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Web 2.0 has been a buzzword shrouded in mystery. Although I've heard it used hundreds of times in the past year, I've never been able to find a good definition of what it actually means. This is in part because, as Paul Graham points out, Dougherty coined the term before defining it. When brainstorming on Web 2.0, O'Reilly laid out a list of services that seemed qualitatively different than those that had come before and looked for patterns. What he eventually came up with was a list of seven principles and eight patterns. O'Reilly hits the nail on the head here with his inductive approach. However, I still come away from O'Reilly's manifesto wishing for definitive clarity. So here I set out to put forth a working definition of what Web 2.0 really is, how it differs from Web 1.0, and how it will differ from what may come after. I am not proposing that these are abso... (more)

A Comprehensive Introduction to Content Delivery Networks

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a means of distribution that  both large-scale and small-scale websites incorporate into their website’s data transfer structure. This technology allows content, usually website files, to be replicated on various data centers around the world. This is, essentially, a means of caching files close to the visitor’s physical location. For example, when a visitor from Russia accesses a website hosted in the United States, there is a certain amount of latency incurred because of the distance between the networks. However, a CDN would first check to see if the file being accessed was already stored on a data center close to the visitor. If the file was found, it would be transferred from the nearest location and greatly reduce any network latency. In case the file was not found, it would be sent from the main server to a data center, id... (more)

Umm, About That $100m Microsoft Funneled to SCO

A piece of juicy compromising e-mail written by a SCO consultant to SCOsource VP Chris Sontag and SCO CFO Bob Bench last October suggesting that Microsoft had quietly funneled $86 million to SCO and that it was good for at least $106 million before tapping all possibilities happened to turn up on open source philosopher Eric Raymond's web site Thursday. Eric made it part of his Microsoft-embarrassing internal documents collection and dubbed it Halloween X. (See www.opensource.org.) He says he got it from an "anonymous whistleblower inside SCO," which is odd because, given the timing and other little niceties, one would be tempted to think that it was a bit of SCO discovery that somehow got loose from IBM. Oh, yeah, Eric is a sometime consultant for IBM and his anti-SCO credentials are impeccable. Right at the top of the kinda disjointed e-mail the consultant, one Mik... (more)

A New Bubble?

We all remember the Internet bubble back in 1999-2000 era. Start-ups were getting huge valuations. The joke then was – if you are 27 years old and not a millionaire, then you are a failure. All you needed was a sign-board saying “new internet company” and stand on Sand Hill Road. Several cars will stop and within hours, you should have a check worth millions as investment. This is an exaggeration of course. Jeff Bezos of Amazon even said – we spell profit as “prophet”. Then the bubble burst one day and the debris was huge. Hundreds of B2C and B2B companies went belly up. Now after a decade, we see a bit of a bubble again. The landscape is somewhat different. There is no rush to an IPO, which was the only way to make the founders and investors very rich. Now there is a secondary market that buys stocks off the founders and early employees (and some investors as well)... (more)

A Brief History of the Agile Movement

In February this year the agile movement completed 11 years of existence. I am sure you are either using some form of agile methodology or examining the possibility of using them. But, are you aware of how the agile movement happened? Did it happen by chance or was it inevitable? Do you know what influenced the agile manifesto? Who the authors are? What are their backgrounds and what do they do now? How was the name “Agile” selected? The Influencers It is clear from the notes published by Jon Kern that four methodologies had significant influence on the manifesto – they are: Scrum (Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber – also Mike Beedle) DSDM (DSDM Consortium represented by Arie van Bennekum) ASD (Jim Highsmith) XP (Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham and Ron Jeffries – Martin Fowler) Prior to the meet all these methodologies were classified as “Lightweight Methodologies”. The mee... (more)

Google Cloud Ventures – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

To best capture the primary value of Cloud Computing I always recommend looking at the scenario of a new entrepreneur launching their online business. The Cloud has made entrepreneurism itself more accessible to more people, lowering the barrier to entry by lowering the costs it takes to launch a new online venture by a magnitude, while simultaneously improving the quality of the apps you can produce, and how quickly you can produce them. Combined with the continuing explosion of online users and how much they grow their daily use of social media, e-commerce etc., this is a massively potent combination. Of course this benefit isn’t limited to startup entrepreneurs – Harnessing the Cloud to grow online sales is obviously a success that any and all businesses would enjoy, and doing it faster and cheaper is equally smart for all of them. PaaS-accelerated ventures In... (more)

