May 31, 2005
Ok, I spoke too soon about my upgraded DSL connection. For some strange reason, the download speeds have dropped to the same as a 56K modem - ugh. Upload speed is unchanged (and therefore much higher than my download speed). This has been the case for about a week now and I didn't change anything before this happened. So, who should I be yelling at - T-COM as the DSL provider or Congster? Does anyone have an explanation or something I should check first? My router is an SMC2804WBR running the newest firmware (and I have tried an older one - without any improvement). The speed results are the same on different machines connected either by wire or wireless.
May 30, 2005
Europe is missing an opportunity
This mornings keynote by Jesus Villasante (his full title is: Software technologies Head of Unit, Information Society and Media Directorate General, European Commission) from the EU struck a nerve that's been tingling ever since I was over at the OSBC conference earlier this year. In his keynote Mr. Villasante stressed the fact that Europe is moving far too slowly in the Open Source area when compared to the US, Asia or Latin America.
Copied from his slides (on the conference CD):
USA Industry is defining and implementing OSS strategy
ASIA & LA private and public sectors program on OSS
And in his opinion the problems in Europe are:
Why arent we progressing further?
Strong pressure from IPR lobbies and traditional industry.
Weak political sensitivity, visibility and commitment on OSS.
Fragmentation of the OSS community (researchers, policy makers, users).
While it seems to me that these points are certainly true and indeed, Europe is in danger of missing far more than "just" an opportunity, Mr. Villasante was vague on actually how he thinks the EU commission (for example) hopes to change that and "activate Europe" (a title from his slides).
Amsterdam is Open
My first impression of Amsterdam was: I'll be run over either by a bike or a tram. Luckily, so far I have survived and the first day at the HollandOpen conference was pretty interesting. The conference is mainly in English and this is surprising because it is - after all - a Dutch Open Source conference. 400 people attending and the conference contains a wide mix of Open Source related topics. I spoke in the business session, together with Alan Williamson from SpikeSource, Marcel den Hartog from Computer Associates and Francois Letellier from ObjectWeb. We each gave an overview of what our companies are doing in the Open Source business area and how we got there. Other sessions today focussed on Open Government (a topic that seems to be extremely on the move here in the Netherlands), Applications and E-learning. Unfortunately these are in parallel, so you can only listen to one.
They keynotes this morning were from Scott Handy (IBM), Madanmohan Rao (Asian Media Information and Communication centre), Jesus Villasante (EU commission) and Stefaan van Hooydonk (Agfa).
May 29, 2005
A couple of hours before my train leaves for Amsterdam, so I'm busy working out what to pack and which bags to put the various things in. Should be a great 2 days and I'm looking forward to meeting some interesting people.
May 27, 2005
Taming the monster
Another long weekend around here, so the past two days have seen us redecorating the bedroom. After painting the room yesterday, today we tackled the Ikea monster. Some months ago, while my wife was shopping for some small items at one of the Ikea stores, about 12 large boxes (all containing parts of the monster) leapt into her car. They then hid in the cellar until today, when by chance, we discovered them and decided to tackle the beast.
Actually, with one small exception, the whole thing was relatively easy to put together and now takes up one wall of the bedroom with lots of space to store things.
Now about that exception. Doors and hinges. I can never get them to fit properly or do what they are supposed to. I'm sure deep in the bowels of Ikea, there is a disgruntled hinge engineer working on designing new ways of making me curse.
SpikeSource closes $12 million
May 26, 2005
Congratulations to all!
May 25, 2005
Remixing the Intranet - Tim agrees
It's nice to see that I'm not the only one thinking it should be a no-brainer to remix the Intranet following the same principals being used on the Internet by Amazon and friends. Jeremy! quotes Tim Bray on this.
Tim takes the other point of view, saying that Amazon, eBay, Google, Yahoo, and others are doing it the right way. "The stuff that works on the Internet today will work on the Intranet tomorrow" is his argument.
I can sleep now.
May 24, 2005
DSL - cheaper and faster
Over the last couple of weeks I've upgraded my DSL "account". First I ditched my T-Online DSL flatrate and switched to Congster (a cheap subsidiary of the same company). That reduced my flatrate from 29 € / month to 9.95 € / month. And the Congster rate is the same regardless of the underlying DSL speed.
So - because of the saving - I upgraded my T-Com DSL line from 1024/128 kbit/s down/up to 3072/384 kbit down/up. That cost me 8 € more per month. So in total I've saved 12 € per month and have tripled (theoretically at least) my DSL connection.
