Blog Posts from February 2007 (page 1 of 6)

Morning Coffee 35

Not sure why, but it’s a very slow day in the blogoshpere

  • Quote of the Day: “I get paid for people to tell me I’m full of shit” – Nick Malik
  • The Architecture Journal has a new website. Looks very cool. I might have blogged this before, but Journal 10 is about composite applications.
  • Latest CTP drop of Orcas is out (downloadable VPC is here). I’m glad DevDiv is providing this level of transparency, but I’m waiting for Beta 1. (via Sam Gentile)
  • Here’s a chance to try out OpenCongress: HR 1201, the “Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship” (or FAIR USE) Act which will dials back DCMA though Ars Technica is not impressed. It’s not on OpenCongress yet, but you should eventually be able to track FAIR USE here.
  • Two months into 2007 and I seem to be keeping with my average of one post a day. 28 days in February has resulted in 29 posts (and the day ain’t over yet!). Of course, this month some of the credit goes to Dale for keeping things going while I vacationed.

Morning Coffee 34

  • Old news, but Reflector 5.0 is out. W00t! Not sure when Scott Hansleman became chief Reflector cheerleader, but he’s got the rundown on the new features.
  • Politics 2.0 Watch: OpenCongress. Sort of like Wikipedia for government. If we can disseminate information on bills and resolutions via the Internet, couldn’t we collect votes on them as well?
  • I got my hardcopy of Powershell in Action while I was on vacation. Highly recommended.
  • Sam Gentle is starting to dig into WF, and he posts about the difficulty getting data in and out of workflows. He’s using the ExternalDataService infrastructure which I don’t like very much. I recommend getting friendly with the WorkflowQueuingService which is the low-level communication infrastructure that ExternalDataService builds on top of. The WQS docs are severely lacking, but it’s fairly straight forward to figure out.
  • Speaking of WF, Tomas Restpro reviews Programming WF. Sounds fairly introductory. Personally, Essential WF is one of the best tech books I’ve read in a long time, so I’ll be skipping this book.
  • My teammate Dale is continuing his daily posts on his blog.
  • Joe McKendrick wonders if EDA is the new SOA. Frankly, both terms are so poorly defined that it’s hard to determine exactly what each term means, much less how they’re related. If you’re an IT industry analyst, you probably can make a ton of cash describing the differences between them. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t see that much value in SOA without EDA. In fact, I’d go so far as to say service orientation without events isn’t much a new architecture paradigm at all. It’s just the Same Old Architecture with better support for interop.

Vacation Coffee

After a week’s vacation, I’m back in the office. I might have left with an empty inbox and newsreader, but I returned to nearly 300 emails and over 500 news items. Actually, 300 emails for a week is actually really good – most of them are in my “low priority” folder which means they are internal mailing list emails rather than things I actually have to deal with.

Major thanks to Dale for keeping the lights on around here while I was gone. With my renewed commitment to blogging this year, I’d rather not see DevHawk “go dark” for a week while I get some R&R. If you liked what Dale had to say, go subscribe to his blog. I hope he keeps up with his daily posts, now that he’s no longer on the hook around here.

Anyway, since I have little idea what’s going on in the technical blogosphere, this is a vacation wrapup instead. Normal Morning Coffee returns tomorrow.

  • We spent a week in Southern California. Two days with my brother-in-law in Santa Barbara, two days at Disneyland and two days with my uncles in Palm Springs (with travel days between). We had a blast, but that’s a lot of driving. Next vacation, we’re going somewhere we don’t know anybody and staying put the entire time.

  • My brother-in-law has three kids, including a son a few months older than Patrick and a daughter a few months younger than Riley. I’ve long said I would never move back to Cali, but seeing them all play together made me think it might be worth it. I don’t have any cousins (my father was an only child and neither of my mother’s two siblings had kids) so I didn’t realize what a big deal it is. I think Patrick misses his cousin Jack more than he misses Disneyland.

  • When I lived in LA, I used to have a season pass to Disneyland. But seeing it thru my kids’ eyes made it brand new again. Our two days in “The Happiest Place on Earth” were a blast, though in retrospect we should have taken a day to rest and hang out at the pool between the two days.

  • Riley’s favorite ride was Pirates of the Caribbean (which she calls “Yo ho ho”). My friend Brooke told Jules that little kids “natural reaction” is to hold on tight during the drops, but Riley put her little hands up and shouted “Wee!” They recently added some elements from the movies (Capt. Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones) to the ride. My wife and I were worried they were going to ruin it, but the changes were fairly small and subtle and we liked them.

  • Patrick’s favorite ride was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters but the Jedi Training Academy was a close second. His Jedi training was my favorite moment at Disneyland. He got to train with a lightsaber and fight Darth Maul. Here’s a video clip of my young Padawan:

    The big problem with Jedi Training Academy is that they only pick a limited number of “younglings” every show. Patrick didn’t get picked the first time we went, and frankly I pushed him out there the second time without him officially getting picked. You could conceivably waste an entire day at Disneyland attending all six Training Academy shows and never get picked. That sucks.

