Thursday Sep 27, 2007

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Saturday Jun 02, 2007

Great Book: The Dip

Brandon had recommended The Dip, by Seth Godin, a few weeks ago, but I just checked it out on Friday night at Barnes and Noble. It's about knowing when to quit something that is a dead end (what he calls a cul de sac) and when to stick (by "leaning into the Dip"). I read half of it Friday, liked it, went back to read a bit more Saturday, loved it and bought it.

Now, this is a very small book. It's about 4x6 and only 76 pages. I would have finished it Friday, but I was also checking out a biography on Roberto Clemente and a mensa book on doing sudoku (no, I'm no mensa, but why not learn from the best).

Anyway, I was thinking of all the people that I wanted to share it with and thought it would be cool to have a blank page, write their names down and then give it to them, asking them to cross their name off when finished and to pass it on to the next person. Seth was way ahead of me - he must be in mensa :-)

This book will get you excited about quitting things in your life and becoming better as a result. If you're an exec at any company you should run, not walk, and get a copy immediately.

Tuesday Jun 13, 2006

Attending Burton Catalyst 2006

I'm here in SF this week attending Burton Group's Catalyst 2006 conference. If you're here and want to meet, give me a shout. Sun's Booth is Thursday night. Stop by and enjoy our hospitality while you watch our entertaining demos.

Wednesday Jun 07, 2006

My kids last chance to keep Windows

I just got done spending hours over the last few days trying to disinfect a Windows 2000 machine from malware. Thank goodness there are programs out there like HijackThis and even more importantly Pocket KillBox. The guys writing this malware/spyware crap are amazing and know every nook and cranny to hide stuff, but they are still the enemy.

You'd think that the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool would find this stuff and remove it, but it is clueless and a waste of time.

I told my kids that this is the last time I play administrator at that level. The next infestation and it becomes my second Ubuntu machine. Note to my linux-only friends - spare me the comments, if their RollerCoaster Tycoon and Sims 2 ran on it, I'd be there already, but it doesn't.

Tuesday May 23, 2006

Social Networking?

Sitting in one of the sessions last week at JavaOne, I asked a friend why they call it social networking? I mean, I see my kids use "social networking" stuff all the time like instant messaging, MySpace and FaceBook, but I can't help but think all it promotes is unsocial behavior.

Reminds me of a few years ago when Peoria had a major power outage. I think the power in our neighborhood was out for the better part of a day. Without computers and TV you would think the world would have ground to a halt, but strangely it didn't. The conversations for the next few weeks were quite interesting. You would hear people talk about new or rekindled relationships with neighbors. Now that is my idea of "social networking", but I guess I'm showing my age.

Saturday May 20, 2006

Fatal1ty at JavaOne - Should gaming influence how we build middleware?

I had never heard of Fatal1ty before JavaOne. He came to the After Dark Bash last Thursday at Moscone and annihilated challengers. I should have read about him in my American Way magazine on the flight out. This Johnathan Wendel is one impressive 18 year old who is the world champion in 5 first-person shooter games: Quake III, Alien vs. Predator 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, Doom 3, and Painkiller - and he is going for Quake IV next month.

I have never been a game player and games like these make me physically ill just watching. However, I started to think that maybe what we should be doing with Identity Management software, and maybe even all middleware software, is building installation and console experiences that provide a gamer-like experience. But that would suck because then I couldn't install and use my own products :-) I'm only half kidding.

Wednesday May 17, 2006

NetBeans - Ok, I'm a believer

I know that IDEs are a religious issue, but after hearing hype around NetBeans for some time, I finally had the chance to see it in action and I have to say - wow! I have no idea whether it is better than Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, CodeGuide or others. But I will say this: it has some very impressive features and it made me want to start doing development again for the first time since I closed the doors of my software company back in 2001. I sat through the 12 Reasons to use NetBeans IDE today and was blown away by the features. Things like the debugger, cool profiler, plugin ecosystem, easy updates from the web, AJAX support, developer collaboration tools, support for Java EE 5, wizards for Java Server Face apps, \*awesome\* and \*extensible\* code completion, impressive UML support, XML Schema visualization, web services orchestration and BPEL engine, mobility support, must see Matisse GUI builder and more. Clearly if you have an IDE that makes you really productive, stick with it, but if you are at all open to a change this is worth a good long look.

