Archive for December, 2008

Year wrap-up

2008 is coming to an end. Time for a brief wrap-up.

I have been on business travel for almost 100 days this year, staying over 60 days in hotels. Been to a quite few countries this year, a lot to Norway (no surprise), but also to the USA, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium and the UK.

And next year will be a as well a busy year with difficult economic conditions in our industry.

From Jan 1st, I will take over as acting Head of Infrastructure Services in Information Systems and report to the CIO in Norsk Hydro. This promotion from my current position came quite as a surprise before Christmas. I am thankful for the opportunity given and the trust that my bosses have put in me throughout the last year.

But the biggest thanks this year go again to my wife and my two girls that support me all the time, whether I am at home or traveling. Without their love and support, even when we face difficult situations, this would not be possible.

Blogging will resume in January, but I cannot promise that the frequency will increase over what you have seen this year. But anyway, if it´s interesting for you, stop by and share your reflections. That´s what makes it interesting, communication is no one-way street.

Having said that, all the best for the New Year, take care and see you on the other side!

Jahresende-Links

So, jetzt zum Jahresabschluss die gesammelten Links der letzten paar Wochen. Sorry, aber wegen zu vielen Reisen vor den Feiertagen und PC-Abstinenz über Weihnachten etwas verzögert:

Nicht ganz neu, aber passend zur aktuellen Eskalation im Nahen Osten: Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War

The present article proposes an evolutionary psychology based model of social prediction, particularly for wars and related social disruption such as riots and suicide bombers.

Frankfurt Story – Danke Robert, gut davon zu lesen, bin ja schliesslich in Frankfurt am Main geboren…

Wo ist das Geld geblieben? – Eine Spurensuche bei der Zeit

The benefits of a monthly recurring revenue model in tough economic times -  Jason Fried von 37signals. So wahr.

Palamida: In a Time of Less, Do More with Open Source: Top 25 Open Source Projects That Will Help Trim Development Budgets (via)

70 Tools Freelancers Rely on Most – auch was für euch dabei?

Und dazu Web Worker Daily: 6 Free, Open Source Resources for Web Workers

Die Jungs und Mädels von EDS sollten´s eigentlich wissen, zumindestens aber eine Meinung haben: How Will Cloud Computing Affect the Information Technology Outsourcing Marketplace? (via)

Endlich mal erklärt ;-) : But What Exactly “Is” Cloud Computing? (via)

Stefan verweist auf ein Paper zum Tema XML Performance. Lesen!

Das Wall Street Journal: Outsourcing: Not Immune to the Downturn, But Holding Up – gibt ja sicherlich noch eine Menge, die Outsourcing primär als Mittel zur Kostensenkung sehen. Der “Do my mess for less”-Ansatz geht aber schnell in die Hose, aber manch lernen eben nur durch Schmerz.

A B2B Recession Survival Kit: Three Not-so-painful Tips for Thriving in a Miserable Economy:

  • Survival Strategy #1: Cut the waste.
  • Survival Strategy #2: Harvest the “best practices” of other companies.
  • Survival Strategy #3: Ask customers what they want.

GMail Blog: SMS messaging for chat – wahrscheinlich (?) bis jetzt nur in USA

Stephen Fry reist mit leichtem Gepäck :-) : Gee, One Bold Storm coming up….

Ein paar Takeaways von Nick Carr:

Elliotte Rusty Harold: You cannot trust the cloud (via)

Traditional payware like Oracle, Perforce, and Microsoft Office had lockin issues, but at least you controlled the software. Vendors couldn’t (usually) shut you down just because they decided your app no longer fit their business model. Cloud vendors can, and you have little to no recourse when they do.

Boring meetings? Get a canary…

Dilbert.com

Royal Pingdom: Google Apps SLA loophole allows for major downtime without consequences (via)

Coding Horror: Hardware is Cheap, Programmers are Expensive

Not quite what I had in mind. Oder wie es sich anfühlt, bei Flickr gefeuert zu werden.

Lehman-Chef Richard Fuld: Der Mann, der die Welt in die Knie zwang (via)

The 10 Coolest Open Source Products Of 2008 – inclusive Identi.ca/laconi.ca (via Cem)

InformationWeek mit dem CTO of the Year: Werner Vogels von Amazon. (via Dave). Gratulation!

