Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Woooo Halloween!

Trying hard to persuade Ross that as he's Scottish he's "Guising", not "trick or treat"-ing it is falling on deaf ears!
Also heard of at least one young adult planning to go "guising for drink", thereby celebrating two aspect of our cultural heritage at once.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Democracy was too complicated - its official

I blogged, before the Scottish elections last May, that I was pretty sure there would be some degree of chaos.
And I was right, there was. Now its official, the official report concludes, amongst other things, that..

We strongly recommend against introducing electronic voting for the 2011
elections, until the electronic counting problems that were evidenced during
the 2007 elections are resolved
combining the Scottish
parliamentary ballot papers onto one sheet was primarily responsible for the
high level of rejected ballot papers

Friday, October 26, 2007

See both sides

Metrofunk apparently launched Metrofunk today. The press release describes it as...

the world's first invite-only social network devoted entirely to nightlife, fashion, film, and music.
Oh how Way Cool it sounds! However when you read how you will benefit from having an account they say...
specially created to allow trendsetters to easily build a viral online promotional empire
Not only that but also this...
you will have the ability to send a mass message out to everyone in your entire promotional network with a single click
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, or as Yoggi Berra said, "its like deja vu, all over again"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oracle Buys...

BEA have upped the ante, asking Oracle for $21 per share compared with Oracle's original $17 offer. here

Meanwhile, spending like money is going out of fashion (as my granny would say) the big O have just made their tenth acquisition this year buying Interlace.

If you want to know what that timeline looks like, google for "oracle buys"

Hopefully they are now going to stop acquiring companies and start focusing on the quality of their products... As if!..

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We here can cope with using JAXB generated models with hibernate HBM.XML mapping. But Colleague X, working with Axis 2, is struggling to find a way of using ADB and Hibernate together without having to write converters or delegates or whatever by hand.

I know one of you knows how to do this, after all how unusual can it be? So please... Send Help to the usual address (danny at apache dot org)!

Quote(s) of the [Specify Timeperiod]

This [timeperiod] there are two winners. In no particular order they are;
This one from the notes at the bottom of a government press release:

... followed postgraduate studies at King's College, Cambridge, before an academic career which has taken him to the Institute of Psychiatry...
And this from the English ruby coach Brian Ashton, during the build up to the world cup final:
I don't care what anybody says about England, it has nothing to do with me.


Thursday, October 18, 2007


From the Register: Erratic fleshies sabotage, wreck innocent flying robot Lol.

Why Oracle's Middleware sucks...

"for a large company like Oracle, if your products are good, they can’t be great because there’s more risk in being great."

Does this tell us why, seeing their middleware products are poor, they daren't be mediocre? I can feel an award coming on.

Update. For what its worth, and in the interest of not appearing to just be a loud mouthed asshole, this comment on TSS reflects some pretty commonly held opinions of Oracle's J2EE container OC4J, and for those of you who haven't had the dubious pleasure of working with OC4J you should know that those of us who have consider that 10.1.2 is significantly better than 9.0.4 which itself was a huge improvement over the woeful 9.0.3, and 9.0.2 was just a joke. Little wonder then that the big O don't have many fans in Java-land.

57 channels and nothing on

MySpace are planning to reveal an API for external developers, says the bbc.
They also say "Facebook already has more than 6,000 applications running on the website" and imply that MySpace's move is a result of facebook's competition.

I gave up using facebook 'cos I couldn't see the point. In fact I only started to use it in the first place because I thought with all the noise there was that I must be missing something, but as far as I could see, 6,000 applications or not, it doesn't really add value to my life, on or off-line. I have accounts on all sorts of social platforms, but the only benefit I can see is that it makes it easier for people to find me, and read my blog :-) I suppose that if I hadn't already built up an entire personal domain of on-line presence these things might offer a handy ready-made presence, but 6,000 applications I ask you. I wonder how many of them are "hello world" or variations on the virtual drinking theme?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Planet Apache AWOL

I don't know what's happened but Sam has put up a temporary replacement here .

cart-before-horse-FUD-ism award for the [specify timeperiod]

The cart-before-horse-FUD-ism (or "I can talk FUD out of my arse") award for the [specify timeperiod] goes to Carl Howe for his post about why the iPhone doesn't need 3g.

But the question left unasked as been, "Does 3G really improve the user experience dramatically?" Most pundits would reply, "Well, of course Internet experiences improve with higher bandwidth. That's why the world went broadband." And if the pundit is having a bad day, they'll add "Duh."

