumably, the accompanying family) would be taken on a tour of the Apple campus.

Steve had already instructed his internal creative group to design a prototype golden certificate, which he shared with us. But the killer was that Steve wanted to go all out on this. He wanted to meet the lucky winner in full Willy Wonka garb. Yes, complete with top hat and tails.

Just remember: Don’t touch the fizzy lifting drinks. He hasn’t perfect it just yet.

SSD Price Wars

There’s now talk of an SSD price war brewing. This is great as the price for SSD’s are still pretty high.

Unfortunately they still have a way to drop. Especially in recent years people have tons of video and photos, more than they can upload due to asymmetrical broadband. Most people only have one computer, meaning a 128 GB drive isn’t going to get them very far. Especially true for people who are big movie downloaders (legal or licensed via iTunes). Most people don’t have several computers and USB drives hanging about for bulk storage. What’s on their laptop is what they have.

Even when I went with an SSD in my desktop, I put a RAID 0 HDD array in. Just a game or two can occupy half that SSD. It’s more cost-effective to have this gigantic complicated setup than to get an SSD, and truthfully most of what’s on that HDD array is fast enough at RAID 0 speed. So yes, I split things up, but it performs fast and is substantially cheaper. I got the best of both worlds. I can’t wait until this isn’t necessary.

Oldest Working Satellites

How old is the oldest working satellite? US’s Vanguard 1 is still in orbit 50+ years later, but it’s long since stopped working. Still pretty impressive considering most orbits decay over time and they meet a fiery death.

The most definitive list of old satellites I could find is this:

  Satellite   Year of Launch    Type       Operator   Status

 (EGRS 7      1966          ITT Secor      US Army    Last report 1980) [not functioning]
  ATS 3       1967          Hughes HS-306  NASA       Still working 1990s [decomissioned]
 (NATO IIA    1970          Ford Skynet    NATO/USAF  At 105W, status unknown)
 (DSCS II F-1 1971          TRW DSCS 2     USAF       At 100-110W since 1979)
  IMP 8       1973          GSFC IMP       NASA       Still OK 1998
  Skynet IIB  1974          Marconi Skynet UK MoD     Still OK 1994
  LES 8       1976          Lincon Labs    USAF       Still OK 1992
  LES 9       1976          Lincon Labs    USAF       Still OK 1992 [decomissioned]
  Marisat 103 1976          Hughes HS-333  INMARSAT   Active
  GOES 2      1977          Ford SMS       NOAA       Active [decomissioned]
  FLTSATCOM 1 1978          TRW FLTSAT     USN        Active  [likely decommissioned]
  GOES 3      1978          Ford SMS       NOAA       Active

I was able to clean up this list a bit. My notes are in [brackets] to the right. For certain GOES 3 is still operational for communications purposes and is certainly one of the oldest if not the oldest working satellites in orbit.

It’s possible IMP 8 is still working as well, the most recent evidence I can find was from 2006 suggesting it was operational. FLTSATCOM 1 is likely decommissioned but I can’t find solid confirmation.

Several of the other ones are of a mystery. I suspect most of them had military elements to them and were quietly disposed of if they are no longer in use. If I had to bet, I’d say GOES 3 is most likely the oldest satellite in operation as of 2012.

GOES 3 is impressive. Who in 1978 would think it would be providing 1-megabit per second data transmission to the South Pole for communications purposes.

Time Lapse Of A 12 Year Old

Lotte Time Lapse

This pretty amazing if you think about it. Frans Hofmeester took video of his daughter Lotte every week for 12 years of her life and made a time lapse. Most time lapses are of photos, this is of video. Generally when it’s made of video, it’s pretty terrible. This however is an exception. “They grow up so quickly” takes on a whole new meaning.

This is a ton of dedication to an idea. 12 years is a long time to do anything.

[Hat Tip: Gizmodo]

1984 Macintosh Ad

1984 Macintosh Ad

Looking back at the 1984 Macintosh “Introduction” ads, it’s almost hard to believe they are by Apple when you consider how complicated the layout is and how wordy they are. Especially when you realize Steve Jobs was in charge back then. It even mentions the polyphonic sound generator and RS232 and RS422 ports. These days Apple doesn’t even officially state how much memory is in an iPad. It sure was a different time.