Just found this piece about why users should be scared of Apple's push-channel to the iPhone. Quote:

Why not find out which apps are getting the most use and offering the developers special licensing deals? Better yet, why not sell that information to third parties like advertisers to help them work with highly used apps to sell ad units or sponsorships while getting an additional cut? This new tunnel for data is a veritable gold mine that's not just metrics--it's attached to user IDs and billing information too.

That's somewhat interesting, but doesn't scare me. What scares me is that Apple has a backchannel AND the device has GPS built in. I'm keenly aware that the mobile phone carriers can triangulate my whereabouts with some precision, but that's the carrier. Here we're talking about a third party that happens to make the hardware and with whom I have no contractual relationship whatsoever. I'd own the device, my contract would be with AT&T.

There's significant uproar whenever any app is trying to phone home for privacy reasons. If that is worrying you even for tiny little moment, you should be worried about what Apple is doing there.

Categories: Other Stuff

January 12, 2008
@ 04:53 AM

Winer writes:

The problem is that they're not bloggers, they're reporters and they work for a company that's not a blog, it's a publication. Publishing stuff on the web with blogging software says nothing about the people and what they write.  Permalink to this paragraph

A blogger is person who has an idea, expertise or opinion who wants to convey that to other people. The unedited voice of a person. What makes a blogger interesting is that they do something other than writing a blog. If all you do is write a blog, and if you want or need to make money from your blogging, it's really hard to distinguish what you're doing from what professionals who don't use the web (are there any left?) do. Permalink to this paragraph

Amen. With what's currently considered a "tech blogger" I really, really don't want to be in that crowd. When I look at TechMeme, the scene seems to be increasingly degenerating into a bunch of self-congratulating, "Boy, am I important", corrupt attention whores seekers who are pimping themselves out to PR bribes and advertising traffic without having much of an original idea themselves.    

Turns out that I much prefer TechMeme's sister site WeSmirch these days. The drama is the same, but the people being talked about are either in entertainment and make a mess out of themselves for a living or are wrecks much beyond what a geek would ever become. That's more fun to watch. A pissing match between TechCrunch and Blognation or whether some stupid idiot from Gizmodo gets thrown out of CES is so very interesting that I rather keep track of what Britney is up to.

Categories: Other Stuff

January 11, 2008
@ 07:42 PM

It is ridiculous how many people spell ridiculous 'rediculous' these days. I must be reading the ridiculous spelling 'rediculous' dozens of times a day. English is my second language and I'm far away from claiming that I know it all, but if thousands of people keep making the same mistake on a regular basis it just makes my eyes bleed and my brain's spell-checker revolt. Same goes for 'definately' (wow, I really need to clean out the spam on that old page) and the horrific 'there' instead of 'their'.

Luckily, I just found that I'm not alone:

Learn how to spell the word RIDICULOUS.
Categories: Other Stuff

September 25, 2006
@ 11:40 PM

If you are looking for a brilliant speaker for a conference, consider Chad Hower. As you might know, I make very few endorsements of that sort. Chad has been touring the Middle-East and Africa region for Microsoft in the past several years and spoke at countless conferences. And there might be is no better source for "travel war stories" than him; the stuff he's been through on his trips makes my (known to be extensive) travel history pale in comparison.

Chad is leaving the company in a few days from now and I wouldn't know anybody here who wouldn't be sad to see him go. The good news is that he'll be an independent speaker and if you run a conference or a user group anywhere in EMEA, you should really consider have him come over and talk.

Categories: Other Stuff

June 20, 2006
@ 09:58 PM
Categories: Other Stuff

The other reason why it's good to be back near my stuff for World Cup watching. Projection surface approx. 3.20m x 1.80m. 

projector.jpg

 

Categories: Other Stuff | WM 2006

June 13, 2006
@ 07:14 PM

empox v. (ĕm-pŏks)
      1. The act of adding POX endpoints to an application.

Categories: Other Stuff

May 26, 2006
@ 04:19 PM

Every second person who knows that I’ll soon be moving to the Puget Sound area around Seattle soon can’t help to point out how much the weather allegedly sucks. Here’s a screen clip that I made last week but didn’t get around to blog yet. This goes to show (and the comparison holds pretty much throughout the year) that the Seattle weather is just like the weather at home – we’ll be fine :-)

 

 

Categories: Other Stuff

Ahh, lovely.

Categories: Other Stuff

No text. Just a link: http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/5388

Update: Check out what Stefan Tilkov links to in response. I say "EXACTLY my point!" ;-) 

Categories: Other Stuff

Today's news from Apple is significant. Sun already runs Windows and now Apple runs Windows. Cool.

Categories: Other Stuff

January 10, 2006
@ 08:14 PM
Categories: Other Stuff

January 10, 2006
@ 12:26 PM

Everyone seems to be giving some tech predictions for 2006 on their blog. Here's mine:

The DRM opposition will start turning DRM against the music and film industry and embrace DRM to create a distributed file-sharing protocol and applications that implements "lending between friends" and ensures that within a group of users, only as many copies of digital works can be played concurrently as the number of original, legally acquired media that have been contributed into a pool. The protocol will ensure that the media integrity is preserved insofar that no two people can, say, play different songs from the same album concurrently unless there are enough copies of the same album in the pool. Media players supporting this protocol will eventually be clever enough to prioritize and shuffle playlists in a way that the fewest possible media are required in the pool. 

Since "lending" will later be found to be still too problematic from a legal standpoint, the physical media constituting the media pool will be put into a network of escrow services and acquiring a temporary DRM license to play a particular music album or video will automatically result in a "one-cent" sale transaction and transfer of ownership rights of the physical media for the period while the license is valid and therefore result in a legal digital copy of an legally owned media to be played.

In short: It'll remain interesting how the whole DRM situation develops. To me it seems consequential that the content consumer side will take a page out of the content provider side's book and use the same technology arsenal to try to achieve exactly opposite goals. I think there's a resonable chance that DRM will at least backfire for all digital media that's already published and out there. And that's quite a lot.

My stance on what's appropriate and inappropriate with respect to DRM is "undecided", even though I deplore Sony's rootkit DRM trickery. At the same time there must be a reasonable business model for entertainment media. Someone just has to find one that is sustainable and works. Luckily not my job.

Categories: Other Stuff

January 3, 2006
@ 12:00 AM

Sabine and I were just browsing Channel 9 using TVTonic on our Media Center PC that's been recently connected to this christmas gift. We watched a few snippets of Microsoft PMs and other folks presenting their latest stuff and then that. Sabine (she's a nurse) said "...oh, that's like Hospital TV".

I can't help but admit that she does indeed have more than just one point in saying that.

Categories: Other Stuff

February 27, 2005
@ 10:00 PM

Christian Weyer is staying at my place for the next three nights, because we’re both presenting at a Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 training at Microsoft’s Neuss office, which is more or less down the street (highway) from where I live. Christian brought some good beer from his region (Franken – Bavaria’s northern part) and we’re having some of that, watch some TV (“We Were Soldiers” and “Broken Arrow”, we’re just guys like the next one), and otherwise get some email done, and chat. We just agreed on our programming hero. The prize goes to: Lutz Roeder. We’d be nothing without Reflector.

Categories: Other Stuff

February 15, 2005
@ 07:12 PM

CNet reports about Bill Gates’ announcement that Windows Anti-Spyware is going to be free includes the following truly puzzling quote from the Check Point Software CTO:

"I am glad to see Gates is focusing on securing the desktop," said Gregor Freund, chief technology officer of Check Point Software, which develops desktop security software. "However, there are some serious downsides to Microsoft's approach. Just by entering the security market, Microsoft could stall innovation by freezing any kind of spending of venture capital on Windows security which in the long run, will lead to less security, not more."

Is it just me or do you also consider the term “venture capital” as being a little out of place in this context?

Categories: IT Strategy | Other Stuff

January 26, 2005
@ 04:40 AM

There you go:

 

Happy Stewardesses who like my Alienware notebook (seems to work just as well as driving a Lamborghini)

 

 

And ... chatting with Hanselman and having (economy class ... so much for Lamborghini) food

 

Categories: Other Stuff

January 26, 2005
@ 04:18 AM

I am aboard SK938 (SAS) right now. I am on the Internet. Connexion by Boeing. Chatting with Scott Hanselman using MSN Messenger. Blogging this. If there is something like "geek orgasm", this is it. Eight hrs to go to Copenhagen. This R-O-C-K-S.

Categories: Other Stuff

Within the next 48 hours, you will find auctions on eBay. You can buy an hour of consulting time of the wonderful individuals listed below for a minimum bid of US$100. All money will go to IDEP (see below) to aid the Tsunami victims in the Aceh area. I think this is a sensational effort and I am honored that I was asked to participate. Julie Lerman and Stephen Forte have been pulling this off. Once the auctions are up, I'll post links and i assume the other folks will do the same. Go and bid.

