The Village View

Monday, July 31, 2006

ABC News Blogs vs. Blotter

I recently started checking out the ABC News website because of a personal connection. News site is pretty standard (except that I can't get it to show on my Blackberry like CNN does) but I found something interesting: the Blotter. It looks a lot like a blog: most recent posts up top, permalinks, comments section. You can even subscribe to the feed. However, the first thing I saw (they may have taken it down now, b/c I didn't see it today) was an introduction that said something like, "we are journalists, not bloggers...." I was a bit turned off initially because it reminded me of some conferences, events etc. that i've been to where journalists and PR folks spend vast amounts of time disparaging bloggers and explaining how what they do is much more legitimate. (I don't want to get into this subject here, but suffice it to say, I think there is a place for both).
Anyway, I had the chance to speak with some folks who worked at ABC and asked them, "and why exactly is this not a blog?" I was actually satisfied with the answer, which was essentially something like this: First, ABC News has blogs, written mostly be reporters. The Blotter differs in that it is (should be) objective. The writers should use the same standards of journalism that they would in any other news story and present the facts and leave the personal biases out. My understanding of the reporters' blogs is that in these, reporters can be less objective and share more personal opinions.
Neither the blogs nor the Blotter are perfect, but it's nice to see that a mainstream news outlet is embracing social media and allowing for a conversation with its readers.

Note: I found Anderson Cooper's blog on Additionally, CNN has RSS feeds for pages e.g., Top Stories, World etc.

Larry Ellison in Forbes

Interesting set of articles on Larry Ellison and Oracle in Forbes and on Free registration may be required to access some of these articles. (which is a dumb thing for Forbes to do: fewer page views and ad revenue so they can get better knowledge on their readers... does anyone ever tell the truth on the registration profiles? Just read the log of IP addresses and open your pages up to everyone).

Oracle still revolves around its strong-willed founder. Larry Ellison won't have it any other way.
For 30 years all of Oracle Corp., maker of the database software that drives thousands of big businesses around the world, has revolved around its founder. Larry Ellison owns a 23% stake worth $18 billion, and he rarely sells. He tweaks Oracle's print ads; he fiddles with its press releases; he peppers techies with arcane questions. "I've run engineering since Day One, and I still run engineering," he says. But Ellison is turning 62 on Aug. 17. Isn't it about time he identified a successor? Bill Gates, 11 years younger, managed to do that.
In 1997 Oracle issued a new set of homegrown applications, which flopped. Lane, who a year earlier had risen to president and was seen as Ellison's heir apparent, began advising the boss that only a drastic change in leadership would save the applications business. Ellison responded by naming himself head of apps and slowly stripping Lane of his responsibilities. By June 2000 Ellison all but fired him, taking away Lane's title of president. Lane quit and is now a general partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

In Lane's wake, 14-year veteran Gary Bloom hoped to become Ellison's number two but was spurned. He quit a few months later to run Veritas, now owned by Symantec. "This is a team, and Larry is the only captain," says the board's Lucas. "If someone wants to pop up and announce they're the star--poof! You're out."

Lunching With Larry
I've run engineering since day one at Oracle, and I still run engineering. I hold meetings every week with the database team, the middleware team, the applications team. I run engineering, and I will do that until the board throws me out of there.
[Ellison:] Google has had one or two good ideas. Searching the Internet, right, and then selling ads. That's a complete list of everything clever they've ever done.
[Forbes:] They're young.

[Ellison:] They're a one-trick pony, but it's a hell of a trick.

Larry's Lieutenants
...Catz and Phillips, tapped from low-profile Wall Street jobs years ago, wield enormous clout in divergent styles. Safra Catz is the alpha of this pair, minding margins and downsizing and constantly e-mailing and phoning the boss...Phillips came in to calm the crowd; coddling customers is what he does. He was a Morgan Stanley analyst and signed on at Oracle in 2003 and hasn't yet moved his wife and son to Silicon Valley from Manhattan. A former Marine Corps captain with business and law degrees from Hampton University and New York Law School, respectively, he spends 60% of his time on the road. He has assigned Oracle brass to chat regularly with 150 customers and jots his personal cell number on the back of every business card. "I'm the human Batphone," he says.

