Blogosphere: reportage or junk food?

Steven Downes responds to Miguel Guhlin with a post which sums up nicely why I find myself turning to the blogosphere more and more instead of the more established news channels. Steven is countering the assertion that reading blogs is like eating junk food, offering "sugar high intellectual bursts". I have all but given up on television news - in the UK only the Channel 4 news offers anything remotely resembling a probing analysis of current events, and this only sporadically. [continues...]

Paul Walk , June 24, 2006

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Agents and mashups

I’ve been thinking about software agents. Again. I’ve just read Paul Browne’s post, What comes after Java and .Net? Agents. The concept of autonomous software agents is one which has preoccupied me for years, ever since I researched this for my MSc thesis. There is so much that is attractive about this idea, but it somehow never quite gains traction. The software agent paradigm is problematic, both conceptually, and technically. Definitions of software agents vary - (I don’t want to rehearse them here, but Wikipedia has this to offer), and the concept presents some tricky technical challenges. [continues...]

Paul Walk , June 23, 2006

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World cup goals: virtual replay

This is just so cool. This was previously published at http://blog.sockdrawer.org and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.

Paul Walk , June 22, 2006

Rest protocol advice

{10 things to change in your thinking when building REST XML Protocols}(http://web.archive.org/web/20060629003823/http://www.xmldatabases.org/WK/blog/2287_10_things_to_change_in_your_thinking_when_building_REST_XML_Protocols.item) by Kimbro Staken. Kimbro’s work on XML databases was a real influence on XCRI developments, so this is food for thought. This was previously published at http://blog.sockdrawer.org and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.

Paul Walk , June 17, 2006

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Time to switch (back)?

Tim Bray ponders whether it is time to switch from MacsOS to an opensource OS. I switched from an Intel-based laptop running Linux to an iBook around 18 months ago, but I have so far resisted the temptation to upgrade to a MacBook(Pro). Funny thing is, Tim’s quick list of the Mac hardware features he could not live without is pretty much the list of hardware features I tend to cite when I’m in Mac evangelist mode, number one being the fact that I open my iBook and start typing immediately, and then close the lid when I’ve finished. [continues...]

Paul Walk , June 16, 2006

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If I have seen further, it is by being thrown up by the mosh pit of my peers

With all due respect to Issac Newton, I love Kathy Sierra’s effort to bring his noble sentiment up to date. The always readable Sierra has written a great post about the wisdom of sharing ideas freely, even with competitors, instead of jealously guarding them. She differentiates between Knowledge Sharers and Knowledge Hoarders - especially in the particular flavour of knowledge we call ‘expertise’, and quotes a wonderful line from David Maister’s The Trusted Advisor: [continues...]

Paul Walk , June 11, 2006

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Datebk6 - software as it should be

I just upgraded Datebk5 on my Palm PDA to Datebk6. Looking back, I realise that I have been using this application continuously since 1998, and have upgraded at each opportunity, as the upgrades have always offered some new functionality that I could use. I can’t think of any other software that I use where this is true. The Datebk application represents all that is good about software - it does just what it needs to, in a low-profile kind of a way. [continues...]

Paul Walk , June 8, 2006

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More Rails than Rails?

A while ago I wrote about the Rails influence on Java frameworks. It seems that the Rails lesson has been applied to a combination of Netbeans (in its 5.5 beta version) and Glassfish. A week or two ago Geertjan explained how to use a couple of Netbeans wizards to generate Entity classes from an imported relational database schema together with a default set of JSF backed JSPs, to generate a basic, but working, web application which allows the user to list, add, edit and delete records from any of the included database tables. [continues...]

Paul Walk , May 8, 2006

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Joke for a Friday afternoon

Some sly humour at SOA integration with Flickr and del.icio.us Some of this is too close to the bone….excellent! Found via Scott This was previously published at http://blog.sockdrawer.org and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.

Paul Walk , May 5, 2006


The other day I found myself using my cellphone’s inbuilt camera to photograph a UML diagram which had been hand-drawn on a white-board. The results were poor, and I ended up having to transcribe it by hand. I was intrigued to stumble across scanR, a startup who offer a service to process low-quality photos of white boards and paper documents. Haven’t tried it yet, but they do offer a free trial. [continues...]

