Thursday, December 4, 2008

20081204.1505 Tooting One's Own Horn

In their documentation Oracle comes on like an insecure lover, constantly reaffirming their position as your object of affection and jealously playing mind-games to keep anyone else from attracting your attention.

The utter saturation of their technical information with marketing spin is cumbersome to parse through when you are just trying to learn something.

Here is an example: When you go to the web page console for the Oracle Application Server Service Registry (and again does EVERY product need to start with the word 'Oracle'?) right at the top of the page we have this copy:

"Oracle Application Server Service Registry is the most complete and proven business services registry providing a foundation for the governance and lifecycle management of your business services. The Registry provides you with what you need to obtain enterprise-wide insight, control and economic leverage of your organization's business services assets. Much more than just a UDDI registry, the Registry captures and makes discoverable business service descriptions into a centrally managed, reliable and searchable location, becoming the system of record for your business services Oracle Application Server Service Registry provides two user interfaces. "

You would think that by using this product - which amounts to an overblown list of web services that in spite of performance bottlenecks, still puts the database at the center of the universe - you would suddenly get all kinds of magical "economic leverage" to throw around.
Is this really necessary? Are they training the IT staff to just take them at face value & repeat the mantra that Oracle Knows Best? When I see statements like "most complete and proven" I have to ask the question "according to whom?"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

20081125.1452 Perl Videos

OK so this is one of those 'caveat emptor' moments. You get what you pay for and this is very very free. But if you know absolutely nothing about the Perl programming language and want to learn it but can't be bothered to read a book yet you do have 4 hours of free time, then give this guy a viewing:

Lesson 1:

Lesson 2:

Lesson 3:

Lesson 4:

I have gotten about 16 minutes into this before my eyes rolled back in my head. Mind you I already know Perl and I teach classes - though I have never taught a Perl class... So I can't throw stones per se, but at the very least, I am not in his target audience so it does not matter.

20081125.0925 New Gear

So it turns out that the Disney make-over of HHGTTG was not merely a giant Nokia commercial after all. If Samsung gets their way - then the next generation of their smart-phones will look a lot more like the prop used for the device in the movie.

20081125.0917 It Never Gets Old

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

20081119.1224 Look! Up in the Sky!

If this image doesn't just scream LOOK AT ME - then I don't know what will...

Friday, November 14, 2008

20081114.0922 History Repeats Itself

It would seem that people are standing up and finally taking notice of the fact that rape can be used by the military as a weapon. The question at the moment is whether or not it should be added as a count of genocide against Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir - the President of Sudan.

What bothers me about the referenced article is this sentence:
"Hanging in the balance is whether the heinous modern warfare strategy of mass rape will be condemned and prosecuted for what it truly is: genocide."

It would be a fine journalistic sentence if the word 'modern' was removed. If we go back in history 50 years we will find that the Japanese did exactly the same thing in the Philippines, China and Russia. It has been postulated that was one reason why the Russians invaded Japan at the end of the war against US urging - revenge.

Anyone who has watched Braveheart knows that it was a practice that the English systematically used against the Scottish and the Irish. Go a little further back and we have the Vikings - who populated 1/2 the world with 'yellowheads'. i.e. blonde hair

This is NOT modern. As a result - I predict that these charges will NOT materialize, since then restitution might be sought from anyone else who has used this practice. No one wants to remember a past where their people were guilty.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

20081113.1201 The Real Whale Wars

While some folks are busy watching the efforts of Japanese fishing fleets to illegally harvest whales and getting entertainment from watching organizations like Greenpeace try to stop them - the US Navy has been waging it's own war - in the court system.

The real Bush legacy will be effect that he had on the Supreme Court by stacking it with "loyal Bushies"*. You can guarantee that all of the decisions that they will hand down will be an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, to broaden the powerbase of the executive branch (wonder if they'll do that for Obama too? Doubt it.), to take the side of corporations over citizens, and to remove any restraints at all on the conduct of the military.