Drei Posts von Garr:

10 design rules to keep in mind
(1) Communicate — don’t decorate.
(2) Speak with a visual voice.
(3) Use two typeface families maximum. OK, maybe three.
(4) Pick colors on purpose.
(5) If you can do it with less, then do it.
(6) Negative space is magical — create it, don’t just fill it up!
(7) Treat the type as image, as though it’s just as important.
(8) Be universal; remember that it’s not about you.
(9) Be decisive. Do it on purpose — or don’t do it at all.
(10) Symmetry is the ultimate evil.

Robert Scoble polarisiert ja recht häufig, trotzdem (oder gerade deshalb) zwei Posts von ihm:

Alex Payne von Twitter:  How I Use TextMate

Dare kommentiert einen Artikel von Jeff Atwood: The Myth of the Open Source Business Model Sein Ergebnis:

There are basically three business models for companies that make money from Open Source software, they are

  1. Selling support, consulting and related services for the “free” software (aka the professional open source business model ) – RedHat
  2. Dual license the code and then sell traditional software licenses to enterprise customers who are scared of the GPL – MySQL AB
  3. Build a proprietary Web application powered by Open Source software – Google

As you scan this list, it should be clear that none of these business models actually involves making money directly from selling only the software. This is problematic for developers of shrinkwrapped, consumer software such as games because none of the aforementioned business models actually works well for them.

For developers of shrinkwrapped software, Open Source only turns piracy from a problem into a benefit if you’re willing to forego building consumer software and you have software that is either too complicated to use without handholding OR you can scare a large percentage of your customers into buying traditional software licenses by using the GPL instead of the BSDL.

Peter Thomas in der FAZ über Tilt-Shift-Objektive: Wie scharf ist das denn. Dazu den hervorragenden Post von Benedikt Hotze über Architekturfotografie mit Kleinbildkamera und Shiftobjektiv

Brent Simmons über Browser CPU usage:

The thing is, web developers should test their pages for CPU usage the same as app developers do. And anytime a page is idle, CPU usage should be at 0%. Same as with any other app.

eWeek: IBM Virtual Desktop Bundles Lotus, Ubuntu Linux to Freeze Out Microsoft (via)

Phil Fersht: Emerging from the rubble of 2008: BPO has a breakthrough year

Charles Miller: My 2008 end-of-year tech stock tips. (via)

A comment thread on a blog post I can no longer find a link to saw a rosy future for Microsoft because they spend nine times as much on research and development as Apple. There’s the problem. Microsoft pour R&D money into multi-touch interfaces and come up with a table that is relegated to tech demos and gimmicky election coverage. Apple put R&D money into multi-touch and produce the frickin’ iPhone.

Of course, Windows 7 will fix everything. We’ve never heard that before.

So, das solls mal gewesen sein. Bleibt nur die Frage, welches Netbook kleine 10″-Laptop ich mir zum rumspielen gönnen soll. Muss ist eine große Platte (160+GB), Aufrüstbarkeit auf 2GB RAM und eine gewisse Robustheit. Los, wer kann was empfehlen?

Google working to make the Client OS irrelevant

and, somewhat related to the previous post, another approach to tackle Cloud Computing and (in the long run) trying to dominate this field.

Google, presenting the Native Client.

Native Client is an open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web apps.

As of now, a research project in an early stage. But if this works out, an important step, way more that Chrome was before. If you make the client OS irrelevant, the native client will be the launchpad to the web. But this will be different to what we know. We have to see how this develops.  As Google is no charity, it may be another way to create a walled graden in the long run.

Any opinions?

Amazon EC2 in Europe

Amazon, doing it again (have I said this not so long ago as well?).

Werner Vogels: Expanding the Cloud: Amazon EC2 in Europe

These are three of the main drivers for the requests by our customers

  1. Lower latency from EC2 instances to their clients. The European Region can be accessed with low latency from all major European network hubs.
  2. Low latency access to data stored in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). A large number of customers have stored data into the European Region of Amazon S3. With the new European region this data can now be accessed with low latency from within EC2 at no cost
  3. Regulatory requirements may require that data be stored in the EU and/or processing take place within the EU. With the European Regions of Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 developers now can address those requirements.

(via)

Find the details here.

