Open Insights 37 – A Real Open Book

Issue 37 – A Real Open Book
October 1, 2007

by Sean Hull

Founder and Senior Consultant
Heavyweight Internet Group

It’s hard to believe we’re approaching the end of our third year publishing the Open Insights newsletter. We have a lot of new topics coming up, and plenty planned for the new year, so stay tuned.

Like what you see here? Forward us to a friend. And let us know if you have any suggestions or comments. They are always welcome.

In This Issue:

1. Feature:A Real Open Book

2. Speaking Engagements

3. New Articles
4. Audio Interviews
5. Current Reading
6. Lightweight Humor

7. Miscellaneous

8. Past Issues
9. Technical Articles
10. About Heavyweight Internet Group

1. Feature: A Real Open Book

They’re all over the news these days, the latest community networking site to make a lot of waves, Facebook. If you’re watching from the outside, you might see another in the long string of community networking sites, from Friendster to Tribe, MySpace and all the rest. So why is facebook pulling any surprises?

Well for starters Facebook recently opened up it’s platform in 2006 to non .EDU domains. That was a big change, but what’s driving things now is it’s open API. It’s all about applications on Facebook now, with almost 5000 to choose from. And that number is growing.

On Facebook there are applications to integrate flixter, your movie watching preferences, or twitter, your moment by moment update of your movements. There’s a skype app, and one for various instant messengers. Like to use Yelp as a platform for restaurant reviews, there’s a plugin for you too. Want to remember birthdays, Facebook is there for you. From purity tests, to gifts, to vampires, to “poking” the virtual knock at the cubicle next door, facebook is becoming a one stop shop for your internet life. That’s something that is certainly different.

Stu Philips argues that it’s like Fruit Flies for Applications. It allows developers to try out their ideas quickly and easily, and see which ones take off, and which ones fall by the wayside. With a huge community base of users it’s no wonder.

Back in 2004 Joel Spolsky argued that Microsoft had already lost the API wars and clearly they are less at the forefront these days. But another force might be at work here. One that comes into play as systems, and their interconnectedness becomes ever more complex. In those cases, standards or “open standards” become more and more crucial to all players on the field. This is exactly what the Economist has said recently in an article Stay Vigilant that although “the computing world has now become so interconnected that it will be hard for a single company to control it” we should still keep an eye on the monopolies anyway.

With all that said, it’s clear that a company like facebook may be building a proverbial dashboard that in some ways Google Homepage now iGoogle and Netvibes tried to do with some success. The thing is with Facebook, it has a much wider application because so many different types of content can be integrated there.

With the web 2.0 landscape changing everyday it is anyones quess where the cards will fall. But one thing is for sure, the companies that are more open, and interoperate better, seem to be holding on stronger, and that’s to everyone’s benefit.

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2. Speaking Engagements

Last April was the

Collaborate 2007 conference in Las Vegas Nevada. I ended up giving two talks, one on Monday, and one on Tuesday. I’ve uploaded video of both of them.

3. New Articles

Oracle 10g RAC versus DataGuard for High Availability

4. Audio Interviews

In our most recent interview we had the opportunity to talk with Norman Yamada CTO of Millburn Corporation.

Norman shares with us his experiences providing world-class computing solutions, and the pros and cons of doing it with open source.

We’ve also moved our podcast to Odeo for Audio Podcast hosting. It is a great service, and provides all the RSS and subscribe links automatically. So please subscribe if you haven’t already!

5. Current Reading

What Color Is Your Parachute – Richard Nelson Bolles

For all job hunters out there, and on some level we’re all job hunters, this book is about stepping up to the plate with the right preparation, helping you answer those questions about problem solving, and personality that interviewers love to throw at you.

Crazy Busy – Edward Hallowell

Should you read a book about how to give yourself a guilt free break? Well that all depends on you. If you sleep with your blackberry under your pillow, it might not be a bad book for you. I heard an interview with this guy on NPR, and thought he had some really great observations.

6. Lightweight Humor

It seems The Onion has

found some factual errors on the internet. Impossible!

7. Miscellaneous

I’ve turned up some interesting links from the Economist. Enjoy!

Various Charts

From internet security risks, to the smoking habits of asians, the prices of illicit drugs to the toll of the war in Iraq. For the numbers, it’s all here.

Mark Penn’s Microtrends

Mark Penn has authored a book called Microtrends, and in it he uncovers counterintuitive ideas which are shaping the world in front of us.

Technology Monitor

This section is a new feature offering articles on emerging technologies, from alternative energy to nanotech and forensic science.

8. Past Issues

Issue 33: Market For Experts

Issue 32: Different Heritages

Issue 31: Auto or Traffic Engineer

Issue 30: Crowdsourcing

Issue 29: Mainroads or Sidestreets

Issue 28: High Availability

Issue 27: Fragile Foundations

Issue 26: Logistical Fitness

Issue 25: Which Red Button
Issue 24: Consulting Conflicts of Interest
Issue 23: Devil In The Details
Issue 22: Beware of Software Fashion
Issue 21: Open Season, Open Sesame?
Issue 20: Better Web Better Business
Archive: Past Issues

9. Technical Articles

Oracle DBA Interview: click here
Tools for the Intrepid DBA: click here
Oracle9i + RAC on Linux/Firewire: click here
Migrating MySQL to Oracle: click here
MySQL Disaster Recovery: click here

10. About Heavyweight Internet Group

In a nutshell, Oracle. Everything related to and surrounding the database technology we specialize in, but specifically setup, admin and tuning of Oracle technology. I have 10 years experience with Oracle, wrote a book on the technology, and write and lecture frequently. I’m founder and senior consultant of the company. In capacities where your company might hire Deloitte, AIG, or Oracle Consulting we can bring the same level of service and experience, at about half the price. Simple equation.

Looking for a top-flight DBA? Visit us on the web at