Sunday, December 31, 2006

Technorati DOES support blogger labels

I stand corrected, technorati indeed does support the (new/beta) blogger labels as technorati tags.
Don't know how that slipped me, I thought I double checked... or then again maybe they just introduced this feature recently.

eBay to support RSS

eBay now supports RSS feeds for searches;
well at least I just discovered them, might be that they support them quite a while, but I just haven't noticed.
Anyway this is a cool feature.
I'd just love to see an RSS feed on my watch list as well.

Friday, December 29, 2006

StarOffice 8 Update 5

StarOffice 8 Update 5 for Windows is out and my StarOffice installation was kind enough to inform me about this.

This is because, finally the folks at OpenOffice.org finally implemented a update notification feature.

So if anyone is interested in the update, it's here.


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Flock supports new blogger

Flock 0.7.9 is out and it supports the new blogger (formerly known as blogger beta) APIs and interfaces.

Thanks.

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Mozilla drag and drop

Just found out here at Dictionaries for Mozilla Thunderbird that you can drag a URL/link from Firefox into the extension dialog of Thunderbird.

All I can say is: wow.

(well I guess Apple Mac users would have done this anyway; we PC users loose the sense for whats intuitive, we're kind of out-educated by windows.)


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Fighting Spam

One of my mail providers with quite some heavy Spam problems recently implemented a new anti-spam technique, which actually reduced my daily Spam from about 100 to 5-10 e-mails a day. The ISP side Spam filters conveniently caught 99% of them, with not too many false positives (“false positives” are regular e-mails that erroneously are treated a spam), so the 100 really did not bother me that much. Now the 5-10 are really fine. For various reasons I wont disclose the feature they implemented, but it seems to work well so far.

Which leads me to the still unsolved problem of Spam; Spam or UBE (“unsolicited bulk email”) could only evolve because there is no cost associated with sending or transporting email. Spammers therefore can send out as many messages as they want, with the most dubious messages, because if even only 1 in ten thousand users clicks on their link or offer, it would still be worth it.

So the more general model here is, that the spammer has a means of transporting a trigger message to his supposed audience that leads at least a tiny fraction of the audience to do something that causes the spammer to receive money; e.g. place an order with him, usually for sex related drugs or fake luxury stuff, or it might be even ad sponsored web pages.

According to this, spam works if the gain (financially for the spammer) from one user performing this action times the success rate (i.e. the fraction of users who fall for this of all the messages sent) is higher then the cost of delivering the spam messages. As long as email is free, this will obviously always work. Even if we make it significantly hard for spammers to break our spam filters, with huge numbers it pays.

As a formula:

cost-per-message*messages + setup-cost + cost-of-counter-fighting-antispam
< gain-per-click * success-rate*messages

Some parties therefore suggested to collect a very tiny amount of money, say 1cent, for each email. Regular users like you and me wouldn't really notice, because with even 100 e-mail a day its only 1€or 1$. Spammers would notice, because at several thousand to million messages it would make them pay more than the receive.


I have my doubts regarding this model:

  1. Morally: 1 cent per message seems little to us Europe or US, but is a significant barrier to everyone else, e.g. Africa; we don't want to truncate them from the net.

  2. A problem of collection: who should collect the fee ? the ISP cant and won't, because that would be event based billing, which most of the smaller ISP simple aren't setup to do.

  3. even if the ISPs were to charge for it, there would emerge at least one ISP who would break the system for a very small email flat rate, and it would pay again for spammers

  4. if the receiving party collects, then from whom ?

  5. the spam model is only about the relative price of the message to the gain (see above), Spam SMS (“short messaging service” on the mobile) shows that it works with high cost delivery (and SMS is probably the most expensive today) if only the gain is high enough; with SMS spam it is usually a call to a toll-number (1-900 in the US, 0190 in Germany, 09xx in Austria)

So as neat as charging for e-mail messages seems, because it would attack the very model of spamming, I doubt that it can work at all (or should work at all given the cost for the 3rd world).


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Monday, December 25, 2006

Palm R.I.P. II

I knew the fellow eBayers wouldn't let me down; as planned
here, my replacement Palm T|X (used) should arrive in the next couple of days.

Thanks to ebay (and paypal) for making transactions superfast.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Blogger beta finally out of beta

So the "new blogger" or "blogger beta" finally went out of beta.
Get the new features here in the tour.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

blogger vs technorati

Now that the (beta/new) blogger supports tags -or labels as they call them - there is the problem, that it does not pass them on to technorati, or technorati does not read them.
Since I don't want to double-tag I only use one of the tagging systems.
Currently I stick with blogger for testing - and because its a lot easier.

Anyone remember the floppy disk?

Today I was confronted with almost the whole history of portable disk media:

I had to install some piece of SW from a DVD onto an old Laptop running Windows ME (please, don't ask me why, I had to... OK)
So the laptop only had a CD drive, not a DVD drive. And no Ethernet or Wifi, either (of course, you will say).
Then using my regular PC I copied the data to my external USB drive, connected the laptop via USB to the drive... and voila, it complained that it was missing the USB mass storage drivers.
That sent me looking for a 3.5" floppy disk for about 1/2 hour. I didn't have any...
So I wasted a CD to transfer just the USB drivers, installed them, and the USB worked fine.

So, from
  • Floppy (Ok, I couldn't, but I would've if only I had one)
  • via CD
  • and DVD
  • to USB drive.
Not bad, eh.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Java IS everywhere...

I just installed my DVB-T set-top box because the Austrian broadcasting system is switching from analog to digital. Since I don't have cable ('cause the cable company refuses to install cable in my area) and just don't want to have a satelite dish, I'm still on the terrestrial system.
Now I have to switch to digital... So I just bought the box... and guess, after switching it on, when the device first initializes, it shows a Java powered logo.

Sooooo cool.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Google finally working on/with Blogger

So, finally: years (ahem) after Google took over Blogger they are integrating it their ecosystem.
At least as viewed from a more or less outside perspective.
As you see from the URL (... blogspot.com) I'm hosting my blog(s) on blogger and will be using the new features gradually.
Some of those new features are:
  • post to blogger from google docs/spreadsheets...
  • labels (i.e. tags, just not linked to technorati, unfortunately)

Stay tuned.

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Palm R.I.P.


Last week I opened my Palm T|X and I thought there was a leave on the screen.
If only...
It took just a couple of seconds (or probably less) to realize, that the display was actually broken (internally somewhere) and the weird leaf-like pattern must be some liquid of the LCD display (or whatever).

So I wondered whether I should really bother buying a new T|X especially since this one is only about 1 year old... And it's still priced at 250-270 EURO.

Now since my Nokia 6233 can do IMAP over SSL for e-mail and actually also do some decent web-surfing... Both over UMTS/3G...
Then again, the palm is still a much better device for surfing (and sudoku, mind you) and of course I need

I guess I will nevertheless get myself a replacement T|X, there should be some good offers on eBay..

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Calacanis' Podcast device

Jason Calacanis sketches a new postcast-only device he wants to build together with Dave Winer and Peter Rojas; which is obviously DRM free ("obviously" because it's Dave Winer and its about podcasting - so there), and able to fully support Wifi.

At one point, when they talk about how Wifi could be used to download music from your PC (or the net) as well as exchange podcasts between devices, Dave says that obviously RSS would be used for that.

At first I just thought: how typical for him - everything has to be RSS. But then I thought a bit more about it - and yes, he's right: RSS (as well as Atom, in my point of view) would do the job. And quite well, too.

Listen to it on CalacanisCast Beta 7: Dave Winer and Peter Rojas discuss the RWC Podcast player - The Jason Calacanis Weblog

PS: I myself am still using my iPod nano to listen to podcasts - and I still like it - no matter what everyone else says.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nokia 6233 vs Gmail

So I finally got a new phone: Nokia 6233 (to replace my 1 year old 6230i).
Works great, has nice little features and a good display (and hopefully the camera is better now, didn't test it yet).
Of course - as with every odd generation of Nokia phones - it has problems with bluetooth stability.
But is has a quite good email client app.
Comes with preconfired template settings for gmail.
However, they are wrong.
If you try the ones that come with the phone, you'll get a certificate error from google.
Even if you do a manual configration according to google (find the detalis here).
Certificate seems to be for googlemail.com instead of gmail.com and so the phone rejects it.
It's hard to diagnose with the crappy error messages, but at least it gives you a hint to the certificate.
Google for the problem and you'll find the solution to change the hostnames to xxx.googlemail.com instead of xxx.gmail.com.

Then it will work.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Flickr geotagging Vienna

Flickr now finally has a proper resulotion for Vienna for geotagging.
Now you can actually locate street corners etc...
That's good.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Firefox 2 and ConQuery

Upgrade to Firefox 2 (couldn't await the auto-update) worked great, just one of the most important extensions (now called add-on in the menu) is disabled, because its not compatiable with 2.0: ConQuery.

However, there is a modified (yet not official) version of it; check here.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mozilla Lightning Calendar support

Lightning , the calendar plugin for Thunderbird now comes with WCAP support in beta 0.3.

WCAP is the http(s)/XML based protocol for the Sun Calendar Server. Obviously, we in Sun are using our own calendar server product, so now we finally have at least beta support out of thunderbird.

Be sure to use the proper extension when installing, because for 0.3 there are at least 2 versions out there, one without and one with wcap support.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Google Alert

Google Alert is a great services where you can register your google search and have the (new) results delivered to your RSS reader (or e-mail if you insist) on a daily basis (in the free version; the pro version can deliver more often).

Cool thing to have (amongst others of course) my ego/vanity search results delivered automatically.

(Google Alert is a not a Google service but 3rd party).

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

book: The Cluetrain Manifesto

In Web/internet terms this is an old book, but still soooooo true. Probably more than ever.

Rick Levin, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls & David Weinberger:
The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Read it.
Get a clue.

With every blessing there is a bug.

My ADSL provider kindly upgraded me again, this time to a fair use flatrate.
Which - of course - is cool.

However, since there is now a flatrate, my Google Desktop Gadget which I hacked to always see this month's DSL volume, is now obsolet.
Not only that, it was also broken, because the webpage I have to parse to get the usage, has the relevant information on a different place for flat rate accounts than for strict by-volume accounts.

So, back to Javascript, do some debugging etc, etc ...
Works again now.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

displaytag library fixed

So I went and fixed the problem with the displaytag library I had yesterday.
Fixing it was easier then gettings the environment set up.
First - get maven;
Then find out, that there is a maven module for netbeans called Mevenide (for netbeans). This makes live with Maven(2) a lot easier, because maven based projects now simply appear as projects in Netbeans (not quite but almost liek ant-based).

Then it was just 2 hours to resolve the dependencies and actually find out how maven works.
And then 2 minutes to fix the problem:
Accept a SortedMap[] (yes, an array) where there's just a (List) cast in finishRow() in the TotalTableDecorator
(and of course use .length there instead of .size() )

Once that is done, it simply works as expected.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Display tag library

Got a great tip - thanks, Jasi.

displaytag is a great TLD for building tables in JSP files. Helped me to reduce my table formatting code from like 50 lines in a JSP (all with grouping etc) based on standard JSTL tags to just 12 lines:
<display:table ...>
<display:column .../>
<display:column .../>
... (10 columns alltogether)
</display:table>

Works great.
Does grouping and totals/subtotals according to those groups itself.
Allows for various formatting customizations.

