Saturday, April 30, 2005

No, I haven’t lost my mind!

In case you are wondering where the megs of Web performance information that I have posted has come from, I have decided to move my articles into the content-management system I call a blog, so that I can more effectively manage them.

It is also in-keeping with my philosophy of promoting Web performance.

Enjoy the new stuff!

Performance Improvement From Caching and Compression

This paper is an extension of the work done for another article that highlighted the performance benefits of retrieving uncompressed and compressed objects directly from the origin server. I wanted to add a proxy server into the stream and determine if proxy servers helped improve the performance of object downloads, and by how much.

Using the same series of objects in the original compression article[1], the CURL tests were re-run 3 times:

  1. Directly from the origin server

  2. Through the proxy server, to load the files into cache

  3. Through the proxy server, to avoid retrieving files from the origin.[2]

eries of three tests was repeated twice: once for the uncompressed files, and then for the compressed objects.[3]

As can be seen clearly in the plots below, compression caused web page download times to improve greatly, when the objects were retrieved from the source. However, the performance difference between compressed and uncompressed data all but disappears when retrieving objects from a proxy server on a corporate LAN.

Instead of the linear growth between object size and download time seen in both of the retrieval tests that used the origin server (Source and Proxy Load data), the Proxy Draw data clearly shows the benefits that accrue when a proxy server is added to a network to assist with serving HTTP traffic.

Uncompressed Pages

Total Time Uncompressed -- No Proxy0.256
Total Time Uncompressed -- Proxy Load0.254
Total Time Uncompressed -- Proxy Draw0.110

Compressed Pages

Total Time Compressed -- No Proxy0.181
Total Time Compressed -- Proxy Load0.140
Total Time Compressed -- Proxy Draw0.104

The data above shows just how much of an improvement is gained by adding a local proxy server, explicit caching descriptions and compression can add to a Web site. For sites that do force a great of requests to be returned directly to the origin server, compression will be of great help in reducing bandwidth costs and improving performance. However, by allowing pages to be cached in local proxy servers, the difference between compressed and uncompressed pages vanishes.


Compression is a very good start when attempting to optimize performance. The addition of explicit caching messages in server responses which allow proxy servers to serve cached data to clients on remote local LANs can improve performance to even a greater extent than compression can. These two should be used together to improve the overall performance of Web sites.

[1] The test set was made up of the 1952 HTML files located in the top directory of the Linux Documentation Project HTML archive.

[2] All of the pages in these tests announced the following server response header indicating its cacheability: Cache-Control: max-age=3600

[3] A note on the compressed files: all compression was performed dynamically by mod_gzip for Apache/1.3.27.

Compressing Output From PHP

A little-used or discussed feature of PHP is the ability to compress output from the scripts using GZIP for more efficient transfer to requesting clients. By automatically detecting the ability of the requesting clients to accept and interpret GZIP encoded HTML, PHP can decrease the size of files transferred to the client by 60% to 80%.

Configuring PHP

The configuration needed to make this work is simple. I use a Linux distro that relies on RPMS, so I check for the following two packages:

  1. zlib

  2. zlib-devel

For those not familiar with zlib, it is a highly efficient, open-source compression library. This library is used by PHP uses to compress the output sent to the client.

Compile PHP4 with your favourite ./configure statement. I use the following:

./configure --with-apxs=/usr/local/apache/bin/apxs --with-zlib
./configure --with-apxs2=/usr/local/apache2/bin/apxs --with-zlib

After doing make && make install, PHP should be ready to go as a dynamic Apache module. Now, you have to make some modifications to the php.ini file. This is usually found in /usr/local/lib, but if it's not there, don't panic; you will find some php.ini* files in the directory where you unpacked PHP. Simply copy one of those to /usr/local/lib and rename it php.ini.

Within php.ini, some modifications need to be made to switch on the GZIP compression detection and encoding. There are two methods to do this.

		Method 1:
output_buffering = On
output_handler = ob_gzhandler
zlib.output_compression = Off

		Method 2:
output_buffering = Off
output_handler =
zlib.output_compression = On

Once this is done, PHP will automatically detect if the requesting client accepts GZIP encoding, and will then buffer the output through the gzhandler function to dynamically compress the data sent to the client.


The winning situation here is that for an expenditure of $0 (except your time) and a tiny bit more server overhead (you're probably still using fewer resources than if you were running ASP on IIS!), you will now be sending much smaller, dynamically generated html documents to your clients, reducing your bandwidth usage and the amount of time it takes to download the files.

How much of a size reduction is achieved? Well, I ran a test on my Web server, using WGET to retrieve the file. The configuration and results of the test are listed below.

Method 0: No Compression
File Size: 9415 bytes
Method 1: ob_gzhandler
wget --header="Accept-Encoding: gzip,*"
File Size: 3529 bytes
Method 2: zlib.output_compression
wget --header="Accept-Encoding: gzip,*"
File Size: 3584 bytes

You will have to experiment with the method that give the most efficient balance between file size and overhead and processing time on your server.

A 62% reduction in transferred file size without affecting the quality of the data sent to the client is a pretty good return for 10 minutes of work. I recommend including this procedure in all of your future PHP builds.

mod-gzip Compile Instructions

The last time I attempted to compile mod_gzip into Apache, I found that the instructions for doing so were not documented clearly on the project page. After a couple of failed attempts, I finally found the instructions buried at the end of the ChangeLog document.

I present the instructions here to preserve your sanity.

Before you can actually get mod_gzip to work, you have to uncomment it in the httpd.conf file module list (Apache 1.3.x) or add it to the module list (Apache 2.0.x).

Now there are two ways to build mod_gzip: statically compiled into Apache and a DSO-File for mod_so. If you want to compile it statically into Apache, just copy the source to Apache src/modules directory and there into a subdirectory named 'gzip'. You can activate it via a parameter of the configure script.

./configure --activate-module=src/modules/gzip/mod_gzip.a
make install

This will build a new Apache with mod_gzip statically built in.

The DSO-Version is much easier to build.

make APXS=/path/to/apxs
make install APXS=/path/to/apxs
/path/to/apachectl graceful

The apxs script is normally located inside the bin directory of Apache.

Compressing Web Output Using mod_gzip for Apache 1.3.x and 2.0.x

Web page compression is not a new technology, but it has just recently gained higher recognition in the minds of IT administrators and managers because of the rapid ROI it generates. Compression extensions exist for most of the major Web server platforms, but in this article I will focus on the Apache and mod_gzip solution.

The idea behind GZIP-encoding documents is very straightforward. Take a file that is to be transmitted to a Web client, and send a compressed version of the data, rather than the raw file as it exists on the filesystem. Depending on the size of the file, the compressed version can run anywhere from 50% to 20% of the original file size.

In Apache, this can be achieved using a couple of different methods. Content Negotiation, which requires that two separate sets of HTML files be generated -- one for clients that can handle GZIP-encoding, and one for those who can't -- is one method. The problem with this solution should be readily apparent: there is no provision in this methodology for GZIP-encoding dynamically-generated pages.

The more graceful solution for administrators who want to add GZIP-encoding to Apache is the use of mod_gzip. I consider it one of the overlooked gems for designing a high-performance Web server. Using this module, configured file types -- based on file extension or MIME type -- will be compressed using GZIP-encoding after they have been processed by all of Apache's other modules, and before they are sent to the client. The compressed data that is generated reduces the number of bytes transferred to the client, without any loss in the structure or content of the original, uncompressed document.

mod_gzip can be compiled into Apache as either a static or dynamic module; I have chosen to compile it as a dynamic module in my own server (more compile instructions here). The advantage of using mod_gzip is that this method requires that nothing be done on the client side to make it work. All current browsers -- Mozilla, Opera, and even Internet Explorer -- understand and can process GZIP-encoded text content.

