Blogging for business
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Earlier, I wrote an entry in my other blog about blogs in business. Tell me what you think.
It's utterly impossible for a
In one of the Keynote speeches in the opening of the UK Oracle Users Group annual conference a few interesting things were pointed out.
In other news the results for GlobalVote 2004 are in and it's pretty much a landslide for Kerry. 77.1% vs just 9.0% for Bush, here's hoping those figures will be repeated in the USA. Unfortunately some US citizens seem to think that Europeans shouldn't be allowed to express an opinion.
According to today's USA Today George Bush Jnr (aka dubbya) doesn't like to be refered to as Junior. I'll remember that if I ever see him, although "Mr ex-president jnr" is a bit of a mouthful.
Wil Wheaton's take on the election. I like the way he makes the point about how the Repubicans are attempting to keep voters (specifically Democratic voters) from voting.
Something that has suprised me some what in reading blogs and articles, and talking to people, is the number of US citizens who seem to be seriously considering emigrating if Bush wins. I know you always get people, in any election, who say they will move to another area/country if a certain person wins, but this time they sound different, they sound serious. Reasons for leaving range from the purely practical (under Bush their life would be untenable or even illegal) through to the idealistic (under Bush America is no longer the nation it should be and no longer abides by the principles it was founded on). The more I hear from Bush the closer I feel the US is getting to The Republic of Gilead.
I've got a really annoying problem with a script. It basically has to read a bunch of variables from a file and use rsh to connect to a remote box to run a command (the machine name to connect to is one of the variables). It uses a while loop. If I just echo the variables back to the screen it cycles through each set of variables fine but as soon as i use the rsh it quits after the first itteration (regardless of the command run via rsh or those that come after it (that are confirmed to run)).
I've looked at it, our Solaris guru has looked at it and neither of us can see where it's going wrong!
What's this with people in the LOAF story listing their qualifications? If anyone wants to check out mine then they can look at my resumé. Not that there's much to see, I never went further than BSc.
If anyone wants to offer me a job then they can get in contact. I think my current salary works out around US$100k.
Has anyone noticed Slashdot being incredibly slow today? Things that normally take a few seconds are taking a minute or more and I've had 503 errors a few times.
Magazines/Periodicals I bought today:
There's a vaguely interesting article here. The latter part of the article drifts into a rather misguided rant about open source software (the group publishing the article has been known to take money from Microsoft to publish anti-Open Source articles/editorials) but the former part takes an interesting view on outsourcing. The author seems to be saying that US intellectual property (IP) such as patents and copyrights is being lost or diluted by moving production to overseas locations where production is cheaper, offshore outsourcing.
Whilst I'm not sure if the IP aspect is real I certainly see that offshoring is damaging ecopnomies in the 'developed world'. Every job being sent offshore is a job lost to the local workforce. Sure it's good for the share price and dividends that the company can hire two developers offshore for less than the cost of one locally, but someone has lost their livelihood and needs to be suported by the local social care and benefits systems. A couple of days ago theferrett wrote an entry about sweatshops. One of the points he made is that people can afford to work under such poor conditions and for such little money because the general standard of living is so bad that even those conditions are a step up. In a 'developed' there is a floor on the basic survival costs of living. There is a cost below which even the most basic of housing will not drop, even the most basic level of food has a minimum cost. And those costs are higher than the equivalent in the countries to which jobs are being exported. Hence exporting a job puts the high cost of providing basic social care and benefits for someone who could work but cannot find a job onto the economy of their nation, it also reduces the taxation income for that nation.
So, if you don't want your IP to be lost or diluted and don't want your taxes to go up, stop exporting jobs! In the long term an economy must produce to thrive, you stop producing and you die. Look back to history and you'll see exactly the same pattern repeated in Rome, Greece, Ethiopia, China, India and many other places. Dominant cultures (economies) exported their production work (or imported slaves) and set up along a services line, quickly they collapsed as their means of production of wealth was controlled by external forces (often forces that became hostile). And it is a foolish prince that relies on mercenries for his defense.
I also feel that by exploiting the cheap cost fo labour in other nations the 'developed' nations are probably enforcing and extending the poor standards of living in those nations. It is in the interests of those nations to keep poverty rife in the nations they exploit as that keeps their wage bill down. Exploitation breeds poverty, in the short term at least;neventually the former slaves rise up and become the masters.
His view on open source seems to be that the big companies getting involved (he doesn't name any but I guess he's talking about Sun, IBM, Novell &c) are taking advantage of the 'hobbyists' for thier own profits. He then goes on to talk about the GPL saying it makes it hard for anyone to own software (not quite how I understand the license).
