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                          Archive for Feb 2003


                          A Few Mac Updates: Clicker and Konfabulator

                          I gave up on Clicker, at least for a little while. The trial ran out and I suspect it was making my machine unstable (at least Aqua). There are some reports on that and I started experiencing some weirdness after installing it. There's a new version out, but they want $10. I'll probably pick it up and try it out I'll let you know. I also started playing around with Konfabulator at Colin Kelly's suggestion. Its pretty cool. Javascript and XML lead to interesting little applets. I like the clock, calendar, picture frame and weather applets. I didn't like
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                          XML for First Responders

                          Earlier, I wrote about XML for criminal justice. Today I found a reference to XML for first responders (they say emergency management). Here are some of the initiatives that look interesting: Common Alerting Protocol which is billed as a standard method should be developed to collect and relay instantaneously and automatically all types of hazard warnings and reports locally, regionally and nationally for input into a wide variety of dissemination systems. Automatic Crash Notification Initiative which would be used in a system like OnStar so that your car can notify the police when its been in an accident. Emergency
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                          Our Network is for Selling Mops

                          I was telling this story to someone the other day and they suggested that I ought to write it down, so I decided it might make a good blog article. In 1994, a friend of mine, Steve Fulling, was in Oregon building a statewide, high-speed network to connect the state's engineering schools at DS3 speeds (for you youngsters that was pretty fast in 1994). The project was called NeroNet. Steve talks about how they'd sit around the conference room hypothesizing things that people might do with a high-speed network. They came up with lots of lofty ideas: exchanging x-rays,
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                          SB 151: Utah's New CIO Act

                          The Utah Legislature is debating a new CIO statute for the State: Senate Bill 151. The bill clears up some long-standing problems which had plagued the CIO's office: The IT Commission is abolished and a cross branch coordinating body called the Utah Technology Commission is established in its place. If the UTC can tackle the cross branch IT coordination problem, particularly with respect to policy, this will be a positive step. The planning process is changed to be top-down (CIO creates strategic plan and agencies follow rather than the CIO merely aggregating agency plans). Rule making and policy making
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                          eBusiness Lecture

                          I gave my guest lecture at the Rollins Center today. Actually I gave the same lecture twice, once at 2pm and once at 4pm. Before the first lecture I was able to have lunch with some of the staff and students in the Center. The experience was very enjoyable. Here's a copy of my slides from the lecture.
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                          HB 240 Update

                          HB 240 passed the house today 68 to 1! I'm very surprised. Many old hands thought this was going to be an uphill battle. Its not over yet; there's still the Senate and then the Governor. The word is that Sen. Valentine is the lead in the Senate and seems positive and supportive, after a number of meetings. The Governor's office has received more email on this one bill than any of the others. Send mail, faxes, and emails to your senator. And, of course, the Governor's office.
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                          Automation as a Competitive Advantage

                          I spent the last two days with a working group of people from a number of companies looking to create a product (company) that provides more automation for enterprise application integration and the programming tasks associated with it. The great paradox of automation is that it leads to productivity gains and at the same time also increases quality because of greater repeatability. This has been and will continue to be a bitter pill for IT employees to swallow. In that sense, they're no different than workers in other industries. The automobile workers resisted automation with everything they had until
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                          Scary

                          My computer scared me this morning. As I walked in my office, James Taylor suddenly started singing "Walking Man."
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                          eBusiness Trend Keywords

                          I've been thinking about what I'm going to say tomorrow in my lectures at the Rollins Center for eBusiness. My original working title was "Life as a CIO" but that didn't really capture what I wanted to say. I've put a talk together that talks about current hotspots (as I see them) in information technology and their impact on the enterprise. Here are the things I'm going to mention. Any that I'm forgetting? Blogging Instant messaging Digital identity Wireless connectivity Web Services and XML IT Hierarchy of Needs Virtual Networks of Demand The idea of the talk is to
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                          Your Phone as a Proxy for Presence