Just one bug annoys me - seems to have to do with the data types I use:
When building a total sum it breaks with a ClassCastException... bug has already been filed; I'm waiting for the fix.

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Java 5 SuppressWarnings

When Java 5 introduced Annotations, it also came with an @SuppressWarnings annotation.
The purpose of it is to mark a block (e.g. a method) so it would not generate certain warnings.

In my case I have to mix a "legacy" library with my own code that uses generics. So "per definition" I get unchecked-warnings whenever I assign the non-generic collection from the library to my "generified" collections.

No worries there, that's what the
@SuppressWarnings("unchecked")
is for - right ?

Wrong.

Well not quite wrong. It's true, that's what the annotation is for.
However, it does not work.

I did a lot of yelling, wondering, code-changing (e.g. the explicit-non-varargs version like @SuppressWarnings({"unchecked"}), ...), but that did change this.

What helped was of course googling around for a couple of minutes.
There I stumled onto Sun bug #4986256 which clearly describes that the @SuppressWarnings was indeed documented, but not implemented in 1.5.0.

Well finally, it has been implemented in update 6 and guess what - I was still on update 5.

So am now on update 9 and it works.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Netbeans 5.5 trap

Arghh... I just installed Netbeans 5.5. the other day, to replace the rc2 I used to work with.
Install was smooth, I also re-declared all the libraries I used in a particular project (like javamail, htmlparser, and the postgresql drivers).
Everything compiled fine - and also did run fine - in the IDE only.

I found that in the .jar file I had all the references to those libraries to the local lib/ directory, like lib/javamail.jar etc), but no dist/lib directory, much less of course any library there.

However, in the dist directory NB put a nice little readme file stating the following:
========================
BUILD OUTPUT DESCRIPTION
========================

When you build an Java application project that has a main class, the IDE
automatically copies all of the JAR
files on the projects classpath to your projects dist/lib folder. The IDE
also adds each of the JAR files to the Class-Path element in the application
JAR files manifest file (MANIFEST.MF).

To run the project from the command line, go to the dist folder and
type the following:

java -jar "Aware.jar"

To distribute this project, zip up the dist folder (including the lib folder)
and distribute the ZIP file.

Notes:

* If two JAR files on the project classpath have the same name, only the first
JAR file is copied to the lib folder.
* If the classpath contains a folder of classes or resources, none of the
classpath elements are copied to the dist folder.
* If a library on the projects classpath also has a Class-Path element
specified in the manifest,the content of the Class-Path element has to be on
the projects runtime path.
* To set a main class in a standard Java project, right-click the project node
in the Projects window and choose Properties. Then click Run and enter the
class name in the Main Class field. Alternatively, you can manually type the
class name in the manifest Main-Class element.

Actually, I found that quite nice, to put a readme file to exactly the place where you are looking when you try to find that error.
What was less helpful was, that there was no lib directory and all the FAQ and questions on the mailing lists etc just said, that you probably have not defined your main class in the project's properties.
But I did.

Finally I re-re-re-read the readme file and thought a bit more about the condition:
* If a library on the projects classpath also has a Class-Path element
specified in the manifest,the content of the Class-Path element has to be on
the projects runtime path.
meaning, that if there is just one single entry in the classpath that points to a directory instead of a .jar file not a single jar file will be copied. Not just the one that is - eh - ill defined (i.e. directory instead of .jar, but lets not argue about that), but actually not a single .jar file is being copied that.

So I browsed through all my library definitions, and - of course - there was one that pointed only to the directory, which was fine for the IDE, but not for the .jar builder (it was the javamail, but actually it was my error).
Corrected this to point to the javamail/mail.jar file and everything worked fine.

Cost me just about half a day.

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Firefox 2 is out

Finally Firefox 2 got released. I still wonder whether I sould do a full install or wait for my 1.5.0.7 installation to be auto-updated...

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

OOo/Staroffice update feature

Finally: OpenOffice resp StarOffice have a "check for updates" feature.
Introduced in SO8 Update 4 resp OOo 2.0.4
qa: Issue 66949

Sun Project Blackbox

So Sun (disclosure: the company I work for) just announced "first virtualized datacenter". Tons of memory, cpu, disks, ... crammed into one standard shipping container; including cooling and all...

Check out the details at Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog; be sure to watch the enclosed youtube video.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

YouTube - A Message From Chad and Steve

This is what happens, when you get loads of money from google...
YouTube - A Message From Chad and Steve
you have to appreciate that they at least stay "serious" for the first minute or so... I couldn't stay serious that long if someone gave me that much money...

then again, maybe for for 1.6B$ I could

book: The World is Flat

I know, everyone talks about the book The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman.
Since I've just read it, I'll simply join in ...

Now, it's not too techy a book, but it really describes what's happening with the new way of globalization ("globalization 3.0" as Friedman calls it), the new structuring of work and supply chains, the new role of the individual (vs the corporation vs the state/nation), importance of (a new way of) education, ...

I don't always agree with him, especially with his terminology, which sometimes seems strange for a technical guy, e.g. when and how he uses the term "workflow"... but those things are easy to forgive or ignore; its a good book, with a good thesis.

Well worth reading.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google to buy YouTube

So Google finally did it: they bought YouTube.

Crazy, ... why ?

Not for the technology... they already have that (and could build it in just weeks).

Not for the content, because most of the contant is hardly legal.

It only makes sense insofar, as they (Google) are the only major player who don't really have to care as much about copyright issues with the content as the others (AOLs, Microsofts, Apple, Murdoch, ...).


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Friday, October 06, 2006

Windows update ?

I still wonder, what Microsoft wants to tell me with the following update:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Google maps on mobile


I just learned the other day at java.com that there is a J2ME version of google maps for you mobile; works pretty well, actually, including maps and satellite

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Google babysteps

Significant Babysteps at Google:

  • Writely and Spreadsheets can now export to PDF.