If you do take a look, download the Enterprise Pack 5.5 Early Access and check out its support for our own Access Manager. Eric Leach, the Access Manager Product Line Manager, shared the details about it in his blog on Tuesday. Check it out.

Now I just need to get the NetBeans guys in Prague to add LDAP as a data source. How could they have missed that? :-)

Two Rock Stars in One Day

I'm often accused of being easily impressed, but it's cool to see two "rock stars", granted from different industries, on the same day. I'm out here in SF attending JavaOne for the first time. So far it's been great, but I had to cut out early yesterday afternoon to brief a large customer.

While introducing myself to the customer's CTO, Jonathan Schwartz, our new CEO, walked in and introduced himself to both of us. I thought that was pretty cool. I was just getting ready to provide a roadmap update so when Jonathan started to address them he said something like, "I don't want to disappoint you, but I won't be sharing the technical and roadmap update on Sun's Directory Server". He is as smooth and charismatic an individual as I've ever met. "Rock Star"

Then last night we went to LuLu's with this customer and near the end of dinner we realized that Sammy Hagar was "in the house". The fact that every young woman in the place was running over there and lots of camera flashes started going off should have been a dead give away. I'm not a fan, but without a doubt he is a real Rock Star.

After my Lindsay Lohan meeting in New Orleans last year, my kids will be happy to know I didn't embarrass them by trying to personally confirm it was Sammy Hagar.

Friday May 05, 2006

Incredible Stuff at Maximum Impact

I'm attending Maximum Impact today and it's fantastic. Both Archie Manning and John Maxwell were great, but Tim Sanders really surprised me with his talk on Likeability from his new book called "The Likeability Factor". I plan to ask those who know me well, including my family (yes, I live dangerously), to take the Likeability quiz for me. One thing I worry about, though not for my family, is how to get people to be completely honest. I mean, I want to really know what they think. What they would say behind my back, not just what they'd say to my face :-) I'll let you know what I learn. Feel free to let me know if you want me to take the quiz for you.

Probably the most fascinating part of Tim's talk was his discussion of the work of Dr. Paul Eckman on emotional expressions. Did you know that facial expressions are universal and they can be boiled down to 7 different faces? I didn't either, but this is good stuff. Check it out.

This all related to leadership. Tim talked about how the Friendliness, Relevance, Empathy and Realness are critical for leaders. I'm definitely going to read this book.

More on other speakers in the next few days

Saturday Dec 10, 2005


There was a great editorial by Terry Bibo in our local paper today that hit one of my hot buttons. She refers to our "service economy" and puts it in the oxymoron class of "military intelligence" and "jumbo shrimp". Why? Because when you try to call a human being for service you can't get one. Her funniest comment was to disagree with Barbara Streisand because "people who need people are the unluckiest people in the world." No kidding.

I hate that and I love trying to beat "the machine" and get to a real person. Fortunately there is someone else who hates it more. Paul English, who co-founded the Internet travel site, has created something to assist what Bibo calls the "serve-each-other economy" - an IVR Cheat Sheet. Fabulous! It's getting 80,000 new visitors a day and he supposedly has 900 some cheats he hasn't been able to test and post! I will definitely look here first before calling for "service". I may even offer to help him vet some of those 900 new cheats.

I much prefer getting treated like a human being and having another human on the other end of the phone. Maybe that's hypocritical coming from a person making his living helping to create software enabling this kind of thing. Press "1" to complain, press "\*" to repeat the list of options.

