Internet Presence :: Words that mean much more then 'web site'. A presence on line is about being found. It's about being noticed, and it is about interactivity with your client.
Researcher calculates gold within Earth's core
An Australian researcher says there is enough gold buried deep within the Earth's core to cover the entire land surface of the planet to a depth of half a metre.So, wedding rings for all? Great stereo connectors?
[ABC News: Science and Technology
The cruise started in Amsterdam, Holland and sailed to Copenhagen, Denmark for the first stop. The main attraction there was Tivoli Gardens, a very nice amusement park with numerous gardens and restaurants. The next stop would be Stockholm, and the Century headed for the high seas and cruised at roughly 23 miles per hour -- pretty fast for an 815 foot, 70,606 ton ship with 2,500 people on it. The approach to Stockholm was scenic as we passed many small islands to get to the port. In Stockholm, the "old town" is the place to be, where cobblestone pedestrian streets are lined with shops and cafes. Just before departure I hiked up to the city's highpoint and found a micro geocache hidden behind a stone in a rock wall.
After cruising into Helsinki we enjoyed walking in the city center and having lunch at a nice cafe. The next morning we arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia for a two-day stay, beginning with a very early departure for Moscow (see "Flight To The Kremlin").
St. Petersburg is sometimes called the Venice of the North or the Paris of the East and it was the primary destination of the trip. There were many excursions available. Many people toured a palace that was the summer residence of Catherine the Great, a czarina who ruled Russia for about 50 years. There was also a subway ride to a large market, followed by an afternoon tea at a museum restaurant. I did not take advantage of that but I did take a subway ride in Moscow that I neglected to mention in the prior story. The subway stations -- 500 feet below ground -- were immaculate . One of them had 72 beautiful statues along the station walls. A bit different than New York!
The most popular destination in St. Petersburg is The Hermitage, the best landmark in the city and one of the early IBM "e-businesses". There is no substitute for being there in person but the next best thing is to take a virtual tour. The physical tour encompasses a complex of 5 buildings that includes a palace, a very large art museum and galleries of jeweled artifacts that showed the opulence during the reigns of czars and czarinas. Another tour included the grounds of the Imperial Palace built by Peter the Great who ruled in the early 1700s. The palace is noted for the 156 elaborate fountains on the 2,000 acres of gardens.
The next to the last stop of the cruise was at Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia, formerly part of the USSR. Tallinn It is located on Estonia's north coast to the Baltic Sea, fifty miles south of Helsinki. In addition to being a really nice medieval city of a half-million people, Tallinn has spawned an information technology industry in recent years including Skype. After leaving the cobblestoned city center where a brass band had played a nice concert, I took a detour on the way back to the ship and found two geocaches, one near the port and one in the woods.
The final stop was a familiar one -- Oslo, where I go every ninety days or so for meetings at Opera Software, where I am a director. This time was not a business trip, however, and although we only had six hours in port, we were able to visit Vigeland Park and see the 212 sculptures that depict many human life stages in bronze and granite. The rain subsided and we were able to have a cup of coffee with a Norwegian friend before heading back to the ship and sailing back to Amsterdam and then on to New York.
Other patrickWeb travel-related stories
One of the many innovations Sam Palmisano has spearheaded at IBM is the idea of reaching out to "alumni". The first initiative was a few years ago when he started a semi-annual reception for executives and former executives of the company. That was just the beginning and now the idea of reaching out has been opened up big time. The number of past and present IBMers is probably close to a million people. Establishing communications with such a huge base can be nothing but a good thing for the company.
When I left engineering school and joined IBM in 1967, it was common to look for a job at a company and expect to stay there your entire career. Nobody thinks that way anymore. If you tell someone you were with a company for decades, they might ask "what's the matter, couldn't you find any other jobs?". Another change is in the old days if someone left the company they were considered a traitor and barred from coming back. Today, there are many executives that left the company at some point, got some experience at one or more other companies, and then brought that experience back into IBM.
The Internet has enabled everything to be connected to everything, so setting up a blog to "connect" past, present, (and maybe future) IBMers to each other and with the company seems like a very good idea. The The first step was the Google Group, the logical step two is the new Greater IBM blog. Over time other forms of web technology such as wikis, audio and video podcasts, instant messaging, and various mobile technologies will likely enter the mix.
The possibilities are endless -- collaboration on projects, personal networking for jobs and deals, referrals to and from IBM, and social networking for the fun of it. I look forward to being part of this as it evolves. Upon e-tirement in 2001 with nearly four decades at IBM, I don't really feel like I left anyway! Feel free to visit patrickWeb. There are a number of categories that I have been writing about for more than ten years. Things related to IBM are at this site, I am sure I will be writing about and linking to the Greater IBM blog as will others. Cross linking will increase the overall "connectedness". That's what the web is all about. I am really proud that IBM is taking the blogosphere so seriously.
Greater IBM Blog
Greater IBM on Google Groups
Book Update: 2Q2006
So many great books, so little time! This posting is to recommend two books that were extremely interesting and enjoyable. First is Genome by Matt Ridley. After the Computational Biology panel at Demo in February, I asked the panelists what book I could read to learn more about the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome. All three experts recommended Matt Ridley's book. Genome is organized into twenty-two chapters as a convenient way to tell the incredible unfolding story of what we are all about. Each chapter is like a story unto itself describing the characteristics of some of the more important genes that are part of that chromosome. The twenty-third chromosome pair is what we learned in high school -- two large X chromosomes in women and , one X and one small Y in men.
Ridley explains in almost excruciating detail how some of the genes work and the implications of having a particular gene that doesn't work. For example, there is a family of genes called the apolipoprotein genes, or APO genes, that comes in four basic varieties -- A, B, C, and E. If you happen to carry of the E variety genes, your probability of getting Alzheimer's disease is dramatically higher than the population at large. Whether you would actually want to know that you have propensity to get a disease that for which there is no cure or prevention steps is another question. One thing for sure is that by reading Genome you get an appreciation for how much is actually known about genes and how incredibly fast the knowledge base is growing. There is no doubt in my mind that the improvements in medicine over the next ten years will surpass what we have seen in the past 100 years.
