December 2002

Lotusphere is less than 27 days away

by Volker Weber

Ed Brill reminds us that Lotusphere is less than 27 days away. It will be his first conference that he can really enjoy because he is not on the press track (well, I am):

So I am intrigued to see more of the conference -- meet more of you, maybe get some fresh air on a daily basis, and even attend a session or two. Anyone have any pointers? Of course I've been all over The Turtle's site, I mean specific recommendations for yours truly :-)

If you have anything to recommend, hop on over to his site.

Keep it simple ...

by Volker Weber

How do you create a buddyicon in AIM? You take a good photo. You crop a rectangular region. Then you resize that to 48 by 48 pixel. You save the file and then you go to AIM and put the filename in some odd dialog. Should you delete this file later, the icon is gone. Repeat after me: Good software design is in the detail.

In iChat you drag a photo from iPhoto to your buddy. if it is too large you get this dialog:


Everything you need to know is explained on this one dialog. You resize with a slider, then you drag the photo around until you like it. Done.

Repeat after me: Good software design is in the detail.

Site redesign day

by Volker Weber

What do you do, when you have more important stuff to do? You redesign your site. This is now more in line with my "corporate" design and less with MovableType's Gettysburg theme.

If you find anything broken, reload with shift-f5. Still broken? Drop me a line.

Find me on AIM as voweXXL

by Volker Weber


I think you cannot blame me for working exclusively with Lucy right now. :-)

OS X has a nice AIM client (iChat), therefore you may only be able to find me there and not on the other IM networks. I have already installed Fire which can be described as "open source Trillian for the Mac", but I currently try to work with the stuff that Apple provides to get a better grip on the machine.

If you use AIM, then you may want to install a buddy icon, which will show up instead of the yellow Ampelmännchen.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery

by Volker Weber

This is funny. You hit a referrer and find someone you know. And you find a very familiar stylesheet, site structure, tagline, artwork. Then you click forward and find another site that also looks very familiar since it imitates an older design you once created. And lots of content that mimics what you have done years ago.

Really funny. Next time drop a line, chap.

Wise words of the 14th Dalai Lama

by Volker Weber


Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Follow the three Rs:
- Respect for self
- Respect for others
- Responsibility for all your actions

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

When you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Spend some time alone every day.

Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

Be gentle with the earth.

Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

— Dalai Lama

Gut beobachtet

by Volker Weber

Nordkorea hat eine undemokratische Regierung und ein Atomwaffenprogramm. Aber kein Öl. Mit einem militärischen Eingreifen der USA ist dort somit nicht zu rechnen.
Jens Scholz

Unix software for your Mac

by Volker Weber

What is Fink?

Fink is a project that wants to bring the full world of Unix Open Source software to Darwin and Mac OS X. As a result, we have two main goals. First, to modify existing Open Source software so that it will compile and run on Mac OS X. (This process is called porting.) Second, to make the results available to casual users as a coherent, comfortable distribution that matches what Linux users are used to. (This process is called packaging.) The project offers precompiled binary packages as well as a fully automated build-from-source system.

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by Volker Weber


There is a whole new world of software to discover for Lucy. I stumbled across this on IT&W: MyIP shows your local IP address and also the WAN address even if you are behind a NAT router. Cool stuff. There is also an ugly version available: :-)


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Jaguar printing to Windows 2000 Server

by Volker Weber


One of the things I seem to be constantly fighting with is printing to Windows devices from non-Windows operating systems. Jaguar is no exception.

The good news is that Jaguar (OS X 10.2) can print to Windows printers. The bad news is that it is very well hidden and not documented. Here is what you do:

1. Open Print Center
2. When you click on "Add" you hold down the option (alt) key.
3. This gives you an Advanced option where you find the selection "Windows Printer via SAMBA"

You now need to enter any name for the device, the device URI and a printer driver. The hard part is the URI. If you don't get this correctly then you will receive the error message: Unable to connect to SAMBA host. This is the correct syntax:


Hope that helps.

Christmas is over ...

by Volker Weber


... even in this country, where we have two Christmas holidays. Now get back to work. :-)

Notes 6 on Jaguar

by Volker Weber

Finally was able to install Notes 6 on Lucy. You need to reboot into Mac OS 9. The installer does not seem to work on the Classic layer in OS X - at least not for me. So after a few reboots I got it running OK. After all this hassle I get to see the worst Mac application so far. Let's see what Ben Poole writes:

Argh! That old chestnut in Notes for the Mac is still here: font sizes. You can't read anything in the default installation! Let me take your pain away...

He is damn right. Get his fontsize app from the link above. Otherwise you cannot read a thing in the default setup. After you fixed the font size, you can at least read most of the stuff that Notes puts on the screen. I recommend you tell it to add 2 px to the default font size. Now see for yourself, how ugly the result still is. You can nicely compare to the last post about NetNewsWire Lite.


Does anybody have a good suggestion what I should use as the default font?

Good software design is in the details

by Volker Weber


I am using NetNewsWire Lite to stay on top of news. It has one neat item that I did not find in any of the other RSS readers: A simple button to jump to the next unread news item without a need to switch newsfeeds once you are done with the current. Convenient and easy to use!

Jaguar Eclipse

by Volker Weber


The Eclipse framework is now running on Lucy. Not necessarily any faster than on Charlie (the IBM Thinkpad). But this is still beta stuff, milestone M4 of Eclipse 2.1.

Posting from Espresso Blog

by Volker Weber

EspressoBlog is an application for Mac OS X 10.2 "Jaguar" (there is no Windows version, and will not be one) written in Cocoa. It allows a user to post to a Movable Type-powered weblog from the comfort and convenience of their Mac. Theoretically, it would also work for those who use Blogger, but Blogger's implementation of their own API has been down for months.

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I have been a good boy this year

by Volker Weber


Received a Mac for Christmas. At first I wanted to call it 'Schneewittchen' but that was too long. 'Heidi' did not get approved. So we settled for 'Lucy'.

Lucy is absolutely incredible. Everything just works. :-) I threw out the Microsoft stuff and installed Mozilla and VNC. The Lotus Notes installer failed miserably - what a piece of junk! I can get to my mail and the other applications on Circus, my Domino server, via Mozilla. Forget Groove for now. That only works on Windows.

The Notes client should work if it were not for the stupid installer that complains about some odd program still running. IBM, I have new stuff to bug you!

More later. Gotta play.

Merry Christmas

by Volker Weber


Thanks to all readers and contributors of for their continued support. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2002 has been quite a ride!

