Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SSL broken! Hackers create rogue CA certificate using MD5 collisions

SSL broken! Hackers create rogue CA certificate using MD5 collisions | Zero Day |
"Using computing power from a cluster of 200 PS3 game consoles and about $700 in test digital certificates, a group of hackers in the U.S. and Europe have found a way to target a known weakness in the MD5 algorithm to create a rogue Certification Authority (CA), a breakthrough that allows the forging of certificates that are fully trusted by all modern Web browsers."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Carbon Story

Middleware à la carte; adopt middleware to your architecture, not your architecture to the middleware!
The Carbon Story
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Ubuntu on Amazon EC2 Beta Released

Ubuntu on Amazon EC2 Beta Released | The Fridge
"This service allows you to create a fully running instance of Ubuntu Server on EC2 in just a few clicks. All the applications you’ll need such as a Web server, E-mail server and common development frameworks are available. There’s no charge for using Ubuntu on Amazon EC2, it’s provided without charge complete with maintenance updates. Separately, Amazon will charge EC2 users for their usage of the service."

Toyota joins the club with its first operating loss!

Toyota Expects First Operating Loss -
"NAGOYA, Japan, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM) , the world's biggest automaker, on Monday forecast its first ever group operating loss due to a relentless global slide in car sales and a crippling rise in the yen.

Toyota had been expected to issue its second profit warning in less than seven weeks, after domestic rival Honda Motor Co (NYSE:HMC) also took the rare step of altering its guidance outside the usual quarterly reporting season, but the downward revision was bigger than predicted"

.. in 70 years. They've been recording profits since 1941. They did invest a lot in the US by building new plants and the Yen rising against the dollar won't help either. This would be a great opportunity to see how they fare in uncertain times. I hope they'll recover fast making yet another example for the MBA text books :) !!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Balancing Repeatability and Situationality with Process Mashups

An Interesting post I read today on balancing issues faced by early adaptors of Enterprise Mashups. Starting from empowering users and thereby losing the monopoly if IT as the primary enterprise application creator to differentiating between Process Mashups and Data Mashups, the post provides some good viewpoints.

"At the center of the perfect storm of Service-Oriented Architecture
(SOA), Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA), and the business-centric take
on Web 2.0 we call Enterprise 2.0 is the notion of the enterprise mashup.
Loosely defined as governed, managed compositions of Services in the
context of a rich, Internet-based user interface environment,
enterprise mashups have become a key driver for SOA initiatives, even
though such applications as yet have relatively limited use in the

Saturday, December 20, 2008

i18n for Javascript

The WSO2 Carbon platform contains two UI technologies. Plain old JSPs and Javascript (DHTML/Ajax, the rich client stuff). When it comes to i18n JSPs are taken care of. In Javascript however, i18n seems a daunting task. Various Javascript libraries such as GWT, Dojo and even YUI have tried to address the issue in their own way. But when I did an evaluation last week of those, I wasn't really happy about the unnecessary complexity of their code and the additional QA overhead they will add.

So I wrote my own i18n implementation for Javascript, which will be used by all Javascript embedded components in the Carbon platform. The implementation uses both JSP and Javascript code to balance out processing overheads between the browser and server.

Server side processing is done with a JSP tag library, which reads a given Resource bundle and populates a JSON Object with the key-value pairs found within. The JSP authors can opt to either use one single Resource Bundle for all their i18n values or have a separate bundle for Javascript ( for instance). I recommend the latter because it will reduce the memory footprint of your i18n JSON Object.

This Tag library is named jsi18n (Apache Licensed). To include it in one's JSP, all they have to do is add the following code after including the it in their project. The library requires two parameters to be set. The mandatory 'request' parameter, which passes the ServletRequest and the 'resourceBundle' parameter which tells the library where it can find your i18n Resource Bundle in the classpath .

<carbon:jsi18n resourceBundle="org.wso2.carbon.server.admin.ui.i18n.JSResources" request="<%=request%>"/>

When the page is generated, it will contain a JSON object named jsi18n with key-value mappings found in your Resource Bundle. The tag library changes the values depending on the Browsers locale set by a user. If you view the source of a generated page after this tag library is invoked, you will see the following Javascript code embedded in it. The code below comes straight from a page in WSO2 Carbon, so the key-value pairs are specific to that page.

<script type = "text/javascript" >
var tmpPairs = '{"dialog.cancel":"Cancel","dialog.ok":"OK","graceful.shutdown.verify":"Do you really want to gracefully shutdown the server?","graceful.shutdown.error":"An error occurred while gracefully shutting down the server","":"Server is being gracefully shutdown. This Management Console will no longer be accessible","":"Server is being restarted. This Management Console will not be accessible for a few minutes.","shutdown.verification":"Do you really want to shutdown the server?","shutdown.error":"Error occurred while shutting down the server","":"Server is being gracefully restarted. This Management Console will not be accessible for a few minutes.","graceful.restart.verification":"Do you really want to gracefully restart the server?","graceful.restart.error":"Error occurred while gracefully restarting the server","restart.verification":"Do you really want to restart the server?","restart.error":"Error occurred while restarting the server","":"Server is being shutdown. This Management Console will no longer be accessible"}';

var jsi18n = YAHOO.lang.JSON.parse(tmpPairs);

Once the page is loaded, all Javascript code will have access to the jsi18n variable (the JSON object) in the above code. Therefore, to make one's Javascript messages i18ned, instead of writing

alert("Do you really want to gracefully shutdown the server?");

an author can use


in his code.

Depending on the Browser locale and the availability of a matching language Resource Bundle, the text of the above alert will change.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Generate JavaScript API Documentation with YUI Doc

YUI Doc: A New Tool for Generating JavaScript API Documentation » Yahoo! User Interface Blog
".. the first public version of YUI Doc, a python-based documentation tool that generates API documentation for JavaScript code. YUI Doc was developed by Adam Moore, one of the principal engineers on the YUI project since its inception, to support YUI’s API-level documentation."
Finally, the arrival of a much needed tool. This will be an ideal companion for YUI Compressor during build time to auto generate API Docs for your Javascript libraries.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Biz School Chronicles

My group and I did an interesting presentation today. It was mainly on our thoughts and recommendations regarding a layoff at a fictional large bank. I think we did pretty good and the feedback was also positive. So for a change, I thought I'd post our presentation instead of my usual comments on something I learned.

This was a group assignment for the unit Management Process and Organizational Behavior.

