Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category
All content written by and copyrighted by Todd Biske. If you are reading this on a site other than my “Outside the Box” blog, it’s probably being republished without my permission. Please consider reading it at the source.
I participated on a panel discussion on communication and enterprise architecture, hosted by Bob Rhubart of Oracle. Part one is now posted on Oracle’s Technology Network, with parts 2 and 3 to follow soon.
Courtesy of Michael Coté, I received a
Speaking of the RIA Weekly podcast, thanks to Ryan Stewart and Coté for the shout-out in episode #46 about my post on RIAs and Portals that was inspired by a past RIA Weekly podcast. More important than the shout-out, however, was the discussion they had with Jeff Haynie of Appcelerator. The three of them got into a conversation about the role of SOA on the desktop, which was very interesting. It was nice to hear someone thinking about things like inter-application communication on the desktop, since the integration has been so focused on the server side for many years. What really got me thinking was Coté’s comment that you can’t build an RIA these days without including a Twitter client inside of it. At first, I was thinking about the need for a standard way for inter-application communication in the RIA world. Way back when, Microsoft and Apple were duking it out over competing ways of getting desktop apps to communicate with each other (remember OpenDoc and OLE?). Now that the pendulum is swinging back toward the world of rich UI’s, it won’t surprise me at all if the conversation around inter-application communication for desktop apps comes up again. What’s needed? Just a simple message bus to create a communication pathway.
In reality, it’s actually several message buses. An application can leverage an internal bus for communication with its own components, a desktop/VM-based bus for communication with other apps on the same host, another bus for communication within a local networking domain, and then possibly a bus in the clouds for communication across domains. Combining this with Coté’s comment made me think, “Why not Twitter?” As Coté suggested, many applications are embedding Twitter clients in them. The direct messaging capability allows point-to-point communication, and the public tweets can act as a general pub-sub event bus. In fact, this is already occurring today. Today, Andrew McAfee tweeted about productivity tools on the iPhone (and elsewhere), and a suggestion was made about Remember The Milk, a web-based GTD program with an iPhone client, and a very open integration model which includes the ability to listen to tweets on Twitter that allow you to add new tasks. There’s a lightweight protocol to follow within the tweet, but for basic stuff, it’s as simple as “d rtm buy tickets in 2 days”. Therefore, if someone is using RTM for task management, some other system can send a tweet to RTM to assign a talk to a Twitter user. The friend/follower structure of Twitter provides a rudimentary security model, but all-in-all, it seems to work with a very low barrier to entry. That’s just cool. Based on this example, I think it’s entirely possible that we’ll start seeing cloud-based applications that rely on Twitter as the messaging bus for communication.
In a RIA Weekly podcast, Michael Coté and Ryan Stewart had a brief conversation on the role of RIAs in portals. They didn’t go into much details on it, but it was enough to get me noodling on the subject.
In the past, I’ve commented on the role of widgets/gadgets ala Apple’s Dashboard and Vista’s Sidebar and how I felt there was some significant potential there. To date, I haven’t seen any “killer app” on the Mac side (I have no idea about Vista given that I don’t use it at home or at work). One thing that I found curious, however, was that when I went looking for a decent Twitter client for the Mac, there was no shortage of dashboard widgets, but actually very few desktop apps. I wound up choosing Twirl initially, and am now using TweetDeck. Both of these are Adobe AIR applications.
So what does this have to do with portals? Well, my own view is that your desktop is a portal. A portal should contain easy access to all of things you need to do to do your job. The problem with desktops today, however, is that the typical application is so bloated, that the startup/quit process is very unproductive, and if you leave them open all the time, you need dual monitors (or a really big monitor) and a boatload of memory (even though most isn’t getting used). For this reason, I still really like the idea of these small, single-purpose widgets that do one thing really well. The problem with it right now, however, is that Dashboard and Sidebar fall into the out-of-sight/out-of-mind category. I want my Twitter client in a visible portion of my desktop at all times, or at least with the ability to post a visual notification somewhere. If I leverage a Dashboard widget, it’s invisible to me unless I hit a function key. It’s out-of-band by intent. There are things that belong there. That being said, the organizational features of Dashboard could easily be applied to the desktop, as well. If I had a bunch of lightweight widgets that I used to do the bulk of my work always available on my desktop, that would be great. It had better perform better than the current set of applications that I have set to start at login, however.