Do I smell WebSphere?

by Volker Weber

Early results in the Lotusphere 2003 session preference voting, according to Ed Brill:

1. Messaging Solutions and the future of Notes and Domino
2. Domino 6 Administration
3. Instant Messaging case study from Bank of America
4. Successful iNotes Web Access deployments
5. Selling Notes/Domino 6 Internally

Sunday Jumpstarts and IBM integration sessions

1. Introduction to Domino/Websphere integration
2. Lotus collaboration inside Websphere portal
3. Domino and Websphere: the road to collaborative CRM
4. Websphere Platform strategy for Domino customers

Knowledge can be taught, but talent cannot

by Volker Weber

Ziv Caspi helps me understand why Microsoft constantly seems to reinvent stuff that is already out there. It hurts them a lot when they ignore exisiting protocols and standards:

... traditionally Microsoft had a very strict recruiting policy: get the best people, regardless of whether they know something about the problem or not. The underlying assumption is that knowledge can be taught, but talent cannot.

The consequences of this policy are evident in many Microsoft products. When a new product which is unrelated to previous Microsoft products is being designed, the people who work on the project are brilliant, but inexperienced in the problem domain. Often, developers bring their own mindset from previous projects they've worked on to newer projects, whether this mindset suits the problem or not. Therefore, it takes them a few trial-and-error phases to get things done right.

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Like it or not ...

by Volker Weber


I cannot make up my mind. Could this be my first car with a hard roof in 20 years? I should think about this again in the summer. :-)

Thong or bikini, sir?

by Volker Weber

Good story:

How to go lingerie shopping for your woman without feeling as though you're 16 and sneaking a peek at Playboy with your Sunday-school teacher standing next to you.

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Groove Workspace 2.1d Build 1555

by Volker Weber

Groove did a silent update yesterday. Again. No notification, no changelog, no information about bugs that have been fixed. Please note this permanent address for the latest build:

This will save you separate downloads for all your computers and you do not have to apply stupid tricks to catch this file before the installer deletes it from temp. Ignore the "preview" in the file name. This installer will not downgrade you to a preview version if you have licensed the product.

Kyocera 7100 Series = Phone + Palm (no GSM yet)

by Volker Weber


Microsoft Offers Outlook 2002 Connector For Lotus Domino Server Customers

by Volker Weber

New Connector Software, Developed With IBM Support, Enables Use of Outlook 2002 With IBM Lotus Domino Release 5 Servers

REDMOND, Wash. -- Dec. 20, 2002 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of the Microsoft® Outlook® 2002 Connector, a software add-in that enables users of the IBM Lotus Domino Release 5 messaging server to use the Outlook 2002 messaging and collaboration client as an e-mail client application. This is the first Microsoft-developed connector for Outlook and Lotus Domino. Outlook 2002, the Office XP personal information management and communication solution, is used worldwide to simplify e-mail communication, streamline group and personal scheduling, and provide easy access to information.

Press release >
Download here >

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-072: Unchecked Buffer in Windows Shell

by Volker Weber

Who should read this bulletin: Customers using Microsoft Windows XP
Impact of vulnerability: Run code of an attacker's choice
Maximum Severity Rating: Critical
Recommendation: Customers using Microsoft Windows XP should apply the patch immediately.

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Peter Lindbergh, Stories

by Volker Weber

HerzigovaEva18-artscan440.jpg HerzigovaEva17-artscan439.jpg

Your browser mileage may vary ...

by Volker Weber

So, Microsoft Internet Explorer owns 95% of the market? Not according to the logs of Heise Online, the premier IT news site in this country. This is their statistic:

User-Agent 03/2002 08/2002 12/2002
MS Explorer 6.0x 29,4 % 34,0 % 37,3 %
Gecko (Mozilla/Netscape 6) 8,9 % 14,8 % 19,4 %
MS Explorer 5.5x 19,1 % 16,7 % 13,7 %
MS Explorer 5.0x 16,7 % 12,8 % 10,3 %

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Pissing contest

by Volker Weber

Currently there are two free Domino blog templates from Anthony Connell and Jake Howlett: FreeDomBlog and DomBlog. One of them was first, one of them is ugly, one was called the first professionally done. At least one is making a fool out of himself.

Small piece of advice: You cannot win a mudslinging contest. You will always get dirty.

Canon EOS-1Ds

by Volker Weber


Review >

Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand ...

by Volker Weber

Schneewittchen, Herkules und Baron Münchhausen waren - das ist weitgehend unbekannt - gemeinsam in einer Klasse. Beim 20jährigen Klassentreffen reden sie darüber, ob Schneewittchen eigentlich noch die Schönste im Lande ist, Herkules noch der Stärkste und Münchhauausen noch der grösste Lügner aller Zeiten ist.

Da fällt Schneewittchen ein, dass sie noch einen alten Spiegel zu Hause hat, den man soche Sachen fragen kann und der immer die Wahrheit sagt.

So gehen sie zu Schneewittchen und sie geht als erste in das Zimmer mit dem Spiegel. Als sie rauskommt, erzählt sie freundestrahlend, dass sie noch immer die Schönste im ganzen Land sei.

Danach geht Herkules zum Spiegel und kommt sofort wieder mit strahlendem Lächeln zurück, denn er ist noch immer der Stärkste.

Zum Schluss geht Münchhausen zum Spiegel. 10 Minuten vergehen, 20 Minuten, 30 Minuten vergehen... Plötzlich kommt Münchhausen aus dem Zimmer, schaut Schneewittchen und Herkules an und fragt:

"Kennt Ihr einen Gerhard Schröder?"

[Danke, Markus und Alex]

Microsoft's highly touted new products are slow sellers

by Volker Weber

SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp. made a big splash this fall with new products that could change the way people use computers, but all the publicity has yet to translate into big sales.

The company touted its Tablet PC as a machine to revolutionize laptop computing. The Media Center PC is aimed at making a computer an entertainment center, and the Xbox Live kit is moving video games online.

At the peak of the holiday shopping season, however, the Tablet and Media Center computers aren't flying off the shelves - in fact, they aren't even on some shelves.

I cannot say that I am really surprised. I would not want to buy a tablet pc, let alone a "secure" media center.

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Business 2.0: The Microsoft/Linux Connection, Explained

by Volker Weber

A report points out the inevitable: Microsoft will be forced to support Linux in the not-too-distant future. Here's how it will happen.

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Conference Announcement: BlogTalk Vienna, May 2003

by Volker Weber

BlogTalk - A European Weblog Conference: Web-based publishing, communication and collaboration tools for professional and private use.

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Wired 11.01: The Outlook Killer?

by Volker Weber

Mitch Kapor isn't trying to take on Microsoft. His ambitions are bigger: He wants to spark a software revolution. Tired of sloppy code and clunky interfaces, the 52-year-old cocreator of Lotus 1-2-3, the original killer app, put $5 million of his own considerable fortune into an open source personal information manager codenamed Chandler. Along the way, he may end up putting the Redmond coders to shame. By enlisting pro-bono programming talent from around the world, Kapor is building an elegant, modular software core that gives users more options and fewer headaches. Chandler's promised auto-updating address books and peer-to-peer information sharing have earned it the nickname "Outlook killer."