Synergy Metrobank
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: downsizing layoff)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pirates discover Mashups

Firefox Pirates Take Over Amazon | TorrentFreak
"An add-on for the Firefox browser called ‘Pirates of the Amazon’ makes it possible to shop at the Amazon store but leave without paying a dime. Instead, on Amazon product pages the add-on integrates links to ‘free’ copies on The Pirate Bay."
If you thought that was awesome, there's more ..
"‘Pirates of the Amazon’ is not the only pirate add-on for Firefox, in fact there are quite a few. IMDB,, and Rotten Tomatoes all have their own pirate skin available. Most of them use the Greasemonkey add-on which allows the installation of all kinds of useful user scripts which customize the web to your pirate needs."

RIAA: "They're in our internets with their firefoxes downloading our moosic... for free! They.. took.. our.. jerbs!"

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mashup Business Models

Mashup Business Models - ReadWriteWeb
"Developing a mashup can be a lot of fun and it's usually low cost, because you're using (semi) open tools and data. Forget fun though for a minute - is there a business in mashups? There are obvious benefits for the data providers, for example both Google and craigslist benefit from increased traffic to their sites. In most cases that leads to increased revenue as well. But what's in it for the mashup developer, apart from publicity and prestige?"

In summary, some models they list are;
  • Advertising
  • Lead generation and affiliate programs
  • Transactional Mashups
  • Subscriptions
  • Pay-per-transaction

What attracts a click?

I said click!

Advertising - Web Marketing That Hopes to Learn What Attracts a Click -
“It’s reporting back to the advertiser and agency saying, ‘Guess what? The soccer mom in Indiana likes background three, which was pink, likes image four, which was the S.U.V., and likes marketing message 12, about room, safety and comfort,”

We have a very dynamic marketing team at WSO2. Personally, I believe that having a great, selling product is better than having a perfect product that doesn't make much money. Most household names today didn't start by having the perfect product. They built something innovative and useful to a broad audience. When people liked it and the money started flowing in, they used part of that revenue towards perfection by way of R&D while using the rest to pay bills and give stakeholders return on their investments. Don't take my word for it, look at Micro$oft. They still haven't made Windows perfect!

Perfection is a long term goal but generating revenue and sustaining growth in the short term will make sure your company will last long enough to achieve this. The very first startup I worked for went under because we were naive enough to think perfection will somehow generate revenue. That was a painful lesson that made me realize the value of marketing. Years later, I now help our marketing team in whatever little way I can to achieve their goals. Why? ABS and ABC. Always Be Selling and Always Be Closing.

But, the important thing about marketing today, in a post Web 2.0 world is the change of strategy required. The good old days of hiring an agency to do the needful seem to be gone, at least in the software industry. No one seems to have found the silver bullet either, but we try. Again, this was my personal view. Until I saw the article above. This doesn't look like the silver bullet we hope for, but it is an interesting development nevertheless.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What would Drucker do?

"Why would a company that hasn't been able to innovate change its way simply because you hand them $25 billion?"

The Drucker Institute put out a video recently on why GM shouldn't get a bailout. I guess having extensively studied the writings of Drucker, such as "Concept of the Corporation", which specifically chronicles inner workings of GM back in the 40's, they are in a better position to comment on the issue than most. In this video, Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University shares his thoughts in Drucker's point of view.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Facebook launches proprietory version competing OpenID

Biggest Battle Yet For Social Networks: You, Your Identity And Your Data On The Open Web
"Facebook is moving ahead alone with Connect, using proprietary standards for login and data sharing. They’ve also prohibited Google from trying to get in the middle of things with their Friend Connect service. MySpace, by contrast, is using mostly open standards in their approach, and is working closely with Google to make sure the services work properly together."
I guess this means they won't be coming to the OpenSocial party either. It's annoying to see companies still trying to lock in users when there are more than enough open standards and implementations out there.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Linux on the iPhone :: First steps

No touch screen or wireless yet. But enough reverse engineering has been done to get a Linux shell on the iPhone. More details here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A typical Open Source SOA

In a recent post, Mike Kavis illustrates Why an Open Source SOA stack makes sense. The following diagram is from his post, which shows how different components from WSO2 and other Open Source vendors fit into place in a typical SOA.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

I borrowed Prabath's copy recently and my gut feeling tells me it's going to be a good read, after just reading the first chapter. Grab a copy if you haven't already. Here's a teaser ...

"Being effective as individuals and organizations is no longer optional in today’s highly
competitive world – it is simply the price of entry to the playing field. But surviving,
thriving, innovating, excelling, and leading in this new reality will require us to build on
and reach beyond effectiveness. The call and need of a new era is for greatness. It’s
for fulfillment, passionate execution, and significant contribution. These are on a
different plane or dimension. They are different in kind, just as significance is different in
kind, not in degree, from success. Tapping into the higher reaches of human genius and
motivation – what we can call voice – requires a new mind-set, a new skill-set, a new
tool-set . . . a new habit."

Monday, November 24, 2008

OAuth Sample

Prabath has posted a simple but helpful sample on OAuth. It demonstrates how one can access their GMail account using the OAuth protocol. Have a look at F a c i l e L o g i n: Google OAuth Playground.

Blast form the Past :: Stop Over-Engineering!

This gem is an oldie from 2002... enjoy!!!

Dr. Dobb's | Stop Over-Engineering! | April 1, 2002
"The great thing about software patterns is that they convey many useful design ideas. It follows, therefore, that if you learn a bunch of these patterns, you'll be a pretty good software designer, right? I considered myself just that once I'd learned and used dozens of patterns. They helped me develop flexible frameworks and build robust and extensible software systems. After a couple of years, however, I discovered that my knowledge of patterns and the way I used them frequently led me to over-engineer my work."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Mashup Platform can be the icing on your SOA

Enterprise Mashups - The Icing on your SOA
"I can now present various data services in a secured and governed
fashion to my customers and partners without being concerned on how
they want to consume it. Whether they want the mashup on their own
intranet, as a desktop gadget, as an application on Facebook, or what
ever they dream of, all I need to be concerned with is the SLA of my
data services. This also makes my product offering more competitive than my
competitors who have proprietary user interfaces that do not provide
the flexibility and customization that the customers desire."
In his latest post, Mike Kavis talks about how an enterprise with an existing SOA can capitalize on their investment, by encouraging users to reuse existing services via the addition of a Mashup Platform as a layer on top. Interesting read.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Google opens up for mashup security

Google opens up for mashup security
"Google is embracing a new security standard for its Gadgets online widget platform by adding support for the OAuth system.

