Saturday, 28 February 2009

Be Realistic About the UML: It's Simply Not Sufficient

The Unified Modeling Language (UML) defines the industry standard notation and semantics for properly applying that notation for software built using object-oriented (OO) or component-based technology. In fact it is difficult to find modeling books or tools that do not use the UML these days. The UML provides a common and consistent notation with which to describe OO and component software systems, decreasing the learning curve for developers because they only need to learn the one modeling language (in theory at least). The UML is clearly a step in the right direction, we are no longer fighting the “notation wars” of the mid-1990s, it isn’t perfect. In this article I argue that the UML as it stands today is not sufficient for the development of business software and that the vision of Executable UML is a little (okay, a lot) ahead of its time. Perhaps we should define the modeling languages which we use via open source, not via committee.
Be Realistic About the UML: It's Simply Not Sufficient

UML,. If you are not using it now you need to use it in the future. The best tool for organising you mission in IT

Google Image Result for

This is the best UML book I have ever seen

Get more data here at UML 2 Use Case Diagramming Guidelines

UML 2 Use Case Diagramming Guidelines

Most people I have worked with don't generally use UML and that is a shame. Perhaps the simple drawing seems childish, perhaps the simple elegance of this mathematics of clear thinking confuses people. Yes requirements gathering, analysis and design can be this simple.

Look at the document up top. To many people this would simply seem like pointless truisms about a profess. And that is precisely what they are, and once you and the stakeholders have agreed the process can be quickly fixed in to a contract of business requirements. Requirements which can rapidly be converted to technical solutions.

Cabinet Office Netvibes page

Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use: Government Action Plan

UK government backs open source, will it impact Microsoft position in Public Sector

Source BBC:

he UK government has said it will accelerate the use of open source software in public services.

Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said open source software would be on a level playing field with proprietary software such as Windows.

Open source software will be adopted "when it delivers best value for money", the government said.

It added that public services should where possible avoid being "locked into proprietary software".

Licences for the use of open source software are generally free of charge and embrace open standards, and the code that powers the programs can be modified without fear of trampling on intellectual property or copyright.

According to some in the open source industry, the shift from proprietary standards could save the government £600m a year.

Simon Phipps, chief open source officer for Sun Microsystems, said the UK government's stance was part of a "global wave" of take up for open source in governments.

Comment: I use a great deal of Open Source software (Linux, Open Office, GIMP, Flock, Second Life) and I think it is inevitable that free software is going to make up more and more of the offering to users in the future. Microsoft needs to extend its IP beyond selling software. The Cloud is where the computer is at.

Friday, 27 February 2009

TechNet Flash: More tools for Windows beta-testers‏

Those who’ve played with the R2 beta release of Windows Server 2008 might have noticed a new tool, the Best Practices Analyzer, designed to help administrators reduce best practice violations by automatically scanning the roles in use and reporting the violations. Also in WS 2008 R2, Events and Errors documentation is available directly from Event Viewer, organized in hierarchical structure by server roles and server fundamentals.

For those of you testing the Windows 7 beta, stay tuned to the Microsoft Update blog. Starting February 24, we will be releasing up to five test updates to PCs running the Windows 7 Beta (Build 7000) via Windows Update. These updates do not deliver new features or bug fixes; they do allow us to test and verify our ability to deliver and manage the updating of Windows 7. We typically verify servicing scenarios during a beta.

Gavriella Schuster, senior director for the Windows Enterprise team, posted recently to the Windows Blog a very succinct explanation of why deploying Windows Vista now will make the future transition to Windows 7 easier. In her post, Guidance on Windows Deployments for Business Customers, Schuster explains how testing and remediating your applications on Windows Vista can actually ease your Windows 7 deployment due to the high degree of compatibility.

In the same vein, the Springboard team published Managing the Diverse Infrastructure: Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. In a perfect world, we’d love it if your could wave a hand and all your PCs would be running Windows Vista so they are positioned for an easier Windows 7 rollout when the time comes. But we live in the real world where you are most likely managing desktops and laptops with different versions of the Windows operating system.

More Windows 7 Beta Tips in TechNet Magazine
TechNet Magazine is continuing its month of Windows 7 tips. Here are a few of the latest tips you’ll find on the TechNet Magazine site:
Just a reminder - you can find much of this new content as it becomes available on my TechNet Flash Feed blog, and/or follow me on Twitter. For instance, you could have seen the new troubleshooting capabilities in Windows Server 2008 R2, plus other things to know about the beta.