On the server side, all the server or site administrator has to do is compile the module, edit the appropriate configuration directives that were added to the httpd.conf file, enable the module in the httpd.conf file, and restart the server. In less than 10 minutes, you can be serving static and dynamic content using GZIP-encoding without the need to maintain multiple codebases for clients that can or cannot accept GZIP-encoded documents.

When a request is received from a client, Apache determines if mod_gzip should be invoked by noting if the "Accept-Encoding: gzip" HTTP request header has been sent by the client. If the client sends the header, mod_gzip will automatically compress the output of all configured file types when sending them to the client.

This client header announces to Apache that the client will understand files that have been GZIP-encoded. mod_gzip then processes the outgoing content and includes the following server response headers.

Content-Type: text/html
Content-Encoding: gzip

These server response headers announce that the content returned from the server is GZIP-encoded, but that when the content is expanded by the client application, it should be treated as a standard HTML file. Not only is this successful for static HTML files, but this can be applied to pages that contain dynamic elements, such as those produced by Server-Side Includes (SSI), PHP, and other dynamic page generation methods. You can also use it to compress your Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) and plain text files. As well, a whole range of application file types can be compressed and sent to clients. My httpd.conf file sets the following configuration for the file types handled by mod_gzip:

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/postscript$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/ms.*$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/vnd.*$
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^application/x-javascript$
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*$

This allows Microsoft Office and Postscript files to be GZIP-encoded, while not affecting PDF files. PDF files should not be GZIP-encoded, as they are already compressed in their native format, and compressing them leads to issues when attempting to display the files in Adobe Acrobat Reader.[1] For the paranoid system administrator, you may want to explicitly exclude PDF files.

mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^application/pdf$

Another side-note is that nothing needs to be done to allow the GZIP-encoding of OpenOffice (and presumably, StarOffice) documents. Their MIME-type is already set to text-plain, allowing them to be covered by one of the default rules.

How beneficial is sending GZIP-encoded content? In some simple tests I ran on my Web server using WGET, GZIP-encoded documents showed that even on a small Web server, there is the potential to produce a substantial savings in bandwidth usage. File Size: 3122 bytes File Size: 1578 bytes File Size: 56279 bytes File Size: 16286 bytes

Server administrators may be concerned that mod_gzip will place a heavy burden on their systems as files are compressed on the fly. I argue against that, pointing out that this does not seem to concern the administrators of Slashdot, one of the busiest Web servers on the Internet, who use mod_gzip in their very high-traffic environment.

The mod_gzip project page for Apache 1.3.x is located at SourceForge. The Apache 2.0.x version is available from here.

[1] From

Friday, April 29, 2005

Long Week…off to read for a while…

I have a whole bunch of new books I will be ploughing through this weekend, between being daddy and helping out around the yard.

With any luck, I will get through them this weekend....

Siebel: To buy, or not to buy…ask Oracle!

Oracle to buy Siebel?

1) Siebel sucks.
2) Oracle blows.

Won't this produce a null company?


Scoble notes.

Music: Guilty Pleasures

Ok, I am forced to admit this, thanks to the team from Apple Matters, that I have a copy of the BareNaked Ladies doing the theme from the RoadRunner Cartoons.

As for the New Kids on the Block: there is a 12-step program to help folks with that, as well as BNL doing New Kid on the Block on Gordon.

USA: Why this country is becoming a Third-World Nation

Go team! "I love it when a plan comes together..."


Via Dowbrigade.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Apache: Your host is an idiot

Ok, I broke my Web server and I didn't even notice. I broke it so badly that when it re-started, it didn't even create an access_log. I noticed it a few minutes ago, switched over to my backup Web machine, fixed the problem, and re-launched the primary Web server.

What did I do? I removed the default cURL RPM that came with FC3 and replaced it with cURL compiled from source.

Unfortunately, PHP couldn't find libcurl.

I am amazed the server was still running in any form.

Off to run some more tests...UGH.

Fight the Bull: More BS

The Bullfighters at work.

Press Release
Source: SAP AG
SAP Launches More Than 100 Industry-specific Analytic Applications
Tuesday April 26, 4:00 am ET

SAP(R) Analytics Deliver on Enterprise Services Architecture Commitment COPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SAP AG (NYSE: SAP - News) today unveiled more than 100 industry-specific analytic applications that empower users with innovative new ways to drive core processes and business decisions based on actionable business insight. SAP® Analytics are a new breed of model-driven composite applications that change the analytic application playing field across more than 25 industries. By merging data from SAP and non-SAP applications with business intelligence queries, SAP Analytics eliminate disparate islands of data and seamlessly combine transactional, analytic and collaborative steps across multiple business functions, departments and even organizational boundaries. The announcement was made at SAPPHIRE® '05, SAP's international customer conference, being held in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 26-28.

I need to drive those core processes using model-driven composite applications!

Yeaaaaarrrgh! Brain! Hurts! Must! Flee!

Siebel: PDF is a great format for resumes, according to Adobomedia/Macrodobe!

Shaheen promises restructuring, refocusing at Siebel.


the reference in the title is from this post.

Jeff Nolan goes even more hardcore than I do on Siebel!

Apple: Safari Lead DDoS and Web Performance Threat to RSS?

Om Malik points out a potential threat to blogs: OSX 10.4 "Tiger". The new Safari that ships with this OS comes with the RSS reader turned on by default!

That upgrade while great for the consumers, could come as a big shocker for those blogs whose feeds are included as part of SafariÂ’s default starter package. Infact it could be the biggest stress test for RSS thus far!

Most RSS readers are set to poll for updates every hour, and imagine when half-a-million Tiger Safari users who start hitting a server at the same time, pulling down RSS updates, because they have not changed the default settings. Server meltdown? Or an unintended denial of service? Apple says that most of the default feeds are going to be major news sites like CNN. New York Times, and LA Times. At this time they are not including any personal blogs as part of the default list. Even for them it is not going to be easy.

As a Web performance geek, I ask you: do you measure and monitor the performance and availability of your blog infrastructure?

Didn't think so....

Enjoy the Weekend!

The American Came…And We Kicked Their Ass!

192 years ago, the newly United States invaded Canada.

We turned around and burned the White House down.

Thanks Andrew!

Bill Gates demands more heterosexual foreign engineers

David Weinberger does a mashup on the two big stories out of Redmond this week.

I laughed out loud when I read the title...

Trendmapper Results for ME!

Trendmap for Stephen Pierzchala

I am so boring....

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Siebel: Water pouring along Mariner’s Island Boulevard…and it’s still wet!

Hmmm...looks like Siebel may be in even more trouble! Wow! Shock and amazement! [here]

Stockholders want to drive the value of this turkey up through buybacks, and a group of large shareholders has posted FOR SALE signs in front of the headquarters.

Psssst! Hey buddy! Want to buy a bloated, arrogant and poorly managed company in an industry noted for not providing business value?

More on how I feel here and here and here and here.

Craig’s List: Killing Classified One Click At A Time, Part 2

Ok, now BusinessWeek has found this story...a week later.

Eventually, MSM will be near-time, not historical.

Bill Gates: Bill, the RED pill, not the blue one (H1-B Visas)


Now Bill, I almost sent you to go join Steve in the Bad Boy Billionaire Box (B3 Box) because I thought you wanted to cut back on H1-B visas. [here]

Then I re-read the article, and realized that C|Net was making it seem like you wanted to bar smart folks like me from coming to the US to help you become rich enough to buy Argentina.

