my recent reads..

SOA/Enterprise 2.0. The Rebel Alliance takes on Deathstar-2.0

What is the driving force for *2.0 in the enterprise? Deathstar-2.0 jokes aside, Billy (Fusion ECM) and Jake (AppsLab) have been nutting this out. Billy's in the "its all about the data" camp, and Jake's taking the "power to the people" stance. Bex has chipped in with a view that "its about knowledge".

You may think its a cop-out, but I think its a case of you're all right. Depends on what perspective you want to take.

Yes, its all about me, but in the same way that driving around town is all about me. Until a semi wants to cut into my lane. On the road we have established ways of collaborating to keep things moving nicely (signals, lane markers, the odd toot of a horn). It's all about me in the sense that I want to safely get to where I'm going. But the roads department has a broader objective.

I'd suggest that the real difference with Web-2.0 in the wild is that there really is no broader objective to speak of. I blog. I like. That's good enough for me.

But in an enterprise, there's always an over-riding agenda that's bigger than any individual: profitability, customer satisfaction, market share etc. If that's not front of mind, you deserve a pink slip .. give you lots of time for facebook!

With that in mind, I'd like to share a visualisation of the enterprise I call the "SOA Sphere". Not perfect, by tries to cram a number of key concepts together:

  • Information (data/knowledge) is the core asset of an organisation

  • Business Services/processes/applications collaborate with users and act upon the knowledge base

  • Security is an all-encompassing capability; a key enabler of innovation

  • People live, breath and work together in the environment that these services create. No distinction really between employees, customers, partners or the great unwashed

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Comically Large Things

Comically Large Things is a site devoted to the supersize. Why? Apparently because big = big laughs!
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Proof! Oracle Development have a funny bone

Recurity Labs GmbH have a very interesting post on their investigation of the new password algorithms in Oracle Database 11g.

I did a double-take when I saw the set of hashing algorithm identifier values (used as a parameter to the ztv2ghashs hashing function)..

0xf00d means: Use MD4
0xdead means: Use SHA1
0xbeaf means: Use MD5

Ah! It's an oldie but a goodie. Brings back schoolboy memories of getting your LCD calculator to spell out well-known petroleum companies.

And good to see that even in the depths of Oracle Development there's a willingness to do something a little special, for no reason other than because they can.
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Rails for Java Developers

I've picked up and put down quote a few Ruby and Rails books, but haven't found anything that really captured me. That is, until Rails for Java Developers. The discussion is intelligent, and the comparisons between Java and Rails approaches is a great learning process. Thankfully, it doesn't get into slamming one or the other but just focuses on the how. I've worked through some parts of the book so far (my Rails learning is not exactly on the fast track yet!), but I can definitely recommended it if you have the Java background.

Ruby on Rails for Dummies, on the other hand, simply reinforces my dislike of the whole Dummies idea. I'm not against straight-to-the-point beginner texts (on the contrary, that's what I was looking for!) but this books suffers the worst of two blights:
  • It doesn't get straight to the point. Only so many cutesy, hip analogies and stories I can deal with.

  • It lays a limited and 'closed' foundation of knowledge. For example, it takes you through project configuration with an IDE but never hints there is another way. Fine if you never want to go beyond the basics that you get spoon fed here, but if you have higher ambitions at some point you'll have to unlearn/relearn all of the fundamentals you learn here. I hate that. By all means teach me grade 1, but help me build a mental model that can accommodate grade 2,3 and beyond at the same time.
Give this a wide berth.

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