Archive for Sept 2005


CTO Breakfast Report

We had an excellent CTO breakfast this morning. There were about 30 people there. We're going to need a bigger room soon. Scott Lemon talked about the Accelerating Change conference. We also had Utopia network operator Dynamic City in for a discussion of their network build-out and, more interestingly, what it takes to become a retail service provider on the network.
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First Impressions on EJB3.0

I've been getting some EJB3.0 stuff together for my class and posted some of my thoughts over at BTL: First and foremost, the beans in EJB3.0 are significantly less complex. Entity beans are just plain old Java objects (POJOs) and the container manages the mapping of these objects to a relational database and the persistence of POJOs to the database. For example, the interfaces for EJBs do not have to implement EJBObject or EJBLocalObject. In addition, lifecycle methods like ejbPassivate, ejbActivate, ejbLoad, ejbStore, etc. are no longer required. The metadata annotation feature of Java 1.5 is put to use
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Randy Gordon on Economics and IT

Randy Gordon is intelligent and sees the big picture intersections between IT and public policy and economics. I can't say that I always agree with him, but he's well researched and makes me think. He's got a blog now. I'm looking forward to following it.
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Neumont a CIO Bold 100 Winner

CIO Magazine recently honored Utah's Neumont University as a "Bold 100" winner. Neumont used to be called Northface until Northface clothing decided that people couldn't keep clothing and education straight and asked them to rename themselves. They're a for-profit college that focuses graduating software developers. In a recent email, CEO Scott McKinley wrote the following: With our first graduates hitting the market next spring, we are seeing a lot of momentum building among potential employers, including IBM and others. That first group of graduates will shock a number of people in the IT industry our freshmen are working
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Web-Based Desktop Apps

I know people who have switched to Gmail, Bloglines, and Del.icio.us for mail, feedreading, and bookmarks in a calculated attempt to free themselves as much as possible from the desktop and any specific OS. There's some appeal in that idea to me. One fly in the ointment, however, are office applications like Word and Excel. Today Richard MacManus profiles a host of Web-based applications aimed at changing that. These Web-based replacements for Word and Excel aren't ready for prime-time yet, but they are a taste of things to come, in my opinion.
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Utah.gov is No. 1

Brown University, in its annual ranking of eGovernment Web sites ranked Utah.gov the number one State government site this year, up from third place last year. Congratulations to all involved.
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David McCullough Lecture at BYU

One of the unique features of BYU is that every week on Tuesday, there's a one-hour time slot where no classes are scheduled. Three weeks of the month, there's a devotional. The fourth week is called forum and it's usually some national figure who's been invited to address the BYU faculty and student body. You'd be surprised how well attended devotionals and forums are. We hold them in the Marriott Center and sometimes there's as many as 25,000 people there. Today's forum address was by David McCullough, the author of 1776 and the biographies of John Adams and harry
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Scale-up and Scale-out

As I listen to server manufacturers these days the choice seems to come down to "scale-up" or "scale-out." The former meaning that you can get more processing power by adding more processors in the same server (symmetric multi-processing, or SMP). The latter technique increases processing power by coding the application to run across lots of 1U dual-processor "pizza-box" servers. Blades are a variation on that same theme. Each of these has it's place. SMP is particularly effective when the application has a monolithic architecture and requests for service aren't always independent. Databases are a good example of the kind
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CTO Breakfast on Friday

We'll be meeting this Friday (Sep 30) at 8am for September's CTO Breakfast. Scott Lemon just got back from Accelerating Change 2005 and will give us a report. Also, as promised. DynamicCity will be there to talk about the UTOPIA network build-out and architecture. The breakfast will be held in the usual place (Gandolfo's Food Court at Canyon Park Technology Center) and anyone interested in using technology to build products is welcome to attend. I hope to see you there.
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Jeff Kearl on Utah Ventures

Jeff Kearl, who's contacts in the Utah tech community are legion, is writing a blog. If his posts continue like the first handful, it's going to be one to follow. Lots of inside dirt on venture happenings in Utah and elsewhere including a story on the possibility that Canopy is up for sale and MyFamily.com's search for a new CEO.
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Rhymes with Ditty

