Archive for Dec 2004


Getting Ready for Next Semester

I spent the morning getting the Web site and course projects ready for Concepts of Programming Languages next semester. I love that class. This afternoon, I'm headed up to the Capitol for a meeting.
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The Philippines Contemplating a Step Towards Greater Connectivity

Thomas Barnett would call this article about a bill before the Philippines' Congress to reclassify VoIP an impending "rule-set rewrite." If you follow Barnett at all, you'll know that he places countries in what he calls the Gap or the Functioning Core. The Gap is the set of countries who are disconnected from the functioning Core in many respects. The Philippines is inside the Gap. This bill represents a change to the laws of the Philippines that would make it easier for network provides to offer VoIP phone services in competition with established telecom providers. Monopoly telecom providers are
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Open Source Audio

Jon Udell has create a podcast he calls open source audio. In it, Job gives us a tour of the Internet Archives open source audio collection and introduces us to OddioKatya and other WebJay's. Jon asks the question: What if there were a significantly large space of alternatively licensed music floating around on the Internet? Music that was explicitly intended to be shared. One of the things that the music industry has failed to capitalize on is the kind of collective discovery that is one of the foundational pillars of blogging. Blogs are a way of building awareness around
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Evelyn Slammed By Tidal Wave

Evelyn Rodriguez, whom many in the Utah Tech community will know for her work organizing several events on Web Services over the last few years, was on a boat in Thailand when the tsunami struck. She's in the hospital for what appear to be minor injuries and is well enough to blog. I'm glad she's OK and wish her well in getting all her belongings, including her passport back.
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More Flying Photos

If you like pictures of flying, I've posted a batch from the flight Steve and I made this morning. I flew both directions since I don't get out as much as I'd like.
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Cell Phone Fan Learns Some Lessons About Blogging

A few days ago, the Cell Phone Fan blog posted a wildly off-target post about the arrogance of alpha-bloggers. He specifically attacked Doc Searls. Now, he's aghast that people are reading and responding to his post. Welcome to the blogosphere! What's really interesting is that Doc linked to his post and now Cell Phone Fan wants Doc to remove the link. That's not how it works. You don't get to decide who links to or reads a public entry. If you put it on your blog, then its fair game. Lesson number 1 of writing a blog. The sad
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Adobe Fallout and Resolution of Adobe Download Manager Problems

Saturday, I complained that Adobe had sold me a piece of software and then failed to deliver. The problem was the download manager dumped core as soon as it started up. I sent an email to Adobe support and got back a long list of instructions. They didn't help. Here's my second note to Adobe: No joy. I followed these instructions. The ADM downloads and when I launch it, it says "Safari, IE, and Mozilla must quit to run this application" I say OK, it kills the browser windows, runs the installer (which installs ADM as Applications:Utilities:Adobe Download Manager),
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Using Virtualization in Software Testing

The January 2005 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal contains an article (unfortunately not available online) by Sam Tregar on using Perl and VMWare GSX to test builds of Krang. Rather than having a large farm of machines with various versions of perl and the OS on each machine, he used VMWare to build all of these environments on a single machine. A set of Perl scripts called Krang Farm that controls VMWare and automates the building and testing on each environment. He uses GSX since the personal version of VMWare isn't scriptable. GSX and ESX provide Perl and Com
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Omniture: On-Demand Web Analytics

I spent some time with Omniture this afternoon. I knew these guys pretty well when they were MyComputer.com. Omniture (nee' MyComputer.com) has always been in the ASP space (now called "on-demand applications") and they were one of the early innovators. I remember seeing Josh James at least a dozen times on the plane between SLC and Silicon Valley in the old days. I didn't really believe that the ASP model would work for analytics then, but now its the only model I can imagine using. I'm not alone in that--many Fortune 500 companies use Omniture and an on-demand application
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Interview for Marketplace on Corporate Blogging

I was interviewed yesterday by Bob Moon of the public radio show Marketplace. The topic was using blogs inside the corporation. The show will probably air sometime this week, I'll link to it once it does.
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BYU Tie to Discovery of Google Flaw

One of the students at Rice University who discovered the security hole in Google's desktop search tool was a recent graduate from BYU's M.S. program, Seth Nielson, who's now pursuing his Ph.D. at Rice with Dan Wallach (of eVoting fame). Apparently, the flaw was found as part of a class project at Rice. Google was immediately notified and given a chance to fix the flaw before the problem was made know publicly. Reportedly Seth has been offered an internship at Google this summer. :-) Here's a technical report (PDF) that gives the details.
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Customer Interaction Hubs and System Integration

Customer interaction hubs is the term Gartner coined (and now Forrester and others are using) to describe the integration of every customer interaction system under a single, unified strategy and vision. I wrote about customer interaction hubs, or CIHs, in a Connect Magazine column earlier this year. I think they define an important next step in enterprise systems. A recent article in CRM Daily, asks if the customer interaction hub is within reach. One thing I've believed for some time, and the article points this out as well, is that a CIH is not something you buy from a
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OSBC2005: A New Twist