The open standard is designed to allow sites to share user information securely for mash-up apps while still allowing users to authorise what data is disclosed.

Google said that it had previously used a proprietary standard for Gadget security, but hopes that the move to OAuth will allow for Gadgets and the iGoogle service to securely expand to other web-based application platforms."

Mashups = Reuse = Lesser costs in a downward economy

Making the Business Case for Mashups
"In the current state of the economy, the word we hear time and time again from CIOs is 'reuse,'" added panelist Hart Rossman, vice president and CTO, Cyber Programs and Chief Security Technologist at SAIC. "By exposing data, providing APIs and letting the user community do a lot of the development work, you can drive down the cost of developing and supporting enterprise applications."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google Mobile App for iPhone, now with Voice Search

This is impressive to say the least! More here ...

Mashups Get Down to Business And Add New Value to SOAs

Mashups Get Down to Business And Add New Value to SOAs - MarketWatch
WSO2, the open source SOA company, will present a session at the SOAWorld 2008 Conference and Expo to discuss how mashups can complement other tools to drive workflows, business process execution, and visualizations in maximizing the value of an enterprise's SOA infrastructure. Case studies will provide attendees with real-world examples of how incorporating mashups in SOAs are improving productivity, and facilitating reporting and business intelligence.

When: Thursday, November 20, 2:20-3:05 p.m.
Where: SOAWorld 2008, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA
Presenter: Jonathan Marsh, WSO2 vice president of business development

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yahooo CEO Jerry Yang to Step Down

Yahoo’s Jerry Yang to Step Down, As a Search for New CEO Commences
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang will step down from his job as CEO, said sources close to the company, as soon as the board finds a replacement for him, in what sources close to the situation call a joint decision by him and the company’s directors.

The following memo was sent today to his staff ...

To: all yahoos
 Fr: Jerry
 Subject: update
 yahoos -
 i wanted to address all of you on the news we’ve just announced. the board of directors and I have agreed to initiate a succession process for the ceo role of yahoo!. roy bostock, our chairman of the board, is leading the effort to identify and assess potential candidates for consideration by the full board. the board will be evaluating and considering both internal and external candidates and has retained heidrick and struggles to help in this effort.
 i will be participating in the search for my successor, and i will continue as ceo until the board selects a new ceo. once a successor is named, i will return to my previous role as chief yahoo and continue to serve as a director on the board.
 last june, i accepted the board’s request that i assume the ceo role to restructure and reposition the company as a whole in order to more effectively meet the fast-changing needs of both users and partners. since taking on the ceo role, i have had an ongoing dialogue with the board about succession timing. thanks in large measure to your tireless efforts, we have created a more open, competitive yahoo! and we believe the time is now right to transition to a new ceo who can take the company to the next level.
 despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago. this only makes it all the more essential that we manage this opportunity to leverage the progress up to this point as effectively as possible. i strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.
 all of you know that I have always, and will always bleed purple. i will always do what I think is right for this great company. while this step will be an adjustment for all of us, i know it’s the right one. i look forward to updating you on this process as soon as the board has developments to share, and will continue to do everything i can to make yahoo! fulfill its full potential.
 thank you,

On OAuth, OpenID and Infocard

F a c i l e L o g i n: OAuth + OpenID + InfoCard

Prabath illustrates what each authentication mechanism means in this latest post. I'm sure it will help most of those who wonder what OAuth is and how it fits into this new generation of user authorization methods.

Monday, November 17, 2008

OpenSocial turned 1, what's in it for us?

It has been a year since OpenSocial came into the world of Social Applications and it's now adopted by several prominent social applications spearheaded by Orkut. You can view a compliance matrix of current OpenSocial containers if you are a Mashup Guru / Gadget Developer.

So what does OpenSocial add to one's toolbox? As its name suggests, the 'Social' features. For example, when you are developing your Social Application (a Gadget), it obviously needs to know about your users' friends and their publicly available details (ex: birthdays). If your Social/Mashup platform is an OpenSocial compatible container as well as a legacy gadget container, you can access this information from your social application. Not only that, but because you talk to your Social Platform through OpenSocial, now your application can talk to other platforms implementing OpenSocial without you having to change your code. As usual, this is the simplest explanation I can think of at the moment.

Untill I get more time to write on this, the following series of screencasts should be helpful if you are an application developer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Active Endpoints' and WSO2 on the future of SOA development

"This show is a for the community of Java developers and enterprise architects
interested in building a new generation of service-oriented
architecture (SOA) applications. Discussion will include using the
business process execution language (BPEL), the business processing
modeling notation (BPMN) and BPEL4People in an all-in-one visual
orchestration system to create these exciting new BPM applications.

Join now for the free 'call-in and chat' conference. Even if you missed it, no problem. It will be available as a podcast later, at the same location.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Biz School Chronicles - Week 08

After a  break of several weeks, which were spent mostly preparing for presentations and presenting, I finally came across something worth sharing. I'm not implying that the previous weeks were worthless, but then again, who would want to read how to do statistics? Go buy a book. But I digress.

Where?: Lecture, Management Process and Organizational Behavior

What?: "The Difference Between Invention and Innovation"

Why?: When this question was asked, most were under the impression that both were the same or similar in nature, which is a wrong assumption. It is true that invention is important, the whole patent system is about protecting inventions. But history testifies that most companies who invented and idea were never able to capitalize on it. It was always others, who innovated and built on whatever the idea invented, that ended up making money.

The example taken were the Japanese. They never really invented any of the things that generated bulks of revenue for them. The TV, Cars, CD players etc etc., were all invented somewhere else. But they were good 'innovators'. They made the TV more visually appealing and user enticing and converted it to a household item. They made cars cheaper and accessible to the average consumer and later went on to make them fuel efficient and greener.

I started suggesting to the lecturer about 'management processes' and immediately found out that none of those were invented there either. Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and even Just In Time (JIT) were invented elsewhere in the world. But they mastered it and innovated to such and extent that today it gives the false impression that those were invented by them.

The lesson to learn is that the initial inventor might not necessarily be the one to make something valuable. The real winner is the company that makes something (either invented by them or others) valuable. Those are the companies that will win in this market driven economy.

An ingenious invention is nothing without the innovator, who makes it valuable to consumers.