 

Michelle Leroux Bustamante, Jonathan Goodyear, Andrew Brust, Richard Campbell, Adam Cogan, Malek Kemmou, Jackie Goldstein, Ted Neward, Kathleen Dollard, Hector M Obregon, Patrick Hynds, Fernando Guerrero, Kate Gregory, Joel Semeniuk, Scott Hanselman, Barry Gervin, Clemens Vasters, Jorge Oblitas, Stephen Forte, Jeffery Richter, John Robbins, Jeff Prosise

 

Since my time will be auctioned, too, I can already promise that I will employ a rather liberal interpretation of "hour" if we get enough money in.

 


 

Who this auction is to benefit?

 

In the long run, the auction is to benefit the people of Aceh Province, Sumatra, who have had their island destroyed and lost nearly 100,000 of their people. The waves may be gone, but the devastation continues and the fear of many more dying from disease continues.

 

We are trying to help, by assisting Aceh Aid at IDEP, an organization that is local and doing amazing work.

 

There is an area on their website devoted to this work: http://www.idepfoundation.org/aceh_aid.html. (www.AcehAid.org will take you right to this page). I recommend that if you are interested in knowing who you are doing this for, you go peruse that website, read the updates, read about the volunteer search, etc.

 

WHAT IS IDEP?

IDEP is a small, Indonesian NGO, based in Ubud, Bali. Completed projects over the years have included community based development, sustainable living initiatives, permaculture training, waste management, organic gardens, recycling, etc. The focus is on helping people to help themselves. IDEP's founding director, Petra Schneider is a US-born, Indonesian citizen. The demonstrated and reproducible success of IDEP's small projects in local communities has earned the team an excellent reputation.

 

IDEP AND DISASTER RESPONSE/RELIEF/RECOVERY

At the time of the Bali bomb, about two years ago, IDEP was an important element of the network of local NGOs and other supporters that quickly responded to the tragedy, in various ways, not only immediately after the bomb, but during the recovery process for the various communities involved. Following shortly thereafter, IDEP received funding from USAid to create a comprehensive set of disaster management materials for Indonesian communities, aimed at children, families, and local leaders (official and unofficial). The materials are in the Indonesian language and suitable for use in rural and urban settings. These materials, including a booklet for children about Tsunami preparedness, were finished just weeks ago, but had not yet been disseminated to communities. Then the tsunami struck.

 

WHAT IS ACEH AID AT IDEP

Only hours after the news of the tsunami reached Bali, the same network of NGOs and individuals in Bali who had been involved in the relief efforts for the Bali bomb, reanimated and went into action. We started something called the "Aceh Aid Bucket Brigade" (see website), creating and deploying one-family-one-bucket multi-material aid packages from the hands of donors in Bali to the field in Sumatra. We began sending highly skilled volunteers, well-matched to the task within two days of the tsunami (Sam Schultz, Lee Downey, Oded Carmi and others). Our relief, and later, recovery programs in response to the Tsunami are now focused on two fronts. One is direct aid from Medan by road to areas around Banda Aceh. The other is this remarkable joint effort (nothing short of heroic), to the islands off the west coast of Sumatra, which as of yet, have not been receiving aid from any other channels that we know of.

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

January 17, 2005
@ 08:15 AM

Happy New Year! It's a tiny bit late, but the last year ended and this year started with a flurry of activities that didn't leave me with much energy to blog. Before Christmas I went to New York to see my friend Stephen Forte and his wonderful girlfriend Kathleen, and right after Christmas I flew out to spend a few days with Steve Swartz and his fabulous wife Allison in Venice, Italy where they spent 3 weeks experiencing the wealth of Venetian culture and history (Allison is a scientific authority in Renaissance art history, which makes this even more fun).

And after these little tours I had to lots and lots of intense learning for the German "Whidbey Ascend" training series I am doing with Christian Weyer and Christian Nagel of thinktecture. In this series, which is hosted by Microsoft Germany and open to invited partners, we present a quite complete overview on the Visual Studio 2005 innovations. Of course, if you know me and Christian and Christian, you might be aware that we are all "server guys". So, of course it turned out in a way that I ended up with the complete Smart Client part of the schedule in my hands: Windows Forms, Visual Studio Tools for Office and Device Development. All these topics weren't exactly in my comfort zone for presenting in front of an audience when I committed to do them, but the time investment really paid off last week when we did the training for the first time. And I am actually quite glad that I had to force myself to learn all these things, because I was quite surprised bythe power of much of the new tooling, especially by Visual Studio Tools for Office. My first impression is that with these tools, Office really becomes a viable Smart Client platform.  

My other topic on that training I feel much more comfortable with: Visual Studio Team System. That stuff is good. You'll hear lots more about Team System and the architecture features of Visual Studio here in the upcoming weeks and months.

Next weekend and the beginning of next week I will be spending over in Seattle to play with some new distributed systems technologies at a friend's house and office.

Other developments:

  • Omar Shahine and Scott Hanselman put a heroic effort into completing "newtelligence dasBlog 1.7 Community Edition". I will have to set up the Wiki or a redirect to his Wiki some time this week. Omar and Scott practically own the dasBlog development effort now, since I just couldn't make time in recent months. There are still features I would like to add, but Omar and Scott run the shop now. Hence the "Community Edition" moniker. The new version (which I still need to install here) has dramatically improved performance, scores of fixes and a set of subtle, but good new features. A first shot at referral spam blocking is a regex based exclusion filter.
  • Werner Vogels has been named CTO of Amazon.com, which is amazing (and Amazon could hardly find anybody better).
  • My company has a new web site design. Much simpler and hopefully clearer. It's still a bit of a construction site, but which site isn't.

More later.

Categories: Other Stuff

December 15, 2004
@ 12:13 PM

Was den deutschen Sprachgebrauch angeht ist die IT Branche in Deutschland unfassbar gruselig, wenn's um den Einsatz von Anglizismen angeht. Doch da wird nicht nur aus Gründen der "Coolness" der (fast) passende englische Begiff der deutschen Entsprechung vorgezogen. Nein! Wirklich übel ist, dass man dabei häufig auch noch direkt die Ernsthaftigkeit des gemeinten direkt mit aus dem Fenster wirft. Drei Beispiele:

"Meeting": Lass uns mal hinsetzen und etwas unverbindlich ein bisschen Kaffee trinken, Schnittchen knabbern und labern.
dagegen
"Besprechung": Wir setzen uns um einen Tisch, arbeiten die Agenda durch und nachher weiss jeder was als nächstes zu tun ist.

"Community": Hallo, wir lieben Euch alle. Wir wissen zwar nicht genau warum, ist ja aber auch irgendwie egal, gell?
dagegen
"Interessengemeinschaft": Wir haben alle die gleichen Interessen (und Probleme), arbeiten zusammen dran und haben vielleicht auch Spass dabei.

"Get Together": Bleibt doch nach der Knechterei eben noch 10 Minuten hier. Wir haben auch noch ein Gläschen Prosecco.
dagegen
"Treffen in der Kneipe um die Ecke": Habt Ihr noch Lust auf ein Bier oder 5, damit wir auch mal über was anderes reden können als das Projekt?

Wenn ich über "Service Oriented Architectures" rede und den englischen Begriff auch im Deutschen verwende, dann tue ich dass, damit jeder weiss, worum es geht und mit der gleichen Fachbegriffswelt auch in der englischsprachigen Literatur nachschlagen kann. Dass aber direkt jeder Satz in dieser unserer Branche ohne Einsatz eines einzelnen (englischen) Fremdwortes offenbar gleich als unvollständig oder grammatikalisch falsch (oder zu unaffig?) gilt, ist arg peinlich. Mea culpa. Ich erwische mich auch selbst dabei. Nicht gut.

Categories: Other Stuff

December 2, 2004
@ 11:01 PM

That blue thing that I am running PowerPoint on during my talks is an Alienware Area51-m laptop. Heavy like a block of lead, battery life of about 2 hrs (which makes me carry two), but very fast and "feel good". Except for some minor annoyances, I am happy with it for about a year now. And I don't think I have every had a machine that was still faster than most of the other machines out there 12 months after I got it. One big problem I had with it until today, though, was that the machine got increasingly louder - more precisely, the fan noise was just unbearable. Since the machine is essentially a high-end desktop in a notebook shell, the box needs a lot of cooling. It turns out that the elaborate cooling mechanism that Alienware puts in those machines clogs up easily with dust, but hides the dust quite well. So while the machine looked "clean", it really, really, really wasn't. Wow. Yucky! Now it's all clean again and the fan is back to a bearable noise level. It's happy to be breathing again.

Categories: Other Stuff

December 2, 2004
@ 10:40 PM

Wow. It's been a long time. 2 years again, already? Mr. Forte lets me stay at his house and invited me to his Christmas party in New York and since I am not going to Denver for the rest of the year as I was planning and I still need a few miles to retain my current status tier with Lufthansa for '05/'06, there wasn't much to think about. I am thrilled to go back. In the two years I lived in Manhattan ('95 and '96), New York has become my "second home" and it is always fantastic to go back. I love The City. Dec 17-21.

