Friday, October 31, 2003

The way many of my projects will need to go to be successful...
Dilbert
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Thursday, October 30, 2003

Signs of a winner
Lebron James scored more in his debut and his team lost to the Kings while Carmello Anthony struggled but the Nuggets knocked off the defending NBA champs last night. Here is what Anthony had to say about his 12 point, 7 rebound game:

“When people look at us, they are going to notice that we won our first game,” Anthony said. “They aren't going to look at how many points I had. I don't care if I only average four points. I will be happy if we win.”

Exactly! This is so refreshing to hear. Compare it to what a guy like Corey Dillon of the Cincinnati Bengals has been whining about lately:

“It could be anywhere, who knows? I'm just going to get to a place where I'm happy and I feel appreciated. You know what I'm saying? And where somebody can recognize my talents and I can achieve my goals. Now where that may be, I don't know, but that's the first thing on my offseason list.”

These comments come from a guy who plays on a bad football team. Now the Bengals are starting to win some games and Corey Dillon wants out. Why? Because it's all about him. I think Dillon was happy when the Bengals were losing, at least he got his stats. That seems to be the message he's sending.

I hope we see more of the Carmello Anthony team oriented attitude and far less of the Corey Dillon self-centered approach. I'll take the win over the stats any day and its refreshing to hear that coming from a rising star like Carmello Anthony.

P.S. I believe the Cavs have more talent than the Nuggets.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Scary thought: Microsoft is inspiring me
I'll have more on this in a little bit, but wanted to jot down this thought that Microsoft is inspiring me with its adoption of weblogs and opening up a bit. Sure, they have to do this in order to hold on to what they have, but it still wasn't an easy one to pull the trigger on. My company doesn't have near the PR/perception problem Microsoft has (in fact, we're doing pretty good in that area), but our web sites are corporate blah. I want us to adopt weblogs in a big way. I want the excitement that I hear from product managers, brand managers, engineers, etc. on a daily basis about our products and company as a whole to be heard all around the world. I want people to see what we're about and know that there is more to our company than just another corporate machine out to get your money. I want a dialogue between our company and anyone even remotely interested in our products and the industry as a whole. And what better way to do that than to utilize weblogs and the reach the technology provides?

I'm psyched about this. I've been evangelizing this idea the past couple days now. I'm just getting started. I'm sure it will never fly with legal and I'm sure it will be met with skepticism from near and far. I'm still going to push for it because I believe it is the right thing to do. I want to push the boundaries in our industry. If Microsoft will stick their necks out on the line to become more approachable, then I know we certainly can.
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Frontpage extensions required no more
Rory Blyth: Aside from the code reduction, there was a pretty cool list of new features for ASP.NET 2.0:

1. No FrontPage server extensions required (this almost won a standing ovation).

...All in all, ASP.NET 2.0 is going to be great. I know I sound like a hype machine again, but it isn't my fault. I'm just reacting to what I'm seeing.


I didn't realize that Frontpage Extensions were required to run .NET currently. That right there should be very embarrassing for any .NET developer to have to admit.

ASP.NET 2.0 sounds like a solid improvement over 1.1 from the various weblog posts I've read today. Of course, it hasn't been released officially yet and it still requires me to run all my applications on Windows. Oh yeah, let's not forget to mention that ASP.NET targets a client (the web browser) that Microsoft no longer seems to think is all that important. But I'm sure Microsoft will have an easy migration path built into ASP.NET 5.0 to move away from that crappy client the web browser and on to Longhorn, Avalon, Indigo, etc.. Out with the standards and on with the lock-in!
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Gartner
I found out the company I work for uses Gartner for quite a bit of IT research. I have nothing against Gartner personally, but most of these research companies are very suspect. They make their money from not only companies like mine (consumer product manufacturer), but also from the technology vendors they report on. How can you give a negative report about a paying customer's product or service that will likely negatively affect that customer's bottom line?
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The “white box” in the business world
Wow! InfoWorld has a (front page) article of their latest printed issue on using generic (white) boxes instead of servers and desktops from the likes of Dell, HP, etc. I'm very shocked and impressed. I've always thought that on the lower end server (2 CPU or less) that you might be better off just getting a system from somewhere like ASA Computers or something other independent PC builder. The systems are built on standard components and they likely have the same quality as anything you buy from the big boys. I've often seen that you can buy twice (or more) the computer if you go with a white box, but never had the nerve to consider it for the companies I've worked for. I think this latest InfoWorld article will make me a little more bold when I'm faced with buying x86 server hardware.
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Monday, October 27, 2003

The problem with starting a revolution
Sterling Hughes and Thies Arntzen: Drawback: People that start a revolution usually get their heads chopped off sooner or later... From Sterling and Thies' slideshow on running PHP on Parrot, Perl's virtual machine. Thanks goes to Jon Lim at PHPEverywhere for the link.

