Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Two Things That Will Separate Cloud Computing Companies

I firmly believe that the two most important areas that will separate real cloud computing (CC) companies from the wannabes will be:

SLAs came out of the telco industry and I have always had a fundamental belief that you look to the following industries for best practices:
  • Telcos--> availability and scaling
  • Wall Street--> real time and availability
  • Intelligence Agencies--> security
  • Health Care--> privacy and security
  • Search Engines-->Massive scaling
Right now we are in the hype phase in terms of cloud computing. Except for the companies that already understand scaling, security, availability, privacy and real time, we will see new cloud computing companies stumble in the marketplace which will hasten the time when we enter the "trough of disillusionment" as Gartner has coined it. In my opinion, those companies will not just hit the "trough of disillusionment", but they will die. We will still see the "trough of disillusionment" happen because the many who will fail will cast a long, dark shadow on cloud computing. I expect that to happen in late 2009 and 2010.

Cloud Computing is the right answer for many, but not all problems. It was Sun Microsystems Founder Scott McNealy that used to call for the Big Friggin' WebTone Switch (BFWS) as he called it. Scott was right when he would ask the question of customers, "why are you building this yourself?"

If the cloud computing company you are dealing with does not have a clear SLA, run, don't walk to a different company. Just a couple of weeks ago Twitter went down. That was not surprising to me, but what was surprising to me was the example of a company that had planned to use Twitter that day as its only mechanism for a product announcement. Are you kidding me? Who possibly thinks that you can place such a large bet on a company that has a best try mentality with no guaranteed SLAs in place?

Security is hard. Period. Full stop. Here is the bottom line on security.
  • All data in motion or at rest must be encrypted.
  • Realtime governance is the enabler or disabler for security.
A great example of this issue is the article in The Washington Post today titled, "European Cyber-Gangs Target Small U.S. Frims, Group Says". As the article brought out:

"The FBI said it is working to stem the problem.

"We share a mutual concern with respect to criminals' unrelenting intent to target our nation's financial sector and customers, whether through computer hacking or by other schemes to steal customer account information and make unauthorized withdrawals," Steven Chabinsky, deputy assistant director for the bureau's cyber division, said in a statement."

This article amplifies the importance of security and some of the real costs that can occur.

The reputation of a cloud computing company can be lost with just one major outage or security violation.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Year Ago at Corvettes at Carlisle

Mark Hapner, Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems and I attended Corvettes At Carlisle. Corvettes at Carlisle is always a great experience with the highlight being the ability to speak directly with the Corvette Engineers.

Above is the logo on the amazing Corvette ZR1.

Above is the ZR1 638hp LS9 engine.

Above is the LS9 SuperCharger.

Above are the AMAZING specs on the ZR1. Check out ZR1 Nurburgring Official 7:26.4 Record Corvette Run

Leo Laporte - President of the Internet and TWiG

Leo Laporte was elected President of the Internet in a mock election.

Leo Laporte is the best host of podcasts that I have ever heard and I listen to lots of podcasts. Leo's education, training, work background and a natural ability to bring up topics that are relevant and keep the discussion moving is a gift he truly has. My only disagreement with Leo is the amount of time spent discussing twitter. I agree with John C. Dvorak that the amount of time on TWiT should not be spent 50% of the time talking about twitter.

Leo just started TWiG - This Week In Google. I listened to the first three podcasts this weekend while riding my bike on the Washington and Old Dominion. I thought it was an interesting podcast to subscribe to for those interested in not only Google, but cloud computing in general.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Interesting Lunch with long time friend Roger Fujii

I don't use the term "old friends" since it is neither as accurate as "long time friends" nor can it be misinterpreted in a derogatory fashion :-)

Roger is one of the most brilliant programmers I have ever met - ever. I still like to tell the story of watching Roger, write an assembly language program in his head, assemble the code to the machine code, convert that back to decimal, place that code in a BASIC DATA statement, execute a gosub to that DATA statement and watch it execute. This was a classic, "kids don't try this at home unless you chose your parents VERY WISELY." TRUE STORY......

