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Business

Can 'standards' and 'standardization' be two unrelated concepts? There was an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Cloud Over Sun Microsystems: Plummeting Computer Prices, which dissects Sun’s current financial and strategic challenges. One of the interesting claims in the article is that "Scott McNealy, Sun's chief executive for the past 19 years, long resisted the standardization...
on Oct 17, 2003
I recently wrote a paper for The SAP Developer Network on user interface technology in the enterprise. I'd like to pull out one small section of that paper for further discussion here: There are three main factors that affect the ROI of any UI technology: ease of use of the application, ease of deployment and on-going maintenance, and ease of initial development. Based on the total cost...
on Oct 14, 2003
Blarg #1: Why are JSPs still relevant? You seem like the perfect guy to ask. Let me explain the question; I'm in projects that run for a very long time, we have to maintain them and add features for at least a year, but probably longer. Having bare JSPs (or even really nice tagged ones) makes this hard to maintain and keep bug-free for a very simple reason; The application programmer has to do...
on Oct 9, 2003
Is Microsoft ready to move onto the 'extinguish' phase with the Web browser? Microsoft is renowned for its "embrace, extend, extingish" strategy which involves enthusiastically embracing and championing a new standard, as a way to become the market leader in that standard, then extending that standard with proprietary technology that lets Microsoft lock in customers and lock out the...
on Oct 9, 2003
There's been a lot of talk lately about how Tiger (J2SE 1.5) is going to make Java easier to develop with, bringing it to the masses (or as Sun call it, to the "corporate developers"). I have no doubt that this promise *will* be fullfilled. My question is: *when* will that happen? I'm not even talking about Tiger's release schedule here - although I'm also afraid it's is a little bit late...
on Oct 5, 2003
One valuable capability of open standards is to let customers decouple application decisions from infrastructure choices. I recently spoke at a technology conference as a part of a panel, and one question from the audience was about which open standards were most important. My response was that there are many important open standards, but that one crucial capability that customers are looking...
on Sep 30, 2003
I commented recently that, while we can each take steps to prevent virus and worm attacks on our computer systems, the biggest threat we actually face is the fact that we have a computer monoculture. Most of the world’s computers run Microsoft’s operating systems, thus most of the world’s computers are vulnerable to the same viruses and worms at the same time. The only way to stop this is to...
on Sep 26, 2003
My company is not really an eXtreme Programming shop, but we are somewhat inspired by it. We are currently doing a project in which some people are involved in pair programming. I recently witnessed an amusing situation involving this practice. The team that works at the other desk in my office found a bug which they could not figure out. They came to the conclusion that it might be in the...
on Sep 23, 2003
Industry gurus claiming that technology no longer matters to Corporate America may be drawing the wrong conclusion from the wrong evidence. Just wanted to let everyone know that I wrote an article titled Building software that matters that was published on ZDNet today.
on Sep 17, 2003
I noticed that Chris Campbell's blog often includes a note about what music he was listening to as he wrote. This seems like a nice personal touch so I thought I'd copy it. I'm listening to a funny John Prine song about predicting the future and the chorus goes like this: We are living in the future, I'll tell you how I knowI read it in the paper fifteen years agoWe're all driving...
on Sep 16, 2003
If the IT industry wants to be more like other, mature manufacturing industries, then large vendors need to be willing and able to integrate and resell software components as easily as they do hardware parts. We’re exhibiting at Oracle World in San Francisco this week. Yesterday, I watched Scott McNealy give a keynote address. It was as entertaining as always. One of the points he made, which...
on Sep 10, 2003
What do you think about when you write Java? I recently came across this blog entry, Java vs. .Net developers, in which the blogger, Steve Noel says: "Mickeys [developers who use Microsoft technology] in general are very happy with the latest new tools thrown at them from Redmond, and very generalized also look slightly happier. Java developers on the other hand have a slightly more weary...
on Sep 3, 2003
Could Microsoft co-opt Linux? I have read a number of articles and blog entries speculating about whether or not .NET will catch hold on Linux and on what it would mean if it did. Much of the speculation centers around whether Microsoft will put out its own version of .NET for Linux, but there is also a lot of discussion of Mono, Ximian’s version of .NET on Linux, which has been released...
on Sep 2, 2003
"Java is indeed very powerful, flexible and scalable, but it is pretty hard to do simple things with it!" " is far more practical to this job than Java" "We should only use Java to more complex tasks" "There is no point in using Java if your product is going to be small" Have you ever heard any of these sentences before? You probably have. And I have to agree some things are just too hard to do...
on Aug 26, 2003
Java takes a language-specific approach to solving problems, .NET takes a platform-specific one One of the striking differences between Java and .NET is that Java is, fundamentally, a programming language and .NET is not. .NET is a framework that supports many languages. There has been a lot of identification of C# with .NET, but C# does not equal .NET, and you don’t need to use C# in order...
on Aug 22, 2003
Standards, and corresponding monopolies, can occur naturally Believe it or not, there are times when I feel some empathy for Microsoft. After all, I myself was once a small-time monopolist. My first company, Astrogamma, had a product called FENICS that provided foreign exchange (FX) options pricing and risk management functions for traders. FX options are a particular kind of financial...
on Aug 21, 2003
I just got a phone call from a perfectly nice woman who proceeded to ask me about my company’s IT needs. While on the surface this could have been any number of solicitation calls that I get on a regular basis; this one really struck a nerve from the get-go. The gist of her pitch was to tell me how the company she works for reduces the costs of software development for many Fortune 500...
on Aug 19, 2003
Single points of failure can be entire systems. Prevention may lie in "fencing in". For those of you on the West Coast, I can assure you that it was pretty dark here in New York last Thursday evening. A little after 4pm, suddenly all our lights, air-conditioners, phones, etc., in our office shut down. The UPS alarms started ringing, letting us know we were operating on battery power. We...
on Aug 19, 2003
Cory Doctorow has just published an essay titled Trademarks over on the O'Reilly Network that the executives at Sun should all read. Why should they read it? Because of the following analogy that Cory makes: Ask a lawyer for a 100 percent assurance of trademark protection and he'll give you plain advice: pay me to send a nasty letter to everyone who utters your name without due care and...
on Aug 15, 2003
Mr. Big Shot at AverageCorp has just given a four sentence vision statement of a new software project. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to understand what in the world he's talking about and make him happy with the resulting software. This blog entry will self destruct in 30 seconds.... This entry is a follow-up to my Fundamental Problem with Extreme Programming, the great comments...
on Aug 13, 2003