Twenty Five Years of the World Wide Web

Celebrating the 25th birthday of the world wide web.

Twenty five years ago I was studying Electrical Engineering Technology at the University of Cincinnati. Although we would later have Sun Sparcstations, in 1989 we had DEC terminals wired to a PDP-11 tucked away in some university broom closet that I used to learn Fortran and SAS. I vaguely remember one IBM RT workstation in a dusty corner. But in a distant CERN laboratory, Tim Berners-Lee was creating the World Wide Web on a NeXT computer.

I asked on Twitter what everyone else was doing 25 years ago.

 

Here are the responses I received.

 

 

 

And my friend Dr. Jerry Gannod weighed in on LinkedIn-

25 years ago I was working at IBM Rochester, building a prototype for an IDE running on AIX, for code that deployed to an AS/400. We were using C++ (before standardization) and X-Windows (before window-based GUIs became popular).

JerryGannodWWWAnniversary

Thanks everyone for sharing your memories.

Where do our electronics go at the end of their life?

Where do our discarded electronics end up?

Did you get a new Apple iPad for Christmas? A new mobile phone? Perhaps a new Windows 8.1 laptop? Congratulations.

You may now be thinking of getting rid of the older model that the new Christmas gift replaces. But have you ever wondered where your discarded electronics end up? Filmmaker David Fedele decided to answer the question in the documentary E-wasteland – Where do our electronics go at the end of their life? The answer may surprise you.

Check in your area to see if there’s a responsible way to discard electronic equipment such as old computers and monitors. This month, I’ll be donating some old computer equipment to the Cincinnati Computer Cooperative. The Cincinnati Computer Cooperative is a non-profit organization that provides secure, environmentally responsible computer recycling services to business and individuals, and refurbished computers to low-income families, schools, and other non-profit organizations.

The Hour of Code

Join the Hour of Code this week.

 

Today, December 9, is the beginning of Computer Science Education Week, observed each year in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (born December 9, 1906). Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to promoting computer science education, is encouraging every K-12 student in America to join an “Hour of Code.”

Steve Jobs believed that “I think everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”

My love affair with programming started with BASIC at a local Radio Shack (see related article, Radio Shack’s TRS-80 turns 35) and later turned into C and C++ before I discovered business intelligence. My children may not follow me into engineering school and a technology profession, but I do hope that they will each learn how to do some simple programming. My twelve-year-old daughter recently took part in a one-day computer camp at a local university learning Scratch and Processing. And I recently joined my first Kickstarter for Kano, a Raspberry Pi-based computer, but it won’t arrive for her and I to put together until next summer.

In the meantime, Code.org has many resources on their web site for the Hour of Code. Consider taking an hour this week and help somebody discover programming.

Resources

 

Create Popular Windows Desktop Shortcuts for All Users

Create public shortcuts to make everyone’s life easier.

When installing software on Microsoft Windows server operating systems like Microsoft Windows Server 2008, I like to create a small number of frequently used programs and folders such as the ODBC DSN panels (see related article, More Fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC) as desktop shortcuts.  By default, these shortcuts are placed on my personal desktop, stored in a folder like C:Users\<username>\Desktop. But you can share these desktop shortcuts with your fellow administrators by using Windows Explorer to copy the shortcuts from your personal desktop to the public desktop, which is located at C:\Users\Public\Desktop. The public desktop is a hidden folder, so you’ll want to show hidden folders in your Windows Explorer.  Choose Organize from the Windows Explorer menu, then Folder and search options. Choose “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” from the “Hidden files and folders” option on the View tab, as shown below.

Microsoft Windows Show Hidden Files Folders and Drives

Don’t go overboard with too many shortcuts and annoy your coworkers, but here are some suggestions:

  • 32-bit ODBC DSN Panel
  • 64-bit ODBC DSN Panel
  • Tomcat Configuration
  • SAP BusinessObjects Central Configuration Manager (CCM)
  • SAP BusinessObjects BI Launchpad
  • SAP BusinessObjects Central Management Console
  • SAP BusinessObjects File Repository Server folders, if on remote server

What kinds of Microsoft Windows tricks do you use to make administering SAP BusinessObjects easier?

How to Find Microsoft Windows Uptime?

Unix and Linux users can easily determine the uptime of their system by entering the command who -b.  Microsoft Windows users can determine their system uptime by following Microsoft KB article 555737.

  1. From the Windows command bar, choose “Start” -> “Run”.
  2. Type “CMD” and press “Enter” key. A DOS-style command window will appear.
  3. From the command window, enter the command net statistics server or net stats srv at the prompt and press “Enter” key.
  4. Look for the line that start with “Statistics since …”, which provides the time the server was last booted.