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Mitch Kapor is very disappointed (shall I say pissed) with Wired:


...I raised a concern of great importance to me and received reassurance that Wired's coverage of the Chandler project wouldn't take an explicit anti-Microsoft slant. Imagine my surprise to see a headline title like "10 Things I Hate about Outlook" in the current issue [The actual title is "10 Things That Bug Kapor About Outlook" -MK.

I responded in good faith to your inquiry and could not have been clearer about ground rules, which were treat with total disrespect. This completely wrecks your credibility in my eyes, something I will keep in mind with regard to future coverage.


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Man nehme eine Standardvorlage ...

by Volker Weber

Zur sofortigen Veröffentlichung! geht neue Wege
Nie wieder ohne Ballast: Das neue der vowe & assoc. demnächst unschlagbar ...

Darmstadt, den 15.12.2002 -- Die vowe & assoc., einer der pan-europäisch führenden Anbieter im Bereich Kommunikation, kündigte heute erstmalig die Verfügbarkeit von an. Somit startet ein Produkt seinen Siegeszug, auf das die Welt schon lange gewartet hat und das nun endlich da ist. Grundgedanke des Updates ist vor allem die Businessanforderung nach einem hochoptimierten, schlanken und skalierbaren Werkzeug, dank deren Funktionen sich eine große Zahl alltäglicher Herausforderungen mit ideosynkratischen Lösungen günstig und steuerfrei beseitigen lassen, und das für GSM ebenso wie für UMTS. Nebeneffekt des Ganzen: Endlich ein Mehr als Mehrwert, nützlich und stets parat.

Tendenz Aufwärts

''Die Geschäftsführung ist sicher, damit eine Lösung zu haben, mit der wir ohne Zweifel den Markt erobern werden. '', erklärt Volker Weber, Gründer und Chef von vowe & assoc.. ''Damit bauen wir unsere Position aus und stärken damit auch unsere Stellung in der Branche.'' Ausserdem werde man alles tun, um die Umsätze weiter zu erhöhen, so Volker Weber weiter. Man sehe sich auch in der Position, neue Märkte zu erschließen.

Jahrelange Erfahrung eingeflossen

Der Markt hat Potential: Die Spezialisten von Random Inc. und Estimate Ltd. erwarten in ihren Analysen, dass der Markt noch immer sehr hungrig ist, und sehen in der Branche ein Volumen von mehr als 15 Billiarden Euro im Jahr 2016, was einer Verfünffachung der bisherigen Prognosen entspricht und den ganzen Markt zu einem der am rasantesten wachsenden Zweige im Umfeld macht.

Über vowe & assoc.

Die vowe & assoc. ist einer der pan-europäisch führenden Anbieter im Bereich Kommunikation-Lösungen. Vor allem die Kunden der umsatzstarken und expansiven New Economy will das Unternehmen angehen, zumal der dress code hier noch locker ist. vowe & assoc. wurde 1988 gegründet, 922 hochmotivierte Mitarbeiter erwirtschaften jährlich einen Umsatz von 1504 Millionen Euro. Das Unternehmen besitzt Tochtergesellschaften in den USA, in Australien und in Neuseeland. Die Vision des Unternehmens besteht vor allem darin, Linux weiter voranzubringen. Anteile der vowe & assoc. werden seit 1989 am Neuen Markt der Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse gehandelt.

(C) PR-O-Matic

Same procedure ...

by Volker Weber

Kevin Werbach:

My first task was a long-delayed full reinstallation of Windows XP, complete with hard-drive reformatting. I've found that I need to do this every year or two, because the performance and stability of Windows PCs gradually deteriorate over time. Of course, this means I was offline all day yesterday. I'm still restoring files, so be patient....

I am thinking about this as well. Only difference: Don't put Windows back on.

More >


by Volker Weber

Lyssa ist wieder mal sehr lesenswert: erinnert mich irgendwie auch immer an das niedliche "Peng"-Französisch, das mein Vater von meiner Großmutter übernommen hat.

In der Jugend meiner Großeltern war Französisch bekanntermaßen noch das, was für uns heute Englisch ist. Es war trés chic, allerhand französische Ausdrücke in die deutsche Sprache einzubauen - so hatte meine Oma etwa anstelle normaler Sitzmöbel eine elegante Chaiselongue, natürlich mit den dazugehörigen "Plümmo"-Kissen (in denen man als Kind herrlich versinken konnte).

Natürlich wurden französische Begriffe allmählich ein wenig verfremdet, um sie für deutsche Zungen gefügiger zu machen. Dazu gehörte eben auch das ominöse "g" als Anhängsel an Worte, die ansonsten in einem komplizierten Nasallaut endeten.

Also wurde aus "directement" der Einfachheit halber "direktemang" - besonders gern benutzt im Zusammenhang mit kindgerechten Bettzeiten: "Jetzt geht's aber direktemang in die Plümmokissen." Das Parfum wird in der Aussprache zu "Parföng", ein Bonbon zu "Bombong" oder gar zu "Bongbong" und das in jeder Hinsicht schwere "Gratin" klingt dann wie "Gratäng". Peng-Französisch halt.

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Technical Difficulties...

by John Keys

A comment on American policy.

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Jake likes Mac, Notes does not

by Volker Weber


Jake Howlett is very impressed with his new iBook, but not so much with Notes 6.


Eclipse gains support

by Volker Weber

New members: OMG, Parasoft, Oracle. Fujitsu donated source code so support COBOL. PHP plugin released as alpha version.

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Vogue Calendar 2003

by Volker Weber


Bridget Hall, Carolyn Murphy, Frankie Rayder, Hannelore Knuts, Heidi Klum, Helena Christensen, Jessica Miller, Karolina Kurkova, Maggie Rizer, Natalia Vodianova, Tasha Tilberg, Trish Goff

Albert weiß alles...

by Markus Nolte

...oder doch zumindest vieles

Don't announce an acquisition until it's locked up

by Volker Weber

Is Microsoft snatching Rational Software from IBM? And who (if anyone) is buying Borland?

The IT world is buzzing with rumors that IBM's announced purchase of Rational Software has hit a snag: Microsoft. The rumor is that Microsoft also wants to own Rational, and will outpay IBM to get it. The peculiar aspect for either would-be buyer is that Rational's product line serves both Microsoft .NET and IBM Java technology. Assuming it is bought by either of these companies, what will happen to the Rational products that support "the enemy"?

A second rumor is that Microsoft might buy Borland, another Java and .NET tools maker. In addition to its own popular products, Borland now owns tool vendor TogetherSoft. If Microsoft acquires Borland, what would happen to the popular JBuilder and other Java-focused tools? If Microsoft gets Rational, might IBM buy Borland in defense?

Or, as another rumor has it, is Microsoft trying to buy both Borland AND Rational? If the competitive marketplace consolidates this much, especially in Microsoft's favor, how might the U.S. Justice Department react?