So the outcome? The Supreme Court says that the Navy is in more danger from enemy submarines than the whales are from the Navy. Therefore they made them exempt from the restrictions on Sonar use when a whale is within 2,200' of the transmitter. Prediction? More dead whales. We can only hope that they wash up on shore in California where they can't be ignored so easily.

[* - How are 2 out of 9 a 'stack'? Simple: Stevens was appointed by Ford, Scalia and Kennedy by Reagan, and of course Souter and Thomas by G.H.W.Bush. That makes 4 loyal to the Bush family - and 7 owe their posting to Republicans. ]

Monday, November 10, 2008

20081110.1128 Astro-Upgrade

It would seem that the International Space Station is about to get a serious upgrade - a new living quarters module.

It would seem also that in an epic Greenwashing effort combined with a cold sense of revenge for the diaper-wearing-stalker incident astronauts will now be required to drink their own urine, not unlike the opening scene from Waterworld...

"Most significant is the water recovery system -- it will turn urine and condensation into fresh drinking water. The system is essential if NASA is to increase the size of the space station crew from three to six. That switch is supposed to occur by the middle of next year."

Friday, November 7, 2008

20081107.1453 Ballmer Disses Android

At a recent event where Microsoft was shown to be teaming up with Telstra, obviously gearing up to make a major play for the mobile space - MS CEO Steve Ballmer expressed his typical hatred for all things open by wondering aloud how Google is expected to make money on Android.

Funny - I've been saying that about the X-Box for years now.

20081107.0832 The Dominoes Tip...

So it goes like this...

First some banks go belly-up. CHECK!
Then panic sets in. CHECK!
Then it becomes very difficult to get a car loan. CHECK!
Then car dealers stop ordering new cars - and start closing up shop. CHECK!
And so the car makers start laying people off. CHECK!

Some one give me a fiddle, I smell smoke.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

20081106.1118 Newt vs. SoX

Newt Gingrich wants to do away with Sarbanes Oxley. We don't have enough financial problems on Wall Street already, we should go back to the Enron model of doing business? Is that what he's saying?

I mouthed off on this topic enough in the article comments section. Just have a read - there is some serious reality-warping logic there.

20081106.1000 Dump AT&T Now. No Seriously.

It would seem that AT&T's new Profit Plan is to charge people by the byte for access to their network. Soon to be gone are the days of unlimited access. AT&T is going to start charging you usage fees based on how much data you send over the wire.

The Story behind this is that supposedly 5% of the users use 50% of the bandwidth. I say that if anyone is using their connection - a service that has an advertised transmission rate - at full speed all month long - then they are simply getting everything that they paid for. The standard line from the ISP's is that you are a 'bandwidth hog' and that you need to be 'capped' for the good of everyone else on the network. Why can't the network handle everyone simply getting everything that they paid for? That sounds like the sort of false advertising that AOL got into trouble for when they tried to sell user accounts into areas where they didn't have the infrastructure to actually support them properly.

This is also a wonderful excuse for them to monitor each and every wire individually - thereby installing the instant eavesdropping service that all of your Three-Letter Government agencies are chomping at the bit to get into the lives of anyone stupid enough to let them.

Think I'm being paranoid? FACT: That cell phone in your pocket can be activated remotely and used as a listening device without your knowledge. You are already bugged. It is only a question of how much attention people want to pay to you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

20081104.1527 Heavy Metal

If you suffer from serious technolust and you want to know what real computing power is, then you have to have a look at the set-up that they are using to handle data from the LHC. 15 Petabytes is nothing to sneeze at. I have to admit to being truly impressed. I just truly hope that some very good science comes out of it all.

20081104.1512 Run Rabbit Run

Just as I missed the opening day at Killington last weekend because I didn't want to pull an all-nighter driving to get to the slopes I come to read this lovely article the explains that I'm about to hit yet another brick wall in the aging process.

Oh joy. Yet another thing to worry about. I guess I'd better start getting busy inventing the vat they're going to have to stick me in before my hands are too feeble to work a soldering iron anymore...

