February 28, 2006
Cows, horses and sheep
There are cows, horses and sheep on a meadow. Not counting the cows, there are 12 animals. Not counting the horses, there are 22 animals. Not counting the sheep there are 26 animals.
How many animals of each kind are there on the meadow. You may only solve this using educated guesswork and trying to arrive at a solution by adapting your guess (i.e. no computer, no algebra). How did you get to the solution?
(This is one of my daughter's - age 10 - maths homework for today)
Update: And don't read the comments before trying.
Web Monday - in Germany
Tim Bonnemann alerted me via Email to the fact that there are various Web Monday events happening now in Germany. I've just signed up for the nearest (in Bielefeld) and suggest you check out the Wiki and see if you can make it too. Perhaps I'll demo the alpha version of TagTagger - ha ha.
February 27, 2006
Microsoft is scheduled to announce Origami this week. There's already plenty of buzz in the Net about this. A trailer that shows more about the device can be found here. Plenty of people have also spotted some Mac'ness in the video. As a lifestyle device, it seems rather large. (Thanks Philipp).
With Apple set to announce some "fun" products this week, it's "hang-on-to-your-creditcard" time again. Rumors are suggesting that both announcements will actually be on the same day.
February 25, 2006
Is Karl Pilkington a scripted bot?
Karl could well be a scripted bot. Take a look at this article. If it's true (and I find myself going "hmmmm") then it is certainly a stroke of genius from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
February 24, 2006
Hallo Pizza Paderborn - not recommended
We're a hungry family of five waiting for our ordered pizzas to arrive. We ordered them from Hallo Pizza - a new pizza service, that recently replaced our regular one (they closed down). They advertise the fact that they'll deliver the order within 30 minutes.
We've been waiting now for 105 minutes. We've rung them twice. Still no pizzas in sight. Luckily there are other pizza places we can ring in the future - we certainly won't be ordering from Hallo Pizza again.
Update: We cancelled the order after waiting for 130 minutes. No pizzas.
Mabber - a German startup!
Earlier this evening, I read about Mabber over on TechCrunch. A German startup - wow - something I just had to check out. Mabber is Web and mobile based IM application that is getting some really good reviews.
I'm playing around with the service now (thanks to someone sending me an invitation) - looks nice so far.
It's really great to see a German startup getting some limelight at last and I hope they're successful.
OSBC article in Computerwoche
February 23, 2006
That's a quote
I think it's the second time I've actually been quoted in a printed article - instead of having to resort to writing the article myself. Last weeks printed issue of the German IDG Computerwoche contains a run-up article to OSBC ("Open Source - die zweite Generation" - available behind the paywall here) which focusses on the growing number of Open Source companies such as Alfresco and SpikeSource.
February 22, 2006
San Francisco coffee shop incubators
I want to go back already.
Forget Palo Alto garages — San Francisco coffee shops are where to get your startup off the ground. Internet cafes are emerging as an important place to get work done, hold meetings and network.
Note-to-Europeans: The meaning of "coffee shop" and the wares you can "use" there may be slightly different where you live.
Build the TouchCalendar - please!
This is a subject I've talked about before and it still remains my day-2-day problem #1. Especially now my wife is on the first 4 weeks of a 9 week course - leaving my mother-in-law (afternoon shift) and myself (the rest) to herd the kids.
We have a "largest we could find" paper wall calendar in the kitchen. It has five columns (1 for each member of the family) and you wouldn't believe just how small they make those day-boxes. It contains the various appointments, "need-to-knows" for each day for each member of the family. A non-trivial problem.
However it does not sync to any of my digital calendars. And that is a major problem. Sitting in front of the wall calendar typing stuff into my laptop calendar is just a PITA. Also, the data is practically out-of-synch when I leave the kitchen. So, scheduling days I can be away from home is really difficult as I first have to check with the wall-calendar (or by proxy) whether the day is ok.
How expensive can it be to build a simple touch-based panel that sits on the wall (say size of an A4 piece of paper) and provides (just) a calendar application that is able to sync out via WiFi or Bluetooth and can do that in some format. I know the calendar format problem is still waiting to be solved - but hey - I reckon any format would do for now.
I feel fine
By the Beatles was the #1 Billboard song on my birthday back in 1964. Cool.
February 21, 2006
Open Source Smash-up
This site is dedicated to the creation of Open Source Mashups, a series of open source applications combined to create a completely new and integrated experience.
