Puakma: Under the hood

I'm Brendon Upson, jack-of-all-trades, master of one or two. I'm talking about life running a small ISV tackling business issues and leaping technology hurdles in a single bound.

webWise Network Consultants is based in Sydney, Australia and develops the groundbreaking Tornado Server technology.

Roll out the zealots!

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-08-31

I am constantly amused (and annoyed) by the amount of "zealotism" in the computer industry. From the "We're a Microsoft shop" to "Nobody got fired for buying IBM" there's this constant blind view. The recent comments on Notes 8 have spurred this post.

For those of you that don't know me, I have worked with Notes since the R3 days as an admin and developer (including the glorious (NOT) C API). I know a thing or two about Notes. I have also not really touched Notes for the last 4 years, but look at it from the sidelines as a casual observer.

With the release of R8 the blogs are now alive with comments. Here's a couple of examples:

http://vowe.net/archives/008770.html#more

http://benpoole.com/weblog/200708282330 

Now it's not these actual posts that leave me bemused but the comments they attract. It's like those commenting see any kind of questioning or negative feedback about their beloved product as a personal criticism. Newsflash: we are discussing a software product, not you, not your ability. How can it be personal? Why is there such a staunch need to defend this thing?

All software is usually created to do one thing really well. Over time it gathers extra functionality that often performs the new functionality in a way that is not as good as a competing product that was designed with that specific functionality in mind. Let's look at Notes mail. The ultimate power of Notes is in its database - the document storage format. While the designers did a great job or creating a client that can be customised on a per application basis to do almost anything, mail was bolted on. Notes was not originally designed as a mail system, it's mail capabilities appeared early on but was not the original purpose of the software. Conversely Outlook and Exchange were built as mail systems and collaboration was bolted on later. This is why, in general, the average END USER (no, not you Notes experts and assorted zealots) prefers the Outlook mail experience. It is also why Notes does collaboration and document sharing infinitely better than Exchange.

 

Shhhhhhh.

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-08-28

We are busy working on a secret new project (web application) that should be seeing the light of day in the next couple of months. We'll be looking for some beta testers in the coming weeks so stay tuned. We're about 90% feature complete for v1.0 so we're just tweaking the last few pieces.

Why are there only 24 hours in a day??? 

Stay tuned. 

Oracle: Grrrrr!

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-08-17

Today I spent an unhappy hour trying to troubleshoot an app. Turns out Oracle treats varchar columns in a special way :-( If you save an empty string '' into a table, Oracle will magically convert that for you into a NULL. The when you try and query the table looking for a '', no results will be returned. Makes me fightin' mad.

"Oracle treats the empty string ('') as null. This is not ansi compliant. Consequently, the length of an emtpy string is null, not 0."

3/8" !- 8mm

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-08-14

Funny story follows.

We are in the process of remodelling our back yard so I am a regular visitor to our local hardware store http://www.bunnings.com.au/

I dropped into Bunnings (again!) this morning to pick up a socket driver that will fit into my drill. It needs to be 8mm to fit the hex screw head. So I ask for one. The old guy gives me a 3/8" one. To which I say "but I want an 8mm". He sincerely explains that it IS 8mm, it's just that it's made in America and they call it 3/8". Aaaaaaaaargh! IT IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT UNIT OF MEASUREMENT. Soooo if 1" is 25.4mm, then 3/8" must surely be 9.52mm. 

Bunnings is staffed by retirees, housewives and uni students who know f#all about anything they sell.