Categories: Other Stuff

November 29, 2004
@ 03:00 PM

If I were really good at writing about life, love, happiness and tragedy, weird relationships, drama, grand obstacles, successes and defeats, and all those sudden unexpected turns and twists that a story could possibly have, and I had been willing to share what went on with and around me in real life in the last six months -- my blog would now have an entirely different audience and I could easily sell the movie rights by now. So the actual reason why you haven't seen much happening here is simply that a dramatic surge in "personal life activity" (no, not starting at "no life") took over the "blogging timeslice" and had, frankly, some adverse effects on my work morale at times. The good news is that there is definitely light at the end of that tunnel and the better news (for you as a reader) is that this place here won't be as quiet as it has been in the recent months. I've got some interesting stuff cooking.

Categories: Other Stuff

November 18, 2004
@ 07:59 AM

The good news is that the V|@gr@ spam is getting less, but what scares me is that I start getting lots and lots of religious spam from Jesusland. 

Categories: Other Stuff

November 7, 2004
@ 08:27 AM

In two hours I'll be back on the road (well, airport, to be precise). Today I will fly out to Reykjavik in Iceland where Achim and I will do the first of a series of SOA workshops with Microsoft EMEA from Monday to Wednesday, explaining principles of Service Oriented Architectures and the application of those principles in real applications with today's technologies. Other stops on the tour will be in Denmark in early December and, early next year, in Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands (AFAIK, all of these events are invite-only Microsoft customer events). A German-language, newtelligence-branded edition of that workshop will take place December 1-3 in Düsseldorf and we plan a newtelligence event in South Africa in early March 2005.

When I come back from Iceland Wednesday night, I'll stay home for less than 12 hours and will then fly out to Denver for a long weekend and when I come back from there the following Wednesday I'll go straight at our own TornadoCamp event held in Bad Ems (half way between Frankfurt and Düsseldorf). Coming back it'll be another short turnaround of likely less than a day before I will leave for the Microsoft EastMed Developer Conference in Amman. (Very much looking forward to that)

So with that schedule and a few customer engagements in between, I have plenty of days on the road and only two days left at the newtelligence office, before I'll move my office desk to Denver on December 11 for the rest of the year and into the new year so that I can spend Christmas with Jen, get some better traction with Visual Studio 2005 and do some writing. And for when I come back on January 10, the schedule looks just as busy for the following weeks and months.

Categories: Other Stuff | Travel

November 5, 2004
@ 09:11 AM

I've got nothing against advertising on websites. However, there are two things that are completely annoying. The first are popup windows and my popup blocker is taking care of those. As an alternative, the advertising people have invented the Macromedia Flash-popup that pops up on the page and obscures the content for a little while. That's annoying but something I can absolutely deal with. What I cannot deal with, and that's the second annoying thing, is that some advertising twits try to entertain me with music and or other sorts of 30-second audio/video shows. You people might find that cool, but I don't. Sound effects and music are strictly an "opt-in" feature on my computer and at my work desk. I just uninstalled the Flash player. Silence has returned and websites became instantly more useful. Try it.

[Usually it's as easy as this: In Internet Explorer select "Tools/Internet Options" on the menu, then click the "Settings..." button in the "Temporary Internet Files" box on the "General" tab of the dialog that opens up. Click the "View Objects" button in the "Settings" dialog that opens up. There will be another window opening. Find "Shockwave Flash" and delete the object. Close IE. Done.]

Categories: Other Stuff

November 4, 2004
@ 11:04 PM

Wenn eine Regierung soweit ist, daß sie den nationalen Feiertag aus kurzfristigen, taktischen Erwägungen abschaffen und für die eingebildete Hoffnung auf ein halbes Prozentchen Wachstum im nächsten Jahr verhökern will, dann ist das die bedingungslose Kapitulation vor der eigenen Inkompetenz. Und obwohl ich ganz sicherlich nicht dem rechten, nationalen politischen Rand zuneige, fällt mir nur ein einziges passendes Wort dazu ein: "Vaterlandsverrat".

Categories: Other Stuff

October 30, 2004
@ 11:46 AM

Harald und der ARD sei Dank. Dann kann ich ja den Fernseher wieder aus dem Keller holen.

Categories: Other Stuff

October 26, 2004
@ 02:29 PM

At a friend's company, a network hub has been dying a horrible and slow (literally) death until this morning when it got replaced. Of course, they are asking how a networking device like that, without moving parts can start to produce random errors, become gradually slower and sporadically just outright stop working for a little while and then be fine again. Given that after my mostly unsuccessful and expensive attempts to do anything with hardware, a buddy of mine once said "if there is ever a robot invasion from outer space, we'll send Clemens and he'll kill them singlehandedly", that's an excellent question for which I have no good answer, but only a theory: bit erosion!

I suspect that they (our friends) have unhealthily balanced data that has substantially more "1"s than "0"s. Now, when you look at "1" vs. "0", you'll immediately know what I mean. "1" is a lot more edgy and when you send "1"s through a data bus or through a cable, it's pretty obvious that every "1" will scratch along the sides here and there. If you have balanced data, the "0" (round and smooth) will usually polish it all out and while the data bus shows a little bit of wear and tear over time, it usually works well for many, many Exabytes. Now, if you have many more "1"s go down the data bus than "0"s, the bus gets all scratchy from the inside, actual potholes develop and subsequently "1"s start to get stuck. When they get stuck, "0"s bump into them, other "1"s slip past (probably even through a "0"!) and it's all getting really messy. And when you look at it all on a few levels higher up, you start losing packets and stuff gets slow and in the end everybody is unhappy and blames it on the software. The only cure for the problem that I can think of is to do data balancing that ensures a proper proportional flow of "1"s and "0"s. I think that's a totally plausible explanation and cries out loud for software that fixes this problem. ;-)

Categories: Other Stuff

Even in the 3rd year, the event seems absolutely bizarre, but it's great fun watching, nevertheless.
 

Categories: Other Stuff

I feel like I have been "out of business" for a really long time and like I really got nothing done in the past 3 months, even though that's objectively not true. I guess that's "conference & travel withdrawal", because I had tone and tons of bigger events in the first half of the year and 3 smaller events since TechEd Amsterdam in July. On the upside, I am pretty relaxed and have certainly reduced my stress-related health risks ;-)

So with winter and its short days coming up, the other half of my life living a 1/3 around the planet until next spring, I can and am going to spend some serious time on a bunch of things:

On the new programming stuff front:
     Catch up on what has been going on in Indigo in recent months, dig deeper into "everything Whidbey", figure out the CLR aspects of SQL 2005 and familiarize myself with VS Team System.

On the existing programming stuff front:
      Consolidate my "e:\development\*"  directory on my harddrive and pull together all my samples and utilities for Enterprise Services, ASP.NET Web Services and other enterprise-development technologies and create a production-quality library from of them for us and our customers to use. Also, because the Indigo team is doing quite a bit of COM/COM+ replumbing recently in order to have that prohgraming model ride on Indigo, I have some hope that I can now file bugs/wishes against COM+ that might have a chance of being addressed. If that happens and a particular showstopper is getting out of the way, I will reopen this project here and will, at the very least, release it as a toy.

On the architectural stuff front:
         Refine our SOA Workshop material, do quite a bit of additional work on the FABRIQ, evolve the Proseware architecture model, and get some pending projects done. In addition to our own SOA workshops (the next English-language workshop is held December 1-3, 2004 in Düsseldorf), there will be a series of invite-only Microsoft events on Service Orientation throughout Europe this fall/winter, and I am very happy that I will be speaking -- mostly on architecture topics -- at the Microsoft Eastern Mediterranean Developer Conference in Amman/Jordan in November and several other locations in the Middle East early next year. 

And even though I hate the effort around writing books, I am seriously considering to write a book about "Services" in the next months. There's a lot of stuff here on the blog that should really be consolidated into a coherent story and there are lots and lots of considerations and motiviations for decisons I made for FABRIQ and Proseware and other services-related work that I should probably write down in one place. One goal of the book would be to write a pragmatic guide on how to design and build services using currently shipping (!) technologies that does focus on how to get stuff done and not on how to craft new, exotic SOAP headers, how to do WSDL trickery, or do other "cool" but not necessarily practical things. So don't expect a 1200 page monster. 

In addition to the "how to" part, I would also like to incorporate and consolidate other architect's good (and bad) practical design and implementation experiences, and write about adoption accelerators and barriers, and some other aspects that are important to get the service idea past the CFO. That's a great pain point for many people thinking about services today. If you would be interested in contributing experiences (named or unnamed), I certainly would like to know about it.

And I also think about a German-to-English translation and a significant (English) update to my German-language Enterprise Services book.....

[And to preempt the question: No, I don't have a publisher for either project, yet.]

Categories: Architecture | SOA | Blog | IT Strategy | newtelligence | Other Stuff | Talks

October 12, 2004
@ 11:11 AM

Five weeks already. No pain, no tricks. I simply quit.