You actually want more of us temporary workers here to help you get rich enough to buy all of South America. Sarcasm. Wow, the US doesn't get it.

You're still in the B3 Box, but you might get out in time to watch Desperate Housewives.

Dear Steve Jobs: Please go to your room…


Grow up.


Via David and Johnnie and Geek News Central and Kevin and Dan and Stephen and here...

But Apple could care less about blogs, because they tell us what we want...right?

Think I will be buying the Archos Gmini 200 now.

And I will be gunning for cars without plates in the handicapped spots in the Apple parking lot. [here]

Jobs == King Lear. I like it!

PowerPoint: I will never recover

I just attended an online presentation given by a large software firm outlining the details of their next release.

48 slides. 1 hour.

My brain walked away after slide 2. Most of the room was laughing and telling jokes by slide 5.

Was it effective? Did it communicate the message? Did it make me more confused about their offerings? Was I motivated to buy?

They need Cliff and the BullFighters. On retainer. Full-time.

Industry Analysts: The Beasts Within The Necessary Evil

This post has been slanted by an article I read today about Yankee Group analyst Laura Didio ( bio on the site), and an encounter I had today with a real industry analyst. [James Governor points to this article as well.]

Ms. Didio has been accused of placing a very hard slant towards Microsoft in most of her Operating System analyses, to the point of being almost completely invalid and useless. If Microsoft pays the bill, I don't have a problem with her coming out and indicating where Microsoft server OSes are strong compared to Linux. But to take facts which are inconclusive and then skewing them to favour the client...well, please get out of my office.

Then I was a passive participant in a call with a well-known analyst (no name or firm here). My takeaway frm the call was: I want his job. Not because he had brilliant things to say, or incredible insights to offer, but tbecause he was being paid repulsive sums of money to state the obvious.

I spent most of the meeting shaking my head and wondering how he did it. It was like delivering a monlogue in an echo chamber: he had one thing to say, and anything that our team brought up was routed back to his topic, in a cursory way.

It was clear he had no idea what our company does, what our positioning and strategy are, and how our services could help our customers.

And we paid for this.

The analyst industry is so corrupt and meaningless. I am glad that there are folks like ARmageddon, GartnerWatch, and Analyst Insight out there to expose the industry.

I hate blogging about blogging, but the whole area of analyst research is being eroded and corroded by blogs. Companies are doing their own research using Technorati and Feedster and making their own judgements.

The best way to make analysts extinct is for companies to tell their own story, in their own words, within their own context, and give it meaning.

Analysts have stolen our the ability to find and tell our own stories.

Wiley, if you are sending them out…

...I join Dave Winer in putting my hand up for a review copy of iCon. [here]

Off to buy Bullshit…

The book On Bullshit that is. Solid recommendation here.

Maybe I will sit down and read some books soon!

YET More CRM Hate Goodness

I like these...[here]

What have you asked your CRM or CRM vendor to do for you lately? Has it failed miserably?

What is this Netscape thing?

Some software called "Netscape" has a critical flaw. Never heard of it...

Aerodynamic Theory: A bee can fly

The A380 got off the ground. [here and here and here]

If you have ever been underneath a 747 on landing, as I have been many times (San Mateo, CA is under the flight path of SFO), and wondered how the hell these things stay in the air...imagine seeing an A380 for the first time.

I'm with tipper...Samantha keeps saying "820 people...trying to get out in a hurry...".

Tim Bray agrees with me on this one....

But Tony Goodson still demonstrates unabated enthusiasm for the technology behind it...but he's a brit! ;-)

New Web Server

I built a whole new Web server to host my sites last night. The database is still on the old Web server, but new server has more RAM, larger drive, and is running Linux 2.6, not 2.4.

Let me know if you encounter any issues with this on any of the sites.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Juniper: I want their bank account

Juniper just went nuts and made two really key purchases: Peribit Networks and Redline Networks. [here]

Redline is one of those really cool companies that helps companies balance their load, terminate their SSL traffic and intelligently compress content, all in a single appliance. We have a couple of these at work and the Operations team has been very impressed with them.

We also use a lot of Netscreen technology, which Juniper owns.

Looks like we are becoming a Juniper shop...who woulda thunk that 5 years ago?

Dear Steve Jobs: COOKIE WANT DIS!

Satellite Radio on an iPod? SIGN ME UP!

Blogger Relations

I'm with Dave Winer on this concept...UGH!

Just remember: My thoughts and opinions can be bought for the low price of a 17" Powerbook. ;-)

Roland thinks this will fade away...

Dan Gillmor points out that this IDI has been a paid shill for major telecoms in their fight against muniWiFi.

Hey! The Blog Herald points out that they have their own site for Blogger Relations!

Liberal Party of Corruption

Watch this if you are Canadian...or curious about how we do things up north.

Via canadiancomment and Neale News

WinAMP v. iTunes

I have 6.63GB of music on random in WinAMP right now. I love the mix!

A comment: Now that that the iPod Shuffle is has been sold to its new home, I am very glad to be rid of iTunes. I didn't realize how bad it was until I re-installed WinAMP last night.

Wow. WinAMP has all the features I want. iTunes was non-intuitive and a processor/memory pig. iTunes doesn't play OGG files, so I had to convert a lot of OGG files to MP3.

And if anyone wants to give me a present, and can't afford a 15" or 17" Powerbook, this would be nice! Or this.

Microsoft: Religious Right Leader on Retainer

Ummm...Scoble, care to comment on this?

Via Eschaton.

I agree with Scoble that christianity is founded on solid priciples that we should use as one building block of our moral foundation; but most corporate Christian organizations have made intolerance and the feeling of moral superiority the foundations of their "faith". [here and yes, the case in this sentence is important!]

Microsoft: The Thrill is Gone? Part 2

The lazycoder brings joy to my heart with this. But in some respects, his comments are too narrow.

I have been working directly with right on the tip of the wave tech for over a decade. I have been at least in the front part of the wave with a number of other cool ideas.

In the last year, nothing has given me a tech thrill. Nothing has made me feel the intense love that Internet performance used to.

I am alone? Is the malaise rampant? Is there something out there that can drag all of us out of this deep, dark hole we have fallen into? Or has this cutting-edge, "new! New! NEW!" wave finally reached the beach?

Scobelizer comments on lazycoder.

Neuvo asks the same question I do.

Jeremy wants just one thing from Microsoft to excite him...

Cameron feels that the exodus trend is different from others.

Scoble: In memory of Alan Turing

In this post, where Scoble returns to his unabashed MSFT hyping (YAWN!), he does take time to remind us of Alan Turing.

One of the most influential thinkers in the mathematical, computing and intelligence sciences, Alan Turing was persecuted by the British government for being a gay man.

Did I mention that he was one of the people who finally broke the Enigma code, twice? The original code, and the refactored cipher.

If you ever get the chance, watch the film Breaking the Code. Derek Jacobi, who played Turing onstage for years prior to this film, captures the wide-eyed, yet courageous approach that this man brought to his life.

Orion Multisystems: GET! ME! THIS! MACHINE! NOW!

OMG! 96 processors and 192GB of computing my desk?

C|Net brings us this joyous news.

Excuse me while I wipe up the drool....

Monday, April 25, 2005

Kevin Schofield on the Microsoft/Anti-Discrimination Issue

Last post here on this topic.

Go read Kevin. He got promoted to my list of must reads with this posting.

Unitarian Jihad: Brother Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism

Underlings! you will now refer to me by dark side name:

Brother Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism

Inspired by Jon Carroll.