I think Parrot is a great project. I also think Parrot may take several more years to even come close to production ready code. It's a very complicated project that requires a lot of thought and effort technically. That doesn't even take into account the losing your head part of the equation. Many people within the PHP, Python, Perl, etc. communities are not going to want to make concessions to see all those languages run on the same cross platform virtual machine.

By the way, I'd love to see PHP, Python, Perl and many other languages all running on Parrot! Then we would have many of the same advantages .NET provides without turning over control to a single platform vendor.
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Is Google a monopoly?
There have been numerous stories and posts on weblogs over the past year or so about how Google is a monopoly. The Register points out today that if Google does an IPO next year, there may be a challenge concerning their status as a monopoly.

I agree that Google is a monopoly. But, unlike Microsoft and others monopolies before it, Google has earned its rank as the best search engine by doing something rather stunning: being the best search engine on the planet. Microsoft could rarely (if ever) say that it had the best operating system or software or anything else for that matter. Microsoft leveraged one monopoly (the desktop operating system) to dominate other market spaces like office productivity software, groupware and network server operating system.

My fear with Google is not that it dominates the search engine space, but that it will leverage that dominance to get into other spaces where it is not the leading innovator. I think those that yelled about Google buying Blogger may have some legitimate concerns in regards to Google utilizing its search engine dominance to conquer the weblog world with less than superior technology. The purchase of Blogger could very well turn out to be a typical Microsoft move. If that is the case, then there are some legitimate concerns that Google is actually too powerful.
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Why Microsoft doesn't get Linux
Robert Cringely nails some great points on Microsoft vs. Linux. Microsoft does not understand Linux and Cringley uses Steve Ballmer's comments at a Gartner conference in Orlando, FL to explain why that is. This is excellent insight that goes much further than the typical “Linux rules. Microsoft sucks.” chants we hear too often on this subject.
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Sunday, October 26, 2003

Bono
Sunday Independent from atU2.com: “If I could have told the 14-year-old Bono — as he wandered the Municipal Gallery in Parnell Square — that his favourite painter would one day do his portrait for the National Gallery, he probably would have believed it. But that's puberty for you.” - Bono on Louis le Brocquy's portrait of him

There always seems to be something to love and hate about Bono every time he opens his mouth.
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Friday, October 24, 2003

Microsoft and PHP one big happy family
Brian Goldfarb, a Microsoft employee, went to PHPCon West 2003 in Santa Clara. He seemed to enjoy his time there and it sounds like the community was pretty cordial to him. You do realize this is a sign that the end of world is near, don't you? >
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The China dilemma
Kevin over at Lean Left points to Bush's speech given to the Australian Parliament, which gives praise to China for their cooperation in the fight against terror and their work to secure the “freedom of its own people.” Kevin thinks this is ridiculous and ends with:
Saying that China is fighting to protect the freedoms of its people is not only stupid, it is dangerously counter-productive in the most important task facing the United States today. if Bush cannot see that, then he cannot make any significant progress in fighting terrorism.

I argue that neither political party is willing to do what it takes to put pressure on China to reform its nearly non-existant human rights. The reason for the hesitation in taking any action is simple: US companies now rely on China for a large chunk of their manufacturing needs. If we tick off China, then the companies having goods produced in China could be in a world of hurt. Does this put money in front of human rights? Yes, and it won't be the last time. That is why I argue that looking for answers to man's problems in the political process is shortsighted at best. There is a higher power. We're doomed if there's not. It's really that simple.
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Microsoft does care about us
Marc Canter: I think it's great that Microsoft people will let us eat first and sit in the back of the room. It's clear they respect us and that they won't be participating in any predatory, monopolistic behavior anymore.
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The sun is going to blast us all today
CNN: Satellites, pagers, cell phones, and electrical grids could be affected Friday by a moderately powerful ejection of magnetic material from the sun.

