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Showing posts from September, 2008

"Cloud computing is a trap" - Richard Stallman

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder. According to RMS,

"It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign,"

His comments are very similar to those made last week by Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, who criticized the rash of cloud computing announcements as
"fashion-driven" and "complete gibberish".

Well, given the recent posts and articles I've read on cloud computing, I have to agree with some of these statements. But I wouldn't be too paranoid either, since there are cost and productivity benefits involved. Especially RMS's stance on using local computers for all things is a bit unrealistic IMHO.

The problem with Cloud Computing is that it's a buzzword. You know what the problem with buzzwords is? All those marketing people and the like love them. They would Google and Wikipedia the crap out of those and come up with elaborate, one-sided theories on how the said 'buzzword' will increa…

Thinkpad :: Life after IBM

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Gauging the ThinkPad: Before (IBM) and after (Lenovo) has some interesting thoughts on how the Laptop is faring these days. Now, I personally know a few die-hard fans of the old IBM ThinkPad who say the new one just doesn't live up to that standard. The IBM ThinkPad is a tough laptop, that I know. I have seen it survive 'incidents' where other laptops would just curl up and die. So the new one from Lenovo has big shoes to fill for sure.

But the most interesting thing in that post is the graph illustrating repair history for laptops tracked via a Consumer Reports survey from 2003 to 2007. According to that, Lenovo and Compaq are looking pretty good. My personal experience with Dell and HP is not very good. The HP I have is nearly 3 years old and on it's third LCD, second Motherboard and the battery died a few months back. I also have a Dell from work and this thing is on it's fourth battery. We all know Dell and their batteries, so this didn't come as a surprise.



The Biz School Chronicles - Week 01

Where: Lecture; Statistics for Management

What?:
"Data collected by a business become strategically irrelevant without proper statistical analysis."

Why?:
Imagine how much data is gathered by various systems on a daily basis. Apache server logs record each and every request made to your web site, Google Analytics, AdWords and similar solutions store detailed information about the time and money your business invests online and the visitors directed via these investments. But how often do you actually analyze this data and apply statistical techniques to them in order to derive valuable information? Information that will not only save money in the short term but shape the strategic decisions and investments you make on behalf of the company?


Where?:
Lecture; Financial and Management Accounting

What?:
"Sri Lankan accounting standards (SLAS) mandate that when preparing financial statements for a group of companies, IF any subsidiary under the parent company has shares owned by…

The Biz School Chronicles

.. would be the name of a new segment I'm adding to this blog from today.

When I graduated from the London Met' back in 2002, I promised myself I'll hang around in the industry long enough before deciding whether to pursue an MSc or an MBA. As it turned out this was a pretty good resolution on my part, since the past six years gave me a chance to work in some of the best software companies in Sri Lanka (among which is the first NASDAQ company in Sri Lankan history VRTU, where I worked for the most part).

Now, older and (hopefully) wiser, I made my choice and it is the MBA. This is simply because my industry (and most of you know how passionate I am when it comes to it) can use a few MBAs who've been in the trenches with scars to prove, than either MBAs with a 100% business background or Techies who 'think' they know business (unfortunately neither Google nor Wikipedia can tell us how to run a business my beloved bretheren).

So I'm back at school, as a part-tim…

FOSS; Europe gets it ...

Larry Augustin's Weblog: Commercial Open Source in Europe Verses the US is a nice side by side comparison of the perception of Free and Open Source Software in Europe and US.

Of the two, it seems like Europe's view of FOSS is both sincere, practical and can provide businesses sustainable long term ROI. The US view is mostly driven by cost and the Open nature doesn't play a significant role in the buying decision.

From the article's conclusions;
"I believe the European Open Source software community has moved beyond
that. The European community sees those benefits, but in addition
recognizes that the Open Source nature of the code is the driving
factor behind those benefits. As a result they have embraced Open
Source to a degree the US market has not;"

Google puts up a page on Yahoo ad agreement

Facts about the Yahoo-Google advertising agreement contains a 17 slide presentation on their ad deal with Yahoo along with quotes from advertisers and ad agencies. It also contains videos of Google Senior VP and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond explaining the deal at various occasions.