Linked to by tipperography.

Mass produced by ... whump?

After the Microsoft/Gay Rights fiasco this weekend, today seems to be lighthearted insanity day.

NI: Our Latest Positioning

The Newest Industry
The Newest Industry is a genetically-modified sheep that freezes anything it touches, follows a target of your choice and can heat a small house.

Mmmmm...meat that heats!

You have to use this!

Kind of reminds me of Step Right Up from Small Change.


Microsoft is a bedside table that keeps you warm at night and provides an RSS feed.

google is an electronic implant! It is water-resistant!

Oh man...10 minutes of my life I will never get back...

Via tipperography and bound by gravity

OPERA: Opera CEO starts Atlantic swim

Go John!

"Although I blatantly admit that my promise was based more on joy and enthusiasm than my swimming abilities and physical health, I will do my very best to keep it," he said in a statement.

Tetzchner entered the "freezing Oslo fjord" on Monday and started swimming toward the United States, the company said. Opera's public relations manager, Eskil Sivertsen, is rowing an inflatable boat alongside Tetzchner "as an act of guilt after making the CEO's statement public," according to the Opera Web site.

It remains to be seen whether the CEO will actually complete the ambitious journey.

A map of the executive's planned route features a stopover in Iceland for "Mum's hot chocolate." An update on Tetzchner's swim is planned for Tuesday.

Is it just me, or is Opera the only company in the world that still has a sense of humour? I mean, they did bring the world their unique BORK! version of Opera 7.x.

Go Opera!

Wanted: support for multiple Gmail accounts

Me too, please.

Via geeked and Jeff Nolan.

Speed Enforcement

Driving through Montana has become a helluva a lot more dangerous lately...

Via Doug Kaye

DoubleClick: Gone Private

It's official: DoubleClick is going private. [here and here]

This will be very interesting, especially as DoubleClick starts to feel the heat from AdSense and Yahoo! and any number of other small players.

I wonder if DoubleClick will be releasing an AdSense product, or if they will focus on their current market?


The Street

Dave Winer: The Cross Continental Commute [physical and psychological]

Dave Winer discusses waking up and facing East, not West, to see the ocean. [here]

Conceptually, I am still having difficulty with the idea that the ocean is East of me. For all of my life, it has been West. I grew up in British Columbia, lived on Vancouver Island and the Bay Area, and until 2003, my world faced West across teh Pacific.

Now it faces East, and like so many other things, it is not a comfortable feeling. Perhaps it is time to try and get a job in the UK; at least there, my psychic underpinning would be stronger...and the Ocean would be to the West.

And Dave, what's more disturbing is doing the complete I-90 commute in less than six hours: Logan to Seattle. I have done that a couple of times now, and it still weirds me out.

Les Blogs: Hugh Loves Paris in the Springtime

Hugh, a simple tip: get a better display rack. [here]

And hey...maybe some posters while you're at it?

Doc Searls: Gold Teeth

Doc is trying to show the world that he should be in a piano band at a New Orleans brothel. [here]

The weird thing is that despite trailing Doc by 20 years, and never having a cavity, I only have 20 of my own teeth left.

Drop testing teeth at 20 mph on asphalt is not recommended by the Newest Industry Factory Supervisor...

Vancouver 2010: Logo Cops, you blew it

I am with Chris Corrigan and Johnnie Moore on this: WTF was the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee thinking with this logo?

Ummmm...the Inuit live many miles from Vancouver, despite what most residents of the United States believe. And as Chris points out, there are many vibrant native cultires in the Vancouver and Whistler/Squamish areas which would be able to present a Vancouver more closely aligned with reality than with the frozen fantasy the organizers wish to portray.

This one hits home with me even more, as my younger brother has been working closely with the organizing committee since it's earliest days.

Nice logo; wrong message.

StatCounter: Wow, I am Impressed

So, I have decided to start using StatCounter to track my Web traffic. I have been using a homebrew solution for several years, and while it is useful, it is starting to show the strains of the increasing traffic to my site.

I have seen some great comments on the stats this service collects (follow the discussions here and here),
and the service lives up to its advance billing.

The graphs are amazing; the breakdowns and GEOIP breakdowns are crisp; and the performance is fast.

If you want to see my stats, starting from yesterday, click the StatCounter icon in the right-hand menu.

StatCounter, consider this an endorsement.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Microsoft: Scoble Posts Ballmer’s Memo

Scoble posts Ballmer's memo.

That Microsoft has a legislative agenda scares me. That this bill wasn't on it, and, as such, was then disowned by the company makes the scenario worse.

Steve Ballmer: You control the world's wealthiest corporation. You say you are hardcore for diversity. Then you say:

It's appropriate to invoke the company's name on issues of public policy that directly affect our business and our shareholders, but it's much less clear when it's appropriate to invoke the company's name on broader issues that go far beyond the software industry -- and on which our employees and shareholders hold widely divergent opinions. We are a public corporation with a duty first and foremost to a broad group of shareholders. On some issues, it is more appropriate for employees or shareholders to get involved as individual citizens. As CEO, I feel a real sense of responsibility around this question, and I believe there are important distinctions between my personal views on policy issues and when it's appropriate to involve the company.

You know how many of your most talented current, former and possibly future employees will see this situation. It is a black eye for Microsoft. It shows all of us, those of us who live in the US but are not citizens, as well as the 48% of the population who do not agree with the current leadership, that your compant lacks the moral fiber to take a stand.

I am ashamed to use Microsoft products, because now they aren't about the people who use them; they are about the company's shareholders.

Microsoft: Your money. Our profits. Our shareholder's dividends.

Apple and Microsoft: Why you still make money

Read this description of a hardcore geek's attempt to get SUSE up and running.

I know this nightmare.

Apache: 2.0.54 is out

Get Apache 2.0.54 here.

O’Reilly Radar & Radar O’Reilly

Anyone else noticed the name play by the folks at O'Reilly with their new tech blog?

All Hail The New Microsoft: A link list for the Gay Rights Reversal story

Scoble: "Steve Ballmer wrote us all a note this afternoon about the anti-discrimination bill. I wish he'd post this publicly. It helped clarify a whole raft of issues for me." [Factory Supervisor's Note: What could you possibly clarify Steve Ballmer? You made a bad call and know you are feeling the deserved public heat that results from corporate stupidity and an unwillingness to take a stand.]

An Age Like This


Social Cognition

Homestead Books

Steve's Weblog

Blu Butterfly


Proceed At Your Risk

Technorati Search

Feedster Search


My Comments: here and here

Microsoft: More on the Gay Rights Position

C|Net News has a great breakdown of this issue. [here]

C|Net's Microsoft Blog has more. [here]

Here is the original story in The Stranger.

More in the NY Times.

Now that the bill has been defeated in the Washington State Senate (by a single vote), I no longer have any respect for Microsoft.

Shame on you Microsoft. You are now a complete pariah in my eye. An opportunistic parasite focused on sucking us dry, and not caring about making the world a better place. Your entire bank of social capital has been wiped out by this stupid, and misguided move.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Silicon Valley: The House Prices! The House Prices!

Business 2.0 pulls this nugget out of the SJ Mercury News:

Bill Coleman, CEO of Cassatt and SVLG board chairman, said he's seen the cost of housing have a growing impact on businesses in his three decades in Silicon Valley. When he first arrived, the company he was building could afford to have all its employees locally. But over the years, Coleman said, it became increasingly difficult to pay mid-level employees the salaries they needed to afford the high cost of living in Silicon Valley. With his latest company, Coleman hired groups of engineers in Colorado Springs and Minneapolis, where housing costs are more reasonable. "You can hire really senior people that you can afford to pay big salaries," Coleman said. "Or you can do the Google model and hire lots of people right out of college. But you can't build a company long-term on either of those. You've got to be able to retain folks. And right now, housing costs are forcing those mid-tier employees out of Silicon Valley."


