Showing posts from 2005

Firefox in the mainstream press

For those of you skeptics who can't understand why I am pushing Firefox, I am including this article from The Economist, a very well-respected and generally very accurate weekly European news magazine. It talks about the importance of another browser like Firefox to compete with the browser-monopoly-that-was Internet Explorer. It also gives you a little background information on the non-profit organization that builds Firefox.

Take back the Web!

RIM and NTP saga

I have to quote this one little snippet from an Economist article which outlines why NTP's patent claims against RIM are stupid as I so boldly state without any backup in a previous entry (I was lazy and didn't want to compile the proof since I know my claim is true).
"RIM is generally regarded as the victim of an injustice. Founded 21 years ago by two engineering students who still help run it, the company is being held for ransom by a “patent troll”. The monster emerging from under the bridge is an entity called NTP, which doesn't actually make or sell anything—it doesn't even have a website, for goodness sake. But it has hired a handful of lawyers to enforce its patents and in settlement talks this week, it was demanding almost 6% of RIM's sales in America until 2012 when its patents expire—about $1 billion. NTP's threat of a legal injunction to shut down BlackBerry unless it pays up is viewed as little short of extortion."
Nice when I can …

China's high-tech exports surpass US for the first time

In a previous blog entry entitled, "The Shifting Sands" I commented that America needed to learn how to play nice in the sandbox that is the world economy or no one would play with her. Further evidence of America's reduced dominance has surfaced as reported by the Economist in their weekly business brief of Dec 14;
The OECD reported that China had surpassed the United States for the first time in exporting information-technology goods, such as computers, mobile phones and related parts. China exported $180 billion-worth of IT goods in 2004, and is expected to keep its top position when figures are collated for 2005."Partnerships become more and more relevant for a Super Economy such as she as economic power shifts. I have nothing against the US and in fact would welcome a more cosmopolitan attitude from our oh-so-near neighbour.

Why I'm prolific today

It's past 11 AM and I'm still in bed, reading and using my laptop because Daniel's Hockey (yes hockey is capitalized in our family) doesn't start until 3:30 PM today. Laura's in Hawksbury with David for a practice. She was up at 7:15 when the alarm went off, no actually it was 7:30, no 7:45, no 8 AM. I am still in bed. I am writing. I feel no guilt whatsoever (as my partner in crime can attest). Many weekends include my getting up for Hockey at 5:30 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Two weekends ago I spent 8 hours in the car, in arenas, and in changerooms. Let's get something else straight. I never played Hockey. I don't watch it on TV but I do think it's really good for my two older boys and support them in it. My only fear is that Michael our youngest may want to play soon...

I am in bed and feel no guilt. I am also listening to Rock Lobster, Dream Police, and Juke Box Hero is coming up next.

NTP's patent claims against RIM are stupid

This is plug for RIM and for one of my friends who works there. Maybe he'd like to post a comment?

Laura and I were talking about it the other night. That a company that doesn't even use the patent it's suing for can hold another company that has millions of users of systems based on this patent (untrue, but anyway) is criminal. That a court will help a company accomplish this is criminally negligent.

So much for my insightful analysis.

High tech content of posts is boring

I know, I know I am publishing more about technology than other more interesting subjects lately. Don't give up on me yet. Actually I had published many more non-tech posts on our home computer. It was running [Warning: the following paragraph may not be appropriate for the tech-challenged or phobic] Movable Type with Apache, PHP and MySQL and worked beautifully. Bell Canada's high-speed internet wireless router really sucked though. I should have been able to reliably set up a Dynamic DNS address to the PC. In actual fact the router kept losing the forwarding port to the site on our PC. I gave up and moved to Blogger. Then our PC (did I tell you we were running Windows XP on it?) decided it didn't want us to log in to it anymore... So I lost most of the content I'd written (not having backed it up - oops) [inappropriate content ends]. Hmm, let's see...first monopolistic Bell gives me problems, then Windows XP of the nefarious Microsoft Empire...

I'm planning ar…

Shut down Internet Explorer and run to... Firefox!

I know I may sound like a Microsoft Bigot but actually I'm not. I do use Windows XP on my work laptop and home computer (because I have to). I am also the manager of an IT department which heavily relies on MS technologies so I can't really be called a bigot.

In this post, e-week point out:
"The zero-day exploit, posted by a U.K.-based group called "Computer Terrorism," could allow a remote hacker to take complete control of a Windows system if the victim simply browses to a malicious Web site."It's a real security hole in Internet Explorer 6 that allows the execution of code on your computer by someone you don't know. In other words a cracker could load a program onto your computer to say, copy all of your word and excel files to their website. Do you feel good about that?

Neither do I.

Nor do I feel good about Microsoft knowing about this hole since May of this year and yet still not having fixed it . Software defects are a part of…

Firefox 1.5 released!

I've been using Firefox since...before it existed and was called Mozilla! Although I am late in posting this, Firefox 1.5 was released November 29th.

For those of you who don't know what Firefox is (a web browser, a replacement for Internet Explorer, your best friend[sad but true, admit it!]) you can read this post which discusses reasons for switching from IE. Did you know that the % of users that use IE has dropped from 85.8% in January of 2002 to 73.5% in November 2005. The percentage of Mozilla/Firefox users has grown from 0% in January 2002 to 22.2% November 2005 (see here for data). This may not seem like a lot but considering that IE comes pre-installed on 90% of computers used to browse the Web (same as previous reference but further down) it is remarkable. Firefox is also built by a non-profit organization with virtually no advertising dollars. The reason, therefore, for its growth is the positive press it has received in the industry and through wor…

$100 Laptop Project Advancing

I am not a big fan of technology. This may sound strange coming from someone who makes a living off the stuff but it's not. Take the laptop for example. The number of features and the power it currently offers, not to mention the price, is over the top for most people. Each version of OS requires more and more power and they deliver nothing new. With all that power what ever happened to the promise of effective speech recognition? Why are we still using keyboards to enter data? They come from the typewriter and still have the same layout for goodness sakes! Did you know that the layout was chosen to slow down the typist because the mechanical typewriters of the time couldn't keep up with fast typists? Stupid!