  • Writely now uses gmail/google account.

  • Writely is now part of "My Google services"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Innovation looking for application


Today's episode: Thumper.
Sun's "hybrid server", i.e. with both, lots of CPUs (AMD in that case) and lots of storage.
If you know what to do with it, tell sun here with a YouTube video and win one of them.

Finally some DSL speed

My ADSL provider seems to have upgraded my line (and others, I guess) to about 3Mbps... without telling me.

Cool (since I still pay the same price).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Search plugin along the way

Lot of stuff today :-)
Just did a nother Firefox search plugin (this time for Sun internal use), while updating to version 7 and having my updated to the lastest SW release.
I guess I'll continue all that during the confcall which is about to start ... :-)

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Firefox search help

Just noticed (i.e. read in the online help), that you can select the search-engine within the search-bar in Firefox with Ctrl-Up and Ctrl-Down, (when the search-bar is focused) i.e. you walk through the various search-engines.

Cool.

Btw: updated the falter.at search plugin to support side-bar results - ready to test here.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

My first Firefox search plugin

Just created my first Firefox search plugin for searching the best restaurant guide for Vienna: "Wien, wie es isst" at falter.at.

You can find the plugin at the mycroft page.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

NetBeans and JBoss

The JBoss Application Server and NetBeans IDE have been bundled together to provide NetBeans IDE users with a well integrated out of the box experience to build Java EE 5 applications on the JBoss Application Server.

JBoss.com - JBoss NetBeans IDE

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Blogs as a mirror to society

I just noticed how blogs (or their statistics, rather) mirror our society:
Check out todays top searches on technorati:
#1 Steve Irwin , the crocodile hunter, who so tragically died being pierced by a stingray.

Check out the blogging statistics for his name (and note that the guy was of quite some fame when he was still alive):

Nothing until Sep 4 (the day he died) and then 20.000+ postings a day !!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Scoble?

Just noticed that since Scoble left Microsoft, I subscribed to his new feed, but I never read it...
So it really was more about Microsoft internals, than about Scoble.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Excellent service

The power adapter of my thinkpad gave up on me the other day; so I called IBM/lenovo support, because the thing is still under warranty; they just had a replacement part sent to me next morning... no walk-in, no hassle, nothing; just a 5min phone conversation, where the guy checked my serial number against their warranty database, double checked my problem, and told me that it would be sent and should be there (i.e. at my home) next morning.

And it really was.
Great... execllent service (hate to say this about competition, but it nevertheless feels good).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Writely

Finally Writely (recently bought by google) opened up for registration again a couple of days ago. So now I got my writely account and tried a view documents (all .swx or .odt). And those were quite complex.

Apart from a 500KB limit (boy, that's really low) it worked perfectly.

Even found some hidden/invisible anchors etc that I did not see in StarOffice.

It also comes with an RSS feed on the document revisions... great for people collaboratively working on documents.

Now if only they would enable to directly same from google mail... that would be something.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kim Cameron on federation vs user-centric

Theres a very interesting series of comments on Kim Cameron's identityblog on the difference between user-centric identities (infocard) and federation (liberty) - and/or whether there is a difference at all.

Find the details at Kim Cameron’s Identity Weblog » Federation and user-centricity


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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Caches, parte deux

Well, I guess I know the reason for the Google Desktop caching issue:

The website sends the following headers (and only those)

 HTTP/1.0 200 O
 Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006 17:51:07 GMT
 Server: Apache
 Content-Type: text/html


Wow, thats bad, ... really bad...

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Roman vs Caches

I'm struggling with caches now;
  1. Flock doesn't seem to pick up feed-changes (which with other readers work) - even if I force it to reload
  2. Google Desktop seems to cache XmlHttpRequest results, without me being able to control it (setting headers like pragma, cache-control, etc)
Good thing I finally found my snoop equivalent for windows: Ethereal. So at least I have some aid for debugging...

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Web Stuff I don't get...

e.g. MySpace or Digg ...

I can't even say what I dislike about them, I just don't get the hype around them... Take digg: it's nice, but why vote on articles? The "wisdom of crowds" quality it seems to get by it, is - IMHO - spoiled or rather lost, because it's always the same little crowdette that votes anyway - oligarchy rather then democracy...

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Google Desktop Gadget - revisited

Adding timer-support was a lot easier than doing the HTML parsing (see My First Google Desktop Gadget ).

Just init with

setInterval(OnTimer, 1000 * 3600 ); // check once every hour

And in function OnTimer() you we just call what we created before.

Same goes for menus; add a refresh menu item like this

plugin.onAddCustomMenuItems = AddCustomMenuItems

function AddCustomMenuItems(menu)
{
  menu.AddItem(strMenuRefresh, 0, OnMenuRefresh);
}
function OnMenuRefresh(item_text)
{
  OnTimer()
}


Easy, isn't it ?

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My First Google Desktop Gadget

Tried out my first Google Desktop Gadget - purely, entirely in JavaScript.
It goes out to my provider's service homepage, retrieves the current DSL usage (for this month), does a lot of ugly HTML fixing/patching (boy, is their HTML broken), to finally pass into DOM.

Then pick the relevant values out of the DOM and display them...

Took me about half a day; the most part was fixing the HTML, so not GD related.
Now comes the GD stuff, like how do I refresh every x minutes or so... stay tuned, tomorrow is another day.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Varargs Puzzler

When I take a look at Richard Bair's Blog: Varargs Puzzler  I feel that I have to learn a lot more about varags in Java 5 - actually I avoided them so far. I guess now I also know why ;-) They don't really seem to behave straightforward, to they.

technorati tags:

Flock and technorati

Hm, flock offers a notification service for blogs, and also comes pre-configured with technorati (which is good), but it does not seem to ping technorati, when I post to my blog (through the flock interface)...