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Fund a new server for Antville

by Volker Weber

Get out your checkbooks and donate some money. Antville needs a new server. This is the place that hosts Supermodels are lonelier than you think and thousands of other weblogs on one machine for free. The community has outgrown that machine:

OK, obviously software optimization and tuning alone only bring as so far, but they're not enough to match the ever increasing load on Let's put our programmer's pride aside for a moment and do something where it's easiest to do, and that is on the hardware side. And let's try to use our biggest asset we have here on antville, which is the loyality and support of our users.

Here's the math: We can have a server that has 3 times the processing power of adele, plenty of disk space and 1 Gig of RAM for approximately 3000 Euro (you'll have to reconfigure a bit to get to what we need). That would be more than enough to run, in fact it would give us a good safety cushion for the years to come. If 100 people would contribute to the purchase, that would mean they'd have to put out around 30 Euro each on average. I think we should be able to get this, especially for a one-time long term expense!

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PETA Pin-Up Calendar 2003

by Volker Weber


Alicia Silverstone, Bonnie-Jill Laflin, Boss Models, Carré Otis, Charlotte Ross (with cute rabbit), Dominique Swain, Kathy Najimy, Kimberley Hefner, Pamela Anderson, Patricia Manterola, Sheryl Lee, Traci Bingham

Presentation on @-Formulas

by Volker Weber

From my referrers: Rocky Oliver's Advisor Devcon presentation on the new @-formulas in Notes/Domino 6

Download here

Lotus Domino on Xbox?

by Volker Weber

Linux on Xbox, Domino 6 on Linux. Daniel Nashed did it.

This is Finland

by Volker Weber

+15°C / 59°F
This is as warm as it gets in Finland, so we'll start here.
People in Spain wear winter-coats and gloves.
The Finns are out in the sun, getting a tan.

+10°C / 50°F
The French are trying in vain to start their central heating.
The Finns plant flowers in their gardens.

+5°C / 41°F
Italian cars won't start,
The Finns are cruising in cabriolets.

0°C / 32°F
Distilled water freezes.
The water in Vantaa river (in Finland) gets a little thicker.

-5°C / 23°F
People in California almost freeze to death.
The Finns have their final barbecue before winter.

-10°C / 14°F
The Brits start the heat in their houses.
The Finns start using long sleeves.

More >

New Fixes for Microsoft Security Holes

by Volker Weber


Very bad: Flaw in Windows WM_TIMER Message Handling Could Enable Privilege Elevation (328310)
Just bad: Flaw in SMB Signing Could Enable Group Policy to be Modified (309376)
Really bad:Flaw in Microsoft VM Could Enable System Compromise (810030)

Really experienced

by Volker Weber

Joel Sposky gets it:

Leaky abstractions mean that we live with a hockey stick learning curve: you can learn 90% of what you use day by day with a week of learning. But the other 10% might take you a couple of years catching up. That's where the really experienced programmers will shine over the people who say "whatever you want me to do, I can just pick up the book and learn how to do it." If you're building a team, it's OK to have a lot of less experienced programmers cranking out big blocks of code using the abstract tools, but the team is not going to work if you don't have some really experienced members to do the really hard stuff.

So for now, my advice is this: don't start a new project without at least one architect with several years of solid experience in the language, classes, APIs, and platforms you're building on. If you have a choice of platforms, use the one your team has the most skills with, even if it's not the trendiest or nominally the most productive.

He could do without Java bashing, though.

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O'Reilly Network: An Introduction to the Eclipse IDE

by Volker Weber

Before you get started on something as complex as Websphere Studio Application Developer, you may want to try Eclipse, free and open source. O'Reilly has a good jump start:

If you closely follow open source or Java programming, you may have heard some of the buzz surrounding Eclipse. Eclipse is an extensible, open source IDE (integrated development environment). The project was originally launched in November 2001, when IBM donated $40 million worth of source code from Websphere Studio Workbench and formed the Eclipse Consortium to manage the continued development of the tool.

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Spammer gets spammed

by John Keys

And about time too. I really enjoyed reading this story - couldn't happen to a more fitting person.

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Starsky & Hutch

by Volker Weber

Original und Fälschung. Mann, ist das lange her. Habe ich da wirklich schon gelebt?

[via Thomas Gigold]

End of an era

by Volker Weber

It says: "Software Withdrawal: Selected Part Numbers of OS/2 Warp V4 and Warp Server for e-business Programs". It does not say which ones might still be available:

Effective March 12, 2003, IBM will withdraw from marketing the part numbers licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement (IPLA) listed in the Program Withdrawals section.

On or after that date, you can no longer obtain these part numbers directly from IBM. You can obtain these part numbers on an as-available basis through IBM authorized remarketers.

Replacement Product Information: None

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[Thanks, John]

To have succeeded

by Volker Weber

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Martin Roell via David Gurteen]

BEA partners to expand Java component market

by Markus Nolte

SAN FRANCISCO (12/09/2002) - Application server vendor BEA Systems Inc. has partnered with ComponentSource Inc., an online software exchange, in a bid to expand the market for prewritten Java components and make the development language more competitive with rival technologies from Microsoft Corp.

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Sieben E-Mails zu Weihnachten

by Volker Weber

1. Dezember

An: Alle Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter

Ich freue mich, Ihnen mitteilen zu können, daß unsere Firmen-Weihnachtsfeier am 20.12. im Argentina-Steakhouse stattfinden wird.

Es wird eine nette Dekoration geben und eine kleine Musikband wird heimelige Weihnachtslieder spielen. Entspannen Sie sich und genießen Sie den Abend...

Freuen Sie sich auf unseren Geschäftsführer Dr. Mann, der als Weihnachtsmann verkleidet die Christbaumbeleuchtung einschalten wird! Sie können sich untereinander gern Geschenke machen, wobei kein Geschenk einen Wert von 20 EUR übersteigen sollte.

Ich wünsche Ihnen und Ihren Familien eine besinnliche Adventszeit.

Tina Bartsch-Levin
Leiterin Personalabteilung

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Blogger on Mozilla

by Volker Weber

Evan Williams of Pyra Labs (

Mozilla time. I think Mozilla will become the preferred browser for Blogger once we release this new version. No more Windows/IE preferential treatment. They will run pretty much identically (including formatting buttons and shortcut keys -- the main thing that kept me from really switching over to Moz until now). But the new Blogger is quicker and feels a lot more solid in Mozilla. I think this is because it's almost 100% XHTML/CSS, which we've found is slower and "flashy" (not in a good way) on IE. With the added benefit of virtually identical behavior on multiple platforms, this is a good thing.

More >

Smart email addresses could slice spam

by John Keys

Software that generates a unique email address for every message sent could help cut down spam, a US computer scientist believes.

This is because hidden in the address are encrypted rules determining who is permitted to reply to the address, as well as how many replies can be sent and when.

For example, a user could safely sign up for a monthly email newsletter by specifying the source of the newsletter and limiting it to 12 messages over the next year. If the address fell into the hands of spammers, their messages would be blocked by the software before it reached the user's inbox.

