Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dual booting Ubuntu Karmic and MS Vista with Grub2

With Ubuntu 9:10 Karmic Koala, the default boot loader is now Grub2. I wish I read up a bit more on that before trying to dual boot Vista on my Ubuntu machine today. I was prepared to get my boot loader wiped out of course. But the recovery procedure is a bit different in Grub2. So if you have Karmic Koala running and want to install Vista on another partition to dual boot, this might help.

Step 1 - Use GParted to create space for your Vista installation (I reserved 40 GB). Make it primary and leave it unformatted.
Step 2 - Boot from the Vista CD and select the newly created partition. Vista will complain it can't install to that partition (Who didn't see that coming?). Press SHIFT+F10 and follow the steps described in this post to get the installation going.
Step 3 - Once Vista is ready and your Grub boot loader is wiped out by Vista. Follow the steps in this post on the Ubuntu forum to recover Grub 2 via LiveCD.
Step 4 - Follow the steps here once you have successfully booted back to your Ubuntu Karmic installation, in order to get Vista listed in the Grub boot menu.

That's it :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Adding an external user store to the WSO2 Gadget Server

We put up an on line demo of the WSO2 Gadget Server at http://gsdemo.wso2.org today.

One thing I noticed when putting up the demo is how easy it is to bring in an external user store to the the Gadget Server. We wanted all WSO2 Oxygen Tank users to be able to use this hosted instance without the hassle of re-registering. I'll list exactly what I did below so you can be the judge of how easy it is.

Step 1: Log in to the Management Console and click "User Management" in the left menu grouped under "Configure".

Step 2: Click "Add External User Store" in the page displayed

Step 3: Select LDAP from the drop down there and fill in your LDAP information. Click "Finish when done". We can test the connection too in order to verify whether we entered everything correctly.

Step 4: Go to "User Management" again and click "External Roles" in that page. In the resulting page, click "Edit Permissions" (I already had a role named "everyone" in my LDAP store, so I edited its permissions).

Step 5: Grant "Login to admin console" permission to the role.

That's it. Now any user from your LDAP store can log in to your WSO2 Gadget Server :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Introducing WSO2 Gadget Server

Today we officially launched the WSO2 Gadget Server. Paul posted his thoughts on this new Apache Licensed product a few days back.
"Portals have become the main tool for pulling together the vital information your users need - whether its company information, executive dashboards or technical status updates. The WSO2 Gadget Server is a new kind of portal that is simpler and more effective. Based on HTML and Javascript, a Gadget is the web-based equivalent of a portlet. Hundreds of gadgets are already freely available because of iGoogle, the personalized homepage for Google, which uses the same Gadget specification. The WSO2 Gadget Server brings Gadget technology into the Enterprise - making it easy for your team to build stunningly effective portals in record time."
Here's a quick introduction to get you started once you have downloaded it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

WSO2 Gadget Server - Bringing people and information together

  • Executive Dashboards
  • Customer Portals
  • Internal customized home pages
  • Content aggregation sites or
  • User interfaces to any SOA application
We are just days away from the official release of WSO2 Gadget Server v1.0 and have been busy adding the final touches. We now have ample documentation to get one started. Not that Google Gadgets and the WSO2 Gadget Server are hard to figure out, but we want our users to know exactly what this tool is capable of and to help them gain its full benefits.

We just published an article by Nuwan in OT (Authoring, deploying and using XML Gadgets in WSO2 Gadget Server), which should help Gadget Developers get started with WSO2 Gadget Server. Whether you are a Google Gadget veteran or just starting out, this will be helpful to get your Gadgets added to the Gadget Server's Portal and Gadget Repository.

I have also done a screencast, which is a video tutorial highlighting some core functionality within a few minutes. Stay tuned for that as well.

If you want a sneak peak and want to get started while you wait for the official release, we have a Release Candidate available here.

WSO2 Gadget Server is an Apache 2.0 licensed free and open source software and paid support will be provided by WSO2 when required.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

On Dumb Growth and Smart Growth

Why Dubai Defaulted — And What America Should Learn From It - Umair Haque - HarvardBusiness.org
"Dubai was the poster child of dumb growth — and America was the aging spokesman. But what both discovered, the hard way, is that dumb growth is just a mirage in the desert. What America — and every other nation — should learn from Dubai's mistakes is this: the 21st century demands a smarter kind of growth than the 20th."

Writing Custom Host Objects for WSO2 Mashup Server 2.0

Using a Javascript Host Object, the process of creating a Mashup can be made easier by mapping Java logic to Javascript. While the WSO2 Mashup Server ships with several useful Host Objects by default, you can enhance the functionality by writing your own as well. This latest article by Ruchira focuses on a step by step process of creating a new Host Object.

Read the complete article >>

More about Javascript Host Objects >>

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

SOA for People

What if you can have a portal that requires nothing else but the URL of a Gadget to render it in your personal page? What if you can have a Service hosted anywhere, written using any programming language, and all it takes is the URL of that Service's Gadget for someone to have it embedded in their portal page?

That's the promise we plan to deliver on in just a few days with WSO2 Gadget Server. Based on the Google Gadgets Specification and built on top of the award winning WSO2 Carbon Platform. We plan to make the portal truly Service Oriented. A first class SOA citizen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apache Asia Roadshow 2009

I'll be talking about "Apache Shindig, from Server Side Portlets to Open Social Gadgets" along with Nuwan, on Friday the 4th. Hoping to see you all there.

Have a look at the rest of the line up here.

apacheasia2009 3rd and 4th December @ HNB Towers

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto, Let's call the whole thing off ...

A really good cover of Louis Armstrong's Let's Call The Whole Thing Off. This was in my YouTube "Recommended for You" list. YouTube knows me so well ...  :)

Things have come to a pretty pass
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that,
Goodness knows what the end will be
Oh I don't know where I'm at
It looks as if we two will never be one
Something must be done:

Chorus - 1
You say either and I say either, You say neither and I say neither
Either, either Neither, neither, Let's call the whole thing off.

You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto, Let's call the whole thing off

But oh, if we call the whole thing off Then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart

So if you like pyjamas and I like pyjahmas, I'll wear pyjamas and give up
For we know we need each other so we , Better call the whole off off
Let's call the whole thing off.

Chorus - 2
You say laughter and I say larfter, You say after and I say arfter
Laughter, larfter after arfter, Let's call the whole thing off,

You like vanilla and I like vanella, You saspiralla, and I saspirella
Vanilla vanella chocolate strawberry, Let's call the whole thing off

But oh if we call the whole thing of then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart

So if you go for oysters and I go for ersters, I'll order oysters and cancel
the ersters
For we know we need each other so we, Better call the calling off off,
Let's call the whole thing off.

Chorus - 3
I say father, and you say pater, I saw mother and you say mater
Pater, mater Uncle, auntie, let's call the whole thing off.

