Archive for Apr 2005


Detailed Review of Tiger

Ars Technica has a detailed review of Tiger available. I haven't upgraded yet, but I plan to upgrade at least one system over the weekend.
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Is WS-MetadataExchange Really Necessary?

I'll admit it: I don't really get WS-MetadataExchange (or WS-MEX, as it's affectionately known). I understand why someone might want to get the Schema, WSDL, and WS-Policy data for a service. I'm just not clear on why a simple URL isn't good enough. Why do we need to invent new RPC-style request/response pairs? I guess I can see that this allows me to have one URL for the service that can be interrogated for all three in a standard way. Otherwise, I have to tell you three URLs to give you the metadata instead of one, but couldn't we
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Visa and MasterCard Cracking Down on Small Merchants

Visa and MasterCard are cracking down on the security of small merchants who take credit cards online. The card associations have required security assessments from larger merchants for some time, but this is the first time they've required smaller merchants to certify. An article in the Wall Street Journal notes that it's for the merchant's own good: The credit-card companies have little choice but to crack down. While it's true small companies may be less attractive targets than large ones, size is not a good measure of risk, experts say. Hackers regularly use automated programs to scour the Internet
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Ten Laws of the Modern World

Randy Gordon wrote to point me at a great little article at Forbes called Ten Laws of the Modern World. You've probably heard them before, but its a great write-up and interesting to see them all in one place. I'd add another: Reed's Law. But of course, who wants 11 laws?
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Podcasting: Open Mike

Wednesday Infinity Broadcasting announced that one of its San Francisco radio stations will carry nothing but podcasts. What's interesting is that these podcasts will come from the users. Rather than creating podcasts for people to download, this station will broadcast podcasts that people upload to it. Beginning on Wednesday, users can upload their podcasts for free at (http://www.kyouradio.com) where it will be eligible to be selected for broadcast on San Francisco's 1550 KYCY-AM, which has been one Infinity's underperforming stations. From Top Technology News Sponsored by Audi | Reuters.comReferenced Thu Apr 28 2005 08:07:53 GMT-0600 (MDT) I'll be interested
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Legislating Identity Contexts

Identity credentials have contexts. When I was talking to Kim Cameron this morning, he used the example of a Government issued passport and coffee club card. The context for the passport is a border crossing. The context for the coffee club card is buying coffee. But identity credentials are often used out of context. Sometimes, out of context use doesn't make sense--think of presenting the coffee club card during a border crossing. Other times, however, it's a critical part of establishing a relationship or transferring trust. As an example, you might use a credit card to pay for your
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FundingUtah.com

Paul Allen, with the help of some friends, has put together a Web site aimed at bringing investors and entrepreneurs together. The site is called FundingUtah.com and had its official coming out party today at a lunch featuring Governor Jon Huntsman. "In my work with scores of great entrepreneurs, it became clear that virtually every new business struggles to find financial backers," stated Allen. "At the same time, there are thousands of wealthy Utahns who might become angel investors if they knew about some of the exciting ideas and teams that are being created here. FundingUtah.com enables and accelerates
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At Microsoft Wednesday

I'm going to be at Microsoft Wednesday morning talking to Kim Cameron. It's kind of a quick trip: in Tuesday evening and out Wednesday afternoon late.
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Dan Solove on Privacy

My interview of Dan Solove is live at IT Conversations. Dan doesn't use the familiar metaphor of "Big Brother" when he discusses privacy, rather he uses Kafka's play "The Trial." Dan says we're not as much in danger of having our privacy violated by someone with evil intent as we are of having our lives turned upside down from the interactions of unapproachable and faceless corporations and bureaucracies. Dan speaks of privacy architectures and says that we currently have an architecture of vulnerability. Many of our privacy problems, like identity theft, are structural. Unlike some who view privacy as
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Provo River Bike Path Avalanche Pictures

Provo River bike trail closed due to an avalanche I road my bike up the Provo River trail this afternoon. An avalanche at Bridal Veil Falls has closed the path since February. The snow's mostly gone now, but the dirt, rocks, and broken trees remain. I took pictures of the avalanche area. I could still smell the pine sap three months later from the broken trees now that its warming up. I road around and got some pictures from across the river as well. Amazing force.
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Moving Netware Customers to Linux

The InfoWorld Test Center has reviews Novell OES, the product aimed at bring Netware customers to Linux and introducing Linux customers to Netware. This is a product Novell has needed for five years now. I hope they're not too late.
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Ubuntu: A New Linux Ditro

I wrote about Unbuntu a new Linux distro from Mark Shutleworth over at Between the Lines a few days ago and pointed to some things Doc Searls is saying about it. This morning, Sam Ruby posted about getting Ubuntu booting on his T-40 laptop. I haven't tried it yet, but the reports are that it's very easy to get running. Ubuntu isn't aimed at the enterprise space, but rather the home and hobbyist market.
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Ray Schulte's Talk

Fellow ZDNet blogger Bitton Manasco posted a teaser about Ray Schulte's talk on virtualization information assets at the Gartner Application and Integration and Web Services Summit, but doesn't give many details. If anyone has detailed notes from the talk, or better yet slides, I'd love to see them.
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Ward Spangenberg's Fly Fishing

Ward Spangenberg wonders where his Google rank went. I care what Ward says, so I'll vote with my link. Post some more Ward!
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Python Programmers Wanted

Aradyme, a local start-up I help with product and CTO functions is looking for Python programmers. Aradyme has a dynamic datastore. Right now they use it a lot in data cleansing work and Plone/Zope is the platform that they use to provide custom portals for each of their customers. Python is also used to drive the data engine for some of this work. Of course, if you're a strong C++/C# programmer and would like to learn Python, we're willing to teach you. Apply.
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Geoffrey Moore on Orchestrating the Stack

Geoffrey Moore is most famous as the author of "Crossing the Chasm." I really enjoyed listening to Geoffrey Moore's talk on Orchestrating the Stack from Software 2004. I would have enjoyed it even more, however, if I'd discovered his slides online beforehand since there's a lot that he references in them that doesn't come across well with just the audio alone. The subtitle of Moore's talk is "Next generation developments in enterprise computing," but I was as much interested in what he considered the review before the real talk began. Apparently, he's been talking for some time about "systems
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Quicksilver

Hitting the Quicksilver hot key combo brings up this window which shows the top match on the left and the available actions on the right (launch is the default) As I've played more with Quicksilver, I've come to the conclusion that if you didn't know about command line terminals and you sat down to design a CLI for a GUI-based machine, Quicksilver's what you'd come up with. At first blush, Quicksilver is a launcher, but its much more than that. It has an adaptive search that targets almost any data source you can think of. What's more, it has
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Vint Cerf on Internet Challenges

Vint Cerf ponders a question while sporting his new Utah hat during the 2005 Organick lecture. I drove up to the Univ. of Utah this afternoon to hear this year's Organick Lecture by Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the Internet (I believe he and Al Gore were lab partners). Vint is currently Senior VP for Technology Strategy at MCI, Chairman of ICANN, and a recent winner of the ACM Turing Award. Where is the science in CS? Here are places some with underlying theory: Automata theory (strong) Compiler and language theory (strong) Operating system design (weak) -
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Tiger Rebate

If you order Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger [DVD] from Amazon, you can get a $35 rebate. Not a bad deal. I ordered Panther online and it was shipped to arrive on the date of release, so I got it the first day. Apple's got a list of 200 new features in Tiger. I heard from Glenn Fleishman today that the Tiger edition of his Take Control of File Sharing ebook is available for pre-order, to ship on April 29th, when Tiger ships.
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Four Identity Laws Broken at One Blow

Kim Cameron, who thinks as deeply about identity as anyone I know, points out that the most recent loss of identity data by the Univ. of California was the result of breaking four of his laws of identity at one blow. I expect this information disaster came about by breaking four identity laws at once. What a run! Were users in control of what their information was being employed for? Were they told where and how it was being used (law of user control)? Was there really a need to store social security numbers rather than some local or
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Huntsman Names New Utah CIO

Gov. Huntsman has named Stephen J.Fletcher, who's currently serving as the CIO for the US Dept. of Education, as the new CIO for the State of Utah. I think this is a great choice. Having served in the public sector, he won't have any fanasies about "private sector thinking" but he'll also be used to having the authority and autonomy needed to get things done. I expect him to kick butt and take names. Here's the press release:
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CoreSV Brings Management Simplicity to Web Services