The other purpose of this post is to act as a semaphore on whose turn it is to buy. We both
fight for the check, so hopefully this will end those fist fights :-)


  • August 17th, 2010 I paid.
  • March 8th, 2010 Roger paid
  • October 29th, 2010 I paid
  • April 7th, 2011 I paid 
  • November 2011 Roger paid
  • February 22nd, 2012 I paid 
  • June 22nd, 2012 Roger paid
  • August 31st, 2012 Roger paid (note, Roger insisted on paying since it appears I paid twice at one point) 
  • December 19th 2012 I paid
  • August 20th 2013 Roger paid
  • December 16th 2013 I paid 
  • August 7th 2014 Roger  paid   (I should pay next two times for the Z-Wave Door and Window Sensor Roger gave me)
  • December 12th, 2014 I paid at Clydes in Reston Town Center
  • April 17th, 2015 I paid at Spartans in Burke, VA 
  • August 11th, 2015 Roger paid at Buffalo Wing Factory in Ashburn 
  • June 28th, 2016 I paid at Passion Fish in Reston 
  • November 22nd, 2016 Roger paid at Ted's Bulletin in Reston Town Center 
  • March 20th, 2017, I paid at Blue Ridge Grill for lunch and Ford's Fish Shack for dinner since Roger helped me move to UI5 for Vera Z-Wave and this was a HUGE improvement
  • August 11th, 2017 I paid at Spartans in Burke, VA where we talked with Kumar's nephew about manufacturing jobs in Ontario, MTConnect and Z-Wave.  Roger gave me a few cameras to try out as well.
  • December 6th, 2017 - I paid for Roger, my son Tim and I at Mediterranean Breeze in Ashburn

10,000 Hours: Bill Joy, Bill Gates and The Beatles

Thanks to Neil Groundwater, long time friend, mentor and Unix legend, who sent me this fascinating article called A gift or hard graft? written by Malcom Gladwell.

The premise of the article is:

"This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours."

Gladwell discusses the great amount of time that Bill Joy invested to hone his programming skills:

"According to Joy, he spent a phenomenal amount of time at the computer centre. "It was open 24 hours. I would stay there all night, and just walk home in the morning. In an average week in those years I was spending more time in the computer centre than on my classes. All of us down there had this recurring nightmare of forgetting to show up for class at all, of not even realising we were enrolled.""

Gladwell tells a great story of Bill Joy at Berkeley:

"In 1975, Joy enrolled in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he buried himself even deeper in the world of computer software. During the oral exams for his PhD, he made up a particularly complicated algorithm on the fly that - as one of his many admirers has written - "so stunned his examiners [that] one of them later compared the experience to 'Jesus confounding his elders' "."

The legend of Bill Gates and the amount of time is well documented. What is not well documented is just how hard and long The Beatles worked. I was always under the impression that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were just pure musical geniuses and it just easy. Gladwell corrects this perception:

The Beatles ended up travelling to Hamburg five times between 1960 and the end of 1962. On the first trip, they played 106 nights, of five or more hours a night. Their second trip they played 92 times. Their third trip they played 48 times, for a total of 172 hours on stage. The last two Hamburg stints, in November and December 1962, involved another 90 hours of performing. All told, they performed for 270 nights in just over a year and a half. By the time they had their first burst of success in 1964, they had performed live an estimated 1,200 times, which is extraordinary. Most bands today don't perform 1,200 times in their entire careers. The Hamburg crucible is what set the Beatles apart.

The article ends with a very interesting point about the importance of being born in the years 1954 or 1955 with great summary of Sun's founders:

"By the way, let's not forget Bill Joy. Had he been just a little bit older and had to face the drudgery of programming with computer cards, he says he would have studied science. Bill Joy the computer legend would have been Bill Joy the biologist. In fact, he was born on November 8 1954. And his three fellow founders of Sun Microsystems - one of the oldest and most important of Silicon Valley's software companies? Scott McNealy: born November 13 1954. Vinod Khosla: born January 28 1955. Andy Bechtolsheim: born June 1955. "

Now I know where I went wrong in life, my parents waited four years too long to have me :-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Myth of "May You Live In Interesting Times"

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson writes a very interesting article almost a year ago dispelling the age old myth about the origins of the phrase"May you live in interesting times"

As Mr. Robinson wrote on November 27th, 2008: "May you live in interesting times" is supposed to be an ancient Chinese curse, but I can't find evidence that the saying is Chinese at all, much less that it's ancient. One of the earliest reliable citations seems to be a 1950 short story by the British science-fiction author Eric Frank Russell, writing under the pen name Duncan H. Munro, who quotes the imprecation and then adds: "It isn't a curse any more. It's a blessing."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Voting Machines: A Logical Approach

One of my three sons wrote a paper on Voting Machines that briefly discusses David Chaum's logical approach to this challenge.

Below are three paragraphs from my son's paper. I am posting this not because I am just trying to fill up my blog :-) , but the three paragraphs below do clearly and concisely state a logical approach to voting machines.