                          One of my pet feature requests is the ability to use my Bluetooth enabled phone to indicate presence. The idea is simple. Rather than having to manually click on "available" or "checkback later" in iChat, I want it to select automatically based on whether or not my Buetooth-enabled T68i phone is near-by. Since I always have it with me, its a convenient proxy for my presence. Someone has recently solved this problem, or at least the hard part. Today, Will Cox points me to Sony Ericsson Clicker a handy program that let's you use a Bluetooth phone to control
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                          HB 240: Fund of Funds

                          I've written before about Utah House Bill 240. HB240 would create a fund of funds for Utah's venture capital community backed by contingent tax credits. The article in the Deseret News discusses some of the actions and reactions related to the bill. This bill is important to the high tech community in Utah and it needs your support. Write or call your legislators and send an email to the Governor's office. Let them know you support the bill and ask them to. Update: HB 240 passed out of committee this afternoon which means it will be considered by the
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                          Being Smart About Business Intelligence

                          Many companies have achieved considerable success in using BI (business intelligence) tools. Wal-Mart, General Electric, and Cisco have all expended huge sums on BI solutions, and give these systems a great deal of credit in helping them successfully manage their business. Siebel Systems, by virtue of tight controls on processes and doing things right from the start, has also created an internal BI system that is a model for what many companies are trying to do. [Full story at InfoWorld.com...] I've started to write an occasional article for InfoWorld. I'm excited to be able to write about enterprise computing
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                          InfoPath (or XDocs)

                          In this InfoWorld article, Jon Udell gives the 10 things you should know about InfoPath (ne'e XDocs). There are a couple of points I thought deserved emphasis: The product includes a full-blown DOM, not just a SAX API which means that you should be able to manipulate the XML, not just read it, from an outside program. There's a visual XSLT tool. As Jon points out, XSLT is powerful, but difficult to use (unless you're a Prolog programmer---then its old hat). InfoPath can generate a schema from an XML snippet. You may not want to use this generated schema
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                          Utah Sentate Computer Problems

                          This article from the Deseret News reports a computer failure in the Utah Senate that kept Senators from conducting business. I guess even government needs reliable computers. While I certainly think the topic of the article is fair game, I think it takes a cheap shot at Greg Johnson, the IT manager for the Senate. The article talks about "the glitch-free House," which seems like a way of rubbing salt in the wound. I think its unfair to single Greg out when the problem probably has more to do with a lack of resources than any deficiency in his
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                          Lecture at Rollins eBusiness Center

                          I'll be giving two lectures (at 2pm and 4pm) at the Rollins Center for eBusiness at BYU on February 26th. This is part of their guest lecture series. My topic will be "Life as a CIO," I think. The center is endowed, in part, by Kevin Rollins, COO of Dell who is a BYU alum.
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                          Linux Networx and Bernard Daines

                          In 1996, someone named Bernard Daines came to BYU, where I was teaching, and gave a talk about a brand new company he'd founded named "Packet Engines." Packet Engines made the first gigabit ethernet switch. Since I was chair of the capital equipment committee, I bought one. We had one with a very low chassis number. I didn't realize at the time, that Bernard had founded Grand Junction and sold it to Cisco in 1995. He'd later sell Packet Engines to Alcatel amid some controversy (for some interesting reading, see this article on Bernard Daines). I've recently discovered two
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                          Book Review: IT Web Services by Alex Nghiem

                          Last week, I mentioned that I was reading a book called IT Web Services: A Roadmap for the Future by Alex Nghiem (pronounced "neem"). I've worked my way through it and have some comments. Nghiem is the President of a consulting company called Blue Samba Solutions. The first five chapters of the book are the requisite introduction to web services. If you already have a good handle on it, you can probably just skim this or even skip it altogether. On the other hand, its well written and it managed to clear up a few cloudy issues for me.
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                          SLC Public Library