The project manager's role in economic recovery

An interesting post I came across, with some excerpts. I think this applies to everyone in general, not just project managers. These are trying times for businesses and it looks like they might last a while. Some will fall never to rise again while others will survive, just like Darwin theorized back in his day.

The project manager's role in economic recovery
"Economic slowdowns often put managers in the position of trying new
approaches, systems and procedures. Anytime you set off into unexplored
territory, take detailed notes. Then, when the dust settles, you'll
have a record of what worked and what didn't."

and ..

"People need to see, hear, smell and taste success -- even small
victories matter. A key to moving toward goals is to demonstrate that
everyone's contribution matters. Communicate every success, no matter
the size. Recognize people's efforts and celebrate loudly -- even if
it's simply a rowdy cheer that says, "We're all in this together, and
we're making progress."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The State of the VC Industry

From the article ...

The Cash Panic Sweeping The VC Industry
"This economy has the potential to become the worst economy since the Great Depression (it isn't yet, thankfully). VCs see this and understand that:

1. Profitable exits are going to be a lot rarer in the next couple of years, and
2. Potential investments--including current portfolio companies--are going to get a lot cheaper in the next few years (and, therefore, returns on future investments are going to get a lot higher than today's)."

Friday, November 07, 2008

How to Automatically Tweet Your Blog Posts

  • Go to
  • Sign in with your OpenID. This is your blog's URL if you're a Blogger user.
  • Fill in the details and tweak the way you want your blog post to appear on Twitter

The next time you post something to your blog, it will be converted to a Tweet (along with a TinyURLed) link to the post.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Business Mashups are here. How do you make them work?

We have been busy consulting and even conducting a training over the past two weeks, which makes clear Gartner's prediction of Mashups breaking 10% adoption by 2012 realistic. However, when enterprise mashups are user driven, not IT. Having a few best practices in mind will save a lot of trouble in the long term for a CIO.

It is true that the primary task is setting up a Mashup Platform, such as the WSO2 Mashup Server and making sure that the underlying data sources (Web Services, REST APIs etc) are in place and available. But one should at least adopt the following best practices to make his dream of user driven innovation via Mashups a reality.
  1. Train the users on Mashups and your Mashup Platform before anything else. Make it mandatory not optional before even getting an account on your Mashup Platform.
  2. Use a platform that allows users to have a personal version of their own in their local machines. This is the sandbox they create and experiment. Once done, they can upload the Mashups to the enterprise server (either with or without the help of IT), where their masterpiece can be used by others.
  3. Always remember that Mashups are first and foremost compositions of existing data sources in new ways, which means that you need to make sure that an adequate number of data sources are available within the enterprise. If you have a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), then those services, which make up your SOA provide good Mashup sources.
What if one doesn't have an SOA in place? Well your Mashup Platform itself should be able to help you create services out of the data already stored by your applications. The WSO2 Mashup Server for instance, comes with in-build Data Services support. Which means, if you have data in a database (even a spreadsheet), it can be exposed as a service or a data source.

These tips should be helpful for any enterprise thinking of bringing in Mashups as a Business Integration tool.

I Didn't Vote For Obama Today

I Didn't Vote For Obama Today

... a touching post I came across while digging. No spoilers, go ahead and read it!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Unable to attend ApacheCon? No Problem!

You can still view some keynotes for Free live. The Free keynotes include;
So register now !!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Corporate managed Open Source and Community Relations

Community relations key to open source success | Open Source |
"Even a corporate-managed open source project needs a strong community to survive. The customers are paying the “taxes,” as it were, that keeps the whole thing alive. They deserve representation.

But finding the right balance here is a bit like creating an 18th Century Constitution. Who gets to choose? Who is to be considered part of a project’s “middle class,” for governing purposes?"
I just saw this post, which ends with an important question.

"What is the right balance between community and corporate interest?"

We all know by experience that Open Source projects are nothing without a strong community. They need the community to survive. The more passionate the community is about a project, the more adoption you see. Plain and simple.

But can a 'corporate managed' Open Source project let key decisions made by community vote alone? The internal stakeholders (read: board, VCs) might not like this for sure, since they need a say on the direction of these projects. Why? because more often than not these projects are, in their view, products of the company. Whether they are hot or not in the eyes of a user (read: paying enterprise users) take priority over implementing the grand vision for the project echoed by the community. But in order to maintain the meritocracy, those key members of community should have a say too. Otherwise we end up with forks and the political issues they bring in.

I think compartmentalizing a project to a bunch of smaller components can help. That way, you are breaking down the community into special interest groups. So the product would be an assembly of components each cared for passionately by the component communities. They get a louder voice at that level.

The product would be a collection of these components, hand picked and assembled by internal stake holders. Obviously, these internal stakeholders get the upper hand when dealing with a product.

At the end, we have a fairly nice balance between community and corporate interest. I think this is the bigger picture we have to keep in mind when adopting architectural solutions such as OSGi.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

SOA and Dashboards

From the article ...

Situational awareness, thanks to SOA-driven dashboard | Service-Oriented Architecture |
Roy Schulte, vice president of Gartner, is quoted as observing that the executive dashboard may be among the keys to bridging SOA and Business Process Management. “Business users may not understand SOA, BPM, CEP or XTP [eXtreme Transaction Processing], but they know what they want to see on their dashboard and they may be willing to fund back end architecture and development projects to get more information faster.”
That's why we decided to integrate a Dashboard component in our Mashup Server since version 1.5 months back. I briefly blogged about how we are using it internally to power our dashboards.

We also made sure that we use open standards such as the Gadget Specification by Google (used in iGoogle) in our Dashboard, which means that gadgets made in our Mashup Server will run on other Dashboards following the same specification (iGoogle for instance).

For those interested, my introductory article on converting your Mashup Server to a personalized dashboard for users might be helpful.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A code optimization case study

How We Made Our Face Recognizer 25x Faster

"This is a war story from my real day job. I work at a start-up company
in Pittsburgh that does face detection, tracking, and recognition
software. This particular problem involved optimization of the face

Good reading for concurrent programmers and this was, surprisingly, on Digg front page.

Dustin Kirkland on Encrypted Private Directories in Ubuntu 8.10

Interview with Dustin Kirkland | The Fridge

"Ideally (at least in my mind), each user’s entire home directory would be encrypted using a key that’s unique to them. It would be mounted when the user logs in, and unmounted when the user logs out. That was my original proposal for Intrepid, but this was deemed a bit too ambitious to accomplish within a single release. The compromise was to provide a single encrypted location inside of each user’s home directory, ~/Private."