20081104.1500 Indian Robots on the Moon

So it would appear that the Chandrayaan-1 is well on it's way.

What is the sudden new fascination with the Moon? Did the leaders of the world all read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress this summer and finally realize that whomsoever sets up a rock-thrower on the moon first will rule the earth?

One has to wonder. US$80Million feeds a lot of starving people in India. I'm the first person to say that space research is the noblest calling of science today - but it is sort of weird, this new China/India space-race. Most of all because we're also in it and not making a lot of progress.

Monday, November 3, 2008

20081103.0900 Sun is Leaking Cash - is MySQL the Reason

Sun Microsystems, Inc. is the server hardware company that brought us the Java programming language almost by accident and then changed their stock ticker symbol to JAVA even though it is not their core business and they have never directly made any money from it.

Recently they purchased MySQL - a company founded on database software that everyone can download and use for free. Arguably they did so in order to hedge their bets against Oracle, Inc. - the database company that is buying up any small software company that gets fashionable with the Fortune 200 crowd for more than a week. So maybe it was a Good IdeaTM. But they also recently bought NetBeans for a lot of money - which is a program that you use to write Java programs - that you can also download and use for free.

So Sun is really into free software right now. They are also losing a lot of money right now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

20081031.1051 Iterative Project Planning

The Collective Business Genius at Harvard is busy patting themselves on the back for inventing what we in IT Software Development have been trying to sell to them for ten years now: Iterative Software Development.

Rather than one Big project, do a series of little projects. You learn along the way and are free to change your priorities as you go. Simple. Thanks for paying attention guys.

This is a lesson to IT people - when dealing with "the business" it is always most effective to make them think that they thought of your idea. That way they will buy into it faster.

What kills me is that the 'money people' still think that they have a lock on deductive reasoning and logistical wisdom and that the 'computer people' are the clueless eggheads they see on Eureka. Quick call the dumbass sherrif - we have a quantum singularity on our hands again!

20081031.0926 AT&T Doublespeak

I mentioned recently in the past that AT&T recently complained that the iPhone is costing them money.

Then I received a troubling text message on my iPhone that read:
"AT&T Free Msg: Unlimited MEdiaNet packages will no longer be available as of 11/12/2008. 1, 5 and 10MB MEdiaNet packages still available. Call 611 for details."

Mind you I did call 611 within minutes.
  1. They make you say your phone number, name and PIN number out loud in order to do business with you. Do NOT try this on a train or in a bus station for example.
  2. The Operator had no idea what I was talking about
  3. They basically informed me that yes I was currently listed on the plan that was being discontinued
  4. I would have to pick another data plan
  5. My "2 year contract" only applies to my end of the contract and they are free to change their mind about what they want to charge me at their whim and if I don't like it I can pay the early termination fee, dry up & blow away.
And then, of course I get this in my email today telling me to go to Starbucks if I want to continue to use the data plan on my iPhone for free. And they include a chapter of the user manual for a 2 minute procedure to follow every time you want to log in to that lovely free service, for your ..ahem.. convenience:

Accessing AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots is easy
Activate Wi-Fi from the settings icon on your iPhone.
Select “attwifi” from the list of available networks.
Enter your 10-digit mobile number and check the box to agree to the Acceptable Use Policy.
Tap “continue.”
You will receive a text message from AT&T with a secure link to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot.
You will not be charged for the text message.
Open the text message and tap on the link for 24-hour access to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

20081030.1529 What I Want for Christmas

I don't even celebrate Christmas. Frankly I can't stand it.

But if I was to indulge in the Santa fantasy - I would want this most sexy computer accessory to find it's way to me this Yule.

20081030.1523 Smoke If You Got Em

It seems that the Big Anti-Smoking Surge is ebbing and now we're seeing just what we accomplished:

US nicotine addiction reaches 15-year high from

Nicotine dependence has reached a 15-year high, with nearly 75 percent of people currently seeking tobacco-dependence treatment categorized as highly nicotine dependent. New research, presented at CHEST 2008, the 74th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reports that nicotine dependence severity has increased 12 percent between 1989 and 2006, while the proportion of people classified as highly nicotine dependent has increased 32 percent.