                          I needed to meet with some folks in downtown Salt Lake today and didn't have immediate access to a meeting facility, so I had them meet me at newly opened public library. If you're local and haven't seen it yet, you really ought to visit---its a great facility. Plenty of meeting space, study tables, reservable conference rooms, and even some retail space for newspapers, comics, coffee, and cards. Its right across from the Salt Lake City building on 4th South. As an aside, Jon Udell's library lookup service works for this library.
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                          Public Service Tip No. 5: Avoid the 'L' Word

                          This story is part of a ongoing series of tips and advice for private sector people who might be considering a stint in public service. See the feature page for an index to the complete set. This InfoWeek story is about state budget shortfalls and what that means to IT managers in the private sector. The article says that tight budgets mean that public sector IT directors face the same tough decisions that their private sector peers do. That's not true: they face worse choices. To understand why, you have to understand a fundamental principal of public management: sacrifice
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                          GXA: Is Any of it Real?

                          Patrick Logan sent me an email in response to my GXA posts asking an important question: is any of this real? I have to admit that I started looking at GXA not because of some special insight that it was the real thing, but only with the thought that the issues being addressed are real and this was as good a place as any to start my study. A quick search on google for "WS Routing" yields sample code, an experimental implementations and a sample client plus the specification references. So, at least with respect to routing, a cursory
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                          GXA Components: WS Routing

                          I've been cataloging the GXA specifications and trying to provide my own roadmap to what's happening in that area. I've created an index to the articles under "Global XML Web Services Architecture." Today, the topic is the web service routing specification. WS Routing provides an extension to the SOAP envelop for describing the route that a particular message should take. The protocol can be used to describe the ordered path from the originator of the message, through multiple intermediaries to the final destination. For example, in the following diagram, A is the originator, D is the receiver, and B
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                          IT Web Services

                          I just picked up a copy of a book called IT Web Services: A Roadmap for the Future by Alex Nghiem (pronounced "neem"). I was anxious to read this for a few reasons. First, there are a couple of interesting looking chapters on web services networks and web services architectural patterns. Second, this is part of the Harris Kern series which has been traditionally aimed at issues in building rock-solid reliability in IT infrastructure. For example, his IT Organization book is an excellent read on building organizations to offer reliable IT services. I'll let you know what I think
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                          Why Digital Identity Matters

                          Jon Udell is pointing to column he wrote in 2001 that reviews Jeremy Rifkin's book The Age of Access. In Jon's column, he gives what I think is the most succinct explanation about why digital identity matters: Rifkin's central theme is simply stated. We are entering a new stage of capitalism. Its defining principle is no longer ownership of property bought and sold in markets, but rather access to services leased within networks of suppliers and users. As consumers, and as businesses, we spend less on one-time purchases, and more on subscriptions to a growing array of services. Many
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                          An Open Source, For Profit Project

                          Andre Durand and Eric Nolan reminded me that PingID and SourceID represent exactly the kind of symbiotic relationship between an open source project and for-profit company I was mentioning. Note that SourceID uses a "public source" license. (Disclaimer: I'm a PingID advisor.)
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                          Knowledge Management from the Inside Out

                          I had another opportunity to spend some time with Cogito. Cogito's current products represent a form of content management for engineering documents (everything from schematics to detail drawings). As we were talking, I began to see them as doing knowledge management and collaboration, but from the inside out. When a traditional collaboration company (maybe too young a field to be calling anyone "traditional" but bear with me) like Groove approaches collaboration and knowledge management, they view the archive of team data as the artifact and build a meta model of the archive in an attempt to provide an understanding
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                          Business Intelligence

                          I've found that if you're looking for information about who's hiring, who's looking for funding, who's recently found it, and so on, you need look no further than an accountant. Both those working for large firms and those working for smaller businesses know a lot about the local business climate. They're a great source of intelligence.
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                          Spicy Noodle Sub-Culture

                          Dave is making me hungry talking about spicy noodles. Those sound really good. I wish I knew of a place that sold them in Salt Lake. We could start a whole blogger sub-culcture around spicy noodle eating. Malouf?
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                          Ethics and Fiduciary Duties

