A Friend Rediscovered - MockRunner

Life is funny. You meet a new friend, hit it off immediately and then slowly you drift away. One day you realize, “Hey, I haven’t seen my super cool friend Bob lately, what ever happened to that guy?”

I realized last night that my “super cool” friend MockRunner had gone missing. We first met a few years back when I was building a prototype of something that we ended up not running with. StrutsTestCase was a one of my favorite testing tools, allowing for true out-of-container testing that made life great for Struts fans. However, there were cases where I needed the ability to mock those beasts known as HttpServletRequest and HttpSession with ease.

Bacon and I are busy working on some new top3Clicks features and I needed to create unit tests that easily created mocks of request objects. A bit of searching reminded me of my old friend MockRunner. In a few mins, I cranked out unit tests (of course verifying the code coverage with Clover) that looked something like this:

public void testBuildListBeans() {
    String query = "U2";
    String productGroupID = "23";
    String error = "Invalid value found";
    ValidateListAction vla = new ValidateListAction();
    MockHttpServletRequest mockRequest = new MockHttpServletRequest();
    mockRequest.setupAddParameter("searchInput", query);
    mockRequest.setupAddParameter("productGroupID", productGroupID);
    List<ListBean> listBean = vla.buildListBeans(mockRequest);
    ListBean lb = listBean.get(0);

Pure Goodness.

The Death of Print, Part IX

I’ve read a zillion stories about the death of print, specifically newspapers, over the last year or so.

My local paper, the San Jose Mercury News, has gotten so small that on Monday’s I’m afraid a gust of wind will blow the paper down the street.

Today comes the latest strategy to “save” print, courtesy of the Associated Press. The A.P. has decided to sue “web aggregators” like Google who use their content without their permission.















First, this amazing quote:

In a speech at The A.P.’s annual meeting in San Diego, William Dean Singleton, chairman of the group, said, “We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories.”

which is odd given the actual implementation by Google:

Google News shows headlines and a sentence or two of an article, but to read the entire piece, the user has to click through to the news organization’s own site. The company has argued that that limited use is allowed without permission.

I’m not lawyer, but sounds pretty legal to me.

The kicker is this money quote:

In a statement, The A.P. said it would develop a system to track news articles online and determine whether they were being used legally.

So, instead of spending R&D money on creating products that will drive users, they are going to create systems that provide defensive mechanisms? We’ve seen this movie before (starring the RIAA) – this must be the sequel.

Bet it has the same ending.

Boxee/Hulu Battle

I’ve seen a number of articles in the last week or so, detailing the game that Boxee is playing with Hulu (Hulu keeps blocking Boxee, Boxee makes a change to get around this blockade, rinse, repeat).

I don’t know the Boxee architecture in any depth, but it seems like the answer is to simply set the User-Agent to appear as if it is MSIE, etc and then have the client (i.e. end-user) fetch the actual video. Hulu then immediately has no way to identify who is a user coming to their site via a browser vs a Boxee user.

Or it is more complicated than that?







Also, Fred Wilson tweeted the link for the Windows Alpha of Boxee the other day. You can get it here (requires sign-up)

Sharing Videos on top3Clicks

Bacon has a post up about the latest top3Clicks release – video sharing.

Users have been able to create channels for their favorites (The Clash channel has been a particular favorite of mine. More of users seem to have American Idol for some reason…) and were able to share a channel with a friend. Now top3Clickers can go one further and recommend a specific video to a friend.

There were a number of challenges getting the sharing/video functionality working properly. A heavy combination of FBJS, FBML and elbow grease were *almost* enough to get it working. We did hit one roadblock with the fb:swf tag not working in a certain use case. Jerry Cain of Facebook was extremely diligent in tracking down and fixing this issue (he is now an official member of the BaconMarathon Hall of Fame). Thanks Jerry!

Check it out and let us know what you think.

Facebook Copies Another Feature from Friendfeed

Mark Zuckerberg has a new post up detailing a host of new features that Facebook is rolling out.

One that caught my eye were the changes to the news feed – specifically, the news feed will show updates in real-time:

We're also going to make some changes to the home page. The new home page will let you see everything that's shared by your friends and connections as it happens.

Last month, Facebook copied the “Like” feature from Friendfeed. This month, they show news in real-time, which Friendfeed added last October. I guess sometimes “innovation” really means “watch what the competition is doing and emulate it”

Thoughts on “Why TV Lost”



Paul Graham has a great post up today entitled “Why TV Lost”

Money quote:

Facebook killed TV. That is wildly oversimplified, of course, but probably as close to the truth as you can get in three words.

Paul focuses a bit on, as he says “TV networks”, by which I think he actually means network affiliates.

The TV networks already seem, grudgingly, to see where things are going, and have responded by putting their stuff, grudgingly, online. But they're still dragging their heels. They still seem to wish people would watch shows on TV instead, just as newspapers that put their stories online still seem to wish people would wait till the next morning and read them printed on paper. They should both just face the fact that the Internet is the primary medium.

I think the folks with the most to lose here are the cable companies and the network affiliates. I definitely want to watch the latest version of “The Office” – however, streaming it off Hulu (i.e. from NBC, not an NBC affiliate) works just fine. In this instance, the only reason I *might* need cable would be for the connectivity/bandwidth.

If I were a network affiliate who paid hundreds of millions of dollars for my license, I’d be wondering if my station was going to be valued for local news only. If I were a cable company and spent billions of dollars building out and maintaining government-granted monopolies, I be even more worried – panicked actually.

Now, when does Tivo get on this train and let me record/stream from Hulu? I can already stream from Netflix and Amazon, so I’m sure the hurdles aren’t technical.