I've never heard of this before. It sounds interesting. This reminds me of when I was in grade school and the school would make a huge deal about the solar eclipse coming and warned us not to look at it even though it seemed like we could without damaging our eyes. Of course, what did they do when the eclipse came around? They toted us all outside and tempted us to look directly at the sun being eclipsed by the moon.
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Thursday, October 23, 2003

A few things to remember at work
OK, I'm going to rant here...

When you are working as part of a team on a project and you are responsible for a very important piece of the project, do not try to avoid the project leader by not returning phone calls, emails and requests for meetings. If you're having a hard time with your part of the project, be honest about it. That's so much better than letting the project team think you're on track and then find out much later on into the project that you're not even close to being finished.

If you make requests of a co-worker to get something done in a timely fashion and you have to provide that co-worker with input in order for him or her to complete the task, please make yourself available. Don't act like you HAVE to have something done right away and then drop off the face of the Earth. And especially don't come back close to the deadline and expect things to be done after you've taken your little hiatus. Yes, you were probably busy with other things, but your co-worker is too. He or she is taking the time to fulfill one of your requests so the least you can do is cooperate.

Don't complain about the way things are and then complain about every possible solution that is thrown out there. You have to accept change in order to fix things that are broke. Oh, and don't complain about things, saying they're broke and then when a solid solution (no solution is perfect, mind you) is presented say the problem isn't that bad to begin with. You opened the can of worms, now deal with it.

P.S. I am likely guilty of all of the above, thus the need for me to get it down in writing. I hope others can appreciate the fact that they're likely guilty too, which leads to my last point: Own up to your mistakes and learn from them. We're going to make mistakes, but we're not always going to learn from them or take responsibility for them.
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The people this weblog invites
I'm not an elitist. OK, maybe a little. And now I get to show off the elitist side of myself.

It appears I've invited every teenager who likes Carmello Anthony of the Denver Nuggets to comment on a post I wrote a while back. A message to all the “kids” posting there: Let's not turn The Colonel into an online version of your school's daily cafeteria chatter. You want to post about the article? Cool. You want to start calling other people sluts? Not cool. I think that clears things up.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

To answer Dave Winer's question...
Dave Winer: For extra credit — How many Americans have been executed since Karla Faye Tucker? How many of them were beautiful women? How many did we care about?

To answer Dave's question: At least 5 million Americans have been executed since Karla Faye Tucker — some by the hands of the US government/law enforcement but most by individuals. And, by the way, all of those killed by individuals were (without a doubt) innocent.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Cornish game hen
Rory Blyth at Napoleon.com: I'm over at my mom's right now, blogging on the PDA. She's holding one of her dinners. She likes to invite about twenty people over, none of whom speak the same language, and serve them a Cornish game hen.

I can always count on Rory for a good laugh. Cornish game hen?! I've heard that some really fancy restaurants serve pigeon. This leads me to ask the question: Is the Cornish game hen a step below pigeon on the food scale, with pigeon being the superior choice in poultry? In my mind the best type of poultry to eat would be something like a bald eagle or some other more prestigious and rare bird.
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Monday, October 20, 2003

Get laid off, travel the country
I got a voicemail last night from one of my best friends, Randy. He got laid off from his job in Ohio. He didn't like his job very much and even joked that he hoped they would let him go. Well, I guess he got his wish.

Randy took off to travel around the country for a while. He called from Florida last night where he is staying at his sister's condo down there. Next he's off to New Orleans and then Houston to see his brother. It's crazy and it's exactly what Randy said he would do if he got laid off. I hope he gets a hold of me soon as I don't have a number to call him at. I was actually just about to call him last night when I got home and heard his message.