"Encrypted ~/Private directories in Ubuntu use eCryptfs as the
cryptographic filesystem scheme. eCryptfs first appeared as a
filesystem module in the Linux kernel in November of 2006, in the
2.6.19 release. eCryptfs uses the vetted cryptographic algorithms in
the Linux kernel (AES, by default in Ubuntu), as well as the kernel
keyring for per-user key management. Thus, I would argue that eCryptfs
is built on top of established technologies."

Interesting read. I can't wait to try this one out. I hate having to install 3rd party encryption programs. For some reason it just doesn't seem right. Encryption tightly integrated in the OS, like this scheme would be the future.

WSO2 Mashup Server Screencast #3: Service Composition

Jonathan looks at service composition in this 3rd installment of a planned series of screencasts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Playfish Closes $17M Series B Round

Facebook Game Developer Playfish Closes $17M Series B Round
"Playfish, the Facebook game developer that has four apps in the top 10 gaming apps on the site, closed a $17 million Series B round led by Accel Partners and Index Ventures."
Although Vasanth Sridharan thinks this is a bit bubble like, I see an interesting revenue model here. First of all how do they, the game developers make money and make sure it keeps coming?
  • They have virtual goods to be bought by players (same approach seen in other games like Mob Wars)
  • In case Facebook decides to pull a quick one, like re-designing the site giving less prominence to apps, they have partnered with Google's Adsense for Games. Pretty good move, that ensures they get more eyeballs no matter what
Now.. How can Facebook have a piece of this action?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mashups: Beyond 'Hello World'

Remember the 'Hello World' screen-cast I posted a few days back? Well, now it's time to move on and get some real work done from the Mashup Server. I'm sure most of you are familiar with a little technique called screen scraping.Do I have your attention now? Good. In this screen-cast, Jonathan explains how to scrape data from all those awesome sites.

You see most sites today are late to the party when it comes to developer APIs. But they do have great content nevertheless. Wouldn't it be great if we can somehow harvest this data and use it in our mashups? The Mashup Server has a nice little scraping function, which allows you to;
  • Harvest data off web pages
  • Fill and submit forms in sites and click links, which in turn allows you to
  • perform navigation through pages to get to the 'really' interesting areas
So have a look and start scraping. As a pre-requisite, I would recommend you install Firebug, a great Firefox extension that will, among many other things, allow you to read x-path expressions of selected web page elements.

Tip: Please pay attention to the Terms of Use on the sites you scrape or you might annoy the owners, trust me on this one.

The Value of a Linux Distro ?

Whitepaper: Estimating the Total Development Cost of a Linux Distribution · October 2008
"we estimate that it would take approximately $10.8 billion to build the Fedora 9 distribution in today’s dollars, with today’s software development costs. Additionally, it would take $1.4 billion to develop the Linux kernel alone. This paper outlines our technique and highlights the latest costs of developing Linux."
According to this paper, the Linux ecosystem is worth $25 billion. As far as I know, Linux market share, both Desktop and Server, amounts to around 1.77%. But adoption is showing and upward trend with some optimistic reports predicting it to be 20% by the end of 2008. Therefore, even though the paper is sponsored by the Linux Foundation, the value does sound right. Note that they are also talking about the complete distribution (the kernel alone is worth $1.4 billion), which often includes the Openoffice productivity suite, an E-Mail Client and the Firefox browser.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Social Network Popularity Worldwide

Map of Social Networks Popularity Around The World | the Oxyweb Blog

According to this,

  • Sri Lankans love facebook in contrast to rest of the sub continent, who seem to be hooked on... Orkut?
  • No one outside USA seems to know MySpace
  • Russians love v kontakte (I always wondered about the lack of Russians on FB)
Good data for marketers using Social Networks as a channel. Use the ideal network for your target audience.

RESTful PHP Web Services

RESTful PHP Web Services is a new book from Samisa explaining,
  • Basic concepts of REST architecture
  • Consuming public REST-style services from your PHP applications
  • Consuming RESTful web services, such as those from leading APIs such as Flickr, and Yahoo Web Search
  • Making your own PHP applications accessible to other applications through a RESTful API
  • REST support in the popular Zend framework
  • Debugging RESTful services and clients
  • A case study of designing a RESTful PHP service from the ground up, and designing clients to consume the service
"This book targets PHP developers who want to build or make use of
RESTful web services, or explore the options available to them in PHP.
You will need to know the basics of PHP development, but no knowledge
of REST is assumed, nor any knowledge of creating web services

Samisa is the chief architect behind Apache Axis2/C Web Services engine and used to lead WSO2's web services framework for PHP before taking up his new role as our Director Engineering.

Sidekicks for your mashup quests ...

Channa's Blog: How to write Mashups
"The Quick Start Guide assumes that the reader just knows he or she wants to create a Mashup and maybe something about JavaScript; nothing much else."
That pretty much sums it up. But I would like to add some more. Channa introduces you to some of the cool tools we've been working on.
  • The Mashup Editor with a skeleton code generator, gives you a running 'Hello World' mashup in just seconds, with a UI AND a Google Gadget
  • The Javascript Stub Generator allows you to create a stub (or wrapper) to any external SOAP Web Service, which you can 'include' in your mashup and use
  • The Scraping Assistant will help you generate XML instructions to scrape web pages
Take these tools for a spin and suggest improvements you would like to see in them. If you run into problems get help form the developers and users who already use these tools.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How Key is Governance to SOA? Larry Fulton Explains

How Key is Governance to SOA? Larry Fulton Explains - ebizQ's Business Agility Watch - ebizQ
"Back when people talked about distributed objects, and components and things, the one thing that was missing was a really well reasoned discussion across the industry of well, how do we manage these things? And how do we ensure that we’re not just building bits and pieces but these pieces are doing what they need to do and that they are serving the business?"
Intersting podcast. The transcript is available as well.

Prototype Debut

Nah.. it's not the javascript library it's the local metal band. Suran (also their vocalist) posted some clips from the gig.

1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!: Prototype at Bring Your Own Nuns


Monday, October 20, 2008

What's up with pronouncing Nuclear as nukular ?

I'm sure you have all seen how people on the internet (mostly American) make fun of Sarah Palin for pronouncing Nuclear wrong. But I have seen others do the same mistake too.