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Red Book: Upgrading to Lotus Notes & Domino 6

by Volker Weber

IBM has released a draft for a new Red Book:

This redbook describes how to upgrade existing Notes and Domino installation to the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino version 6. The chapters have been structured into a series of logical steps you follow for upgrading an environment.

The first part of the book introduces the new features of the Lotus Notes and Domino 6, discusses upgrading considerations, going into details about coexistence issues and interoperability. The second part discusses upgrade considerations related to both servers and clients.

The third and forth parts of the book walk the reader through the upgrading process steps. Part three discusses Domino Directory and Domino Server upgrading, part 4 covers upgrading the clients.

The final part of the book concentrates on the new functionality of the Domino 6 environment. We discuss the various topics related to administering the new environment. Those topics include server monitoring, messaging, security, administering clients and policy based administration among others.

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Holy Moly

by Volker Weber


It never ceases to amaze me that almost each week more people show up to read this site. Even more amazing than the number of visits is the number of unique systems coming in. We don't track users but only IP-addresses. So one NAT gateway counts as only one of the almost 3800 distinct addresses coming in.

Nope, I am not starting banner ads. But I might set up an Amazon wish list. :-)

Sidebar shoot-out

by Volker Weber

sidebarmoz.JPG sidebarie.JPG

Another side by side comparison of Mozilla and Internet Explorer. While Microsoft forces you again and again to use MSN for search and inserts commercial messages into the sidebar, Mozilla gives you a clean list of search hits from Google or I know I can install Google's search into the IE sidebar, but I cannot switch MSN off when I mistype a URL and those pesky Microsoft icons and shortcuts seems to come back every other Update Of The Week.

Microsoft talks about OneNote

by Volker Weber

Chris Pratley, group program manager for authoring services for Microsoft Office, talks to Steve "I see dead people" Gillmor about the upcoming OneNote, which currently is expected midyear 2003. Whatever that means.

I will be watching this really closely, since I could benefit a lot from this type of application. Unlike other people I work almost without paper. The only three exceptions are: interview transcripts, quickly jotted notes, and where the law demands a paper record.

But my creative work is always done using software. I tend to put information in data storage that can be accessed from a number of machines. That could be Notes databases, Groove spaces, weblogs, the Tungsten. I gather mostly text and links to webpages, completely unorganized. I don't use mindmaps and such but arrange it all in my head. I seem to have a tremendous capacity to do that. That is also a reason I try to hold off writing a manuscript as long as I possibly can, because I can rearrange things in my head much faster than in a word processor.

It will be very interesting to see, whether Microsoft can come up with something, that lets me work better.

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Phoenix 0.5 released

by Volker Weber

This seems to be my Mozilla weekend. Last week I upgraded all machines to version 1.21, inserted a little warning at the top of the weblog for those Internet Explorer users who still don't care for their data. Now Phoenix 0.5 has been released:

Phoenix is a redesign of the Mozilla browser component, similar to Galeon, K-Meleon and Chimera, but written using the XUL user interface language and designed to be cross-platform.

Phoenix is a Mozilla spin-off that leaves a lot of baggage behind: No mail, no chat, no editor. Thus it is much lighter, uses less ressources in memory and on disk. You build from there and add extensions as you chose. I just installed a preferences bar that let me quickly check proxies, cookies and such:


(View full image of customizable toolbar)

We are seeing some real progress here. While Mozilla lets you switch off popup windows that most of the time contain unsolicited commercial messages, Phoenix does the same thing but gives you a choice to selectively unblock sites that your trust. Definitely worth a look !

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by Volker Weber

Now this is funny. There is a bunch of new referrers coming in from I find they are using a poorly configured Tomcat 3.2.1 on a Windows PC. Oh yes, directory browsing is turned on. And they seem to be running the database on the same machine at 3306.

So, they work for Groove Networks. That was easy. And they do market intelligence. [Waving hands, yoo-hooo]

Go play with them >

The case of the 500-mile email

by Volker Weber

I was working in a job running the campus email system some years ago when I got a call from the chairman of the statistics department.

"We're having a problem sending email out of the department."

"What's the problem?" I asked.

"We can't send mail more than 500 miles," the chairman explained.

I choked on my latte. "Come again?"

"We can't send mail farther than 500 miles from here," he repeated. "A little bit more, actually. Call it 520 miles. But no farther."

"Um... Email really doesn't work that way, generally," I said, trying to keep panic out of my voice. One doesn't display panic when speaking to a department chairman, even of a relatively impoverished department like statistics. "What makes you think you can't send mail more than 500 miles?"

"It's not what I *think*," the chairman replied testily. "You see, when we first noticed this happening, a few days ago--"

I am reproducing the whole story here, because the source is a little bit hard to read with yellow text on a black background. Read on ...

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by Volker Weber


Best Mozilla theme so far. Complete, stylish and easy to use. It is not as "loud" as many of the other themes. See a larger image with Mozilla 1.21 on RedHat Linux.

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Kleine Zeitschriftenkunde

by Volker Weber

Der Spiegel wird von Leuten gelesen, die das Land regieren. Der stern von Leuten, die denken, sie regieren das Land. Die FAZ von Leuten, die meinen, sie sollten das Land regieren. Der Focus von Leuten, die meinen, sie sollten eigentlich das Land regieren - die FAZ aber nicht verstehen. Die SZ wird von Leuten gelesen, denen es nichts ausmachen würde, das Land zu regieren, wenn sie dafür nicht in die Hauptstadt gehen müssten. Den Bunte-Lesern ist es egal, wer das Land regiert, solange die Leute sich dabei daneben benehmen. Die Bild wird von Leuten gelesen, die sich nicht sicher sind, ob überhaupt jemand regiert. Und das Handelsblatt wird von Leuten gelesen, denen egal ist, wer unter ihnen regiert.

Womit klar ist, dass die Bild-Leser nicht so ganz falsch liegen.

[Gefunden bei Stefan Rubner]

After two critical cumulative updates in just weeks ...

by Volker Weber

Microsoft may be fooling the US press, but not Heise Online, where a report has just been published, quoting from Thor Laholm's site:

It seems like Microsoft are deliberately downplaying the severity of their vulnerabilities in an attempt to gain less bad press. It sure would look bad to release 2 critical cumulative updates in just 2 weeks, but that is exactly what has been done. As it stands now, the bulletin is released and most journalists willing to comment have already noticed the "Moderate" label and the extensive list of (incorrect) mitigating factors, and quite likely will not write anything on just how severe this really is. I doubt most people care to read the revisions to the bulletin that will come later.

There are currently 18 unpatched publicly known vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, of which I have labelled 6 as severe.

There is a lesson to be learned.

Pretty safe

by Volker Weber

rendermoz.png renderie.png

Mozilla is not only much safer and faster than Internet Explorer, it also renders pages nicer. Just compare the two screenshots above.

New service: Subscribe to comments

by Volker Weber

I installed a new script that lets you subscribe to a post. If someone posts a comment you get an email. You don't even have to comment yourself; you can subscribe from the comments page without submitting your own comment.

