my recent reads..

A blog about nothing (was: a can of worms)

Jake is right .. this is getting a little too much like Seinfeld.

So many posts about bloggers at OpenWorld.

Seems to me a storm in a teacup (admittedly, roughly the same size as a can of worms, but probably shouldn't be confused - print picture on right for easy reference). Most of it driven by a comparison to what "other" companies do.

As an avid blog reader, I'm actually more interested in an intelligent post from someone who has taken some time to reflect and write about their usage of the software (be it from a project, production or just playing with an OTN download).

Don't get me wrong, I definitely see value in blogging from OpenWorld - as much for the community buzz as discussion of the latest and greatest OpenWorld news. But to put too much emphasis on this I think actually plays into the hands of the supposed PR and Marketing heavies (everything focused around a single, well orchestrated event).

Since I also represent a "global audience" (living in Singapore), there's also the geographic factor. Notwithstanding whether travel costs are reimbursed, I never expect an event centred around a single location in the US to fully represent the diversity of the blogging community I'm so comfortable with.

As such, I'd be even more impressed if we saw OTN podcasts evolve into a more interactive channel (e.g. using talkshoe a la net@nite) to give true, open access for the community to key execs (and then blog about it).

Then there is the question of disclosure. Mary Ann Davidson just posted a poignant discussion of disclosure. Although arrowed at a security audience, the timing is perfect for the opening of Jake's can of worms;-)

I just can't seem to get myself worked up over this either. Perhaps something I drank last night? Or perhaps I've just got a bit more faith in the sophistication of the audience that is now growing up with blogging et al. Two factors: influence (declared or not) stands out like a sore thumb (or else why is it so easy to recognise the executive blogs that are straight out of the marketing playbook). Second, thanks to the magic of RSS I'm not just listening to one person's voice.

So all in all, I reckon getting free registration is a pretty good first step (despite the fact that other companies may do more for you). It's not like the information won't be available for all to see and share after the show, so if you want the prestige of having the first blog post up on a particular subject maybe paying some of your own way ain't such a bad deal.

I would make one concession however: I do think it would be in Oracle and the community's best interest for Oracle to have some flexibility when it comes to the (very) few bloggers who have truely crossed the line and are in fact analyst/press and should thus be treated as such.

So much for my post about nothing;-)

Disclosure: since I work at Oracle, I never expected a blogger invite (and I wasn't able to wangle an employee seat), so perhaps that explains my disinterest in getting all het up about the issue!
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The Best Software Writing I

It's a pity that there was never a volume II for this classic collection of the best software writing, selected and introduced by Joel Spolsky.

I just picked it up to re-read some of my favourites, like
  • Bruce Eckel's Strong Typing vs. Strong Testing, which is a bit of a milestone article in the rise of the "scripting" languages like ruby and Python.
  • Adam Bosworth's ICSOC04 Talk which reminds us it is more important for computer science to be understandable by people than by computers.

There's also some great pointed humour, with
Definitely one of the all-time-must-have tech reads (and re-reads).

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War Dogs

Picked up Michael Farmer's War Dogs from the library the other day. Proved to be a great airport/trip read.

Its the third in a series of "alternate future-histories" set around the middle-east conflicts from Desert Shield onwards.

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Blog Action Day: Enterprise 3.0 - the only one that really matters

Today is Blog Action Day - a day for bloggers around the world to put the environment on the agenda. Look out for tens of thousands of posts on tree planting, cycling to work and sorting your rubbish. And probably some lively coverage of climate change. My little blog here is (supposedly) technical, so I'd better keep my comments on the environment in context.

Prevailing wisdom

I guess it is the prevailing wisdom that IT hasn't got a lot to do with the environment, short of cutting down on office lighting, dealing with toxic waste, and of course any personal contribution IT workers make as everyday citizens of the world.

But things are changing. I've noticed greening of the data center becoming much more prominent in the IT press of late - for example, a recent c|net news article on Squeezing green from the data center. Tackling the data center is probably the most obvious initiative because it is where there is a concentration of power usage (and wastage). Getting green can easily show quick bottom-line benefits.

Greening Enterprise Applications

However, I think there is perhaps a far more significant consideration for IT .. the role Enterprise application vendors should have in providing software that helps companies around the world manage their operations, not only to maximise profitability, but meet their environmental obligations (and hopefully show a bottom-line benefit as a result).

I posted on this topic the other week (Why SOX Won't Keep Your Feet Dry), so I won't rehash all the arguments here.

The bottom line is that I believe over the next few years, we'll find businesses looking to their Enterprise Application vendors to provide the leadership, best practices and solutions to help them manage profitable, green operations. Vendors that can deliver will win, those that can't will get side-lined.

Ironically, it's countries like China, which don't have the best environmental track record, that also have the most to gain, and given their projected growth rates are likely to be at the forefront of this trend. And a good thing that will be too!
NB: I'm at a workshop with a very large company in China this week, so I may have a chance the test this theory with their leaders. Maybe I'll get to post some reinforcement of this view ... or maybe a retraction and a rethink;-)

Rethinking Enterprise 3.0

Justin Kestelyn posted a good wrap of the Web/Enterprise-2.0 dust-up that's been feeding some good discussion in the Oracle blogs of late. But it's easy to lose the historical perspective. When all is said and done, is *2.0 such a big deal?

  • Technically - web apps caught up with what client apps could do a decade earlier. Finally!

  • Socially - the people seized the power of the new technology and began to drive their own agenda. Just as they always do. Remember the 18th century pamphleteers - the bloggers of their day?

I'm going to cast a different point of view here: the *2.0 debate will historically prove to be pretty irrelevant.

What really does matter however is Enterprise 3 - as in, the next stage of IT evolution that recognises software as a vital part of civilization's cability to address the environmental challenges of the 3rd millenia. For the sake of the planet and human society.
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