MikeBD Musings of a 24/6 techie (Software Architect / Technical Manager) family guy struggling to find meaning, balance and strong design / implementation supporting excellent user experiences.

28Sep/100

Comments from James Gosling upon leaving Oracle / my thoughts on the creative and artistic aspects of Software Development

Excerpts From: Java Creator James Gosling: Why I Quit Oracle - In an exclusive interview with eWEEK, Java creator James Gosling discusses a series of issues he earlier declined to take public, including why he left Oracle.

  • Also, asked whether in hindsight he would have preferred Sun having been acquired by IBM (which pursued a deal to acquire Sun and then backed out late in the game) rather than Oracle, Gosling said he and at least Sun Chairman Scott McNealy debated the prospect. And the consensus, led by McNealy, was that although they said they believed “Oracle would be more savage, IBM would make more layoffs.”
  • However, in Gosling’s case personally, he may have fared better at IBM, where technical savvy is generously rewarded. For instance, when IBM acquired Rational Software they saw value in Rational’s chief scientist Grady Booch, co-creator of the UML (Unified Modeling Language), and made him an IBM fellow and more.
  • “All of the senior people at Sun got screwed compensation-wise. Their job titles may have been the same, but their ability to decide anything was just gone.”
  • Also, there are number of interesting comments on Google's use of Java in Android and the relative merits of software patent litigation.

This is an interesting read on employee motivation, reconfirming that the intangibles - including intellectual / creative freedom really do matter.

I have always felt that Software Development is as much a creative / artistic endeavour, if not more so, than it is a science. The scientific aspects reinforce the need for considered methodology, measured responses to create healthy feedback loops on both progress and results, and the imposition of order upon chaos (e.g. design, usability and information architecture). This is true as well of all fields of human activity traditionally considered by many to be purely creative / artistic: music, art, architecture etc...

I believe many technical managers would do very well to contemplate this in hiring by gauging creativity and in production by allowing time boxed exercises to evolve functional and non-functional capabilities. At worst, some time is lost in 15-30 minute manageable increments, but even then, the team benefits from the exercise in many ways. Trust the team, give them the support and tools they need, then prepare to be amazed at how they will add unexpcted value - often willingly contributing their own time.

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2Sep/102

Website Redesign – FINALLY…

I have put this off far too long and, of course, with every passing year my previous website design grew increasingly unsatisfactory. The old site used Protopage to wrap a blogger blog that was started before it was purchased by Google. I think Protopage is a very cool "start page" service, but I would prefer it for private use and not public publishing.

For one thing, the old approach offered very little Search Engine Optimization capability.

I have many posts in mind but had put off updating the old site for these reasons. I hope to catch up shortly and share lots...

Please let me know if you have any feedback on the new site or experience any problems viewing it.

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11Feb/070

It’s time to embrace open distributed / federated identification (authentication)

Updated: Feb 3, 2008...

Yahoo has joined the OpenID universe: http://openid.yahoo.com/, use your existing Yahoo or Flickr account to login to OpenID enabled sites.

Originally posted on: Feb 11, 2007...

I won't rant about all the usernames and passwords I need to keep track of for my personal and professional use because I can already see everyone nodding.

In the past, Microsoft tried to solve this problem for the masses with their Passport authentication service (now known as Windows Live ID). The idea is that you maintain one user ID and password with a trusted site and other sites can delegate user logins to the trusted site. Anyone with a hotmail account automatically had a passport. The problem here was it was Microsoft and they were not able to overcome the paranoia / distrust / hate / etc... that many in the industry have for them. Also, if I recall correctly from when I considered adding this feature to Ticketmaster's ReserveAmerica.com, Microsoft was charging for the use of their API. However, many took notice and decided that a consortium of industry leaders should collaborate on such a service.

Continue reading...
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29Jan/070

Web Hosting

I just completed moving many of my sites to DreamHost. The hosting provider I have been using for the last 6 years is still offering the same features they did then. I now have many more toys to play with and look forward to leveraging them. One limitation, if you view it as such, is that they host on Linux only and do not support ASP / ASP.Net / MS SQL.

The process was fairly painless and AFAICT I had no downtime. If you need some help arranging or moving your hosting please let me know.

You can save $25.00 with DreamHost by providing the promo code MikeBD.

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18May/060

Folding@Home

Update 2007-03-15:

...Soon available for your PS3. I'm still back on the Nintendo Game Cube so no folding for me on a gaming console in the near future. We have lots of fun with Super Monkey Ball 2 though :)

This reminds me that I need to reset myself up since I've not been contributing over the last few months.

Originally posted on 2006-05-18:

Folding@Home is a distributed computing effort to help find cures to diseases. I've been Folding for a few weeks now and so should you :)
If you need some incentive, join Team Engadget (Team Engadget Folding@home enters top 60 in 2006 - Engadget) for a chance to win some cool gear that you'd probably never be able to justify getting for yourself...

My current stats: here

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