RedAdmiral - the (ficticious!) Cocoon company
Simula Labs "the Open Source venture partners" aims to find, nurture and launch Open Souce business ventures. They advertise as providing capital and operation infrastructure for Open Source enterprises. From the look of things they plan on finding the right Open Source projects and then capitalize on them by launching a company that then employs the key developers on the project. That company will then provide services around the Open Source project and in so doing provide Simula Labs with the necessary return.
So, for example: Simula Labs may think Cocoon is an ideal project to capitalize on. So they launch a company called - let's say "RedAdmiral". (Actually, RedAdmiral.com is taken, so it would have to be a different name). RedAdmiral launches with a "Leadership team" of: Carsten as VP Architecture, Sylvain will be VP Tools, Gianugo will be VP Sales and Andrew VP Executive Education.Stefano will be VP Cocoon vision (or something like that :-)).
And I'll take 10% for that idea, thank you very much. Life could be so simple sometimes.......
May 22, 2005
Voting in change
I couldn't vote in today's regional election - the Landtagswahl - here in Nordrhein Westfalen (North Rhein Westfalia) but now I'm sitting in front of the TV waiting for the results. Although they aren't in yet - people are already saying that the election will change the face of German politics for months to come. The governing SPD party stands to lose this Bundesland for the first time in 39 years. If they do then it will no doubt cause some disturbance in German politics on a national scale.
So, 6PM and German TV (ZDF) is predicting (based on exit polling and other magic):
- SPD - 37,5 %
- CDU - 45 %
- FDP - 6,5 %
- Green Party - 6 %
This would mean that the CDU will take control. Final results are expected around 10 pm.
My take on this is: The problem with German politics at the moment is the fact that people are voting out the politicians they are fed up with as opposed to voting in politicians they think can actually change something.
Update: The SPD has now surprisingly announced a general election for later this year. And here's the BBC's coverage of tonight's news.
May 21, 2005
Remixing with Cocoon Flow
A day or so ago I ranted about BPM and said:
So, unless I'm missing something - and please do fill me in - why not use some scripting glue like Python, PERL or even Cocoon Flow to chain my services together as I need them - add some logic and that's it.
Andrew seems to have hit the same button last week when giving some Cocoon training:
For some, it's the simplicity of flowscript (which happened this week with another potential customer, when they realised Cocoon's flow control was no more difficult than their expensive workflow engine's language).
I only want to make a dime!
Today I received this email in my inbox:
Thank you for your interest in AdSense for feeds. Unfortunately, we're unable to accept your application for the program at this time. Because AdSense for feeds is currently in beta, we're unable to accept all applicants into the program. If we're able to extend our service to you in the future, we'll be sure to let you know.
There you go. The email doesn't say why I wasn't accepted - which I find strange.
May 19, 2005
Google portal - oh wait - My Google
It's up - here.
Once you've logged in you can personalize your Google homepage with a choice of Gmail, Google News, Movies, Stock Market, Weather, News and quotes.
I just chose Gmail, Google News and BBC News for now. The page displays with those 3 items. Pretty cool - you can now drag the blocks around to rearrange the page. Each block allows you to edit certain parameters. For example you can select how many Gmail items you want to have displayed.
Remix the Intranet!
In the last few weeks I've been looking more into what is commonly called "BPM" - or business process management (here's a link to get you started).
I just don't get it. Whenever I hear people talking about "BPM" or any of it's other acronyms they all emphasize how I can use a neat visual tool to click together my business processes that have become "services". The tool-thing seems to be one of the main selling points - along with XML based "languages" that let you program your process "flow". Program. Yeah right. "The tool is so cool, because it lets you orchestrate your business process easily and business-people can do it". Really?
Ok, so let me get this - there are these business people (used to "programming in Word or Powerpoint") who are now going to use a nice funky GUI-thing to re-orchestrate a business process - what - one a day? Once a week? Once a month? How often does a business process need re-orchestrating once it's set up?
So, unless I'm missing something - and please do fill me in - why not use some scripting glue like Python, PERL or even Cocoon Flow to chain my services together as I need them - add some logic and that's it. After all - isn't that what these languages were built for?
And it seems to me that outside the firewall, people are doing some pretty amazing things chaining services together and remixing the Web. A lot simpler (and cheaper).
So shouldn't the enterprise be adopting this methodology and remixing the Intranet?
Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell and IBM
If you were wondering just what got me to write this post yesterday (and yes I was wondering myself) - there seems to have been something in the matrix that caused other people to speculate on different possibilities.