Equally intriguing but much more entertaining is Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. To call it a techno-thriller is an understatement. It is riveting and chilling from the first page to the last. I could not put it down. Like The Da Vince Code, you will question how plausible some of the happenings are and you may question the validity of the details of the inner workings of the NSA. The core theme of the book has to do with one of my favorite topics, cryptography. After designing a computer that could break any encryption, the NSA found itself hostage to the technology. Highly recommended read.
Stories from the "favorites" category of patrickWeb
The Application Web
This week I attended an IBM software technology briefing about SOA. Only brilliant technical people could come up with SOA as a name for something. Let's see, is it safe operating area, School of the Americas, Skies of Arcadia (a Nintendo game), Society of Actuaries, state of the art, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act? Nope. Maybe it is about an architectural firm that has great customer service? Or maybe it is about the architecture of a building that has a good service entrance? Neither. The SOA of the briefing stands for "service oriented architecture". It is really important. The wikipedia has a comprehensive definition of SOA but basically it is about a new way to get things done with software. Actually it is isn't new -- the idea has been around for decades -- but now it is really happening. It is so much a part of the vernacular at IBM that they just matter of factly call it "so a". After an IBM briefing about "virtualization" a year ago, I tried to explain the word in simple terms (see Virtually Real or Really Virtual). I'll try that approach here with SOA.
In a nutshell, SOA will allow web sites to do much more than “click here to buy”. In fact web sites built with SOA will result in us standing in fewer lines in the physical world and have to endure fewer telephone call centers that want to control us. Fulfillment models at our favorite retailer’s web site will result in the staple goods we need just showing up outside the garage door when we need them. If businesses have the right attitude, SOA will enable them to get closer to the ultimate Internet -- to build a people-oriented and user-friendly integrated experience for all parties involved - employees on the intranet, suppliers, customers, partners, analysts and prospective constituents. There is more to this story. (read more) read more:
Technology writer, Peter Svensson, wrote an interesting story called "Will video break the Internet?". From a technical point of view there are many factors to consider. If a large number of web "surfers" were using the Internet as their primary way to watch TV, there would be a problem. More capacity is clearly needed, especially as HD-TV becomes more prevalent. The pessimists -- and some telecommunications operators -- see rising fees to pay for the bandwidth expansion. Optimists know that various technologies such as multicasting, caching, digital video recorders, etc. are dramatically improving the Net's ability to deliver video content and in parallel the cost per unit of technology continues to decline. History would suggest the optimistic view is the right one.
During the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta there was a bomb blast. Native Atlanta ex-patriots living in Japan and Germany and other parts of the world wanted to get as much news coverage as possible about the status but had few choices (there were no blogs then). The Internet Technology team at IBM in Southbury, Connecticut was running a large web infrastructure for the Games at the time and one of the engineers, Andy Stanford-Clark, got the idea to "stream" a local Atlanta radio station over the Internet using an IBM technology called Bamba. It was a very successful project but only a handful of people could listen simultaneously due to the limitations of the technology and the Internet. Some people thought that if there were large numbers of listeners "audio would break the Internet". Today millions of people consider audio over the Net as commonplace. (Listening to crystal clear classical music from KUSC-FM in Los Angeles through my Sqeezebox as I write this). Based on the tens of millions of daily visitors to YouTube, it is clear that video has also become commonplace. Another leading indicator is what is happening on campus. A number of universities have decided to use the Internet to deliver cable TV to their dormitories.
One of the issues Mr. Svensson raised in his story is "net neutrality", a term that means different things to different people. The fear is that the really large telecommunications companies that provide parts of the "backbone" of the Internet may decide to not only raise fees but also to be discriminatory. In the extreme it would mean that Verizon would block access to Google because they made a deal with Yahoo! or visa versa. The telcos have never been successful in getting into the content business so a new angle for them might be to make deals with content providers that would make their video move through the Internet backbone at a higher priority in return for fees. These fears have gotten the attention of lawmakers who are now talking about legislation to insure net neutrality. Legislation is the worst possible way to address the issue.
What is really needed is more competition. In Japan, the Internet service available to consumers is significantly faster than in the U.S. and significantly less expensive. For example, Yahoo! Broadband offers 8 million bits per second for about $20 per month. Up to 100 million bits per second is available. What technical breakthrough have they had? None. The breakthrough was to separate the various infrastructure elements of Internet service and allow "Adam Smith's invisible hand" to go to work. More competition means higher speeds and lower prices. In the U.S. we have legions of lawyers and lobbyists at work doing their best to gain protections for themselves and to slow the spread of innovation such as municipal wireless and voice over IP. Will video break the Internet? No. The biggest threat to freedom of choice for content at competitive prices is a lack of competition.
Misguided or overly-prescriptive legislation can have unintended consequences. It can often fix one problem and create two new ones or add yet another layer of protectionism. Mike Nelson, former Director for Technology Policy at the Federal Communications Commission (and former colleague at IBM), says "a lack of competition which lets companies exert monopoly or duopoly power is probably the biggest damper on innovation". Not all legislation is bad. It is possible to use it to increase competition and decrease regulation, to fund e-government pilot projects, "connect the unconnected," or fund university education and research.
Other patrickWeb stories about Internet Technology
Healthcare and IBM
The Intellectual Property briefing by IBM on May 2 in Greenwich was extremely interesting and I hated to leave a bit early but there was an overlap with another briefing down the road in Stamford, Connecticut -- this one about healthcare. IBM's healthcare and life sciences business is huge with 4,000 employees and revenues in the U.S. alone that would put it well into the Fortune 500. The company counts as customers 8 of the top 12 hospitals and all of the top 30 pharmaceutical companies. What has really put IBM on the healthcare map is last year's acquisition of Healthlink, which brought with it 400 top healthcare consultants. The insight of the consultants plus the smorgasbord of IBM technology has put the company on a mission -- to be a major factor in creating "Transformed Healthcare".
IBM's vision is significant -- to build patient-centric information systems, shared health and wellness management systems, and integrated networks to pull it all together among the payers, the providers, and the patients. Many of the benefits are obvious but some are more subtle. Payer insurance companies may be transformed from claims processors to wellness concierges. Smoother workflow and process optimization due to better integration and access to information can lead to improved quality, fewer errors and lower healthcare costs.