I like bananas and you like banahnahs, I say Havana and I get Havahnah
Bananas, banahnahs Havana, Havahnah, Go your way, I'll go mine

So if I go for scallops and you go for lobsters, So all right no contest we'll
order lobseter
For we know we need each other so we, Better call the calling off off,
Let's call the whole thing off.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ten Lessons from Military to markets By Dr. Uditha Liyanage

Source: Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka | Official Defence News Provider
Who and where you want to be?" (Role and scope) are the twin questions that need to be answered, in depth. Then, only then, should you ask, "Where do you want to go and how do you get there?" (Goal and path)

Figuring out the competitor's thinking pattern and belief system or competitor ideology assessment (CIS) is often not attempted deliberately. An analysis of the competitor's response patterns, over time, in multiple situations, and a reading of the ideology and life styles of the competitors' key decision makers could make such an assessment possible.

Best read so far this week :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

WSO2 Mashup Server at Mashup Australia

Mashup Australia is an initiative by the Australian government to open up public data for broader consumption. It's similar to what they've done in Washington, but closer to home. So I decided to submit an entry on behalf of the WSO2 Mashup Server team.

The Mashup;
  1. Uses data provided by the Australian government (an Excel spreadsheet) regarding the country’s mines and exposes them as a Data Service (using WSO2 Data Services)
  2. The Mashup consumes this Data Service (just another SOAP Web Service), processes the data and publishes in a format easily palatable by the client side Javascript
  3. On the client side with Google Maps the data is displayed according to the geographical location of the Mines. Using the filters available, the Mines can be pin pointed based on the type of mineral(s) they harvest.
If you like this mashup, please don't forget to rate it!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mid-Market CEOs Share Best Practices

Paths to Revenue: Mid-Market CEOs Share Best Practices - HBR Now - Harvard Business Review
a recent survey of approximately 50 mid-market CEOs revealed that what was keeping them up at night was figuring out how to optimize the sales channel. Basically, "Is there a better path to revenue and profit?"
Not surprising. Read on to see the authors suggestions ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Google Wave explained in 2 minutes

I for one, think there's too much hype around it to make a practical estimate of Google Wave's usefulness. But in the mean time, here's how one guy sees the wave (in 2 minutes). You can also go here if you have about one and a half hours to kill, to get the long version from Google :)

Your tweets and updates, coming soon to a google near you!!

Official Google Blog: RT @google: Tweets and updates and search, oh my!
"Given this new type of information and its value to search, we are very excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results. We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months."

Good news indeed. I wonder how page ranks will be handled ...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deploying WSO2 Mashup Server in Tomcat


For those of you interested in deploying the WSO2 Mashup Server 2.0 in Apache Tomcat, Sarasi has written a concise tutorial here. At the moment we do not provide a .war distribution. But, by following the above tutorial, you will be on your way in no time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WSO2 Mashup Server 2.0

With the 2.0 version we are entering the WSO2 Carbon universe. This means that our users get all the goodies they are used to on top of a fully componentized SOA platform. We also did a bunch of bug fixes along with improvements to documentation. By the way, don't forget to have a look at the Wikipedia page. Feel free to improve it with content or external sources of information you come across about the WSO2 Mashup Server.

WSO2 Mashup Server 2.0 Release Notes

07 Oct 2009

"Create, deploy, and consume Web services Mashups in the simplest fashion."

The WSO2 Mashup Server is a powerful yet simple and quick way to tailor Web-based information to the personal needs of individuals and organizations. It is a platform for acquiring data from a variety of sources including Web Services, HTML pages, feeds and data sources, and process and combine it with other data using JavaScript with E4X XML extensions. The result is then exposed as a new Web service with rich metadata and artifacts to simplify the
creation of rich user interfaces.

WSO2 Mashup Server is released under the Apache License v2.0

Check out the project home page at http://www.wso2.org/projects/mashup for additional information.

Features List

  • Hosting of mashup services written using JavaScript with E4X XML extensions
    • Simple file based deployment model
  • JavaScript annotations to configure the deployed services
  • Auto generation of metadata and runtime resources for the deployed mashups
    • JavaScript stubs that simplify client access to the mashup service
    • Code templates for developing rich HTML or Google Gadget interfaces
    • TryIt functionality to invoke the mashup service through a web browser
    • WSDL 1.1/WSDL 2.0/XSD documents to describe the mashup service
    • API documentation
  • Ability to bundle a custom user interface for the mashups
  • Many useful Javascript Host objects that can be used when writing mashups
    • WSRequest: invoke Web services from mashup services
    • File: File storage/manipulation functionality
    • System: Set of system specific utility functions
    • Session: Ability to share objects across different service invocations
    • Scraper: Extract data from HTML pages and present in XML format
    • APPClient: Atom Publishing Protocol client to retrieve/publish Atom feeds with APP servers
    • Feed: A generic set of host objects to transparently read and create Atom and RSS feeds
    • Request: Ability get information regarding a request received
  • Support for recurring and longer-running tasks
  • Support for service lifecycles
  • Ability to secure hosted mashups using a set of commonly used security
  • Management console to easily manage the mashups

New in the 2.0 Release

The 2.0 version of the Mashup Server is built on top of the Award Winning WSO2 Carbon Platform. All the major features have been developed as pluggable Carbon components.

Future Directions

  • Improved tooling support.
  • An expanded toolkit of generic building-block services.
  • Lots more cool stuff...

Reporting Problems

Issues can be reported using the public JIRA available at https://wso2.org/jira/browse/MASHUP

Contact us

WSO2 Mashup Server developers can be contacted via mailing lists:

Questions can also be raised in this forum: http://www.wso2.org/forum/226.


WSO2 Inc. offers a variety of professional Training Programs, including training on general Web services as well as WSO2 Mashup Server, WSO2 WSAS, WSO2 ESB, Apache Axis2, Data Services and a number of other products.

For additional support information please refer http://wso2.com/training/course-catalog/.


WSO2 Inc. offers a variety of development and production support programs, ranging from Web-based support up through normal business hours, to premium 24x7 phone support. For additional support information please refer http://wso2.com/support/.

Enjoy the WSO2 Mashup Server!

- The WSO2 Mashup Server Team

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Biz School Chronicles :: On Financial Leverage and Debt-Equity (Gearing) Ratios

The recent recession has given us enough real world examples of what happens when certain business theories are ignored for the sake of short term gains. This post from HBR, which appeared last week has excellent timing for two reasons. One; It's a nice case study practitioners can learn from (obviously). Two; It's useful for me in preparation for the semester exams, having just finished going through Financial Management. Theory around Degree of Leverage and Ratios sticks better when coupled with a real world example. Sadly, certain theories are well demonstrated by citing instances where companies failed due to ignoring them. Nevertheless, thank you Lehman Brothers (and others) for the case study on Overleverage.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Prolink PHS100 in Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04)

I finally decided to get a 3G connection as a backup for my ADSL one at home. I often find myself ending up in places without readily provided Internet and wishing for a mobile solution. After doing a bit of research, I found Airtel as the best deal. If you are wondering about Airtel 3G coverage, all I have to say is that I live and usually spend my time within a 20-30 Kilometre radius from the city of Colombo. And when I go out of this zone, Internet or a Laptop or anything related to work is usually the last thing on my mind :) So getting 3G coverage in rural Sri Lanka isn't a huge priority! That, and the fact that this is a supplementary connection, which means it should cost at least 50% or less compared to the primary connection made the choice very easy.

Now for the fun part. Hating how the usual Huawei E220 modem looks, I opted for the more elegant Prolink PHS100, which can be bought with no vendor lock (let's not get started on vendors locking hardware for which I pay for). I found this great post by Laxman, which gets the modem detected in Linux perfectly. But upon dialling with wvdial, the Airtel server wouldn't give me an IP nor any sort of DNS data. I kept getting the following;

--> WvDial: Internet dialer version 1.60
--> Cannot get information for serial port.
--> Initializing modem.
--> Sending: ATZ
--> Sending: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0

ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
--> Sending: ATM0
--> Sending: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","airtellive"
--> Modem initialized.

--> Sending: ATDP*99#
--> Waiting for carrier.
--> Carrier detected.  Starting PPP immediately.
--> Starting pppd at Fri Sep 11 00:12:27 2009
--> Pid of pppd: 5989
--> Using interface ppp0

--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> pppd: Я[06]���� ���
--> Disconnecting at Fri Sep 11 00:13:03 2009

--> The PPP daemon has died: A modem hung up the phone (exit code = 16)
--> man pppd explains pppd error codes in more detail.
--> Try again and look into /var/log/messages and the wvdial and pppd man pages for more information.

--> Auto Reconnect will be attempted in 5 seconds

Looking at my /var/log/messages I saw this, which eventually lead to hours of reading logs, googling error messages etc., etc.

Sep 11 00:11:33 clair pppd[5974]: pppd 2.4.5 started by root, uid 0
Sep 11 00:11:33 clair pppd[5974]: Using interface ppp0
Sep 11 00:11:33 clair pppd[5974]: Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/ttyUSB2
Sep 11 00:11:33 clair pppd[5974]: CHAP authentication succeeded

Sep 11 00:11:33 clair pppd[5974]: CHAP authentication succeeded
Sep 11 00:12:03 clair pppd[5974]: IPCP: timeout sending Config-Requests
Sep 11 00:12:09 clair pppd[5974]: Connection terminated.
Sep 11 00:12:09 clair pppd[5974]: Modem hangup

Sep 11 00:12:09 clair pppd[5974]: Exit.

I tried for a while and was about to admit defeat and go for the ugly modem, which users claim to work perfectly in Linux. Then I had a Eureka moment. What if the modem remembers settings while its connected to Windows? I mean its light is always Red in Linux. But I saw it turning Blue when connected (that's what the manual says too Red -> no show / Blue -> party on). So I plugged the modem back in my Windows machine and instead of disconnecting using the Software, I just yanked it out.

Voila! Now, when its plugged to Linux the light turns Blue in seconds and wvdial completes. By the way, this is the second post from my 3G connection. The first post was an e-mail to Laxman (who was very helpful in giving further tips to try out) informing the solution. I added a comment to his original blog post as well.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

WSO2 Carbon @ InfoWorld's 2009 Bossie Awards

Best of open source platforms and middleware | Open Source - InfoWorld
WSO2 Carbon is the foundation of WSO2's componentized SOA platform. Carbon provides the framework for all of the core functionality -- data services, ESB/routing, process management, registry, monitoring, and security - allowing you to plug in these components as necessary. The ESB and additional modules for governance and identity are good, and the process server is also decent, and with Carbon the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Biz School Chronicles :: The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy

It's exam time again and I'm feeling the pressure. Stacks of books to read, notes to make. And then there are those Financial Management and Operations Research formulas. As usual the Internet is a major source of reference. Studying becomes that much easier when everything is stored in a searchable index on line. The best part is that in most cases, instead of just reading a quote in a text book, you can directly hear it from the one who said it in the first place.

I came across Porter's Five Forces quite a few times while studying (It's mentioned everywhere from Marketing to MIS) and thought, why not hear it straight from the source? Let me tell you, it's one thing to read quotes and excerpts in text books and a completely different experience when you hear the original thinker explain it. In case you are wondering here's what you would see in a text book (more like a copy paste of Wikipedia).
"Porter's five forces analysis is a framework for the industry analysis and business strategy development developed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School in 1979. It uses concepts developed in Industrial Organization (IO) economics to derive five forces which determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market. Attractiveness in this context refers to the overall industry profitability. An "unattractive" industry is one where the combination of forces acts to drive down overall profitability. A very unattractive industry would be one approaching "pure competition"."
Boring as watching paint dry right? Well, it was for me. And memorizing theory direct off the text book never works for me. But I like images though. Charts and graphs seem to get imprinted in my head better than any other form of data representation.

But my brain still wasn't giving me the right signals. It's giving me the "You have read!" stimuli but not "You have learnt!", which is what I want at this particular instance. There's a huge difference between those two individual signals. If you are simply satisfied with the first, you will get burnt at some point. So I finally turned to Google and came across this next video, where Michale Porter himself explains one of his most cited works.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Social Media and its challenges to businesses

Those who read my posts know that I'm interested in Social Media. Not only just the (obvious) social benefits, but also the potential for their usage in business. But of late, it's clear that most view social media as just another form of marketing than properly integrating it to their business. When I went through a sample of my Twitter followers, it was clear that quite a few are affiliate marketers. There's nothing wrong with this, mind you. But I think from a Business perspective, this is just one way of looking at social media.

As I highlighted a few weeks ago, just like any other strategy your social media strategy needs design too. As usual, I added some of my thoughts while quoting the original author, David Armano. Today I came across a nice follow-up post from the same author, identifying 5 key challenges to overcome while adopting social media in a business. This is clearly better structured than my random comment :) The following 5 challenges are explained in detail.
  1. Integration
  2. Governance
  3. Culture
  4. Human Resources
  5. Measurement of ROI
Good read ...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

HBR :: On Bad Decision Makers

Why Jerks Are Bad Decision-Makers - Tom Davenport - HarvardBusiness.org
So what are the mechanisms that translate being a jerk into being a poor decision-maker? Jerks tend to think their own perspectives are the only ones worth considering, but good decisions require serious consideration of alternatives. Jerks think they're never wrong, but good decisions require acknowledging and learning from mistakes. Jerks are consumed with petty resentments and grievances, but good decisions require clear-headed, objective thinking. Jerks alienate other people, but good decisions require collaboration across a social network (as a recent MIT Sloan Management Review article by Rob Cross and Bob Thomas suggests.) This falls short of a complete description of either jerkdom or decision excellence, but you get the picture.

Jerks often seem to get ahead in firms and advance through the ranks, but that's a dangerous phenomenon. If you want good decisions in your organization, don't hire, promote, or retain jerks.

Well.. I can't add anything more without turning this post into a rant. So just read the post above. My view is that you really can't control what type of individual becomes successful in a given organization's culture. I've seen decent and capable people who thrived in one organization not lasting more than a year or two in another. I've also seen those in limbo. The fighters who refuse to give up. I admire the latter. Because living is learning and you learn something new everyday.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

HBR :: Microsoft and Yahoo: Too Little, Too Late, Too Hyped

Microsoft and Yahoo: Too Little, Too Late, Too Hyped - Now, New, Next - HarvardBusiness.org
So what is the new couple to do? First, admit that neither of them has all the answers. Second, look outside for best thinking on how to manage their new relationship (even if this means Microsoft learning from IBM, which needed a near-death experience to bring it to its senses in the 1990s). Finally, remember that for 1 plus 1 to equal 3, the partners must first act as 1 — any daylight between them will be room enough for Google's wedge.

