1.31.2009

Farewell, John, R.I.P.

You went before your time... may your memory be for a blessing.

Read the obituary in the Ogden, Utah, Standard-Examiner.

1.30.2009

Happy anniversary, SD Times!

Did you know that BZ Media was started nearly a decade ago? We founded the company in 1999. Right now, we're finishing up the 9th anniversary issue of our flagship, SD Times, the Industry Newspaper for Software Development Managers.

We launched SD Times in a recession, and we're in another one today. We're glad that our company is well-positioned to ride out the storm.

Not only is SD Times healthy from both a readership and advertising perspective, but we have strong additional properties, including our new SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference. SPTechCon just concluded its debut event in the Bay Area, and will be coming to Boston on June 22-24.

Even with the new products, the heart and soul of BZ Media is SD Times. Happy anniversary — and thank you, everyone, for your support over the past nine years. Onward and upward!

The world's fastest dragonfly: 0-60 in 2.5 seconds

It's not really a dragonfly, but I think it looks like one — it's the 2009 Shelby Ultimate Aero EV. According to Shelby SuperCars, it's the world's fastest production car.

The company says,

SSC will display its AESP in the Ultimate Aero EV in order to prove that electric-powered vehicles will not only match but also provide more linear power (electric motors have 100% torque at 0 RPM) and overall performance than internal combustion cars. The Ultimate Aero EV utilizes a twin motor AESP producing an astounding 1,000 HP and 800 lb-ft of torque enabling it to rocket to 60 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 208 mph.

AESP is Shelby's All-Electric Scalable Powertrain. The release continues,

SSC expects to roll out its first full-scale, pre-production Ultimate Aero EV in second quarter 2009. Ultimate Aero EV deliveries will start as early as fourth quarter 2009.

Dang! I want one!

Goodbye, Redmond Developer News

Another software-development publication bites the dust, as 1105 Media Inc. shutters Redmond Developer News. RDN was a twice-monthly newspaper for Microsoft-centered development managers that launched in 2006. Think of it as a short-lived "SD Times Lite."

Today, 1105 shut down RDN, which will be "folded into" another 1105 publication, Visual Studio Magazine.

Business-wise, this is similar to what happened a few weeks ago, when United News & Media shut down Dr. Dobb's Journal after its February 2009 issue, and "folded" it into Information Week. The business benefit to 1105 is that Visual Studio Magazine can save a lot of money this year by absorbing RDN's subscriber list.

Of course, 1105 is being careful to position this as a huge win for VSM subscribers, while downplaying the part about shutting down the unsuccessful Redmond Developer News.

1105's press release is entitled, "Visual Studio Magazine Announces Expanded Coverage, New Content Chief, Staff."

The news about closing Redmond Developer News is in the fourth paragraph, "As part of the transition, RDN print coverage will be folded into Visual Studio Magazine. The RDN Web site will continue to operate and will provide expanded news, reporting and analysis for the .NET developer community."

You have to wonder if VSM's readers really want "RDN print coverage" added into their programming magazine. If it's a tradeoff that requires slashing VSM's popular technical content... readers may not be happy. We'll see how it goes.

When a publication folds, that usually means layoffs. In this case, the layoffs are taking place at VSM, as RDN's editorial management team is moving over to Visual Studio Magazine. Sadly, VSM readers are losing two editors, Patrick Meader and Guy Wright (a friend and colleague since 1987!). Good luck, guys!

You can read the official 1105 announcement here, and see comments by RDN's editor-in-chief, Michael Desmond (who is taking over from Patrick as e-in-c of VSM) here.

Reader nominations open for SD Times 100

It’s that time again! The editors of SD Times are beginning their deliberations, choosing the leaders and innovators who had the greatest impact on software development during 2008. SD Times subscribers are invited to participate by offering up their nominations.

Now in its seventh year, the SD Times 100 recognizes the top companies, organizations and individuals in the software development industry. We’ll be honest: It’s subjective, a value judgment by the editors of SD Times and some of our closest industry advisors.

Unlike other awards programs, we don’t benchmark application servers. We don't count defects in operating systems, or consider annual sales values, or ask companies to submit flattering essays about themselves and their customers. The SD Times 100, in fact, isn’t a product award or a marketing award.

Instead, we work hard to identify – and highlight – where the “buzz” is. What are development managers thinking about? What are the talking heads talking about? What are competitors sweating about? What is the industry focused on? That’s the SD Times 100.