Where does RIA fit in? I don’t know that I’d need portability from my desktop in a browser-based portal environment. I’m sure there a people out there that do everything they need to do on a daily basis via Firefox and a whole bunch of plugins. I’ve never tried it, nor do I have any interest in doing so, but for people in that camp, common technology between a desktop portal and a browser-based portal could be a good thing for them. For me, my primary interest is simply getting a set of lightweight tools for 80% of my day-to-day tasks that aren’t so bloated with stuff I don’t need. I thought a bit about portability of my desktop environment across machines (i.e. the same TweetDeck columns at work and at home), but I think that’s more dependent on these widgets storing data in the cloud than it is on storing the definition of my desktop in the cloud somewhere, but that might be of interest, as well.
The gist of all of this is that I do believe there are big opportunities out there to make our interaction with our information systems more efficient. Can RIAs play a role? Absolutely, but only if we focus on keeping them very lightweight, and very usable.
I’m pleased to announce that my “soapbox derby” presentation from the September meeting of the SOA Consortium is now available in podcast form from the consortium’s website (basic registration required to download). I thought the “derby” format worked very well, with all of the derby participants given 15 minutes to present, followed by a discussion from the meeting attendees. It kept things brief and to the point on a narrow, but important area. I had just completed my book, so naturally I talked about governance. Give it a listen, as well as the other excellent presentations from Victor Harrison of CSC, Mike Kavis of Kavis Technology Consulting, and Britta Schatz of Penn National Insurance.
I recorded another podcast about my book, SOA Governance, and also a little bit of discussion on President-Elect Obama’s call for a federal CTO. This was part of Dana Garnder’s Briefings Direct Insights Edition, sponsored by Active Endpoints. Joining the podcast with myself and Dana were Jim Kobielus of Forrester Research and Tony Baer of Ovum.
A couple of items that I thought I’d call attention to:
- I wrote an article for the latest issue of Architecture and Governance magazine titled, “Does SOA Really Matter?” My opinion, not surprisingly, is yes. This article requires registration to read.
- Jordan Haberfield, Senior VP of IT Client Services for System One Holdings, interviewed me for his Agile Elephant blog regarding my book on SOA Governance.
- Thank you to the people who purchased the book from Amazon today and allowed me to watch my Amazon sales rank go up from somewhere in the 200,000’s to 32,042. While my target audience is a bit more narrow than that of Brisngr, it would be really cool to see the sales rank make it to the four figure barrier.
- Speaking of Amazon, consider adding to your order the latest book from Patrick Lencioni, “The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family.” While this book has nothing to do with IT, Patrick’s leadership fables gave me the inspiration for the style of my book. I can only aspire to become as good an author as he is. I heard him speak at a Gartner summit, and he’s an excellent speaker on top of it.
Keep an eye out for an interview with Loraine Lawson of IT Business Edge. I also plan on doing a few podcasts in the near future to talk about the book, as well. I’ll post information about them here as they come online. Thanks for being a reader of the blog, and please let me know your comments and questions about the book at soagovbook at biske dot com.
I am back from vacation and trying to catch up on my podcasts. In an IT Conversations Technometria Podcast, Phil Windley spoke with Rich Polski. Rich is working on Eucalyptus, an open source implementation of the Amazon EC2 interface.
Rich gave a great definition of the difference between grid computing and cloud computing. Grid computing typically involves a small number of users requesting big chunks of resources from a homogenous environment. Cloud computing typically involves a large number of users with relatively low resource requirements from a heterogenous environment.
Rich and Phil went on to discuss the opportunities for academic research in the cloud computing and virtualization spaces. If you are considering when and how to leverage these technologies, give it a listen.
Dana Gardner moderated a panel discussion at Tibco’s User Conference (TUCON) on Service Performance Management and SOA. There were some great nuggets in this session, I encourage you to listen to the podcast or read the transcript. The panelists were Sandy Rogers of IDC, Joe McKendrick, Anthony Abbattista of Allstate, and Rourke McNamara of TIBCO.
First, Sandy Rogers of IDC commented that what she finds interesting “is that even if you have one service that you have deployed, you need to have as much information as possible around how it is being used and how the trending is happening regarding the up-tick in the consumption of the service across different applications, across different processes.” I couldn’t agree more on this item. I have seen first hand the value in collecting this information and making it available. Unfortunately, all too often, the need for this is missed when people are looking for funding. Funding is focused on building the service and getting it out the door on-time and on-budget, and operation concerns are left to classic up/down monitoring that never leaves the walls of IT operations. We need to adjust the culture so that monitoring of the usage is a key part of the project success. How can we make any statements on the value of a service, or any IT solution for that matter, if we aren’t monitoring how that service is being used? For example, I frequently see projects that are proposed to make some manual process more efficient. If that’s the value play, are we currently measuring the cost of the manual activity, and how are we quantifying the cost of doing it the new way? Looking at the end database probably isn’t good enough, because that only shows the end results of processing, not the pace of processing. Automated a process enables you to process more, but if demand is stable, the end result will still look the same. The difference lies in the fact that people (and systems) have more time available for other activities.
