Monthly Archives: July 2004

Thick or Poor?

A big debate is brewing in the mobile software space over the best type of client – thin or rich?
Like many high tech terms, the words used are vetted by spinmeisters who don’t like the term “thick” or the opposite of “rich” (thus my title).
I suppose it’s no surprise that Microsoft’s .NET Compact Framework features a lot of support for rich clients.
On the other hand, the Alchemy project Adam Bosworth started at BEA (before he left for Google last week) is based on a thin client architecture.
Who’s right typically depends on what you’re using the application for, of course. In some cases, a thin client will be a better natural fit than a thick client and vice versa.
However, for mobile applications, and especially for the new type of user we’re building them for, rich clients make a lot more sense than thin clients.

Travelin’ Music

I want to thank Steve Vinoski for pointing me in the direction of some good new music. After a few tries (including a visit to the Apple Store in San Francisco) I finally managed to find a blue iPod Mini.
Actually I ran into a former Digital colleague of mine at the Apple Store in Nashua, NH and he agreed to call me when one came in. They did, and I had 24 hours to go retrieve it, after giving my credit card number to hold it. I guess the problem is obtaining enough of the 4 GIG mini hard drives.
Anyway, I did get the iPod in time for my trip to California last week. Combined with the Bose noise cancelling headphones, it really helps pass the time on the plane. It is really cool, I can see why everyone wants one. I love it.
Steve’s recommendation of the Allman Brothers sent me to the CD store, where I picked up Hittin the Note and a deluxe edition of Live at the Fillmore East which I just could not resist. I think that’s like my third or fourth copy of that album.
I saw the Allman Brothers for the first time in the spring of 1971 at Quinnipiac College (I just checked their Web site and couldn’t find any record of their having played at Quinnipiac – help me out guys, am I losing my meory?). I remember a band called Jasper opening for them. It was definitely one of the best concerts I have ever seen.
I saw them again about a year later, in April 1972 in New Haven (that one is on the Web site). Berry Oakley was still alive then, but it was a different band without Duane. The back and forth between Duane and Dickie Betts was the best part of the show, each of them trying to outdo the other. You can really hear it on the Fillmore East album.
I notice on Hittin the Note that Warren Haynes takes the left side of the stereo, and Derek Trucks takes the right side. In the original line up it was Duane on the left and Dickie on the right. Warren and Derek are tremendous, as Steve rightly points out, and they manage to play with the same kind of spirit as the original lineup, without sounding like they’re imitiating them. But I can’t help going back to the original jams on You Don’t Love Me, Whipping Post, and Mountain Jam – unbelievable.
Anyway, speaking of the Allman Brothers, I notice that Los Lonely Boys are opening for them when they play in Massachussets next month. I picked up their CD, and it’s great. Henry Garza reminds me of Duane sometimes, of Carlos Santana sometimes, and even of Stevie Ray sometimes. They do ballads and rockers. Excellent!
My 18-year old son didn’t like Los Lonely Boys, although my 19-year old daughter did. But he and I did agree on Velvet Revolver, another of Steve’s picks. Great stuff, solid, consistent songs throughout the CD. But I have a complaint about that CD, which is the “LaunchCD” software that comes on the disk. It installs some programs on my computer that I didn’t want (after I found out what they did, basically making it difficult to rip and copy the files) and I could not find a good way to uninstall them. I had to go search for the DLLs and rename them.
It’s one thing to protect the disc contents with licenses, but it’s another to hijack my computer. The programs not only prevent copying the songs, they also wreck any recordable CD you put in the burner when you try it. I know blank CDs aren’t expensive, but I still think it’s bad form to wreck them. I had to go find the files by hand and remove them – they should at least allow you to uninstall if you don’t want it.

WS-Context Demo

Iím writing this from the OASIS WS-CAF meeting hosted by Oracle at Redwood Shores, just south of San Francisco.
The committee just saw the first live demo of WS-Context specification implementations. WS-Context is one of the three specifications in WS-CAF (the others are the WS-Coordination Framework and WS-Transaction Management).
WS-Context defines a generic mechanism for managing execution specific information such as security tokens, transaction IDs, and device addresses. The demo illustrates sharing shopping cart information across multiple Web sites.
Interoperability was achieved between implementations by Oracle and Arjuna, and IONA (although unfortunately due to a setup problem on my laptop, I wasn’t able to show it live at the meeting). I hope to fix the problem overnight and add my piece to the demo in the morning.
In any case, it was a good step forward for the WS-CAF technical committee. The demo showed a common context shared across two Web storefronts so that a single order could be placed across the two sites. Itís not quite finished, but it was a good start, and did at least prove interoperability across three vendor implementations. We are hoping for a public demo this Fall.