I think it's time Randy swings up to Wisconsin so we can go backpacking up here. I'm not the outdoor type but I've gone backpacking with Randy several times in the past and we had a great time. It was good to get away from everything else and just enjoy each other's company. I think Randy could use that right now. I know I'd love to go for a few days. I hope he calls me before he gets out of his “wander the country” mode.
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Friday, October 17, 2003

Apple is just as bad as the RIAA?
Some people in life are never happy. Apple is trying to work out a way to make the Internet and music work for all sides: fans, musicians, labels, tech companies, etc. I believe they've done a good job. They do have a ways to go to make it better, but with the announcement of Windows support yesterday and features like audio books, allowance accounts, etc. I believe Apple is leading the way in the Internet music business. With all that said, the site Downhillbattle.org is not happy with the iTunes music store. They believe artists are still getting screwed by the old system. They're right and they're wrong. But, in the end, they're actually really wrong. Let me explain.

Apple had to get agreements from all five major record labels to get all those labels' artists on iTunes. Those labels typically have horrific contracts with artists that do little for the artist and a lot for the label. These record contracts are despicable. Downhillbattle.org agrees they're awful and doesn't understand why Apple would sell the artists' soul to those very same labels running a sleazy business. Downhillbattle.org points out that it's the same old bad system just packaged in a different way. This is where they are right, sort of. Yes, Apple signed deals with the record companies in order to distribute a lot of artists' music. And, yes, those record companies still maintain the same sort of bad contracts with their artists that pay the artist next to nothing (if anything at all.) But, Apple is changing the industry by first winning over the “enemy.” You see, Apple has now signed on a ton of independent labels that often have much fairer contracts with their artists. On top of that, they've allowed a site (and pseudo label) in CDBaby on iTunes. CDBaby charges a minimal fee to list your music on iTunes and gives back 91% of the revenue they receive from Apple back to the artist. You'll find it interesting that CDBaby has a prominent link on Downbillbattle.org's web site. CDBaby is held in high esteem by most that know about the company because of the way CDBaby treats the artists on its site. Apple didn't have to cut any deal with CDBaby to allow them to put music on the iTunes store. Apple could've just stuck to the old guards of music with the five major labels but they chose to open the invitation and allow (and even promote) change within the music industry by inviting companies like CDBaby to the table. Allow younger and hungrier companies like CDBaby on your service for a few years and watch as those companies start to gain ground on the big guys. Watch as the CDBaby's of the music world start announcing deals with artists that would have normally signed with one of the big five. It will happen now that Apple is providing a way for the little guy with a much better heart (and business mind for this day and age) to compete. CDBaby couldn't compete in the traditional distribution channels like retail, TV and radio, but they can compete on the Internet with the help of companies like Apple that want to turn the music business upside down.

So, in the end, Apple did sign with the Devil and (at the same time) is all set to beat him at his own game. That is why Downhillbattle.org and others who are so critical of Apple's new foray into the music business are ultimately wrong.
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Thursday, October 16, 2003

Audiobooks on the iTunes store
Not only does apple release a kick butt version of their iTunes store, but they also announced the availability of Audible.com's Audiobooks on the store. You know, like books on tape except their not on tape. I actually listen to these sorts of things when I go on a long road trip. I'm probably the only one who gets psyched by this announcement.
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It's official, iTunes and the music store are now available for Windows
Apple just may slaughter the competition for once in its life. Apple gets the right business model better than any of the others out there. Thanks to MacSlash for the update.
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Thankful
My son, Ethan (aka EC), had successful surgery done today to remove a hernia and a mole that he had since birth. I mention this only to remind myself that things could have went all wrong. I'm thankful they didn't. It's too easy to become completely oblivious to the many blessings in this life. Thank you God.
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Selling sugared water and music
Just-Drinks.com: The soft drinks group PepsiCo and the IT company Apple Computer are expected to announce a marketing agreement that will give Pepsi drinkers the opportunities to download free songs from Apple's online music service, The Los Angeles Times reported today.

Oh the irony. I believe it was Steve Jobs who once convinced John Sculley, then Pepsi's VP, to become CEO of Apple by saying something like, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” I guess it's a little of both for Jobs and Apple these days.
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Do you prefer typing or writing?
Scoble: They are a lot more useful for taking notes than something that forces you to only use a keyboard (please note, my Tablet still has a keyboard).

To be honest Robert, I prefer typing to writing. I've been that way since my days in high school. It's not like you're not at a desk where you can setup your laptop when you're at school.