Thursday Dec 08, 2005

State of Fear

Last Sunday I finished reading Michael Crichton's "State of Fear". I get a real kick out of the marketing hype on the covers (me being such a marketing guy :-) ). It is called "Edge-Of-Your-Seat Storytelling" by USA Today, "Nothing short of spellbinding" by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Thrilling" by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Now don't get me wrong, it really was a good book and I found it quite interesting. There were even a couple sections that might qualify for those definitions, but much of the book was on the whole role of fear, specifically as it relates to global warming.

Reading Dave Kearn's article yesterday on Identity Theft (here is the link Dave gave me where it will be when it is online) made me think of the book. He basically said we definitely should use caution online, but the media is playing to our fears and we should keep that in mind. Crichton is a bit more agressive in his book. He describes what he calls the politico-legal-media complex, the PLM. His character sharing this concept says, "And it is dedicated to promoting fear in the population - under the guise of promoting safety". I've never read a novel with this much factual data and SO many graphs and charts. One example was DDT, which he characterizes as "arguably the greatest tradgedies of the twentieth century". It was positioned as a carcinogen and unsafe, but it wasn't and was so safe you could eat it. As a result of the ban over 2 million people die each year, some 50 million in total so far. Read this if you think that's all fiction.

Anyway, good read and the price of my copy was just right - free. A woman sitting next to me on the plane a few weeks ago left it.

Wednesday Dec 07, 2005

Please welcome a real Wizard

I'm no wizard and just used that for a title as a poor attempt at being clever. But a real "wizard" just joined the blogosphere. His name is Neil Wilson and his cn=directory manager blog is definitely something you will want to check out. Neil is the author of SLAMD, the network load generation test tool that I think everybody in the world is using. If you haven't checked it out, you should. Neil and I worked together back at Caterpillar when he was just starting to learn about directory server and LDAP. When it comes to directory, Linux, Solaris or just anything you need a smart person's opinion on, Neil is the man.

Neil recently wrote a slick GUI (very out of character for someone we could just call Mr. CLI) for the benchmark showing how the new Sun Fire T2000 blew away the Dell PowerEdge 6850. Our directory server is the perfect application to showcase the single UltraSPARC T1 chip with up to 8 cores, each supporting up to 4 threads. It was interesting that the Sun Fire performed 250K authentications in 31.66 seconds compared to the PowerEdge's 83.93 seconds for the same number. But that wasn't the best part, which I'll share when I post a flash demo of what happened later this week.

Fell off the planet

No one asked where I went, but just in case you were wondering, I really did fall off the planet. Trust me, you do not want to go there. I can't even remember all the details, but it was on a return flight from Austin, somewhere over Missouri. All those years of agreeing with them about "Show Me" and they did. Anyway, I found my way back in a way that would have made MacGyver proud. Just in time so I can blog about some pretty interesting things that are happening.

Tuesday May 03, 2005

Future of Language

Had to laugh when I saw my friend Pat take Kim Cameron to task for a language infraction on 4/22/05 where Kim said "dialog with them", instead of "talk with them". I was instant messaging with Jeff Hodges yesterday and commenting on how hip he was with his greeting of "D00d!". We both have a couple teenagers, so he pointed me to A parent's primer to computer slang. If you don't think leetspeak is going to end up in college term papers, whitepapers and press releases someday, you have no idea how much time these kids spend IMing. Save your verbiage venom, Pat, you're going to need it.

Sidebar: I came home one night and saw my oldest daughter's best friend in the kitchen. I knew she was spending the night and asked what she was doing on the laptop. "I'm IMing". I asked where my daughter was. "She's down in the basement on the computer". Oh. What is she doing? "We're talking".

Tuesday Apr 19, 2005

Identity and Kevin Bacon

Ever hear of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The goal is to connect Bacon and any actor/actress through the movies or TV that both have worked in. An actor/actress has a Bacon Number of 1 if they were in the same film. Finding anyone with a Bacon Number higher than 4 is tough. Try it and see for yourself.

Anyway, my thought is that anything interesting in the area of internet/online technology today is very directly related to identity. I think technology applications have an Identity Number, much like actors/actresses have a Bacon Number. I also think finding an application of technology with an Identity Number greater than 2 is hard. What do you think?




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