Terry Versus Larry

Silicon Valley is littered with refugees from Oracle Corp., former acolytes who fled for better jobs or were fired after fighting with strongman Larry Ellison. Now half a dozen of them have teamed up to take on their old boss. They have resurrected an aging Oracle foe--Ingres, which uses database technology developed 32 years ago by two Berkeley scientists--to target Oracle's biggest source of profit: the steady, high-margin fees it charges for regular upgrades and support. These fees provide 59% of Oracle's $8.7 billion in annual database sales.The restarted upstart vows to undercut Oracle prices by up to 70% for technology that it claims is every bit as robust. Oracle's handsome pretax profit margin--at 42%, thanks to the ax of Safra Catz--leaves Ingres room for inroads. "I'm happy getting 25% margins. That's pretty good in any industry," says Terence Garnett, Ingres' chairman and the leader of this band of castoffs. He had run marketing at Oracle but clashed with Ellison and quit under pressure in 1994, suing the company and later settling.

Interesting Conflicts

In 1998 he backed an Oracle alum, Evan Goldberg, in launching a Web apps firm: NetSuite. In 1999 he put $2 million into, started by another castoff, Marc Benioff....
NetSuite aims at sites with up to 5,000 seats; Oracle aims as low as 1,000-seat accounts. But Ellison sees no conflict of interest. "Oh, no, we check for that all the time. NetSuite is aimed at much smaller customers." Adds an Oracle outside director, Ray Bingham...
Zachary Nelson, the ex-Oracle chief of NetSuite, insists: "If NetSuite and Oracle are in the same room, one of us doesn't belong there."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

China Text-Messages Millions on Typhoon

Just in time for hurricane season. I wonder how many folks at FEMA know what a text message is.

Authorities in Fujian have sent 18 million messages known as SMS, for short message service with storm information during five typhoons this year, according to the provincial government.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

HP to buy Mercury Interactive for $4.5 bln

HP is buying Mercury Interactive Corp a $800M (revenue) developer of infrastructure management software for $4.5B. They are largely regarded as the market leader in functional testing software, an area from which they derive 2/3 of their revenues. Their main products in this area include: QuickTest Professional, WinRunner and Quality Center. Mercury has over 17,500 customers.

Mercury was delisted from the NASDAQ in January. It's CEO and CFO resigned late last year after an internal investigation into option granting practices.

Rumor has it that Oracle has also expressed interest in acquiring Mercury.

The deal, which sent shares of the No. 2 personal computer maker down 4 percent, should help boost sales of HP's OpenView systems management software, which makes it easier for far-flung businesses to monitor the hardware, software and networks running throughout their organizations.

The purchase of the former star Israeli technology company also puts HP in closer competition with other major systems management software providers, including IBM's (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Tivoli unit, CA Inc.'s (CA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) UniCenter and BMC Software (BMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research).

Enterprise Application Podcasts

Living in Manhattan I walk a lot, especially now in the summer. Since I'm the consummate multi-tasker (read ADD) I often listen to software/tech-related podcasts on my jaunts thru NYC.

I've found the following podcasts to have some useful content.:
- on iTunes
- there's an interesting podcast of the Dreamforce '05 Partners Summit with Ray Lane and John Hummer
- Oracle's AppCast
- been meaning to listen to the one with the head of Corp Dev which must be a busy job at Oracle
- SAP Developer Network
- Confession: I haven't listened to many of these....honestly.

Also, I pointed you to a interview with SAP's Chief Software Architect last week. Here's an interview with my boss Jeff Nolan on the "Always On" society.

AppExchange-ing Ideas with the Irregulars...

I mentioned that Jason Wood and I attended the AppExchange Seminar last week here in New York. A week or so earlier we also both participated in a conference call, the second of what hopefully will be a series of interesting Irregulars blogger calls, on's AppExchange. (I've blogged about and AppExchange here, here, here and here and generally think they are doing some interesting, innovative things). Anyway, I've been meaning to write up a synopsis of the call, but saw that Jason did such a great job of it, that I'll just point you there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oracle Aims at Brand-Name Schools for Recruits

Well that solves it, I can never work for Oracle (at least not in product development) as neither one of the schools that I have degrees from made the list. But then again, Ellison wouldn't get hired today either as he didn't even make it through college.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New York City Tech Events Calendar

Came across this calendar created by Lee Semel on Charlie O'Donnell's blog.

