provoking what happens in IT

oracle loses to microsoft sql

this is going to be interesting.

according to a new report by NSG software, microsoft’s sql server product is more robust than oracle.

I’m not gonna comment here….


November 24, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

contractus horribillis

sounds like a disease you don’t want to catch when you’re on tour with the lads somewhere in the tropics.

well it’s actually horribe contracts.

it’s what my life is at the moment.

I’m going through a contract review for facilities management with my company at the moment and watching the legal counsels draw up contracts with no friggin idea on:

. what to put in there
. how a relationship actually works
. what technology does, how it works, who pays for it when it breaks and who takes responsibility

the problem with this is the output is a document that few people understand, but because it can hold a door open in a steady wind, the legal counsel believe that it is a solid contract. the management then see this is a sign of a job well done, despite the issues.

in my earlier years, I got taught 2 very important lessons in contracts that I still carry with me today:

1. when you build a contract, build it properly and fairly for both parties and the relationship will exist beyond the term of the contract. short change the process and you short change yourself and the other party.

1a. which will only lead to both parties being upset with each other. and there endeth the relationship.

2. the strength of a relationship is always tested by the detail of a contract. compromise in a contract after the event only leads to tears and disgruntlement. see 1a above.

why don’t people get this message is beyond me…

November 22, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

now I can buy an ipod

over the past 3 months I have decided to warehouse all of my cd collection and move completely digital. as opposed to just adding new ones to winmp whenever I get them.

this is due to a number of reasons:

  • I have over 700 cds
  • I have 2.5 yr old that now knows how to get into my stereo cabinet, load up a cd etc
  • I thought it would be good from a storage perspective – I can put all of the cds in lockable plastic crates in the storage cupboards, instead of 2.5 yr old working out how he could make them fly
  • I’m thinking of an ipod type device to move some of my music on – or maybe the rumoured ifone by apple next year

so each nite I try to burn as many cds as I can – about 20 in a sitting – down to 320kbps mp3 setting.

I’m about 140 cds short of finishing, and when I do finish I’ll probably knock up a media centre machine for the family to use. I’ve now filled up about 50gb in hard drive space.

but it got me thinking:

  1. what teenage child of the ipod demographic has 50gb (legitimately) of music that they could save, if they had originally owned it
  2. why would a teenage ipod demographic need 60gb of ipod drive to store data
  3. how anal am I now going to be about saving this music data vs just having the cds around, after going through the punishing exercise of converting the damn things
  4. what happens to an ipod drive over time of adding / deleting music in terms of its performance – does it need defragging or any other type of system maintenance (or have I spurned a new app for the ipod?)
  5. if your ipod dies in the backside from a disk error, is the hard drive recoverable like other hard drives

all these questions and more…because now I am more scared than ever of losing my music!

November 20, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 2 Comments

dogs breakfast for dating

on the weekend I submitted my information to fairfax publishing to obtain a user id that I never wanted, just so that my wife and I could check out houses online through and store them temporarily (in a checklist).

so for that I get bombarded now with fairfax’s self promoting material about their sites.

today’s episode is how they have now just released a new site for fairfax’s acquisition of

I have to tell you, these guys should not have written to me. I would be ashamed to call this a new site. it’s disgusting in layout and design and something I would have expected in 1997.

the ‘new on rsvp this week’ depicts three photos of people who, quite frankly, are not attracting me in any way shape or form to the site.

call this harsh, but bugger me, with so many sites on the web now that have great design, especially with all of these funky web 2.0 sites, bad design for a major commercial site with a claimed 900,000 members, is just not on.

in fact, it’s nothing short of disgusting and if they were working for today, they wouldn’t be.

November 16, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 3 Comments

ms dewey

the new search engine on the block…for those who want to be dictated to from an attractive woman by the name of janina gavankar rather than having a text box.

check ms dewey out.

November 15, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | Leave a comment

great blog on truffles

it’s mufty day. no writing about technology. but one thing that I do love is truffles. yes the things that grow in the ground in france and are hunted out by dogs.

some people say they taste like cr@p. I like their taste, ground up, over certain things like omelettes.

so if you are interested in a well created blog with imagery that talks about the blogger’s recent dinner at Alain Ducasse’s restaraunt, then go to amatuer gourmet.