Categories: Other Stuff

October 11, 2004
@ 04:59 PM

Microsoft seems to be struggling with the Messenger service in the past two days. Right now I cannot sign in, I got booted frequently yesterday and yesterday night I could see everybody but chat with noone. What really sucks about that is that I realize how much some parts of work and life have become a dependent on Messenger working - and switching to another service or between services is not really a good answer to the problem. What's the Messenger SLA (Service-Level Agreement), anyways? 

Categories: Other Stuff


4 straight weeks are the longest time I have been offline and off work (cheating only for 3 smaller speaking engagements that were “on the way”) in the last 6 years or so. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really been offline and not working for more than 10 days straight in the last 6 years either. Together with my best-ever travel buddy and best friend Jen, I had some of the best weeks ever. We went to catch the end of the beach season on the Turkish west-coast for a week and also went to see the ancient sites of Troy, Assos and Pergamon as well as the WWI battlegrounds of Gallipolli at the Dardanells strait (all those pictures are still on – undeveloped – film).

With less than 24h turnaround at my house, we packed the car and then went on to Berlin (1st speaking engagement) for a day, and proceeded to Munich (2nd speaking engagement) on a smooth and relaxed 180 km/h evening trip. After I was done working, we celebrated the evening at Oktoberfest (including rollercoaster ride, the essential sausage treats and plenty of beer) with a bunch of people we instantly made friends with. Next day we crossed “this is all way too green” Austria into Slovenia for two great days in the wonderful Slovenian capital of Ljubljana (“Their stuff is cute!”).

From Slovenia the road took us through a tiny bit of Croatia and then back onto EU territory in Hungary where we drove along the magnificent Lake Balaton towards the next stop at Budapest for 2 days of sightseeing, wining (!), dining and then also a bit of sightseeing and wining and dining.

The following road day we went to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The city center of Bratislava is an amazing place in that it is a maze in which you can always find a new little street and new places whenever you think you found them all. Yet, you can go once around the center in 20 minutes. (And someone really needs to develop their river front with bars and restaurants!).

Bratislava is also where we shot the most politically loaded picture of the tour.

Jen thinks its totally appropriate and great symbolism and I think it’s a little too much. Note how the rainbow ends right in the embassy of the United States of America.  

The next day we went on a great hike for a few hours in the hills around Bratislava, which sits at the foot of the Carpathian mountain range.

Next day, next drive: onwards to Poland and Krakow.

Even though all places were awesome, Krakow turned out to be our favorite city and we stayed 3 nights. Krakow is not only full of historic sights and other great things to see, but is also an amazing place for people watching at the grand market square (the biggest in Europe) and for great food.

Part of the Krakow experience were also a necessary yet very disturbing visit at the museum and memorial in Auschwitz and, much happier, a visit to my aunt Elli who lives in nearby Katowice.


The man who made our Krakow experience absolutely perfect was fellow Microsoft Regional Director Tadeusz Golonka who I called just an hour before we got to Krakow to say Hello and who immediately dropped all work to give us an impressive tour through Krakow’s center (better than any professional tour guide could do it) and also went to dinner with us on two nights. Thank you!  

After Krakow we made a fairly quick drive westward to Wroclaw, where we first documented several instances of one of the recurring people watching themes of the tour (“serious case of white shoes”) and then later got totally trashed in a nightclub right at Wroclaw’s main market square after a fabulous dinner.  

After a rather late check out the next morning, we went back to Germany and to Dresden, where we went to see Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly in the world famous “Semperoper” opera house and were impressed by the energy (and money) put into the ongoing reconstruction of Dresden’s Frauenkirche and other great old buildings after the WWII destruction and Communist neglect.

Even though it would have been great to spend more time in Dresden, we had to move on to my brother’s house near Hannover the next day (for beers) and then onwards to Hamburg (my 3rd speaking engagement).  

In Hamburg we did the obligatory tour through the sea port, strolled through the wild red-light district in St. Pauli at night and went shopping in the classy Jungfernstieg area.

With my talks in Hamburg done, we packed up and went back my house near Düsseldorf, completing a 3800km driving loop through Central Europe.

We had an awesome time at all the places we went to. Europe is a great place, isn’t it?

Ah, and: I am back! ;-)

 

 

 

Categories: Other Stuff

September 7, 2004
@ 08:40 AM

I just saw this cry for help over on weblogs.asp.net and thought it'd make sense to answer with Elvis. ;-)

Categories: Other Stuff

September 2, 2004
@ 09:36 PM

I wonder when "the Americans" (sorry for making a horribly generalizing statement here) will understand that creating an edit control with a mask

(###)-###-####

is a thoroughly bad idea.

Categories: Other Stuff

We set up a new blog here - primarily for our own amusement. Expect no seriousness there.

Categories: Other Stuff

August 30, 2004
@ 09:08 AM
Categories: Other Stuff

August 30, 2004
@ 08:32 AM

I had the dubious pleasure to fly with Northwest to Seattle last week and for me, Northwest is now finally blacklisted. Not only do they still fly hopelessly outdated DC-10s (I am not qualified to make a judgement about the airframe, but I am qualified to make a judgement about the cabin), but I also really have a problem with the cabin crew attitude. There's nothing wrong with the cabin crew's average age being well above 50, but I do have a problem with them acting as if they're looking after a kindergarten. Point in case: "Madam, can I have a 7up please?" Answer: "Son, the galley is up there in front and you may want to stretch your legs anyways".

Categories: Other Stuff

August 19, 2004
@ 11:02 AM

I can't decide what I dislike more: IE6 randomly locking up or Firefox crashing on uncaught null pointer exceptions.

Categories: Other Stuff

August 6, 2004
@ 09:22 PM

This Slashdot story reminds me why I hate NBC Sports. I lived in New York in 1996 during the Olympic Games and I got to see soapy stories about which terrible obstacles athletes had overcome to end up winning whatever competition and ... NO SPORTS. And in 2000 I happened to be in the U.S. again during the Olympics and I got to see NO SPORTS. German ARD/ZDF will have literally hundreds of hours of live coverage from Athens from early in the morning  into the night each day. Olympics is about sports and it's also about the guy who comes in on 36th place in Marathon, running a record for his country. NBC dilutes the experience. too bad, America doesn't get to see the Olympics.

Categories: Other Stuff

July 19, 2004
@ 02:42 PM

News is what is made news.

Point in case: This sentence on my blog here: "There's apparently a related project Boa (another serpent name along the family line of Viper that was the original codename for MTS), including the business markup language BML (pronounced "Bimmel") that he's involved in and he talked a bit about that, but of course I'd be killed if I gave out more details." now prompts, directly or indirectly, this here on Microsoft Watch and this on eWeek.

Nobody said that the project was software in product development. Nobody said it was about stuff that would eventually ship. Nobody really said anything that would be in any way relevant to technical or business decision makers today. What this shows is that there's a bit too much appetite for the next big thing while we're all still working on making the current big thing happen. Do you seriously think I am someone who'd casually leak Microsoft trade secrets on his blog?

And.... seriously.... go back and read the first six sentences on that entry with your brain switched into "active mode".

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

July 16, 2004
@ 11:49 AM

AAMOF, BOA along with BML are PBS TLA's created when we were TUI and MSU while having a late dinner. TMA in this industry and way too much fuzzy MBS. TWOP! IAR, giving out SSI under NDA would get me into VDS, get me?.

(You can speculate all you want in the comments section).

Categories: Other Stuff

I keep blogging about great people who do amazing things. Here’s someone else who did an amazing thing: me ;-)  Meet the grand master and anchor of our branch of the Vasters clan: Richard Vasters.

My dad is a Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister (“district master craftsman chimney sweep”, very different job description from what it is in the U.S.) and a computer veteran without wanting to be. He’s been using PCs since 1987 and he’s constantly refusing to learn more than absolutely necessary and I keep being “support central”.

Because he’s so stubbornly refusing to deal with computer complexity I don’t even get upset anymore about saying “space” and “enter” whenever I have him navigate the command line over the phone (which luckily became very rare) or keep repeating any detail of sequences getting him through various levels of dialog windows. Also, even though my dad is a language genius (he speaks no other language than German properly, but he mysteriously manages to express himself to people from any corner on the planet just fine), he’s not even remotely willing to deal with “File” and “Edit” menus and insists on having the German “Datei” and “Bearbeiten” menus instead. I mostly don’t even know what most apps look like in German, since I am running the U.S. English versions all the time. Yet, to help him I need to know cold what’s going on his screen when he’s pressing this key and clicking that thing when I have to navigate him though stuff on the phone – otherwise I’d just go insane.

On the way home from TechEd  Amsterdam, I finally found time to upgrade his desktop from Windows 98 to XP (the XP carton was sitting idle on his desk for months), set up a wireless network (all the WLAN router was doing was to consume power) with internet connection sharing, firewalled everything, patched the desktop and the notebook up to the latest fixes, installed virus scanners (and sure enough found one), hooked up the printer to the WLAN hub and got him on MSN Messenger – and to my complete surprise (and shock because of the inherent consequences!) Remote Assistance actually works from my place to the “family mansion”. Now he’s thrilled that he can issue print jobs to the printer in the office from the terrace without any wires.