Formally known as a "Stack" I guess. SpikeSource take note.
Some days just freak me out. Really.
But maybe all that's missing is a clearer explanation of just what Open Source Mashup is supposed to be, how it's supposed to work and - well everything really. Looks like an empty GForge installation to me.
And no Matt, I don't think it's a cool idea either. Sorry.
Ricky Gervais podcast to go commercial
The Ricky Gervais podcast will soon be available only in a pay-for-download version. Wrong move Ricky. I'm surprised they didn't try for the paid-ads-in-podcast first.
February 19, 2006
An Open Source fable
One day a CIO going to the cubical of his head-programmer found that he was using his spare time to work on an Open Source project. The CIO was angry at first because the lead-programmer and other programmers were wasting their time in some community and hacking at code that everyone could see. The CIO thought the programmers were playing a trick on him by working on this free software. But the CIO invited the head-programmer into his office to explain what he was doing. And after a while, the CIO discovered to his delight that the company could profit from using that particular Open Source project. To gain more profit, the CIO told the head-programmer and colleagues to stop working on the Open Source projects themselves and to use all their time to find other Open Source projects the company could profit from by using. The head-programmer spent all his time searching for the right projects and his colleagues spent all their time integrating them into the corporate IT environment. The CIO profited from the reduced costs, faster development and more flexible integration and was very happy. As the CIO profited, he grew greedy and thinking he could profit even more - fired all his programmers and went to the community himself to get them to do all his work for him. And was met with silence.
February 18, 2006
Here's a shot of my ride home arriving in San Francisco Friday to pick me up. Oh, and a few hundred other travelers too. Note the soccer theme on the nose (WorldCup!) and the WiFi-Satelite dome just behind the upper deck.
As you can see from the picture, Friday was the best day - weatherwise - to leave.
Rain - on both sides
I left San Francisco in the rain yesterday and looking out the window here at Frankfurt Airport - more rain. The flight over was non-eventfull this time, however the WLAN wasn't working until we were somewhere over Greenland. And by that time I was too drowsy to give it a go (sorry Martin). I did manage to sleep a bit, so I'm not feeling as tired as I normally do - but I'm sure it will hit me later.
Now a couple of hours wait and then it's back to Paderborn.
February 17, 2006
San Francisco - my love affair
My wife used the term "city of your dreams" in an email this morning - and she's right. My last day in San Francisco and as always I'm torn by being happy to return to the family (I really got to love Skype on this trip) and I'm also wehmütig (nice German word, fits well) at having to leave tomorrow.
February 16, 2006
[OSBC] The commercialization of Open Source 2.0
I'm slowly winding down after the second and last day attending OSBC. Today I spent some of my time wandering around and talking to the many Open Source companies that were in the exhibit hall.
Last year I was surprised by the level of Open Source commercialization here in the US compared to Europe. Well, this year I was perhaps even more surprised to see how the commercialization has spread far beyond companies like SpikeSource offering stacks and services around Open Source components to companies who - to put it bluntly - would seem to be going the Open Source way just because Open Source is the new black.
I fail to see how some of those companies expect to be successful, when all they seem to be doing is releasing the source code of their product (or a lesser version) under an Open Source license and offering a commercial version for a subscription fee. Oh boy.
On the other hand, I think this "quiet desperation" of individual commercial software vendors turning to Open Source in any way possible is but a shadow of what is to come.
I also took some photos of some of the speakers today.
February 15, 2006
[OSBC] John Roberts - SugarCRM
Great keynote by John Roberts from SugarCRM. Down-to-earh and refreshing to hear him talk about his views on Open Source and his company. He also has some interesting figures showing just how much companies like Salesforce spend on sales and marketing compared to development.
Matt has additional details from the talk.
Simplify those subscriptions
With more and more software companies moving from a licensing model to subscription based charges - how will the CxOs of large corporations be able to manage all the different terms and conditions of the various service subscriptions?
Looks like an opportunity for either software solutions or companies that offer "subscription consolidation".
Companies working to offer subscription based models for their services will need to make sure customers aren't scared off by adding yet another layer of complexity to the already existing problem of the different Open Source licenses used for the software.
SugarCRM resells Spike Net
The press release details the agreement, which basically means that corporations deploying SugarCRM can now purchase additional support for the Spike Stack for Sugar Professional. The introductory price is $1890 for a one-year subscription. This also includes a one year subscription to MySQL network.
