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.”

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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 🙂

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.

Saw this comment today … it’s priceless:

If the same method that exchange/outlook uses to store email were used in the real world as a paper filing system: Every document is translated into Greek, and the original is burned. Then they are all glued together into one solid block and stuffed into a magic box with a tiny slot, through which you can talk to a little gnome who somehow gets each message for you as needed. Sometimes the gnome gets confused and it takes hours (sometimes days) for him to sort things out; meanwhile he can’t find your documents until he is totally finished becoming unconfused again. As an added bonus the gnome costs several thousand dollars and when he dies every few years you need to buy a new gnome. Oh and if the first box gets (arbitrarily) full you have to buy another special gnomebox, which of course costs $$$

There I was coding away a chapter for the new book (Beginning DB2, released by Apress if you must know), when I realised Rails had some cool features, but this wasn’t one of them.

If I want to use Rails’ neat scaffolding feature to throw up a framework for a table

ruby script/generate scaffold thing

Then I have to define my ActiveRecord in a half-assed, stupidest-idea-ever plural form.

class ThingTable < ActiveRecord::Migration
def self.up
create_table :things do |t|
t.column :thingname, :string, :null => false
t.column :description, :string
t.column :value, :integer
end
end

def self.down
drop_table :things
end
end

You read that right, fellow starship troopers. Random pluralisation for fun and profit. Do you think the Rails designers were savvy enough to ensure correct pluralisation? How about Schema/Schemata … Octopus/Octopodes … Sheep/Sheep … or Gateau/Gateaux ? Oh, wait, I’m sure Rails would spell that last one “Ghetto”. 😛

Inspired by an attack of active laziness*, I’ve been building slack configurations to automatically and silently build new windows and linux boxes … yes, I’m just weird like that.

I’ve pretty much finished with linux world (the joys of apt-get, yum, etc) and am working on the windows side of things. Way down on my list of 50-odd things to install is my trusty old packet capture and analysis tool, ethereal. Or at least, that’s what it used to be called!. While trawling through the vagaries of the lack of silent installer for the packet capture library (winpcap), imagine my surprise when I discover that ethereal has recently changed its name to wireshark. Wireshark! I shit you not … I bet McKinsey graduates are crying into their Bollinger at the missed opportunity to charge $50,000 for that little gem!

It all came about when the original author went to work for commercial outfit with a small (though presumably innocent) conflict of interest, and all involved decided to “retire” the name ethereal. Kinda noble, I suppose, but nearly a decade of brand recognition and loyalty has come close to dying with the change. No doubt it’s been suggested before, but a small bit of legal gymnastics could have been performed to gift the name to the ethereal project and protect it from future misuse, I’m sure.

(* active laziness: The calculated act of doing something to avoid having to do ten times as much in the near future).