Daring Fireball has a review of the new Dell DJ Ditty, Dell's entry into the flash-based music player market. The review is titled Rhymes with Ditty which says it all. I love Dell, but something like this makes me wonder if they even tried. Just a little too utilitarian for a market that thrives on the cool-factor.
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XRIs Describe Abstract Resources

Dave Mcalpin has an article at Network World on XRIs. XRIs are useful for creating identities for abstract resources. That is, the XRI not only abstracts the location (URI) allowing multiple physical resources to represent a single abstract resource, but also gives other metadata that identifies and describes the abstract resource. XRIs build on the ubiquitous Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and Internationalized Resource Identifier (IRI) standards - widely used by identity management solutions - by defining standard ways to express characteristics such as type, language and date. The lightweight HTTP- and XML-based XRI resolution framework lets a consuming application
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Accelerating Change 2005

Accelerating Change is an awesome conference. I've never been in person, but I love listening to in at IT Conversations. Maybe next year... In the meantime, Scott Lemon went and blogged about it (day 1 and day 2). I hope we'll get a brain dump from Scott at next week's CTO Breakfast.
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KVM Over IP

I'm in the process of buying a KVM over IP solution for my rack at BYU and it occurred to me, that I'd like this technology to be standard on every computer. I'd love for my keyboard, mouse, and monitor to just plug into the network instead of routing bulky cables. More than that, however, I'd love to get rid of a few of the connector types that plug into my laptop. The network is my docking station!
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Captchas: Word Verification for Self-Provisioned Systems

One of the common features of any site offering a self-provisioned service these days is a captcha (an acronym for "completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart"). Google's account sign-up page, for example, has one. The idea is to stop automated sign-up from people who would abuse the system for spam or some other nefarious purpose. A friend of mine, Nathan Sandland, just launched a company offering a word verification product written in Java. Nathan is a great programmer and someone I'd love to work with again someday. I wish him luck in his new
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IT's Role in Improving Elections

I posted an article at ZDNet's Government and Technology blog about the Carter-Baker report on voting: Former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker released the final version of a bipartisan election reform report today. The two led a 21-member, privately funded Commission that offered 87 recommendations to strengthen the country's electoral system and build confidence in the political process. Of the five primary recommendations, three have implications for government IT. From IT's role in improving elections | ZDNet Government Blog | ZDNet.comReferenced Tue Sep 20 2005 12:16:46 GMT-0600 (MDT) There's been much said of late
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Asterisk to the Rescue

Randy Gordon pointed out some volunteer efforts to set up wireless and VoIP networks in shelters for people displaced by Katrina. The Atlanta Asterisk User's Group is setting up Asterisk PBXs. Part15 is setting up wireless networks. Another example of private, volunteer rescue efforts.
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Lessig in Salt Lake

Larry Lessig will be speaking at the Broadband Cities conference in Salt Lake next Tuesday. If you haven't heard Larry speak, you'll want to go; he's that good.
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Layering on Rich Clients

Tony Byrne sent me a note about a recent entry on his site noting that resellers are layering rich clients on top of existing document management systems. Seems that a UK-based reseller of FileNet built a great interface to the product using AJAX. [P]erhaps it's time to ask your content management vendor when they will provide a rich web interface. Don't hold your breath. FileNet and other ECM vendors can boast solid engineering teams, but little core competency in UI design. Maybe resellers will pick up the slack. From Trends: AJAX for Document ManagementReferenced Fri Sep 16 2005 11:39:53
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Orem Utah's Geocoder

Orem City's GIS group has published a Geocoder Web service. It has one method: give it an address in Orem and you get back a geocode. Not something the average citizen will want to access, but I think it's cool that not only have they got it, but it's online, accessible, and published at XMethods. From the description: This web service is mostly useful in a GIS application. Here at Orem, we have about five on-line interactive maps and three desktop applications that consume this web service. Since we update our own centerlines, the geocoder is updated whenever we
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Default to Open: Cyberspace is a Bad Metaphor