Excellent move.

What did google phone say to the iphone?

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Articles from the past

A reference to one of my past articles came up during a tea time chat today. But I couldn't easily get my hands on them since they were written more than 2 years ago (in 2006 to be precise). Now that I've found the links I thought I'd post them here for future reference.

Add a little Kaffeine to your life is an article I wrote about the latest version of Kaffeine at the timeRockin' with amaroK is an intro to Amarok, which is still my favourite music manager
These articles were among a bunch of stuff we came up with for an e-magazine named BabyTux Digest. Unfortunately it only saw one issue due to most of us getting distracted by other work.

If any of you are interested in reviving the magazine, drop me an e-mail or post a comment here. We decided to call it a day mainly due to our graphics genius going to Australia for studies. So if you are skilled in GIMP and other FOSS DTP software, the Sri Lankan FOSS community can use your talents right now :)

Scenes from India, our beloved neighbour

Scenes from India - The Big Picture - Boston.com
An eclectic collection of photographs highlighting the life and times in the sub continent from many angles including people, culture, conflict, religion, wildlife, nature and even fashion.

Tech firms fare better than most in jobs slump

Tech firms fare better than most in jobs slump - USNews.com: Nation and World: AP Article
Automakers and housing-related manufacturers were among those losing the most jobs during the month, while education, health and government saw job gains. But unlike in 2001, when a bust in the technology sector - accompanied by massive layoffs - played a central role in sparking a recession, this time around the industry is more insulated.The article does have some valid points. But, I wonder how outsourcing will fare against the recent collapses. I know for a fact that Bear Sterns and Meryl Lynch outsourced a good portion of their software development, while companies like Fidelity reigns supreme in the portfolios of some leading outsourced service providers in this region. So the terminated projects will have a direct impact on the job market here.

On the other hand, tight budgets will eventually lead to more outsourcing, in which case there might be a boom, once the initial ripples have calmed …

The Twitter Song

I just came across this catchy tune ...

Lyrics ...

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter
And if you aren’t there already you’ve missed it
If you haven’t been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged
You might as well not have existed

In the old days it was all about achievements
Collecting all your trophies in a shrine
Then everybody came across the internet
And suddenly you had to be online

A home page was all you really needed
To seem like a success but not a geek
As long as you updated semi-annually
And checked your email once or twice a week

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…

Technology was moving rather quickly
And the next thing you needed was a blog
With intimate and detailed press releases
And now and then a photo of your dog

More recently the students brought us Facebook
And everybody has a hundred friends
The parties in the photos look amazing
They’re not so great but everyone pretends

You’re no one if you’re no…

Digg's database architecture

In Digg Database Architecture the developers talk about how they manage their database clusters and various failure recovery mechanisms in place. An interesting read.


WSO2 @ ZendCon 2008

Shankar and Katie talk about trends they've observed at ZendCon. Check out WSO2's Web Services Framework for PHP where we try to anticipate and make PHP developers ready for some of these trends.

The Characteristics of Mature Open Source Software

I recently had a chance to use some of the early work I did for OpenBRR. This time though, I am on the other side of the fence. I now have to evaluate our own Open Source software. In preparation, I re-read the whitepaper to refresh my memory and found this gem in the Appendix.