Duh! This news is so 2001....

eBay in Polska/Poland

Good to see that the ancestral homeland now has its own eBay site -- eBay Poland. [here]

Middle Class Poverty: Selling Off the Geek Symbols

Well, the sell-off of my geek gadgets and books is almost complete. The extra BEFSX41 went in the mail yesterday, and the Treo 90 is going in the mail in a few minutes. The iPod Shuffle (1GB) is on eBay right now.

All of this to pay the bills.

Poverty in the middle-class is hell. I hate it.

Atrios on the AMC. And on the definition of "high-income".

Apple: Ambassadors of Mac

Gregory Ng has a great post on being an ambassador for Mac. [here]

The question I have is: Apple, how are you exploiting this devoted team of followers? Are you rewarding them? Encouraging them?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Tim Bray: In BusinessWeek

Tim Bray. In BusinessWeek. On Web Services.


China: Zombie Army Rising

And no, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee is not meeting!

Looks like the rising number of computers in China has lead to a large number of Zombie attacks from this fine nation. [here]

If you have checked your logs lately, this should be as surprising as The Gropenfuhrer taking steroids.

CORAL: A Meme I Want to Ride

The folks at NYU Secure Computing Services have developed a really cool open-source content distribution network (CDN) called CORAL.

This looks as though it has potential for us low-bandwidth hosters who get blasted when our content gets Scobelized or Slashdotted.

Via Jon Udell.

Siebel: Water Still Appears to be Wet; Updates to Follow

Jeff Nolan day here at the NI Factory. He points to an article on why a CRM company named Siebel is having trouble managing customer relationships. [here]

Hmmm...maybe they should engage some Accenture consultants to answer this for them.

RSS Bandit: Sorry FeedDemon

Dare Obasanjo started singing the praises of RSS Bandit yesterday. [here]

I tried it. I'm hooked. Get it.

Sorry Nick.

Microsoft: The Thrill is Gone?

Jeremy Wright, one the main dudes in my blogosphere, hits this one out of the park.

Scoble nailed it: Microsoft simply isnÂ’t thrilling me anymore. They used to. IÂ’ll still happily defend Microsoft when the time is right, will evangelize dozens of products to the right people and so forth. But itÂ’s less joyful, and slightly more forced, than it used to be.

Bingo! This is how I feel. Although I have been antagonistic towards Microsoft over my professional career, there was still something cool happening there.

Scoble says that there are cool things and strategic hires still occurring. [here]

But will you thrill us?

Hugh has some comments on this... [here]

TDavid weighs in here.

US Banking: WTF?

SOGrady has some comments on the US Banking system. [here]

I have yet to figure out the US Banking system. I have lived in this country for 6 years, and what banks do here seems so 19th century. In Canada, when you use the nationally accepted electronic debit system (InterAC), the money is gone from your account. Now. Like, Right Now. Not sometime within the next 1-30 days.

When I pay my bills online, the money is taken out...sometime.

We gave up on electronic transfers from the US to Canada, relying instead on the Ground Yak method: when we move money home, we send a real cheque to our Canadian bank.

How hard can it be? How can the banking system in the US be so outdated that it is the laughing stock of third-world nations?

Please...I really want to know.

DoubleClick: Going Private


This is an interesting rumour/bit-o-news. Would be interested to see what happens here, as I have been following DoubleClick for a while.

Via alarm:clock.

C|Net chimes in...a day late and a dollar short.

Adobomedia/Macrodobe: A RUTHLESS Translation

Heh. Indeed.

Read this and enjoy.

Via Tim Bray.

The Rentier State

John Robb:

While I was away, the Republicans have continued their push to create a neo-Victorian America with:

  • the anti-entrepreneurial "Indentured Servitude" law

  • the "American Aristocracy" tax reduction

  • and a crackdown on moral turpitude in the media

Of course, Victorianization wouldn't be complete without a good dash of hypocrisy. More signs that are becoming a rentier state with abandon...

I like John. Of course, he helped found the company I work for, so I do owe him a debt of gratitude.

Do you accept PayPal, John?

Urban Blight: The Exodus From California Cities

Jeff Nolan and I have had our differences, mainly over Prop. 13. But his posting that links to an article listing the reasons why people are fleeing California cities (or the state entirely) is heartening.

Not for California. But for those of us who decided that we couldn't stay there and live in one of the world's richest economies, and tolerate a third-world public infrastructure.

Craig’s List: Killing Classified One Click At A Time

The cadre at Geek News Central links to an article called simply Craig Who?

Classifieds are dead to me. I never look at them. My wife wants to have a latin inscription above our door that reads: This home furnished by Craig's List (in Italian: Questa sede ammobiliata da List del Craig).

Yet another sign that newspapers and media companies may not be getting the message quite yet.

Hey! More on this happy story here!

XCache Technologies: Still Kicking in the Pacific Northwest

Wayne Berry and the crew at XCache Technologies is still kicking, with their interesting mix of software and hardware HTTP compression solutions.

The software is designed for IIS/ISA, while the hardware is a front-end for Web servers.

I had a chance to meet Wayne a few years ago, and was impressed by his dedication to Web performance. He also encouraged me to write some of the articles that you see at WebPerformance.ORG.

Check them out if you are looking for an IIS compression solution.


I am not paid or compensated in any way to promote the products of XCache Technologies.

Microsoft: Caving to the Right-Wing Demagogues

I really try to stay away from political issues, as I am considered an enemy alien living in the US at the will of the DHS.

But if ANYTHING stated in this article is even remotely true, Microsoft has shown that it is morally bankrupt.

I would love to hear some comments from Scoble, Mini-Microsoft, Charlie Kindel, or Dare Obasanjo.

If this is a true reflection of Microsoft's approach to openess and acceptance, I take back any positive things I said yesterday.

I want this to not be true. Please tell me this is not true.

Scoble says he is definitely not going to be happy if this is true.

Mini-Microsoft agrees with Scoble and me. This in and of itself is worthy of a comment: that the three of us agree on anything means that a plague of locusts is likely to descend on my garden.

Although I want to hear what BGates and SBallmer have to say on this.

PowerPoint: Evil, Doom and Desperation

Cliff Atkinson points out how the PowerPoint Nazis rule corporate life. [here]

Cliff's message in Beyond Bullets is simple: escape the drudgery of a point-by-point breakdown your ideas. Tell a story. May it evocative, descriptive, invigorating, or even scary. If the audience hears a story, it is far more likely that they will remember what you said, rather than the quality of your PowerPoint Template.

I personally hate PowerPoint. I use it; but I hate it. I get most passionate when I can take a real-world example and explain it to my audience, and link it back to the core concept I am talking about. When I do that, I never look at the slide, I look at the audience.

If you spend more time looking at your own slides, or even the printed handouts you have in front of you, you might as well not be there. Your audience needs to feel that you are the one speaking to them, not Faceless Corporation, Inc.

Beyond Bullets ties directly into the concepts you can read at Scott Jones' blog. As a member of the SalesBuilders team, they have helped moved solution and consultative selling to a new level. But the trick to this is that you have to develop a relationship with the person you are selling to (Parts 1, 2, and 3).

For introverted geek types, like myself, the hardest part of relationships is the relating part. But if you have a compelling story, and a means to show how compelling the story is, then the difficulties simply melt away.

