I'm especially proud because Michelle was the one who put together the VM Ware image, and spent time making sure all the nifty gizmos were all front-and-center.
It looks like Oracle is starting a new ad campaign around it as well... ECM and the SOA Suite both won 'best' awards from InfoWorld, and the marketing group has decided to milk it a bit. Click on the ad below to see what ran in a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal last week.
Tridion won best web content management solution... but I'm not too worried. The future is in content management is as an infrastructure. Which means flexibility, security, and performance are key. If all you do is solve the easy problems -- like Web 2.0 gadgets -- while ignoring the hard problems, you'll get into trouble. Some say the non-platform players like Interwoven will be absorbed... I say they'll be crushed by a hosted solution, or open source, or both.
Anyway, congrats to the 10gr3 dev team!
Oracle recently created a web page for their 'supported' samples and tutorials:
At present it has the following components up for 10gr3:
- RSS Feeds Sample Component
- HowTo Components Sample (also works with Content Server 7.5.2)
- Create and Modify Layout Sample Component
- FilterDataInput Sample Component
And a small handful for 7.5:
Notably absent are the blogs and wiki samples for 10gr3... I have older versions at the Bezzotech library, or you can just wait until Oracle updates them, and published them to the above page...
UPDATE: I added the RSS Feeds sample for 7.5 to this list... plus I heard that the Sample Blogs and Sample Wikis might be released in a patch in the near term. Fingers crossed!
If you're thinking of attending IOUG Collaborate to see some Oracle ECM goodness, then you should register by March 13th so you can save $400. Just use the promotion code: EM01 when you register... and save some coin. Maybe rent a clown with the extra cash...
IOUG put together a small ECM landing page, as well as an ECM session guide. I'll be presenting there... although I'm a bit sheepish that they called me President of Bezzotech... I only use that on tax forms. I prefer the title Chief Software Architect.
As an added bonus, you can sign up for one-on-one sessions with some Stellent heavyweights. Frank Radichel (VP R&D for all of Oracle ECM), Andy MacMillan & Roel Stalman (heads of product management), Cliff Cate (head of ECM solution architect group), and yours truly.Hope to see you there...
Here's a half-baked idea inspired by a Freakonimics commenter: failing industries should help homeowners finance renewable energy.
The logic goes like this:
- Ford's business of selling cars has not be profitable for some time...
- Ford Credit -- which helps people finance the purchase of For cars -- has been incredibly profitable, so much so that it keeps the rest of the company in business... therefore
- Ford is actually in the banking industry. They help ordinary people purchase expensive manufactured equipment, which in turn help benefit the lives of ordinary people. Now,
- Alternative energy, such as Solar Panels, home-grow biodiesel, and cogeneration, also benefit lives by reducing the expense of energy for ordinary citizens.
- Alternative energy systems require expensive manufactured equipment, which many people cannot afford.
- Alternative energy creates a return-on-investment -- less monthly costs on electricity and gasoline -- which offsets the costs of making monthly payments. Therefore,
- If Ford got into the business of financing the sale and installation of solar panels, it really wouldn't be much of a shift in how they do business, but could be insanely profitable.
Ford, GM, and Chrysler are all touting how they plan on using alternative energies in the next generation of products... I say, why stop there? Don't integrate solar panels into cars... purchase a solar panel manufacturer, and finance solar panel installations in people's homes! Set up some local biodeisel co-ops... and make your money the way you always did: financing the sale of manufactured equipment. Use your leverage in Washington to get tax credits for people to install solar panels, and make it even cheaper for your customer base.
This initial step will also help the auto manufacturers get to understand the nature of alternative energy... before completely shifting your manufacturing process to create biodiesel cars, make sure there's a market for it. Use your financial influence to create the initial market, profit from it, and finance the rest of the endeavor. Purchase the best companies, learn from them, and make your cars more efficient as well.
To me, that strategy seems much more doable, and much more profitable...
Banks like Ford are the future, not the past... modern banks that focus on hedge funds, derivatives, and sub-prime mortgage financial vehicles are ignoring the sacred purpose of the financial industry: to spur the growth of industry that improves the well-being of the public. If you are a bank that is also into manufacturing (cars and solar panels), services (repair and installation), and perhaps agriculture (for biofuels), you have an edge that few could match. That won't happen overnight, but financing solar panels would be a good start.
Anybody know the CEO of Ford?
I had heard about a new poll which gave Obama a double-digit lead over Clinton... so I went to the site, and was greeted with an interesting ad placement:
They say that Obama's campaign is kind of like a Rorschach inkblot test... different people see different things in him... so I'm curious, what does this ad mean to you?
It looks like James McGovern is back at it again... criticizing ECM bloggers for not caring enough about security...