In addition to allowing anyone to add an event, you can also subscribe to the RSS feed and add an event to various calendar programs. Pretty useful.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

AppExchange Seminar in NYC

I spent most of Tuesday afternoon at the AppExchange Seminar at the Hilton in midtown. Hung out most of the time with Jason Wood which was interesting and a lot of fun. I enjoyed talking software with him and I think it's safe to say we're both generally fans of AppExchange (with some reservations of course). Here's a bit of what I observed and some things I found interesting (not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination):

  • Walked in a bit late on a presentation by Morris Panner, CEO of OpenAir
    • provider of professional services automation software
  • a few random notes on this presentation since i came in late
    • Generated a ton of leads since developing AppExchange solution
      • 5X increase in the number of customers interested in solution since launching AppExchange version
      • Leads are extremely qualified
        • 50% of leads are "active" deals or conducting detailed evaluation
    • OpenAir is about a year into SFdC experience
    • sales cycle is 60-180 days
    • AppExchange helped them win 5 deals in first 60 days
      • overcame objections around integration
    • Increased global "presence" as 30% of leads are from outside US
      • has been helping them make contact with integrators overseas
    • either just signed or in pipeline - Software AG
      • 2700 seats
      • "unimaginable opportunity for us"
      • up against SAP
    • The user experience matters
      • UI leads to a "wow" factor
      • AppExchange ratings matter (called it the "ebay effect")
      • have a person in charge of managing their AppExchange presence
    • SFdC is "straight forward" and "easy to work with"
      • Initially no certificates or courses to take
      • His developers say the API is easy to work with
      • Gets harder as you build your product out
      • Every quarter OpenAir spends equivilent of 1-2 weeks on the AppExchange product
        • Customer requirements
        • iterating "as you go"
        • No full time engineer dedicated to AppExchange
          • part of the integration persons responsibility
    • Question from audience: aren't you worried about the API and your risk?
      • Answer: structure of API is amenable to working together with SFdC

  • First after lunch presentation by Steve Fisher, SVP of AppExchange & chairman of's Technology Architecture Committee
    • showed a slide stating SFdC has 99.9% uptime. I don't think most customers can hold them to this as I understand that they dont' offer SLAs as standard operating procedure (some of the larger clients have likely negotiated this).
    • Goal of the AppExchange platform is to leverage the investment they made in security, mult-tenancy and reliability
    • One of the big lessons SFdC learned was to be transparent which is why they set up (Ok, then why not go ahead and offer SLAs too??)
    • Two main things that make AppExchange platform work
      • Query Optimization Engine ( built their own)
        • b/c databases aren't any easy or fast way to retreive/store data in ways that SFdC wants to use it, they built the query optimizer
      • Meta-data layer
        • defines relationships between what customer sees and physical, real schema
      • These two features/functions makes it feel "like customers have their own system."
    • "integrates well with other systems"
      • Key: the standards-based Web Services API
        • SQL-like syntax into the meta-data layer
      • Allows for integration with SAP, Oracle, Siebel, Desktop, Mobile et al.
    • Slide: "Mash up - the Business Web is Here"
      • examples shown: Google Maps, Skype (initiate call right from SFdC), Google AdWords mgt including ROIs from Kieden which was pretty cool.
    • "You get more stuff for free with AppExchange platform then with others e.g., .NET"
      • Both presenters must have used the word free 70-80 times. He is NOT referring to the OEM version which is $25/mth/user.
      • Here are a few of the things your get for "free" in SFdC, but evidently not in others: security & sharing model, API services, multi-language & multi-currency, UI services, mobile & offline, dashboard and workflow.
    • 3 types of Apps
      • Native
        • Meta-data driven
        • Custom objects
        • UI
        • Examples: data apps, bug tracking, asset tracking
        • Native Apps are "configured" more than "coded"
      • Composite
        • Lives on the client's server
        • Leverages SFdC's data model
      • Client
        • End user need access SFdC application directly, but may be using a product like Outlook
    • Sandbox
        • development as a service
        • Fully replicated production environment for dev/test
    • Repeated several times that wants ISVs to leverage the fact that they have solved a lot of hard problems around developing a scalable, stable platform