So now that we know it's not working - are we going to continue to keep all of our friends from joining us in the bar?

20081030.1519 Points Finger at Oracle ERP

It would seem that implementing Oracle's ERP system is not all that it was cracked up to be for They restated their earnings for a 5 1/2 year period and are now showing a US$12+M revenue loss...

Oooopsy! I guess you have to have something to blame that lost money on.

20081030.1441 Office in Your Browser

I think I have seen this movie before...

Google introduces the functionality of Microsoft Office in a set of web-based applications that you can use for free.

Then Microsoft comes along and pretends to invent what already exists in an effort to fight off a business rival by shunning them & playing "I can't see you, I can't hear you, na na na."

And we, the stupid public who somehow by now are supposed to have never heard of Google are supposed to just lap this up like starving dumpster kittens?

20081030.1433 Microsoft's Newest Content Filter

Coming to an X-Box Live chat session near you soon - filtering free speech on the fly!

Microsoft Gets Patent for Patently Offensive Audio Content from

( -- Microsoft recently obtained a patent designed to create an Automatic Censorship of Audio Data For Broadcast . The invention is intended to act as a filter for live broadcasts where it is impracticable to delete or make inaudible certain undesired words or phrases. Additionally, other audio streams like music or games can utilize the automatic censor.


I bet you just can't wait to hear all of the creative new terms that are going to be invented by 15 year olds with sailor-like vocabulary to get around this.

20081030.1414 Microsoft's Chinese Black Screen of Shame

If anyone thinks that the Chinese government has any real respect for Intellectual Property law - then I think that this story might take a crowbar to your faith in communist lip-service:
China tells Microsoft to rethink 'black-out' anti-piracy tactics: report from

China has told US software giant Microsoft to reconsider controversial new anti-piracy tools that cause computer screens to turn black if a pirated program is identified, state media reported.


Notice if you will - Big M is not making the stolen software stop functioning per se, nor having it phone home for help, nor in any other way reporting the theft other than turning the screen black. That would be just fine for most servers for example. What with the prolific release of 0 day hacks it is probable that this measure will also be hacked into mere nuisance status within 24 hours of it's release - making the argument largely symbolic - and therefore all the more damning for the Chinese government that is now protesting.

Where is it written that anyone is entitled to free upgrades? If they don't like the new version of Windows, then they do not have to buy it. The same goes for everyone else - oh & look - Vista is practically a spontaneous consumer boycott action - see how that works?

But from that we have the beginning of the long trail of political rhetoric that will now begin to ensue listing for the next decade all of the reasons why Copyright law and the enforcement of software licensing contracts should not be applied equally to China. So far we have the disparity of income in the developed and developing worlds, the 'realistic situation' in China today (i.e. no one ever buys any software), and so on.

So much for no Nationalism in the Globalized Economy. Why is it OK for India and China but not for the USA?

20081030 What's All the Whining About?

Two years ago I decided to start experimenting with blogging.

Experience has given me the opinion that your own opinion is not worth much if you are considering something that you do not have any experience with.

Another way of putting that might be "Don't talk the talk unless you can walk the walk."

There are many variations but the sentiment is the same.

That being said - I think that I now have the basis from which to form a meaningful opinion:

Blogs Suck

This one is no exception and of course anyone who hears me mention it in person first acts amazed and then surprised surprised that it even exists - even if it's the tenth time we had the same conversation.

And it has occurred to me that reading a friend's blog is like a social obligation - once you start doing it - it is expected that you continue. How stupid is that? But the truth is that I have very likely gone in person to see my friends perform on stages in high-school auditoriums and seedy bars more often then those same people bothered to surf to a web site I wrote.

And that's fine. Because most of what I write about - they wouldn't be interested in.

And that is the real problem with blogs - they let everyone feel important because everyone can have a press-kit on-line and feel like a celebrity - but when it comes down to substance - there is very little in the way of Truly Interesting Things To Say out there at all.