IBM has a vested interest in becoming the leader at these things because it has a half-million employees and retirees. Their Global Health and Wellness program is a partner in developing solutions for clients and may itself become a model. The company not only has a wealth of information at the intranet web portal but also enables an electronic health record into which employees enter their personal information which is then supplemented by automatic updating from claim and pharmacy data. The company also provides incentives to exercise and stay healthy. As a result, IBM's labor cost is significantly lower than industry averages.
The conference was attended by several dozen healthcare software vendors and various industry experts, including more than a half-dozen physicians. Most of the discussions revolved around the notion of "Patient centric" -- connecting healthcare information about patients with insurers and healthcare providers for the benefit of the patient. The key to make all this work is standards and they will evolve through Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) and a National Health Information Network (NHIN). The RHIO includes consumers, hospitals, labs, pharmacies, payers, public health offices, and physicians. Progress is being made. A presentation was made by John Blair, MD, who is CEO of Taconic Healthcare Information Network, a RHIO just west of the Hudson River. They have connected practices, hospitals, labs and payers and have developed standardized electronic health records, e-mail access to physicians, and e-prescriptions. The NHIN has asked four IT companies to work on interconnection of the RHIO's. Part of IBM's NHIN architecture will be based on royalty-free health care information systems patents (discussed in the IP meeting earlier that day) which give priority access to requests for patient information coming from emergency rooms vs. routine office requests.
From a purely heath point of view, the biggest transformation will come from information based medicine that bridges healthcare and life sciences. Molecular level understanding of disease is being made possible, in part by supercomputers such as BlueGene, and the result will be the development of targeted drugs. In other words, based on a DNA sample and genomic analysis, a diagnosis and treatment can be based on our individual medical history and genetic predispositions. Whole new fields are opening up including pre-emptive medicine, pharmacogenomics and clinical decision intelligence. A small device the size of a cell phone can take a sample of your blood and determine your rate of metabolism which in turn affects how much of a drug you need to provide optimal results. It will soon be possible to predict the likelihood of a person getting something deadly but yet preventable.
Advanced analytics are beginning to provide the ability to run complex algorithms to answer complex questions. For example, there is a 100 page document that provides guidelines on how to perform a particular surgical procedure. It is based on the "average" person. Nobody is average so would it be nice to be able to have a system which can provide specific recommendations based on many variables that are particular to an individual -- providing the surgeon with a "how to" guide unique to each patient.
Molecular Profiling Institute is creating tools for genomic and proteomic profiling and treatment of cancers. Seventy of our 40,000 genes can predict breast cancer accurately. Dr. Robert Penny showed incredible examples. A particular gene that is missing or not working can tell the cause of a particular disease and a drug that can attack that specific gene can fix it and the patient can be cured. This is called "jumping diseases" -- using a cure for disease xyz to treat disease abc. Dr. Penny showed before and after images of a dying cancer patient. After the application of a drug that attacked the targeted gene, the cancer disappeared. It gave the audience a lump in their throats.
There are many new issues arising along with the breakthroughs. For example, being able to know you have high odds of getting xyz disease for which there is no prevention and no cure after getting it, is questionable. The trend from physician centric to payer centric to patient centric is accelerating. It is likely that what will be accomplished in the next ten years will be vastly more than what has been accomplished in the last one hundred.
Other patrickWeb healthcare related stories
For many of us, leaving our alma maters was a relief or even a good riddance -- what a joy to graduate and move on. Over the years the primary connection to the campus may have been sports related without much thought about academic roots. As time goes on that feeling changes and in fact some of us not only began to recall our college days but actually go back to visit in a more serious way and even get involved. Financial support of alumni is critical but involvement and sharing of experience is even more valuable.
At the engineering advisory board meeting today at Lehigh University, I was quite impressed with my colleagues' intense interest in what is going on at the university. In addition to getting an update from Dean Wu, there was a lot of discussion about future directions and how the extended family of alumni could collaborate to help out.
In the 1960's, Lehigh was primarily an engineering school and it was 100% male. Today engineering is a third of the university and women represent more than 40% of the nearly 7,000 students. When I graduated 39 years ago, there were no women at Lehigh (although there were many nearby, including my wife at St. Luke's School of Nursing), and last week Dr. Alice P. Gast, a world-renowned researcher with a passion for teaching, was named Lehigh University’s 13th president.
One area of focus for the college of engineering is to provide degree programs in which students can develop horizontally as well as vertically. Over time, a top student can be an ultimate techie but can also be outstanding as a business or arts student. This will mean they will be able to move from their undergrad experience to enter law school or medical school or join the ranks of business management or consulting with an edge because of their broader perspective. An engineer uses creativity, technology, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. What about communicating the solution to the problem and working with global multi-disciplinary colleagues to implement the solution? That is where Lehigh's thrust toward integrated programs comes in.
The Integrated Business & Engineering degree (IBE) is an innovative example of the potential of more diverse education. The program prepares students to assume leadership roles in industrial research and development, entrepreneurial initiatives, management consulting, high-tech ventures, and innovative technology. I have no doubt that this integrated approach to engineering will produce some future leaders for the world's top businesses. read more:
On Monday and Tuesday of this week a number of analysts and consultants gathered with IBM at an intellectual property briefing in Greenwich, Connecticut. Not as glamorous as the meeting in Rome but exceptionally interesting. The term intellectual property reflects the idea that the subject matter is a product of the mind and that legal rights to the "IP" are protected in the same way as any other form of property. IP is a vital issue for many companies but probably no company has as much influence in this area as IBM. IP is a broad and deep subject but one of the key elements is patents.
The United States granted the first patent to Samuel Hopkins of Pittsford, Vermont in 1790. Mr. Hopkin's idea had to do with making potash which in turn was used in making glass and in various industrial processes.Two other major patents granted the same year were related to making candles and milling flour. Earlier this year the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that for the thirteenth consecutive year, IBM received more patents than any other private sector organization in America. No company, other than IBM, has yet been granted 2,000 patents in any year while IBM exceeded 3,000 four years in a row and last year had 1,100 more than anybody else. IBM has a portfolio of more than 40,000 patents globally and has another 21,000 U.S. patent applications pending. Potentially more significant than IBM's leadership in creating inventions is the fact that it is giving away thousands of patents. See Patent Commons (January 2005).