M. David Peterson commenting on O´Reilly: EUC2?

Having been a part of the private beta cycle for the EC2:EU data center I have to admit that the Amazon Web Services team is getting /incredibly good/ at keeping a low profile during the development of new products, releasing them as production services to the world at mind numbing speeds. It wasn’t long ago that a private beta cycle for an AWS-based service would last 6-9 months. Now?

Not very long. At all.

This is the thing that competitors such as Microsoft need to pay the most attention to:

Getting production services into the hands of paying customers as quickly as possible w/o attempting to boil the ocean. In other words, one web service at a time. One could easily have seen a process in which someone@AWS back in the 2005/6 time frame said: “To do this right, we need multiple data centers in multiple locations across the planet before we can launch. And what good is a storage service if we don’t offer computing services and a queue service and a database service as well? We’ll get laughed off the utility computing planet!” attempting to boil the utility computing ocean in one go. Given the leap frog lead AWS now has on everyone in the marketplace, that obviously would have been a big mistake.

Fortunately — for both them and for us — they were smart enough to realize winning customers one data center and one web service at a time was the way go.

And this is what it is all about to be successful. Do one thing at a time, do this good, take the learnings and go for the next target. Do not try to swallow the elephant in one go and fail.

Bunte Mischung

Spreeblick: Journalist vs – Huch! – Journalist und die maßlose Überschätzung von Spielzeug

Deutsche Bank Research:  Abschwung erfasst innovative Startups mehrfach (via):

Rezession und Finanzkrise treffen junge und innovative Firmen besonders hart. In einem konjunkturellen Abschwung werden Ausgaben auf das Nötige beschränkt: Unternehmen meiden riskante und langfristige Investitionsprojekte, z.B. zur Umsetzung neuer Technologien, und Konsumenten sind weniger bereit, mit neuen Produkten zu experimentieren. Dadurch wird es für Startups immer schwieriger, Abnehmer für ihre neuen und innovativen Angebote zu finden.

Hinzu kommt, dass sich die Finanzierungsbedingungen für innovative Startups verschärfen. Gerade in Europa lässt sich die hohe Abhängigkeit der Venture-Capital-Investitionen vom allgemeinen wirtschaftlichen Umfeld beobachten. Bereits 2007 haben die Investitionen um rund 30% ggü. dem Vorjahreswert nachgegeben.

Gute Idee, aber im geschäftlichen Umfeld kaum umzusetzen: Ihre E-Mail les’ ich nicht – hat mein Chef mal probiert, kam nicht so gut…

Jugendwort des Jahres: Gammelfleischparty

Various topics

Emil Stenström: Follow the 10 ground rules, or fail on the web

1. Everyone is anonymous on the web, if they want to

2. Give your content away for free, or watch someone else do it

3. Linking is the core of the web, make people want to link to you

4. Link to external sites with good content, it’s all about servicing your users

5. People will copy your content, and there’s nothing you can do about it

6. Use the web to communicate with your users, or watch your impact fade

7. Communicate with your users in natural language, marketing speech has no place on the web

8. Be honest about what your strengths are, liars are easily uncovered

9. Care about search engines, and double your number of users

10. Encouraging and acting upon feedback is currently the best form of marketing

Managing Leadership: Exploiting Success

The best cost-cutting program would shut down the programs which are eating up 80% of your effort for only 20% of your return. Then redeploy the assets that had been wastefully tied up in them to where they can exploit success and help create increased revenue, rather than leave them reinforcing failure and generating unproductive costs.

Dilbert.com

Coding Horror: The Problem With Logging

When it comes to logging, the right answer is not “yes, always, and as much as possible.” Resist the tendency to log everything. Start small and simple, logging only the most obvious and critical of errors. Add (or ideally, inject) more logging only as demonstrated by specific, verifiable needs.

Wayne Smallmann: Ebook: Beginner’s Guide to Social Media. Download here. Worth a read.

The Daily Mail: How they shot The Godfather. FAN-TAS-TIC.

Volker calls this the Mother of all Demos. Indeed. And this happened already 40 years ago.

Why the simple recipe “Use Unicode” does not really work when you think a second longer about the challenges you will face when internationalization of an application (via).