Paul Walk , May 2, 2006

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The New Guerrilla War

Rich Ziade has written a really interesting analysis of the jostling for position by the big players (especially Microsoft and Google) in the emerging Web 2.0 marketplace. Rich’s main contention is that whiles the web-browser has been the ubiquitous tool for accessing internet-based information, controlling the entry-point (URL) has been all that was necessary to dominate the market. He suggests that Microsoft, at the same time as launching Live to compete directly with core Google services, are planning to take control of the ‘entry points’ by embedding them into the desktop with Windows Vista and especially XAML. [continues...]

Paul Walk , May 2, 2006

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Frameworks tested on Glassfish

A list of frameworks and applications successfully deployed on Glassfish is here. Glassfish is coming together nicely - I’ve given it a quick spin and I like what I see. In my day job I rely on the excellent Tomcat for most of my app deployments, but I’m considering moving them to Glasssfish. Some of Glassfish’s features are compelling: logical partitioning with ‘domains’ - ability to package a domain containing applications and server instance configuration into a zip file and re-deploy elsewhere support for EJB 3 active community, with a great blog impressive web management console the price tag! [continues...]

Paul Walk , April 29, 2006

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Following on from his original Going Bedouin post, Greg Olsen followed it up with Bedouins Are Everywhere where he talked about the types of discussion the first post had engendered. Greg says: Three key areas of discussion focus seem to have arisen: Technology: Saddlebag contents? What specific tools are available to Bedouins? Location: Tent or no tent? Physical vs. virtual office? Social needs: Are Bedouins lonely? Can alternative workplace concepts meet the social needs of workers? [continues...]

Paul Walk , April 14, 2006

Java web frameworks - the Rails influence

I’m re-examining the state of web-frameworks for Java at the moment, with a particular focus on support for Ajax and JSR168 portlets. It’s interesting to see the impact that Ruby on Rails has already had in this space. For example, several Java frameworks have started to favour convention over configuration, even if sporadically. Matt Raible has created a summary document, Java Web Frameworks Sweet Spots, of the current state of Java web frameworks, formed out of a series of short Q&A sessions with principal developers from 11 frameworks. [continues...]

Paul Walk , April 12, 2006

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links for 2006-04-11

community.java.net - Portlet - this is a good collection of articles about developing with the JSR168 portlet specification. Portlet Tutorial - WebWork, Eclipse and JBOSS - I’ve used Opensymphony components in the past and been really happy with them - not looked at WebWork yet, but this might be just what I need at the moment This was previously published at http://blog.sockdrawer.org and was retrieved from the Internet Archive. [continues...]

Paul Walk , April 11, 2006

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Even more agile authoring.... and publishing too!

Having just purchased Getting Real from 37 Signals, I was interested to read David Heinemeier Hansson’s description of its production & publication processes in Shaking up tech publishing. David makes a number of challenges to the tech-book publishing ‘establishment’, but what makes this post really interesting is that Tim O’Reilly is one of the people who comments - the exchanges between author and commenter are fascinating and, importantly, good humoured. Really recommended. [continues...]

Paul Walk , April 4, 2006

Agile authoring

Interested in writing a Head First book? The invitation from Head First Labs is appealing - and I can’t remember having seen anything quite like it before. There’s an aphorism that everyone has one good novel inside of them - wonder if this is true for technology guides as well….? This was previously published at http://blog.sockdrawer.org and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.

Paul Walk , April 3, 2006

REST application design checklist

Joe Gregorio lays out a simple process for designing a REST application. I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of design and development lately, but I still found that this piece clarified my thinking. In a nutshell, Joe’s process is: To build a good REST service you need to answer the following questions: What are the URIs? What’s the format? What methods are supported at each URI? [continues...]

Paul Walk , March 31, 2006

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Cyborgs walk among us

Mikey Sklar in Electric Clothing: DIY RFID human implants are on the rise. I have found over sixteen instances of midnight engineers implanting RFID tags in their hands. Lessons in how to make yourself machine-readable. The DIY surgery aspect of this is more disturbing than the cyborg connotations. This was previously published at http://blog.sockdrawer.org and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.

Paul Walk , March 30, 2006

Seven pillars of tagging

Scott Golder and Bernardo A. Huberman of HP Labs have written a paper called The Structure of Collaborative Tagging Systems based on research done primarily with data from del.icio.us. They identify seven kinds of tags: Identifying What (or Who) it is About. Overwhelmingly, tags identify the topics of bookmarked items. These items include common nouns of many levels of specificity, as well as many proper nouns, in the case of content discussing people or organizations. [continues...]

Paul Walk , March 27, 2006

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