A lot of what happens on the Internet happens because of a simple principle: if it's online, we assume that it's permissible to access it. We take for granted the ability to link to and access page and other data on the web. Mash-ups are an example of applications that rely on this principle. Wired magazine has an article explaining why this principle may be in danger. In a few years, legal doctrines being aggressively pushed by corporations and law enforcement officials might prevent something cool and useful like this from ever happening again. In a variety of cases,
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Jon Udell's Interview with Bill Gates

After engaging in a hand-slapping contest with Napoleon Dynamite for control of Microsoft, Bill Gates sat down with Jon Udell for an interview. Jon has the podcast and transcript versions available on his blog. It's well worth reading--Jon geeks out with Bill and asks some great questions. Bill gives some good answers. Dan Farber, at ZDNet calls it "one of the better interviews I have read/heard in covering Gates for more than two decades." Go Jon!
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First Responder Interoperability

I wrote an article about some lessons from Utah's experience building an interoperable 800MHz voice network for public safety before the Olympics at ZDNet's Government IT blog: One of the problems that Katrina has put into bold relief is the cascading effect of communication snafus on quickly responding to disasters. First responder communications were hampered by systems that were down and systems that couldn't talk to each other. I heard one story of a radio repairman sent into fix some of the police radios who wasn't let through the roadblock because the State troopers couldn't get on the radio
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On the Importance of Identity

Jon Udell makes a short observation on the important of identity in the current business climate: As I was preparing this morning for a couple of conferences, I took a moment to reflect on how my departure checklist has changed. Things that used to matter a lot -- plane tickets, cash -- seem unimportant. But the things that grant access to those things -- ID cards -- matter more than ever. The dependency on my driver's license, in particular, has become a growing concern. I have no backup for this document and, given the quaintly intermittent schedule of DMV
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Skyping a Good Deal on eBay

This morning Steve Fulling, CIO of Sento (where I'm on the board), asked me via IM: "why would eBay pay $2.6B for Skype when Oracle "only" paid $5.8B for Siebel?" Since he and I have had lots of conversations about customer interaction hubs and CRM, the context of the conversation naturally flowed in that direction. I realized that in some ways, what Oracle and eBay are doing is similar, although they're operating at opposite ends of the longtail: they're both selling tools for people who sell things to interact with the people who want to buy. Oracle is trying
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Technology, Public Policy, and Governance

The Register had an article on Friday about Urquhart's challenge to Hatch that categorized Urquhart as a "file-sharing, Republican blogger." That's a typical headline stretch since the file-sharing bit comes from a quote inside the article about file sharing being a technology, not a behavior: "File-sharing technology is value-neutral and it's amazing. The technology should be lauded. Like most good things, though, it can be used in inappropriate ways. In those cases, the actions, not the technology should be discouraged," he said. From File-sharing Republican blogger tackles Hollywood Hatch | The RegisterReferenced Mon Sep 12 2005 08:51:21 GMT-0600 (MDT)
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Identity 2.0: The Movie

If you missed Dick Hardt's presentation on Identity 2.0 at OSCON this year, he's turned it into a movie. This is well worth viewing if you've got any interest in identity.
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XQuery Apache Module

From Freshmeat: Native XmlDB Query Daemon is a client-server version of the Sleepycat native XML database deployed as an Apache module. The client is a pure Java API, supporting XQuery, XPath, and an Xml:DB API layer. It comes with a graphical admin console. Server binaries are provided for Linux x86 and x86-AMD64; for other platforms, compile from source. From freshmeat.net: Project details for Native XmlDB Query DaemonReferenced Fri Sep 09 2005 09:54:31 GMT-0600 (MDT)
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IIW2005: Hotels and Wiki

Ross Mayfield donated a wiki for Internet Identity Workship 2005 and we've started to put it to use. Kaliya has put together some hotel information for Berkeley. We also have a page for Day One, which we'll fill out from the proposals we've received and invitations we've extended and Day Two, which is going to be run as a "structured open space." This page is a place for you to record things you'd like to see discussed or like to discuss yourself. If you haven't registered, it's not too late. We're expecting a good crowd based on the registrations
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Virtualize Everything