Matt Asay, cofounder of the Open Source Business Conference, writes that he's "reclaiming the conference from the sponsors:" This year, the Open Source Business Conference has made a conscious decision to seek less sponsorship money. Our goal is to deliver cutting-edge content on open source trends and how they affect the enterprise, both CIOs and vendors to those CIOs. Our keynotes have been solicited based on their intelligence and insight, and not on their ability to pay. That's why we have Jonathan Schwartz (President and COO, Sun Microsystems), Marten Mickos (CEO, MySQL), Larry Lessig (Author, Free Culture and professor
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The Price of Enterprise IT

Large organizations create enterprise IT infrastructures that are homogeneous in the extreme. This is a form of self defense. It's hard to support users when there's no boundaries, not to mention more expensive. There's a hidden cost to this however. Here's a quote from a recent article on the reluctance of IT vendors to put Firefox on the desktop when they sell to corporate IT department because of this very issue: Mike Hong, manager of Special Purpose Systems Inc. (aka Computers & Applications), a Bellevue custom solutions provider, said, "Nobody wants to put something on, whether free or for
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Short Takes on Python, Surveillance, and iPod Tax

Some short takes on news from the end of last week: Dana Blankenhorn asks whether to teach his son Python or Java. He got a lot of comments. Almost everyone brought their crusader's sword and shield. As someone who's been in these discussions since the mid 80s (although then it was Pascal or Scheme), I can tell you that everyone will have an opinion and facts to back them up. I offer my two cents: Don't teach him a programming language; teach him to program. Grab a copy of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs and DrScheme. If he
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I'm Pissed Off at Adobe

I wanted to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements this afternoon to do some photo editing. I went to Adobe's web site and went through all the steps necessary to purchase it. When I was done, it told me I had to be in Internet Explorer for the download to work, so I quit Safari and started up Internet Explorer and started the download. It doesn't actually download the file, it downloads the "Adobe Download Manager." Upon installation, the thing fires up and just dumps core. The little Apple "the application unexpectedly quite" message pops up and its all over. Rebooting
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Strategic Planning and Tactical Deployment in the Applistructure

One of the big complaints around enterprise applications has always been their large monolithic nature. Deploying these applications is so difficult that its the stuff of legend. Large businesses exist simply to integrate them into the enterprise and make them interoperate with legacy applications. When I was CIO for Utah, we started a project to put in SAPs payroll system. We had to hire Cedar to install and customize it for us. Meanwhile, another development is enterprise applications is on-demand services like Salesforce.com. The great thing about on-demand applications is that they can be deployed tactically. An SVP of
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Dave McNamee's Re-Entry

Dave McNamee has re-entered the blogosphere.
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CIO Resolutions for 2005

Gartner came up with a list of their top 10 CIO resolutions for 2005: Create alternative plans for the unpredictable year. Decide whether they want to be technology managers or business managers with IT knowledge, and invest in the appropriate skills. Use regulatory compliance demands to invest in related, strategic areas. Get the IT staff media-ready and try to foster external public relations. Drop "on time and on budget" as a key performance indicator for IT staff, noting that this a basic requirement. Set new performance indicators above and beyond that. Get hands-on experience on some new key technologies.
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Hollywood Wants BitTorrent Dead

A Wired article today has the bold headline Hollywood Wants BitTorrent Dead. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the Motion Picture Association of America, the main lobbying arm of U.S. film studios, filed civil lawsuits against more than 100 operators of BitTorrent "tracker" servers that point to locations where digital files of movies, music and other content can be found. From Wired News: Hollywood Wants BitTorrent DeadReferenced Wed Dec 15 2004 19:27:05 GMT-0700 BitTorrent is a protocol that can be used to transfer large files. Clients are simultaneously servers so that the originator of a popular file
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Sleepycat Releases Next Version of DbXml

Sleepycat Software has released Version 2.0 of their XML database. Here's what the announcement said: Berkeley DB XML is a native XML database engine for use within your product. Made available as a C++ library with language bindings for Java, Perl, Python, PHP and Tcl Berkeley DB XML integrates directly into your application, it is not a standalone database server. Berkeley DB XML provides XQuery access into a database of document containers. XML documents are stored and indexed in their native format using Berkeley DB as the transactional database engine. Berkeley DB XML is one of the most sophisticated
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Gillmor Gang on Digital Identity

Doug's posted the digital identity show we recorded on The Gillmor Gang last Friday.
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XmlHttpRequest and Dynamic Web Pages

In case you were wondering, Gmail and Google's new suggest feature use something called XMLHTTPRequest along with DHTML to perform their magic. I believe Canyon Bridge is using these technologies, but have a complete toolkit that makes generating these kinds of Web applications easier. Maybe we're about to see a renewed interest in building richer Web applications? One can only hope.
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Mike Leavitt to Head HHS

President Bush has announced that he will nominate Mike Leavitt as Secretary of Health and Human Services. I have to admit that I didn't see that one coming at all.
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Small and Large Scale Connectivity