Speaking of blogs, check out the new Microsoft MVP Award Program blog featuring real-world, community content.
Mitch Irsfeld
Editor, TechNet Flash

Facebook offers control to users

BBC NEWS | Technology | Facebook offers control to users

Facebook has responded to criticism over the way it handles user data by handing over control to its users.

Members of the social network will have comment and voting rights over the firm's future policies regarding how the site is governed.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said the aim was to "open up Facebook so that users can participate meaningfully in our policies and our future".

Privacy International's Simon Davies said the move was "unprecedented".

Comment: I follow Facebook a great deal and this is a very interesting development

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Obama budget eyes boost to cybersecurity - Security-

WASHINGTON - The budget proposed by President Barack Obama includes funding aimed at improving the security of U.S. private and public computer networks.
Obama budget eyes boost to cybersecurity - Security-

Web 3.0 already here

We see a Google earth, and how text information and graphic information can be structured by location, this can be linked to the globe which can be experienced as a fly by, a kind of virtual reality.
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IBM Green Data Center in Second Life

Data centers are highly secured locations, and client tours can be challenging to secure, not to mention the financial and time costs involved with site visits. Now, IBM is offering a new experience: a model of a green data center in Second Life-a 3D virtual environment. In the IBM Virtual Green Data Center (VGDC) visitors have an opportunity for "hands-on" experience to learn about the energy efficient technologies of IBM Project Big Green. Try solving energy problems in the data center with interactive demos. All of this from the comfort of your office or home.
IBM Green Data Center - Virtual green data center

System energy efficiency demonstrations
On the first floor, you can see all of the IBM server and storage systems in action and explore key data center power and cooling and energy management technologies. Get detailed information on IBM BladeCenter systems, IBM System x servers, IBM Power Systems and IBM System z10 mainframes. Open the server doors to learn about their green features. Learn about green data enter best practices. Featured demos include Energy Management, Virtualization, and IBM Tivoli green data center tools.

How can I visit the Green Data Center?
The Virtual Green Data Center exhibit is located in the IBM Virtual Business Center in Second Life. If you are already registered in second life, visit the Virtual Green Data Center now

Fujitsu in Virtual Reality

Virtual reality. Collaboration is expanded when the Virtual becomes a meaningful space. SharePoint is on a voyage towards the Virtual.

When I use SharePoint Office Live and Office Communicator I often think about how it would all fit in to Second Life.

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A simple graphic that sums of Microsoft Live

Microsoft Announces New Web-Based "Live Mesh" - Seattlest: Seattle News, Food, Arts & Events A simple graph that says it all.

I find I am blogging about the Cloud. Mostly because it the killer app of SharePoint. I have set up a SharePoint server in my home, but its far easier to work with my Live account and I have moved everything to it.

I have been a heavy Cloud adapter for 5 years now blogging about it here, on my chaos blog and my Second Life blog. Now for the first time I can see a Microsoft Cloud.

Microsoft's position on machines allows a Mess of devices and content to connect you to the Cloud. The Cloud is there on all levels of computing. The device has a wireless connection to the Internet. Windows expands in to a Web and abstracts your machine and network along with the Web in to a single "space". Suddenly the Web is just part of the Computer.

Office expands via SharePoint technology in to the Cloud. XBox and computer are joined via a Live .NET account which gives you a single platform for entertainment, work, and travel.

Its all here right now. Microsoft is not going away.

And the Google killer is?

Facebook - Google Image Search

Yahoo - Google Image Search

Microsoft Live - Google Image Search

Today I saw an ad for Orange mobile phone showing a combination of Cloud productions that would provide a killer app of mobile Cloud technology. What was striking is none of the products were owned by Google, in fact if Microsoft can get Yahoo, which I think they should, the product set would be dominated by Microsoft.

I see the killer application set of the 21st Century mobile user as based around an improved Windows. Hey I love Linux but the OS space is owned by Microsoft and with Mesh and Singularity it is clear that Microsoft can do better than Vista over the coming years.

Okay so what do you need for a Cloud:

1. Single Sign on Security

Provided by a .NET account. Microsoft is pretty advanced in their area.

2. Email

Hotmail is an established technology that can stand, IMHO up to GMail

3. Social Network

This space is owned by Facebook. Linkedin and MySpace also fill a cluster. Facebook has a very close relationship with Microsoft.

4. Blogging and Wikis

This is where Microsoft has been weak but Live promises to provide platforms for both. If you had a chance to check out Popfly you can see what possible.