  • Second Presentation by Adam Gross, Vice President Developer Marketing
    • Asked how many in attendance were interested in developing for internal clients vs how many were ISVs looking to create Apps to re-sell.
      • vast majority were ISVs
    • Just caught the tail end of a dig against SAP; something about client/server in the 90s.
    • Native Platform features
      • Data
        • Custom & standard objects
        • CRUD & sharing
        • Relationships
        • Field (data) types
      • Business Logic (workflow)
        • Notifications (add a task)
        • Alerts (Send an email)
        • Assignement rules
        • Pre- and post-save, validation rules
      • User Interface (Metadata layouts)
        • Layouts
        • Custom Tabs
        • Record Types
    • Composite Platform features
      • Data
        • Composite - anything that uses the API
        • SOAP web services API
          • Object API as opposed to lower level data API
            • Java & .Net objects
          • API is hook into data side
        • API will appear like a database - "lots of nouns & few verbs"
        • enterprise vs. partners WSDL
        • SOQL - (Sforce Object Query Language) similar to SQL
        • DB replication
        • External db
      • Business Logic
        • S controls
          • hooks into UI
          • lets you present apps that run on your own server appear in SFdC UI
    • More on S Controls
      • Two types: Hooks & Targets
        • Hooks - referencing into Apps
          • eg custom links, web tabs, image fields
        • Targets - what is being invoked
          • web controls

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm a beautiful woman....evidently

So, I was trying out Retrievr which lets you search Flickr for images that match either a sketch you do or an image you upload. I uploaded the picture of myself that appears on this blog (to the right) and got, among other images, none of which was a balding, fairly pastey white guy, this photo. I'd ask me out.

EnterpriseTalk with Vishal Sikka, SAP’s Chief Software Architect

Jeff is a big proponent of using social media in the enterprise. He posted this podcast with Vishal Sikka, SAP's Chief Software Architect. It's not short, but if you want an understanding of SAP's technology direction it's worth a listen.

IBM Delivers Small and Medium Businesses a Complete Oracle ERP Solution

Seems like a good move for Oracle to expand its offering for the SMB market. You gotta figure that 100 users probably implies a company size of approximately 500 employees. Wonder in which part of the sub-100 they're going see pick up for this product? Seems they are gonna be taking on Microsoft (from Dynamics on the upper end to maybe even Small Business Accounting on the lower end) and Sage more directly. Also, given the DB and Apps bundled plus the automated backups, seems this would also compete well against a NetSuite.

IBM announced a new, specially priced solution uniquely configured for small and medium business (SMB) customers adopting Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne applications. Designed specifically for customers with 100 users or less, the solution is based on IBM's "all-in-one" System i business computing platform and delivers a comparable acquisition cost to analogous Windows-based solutions.

The System i Solution Edition for Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is an integrated hardware and software solution sized specifically with the additional disk storage necessary to provide 100 users access to this robust application suite, which includes such key functions as asset lifecycle, customer relationship, financial, human capital, project, supplier and supply chain management.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New hostess: I like the accent

So, I have to admit that before all the recent noise about Amanda Congdon leaving Rocketboom, it wasn't really on my radar and I had never watched an episode. However, given that it's damn near impossible to miss now, I clicked through to the Rocketboom site from a blog posting.

Very initial hypothesis (based on watching about 30 seconds): Rocketboom is gonna be ok. Why do I say this?
Well, I think Jason hit the nail on the head for at least one reason that the casts have been popular to date:
at the end of the day, Amanda comes across as an attractive, approachable woman who loves technology. In other words, she's the fantasy girl every tech geekboy (myself included) used to dream about before we had the confidence to ask someone like that out.

Well, the new host Joanne Colan seems to have all this going for her, plus, and here's the kicker......... A British accent! Yep, Rocketboom is gonna be alright.

Putting things in perspective

So we pre-announced today, and in case you haven't heard, our 8% increase in quarterly software license sales was below consensus estimates. Good news is that we were up 16% in the US and the articles I've read indicate that the issue was a few big deals not closing this quarter rather than Oracle stealing market share. (Note: all this info is from public sources). Our ADR closed down 7%. Bummer, but Henning says we're still tracking for the year and I think most of my colleagues are pretty optimistic.

Anyway, I thought Charlie Wood had a take that put things into perspective a bit:

Wow. SAP lost around $4,391,782,813.19 in market cap today, or roughly 1.75x the entire value of [CRM].

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The July NY Tech Meetup

I went to my first NY Tech Meetup last night. Had tried to RSVP for the last two, but the list seems to max out at 500 "yes"s pretty quickly. Not that it mattered as nobody was checking names against a list and at any rate the estimated attendence was only 317.