The industrial age focused on proprietary innovation and patents became the key differentiator for technology companies such as IBM. In the 1970's and 1980's there was a lot of cross-licensing to provide freedom of action; e.g. IBM cross-licensed with many other technology companies so that it could be able to ship it's products without any concerns about patent infringement. Since IBM's inventiveness created a lot more patent licensing income than licensing expense, the IP business became a major source of income -- to the tune of a $1 billion per year and mostly profit. Now that the industrial age has given over to a knowledge economy based on collaborative innovation, IBM has begun to re-evaluate it's IP strategy and begin to leverage IP as a new source of business growth.
Since IBM has a very large group of engineers and scientists who are prolific inventors, the patent portfolio is sure to grow and the income from it will be significant for quite some time. The company has more than 1,000 active licenses whereby companies pay IBM to use it's patents -- that represents about a third of IBM's IP income. Another third comes from joint development; e.g. with Sony, Toshiba, and Samsung where the companies work together on a project and then share the results. A prominent example was the development of the Cell processor which is used in the new Sony PS3 game console. A final third of IBM's IP income is from the assignment of patents for things that IBM invented but does not want to pursue on it's own -- digital cameras, liquid crystal displays, the laser used in eye surgery, setup boxes, and many other things.
Technologists working in healthcare and education cheered the move by IBM to allow them royalty-free access to its patent portfolio for the development and implementation of selected open healthcare and education software standards built around web services, electronic forms and open document formats. If new application software is developed in these key industries, society is better off and IBM will get it's fair share of the hardware, software and services opportunity. Very smart. To leverage internal ideas, IBM has created ThinkPlace -- a next generation suggestion program where employees don't just submit an idea and hope to get an award but where they tee up an idea and enable others to build upon the idea and collaborate to take it to the next level. IBM is also leveraging it's IP by using it to solve problems for it's clients through services engagements. For example, a group of PhD's from IBM Research helped a limousine company optimize the routes of it's cars to minimize wait time and fuel costs
The world of patents has become ever more complex across the spectrum of collaboration and competition as the world has moved from proprietary to open -- as the world has gotten flat. Patents issued have skyrocketed in the past dozen years -- more than 150,000 patents issued in 2000, and so have patent suits. The thousands of suits are taking a huge economic toll and in many cases are stifling innovation. Patent reform has become urgent. IBM is not waiting on the sidelines. It is taking a leadership role and encouraging progressive changes. For example, it has launched initiatives to improve the quality of patents by developing and proposing an index to evaluate if a patent meets the standards of patentability -- in other words, to test if the patent is really legitimate. These efforts are not just for IBM but for the entire economy. Hopefully the politicians, many of whom have links to trial lawyer associations, won't kill the pending patent reform legislation.
Other patrickWeb patent related stories
Innovation That Matters (From Rome)
The Business Leadership Forum was quite an experience and is hard to summarize. IBM did a good job of organizing it and everyone there appreciated it and learned a lot -- I certainly did. As with most conferences, a lot of the value was in talking to people at breaks. Dinner at the Vatican is next to impossible to describe. It was the proverbial "you had to be there" thing. Here are some of the key insights delivered by Sam and his speakers and panelists during the conference...
- Innovation is essential and what the 21st century is all about
- Change is faster and more disruptive than ever
- Globalization is inevitable
- Ubiquitous connectivity is breaking down physical borders and creating connections between people, economies, organizations and governments in ways that were never thought possible
- Businesses need to cultivate their uniqueness
- Businesses need to encourage employees to be multi-disciplined, collaborative, and global
- Innovation that matters comes from seeing problems differently and adding value quicker than anyone else
- Constant reorganization is futile but leaders must look at a company’s structure strategically, consider which pieces need to shift and then unfold change bit by bit
- Technology plays a leading role in innovation, but it isn't the only factor
- What were once disruptive technologies now are commodities
- To innovate, CEO's don’t need to control all the resources or build within their own frameworks. They need to partner and collaborate
- Governments can help spur innovation among the private sector
- Governments must be more flexible to respond to today's business needs
- Restrictive governments try to defend and preserve what has been achieved in the past, but if they rely only on the strength of their past, they put progress in peril
- Governments need to open themselves to market and labor reforms to stay relevant and competitive in global markets
Intro to Roman Rendezvous Stories
Index to Roman Rendezvous stories
The Big Picture From Rome
The final afternoon of the Business Leadership Forum focused on the big picture -- of both global political factors and technology. A panel included Karl-Heinz Grasser, Federal Minister of Finance for the Republic of Austria. He spoke about how governments can not only avoid being an obstacle to innovation and growth but also encourage competition thereby creating more jobs. The panel was bullish about how the information revolution -- ushered in by the microprocessor in the early 1970's and the Internet of the 1990's -- has led to an explosion of new products and new business models, However, there was a consensus that retaliation from poor economies and over-regulation by some countries could stymie the growth.
Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and commissioner in the European Union for ten years, was quite optimistic about the EU -- a market of 480 million people -- and said that the EU itself is an innovation. He said that Europe is much more like the U.S. than it was. It is now a single market, has a single currency, and has been expanding market reach around the world. The shortcoming is that Europe, unlike America, does not yet have a constitution. This results in an economic disadvantage because the European community can not make a decision for the total. The European economy is not innovating quickly enough and in fact some countries are protecting the past at the expense of the future. Mario says it is time for "naming and shaming" the laggards through peer reviews. Then he got more specific -- "Germany, France, and Italy are behind on liberalization of service markets and have resisted initiatives to increase competition". These three countries will have a negative impact on the Euro which in turn will hurt the rest of Europe. Mr. Monti's presentation was sobering but hopeful. He said the EU has a lot of good features, that it can protect intellectual property but also move against monopolies such as Microsoft. The key to get innovation going in Europe is for the EU to innovate itself by completing it's constitution.