Dad uses his PCs (the desktop and the notebook) exactly for one thing: getting stuff done. He has little to no interest in how things work and if stuff is too complicated he just ignores it and gives up immediately, because it’s just too annoying. For me, he’s always providing an absolutely amazing “reality check”. Sure enough, a German news channel was running a special program on Linux while I was there and there came the inevitable question: “Is that something for me?”  Now there’s a support nightmare I am absolutely looking to avoid and answered with a resounding “No!”

You think I am just a stupid dork and too lazy? Here’s the challenge to a daring (sorry, !insane!) individual: Install Linux on the desktop box (the notebook will remain to be XP), offer a year of free German language phone support with 24 hour turnaround time and on-site support with 72 hour turnaround time and get it all to run and maintain it (including patches) so that my dad can comfortably run all the apps he needs to get his work done (sorry, all Windows apps with no Linux alternatives; so WINE would have to do it and the respective ISVs – all relatively small firms with vertical solutions – will deny any of their support on any non-Windows platform). If you succeed and make it through the year without having to check into a psychiatric hospital, I’ll happily admit that Linux is ready for the desktop. If you fail, you owe us a year’s supply of beer. I think that’s a fair deal, because it’s oh-so ready, you can’t fail at that task, right?

Categories: Other Stuff

July 5, 2004
@ 07:43 PM

Arvindra Sehmi, Architect Lead at Microsoft EMEA, father and mother of the Microsoft Architects JOURNAL, the inspiration and project lead for the FABRIQ, the man who's dragged me twice through Europe on the EMEA Architect Tour (2003, 2004 video archives) and the owner of the Architect Track at TechEd Europe is now finally blogging.

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

July 4, 2004
@ 08:42 PM
Categories: Other Stuff

July 4, 2004
@ 05:50 PM

Monday I'll start earnestly working on this year's "summer project". Last year's project yielded what you today know as dasBlog. This year's prototyping project will have to do with running aggregated RSS content through FABRIQ networks for analysis and enrichment, solidifying the newtelligence SOA framework (something you don't even know about yet and it's not Proseware) and architecting/building a fairly large-scale system for dynamically managing user-centric media for targeted and secure distribution to arbitrary presentation surfaces. (Yes, I know that's a foggy explanation). Will the result be free stuff? No. Not this time. Will you hear about what we learn on the road to Bumblebee? Absolutely.

Categories: Architecture | Other Stuff

June 5, 2004
@ 11:03 PM

Two non technical comments in a day; very rare. And two "thank you" messages, too. But this one has to be:

Thank you, President Reagan. Sir, you will have my respect forever for winning the cold war and having more than just a leading role in the fall of Berlin Wall.

Categories: Other Stuff

June 5, 2004
@ 07:45 PM

Tomorrow morning, 60 years ago, the French Normandy coast saw the biggest military operation in the history of mankind.

It was the start of the liberation of Europe.

My grandfather Friedrich Vasters (my "F.") fell later the same year in France doing his duty as a motor-bike courier for the Wehrmacht in France. He and many other German soldiers had to die because Europe had to be freed from the grip of the German Nazi government. Many allied soldiers and German soldiers and members of the French resistance lost their lives on the beaches and field of northern France that day and just because of that I think this is a day to celebrate today's Europe.

Thank you, Allied Soldiers.

Categories: Other Stuff

May 27, 2004
@ 03:43 PM

Only this week here at TechEd it became really apparent to me how many people read the things I write here. I've had dozens of "strangers" walking up to me saying "Clemens, I read your blog. Thank you for the things you write.". It's great to meet the real people behind the numbers  (I get an insane amount of hits each day for what is effectively a personal opinion outlet)  and it's absolutely fantastic to hear when people tell me that I am helping them to do their job better. So what I wanted to say is ... "Thank you for stopping by every once in a while and for helping me to do my job well"

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

May 4, 2004
@ 06:33 AM

I am slowly getting out of a very, very long period of "working too much". In the last 3 1/2 weeks I worked pretty much for 18 hours every day in order to get a fairly large service oriented application done (sharing the workload with my newtelligence partner Achim Oellers). The stats: 13 services, about 20 portTypes, 1.6 MB of C# code, 10 SQL Server databases (autonomy!), countless stored procedures. We have duplex (one-way with reply path), simplex (one-way) and request/response communication paths, use ObjectPooling, Just In Time Activation, Role Based Security, Compensating Resource Managers, Process Initialization, Automatic Transactions, Service Domains, Run-As-Service, and Loosely Coupled Events from Enterprise Services, we use several features from ASP.NET Web Services, we use quite a bit of the Web Service Enhancements Tools, have full instrumentation with Eventlog support an Performance Counters, have deployment tools that create domain accounts, elevate their privileges and configure all the security settings to run a service in "locked down" mode, and use SQL Server Replication. The core services were supposed to ship yesterday and we made that date.

Now I need to work on the backlog. I am late on delivering some PowerPoint decks. I have a 12 hour travel day today. That means writing PPTs on the plane.

Categories: Other Stuff

You've gotta love this sentence from here: "Pool resources to get additional UK Government and European Union funding." 

Categories: Other Stuff

March 4, 2004
@ 10:00 PM

This here on /. pretty much speaks for itself. (I didn't know I applied for a job in New York or posted my resume anywhere? Did I?)

Sir, why don't you come at least forward with your name and company name (the comment section here is a good place)? You can also send me email. The link is here on my blog site. If you choose this route, please include your slashdot post and please cc: your CTO/CIO on it. Thank you very much.

Categories: Other Stuff

March 3, 2004
@ 04:12 PM

In the last two days, I've been called a clueless idiot, a f*cking retard and somewhere I even read that I should be punched in the face for writing the open letter to Aiden (who is, by the way, a fictional character representing very many people I've spoken to). There are more than 1400 comments in a thread on slashdot referencing this post, some of them very insightful and thought provoking, some of them ignorant and some just pointlessly insulting. There are tons of weblogs and websites referencing the letter.

I think I've made my position quite clear so there's little for me to add to the discussion at this point except one topic: "Freedom". Very many folks have pointed out that I am missing the point and that OSS is about freedom and not about gratis. I know the argument and I think I understand it quite well, but coupling the term freedom with what is has become a gratis-by-default culture is deeply disturbing to me when I take it and put it into a broader context. Consider the following little political excursion before I get back to software:

I live in a stable society and I enjoy the luxury of living in peace in the middle of Europe, surrounded by friends. The stability, freedom and democracy that we enjoy in “old Europe”, in an unprecedented period of peaceful coexistence that is now lasting for almost 60 years, is supported to a large degree (but of course not entirely) by our society’s wealth – and a responsible approach to capitalism. Capital distribution is not fair and never will be, but we are wealthy enough that there is no war between rich and poor. People don't live in closed areas behind huge fences and one can walk through the inner cities in the middle of the night without much of a risk of being robbed and killed. Here in Germany, we support the ones that cannot care for themselves by affording a social net through which very few people can fall. If you cannot afford your rent or feed your children, you are entitled to get help. A social network like this is expensive and painful to afford as we currently see in our political debates about reforming our social systems. We can only afford it, because we have a capitalist system. We can only afford it, because the majority is employed and works hard, does their work for money and pays taxes and social insurance. We can only afford it, because companies pay taxes. This system gives people the freedom to make mistakes in their lifes or just have bad luck. To me, that aspect of freedom is the most precious -- even more than free speech.

Socialism tries to achieve fairness by making everyone equal, eliminate competition between people and production entities, and -- eventually, when the Nirvana of Communism is eventually reached -- make everyone work for the common good by mutually sharing their work results and goods so that they could enjoy freedom and live a comfortable life without pressure and exploitation by the capitalists. Communism is a great model and wonderfully attractive. In the late 1800's, when exploitation of workers without capital taking any social responsibility was the norm, this idea grew rapidly and found many supporters, because it is fundamentally about freedom from capitalist oppression. The Soviet Union was founded on the honest and actually well-intended belief that the model would work and even Pot Pot's much later "revolution" in Cambodia (next to the tragedy of the Holocaust one of the greatest horrors on the 20th century) was driven by the belief that communism can work - all given that everybody in the society plays along.  The fact that everybody must play along for communism to work did cost millions of people their lives. If people were assigned to grow rice in Cambodia and they were caught catching fish from a nearby river so that their family would not starve, they got taken away and shot. A family having a fish while the other community members did not was considered a crime carrying the death penalty because they these people were apparently not agreeing that everyone is getting the same food. The oppression that we have seen in socialist and communist countries was initially rooted in the fact that the system had to convert people and get them to play along the rules so that communism could be successfully "booted". And eventually that oppression just became the norm. So while it all started with good intent, the communist idea has turned into a horror every time it has been tried.

Just to say it very clear: I am not making a statement about software here. Software does not kill people or oppress people, neither directly or indirectly (with the notable exception of software for weapon systems, of course). I am talking about the politics that are used to sell an idea, ok? I don’t want to see the Slashdot headline “Vasters says free software kills millions”.