Shareholders can only hope that no near-death experience will be needed to make them see this new reality.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Effective SOA Governance with the WSO2 Governance Registry

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT

Registrations are now open!!
Governance has become the hot topic in SOA over the past year. As companies SOA usage becomes real, widespread and line-of-business, the requirement to ensure that the systems are properly governed has emerged as the number one concern for SOA adopters.
In this webinar, Paul Fremantle, CTO and Co-founder of WSO2, will explain the challenges of SOA governance and show a clear and simple approach that demystifies this complex topic.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree…

Tony Hsieh's letter informing the merger, which HBR calls a Savvy Deal.

CEO Letter | Zappos.com
Today is a big day in Zappos history.

This morning, our board approved and we signed what’s known as a “definitive agreement”, in which all of the existing shareholders and investors of Zappos (there are over 100) will be exchanging their Zappos stock for Amazon stock. Once the exchange is done, Amazon will become the only shareholder of Zappos stock.

Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say "Amazon acquires Zappos" or "Zappos sells to Amazon". While those headlines are technically correct, they don't really properly convey the spirit of the transaction. (I personally would prefer the headline “Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree…”)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Questions to Ask Before You Join a Startup

Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Questions to Ask Before You Join a Startup | MintLife | Personal Finance News & Advice
  1. How much money do you have in the bank?
  2. What is your net outflow per month?
  3. What is the post-money valuation of your last round?
  4. What can you do that your competitors cannot?
  5. What can your competitors do that you cannot?
  6. Who are your investors?
  7. Who is on your board of directors?
  8. Has anyone in the engineering team actually shipped a product?
  9. Assume that you have $0 for marketing, how would you market the product?
  10. What keeps you awake at night?

Excellent list of questions. From my personal experience, I think it's also a wise move to ask a few more questions too. "11. What role do you see me playing in your company?". This is way different from the title. Never assume that your title alone will give you leverage to succeed in a startup, especially if you are leaving behind a fast track career in a large, well structured company. And never, ever play the 10% game when negotiating salary joining a startup.There are so many other factors that come into play. You see, startups are usually run by people who are brilliant technically but way less so in business maturity. If you think your Resume and track record will automatically get you your worth, you might be in for a surprise. Their approach for management and HR development may be at best Laissez-faire. So your first impression might very well depend on how much you demand up front. Play the 10% game and you will be screwed. Because not only will you look inferior in the eyes of those people, but also your credibility and career progression at this place will now have a shaky foundation.

So when they ask "How much?" reply with question 12. "How much do you think I'm worth? I'm not at liberty to discuss my present salary. Make an offer and let's talk!". Starting a dialogue instead of readily divulging personal information will save you a lot of grief in the long run. Because eventually you'll see this missed opportunity and it will take a huge effort to correct it, if at all possible. You might love your new work, but always remember that starting your career from scratch is not the objective when leaving for a startup.

HBR :: Yes, Your Social Media Strategy Needs Design

Yes, Your Social Media Strategy Needs Design - Conversation Starter - HarvardBusiness.org
The current state of "social media" for many businesses looks more like an episode of MacGyver than Apple's design process. Duct tape and bubble gum hold together fragile tactics such as Twitter accounts run by the summer college intern (nothing against college interns) or agency-generated Facebook fan pages that have few actual fans.

The article does layout some real problems. Most businesses want to be in social networks. It's a good move. However, what I have noticed is that most of us really don't have a clue what to do once there. I mean, we do fine with our personal social media presence. Then why do we fail when we try to replicate that success on behalf of our companies? I fully agree that we need design because, when I think about it, our personal success in social media sites neither happen overnight nor by accident.

The presence on line is just another step forward in our ever evolving personality. This is a designed process. So many people and experiences shaped us to be who we are today. Personality development and maintenance is said to be based on three axes, active-passive, pleasure-pain, and self-other. So why should we assume that a business is different? If a business can be legally considered a separate entity from its owners, it can also be considered as having its own personality. It has a vision, a mission, a 5 year plan, a 10 year plan so on and so forth. It chooses its friends and notes its enemies, while acquiring and merging in order to grow and build new alliances. Yet when it comes to social media, this personality is lost. It's usually reduced to a few random posts or tweets any spam bot can do. What we've been doing is just maintaining our presence without a strategy. Without a strategy we have no metrics. Without metrics we don't have measures of success or failure and without these measures, we can't really evolve our business's social media presence.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The 90/10 Principle - Stephen Covey

10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. If we want to receive, we need to learn to give first... Maybe we will end with our hands empty, but our hearts will be filled with love... And those who love life, have that feeling marked in their hearts.

Author: Stephen Covey
Music: Yanni (Love Songs)
Presented: P.C.Anton

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Offbeat tools? Portals and Mashups are not!

At least that's what CIOs in Singapore think. According to a recent survey, 59% of the responding CIOs were increasing their investments in building applications based on portals and mashups. They are also researching heavily on cloud and SaaS, which is quite obvious due to the buzz in that space of late. This trend is interesting because the challenge for today's CIOs is two fold. Reduce costs while helping their organizations grow at the same time.

Mashups enable this by allowing re-use across the board. Why spend on building new applications from scratch when most of the required data is already available within the existing applications? If you have a SOA in place, things become much easier. But this isn't a must either. A case study I often bring up is the US Federal IT Dashboard. Although it seemed to have appeared overnight, this was an initiative started way back when Vivek Kundra was the CTO for the DC government. If you look at his work from around 2008 onwards, you'll see a nice pattern to incrementally build a successful solution using these Web 2.0 technologies.
  1. Expose re-usable data as much as possible. Restrict access to sensitive data feeds. But do use a catalogue to systematically organize these feeds, so that potential consumers can easily find their way around. Make sure that the data is exposed in a standard compliant, easily consumable format (Web Services, RSS, KML, etc.). [See the DC government's data catalogue]
  2. Once the catalogue is in place, encourage people to mash up the data and come up with interesting new applications. The approach you take depends on your target audience. In an enterprise setting, you should be evaluating various mashup tools available at this point. For the DC government, whose audience is the citizens, an open competition seem to have proved the best alternative. They launched a contest for mashuppers with prizes for winners. [See Apps for Democracy. The entries are closed for 2009. The second year of its existence]
  3. These mashups themselves can be the sole presentation layer for certain applications. But when the demands for presenting a unified, bird's-eye view become stronger, dashboards (portals) come into play. The result of this final step is the one most talked about today, The Federal IT Dashboard. Any citizen from the President downwards can today track government spending. Just point n' click.

That's the story so far. But I feel that step 3 above can use some improvements. What if the dashboard content itself can be contributed by users? What if it was like say, iGoogle? You provide the Data Catalogue and host the Dashboard infrastructure and ask the people to come up with interesting Gadgets that harvest and display data. This will naturally lead to a Gadget Catalogue, a collection of interesting Gadgets any user can pick and choose to create his own Dashboard view. Contributions may be encouraged by a competition similar to Apps for Democracy.