Sandy went on to state:
They (organizations) need a lot more visibility and an understanding of the strains that are happening on the system, and they need to really build up a level of trust. Once they can add on to the amount of individuals that have that visibility, that trust starts to develop, more reuse starts to happen, and it starts to take off.
Joe picked on this stating “that the foundation of SOA is trust.” No arguments here. If the culture of the organization is one of distrust, I see them of having very slim chances of having any success with SOA. Joe correctly called out that a lot of this hinges on governance. I personally believe that governance is how an organization changes behavior and culture. Lack of trust is a behavior and trust issue. Only by clearly stating what the desired behavior is and establishing policies that create that behavior can culture change happen.
Anthony provided a great anecdote from the roll-out of their ESB stating that they spent 18 months justifying its use and dealing with every outage starting with someone saying, “TIBCO is down.” In reality, it was usually some back end service or component being down, but since the TIBCO ESB was the new thing, everyone blamed it. By having great measurements and monitoring, they were able to get to root cause. I had the exact same situation at a prior company, and it was fun watching the shift as people blamed the new infrastructure, and I would say, “No, it’s up, and the metrics it has collected makes me think the problem is here.”
A bit later in the podcast, Joe mentioned a conversation with Rourke earlier in the day, commenting that “predictive analytics, which is a subset of business intelligence (BI), is now moving into the systems management space.” This sounds very familiar…
Rourke also made a great comment when referring to a customer who said “their biggest fear is that their SOA initiative will be a victim of its own success.” He went on to say:
That could make SOA a victim of its own success. They will have successfully sold the service, had it reused over and over and over and over again. But, then, because of that reuse, because they were successful in achieving the SOA dream, they now are going to suffer. All that business users will see from that is that “SOA is bad,” it makes my applications more fragile, it makes my applications slow down because so many people are using the same stuff.
That was a great point. SOA, if it is successful, should result in an increase in the number of dependencies associated with an IT solution. Many people shudder at that statement, but the important thing is that there should be those dependencies. What’s bad is when those dependencies aren’t effectively managed and monitored. The lack of effective management results in complicated, ad hoc processes that give the perceive that the technology landscape is overly complex.
This was one of the better panel discussion I’ve heard in a while. I encourage you to give it a listen.
Since Dave was nice enough to give me another shout out in his podcast this week, I thought I’d follow up in my blog. I thought he did a much better job in discussing my post when he said that these new breeds of applications and services that are available on demand are (my words) another tool in the toolbox of the enterprise architect. There’s no doubt that there are potential cost benefits to these platforms, and a review of them should be something you consider as your architecture evolves. Just remember, however, that they don’t define your architecture any more than any product installed on site defines your architecture. They only define your architecture if you let them, and that’s a bad situation. Rather, define your architecture, and choose the solutions that best fit your needs, whether it is building it in house, buying an off the shelf product to install on site, or going with a web-based provider. Don’t focus on functionality alone. Make sure that it aligns with your management needs and your information needs as best you know their future direction. You need to be in control, not at the control of your vendors.
I wanted to call attention to four good podcasts that I listened to recently. The first is from IT Conversations and the Interviews with Innovators series hosted by Jon Udell. In this one, he speaks with Raymond Yee of UC Berkeley, discussing mashups. I especially liked to discussion about public events, and getting feeds from the local YMCA. I always wind up putting in all my kids games into iCal from their various sports teams, it would be great if I could simply subscribe from somewhere on the internet. Jon himself called out the emphasis on this in the podcast in his own blog.
The next two are both from Dana Gardner’s Briefings Direct series. The first was a panel discussion from his aptly-renamed Analyst’s Insight series (it used to be SOA Insights when I was able to participate, but even then, the topics were starting to go beyond SOA), that discussed the recent posts regarding SOA and WOA. It was an interesting listen, but I have to admit, for the first half of the conversation, I was reminded of my last post. Throughout the discussion, they kept implying that SOA was equivalent to adopting SOAP and WS-*, and then using that angle to compare it to “WOA” which they implied was the least common denominator of HTTP, along with either POX or REST. Many people have picked up on one comment which I believe was from Phil Wainewright, who said, “WOA is SOA that works.” Once again, I don’t think this was a fair characterization. First off, if we look at a company that is leveraging a SaaS provider like Salesforce.com, Salesforce.com is, at best, a service provider within their SOA. If the company is simply using the web-based front end, then Salesforce.com isn’t even a service provider in their SOA, it’s an application provider. Now, you can certainly argue that services from Amazon and Google are service providers, and that there’s some decent examples of small companies successfully leveraging these services, we’re still a far cry away from having an enterprise SOA that works, whichever technology you look at. So, I was a bit disappointed in this part of the discussion. The second half of the discussion got into the whole Microhoo arena, which wound up being much more interesting, in my opinion.