P.S. My hand gets serious cramps if I take notes by hand these days. It's like I'm not use to the movement or something.
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Microsoft fixes are becoming a regular routine
I came in to work today and immediately started downloading my almost weekly dose of Microsoft security fixes. This time there were five. It took at least a half hour for them to install. It requires a reboot to do its thing completely. Oh so much fun.
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The PHP is not scalable myth
As always, John Lim over at PHPEverywhere points to a great article. This time the article (written by Jack Herrington) addresses the myth that PHP is not scalable. Notice this article shows up at OReilly's “On Java” web site. Interesting.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Don't always listen to the user
Ara Abrahamian of XDoclet fame: Oh btw another important management mistake was listening to the users. You read it right. It's not always right to listen to users, blindly I mean. User wants feature x, you think that customer is always right, you add the feature. But in many cases that leads to a big useless mess of features that don't look good as a whole.

Amen. Even though I wrote about Dave Winer being right about IT needing to listen more to users, I also understand what Ara is saying here. Too many small software vendors and Open Source projects tend to make every feature request a reality, even if it doesn't make too much sense or has severe consequences down the road. There's a fine line between listening to a user and doing everything a user requests. The user is not always right. Their complaints may be legit, but they may not have the right idea about how to fix a particular problem or add a new feature to a piece of software. That's where our expertise in technology comes into play.
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The cutting edge AS/400
After reading this InfoWorld article last night I've decided IBM's iSeries (aka AS/400) just may be a powerful platform. We use it at my work only for OS400 stuff so I never realized you could use it to run Linux, Windows and (soon) AIX partitions. It sounds like some companies are consolidating servers and running the various OSes on a single iSeries box. I'm curious why IBM doesn't make this a bigger deal when they promote the iSeries. It got my interest!
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Email marketing that works
Mark Sakalosky at ClickZ: How much would you pay to send 100,000 e-mails to an audience of males between the ages of 18-24, living within 30 miles of a top-five media market? How much more would you be willing to pay if each of the males in the target audience agreed to receive the e-mail advertisement? Hw much more would you be willing to pay if their ISP or e-mail provider ensured your e-mail would be the only e-mail advertisement delivered to each of the males in your target audience on the day of delivery?

Mark presents an idea that's been tossed around before but I think it needs to be considered seriously this time around. It doesn't address spam per se, but it does start to address the issue of consumers having power over what marketing pitches she sees and hears.<
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New Internet Explorer upgrade released!
Find out more here.
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He is becoming a patent lawyer!
I found out my friend Phil, who caught up with me after many years of not being contact with each other, is indeed going to school to become a patent lawyer. The next thing he'll hit me with is getting a job with SCO.
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Nothing like a little manual labor to get you going in the morning
I started my morning out shoveling a 55' long by 25' wide driveway this morning. No it wasn't snow. It was gravel. The driveway at our new house wasn't paved and we didn't have the cash to get it done this fall so we opted for putting some gravel down. My wife called the place and they said they'd spread the gravel for us for $100. I told her we could do it. If there was any doubt that I am about as smart as a monkey, that decision just cleared things up. I spent two hours shoveling and raking the driveway. It's still not finished. After they dropped the gravel off I started spreading it for about five minutes and then turned to Kelly and said, “Maybe we should get those guys to spread it.”

Needless to say, my hands are blistered and my arms are very sore, especially my forearms. It probably didn't help that I am still recovering from a cold. OK, enough whining. Just remember, if you're going to have gravel put on your drive, have the guys delivering it spread it out. You're body will thank you for it later!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Communists attack
John Dowdell has a post pointing to a Forbes article that talks about a legal spat between the Free Software Foundation and Cisco/Broadcom. FSF accuses Cisco and Broadcom of using Open Source code (in the form of Linux) in Cisco's Linksys branded routers and not releasing that code under the GPL. If Cisco and/or Broadcom use code covered under the GPL, then I think it's only fair they live up to the terms of the license. No one forces you to use GPL code. They could have just as easily wrote their own code or used a different operating system. It all seems pretty straight forward to me, so I must be missing something. I think Forbes sees the FSF as some sort of Communist bad guy, with companies like Cisco and Broadcom playing the role of the Capitalist hero. I think the truth is somewhere in between there.
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Christianity == Republican?
Jason Steffens: A friend and I have talked about writing a book someday on why Christians shouldn't vote Democrat. Whether we ever get to it is another matter.

