Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Month: July, 2006

FiveRuns an Interesting Company Using Ruby and Rails

I heard about FiveRuns on the Web 2.0 Show Podcast. From the FiveRuns website:

FiveRuns has developed a new breed of systems management software — a simple, straightforward, open-source answer for your monitoring, analyzing, reporting and predicting needs. Monitor and maintain your systems wherever you are and whenever you want with little more than a web browser and an Internet connection

Their platform is built on Ruby and Rails. They are also planning to provide a Rails application monitoring service. I think the idea that mundane services and applications need an excellent experience is a a very insightful approach for a systems management company to take. With complex system management tools there can be at times too much information, which can confuse the mission of a systems management tool. I think that it is funny that some of the large systems management tools require a team to manage the systems management tool.

FiveRuns gave a presentation on building scalable Rails applications at RailsConf . The presentation is an interesting read if you are into Rails. There seems to be a great deal of opportunity for FiveRuns to win the business of companies that traditionally can’t afford a systems management suite. They are currently in private beta but check them out looks interesting.


Monitoring Rails Applications in Production Environments warning PDF

The Web 2. Show RSS Feed
FiveRuns on the Web 2.0 Show Podcast

Finding Content For Sunday Favorite

I spend a bit of time looking for a great piece of non-text for my Sunday Favorite post. The majority of time I look through Flickr. I like posting content of talented photographers, so that others might enjoy their art. Here’s the catch I have vowed to only post Creative Commons licensed photos. I have begun to use the Flickr Creative Commons search to make my quest more efficient. The real bummer is there are some great photos out there, but they are standard copyright (All rights reserved).

Now I don’t have a problem with standard copyright, but it makes putting together my Sunday post more work than I want it to be. I would bet many people don’t even think about the type of licence they use. For those that do think about the license they use, they need to understand that using a Creative Commons License does not mean you are giving away your work. In my case it allows an avid fan to try and spread the word.

So check out a Creative Commons License.

Links Summary:
Creative Commons License
Flickr Creative Commons Page

Sunday Favorite # 2: Had To Plan My Escape

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Had To Plan My Escape, originally uploaded by Automatt.

I love San Francisco and I think this picture is great. Enjoy.

Automatt’s Photo RSS feed via Flickr

Sunday Favorite: A sunset in Hopewell Park.

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DSC_0076 HDR, originally uploaded by JamSki.

Another HDR photo. The sun behind the clouds looks really cool. Enjoy

JamSki’s photo RSS feed via Flickr

Going Lean

Over at Bieber labs Ron has a great post talking about the impact of lean manufacturing on software development. He recommends two books to get you started. So go and check out Random Thoughts on Lean Principles.

More on Lean Software development via Wikipedia

Ron Bieber’s RSS Feed
Random Thoughts on Lean Principles

An estimated 168 million Americans lack broadband access at home!

A Reuters article (via points out:

An estimated 42 percent of Americans had high-speed Internet access at home in March 2006, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That was up from 30 percent of Americans with high-speed access one year earlier, it said.

Wow, 168 million people do not have Broadband at home. The funny thing is many (technologists, the technorati, and the like) refer to the network as being ubiquitous. Its not, and given the cost issues ($49.00 for Comcast) and the political BS around the last mile and now net neutrality, its likely that many may never get Broadband. 168 million, in that number lurks the digital divide, and we as a country don’t seem to be doing much about it. Anybody want to guess how many children are deprived the benefit of the information super highway. Dial-up doesn’t count in my book either. Sad very Sad.

Open Source Enterprise Applications

I was listening to an interview of John Roberts CEO and Co-Founder of SugarCRM. I have thought a lot about an open source approach to Enterprise applications. There are many highly competitive enterprise application markets, like CRM, ERP, Inventory Management just to name a few. Those enterprise markets are dominated by Oracle, Microsoft and SAP all using a proprietary model. John Roberts points out that these companies spend 50% of their budgets on sales and marketing which adds up to a large sum of money.