It starts simply enough. First someone builds a SOAP interface for an internal system; then the next upgrade to your financial package sports a Web services API. At some point you wake up and realize that all these services need to be managed. Web services management includes not just monitoring but also critical activities such as controlling access, logging transactions, and performing version control. CoreSV 4.0 from Oracle is a Web services management platform that provides all these capabilities in an easy to install and understand package. From Exclusive: CoreSV brings management simplicity to Web services | InfoWorld |
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Griffin's Problems with Truthful Labeling

I'm just a little angry at Griffin Technology today. A while back, I picked up one of their products called a USB-Audio Hub. From the title, and from a look at the product, I thought it was a 4-port USB hub integrated with their iMic product. In fact, the unit has LEDs on the front that can easily be mistaken for mini audio jacks. Such is not the case--it's just a 4-port hub. Nothing more. They claim that its "optimized for Audio" but I see nothing to support that its any better than any other hub for audio.
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JavaScript in the Context of a Web Page

Jon Udell has extended his LibraryLookup bookmarklet so that it modifies an Amazon book page to show, right on the page, whether that particular book is available at your local library. He has a screencast showing how it works. And Jon explains this more in his most recent column at InfoWorld. I was thinking "this is cool" but I was totally blown away at the end when he shows how he used Amazon Wish Lists and the Amazon Web services API to create an RSS feed to remind him of books that had previously been checked out of his
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Continuations for Curmudgeons

Sam Ruby does a great job of explaining continuations in his Continuations for Curmudgeons piece. I also discovered through Sam an article on using conitnuations in user interfaces.
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Comcast Outages

This Comcast outage is what I was talking about a week ago. The problems I was having before the two big blowouts were DNS because I could ping the Comcast gateway, but was getting about 50% packet loss to the DNS machines. So, the question I have is this: did Comcast know of the problems early on and just didn't get them cleared up before they became massive or were my problems early warning signs of problems that hadn't reached "get the story in c|net" proportions? Somehow I think it was the latter. Comcast was unable to use the
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SOA Executive Forum Panel: Topics for Discussion

I'll be moderating a panel at this year's InfoWorld SOA Executive Forum. There are actually two events, one in San Jose on May 5th and one in New York on May 17th. I'm doing the same panel both places. The topic of my panel is "Services and Contracts" and I'll be joined by David Linthicum, CTO at Grand Central Communications; Rick Caccia, Senior Director of Product Management at Oracle (nee Oblix); and Jim Bole, Vice President of Products at Infravio. In my reviews of Web services intermediaries in the last two years, the issue of contracts, SLAs and the
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A Program for Converting RSS to Email

The email that is sent to the mailing list on Technometria is generated automatically from the RSS feed for the "Newsletter" category on my blog. As I write my blog, I just properly categorize anything I want to be sent to the newsletter and it happens. The magic is a little python program called rss2email.py by Aaron Swartz. I modified the program to make it usable for my newsletter application. The problem is that the program was designed for one feed and one email address. I've wanted to do regular mailings to the UtahPolitics.org mailing list in the same
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Your Company's Leaking Knowledge

My April column for Connect Magazine is online now. Its entitled Your Company's Leaking Knowledge. You might think its about security, but actually its about the brain drain that happens when key employees leave and the role of the CTO in combating it. The basic idea is creating company nomenclatures. If this sounds like marketing to you, then give yourself a prize for being one of the few that recognizes marketing for being more than PR and creating slick brochures. Who's job is it? At iMall, the product marketing team reported to me and I think that worked out
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GMail as a Spam Filter

Here's a nice recipe for using GMail as a Spam filter. You get an offline back-up of all your email as a bonus. Nice idea.
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Legislative Podcasting

A story in today's Salt Lake Tribune highlights some of the Utah Legislatures eGovernment initiatives. The Legislature's site does a good job of letting you find bills, see amendments, find out who voted for what, and so on. The have a bill tracker system that will email you changes to the status of a bill. I'm not sure why they haven't yet added RSS feeds for that as well. They do have an RSS feed for legislative news items which is helpful. Apparently they're giving some thought to legislative podcasting as well: The Legislature already has ventured into cyberspace
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Distributed Back-up Systems

I've been interested in distributed back-up systems for some time. For example, I'd love to see a P2P client given to BYU students that allows them to commit a percentage of their disk to a distributed back-up system in exchange for that much storage on the overall system. Rather than the University having to commit capital to a back-up system for students files, excess direct-attached disk and software would solve the problem. I've also be enamored with erasure codes for reliability. Using erasure codes would allow the distributed back-up network to provide reliable storage in the face of a
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Chad's Under Attack!

