The End of the End of General Purpose Computing

One of the memes that got slung around a log during the launch of the iPad and associated apologetics for the closed nature of iPad (and iPhone) software development was that we were at the “end of general purpose computing”, that the closed and controlled environment was a good thing, and in fact required in order to provide the seamless, user friendly experience necessary to bring computing, finally, to the unwashed masses.

In this meme, the limitations of the new platform—no multi-tasking, applications as unitary bundles that don’t share files, the lack of a (user visible) hierarchical file system—were all features, not drawbacks, they were in fact the core benefits that make computing understandable for grandma.

How quickly the worm turns. iPhone OS 4 now introduces multi-tasking, file sharing between applications, and all the associated user interface scruft that goes along with managing those concepts. Also, folders for holding the many application icons in your now-totally-crowded phone screens. And on and on.

So, now that bath water (the blessed “simple enough for grandma” experience) is heading over the balcony edge, can we have our baby back (open application development)?

You know you've arrived...

…when people start discussing the best way to replace you.

Seen amongst the abstracts in the FOSS4G Community Program Review: “Beyond PostGIS - New developments in Open Source Spatial Databases” and “JASPA, an alternative to PostGIS”.

Is that a bright shining light? I’m floating above my body…

FOSS4G Community Program Review

It’s that time of year again! The Community Program Review for FOSS4G has begun!

If you’re going to FOSS4G, or seriously thinking about going, the review is a way to ensure that the program includes topics you are interested in. You scroll through a list of all the abstracts the conference has received, and select the ones that are of interest to you. The conference committee tabulates all the results and uses that data to help build the program and to slot talks into rooms of appropriate size.

The number of abstracts is a good deal larger than the number of slots this year, so taking the time to do the review is a good idea if you’re planning to attend this year!

Lazyweb: SDE requirements for PostGIS

Oh, lazyweb, I beseach thee!

Can you tell me, for each version of ArcSDE, what version(s) of PostGIS is/are supported? I’m at the Washington GIS conference, and folks are using SDE on PostGIS, and some of them are using old versions of PostGIS, so I need to know how far back we have to apply patches in order to fully support users who have deployed SDE on PostGIS.

Update: The lazyweb responds, with ArcSDE 10 requirements, ArcSDE 9.3.x requirements and recap: PostGIS 1.4.0 for ArcSDE 10, PostGIS 1.3.2 for ArcSDE 9.3/9.3.1

Also, from Cort Daniel of Pierce County I hear that minor releases as late as PostGIS 1.3.7 and PostgreSQL 8.3.5 work (unofficially) for ArcSDE 9.3.

Update2: Cort also said that while PostgreSQL 8.3.5 worked with ArcSDE 9.3, 8.3.7 did not (date fields stopped working right), which is really really odd. Not sure if anyone else could confirm that.

Surveyor's Sermon

Last month I had an opportunity to give a 5-minute “Ignite” talk at Where 2.0 in San Jose. I chose my topic because I fear one of the things missing in the technologist enthusiasm for geolocation, particularly in the population of technically astute but non-geo people, is a respect for how locations are actually derived, and knowledge of the provenance of the data that undergirds our new mapping tools.