November 10, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

fireworks and back passages

ok so this is not tech related but funny as all heck.

if you’ve seen jackass, then you’ll get an idea for what this guy was probably trying to do but it went south, or north as the case may be.

November 10, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

getting ready to die early

as I said before, yesterday I was at the get ready gig for microsoft with about 2000 other punters.

while I was waiting in line for registration, I was casting my eye over the crowd and couldn’t help noticing how many major lard asses there were there. I mean real big pizza, beer and donut eating (no shovelling) dudes there. there would have been an unhealthily average collective weight of 120kg per person there. I wish I had of taken a foto of it.

now I’m not saying that I am super fit or super slim; I am mere mortal with 2 kids, a full time job, founder of a charity and have a consultancy on the side. so I don’t get my 5 bike rides in a week like I used to.

however, I can see my feet and genitals from any position without the use of any device or assistance from another human being.

I was appalled at what we are doing to ourselves as a collective group of professionals. so much so that my infrastructure manager and I left the summit early and went to kfc for their new wicked wings meal deal.

all jokes aside, I think we are killing ourselves as a group…

November 9, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 1 Comment

taking one for the team

ok so we had bit of a hiccup in this post. I was trying to edit it and it got deleted instead. go figure. so here is the guff again.

yesterday I was invited to the microsoft get ready launch for vista and office 2007. 2000 kids in shorts and t-shirts wanting to be sold the marketing hype. me in a suit feeling out of place, overdressed and potentially wasting my time.

obviously the point of the day was enlist all the punters into the get ready scheme. and while I have been outspoken against office 2007 beta 2 and vista in its early releases, I have come around at least to office 2007 (it has some nice features, new ui and with the tech refresh it no longer crashes on simple functions). I will admit to three things here:

1. I have been using office 2007 beta now for 5 months and it is now quite a solid product

2. this does not change my view about the requirement to upgrade in my environment for all users based on the new functionality – I still don’t think that it adds any more value overall in our environment

3. I have not played with vista since, although when I have the chance I will be reinstalling it on another machine

apart from all of this, the biggest thing for me was the attached/unattached approach that

basically microsoft were going on about innovation, gen y, the need for a more collaborative environment and so on and so forth.

when the vp from gartner got up, he started talking about the movement of value in the s+p 500 over the past 20 years or so and that microsoft had been working to build a new set of products to meet the marketspace. not once did he point out anything good or bad about the software from a gartner point of view. but the mere fact that he was a guest speaker for the keynote presentation means that gartner:

. has most likely financially benefitted from their presence on stage from microsoft

. has most likely placed in the minds of a number of people there that gartner subliminally supports vista and office 2007

. has now in one sense made it impossible for them to perform an honest appraisal on vista and office 2007 in the near future

. has, in my opinion, broken the rule that analysts in the gartner space have – fence sitting for the sake of the vendor. when you play in this space, you make the call on the goods and the bads

I was at best, suprised by gartner’s appearance and statements. at worst, I was appalled that someone who was meant to be unbiased would perform such an act.

November 8, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 1 Comment

web 2.0 beta

so the saga continues.

after yesterday’s discussion on web 2.0 and dave’s comments about o’reilly, I thought I would go back to o’reilly for the word.

O’Reilly Media and CMP launched a conference that showcased the innovators who were driving it. When O’Reilly’s Dale Dougherty came up with the term “Web 2.0” during a brainstorming session, we knew we had the name for the conference.

…Web 2.0 is much more than just pasting a new user interface onto an old application. It’s a way of thinking, a new perspective on the entire business of software — from concept through delivery, from marketing through support.”

So there we have it – web 2.0 was connived to name a conference: just like “the ripple effect”, “get ready” and all of the other names given to overhype things to get people’s interest. 

I have got one response to this – check rational unified process and the iterative development process that was developed in the late 80s and refined in the 90s.

iteratively develop.

that is, take one step, prove it, take another, prove it, and repeat the process. prove the things that don’t work and finesse the things that do, making them production ready.

this stuff has always existed.

the web now makes it easier for this to do because you don’t have to package and repackage iso files on to a floppy or cd and sent to customers. microsoft just had 86,000 beta testers for office 2007 and vista in australia alone. and office 2007 and vista are so ‘not-web 2.0’.

me, I’m still looking for the big hitter here that really says web 2.0 is something new and I ain’t seeing it.

it’s just business as usual and I suspect I will make people angry over my point of view as well.

oh, and for the pundits who believe that rational is for the old school software dev, then think again, there’s a lot going on in rational for the ajax crowd.