The second one from Dana was a sponsored podcast from HP, with Dana discussing their ISSM (Information Security Service Management) approach with Tari Schreider. The really interesting thing in this one was to hear about his concept of the 5 P’s, which was very familiar to me, because the first three were People, Policies, and Process (read this and this). The remaining two P’s were Products and Proof. I’ve stated that products are used to support the process, if needed, typically making it more efficient. Proof was a good addition, which is basically saying that you need a feedback loop to make sure everything is doing what you intended it to. I’ll have to keep this in mind in my future discussions.
The last one is again from IT Conversations, this time from the O’Reilly Open Source Conference Series. It is a “conversation” between Eben Moglen and Tim O’Reilly. If nothing else, it was entertaining, but I have to admit, I was left thinking, “What a jerk.” Now clearly, Eben isn’t a very smart individual, but just as he said that Richard Stallman would have come across as to ideological, he did the exact same thing. When asked to give specific recommendations on what to do, Eben didn’t provide any decent answer, instead he said, “Here’s your answer: you’ve got another 10 years to figure it out.”
First, I have to admit that I’m part of the 99.8% of IT Conversations subscribers that currently aren’t donating, but that will be changing in the very near future. Given that I listen to at least 3 or 4 programs from them per week, I have no excuse for not donating.
I was happy to hear on Doug Kaye’s message today that they’ve added a smart playlist function. I had tried their personal playlist function previously, and just as Doug pointed out, I didn’t use it due to the need to actively manage it. It was far easier for me to download everything and just fast forward through the programs that didn’t interest me. Now, I can simply enter the topics I’m interested in and the series I regularly listen to, like Phil Windley’s Technometria, Moria Gunn’s TechNation and BiotechNation series, and Jon Udell’s Interviews with Innovators. This is great addition, so thank you IT Conversations and The Conversations Network. My membership donation will be coming shortly.
I’m listening to Jon Udell’s latest innovator conversation, this time with Valdis Krebs, courtesy of IT Conversations. Valdis is a researcher in the area of social networks and he and Jon are discussing sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, MySpace, etc. One of the interesting points that Valdis makes is that social networking has always been a peer-to-peer process. Two people engage in some form of personal, direct communication to form a “connection.” This is predominant form of building a network, rather than joining a club. The model of virtually all the social networking sites is one of “joining”.
The discussion brought me back to the late 90’s when I had purchased a PalmPilot. I actually owned one that had the U.S. Robotics logo on it versus the 3Com or Palm logos that came later. One of the features that came along later (I think it was when I upgraded to a Handspring device) was the ability to “beam” contact information to other Palm owners. The goal was to do away with business cards and instead “beam” information electronically. While I thought the technology was pretty cool, it didn’t survive because the PDA didn’t survive. It all got morphed into mobile device technology, and with the multitude of devices out there now, the ability to quickly share information between two devices disappeared.
I think this would be a great technology to bring back. I attended a conference back in December, and of course walked away with a number of business cards. I then had to take the time to put those contacts into my address book. Thankfully, as an iPhone owner, I only had to put them in one place for my personal devices, but I also had to enter them into my contacts on my work PC. Then became the step of adding all of these people to my networks on LinkedIn (at a minimum). I actually didn’t do this, most of the people actually had already sent me requests for the various social networks.
In thinking about this, I have to admit that this was way too difficult. What we need is the ability to share contact information electronically with our handheld devices via some short range networking technology like Bluetooth, and have that electronic information be “social network aware” so that as a result of the exchange, contacts are automatically added to friends/contact lists on all social networks that the two parties in common. It should be an automatic add, rather than a trigger of email to each party of “do you want to add this person to your network?” An option would be to ask that question on the device at the time of the interchange, which would allow people to be added to appropriate networks as is supported by sites like Plaxo Pulse.
So, for all of you involved with social networking technology, here’s your idea to go run with and make it happen. I’ll be a happy consumer when it becomes a reality.
I listened to the latest Technometria podcast from IT Conversations yesterday, which was a conversation with David Ulevitch, CEO of OpenDNS. It was a great discussion about some of the things they’re trying to do to take DNS into the future. It certainly opened my eyes up to some things that can be done with a technology that every single one of us uses every day but probably takes for granted. Give it a listen.