"A new more reliable voting machine has been developed by David Chaum, in which you physically type in the name of the person that you are voting for. When your choice is confirmed 2 receipts that look like a random scatter of squares print out, although you only take one. The other receipt drops down into the machine, and it is stored, in case your vote needs to be recounted. Your receipt is specific to the card you didn't choose, and the candidate you voted for is saved from being lost. I felt this was an ingenious idea to keep people's votes from being left out and made it fairly easy to recount them. You can even check online by typing in the serial code on the receipt into a web site to find out if the person you wanted to vote for got your vote. I like the idea of a receipt that is merely an encrypted card; it doesn't tell people who you voted for, but it is simply used to verify that the vote that is cast belongs to that specific card.

These voting machines can affect our system of democracy in both expected and unexpected ways. The obvious way is the technical errors; despite what we would like to believe, machines are not perfect. They do break down, and they can make mistakes. While it does reduce the human error of physically losing a paper vote, it creates a whole new set of possible errors, such as casting a vote twice, not casting it at all, or even casting it for the wrong candidate. This could cause the wrong person to win an election that maybe should have gone to the other candidate. This would certainly affect our democratic election. Such problems on national scale would not go unnoticed and the proper actions would be taken to correct the problem, but the few who do experience these problems probably never know it. The lack of a paper trail means we are putting our vote into something that we cannot physically see or touch, and this can frighten most people.

This leads to another unseen impact the machines have on democracy: people's willingness to vote. In the states where only machines are allowed, a person with very little confidence in the credibility of these machines, may feel so inclined as to not even show up to vote on Election Day. This does not apply to everyone, but I'm sure it is very possible. This is why I feel the best solution is to get the most reliable machines to cast our votes in election, but always provide paper to the people who want it."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Favorite Phrase from The Pentagon

Sometimes the most clear, concise and compelling statements come out of the military. My current favorite from The Pentagon is:

A vision without resources is called a hallucination.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Great Unix Buttons by npg

The great part of Unix lore can be captured in the buttons.

I am not sure the 1983 USENIX button would be allowed today :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Privacy, Domestic Intelligence, and Information Sharing on CSPAN

This is a CSPAN captured video titled "The Way Forward: Privacy, Domestic Intelligence, and Information Sharing" on CSPAN is absolutely worth watching. As was stated at CSPAN: "The Majority Staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security hosted this series of roundtable discussions on the future of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties at the Department of Homeland Security in Cannon House Office Building."

The balance between privacy and security is an ongoing balancing act. A good point brought out is that we need not only a CTO for the United States, (John Doerr suggested Bill Joy) but we need a Chief Security Czar as well.

Sun Microsystems has the absolute best Identity Management solution that is being open sourced with Sun's Open SSO Enterprise being a great recent example. As I have often said, look at the Intelligence Agencies for the right way to think about security, look at Telcos for the right way to think about availability and look at manufacturing and NASA for realtime and look at Wall Street regarding putting all three together.

Look for Sun Microsystems to continue to show leadership in all of these very important markets.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Unix turns 0x28 or 40 (decimal) this month...

Gary Anthes, writes a great article in Computerworld about Unix turning 40 this month.

I have been working with Unix since 1981 on a Microsoft Xenix system. Yes, for you young kids out there, Microsoft was a leader in Unix with its Xenix software. As Wikipedia states:

"Xenix is a version of the Unix operating system, licensed by Microsoft from AT&T in the late 1970s. The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) later acquired exclusive rights to the software, and eventually began distributing it as SCO UNIX."

As Mr. Anthes states:
Forty years ago this summer, a programmer sat down and knocked out in one month what would become one of the most important pieces of software ever created.

I would disagree. Unix is THE most important piece of software ever written.

Thanks to Neil P. Groundwater (npg) for sending this on and introducing me to Dennis Ritchie many, many years ago. Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie are gods in the computer industry and they deserve to be....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Identity Managment In A World WIthout Fences

In 2008, I gave a talk at The Fairmont at The Open Group's Conference in San Francisco.

The title of the talk was

"Identity Management In A World Without Fences."

As noted above, in 45 minutes, I discussed three topics.

The above slide barely touches the numerous standards that become involved with Identity Management when the fences start coming down. These fences started to come down in a significant way when Sun Microsystems led the Liberty Alliance effort.

The vision statement on the Liberty Alliance Project firmly set the stage for the network identity on the web:

"The vision of Liberty Alliance is to enable a networked world based on open standards where consumers, citizens, businesses and governments can more easily conduct online transactions while protecting the privacy and security of identity information. This world, where devices and identities of all kinds are linked by federation and protected by universal strong authentication, is being built today with Liberty’s open identity standards, business and deployment guidelines and best practices for managing privacy."