I do blog about security a bit... just check my security topic feed for some examples... but I intentionally limit the number of times I do so.
Why? Firstly, my wife thought I was attracting the wrong element with my posts about how Phishers could use anti-spam technology to hack URLs to look like they came from Amazon or Google. That attracted some unwanted attention.
Secondly, I'm keenly aware that the security of the application is secondary to the security of the solution. ECM is one piece of the puzzle... I've been privy to three separate reports from security firms who did penetration tests against Stellent solutions. Two from government agencies, and one from a major financial institution. Of the dozens of holes they found, only one was due to a problem in the core product (now patched)... the rest were problems with the configuration and design choices by the implementation team. I also felt proud that afterwards I tracked down two security holes that three specialist firms failed to find... one esoteric SQL injection vector, and another cross-site scripting attack with improperly-encoded URLs that only worked in IE... because IE was trying to be 'helpful.' Both have been patched for some time...
Thirdly, perhaps because of my disappointment with implementation teams, I've addressed a lot of these security risks and countermeasures in my Stellent book, and my Stellent security presentation from Crescendo 2006... and I find it a bit dull to repeat myself...
I would agree that the OWASP Top Ten are important for everybody to know, but then again, so are the fallacies of distributed computing. If you ignore the former, your solution might not be secure... but if you ignore the latter, your solution won't work at all.
Personally, the I think the OWASP top ten is a bit off... I doubt even Bruce Schneier would put 'cryptography' in the top ten, while leaving out such monsters as input validation, improper UTF8/URL decoding, configuration management, and denial of service. Cross Site Request Forgery is almost exactly the same attack vector as cross site scripting, so calling it out as a separate issue is kind of silly...
Anyway, I restrict myself to one security post per month... so I'm categorizing this as an "Oracle" post so I can sneak in two for February 2008 ;-)
Well, that was unexpected...
A few minutes ago, Rupert Murdoch made a bid for Yahoo, to counter the offer made by Microsoft... I covered this last week, as did everybody else... This will, no doubt, make Steve Ballmer throw a chair or two.
Fox News or Microsoft? Huh... I'm torn over which one would be worse...
I try to keep this blog apolitical, but I've decided to side with Fake Steve Jobs on this one... I support Obama for president. He's the most inspiring politician I've ever seen, and many folks feel the same way:
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics ... they will only grow louder and more dissonant ... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
He's currently winning the race for the democratic nomination, including the last eight primaries in a row. If you need to know more about the man's politics, you can read either of his books (one of which recently won a frigging Grammy) or just check Wikipedia.
Did you know he's a distant relative to both Bush and Cheney? Let the conspiracy theories begin...
I like Oracle... although I never worked directly for them: I worked for Stellent, and left slightly before the takeover... so I can't really comment on what its like to work there. All I know is that they have great software... and no I'm not biased!
Anyway, Emily here does work for Oracle... Or at least she did until recently... She left her job as a consultant, and as part of the resignation process, she was asked to fill out an exit interview web form. After finishing, and clicking the check spelling button, this is the page that was returned:
My complements to you Oracle consultants... you are indeed a patient breed...
(Hat tip: The Daily WTF)
Jake was chatting about the Microsoft/Yahoo merger, describing how little sense it made. I agreed mostly, until I remembered something Steve Ballmer said about Google in 2006. This was when Google was poaching Microsoft talent:
ummmmm.... what!? I was totally confused... because Microsoft most certainly did NOT own enterprise search. Neither did Google. Nobody did. FAST and Autonomy/Verity had some claim... Oracle had a solution or two... but in reality nobody in the world had a product that satisfactorily solved this problem.
How do I know? Well, I was a content management developer, helping create the most flexible product in that market. If anybody -- and I mean anybody -- had a halfway decent search engine for the whole enterprise, I would know. We evaluated dozens, and all fell short for multiple, multiple, so many reasons. Usually flexibility, security, insufficient context sensitivity, encoding bugs, performance... or perhaps I'm just being hyper-critical. Nevertheless, we integrated with several of them, and made work-arounds for their limitations.
Anyway... considering Microsoft's recent acquisition of FAST, and the purchase of Yahoo, this means one thing to me: Microsoft is finally getting serious about owning enterprise search. With Yahoo, Microsoft also gets Omnifind: a "free" product made by IBM that's specifically designed for enterprise search. Unless this is a desperate move, that's the only sane excuse for spending so many billions of dollars for Yahoo. They're trying to do for enterprise content what Google did for web content... That could easily be a $10 billion market.
Of course, I'm not particularly impressed that they will actually succeed. And even if they did, they would be "forced" to have an open API that allows easy integration with non-Microsoft products... otherwise, they wouldn't really have an enterprise search product, would they?