I also inherently rebel against the constraints that blogs put you under. I know how to author web-pages from scratch and I am still of the mistaken opinion that I will do a better job than the templates that make my pages look like everyone elses.

But as I said this is a mistake. Just because I can make one, it does not immediately follow that I will make it so. Usually in fact, I do not. Rather I put in some really awful skeleton pages in place and never get around to making them look the way I actually intended.

Which is where the idea of the WYSIWYG editor embedded in a web page starts to actually make sense. The downside is that I have to force all of my entries into the pre-established format and flow them into the pre-established page layout. This is probably OK for >80% of the cases, but the perceived loss of control more than anything is what bothers me.

For people who can not do it to begin with - this is probably enabling...

20081030 What a Mess

Well now it looks like I have a blog made by a 6th grader.

Lots of broken image tags and stupid widgets in the column..

So if I'm going to be all Web 2.0ish and try for one posting to fit in with the younger crowd - I need to stop writing. No one reads anymore. If there's no video on your site - no one cares. Sad but true. Thank you YouTube.

Video killed the Anything Star...

Oh ok... I can upload video directly, but not embed YouTube clips? What is the point of that?

I like this service less and less...

So here's the link to some amazing music. Whee...

I'll keep trying to get the hang of this crud.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

20081029.0932 Messing with TwitPics

Well this decidedly is not a good idea.

This is a link to the picture in question - if you care. Trying to directly inline the image has been problematic to say the least. But that's OK - I was mostly just messing around, looking for a quick workaround for the lack of the Mobile Blogging photo upload feature...

20081029.0917 Access Denied

Well it would look as though someone along the way caught my not-so-clever inlining and broke the link to that photo.

Ah! I see that TwitPics expired it on me... Coincidence? We shall see..
I sent it again:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

20081028.1703 Testing...

Let's see if I can successfully embed an image that I took on my iPhone and uploaded to TwitPics as a simple embedded image in this blog:

OK it is doable - but I needed to monkey with the HTML directly... Well it's something anyway...

20081028.1650 Still Trying

iPhones are not a supported device for mobile blogging on this service. That figures - I just got it working on the Googlepages site. Wonderful.

What bothers me about this is that I am just sending an email with an attachment. Wouldn't it behoove them to make a service where you could just do that anyway? Or would that make them susceptible to bot attacks & such automated mayhem?

I tried their little Gadgets thing. It is too permanent. I can't just stick PacMan in-between postings for the heck of it. Once it is there - it is always there.

I tried this out by adding the New Scientist update Gadget at the bottom of the page. I tried to add several much cooler Gadgets there but none of them worked.

Also there are lots of opportunities to forego my Right to Privacy. But I'm still too much the IT professional to not require someone to work at least a little hard to connect the dots on my on-line identity.

OK so that is a lot of complaining... Let us now review what I have gained:
  • The ability for YOU the public, to reply to my posts, add to the conversation and generally insult me. Cool.
  • A proper RSS feed - this was always a gripe about GooglePages, since they stored all of my text as XML, it was a simple XSLT call to produce the RSS feed - but they never got around to it for some reason...

OK so it's not all bad.

20081028.1518 So Far So Crap

I am only trying to use this service because I am being threatened that Googlepages is going away. They claim that they will convert me over from one to the other...

I currently am at:

I find this a dubious claim at best.

Widgets? How are they planning on dealing with those?

I have a sinking feeling that I'm about to lose my content - or at least the ability to edit/update/add to it.

Also I'm about to have a dispute with this sucker over use of the name "gregor42". Until that is resolved I need to use the additional "Y" character - and that is confusing to others and infuriating to me...

20081028.1503 Testing One, Two, Three

This is a test - this is only a test.

This is a test of the new blog site I set up with this stupid name because of that German dude who usurped my web-identity. (see

I've only been using it what? 15 years (!) already? Ever hear of Google? They run the site you're on... helllooo? Try searching first you jerk!

Had this been an actual blog posting I would have said something of substance. This is only a test.