Forget George Bush, I've heard Lawrence Lessig do it and he's an Academic. I listened to him when he visited Sri Lanka in 2006 and gave a speech at FOSS-ed for hackers one of the local Open Source events. Not that this takes away the respect I have for the good professor, who came up with Creative Commons, but it does get a tad irritating at times.

I thought it was one of those American English things, you know like using learned instead of learnt, Math instead of Maths, spelling centre as center, color instead of colour etc etc. Typical American vs British English stuff. But it looks like I was wrong. I guess they agree that Aluminium isn't pronounced as aluminum either?

The Biz School Chronicles - Weeks 03 and 04

Both weeks were dominated by Business Communication lectures. This was due to Statistics and Accounting lecturers being out of country. I enjoy BC lectures mostly thanks to the interactivity and interesting discussions that come up during group presentation etc.

The Johari Window is something we discussed out of syllabus, yet can come handy when understanding your team members and yourself. Something I always found useful before learning this is Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which I learnt as an undergraduate. The Johari Window is a bit complex comparatively and usually requires information from many people to complete, whereas Maslow's Hierachy is pretty simple.

When reading up on this, I found that while a Johari Wondow concentrated on positive personality traits, a A Nohari window is the inversion of the Johari window, and is a collection of negative personality traits instead of positive.

I also cam across this cool online tool that helps one to create a Johari Window for himself.

Friday, October 17, 2008

2009 French GP cancelled!

BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula One | FIA wants French GP clarification
The 2009 French GP was cancelled after the French Motorsports Federation (FFSA) withdrew its financing.

Bad news for all F1 fans. The good news is that Disneyland, Paris is being considered as an option instead of the rural Magny-Cours for future events.

WSO2 Mashup Server Screencast #1: Hello World

Jonathan has done an excellent introduction to the WSO2 Mashup Server. If you are a 'Level 0' Mashupper yearning to start writing your own Mashups, this screen cast is a must view.

BTW, you ain't seen nothing yet. I had a sneak-peak at some of his other screen casts and those were pretty awesome!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dead Man's Switch

Dead Man's Switch
"This is how this works. You write a few e-mails, and choose the recipients. These emails are encrypted with military-grade algorithms, so you can be sure that no-one except the intended recipient will ever read them. Your switch will email you every so often, asking you to show that you are fine by clicking a link. If something were to... happen... to you, your switch would then send the emails you wrote to the recipients you specified. Sort of an "electronic will", one could say."

So there. If you are an average guy with a will to be published or a message to be sent to your loved ones when the final curtain comes down or if you are one of those spy/whistle-blower types going to a meeting with your rival from which you might never return; Let Dead Man's Switch be your insurance.

When 'Free' isn't really free ...

'Free lunch' and open-source support | The Open Road - The Business and Politics of Open Source by Matt Asay - CNET News
"I recently discovered this when a large, global system integrator (SI) deployed Alfresco Labs, our free and unsupported product, for a large client in Europe. The SI wasn't a partner of ours, and as the client soon learned when its deployment stumbled, the SI wasn't capable of providing enterprise-class support on the product. Yes, it knew the product well enough to deploy it and get paid over $50 million for its trouble, but when the deployment hit a glitch, guess to whom the SI came crawling for help?"

Matt Asay (Alfresco) raises some valid points in this post for Enterprises deploying Open Source software via a System Integrator (SI). Having previously worked for a global SI and now working for an Open Source Middleware company, I have to agree.

In his scenario, Asay describes how an SI failed to buy support spending just $50,000 (as part of a $50 million project) to ensure their client had insurance. Sounds ridiculous? Not really. Most SIs would do the same. So the best approach (as also suggested in the post) is to make sure that whatever the SI you deal with buys you a support contract for each and every major Open Source component in your project as part of the agreement. Because the day will come when that SI won't know how to hadle a certain blocking issue in one of those components. As an added bonus, by buying support you also help the continuity of those Open Source projects indirectly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

DaaS is a challenge? Not anymore!

AJAX in the Cloud: Save Your Company a Bundle with Your RIA Strategy!
"AJAX apps need to talk to an intermediate server that acts as a proxy between the web client and the database. This means that the AJAX developer has to develop lots of server-side code that coordinates between the proxy and the database. In addition to requiring precious development cycles, the proxy is a performance bottleneck."
I have to respectfully disagree. If you use a solution such as WSO2 Data Services (Apache 2.0 licensed, Free and Open Source software), you would save a lot of trouble. It's just a matter of writing the correct SQL or Stored Procedure and the Data Services solution will expose your result set as a service. In addition, you can configure security and other QoS parameters for your data service.

Bottom line? No server side code, absolute minimum number of development cycles and reduced worry on performance issues (since the solution is tuned by its developers).

Enterprise Mashups among the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009

Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009 - MarketWatch

Enterprise Mashups is among Virtualization, Cloud Computing and Web Oriented Architecture in Gartner's list of strategic technologies for 2009. For the past few months, I have been developing a bunch Mashups for our marketing team using the WSO2 Mashup Server. In summary, these Mashups bring together statistics harvested from various sources and present a unified view, which helps them in their decision making.

The most important aspect is the the implementation time, which is in weeks rather than months. The amount of flexibility when you want to mix data up is amazing. In my point of view, Enterprise adoption will involve at least 2 stages. The first stage would be exposing data you want people to work with as services (in the WSO2 Mashup Server I do it mainly via Data Services). This might take a bit of time and expertise. Once you have these services up and running, any user familiar with a bit of javascript would be able to take data from those services and other external services and APIs and come up with amazing results.

In the case of the WSO2 Mashup Server, any Mashup done by a user can be exposed as a service as well. This means that when someone comes up with a cool Mashup, another Mashup author can use that and build on top of it instead of re-inventing the wheel.

Have a look at some of the cool things others have been doing with the WSO2 Mashup Server.

Monday, October 13, 2008

SOAFaces = RIA + SOA

Here's something promising for the Javascript RIA developer, who works constantly with SOAP/REST Web Services as back-ends and is also in touch with his inner GWT :)

SOAFaces allows GWT developers to bring SOA and RIA together. It also gets rid of the RPC involvement, which is a negative when ocnsidering GWT for realworld applications.