Of course you can also unsubscribe at any time. The script will let you manage all your subscriptions from one convenient screen.

While playing with the new feature I lost my last post with 12 comments because I hit the wrong Delete button. Instead of deleting my test comments I deleted to post. Bummer.

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Groove Web Services

by Volker Weber

Jeff Chausse is all excited about Groove Web Services and thinks they are going to be a big deal:

I don't think I'm violating any NDA's by telling you that John Burkhardt did an in-house demo yesterday in which he took an empty C# project and, in 5 minutes, wrote a complete Windows app that listed his Groove Contacts. Oh, incidentally, another developer was running a command line Linux app, which did something similar. Don't want to use Windows to use Groove? Get a cheap Windows PC, install Groove, plug it into your LAN, and go hide it in a closet. Better yet, just set up an account on someone elses' Grooved PC. Build whatever interfaces you really need, out of .NET/Java/Perl/Fortran, and access it from your Mac/PalmPilot/WebTV/Commodore 64.

Let me get this straight: I should be installing Groove as a server on a Windows PC and then build my interfaces somewhere else and access the whole thing via Web Services, most likely without any security whatsoever? How strange is that? Wouldn't it be great to have the "web services server part" portable on any platform and then build on that with Win32, Gnome, PHP whatever?

Jeff quotes Jon Udell who is having some difficulties working with Groove on an Apple Titanium Powerbook with Steve "I see dead people" Gillmor who want to have his data on a Blackberry:

InfoWorld Test Center Director Steve Gillmor and I have always thought that Groove is the tool we ought be be using to coordinate our team's ongoing mind-meld, aka the InfoWorld editorial process. It hasn't worked out that way, though. I used to blame that on Steve, who has little use for communication that doesn't show up as text (in the body, *not* an attachment!) of e-mail messages delivered to his BlackBerry. As for me, I was perfectly willing to haul my ThinkPad everywhere ... until Apple's OS X-powered TiBook lured me from the straight-and-narrow, that is.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good thing, if you have a Windows-bound proprietary system without any standard interfaces and no meaningful way to export data, and you open that up. Jon put it nicely: "Lured me away from the straight-and-narrow". :-)

Ray Ozzie still down under

by Volker Weber

It seems like the novelty on Ray Ozzie's new toy has quickly worn off. Two month since the latest serious post. He was really excited for two months in August and September, then went on a long trip in October. It looks like he has not recovered from that yet.

I don't think it is a tool's problem. When I am travelling, I have so many new impressions that I hardly have a chance to digest them while I am still on the go. One could argue that it would be interesting to read the impressions while they are fresh but I don't think so.

I have the same problem when I am overwhelmed by a new presentation like a conference's opening session. Everybody asks me: "Now, what do you think?" - Well, I did not have time to think. Ask me tomorrow.

Great tip for PR people: Send me an executive summary of the whole thing, before I go there. Then you can have an immediate feedback after the event. Plus, I can post to my publisher's site right away. Otherwise you need to wait until I had the time to think. It's the "first tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and finally tell them what you told them." I am badly missing the first of these three things. I know that PR expects me to parrot what I just heard. But there is no added value. People could just read press releases if they wanted that.

I will keep looking ...

Tom's Hardware: An Introduction to Wireless Gateways

by Volker Weber

A DSL/cable modem setup can come into its own when a WLAN access point with DSL/cable modem router is used to connect additional clients to your network. In our test of eleven devices, our engineers gave only one an unconditional recommendation.

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by Markus Nolte good as Microsoft Office?

One of the biggest complaints about earlier incarnations of StarOffice was that, because it was not modular in nature, it took forever to load. Well, not too much has changed in that respect. is still slow to start--even on a 1.6GHz processor with 256MB of RAM, the application took more than 20 seconds to open. Of course, once any of the applications has opened (word processor, spreadsheet app, presentation app, or drawing app), all the others open very quickly.

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by Volker Weber

Vier seiner Elfen feierten krank, und die Aushilfselfen kamen mit der Spielzeugproduktion nicht nach. Der Weihnachtsmann begann schon den Druck zu spüren, den er haben würde, wenn er aus dem Zeitplan geraten sollte. Dann erzählte ihm seine Frau, dass Ihre Mutter sich zu einem Besuch angekündigt hatte. Die Schwiegermutter hat dem armen Weihnachtsmann gerade noch gefehlt.

Als er nach draußen ging, um die Rentiere aufzuzäumen, bemerkte er, dass drei von ihnen hochschwanger waren und sich zwei weitere aus dem Staub gemacht hatten, der Himmel weiß wohin. Welch Katastrophe.

Dann begann er damit den Schlitten zu beladen, doch eines der Bretter brach und der Spielzeugsack fiel so zu Boden, dass das meiste Spielzeug zerkratzt wurde - Shit!

So frustriert ging der Weihnachtsmann ins Haus um sich eine Tasse mit heißem Tee und einem Schuss Rum zu machen. Jedoch musste er feststellen, dass die Elfen den ganzen Schnaps gesoffen hatten. In seiner Wut glitt ihm auch noch die Tasse aus den Händen und zersprang in tausend kleine Stücke, die sich über den ganzen Küchenboden verteilten. Jetzt gab`s natürlich Ärger mit seiner Frau. Als er dann auch noch feststellen musste, dass Mäuse seinen Weihnachtsstollen angeknabbert hatten, wollte er vor Wut fast platzen.

Da klingelte es an der Tür. Er öffnete und da stand ein kleiner Engel mit einem riesigen Christbaum. Der Engel sagte sehr zurückhaltend: "Frohe Weihnachten Weihnachtsmann! Ist es nicht ein schöner Tag. Ich habe da einen schönen Tannenbaum für dich. Wo soll ich den denn hinstecken?"

Und so begann die Tradition mit dem kleinen Engel auf der Christbaumspitze ...

Ich bin doch nicht blöd, Geiz ist geil, oder?

by Volker Weber

There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person's lawful prey.

It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.

John Ruskin, 1819-1900

Es gibt kaum etwas auf der Welt, das nicht irgend jemand ein wenig schlechter machen kann und ein wenig billiger verkaufen könnte, und die Menschen, die sich nur am Preis orientieren, werden die gerechte Beute solcher Machenschaften.

Es ist unklug, zu viel zu bezahlen, aber es ist noch schlechter, zu wenig zu bezahlen. Wenn Sie zu viel bezahlen, verlieren Sie etwas Geld, das ist alles. Wenn Sie dagegen zu wenig bezahlen, verlieren Sie manchmal alles, da der gekaufte Gegenstand die ihm zugedachte Aufgabe nicht erfüllen kann.

Das Gesetz der Wirtschaft verbietet es, für wenig Geld viel Wert zu erhalten. Nehmen Sie das niedrigste Angebot an, müssen Sie für das Risiko, das Sie eingehen, etwas hinzurechnen. Wenn Sie dies tun, dann haben Sie auch genug Geld, um für etwas Besseres mehr zu bezahlen.