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

oops - Bugzilla vs RSS

This is sooo embarrassing: Bugzilla - contrary to my belief (IT conservations: Bugzilla vs RSS) of course does give you feed, at least on queries/searches. Still not on individual bugs, though.

Flock again

The cool thing about flock is, that it derives from firefox, so my (in the meantime) most important FF extension, ProxyButton, works here, too.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

IE7... so ??

Microsoft is advertising on their site for IE7 with the slogan

we heard you. you wanted it easier and more secure.

Wow... what an insight. Couldn't they have guessed that - like years earlier.

And by the way: are they now admitting that IE4-6 were crap?

technorati tags:

Atom intro

Here's an excellent intro into Syndication and Atom by David M Johnson.

technorati tags:,

Bugzilla vs RSS

Why doesn't bugzilla support RSS, i.e. I'd like to subscribe to a product or component oder a specific bug... (or keyword, or contact, or assignment, or severity ... you get the drift)?

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Flock - posting to blogger

Had a little trouble with the recent post, because Flock (0.7.4.1) has a problem with the initial (!) blog setup.

First of all, setting up your blog(s) in Flock is easy: Just key in your blog url (e.g. it-conservations.blogspot.com and the provide userid/password; the rest will be done automagically.

However, to successfully post to my blog, I had to delete this setting and create the very same again with the following parameters (for blogger)

  • blog-url
  • userid/password
  • get your blog id (can be found on your dashboard, or just view-source on your blog)
  • api uri: https://www.blogger.com/atom/<blogid>
  • api: atom (doesn't work with the blogger api also provided, at least not for me)

works like a charm then.

technorati tags:,

Flock

Started to test the new Mozilla/Firefox derivate: FlockFlock: The web browser for you and your friends.

A neat little webbrowser (based on FF) that specialized on ... (dare I use the term) ... Web 2.0 features, i.e.

  • integrated photo support (in my case flickr)
  • integrated blog support (used for this post here)
  • integrated rss support
and many more ... stay tuned, I'll be playing around with it some more.

technorati tags:, , ,

Monday, August 07, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

We need more RSS!

Why don't people use more ? - or for that matter;
personal note: I guess I have to include a default disclaimer in my template stating that I usually use RSS as a synonym for all the relevant protocols and their variations; but since I guess everyone but the religious guys does that it wouldn't make much difference.
One such nice application for RSS is (enterprise internal) :
Within my companies reporting system I can choose to have several reports (related to my job, obviously) sent to my e.g. daily via e-mail. So first of all, this is nice: I don't have to go into some BI-whatnot-datawarehouse-thing-application and query the data myself - quite convenient.

But it would be even greater if I could just (RSS-style-)subscribe to that data, and thus get a notification as soon as the data changes, and even better: I could more easiy integrate into my productivity applications ().

So people stop treating RSS as just a means to get blogs or news distributed; it's basically just about any kind of content.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Whats up with technorati?

Was it the redesign? Is it just me?
is incredible slow - at least today.
And it also reports wrong content - it lists outbound links on my blog(s) that simply are not there.

The NetBeans worldTour


Coming this fall - The NetBeans worldTour.
Unfortunately they don't stop in Austria, but at least in Prague (well obviously, since is being developed in Prague).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

DRDA book


This is just because I was asked - again.

Yes, it is true, I did write a book on DRDA once - The DB2 Universal DRDA Certification Guide, part of the IBM DB2 Certification Guides series.

So if you ever have to configure a DB2 connection from Windows to MVS (as if that was still around), I'm your man.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ethan Nicholas's Blog: All about intern()

A nice input on intern()ing Strings in Java.
Ethan Nicholas's Blog: All about intern().

Make sure to read the comments section regarding caveats in respect to gc.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I share my OPML

I now share my OPML at share.opml.org.

People finally getting RSS

... and with RSS I mean the mechanism, not the specific protocol or version (so this stands for RSS 0.x, 2.x and Atom as well).
Apart from RSS as a feed mechanism for news and blog sites, there are some nice RSS "applications" that provide a feed into a "personalized query" (for lack of other words).

Take flickr for example: they provide (among others) an RSS feed for "Comments you made" (see my comments here.

Or openBC: there you have a feed for e.g. "Members who have recently visited my contact page" or "Contacts of mine whose company or position has recently changed".

Very useful.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

jMaki - AJAX for JSP


Just announced/released on ajax.dev.java.net with a nice democast.

Finally a neat JSP AJAX integration.

Seems like there finally is a reason to switch to JavaEE5 and Netbeans5.5.

Friday, June 16, 2006

EJB 3.0 sessions in 2006 JavaOne

Wonseok Kim lists the JavaOne sessions from this years JavaOne in his post.

Here (PDF) is a great intro/motivation presentation he points to.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Nicholas Negroponte

In his Pop!Tech 2005 speech Nicholas Negroponte says:

People who write software get basically remunerated for writing more software and what they are doing is writing more features.
If you just paid people for every line of code they removed instead of add you would have a much better software world.

Listen to it on the conversations network.

Scoble to leave Microsoft

more details here

Friday, June 09, 2006

Google spreadsheets

Finally logged into Google spreadsheets yesterday... Why don't they support the OpenDocument format resp. OOo format?
Do we really need just another Excel?

Cool Mozilla hacks

A friend just pointed out the marvelous combination of Conquery and the mycroft.
The perfect example (quite local to him and me):
define the vienna city map search in mycroft and then mark an adress and go for it.

Cool.
mesh-up-y.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Search engine optimisation ??

I just received an invitation to a search engine optimisation conference.

Hey, I thought we were already in 2006 ... who is still interested in
this ???