Definitely an article worth bookmarking.

Steve Jobs on Legacy

This is a field where one does one’s work and in 10 years it’s obsolete.

 

All the work that I have done in my life will be obsolete by the time I’m 50… This is a field where one does one’s work and in 10 years it’s obsolete.

Steve Jobs in 1994 interview

This week, the YouTube channel EverySteveJobsVideo released a previously unreleased interview clip courtesy of the Silicon Valley Historical Association.

With each new Apple product released since Steve Job’s death, the bloggers and pundits pontificate over whether Steve Jobs influenced its design. In a few years, we’ll no longer ask such questions.

That really awesome supply chain report that I wrote using Desktop Intelligence 10 years ago? Unlikely that it’s still in use today. The same can be said for the universes, dashboards and reports that I’ve created even just a few years ago. Yours, too.

Drive by any cemetery and you’ll see at least a few really elaborate tombstones. The family mausoleums. The Washington Monument wannabes. We crave legacy and permanence and try to avoid thinking about the fact that we have little of each.

Marco Arment wrote on this topic last year in a blog entitled Lasting Value.

None of the software I write today is likely to still be in use in thirty years, but if I write a truly great and timeless article, that could be valuable to people for much longer.

Even being President of the United States may not help. Although only 44 people have held the office, we can name significant accomplishments of so few.

If we can recognize that our accomplishments are so fleeting, may we also recognize that the challenges that we face today are momentary and will seem insignificant in just months or years. And save our focus and energy for things that are of lasting value.

A Glimpse of SAP BusinessObjects BI 5.0

A select few customers and partners are getting an early preview of SAP BusinessObjects BI 5.0.

Even though SAP customers are just now seeing a glimpse of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 through SAP’s customer validation program, a select few customers and partners are getting an early preview of SAP BusinessObjects BI 5.0.

“One of the major goals of BI 5.0 is simplicity,” according to April ErsteSAP spokesperson for business analytics. “Our research shows that CIO’s are purchasing alternate solutions like QlikView, Tableau, and Tibco Spotfire because those organizations’ sales reps show fewer blocks on architecture diagrams. The current BI4 platform contains 19 discrete servers and an even greater number of services within them, which on a Microsoft PowerPoint slide can be perceived as difficult to manage”.

SAP_BusinessObjects_Architecture_BI4_FP3

By applying design thinking, SAP has been able to radically simplify the BI platform architecture. Over the past few releases, SAP has been moving functionality from discrete servers to the Adaptive Job Server and Adaptive Processing Server. SAP BusinessObjects BI 5.0 will take this approach to the next level of simplicity, moving all Crystal Reports, Dashboards, Explorer and Web Intelligence processing to those two servers. The BI 5.0 architecture currently in the SAP test labs only has six discrete servers: CMS, Input File Repository Server, Output File Repository Server, Adaptive Job Server, Adaptive Processing Server, and Connection Server.

SAP_BusinessObjects_Architecture_BI5

“BI administrators often complain about splitting and sizing the two adaptive servers,” continued Ms. Erste. “However, CIOs really appreciate having a simplified architecture.” With BI 4.1 going into general availability later this year and BI 4.2 already planned for 2014, no release date has been set for BI 5.0.

Learning How to Think

Inspiring the next generation to learn coding.

Code.org is a non-profit foundation founded by brothers Hadi Partovi and Ali Partovi dedicated to growing computer programming education. They’ve released a video encouraging young people to learn programming. It featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, Chris Bosh, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hsieh, Drew Houston, Gabe Newell, Ruchi Sanghvi, Elena Silenok, Vanessa Hurst, and Hadi Partovi. The video was directed by Lesley Chilcott, whose production credits include An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman.

The clip begins with the following quote from Steve Jobs, taken from Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview.

“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think” – Steve Jobs

As somebody who taught myself to program BASIC at a local Radio Shack, I hope this video will inspire the next generation- including my own children- to learn how to program.  Learning to code became much hipper to my 12-year-old daughter when will.i.am appeared on the screen.

I’m curious how other parents are helping their children to learn programing. Please share your tips.

A Plug for your Adobe Flash Plug-In

Adobe really wants you to keep using your Flash player.

I was recently prompted to update my Adobe Flash player and was greeted by the following propaganda piece.

Update Adobe Flash Player

Great messaging from Adobe. You need our frequently insecure and unstable plug-in to play Facebook games and watch videos. No mention of “serious business productivity”. Or the fact that the upgrade may break your SAP BusinessObjects Xcelsius dashboards.

So please, for sake of usability, online security and stability, please update your Adobe Flash player. Pretty please? Before the Adobe Flash development team enters a recovery program for self harm.

Anyone up for a game of Farmville?