Charles Engelke's Blog

June 28, 2006


Filed under: Vacation 2006 — Charles Engelke @ 2:29 pm

Today we saw Pisa, famous for its leaning tower:


But the tower isn’t alone. It sits on a stunning green “Field of Miracles” with three other beautiful buildings. One of them is a cathedral (the Duomo) right next to it:


Galileo went to church here, and got bored during the service. The chandelier in this picture is a replica of the one that was there in Galileo’s day, and it was swaying as he watched it:


He timed the period of the sway by counting his pulse, and started working out some laws of motion. You can’t see it in this picture, but there’s a cable halfway down the chandelier support, anchoring it to the wall. Sure, it might just be for electricity, but I think it’s to keep it from swaying and inspiring another troublemaker like Galileo.


June 26, 2006


Filed under: Vacation 2006 — Charles Engelke @ 3:59 pm

On our last full day in Rome, we saw the Pantheon. It was built over 2000 years ago, and rebuilt only slightly more recently. It looks interesting from the outside:


Inside, it’s more impressive:


But it’s the dome with an opening at the top that blows you away:


This was the largest dome ever built anywhere until 1960 (so says the tourist guide, anyway). It’s the prettiest for sure. The light from the opening illuminates different sections throughout the day:


So I made Laurie pose in the light. It’s a bit dazzling, but a pretty nice picture:



Filed under: Vacation 2006 — Charles Engelke @ 3:41 pm

On our first full day in Rome took a tour. The tour wasn’t very good because the guide rarely told us anything about what we were seeing. (When in Rome, don’t deal with Vastours.) But what we saw was fantastic. The highlight was the Colosseum.

As you enter, you can look through the arches into the interior:


Once you’re inside, the view through the arches outside is beautiful:


Though the structure was plundered over and over again for materials, there’s still plenty standing, and it’s plenty impressive:


We ended our tour on top of the Capitoline Hill, looking over the ancient city, with the Colosseum in the background:


The Appian Way

Filed under: Vacation 2006 — Charles Engelke @ 3:28 pm

There’s a new Appia Way in Rome, but the original, 2300 year old one is still there, and still used. I walked a tiny bit of it today. (I would have done more, but it is hot here right now!)

This sign isn’t original, of course. They didn’t used to call it “Antica” after all.


They’ve excavated some of the original paving stones in this stretch.


But to get a sense of what it might have been like long ago, you have to look off to the side of the road:



June 6, 2006

Groove is Dead

Filed under: Notes — Charles Engelke @ 6:34 pm

Well, not quite yet, but it’s definitely terminal. When Microsoft bought the company, this seemed a likely outcome, and today they confirmed it by announcing Microsoft Office Groove 2007 BETA. From the FAQs, it’s clear that there will be a product with Groove in its name, but the Groove we’ve known will cease to exist.

Groove’s glory was its lack of infrastructure. For $50 you bought Groove and installed it on your PC. If someone you knew did the same, you could create and share a Groove space. No servers to manage, so services to subscribe to. Sure, there were servers “out in the cloud” on the Internet, but they were managed by Groove, not you, and your purchase entitled you to use them. And public key cryptography prevented any disclosure of your data to those servers, even as they relayed it to other, authorized, users. And users with different versions of Groove could still usually share workspaces with each other, or at least most of the contents of the workspaces.

It was beautiful. But Microsoft doesn’t work that way. So Groove will no longer work that way.

Buy Groove once and use it for good, paying for upgrades if you wanted them, or skipping them if you preferred? No more. Now you will “subscribe” to Groove, instead of buy it. After all, Microsoft says that, “In talking with customers, we found that the flexibility to purchase Groove on a subscription basis held strong appeal with small businesses and workgroups, primarily due to the lower up front cost and the ability to get software updates made available during the term of the subscription.” Sure, we all hated that one-time $50 cost! (To be fair, Groove raised the price repeatedly with each new version, but it never got to be high enough to impede getting external business partners to buy it and give it a try.)

Install the client and go? No infrastructure, just use those Groove servers out in the cloud? No, no, no. You’ll have to buy Office Groove Server 2007 or Office Groove Enterprise Services. And, though the FAQs don’t mention it, that software will have to run on a Windows server, and I’m sure you’ll need a separate CAL for each user. Oh, and you’ll either have to put them directly out on the Internet (which I don’t like to do with Windows servers) or else make sure everyone you connect with has a VPN connection to your Intranet.

Well, maybe I’ll just stay with my current version of Groove. Not if anyone you plan to share workspaces with moves to the new Groove. “Anyone you invite to a workspace created with Office Groove 2007 must upgrade in order to accept the invitation.” Although, if you create the workspace with an older version, you can invite people with the new versions to it. For now.

Despite all that, do you want to give it a try? “The most important thing to know about upgrading to Groove 2007 is that this is a one way trip.” So don’t expect to just try. Not even on a test PC. You have to upgrade not only your Groove software, but also your Groove license, after which every other PC you use Groove on has to also be updated. One way.

This is a real shame. Groove was a great product that did pretty much one thing (securely sharing files with anyone, anywhere), and did it superbly. But that’s not sexy, and it never sold well. Groove also had a lot of other capabilities, but I never saw any of them get used anywhere near as much as the file tool. I don’t think that the new Groove will have any real value. If you’re going to have everybody you collaborate with work on a single Microsoft server, you already have (more complicated) ways to share data.

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