Now I have heard the various value propositions of the big players and Mr. Roberts makes a case for SugarCRM. Customers pay for that sales and marketing, imagine if these customers funded open source projects to build open versions of the software they need. This is a revolution, croudsource your enterprise applications. A trend that we will see more of, companies (traditional non-tech) supporting open source projects as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Technology companies have always supported open source projects for competitive advantage.

Why should technology companies be the only players in the open source space. There exists in the world today the engineering capacity to create these open source products. There are definitely markets for open source versions of enterprise applications. In my opinion the open sourcing of enterprise applications will drive innovation and agility. No longer will a company have to run their business based on their enterprise software vendor’s release schedule. Companies could use the open source option to leverage more from the big players or just to simply use the open source version.

I expect that we will see more open source enterprise applications, it’s inevitable. The opportunity is to large and the need is to great.

Link Summary:
John Roberts CEO and Co-Founder of SugarCRM Via IT Conversations

Hints of the network

In Technology Review Wade Roush writes in The Internet Is Your Next Hard Drive:

Online storage systems that can automatically synchronize the data on all of your computing devices, including the PCs you use at home and at work and your smart phone, are finally a reality. One industry watcher, Thomas Vander Wal, calls them “personal infoclouds”: technologies that scatter your data across the Internet and reassemble them on your preferred devices.

This is a great article that describes the next revolution in consumer network services. Eventually corporations will be forced to use these network services. The demand for ever increasing cost effectiveness and the need for greater agility will drive companies to use network services. Corporations will then have vast infoclouds distributed across a network of low cost highly available server clouds (like 12 9’s availability).

Mr.Rousch also points out some limitations one being security (Its been solved in my mind, look at cleversafe) and the other is :

Some 68 percent of Internet users in the United States still don’t have broadband cable or DSL service at home, and there aren’t enough Wi-Fi hotspots to keep busy urbanites and their laptops connected all day; and, in any case, the handheld devices they connect from still have limited memory and display capabilities. “A synchronization service isn’t worth much if you can’t get to the service, either because you can’t get online, or because your device is sitting on your desk,” says Pang. “More abundant wireless and better mobile devices are [going to be] important supporting players.”

This is scary 68 percent of the Internet users (what about those folks not on the Internet) don’t have broadband. The lack of broadband access is not only a barrier to the next generation of network services, it’s the barrier that will sustain the digital divide in the United States. The telecommunications reform bill currently being fought over in Congress will determine how the network is fitted out for the next generation of services. Universal and symmetrical service is the key to developing a meaningful environment for rich network services.

Just my two cents. Its a good article check it out.

Link Summary:
Technology Review RSS Feed
The Internet Is Your Next Hard Drive:

The Biggest Barrier to an Attention Economy

Eric Norlin in his post Pushing back on Google’s identity silo identifies the biggest barrier to an attention economy.

the fundamental problem at the heart of all of this “identity 2.0” stuff that I’ve been talking about: the existing silos (Google, Yahoo!, eBay, etc.) have *no* immediate business reason for opening their identity silos (at least, not that they can see).

Today all the big players have no incentive to open up. The best incentive to open their identity silos, will be the fear of being isolated from a broader economy. We have to create an economy around their silos and that economy requires a reliable and reputable identity mechanism, all economies do. Without an Internet scale identity system, the attention economy will fall pray to the same gaming that we see with links, comments and Pay Per Click advertising.

Identity enables Property, Mobility, Economy and Transparency. An Internet scale identity system will not guarantee the success of the attention economy. The lack of an Internet scale identity system will ensure the failure of the attention economy.

Link Summary:
Eric Norlin’s RSS Feed via Digital ID World
Pushing back on Google’s identity silo

About the Attention Trust

Sunday Favorite: Cote Mind maps

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Centeris LikeWise Briefing Notes, originally uploaded by cote.

I am a big fan of mind mapping. Coté of Redmonk creates great mind maps. I think Mr. Coté uses Mind Manager, I prefer Freemind.

So check out Coté’s Mind maps. Enjoy.


Coté RSS feed via Redmonk
Coté mind map RSS feed via Flickr

Freemind open source mind mapping software