I disagree with Jason on this one, even though I am a Christian and hold Conservative political views just as Jason does. See my brief comment following his post to get my thoughts.
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The dangers of using Mono
Slashdot points to an article on Librenix that points out that Mono could be squashed like a bug by Microsoft at any time. Mono is often cited when advocates of .NET defend .NET's lack of cross platform support. The .NET advocates will say: “Go ahead and develop your .NET application and then deploy it on Windows, Linux or OS X.” Of course, if Microsoft ever decides to drastically change .NET or lay the hammer down by enforcing its patents on .NET, then you're screwed.

Miguel de Icaza, the founder of the Mono project and now a Novell employee, points out that Linux would not necessarily be doomed if Microsoft suddenly changes course with .NET and makes it incompatible with Mono. Miguel argues that Mono does maintain compatibility with .NET as best as it can, but it's not just a clone. He argues that while Mono might not still be compatible with .NET if Microsoft chooses to go that route, it will continue to serve as a viable development platform for Linux. This is only true if Microsoft chooses to break compatibility with Mono. What happens if Microsoft tries to shut Mono down by way of patent infringement? Yes, Mono was developed in a “clean lab evironment” meaning (in theory) it should be safe from any patent infringement lawsuits. But, is that protection enough against Microsoft's lawyers? I don't think so. Of course, all these doomsday predictions for Linux in relation to Mono make the assumption that Mono will be the development environment of a majority of Linux application developers. I don't think that will ever be the case, but you never know.

The bottom line on all this for me is that until Microsoft gives its blessing to projects like Mono, I wouldn't touch it. The project has many merits, but in its current state Mono is a sitting duck for Microsoft to blow away with a variety of its big guns.
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Monday, October 13, 2003

IT geeks at the center of the universe
Dave Winer: Only when you concentrate geeks in one place can you have the illusion that they're at the center of the universe.

How true! I'd have to admit I have that tendency at times. I think part of that comes from the typical ego-centric thing everyone struggles with. Another part it comes from feeling like you get little to no respect from the users. Sure, they have the money and they're the ones that end up making or breaking any IT product or service, but it doesn't hurt to feel that they (at the very least) respect you and the good work that you do. If you're not a respectable person and/or your work isn't respectable, then I suppose disrespect is understandable and maybe even in order.

Dave is right, we in IT need to earn back users' respect. We have to stop acting like we own the world and everyone else just lives in it. Sure, the users may never respect us for who we are or the work we provide them with, but at least we'll know we have done our part. I think if we do our part, the users will come back around and see that IT does still matter. In fact, with respect back from the users of our products and services, IT might actually hit an innovative streak like never before. But, you can't get respect back until you're willing to earn it.
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This weblog never ceases to amaze me
I just looked at my personal email account this morning and saw that an old buddy of mine found me via this weblog. We haven't seen or talked to each other for probably seven years. It looks like he's going to law school at George Washington. I'm very impressed. (Just please don't tell me you're going to become a patent or environment lawyer. ) Phil was always a cool guy and extremely smart.

I bet Phil did a search on Google for Joshua Hoover. ...Just a hunch I have. (Yeah, my wife thinks it's very strange that I come up first on Google for a search for my name when you consider how many people there probably are in the US alone that are named Joshua Hoover.) I noticed the Google ads on the search for my name are for Hoover vacuum cleaners. No, I never get asked whether I'm related to the Hoover family that started the Hoover vacuum cleaner company. That's just lovely.
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Razor blades in my throat
I've been sick as a dog since Friday evening. It's just a cold but feels so much worse. I have no energy, my whole head is stuffed up, my throat is burning like I have a razor stuck down it and I'm losing my voice to top it all off. Oh well, it just makes me that much more thankful for the 99.9% of the time when I am healthy.

Oh yeah, I'm using my beloved Zicam and it doesn't seem to be working as well this time around. I've used it successfully numerous times before this, but I think this cold is one of the worst I've ever had. The virus is beating the over priced, over-the-counter drugs — imagine that!
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Thursday, October 09, 2003

Oracle throws its hat into the small business database ring
ComputerWorld: The software is priced at $5,995 per processor for an unlimited number of users, or $195 per named user with a minimum of five users. That puts the entry point for the product at $975, Woods said.