A dashboard is most valuable when it can be customized by the user. Because people have different priorities and with these, the view they expect changes dramatically. If one can register, log in and change the default dashboard by adding gadgets from a catalogue and arranging them according to preference, that would be a great user experience.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Someone in my network shared this on Facebook today. A simple short film about communication by director Patrick Hughes. I'm not a movie critic. But I like this clip and this is my blog. If you love the soundtrack too like I do find about it here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's release time @ WSO2

Last week, WSO2 released the .next versions of some of our key products (all free and Open Source under Apache 2.0). WSAS and ESB are two of them. In my view, our Registry solution is the one that went through a metamorphosis. Not only did we re-brand the product as WSO2 Governance Registry (G-Reg for short), but we also managed to deliver technically.

Building and evolving a product family is similar to solving a jigsaw puzzle. You start with the most obvious pieces and incrementally go towards the end goal. Sometimes, you find out that your assumptions while putting together some pieces were wrong. Then you have to re-visit that part of the puzzle and sort it out. The Registry vs Governance debate was one such instance where we saw that these, practically, should be a single solution. Today we have the WSO2 Governance Registry, a product that helps users not only to store things, but also to govern their SOA.

As I said, the puzzle is yet to be completed and we are in the process of putting together pieces for another area, Monitoring. In this release of G-Reg, we made a step towards solving that part of the puzzle by including our BAM and Dashboard components. By September this year, we are hoping to finish this part too by adding two more offerings to our product family. So download and see our work. Did we pick the correct pieces? Are we missing any? Do tell ... Our forums and mailing lists await your input.

HBR :: Love Your Product and Live Longer

Love Your Product and Live Longer - Rosabeth Moss Kanter - HarvardBusiness.org
Contrast Carasso's long-term dedication to yogurt with the way many businesses have been conceived in recent years — as empty vessels for making money rather than enduring contributions to well-being. Before the recession, the world moved so fast that tech products could become obsolete in months, if not minutes. Before the recession, some entrepreneurs dreamed less of their product and more about cashing out. During the recession, some entrepreneurs are undoubtedly thinking about giving up rather than selling even harder.

Featured in this article;

Friday, July 10, 2009

WSO2 WSAS 3.1.0 Released!

Azeez's Notes | WSO2 WSAS 3.1.0 Released!
New Features
1. Experimental Equinox P2 based provisioning support. See
2. Various bug fixes and enhancements to Apache Axis2, Apache Rampart,
Apache Sandesha2 & WSO2 Carbon, including security fixes
3. Architectural enhancements to WSO2 Carbon

Downloads available here

Thursday, July 02, 2009

US CIO Vivek Kundra on the new federal IT Dashboard

A 30 minute Q&A session covering dashboards, mashups, sharing & building a community as well as auditing what's reported on these dashboards and mashable data feeds. This session pretty much covers what any end user or a CIO would expect from a Dashboard and the best part is? it's a real world example happening right now.

#OSCON 2009 is "Open for Business" and WSO2 will see you there

Look for us and find out what we've been up to ...

OSCON 2009 - O'Reilly Conferences, July 20 - 24, 2009, San Jose, CA
Now more than ever, open source technology is the smart choice for navigating uncertain economic waters. In a competitive business environment, open source gives you the means to drive down costs while increasing system and staff efficiencies. OSCON 2009 is where you'll find the latest information and new ways to connect with the growing community that is open source.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

7 Killer Tips For Optimizing Your YouTube Videos

Download video script from here.

The 7 tips are:
  1.   Create outstanding content
  2.   Optimize your YouTube Channel
  3.   Use keywords cleverly and in the right places
  4.   Add URL's in the right places
  5.   Link to your videos from where ever you can
  6.   Provide plenty of social proof for your videos
  7.   Ping your YouTube channel as soon as you add new content

Friday, June 26, 2009

More than a paradise, more than a small miracle... It's Home!

Sri Lanka Tourism officially launched its new logo and tagline Sri Lanka Small Miracle on the 23rd of June 2009, with the ushering of peace in a new era.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Trust the Art, Not the Artist

A thought provoking article for those of you who are fans of Steve Jobs. Not of his work, but of his leadership style. This article answered a lot of questions that went through my mind while studying "Trait Theories" last semester, especially "The Great Man Theory". Mr. Jobs was the first leader who came to my mind the moment I heard it. And then, as most would probably do, I wondered, "If this theory is a challenged as inaccurate, how did Steve Jobs become so successful?". This article answered that question too. Good read.

Decoding Steve Jobs: Trust the Art, Not the Artist - Bill Taylor - HarvardBusiness.org
"Leaders who want to both change the game and stay in the game for the long haul have come to appreciate the power of "humbition" over blind ambition. What's humbition? It's a term I first heard from Jane Harper, a nearly 30-year veteran of IBM. It is, she explains, the subtle blend of humility and ambition that drives the most successful leaders — an antidote to the know-it-all hubris that affects so many executives and entrepreneurs.

Humility is not part of the Steve Jobs leadership repertoire — and that's worked out fine for him. But humility has become a crucial part of the job description for leaders who aren't Steve Jobs. So marvel at his products, applaud his feel for design, wonder at his capacity to cast such a large shadow over so many industries — and, by all means, pray for his speedy recovery and long health.

But don't think you'll do better as a leader by acting more like Apple's leader. Trust the art, not the artist."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mahindra Satyam; Re branded Satyam

Satyam Uses Mahindra Satyam Brand to Reflect New Owners - CIO.com - Business Technology Leadership
Tech Mahindra, an outsourcing company of India's Mahindra Group, has acquired a 31 percent stake in Satyam. Tech Mahindra made the acquisition through a wholly owned subsidiary called Venturbay Consultants.
Click here to find out more!

Tech Mahindra and Venturbay also made an open offer earlier this month to buy 20 percent more of the equity in Satyam from existing shareholders.

The 10 Questions Every Change Agent Must Answer

The 10 Questions Every Change Agent Must Answer - Bill Taylor - HarvardBusiness.org
It's time to do — and get — something different. Here, then, are ten questions that leaders must ask of themselves and their organizations — questions that speak to the challenges of change at a moment when change is the name of the game. The leaders with the best answers win.

My favourite ..

6. Can your customers live without you?
If they can, they probably will. The researchers at Gallup have identified a hierarchy of connections between companies and their customers — from confidence to integrity to pride to passion. To test for passion, Gallup asks a simple question: "Can you imagine a world without this product?" One of the make-or-break challenges for change is to become irreplaceable in the eyes of your customers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pidgin won't connect to Yahoo since June 17th? Here's a workaround

Pidgin and Yahoo
As of June 17, 2009, Pidgin users are having trouble connecting to Yahoo! IM accounts. Here is a summary of the problem:
Yahoo! appears to be upgrading their servers to a new version of their software. This new version requires a new authentication method. The latest version of Pidgin, 2.5.6, does not support this new authentication method. The next version, 2.6.0, will, but it has not yet been released.

The above link contains a set of alternate IPs (servers that are yet to be upgraded by Yahoo). Just go to Accounts -> Manage Accounts -> Modify -> Advanced -> Pager Server and try testing with those IPs. I can connect using cs101.msg.mud.yahoo.com ... for now.

UPDATE: Pidgin has released version 2.5.7, which solves this problem. Visit the Pidgin site for the update.