                          I figured that my article yesterday on Linux and IP would generate a little controversy. I was right. Here is an example of the kinds of comments I received: I disagree. The short version of why I disagree is that if a company insists on doing things that are legal but unethical (or even immoral), the company should not be surprised and cry foul when those laws are then changed and their actions are made illegal retroactively. They will also have generated a lot of ill-will along the way. While I agree that there are many things that are
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                          Corporate Sabotage

                          Today's Deseret News carries a story about corporate sabotage. Seems a company in American Fork fired a systems administrator and the guy took their systems down. The story is a little lame, but the business owner claims $20,000 per day in losses and says they've been down five days. This is a big problem for small businesses---maybe bigger in relative terms than it is for large businesses who have more resources. As small businesses rely more and more on computers, they have very few resources that they can lean on to provide computer support. Companies like Direct Pointe can
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                          Linux War: IP vs. Open Source

                          As noted in the InforWorld article, SCO has hired David Boies to represent them. Many believe that this indicates that they are going to start aggressively enforcing their IP claims in the Unix space. I wouldn't be at all surprised. As I've noted before, venture firms have themes and one unmistakable theme that you'll find in the Canopy Group is a belief in intellectual property as a competitive advantage. SCO is a Canopy Group company. A lot of people will be upset and blame SCO for "doing the wrong thing." I don't necessarily see it that way. While, I'm
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                          Volution Tech

                          Volution Tech is a spin-off of Center 7 and SCO. One product is called "Volution Manager" and provides remote managment capabilities to servers. For example, MacDonalds has SCO Unix servers sitting in thousands of stores around the globe that have no local IT support. Consequently they've been slow to migrate, upgrade, and install new applications in an effort to increase reliability. Volution manager allows all of those remote servers to be managed. Another product they are selling is called "Pilot Center" and is aimed at the corporate data center and facilties management. Pilot Center is sold as a leased
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                          Power Innovations

                          Bob Mount is the CEO of a company called Power Innovations. I've known Bob for 10 years or so. His company provides power solutions for digital equipment in specialized environments such as airport baggage scanners, military vehicles, oil exploration vehicles, mobile satellite launch vehicles, industrial applications, and aviation. Power Innovations has developed power units for resuscitation units for premature infants. These units allow the unit to be removed from utility power for up to an hour so that the baby and unit can be transported. They also give feedback on operations so that a hospital can prove that a
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                          MaxStream

                          MaxStream makes wireless networking gear, but their market isn't personal computers, but embedded devices. They build wireless modems in the 900MHz and 2.4GHz bands for use in weather stations, electric and gas meters, monitoring remote conditions in mobile and fixed applications, vending machines, point of sales devices, HVAC, gas lines, and so on. Why not 802.11? I asked that question and the answer comes down to three things: Overhead - 802.11 implements and entire networking stack and lots of embedded devices don't need it. Range - There's an inverse relationship between range and bandwidth. Most embedded applications need range
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                          Helius

                          Helius started out years ago building satellite interfaces into routers. The idea was to use the satellite for content distribution. They claim that its better, for certain applications, than either a standard satellite video system or terrestrial IP (i.e. Internet). In the case os satellite video, they have the advantage of having full IP, so they get VoIP, interactivity, and so on. In the case of terrestrial IP, they eliminate all the routers that would sit between the source and sink as well as getting multicast capabilities (which the Internet has failed to deploy). Helius sells appliances. They have
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                          Veloxa

                          Veloxa is a subsidiary of eBiz Enterprises. Bruce Parsons is the President and CEO. Veloxa provides reconfigurable computing solutions based on FPGA technology. Second company in as many weeks, I've run into in this space. Veloxa is creating tools that compile C/C++ into FPGA cores. Veloxa provides application specific cores that are pre-developed as well as development tools for creating customer specific applications. Veloxa is targeting the seismic data processing in the oil exploration space, rendering in the entertainment space, defense and intelligence applications, genomic applications in the biotech arena. Veloxa believes that their competitive advantage is in the
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                          Cogito

