Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ray Ozzie's new (Microsoft) weblog

I see that "father of Lotus Notes" Ray Ozzie has started off a new weblog at MSN Spaces and in it has just outlined a very interesting major extension of the RSS feed concept called Simple Sharing Extensions (or SSE). So it may be that the acronynym gets yet another meaning, namely "Really Simple Sharing."

This could prove to be a real winner, if it catches on and can be made to work effortlessly -- particularly if it becomes an open standard.

If done right, SSE could provide a generic and non-proprietary form of two-way synchronization between any two sources.

I'm a big fan of the excellent Lotus Notes replication model (particularly since Release 4, when replication became sensitive to field-level changes not just document-level changes). Notes replication of course is quite proprietary, so it would be great if SSE provides a form of non-proprietary replication between foreign sources.

Ray points out the draft spec for SSE (somewhat abstruse as are all such specification documents), and Frequently Asked Questions (this is quite informative).

Friday, November 25, 2005

Collaboration competition - Microsoft versus Lotus in 2005/2006

Yesterday I attended a Microsoft seimanr here in Melbourne (Australia) and it looks like Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005 are going to be pretty competitlve in many regards. Microsoft seems to be very happy about SQL Server 2005's performance (against IBM's DB2) and equally with the tight integration with their other products (Office, CRM, etc).

There were a few glimpeses of Micrososft "Office 12" due late in 2006 or thereabouts. It seems that the Office underpiinngs have been significantly reworked and Office 12 will have some nice new collaborative features. Pity about having to wait another year or so before it's let loose upon us!

Meanwhile Lotus Notes/Domino 7 has shipped and IBM has the next "Hannover" release well into development. There's a lot of life left in Notes and Domino.

I've ben much closer to Lotus Notes/Domino than to the Microsoft products, so have been doing some research to increase my understanding of the features and positiong of the latter. Here are a few articles that I've looked at recently which give a nice independent summary of the Microsoft collaboration product range:

  1. Increase Efficiency With Collaboration [using Microsoft technologies] - September 2004
  2. Microsoft's Expanding Collaboration Strategy - December 2004
  3. Microsoft Sets Its Sights on Collaboration - October 2005
On the surface, it seems to me that doing things the Microsoft way you have to cobble together a wider range of server products that IBM does with the base Lotus Notes/Domino with maybe a couple of others (such as Sametime). And the author of the third article makes a point about the more unified development model of the Lotus products.

Competitoni is good for us all: it's great to see two of the big players working so hard to bring provide productivity features. If the large attendance at yeasterday's seminar is any indication -- and this was just for Melbourne, it's probably the same all around the globe -- Microsoft certainly is managing to generate considerable interest, despite the regular slippages in their product release dates.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What improves your skills as a developer?

Chet Haase, Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) Client Architect at Sun Microsystems, discusses development of the Java client, what can improve your skills as a developer, and what you can do when you feel stumped by a problem ... http://java.sun.com/developer/Meet-Eng/haase/

Monday, November 21, 2005

Serendipitous slitherings

I've recently watched the two snakey movies on cable TV, "Anaconda" followed by "Anacondas: the Hunt for the Blood Orchid."

This led me to think back to my chemistry (industry and teaching) days, prior to getting into computing. I clearly remember one particular organic chemistry lecture about the 19th cenrury chemist Kekulé who woke up one morning from a dream in which a snake was eating its own tail. From this he deduced the structure of the benzene molecule (a.k.a. benzine), the now-familiar hexagonal ring of six carbon atoms that is the foundation of the so-called aromatic organic compounds.

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its tail, constantly creating itself and forming a circle.

I rarely am able to recall my own dreams -- whatever that tells you about me! However, a few days ago I did so for a change. It was a very innocuous dream: no hungry snakes, just a database design solution that had been baffling me for several months. I'm left wondering why this solution came to me "out of the blue" quite a few weeks after I last been actively working on the design and not getting anywhere?

This sort of thing has happened to me a couple of times before. The workings of the mind are indeed strange and wonderful. What on the surface appears serendipitous proabaly isn't so below the surface, in the nether regions of the brain where such problems are solved by some mysterious process.

I'd be interested to hear from you if anything like this has heppened to you (IT design problems, or whatever).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Once every 3 months?

"Security and business continuity plans should be tested at least once every three months to keep them updated."

So IDC recommends in this article: Asia-Pac firms unprepared for IT threats -- and they comment that many companies "may still be susceptible to disruptions from security breaches or natural disasters."

Which of course leads me to give you a not-so-gentle nudge! Have YOU have been carrying out such regular tests, and modifying your backup and recovery procedures to cope with changing circumstances?

UPDATE (17 November 2005):
Apani comments on a Harris Interactive poll about backup frequency: "Everyone knows that they should back up the data on their computers, but how many actually do it? When was the last time you did it? Out of the 2,300 US adults who were polled in late July of this year 685 (roughly 33%) didn’t back up at all…. And the majority of respondents who did back up, only perform this task once a year." Click here to read the article: You know you should... I hope that businesses would poll better than this! (Perhaps not too much better?)