Finally he goes into somewhat of a tirade about how Microsoft is hurt by patents, claiming that they are often finding that when they develop a new innovation some small company pops up with a patent (which they've never used to develop something) claiming they already have a patent on it and suing Microsoft. That doesn't quite ring true. For one thing, small companies wouldn't have the resources to develop an idea, patent it and then just sit on it in the hope that some company with deep pockets will develop a similar enough product to get a big payout. You'd need to be a big company (like Microsoft) to have the resources to do that. Also, I'd expect that when they applied for a patent themselves the prior art check would through up any competing patents, isn't thgat one of the major features of patents? That there's a publically accessible way of checking if someones already done what you're trying to do. He also seems to be equating the development of an open source product with similar functionality to a Microsoft product (the specific products referred to are OpenOffice.org and Microsoft word) with smashign the window of store during a riot and making off with a 'free' TV.
As an Oracle DBA I quite often get Yahoo! Messenger windows popping up with people asking me Oracle related questions. In as much as I can, and if I have time, I try to answer them. Below is a transcript of such a conversation, it occured last night (25th April 2004) and began with the question "Can I ask you a question about Net8?" (which for some reason wasn't logged). I'm a bit rude about FreeBSD and RedHat, but that's out of experience not blind malice.
stephenbooth_uk (21:38:58): I might not know the answer. networking isn't my area.
bsaremi (21:39:49): ok
stephenbooth_uk (21:43:30): I've had a similar problem on Windows 2000. Turned out that the environment variables weren't getting propergated properly. Make sure that ORACLE_HOME &c are correctly set in the terminal session you're using (use oraenv). If that's Ok run netca again and make sure that it finds the listener you've already got setup. Try removing and recreating the listener.
stephenbooth_uk (21:43:44): That's all i can think of.
stephenbooth_uk (21:43:59): Although....
stephenbooth_uk (21:44:25): When you say you're using RH9, do you mean the freely downloadable version or the retail version?
stephenbooth_uk (21:44:37): Cos Oracle isn't certified with eirther of those.
stephenbooth_uk (21:45:11): You need the enterprise product. I think it's called Advanced Server.
stephenbooth_uk (21:46:19): Oracle will usually install on the free download version or the retail version but usually has unpredicatable problems.
bsaremi (21:49:12): its the free one
stephenbooth_uk (21:49:40): That could be your problem.
bsaremi (21:49:49): when I cd to $oracle_home it takes me to the right path
stephenbooth_uk (21:51:25): ORACLE IS NOT CERTIFIED WITH THE FREE VERSION OF REDHAT LINUX. IT WILL USUALLY INSTALL BUT WILL ALSO USUALLY HAVE UNPREDICTABLE PROBLEMS.
bsaremi (21:52:50): is there a way i can see from the terminal window if this redhat is realy the free version or not ?
stephenbooth_uk (21:52:51): The free (and retail) versions of RH often have experiemental (alpha) versions of libraries in. They're not reliable and often break enterprise products such as Oracle which rely on working versions of those libraries.
stephenbooth_uk (21:53:41): Did you pay 900 pounds or equivalent in local currency for it. cos that's how much the enterprise product costs.
stephenbooth_uk (21:54:36): The only way I know to check is to log out and on the splash screen it should tell you. It might tell you in the 'Control Panel' app (can't remember what it's called).
stephenbooth_uk (21:54:57): To be honest RH is so poor quality that I haven't used it in quite a while.
bsaremi (21:55:06): no but i live in a country in which no copyrigh exists
stephenbooth_uk (21:55:21): Copyright exists in all countries.
bsaremi (21:55:27): which free linux do u suggest?
bsaremi (21:55:32): not in Iran
stephenbooth_uk (21:57:08): I don't. If you want to run Oracle on Linux you've got a choice of RH AS or SuSE ES. It won't run on other versions due to library incompatibility problems.
stephenbooth_uk (21:58:19): Also 1) Copyright exists everwhere, even Iran, as it is part of UN backed internetional treaties. 2) breach of copyright is a breach of Sharia (Islamic) law.
stephenbooth_uk (21:59:30): I believe Iran is still an Islamic republic?
bsaremi (22:03:24): I respect it . its fair for programmers to get paid for their lost eyesight
bsaremi (22:03:51): nothing to do with religion
bsaremi (22:04:41): another question
bsaremi (22:04:48): ?
stephenbooth_uk (22:05:23): Sorry, but to run oracle on Linux reliably you need SuSE Enterprise Server. RedHat is seriously in danger of dying and their product just isn't up to standard.
stephenbooth_uk (22:05:31): Yeh?
bsaremi (22:06:23): have you experienced with connecting visual studio clients via server extentions to IIS 5 ?