I fully support the One Laptop Per Child project because it's all about getting the right technology to the right people. You can read an article from the Wall Street Journal here. A basic laptop with the ability to compose documents, write …

Canada, Japan move towards free trade

It's high time we start strengthening our trade relationships with others than just our neighbors in close physical proximity (in reference to an article posted today in the Globe and Mail). We are not as bound by distances as we once were. We trade more in information today than ever before and Canada, being a country rich in knowledge workers, has a lot to offer to the rest of the world. Of course we will continue to trade in goods like lumber, oil and gas but our economy is run more and more on knowledge.

I have nothing at all against trading with the US but subscribe to the wisdom of not placing all of one's eggs in one basket.

The devil will be in the details, however. The benefit Canadians will reap from a free trade agreement with Japan will be determined by the deal that is brokered. Regardless of the short-term outcome, as it may need adjusting to achieve maximum return for us, to start negotiations is a step in the right direction.

IBM's Power processor versus Intel

In 2004, IBM booked less revenue in total hardware (which includes processors, servers, storage, and PCs) than Intel booked in processors alone (IBM 2004 annual report). What makes IBM think they can make the Power processor a successful competitor to Intel’s Pentium series of processors?

It’s true that IBM is looking to achieve a much broader adoption of Power technology than Intel has achieved. This ranges from embedded processors in storage devices, a Power processor driving every game console as of 2006, Power in small to large servers and even ‘powering’ the world’s fastest supercomputer. In a different light IBM has also taken a completely different approach from Intel. They have made the Power architecture an open specification - one that is, however, guided by a consortium of manufacturers including Freescale, Sony, and Cadence among others. This does not guarantee success.

SUN was one of the first large manufacturers to attempt an open-source style sp…

The use of Java to build business systems

I have been a big fan of Java for several years. It all started 4 years after I standardized my applications development organization on Visual Studio and C++.

Let's start with why we standardized on C++ for UNIX and Windows. The year was 1999 and we were building an e-commerce site. We needed a platform to develop on. In 1997, the year we developed the core or CRM-portion of this e-commerce platform we had decided that Sun/Solaris would be our server OS since NT4 was about as stable as nitroglycerine. So Java made a lot of sense due to its cross-platform design as it would in time allow us to migrate our CRM application using middle-tier Java code. As we began our investigations into available technologies the first difficulty we encountered was a lack of 'advanced' IDEs. This was OK since I was hiring, get this, real programmers who could work without one, however it would affect our productivity and ever a dollars and cents man this did concern me. The …

The Shifting Sands


The US doesn't get it.

What they helped to innovate, to invent, to conceive ‚– the business use of technology, has brought down the pan-global barriers of distance. That is why India has become an outsourcing and IT powerhouse. Available network and information bandwidth, using technologies such as MPLS with the ability to deliver QoS, tying in all developed world economies translates directly into their ability to deliver software to mainframes in the US, Canada, Europe instantly. The same is true for call centres and telecommunications networks. English has become the language of business around the world due almost exclusively to the US. Now, countries that have had to develop their English-language ability can do business directly with US corporations.

Future economic power will come through collaboration. The super power concept is fast becoming an obsolete one. Economies that obtain their power through the monopolies and through the spending power of their own c…

Business Considers Open Source on Par with Commercial Software

You can see this post and the discussion it generated here on slashdot. At the International Conference on COTS-based Software Systemsin Spain it was fascinating to hear large organizations talking about Open Source Software as being on-par with commercial software in some instances. Certainly Linux is the perfect example.


As I read Collapse by Jared Diamond I am struck by the departure from long-standing values in a very short period of time. Technology brings about fundamental shifts in our culture. It impacts our communication (frequency, quality), our leisure (TV, Video games, music, multi-media), and our work. These in turn impact our relationships with other people. For example instead of coming home after work and spending time reading or talking we often drop in front of the TV – something that is by nature an isolating activity.

Technology also impacts our values. Children have access to violence, hate, and sex at a much younger age. Not long ago this was somewhat regulated by federal communications authorities that would filter or sensor content considered inappropriate for the public based on purportedly national values. We can clearly see that these values have become more liberal over the past decades. This liberalization does not stand on its own. The availability…

War & Peace

War & Peace, a Russian novel, was written by Leo Tolstoy and published in 1869. His subjects include the life of the Russian privileged class, the War of 1812 when Napoleon invaded Russia and continued all the way to Moscow, and Tolstoy's own points of view which becomes clearer and clearer as the book progresses.

The early parts of the book deal with daily life, Russian high society, the pressures, hopes, and motivations of both the young and old. The primary focus has been on men and women in their twenties and early thirties with an emphasis on the men.

Exquisite suffering is the phrase that has come to mind as I have been reading over the past few days. The lives of some of our major characters have started to unravel. All their naive hopes and beliefs in success and the future are being challenged in a very harsh present. It is true of all of us that as we start out in our twenties all is possible and there is nothing but promise on the horizon. As we age …