Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Apache J2EE app server

TheServerSide.com: Apache has started a project to create an open source, Apache-licenses implementation of J2EE. One of the core commitments is for the implementation to be fully J2EE compliant. The Apache Foundation has access to the J2EE TCKs, which make the certification possible. The core developers who have “signed up” include members from OpenEJB, Apache, Core Developers Network, Exolab, and more!


This is interesting. JBoss has been fighting with Sun for the past year or so over licensing issues and now Apache is in the game of Open Source J2EE servers. It seems a bit late to me. Why has it taken Sun this long to allow this to happen? At least Microsoft hasn't caught on either.

Without weldinghelmets.reviews, The Colonel Sanders Conspiracy Weblog will be no more. As a sign of our gratefulness, we'd like to encourage our readers to visit this, especially if you're into DIY (specifically welding stuff).  Thanks!

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Monday, August 04, 2003

A new web log analysis tool
 I just noticed that Urchin has a new version of their web log analysis tool.  I think we might try it for our sites. I'm not too thrilled with the product we're using now, DeepMatrix's LiveStats. LiveStats has a cumbersome interface and lacks the most commonly requested reports users here have.
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Friday, August 01, 2003

Loud CD's and a recommendation

Slashdot has an interesting post that points to Rip Rowan's look at CD's being recorded louder and louder over the years.  It's an interesting read.


Speaking of CD's, I just got two CD's the other day and have listened to half of one and am very happy with my purchase.  Vigilantes of Love Live at the 40 Watt is straight ahead rock n' roll with the intelligence only Bill Mallonee seems to be able to bring to rock's table.  Highly recommended.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Web sites crashing and burning, a low bid and a new business idea
 I'm not happy with our hosting provider today. First our main consumer site has a reported outage. Then I can't get to the stats server (very slow and I don't have a login for one of the sites). Last, one of our sites seems to have database issues of some sort and it's been going on for at least a few hours now. Stuff breaks, things happen. I know this, but I can't help but get frustrated when it happens to a vendor I'm recommending to those inside and outside my company. Arrrggghhh...

My wife and I placed an outrageously low bid on a rather bad house in a very good neighborhood. I'm expecting the seller to come back with their asking price or close to it. Then it's likely game over because that will be a sign that they're offended by the low offer and are going to play hardball. I'll be happy either way. The house needs tons of work, so it's no loss to me to not have to put the time into that. I don't find much fun in fixing houses up, that's just me. If we get it, then we got a solid deal and a decent investment. Either way I see it as a win-win. We should find out tomorrow what happens next.

I woke up this morning and for some reason started thinking about small businesses and their need for inexpensive collaboration software ala Exchange/Outlook, Oracle Collaboration Suite, Novell GroupWise, Lotus Notes, etc. I know there is Exchange hosting that is decent on price but it lacks the more current features like web conferencing and file sharing. There's also the potential to do fax and maybe even voicemail. I'm thinking a Salesforce.com or CrownPeak ASP of the collaboration software market for small businesses. The one million dollar question is whether small businesses would buy into this or not. Do they really need it? I think they do. I sat in a small real estate business last night and couldn't help but notice how much they could benefit from an easy to use, powerful collaboration service. Hook it up to other hosted services like salesforce.com, CrownPeak, etc. and you could have an affordable and killer small biz business solution.
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Monday, July 28, 2003

Web services: Hype and more hype
 Snellspace: Who can reasonably expect competing companies to actively cooperate with one another when there is so much bad blood between them? If left strictly to technology vendors, Web services will end up like every other over-hyped technology that came before — fractured, incomplete and ultimately inadequate.

Once upon a time I thought web services would actually crack the wall of proprietary lock-in and open up the opportunity to use technologies across many diverse platforms. I've watched companies like IBM, Microsoft, Sun and others play politics with the numerous web services standards. I've seen very little in return from any of the big boys. It's the same old, same old.

James is right. Why do we expect competing vendors who despise each other to come together to create standards they can all agree upon? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that as soon as a large corporation gets their fingers in the mix things tend to get a whole lot more complex and political. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Apple, etc. seem to do their best work when fighting each other outside of the ring of standards committees. At least there they provide technology that users can touch and see, even if it tends to be rather proprietary.
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If you were born in the 1800's...

The Fury of The Cow!: Oldy times You ever wonder what you would have been doing had you been born in like the 1800's? Would you be out on the frontier? Working as a sailor on a ship headed to Europe? I'd probably have been an accountant. That makes the daydreaming about it pretty dull.