Google spreadsheets

one more step in Google's way to the (web) office space: Google Spreadsheets - after they acquired Writely a couple of weeks ago for web-based text processing.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Some JavaScript enlightenment

Dean Edwards posted the "Levels of JavaScript Knowledge".
Working comfortable on level 5, I have to admit, I didn't even know there was something like level 6...

Flickr

Flickr is usually traded as one of the signposts towards Web 2.0. And there's nothing to disagree with, since Web 2.0 is defined through examples like Flickr and GMail and Google Maps and so on.

Having played around with flickr for some time now, I have to admit its one of the best applications (or probably better: services) on the Web.
  • It serves a clear purpose, and (more important) does this perfectly
  • it is driven by its users resp. the community (uploading, comments, tagging, groups, ...)
  • it interoperates with various other services (e.g. blogging interface to all major blogging sites/types)
  • it offers its own services to other services
  • its user interface is just perfect, and I'm not (only) talking about its dynamic AJAX style, but also the way they guide a user and how you do configure your settings; they don't confront the user with tech terms, but mainly ask questions.

Take a look at their account settings page here... and compare this to other settings/preferences dialogs.


So, yes, flickr is pretty cool; if the web is really heading that way, I'll be glad to follow.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Less is more - heresy ???

Listen to this interesting speech by Jason Fried at the Web 2.0 conference 2005.
Less is more ... heresy or true ?
I don't know, but I like the way he thinks...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

AJAX, JSF and Creator

I played around with Sun's Java Studio Creator2 today and its AJAX autocompletion component.
Very simple way to create a (web) textfield that has an autocompletion feature based on a server dictionary.

Really neat.

Linux on Sparc T1

Just learned that Ubuntu is running on Sun's Sparc T1 ("Niagara") cpu/boxes.
(Old news, granted, but new to me)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Welcome to flickr

Finally started to use my flickr account; will slowly upload some pic's there, so watch this space if you're interested.

Rails on drugs

Well, rails may be simple, but so are its error messages.

TechCrunch


The ultimate (?) Web 2.0 resource: TechCrunch.
Developed and maintained by Mike Arrington.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Skype sound test

Just found out that Skype offers a sound check service.


Just call echo123 on Skype; you can leave a 10sec message there that is then played back to you...
Nice gimmick to check your end of the skype "line"...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Did DELL finally get it ??

Dell now using AMD ??
Did they finally get it?
Will Intel now get it?

OpenSource Java ??

Seems like it will finally take place.

However, I still believe that this might actually by a disservice to the Java idea of "run everywhere".
Remember what happened on the desktop (J2SE) when Microsoft had their own "enhancements" to the VM?
I'm afraid this might happen again.

IBM, though, will probably love it...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Technorati

I finally registered (myself and my blogs) on technorati.
Pretty cool stuff.

Whats best about it is, that with just one click you can see that actually no-one is interested in your blogs (if links represent interest, but thats the current thinking - and I agree with it).

Monday, May 15, 2006

mac-ify your pc


The new Google Desktop with gadgets finally brings mac feeling to the PC.

cool: voice controlled blender

there's no limit to innovation: the voice controlled blender by Kelly Dobson - description here, also comes with a blueprint and a demo video here

Java AppServer market share

Here's interesting statistics about current appserver market share.
Cool part is, that Sun through initiatives like Glassfish (the open source AS v9) and the Java Enterprise System (aka JES)licensing modell is now at 20% - not bad.
  • 37.2% - IBM Web Sphere
  • 37.0% - JBoss Application Server
  • 27.2% - BEA WebLogic
  • 27.2% - Oracle 8iAS, 9iAS, 10gAS
  • 19.7% - Sun Java Enterprise System
As I said earlier, now it's getting interesting.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

book: The Wisdom of Crowds


Want to understand how wise crowds or groups (or communities for that matter) actually are - if only you let them ... read this fantastic book here:
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

JAR and classpath

Arghhhhh, this just cost me about 2hrs...
When running a Java application packaged into my own JAR from the command line with

java -classpath /somepath/library.jar -jar myJar.jar

it just wouln't pick up the library.jar.

You can specify a Class-Path entry in the manifest for your own jar, but thats only used to references jars within your jar, not really external jars.

No matter what I did, I would always get a java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError.

Here's the entry in Sun's Java Forum that finally solved it for me - I quote from the post:

When the -jar option is used, the -classpath or any system classpath is ignored - the only classpath is the one in the manifest of the executable jar file, if specified.

Would it hurt to properly document this ??

Friday, April 28, 2006

OOo filters

New challenge: writing an OpenOffice/StarOffice import filter.
Makes the Thunderbird/XUL tasks a no-brainer.

JSP Tours

I knew that JSPs are very versatile, but this one was new even to me:

Maybe people from the city of Skopje, Macedonia come to Vienna, Austria (where the picture was taken) for JSP classes ?
Shouldn't we then host the next JavaOne ??

Thursday, April 27, 2006

SOA and "Business alignment"

Each and every presentation or textbook on SOA (including mine - presentation, not text book; not yet) starts with how IT has to align with "the business", etc, etc, ... and how there are application silos that seem to be the only thing that keep the business from being an "agile" one.

And everyone just assumes or implies that it is or was the IT department's fault that there currently is a misalignment (given there is one at all).
But weren't the business units those who requested those very silos. Or sometimes even demanded them.
(True, IT departments and the industry at large have their share as well).

But when it comes to SOA we simply assume that the cultural aspects of SOA is something IT has to learn. "The business" (i.e. the sum of the business units, quite a heterogeneous bunch themselves) has to become ready as well. They have to stop demanding their best-of-breed silos.

Once we get over that hurdle, SOA will be easy.

Well, don't quote me on the last one.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Java for-each vs iterator

Being really happy that in Java 5 the for-each shorthand for loops over collections and the like was introduced, I ran into a stupid pitfall the other day.