Jetzt oder nie oder doch lieber später

by Volker Weber

Pakete abschicken ist tausendmal einfacher als Pakete bekommen. Eine leidvolle Kurzgeschichte von Mark Spörrle

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Das CMS der Zeit

by Volker Weber

Beim Schockwellenreiter fand ich einen Link auf einen ZEIT-Artikel, der erklärt, mit welcher Software sie ihre Seiten kaputt machen.

Zeitgleich mit dem Umzug der Onlinepräsenz der ZEIT am Mittwoch letzter Woche erfolgte auch die Umstellung auf ein neues Content Management System. Für den technisch Interessierten folgt hier ein kurzer Überblick über das Gesamtsystem.

Das Layout sieht für mich im Augenblick auch so aus, als sei es von einer Bande genialer Entwickler gemacht, die keine Ahnung von Seitengestaltung haben. Man schaue sich auch mal diese Grafik an. Ich kann mir beim besten Willen nicht vorstellen, dass die auch nur einmal in der Nähe der Layouter war:


Leider klappt das mit dem XSLT auch nur, wenn es will. Ich befürchte, wir werden in Zeiten allgemeiner Sparsamkeit noch viel mehr Dinge in ungewohnt schlechter Qualität sehen. Muss ich erwähnen, dass der erste Link "ZEITREISEN" im Kopf der Seite ins Nirvana der eigenen Site führt?

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Joke of the Day

by Volker Weber

HP CEO Carly Fiorina dies, and she goes through the usual process of defending her case in front of the Divine Jury. It is not clear what happens exactly and where things go wrong, but when the jury comes back and the sentence is read, it turns out she is admitted into Heaven. So Carly is filling in the usual paperwork at the HAO's desk (Heaven Admission Officer): non-disclosure agreement, legal disclaimers, non-competition clause, etc...

'Congratulations and welcome to Heaven,' finally says the angel. 'Go down the corridor, first door on your right.'

Carly walks to the door, pushes it open... and staggers back. Through the flames and behind the door, all you can see are countless devils inflicting the most horrible tortures to screaming souls. She rushes back to the Officer and waves her admission pass, breathless. 'Must be an error, this thing here says Heaven!'

'Oh yeah,' says the angel, barely looking up from his/her screen. 'Forgot to tell you... we merged.'

[Fortune via Stefan Smalla]

Food for desktop wallpapers

by Volker Weber

04-avril2003.jpg 06-juin2003.jpg 10-octobre2003.jpg 12-decembre2003.jpg

Habe daraus durch Verkleinerung wunderbare Desktop-Kalender gebaut. Auch wenn einigen Mädels sicher der Nucki rausfallen wird, werde ich die im monatlichen Wechsel verwenden. Wenn jemand ähnlich ansehnliche Bilder von Bubens hat, bitte ich um Kommentar. Ich habe Abnehmer dafür.

Update: The german site has been pulled but the french one is still online.

Die Zeit als XML Stream

by Volker Weber


Das passiert in letzter Zeit ein bisserl sehr häufig. Spart sich dort die IT-Abteilung reich? Kleiner Service-Tipp: Wenn nicht geht, einfach mal ausprobieren. Meistens ist es aber umgekehrt: geht, ist kaputt.

[Danke Cornelia, John, Stefan, et. al. für die vielen Hinweise.]

Internet Explorer Kumulierter Patch dreizwovierneunzwoungerade

by Volker Weber


And now for something not so completely different: Groove, Microsoft Tighten Relationship


by Volker Weber

Harry Fuecks tries to blast J2EE and .NET while presenting PHP as the perfect choice :

Unless you haven't been paying attention, the big news these days is frameworks; namely Sun's J2EE and Microsoft's .NET.

Both frameworks are (like any new technology) being promoted as the cure to any common IT ailment, particularily if you plan to start a global business trading in household pets.

The key concept being sold is N-Tier, as we examined in A Quick Intro to N-Tier, combined with notions of aggregating all your legacy applications, be they written in Java, C or even old IBM mainframe applications written in TPF, into a common platform, with aide of technologies like SOAP.

Of course both vendors offer a total solution "for all your needs". Although both frameworks claim use of open standards, each has a catch which potentially ties you to that vendor and gets you spending...and spending...and spending. With J2EE it's in the use of inter tier messaging standards only supported in Java. For .NET it's in the fine print: "Requires Windows".

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David Heinemeier Hansson replies:

According to Fuecks, chosing JSP/Servlets for the presentation layer in a web application will bind you in darkness with "Vendor 'lock in' through use of inter-tier messaging protocols only supported by the J2EE standard".

The reference implementation for JSP and servlets is the completely free and open source Tomcat server. And J2EE web-apps, especially if they're primarily JSP/Servlets-based, can easily be moved between the other open source and commercial implementations of the standard. Where's the vendor lock-in?

It's arguably even easier to move a properly packaged J2EE web-application from one engine to another than it is to do the same with a PHP web-app. As the latter is easily affected by different settings in Apache configs and the Linux/Windows differences.

There's apparently a "Lack of cheap, reliable and well supported platform for web deployment". First of all, PHP doesn't even offer a choice. There's one implementation of the language running on the Zend engine. Why not complain about that?

Developing against J2EE provides both excellent and heavily supported open source platforms (Tomcat, Jetty, JBoss) along with a string of commercial alternatives (BEA's WebLogic, IBM's WebSphere, and more). These allegations are outrageous, untrue, and unfounded.

But it gets worse.

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If the IT Industry Made Toasters

by Volker Weber

If IBM made toasters ... They would want one big toaster where people bring bread to be submitted for overnight toasting. IBM would claim a worldwide market for five, maybe six toasters

If Xerox made toasters ... You could toast one-sided or double-sided. Successive slices would get lighter and lighter. The toaster would jam your bread for you.

If Oracle made toasters ... They'd claim their toaster was compatible with all brands and styles of bread, but when you got it home you'd discover the Bagel Engine was still in development, the Croissant Extension was three years away, and that indeed the whole appliance was just blowing smoke.

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Sober Santa - play !

by Volker Weber


[via Pepilog]

Are Microsoft's Products More Innovative and Better than the Competition?

by Volker Weber

Stefan Smalla thinks so:

I'm a big fan of Microsoft's despite all the negative monopoly-related hoopla. I admire its business success, strategic foresight, and tremendous management capabilities. But that's a topic for a different post.

My current point is the innovativeness and quality of its products. I know there are bugs; other products have those as well, and most importantly - frankly -, there are not that many bugs I really do come across. I know Microsoft copies from other companies; but that's part of successful innovation strategies: taking from others and making it better. I know there is a lot more criticism and some justified one, but mostly these are minor issues for me.

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Seyed disagrees and quotes The Economist :

"What is striking is how little innovation there has been in the bits of the market that Microsoft dominates, and how much where it has little influence. Operating systems, web browsers and word-processing software all look much as they did five years ago. But not many people are using five-year-old mobile phones, handheld computers or music-sharing software.