[OSBC] Mitch Kapor
Mitch Kapor gave the closing keynote today - Ross has the details.
Technorati Tags: osbc
[OSBC] Afternoon panels and meeting Kim
The afternoon at OSBC was taken up by panels. I'm not too keen on this form of a session, but the OSBC panel discussions weren't too bad. In particular I liked the panel "pitching the CxO", where 3 companies (Alfresco, Zmanda, LucidEra) each had 20 minutes to pitch their offering at a group of CxOs and answer their questions.
After the panels I had the chance to sit down and talk to Kim Polese, CEO of SpikeSource. It was a good chance to get more background on SpikeSource and compare notes on how Open Source in Europe differs from the US.
February 14, 2006
[OSBC] Blackberry mania
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a Blackberry here. I feel left out because I can't run around the hotel staring into a small screen to see if someone has messaged me. WLAN works in parts of the hotel, so it's not that bad - but still.
[OSBC] Product pitches
Intermingled with the keynotes this morning were a total of six demos from companies starting up in the Open Source space. They were - in order of appearance - Alfresco, SugarCRM, Project.net, Pentaho, rPath and EnterpriseDB.
Unfortunately - and I guess this is a sign of the times - these were 5 minute product pitches with little to no link-in to Open Source specifics. The tenor was more along the lines of: "This is my product - oh and by the way - it's (now) Open Source."
Another sig(h)n of the growing commercialization in Open Source.
Technorati Tags: osbc
[OSBC] Keynotes galore
OSBC started this morning in San Francisco and I'm using the 2 hr midday break to blog a quick post. The conference kicked off with a welcome address from Matt. He mentioned the news of Oracle buying Sleepycat.
After which, Jonathan Schwarz did the first keynote. He used the talk about community contribution to announce OpenSparc.net. Sun's initiative to Open Source a chip, basically allowing you to fabricate your own. Microsoft's Bill Hilf then took the stage and talked about "coopetition". Microsoft is working with companies like JBoss and SugarCRM to ensure they work well on the Windows platform.
Last keynote was Nicholas Carr comparing the utility revolution in electricity supply with the pending revolution in IT.
Technorati Tags: osbc
I biked the bridge
This morning I caught the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf and rented a bicycle. My goal - to bike the bridge and return via the ferry from Sausalito. It was a pleasant ride and highly recommended. It took me a total of about 2 hours - and that was with a few stops for pictures. The weather in San Francisco is somewhat different to what I left behind on Saturday - luckily I brought some shorts and t-shirts with me.
February 13, 2006
Marketing Open Source
If you're an Open Source software company and looking to either market your offerings in Europe or extend your European presence into additional countries, then maybe Indiginox can help.
Indiginox was formed by my long-time friend Ashley Steele, who has many many years of experience working for Microsoft on a European and national level doing similar things for their products and developer programs.
About a year ago Ashley and I got talking about Open Source and after some evangelism, the idea was born to combine something Microsoft really knows how to do - with the "new" kid on the block - Open Source. Since then, Ashley has been soaking up the "Open Source way" like some giant sponge and you can find his ideas in the brochure available from the website (not much else there yet) or here.
Of course Indiginox can help other (non Open Source) software-related companies as well.
(Disclaimer: I'm helping Ashley out with things like hosting the site)
February 12, 2006
Flying social networks
Here's an idea I came up with at 36000 feet over Canada - North of Winnipeg. Something for Ross perhaps.
A transatlantic flight from Europe to the West Coast takes around 10 hours. 10 hours where a community has been dynamically formed to sit in a metal tube and spend that time in various phases of sleep, eating, watching movies and perhaps even working. Add to this dynamic community a readily available WiFi connection (we'll see that on more flights soon) and you have potential - potential for an in-flight Wiki.
Set up a flight-specific Wiki - clean slate - at the start of the flight. Give everyone on board free WiFi access to the Wiki (I saw enough laptops and other devices on my flight) and see what happens.
- Ride sharing from the airport to downtown
- Tips from returning residents for vistors ("eat there", "don't go there")
- In-flight personal home-pages ("I'm in Seat 54B and looking for some fun tonight")
After the flight, the airlines could then just add the Wiki to a growing farm of flight-Wikis - to form a kind of expanding knowledge base.