Find the one topic you can talk to hours on, and live that message.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Microsoft Exodus — My thoughts

There has been a lot of commentary on the departure of Lenn Pryor from Microsoft.

This is sort of an unusual topic for me, as for years, people have heard me preach that I would never work for Microsoft. But I am now saddened to see some of the signs of decay and inertia that have affected other large technology giants.

It was an innovative company. Parts of it still are. Microsoft dominates large portions of the server market, as well as having a complete control of the desktop ecosystem. All other desktops are "me toos", although the Apple crowd will dispute this. But Apple develops many things because they know that Microsoft will, not because they are being innovative.

So, what now? A new OS? New Apps? What is Microsoft going to do to define the next 20 years of computing?

Or will they? Or have they run their course? Are they a foundation, not a spire?

Microsoft will be re-born. As what, I don't know. But in 10 years, it will not be the same company we have known for the last 20 years.

Or it will be gone.

DoubleClick — A Decade in Online Advertising

Adrants links to a DoubleClick Report on the Decade in Online Advertising. [here]

A wealth of statistics on the advertising we love to hate. As well, the report has the coolest graph tracing the history of the Internet Boom I have seen.

Follow this story on Technorati.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Good News From The Vatican

Bendict XVI, in his first act as Pope, has promoted Cardinal Law...

...Cardinal Law is the first Cardinal to represent the new Arch-Church of Antarctica. A well-deserved move.

Benedict XVI — WHOOPS!

Ummm...Ratzinger? [here]

Roman Catholic Church: Now serving 1 Billion 900 Million 500 million 115 Souls

Very bad strategic move for the church.

BL Ochman ties the new pope to Nostrodamus. [here]

I’ll Add My Voice to M. David’s Comments


The browser doesn't matter anymore. So get on with it, and develop something interesting.

M. David's rant.

I use browsers in this order:

  • Firefox: 60%

  • FeedDemon: 25%

  • MSIE: 10%

  • Opera: 5%

I am likely not alone. FeedDemon is my RSS reader and it is built on MSIE. Firefox is used for browsing, and I don't do much of that anymore. Opera is for random Web development and other weirdness.

But in five years, browsers will be used infrequently, as desktop information integration over HTTP becomes the norm.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Siebel CEO Says They Can Do Better

Jeff Nolan sums it up nicely:

gee, ya think?

He is referring to the C|Net Article here.

Siebel is a company that just epitomizes the arrogance and greed that ran the valley for those fleeting years, and that has been punished so mightily since 2000.

I do not hold a warm place in my heart for Siebel.

Adobe Buys Macromedia: Bullshit and Dinosaurs

Kottke has a great summary of the links for the Adobomedia/Macrodobe story here.

In my opinion, this quote sums up what is wrong with this merger.

The combination of Adobe and Macromedia strengthens our mission of helping people and organizations communicate better. Through the combination of our powerful development, authoring and collaboration tools – and the complementary functionality of PDF and Flash – we have the opportunity to drive an industry-defining technology platform that delivers compelling, rich content and applications across a wide range of devices and operating systems. [here]

The Adobe and Macromedia Marketing/Press Relations teams need the help of the Bullfighter software.

Flash makes web products that are great for online games...and useless for anything else. Adobe makes a PDF reader, which I can replace with any number of free readers.

I can feel gravity dragging this merger into the pit of despair.

I agree with Om Malik and Russell Beattie -- I vote "-1" on this merger.

More here and here and here and here

Richard Koman says this is a good deal...Flash on Mobile devices merged with a lighter version of Acrobat.

Sramana Mitra says that Apple should buy Adobe now. [here]

Strategize says Adobe everywhere, all the time. [here]

Roland Tanglao quotes Marc Canter, who is happy to see Macromedia disappear.

More from Roland here.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Long Weekend

Spent Saturday prepping for a yard sale, and today we executed on the plan. Lot's of geek books went cheap to deserving homes: a former full-time Linux admin who has been downgraded to working in a liquor store by the economy, and a grad student who nearly cried when he saw what I was selling cheap.

Also sold the 1970 iPod (Pioneer S-3500 Receiver/Turntable), and a bunch of records.

It's amazing what people will buy.

Off to bed...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Oracle apostles removed from companies bearing their names.

First Gupta was removed from Gupta.

Then Siebel was removed from Siebel.

Just a thought...

Siebel and Accenture..? Hmmmm

Scott Jones posits a possible relationship (M&A?) between Accenture and Siebel. [here]

I find this connection completely plausible and may be one way for Siebel to claw it's way out of the hole it's in.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wrong-Brained Amazon UI

Seth Godin points out that Amazon has moved their buy button from the natural righ-hand column to the nerve-jangling, eye-ball focused left-hand column. [here]

I don't like it. Not one bit. Change it back.

The freaky thing is that when I went to Amazon, Freakonomics, the book that Seth screenshot for his post, is the one that popped up on my main screen.

GSK Getting Sued over Paxil/Seroxat Information

Hmmm, looks like GSK can't shake the bad news that seems to follow Paxil/Seroxat wherever it goes. [here]

If I wasn't addicted to the stuff, I would be worried.

Stupid MySQL Injection Attack

Someone exploited a hole in the version of MySQL I was running (4.1.10) this morning by sending the following malformed URL:

You can try it now, but it does not cause the database to crash anymore, because I have upgraded to MySQL 4.1.11.


Comcast DNS Outages More Severe than Previously Thought

Now, I never even heard about this Comcast outage until this morning. [here]

One reason that I likely didn't notice it is that I run my own caching name servers on my home network. I do this because I have never trusted any provider's overworked name servers (goes back to the history of the industry I work in; more on that some other time).

This is still a fairly crippling outage. Surely there is some redundancy in the Comcast name server infrastructure...please?

There is a list of possible workarounds to this problem linked from here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Scoble Wants a Powerbook! Me First, DAMMIT!

Neuvo reports that Scoble wants a Powerbook.

Get the *&&^^%##$%#^%()*)()*(&*& outta my way Scoble! I'm first in line for Powerbooks!

Someone else scores a new Powerbook! [here]

Damn you! Damn you all!

BillG Spends Too Much Time Blowing Glass — Sees Dinosaurs

Obviously BillG has spent too much time blowing glass with Dale Chiluhy; no oxygen getting to his brain.

BillG believes that the dinosaur campaign was good! [here]

Siebel Still in Trouble; Water Still Wet

Siebel changed CEOs...again. [here]

It's at times like this that I still wish I worked for my former employer, as it's offices are directly across the street from Siebel's headquarters. Not much room to hide the bodies though.

More happiness on Siebel. [here]

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

For CEOs and Programmers


Part 1 of this series is a phrase book of programmer-speak.

Part 2 is the meaning of “done” and how to know when you’ll get there. There’s another Bill Gates story here as well.

Part 3 is about features that kill projects.

Part 4 is about super debuggers.


Managing Non-Technical CEOs

Managing Technical CEOs

The Managing the Technical CEO is some very fine writing.

This is your host on South Park

'Nuff said. Make yourself South Park here.

Courtesy of Jack Vinson.

Man, what a &^*&^^$#^%$*&(*&*(^^% waste of ^*^$%#%#@&(^&^(&)&(* time!

Running Apache/2.0.54 [DEV]

Running a dev/release candidate version of Apache 2.0.54. Let me know if you see any weirdness.

Spring is in the Air; Recruiters are Everywhere

Mailbox is getting a number of these requests on a daily basis, most are from automated trawling that I mark as spam.