You are cordially invited to nominate the companies, organizations or individuals that you believe were the trend-makers and thought-leaders during calendar year 2008. You can submit your nomination by visiting our Web form.

We’ll ask you to identify your nominee, and to help us categorize the nominee’s area of leadership. The form also asks you to briefly describe what the nominee did during 2008 that demonstrated exceptional innovation and leadership in the software development community. What got everyone talking?

Reader nominations for the SD Times 100 will be accepted through March 13, 2009. After that, the judges really knuckle down to the hard task ahead. The SD Times 100 list will be published in the June 15, 2009, issue of SD Times, and on that date on SDTimes.com.

Last year’s SD Times 100 list is available to read online. If you’d like background about the SD Times 100, that info is available too.

Thank you for your nomination, and for participating in the SD Times 100!

1.27.2009

Announcing SharePoint TechCon Boston

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Coming Off Its Blow-Out Bay Area Conference, BZ Media Launches SPTechCon Boston in June 2009

The Only SharePoint Technology Conference in the Northeast U.S. will satisfy a strong demand for education on Microsoft's popular enterprise platform

Huntington, N.Y., January 27, 2009 — BZ Media LLC today announced that it is bringing SPTechCon™: The SharePoint Technology Conference to Boston in June 2009. This follows the incredibly successful debut event, SPTechCon San Francisco, which was held January 27-29, 2009.

SPTechCon Boston will be held June 22-24, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. The three-day conference will offer more than 60 technical classes and workshops for IT professionals, systems administration managers, line-of-business managers, business analysts and software developers.

Extreme Early Bird pricing for SPTechCon Boston attendees is open through March 12, 2009.

BZ Media is the publisher of SD Times, the newspaper of record for software development managers as well as Systems Management News, the authoritative source for IT professionals and systems administrators.

Based on the strong attendance at the debut San Francisco event (see separate release), and on early responses from SharePoint users asked about a summer event in the Northeast, more than 500 attendees are expected at SPTechCon Boston. It’s a possibility that the conference will reach sell-out levels of 700 attendees.

The first day at SPTechCon Boston will be filled with intensive full and half-day workshops, while the next two days contain several keynote addresses and dozens of concurrent classes. All classes are focused on maximizing the benefits of using Office SharePoint Server, a Microsoft technology that provides a single, integrated platform where employees can efficiently collaborate with team members, find organizational resources, manage content and workflow, and leverage business insight to make better-informed decisions.

With faculty drawn from Microsoft’s SharePoint team, as well as Microsoft MVP experts in the field, there’s no better place to get a SharePoint education than SPTechCon Boston.

Many classes at SPTechCon also cover complementary Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Windows Server, the Microsoft Office System, and Windows SharePoint Services. The conference will also have a trade-show floor where exhibitors and sponsors can demonstrate compelling third-party applications, add-ons, plug-ins, tools and services built for Office SharePoint Products and Technologies.

Ted Bahr, President of BZ Media, said, “In today’s difficult economy, enterprises and organizations of all sizes are using SharePoint increase employee productivity while managing or even reducing IT and line-of-business operation costs. No matter the industry, the workshops and technical classes at SPTechCon Boston will help attendees deploy SharePoint faster, use it better, and offer more benefits to their companies faster. We’re proud to offer SPTechCon to serve this pressing educational need.”

Tom Rizzo, Director of SharePoint at Microsoft, said, “Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is the key to unlocking the productivity hidden within every business. BZ Media’s SPTechCon, coming to Boston this June, is the key to unlocking the productivity inside your SharePoint implementation. In today’s challenging business climate, there’s no better time to realize the tangible benefits of using SharePoint in your organization — and extending your use of SharePoint to more parts of your operation. Whether you’re an administrator, business professional or developer, you’ll benefit from the practical training at SPTechCon 2009 Boston.”

About BZ Media

BZ Media LLC® is a high-tech media company combining the best of print and Web-based publishing, offering industry-leading magazines, newspapers, Web sites and conferences.

SPTechCon™ San Francisco (Jan. 27-29, 2009) and SPTechCon™ Boston (Jun. 22-24, 2009) are the leading SharePoint Technology Conferences for IT professionals, business managers and developers.

SharePoint TechCon Success!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPTechCon San Francisco: The SharePoint Technology Conference, Succeeds with Blow-Out Crowd

Despite the recession, attendees flock to BZ Media's debut SharePoint Technology Conference

Huntington, N.Y., January 27, 2009 — BZ Media LLC today announced a blow-out attendance at SPTechCon™ San Francisco: The SharePoint Technology Conference. The debut event defied conventional wisdom during tough economic times by attracting more than 600 attendees.