bsaremi (22:06:36): vs
stephenbooth_uk (22:06:41): Nope, nevert done it or wanted to.
bsaremi (22:06:57): ok
stephenbooth_uk (22:07:21): I'd advise you to go the
stephenbooth_uk (22:07:38): SuSE ES isn't free, it's about 700 pounds.
stephenbooth_uk (22:08:39): It's a datacentre product, like Solaris, HPUX, Windows 2000 Data Centre Edition, AIX, OS390 &c
bsaremi (22:09:28): is there a free software for hosting asp on linux ?
bsaremi (22:09:43): I dont mean aspx
stephenbooth_uk (22:09:50): Basically, if you're paying for oracle then the cost of SuSE ES will be a drop int he ocean.
stephenbooth_uk (22:10:11): Not that I'm aware of, but i don't know much about asp.
stephenbooth_uk (22:10:33): I thought asp was a Microsoft only service.
bsaremi (22:11:14): yes but there are some apache modules for sale
bsaremi (22:11:48): like the one from chillisoft
stephenbooth_uk (22:12:03): Not really my area I'm afraid.
bsaremi (22:12:20): I should have not problem with UNIX and ORACLE . IS that right ?.
stephenbooth_uk (22:13:00): I take it by UNIX you meana big box system like Solaris, probably not.
bsaremi (22:13:54): i have had only linux experience , so this question is realy a newbie one
stephenbooth_uk (22:14:14): You shouldn't have problems but then you shouldn't have problems with something like SuSE ES.
bsaremi (22:14:18): is Unix installable on standard PC``s ?
stephenbooth_uk (22:15:16): Some are. Linux is a flavour of UNIX. Solaris do a x86 version (about 90 pounds I believe) and there used to be a version of Oracle for it (may still be) but that's more aimed as a desktop OS.
stephenbooth_uk (22:15:40): I don't know about tohter flavours of UNIX.
bsaremi (22:17:17): oracle is not supported on fedora too ?
stephenbooth_uk (22:17:38): Fedora is the free version of Redhat renamed.
stephenbooth_uk (22:18:32): After Redhat 10 the name RedHat means the charged for product line, Fedora is the free, unstable, unsupported product line.
bsaremi (22:19:16): is solaris much different than redhat ?
stephenbooth_uk (22:21:16): It's another form of UNIX so the basic commands are much the same. It uses CDE or OpenWindows as it's window manager rather than KDE/Gnome/whatever you use on Linux (although I believe there is a version of Gnome for Solaris). The management tools are a bit different.
bsaremi (22:21:56): more stable?
stephenbooth_uk (22:22:26): Yeah. It's a paid for product that comes with some support.
stephenbooth_uk (22:23:30): If you're looking to run servers on Intel then you should really look at SuSE ES Linux.
stephenbooth_uk (22:23:44): It's got a much wider variety of products availbale for it.
bsaremi (22:25:11): ok
stephenbooth_uk (22:27:40): There isn't a version of Oracle for Open BSD. Open BSD is more secure 'out of the box' than most Linux installs because it installs with all the services turned off. However SuSE and the like are now swinging that way so the install only turns ont he services you actually need. It's not that the OS itself is more secure (if anything it's less) it's the way it's installed.
bsaremi (22:31:17): the oracle version I installed on rh 9 was 18.104.22.168 . I installed it on two different servers . on one netca fails . on another one it works ( both hang often when the wizzard comes up) . Question : Can I install the same version of Oracle on SUSE SE?
stephenbooth_uk (22:31:44): yes.
stephenbooth_uk (22:32:17): I'd reccomend you download 8.1.7 or 9.2 if you can tho'
stephenbooth_uk (22:32:50): SuSE ES is just s differnt flavor of Linux. it's the same OS underneath.
bsaremi (22:34:06): question : you said, if you're paying for oracle then the cost of SuSE ES will be a drop int he ocean, I thought Oracle is downloadable for free ?
bsaremi (22:34:32): and only the support is not
stephenbooth_uk (22:34:45): No, you're supposed to pay for it.
stephenbooth_uk (22:35:14): You can download it and use it for free if you're just trying it out. If you're using it for commercial purposes then you have to pay for it.
bsaremi (22:37:41): ok... I thank you very much sir . It was a pleasure for me and I learned a lot
bsaremi (22:38:45): good bye...
stephenbooth_uk (22:38:51): Bye.
I just got back from this month's meeting of the South Birmingham Linux User Group. There was supposed to be a talk by Eric Raymond, President and co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, but he was called away at short notice for a conference call with Sun Microsystems (it was strongly suspected that it was to do with rumours of Sun making their Java Virtual Machine open source). Instead we had a talk from John Pinner of Clockwork Software Systems on the subject of open source in Enterprise and SME businesses. After the talk there was a panel Q&A session on the subject.
