My blog has moved! Redirecting...

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Java's Demise?

A couple of weeks ago BusinessWeek published an article titled: Java? It's So Nineties. The main points of the article are some somewhat questionable stats and comments about companies moving away from Java to .NET, PHP, LAMP, etc. At one point the article mentions that large web companies like Google do not rely on Java. Hmmm...I recall an interview last fall with a Google software engineer who stated "Google makes extensive use of the Java platform. Large parts of popular Google products are written in Java. We also use Java in many internal systems and products under development. " For the rest of the interview, click here. Before taking this article too seriously, I suggest you read the on-line responses to it as well as other responses around the web such as those found at Slashdot and

Personally, I think scripting languages like PHP are fine for lightweight web applications. For those needing more computing power, Java is a great choice. What scares most neophyte developers is the sheer volume of libraries, apis, etc. that make up Java. It's hard to know where to start and what to adopt. For a language/platform (because let's face it, Java is more than a language) that is "so Nineties" there's a lot of work being done in the open source community that extends Java. Is the same thing happening for platforms such as .NET? Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking .NET. I'm just not seeing the same buzz of activity around it that I do Java.

Monday, December 19, 2005

ComControl Bug Fix

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for the Borland Developer Network about the Java Communications API. Based on the hundreds of emails I've received about it, a lot of developers have read the article. I took the example java code from a real world scenario. However, I created a much less involved version for the article. This version contained a bug in the serialEvent() method. The statement: outputStream = serialPort1.getOutputStream(); should actually be outputStream = serialPort2.getOutputStream();. The article text actually references the correct statement. The flaw is in the example code.

I've uploaded a new version of the code Borland's Code Central site. My thanks to all of you who've read the article and sent so many gracious comments. My thanks especially to Steven Ong, the developer who found the bug. Vive la open source!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

VoIP Challenges

Information Week recently ran an article about VoIP Gotchas. If you're looking to make the switch from traditional PBXs and digital phones to a Voice over IP system, read this article. This year, we began implementing a VoIP phone system. Fortunately, my network team spent a good deal of time preparing for the installation and were ready for the issues.

In preaparation for moving to a new system, we researched several alternatives including hybrid switches. If you're not familiar with hybrid switches, their main attraction is their support for both digital and VoIP phones. The catch is, you need a fairly recent digital phone system in order to use existing phones. Because of the age of our current system, the hybrid switch wouldn't support our phones. So, we decided to bite the bullet and implement a complete VoIP solution. So far we've implemented the new phone system at only one campus. If all goes as planned, we'll convert our corporate campus next fiscal year.

How did our installation go? It went fairly well. The biggest issue we ran into was a bad network card that caused circuit failures. We've received a lot positive responses from the departments now using the new switch. Unified messaging, the ability to have voicemail messages sent to email, is a big hit. The biggest complaint; people can't forward voicemails between the old system and the new one.

How do I like the system? I like it a lot. It has a number of strategic and tactical advantages. On a purely personal level, I like the software client that allows me to use access the phone system from my laptop via an Internet connection.

Friday, December 09, 2005

CIO Insight Article: Measure of Alignment Predicts Success

In the Fall Alignment issue of CIO Insight magazine, there is a very good article on IT/business alignment. IT consultants Thomas Lodahl and Kay Lewis Reditt talk about measuring IT contribution to profit margins and earnings growth. In the article, Lodahl states "...profit margin is a great measure of performance, because it deals both with revenue growth and cost reduction." Some companies miss this point when it comes to their IT departments. All too often, companies think about IT in terms of cost reduction. These companies ask questions like, "How do we automate to reduce costs? How do we save money on hardware, software?" Those companies that view IT as a strategic partner look beyond costs to the impact of IT on revenue growth. They ask: "How can we leverage our IT to promote revenue growth? What systems do we have, or can we obtain, that add value to our customers and can give us an advantage in the marketplace?"

Churches and Technology

Last night I read a CIO Insights article titled Megachurch Megatech. As a sometimes web designer for my church's praise and worship service site, I was intrigued by the technology being used at the larger churches. According to the article, there are an estimated 1800 megachurches. Some of these churches have technology budgets of over $1 million. At my church, we get excited over simple things like a new sound board, lcd projector, and the like. Just this year, we've added some streaming videos on our site...I'm still politicking for live streaming of Sunday services. What I wouldn't give for WiFi in my church. I wonder if the pastors in these megachurches get distracted by the clicking of keyboards as people surf the web on their laptops during the church service? Also, exactly what would people be using their laptops for during the service? Maybe they are setting the lineup for their fantasy sports teams.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

More Video Streaming

After months of experimenting with several streaming technologies, I've finally settled on one I like, Flash, as in Macromedia's Flash FLV files for small video files and the Flash Communications Server for larger files. Why Flash? Simply put, Flash has become one of the lowest common denominators with browsers. In other words, most browsers support Flash and most corporate firewalls do not block it. The same can't be said for some of the other streaming technologies I've used. While the servers may allow one to change the streaming port, I've found that some corporate firewalls do not allow for downloading the client required to play the video. The bottom line, if you want to stream videos (and audio files) consider using Flash...either FLV files or the Flash Communication Server (Macromedia offers a free developer version). For more information visit Macromedia.

Technorati search