  • Biggest disappointment of Disneyland: Patrick being 1″ too short for Star Tours. I was bummed.

  • Disney’s California Adventure is a nice adjunct to Disneyland, but as a stand alone park it pretty much blows, though Jules and I did enjoy the Tower of Terror.

  • Disneyland seems to becoming Disney-Pixar Land. Pixar movies are the basis for several of the newer rides, including the new Finding Nemo ride opening this summer. There was an article in the Disneyland Pixar Evolution in the airplane magazine so I’m not the only one who’s noticed.

  • After two days in Disneyland, I expected Palm Springs to be a let down. But instead it was a nice casual cool down after two hectic days in the Magic Kingdom. Plus it was great to see my Uncles, who we hadn’t seen since last summer when my brother got married.

  • We flew home Saturday so we could have a casual Sunday before heading back to work and school today. We watched Phantom Menace last night, though the kids are still a bit young for it. We decided on Episode I instead of the original Star Wars because it has a little boy (i.e. like Patrick) and a fight with Darth Maul (i.e. like Patrick). But it doesn’t hold a candle to the original trilogy.

Morning Doughnuts 6

  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill to punish retailers for leaks in personal data. I wonder how long it will take for a law like that to go nationwide? Looks like there may be some good jobs in retail IT data security opening up shortly.
  • There is an interesting debate on the SAAS architecture in Dr. Dobb’s Portal. The money quote for me was as follows:

“Ajax and Web 2.0 are great technologies for casual use, but for mission critical you need the capabilities of a desktop app,” RightNow CEO Greg Gianforte says.

I have to admit I don’t agree with that quote at all. It seems pretty shortsighted in minimizing the capabilities of web based applications.

  • As a follow-up to yesterdays entry about the 12 steps to overcome email addictionhere is a 12 step program to help you overcome being a SOAholic. There are also some symptoms you can look for to see if you are a SOAholic.
  • Ram Ravishankarposts on if SOA requires web services. He makes pretty good arguments for an against a SOA requiring web services and ultimately doesn’t answer the question. I would say that a SOA doesn’t require web services, but it is very likely in the range of 90% plus that a SOA within a company is going to have at least some web services in it.
  • Harry returns from his secret mission and will be back blogging on Monday. I have really enjoyed stepping in being a replacement blogger this week. While my take on technology is a bit different that Harry’s I hope that my entries were interesting and offered a bit of a different perspective on IT.

The Always-On Internet

(Harry is on a secret mission in uncharted space this week, so instead of the daily Morning Coffee post, you get a series of autoposted essays. As this post is about Web 2.0, it’s obviously from fairly old from his previous role @ Microsoft.)

In my previous post, I wrote that I thought of Web 2.0 as the latest evolution of our post-industrial society. This latest evolutionary step was enabled by ubiquitous access to the Internet. We’ve come a long way on that front in just the past five years. Take for example, home networking. In 2000, less than 10% of active Internet users in the US had a broadband connection. Today, that number is just under 70%. At the same time, the consumer wireless router market has exploded. In 2000, there was no such thing as a wireless router for the consumer market. Today, you can buy a wireless router for under $100. In just under five years, consumer Internet access has evolved from being slow, intermittent and isolated to being fast, persistent and available anywhere in the home.

In addition to home networking, we’ve seen dramatic rise in mobile computer usage. Today, laptops are ahead desktops in terms of dollar sales and are expected to move ahead of desktops in terms of unit sales by 2008. Wireless access isn’t available just in the home, but in offices and at tens of thousands of wireless hotspots worldwide. Beyond WiFi and laptops, there is the availability of third generation wireless phone networks and smart phones with built in Internet and media functionality.

These technologies combine to provide a mobile and always-on connection to the rest of the world via the Internet that society is just beginning to leverage.

One of the earliest examples of the effect that the always-on Internet can have society was the original Napster. While Napster’s history and impact on the music industry is well documented, their peer-to-peer approach was only possible because of the availability of fast and persistent Internet access. Music files are fairly large, so Napster ran better with a fast connection. Furthermore, the availability of an always-on Internet connection enabled Napster’s peer-to-peer connections to be available even when the user was away from their computer or using it for other things. This allowed individuals to contribute to the overall Napster experience, even when they weren’t using their machine.

The dubious legality of Napster’s business eventually led to its shutdown. But the idea of connecting users directly to other users is alive in well in legal online services such as Skype and FolderShare.

This persistent connection was the final puzzle piece that has caused a fundamental shift in computing. There’s been more processing power and storage on the edge of the network for quite a while, but it was inaccessible. We needed fast, persistent and ubiquitous network connections to make that power available. As that network bandwidth has become available, the balance of computing power has shifted from the center to the edge. Today,

And in the Information Age, where the computing power goes, society will follow.