Irving Wladawsky-Berger kicked off the final segment of the forum, which focused on the future. IBM supports Linux because it is a great operating system for computers. Irving introduced Linus Torvalds the developer of Linux which he published as a student in 1991. Don Tapscott, a widely acclaimed author, who invented the term "paradigm shift", then moderated the final panel which included Linus, Nick Donofrio, executive vice president for innovation and technology at IBM, and Ann Mettler, executive director and co-founder of The Lisbon Council. It was a wide-ranging discussion. Linus is an incredibly humble guy. He said he has no vision, just looks 5 cm ahead before each step, and loves to solve technical problems. Linux is successful, he says, because both the development and the decision making are distributed -- a "built-in meritocracy". Don asked why volunteers worked on Linux for no economic return. Linus said, "if you were all engineers, you would not be asking that question". Open source software is viable in most all software areas, with the only exception being niche markets which are too small to get adequate collaboration. "Open source will take over most all infrastructure".
Ann said there is a huge gap between businesses which are moving ahead rapidly and societies which feel left behind. The key problem is that the economy is 70% services but the regulations and governance are still based on an industrial model. She believes that government should learn how to innovate from businesses. "Politicians are clueless about the discussion of the past day and a half". She says that businesses need to share their leanings with society. The labor market in Europe is flat because companies do not want to hire and that is because the laws are so onerous. "You can hire but you can't fire". Labor reform is needed desperately.
Nick says' It' s all about change". IBM is doing a balancing act by supporting both open things and proprietary things. The company is generating a lot of patents but also giving away a lot of patents to move the ball forward in key markets such as healthcare and education. "The world can move ahead faster if the OS is Linux -- it is good enough and a "blow for freedom". A California venture capitalist asked about business ethics and Nick was very aggressive in his response saying it was not optional for companies to be totally and completely ethical in every respect. (Having been at IBM for 38 years, I can say I never ever had a concern about ethics at the company). Nick summarized that anyone can innovate if they are willing to change. "If nothing changes, nothing changes". Sam wrapped up the conference by saying corporations need to be transparent. Their ultimate responsibility is to create value for the constituencies: stockholders, customers, employees. He walks the talk.
Intro to Roman Rendezvous Stories
Index to Roman Rendezvous stories
TechCrunch: Web 2.0
Keep your finger on the pulse of new Web technology start-ups, mergers and acquisitions with this interesting and insightful news "weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing every newly launched Web 2.0 business, product and service."read more:
Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards
Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.read more:
Ten questions for Derek Featherstone
Like many Web professionals (including myself), Derek has a background in something other than just technology. His is education, and now he's an accessibility consultant. In this interview with Russ Weakley he shares his insights on the topic.read more:
LITA Top Technology Trends
These are my notes from the Top Technology Trends session my few comments will be in italics so you know these are my thoughts not those of the speakers.Sarah Houghton (in absentia)Returning power over content to content owner and know it directly.OCLC ILS - merger with RLG, OpenWorldCat, Red Light Green, solve the wealth [...]read more:
Schedule for ALA
Friday - Arrive in New OrleansSaturdayThe Ultimate Debate: Who Controls the Future of Search 1:30 - 3:30LITA Happy Hour 5:30 - 7:30 - Wolfe Restaurant NO Marriot (Convention Center Blvd)ALA Scholarship Bash and Library Relief Event 8:00 - 11:00Burger’s Blogger Bash - 10:30 - midnightSundayBIGWIG Meeting - 10:30am - 11:30amLITA Top Technology Trends - [...]read more:
Mozilla considers desktop search integration for Firefox
An InfoWorld article is reporting that the Mozilla Foundation is considering desktop search integration for Firefox. Chris Hofmann, the Mozilla Foundation's engineering director says, "There are a variety of companies that are working on that technology and we may just try and identify a way for Firefox to plug into a variety of desktop search engines and enable users to pick and choose." Some ofread more:
What search engines plan for the future
At the recent Wharton Technology Conference in Philadelphia representatives from Google, Yahoo and MSN Search discussed the future of search technologies. The big search engine companies have different ideas on how search engines will change over the next few years.read more:
New study: people judge your web site by the cover - in 50 milliseconds
A new study that was recently published in the journal "Behaviour and Information Technology" shows how important it is to make a good first impression with your web site.read more:
All you need to know about the new MSN Search
Some days ago, Microsoft launched a beta version of their long awaited new search engine. The new MSN Search doesn't rely on Inktomi technology anymore. It's a new search engine that has been built from ground up. What is special about the new search engine?read more:
How to rank well with Flash movies
Flash movies are a popular way to make websites more compelling. They are useful if you want to impress your website visitors or if you offer web design services.Unfortunately, if you use Flash movies, or if you even design your complete website based on the Flash technology, your odds of getting listed in the search engines are greatly reduced.Read this article to find out how to rank well with Flash movies.read more:
Publishing: Good reviews, bad reviews, and hurting oooh so many feelings.
Well, apparently you aren't allowed to have an opinion on the web anymore. I got flamed by an author after posting a personal review of his book. It wasn't an objective review, I didn't mark it as such, but I wasted a good deal of my life between reading the book and then turn that around with the extra hour I spent writing the review so I figured I'd put my real thoughts in there. Anyway, seems the author had some comments.
Guess what? Authors need to learn that not everyone can write a book. I don't care how technically able you are, how smart, or how much of an industry professional. I don't care if you've been writing X for Y years where Y > Z and Z is my age... Just because you've been working on technology since before I was born doesn't mean you have the ability to produce a book that is able to capture a wide audience and instruct them in a given area. I'll throw some points to back this up.
Microsoft Windows is a great piece of software and some insanely talented developers wrote the OS. But guess who wrote the documentation? Sure as hell wasn't the people that wrote the OS. What about the CLR? Super smart people doing super smart things over there. But how many of them dare write a book about it? Adam Nathan did a great job, but I think he took more than a year writing his. What about Brad Abarams and the annotated CLR? Well, that isn't a book of explanation but rather a book of comments that was very tactfully edited. The people that really write about the CLR are the tech writers that produced the oh so complained about .NET Framework SDK Documentation. If you think it's bad now, you wouldn't want to know what it would look like if there wasn't a dedicated team of technical writers with English degrees working on it.