However, what really worries me are the existing parallels in the ideology debates. The free software (as in freedom) ideology has a lot in common with the idealism of the well-intended communists of the late 1800s and early 1900s who believed in a great society of giving and sharing to achieve freedom. Probably I am totally wrong with my views and this set of ideas will work beautifully this time, in this century and scoped to the software industry. I have my doubts. I have my doubts that the ideology is honest. There are people managing large companies who certainly know the political game better than I do and they are acutely aware that the ideology works as an argument and works to their benefit. That's why I am deeply worried about the political angle of the debate.

***

I am not bold enough to predict what is going to happen to this industry as a whole in the next 10 or 20 years, but I doubt that the next truly great software innovations with coherent architectures will come out of a system where everyone shares a little bit and committees decide on architecture by casting a vote. I think -- and here's a quite daring claim -- that the free software movement actually plays into the hands of the established commercial software vendors by surrendering the innovation role to them. On Microsoft campus, 50 people can get into a room at any time and discuss architecture face to face. And in the end, there's a boss that makes a final decision on things. Email and newsgroups can't really replace that depth of interaction and community is not the same as an organization that has a power hierarchy. I am not claiming that the distributed development and architecture model does not work. Many OSS projects show that it does work. But how about true innovation on a grand scale that does not reuse the architectural blueprints of commercial software -- or the usability aspects? There are select instances where community developed OSS projects are truly innovative, but the majority seem to be re-implementing and gradually improving things that are already existing. How about a GUI shell that revolutionizes how we interact with computers and that doesn’t look like MacOS or Windows?

One thing seems quite clear to me: Hate them as much as you like, but because of the sheer fact that they are the largest commercial software vendor and have the money, resources and “pull” to get more and more incredibly smart people to live and work around Redmond and that they can put them into a room together to think about new stuff, Microsoft is going to out-innovate everyone else in the industry (laugh if you want) and any form of distributed development will be struggling to catch up. The “Longhorn wave” of technologies that was presented at their Professional Developers Conference is just a very tiny tip of a large iceberg of things brewing inside that company. They have a vision for a consistent and integrated architecture for all the software they produce and for absolute consistency across all programming models, lowering learning curves and increasing productivity across the board. They have a great vision how user interaction with computers will change. And on top of the growing innovative force on the inside, they know really well how to take innovative ideas from elsewhere and productize them so that they are accessible to the masses. That’s Microsoft’s reaction to free software. If someone is really interested in stopping them from legitimately dominating every aspect of the software market (market as in money) in the long run, they need to compete with them on the innovation front. For a distributed community that collaborates by sharing little things, that’s incredibly hard, even if some big spenders throw money at the problem. Will it be possible? Time will tell. I don’t know and you don’t know the answer either.

With this, I return to scheduled programming.

Categories: Other Stuff

February 29, 2004
@ 11:17 PM

"I am a recent graduate of the Software Engineering program at the University of Ottawa and I am looking for a full-time job beginning in January 2004. If you are hiring, please take a look at my resume."

Ryan says that I am a damn capitalist, but I am still absolutely happy to help if he needs a paid job in this industry. That's my whole point.

Categories: Other Stuff

February 29, 2004
@ 09:44 AM

Of course my letter to Aiden is prompting some opposition.  It may be worth noting that a very large proportion of the code that I write ends up being public and there's more stuff brewing as we speak. There is little need to educate me about giving. I am an educator. Sharing insight and therefore sharing manifestations of that insight in form of source code is my mission and part of my business. But this is not the business my clients are in and neither is it the business of most of the thousands of developers I am honored to speak for at conferences each year. Their business is about being paid for writing software. If they weren't paid, I wouldn't be paid. My job description is to figure out fundamental stuff and use my natural "understand very complex things thoroughly and rapidly" skill that I was luckily blessed with, so that I can explain those things to them and they can focus on solving customer problems. My free stuff helps my customers and is also playing a marketing role for me an my company. Our free stuff is a calculated investment. We can and do attach a number to it. dasBlog is a freebie for others but represents a significant investment that's worth several tens of thousands of Euros. It's not free, at all.

We support a project that brings us some indirect value. However, we do not in any way force any code republishing requirements upon the folks who'd like to reuse our code (we have a strict "no GPL" policy; our code is BSD licensed). We don't depend on a community of volunteers to turn dasBlog into a dominant blogging tool that we can benefit from by commerically supporting it. We believe that if we wanted to benefit from the software directly, we would have to rearchitect and rebuild it (or at least restrict ourselves to newtelligence contributions) and then sell it as a fully supported commercial product. My personal sense of respect and fairness tells me that I will not and should not exploit the others guys that have contributed to the free version of dasBlog. It's their hobby and their work is their work. I think a company like Red Hat, which is a public company (which did yield a significant "going public benefit" to their founders) and is profiting from the work of countless unpaid volunteers and enthusiasts, is a very clever, but deeply unethical entity.

I do believe in giving and I do believe that there is value for the community at large in sharing insight through source code. But we don't share the view that software is free or should be free. Someone pays for it. We have an investment in software that is free for others to use, MySQL has, HP has, IBM has, Sun has and - believe it or not - even Microsoft has. We do that as part of a well thought out and well understood business strategy.

I understand open source. I do open source. I do so because I am aware of what it can and can not do for a company. I think I have a pretty good understanding on what's going on in this business. If it becomes the norm that the people providing outsourcing, system administration, hardware, and consulting make orders of magnitudes more money than the creative force, the software engineers and architects who are envisioning and building the foundation for this industry, something is stinking. And it stinks a lot already.

Also, if you say that I am confusing "free software" and "open source". I am not. "Open" is the political argumentation line, "free" is the economic argumentation line of the same thing. If this sort of confusion exists for mostly everyone and one of the most often repeated line in OSS arguments is "you don't understand the difference", then that's caused by the simple fact that these terms are simply two angles of looking at the same story. The OSS "eco-system" only functions because both is true. 

Matthew, selfish is not the one who wants to get a tangible reward for his work. Selfish is the one who denies that reward.

Categories: Other Stuff

February 27, 2004
@ 01:09 PM

Dear Aiden, 

I think you remember the conversation we had recently at this software conference in Dublin. You came up to me and told me how the stuff I was talking about was mostly useless, because it is closed-source, people need to pay for it and that companies charging for software are evil anyways – especially Microsoft. Unfortunately I don’t have your email, but I am sure this will reach you.

First, I would like to thank you for the interesting conversation that developed and to make sure that none of what was said just fades away, I’ll tell you here once again what I am thinking about what you do, what you think and – most importantly about your future. 

When I was 21 – like you now – I was also at university and was pursing a computer science master degree. Back then, I was very enthusiastic about programming and creating stuff that mattered. And thought that I was the best programmer the field has ever seen and everyone else was mostly worthless. And I did indeed write some programs that mattered and made a difference. The program I spent some 3 years writing in Turbo Pascal from when I was 18 was for my father’s business. Because the business he’s in requires a lot of bureaucracy, he and my mother spent about 2-3 daily hours on average doing all of this stuff by hand. When I was done with my program and he started using it, that time went from 3 hours to about 15 minutes a day. That was software that absolutely improved the quality of life for the entire family! And his friends and colleagues loved it, too. I didn’t sell many licenses at that time (I think I had 3 customers), but each one was worth 1500 German Marks and that was a huge heap of money for me. I mean – I was living at my parent’s house, getting a monthly allowance of 120 German Marks and worked as a cable grip for a couple of TV stations every once in a while – maybe 2-3 times a month. And if I ever had 400 Marks per month I could really consider myself massively rich at the time and for my age, because I had very minimal additional expenses. So 4500 Marks on top of that? Fantastic. Where did the money go? I can’t really remember where it all went, but I guess “lot of partying” or “Girls, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll” would be a reasonably good explanation. Hey, I was 21 and that’s what one is supposed to do at that age, right? 

That was in 1990 – let’s fast forward to 2004 and you. All software that you and your father could possibly be interested in has already been written. That’s probably not true, but it’s hard to think of something, right? Ok, the software may not run on your favorite operation system and may cost money, but what you can immediately think of is likely there. So where do you put all your energy? Into this absolutely amazing open-source project you co-coordinate. I mean, really, the stuff that you and your buddies are doing there is truly impressive. There are a couple of things I’d probably do differently in terms of design and architecture, but it works well and that’s mostly what matters. And you do make an impact as well. I know that hundreds of people and dozens of companies use your stuff. That’s great. 

However, I start to wonder where your benefit is. You are – out of principle – not making any money out of this, because it is open-source and you and your buddies insist that it must be absolutely free. So you are putting all of that time and energy into this project for what? Fame? To found a career? Come on. 

If someone installs your work from disc 3 of some Linux distro, they couldn’t care less who you are. The whole fame thing you are telling me only works amongst geeks. The good looking, intelligent girl over there at the bar that you’d really like to talk to doesn’t care much whether you are famous amongst a group of geeks and neither does she even remotely fathom why you’d be famous for that stuff in the first place. I mean – get real here. 