                          Next up is Cogito, a company that is focused on knowledge management. I first met Dallas Noyes, the founder, in 1998 when I was CTO at iMALL. The technology and the business plan are, obviously, much more mature now. Their clients have primarily been military and security based. In the first phase, they've been primarily working with end users. Boeing has been a big customer. Their strategy is to move their product into OEM vendors of software tools that those end users employ to do their work. This market is called "product lifecycle management," or PLM, but you may
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                          iArchives

                          Today I'm spending the day at the Canopy Group's Banker's Summit. The Canopy Group is a private venture group backed by Ray Noorda, the driving force behind Novell in its hey day. The day is basically a back to back series of presentations by some of the Canopy companies. First up is iArchives, a company that makes analog documents (like paper and microfilm) fully searchable. Russ Wilding is the President of iArchives and an old friend. Our wives went to high school together, so I've known him long before there was any high-tech connection. iArchives is fundamentally a company
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                          Linux Networx

                          I had the opportunity to meet and speak to Steve Hill, the President of Linux Networx yesterday. Linux Networx builds and sells Linux clusters. They have an impressive client list including the NSA, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. When my students toured the Center 7 data center last year, all they could talk about what the Linux Networx cluster that was being staged and built there. I'm hoping to get out and visit with them soon and find out more about what they're doing.
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                          Cultural Archetypes

                          I had to opportunity to meet with Paul Losee this afternoon. Paul is one of the founders of Iomega, along with Dave Bailey and Rod Linton. I've known Rod and Dave for some time and had looked forward to meeting Paul. Paul talked to me about "cultural archetypes," a method of finding the message about a product that will really resonate with buyers. Its the method that turned Iomega from a company that sold "removable, high-capacity disk drives" to a company that sold "a place to put your stuff" with a resulting 100-fold increase in their stock price. Quite
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                          Too Many Patches

                          Bruce Schneier, well known security expert and CTO of Counterpane Security, has a letter in the New York Times about the dilemma faced by CIO who run large numbers of Microsoft machines: there are too many patches and they can't be installed automatically because they often break, and yet if you don't, you're vulnerable to worms like Slammer. I was having lunch this week with the CIO of a company you've all heard of. He's responsible for thousands of machines and they've had a policy of selectively installing patches after testing them for compatibility and effectiveness (i.e. doing Microsoft's
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                          Two More Entries in the Utah Blogroll

                          Add Brian Sweeting, who works for Novell, and Jeff (Brown|Holmes|Young), from my class last semester, to the Utah Blogroll.
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                          TBL on the Semantic Web

                          I ran across a set of slides by Tim Berners-Lee on what's happening at the Laboratory for Computer Science on the semantic web project. Interesting stuff. Reminded me that I probably need to dig deeper into this. There some interesting parallels between this and thoughts on application layer internetworking. In particular, see the slide on the application integration hub. There is also a interesting research wave front slide that gives a good idea of where interesting open problems are likely to be.
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                          Web Services Interoperability Organization

                          I've been writing about web service specifications for interoperability. Its probably a good idea to say something about the organization behind this, the WS-I. WS-I includes Microsoft and IBM, two long time proponents of web services standards. Like most such bodies, the issues are more about politics than anything else. A recent ZD Net article stated: ...the WS-I has been better known for various political squabbles than for technical leadership. A high-profile spat between Sun Microsystems and its founding members has generated most of the attention for the group. After initially being shut out by founding companies including IBM,
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                          Another State CIO Weblog

                          I just discovered (via Technorati) that Rock Regan; friend, CIO of the State of Conn. and past president of NASCIO; is writing a blog. Its on my news feed now. Go Rock!
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                          Wi-Fi Security Feature

                          My picture was on the front page of the Daily Herald today. Second time in the same number of months I've been on the front page of a paper. Its a little disconcerting to pull up to the gas station and see yourself in the newspaper machines. The subject of the article was Wi-Fi security and used the picture shown here of me with a pringles can antenna. In a sidebar to the piece (which doesn't appear in the electronic version that I can see) I offered the following bits of advice on Wi-Fi security: Buy higher-end equipment. The
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                          GXA Components: Security Example