Is Oracle limited on a one processor machine better than SQL Server or the various Open Source databases available? I guess it depends on what you're doing. I just find it hard to believe that anyone that can get by with Oracle on one processor couldn't use an Open Source database.
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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Microsoft: Platform provider, application provider or both?
I made a strange connection (or was it a disconnection?) about Microsoft.

Scoble makes this statement on his weblog:
Hey, I'm happy that we're missing that boat. I'd rather that Microsoft focus on making the best platform to build weblogging tools on top of!

Then I read an article over at InformationWeek that talks about Microsoft's Project Green:
Two years and more than $2 billion after Microsoft bought its way into the business-applications market, the company's Business Solutions division is a money loser. Yet Microsoft officials remain doggedly upbeat about the direction of a unit that increasingly will compete with Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP in a software sector that's been dragging. Why? The answer involves a little-known initiative called Project Green.


The question I have to ask is whether Microsoft is a platform provider, an application provider or is it both? Obviously, from Microsoft's current business, it is both. I don't have a problem with this. Hey, Apple and Sun do this. In fact, they take it to the extreme by even providing the hardware. The only question I have for Microsoft is this: How do you help developers when you're stomping on their market space? It seems to me that the provider of the platform will often have an advantage when it comes to creating applications on that platform. True, the platform provider needs to take application development seriously, but I think Microsoft and Apple are two examples of platform providers taking application development seriously. So, what are the application developers supposed to do when a gorilla like Microsoft decides it's time to dominate the developers' market?

I trust that Scoble does want Microsoft to provide a great platform for other developers to create great applications on, but does that jive with what Microsoft is really doing? I sense that there is a division of opinion on this issue internally at Microsoft. Worse than the split on this issue is that Microsoft is headed in a direction that may very well destroy the partners it claims it wants and needs.
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And you thought you were a geek
A friend from Bible study has a daughter with the middle name of Perl. Yes, Perl, as in the programming language. If they have another son or daughter the middle name will be Python. And I thought kids were cruel when they found out my middle name, Noel. Ha!
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Thursday, October 02, 2003

Optimizing your database application the easy way
John Lim over at PHPEverywhere writes a bit about a new feature in his PHP based database abstraction class ADODB that helps developers nail down performance problems in their database/SQL. It looks pretty cool. I like ADODB and use it any time I have a PHP project. Thanks again John for all the great work!
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Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Why Novell sold SCO the licensing rights to Unix
ZDNet: Over a period of a few months, a combination of excessive fear, severe internal political battles and the flawed reasoning of a vocal group of Novell executives ultimately prevailed upon a frustrated Frankenberg to sell the licensing rights for Unix to SCO in 1995 for a paltry $100 million or so, just a couple months after then-Netscape Communications went public. Just as important, Novell decided at the same time to abandon any effort to compete with Microsoft in application server operating systems.

Straight from the mouth of a former Novell VP, Joe Firmage. The SCO vs. Linux fiasco only gets stranger.
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I'm beginning to understand why some people hate IT
I've been helping one of my company's new divisions select a software package specific for their line of business. Most of the software vendors are small, which is kind of cool. In the past I've found myself dealing with the usual ERP suspects. It's a rather disgusting experience overall — amazing what sales people will say and do to land a deal.

The problem I'm facing is that a number of these vendors are unresponsive. They cancel demos at the last minute, turn in responses to RFP's late, take many days to respond to emails and often dodge questions about their products. Is business that good for small software firms providing niche solutions?! I'm disappointed. I can't help but think that this type of behavior by software vendors only adds gasoline to the fire that IT is screwed up and over valued. Why not send software development to India for cheap? At least the developers in India seem interested in getting the work. Build vs. buy has a much different light shined on it when taking into consideration that the buy option means dealing with (at best) disinterested vendors. Forget the solution that is already built if I have to deal with vendors like this. Give me a custom solution that meets my needs, costs just about as much and gets around the crummy software vendors.

OK, I'm overreacting. But I can't help but rant about small businesses stuck in a sluggish economy yet treating a potential sale with about as much interest as a vegetarian at a pig roast.
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The Colonel