Funny thing though. They're wrong. Bandwidth doesn't affect the mobile phone experience nearly as much as most people think. And in some cases, high bandwidth Internet is actually worse for the user than a low-bandwidth one.

This IMHO is possibly the worst example of cart-before-horse-FUD-ism that I've read for a long time.

Here's why: Higher bandwidth means that you have a higher capacity for transferring data, in other words you could up and download more items concurrently or up and download larger items more quickly.

You could, that's what it means, go look it up. However your ability to benefit from this may be constrained by the phone you are using.

If, as he seems to suggest, the iPhone hasn't got 3g because it couldn't cope with the bandwidth then he ought to blame the people who designed the phone, not the people who provided the bandwidth. Better still, if its true someone ought to tell Apple, because an engineer needs to be fired at once!

My Sony Ericsson k810i works in both 3g and gprs modes and listen up, it is noticeably faster to download feeds and synchronise email when it has a 3g connection. Go figure.

So you get an award, Mr Howe, for cart-before-horse-FUD-ism. What you should have said is "Apple's iPhone probably wouldn't benefit from higher bandwidth because it would show high data error rates, and its battery and processor performance aren't up to the job of coping with data arriving in those quantities." And as for the part about http, I guess you haven't heard of keep-alives.

Apple respond

An update to yesterday's post about Greenpeace report on the iPhone.

Apple says iPhone complies with eco standards

Like all Apple products worldwide, iPhone complies with RoHS [Restriction of Hazardous Substances], the world’s toughest restrictions on toxic substances in electronics
Complying with legislation isn't the same as "being green", its being law abiding. Which is OK, I suppose. I expect we'll see people with more of a commercial or lobbying advantage to be gained taking the opportunity to get headlines at Apple's expense before this is over.

In some ways its a bed of their own making though, if Apple had been serious about addressing environmental concerns then at least they should have made the battery removable. That might have signalled that they were paying attention if nothing else.

I see that they are also being threatened by The Center [sic] for Environmental Health, because
products that can expose consumers to ... chemicals that are reproductive toxins or carcinogens must carry a warning label
Hmmm, I don't see how that would really solve anything, a label.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All your data are belong to us

The BBC are reporting that Hitachi are predicting a 1 Terabyte laptop drive by 2011.

This is a popular theme of mine of an evening, I reckon it won't be long until consumer storage requirements exceed corporate storage requirements, and the road is paved with wierdness. Pretty soon someone is going to have to face up to the security challenge presented by a disgruntled employee with a terabyte ipod, big enough to steal the whole customer database, not just a few hundreds of credit card numbers. Your big iron isn't big because your data is big, your data is small and getting smaller every day, and someday soon someone will carry it out the building in their shirt pocket.

I reckon it would probably be fairly easy for IT people to do this, even if two or three of them have to collude. Isn't it time we stopped telling people that their data is safe, and started to fix the fact that its really most at risk from disgruntled IT people, before its too late?

Apple piss on their own Green credentials

Greenpeace have published the results of tests on Apples iPhone. The full report is here.

It doesn't make Apple look good. Worse IMO than the technical aspects of the materials themselves, some of the items highlighted just seem to be dumb, careless, and inexcusably they appear to be avoidable.


...the iPhone's battery was, unusually, glued and soldered in to the handset. This hinders battery replacement and makes separation for recycling, or appropriate disposal, more difficult,...

The fact that a product brought newly to the US market in June 2007 still utilises PVC and brominated flame retardants ... suggests that Apple is not making early progress towards its 2008 commitment to phase-out all uses of these materials...

Oops Apple, what were you thinking?

Life in the flock...

Network World has published an interesting article on Gartner's Top 10 Technologies for 2008. (Via Dan Pritchett).

I like these things, but on the whole they don't really tell me much more than awards ceremonies do. Like awards ceremonies I suspect that predictions are, at least in part, about PR for the organisation doing the predicting or awarding.

Gartner can be interesting though, I once heard a Gartner guy (I forget who) speak about the surveys of CEO's and CTO's, as well as reassuring us that you have to apply your own interpretation to what they're saying, he also reckoned that the only thing you could confidently infer from the results is that CEO's are like sheep, with a majority of them sharing the same priorities, and changing their priorities at the same time. Likewise CTO's are out of the loop, their priorities lagging behind CEO's by a year. Lol.