You see, just being an expert isn't a license to write a book. You have to take many considerations into play. You have to design content around your audience, get down off of your soap-box, and explain things in a detail that your readership will comprehend and gain value from. It appears Edward doesn't agree with me. I pointed out that I got nothing from the text of his book, but then he points me to the free source code download. I already knew about the download and had perused the source before and after posting the original review, but I don't think that is important or relevant. When you buy a book, you are buying the material that you can read while you are in a bus, in your car, on a plane, while you are walking down the hall, or if nature calls on the toilet. You really aren't paying for the source code. The source code is an extra in the world of publishing. It is nice if the readers make use of it, but you want to provide everything in the text if you can. Popping between book and source is annoying, and even worse, nearly impossible when the book and source aren't logically connected.
Raise of hands, if I gave you a 65k file whose name was Form1.vb and I told you the compiled program would represent a rather complex regular expression validating GUI called ReLab, what would you do? How easy would it be to quickly find the information you needed in that file? Would you even bother trying to understand the behemoth? What if the text of the book didn't tell you about the code itself, but rather about the program and how it worked? What if they just gave you a bunch of pictures of the UI and some walk-throughs of how it would work? What would you say the target audience is when the book is filled with pictures and there is a huge backing source repository that contains almost no explanation?
You don't have to answer all that if you don't want, but I'm interested in what you have to say. Good or bad, wrong or right, I don't care, because this is MY opinion, but I'm interested in everyone else's opinion. I'm tired of paying 40-60 bucks for a book that doesn't stand on it's own merit. If the source is really what I'm buying then why give it away for free here http://www.apress.com/book/supplementDownload.html?bID=213&sID=1895. What in the hell would I buy the book if everything important is in the source code shown here http://www.apress.com/book/supplementDownload.html?bID=213&sID=1895. Go ahead, download it and check it out. It isn't easy to digest by any means, and the book itself won't help you at all.
Edward is taking this as a personal attack, but everyone that knows me knows better. I buy a book a week at least. Some are great, some are mediocre, but I never, ever buy the bad books. I invalidate them during my initial review process and I rely on my professional insight to quickly spot and discredit the bad ones. I don't always take the time to give those I've spotted a shining review on my blog, but there are certain things that really get my goat and this was obviously one of them. You can't ask for just good reviews as an author. When was the last time a movie released with not a single bad review somewhere on the web or published in some newspaper? But, "Oh", the actor says, "You'd like the movie better if you understood how many shots it took for that scene you didn't like and the technical difficulties behind it"... In reality, I don't care if it took them 1 shot or 50 shots, I don't care if the author produces 1 line of code or 50 thousand lines of code. I see the end result, I see what I read, and I'm going to rely on perusal process within the bookstore before deciding to buy. If you aren't going to give me the material in your book to enable that process, then I'm not going to buy your book, AND I'll post an honestly bad review.
Anyway, I responded to Edwards comments, and put my own right after. I'm sure the comment space will get heated if you are into that. In conclusion, don't put your heart and soul into a book and then get all parental when someone doesn't like it. If you can't take the criticisms, then you shouldn't be publishing. Build on it, forget about it, discount it, do whatever you must, but don't whine and use political bullshit to try and get me to take my criticisms down.
Language parsing and compiler design doesn't have to be hard, but boy this book really sucks!
How'd you like that for an opening title? Did it grab your attention? Hell, your reading this far so I guess it did. The book I'm focusing on here is Build Your Own .NET Language and Compiler and please, don't click the link and then go buy it. I don't care about the 50 cents worth of referral money I'll get if you do. I wouldn't even recommend the book if I got 50 bucks of referral money (well, money talks, so maybe I would).
The book starts out with the basics of parsing and regular expressions and all that jazz. But the extent of the code is a bunch of screen shots. We are writing a parser/compiler dang it, we aren't WYSIWYGing our way through life at this point, you have to show some real frigin code. What you end up with is a bunch of screen shots of many tools for writing a compiler, but not really the code, unless of course you go grab the CD and break through all of the code without a lick of explanation from the book. God I hope the code is well documented with comments, or you just bought an issue of Compiler's Illustrated and this isn't the Swimsuit edition. I'll include some of my own links at the bottom, where I give actual code for many of these processes.
OK, so you get to see a bunch of tools, and what do you get? Well, you get a bunch of half-assed tools (sorry for the language if your kid is reading my highly technical blog... In fact, if he/she is I could use some interns, must type 50+ WPM and be proficient at C, C++, or C#). A mathematical expression evaluator is the first. I think it is always the first. People always trivialize math. So make sure you look at all the pretty pictures and try to glean some wisdom from the text. I have a mathematical expression evaluator by the way, it's called calc.exe and from what I can tell it has shipped since 16-bit windows. He also makes an attempt at a regular expression workbench. You can't have enough of those (actually I'm not being sarcastic here, I always appreciate a new regex tool), but then he never writes anything or demonstrates compiler technology that uses regular expressions. Does he go into NFA/DFA technology? Well, he does talk about it for a few sentences. BNF format? Again a few sentences here and there. But wait, another tool is what you get and this time it is a picture of a drop-down menu with all sorts of really tantalizing names (convert from BNF to XML, display a BNF parse tree, display formatted docs, etc...). At this point use one of the pages to catch the drool coming off your lip, because that is as close as you'll get in this book to anything cool.
OK, so forget the tools. At some point he actually starts talking about real compiler technology. I think around chapter 7 maybe? I really should dig up the TOC on Amazon, but I'm only going to waste enough time on this book to finish this posting. Anyway, they start talking about the various parsing techniques. Recursive descent (RD), Top-Down, Bottom-Up... I think there are some other odd names they throw in there to mystify the reader. After reading all of the major compiler design books I shouldn't be mystified by something that could classify as a 4 Dummies book (unless it is something like Cross Dressing 4 Dummies, I could probably use that after my Halloween party)... Anyway, they really don't do the entire process justice, and I think at some point some more tools are used, Yacc might be mentioned, and bam, back to the pictures.
At this point I want to identify the worst problem I found throughout the entire book. Apparently the author didn't have time to finish the code so they left a bunch of exercises for the reader. Nah, nah... You don't leave the compiler as an exercise in a book on how to write a compiler. You leave bits and pieces, but not the important stuff. Going through my Knuth books, I'm actually surprised when he leaves problems as exercises that require more know-how than what has been provided in the chapter. I don't mind exercises for the reader, but there is a limit people. Imagine getting back from Home Depot with a 300 page picture book on building a house, that had a bunch of pictures of completed homes, and some text offering that the building of the house will be left as an exercise for the reader. Doh!