With an iterator you can remove an element from the underlying collection using the iterator.remove() method, like this

Iterator it = somelist.iterator();
while (it.hasNext())
{
   MyObject o = it.next();
   // o.dosomething();
   it.remove(); // removes the current object from the list
}


This is no longer visible if you change from iterator to for-each:

for (MyObject o : somelist)
{
   // o.dosomething();
   somelist.remove(o); // removes o from the list
}

Since the iterator is not exposed to your code, the pitfall is to remove the object directly from the collection...

This will cause a ConcurrentModificationException... not a nice thing to do. But actually its quite clear and obvious.

Afterwards...

Friday, April 07, 2006

why bootcamp

why use bootcamp to dual boot a intel mac (which is soooo '80s), when there's parallels, which uses a hypervisor approach... so you should be able to fade in windows when you need it, instead of rebooting...
Wouldn't that be ... like ... um ... better ?

(or rather vmware, and move my PC image right over to the mac... well, I'm allowed to dream...)

book: SOA with webservices

one of the most important books regarding SOA.
Eric Newcomer's Understanding Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) with Web Services".



A must, when going into SOA...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

reading: Software Hardball

McNealy's comment in the WSJ, read it at sun.com as a pdf. http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/media/features/McNealy_Oped-WSJ_3-3-06.pdf

(or - if you like to pay for content thats otherwise free - purchase it at the WSJ here.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Thunderbird vs XUL

or should I rather say Thundberbird and XUL vs documentation:

Current score:
Thunderbird 5 : 0 documentation

Friday, March 24, 2006

Java Puzzlers


The ultimate java reading: Java Puzzlers by Joshua Bloch:

Top companion to Effective Java, by the same author.

Read it, learn it, live it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

iCal - finally

Ok, so I finally found a good Java iCal parser and got it working on most of the .ics files I have:
iCal4J at sourceforge

It does have problems with CHARSET properties, because it doesn't know them.
Which is actually in line with RFC2445... however, they do exist.
To work around this you have to write your own content handler, but it works.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Calendars - again

So I've been complaining about timezones recently.
There is something worse: charsets.
(Yes, we knew that already).

More specifically, charsets within iCal "documents".

I'm not really sure whether anything above ascii 127 is actually allowed by RFC2445 or not.
The RFC doesn't seem to be too clear about it.

More importantly - and annoyingly - I just started working with an iCal parser that believes they are not.
So everything abvoe 127 terminates e.g. a description or summary.
German invitations/events tend to have äöüß in them (especially the ß in the location component), yet they don't parse correctly...

Sigh - again.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Calendars - sigh

There are many problems as the industry tried to establish a calendaring/scheduling standard.
Less technical.

Technially speaking everything seems to be solved (for me).

The problem is rather – I think – in the plethora of ways people (in real life) work with calendars, and how their understanding of scheduling is.

One of the problems is e.g. with the understanding of recurring events (not covered today). The other is with time zones, and how people ignore them.

Yes - time zones.
We thought, that the problems of specifying a local time were actually solved with the invention of time zones.
Still, what do you do (programmatically, not as a human being), when you receive an calendar event without any time zone information.
Not even a UTC marker (as in the generally accepted ISO8601 standard).
Which time zone does this event fall into?
In real life you say “The time zone of the organizer or the person you received the invitation from (i.e. the sender)”, and you are usually able to resolve this, because in real life you at least have a hint what their time zone might be.
As a program, how do you tell – in the absence of any TZ information?
Which TZ do you pick?
Is it fair to assume that then sender has the same TZ as you (the receiver) has?

Or should you just shoot programmers who do not include TZ information in their events?
Or is it the standard ? ISO8601 allows for empty TZ information and simply declares those as being "local". Local to what?

The voting is open ... :-)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

online music, its price & DRM

Isn't the problem of music download rather in the old business model of the recording industry?

Their model was built on charging for the media, i.e. the carrier of the (copyright protected) song/music. If you bought the same song a second time (e.g. on a sampler LP, or you broke the record and had to buy it again), did they step up to you and said, “No wait, you already paid for that; we'll just take some cent for the vinyl this time”?

Well, they didn't come knocking on my door.

Quite the contrary, by changing from vinyl to CDs, they built an entire industry around charging a second time for the very same content.

Again: The whole business model was built around charging for the physical carrier.

But know, since they lost control over the distribution channel, it's suddenly all about the (protected) rights of the artist and their royalties. (... and they do have a right to receive royalties).
In Austria and Germany (and probably some other countries as well), there was (and still is) a surcharge on each and every blank (!) MC, CD, DVD, ... just because you might copy something on it, that is royalty afflicted. Doesn't that actually imply that I can freely download (or copy) from whatever source, because I already paid some royalty? Or can I then get a refund for the surcharge on the blank CD...

Was there any limitation on a vinyl that kept me from playing “my” (in a DRM sense) record on my friends record player? No.
The only limitation was that I didn't give away my records, I couldn't “share” them. I could only lend them to a friend, and I wanted to get them back – preferably without a scratch.
And, because everything was analog, a copy had less quality than the original.

And this model of sharing formed the base for the average price of a song or LP.
Meaning: the recording industry and the artists knew that some people gave away their LPs, and their friends copied them to MCs... This limited sharing/copying was already calculated into the price of every LP/CD/...

Divide the price of a LP/CD - about 15 US$ for a new release - by the number of tracks it features, say 12.
What do you get (apart from 1.25$) ? The price per track/song.

To me, this is the price per song including the rights to give a copy to friends and/or play it on their player. Because the model is still the same as in the days of vinyl, where it was OK to do so.

So, for a “this-is-the-song-you-may-only-play-it-on-your-MP3/CD-player-and-not-give-it-away-to-friends”-copy of a song, you should pay less, because you are limited in how you use it.

The difference between the average street price per song on a CD (as given above) and the personal-use-only-price has to be the value of sharing that song.