The same guy told us that the majority of companies surveyed were planning to use innovation and new product launches to differentiate themselves. Yikes, how many new products do we need?

However (back to the point) the thing that surprised me about the '08 top 10 was that here@quango X we are currently going all out on variants of 5 of them. Refreshingly there is always chance that the variant we're creating or adopting is a cargo-cult!

Colleagues, see if you can guess which five...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The free-est of all freedoms

I hadn't seen this before, and I like it, so I figured you might not have seen it either... Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License
or perhaps you have.

Via Reg Braithwaite Via Planet Intertwingly

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finite states

Two random thoughts I had while pondering state machines...

1/ I found this: Analog solutions to hard computational problems..
Spaghetti sorter - Cut n pieces of spaghetti in proportional lengths, bang them against the table. Here.

Which made me think of the complicators gloves.

2/If the universe only contains a finite number of bits (10^90 here and here) can it ever contain an infinite state machine?.

On the other hand the Large Hadron Collider might find something new.

Utilise capabilities

Hot on the tail of my curiosity about the difference between capability and ability, I was prompted to look up "utilise" and "use" by a document which also contained phrases like "the SLA of one month requires a lower FTE".

No prizes if you've already guessed it, both mean "to put to use".

So if you use"utilise" to make your prose seem more managerial, try to utilise "use" and get to seem human again.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Obvious? You'd think so.

Am I the only one who feels that there is an unreasonable emphaisis on naming things? Surely normal intelligent IT types can see that

1/ The REST idea of making URL's unique references for individual states isn't an invention but
an attempt to undo the subversion of URL's by products which didn't really get the "Unique Location" aspect of URL, or thought it didn't apply to them.

2/ That AJAX is something that a whole load of smart people wanted, and like the victorians waiting for flight to be invented, waited patiently for key things to be put in place. I remember using Javascript "document.write" to build embeddable product advertising and search boxes for clients' affiliate sites as soon as enough people had browsers that supported it.

3/ Am I alone in thinking that Web 2 is nothing new, its www they way we always wanted it to be?

4/ SOA This is Simply the Obvious Answer. It isn't really anything to do with web services (which are a new invention, and a pretty cool one at that) its a pattern which has been around since forever, web services make it cheap, easy and accessable to build discoverable services and to extend the pattern out from within applications through within an enterprise out to between enterprises. But the real use of SOA is as marketing babble.

Two recent posts, this one from Sam, who is always worth listening to, and this widely slated one from Jason Calacanis, who many think isn't.

Sam's one just made me think, Why. Why do people want to redefine things we already understand? (Sam wasn't redefining he was just commenting). In Calacanis' one he seems to attempt to become "the guy who defined web 3", but his definition doesn't really give us a term which is particularly useful, in other words it looks like it's just a marketing word.

So what am I saying? This, I guess; Friends, smart people, technologists, stand up and be counted, its your work which should be lauded not the pigeon holes its put in or the pigeon holers who put it in there. Resist the lure of the techno-blog cult personality, and call a spade a spade not a "Fork 2.0" or a "Soil Transformation Service".

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blog-life balance

Robert Scoble says

From your 684 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 32,879 items, and shared 1,693 items
There seems to be a phenomenon at the moment whereby people are desperate to make sure they don't miss the "important" posts in the blogosphere. Whats worse is that there seems to be an element of competition about it. Can I be the guy who everyone turns to? Can I be the guy who spots the next big story? Can I boost my ranking on sites X,Y or Z.

I'm not pointing the finger at Scoble, his stats just made me wonder if, for some, life in the blogosphere is a means or an end in itself?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


"After what seems like centuries Fortnum's is 300 years old"

Statue of anti-Liberty

I just read "9/11 is over" an op-ed piece on nytimes, Thomas L. Friedman says, amongst a lot of other good stuff:

Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore.
you might like to read it too.

I know nothing, I'm not a fortune teller, and you'd be insane to think that I am. This disclaimer was cribbed from an email footer I once received. It is so ridiculous I had to have it for myself.

Statements in this blog that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding my expectations, objectives, anticipations, plans, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking statements include risks and uncertainties such as any unforeseen event or any unforeseen system failures, and other risks. It is important to note that actual outcomes could differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.

Danny Angus Copyright © 2006-2013 (OMG that's seven years of this nonsense)