November 8, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 3 Comments

web 2.0 alpha

I have been dwelling on this means for some time and have sat on the sidelines listening to the rhetoric from a number of camps about what it is, who owns it and what it will and won’t deliver.

and the more I read about anything related to IT nowadays, the more I hear about web 2.0. it seems as though, as a journo, if you submit a story with web 2.0 in it you’ll get a run.

interestingly enough, when I went to a recent conference that had a focus session on web 2.0 I wasn’t convinced that the people espousing to have web 2.0 products knew what they were talking about it. some years ago I read an article in scientific american about the new symantic web that would not be based on the current trust principles (in http) that the current web is based on. this was meant to be the second generation of the web that it made it more secure and flexible that the current infrastructure that we have (and love/hate).

here’s my take so far – there is no web 2.0. just a bunch of products that use ajax or something similar in delivering something more functional to the user. ie the increase the functionality and experience.

this increase in functionality, for those that can’t code, comes at the price of security. already I have had these discussions and arguments with the devs that work for me.

I look at it from this perspective. version 2.0 is supposed to mean that things have gotten better. if you increase functionality but reduce security, especially in this day and age, how have you moved forward? I don’t think so. one could use a dozen analogies to describe this.

to me it seems like web 2.0 is just another over-hyped alpha release that will go down in history with ibm’s m-business and all of the other IT marketing buzzwords of the past 10 years.

November 7, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 2 Comments

new copyright laws

I am a member of the Internet Industry Association of Australia and so I get a lot of details on what is being proposed at a number of levels. at the moment, the new Copyright Amendment Bill is being passed into australian law, in a half day session before the ponies run in the melbourne cup.

I support what the IIA is trying to do at the moment and here is an excerpt of their current notice to members about the new laws.

 ‘We have identified many unintended consequences of the new laws which for the first time of ANY country in the world, impose CRIMINAL penalties on individuals – for activities which copyright lawyers themselves are having difficulty interpreting.

The 30 pages of restricted uses (‘fair dealing’ exceptions) are ambiguous and technologically specific, therefore soon outmoded. The possibility that someone might inadvertently fall foul of these is very real – for example making a copy of a video to lend to a friend or making a backup copy of iTunes library in case your computer crashes.

Taping a school performance and uploading it on the family website now will be a criminal offence if the site is publicly accessible and the family has not secured permission to reproduce the music. Performance of an unauthorised work in a ‘place of public entertainment’ whatever that means, will also be a criminal offence. Arguably, and there is nothing on the face of the legislation to counter this: singing ‘Happy Birthday’

in a public park at a birthday picnic for instance may be an offence; the act of recording it for a website will be a separate criminal offence as will the possession of equipment for making such a recording.

That these are strict liability offences means that users will not be able to argue that they didn’t know the actions were illegal. For simple offences, the penalties are up to $6600 per offence, unless you choose to pay an on the spot fine of $1320 per offence. The copying of each song is a separate offence. This will be administered by the police.

So the provision of a *single album* with 16 songs on it to a third party under the strict liability threshold will attract penalities of up to $105,600. There is also jail time if the offences are tried summarily.

Compare that to the penalty from stealing a single CD from a shop (restitution and maybe a small fine) and you will see the gross injustice here. A child of 14 who is tried under these provisions or subject to this level of penalty will have their lives ruined – one legal academic has referred to the scale of these penalties as ‘suicide-inducing’.

The mere possession of a device capable of making an infringing copy will now be a criminal offence. An infringing copy is a copy that falls outside of the 30 pages of fair dealing provisions – again there is great uncertainty about what these entail. This will potentially catch owners of PCs, mobile phones, iPods, DVD burners. The Microsoft Zune player has been identified as one example of a prohibited device under our laws because it permits the wireless sharing of a song for use three times before it deletes itself. This act will be illegal. Again the same penalties will apply. Separate offences for the possession of the device and the distribution of the songs. No intent or knowledge elements required.