                          This morning I wrote about The GXA security specifications. I took some time this evening to read through the the specification and thought and example might be helpful. This example is quoted from the specification: (001) <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> (002) <S:Envelope xmlns:S="http://www.w3.org/2001/12/soap-envelope" xmlns:ds="http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#"> (003) <S:Header> (004) <wsse:Security xmlns:wsse="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2002/xx/secext"> (005) <wsse:UsernameToken wsu:Id="MyID"> (006) <wsse:Username>Zoe</wsse:Username> (007) <wsse:Nonce>FKJh...</wsse:Nonce> (008) <wsu:Created>2001-10-13T09:00:00Z</wsu:Created> (009) </wsse:UsernameToken> (010) <ds:Signature> (011) <ds:SignedInfo> (012) <ds:CanonicalizationMethod Algorithm= "http://www.w3.org/2001/10/xml-exc-c14n#"/> (013) <ds:SignatureMethod Algorithm= "http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#hmac-sha1"/> (014) <ds:Reference URI="#MsgBody"> (015) <ds:DigestMethod Algorithm= "http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#sha1"/> (016) <ds:DigestValue>LyLsF0Pi4wPU...</ds:DigestValue> (017) </ds:Reference> (018) </ds:SignedInfo> (019) <ds:SignatureValue>DJbchm5gK...</ds:SignatureValue> (020) <ds:KeyInfo> (021) <wsse:SecurityTokenReference> (022) <wsse:Reference URI="#MyID"/> (023) </wsse:SecurityTokenReference> (024) </ds:KeyInfo> (025) </ds:Signature>
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                          A Utah Fund of Funds

                          House Bill 240, currently being considered by the Utah Legislature would set up a non-profit corporation that is authorized to raise up to $100 million dollars and then disburse that money to existing or new venture capital firms with a Utah presence. Those VCs would be encouraged through various means to invest the money in either Utah firms or firms that create Utah jobs. How do you raise the $100 million in the first place? With contingent tax credits. The non-profit, called a fund of funds would guarantee its investors a certain rate of return (probably equal to the
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                          Lucene

                          Unfortunately, I don't get to program much anymore, but I find that when you're managing a bunch of programmers, its frequently nice to be able to call their bluff. Consequently, I try to read magazines like the Java Developer's Journal to keep up with things and it usually pays off. I find something almost every issue that I'm glad to know about. In the December 2002 issue, for example, I found out about Lucene. Lucene is an open source, text indexing and search tool written in Java. Its not unusual anymore to want search capabilities in an application and
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                          Flying Without ID

                          Jeremy Zawodny posts a link about Flying Without ID. Now, I fly without ID all the time...in my plane. Some people are surprised when they learn that you're pretty much free to fly wherever you want whenever you want. The only exception is controlled and restricted airspace, but that's not usually a problem. The link Jeremy posts is about flying without ID on a commercial airline. I think this is interesting, but not really something that gets me all fired up. After all, of all the restrictions that Delta puts on me in order to transport me from point
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                          GXA Components: Security

                          I've been writing about the Global XML Web Services Architecture, a set of specifications that sit on top of SOAP and provide interoperability in a number of important areas. This article is a look at WS-Security, the GXZ security specification. These articles and associated resources are being indexed in my featured papers outline. The OASIS web services security specification creates a set of extensions to SOAP messages that can be used to secure messages and ensure their integrity. Note that this is message-level security, not secured channels (which you could do with SOAP using HTTPS as the transport, for
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                          PsyncX for Backing Up OS X: A Review

                          Yesterday, I published the brief results of my short survey of OS X backup options. I said that I'd be hesitant to try the open source PsyncX without additional information. The problem isn't that I don't like trying untested software, I just don't like trying untested software that mucks around with my file system when that same system is not backed up! Well, Ted Hughes wrote to me and told me of his experience with PsyncX, so I decided to try it. Here's what I found. I chose to backup my user directory to a SMB mounted disk from
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                                                  Super League

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                                                  news

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