I had a good visit to IBM's Executive Briefing Center in Raleigh yesterday. I was there to learn about data centers, power, blades and virtualization. I've put some of my notes on data center power requirements at Between the Lines. When I first thought about virtualization as a tactic in the data center, I assumed that the point was saving hardware costs. That's not true for a couple of reasons. First, the most sophisticated virtualization solutions, capable of running Windows as well as Linux, like VMWare's ESX aren't cheap. In fact, by my calculations, VMWare has figured out how
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The Katrina Response

I wrote a little on the government response to Katrina over at ZDNet's Government Technology blog. Local governments usually get gold stars here. The feds have a harder time with it. Their strong suit is dropping in with boatloads of resources a few days after things hit. That's why diasaster recovery has usually come down to local management with Federal resources. Katrina seems to have set different expectations because its scope was so large and wiped out many of the resources that local responders rely on. 9/11 was an aberation because it took place in city with lots of
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Naming and Certificates: An Identity Policy

As I mentioned, over the coming weeks I'll be discussing some identity policies from my book on Digital Identity. Common identity policies include authentication and authorization, naming, directories, encryption, software development, software licensing, networking, privacy and federation. The number and type of policies depends on an organization's size and purpose. Today, I'm going to discuss naming. A policy on naming forms the basis for other identity policies and for security policies. Naming can refer to many different things including domain names, usernames, uniform resource locators, documents, phone numbers, employee identity numbers, and physical assets such as conference rooms, printers,
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Off to North Carolina

I'm leaving in a bit to go to North Carolina to learn what IBM is doing in the area of blade servers and virtualization. I've got trips lined up later for Dell and HP as well. Hopefully, I'll have something interesting to report from all of it.
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What to Say About Blogs?

Poster advertising talk (click to enlarge) I've been asked to speak to the Marriott School of Business' Faculty Brown Bag Lunch on blogging (they came up with an awesome poster) the end of the month. The also said they'd like to hear something about Wikis. So far so good. The problem is how do I tell them about all the things they don't know they need to know. Like: RSS and feed readers Del.icio.us Feedster, Technorati, etc. Tagging And a million other things. There's this whole culture around blogging that includes lots of different ideas. The asked about how
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August's Most Popular

For the month of August, the following were the top three blog posts on Technometria (along with page views): BlackDog Linux Server1,485 Ruby on Rails (OSCON 2005 Tutorial) 1,431 How to Start a Blog 1,410 The Blackdog Linux post was a throw-away that I did so I wouldn't lose the URL. If I'd known to was going to be so popular, I'd have written something useful there. The second was my notes from an OSCON tutorial. One of the reasons I enjoy going to OSCON and similar conferences is that they provide me with really good material to think
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Flick-off Yahoo!

I've been so heads-down this week getting things started up in my classes, that I totally missed the story about Yahoo! making Flickr users angry by forcing them to switch. Well, as the old TV commerical goes: some users would "rather fight than switch." I've written some thoughts about Yahoo!, identity, and inames at Between the Lines.
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Official Disaster Websites Lacking

David Stephenson reviews the official Web sites of government agencies and NGOs helping with the disaster relief and finds them sadly lacking. My bet is that none of them have included their Web site or even their IT staff in their disaster planning and never thought about how they might be used. After 9/11, when Utah's Public Safety department was beefed up to have a 'homeland security' component, we had to fight for a seat at the table and found out that seats you have to fight for aren't worth having. This is a crowd for whom radios are
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ProvoPodcast

I was in Borders at lunch at saw a poster for something called ProvoPodcast. Turns out its a weekly radio show produced by three guys about the local music scene and artists. The production quality is pretty good. Not really my kind of music, but I bet my son will enjoy it and it will give me the opportunity to show him something cool he can do with his iPod.
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Doug Kaye's on the Other Side of the Mic

Doug Kaye, creator and producer of IT Conversations has finally been trapped behind the other side of the mic. Moira Gunn interviewed him for one of the segments in her TechNation show, conveniently available on IT Conversations. I really admire Moira's interviewing technique and Doug's an interesting guy, so it should be good.
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Disk Recovery Specialist Needed

A friend has had a 250Gb Firewire hard drive fail. The drive contains video data that he's anxious to get back. We've established that it's not the cable, hub, or machine it's connected to. He's looking for someone in Utah who can help recover the data. If you know someone good, send me a note.
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