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Random thoughts on the real estate biz
 My wife and I are on both ends of the real estate business. We have a house in Ohio that we've been trying to sell for over nine months now and we're also looking at buying a house in Wisconsin, in the Madison area. Here are some of my observations in no particular order:
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Friday, July 25, 2003

Playing dumb to get to the top

Driving With Dawn has a post about how one of her friends works at a place where a number of female co-workers play dumb and are extremely flirtatious in order to get to the top of the corporate ladder. This proves two things to me: Men in general are even more naive than I thought and women in general can be even more cunning than I ever imagined.

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Oracle still hot to purchase PeopleSoft
 Fox News: Oracle Corp. said on Thursday its hostile bid to buy PeopleSoft Inc. would cost about $1 billion more because its target is issuing new shares to acquire J.D. Edwards & Co.

I'll give Larry Ellison credit for one thing, persistence. The man doesn't know when to say “I give up.”

I think Ellison is way off base in thinking the purchase of PeopleSoft will be a good move for Oracle. A fair number of PeopleSoft customers would bail if Oracle takes over, while most customers would probably just wait things out until they're forced to make a decision. If Ellison's claim that they're not interested in forcing PeopleSoft customers to switch to Oracle are true, then how much money can one make off of maintenance contracts alone? And how many of those customers will continue to pay for their maintenance contracts since there won't be much in the way of upgrades to PeopleSoft apps? PeopleSoft customers chose PeopleSoft over Oracle and other ERP vendors' packages, just as Oracle customers chose Oracle 11i over PeopleSoft applications. So, why force customers to choose a software package they didn't feel compelled to go with in the first place? People normally don't like the feeling of being forced into a decision. That is why I predict a mass exodus from Oracle by former PeopleSoft customers if Oracle takes things over. SAP has to have quite a large grin on its face right about now. Oracle's plan could back fire and actually help SAP become an even bigger gorilla in the ERP space. Amazing.
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Thursday, July 24, 2003

One technology CEO who gets it
 ZDNet: The industry has been beating the TCO drum for the last 15 years, and it was interesting to hear one of your peers yesterday talking up all these points that you have pooh-poohed. For the technology market to expand, you must add new value. Total cost of ownership is not the way to jump-start IT spending. - John Chen, CEO Sybase

Add new value. TCO cannot drive IT. Depending on TCO to drive IT is like a company continually dropping its prices on products and services in order to increase sales. At some point that company is going to reach a rock bottom price and then what? The same question should be asked by those focused mainly on TCO when it comes to IT.
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DirectX on Windows Server 2003?
 BBC: Microsoft has issued a warning about a critical security flaw that affects most versions of its Windows software. The flaw involves DirectX, an extensive collection of programming add-ons for Windows used by computer games. ...Embarrassingly for Microsoft one of the products affected is Windows Server 2003.

Riddle me this Batman... Why is DirectX on a server operating system like Windows Server 2003?! Please tell me DirectX is not installed by default on Win2003.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I'm the one you love to hate
 I used to despise those guys and gals who would hand me a list full of “bugs” concerning a new section or web app I was working on. Worse, those “bugs” were often cosmetic. “Move this image a little more to the left.” “This text shouldn't wrap here.” “Put back the line that's in the spec.” “Blah, blah, blah...” Well guess what I've been doing for the last month on one of my projects? Yep, I'm the guy that people despise. I'm pointing out all the little things that need to be tidied up before we demo the new app. And, yes, I'm getting the groans of frustration that I know all too well what they mean. At least I provide pretty good specs and screens to go off of. All my requests have been to have the screens look exactly like the screens show. Oh the joy of being the nitpicky pest!
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Most understated and obvious headline award goes to...
 ZDNet: Oracle-PeopleSoft: a hostile situation

You think?
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Oracle is unbreakable...kind of
 ComputerWorld:  Orbitz LLC, the airline-owned travel Web site, suffered an outage yesterday related to an Oracle database on which Orbitz operates the site, according to a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company.

Who knows what happened with Orbitz, but I always thought it was an unwise move on Oracle's part to tout their database as “unbreakable.” Bugs happen, things break.

While I'm on Oracle, I thought I would mention that their Collaboration Suite looks compelling at $60 a user for all the features they claim to offer. Of course, you're going to have to lay down some serious cash for the “unbreakable” part of the equation — 9i Database and App Server software.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

TCO and risks associated with Open Source
 Mark Murphy has a great response to James DeLong's News.com opinion piece on Open Source software and some government agencies around the world making it mandatory to at least consider Open Source solutions along with their commercial counterparts.  Mark is exactly right about the risks associated with both Open Source and commercial software.  Both are risky and both have costs associated with the risk, sometimes much higher than you would every guess.  His example of Oracle taking over PeopleSoft is a great example of why commerical software can be even more risky than Open Source.  You invest millions on a software package to run your business on only to find out that your investment in that software can go right down the drain as its on-going development and support is suddenly ripped away.
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The Colonel