Southwest Airlines' Safety Message

Southwest Airlines... More than one Lecturer have raved about their innovative approaches. From Marketing Strategy to Human Resource Management, whenever a case study is discussed, the name seems to make an appearance. How they identified Taxi Cabs as a key competitor, then focused on short-haul destinations making "traditional competitors" of a new airline irrelevant, to creativity in their in-flight service. Even in this blog, one of the Top 5 visited posts is the one I wrote about a Southwest auto check-in Mashup. Don't take my word for it, look at the Live Traffic Feed Widget at the bottom right of the page. I'm sure you'll see a few people visiting that post.

Remember that? Most of us have read the little booklet at least once and heard the mandatory safety message mechanically recited by a Flight Attendant. Apparently some at Southwest are creative enough to make even that boring episode fun. "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.", is one example. Here's another I came across today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Point 'n' Click" SOA Governance with WSO2 Gadgets

“The processes that an enterprise puts in place to ensure that things are done ... in accordance with best practices, architectural principles, government regulations, laws, and other determining factors. SOA governance refers to the processes used to govern adoption and implementation of SOA.” - Anne Thomas Manes

"Ensuring and validating that assets and artifacts within the architecture are acting as expected and maintaining a certain level of quality" - Gartner

That concisely sums up what most would expect from SOA Governance. It's obvious that one of the most important parts (if not the most important) of any type of Governance, SOA or otherwise, is monitoring. Making sure that everything works according to plan. Raising alerts when things deviate from norms. Let's take a real world scenario.

Imagine driving your car. You expect the car to behave in a certain way. But not all of us are Mechanics. Some people I know don't want to look under the hood at all. Most of us like to leave mechanical meddling to a professional. This doesn't mean that we don't want to feel safe and rest assured that everything works perfectly. That's why there's a thing called a Dashboard in any vehicle. At a glance, this faithful tool tells me what the water temperature is in my Radiator, how much fuel I have in my tank and even alerts me when I'm not wearing the seat belt or when the engine needs to be checked by a Mechanic. If you are an enthusiast, you would probably extend the manufacturer's dashboard with your own gadgets, from gear shift point indicators to Speed Gun detectors (..ahem), the possibilities are endless.

We thought of adopting a similar presentation strategy for our Governance and BAM solutions. From the next release, the WSO2 Governance Registry will ship with a Dashboard along with a set of Gadgets (or Dials) showing you, at a glance, what's going on under the hood. Being an Open Source product, we also made sure that our Dashboard and Gadgets can be easily extended by users. That's why WSO2 Gadgets adhere to the Google Gadget Specification. Now you don't have to be limited by the bunch of Gadgets we ship with our Dashboard. If you know HTML you can write your own or you can add Gadgets from places such as iGoogle.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Biz School Chronicles :: Diffusion of innovations

From the marketing lectures ...

Diffusion of innovations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Diffusion of Innovations is a theory of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. The concept has been first studied by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde (1890) and by German and Austrian anthropologists as Friedrich Ratzel or Leo Frobenius [1]. Its basic ‚epidemiological‘ or ‚internal-influence‘ form was described by H. Earl Pemberton[2], who provided examples of institutional diffusions as postage stamps or compulsary school laws. The publication of a study of Ryan and Gross on the diffusion of hybrid corn in Iowa[3] was the first sustainably visible contribution in a broader interest in innovations which was especially popularized by the textbook of Everett Rogers (1962), Diffusion of Innovations. He defines diffusion as "the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system."[1]

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Aston Martin Cup - Sepang Malaysia Race 2

Two things I enjoy most in this clip?
  1. Notes made by this Aston Martin at each shift (or as Jeremy Clarkson would say, "Gods of thunder.. Gargling!!")
  2. The car leading being driven by Dilantha Malagamuwa of Sri Lanka

Photos from Dilantha's FB.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Your Innovation Really Unnovation?

Is Your Innovation Really Unnovation? - Umair Haque - HarvardBusiness.org
In the race to innovate, most organizations forget a simple but fundamental economic truth. A new process, product, service, business design, or strategy can only be described as an innovation if it results in (or is the result of) authentic, durable economic gains.

The post goes on to describe what innovation and unnovation is using familiar examples from today's business world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HBR :: Why You Should Encourage Weakness

Why You Should Encourage Weakness - Peter Bregman - HarvardBusiness.org
Little Johnny comes home one day, looks down at his feet, and gives you his report card. You smile at him as you open it up and look inside. Then your smile disappears when you see the F in math. You also see an A (English) and two Bs (history and science). You look down at little Johnny and ask, "What happened in math, Johnny? Why did you get this F?"

A useful article on performance reviews, for both parents and managers. We are all familiar with the example above and more often than not have gotten the same reaction from our parents as well. What we learn as children naturally have an effect on how we handle similar situations as adults. Something I often find myself saying is that "Each individual comes with a unique set of talents". Obviously a recruiter can't gauge them at an interview. But a few months down the line, clear patterns start emerging and the more you observe the more you will understand someone's strengths and weaknesses. I agree with the author of the article that, instead of trying to make the individual excel in his weak areas, a good manager should put emphasis on the strengths and ensure they manage to get away with a "C" in the weak areas.

Read the article, it's more interesting than my preview :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

HBR :: Why Google's One-Trick Pony Struggles to Learn New Tricks

Why Google's One-Trick Pony Struggles to Learn New Tricks - Conversation Starter - HarvardBusiness.org
But Google faces a tough situation in that, in 2008, 97% of its revenues come from Web advertising, and 68% of that advertising is on its own Web sites. That's down only slightly from 69% in 2007. This is a problem because while Google has been on a torrid growth pace for the past few years, it's essentially a one-trick pony: search advertising. Make no mistake, it's a very nice trick, but one that has little upside outside of organic growth. And Google isn't likely to grow much more in search advertising given its dominance, especially in advertising-rich markets like the United States.

Being at the right place at the right time can take one so far. Somewhere down the line, to sustain growth and survive, you have to do things the old fashioned way. You know, the boring stuff, like market analysis, competitor profiling, growth forecasting etc., etc? This is why value investors such as Warren Buffet has always avoided investing in IT companies. Here are some quotes from an interview immediately after the dot com burst in 2001 (other than "I told you so!").

"The fact is that a bubble market has allowed the creation of bubble companies, entities designed more with an eye to making money off investors rather than for them."
Cort had all the right ingredients for a purchase: "a fine though unglamorous business, an outstanding manager and a price... that made sense." [on his acquisition of Cort Business Services]

So here's a goal for the new IT entrepreneur. Create a company with solid business roots. A company worthy of Warren Buffet's attention. If he  one day invests in your company, you have achieved something no one in your industry has achieved so far.

Maven : An unexpected error has been detected by HotSpot Virtual Machine

I was running a Maven2 build of a fairly large project when suddenly my VM said "An unexpected error has been detected by HotSpot Virtual Machine", keeled over, and died. Like a faithful Java programmer I ran the build again ... no luck! However, before it died, the VM wrote a log file. An ideal starting point for a post mortem, yet not much useful data. But I did notice an interesting line there ...
VM Mutex/Monitor currently owned by a thread:  ([mutex/lock_event])
[0x0805c388/0x0805c3b0] Threads_lock - owner thread: 0x08100b80
[0x0805c7d8/0x0805c7f0] Heap_lock - owner thread: 0x0805cf38
Looks like even the gods at Sun write Thread Unsafe code once in a while, not just us mere mortals. So I Googled around since Sun's explanation of this type of error was not very helpful. Apparently the Inet4AddressImpl of Sun isn't thread safe (or is it their IPV6 stack? see comments below), which is the root cause of this particular problem. The solution I came across was to use the VM option -Djava.net.preferIPv4Stack=true with Maven2.