In-flight entertainment 2.0.
Here's looking at you, kid
Last night, I stumbled - somewhat sleepily - down to Union Square and managed to get at least one decent shot from the Chinese New Year parade.
February 11, 2006
When public becomes too public
On the flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco, I got a seat in one of the exit rows, meaning plenty of leg space. Sitting between a chemist on his way to Stanford to play with the SLAC and a guy from Encirq - a startup in the embedded space - made for some interesting in-flight conversations.
Speaking of which, passengers have the possibility of listening in to the cockpit communications on channel 9. This public service is pretty interesting (if you're into that sort of thing) until things become public that you may not want to hear.
I certainly wasn't particularly happy hearing the patched-in cabin-communications describing a "level one threat" from a passenger somewhere behind me. By accident the whole internal communication about the matter (including the pilot telling the cabin-crew he wasn't going to open the cockpit door anytime soon) was "live on channel 9". Until one of the passengers pointed this out to a member of the crew and the channel was shut down. Evidently the passenger became a threat by acting strangely near the lavatory.
Oh and one more thing. Next time you're on a plane - make sure you give the stewardess the eye - yepp, flirt with her for all its worth. You see, one of the reasons given for the guy being a threat was "he avoided my eye-contact".
Sitting in Frankfurt airport and treating myself to some T-Mobile WiFi. It turns out that I was actually re-booked on a direct flight (United) from Frankfurt to San Francisco. On the one hand this is great because I get there about 4 hours earlier and don't have to change planes. On the downside I will probably have to wait for the return trip to try out in-flight WLAN.
February 10, 2006
Google does email hosting now
Google will host your domain email for you.
Create passionate employees!
Berin writes on how Open Source has allowed him to keep a passion going and be able to "work on stuff that matters". His post again reminds me to note that the "create passionate users" meme floating around is obviously correct, but that I consider a "create passionate employees" meme far more important for a corporation.
If your employees are passionate about what they do and are able to express that passion - this in return will infect your customers/users/analysts/VCs etc. Today, the emphasis of the tools of the "new conversation" are still very much from the corporation to the customers. Not enough is being done to turn the conversation inward.
s-No-w trip today
My trip to San Francisco got off to an interesting start today in that it didn't. My flight from Paderborn to Munich was delayed by about 2 hours due to the snow that has swamped Southern parts of Germany. That meant I wouldn't make it to the Munich-SF flight in time.
I'm now booked to try Paderborn -> Frankfurt -> Dulles -> San Francisco tomorrow.
February 09, 2006
I think I'm in for some sort of weather shock. I'm slowly packing my stuff for the trip over to San Francisco tomorrow and I find myself looking out of the window (around freezing, snow all day) and the weather picture for San Francisco (a high of 23 C, sunny). I just couldn't bring myself to buy some sun blocker in the supermarket this afternoon (it was hard enough finding it) and my pre-arranged clothes make it look as though I'm headed for the Alps.
Cocoon on eBay
February 08, 2006
Alfresco secures $8 million series B
I can't find an official link yet, but I've just seen that Alfesco has secured $8 million in new funding from Mayfield and Accel. From the press release:
The new funds will be used to develop the breadth of the product offering and expand the infrastructure to support the growing global customer base and community.
Later: Here's the link.
New iPod nano
This was a rather quiet product launch - a new iPod nano (1 GB, 149$).
February 07, 2006
Red Hat in Suse-Land
Something I forgot to mention last week. At the "Open Source meets Business" conference", I was surprised by the number of speakers who listed Red Hat as being their Linux of choice. Just a subjective observation but interesting nonetheless (especially in Nürnberg/Nuremberg).
JBoss headed for Oracle?
You, the community
I get increasingly aggravated with people who, on the one side like to profit from Open Source but who don't consider themselves part of the community and therefore don't get involved. Most of those people can't even be bothered to join the mailing-lists.
In case you are still wondering what the advantages of being part of a community are - read this, this and then this. Total elapsed time: 1hr and 10 minutes. Try getting that kind of SLA from your vendor.
Of course I know that it doesn't always work like that - but if it did for your major head-banging problem - what could that end up being worth to you?
Update: Just to make it clear before I get lots of mails from members of communities where things don't perhaps work as well as in the example above - the point I am really stressing is that you have to become part of the community to profit at all. If you never join then you most certainly will not profit.
