inquiries into software and technology

Yesterday morning, I spoke at MobileMarchTC on OpenGL ES on the iPad.  The presentation is an introduction to 3D graphics, with a particular focus on OpenGL ES and the iPad.  I covered concepts, terminology, and tools; it is intended to help newcomers get oriented to the world of 3D and OpenGL ES.

I will be presenting this at CocoaHeads in May

Here is the slide desk:


Here are some resources:  (I’ll try to get them cleanup up and add descriptions, but this is a good start!)

3D @ ManiacDev

Jeff LaMarch has several good articles, including a demo app for loading a 3D model from Wavefront OBJ format and a blender export script
NeHe Productions has a number of good articles and  tutorials
Here are the 3D properties demo by Nate Robins.  They are very dated, but source code is included
Phillip Rideout, iPhone 3D Programming

Matrix Math:


If you were at the presentation, I hope you enjoyed it and find this information worthwhile.  If you came across this by other means, I’m glad you found it; I’m hoping to post the presentation video, but I have a lot of work to do before I can even start on that one.

How does an introvert get heard in today’s world?  I think about this issue frequently.

I actively network with my peers, take active leadership roles in the groups I’m involved in, speak publicly as often as time permits; I even tweet and participate on Google+ frequently.  I do all these things not because they come naturally (they don’t) but because I believe very deeply in contributing to the communities I am a part of.

TED recently posted a presentation by Susan Cain on the “The Power of Introverts”.   continue reading…

A week ago Thursday, I spoke about software patents and intellectual property to the Twin Cities CocoaHeads developer group.  This was my first significant presentation on the topic and  I was concerned about how it would be received: developers have a very low opinion of patent law, even worse now in light of recent events regarding Lodsys and Macrosolve.  I’m delighted to say that everything went brilliantly!  In fact, one of the most active participants later admitted that he had expected to sleep through the presentation. The presentation itself went extremely well: we had a fully engaged audience, lots of questions, and provided valuable information on a difficult topic.  But more than that, I learned a great deal about presenting this topic to developers.

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I really didn’t think I would be that affected by Steve Job’s passing, but it turns out I was wrong.

When I first got interested in computers it was 1979; I saw an Apple II in school and I *knew* I had to learn how to make it do amazing things.  That was it, I was hooked; and it was an Apple product.  When I got my first computer, a Heath/Zenith Z-90 running CP/M computer and BASIC-80, my first mission was to make it do all the things the Apple II could do; that shows just how much of an impression the Apple II made on me.  (Thanks Steve)

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Apple seems to have bobbled their latest iOS 5 beta release: after updating my iPhone 4 last night, the Music app is no longer able to play any music or audio books. Whenever I try to play a track, it shows the player, scans the albums track names, and returns to the album listing. It seems like it is unable to find the track.

I have two important points on this:

  1. It is beta software.
  2. This is pretty unusual for Apple to have such a glaring error in a late beta.

To be certain, I am not complaining; this is news-worthy since it helps others who are trying to diagnose or resolve the same problem. To anyone who does complain about this, please kindly recall that it *is* a beta release. Apple warns everyone before they downloaded, installed, or updated. If we have grown accustomed to nearly ready-for-primetime betas from Apple, we should consider how difficult that feat is and how well Apple normally handles it. Still, I’m looking forward to iOS 5 beta 8 and the opportunity to continue listening to Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos” (or I can load it on another device).

Addendum: You can easily solve this problem by removing and reloading the audio.

Tom’s hardware has an interview with Charlie Miller on “hacked batteries, cloud security, and the iPad”.  It’s worth reading.,2996.html


This afternoon, President Obama address some remarks to the nation.

For more complete coverage, the original article can be found at:

One gem which was pointed out by Article One Partners (thanks) was:

Through patent reform, we can cut the red tape that stops too many inventors and entrepreneurs from quickly turning new ideas into thriving businesses — which holds our whole economy back.

This is encouraging; well, it’s better than going unnoticed; but the truth is that national politics of full of great ideas and intentions but has a few problems in the delivery department.  (Didn’t someone once say that they road to Washington was paved with good intentions?)

It was a politician’s speech and I don’t really expect changes as a result of one sentence; but here’s the questions: How do we go about making this happen?  How do we tell Obama we appreciate the sentiment and we would like to know what he is going to do to address the issue?

Food for thought.

I read an article earlier today, “By Definition, A Defensive Patent is a Bad Patent”,

To be clear, I am a software entrepreneur; I believe in innovation, in collaboration, in sharing knowledge.  I like to think I come from the same philosophical mold as the original MIT hackers (in the original sense of the word) and I believe we are all better off when we expend our mental capital addressing meaningful and challenging problems instead of figuring out how we will protect our intellectual property.  I also grew up with the ideals of the patent system: that it was designed to protect, foster, and encourage innovation.  I have spent an astonishing amount of time trying to reconcile these viewpoints; and I have succeeded in realizing that it can’t be done.  At least, it can’t be done with today’s patent system.  So, I really understand the belief that patents are bad, evil, horrible things; that they represent the old order, the people who are willing to backstab society for their own greed.

Except that it isn’t that simple.

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Timothy Lee’s “Disruptive economics” blog on Forbes has a post, “The Supreme Court should invalidate Software Patents”, 

It’s a good post and I recommend reading it.  I agree with Tim’s reasoning and logic but I ultimately disagree with his conclusion.

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This week the “This American Life” radio show on MPR aired the following story.  It’s good to see that this is getting some wider coverage.



This American Life published an audio exposé on the problems of software patents and the current abuses of the patent system; it talks about how the patent system is failing business and preventing innovation; including:

  • Patent system abusers
    • Patent “trolls” & sham companies
    • The role of Intellectual Ventures
    • East Texas
  • Bad patents
    • Issued on obvious concepts
    • Overly broad
    • Written for attorneys, not engineers
  • Negative impact on innovation
There is a very revealing quote by Peter Detkin of Intellectual Ventures, “Litigation is just licensing by other means”.
Also cited (of interest) in the report:
  • David Martin of M-CAM,, speaking on patent searches and the rampant similarity of thousands of patents.