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Todd Nathan
Last updated at 12:09 pm UTC on 16 January 2006
It has been a while since I updated this page. Last time I was interested in Squeak and Smalltalk I was teaching HS students how to Squeak, program and think in ways maybe they had not before. For the past year I have been in relax mode, taking time off, camping and enjoy the non-expensive things in life. I'm also getting rid of most of my personal belongings. I have decided that if indeed the things I have collected define me, and they do to some extent, then to get what I want in life I must let go of what I have... FleeBay to the Rescue.

As for technology, it continues to be a HUGE disappointment, especially in the software side of things. I knew when I first saw HTML in 1992'ish on a NeXT that it was WRONG. In the past 11 years layer upon layer of GARBAGE has been applied to the great minds of the huddled masses. We have been sold very short on things that not only move too fast, but are flawed and thus moot. I do believe innovation comes, yet not at the rate it has been sold to the public for the last 15+ years in software. There has been little innovation at all, for example look at the core of OSX, the API is essentially the same as it was with OS 4.0 on black hardware 10+ years ago, and 4.2 along with the short lived 4.1 were just small incremental stability releases. Look at Squeak, as freaking cool as it is, fundamentally it is the same as ST-80 back 30 years ago. Of course there are major changes in Squeak, but innovation, not really. BitBlt is the same isn't it? :)

So, I have decided to look (turns out I don't have to look too hard) at what WORKS for me, and boil it all down to what gets things done, and what I conclude simply is well designed and usable/teachable. As funny as this sounds, there is also another factor, COSTs. What costs money, time and energy. Call me lazy? Maybe, call me no longer interested in chasing the carrot, you bet! BeOS as an OS (if we really need one at all, take a look at FORTH and its very close ties with hardware) works for me, and is FAST and FREE. Has loads of software at www.bebits.com, and I'm working now on the Squeak port. Squeak is free, with a growing and dedicated group of very very smart users. In the irony of things, FORTH users, BeOS users and Squeak users all have the same fundamental goals in mind. As well as some symptoms. SMALL, FAST, FREE, ELLEGANT and ABANDED/FORGOTTEN. Not all at the same level of each, yet closer than other tools and OSes. In the ST-80/Squeak arena, we even have known implementations that work without an OS, talk about Forth-like :). The tools that don't work in Squeak for various reasons can be found and used outside in BeOS. A browser for example (Squeak browser is not something I would depend on, and likely shouldn't) is best suited today in the OS layer rather than Squeak, so the continuity and familiarity is there, but until the tools migrate to the Squeak-land, we have alternatives.

So this all said, life with computers is getting interesting again. Smaller and cheaper PDAs (I haven't bought a new computer in 3 years), super volume and cheap auction items either at governmint or online, just amazing what you can pick up for a few bucks from the governmint. Hardware is truly at a low point of commodity pricing. We literally have 'tossaway' computers. Sad but very true. Now to get the pricing and longevity of long usage portable storage out of the way, and I'll be truly mobile and happy. I desire to run a portable off a portable solar panel, with a small 12volt regulator and stepper to 5v, all under 75 watts constant draw and low amps, and 6-10 mile line-of-site wifi.