May 18, 2005
The Open Source business consolidation has begun
Slowly, without much fuss, the Open Source business consolidation has begun. Last week, IBM announced that they would be buying Gluecode to provide a low-end offering in the application server space. So, who's next?
- Novell will be contributing code and engineering resources for the entire JEMS stack
- Novell will contribute its Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) standard-based portlet container and portlet library to JBoss Portal
Could Novell eventually buy JBoss? It would make sense - wouldn't it?
Google launches the public beta of AdSense for feeds. Incoming.
May 15, 2005
May 12, 2005
There were a couple of mixed reactions to my social software session yesterday. At least one person found it good but someone else came up to me and complained (nicely) that I should have had more about wikis. Actually the criticism is ok. The JAX is a very technical conference and I guess wikis are more commonplace inside development projects. Input for next time anyway.
Unwiring the conference
I think this is the first German conference I've been to where I've seen so many open laptops with people hooking up to the Internet to check their mail etc. They still don't do it much during sessions (that's considered to be impolite) but thanks to the WLAN coverage and availability of powerstrips in the "lounge" area, JAX is moving into the "networked" and unwired conference space.
May 11, 2005
Social Software at JAX
Just completed my session on social software at the JAX conference. The aim was to give an overview of the subject and point out how things like wikis, weblogs and rss can be used in the enterprise. Before I started I asked for a show of hands on who was already writing a weblog and none of the roughly 20 attendees showed a hand. This shows how these things are far from commonplace here in Germany - although of course the geeks here are also more interested in hearing about new Java APIs and IoC containers :-).
May 10, 2005
Sessions should be conversations too
Here at JAX there are at times 10 sessions in parallel and choosing one to go to is really difficult. This is not made easier by the fact that some of the sessions are - I have to say it - absolute crap. If you haven't got to the subject of your presentation after 15 minutes - then sorry, I'm leaving. If you start plugging your product or company before getting to the theme of the session then again, I'm gone. And hey - it's really really bad to do a session on a subject and announce at the beginning of the session that you don't really know very much about it - and how "someone else" made you speak. Ugh.
IBM set to buy Gluecode
If you're looking to expand your Open Source strategy, then why not just buy a company. Easy. Analysts estimate the price to be "at less than $100 million". Considering Gluecode was started only 2 years ago - that doesn't seem bad at all. Another sign that Open Source business is becoming mainstream. The move also gets rid of a potential "disruptive" competitor for IBM.
May 09, 2005
JAX 2005 in Frankfurt
I'll be spending the next few days here in Frankfurt at the JAX 2005 conference. In this year the JAX has moved to the Congress Centrum in the middle of the city. 1300 attendees are expected and today is the workshop and pre-conference day. Carsten and I are both speaking and our company has a booth here too. Drop me a line if you'll be here and be sure to find me and say hi.
May 05, 2005
Tiger won't print
I upgraded to Tiger a couple of days ago and things were spiffy. Until I came to print something today. The dialog box for the printer appears but none of the buttons (except Cancel) respond. So I can't print to my HP930C or even save as PDF. Rebooting my Powerbook didn't help. Perhaps I need to reinstall the 930C drivers? Any ideas?
May 04, 2005
Long weekend ahead
A long weekend starts here in Germany tomorrow on Father's Day. Most people take Friday off and so we will also be spending our weekend away visiting friends. But they have Internet access so all is well - oh wait, that's not the reason we're going - ahem. On Sunday I'll be heading over to Frankfurt in preparation for Jax 2005. More on that next week.
Flattening my world
I've just started to read Tom Friedman's book "The world is flat" and already it's bringing much of my current thinking into a hard-bound context. Doc Searls has written an excellent review - part 1 and part 2 - of the book from an Open Source and educational perspective.
May 03, 2005
Get there early!
Students at MIT will be holding the Time Traveler Convention on May 7th. Here are the details:
- May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)
- (event starts at 8:00pm)
- East Campus Courtyard, MIT
- 42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W
- (42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees)
The students reckon that they'll only need one convention because, after all, all time travelers will be able to attend on this day anyway. If no-one from the future shows up then I guess that means time-travel is indeed impossible. Or does it?
May 01, 2005
Five year itch
There is currently a lot of buzz about all the "new" Open Source business models. At the end of May, I'll be speaking at the Holland Open conference on "surviving the five year itch", which is basically the story of what I've been doing in the past five years when it comes to Open Source business. A version of the presentation - which hopefully is understandable enough just with the slides - is here.