"Specifically, the goals of the SOAFaces project include the following:
  1. No need to write GWT RPC code anymore. Use the UniversalClient
    API to talk with POJO services that are packaged in your application
    server and/or talk with Mule accessible services/endpoints all across
    your enterprise and internet. Your GWT application will have convenient
    access to messaging services (SOAP, JMS, ESB ...etc) that can return
    JavaBeans or JSON objects back to the GWT client. All marshaling is
    handled by the framework.
  2. A framework for building SOA GUI
    applications using modular components. Build anything from a simple
    AJAX type applet all the way to a full blown web application.
  3. Package your code as a component and deploy your code as a component.
  4. SOAFaces components are packaged into a simple JAR formatted archive and easily shared, deployed, and executed.
  5. Create
    back-end workflow powered jobs and services that can be scheduled and
    run on the back-end with easy access to web services. Workflow
    properties and configuration rules can be configured using a web GUI."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Death by PowerPoint

An interesting presentation I came across today with some really good tips to consider when putting together slides.

Death by PowerPoint
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: tips powerpoint)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to run a Southwest Airlines Auto Checkin Mashup from your computer

If you are a regular reader, you would know about the Southwest auto check-in mashup and how Southwest decided to use a 'cease and desist' type threat to get it out of circulation. The threat worked, mainly because WSO2 is a reputed company and they were running the mashup as a 'demo'. Not to make money from it.

But I say they can't prevent people running it from their personal computers. Here's a little how-to.
  • Download the Free and Open Source WSO2 Mashup Server (A Windows installer and a .zip file are available. It's a Java program so you need a Java version 1.5 or higher installed too)
  • Install it and run the server as described in the user guide
  • Goto https://localhost:7443/ and give a username for the admin user
  • Download the Southwest Auto Check-in Mashup and extract the zip
  • You will have 2 .js files (alertme.js and southwestAutoCheckin.js) and a folder named southwestAutoCheckin.resources
  • Copy those files and folder to [your-mashup-server-installation-directory]/scripts/[your-username] folder
  • Within a few seconds, the Mashup will be deployed and ready
  • Now go to http://localhost:7762/services/samples/alertme?tryit and select an alerting method (Twitter is the easiest)
  • Finally go to http://localhost:7762/services/samples/southwestAutoCheckin?tryit and you can track a flight and let the mashup take care of the rest. It will alert you what's going on.

"This mashup automatically checks you in online within 5 minutes of the opening of checking in. You still need to print your boarding pass, which is generally easily done at an airport kiosk"

Enjoy !!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Southwest airlines called. They want our Mashup offline ...

Apparently Jonathan's recent Mashup on auto reserving a good seat at Southwest airlines has raised a few alarms there. Then again, this is the downside of Scraping web content. Scraping may violate the Terms of Use of a site. I guess it's a learning experience and we have deleted the Mashup from our community site.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Neel Kashkari

Neel Kashkari has been selected as the head of US Treasury's new Office of Financial Stability making headlines there and in the old country. He'll be managing the $700bn bailout plan in the coming months. At 35, he has already been an Engineer at NASA then a VP at Goldman, Sachs.

... and I hear his parents are still unhappy and think he can do better ;)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Narcissism: A Key Leadership Trait? .. Word

Narcissistic people most likely to emerge as leaders according to a recent research.

"The researchers found similar results in two separate studies
involving college students, and one involving business managers in an
MBA program."

Interesting read ...

Mashups, Google Gadgets and Airline Reservations

In a recent blog post, Jonathan explains how to put together an iGoogle compatible gadget for your Mashup. I like his concise explanation of what a gadget is ...
"A widget or gadget is a little program, usually with a cute and compact UI, that runs inside a widget engine. The widget engine generally has the characteristic that a number of widgets can be viewed at once, allowing a user to construct their own digital dashboard of relevant information sources. There are a number of widget technologies under various names – gadgets, widgets, portlets. Some examples of widget engine include the Google Desktop, iGoogle, Windows Vista Sidebar, Windows Live widgets, Yahoo! Widgets, Apple’s Macintosh Dashboard, and lots more."

Then, he follows the previous post with his latest (and apparently very successful) experiment on making an early, automated reservation at Soutwest Airlines using a Mashup.
"This time I successfully checked in online within 5 minutes of the opening of online checkin, even though I was actually in the air on another flight at the time! My new and still under-development southwestAutoCheckin mashup worked brilliantly and gave me one of the lowest boarding numbers I’ve seen."

The WSO2 Mashup Server, making your life that much cooler!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Warren Buffet on the Crisis, Bailout and Related Issues

He makes quite a few analogies. I loved the one on using resuscitation. Basically what he says is that, this isn't the time to blame the patient for not exercising or not coming to regular checkups or being greedy. This isn't the time to argue on where to place the resuscitation device, whether it should be more to the left or to the right. We just need to resuscitate the patient and try to save his life.

He also talks about accounting standards and practices towards the end too. A lot to learn from the "Oracle of Omaha" . The best 55 minutes of this week so far.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Linux became 17 yesterday

It was 17 years ago on the 5th of October that someone named Linus Benedict Torvalds posted this to comp.os.minix board. The rest is history.

European leaders agree to a £12bn bailout

European leaders agree to £12bn financial crisis rescue package - Telegraph
"The plan to set up a small businesses fund across Europe was supported by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at an emergency European Union summit in Paris"

Also from the article, these quotes from British Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown ...
“I want the message to go out from this meeting today that no sound, solvent bank should be allowed to fail through lack of liquidity. That is why we have taken action in Britain yesterday to extend the liquidity that is available to the banking system. That is why the European Central Bank has done likewise.

“That is why also we must take the action necessary to sort out whatever failings exist in the system. Every country represented here today wants to do whatever is necessary to ensure the stability of the system and to ensure the safety of hard-working families and businesses.”

Amen to that ...

The Biz School Chronicles - Week 02

Things to ponder ...

Where?: Lecture; Business Communication

What?: "During oral communication approximately 30% of information is lot in each transmission" and "Studies show that employees are able to retain approximately 50% of what they are told and supervisors can retain around 60% of information they receive."

Why?: This isn't something new. Most of us have played Chinese Whispers (or a variant of it) and seen how distorted a simple message can get when it's passed around.

Lecture; Statistics for Management

What?: The role of Statistical Analysis in Lean Manufacturing / Toyota Production System (TPS) / The Toyota Way

Why?: "Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals."