Lately I've been grabbing everything I can about Thomas Barnett's new book The Pentagon's New Map (PNM). I bought the DVD from CSPAN and watched it with my sixteen year-old son who thought it was "very interesting." In the Nov 5th edition of the Gillmor Gang which I remixed, Jon Udell pointed out how much of Barnett's language is taken from, or at least parallels, the language of IT. Words like rule-sets, system administrator, connectivity, and so on lace his speech. This morning, I was reading in PNM and came across this passage (page 53): Let's not kid ourselves,
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Say Hello to Your New National ID Card

I've maintained for some time that Congress was unlikely to create a national ID card and instead force standards upon the states that created a de facto national ID card using driver's licenses. Last week's bill overhauling national intelligence did just that: The intelligence bill, which stemmed from recommendations of the independent commission that investigated the 9-11 attacks, requires the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security to establish minimum identification standards for drivers' licenses and other state-issued identification cards. If a state's license does not meet the standards in two years, federal agencies will not be allowed accept
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Small Shop SANs from Dell and EMC

Since I finished setting up the SAN on the virtualization testbed we're putting together in my lab, this review of small EMC SANs from Dell caught my attention. It used to be that SANs were the provence of large IT shops; I bought my first SAN in 1999 and it was a half million dollar investment. That's no longer true. I have an EMC CX300 in my lab that I bought from Dell along with a couple of 4-way Dell 6650s with 16 Gb of memory each. Along with an 1850 server we use as a controller, a network
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Google Suggest

Give Google Suggest a try. Very interesting.
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Interview Day

I just got off the phone with Blake Harris who's writing a story on blogging in the public sector for Public CIO. We had a great chat about the uses of blogs in state and local government. I pointed him at the blogs of the Chief of Police and City Manager for Eden Prairie, MN. These guys are still at it and their blogs appear as great as they did when I first saw them. Makes you want to visit. Just before that I was the guest on this week's edition of The Gillmor Gang. We talked about federating
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PubCookie

If you've got multiple Web servers (IIS or Apache) and you'd like users to be able to authenticate on all of them from a single authentication source (like LDAP or NIS), then Pubcookie, a system open-sourced by the University of Washington, might be what you're looking for. This page shows how it works.
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VMWare's RSS Feed

I just got the EMC SAN up and running on the VMWare cluster in my lab today. Coincidentally, I noticed on Steve Holden's weblog, a link to VMWare's RSS feeds. The RSS feeds are actually provided by Simplefeed. You can select the content you want in your feed and then it creates a custom feed for you. Pretty cool. I like it much better than signing up for an email dump from them.
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Rapid Application Development Environments on the Web

The Dec 6th Gillmor Gang features Ray Ozzie and Peter O'Kelly on the 20th anniversary of Notes. I expected it to be a retrospective of sorts, but instead was treated to a number of thought provoking ideas as Ray reviewed some design decisions and how they would play out today. One thing that caught my attention was all the discussion of Notes as a rapid application development (RAD). I've never used Notes so I wasn't aware of that aspect of the platform. Rapid application development was one of the appeals of the early Web for me. I've never been
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Laws of Identity and Symmetric Relationship Treatment

Kim Cameron continues to explore Laws of Identity. He points out that this is not some philosophical exploration, but one bent on creating a practical basis for a universal identity system: I'd like to take a moment to look at what I'm trying to achieve with this exploration of the Laws of Identity. I've pointed out already that our discussion here is not about the "philosophy of identity" - which is a compelling but entirely orthogonal pursuit. Instead, I am trying to reveal the set of "objective" dynamics that will constrain the definition of an identity system capable of being widely enough accepted that it can enable distributed computing on
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Flying to Richfield

Steve and I flew down to Richfield for breakfast this morning. It was a beautiful, cold morning. We left in the dark and arrived there just as the sun was coming up as we got to Richfield. The temperature was -4F. Bob, who works at the airport on Saturday's, cooks breakfast for anyone who flies in. Here are a few pictures of the trip.
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How To Make a Podcast

Yesterday I posted my first podcast. I thought I'd take a minute to write down how I did it for anyone else so inclined. Equipment After asking some friends for advice (like Doug Kaye, Thanks Doug!), I used the following equipment: Behringer Eurorack UB802, an inexpensive 6 channel, 2 mic input mixer. Behreinger Eurorack UB802 mixer. This is an inexpensive mixer with two mic inputs. Both have phantom power, which is needed to power the mic I used (see below). I spent about $45 on this. There are other options, like the UA-25 USB Audio and MIDI interface which
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Phil More Gang No. 1, A Podcast

Have you ever listened to the Gillmor Gang and wished you comment on something that was said? Me too. As I listened to the November 5th edition, just after the 2004 presidential election, I kept thinking of responses or comments I'd like to make. I decided I'd do just that. So I cut some clips from the show and added my two cents. The result is my first podcast, which I call the Phil More Gang No. 1. The RSS, which I created with my hacked up version of ListGarden is available, as is a link to the plain
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Why Do We Blog?

Frank Paynter at asked about 3 dozen people why they blog. Their answers are at Sandhill Trek. I said: I blog to be part of a community of people whom I respect; I want to understand their thinking and I want them to understand mine. I blog to be part of the conversation. I blog to remember. I blog to refine my thinking. I blog because I don't think I really understand something until I write about it. But there are much better answers than mine in Frank's post. Go read it.
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