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Oracle buying Sun

Oracle just announced to buy Sun for a wee bit over $7b. I think this is a brilliant move, by far better than the previous offer by IBM.

On a side note, it is almost impossible to type on an iPhone on a moving train.

Trillr Microblogging Platform

The guys over at CoreMedia released their own micro-blogging platform under a BSD-license (open-source). Trillr is aimed at corporate (“Enterprise 2.0″) micro-blogging. I’ve used the original Trillr site for a while now and I think this is a great contribution to the community. Trillr is written using the Django Framework (Python) and the API is compatible with Twitter, making it easy to integrate with existing solutions.

The developers did release a word warning around the setup process simply because they developed the software as an in-house application and had to rip out some proprietary code before releasing it to the public. I think we should expect subsequent releases to clean that up!

On another positive note, these guys are working on a version 2.0 release already which they’ll also open source. Let’s hope they keep up the momentum.

Go download it and play with it!

By |December 17th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

4-Cylinder Lego Engine

How awesome is this: A company named LPE power is making a 4-cylinder pneumatic Lego engine. A little pricey though, I think I could build one myself.

By |December 15th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Groovy and Grails join the Spring Family

This is almost old news, but I just noticed that SpringSource, the company behind the Spring Framework, bought G2One, the company behind the Grails framework (see my earlier article).

This seems like a great move to me, completely aligned with Spring’s vision to make Java development easier. It’s great to see that Grails now has Spring’s full backing and a promising outlook in terms of integration with Spring applications.

Maybe one step closer to Grails in the enterprise.

By |November 24th, 2008|Uncategorized|30 Comments

Creating Browser Screenshots on the Server Side

In the light of the plethora of gloomy headlines in the past few weeks I have started taking screenshots of some of the major web sites online, maybe just to have an archive of how the world ended one day :-)

I started thinking there’s got to be a way to automate this. Indeed, there are a number of downloadable utilities out there to create JPEG images of web sites, but I really wanted to build this myself. After some initial online research I decided to give it a spin in C#. I came across the System.Windows.Forms.WebBrowser class which, as it turns out, can do all these magic things for me directly on the server-side without requiring a desktop application.

The caveat is that the WebBrowser does need to execute in a standalone STA thread. As a side-note, the code is a total memory-hog the way it is written now, mostly due to IE.
(more…)

By |October 22nd, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Youtube starts offering premium content

According to Ars Technica, youtube has introduced full-length video content also. All this video is supported by advertisement.

Youtube hasn’t been successfully turning the site into money yet, maybe this is a sad attempt at that. Frankly, I think it completely waters down their brand (if they really have one, that is). Who really associates premium content with the site that has an endless supply of kitten videos?

Then again, McGyver is hardly “premium” content. I wish they’d also add Airwolf and Knight Rider. You can already watch The Fall Guy on Hulu.

By |October 13th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sun Releases xVM Server under Open Source License

It looks like VMWare ESX server is no longer the only freely available bare metal hypervisor (i.e. one that doesn’t require a full-blown OS but runs directly on the hardware). I tried to play with ESX but was kind of put off by the particular enterprise hardware it required, there is no way to run it on commodity hardware. Sun now released they xVM hypervisor under the GPLv3. Currently you can only download the source code, but I am looking forward to a binary release. I am hoping it’ll run on one of my servers at home :)
“Sun xVM Server is an outgrowth of the Xen project — which raises the question of why a company would go with Sun’s version rather than the Xen one. Apart from its support for SPARC and Solaris (as well as other chips and operating systems), Sun is also building a services and sales organization around a commercial version of xVM server… If you want to kick the tires or cut your costs, you can hop over to xVMServer.org, download the source (GPL 3) and join the community. But Sun is betting that, as deployments move from an initial testing phase to active usage, large organizations will be willing to pay for guaranteed support (starting at $500 per year per physical server).”
Check it out on xvmserver.org

By |September 13th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Another one on Adversing Age

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Almost six months after the companies started talking, WPP and Microsoft have reopened talks that could have the software company unloading Avenue A/Razorfish. But the question is whether Microsoft could ever get anyone to buy the digital ad agency for the price at which it needs to sell it.
Read more on adage.com.

By |August 26th, 2008|Uncategorized|32 Comments

Help, my company is up for grabs — Update

Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) talks with WPP Group seem to be taking a more serious turn on the subject of the software giant selling off digital ad shop, Avenue A/Razorfish, AdAge reports. Microsoft acquired Avenue A/Razorfish when it bought parent aQuantive last August for about $6 billion. That purchase also included other aQuantive properties, among them ad network Atlas and digital marketing solutions provider DrivePM.
Read more on paidcontent.com, AdAge, and now also Washington Post.

By |August 25th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why do CMS projects fail?

A (prospect) client asked me this morning why 85% of enterprise content management implementations fail. Well, here is the long answer:

There are numerous reasons for this high rate. For one, web architectures are complex implementation projects. Requirements are often not well understood, leading to bad software purchase decisions (“putting the cart before the horse”) and architectural choices. The largest group of in-house stakeholders, the content editing community, is often ignored and set to deal with unusable user front-ends and complex publishing workflows, preventing necessary user adoption. Content is often stored in presentation-heavy formats, content re-use across channels and applications is time-consuming or even impossible, the resulting duplication of content leads to inconsistent web experiences.

The remedy for these problems on the one hand lies in the definition sound processes and establishing clear channels of communication between stakeholders. On the other hand, building a solid technology foundation is another vital aspect. Not only must this foundation be flexible, stable, and easy to use, but the defining principles must be upheld while the system is in operation and undergoing maintenance and feature release cycles. I have seen large-scale implementations that had to be replaced after only 2 years of being in operation because the software got unmaintainable, slow, and the site feature-set was locked in by technology reasons only (“maintained to hell”). On the other hand, I have built sites that serve over a billion page impressions a month, that have gone through multiple visual redesigns, all on a technology platform that has been in place for 5+ years now.

So, in summary

Heavily involve the business stakeholders throughout the project
Build the system to enable the content editors to efficiently maintain the site content and structure themselves. Any reliance […]

By |August 22nd, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments