Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oracle, unable to manage support accounts, sues SAP

Oracle lost a bunch of support business to SAP.  However, Oracle's sysadmins must have been too lazy to actually disable to support accounts of the customers that left.  So, they are in turn suing SAP for using those accounts.  But, boy do they try to put a lot of spin on it.  The article starts out with tales of high-tech breaking and entering.  However, when it finally gets to explaining the crime, it turns out to be more of a case of forgetting to change the locks, or even shut the door after somebody moved out.  If these were legitimate customer accounts, then it seems the worse SAP may have done was served as a delegate for support. (With the many companies outsourcing IT and support work, this is a very common occurance these days.)  And perhaps, they may have a TOS violation for using an erroneous email address.  The reasonable solution there would be to cancel support and disable the account - which is something they should have done once the customer left.

Oracle Sues Rival SAP for Alleged Theft

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Getting the trail-a-bike

My 5 year is starting to get too big for the bike trailer, but is still not quite big enough for most tandems. So, we're finally seriously looking at trail-a-bikes. Looks like the Burley rack-mounted one is out of the picture, so we are left with just seat-mounted ones. And now the big debate. I've seen a few primary models.

In-Step: After a horrible experience with their other products, we've vowed not to touch them again.
Schwin: Also look like a fairly low-end trail-a-bike
Adams: Pretty much the standard trail-a-bike. Most bike shops seem to carry the basic model.
Chariot: We love our Chariot trailer. The Catch'em does seem nice, but all the features do seem like overkill.
Novara: I saw the REI brand one when I went to look at the Adams. It was brand new, and none of the staff seemed to know much about it. The quick release clamping mechanism did seem like a plus.

Of course deciding on the bike is only part of the problem... I also have to figure out how to get it on my bike. The seatpost is a suspension post with not enough clearance for most trail-a-bikes. So, I'll need a new post. Unfortunately, its a 30.9 Specialized post, which seems to be rather hard to come by. One shop did have the post in stock, along with the Adams trail-a-bike... But their cost was $30 more than REI... Should I support the local shop and get it all at once? Or just do the piecemeal approach? And that is assuming a I go with the Adams. I also need to check out racks and fenders. It did look like the trail-a-bike could clear my rack, though the panniers are a question. And then there is that Electra tandem...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Halliburton yes, DPW no?

Halliburton just announced they were moving their CEO to Dubai, effectively making it a Dubai-based company. Of course, congress whipped itself up in to a frenzy about how they were trying to cheat America and escape taxes. However, missed in the point was the pure prejudice shown to Dubai Ports Worldwide. Halliburton has contracts with the military, and has fairly tight involvement with 'critical' US installations. DPW had merely purchased the contract to operate shipping terminals from another foreign company. However, in the end, both are 'Dubai-based companies'. If it is a security risk for a Dubai-based company to unload ships, I'd imagine it would be an even bigger risk for them to actually feed the troops.

It would be nice if the US actually supported free-trade in action, instead of stifling it whenever it seems it can win political favor. However, that may be asking too much. Maybe this Halliburton thing will help convince the pontificaters that Dubai can actually house some legitimate world companies. Nah, that may be stretching it, too. Perhaps all we can hope for is just a conclusion that any company that hires Cheney as CEO may just be shrewdly maximizing things for its own benefit.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Does programming language make a difference?

It seems that today "Java" is the in-vogue programming language that can make all web-development tasks easier. But does a language really make any difference? And does java really provide advantages over other languages?

Java is 'compiled' in to byte code, and then interpreted by the java virtual machine. The JVM concept is an advantage in the "write-once, deploy everywhere" paradigm. However, when deployed in a web environment, this primarily results in overhead. (How often is the webserver switched from one platform to another? A switch to different application servers is more likely - and this would still require rework if any application-server specific functionality is used.)

Then there is the persistent nature of java app servers. Instead of invoking a new connection like CGI, it just runs in the same JVM. This is often quite useful. However, fastcgi, and mod_xxx (mod_perl, mod_ruby, etc.) provide similar benefits for other languages.

Since java is essentially interpreted byte-code, it would seem to fall behind other languages like C that are truly compiled. However, since the source has to be compiled to byte-code, it also takes more time to develop than other scripting languages that don't require the separate compiling step.

OO is another potential benefit - however, most languages today have OO capabilities, so java has no monopoly there. On the other hand, the ability to do lightweight scripting without the strict object overhead is not available within java.

Web libraries to facilitate development are also available in most language. And page templates (like JSP) are also quite common. (Though its unlikely that systems like .jsp will ever truly achieve the goal of complete separation of code and content - unless pages remain static.)

What about code quality? That is essentially the same as discussing the quality of spoken Hungarian vs. spoken English. There may be great speakers, and there may be horrible speakers. Constructs of the language may contribute to certain aspects of speech, but in the end, it is the speaker that matters the most. The same goes with programmers.