"The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.
The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand." - Sun Tzu (The Art of War)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Why a bailout IMHO is better than doing nothing :: An Asian perspective

First of all I'm not a US citizen. But we live in a global economy and mistakes made by those thousands of kilometers away will eventually have an effect on me. Therefore it pays (both literally and figuratively) to pay attention.

Over the past weeks we've seen viral fear-mongering over the internet on how America should now be named USSA and her decisions are from the rich for the rich etc. etc (drama drama drama). Well that's all good. Freedom of speech and what not. But take it from someone 'actually' living in a country with a socialist agenda and a civil war; The roots of socialism often lies in the envy and hatred towards the rich. Enough about that. What I find funny is that none of those fear-mongers had a plan either. Their plan was just "no bailout", which eventually translates to "do nothing". Let them pay for their mistakes. But it's not that simple is it?

Let's imagine for a moment that the US government indeed opted to do nothing. It would have saved $700bn worth of hate for starters right? True. But in the long run the US economy would have entered recession and the economy would have further collapsed into a depression some economists predicted to be the greatest since The Great Depression of 1930s.

Remember there was a similar crisis in Asia around 1997-98? No? Let me give you a recap. I was doing my GCE A/Ls (high school) and a bunch of banks in and around south-east Asia started curling up and dieing. Sounds familiar? So Japan, through the Miyazawa Initiative and other similar schemes, spent around $80bn at the time to bail out affected economies as a short term measure. In the long term, financial sector reforms and watch-dogs were introduced to ensure a similar crisis will never happen or adequate alarms will be raised way before a crisis hits critical mass, should one occur.

The way I see it, the current situation is very similar to the Asian crisis in '97 and the bailout indeed is a good short term plan to prevent further collapse. However, the long term success of the bailout will heavily depend on what policy makers do from now on.
  • Safety nets should be put in place to ensure that financial institutions will never again get to gamble with other peoples money.
  • Someone (by this I mean a regulatory authority) needs to keep track of the stability of the whole financial sector and the deals they make with each other and their customers (a revamp of consumer protection laws?).
  • Inter institution borrowings and over optimistic and predatory lending practices should raise alarms as and when they are noted. Not when they develop into a Ponzi scheme and the whole piramid is on the verge of collapse.
I'm sure there are plenty of smart people looking into the matter. As long as they don't give-in to corrupt agendas and the masses don't panic and lose faith in the system, the US economy will recover in the coming months just like those in Asia did.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The age of the Android is upon us

Google posted this video of their Android search application today.

There are also reports on device vendors such as Motorola ramping up and expanding their Android forces from 50 to 359 people apparently with Nokia right behind. It seems like most device vendors in the Open Handset Alliance will follow the lead of Motorola and Nokia, which means cheaper handsets as the competition increases.

In the apps market space, companies such as Handaho are already on-board while there are and will be an awesome set of free Android apps for the taking. Interesting times.

Which technologies stand to benefit from the Wall Street collapse?

According to a recent survey of 1,000 CIOs done by the WSJ,
  • 61% of CIOs are currently re-evaluating their 2009 budgets, while putting non-essential projects on hold.
  • 49% have cut the amount they spend on consultants while restricting travel.
  • Nearly 25% have put a hiring freeze in place
Although this may seem like an expected reaction, which renders the tech spending forecasts just two weeks old obsolete, the fact remains that a business must carry on and IT must keep up with the operational demands. Your company will depend on you to scale its systems and remedy the failing ones just as before. So what can one do, given the restricted budgets and a freeze on human resources and consultancy?

In the coming quarters, we might see an increasing demand for Cloud Computing Services (despite RMSs valid but mostly paranoid concerns). Utility computing services such as Amazon EC2 and S3 will see increased adoption mainly due to lower costs up-front, lesser number of human resources required to maintain a setup and the ability to upgrade and scale without investing in new hardware.

SaaS (Software as a Service) is another area of cloud computing we will see benefiting, simply because SaaS providers address the applications aspects of the equation. Most of these Cloud Services are pay-as-you-go, which is ideal for the wait-and-see approach demanded by present times.

CIOs will look at Open Source in a different lite. This may be mostly cost driven, which is sad. But adoption under whatever terms helps Free and Open Source projects.

Web Oriented Architecture stands to gain traction as more and more aplications start running in the cloud. This might sound as a stretch I know. But just because your applications run in the cloud, it doesn't mean you can't have interoperability between them right? Your corporate Web Portal (now probably running on a Web Based CMS) will still need to talk to your SaaS CRM and other legacy applications.

That's the way I see it at least ...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Search the 2001 Google Index

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Google has put up a search index from 2001. So go ahead and see the world before the iPod, YouTube and Facebook.


What is WOA?

"Web Oriented Architecture (WOA) is a style of software architecture that extends Service-oriented architecture to web based applications. WOA is also aimed at maximizing the browser and server interactions by use of technologies such as REST and POX." - Wikipedia

Then why the debate of SOA vs WOA? That's a question I've had for a while. The way I see it, WOA is SOA for the web isn't it? ...ok with added REST goodness.

In a recent interview, Gartner Vice President Nick Gall, who is credited with first describing Web-oriented architecture (WOA), was asked to give us, the less enlightened, the bottom line about the WOA versus SOA debate.

Interesting read.

Tuesday, September 30, 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 increase ROI, Productivity and Reduce Global Warming. At the end of the day, just as Gartner's trusted hype cycle dictates, those who actually implement these technologies (Engineering) will decide where they actually stand. So it's refreshing to see people like Larry Ellison and RMS with good credibility airing their views to add balance.

Thinkpad :: Life after IBM

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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Biz School Chronicles - Week 01

Where: Lecture; Statistics for Management

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

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?

Lecture; Financial and Management Accounting

"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 said parent, amounting to more than 50% of the total shares, statements of both companies to be consolidated. "

Shit like Enron will never happen here :) How? since the parent company is now legally required to show Balance Sheets for its subsidiaries (the ones it can manipulate because it has more than 50% stake in them), there is little chance to 'fake' profits by hiding debts and losses in those subsidiaries.

Those were the two most thought provoking things I walked away with this week ...

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-time student and full-time software engineer (which is exactly the way I wanted it). Today was my first day and I'm already seeing return on investment (my hard earned money this time not my Father's, unlike 6 years ago. I love you amma and thaththa).

The Biz School Chronicles, will contain a little snippet of something I've learnt this week and how I think it matters. As always I'll keep it short and continue updates till I finish school (somewhere in the next two years).

The first snippet will arrive shortly ...