I have been in touch with international lawyers for some of our member companies who are gravely concerned about the precedent these new laws will create internationally and the effect on their operations in Australia. It may well be that Australians are denied new services because the laws here are perceived as being too tough and or too uncertain.

The new provisions may also reduce the bargaining position of members seeking to negotiate licensing arrangements with local rights holders.

That their content is now subject to such stingent protections, highly limited exceptions and backed by criminal sanctions will have implications for the cost of legally provided content in Australia compared to the rest of the world. This in turn may have implications for broadband uptake.

As a consequence of the foregoing – and in particular the manner in which these laws are being rammed through Parliament – the IIA will embark on a public media campaign to alert the public about what is in store.’

November 7, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | Leave a comment

saddam goes down

you don’t need me to tell you about this, but saddam is going down.

as many of you would know, I promoted mapped up a little while ago. the biggest item everywhere around the world being blogged about at this point in time is saddam. the way that mapped up works is by showing who’s blogging about what at any point in time. and it does this quite well when you have it running in the background on your desktop.

so it puts up little discreet bubbles describing what blogs are being written about.

it’s kind of disconcerting having ‘saddam is going down’ 60 times an hour.

November 6, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 1 Comment

car haters and car-ma

I took my subaru forester down to car lovers this afternoon to get washed. I know, I know, this is a departure from technology. but it isn’t in a way.

I take my own bucket, sponge and car wash soap, not because I am cheap, but the guy who details my car for me tells me the reason that my paint fades is because of previously using the concentrated stuff in the mix at car lovers. so he has put me on to this macguires soap and wax lite stuff. works well and my paint doesn’t fade anymore.

anyway, the brains of the operation of car lovers, the guy who hangs around making sure that the money goes in the spray units, doesn’t bother putting up a sign stating that one of the booths is not working. so car after car, including me, thinks that they’ve hit the jackpot by getting into an empty booth straight off and not having to wait.

after falling for this, and then washing my car in another booth, I came out to dry the car. some other punter, not too happy with the fact that the spare booth wasn’t working, came out furious.

now the car lovers guy wasn’t too bright – he tells this punter that “he doesn’t have any signs”. the punter, a bit agressively (and stoopidly), pushes the car lovers guy in front of me yelling all sorts of obsenities. I look at the punter and the car lovers guy and tell the punter “I’m not too happy either mate, but going to court for a $10 wash gone wrong on a sunday is not the best way to finish the week”. the punter realises this and walks away.

the car lovers guy doesn’t thank me for stepping in, and if I hadn’t the punter would have stepped all over him. anyway…

so I go to get a can of coke from the outside vending machine at car lovers having meticulously dried my car, feeling rather proud. the coke machine is jammed with something and takes my coin. I can’t retreive it.

I find the car lovers guy, hoping that my previous action would at least have counted for something. not a dime. he looks at me and says “sorry mate, we don’t have a sign for that”.

I was prompted to tell him of the story of the american and russian astronauts [if you haven’t heard this one basically nasa spent a whole heap of money making a pen that wrote upside down and in no gravity. the russians decided to use a pencil].

I thought that if I did this, this would prompt him to think.

then I thought, if one punter coming to punch you in the face over a $10 car wash is not going to sway your thinking, then a cute little story isn’t either…

November 5, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | Leave a comment

I am so last year

about 6 weeks ago a mate of mine (well actually I’ve only known him for a short time but we hit it off well and to say he’s a colleague is a bit wanker-ish; this is australia – we’ve shared alcohol and poker, the card game, so we’re mates) put me on to writing my own blog and the blog world.

now as a family, I created a family blog abvout 4 years ago using sixapart’s moveable type. I’m not going to publicise it here, because it’s just for our family – we share photos of the kids and stories and stuff. and it works.

so I knew about blogs and what they do. however, I wasn’t really into it though.

but the real power for me came in finding out about bloggers, the world they inhabit and how far ahead of the game in news they are from everyone else.

this mate, rich, and I were talking about mr guy kawasaki and I was raising some points that I had read 3 months or so earlier. only to find that rich had had him as a guest on the gadget show 3 months ago. 

so you can start to see that I feel like a gimp now.

hopefully I will catch up in the not too distant future and that my intelligence will be again worth something.

November 4, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, technology | 3 Comments