SPTechCon San Francisco, held January 26-28, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, is an exciting new event for IT professionals, business leaders and software developers whose organizations use Microsoft Office SharePoint Products and Technologies.

BZ Media is the publisher of SD Times, the newspaper of record for software development managers as well as Systems Management News, the authoritative source for IT professionals and systems administrators. More than 600 people have preregistered for SPTechCon San Francisco, and are expected to attend the first dedicated SharePoint technology event in the Bay Area.

• They’ll be attending more than 60 workshops and technical classes.
• They’ll be attending keynote addresses by Tom Rizzo, Director of SharePoint at Microsoft, and by Errin O’Connor, the founder and CEO of EPC Group.
• They’ll be learning from more than 30 top-quality faculty member, including Microsoft SharePoint team members and Microsoft MVP experts.
• They’ll be meeting 24 SharePoint solutions providers, lead by SPTechCon Platinum Sponsors Citrix, CommVault and Quest.

Ted Bahr, President of BZ Media, said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get smarter! Businesses large and small are seeing how SharePoint technology can help them weather today’s difficult economic climate by improving operational efficiency. What’s more, they see that their investment in education at SPTechCon is possibly the single best way they can take full advantage of SharePoint’s ability to boost business productivity, and manage or even reduce IT and line-of-business budgets by streaming workflows, improving internal communications and collaboration. If ever there’s an example of how technology and training can help business thrive in tough times, it’s SharePoint and SPTechCon.”

Based on the strong attendance for SPTechCon San Francisco, BZ Media has announced SPTechCon Boston, which will follow the same format (see separate release) from June 22-24, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Between 500-700 attendees are expected at the industry’s first northeast SharePoint conference.

About BZ Media

BZ Media LLC® is a high-tech media company combining the best of print and Web-based publishing, offering industry-leading magazines, newspapers, Web sites and conferences.

SPTechCon™ San Francisco (Jan. 27-29, 2009) and SPTechCon™ Boston (Jun. 22-24, 2009) are the leading SharePoint Technology Conferences for IT professionals, business managers and developers.

1.22.2009

MacBook Wheel - I want one!

Rebooting computer science, Part 2

Computer science has an image problem. That’s one of the conclusions drawn at the Rebooting Computing Summit, which I attended a couple of weeks ago.

Last week, I wrote about some of the challenges facing computer science. I covered what we discussed in the first day of discussions, which was the overall issue of attracting more young people into the field.

The second day of the event revolved around various loosely directed brainstorming activities (under the unfortunately label of “Appreciative Inquiry,” or AI). The task at hand was to determine a set of concrete actions that the conference attendees – and potentially, larger groups like the ACM or IEEE Computer Society) would undertake to make computer science appear more inviting, relevant, engaging and appealing to young people.

After a lot of work creating potential projects – and then a black-box system of weeding them down and combining them, the list – there were a dozen projects. As you can see, many are focused on education. Here’s my description of them:

• Redefine the public’s image of what computing means
• Create learning communities around computer science
• Create a national curriculum for multi-disciplinary collaboration
• Clearly define computing with a field model and field guide
• Create tools to demonstrate the fun and beauty in computer science
• Promote computing as an essential subject in K-12 education
• Teach computing fundamental in K-8 education
• Hire and train 10,000 new computing teaching teachers by 2018

• Create a repository of open artifacts for use in K-16
• Promote problem-based learning in grades 7-14
• Create socially relevant computer science projects
• Promote initiatives to orient computer science around multicore

To be honest, I’m not sure that the effort was entirely successful. Many of the projects were loose, and in some cases, they were conflicting. There was little effort to define what success would actually look like, and with few exceptions, the set of concrete actions appeared to be aspirational goals instead of real projects.

With that said, it was good that the discussion took place, and I was honored to be part of it – and to work with such an impressive group of people.

The big question is, what happens next? I wish I knew. That, too, was not defined.

1.20.2009

Former President Bush...

"Former President Bush." Those are three of the most beautiful words in the English language.

What a great speech our new president gave. I'm proud to be an American!

1.17.2009

Rebooting computer science

What is computer science? Why are so few young people, at least in the United States, choosing to enter the field? Isn’t computer science just programming? What can we do about it?