Either way, by 2010 they might have something interesting to show off...
We got yet another Web 2.0 site for networking with Oracle experts: oraclecommunity.net.
Its based on Ning, an open network for creating social software communities. I've created a few Ning communities myself... but never liked any of them enough to do the proper care and feeding ;-)
Check it out if you'd like to interact with web-savvy Oracle experts. Or, if you have a suggestion for Oracle, you should check out mix.oracle.com. You need to be an Oracle customer to join mix, but you get some pretty decent interaction with developers and project managers inside Oracle.
(Hat Tip Jake)
Are you a web geek in Minneapolis? Looking to help out a local charity, and prove that Rails kicks Django's ass, or vice versa? Then you should check out The F1 Overnight Website Challenge.
Its a 24-hour all night race to the finish... you get one hour to meet with a deserving local charity, then 23 hours straight to get their web site up and running. There will even be a break in the middle for a Nintendo Wii challenge... and the team who wins gets an extra hour to finish their site!
So, call up a few buds, and register your team! Trust me: you'll want to have a team that has worked together in the past on stuff like this... The event will be March 1st, 2008.
Plenty of time to brush up on your skills, and exercise your Wii hand ;-)
Via Boing Boing, I heard about the annual Beloit College Mindset. This is a list of tips they give to their professors, about the mindset of the incoming freshmen... Its filled with tons of stuff to make you giggle and feel old... some of my favorites:
- What Berlin wall?
- They never “rolled down” a car window.
- They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
- General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
- They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.
- MTV has never featured music videos.
- Most phone calls have never been private.
That last one reminded me of an older post of mine: Take My Privacy, Please, about how kids these days don't care one bit about privacy. Cell phones and reality TV have made voyeurism mainstream... and they don't see the down side.
Feel old, yet?
Its true... why not leave a comment?
Holy cow... you should see the rants and raves against the TSA's liquid ban! Pure. White. Hatred.
I don't know what their angle is... maybe they know that most of their processes are silly, and they'd like to prove that there's a strong desire for change. Maybe they'd like to lift the liquid ban, but still be able to cover their ass, as Bruce Schneier would say... or maybe they're looking to expand their "no-fly list".
I understand people's frustration with the TSA: being a frequent traveler, I'm often a victim to their Kafka-esque rules... but some of these comments are unbelievably hostile. Cut the TSA some slack, give some constructive criticism, and maybe they'll stand up for common sense security... which after the past seven years, would be a breath of fresh air.
(Hat Tip Al Kamen)
This is damn freaky...
Some UK scientists accidentally discovered that by stimulating a specific part of the brain with electrodes, they can significantly improve a person's memory:
The accidental breakthrough came during an experiment originally intended to suppress the obese man's appetite, using the increasingly successful technique of deep-brain stimulation. Electrodes were pushed into the man's brain and stimulated with an electric current. Instead of losing appetite, the patient instead had an intense experience of déjà vu. He recalled, in intricate detail, a scene from 30 years earlier. More tests showed his ability to learn was dramatically improved when the current was switched on and his brain stimulated... Scientists are now applying the technique in the first trial of the treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. If successful, it could offer hope to sufferers from the degenerative condition, which affects 450,000 people in Britain alone, by providing a "pacemaker" for the brain.
The work is similar to previous work done to treat Parkinson's disease: 40,000 sufferers currently have similar implantations in their hypothalamus, stimulated by external battery packs. However, its very strange that stimulting the same region improves memory.
The early work with Alzheimer's patients is promising... but I'm still wierded out by the fact that some Dr. Nick Riveria was doing frigging brain surgery to cure obesity!
Oh well. Gift horse. Mouth. I see nothing...
This is a great, short video that will help you avoid some common PowerPoint mistakes... by comedian Don McMillan:
Want something more useful? BusinessWeek has some more helpful advice...
I've been hearing quite a few complaints from people who can't find Stellent's old sample components on MetaLink... thus many folks are unaware of their existence... so I thought I'd post several of them to my library, and make this clear:
I put those features together for Stellent about two years ago... lots of folks contributed, including Andy MacMillian, Kyle Hatlestad, and Alan Baer... These may need a bit of extra polish to be fully 10gr3 compliant, but they come with source code, so have at it! All three are a natural extension of what Oracle ECM does, so they were pretty easy for me to create... I can't imagine you'd have much trouble tweaking them.
Please note: the blogs and wikis are meant to be samples that you integrate into an existing Site Studio web site. You'll probably want to modify the colors and styles. If you enable wiki pages to be written in Microsoft Word, then you may want to modify the dynamic converter templates as well. That's right: you can even author Wikis in Microsoft Word! Try doing that anywhere else.