My VM: Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (1.5.0_16-b02) for linux-x86

Monday, May 11, 2009

The world needs a super sovereign currency!

The People's Bank of China--Speeches
"When a national currency is used in pricing primary commodities, trade settlements and is adopted as a reserve currency globally, efforts of the monetary authority issuing such a currency to address its economic imbalances by adjusting exchange rate would be made in vain, as its currency serves as a benchmark for many other currencies. While benefiting from a widely accepted reserve currency, the globalization also suffers from the flaws of such a system. The frequency and increasing intensity of financial crises following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system suggests the costs of such a system to the world may have exceeded its benefits. The price is becoming increasingly higher, not only for the users, but also for the issuers of the reserve currencies. Although crisis may not necessarily be an intended result of the issuing authorities, it is an inevitable outcome of the institutional flaws."
The above is an excerpt from the proposal by the Governor of the People's Bank of China presented at the G20 Meetings. A timely proposal and I hope India, Russia and other nations will help carry this to completion. Why? for several reasons.
  1. One of the purposes of establishing the IMF was just this. Instead, today it is reduced to the status of a Bully used by certain western nations to threaten everyone else. Especially developing nations (Ok. That was partially a rant, than a sound economic reason).
  2. The dilemma of effectively addressing domestic and international demands would not be present in such a super sovereign currency. In other words, the Triffin paradox, which is inherent in the present system can be negated.  
  3. Globalization. Somewhere, somehow in the past, the US suceeded in pushing their local currency to the status of the global reserve currency. This doesn't mean it's right. In the face of the current global economic collapse (partially attributable to this monetary system), it is time for the world to say "Enough is enough!".
  4. The US has benefited from the wide acceptance of it's currency. But the cost bared by the global economy can't be justified. Simply said, bad fiscal policy decisions made by them now have global repercussions. What kind of a twisted system is that?
We can spend days arguing about how we arrived at the current situation or we can make a genuine effort to change it. We can argue about how the headquarters of key global institutions such as the UN and IMF ended up in Washington instead of Geneva or we can change it. And if the dissolution of these puppet institutions seems the logical solution, countries like Russia, China and even India should not be afraid to pursue it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Panel discussion: What componentization means for your enterprise SOA

WSO2 hosts live web panel discussion: What componentization means for your enterprise SOA
Topic: “What does componentization really mean for your SOA?”

When: Thursday, April 30, 9:00-10:00 a.m. Pacific / 12:00-1:00 p.m. Eastern

Where: Via the Web at http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/48043 or by phone at (724) 444-7444, Call ID: 48043

Hop in and share your thoughts ...

Update: If you missed the live show, you can listen to or download the recording. Check the above link.

SOA Platfroms and the Presentation Dilemma

SOA Platform Blog: The Presentation Aspects in a SOA Platfrom
There are tons of portal solutions out there, but how many of those can point to a service and be able to use the service interface to come up with a possible presentation of it?

In this latest post to the SOA Platform Blog, Samisa raises a few valid, timely concerns regarding the presentation aspects of a SOA. This is an ongoing debate within the SOA community in general as highlighted in my recent post Mashups, Portals and the Future Enterprise. Most platforms today have addressed the issues of service creation, connection (mediation), composition and governance. However, for an average enterprise user, what matters most is the presentation and there aren't many products out there, which addresses the issue in a SOA specific manner. Legacy portals still remain the only option apart from asking IT to build something for you from scratch.

It would be nice to have a technology where users will not only have the ability to view a portal/dashboard interface, but be able to point to a service to add a visual presentation of it to this view as well.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mashups, Portals and the Future Enterprise

Mashups Finding Their Place in Enterprise IT | Blogs | ITBusinessEdge.com
As the piece points out, most of the mashup discussion has focused on building on-the-fly applications when, in fact, the real enterprise potential lies in accessing the data. Kavis decided to use a tool – he talks specifically about Jackbe's Presto or WSO2's Mashup Server – to “present various data services in a secured and governed fashion.” How they consume it, he adds, is up to them:

The article links to interesting posts by Mike Kavis and others. I have to agree with Mike's view that Mashups should not be about "on-the-fly" applications. Rather, emphasis should be given to how they make enterprise data accessible to the average user, so that they can use it the way they see fit and compose new things.

The next point in discussion is the traditional Enterprise Portal and it's potential conflict with Mashups, which is a valid concern these days. As a co-developer of the only Open Source Mashup Platform for the last 2+ years, I agree that the traditional Portal has to go. But the concept of A Portal can not be removed from the equation. Why? Portals are a presentation layer while Mashups primarily deal with service (data) composition. It's true that a presentation component is involved but it can never serve the purpose of a portal like interface.

But. It's clear that traditional Enterprise Portals do not complement the power given to end users by Mashups. So the ideal Enterprise Portal of the future should be a platform that allows both IT and end users to collaboratively create the presentation layer. Apache Shindig, Google Gadget and Open Social Specifications should be technologies to look out for. These allow Enterprise Portals to become platforms such as iGoogle, Facebook, Hi5 and Orkut. The user experience is very similar to a portal, yet open to contributions by end users, not just the people running it.

So what do I see in the future?
  • Enterprises will open their data services via published APIs to end users. These will be secured where necessary.
  • End users will use these APIs to compose Mashups. 
  • The future Enterpirse Portal will allow users to contribute Gadgets/Apps to it (similar to iGoogle, Facebook et al). Others who deem these Gadgets useful will add them to their individual profiles/personalized pages.
... and SOA will open the door to all this.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Deploying a Java Web Service on WSAS and Securing it with Username Token Policy

In this screencast Charitha Kankanamge, highlights WSO2 WSAS' capability of easily exposing and securing Web services using its graphical management console.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Susan Boyle: Some books are better than the cover.

Just because some are born seemingly poor and unsophisticated in the eyes of mere mortals, it doesn't mean that God has forgotten them!

Now that you have seen that. Here's the actual article from HBR I wanted to blog about in the first place :)

Susan Boyle: A Lesson in Talent Management - Peter Bregman - HarvardBusiness.org
Good managers help their employees succeed in whatever role they happen to be in. Great managers see the unique talents of each employee, and then create the role that's a perfect vehicle for those talents. Great managers remove the obstacles that prevent their employees from unleashing their talent. And they make sure each employee has the right opportunities, the right stage, the right audience, to be fully appreciated.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kevin Rose tells the story of Digg.. so far!

Interview With Digg’s Kevin Rose: The State of The Union
Rose: Right, so the second I actually needed some real cash, I had no idea what I was doing. Jay had done it before. I said, “Jay, you come on, run the business side of the house, and I’m fine with giving you the CEO role,” because at the time, that’s what I was doing, as long as I have final say on whatever product we decide to…

This is a cool interview by Michael Arrington with Kevin. They walk through various points of the life of Digg and decisions Kevin and later Jay as the CEO made. The rumours, technology, raising of funds and most things in between. I signed up for Digg on November 24th, 2005 and found it way more interesting than Slashdot since it had, at least in my opinion, a better mix of tech and non-tech stuff whereas Slashdot was mostly catering to tech-geeks. Over the years Digg has become part of my everyday reading, a frequently clicked node in my RSS reader and podcasts by Revision3, especially Tekzilla, a part of my weekend viewing.