InfoWorld's Chad Dickerson has the nerve to question the practicality of supporting OS X in a small shop and the Mac faithful took him to task. Give me a break guys! The fact is that getting all the pieces to work together in even a relatively small IT environment can be difficult. Legacy systems, PC-only applications, and even IE-based Web applications all take their toll. There's only so much money and so many hours in a day. Making a Mac work in a PC-friendly world is doable, but there are pitfalls all along the way. A small example: just
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AJAX and CMS

Tony Byrne, CMSWatch has created a nice screencast showing how AJAX techniques can be used to enhance the user interfaces of CMS systems. He highlights four specific things done in four different systems. Its short and informative.
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Keyhole Data at Google Maps

When I was CIO for Utah, I played with a tool call Earthviewer that was based on Keyhole satellite data and let you zoom in on satellite images anywhere in the world. I blogged it and still get some traffic from people googling "earthviewer." We were contemplating buying it for Homeland Security uses. Now it turns out that you can get a lot of the same functionality from Google for free. When Google bought Keyhole, the satellite image company who owns the data that makes Earthviewer work last year, I wondered what they'd do with it. Now, we know.
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VMWare Performance on Linux

Harsh, one of my students, has posted some initial results for Linux performance on VMWare ESX. The inital results show better IO throughput for Linux on VMWare at load than for Windows. There's still much to do, but this is a start.
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KSL Radio Has a Podcast

Back in November, I suggested that KSL radio start a podcast and they've delivered. In fact, they've got five of them for their most popular local shows, including the BYU Coaches show--who couldn't love that!
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Power Laws, Longtails, and Software

I'm speaking to a couple of classes at UVSC this evening on Power Laws, Longtails, and Software. The message is a combination of some things I've thought lately as I've listened to some of the Software Development Distinguished Speakers Forum at IT Conversations, read Paul Graham, listen to Jason Fried on Building Basecamp, read Peter Denning, listened to Chris Anderson, and talked with friends at Aradyme and Sento. The talk starts with a discussion of why computer are ruled by power-law distributions instead of gaussian distributions, moves into longtail concepts, and then applies those lessons to building software. If
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Interface Descriptions

I wrote a bit about Harold Carr's visit to my class yesterday and the thoughts it prompted about interface descriptions over at Between the Lines.
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Dean Meyer in CIO Magazine

I first heard of Dean Meyer when I read his book Decentralization: Fantasies, Failings, and Fundamentals. From the title, you can guess what its about, but you'd be surprised by some of the conclusions. I had Dean out to Utah for a day with the IT Directors when I was Utah's CIO. He was a great facilitator and led us in some importance directions. If you're trying to do some reorganization of your IT department, then reading Dean's books is well worth your while and having him out for a visit is even better. I mention Dean because I
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I Love Calling Comcast

Today, for the third time in a week, I came home and my son told me the "Internet is down." I checked and just like all the other times, I actually could ping the Comcast gateway and so I knew the Internet wasn't "down." What's actually going on, however, is that the DNS isn't working for some reason. For the third time I called Comcast. Not so much because I have to, but because I like to. They're actually fairly helpful (if pedantic) and polite. Besides I still have 50,000 shares of ATHOME stock for which I need to
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Support KCPW

KCPW has provided support for the Utah blogging community through their news coverage and their "Blogger Friday" segment on Midday Edition. KCPW is now in the middle of their pledge drive and needs your support today. KCPW is a community licensed radio station meaning nobody owns it so it's truly an independent news organization. 85% of their operating budget comes from the public and that means you. Visit www.kcpw.org or tune in to make a pledge and support outstanding news coverage in Salt Lake City.
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Using GDBM with Scheme

I've finished an update to the mzgdbm extension for PLT-Scheme that lets it work with PLT-Scheme v299.100. The update mostly involved how its built and making allowances for v299.100's use of UTF-8 strings. You can download the package here
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