So, what's the difference between the "Web 2.0" stuff in Oracle ECM, versus the stuff in Web Center Suite? Simple:
- Web Center is a framework for creating Web 2.0 solutions
- Oracle ECM is a product with Web 2.0 features
In other words... Oracle ECM has mature out-of-the-box Web 2.0 gizmos, as do several Oracle products. Web Center is a pile of tools that allows you to build a custom Web 2.0 application from scratch. Another option would be to use JRuby and Rails for all your Web 2.0 needs... just like the Oracle Apps Labs folks did for mix.oracle.com, which generated a huge buzz on the web. Also, Oracle recently bought BEA, which probably increases your Web 2.0 framework options yet again!
Also note: despite the fact that ECM's wikis may have fewer features, at least ECM's Wiki supports the Oracle database! Web center's bundled wiki apparently uses file-based HSQLDB for its database... that shocker is courtesy of Paul Gallagher, who advocates a wait-and-see approach with Web Center.
This is my new favorite book on the creation of America. From the American Revolution, to the Louisiana Purchase. Despite the broad range, Ellis paints a picture with stories I never heard, and insights I never though of.
What I particularly loved was how Ellis painted the founding fathers as genuine people... flawed, yet still remarkable. They were mindful of their place in history, but never felt that their fortune was due to superior wits, superior patriotism, or even destiny. Washington remarked many times that when people tell the tale of the founding of the republic, that everybody would certainly report it incorrectly... because it was so utterly improbable, than nobody would believe the true story!
Many people think there was a grand plan behind the country, which maliciously left many people out. The founders -- Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and Madison -- were men improvising on the eve of destruction. There was no plan... they did the best they could to try to hold the colonies together: maximize liberty, and minimize tyranny. Their gift to the world was a complex, jumbled system: one where politicians will bicker, special interests will curry favor, and states will compete with the federal government over who gets the final say... but nevertheless, its a system that will slowly create something better.
They knew their legacy was tainted... slavery was an abomination, but the country couldn't hold itself together without it. Jefferson refused to be happy about the Louisiana purchase, because he knew colonial settlers would force natives off their land... nevertheless, they did something remarkable. The first country-sized republic. The first modern secular state. The ability to criticize your leaders, without fear of getting your head lopped off. The first revolution, perhaps the only one ever, that came with a group portrait...
Some say its more correct to call it the American Evolution, not revolution. I like that... it gives me hope that even if the system fails from time to time, it will eventually create something even better...
Very enjoyable. Highly recommended, even if you're not a Revolutionary War buff.
This is hilarious... Some chap downloaded (manually of course) from Facebook the top 10 most popular books at each college... he then co-related this against the average SAT score for the college, in order to see what the smart kids read. His result?
Books That Make You Dumb! It comes with some pretty nifty graphics about what the smart kids read, and what the dumb kids read.
Not surprisingly, if you're at a college where pop-culture books are hip -- like "Fahrenheit 451", "The Devil Wears Prada", or "He's Just Not That Into You" -- then you're probably not hob-nobbing with mental giants... Although the popularity of "Lolita" amongst the ivy league is rather disturbing...
And to dispel the myth, followers of "The Book Of Mormon" and "The Bible" are equally bright, with some edge to the Mormons... but for some reason calling it "The Holy Bible" makes you markedly dumber. You'd think the latter group would get points for precision at least.
Oracle has recently released a plug-in to enable Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) support for the Stellent content server.
This means that you can visually design your workflows using a BPEL designer -- like JDeveloper -- and run it on a remote server running Oracle BPEL Process Manager. This allows you to easily integrate Stellent workflows with anything else that speaks BPEL... such as an enterprise service bus, or enterprise applications such as PeopleSoft. It also makes it easier to visually design workflows of moderate complexity. If you use workflow a lot, offloading the workflows effort to a another server through BPEL will also improve performance and scalability of your content server...
The BPEL integration was released with little fanfare back in December (patch #6668869)... despite being sought after by hundreds of customers, the only "official" word about it seems to be on the Oracle Forums. If you're signed up with Oracle Metalink, use the link below to download the integration:
Please note: the documentation for it is a bit thin at the moment... it should be easy for somebody familiar with JDeveloper and BPEL, but existing Stellent customers may need an extra hand. One helpful soul put out some extra BPEL documentation on RapidShare. I'd suggest downloading it if you need a step-by-step BPEL example.
Also, keep reminding yourself that there is no silver bullet! BPEL is cool, and visual workflows are cool, and they are extremely useful when properly used... but BPEL can't do everything. So keep your wits about you, make sure your workflow processes aren't too rigid, and you'll be fine.