Opponents of the case always argued that there was no evidence that Microsoft's monopoly was doing any harm. But the harm lay in the (necessarily invisible) innovation that did not occur. Conversely, much of the innovation going on in other parts of the technology industry owes a lot to Microsoft's absence."

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Mozilla 1.21 is out

by Volker Weber


Groove thread revisited

by Volker Weber

This thread is getting some attention. Don't miss it ...

Speaking Mind to Mind

by Volker Weber

What makes Ray Ozzie tick? From the New York Times:

I was assigned to work on a project online with a programmer in a different part of Urbana-Champaign. We worked for months without meeting. We'd use instant messaging, which on Plato displayed a message in real time, keystroke by keystroke. My partner was obviously brilliant but an incredibly bad typist. It was excruciating, waiting for each letter. He constantly made mistakes. When I finally met him, I was stunned: he was a quadriplegic and had been typing with a stick held in his lips.

I realized at that moment that the computer was a medium that enabled communication with people mind to mind, regardless of their physical well-being. You can work with someone without prejudice, and their true talents will be shown. And from then on, I started to focus on how computers could help people work together more effectively.

After graduation, I said to myself, "By hook or crook, I am going to build software to recreate the interactive environment I'd used with Plato." That thought led to the creation of Lotus Notes, which sits on nearly 100 million desktops, as well as everything else I've done.

Very nice story because it gets right to the core without pitching a product.

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Almost two hours of fun

by Volker Weber

FemmeFatale.JPG FemmeFatale2.JPG

Watched Brian de Palma's Femme Fatale with Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos tonight. Rie Rasmussen's dress was quite a sight to behold. I would not coin it a good movie. It's got a lot of nicely shot scenes and a somewhat twisted story. American viewers beware: You will see some undressed people in action. Don't expect to see the whole thing in flight.

Has Linux got Microsoft running scared?

by Volker Weber

Alastair Otter, Sunday Times, South Africa:

Is Microsoft concerned about the threat Linux poses to its entrenched position in the IT market? Apparently not, given the statements made at public events and trade shows, but the cracks are starting to show and Microsoft may be more apprehensive than it would like to let on.

Take the chopping and changing licensing rules that Microsoft is presenting to the world. First the company tries to lock in as many users as possible with long-term volume licensing agreements, then it bends the rules slightly, locally, to allow smaller customers to pay off their software over three years, still locking them in for as long as possible.

On the surface, it may seem relatively innocuous, but the one rather obvious target I can see is that the company is eager to tie up as much of the market as possible, as quickly as possible. This comes at a time when the open source alternative to its software offerings is becoming increasingly appealing to financially-strapped businesses.

Now we hear the news that Microsoft is telling its sales reps to keep an eye open for users looking to switch over to Linux or other open source alternatives. Called Open Value, the scheme is apparently part of the Licensing 6.0 agreement and allows sales representatives to offer huge discounts on Microsoft software to any company making too big a switch to open source.

This scheme somehow slipped my attention. Lock people in with long term contracts, so they would be throwing away expensive (read: valuable?) stuff they already paid for. Remember that MS did that to OEMs when they charged them by boxes sold, with or without the O/S.

The answer to this scam is obvious. Don't do it. Switch now.

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On related news from Australia, ZDNet reports:

The New South Wales Department of Public Works and Services (DPWS) has become a key battleground on which Microsoft Australia is campaigning to defend its domination of the desktop from Sun Microsystem's StarOffice.

Sun Microsystems has confirmed that it is in discussions with the DPWS in a bid to snare NSW government desktops with its alternative Linux-based PC operating system and office software suite. According to Sun's estimates the NSW government could save just under AU$100 million if it migrates just one-third of the estimated 300,000 desktop PCs throughout its departments.

However, according to well-placed industry sources Microsoft is campaigning heavily for the NSW governent to accept a new cross-agency desktop software contract to supercede its its existing arrangement. The sources said that the DPWS had forwarded a letter to heads of department throughout its agencies outlining an offer from Microsoft containing generous terms if they extend their existing Office software contracts with the giant. According to the sources, the letter contains a time-limited offer for between 60,000 and 120,000 three-year, Office XP licenses at a cost of approximately AU$770.00 per seat under its controversial software assurance scheme.

Time limited offer? Three year contract? Lock them in for three years and don't give them enough time to think about it. Does that ring a bell?

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Groove - A good product for beta testers (and believers)

by Volker Weber

Carlos Griell sums up his Groove experience:

After three months using Groove for several scattered teams, working in different countries, with different time zones, I dare to say that the product is not yet completed. It lacks important features, that everybody here knows too well (print, email integration, backup...). Other drawbacks (such the huge amount of Computer Power to use Groove) are more difficult to quantify, but exist nevertheless.

We use Groove, because its advantages are bigger than its inconvenients, but in my opinion, it can only be used by "believers", aka. people which, for any reason, are willing to use it, and accept Groove it as it is.

I know people, who live inside Notes as their primary application. They have mail, calendar, to dos, addresses, right out of the box. And specific applications built with Notes-tools into "databases". Later versions brought awareness and instant messaging right into those applications. And Notes blends in with the rest of their stuff: Information gets synced with handheld devices and mobile phones. It does not only work with IBM stuff (the equivalent of Groove's message that they will integrate with Microsoft this and Microsoft that). I know this comparison is not completely fair: Notes has had a lot more time to mature, but on the other hand it also has a huge legacy to serve.

Groove needs to improve a lot until people can live in it. I don't want to go back and forth between Groove and other collaboration environments to check my mail or calendar. I don't want n+1 calendars that I manually need to sync with cut and paste, let alone pencil and paper. There is some very important piece in the architecture missing: A universal sync engine that connects stuff. And while we are at it: I don't need another instant messaging infrastructure that does not connect. AOL and Microsoft are already fighting enough battles on their customers backs.

My current center of gravity is a Domino server. I connect everything there. That could be Mozilla, Notes, my handheld devices, any mail client, spam filters, basically everything. Why is that so? Because it supports open standards that everyone writes to. Although it currently runs on a Windows 2000 Server, that Microsoft generously gave me, it does not rely on it. I can dump it any time for a Linux platform, which I intend to do if there is a need to set up a new box.

I will continue to use Groove for it's special capabilities that let me connect people through firewalls. But this unique selling point could go away quickly.

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by Volker Weber

From the Lufthansa Website: "Die First Class im Upper Deck der Boeing". That does not sound strange to us nowadays, although this sentence has only three german words: "Die", "im" and "der". You could still say "Die Erste Klasse im oberen Stockwerk der Boeing" but that is not compatible with marketing lingo.

What the German eye does not see however is that "Die" is not only a German word but also an English word with a completely different meaning. So, while Lufthansa can safely put up signs reading "Die Erste Klasse", they should not do that with "Die First Class".

Someone told me they actually did that. I haven't seen it since I never fly that class. But I trust the person who told me.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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