Last week, I was privileged to attend the Rebooting Computing Summit, a gathering of 200-odd enthusiasts in Silicon Valley. The summit brought together the leading lights of our profession, and it was humbling to be in their presence.

Visionaries like Peter Denning, Vint Cert and Alan Kay, and industry legends like Multics creator Peter Neumann, Lisp authority Dick Gabriel, natural-language pioneer Terry Winograd, and UML inventor Grady Booch, were the headliners. There were also dozens of computer-science professors, high-school computing teachers, industry professionals, graduate students, and others top-shelf experts.

The purpose of the summit was, as the title said, to find ways to reboot the science of computing. During the three days, the group delved (sometimes deeply, sometimes not) into the fundamental questions. Is computer science just a hifalutin’ way to say “programming”? Is computer science really a science? Why isn’t C.S. generally seen as an attractive academic pursuit, compared to other science and engineering majors? Why aren’t young people lining up for careers in computer science?

Without trying to summarize three days of exercise, introspection and debate, there were some challenges that were generally (but not universally) agreed upon:

• Computer science has an image problem: It’s not seen as cool or relevant.
• There is a confusion, both within and outside our community, about exactly what C.S. is.
• Computer science impacts nearly every aspect of society, but it’s a deep dark secret.
• There are areas that are exciting to young people, like robotics and contests, but the C.S. tie-in is hidden.

What do you think are the challenges facing computer science?

1.08.2009

Borland back in the frying pan

Here we go again, as the company which once had the best brand in software development jumps back into the blender.

You’ve probably seen the cheery stories that broke yesterday, about Tod Nielsen, former CEO of Borland, becoming COO of VMware. The positive, "isn't this great?" coverage was skillfully orchestrated by VMware’s crack PR team, who did such a good job that nearly every Web reporter wrote nearly exactly the same upbeat, happy-happy, group-hug story.

What was neglected in almost all of the media coverage is — what about Borland? Because VMware’s PR team didn’t talk about Borland, few reporters bothered to look at the mess that Nielsen created during his three-year tenure.

(It’s striking that at Macworld, I was talking to a software developer and casually mentioned Borland. He asked, “Are they even still in business?”)

Nielsen (pictured) joined Borland as president and CEO in November 2005. During that time, all that he succeeded in doing, as far as I can tell, was to spin off the tools division, which operated for a while as a subsidiary called CodeGear. CodeGear was purchased by Embarcadero Technologies in May 2008.

So, as Nielsen moves from the command chair at Borland to a supporting role at VMware, what has he left behind? When announcing his departure on Jan. 6, Borland also announced preliminary 4th quarter revenues in the range of US38.5 to $40 million. That’s a big drop over 4th quarter 2007 revenues of $61.5 million.

The company also announced that it will layoff 130 employees, or about 15 percent of its regular full-time staff.

Goodbye to Nielsen, who looks like he jumped before he was pushed. And good luck to new Borland acting president/CEO Erik Prusch, who previously served as CFO. He’s going to need it. (By the way, when a company promotes its CFO to acting CEO — instead of advancing a sales or product executive — that’s a good sign that the company’s going to be sold soon.)

1.05.2009

Remembering the ‘Rules of the Garage’

Hewlett-Packard has long been an inspirational company. Not just because of its current prowess in the hardware and software markets, of course, but because of many stories about its origins in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage, back in 1939. Considered by many to be the true founders of Silicon Valley, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard epitomized the startup, turning an investment of US$538 into a tremendous success.

In the years running up to the Carly Fiorina era (1998-2005), HP was widely seen as having lost its way. Under her leadership, the company tried to return to its early start-up behaviors. This was demonstrated by a list, created by HP’s marketing department in 1999, called “Rules of the Garage.” The "Rules" were meant as a concise update of the famous “HP Way” management style.

My thanks to Andrew Binstock, who blogged about the “Rules,” and thereby caused me to think about them today.

Andrew describes the rules as sounding “like something the agile guys might have written (had they not written the manifesto). I prefer this wording because of its greater applicability and more dynamic presentation.”

You can read the 11 rules in Andrew’s blog post. If you'd like to see the famous garage at 367 Addison Avenue, here's a depiction of the "Rules" in an HP ad.

What do you think – do the “Rules” still apply as a good set of behaviors for a startup hardware company… or for a modern-day agile software development team?

About Me

My Photo
Co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. Founder of SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference, AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, and Big Data TechCon. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates, an IT consulting and analyst firm.