An OO Approach to War

With the advent of ColdFusion components (CFCs), introduced in ColdFusion MX version 6.0 and greatly improved in version 6.1, ColdFusion MX allows CF programmers to enter the mainstream of object-oriented (OO) programming. With the overwhelming success of the J2EE and the .NET platforms, OO has become the dominant paradigm for building commercial software and gaining a thorough, working knowledge of it is essential to any programmer's long-term career success. In this article, we'll build a simple version of the child's card game, "War" ­ hopefully learning something about OO design and implementation along the way. Here's a refresher on the game: two players each receive a card. The cards are then compared to see which has a greater value (the ordering of suits is ignored for this game). The player with the higher card is the winner and the game continues until th... (more)

Lots to Learn at CFUN 2004

CFUN is the national ColdFusion and Web programming conference that Rockville, Maryland-based IT firm TeraTech (www.teratech.com) hosts each June in the DC area. CFUN (www.cfconf.org/cfun-04/) stands for ColdFusion User Network, and based on my trip to CFUN-04 there were plenty of people learning, networking, and having fun doing it! CFUN Day Zero and Some Helium While the conference proper didn't start until June 26, I flew in a day early to catch up with some of the other speakers at the MMUG manager meeting day and the speaker dinner. I spent a lot of the day talking to Matt Liotta about He3 - his company's new ColdFusion editor, based on Eclipse, that debuted in beta form at CFUN. The CFUN "party pack" contained the He3 beta on CD along with many other goodies. So what does He3 offer? A color-coding ColdFusion editor with tag completion - a little rough round the... (more)

Katrina Is "Most-Searched News Event" Since 9/11, Says Lycos

Lycos yesterday announced details from The Lycos 50, the 50 most popular Internet search results for the week ending Sept. 3, 2005. 'Hurricane Katrina' is the most-searched news event since September 11 attacks. No other hurricane, says Lycos, with the exception of Hurricane Floyd, which hit number one in Sept. 1999, has generated the amount of search activity that Katrina currently sees. The Lycos 50 Top 10 Search Terms for the Week Ending Sept. 3, 2005: 1) Hurricane Katrina 2) Poker  3) Labor Day 4) Britney Spears 5) Pamela Anderson  6) NFL 7) New Orleans  8) Paris Hilton 9) Neopets 10) Dragonball Katrina becomes the most-searched Hurricane in the history of the internet. No other hurricane, with the exception of Hurricane Floyd, which hit number one in Sept. 1999, has generated the amount of search activity that Katrina currently sees. Searches for Hurricane Katrina h... (more)

Blogosphere Continues Reacting to SUNW-to-JAVA Stock Ticker Change

In the goldfish bowl of the blogosphere, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz's move, which became a reality yesterday, to dump SUNW as Sun's NASDAQ stock ticker and replace it with JAVA was always going to be a high-visibility item. His own blog post announcing the move, which averages 50 comments, attracted seven times that (currently 364). In the parlance of poker, it is clear that Schwartz is going "all-in" on Java. Under the heading "SUNW is no more," one blogger was succinct: "Sun changed their ticker to JAVA. Seems wrong somehow." "I guess Sun is just trying to find that next motivational tool for itself through this ticker change," wrote another blogger, Amar Sesh, as reactions continued to circulate around the blogosphere. "I hope that they don't continue to invest in products and services that don't make money for their investors, especially shareholders." Sesh continu... (more)

Betting on Java for AJAX

Each day as an AJAX developer seems to bring another helpful revelation: a new tool, a new gadget, a new way to reinvent the browser. But even when I'm confronted with a breakthrough as big as Firebug - the brilliant debugging tool for Firefox - in the back of my mind I'm reminded that the AJAX state-of-the-art is trailing behind the debugging tools that we've had in Java for years. With age comes maturity, and with Java's maturity has come a wealth of development environments, field-tested frameworks, and a rich set of strongly typed APIs. In my current company, we all share a background in enterprise Web development. Our primary goal has always been to take the most innovative user interface technologies and massage them into a form that new programmers can feel comfortable with, no matter the underlying platform. Although I have significant experience in both J... (more)