So once you get your degree from school, what’s the plan? 

Right now, your university education is free like in many places in Europe and you have plenty of time to work on your degree without too much financial pressure. Over here in Germany things are a bit extreme in that it is not uncommon that folks spend 6, 8 or even 10 years (!) in school until they finally get their masters degree. So you may not have to think about this much now and you probably don’t. But let’s talk about it anyways. 

When you leave school, your parents will – honestly – be keen to get you out of their house. They’ve spent 25 years of their life being parents and now that they are in their early 50s, they want to enjoy their life and I am sure that your dad is keen to play with grandchildren – but just every once in a while. So you’ll have to take care of yourself.  

How so? Well, you need to get a job that pays. And you’ll probably want to have your own car, your own apartment and if you really want to have a family you will have to be able to support it. All of that only works with money. Where does it come from? If you believe that the result of your own work must be free for everyone – who’s going to pay for it?  

No –  in the end you are going to settle for a job that pays for your house, your car and your wife and children. You’ll be a developer and, eventually, architect or project manager who produces software for money. That’s your core skill and that’s what you invested 6 years and more of your life into. That money will either come from some internal budget of the company that you work for as a “corporate developer” or it will come from the clients that license the software that your company produces. In the end, there’s got to be money in your pocket. I know that’s not very romantic and has very little to do with the “free software is love” sort of thing, but it’s inevitable. Romantic is what you can get out of that money and that’s a decent life with a house, a car and a family. 

Yes, I know the argument. Software is supposed to be free and the money is made out of supporting it. Look around you. Read some industry magazines. Who exactly is making money out of “free”? IBM does, HP does and the large consulting companies do. They rake in the big bucks. But do they make the money on open-source software? No, they make that money on outsourcing deals, running data centers and selling hardware. That’s not the side of the IT business that is at all concerned about creating software that you want to be in. That is the side of the IT business that runs software.  

Where money is made from creating software, software isn’t free. Either the software is paid for directly or it is cross-subsidized from budgets elsewhere in a company that also sells hardware or consulting services.   

The whole thing about “free software” is a lie. It’s a dream created and made popular by people who have a keen interest in having cheap software so that they can drive down their own cost and profit more or by people who can easily demand it, because they make their money out of speaking at conferences or write books about how nice it is to have free software. At the bottom of the food chain are people like you, who are easily fooled by the “let’s make the world a better place” rhetoric and who are so enthusiastic about technology that writing open-source – or any source for that matter – is the absolutely best imaginable way to spend their time. It doesn’t matter whether you love what you are doing and consider this the hobby you want to spend 110% of your time on: It’s exploitation by companies who are not at all interested in creating stuff. They want to use your stuff for free. That’s why they trick you into doing it. 

And I sure understand the whole altruistic aspect of this and the idea of helping people to have better lives through free software. There’s a saying that goes: “If you are 20 and you aren’t a communist you have no heart.”, but it continues “if you are 30 and you still are a communist, you lack rationality”.  

In the end, Aiden, it’s your choice. Do you want to have a car, a house and a family when you are 30? Do you love being a software engineer at the same time? If so, you literally need to get a life. Forget the dream about stuff being free and stop advocating it. It’s idiocy. It’s bigotry. If you want to put your skills to work and you need to support a family, your work and work results can’t be free. Software is the immediate result and the manifestation of what your learned and what you know. How much is that worth? Nothing? Think again.

 

With best wishes for your future

Clemens

Categories: Other Stuff

Barbie is giving Ken the kick.

Categories: Other Stuff

January 24, 2004
@ 08:08 PM

I admit: I haven't read anybody's blog in over 1 1/2 months. I haven't posted much. I actually got tired of blogging and reading blogs for a while. Multiple projects under pressure don't go well with blogging for me. I don't even have an RSS reader on this new machine yet (I am going to change that within the hour). There's a lot of stuff to write about and I plan to write lots about the FABRIQ (which is coming along nicely), Transactions and Indigo while on the road. I've got my blogging mojo back: Yeah, baby.    

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

January 8, 2004
@ 01:05 PM

No, it’s not that I am Russian-Orthodox (and it that case I’d be two days late, anyways). I am getting my purchased-specifically-for-Longhorn notebook tomorrow – finally. The manufacturer has kept us waiting for longer than they initially promised because apparently they’ve had some very strong demand for their boxes. So now I’ll have a very busy weekend installing stuff and I just hope it all works out. Specs: ATI Radeon 9600 / 128 MB graphics, 16.1” screen 1600x1200, 3.0GHz P4/HT w/ 800 MHz FSB, 1GB DDR RAM, 60GB HDD 7200 Rpm w/ 8MB cache, DVD+RW drive, 802.11 a/b/g wireless and then the usual stuff. That should be enough to do some cute and smooth Longhorn demos (and actual work).

Update: ... all that if DHL would be as quick to ship from Cologne to here (50km) as they are from Dublin to Cologne (where the package currently hangs out)

Categories: Other Stuff

January 5, 2004
@ 09:07 AM

I’ve been terribly lazy in the last three weeks. Very little work. Meanwhile, I’ve completed the XIII game on XBOX which I got for Christmas and because I was in a “shoot and kill” mood anyways, I also finished about 2/3rds of Splinter Cell, which I got on my birthday, but never managed to play because I never took the time to do it. Now it’s back to business. Goodness. Happy 2004!

Categories: Other Stuff

December 8, 2003
@ 11:38 AM

Die Harald Schmidt Show wird eingestellt. Höchste Zeit, SAT.1 von der Fernbedienung zu verbannen. Mensch, das versaut einem doch direkt den ganzen Wochenablauf. "Freiwillige Bildschirmpause"; dass ich nicht lache.

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"...by the way my colleague on the shit project at work said today it might be easier if we just killed the customer."

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November 24, 2003
@ 09:58 AM

No, I didn’t give up blogging. I am working on a project. I am writing lots of specification and a big prototype. Has to do with SOA, Queuing Networks, Agents, Agile Machines and even a little bit with Indigo. I am pretty excited about this. If all works well, the result is going to be public very early next year.  I am just too busy to blog at the moment. I am the critical path. Excuse the continued silence. ;-)

Categories: Other Stuff

November 10, 2003
@ 07:52 PM

This article here hints at XBox Next running on PowerPC. Of course, the kids over at Slashdot call such a potential move bad names, but that's of course, because they weren't grown up enough when PowerPC was indeed a hot topic for Microsoft and Windows NT. In fact, I may still have a vintage Windows NT/PPC CD somewhere around here.

  • Reminder #1: the NT kernel runs on Itanium, AMD64 and x86 and if Microsoft really, really wants, they can certainly make it go on PPC (again).
  • Reminder #2: Windows NT was born and created on the Intel i860 and MIPS R3000 Risc processors and went to x86; not the other way around.
  • Reminder #3: Xbox runs an NT kernel - stripped down to what's exactly necessary. There is processor dependent code in Windows, but I would assume that the stuff "down there" is a relatively clean place.
Categories: Other Stuff

If you thought that Slashdot marks the top in mindless "Microsoft sucks, I love Linux" advocacy, here's something better.

The German tech-news site heise.de has discussion forums for every single article they publish and these forums seem to be the #1 meeting place for the clueless, bored, bitter, unemployed, underpaid, oppressed, unskilled and "why didn't I get another job" people in the German IT industry.

Today's news is the Longhorn build that PDC attendees will get. This is what the forum twits have to say in German, here's Google's English translation. It's so bad, it's funny.

Categories: Other Stuff

October 15, 2003
@ 06:26 AM

China has a man in orbit. I think that's fantastic. I strongly believe that they're serious about going to the moon. It's time man goes back up there.

Categories: Other Stuff

October 3, 2003
@ 11:04 AM

The reunited Germany celebrates its 13th birthday today - national holiday. Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy ...

But in all reality, German national holidays aren't days of great fanfare, parades and fireworks displays across the country. Germany is a country without any significant display or even sense of national pride and patriotism, except, maybe when it the national football (I mean the football that's played with the foot, get it?) team is playing at some international championships. Most of us grew up being taught that patriotism is equivalent to being a Nazi.

And even though the achievements in East Germany are absolutely amazing when we compare it 13 years ago, there's still so much work to do to get unemployment down, to keep the sky rocketing expenses for our social and health care systems under control, and to get the economy back on track that there's little to celebrate. The next national day of celebration is when the current administration gets booted.

Categories: Other Stuff

September 29, 2003
@ 10:30 AM

I just deleted a „direct marketing message“ for a lottery with the subject line: “[SPAM] category B winner”. The fact that a spammer labels his spam as [SPAM] is either funny, fair or exhibits an unprecedented case of idiocy. I still have to make up my mind.

By the way, my little experiment started August 8th, where I set up an unmonitored and unused mail account just to see how much spam it attracts by just “being out there” is starting to yield the expected result.

(Before you follow the above links, I recommend that you have a virus scanner running that monitors your web traffic; the “spamthisaccount” page has literal copies of the e-mails, including attachments. We are scanning for viruses and right now there’s nothing harmful in the content directory, but you never know when it hits ….)