Either that value is small, then what's the industry complaining about?
Or the value is large, then personal-use-no-copy-option-included tracks have to become cheaper... substantially cheaper.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Weird world

So while Google wastes our time with google mars, Microsoft - of all - surprises us with some new (AJAX?) features on search interfaces with live.com:


  • a slider to dynamically de-/increase the level of details
  • a ajax(?) scrollbar... Not sure if this really helps, but you get less dependent on the browser and how it reacts to large lists/documents.
Probably not a major breakthrough; the news is ... it is from Microsoft.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Microsoft iPod

No, I'm not talking about origami, but about this little piece of video art here at youtube.
Watch it... and learn whats so cool about Apple.

mozdev before coding

You could also call this piece: "Don't re-invent mozdev!"...
and it generally applies to every SW "issue".

Before sitting down and starting a project/hack, check if it does not yet exist.


This very instance of this insight has its origin in me no longer wanting to manually switch the FireFox proxy, whenever I switched from my home directy internet connectivity (wifi+dsl) to the company VPN, where I have to use a proxy.

Actually I wanted to do some little hack to automatically determine, if the VPN was on, and then magically using the company proxy...


...but this here is quite sufficient: the ProxyButton extension.
Gives you a little button on the toolbar to switch from direct to proxy...

Read the FAQ style intro here once you installed it.

PS: if anyone feels the vpn-autodetect-thingy feels worthwhile (or has already been done), just leave a comment...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The wordprocessor has been replaced

Very interesting (and true) thought by Dan Bricklin on one of the recent Gillmor Gang podcasts:

paper used to be the form we use to publish [...]
The wordprocessor - to most people - has been replaced by the e-mail product.

Somewhere around 60'30, but as usual its worth listening to the whole show.

Googlisms

Why doesn't Google Desktop also search in (Google) Picasa ???
Beats me.
But wouldn't it be nice, it the picasa tags/labels and the pictures' captions would also appear the (desktop) index?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thunderbird Fcc extension

Finally I found a Thunderbird extension that allows me to select the Fcc folder on the compose/reply panel.
Not only can you control which folder the mail (once sent) should be filed into, but also
  • not to save it at all (no fcc)
  • on a reply to also move the original email to the same folder



The latter option simply shows that whoever wrote this extension, knows what (s)he is doing. This is just awesome.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SOA vs The Architects

With SOA and/or the concept of composite applications we will see an increase in ready-to-use business-services as well as technical-services.
This is the promise of SOA and a pre-requisite for composite applications.

What makes me wonder is, who will control access to those ready-to-use services? Just the term ready-to-use makes me panic.
And I don't mean just security wise? But rather from a logical level ?

Let's say I'm a developer and working on a composite application, or just in need of a service, that others already did and were friendly enough to provide to the whole enterprise.
Let's say - as in almost all examples - a credit check.
Let's say this is some in-house customer-service task I'm automating that from time-to-time needs to check the credit of a customer or prospect, e.g. 100 times a day.

With the help of the service registry I will be able to discover the credit check service and use it from my application (think UDDI/WSDL if that helps, but those are just protocols and formats to facilitate that).
So I'm happy, I found the service and I'm going to use that service.

There will probably some security restrictions as to which user is allowed to connect to the credit check. Good.
So I contact the supplier/owner of said service, tell him why and how I need access to it, and I will be granted access.
I finish my development/testing/whatever task and deploy my application to production. Everything runs smoothly, everybody is happy.

Half a year later, I'm working on a different application, and again need the credit check. I again look to the service registry, find the credit check service I'm famliar with (or I just remember it), and start using it for the new application.

This time, however, I'm working on a web application that issues quotes to prospective customers, and I have to include a credit check for the final calculation of the quote. The estimated number of quotes is several thousands a day (because I'm just a bit smaller then Amazon but still huge... ok).

Who will tell me, that using the (same) credit check service is still OK for me? Where can I find which load the credit check service is able to absorb? And at which load it is already running? There might be already 10 applications that use the credit check that comprise 90% of the whole capacity it was designed for, and now I'm adding another 70%? Who will keep me from doing so ?
Who will be able to do impact analysis on all the other 10 applications?

The only person/organisation that comes to mind is either the enterprise architects or some newly established integration architects/specialist.

But those guys need to have a more operational role than in the past. They need to know the general state of their services quite will. For the past, today and the months to come.

Isn't this a major shift in expectations from those groups?
Are they ready? Are the operatoin departments ready to let others, i.e. architects, etc, look into their system on a level usually reserverd to operators & andministrators ?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

wikiCalc

wikiCalc (by softwaregarden) is a cool AJAX application that combines the "public" or rather collaborative editing approach of a wiki with the more traditional way of (structured?) data entry in a spread-sheet like this one here.
I've only tried this out myself (i.e. alone), but I have this feeling that this might really help in collaborative calc-like effort, e.g. when a group of people work on a business case or some other calculation with more than just one input.

Friday, February 17, 2006

AJAX again

well since everyone talks about AJAX all the time, I might as well do so, too.
Here's a good resource (hub) for it: ajaxian

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Loosely coupled monitoring

In the world of SOA, webservices and (generally) loosely coupling systems and applications, monitoring gets a new quality. And I really mean not just "more important" but a new quality.

I still can't say what it will have to look like, but the current (system/server centric) approach, with monitoring more or less single system (from a building block perspective) performance, availability, capacity, etc, etc will not be able to cover SOA et al.

I guess it will become more important to measure and know where a certain instance or class of message (or document) is using what kind of resources (or blocking them).
Won't monitoring "probes" become actual attributes or tags of the messages that traverse through the various buses and systems, being updated at each (logical) hop and at the same time updating some performance counters on those hops?

To me this looks like really orthogonal to today's approach.