XACML is and will be a very important standard and why you see that I highlighted on the slide above.

Since my good friend Dr. Scott Radeztsky was attending the conference I felt the need to tie in Quantum Mechanics to this talk since Scott's Ph.D. is in particle physics. I also felt the need to create a corollary to Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

The first bullet above is my attempt to create this corollary what I stated:

"It is impossible to predict both the method a developer will take in solving a problem and the many different ways that end users will want to use software. "

The slide above is my summary slide. The slide is self explanatory except possibly for the ABAC. ABAC is Attribute Based Access Control. The real key point for this talk is that security is in the message and the context/security level of the message can change while in transit with today's composite applications.

The final four bullets are beliefs that I have had that have stood the test of time.

Oh yea, after I totally customized my talk around Quantum Mechanics and Identity Managment, Scott Radeztsky blows off my talk :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Apps on my new iPhone 3GS

Here is the list the apps I have as of Wednesday April 28th, 2010 on my iPhone 3GS:

  1. Informant
  2. Evernote
  3. Whitepages
  4. GoogleCalendar
  5. Shazam
  6. Call Google 411
  7. Units
  8. Stocks
  9. Planets
  10. Dictionary
  11. Urbanspoon
  12. pic2ship
  13. YP.ca
  14. Trapster
  15. Translator
  16. PhoneFlicks
  17. Google Earth
  18. Huffington Post
  19. Facebook
  20. TideApp
  21. YouTube
  22. WorldView
  23. Seadragon
  24. DocsToGo
  25. Mover
  26. AP Mobile
  27. Heads Tails
  28. Sleepmaker
  29. BargainBin
  30. TouchCalc
  31. Voice4Mail
  32. GuitarTuner
  33. VIN
  34. WifiFofum
  35. WiFinder
  36. Free Wi-Fi
  37. TripIt
  38. LinkedIn
  40. FreeBooks
  41. Movies - Flixster
  42. LDAP Directory
  43. LDAPeople
  44. Air Sharing
  45. OpenTable
  46. Panorama
  47. The Weather Channel
  48. Bump
  49. USAA
  50. iSSH
  51. Constitution
  52. AroundMe
  53. Skype
  54. myWireless
  55. zippo
  56. CNN Money
  57. AppBox Pro
  58. PhotoMap
  59. Appsaurus
  60. Time Mobile
  61. OperaMini
  62. Yelp
  63. C-SPAN Radio
  64. Trails
  65. Spending Lite
  66. Alarm Clock
  67. Mover
  68. Dragon Diction
  69. Washington Post
  70. Constitution
  71. FactBook
  72. myWireless
  73. Spinal Tap

GREAT MTConnect Student Competition - Trip to Milan, Italy!

There is a GREAT Student Competition for MTConnect with the winner going to EMO Milano 2009!

Develop a novel application for MTConnectSM , and you may win a trip to the EMO Fair (Europe’s premier manufacturing show) in Milan, Italy next October 2009!

Below are the Contest Details from the MTConnect site. After you read the contest details you can click through to the MTConnect student competition site with lots and lots of details that can get you started!

Contest Details

Use MTConnect to develop and report on a novel application for intercommunication between manufacturing systems, machine tools, devices, sensors, software and have a chance to win a grand prize of a trip for your and your team to attend the EMO Fair in Milan, Italy, October, 2009 and display your work to the international manufacturing community.


1. Go to MTConnect.org, and become a member of MTConnectSM community (free) by following the login procedure.

2. Go to the student competition area of the website for competition and entry procedures. Sign in and download information/resources including:

· MTConnectSM Draft Standard (0.9.11) (Final),

· MTConnectSM Simple Client Application,

· XML Schema,

· MTConnectSM White Paper and

· watch the Student Competition Video at YouTube (follow link) to get familiar with MTConnect.

Sample project applications are also available on the MTConnectSM Student Competition Website.

3. Develop a cool MTConnectSM application for manufacturing using MTConnectSM.

4. Write a report documenting the details of your application (motivation, approach/procedure, results, future potential, etc.) of your application and send it in. See Judging Criteria below.

5. Do it before May 15, 2009. (See details below about concept paper submission by March 13th, 2009 – approved concepts will be able to submit a final competition entry).

6. Winners will be announced on June 1, 2009.

7. Winning entry team members will be invited to EMO Milano 2009 in Milan, Italy October 2009 to display their project at the MTConnectSM Booth.

CLICK on this link to learn more about this GREAT Student Competition for MTConnect with the winner going to EMO Milano 2009!