Categories: Other Stuff

Go here and read what Matt Davis at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in Cambridge, UK has to say says about one of the current "cool quotes" in blog space.

It's a very interesting read from someone who can explain that the following paragraph (that has been replicated across hundreds of blogs in the last two weeks and for which the source doesn't seem to be really known) isn't really accurate in what it's saying:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Categories: Other Stuff

September 24, 2003
@ 05:58 AM

The Register reports that MSN is killing its open, unmointored chat rooms, except for MSN broadband subscribers in order to protect children from abuse. I think that's sad for lots of people who love to chat (and I remember how much of a chat addict I was back in '94/'95), but since those %&$&# apparently can't be stopped unless you take away their ability to communicate, it's probably a good thing. 

It's another example that the era of "free" and "anonymous" on the Internet will and must end at some point. In the long run, the Internet can't remain a lawless and anonymous space, but people will have to be held accountable for what they do. Unless that's understood and accepted by the Internet user community at large, we won't have proper protection from criminals, proper protection against spam, viruses, trojans and worms and appropriate security. In the end, security is not a function of software, but it's a function of administration. Protection from attacks against me, whether digitally or physically, is more important to me than the ability to roam around without being seen and known. You can't make yourself invisible in real life, either.

Categories: Other Stuff

September 22, 2003
@ 05:39 PM

This article on news.com is just beyond belief. Mr. Cancilla, exactly how open is OS/400 as per your definition?

Categories: Other Stuff

August 29, 2003
@ 01:38 AM

With TechEd Malaysia done, Patricia and I now have a bit more than 2 weeks of vacation! Today we fly to Saigon (Vietnam) and tomorrow from there for 4 days to Siem Reap (Cambodia) to see the temples of the sunken capital of the Khmer empire in Angkor. Then we’ll fly back to Thailand to spend 1 ½ weeks in a beach resort and finally we fly home after another one night stop in Bangkok. This is going to be great fun.

Categories: Other Stuff

August 21, 2003
@ 12:15 PM

The Sobig.F worm is hitting massively. My inbox. While we have all shields up at newtelligence for virus-protection, a bunch of people who have my email in their contacts obviously don't. Since yesterday evening I had to clean out at least 300-400 mails from my inbox that were generated by the worm. By average, I am currently getting a (formerly, pre-scan) infected email every 4-5 minutes. It's f***ing annoying.

Categories: Other Stuff

August 17, 2003
@ 12:48 PM

I am sure it's a coindicence, but every once in a while I get referrals from some invisible site inside www.iaea.org.

Therefore, I hereby declare that I support only "Atom the XML format" and not "Atom the bomb". My house is open for inspections, if you guys think that's necessary.

I hope that keeps me out of trouble. 

Categories: Other Stuff

August 15, 2003
@ 06:50 AM

 

Categories: Other Stuff

Here's a CERT advisory to check out regarding the vulnerability of other DCE implementations to the Blaster worm. And unless otherwise stated on their site (which isn't the case now), I would assume that Software AG's EntireX DCOM is vulnerable as well.

 

Categories: Other Stuff

August 9, 2003
@ 05:00 PM

Today was another day of brutal heat. Nearly impossible to go outside during the afternoon. So I had a very lazy start into the day and then watched football (real football!) and observed the players getting grilled ;)

My team, Borussia Mönchengladbach ended up with a 1:1 tie against Werder Bremen, scoring in the 81st minute to equalize a Bremen penalty goal earlier in that half. Two games, 4 points and rank 5 in the league with ranks 1-4 having the same point score. Not bad at all for this year's start. I rarely ever have time to go to the stadium, but I have been a huge fan ever since I could kick a ball. It's my home city club, so we're talking love here, not just sympathy.

Anyways ... between breakfast and football I played around with CSS and created a new template for my own blog, trying to stop myself from jumping into the code-base and making adjustments. Then I dropped the 5 files onto the server some 15 minutes ago and .. voilá ... works. The theme uses IE filters for the shadows, but otherwise it looks the same in Opera. Haven't checked out other browsers, but, in all reality and honesty, and looking at our server logs .... 'nuff said.

Categories: Blog | dasBlog | Other Stuff

It is brutally hot here. Mid 90s(F) or always more than 33°C every day. No clouds. For at least 5 days already. Forecasts say that the day temperatures won’t drop for another 4-5 days. This is the middle of Europe but it feels more like North Africa now. It’s rare that people have air-conditioning in their homes, since we usually get like 10 days above 30°C in a whole summer. So everyone’s sweating.

This morning I went to the local Microsoft office in Neuss (some 15km from here) for a customer meeting. They don’t have air-conditioning, either.

newtelligence does ;-)

Categories: Other Stuff

August 6, 2003
@ 05:28 PM

Being cited by Sam Ruby is starting to look like a (much less devastating) version of being Slashdotted. Thanks for helping test my asynchronous, queued referrals processing. ;-)

Categories: Other Stuff

I absolutely think it is a silly idea blogging this, or even filling out the questionnaire in the first place, but I have quite a few friends and colleagues of whom I just know that they'll agree so wholeheartedly with this oracle's ruling that I must blog the result:

You are HP-UX. You're still strong despite the passage of time.  Though few understand you, those who do love you deeply and appreciate you.
Which OS are You?

Categories: Other Stuff

(For a change, an entry in German and on something totally different)

Heute abend ab 18:10 Uhr ist die Bundesliga wieder "zu Hause" bei der ARD Sportschau und beim WDR. So sagt zumindest die Werbung. Für mich weckt die Rückkehr der Sportschau zum WDR "nostalgische Erinnerungen". Und zwar nicht nur aus Zuschauersicht, sondern an die Zeit, als ich beim "Machen" der Sportschau (in "tragender Rolle", nämlich als Kabelhilfe) für rund 6 Jahre, von Mitte 1985 bis Ende 1990 als Schüler und dann als Student dabei war.

Mitte der 80er war Fußball für die Volksseele zwar schon so wichtig wie heute, aber im Fernsehen fand Fußball eben lange nicht in dem Ausmass statt wie heute. In der Sportschau gabs drei oder vier Spiele in Ausschnitten zu sehen, und vielleicht noch die Tore von den anderen (wenn man Glück hatte) und an Kameraperspektiven gab's eben auch nicht so viele. Üblicherweise gab's eigentlich nur drei bis vier Kameras bei einem normalen Spiel. Eine "Führungskamera" für die Totale, dann entweder jeweils eine auf der Tribüne auf Höhe der jeweiligen 16 Meter Linie oder eine weitere Kamera unterhalb der Führungskamera und eine Handkamera für Interviews. Und das Zeug war schwer. Damals war das alles noch gute, alte Analogtechnik und wog ein mehrfaches dessen, was die heutigen Digitalkameras wiegen. Und wir mussten das natürlich alles durch die Gegend wuchten und für jedes Spiel kilometerweise Kabel ziehen. Auch war es damals absolut nicht selbstverständlich, dass der fertig geschnittene Beitrag einfach per Richtfunk (oder über Satellit) übertragen wurde. Wenn, und das galt besonders für die Sonntags-Sportschau, genug Zeit zwischen Aufzeichnungsende und Sendung war, ging das Band per Motorradkurier nach Köln.

Alles das war eine fantastische Zeit -- und der beste Studenten-Nebenjob, den ich mir vorstellen kann. Ich war jede Woche bei mindestens einem Bundesliga Spiel, oder mittwochs bei UEFA Cup, Pokal der Pokalsieger, beim DFB Pokal, der Fußball EM 1988, vielen Playoffs der Eishockey-Bundesliga, mehrmals beim World-Team Cup Tennis, Tischtennis WM 1989, diversen Leichtatlethik Meetings, und so ziemlich bei alle anderen Sportarten die man sich vorstellen kann. Und mit 130,- DM pro Tag und 50% Sonntags- und 100% Feiertagzuschlag war der Spass auch noch richtig gut bezahlt (für die damaligen Verhältnisse).

Einige der damaligen Kabelhilfe-Kollegen sind beim Fernsehen geblieben und teilweise auch vor der Kamera zu sehen. Tom Lehel, zum Beispiel, ist momentan in jeder zweiten Comedyserie am Start und Andreas Sauer ist mit der Band Leo Colonia eine grosse Nummer im Kölner Karneval. Und diverse bekannte Sportredakteure haben just damals beim WDR angefangen, waren als Studenten MAZ Redakteure (d.h. haben während der Ausziechnung Timecodes mitgeschrieben) oder haben auch Kisten geschleppt. Und Herr Guten Abend Allerseits war auch schon damals Redaktionsschef.

Categories: Other Stuff

I wish I knew how the GotDotNet workspaces work and more why they don’t work so often. I get to the workspaces console and when I click to get into the workspace, nothing works. And it’s not the first time. Or is it me?

 

Categories: Other Stuff

There's an option in Word to reduce the amount of odd markup Word injects into e-mail when used from Outlook ...
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