The sad state of European technology
While the previous couple of posts brings me at least a little hope that there is still some fire left in European technology - when it comes to things like Web 2.0 and Open Source - I feel distinctly despondent when comparing the scene here with what is happening in the US.
Paul Fisher has some statistics on European Web 2.0 funding - which runs at around 10% of that of the US. I'd be interested in seeing some similar survey figures for Open Source startups - but I'm betting they would be about the same or even (much) lower.
Collax recieves funding
Not often I can blog about a European Open Source company receiving funding - so today's my lucky day. Maybe.
Today, Collax announced receiving funding from Intel Capital, bringing the total Series A funding to $8.4 million. Collax is a Munich based vendor of Linux server technology and already has investments from Atlas Venture and Wellington Partners.
I wonder what the investment from Intel Capital will mean for the company's European location.
Making sense of Open Source
SourceSense is the new kid on the block of Open Source companies. We have a very clear mission and vision, we did our homework in terms of business plan, market research and all the yadda-yadda, but we're still missing a logo!
Create a great logo for them and you could win yourself a shiny new MacBook Pro!
I remember reading somewhere that Burger King have a simple philosophy when it comes to setting up one of their branches. They just find somewhere near an existing McDonalds. The argument being that McDonalds have done all the necessary market research for them before setting up their own branch.
If I was Google, then I'd put out a few APIs and wait to see what other (faster?) companies build on top of the APIs. Then I would wait a bit longer to see which of the various services becomes successful/popular and just build that same service myself. Easy - huh?
February 04, 2006
Proud parents release a new Daisy
February 03, 2006
Disrupting banks with LAMP
One of the most interesting things I took away from last week's conference "Open Source meets business" was from a session on how a business department from a large German bank is using the LAMP stack to build internal applications themselves.
Normally, the IT world in financial institutions is strictly defined by the "IT department" on the one side and the "business department" on the other. The business folks define what it is they want and hand off the specs to the IT department who then implement the application. Obviously there is a divide between both departments and discussions rage as to whether the required functions are necessary and whether the predicted IT costs are in fact correct. I'll spare you the details.
In the session, the current IT world of this bank was described as being split into three distinct areas. Office solutions (Excel macros etc.) in the lower third. Mainframe and J2EE applications in the upper third and applications built on LAMP in the middle third (mid-range applications).
The interesting fact being that the business folks are driving the applications built on the LAMP stack. In this particular case, the 'suits' define what it is they want and get resources that then implement the solution for them, practically bypassing the IT department. The argument being that the LAMP stack allows for rapid application development and a more agile approach to the whole development process.
Interesting times ahead.
The Silent Penguin announces IPBO to take place at OSBC
For immediate release
Paderborn, Germany, February 2nd
Today, The Silent Penguin announced plans to offer an IPBO at the OSBC conference, to take place February 14th and 15th in San Francisco.
"The growing success of Open Source in the enterprise coupled with an increasing demand for Open Source services has convinced me to 'get it out there'", The Silent Penguin announced today at the IPBO press conference, "I'm not going to wait until the 'so-called' Open Source companies discover this as a profitable business model for themselves and reap even more VC. We're all part of the community you know, warm fuzzy feelings and everything."
The initial public button offering will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, commencing September 14th 8:00 am local time.
Daddy won't fund my company!
Open Source in Europe - conferences
The second Holland Open Software conference will take place from the 15th-17th of June 2006. Also, it looks as though an OSBC Europe is set to take place in London around the same time. My nagging (that's putting it kindly) Matt seems to have paid off at last. As previously mentioned, O'Reilly is putting on the second EuroOSCON in September.
What with last weeks "Open Source meets business" conference here in Germany, it looks as though the Open Source scene is heating up here in Europe. And about time too.
February 02, 2006
4th Blog Birthday
It looks like I missed my blog birthday yesterday. Four years!
What am I going to use if for - no idea at the moment. Lots of mumblings about this and that. We'll see.
February 01, 2006
Always On - Not
Yesterday, I received a couple of emails from people asking me why they hadn't seen me popping up on iChat/AIM lately. I've always found "chat" to be too invasive for me and lately have been trying to avoid firing up the client. I'm nearly always "around" - and try to answer emails quickly. Actually I find a rapid fire email exchange just as good as a chat - and I can always opt to delay answering the email until I feel like it. I just don't like chat that much. it's probably an age thing.