6 startups presented, here's a bit on each with a thought or two:

Allows you to take Google, MSN or Yahoo search results and filter and sort them locally on your hard drive. For instance, you can search on "Tuscan vacation house" and then refine the search, locally, for just those with a pool, or just those sites in English, or with a .com suffix etc. etc. Seems useful to a degree, but I'm not sure I'd pay for it. There is a free version, so I don't have to anyway. One comment I heard after the presentation was that it would be fairly simple for Google to block Axioma's abililty to function. Got very few to no votes from the audience as "best of show."

Tool for quickly making AJAX websites. Descrbied by the presenters as something your mother would use to make a site about her interests e.g., knitting. The UI was pretty slick and it did indeed seem pretty easy to make cool looking sites that included pictures, video etc. Not sure what the big differentiator is or how hard it would be to duplicate. Presenters claimed only competion so far is Google. Also, they spoke a good bit about folks using this tool to "build communities" which didn't really resonate with me. Still the two guys were 21 year old Penn State seniors who held there own in the post-presentation questioning and got a fair number of "best of show" votes.
Essentially a tool to capture and play streaming video. You can drag and drop videos in any number of formats into the IONdb player and then tag and categorize them. The thing I thought was cool was that a user can make playlists of videos (and I think audio tracks). You can then make these available to your friends who can subscribe to your playlist as a podcast (thru for example iTunes). That seems pretty viral and would be a reason to use their service as opposed to just making favorites on Youtube. These guys are based out in Brooklyn, had a successful startup before which they sold to Palm, and were tied for "best of show." They got my vote for what it's worth.


A search engine for (famous) people that allows you to see how they are linked to other people or organizations. The product searches the content of web pages to see how often Jennifer Lopez is connected to other folks or to a company such as Miramax. It doesn't seem to have any logic to decide on context though. For example, in the demo, the presenter searched on "Hollywood" to show all the stars that would pop up. They did, but so did "Jerry Falwell" whom I assume is only associated with Hollywood in the context of having consistently criticized it. Overall, this seems like a feature to me and not a company. Still they have evidently received enough angel funding to have 8 staffers working full time. About 4th in overall "best of show" voting and probably the most polished presenter.

Didn't quite get everything on this one, but the word "citizen journalism" was thrown around a lot. Looked kind of like an aggregator of news and blogs. Evidently, they are or will be compensating writers for their content. Someone after the presentation described the model as similar to AP in which they would have "stringers" out and about writing articles. They did show a Firefox blogging plugin that I'm going to check out later. Heard them described as an American version of the Korean Ohmy News. Got a fair number of vots.

Electric Sheep
These guys develop apps and add-ons for the online multiplayer game Second Life. Not being a gamer myself, this was pretty new to me. Essentially these guys will develop anything you'd like inside the game including presentations, advertising, building etc. Claim to be the largest independent Second Life developers. Gave an example of how they worked with Major League Baseball to put the home run derby in SL; folks could virtually show up and watch the a graphical representation of the homers and interact with others there. Even buy hot dogs and souvenirs. Presentation was cool in that he basically stayed in SL the whole time. Co-winner if I recall correctly of "best in show."

Next NY Tech Meetup is August 1.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Getting to know the Chinese consumer

The McKinsey Quarterly newest edition is dedicated to China. More specifically to the Chines consumer whom I suppose one day will replace the US consumer as the driving force behind global economic growth. While I have little doubt that overall the Chinese will consume more Big Macs, buy more cars and download more music, I really wonder if they will ever do it on a per capita basis as much as we do. When you see the size of the portions at The Cheesecake Factory or the size of the of the Ford excursion, it's hard to imagine anybody could lift consumption to the art form that we Americans have.

Bush pilot

Zoli explains what makes the President tick

Monday, July 10, 2006

A little humor from the competition

I'm a loyal Oracle blogs reader (no really, I am) and found this tidbit. I thought that Oracle Technology Network editor-in-chief Justin Kestelyn's contribution of "possible BART innovations from SAP" was actually pretty funny:
  • All BART schedules and maps to be translated into a language that only SAP employees understand.
  • BART to be split into 5 different systems, but you can't transfer between them yet. SAP is still working on a solution for that.
  • A ticket "upgrade" will be required to exit the train.
  • Oh, and you won't know where your train is going exactly. Just trust them!

SAP to Introduce New E-Commerce and Web-Based CRM Capabilities to Business Management Solution for SMEs

SAP has talked often about its increasing focus on the SME space. These new offerings take advantage of the Praxis acquisition. The SAP solution in question, Business One recently announced its 10,000th customer.