It would be nice to see how Kevin and his team fare over the coming years. "I, for one, welcome our new Social Media overlords!" :)

Jonathan Schwartz Writes His Toughest Ever Email

Oracle-Sun: Jonathan Schwartz Writes His Toughest Ever Email
"So today we take another step forward in our journey, but along a different path - by announcing that this weekend, our board of directors and I approved the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by the Oracle Corporation for $9.50/share in cash. All members of the board present at the meeting to review the transaction voted for it with enthusiasm, and the transaction stands to utterly transform the marketplace - bringing together two companies with a long history of working together to create a newly unified vision of the future."

Someone at Digg asked why Sun was up for sale in the first place and another posted this entertaining diagram. A good corporate strategy should always have a clear vision of what a company hopes to achieve. Everything else and every decision made should be to achieve this end goal. Once you lose track of this vision and treat strategy formulation as a haphazard, short term focused activity, any promising company can end up with a diagram similar to this. Most executives we see today seem to be narrow in focus and selfish in their decision pushing. 

There's an interesting debate going on at HBR these days along with supporting articles, that try to figure out exactly what the core causes are. Some say it's just plain selfish greed while others argue the lack of ethics training in Universities. My personal view is that at some point higher up in the corporate hierarchy, there should be a benevolent dictator. One who is passionate about the vision and can objectively analyse any decision to filter out the real motives behind those arguing for or against it. Because those very executives will one day enthusiastically approve a decision to sell your company too after directing it to the brink of bankruptcy. I feel sorry for Sun's engineers (those of Sun and MySQL apparently) who will now have to look elsewhere before the lay-offs come. They are the hard working souls who will end up becoming statistics!
"The blistering economy has taken a toll on the tech sector, claiming 84,217 jobs in the first quarter. As a result, we may see more mergers like this morning's $7 billion acquisition of struggling Sun Microsystems Inc by Oracle. Sun announced 6,000 job cuts in November and could see more job loss as the combined entity seeks cost savings and positions itself against its chief rivals, IBM and HP. Overall, mergers and acquisitions have resulted in 44,379 job cuts so far this year. That is up 469 percent from the 7,796 merger-related cuts by the same point last year." [Source]


Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle in $7.4bn deal to buy Sun

BBC NEWS | Business | Oracle in $7.4bn deal to buy Sun
"Business software manufacturer Oracle has said it is to acquire computer hardware maker Sun Microsystems in a deal worth $7.4bn (£5.1bn)."
You had your chance IBM and you lost it! Good job Oracle. I hope you will go ahead and buy Redhat next :)

Aneesh Chopra: America's new CTO

Tim O'Reilly has some interesting thoughts in his post "Why Aneesh Chopra is a Great Choice for Federal CTO". Here's a recent keynote by Aneesh Chopra, for those interested.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

H1B or No H1B?

Looks like the planned reduction of H1B visas will end up increasing US jobs going to South Asia instead of the opposite. According to the WSJ;
"In January, IBM sent layoff notices to about 4,600 people, including workers in its software unit and sales department.

Earlier this year, IBM also told employees that if they wanted to move to an emerging market, they could apply for jobs there with IBM, but they would be paid in local wages. A spokesman Wednesday said "dozens" of people have taken the offer, usually natives of those countries."

That's the story from the US side, while on this side of the world, companies like Infosys seem to be looking for aquisitions as well as future business from other countries, especially in the EU. According to Nanadan Nilekani co-chairman of Infosys;
Rising protectionist sentiment in the U.S. also is affecting customers' decision-making about outsourcing. The economic-stimulus bill, for example, includes a provision preventing participants in the U.S.'s financial bailout program from hiring workers with H-1B visas, which are commonly used by non-U.S. outsourcing companies. "Political issues have become more pre-eminent in our conversations,".
Hence the new trend of Geo-Diversification of the project mix in most companies, in order to reduce their dependency on the US. For instance at Infosys, the US now accounts for about 63% of revenue. But according to Mr. Nilekani, he would ideally like that to be about half. This has been a trend in companies like Virtusa as well. In the past few years, they have expanded rapidly in the UK and EU markets.

The fundamental Economic principle most politicians seem to ignore here is that The Firm is a profit making unit. The goals of maximizing stock prices, in turn maximizing share holder’s wealth, is the objective for firms that are publicly traded. No matter what legislations or sanctions are in place, publicly traded companies will adopt their strategies to maximize profit. When you approve legislation to satisfy the Peanut Gallery, you risk ending up losing your competitive edge and more often than not, shaking the very foundation of your economic dominance as a country.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are MBAs the Problem?

Are MBAs the Problem? - HBR Editors' Blog - HarvardBusiness.org
"The type of person who has the appetite for this second kind of risk-reward equation--plus the brains to excel in a rigorous academic setting--is the same type that Wall Street firms have been so eager to hire. The financial sector hasn't valued people for what they learned in their top-tier business schools, but for the kind of intestinal fortitude that got them there, their willingness to make huge sacrifices, and the drive they have to attain that MBA, at nearly any cost."

A thought provoking read. Make sure you read the comments as well. Most of those seem anti B-School but once in a while, you'll come across reasonable ones such as;

"It isn't just the teaching, or the curriculum, it's the culture. If the idea comes across that business is about innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, that's great, but if the underlying message is about maximizing shareholder value, profits and making money, everything shifts.

Any group of high-powered individuals will become competitive, that's what you expect, and to some degree, that's what you want. The question becomes who defines the areas of competition? What is valued? What are the rewards.

- Posted by DJB
March 17, 2009 9:28 PM"

Not that I agree completely with the commenter, but I like his view on 'Competition' and 'Areas/Rules/Values of Competition'. I think this takes us back to the Nature vs. Nurture debate. A competitive environment, that provokes and rewards individuals who, by nature would succeed at any cost without concern for those around them is bound to fail at some point. B-Schools or any other school can not be completely held responsible for personal traits. What they do is give more ammunition.

Once you are done going through the comments, I suggest you read the FT Article MBA bashing is a case study in misdirected anger. It ends with a nice summary too.

"The MBA brand has been damaged but not destroyed by recent events. Some may still enjoy a good sneer at this famous set of initials. But blaming the MBA for the crisis in capitalism would be like blaming all maths PhDs for the invention of the collateralised debt obligation: a case study in unfairness and misdirected anger."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yahoo Briefcase will be closed on March 30th 2009.. for good!

I just received the following mail. I have completely forgotten about this service too. The last file I have put there was in 2004. It's good to know that Carol Bartz is doing her job.

Dear Yahoo! Briefcase user,

We will be officially closing Yahoo! Briefcase on March 30, 2009.
Until then, we are offering you the opportunity to download your files
back to your computer. You will need to take action before we close,
after which any files remaining on Yahoo! Briefcase will be deleted and
no longer accessible.

Download your stuff and say your good byes!