A few haven't bother to check that I am Canadian.

A few actually want to talk.

Anyone else seeing activity a la 1999 recently?

Hank Stringer has, of course...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Offline most of next three days

I am in a Sales Meeting for the next three days, so postings will be light until the evenings.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

TypePad Hosted Blogs Unavailable?

Either FeedDemon has developed a serious problem, or my network route the TypePad Blog servers (not their Marketing site) is broken because I cannot get any TypePad blogs right now.

Anyone else having the same issue? Was this a planned maintenance?

Never mind, they're back.

Top Ten reasons why your employees quit

I love this. [here]

Reason 9, 8, 4, and 3 are the reasons why I am looking for new challenges.

via Conference Calls Unlimited.

New theme

Yes, I have gone with the crazy basic WP-like theme on the blog.

There are some issues with the AdSense locations, and I will need to tweak that a bit, but I like it!

Comments Welcome.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Web Performance Geek Wants to Help Internet 2.0 Companies

Been a very long week. Cameron has been coughing his way through the night with a chronic ailment that no doctor has been able to diagnose, Kinnear has his second ear infection in two weeks (even after SERIOUS antibiotics), and I have been run down with this virus of doom that has been chewing its way through the Northeast over the last month.

This has seriously affected my mood. Not a lot of positive spin happening at work these days, and I haven't been motivated to take on any new cool projects. It's almost as though I have reached the "What's Next?" point.

So, what is next. James Governor asked me what I wanted to do next this morning. I came up with a lame answer, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am really not sure what I have left to contribute.

As a Web performance geek, I feel that I have topped out my game. I have spent 6 years do high pressure Web performance analysis, and the problems are the same. How can an industry that is so cutting edge spend 6 years not learning anything?

The one thing that I would love to do is apply my Web performance geekiness to the new internet. Firms such as Flickr, Typepad, Google, etc. need Web performance far more than Internet 1.0 companies did. I would rather work on these new problems than solve the problems of companies that still don't get Internet 1.0.

So, if there are any Internet 2.0 companies with an Web performance and optimization challenge, I would love to work with you. Resume's in the right-hand column.

The Vision Thing Wants Your Unhealthy Work Environment Stories

What more do I have to say? The Vision Thing is a great blog and they are looking for your horror stories. [here]

I don't have any true nightmares, other than vacillating VPs who think they drive strategy, when in fact they only drive us to drink.

I can't wait to hear about the TPS reports...

AfriNIC Approved!

YeeHaa! Congrats and welcome to the neighbourhood! [here]

GrabIP has had AfriNIC included as a top-level domain for obtaining WHOIS information for about a month now. But it is nice to see it become official.

And the new AfriNIC site is very smooth!

Cisco Interested in NorTel?

Om Malik is bouncing this idea around. [here]

As I said to a colleague, the deal can only go ahead if NorTel shows its "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.

IPv4 Exhaustion Timelines

Joi Ito, at the ICANN meetings in Brazil, has posted some interesting comments and links regarding the exhaustion of the IPv4 Space. [here]

The growth in private IP Spaces has helped stave off this exhaustion, even through the massive growth in the home broadband and mobile markets. I forsee a compromise coming shortly where IPv6 is used between Network Transit Providers, while IPv4 is reserved exclusively for customer-facing usage.

Just another of my hare-brained ideas...

Damien Katz on Reading Code.

Damien Katz says:

"Reading code is WAY harder than writing it"

I've heard that before, and I read that again today on a discussion board. My experience is the opposite, but then I've read a lot of code over the years, my brain is trained to do it. And writing good code isn't easy, it takes planning, discipline and meticulous attention to details.

But perhaps my world is different from most developers. Do people generally think that's true?


I can't code my way out of a paper bag, but reading well-written code is very easy for me. Can't explain.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Gomery goes public; My Web server breathes a sigh of relief

I am impressed that my underpowered Web server survived the onslaught of Gomery-hungry Canadians.

And thank you very much to the folks who made donations to contribute to maintenance and bandwidth costs.

Looking forward to watching the Liberals suffer in the bear pit of their own heritage.

Blogger gets flamed

Wired is the latest to flame this thrashing monster in the Google family.

Courtesy of Dave Winer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Siebel Misses Q1 Numbers

My heart bleeds... [here]


This is one company I will not not miss.

More Siebel commentary here.

Brad Feld on Zen Judaism

Being neither Jewish nor Buddhist, I still found these funny.

I add one more to the list...

What is the sound of one hand clapping? And how will you reach enlightenment with hands that dirty?

Google Discretely Approves Indexing of Video Porn

No, this is not a shameless attempt to drive me to the top of the rankings. It is a legitimate comment on a quiet little secret of the new Google Video Search.

Google co-founder Larry Page has announced that the company wants the public to send in its homemade videos - and he doesn'tÂ’t mind how naughty they are.

“There might be an adult section, or something like that. I don’t think that is going to be a big issue,” Page told attendees at the National Cable and Telecommunications Show in San Francisco on Monday, where he was speaking on a panel.

Ouch! John Cheesman points out the HR nightmare that this will pose.

Then again, Google is just admitting what no other respectable online firm will: Internet porn is a huge untapped market for services.

Porn has been the innovator in the internet. It was the Commercial Internet for a long time. But none of the Web services firms are willing to approach or admit that they have major online adult entertainment companies as clients.

As a Web measurement geek, I have always seen this niche as a gold mine. Adult entertainment sites live or die on Web performance. Developers for adult sites are able to push the limits and demand more from their applications. They want to know where and how people connect to their site. They need to optimize their code and image/streaming delivery like few other sites do.

It's time to get off the ivory tower and accept that adult entertainment could drive the online services revenue opportunity for a long time to come.

More CRM Madness

Scott Jones links to an article from Accenture that once again highlights that CRM software is not the problem, it's the planning and expectations that revolve around CRM solutions where the the industry fails.

It's 3 years old, but still relevant today.

Riffing on Apple — Fusion Branding on Brands v. Customers

Given the amount of flack that I have been giving the folks at Apple lately (great products; arrogant marketing), it was refereshing to read this by Nick Wreden over at Fusion Brand.

Which are more valuable – your brands or your customers?

The choice represents an important strategic issue. If you answered brands, then you’ll no doubt devote attention to increasing the value of your brands. You’ll pay homage to such concepts as “brand equity,” “brand image” and other buzzwords. You may even pay consultants who promise to refurbish your “brand architecture,” defined by David Aaker as "that which organizes and structures a brand portfolio
by specifying brand roles and the nature of relationships between them and their markets."

Unfortunately, that answer is wrong.

Ouch! Nick hits the whole Apple conundrum in a short article. Reading David Sobotta's comments on Apple's failed attempts to sell to the Federal Government helps to highlight the fatal flaw in Apple's marketing plan: you will buy our stuff because we say it's cool.

Sorry, your customers and fanatics are what drive your business and allow Steve Jobs to tear down historic houses to build modernistic monsters in Woodside. And if you can't sell to the federal, state, or local governments, the average consumer is all you have left, isn't it?

Benchmarking Web Sites — A Re-Examination

Back in November, I mentioned that I was working on the idea of new ways to benchmark the success of online businesses in today's more mature operational environment. I am still working on the base ideas, but a colleague of mine has helped me coalesce some ideas, and they are now forming the foundation of the concepts my company will begin using internally to more deeply understand the various Web performance benchmarks we monitor.

For those who use the existing Web performance benchmarks to determine the success and failure of your online business, you understand how thin the veneer is on these benchmarks. They do not provide true insight into the operational success of an online business, and they are more likely to sow the seeds of distrust between IT and Business operations in the long-term by creating an artificial standard which becomes the goal.