The new capabilities enable companies to set up online stores easily and to deploy customer relationship management (CRM) software quickly and simply via the Internet, extending the reach and accessibility of SAP Business One to a new set of users.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Subway Rider Sliced in Power Saw Attack

This is unbelievable and hits close to home as my home subway stop is two stops (and a few blocks) south of Columbia and I'm there bright and early every morning.

A man grabbed two cordless power saws off a subway station workbench and went on a rampage Thursday, swinging the saws at riders and slicing open a man's chest before running away, police said.
The attack occurred before dawn at a subway station a few blocks south of Columbia University.

Microsoft prepares iPod assualt

Microsoft has been developing its own handheld music and video player to challenge Apple Computer's iPod and expects to have it in stores in time for the holiday season...

Microsoft's digital device would be equipped with at least one feature the iPod lacks: wireless Internet capability that would allow users to download music without being connected to a PC.

Maybe I'm missing something, but here's what I don't get: I'm assuming that "wireless" above means it will be WiFi enabled. How exactly would I use this? When I'm at home on my WiFi network (or more often my neighbors') why wouldn't I just download the song to iTunes on my laptop? It's got a better user interface and searching and downloading has got to be easier on the bigger screen and with a keyboard. So maybe I'd use it at Starbucks if I paid for their WiFi service? I don't and wouldn't pay for the privelage just so I could download songs. At the office? Doubt IT would make it easy to connect the device to our network.

I'm sure some of you are much hipper than I am and are constantly connected to WiFi networks and would use this, but I just don't see it.

For CRM, ERP, and SCM, SAP Leads the Way

You want a database, feel free to go ahead and call Oracle, but if you want an application, give SAP a ring.

SAP is the market share leader in the CRM, ERP, and SCM spaces, according to three reports from Gartner Dataquest.
SAP predictably maintained its ERP leadership status, capturing 28.7 percent of the market with $4.7 billion, a 12.1 percent uptake from 2004's $4.2 billion.
While Oracle pulled in a solid $1.7 billion in 2005, securing 10.2 percent market share, it experienced a decline of 28.4 percent from 2004's $2.3 billion.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why I'm rooting for the French

(I'm catching up on my blog reading and the first feed on my Feeddemon list is Matt Asay's AC/OS. Thus, another post piggybacking off his blog).

I'm a huge soccer fan and as such enjoy seeing games of skill in which talented players make superb passes, crosses and shots as well as defend well against these. I HATE watching players flop.

But flopping in soccer is a problem. Flopping is essentially a combination of acting, lying, begging, and cheating, and these four behaviors make for an unappealing mix.

The team that empitomizes this for me is the Italian squad. You touch them and they go down grabbing their shin; either one will do, it doesn't matter which one you may actually have touched. It boils my blood to watch them play (in addition to the fact that they got a lot of questionable calls in their favor: yellow against Pope, red against Mastroeni, penalty against Australia in the 93rd minute). My European and Latin American friends tell me "that's just their style, that's the way the Italians play.... lot's of show." Well, I guess I'm just too American as Mark Eggers explains in an excerpt from his book:

The second and greatest, by far, obstacle to the popularity of the World Cup, and of professional soccer in general, is the element of flopping...There are few examples of American sports where flopping is part of the game, much less accepted as such...
American sports are, for better or worse, built upon transparency, or the appearance of transparency, and on the grind-it-out work ethic.

Open source: the path to development savings

I've mentioned before that we've spent time thinking about the implications of open source software to SAP. One of the interesting points is that for all the talk about "community" many popular open source projects have core development done by "in-house" folks. I couldn't reconcile this well with the "lower cost" argument. I think Matt Asay does a great job explaining how the open source development model leads to lower development costs and what work the community does versus the in-house folks.

the vast majority of "developers" within a [proprietary software] company are not core developers at all. They're people writing drivers, doing QA, etc. [In an opens source company]...the vast amount of code production (83% in terms of Linux, Apache, etc.) is done by ~15 people. Very few.

One of the exciting things about an open source company is that you take advantage of highly leveraged development, where the drivers, localization, etc. is done by the community, not your core development team. This means open source companies can spend proportionately less on development while simultaneously investing a lot more in core development.

Oracle stays mum over database glitch

Nominet is the UK's Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) manager i.e. responsible for the .uk domain name registry.

Nominet has been forced to cancel a big update following a bug in its new Oracle software that the database provider has been unable, or unwilling, to help with...

Nominet 'very disappointed' with response....