With thanks to dbIII on Slashdot.

“A great deal of Microsoft security is unfortunately just like the underwear of Brittany Spears.
If it’s even there at all it’s needlessly complex and frilly, looks good without actually covering much and is far too easy to get around or remove completely.”


I’ve just spent a great couple of days in Brunei, speaking at the ThinkBig Forum, and being the guest mentor for the AsiaInc Forum’s Mentor session for local entrepreneurs.  I had a great time, and met many of Brunei’s up and coming innovators.  It’s great to see such a passionate community there, especially one that is ready and willing to take on the world.

We Have Cover Art!

August 21, 2009

You know a book is getting close to hitting the shelves when Amazon let’s you buy it pre-release, and has the cover art.  This is how the new book looks.

Oracle SQL Recipes Cover Art

Oracle SQL Recipes Cover Art

The word is we might make the Oracle OpenWorld conference, but worst-case is we slip to November.  Happy reading!

Clearly, I haven’t learnt my lesson after writing the DB2 book. Apress has asked me back to write another book.  This time, it’s on Oracle, and my co-authors and I are busy in the “mad writing” phase.  I’m certainly benefiting from all the valuable lessons gained from being a first-time book author, though combating the deities of procrastination is as much a problem as ever.

Wrong … at least one, and that’ll be the big O, as in Oracle. It’s just announced their buying Sun, and therefore MySQL, Java, Glassfish, Solaris, the whole box and dice. The Java aspect makes perfect sense, given Oracle bet the house on Java a decade ago (in much the same way the IBM acquisition made sense around Java). More compelling for Oracle is that they’ll own their own OS, possibly allowing great things like dtrace and zfs to escape the Sun CPPL (or whatever their licence is called), and be released under a Linux-friendly licence like LGPL or Apache.

And then there’s MySQL. At last, MySQL and InnoDB are owned by the same company. I think Oracle will use their market power and considerable ruthlessness to keep MySQL pegged in the “little web database that can” category, and use it to bludgeon Microsoft at the departmental/low-end. Of course, now all Larry Ellison and co. have to do is execute the post-acquisition merging of the two … they’ve shown they have some capability to execute such large mergers (think PeopleSoft, Seibel, Retek), but this one strikes me as a cross between a hand grenade and the proverbial Curate’s Egg. Good in parts, if you ignore the festering bits, and likely to blow up without warning 🙂

Autonomy has this uncanny knack of staying in business with the strangest of business strategies. But, their search and compliance technology is still going strong. So what better way to up the ante with the big vendors, than to buy out their competition? Except they didn’t, they bought Interwoven, who are much bigger in the web content space. So a “bolt on to grow into another cumbersome ECM juggernaught” kind of acquisition, then.

In a previous life, I was the CTO of a traditional document and records management software vendor.  If that sounds like using the latest and greatest technology to make the worlds most dull applications, you’re on the money.  The market in which we operated eventually morphed into the “Enterprise Content Management” space, which included everything from web content management to imaging, and from archiving to surviving the email deluge.

One huge issue faced by this market was the clash with Web 2.0 technologies, including the ideas of free-from collaboration, social tagging, microblogging, and more.  Both sides of the technology space were adamant that their views trumped the others.

“You gotta keep control.  Audit, security, compliance, blah, blah, blah, blah. Without a structure classification, blah, blah, blah”  This style of thinking was also responsible for some of the most sadistic user interfaces ever inflicted on humanity.  The other side’s retort was usually along the lines of “No way man, don’t oppress our folksonomies with your corporate downer.” (OK, my impression of a hippy software PR person is a little lacking).

Interesting news from The Register shows that the extreme spin on both sides is pretty far from the real world.  In their recent survey, they found that organisations don’t care, and don’t find utility, in any of the compliance crap vendors harp on about with Web-2.0-ified collaboration tools, and equally that no one cares about the latest fads in twittering or tagging.

What we’re really interested in is better uses for the information they already have, and the tool getting out of the way so innovation and ideas can flourish.  Who’d have thought?!

After a great write-up in The Register the other day, I’m sure a million and one people decided to try out the joys of email encryption themselves.  The installation of both GnuPG and Enigmail are both really very simple, and without thinking, I’m sure heaps of people click the “recommended config changes” that Enigmail suggests at the end of the installation.

And then their Blog RSS feeds die, and they see nothing but a content encoding header 😦

So, the good news is that the Enigmail forums cover this pretty well, and you don’t have to dig far to find the solution to seeing your RSS feeds again.  But just in case you can’t find it, here’s the solution in plain sight.

Enigmail turns off the HTML rendering of messages, and by implication, RSS feeds.  To see your precious blogs again (like this one 🙂 ), choose the View -> Message Body As -> Original HTML option.  And voila, your case of the blog DT’s is gone.

If you’re like me, after a few years of using the same machine, you end up with half a dozen full eclipse installs, with all kinds of plugins scattered around.  A quick check shows I’ve got 3.0, several 3.2’s, 3.4 and the latest and greatest 3.4.1

In the best traditions of less is more, I’ve always tried to reduce these, but then run into various issue.  PyDev is great for Python development, but you always want to keep up with the latest, and it really doesn’t like old eclipse shells.  Apache Directory Studio barfs with the oh-so-common “Wah wah … I don’t like your fancy new JDK” errors.  And when you start throwing in IBM products, you get the joy of package groups as an extra layer of eclipse complexity.

Sooooo, after all this rambling, where am I going with this?  Well, IBM developerWorks has put up a great article on which of its plethora of eclipse-based products can share the same eclipse shell, and lots of walk throughs on how to do it even with other plugins and tools that don’t share nicely.  Check out the article here.  I’m going to attempt to reconcile my 100+ plugins, tools and gadgets into one eclipse shell … I’ll let you know how that goes!

Fancy something in gold? Maybe with a Ruby? OK, I’ll stop being cryptic. IBM has announced the 1.0 release of the Ruby driver and Rails adapter for IBM databases (get it .. the “gold” release). That means DB2, Informix and Apache Derby/cloudscape. Great work team! This is a huge boost to the Ruby/Rails community, as IBM is one of the few vendors to release and support a vendor-provided driver/adapter. I have some examples of code from the book that shows off Rails and DB2 in action – so take a look at the free code examples on the book site.