If an online business truly wants to achieve and maintain exemplary Web performance numbers, it has to start with a strong foundation, and build on it. Why? The team I work with spends a lot of time trying to understand and reverse engineer the broken processes, designs, and architectures that were laid out in order to get big fast. After 3-4 years of technical starvation and underfunding, these online businesses are beginning to show strain; the temporary fix has become the permanently broken process.

The rush into the Web analytics space in the last few weeks is a key sign that companies now see value in and want to exploit the vast quantities of data that they collect on their traffic daily. Web analytics is an astoundingly complex field, but most people boil it up to a single concept: How many Unique Page Views did I get?

Unique Page Views is an outdated Web server analytics metric. It does not tell me anything about the business, other than it has a lot of traffic. Back in the "eyeballs are everything" period, this would have been a big deal. Now, I say so what, and start asking:

  • From where

  • Dialup? Broadband?

  • How many were able to successfully complete their transactions?

  • What paths are most visited

  • Average spend by connection type?

  • Average spend by hour?

  • etc.

Like Unique Page Views, the average Web performance and availability of a Web page or transaction does not accurately represent the overall health of any online business. Within the large populations of data that exist at the Web measurement firms, there is a wealth of data that could be used to clearly expose more important benchmarking statistics.

If you are from an online business, you already understand that the average performance over an artificially-defined period of time is a very inaccurate way to measure the success of the online business. However, it is the accepted standard in the field. Underlying those aggregated values, there are clearly-defined statistical methods which can be used to extract even more meaningful information from the mass of measurement data.

I would discuss more of the ideas and concepts that we are working on, but I know that I do get visitors from our competitors, so I will have to keep our ideas under wraps for right now.

But I want to hear yours. What does your online business use as a benchmark for success? Standard avergae performance and availability? Or something more complex that examines the performance data as a complete population, as opposed to an aggregated summary value? Does your firm tie business goals and objectives into the performance benchmarks so that people across the company can understand how the business is succeeding, and how delivering a good, bad, and downright awful online performance experience can affect the bottom line?

This is an exciting time to have access to large amounts of data on the health of the Internet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Quoted in Slate

One of my off-the-cuff comments just got picked up and published in Slate. [here]

Thanks to New World Man for telling me to look there.

House full of sick people…

Our entire household is sick with the last vestiges of the winter cold (or maybe it's Avian Flu).

I am off to bed. Be good in the comments...

Oh Look! Let’s Charge Everyone in Canada!

Damn! The Feds are nuts. How are they going to prosecute a million-plus people for doing this? [here]

I know why the publication ban: criminal trials and jury selection. The optics of the publication ban made it a target for leaks.

Frankly, the Liberals and all of their appointees might as well start looking for new positions.

Oh, and for the readers from the US: The Liberals are actually a lot more small-"c" conservative than the name applies.

Smart People & Stupid Ideas

Scott Berkun's monthly essay is on the topic of why and how Smart People defend Bad Ideas. [here]

I have been in and seen people in these situations many times in my life. One of the great faculties we as human beings have is that which allows us to make decisions and then defend them.

But because you have arrived at an idea, doesn't mean that it is the right idea. New evidence, further discussion and growing experience will affect the answer you give to the same question at ages 20, 40 and 60.

However, where I see this happening most right now is at Apple. To say it is a new phenomenon would be ignoring history. Steve Jobs Computers and Electronic Gadgets, Inc. has had a history of saying "we're right and the customer is stupid.".

Eventually, this attitude will catch up with them, and they will get to spend 4-5 years clinging to life, until they are able to generate a new whizbang gadget to pull them back from the edge. I am starting to see the rumblings of discontent from the Apple Fanatic community: Apple is their friend until they wander "off-message". Then they are loose cannons that must be silenced.

Smart people defending stupid ideas. I know that some folks from Apple Inc have stopped by to read my postings. The question is whether they are brushed off as the ramblings of a lunatic who doesn't use an Apple computer (YET!), or if it has sparked some internal conversation.

If Apple has not noticed the rumblings of discontent, then they are far more insular than I have heard them described.

Apple, let the other people out in the world who use and love your products talk about them freely. Let someone else invent the idea for a change. Steve Jobs will not live forever; and based on Apple's success without Jobs, I believe that you need to apply an old ad slogan to yourselves now:

Think Different


Dear Darren, et al. (al.):

Thanks for linking to the new Google Maps Satellite Feature. [here]

It's 7:15AM EDT, and I can go home knowing that my geek nature has been fulfilled for the day.
My House from Space

PS: The arrow is at the wrong end of the block. I suppose that doesn't matter with an ICBM...

Gomery: Friday’s Testimony

Ok folks, you're sucking my bandwidth dry. If you would like to keep a US-based Canadian online and able to cost-effectively serve up publication ban happiness, please consider donating to the cause!

PayPal Donation link in the right-hand column!


Captain's Quarter Blog! (c/o Autonomous Source.)

And my Web Traffic looks like that of the Autonomous Source. So, if you can, donate to keep the aging Industry hardware running, and the Bandwidth Demons at bay.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Servers survive onslaught — Back to normal tomorrow

The Gomery postings have drawn a huge amount of traffic to my server. It's been fun to watch the numbers explode all day.

I will return to normal blogging tomorrow.

Nice! Gomery Attacks Bloggers!

I love this! One of the few reasons why being in the US makes me feel better slamming this topic!

Mike Brock on the Attack: Gomery Considering Charging Bloggers

Gomery Testimony Leak: First-Hand Verification

Ok folks, you're sucking my bandwidth dry. If you would like to keep a US-based Canadian online and able to cost-effectively serve up publication ban happiness, please consider donating to the cause!

PayPal Donation link in the right-hand column!


Apparently, there has been direct verification that the report on the Captains Quarter's blog got the main facts of the Brault testimony correct. [here]

Link removed from origin site due to threat of legal action in Canada.

I always did enjoy Spring elections...

To Hell With Scoble: I was Gomery-ized!

Canadians Are hungry for Gomery news. My Web server has seen more traffic today than it has in a very long time, and today is likely to be one of, if not the, busiest days in a long time.

bound by gravity continues the Gomery Link-o-Rama. He saw 3522 hits on Sunday...his server will likely meltdown later today.

Could be an interesting day in Canada. If I were Paul Martin, I would call the election now, before anything else gets out. He'll be lucky to save his own seat.

Mainstream Media Links:

Globe & Mail

Hits for April 2005

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Want Gomery? Can’t Wait for Tomorrow?

Ok folks, you're sucking my bandwidth dry. If you would like to keep a US-based Canadian online and able to cost-effectively serve up publication ban happiness, please consider donating to the cause!

PayPal Donation link in the right-hand column!


Why wait until tomorrow when the BQ reads Friday's Gomery Testimony into the Hansard Record during Question Period? Get all your Gomery Rumour and innuendo in the US media and blogs...and from ex-pats who are out-of-country and can say any damn thing they want on the topic.

Frankly, I think that the Liberal Government should fall. It was a shock to me that they managed to hang on to a minority. In a new election, Quebec won't be so nice to them, and Western Canada will be shocked by the Quebec favouritism and vote en-masse for the Conservatives, with the NDP picking up some scraps in BC, Ontario and the Maritimes.

Chretien should be made to pay it all back -- all $1 billion+ he and his cronies stole from the Canadian people.

Frankly, Canada is just a giant deep pit of greed. Moving to Europe is looking more and more like the only way to escape the stupidity of the Americas.