Lifehacker: Top 10 Things You Forgot Gmail Can Do

10. Change Gmail’s look entirely with themes.

9. Launch video and audio chats, no Skype required.

8. Back up your email from any system.

7. See all the places where you’re signed in, and remotely sign out.

6. Serve as a central, synchronized, smarter contact list.

5. Consolidate all your email accounts.

4. Help friends find their own Gmail messages or bookmark your own.

3. Keep your Gmail account(s) on your desktop.

2. Give you total search power.

1. Do much, much more with Gmail Labs experimental features.

CIO.com: 7 Things IT Managers Should Know About Lotus Notes (via)

1. Notes is more than “just e-mail.”

2. Notes and Domino is a powerful (and open) application development platform.

3. Notes is the client, Domino is the server.

4. Notes has a long history of backward compatibility.

5. Replication lets you work both online and offline.

6. Notes applications can be built for both the Notes client and for Web browsers.

7. Notes is “not dead.”

Microsoft Generation 4 Datacenter Vision

If you are interested in trends with respect to datacenters (and not only in the pieces we see from time to time from Google), then watch this nice video to get a first idea of Microsofts visions here.

Even more interesting (thanks Peter) is Generation 4 – A deeper look by Michael Manos, General Manager for Global Foundation Services, basicly the entity responsible for the strategy, implementation eand operations of Microsoft’s Global Datacenter Infrastructure.

Business and Economy links

An excellent interview in The Atlantic with Gao Xiqing, who is managing $200 billion of China’s $2 trillion in dollar holdings: “Be Nice to the Countries That Lend You Money” Brilliant to see the difference in perspective.

People, especially Americans, started believing that they can live on other people’s money. And more and more so. First other people’s money in your own country. And then the savings rate comes down, and you start living on other people’s money from outside. At first it was the Japanese. Now the Chinese and the Middle Easterners.

We—the Chinese, the Middle Easterners, the Japanese—we can see this too. Okay, we’d love to support you guys—if it’s sustainable. But if it’s not, why should we be doing this? After we are gone, you cannot just go to the moon to get more money. So, forget it. Let’s change the way of living.

Not so serious, but there is also time for that:

After The Crisis: A Parody of 15 Corporate Logos (via).

Apply for a Federal Bailout! – here´s the form


Microblogging tidbits

just cleaning the cache after a few days:

Matthew Ingram on GigaOm speculating whether after the acquisition of Rael Dornfest´s Values of n by Twitter and the announced shutdown of Stikkit and I want Sandy this gets into Twitter: Will Twitter Become Your Personal Assistant?

Wayne Smallman of Blah Blah Technology on another acquisition (this time by SixApart, also shutting down the service): Pownce is dead

Dave Winer: The space between Twitter and FriendFeed:

I believe that there is space between Twitter and FriendFeed for a service that’s dumber than FriendFeed and richer than Twitter. Start with what Twitter does and add the graphics that FriendFeed has. I know some people will say that’s Pownce, but it’s not (though Pownce was pretty nice). I don’t want full blog posts, I like the 140-character limit, and I can skip out on the discussion features that FF has that Twitter doesn’t. But I think a graphic and visual Twitter would kick ass, the same way the Macintosh eventually kicked MS-DOS’s ass in the 80s and early 90s.

Robert Scoble following up on Dave: 10 Reasons why Twitter is for you and FriendFeed is not

Sarah from Regensblog (via): Get the $%&? off my lawn!!:

Can someone explain what’s special/better/shinier about Twitter? I’m really feeling like I’m missing the boat on this one.

Scott to the rescue:

Twitter is like an office water-cooler. It’s a way to hold quick and trivial conversations in real time. You might accidently learn something useful or interesting, but usually you don’t. It’s an entertaining waste of time.

Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference

in Oslo, this week. By coincidence, I am staying in the same hotel as a lot of the delegates.

And when meeting the delegates in the hotel, you see the pride in their faces to be part of this important step forward.

What still makes me wonder, why countries like the USA, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan are not willing to join this convention – at least not at this point. History has shown that using Cluster Munition most of the harm comes over the civilians living in there area where the munition deployed. Hard to see the benefits towards military targets. And, looking at the global threat picture as again confirmed a few days ago in Mumbai, absolutely useless when it comes to fight against or defend terroristic attacks.

Find the final convention text at the conference website.



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