5. Search

I think Google surface search is nearing the end of its usefulness. Microsoft is in a much better position for deep search the links back-end systems to an Internet search.

I have been cloud for 4 years and until recently I have had to use a lot of Google technology. I still love Google and I have nothing but good wishes for this amazing company that has done so much to structure the experience of going on line for everyday users. I just happen to think Microsoft has some massive potential NOW to take on Google.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Partner sites

Often the issue of wanting to connect outside partners to a site in SharePoint comes up. The issue with this is that everyone who access an intranet must be provided with a MOSS CAL. If you want to be more flexible you will generally need to install a new server with WSS 3 and create a Workflow that links the information. Thus you can publish from your MOSS intranet to a WSS extranet.

But the long term answer is Live. Office Live will provide a outside location to host workspaces. You can download the Office Live extension and if it fits in your security model you can publish photos to your Live site and control access via .NET accounts.
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Friday, 20 February 2009

Office Live Small Business

This offers a web based tool much like Office 2007 for creating a web site. Some good stuff here.
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Office Live Small Business

Office Live also offers Small Business. This tool will almost certainly evolve into a full Cloud product to rival SAP. Just testing it now so keep an eye on this space.
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Seven Lies We Tell Ourselves About Facebook | Newsweek Culture |

Everybody loves to complain about Facebook. But I've been wading through all the nonstop commentary over the last few weeks and I've made a startling discovery. Everybody also lies about why they use Facebook. After exhaustive research, I've discovered the Seven Lies You Tell Yourself About Facebook.
Seven Lies We Tell Ourselves About Facebook | Newsweek Culture |

The reason I post so much about facebook is a see it as leading the way for what MySites should become. This article is just stupid fluff, but its cool to see how deep in to the culture this thing has gone. It was only a few Thanksgiving ago that a nephew at Harvard told me about this cool social network someone made and I, brilliantly, dismissed that area as too crowded and already dominated by friendster and Boy am I smart. - Experts Warn of 'Terminator'-Style Military-Robot Rebellion - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News - Experts Warn of 'Terminator'-Style Military-Robot Rebellion - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News

Autonomous military robots that will fight future wars must be programmed to live by a strict warrior code, or the world risks untold atrocities at their steely hands.

The stark warning — which includes discussion of a "Terminator"-style scenario in which robots turn on their human masters — is part of a hefty report funded by and prepared for the U.S. Navy's high-tech and secretive Office of Naval Research.

The report, the first serious work of its kind on military robot ethics, envisages a fast-approaching era where robots are smart enough to make battlefield decisions that are at present the preserve of huma

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

The Microsoft® Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP) makes it easy for you to assess your current IT infrastructure and determine the right Microsoft technologies for your IT needs.

MAP is a powerful inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that can securely run in small or large IT environments without requiring the installation of agent software on any computers or devices. The data and analysis provided by this Solution Accelerator can significantly simplify the planning process for migrating to Windows Vista®, Microsoft Office 2007, Windows Server® 2008, Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Virtual Server 2005 R2, SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 (formerly SoftGrid), Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Online Services, Forefront/NAP.

Build it and they will come

The first rule of Web 2.o is that content drives activity. If you are working a blog or wiki the more you work the more value the Blog reflects and value draws viewers. You blog is an organic thing, and if it is highly successful it will become a two way channel directly communicating to a growing community of partners, consumers, and individuals.
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The Case for Gold Partners

IRW is a Gold Partner of Microsoft in London

The case for Gold Partners is pretty strong. Even if you have a strong IT department in house it is a good idea to find a Gold Partner you can trust and work with. And if you have a large out-sourced IT department a Gold Partner can champion you in negotiations and provide an authoritative and clear voice in what should be done.

I think there are some key rules for picking a Gold Partner:

1. Its a personal thing, most Gold Partners are pretty small. Make sure you feel comfortable with them.

2. Demand face time. The economy is a bit tight right now, demand some face time to understand the technology you are dependent on and to learn from the Gold Partner. Most smaller Gold Partners can't eat companies IT departments so they are willing to pass IP to you.