One of the things that came up, in connection with Linux on the desktop, was the problem that users are used to things 'just working' (i.e. they plug a camera, printer or whatever in the USB port and it mdetects the device and installs the required drivers with no major user intervention, just putting in a CD). This is not what users currently get with Linux. One of the panel mentioned 'Project Utopia'. Apparently this project is basically to give Linux exactly that functionality, that users now expect. He then went on to say that the people involved haven't really gotten into publicising the project, just writing about it in their blogs. There is a home page for the project (or possibly another project of the same name) but it contains 4 words ("Project Utopia" at the top in large bold print and immediately below that "*under construction*"). A Google search on 'Project Utopia' does turn up some links (NB I'm using Google's Personalized Search, you should still see the same links but maybe in a different order), most of the first page seem to be articles on Linux oriented sites or forum/blog entries.
On BBC breakfast news they were interviewing Gary Jules (had the Christmas number one in the UK with a cover version of "Mad World" (originally by Tears For Fears) which is in the process of being released in the US, it was the biggest selling single in the UK of 2003). He was asked for his views on downloading and online sharing of music. He pointed out that his cover of "Mad World" had been massively downloaded in the UK prior to it's official release and had enjoyed massive sales and air play (mostly through members of the public who had heard downloaded versions phoning radio stations to request it). He further went on to say that no record comapny would touch it until it's popularity had been demonstrated through downloads and that many people in the US had downloaded the song because that was the only way they could get hold of it.
Kinda re-enforces the arguement that p2p/downloading actually improves CD sales, not damages them.
First, the part about government. To better understand how out of touch with reality U.S. government is, let's hear from someone who has worked in Federal government IT for more than two decades:
"As an executive branch employee for the last 24 years, I can assure you that there is no such thing as 'the government.' The phrase suggests a monolithic entity with a single purpose. In fact there are three branches that were deliberately designed to be at odds with each other. Even limiting the discussion to the executive branch - the one that comes under the 'Executive Office of the President' - there are a multitude of departments and agencies pulling in many different directions. If you are speaking of the current administration, I can't tell that it matters to them. As long as large corporations and wealthy individuals continue to contribute as much as they can, any way they can, the administration will continue to reward them. In theory Congress, especially the House, should be more concerned about the effects on their constituents. If you ask any one of them about it, s/he will say the right thing. But as can be seen from their inability to pass a budget on time (once in the past 10 years, I believe), the only thing they are effective at is delivering pork to the folks at home. Again, as long as the contributions keep rolling in, the bills and votes will favor the contributor. Money buys access - period!"
That's very worrying.
The Inquirer tells that that "Top vendors fail on top Linux notebook support ". It seems that for many of the top vendors, the people big business go to for their hardware, are giving a firm "No!" or are unresponsive when asked about Linux support on their Notebook computers.
With mobile computing becoming more important and the need to save costs (whilst improving security) through the use of open source software how long can we put up with lack of support for the penguin on notebooks and laptops? I am currently involved in a project to evaluate the possibility of a roll out of Linux to 24,000 desktops and a few hundred small servers in the largest unitary public sector authority in Europe (make Munich look like small beer), I'd like to get the laptops and notebooks on the same OS as the desktops.
I was chatting with one of my collegues who also uses slashdot today and mentioned that it's been months since I last had mod points. Prior to that I'd been getting mod points about once a week. He commented that he'd noticed the same thing with his usage. It's not like I haven't been posting or have but am getting frequently modded down, I'm posting a lot and often get modded up. The only cause I can see is that I started metamodding, I haven't had modpoints since then. At first I thought it might be a case of you can either mod or metamod, so I stopped metamodding, but still no mod points to be seen.
Just found this in a post to the Alumni chat mailing list for my university:
I notice that some of the earlier alumni messages discuss the vocational aspect of a university education and the difference between an engineer and a scientist. The distinction was certainly blurred by Harry Greenwood's method of introducing students to programming. More or less by chance I accompanied a friend into her "terminal" course on computing. Harry sat each of us in front of a teletype (you won't see one these days except in an old film, or maybe a long-mothballed nuclear bunker), showed us how to print out and re-edit the Basic code for a noughts-and crosses game, and then told us to tinker with the code to see the effect. Specification? Fagan inspection? OO, patterns, safe subsets, metrics? Formal language theory, compiler operation, verification? Nah! Just hack it and see what happens! That ended my ambition to study chemistry, and it's been downhill ever since.
Gave me a bit of a laugh.