At the end of the book, it is apparent I'm not going to get anything of use and then it starts talking about code generation. Oooh, something with some meat. In reality, they've been naming their nodes for the calculator in such a way that the name of the node was pretty much the name of the op code that was going to be called. They may have some Quick Basic implementation code spits as well, but I'm confused at this point (and mystified) because I've been thumbing this book for an hour. In reality the act of spitting IL is probably worth an entire book of it's own (oh wait it is Inside Microsoft .NET IL Assembler and you really should buy this one so I get 50 cents). That isn't fair because that book is actually how IL functions and not how to spit it. But I'd think one does precede the other since eventually your going to run out of node names to match to IL op-codes and when opComplexOperation isn't mirrored by OpCodes.ComplexOperation I just don't know what you'll do.
How fair of a review is this? Well, I've read actual compiler books, quite a few of them. I've implemented my own parsers and compilers many times for many different circumstances. I don't think it is a hard process and I think extending the process to a more general development audience is important. There should be a relatively accessible book on writing your own .NET languages, but this book is certainly not it. I'll keep looking around, I hear there is another book focused on .NET language generation and I'll have to search it out. Maybe an O'Reilly publication? Can you get an accurate review from something in about an hour's time? Well, I read fast, the words were quite large, most of the content was entirely familiar and only about 30% of the page material was text, so I'd hope so. Take this for what it is worth, but if I see any referral money for that book, I'll know someone is going to be laughing hysterically when they get that book in a 2-3 days from Amazon. PS: I didn't and won't buy the book. I spent a couple of hours at Borders today running through two books that caught my eye when I was really looking for a great .NET Localization book. I need to dig up Michael Kaplan, since I'm sure he has written something somewhere.
Lexer/Parser/Compiler Code and articles for different types of parsers
Lexer, Parser, Compiler, Oh My! Postings, with code, on even more lexer/parser stuff
ftp://ftp.cs.vu.nl/pub/dick/PTAPG/BookBody.pdf A more hard-core text on parser technologies
Don't Miss Tech Cocktail!
Thursday night (either tomorrow or tonight or some number of days ago, depending on when you read this) is the first-ever Tech Cocktail here in Chicago. I’m going, and not just because my friend and fellow burner Eric Olson is one of the organizers (along with Somewhat Frank Gruber).
From the Tech Cocktail site:
Our hope is that TECH cocktail events (quarterly mixers for bloggers, technology enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and other business professionals interested in the technology arena in Chicago) can help build a better connected Midwest tech community by meeting up to share ideas and have some fun.
So, if you’re in Chicago and you’re a nerd (or as Rachelle says, “maybe you just want to stalk some cute nerds”), come on out! See you there.
p.s. A little birdie told me they might be short on wine, and since State is sans liquor license thus far, you may think of BYO’ing :-)read more:
Auto Hits Machine.
New* Mind-Blowing Technology Delivers An Endless Flood Of Traffic To Your Website Automatically At The Push Of A Button!read more:
More power to your MP3 player
THE WORLD of technology is dominated by blokes. OK, women do represent a growing proportion of gadget-buyers, but it's impossible to escape the male fixation with numbers in the gizmo sphere.read more:
Wireless for less hassle - that's progress
USB-based technology will help you and your laptop get connected.read more:
Let's hear it for old-fashioned technology
NOW as always, Tivoli are a DAB hand at producing superior sounds.read more:
The first chapter in the e-ink revolution
A REVOLUTION SHOULD LOOK more exciting than this. But this is the first, tentative European use of a technology that should do for newspapers, books and magazines what the iPod has done for CDs.read more:
IBM Offers Prototype for Building 'Mashup' Apps
Q&A: Rod Smith, vice president of emerging Internet technologies at IBM, talks about a prototype technology built by the company to create so-called mashup applications.
Analysts Warn Techies To Prepare For SOA Shift
Service oriented architecture could significantly change the software industry similar to the way client/server technology did in the early 1990s.read more:
Maybe information technology does still matter, sometimes.
Scott Rosenberg thinks it's a pretty big deal It's a smart move for Bill Gates and company -- an indication that they remain absolutely determined not to fall behind the competition, and a sign that Microsoft intends to push the...read more:
Achieving QualityTechnology: Can You Automate Software Quality?
"A lot of the debate has been focused on testing. Total Quality, however, would suggest that although testing is necessary, it's not sufficient. Testing focuses on inspection, not on prevention. To over-simplify, you test in hopes of demonstrating that the software has no defects (because you have a good high-quality development process), not to detect the defects that are present, but should not be there (because you don't have a good high quality development process). After several years of significant effort, the code my client was developing (and testing) still isn't of the high quality they are looking for. So we decided to go back, start from some basics, and look again at the issue of software quality."
Goes through the processes to ensure quality software: code quality (using TDD), functional quality (giving the customer what they want), non-functional quality (security, privacy, compliance, etc), deployment and production quality, and maintenance.
"This probably seems like a lot of additional work for the development organization. And it is. But the costs of defective code in the production environment (both direct, in terms of sustaining engineering, and indirect, in terms of lost revenue and reputation) was becoming significant. Management felt it had no choice but to focus on improved quality, and turn to the productivity issues later. So far, despite the added burden of all these quality?related activities (many of which already took place, but simply weren't very effective) we have not seen a slowdown in software availability. Some teams are actually moving faster than before, despite the new work they have to perform, because they spend much less time and effort on remediation and last-minute adjustments to code to fix issues that only show up as the code is transitioned to production."read more:
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damnMapping Rete algorithm to FOL and then to RDF/N3
"There is already a well established precedent with Python/N3/RDF reasoners (Euler, CWM, and Pychinko). FuXi used to rely on Pychinko, but I decided to write a Rete implementation for N3/RDF from scratch - trying to leverage the host language idioms (hashing, mappings, containers, etc..) as much as possible for areas where it could make a difference in rule evaluation and compilation.
What I have so far is more Rete-based than a pure Rete implementation, but the difference comes mostly from the impedance between the representation components in the original algorithm (which are very influenced by FOL and Knowledge Representation in general) and those in the semantic web technology stack."
The goes on to describe how the mapping from Semantic Web concepts to concepts used in the Rete algorithm (tokens, object type, alpha, beta, and terminal nodes). Some comments, RDF a hole to no where
Bricklin Releases wikiCalc
VisiCalc developer Dan Bricklin is at it again, this time mashing up wiki technology with online spreadsheets in a new product called wikiCalc. In this UpFront podcast, eWEEK Editorial Director Eric Lundquist talks with the PC spreadsheet pioneer about his latest creation.
New book: Java Deployement (Mauro Marinilli)
[2001-09-19] This book takes a very practical approach to the topic of deploying Java applications. First, it presents the major deployment concerns a Java developer faces and addresses the most common deployment scenarios. Next, the book addresses deployment issues the developer faces while coding a project. Finally, the book presents the JNLP technology and shows how to use JNLP in application deployment.read more:
[2001-02-14] Sitraka Software Introduces DeployDirector Bundler for Java Network Launching Protocol (JNLP). The free Bundler for JNLP accelerates Java technology deployment using Java Web Start.read more:
Chips in the Kitchen
From dishwashers to food mixers to even the simple electric kettle, kitchens have long benefitted from labour-saving devices. Now Microsoft are upping the ante even further with their fully-automated cyber-kitchen. The fridge door boasts a central "family information" screen, barcode scanners automatically program correct cooking settings, and the whole room is packed with RFID chips (the radio technology currently being implemented in areas as diverse as pet identification and retail security), so should you pop a mixing bowl and flour on the work surface the kitchen will start offering recipe suggestions, projecting them onto the worktop (see picture). This all sounds fantastic, however how it will hold up in the real world is in doubt. Its going to be hard to read a bread recipe projected on a worktop if said worktop is covered in flour. And LCD screens may look ultra cool dotted around the kitchen at first, the sure as heck won't look so good by the time the touch screens are covered with sticky finger marks, or spattered with cooking oil from the nearby frying pan..read more:
Gates: ''We're Delighted'' - As Microsoft's Jean Paoli Wins Industry Plaudit
"Jean helped lead the movement to make XML a core component of many Microsoft products, such as Office and Windows, as well as the foundation for integration between systems with XML-based Web services," said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, yesterday as his senior director of XML architecture and one of the co-architects of the XML 1.0 standard, Jean Paoli, received the XML Cup 2004 for his contributions to information technology standards.read more:
SedgeWarbler.com Has Won a License to Manufacture and Distribute Tinkatec?s Agitor Beverage Stirring Technology
The Sedgewarbler Partnership, a manufacturer of outdoor and travel tools, and Tinkatec, the technology provider and patent owner of Agitor, a unique internal agitation solution for blending free-flowing liquids, have agreed a license to manufacture and market a new category in the travel tool market. (PRWEB Jul 3, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/zingpr.php/Q3Jhcy1aZXRhLVNxdWEtUGlnZy1JbnNlLVplcm8=read more:
Cutting Edge Technology Triggers Fishing Frenzy
New Polymer Line Conditioner Catches Sport Anglers Attention. (PRWEB Jun 25, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/dingpr.php/U3F1YS1GYWx1LU1hZ24tQ291cC1JbnNlLVplcm8=read more:
SUN Introduces Exclusive Basketball Shot System
New basketball shooting concept could revolutionize industry. Millions of amateur and professional basketball players’ games could dramatically improve with new technology. (PRWEB Jul 9, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/zingpr.php/U3F1YS1TdW1tLVN1bW0tUGlnZy1JbnNlLVplcm8=read more:
EasyReader Closes Deal to Sell English Learning Software to Malaysian Ministry of Education
EasyReader Education Ltd. announces that it has closed a deal with the Malaysian Ministry of Education for the purchase of its award winning Fonty Software. Fonty enables students learning English to become automatic readers in only 15 hours, using its revolutionary voice recognition technology. (PRWEB Jun 23, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/zingpr.php/UGlnZy1GYWx1LVBpZ2ctQ291cC1JbnNlLVplcm8=read more:
United Hebrew Geriatric Center Gerontechnology Program Graduates First Class -- Seniors and Students Close the Digital Divide
In Westchester County, as well as across the nation, the senior population is growing. At the same time, the technology boom is creating a world that relies on computers for everything from purchasing groceries to driving a car. The problem is that seniors, the fastest growing population, often are not comfortable with the fastest growing technology. (PRWEB Jun 23, 2006)read more:
Laser Correction Pioneer: Dr Joseph Dello Russo Was First in the Northeast to Treat Complex Vision Problems With 'Flying Spot' Technology
FDA clears last hurdle in laser vision correction back in the year 2000. (PRWEB Jul 9, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/dingpr.php/TWFnbi1FbXB0LUZhbHUtUGlnZy1JbnNlLVplcm8=read more:
Vocada Continues to Add Customers; Enthusiasm Grows for Company?s CTRM Technology
Vocada, Inc., creator of market-leading technology for Critical Test Result Management (CTRM), continues to add customers at a rapid pace, with this week’s announcement of seven major additions to its customer list. With the latest announcement, Vocada says its customer base has now surpassed 80 across the country, including many multi-hospital systems. These institutions have affiliations with more than 10 percent of the nation’s physicians. (PRWEB Jun 26, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/zingpr.php/SW5zZS1JbnNlLUxvdmUtQ291cC1JbnNlLVplcm8=read more:
New Orthotic Technology to Relieve Foot Pain & Lower Body Pain and Now to Help Diabetics
Dr. Jeffrey Phillips Davies, a renowned expert in biomechanics at Massachusetts General Hospital, has developed the new “CAFF System ™” … Computer Analysis of Foot Function to diagnose foot problems to bring relief to patients with foot pain and lower body pain. (PRWEB Jun 30, 2006)read more:
New Technology Improves Your Pet's IaQ
Pet facilities are providing clean, fresh purified air for their dogs and cats. This results in healthier, happier, more alert pets. (PRWEB Jun 24, 2006)read more:
ISO digital rights mgmt. spec gets huge backing
You Searched for
Slew of entertainment, consumer electronics and technology companies pledge support for ISO MPEG REL.
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