3. Its a relationship, I hate situations where a relationship between a Gold Partner and client is purely project based. Demand conferences and other face time with you Gold Partner.
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Microsoft Deployment Accelators WOW

Photo by Gail Orenstein

WOW, some news need a photo to express the coolness factor.
Microsoft Deployment is the fourth generation deployment accelerator from Microsoft and the next version of Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007. It is the recommended process and toolset to automate desktop and server deployment. Microsoft Deployment provides detailed guidance and job aids for every organizational role involved with large-scale deployment projects.
Accelerators: Microsoft Deployment

Now that I have your attention. Thank you Alex Ball for the Twit. I think
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Sharing information with Office Live Beta

Okay, I guess by now anyone can tell that I am nuts about Office Live Beta. I am certainly professionally a "Microsoft person", but I am one of the many fence sitters on technology and I use a lot of non-Microsoft products. Most software I use is open source these days. So Microsoft has to earn my respect. Office Live Beta does just that. I have been using Google Docs since it came out and Office Live wins on a number of key issues:

1. UI; much cleaner and easier to understand, Microsoft owns the space of document storage UIs and has sucessfully transfered the knowledge to this product
2. Connection to the Client; if you are have a Microsoft Machine with Office you can already connect directly to Office Live Workspaces Beta with a MSN .NET account. The ability to extend Office is a killer app for the Cloud here.
3. Hotmail integration; No self respecting geek would not have both a Google Mail and MSN Hotmail account. I am one who uses his Hotmail over his Gmail account. The integration with MSN Hotmail is also a key factor but along with the inability to run on Linux a key limitation as well. You have to be "Microsofted" to use this product. From my blog logs I see that 90% of us are "Microsofted", so that should be an advantage. But I think Linux has a strong future and worry about this thing being a Silo.

A word document loaded in to Office Live can be viewed from any Windows of Mac OS machine that meets the specs. Sadly Linux is still off limits. See my post Linux + Office Live = 0.

Office Live allows sharing and collaboration. You can share the account with emails. But I still have to test how well this works with non-Hotmail email accoutns. I also need to test it on my Windows 2000 machine with IE 6. Please be patient I am only one person. Anyone out there have stories, I would love to hear from you. I have no testing machines on Vista. I assume it probably workers best on Vista with IE 7 and Office 2007 but I am on XP with IE 8 on Office 2003.

Send an email invite to someone and see how it works. I am going to test to see how it might a non-.NET email account, I imagine every geek of substance has a .NET account but what happens if I send it to a Gmail account? Going to do some more testing. Let you all know later.

Also I am going to search out some Office Live communities and if anyone knows of any please leave a comment.
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BBC NEWS | Technology | Hackers target Xbox Live players

BBC NEWS | Technology | Hackers target Xbox Live players

Comment: I have not blogged much about Xbox despite having one myself.  Sometime last year I hit that happy (or sad) point where I have finally played enough games.  Most long time computer users can tell you about "the last game", the game that finally satisfied their need to kill things.  For me it was Lost Planet.  Lost Planet is now in the discount shelf of my local store, and my Xbox is a loud hard to control VCR.  I see the Xbox as a missed opportunity for Microsoft, almost like a piece of future technology that the Terminator brought back to the present.

The problem with the Xbox is lacks 2 things: 1. A key board like a blackberry, 2. a Windows Media player connection to the Internet.  The Xbox only alows you in very limited spaces and these spaces are structured mostly around young males.  Actually I would love to go in to Second Life with an Xbox interface and I can only imagine how WoW would look on a special Xbox client, but so far only Sony has moved into that area with Home

I think game platforms are an excellent tool for riding the Cloud, and that the interfaces being developed for gaming today will be the business applications of 2020.  Sony has the right idea with Home though I wish someone would connnect to the established VRs of SL and WoW.

I have been waiting for Xbox to expand in to a collaborative social network tool beyond just KILL KILL KILL games.  I have learned not to hold my breath.  The FUD factor that holds back business from really using advances in technology. 

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The future of text? Web 4.0: The books all come alive

Facebook | My Photos - Mobile Uploads
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Microsoft defines SharePoint

This definition is from a Microsoft white paper on Web 2.0.  It is an excellent summary of what SharePoint is.

" SharePoint Products and Technologies comprises Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Windows SharePoint Services is a technology (a component of Windows Server 2003) that enables users to access data and collaborate by using a browser or a smart client. It provides a manageable infrastructure and extensible application platform for improving the efficiency of business processes. Office SharePoint Server, built on top of Windows SharePoint Services, helps organizations gain better control and insight over their content, streamline their business processes, and access and share information. In addition, Office SharePoint Server gives IT professionals the tools they need for server administration and application extensibility and interoperability. "
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Ubuntu + Office Live = Nothing

Come on Microsoft, make Office Live available to Linux users. I can understand not working directly with Open Office but Google Doc works fine with Linux. Linux is here to stay and Microsoft had better get used to it and make peace with free open source OSs

Google Docs functionality is pretty basic, but I can get it in Linux. Presently Office Live forces the issue for Linux users. Made to select I use Google Docs. Once people go Cloud they don't go back and Office Live is taking a real risk forcing people on Linux off.