The Characteristics of Mature Open Source Software

1. Separation of development and stable branch.
2. The software is backed by a foundation, a corporation, or a strong
community.
3. The community is organized into groups, each responsible for separate tasks
(the maintainer, the documentation group, the development group, the
evangelism group).
4. Project extensions are available.
5. The project has existed at least 1 year.
6. There is a well-defined process to enter the core development team.
7. The project’s license is acknowledged by the Open Source Initiative
(http://opensource.org).
8. Separation of documentations: User documentation, Installation
documentation,…

Bring Legacy Data To Your Mashups With The WSO2 Mashup Server

Bring Legacy Data To Your Mashups With The WSO2 Mashup Server | WSO2 Oxygen Tank
Spreadsheets, CSV files and Databases are among the most basic forms of data representation and manipulation. They have been around for ages and probably will be for many years to come. The word 'legacy', meaning that which is handed down from a predecessor, is often used in the context of these technologies and data withinm. In a 'service oriented' world, challenges of integrating such legacies with the present generation of applications is addressed by products such as the WSO2 Data Services Solution. The WSO2 Mashup Server embeds the WSO2 Data Services solution from version 1.5, enhancing the agile service composition capabilities already present in the Mashup Server. In this tutorial, we will go through the steps involved in exposing a Microsoft Excel preadsheet as a service using the WSO2 Mashup Server Web Console.

My latest tutorial on one of the cool new features in the WSO2 Mashup Se…

Bye bye.. Merrill Lynch?

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Bank of America to Buy Merrill Lynch for $50 Billion
Bank of America said it agreed to buy Merrill Lynch in an all-stock deal worth $50 billion, snagging the world's largest retail brokerage after one of the worst-ever weekends on Wall Street.
Whenever someone mentions 'Wall Street' this image comes to my mind almost always. It's disturbing how even the mightiest can fall in the volatile world of business. I think ML is probably the latest to die from the now famous US subprime mortgage disease.

If you are not familiar with it, here's a nice dummy's guide. BBC did a good article last year, which is a serious take on matters. Buying of ML by Bank of America is ironic in this case, as it's the lending spree by banks that created this mess. Investment companies like ML, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others got caught napping.

Interesting lessons learnt nevertheless ...


Fred Wilson on the 'Now Web' and monetizing Twitter

In a recent interview, Fred Wilson talks about how he thinks Twitter and friends will make money for VCs. It seems to me like he really doesn't have much of a plan either, when he answers "How will companies make money from the Now Web?" by saying ..

People who can't wrap their heads around trying to monetize these businesses aren't trying that hard. It would be naive to assume that the management teams of Twitter or FriendFeed or Disqus don't have four or five strategies for monetization in their business plans that they are evaluating. Just because people aren't currently executing a business model doesn't mean they don't have two or three they are ready to turn on at the right moment.

Well, can it be that "people aren't currently executing a business model" because they don't have jack when it comes to it? I mean, it's one thing to show a business model on paper and colourful presentation slides; but history dictates that ge…

TechCrunch50 Conference 2008

The TechCrunch50 Conference aims to find the best start-ups and launch them in front of the industry’s most influential VCs, corporations, fellow entrepreneurs and press. The 2008 event is under way.

Checkout Ashton's new startup Blah Girls, pitched by the man himself.


RedHat enters the Virtualization game

RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 4, 2008--Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the acquisition of Qumranet, Inc. The acquisition includes Qumranet's virtualization solutions, including its KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) platform and SolidICE offering, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which together present a comprehensive virtualization platform for enterprise customers. In addition, Qumranet's talented team of professionals that develop, test and support Qumranet solutions, and its leaders of the open source community KVM project, will join Red Hat.

Read the full press release here. According to industry sources, total value of the deal is $107 million in hard cash.

MySQL founder Michael Widenius quits Sun

The main author of the database engine (the M in LAMP) and founder of MySQL AB, which was recently acquired by Sun for $1 billion has called it a day. It is rumored that Brian Aker will take his place.


Google's Chrome comic, Stripped

One thought I had when reading the first ten or so pages of Google's Chrome Comic is "This is one boring, longass comic with way too much jargon." I stopped reading half way through and thought I'll read the rest once they decide to put out a version for Linux.

Incidentally, the sentiment is shared by those at portfolio.com and 4chan as well.