Common Ground For SharePoint and Database Developers?

by Jeffrey Schwartz

When I pointed last week to the potential conflict that Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) can have on database developers and DBAs, I apparently struck a nerve. Some said I hit the nail on the head, while one said I was oversimplifying the matter and creating FUD.

But for some database developers and administrators -- and in many cases even higher up in the IT food chain, the unintended consequences of SharePoint's growth can lead to a lack of control for how data is kept in sync as more data ends up in MOSS.

"You don't have to be a developer to go in there," said Ed Smith, a systems analyst at Tetra Pak, a global supplier of packaging machines. "You can get two secretaries together, they can figure out what they want to do and they can start putting stuff in there."

While SharePoint is popular for storing and sharing documents and other unstructured content, when an individual has complex, structured data based on large numbers of rows columns, where multiple lists have to be joined together, and certainly when referential integrity is critical, it needs to be in a relational database server.

"We discovered that lists are the place to store information but they can't be substitute for tables and relations and of course referential integrity," wrote Prabhash Mishra, CEO of Skysoft IT Services Pvt. Ltd., based in Noida, India in an e-mail.

In an interview last week, Paul Andrew, Microsoft's technical product manager for the SharePoint Developer Platform, said many are already building custom applications on SharePoint that use a mix of SQL Server schema and tables within MOSS. "Of course, each has its own strengths, and each is better suited in different parts of an application," Andrew says.

Not all DBA organizations are wary of SharePoint. "My manager, the head of our DBA organization, loves SharePoint," wrote Kevin Dill, IT innovation analyst at Grange Mutual Casualty Co. in an e-mail. "For example, he regularly stores information on SQL clustering and business-specific SAS functions in the wiki and document library, for easy searching."

Dill added that SharePoint will not completely replace traditional DBAs. "While you can configure many aspects in the Central Admin, you still need DBAs to monitor data growth and backups," he said. "In fact, SharePoint can help DBAs maximize their time on the things that really matter, instead of provisioning little one-off databases for internal projects."

But in many shops, SharePoint is outside the purview of database developers and DBAs. One way to avoid the problem of allowing employees to work around them is for IT organizations to put controls over who is permitted to commit data to SharePoint servers. That's the case for the City of Prince George, BC.

"We've locked it down pretty much so that all they can do is put in content directly," says programmer/analyst Rob Woods. "Nobody else really has the option of doing any of this kind of stuff except for the IT staff."

Jeffrey Schwartz is executive editor, features, for Redmond Developer News.

Flock smart client

All your media and content is aggregated via RSS and Open Standards and presented in one interface.

You can navigate to the information you want.

And blog information with a click of a button.
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All you web content in one place now

With Flock browser social network features and Office Live your content and the content of your contacts along with YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter can be in one place.
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Best of all worlds

The Cloud does not mean that clients are not important, rather clients need to be better portals into the Cloud. I love using the Flock browser. I "live" on the web in Flock. Now using Office Live Workspaces in the flock browser my social networks are linked up to my documents and collaboration.

Its the best of all worlds. Content in the Cloud with smart tools that connect me to my content and community. Now my Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Digg, YouTube and Flickr API connect with my documents.
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All out of the box

I strongly believe firms should exhaust all the out of the box features of MOSS before even thinking about development. A POC should run with only out of the box features and a board should decide on a limited number of additions only after MOSS is ready to roll in the organisation. This blog post shows how much you can do out of the box with MOSS.

An Intranet page using Portal Definition with Web Content Publishing. Much of the information on this page is coming from RSS feeds, meaning the page is a portal integrating key information from many wikis, blogs, and other areas in a single space. I have often used SharePoint to to track many rss feeds on the web.

Here is the killer app! A project site with document management and security control, even a gantt chart all with out of the box features of MOSS.

Wikis and blogs as well. Enterprises should take the lead from low budget private users who have taken free tools like blogger and wikipedia and managed to collectively make the largest collections of data in history. Use established tools and concepts like blogs, wikis, chat groups, and news pages rather than spending time and money trying to re-invent the wheel.
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