.NET coexisting with J2EE/EJB?

One of the people we met at the eBusiness Conference on Thursday is asking the $42,000 question: how well do these technologies coexist? He writes,

“I wondered if you had any work/research going on in the space of Web Svcs deployment environment with either .net vs J2EE and/or both co-existing.

We have completed a prototype EJB/J2EE ws in a Websphere app container but have a grp of dev who are more VB and Vis C++ programmers. I want to consider how to leverage their skills in this space where possible.”

I guess the question I would have back is, why not? But as I wrote back, “Sadly I have little actual deployment experience in this area, having been closely focused on business school for the last two years.” Anybody out there know better than I do?

Waking up with a jolt

Good morning! I had an interesting awakening, almost, this morning. The New England area had a 5.1 magnitude earthquake this morning. And of course, being me, I pretty much slept through it. I woke up and thought, “Oh that’s interesting. Lisa must be sleeping poorly,” and promptly went back to sleep.

Heaven help us if we ever slide into the sea one day. I’ll wake up and think, “Gee, the humidity is high tonight. Blub.” and promptly go back to sleep.

Self-referencing ourselves into oblivion

Jim McGee: Bootstrapping weblogs at the Kellogg School of Management. Ah, so that’s how they’re doing it at Kellogg, my option 2. Jim teaches a ten-week course in Knowledge Management at Kellogg in which the class members create weblogs. “Mildly subversive,” indeed, but I think it’s a good way to get future business leaders thinking about sharing knowledge and about the power of the flow of information.

Jim also says he’s been subscribed to my RSS feed ([Macro error: Can’t call the script because the name “rsslink” hasn’t been defined.]
) for a while. Always great to meet a reader. I didn’t find Jim the conventional way (my referer logs) — he’s the first hit at Google for “kellogg weblog”. By way of comparison I’m somewhere around the 19th hit for “sloan weblog”—not that I blog about Sloan that often.

Getting Sloan on Radio

John Robb, UserLand’s President and COO, graciously pointed to me after I gave him a little grief yesterday for pointing at a Kellogg student’s weblog. He also raised an interesting question: what would it take to get MIT Sloan on Radio? (That’s Radio UserLand, not AM or FM, for those of you playing along at home.)

Good question, John. There are three ways to do it that I can see, each with its own merits and disadvantages:

  1. Centralized push. Have Sloan’s IT services folks set up a Radio Community Server and put Radio on every first year MBA’s laptop.
  2. In the classroom. Have a few professors start using Radio as a knowledge sharing mechanism and put part of the class participation grade for their students in how well they use their weblogs.
  3. From the grassroots. Have a few bleeding edge folks get their sleeves up and evangelize it.

Approach #1 is how our last “knowledge sharing” system, a custom version of the open source ACS from the late lamented ArsDigita, was implemented. People are using it for calendaring, surveys, and file storage. That’s about it. There is a little bulletin board traffic, but for the most part outside of course websites and maybe the shared calendar it’s not part of the Sloan academic culture of idea sharing.

Approach #2 might have some legs. There are some classes, including the introduction to IT class, a few of the marketing classes, and a class being taught on virtual communities, with which Radio is a natural fit. You might get the professors on board pretty quickly, with the students doing exercises in Radio for a semester.

Approach #3 is where we are right now. By virtue of my getting out and talking about my weblog, I’ve got George and Adam on board. But that’s three, with no faculty.

I’d love to know how many people at Kellogg are active bloggers, and how they’re using Radio—for personal weblogging, academic reflection, industry commentary, or some combination of the three.

Too nice a day

I’m starting to appreciate the Boston spring. It’s about sixty-something degrees, not a cloud in the sky. I’m sitting on the patio outside the Marriott, which is lit up with MIT’s wireless network, blogging and checking email and generally having fun. Unfortunately it’s a bit windy and my fingers are also freezing, so I might have to go inside after all, but it’s nice to get a bit of sunshine.

TBL/Semantic Web: From the Horse’s Mouth

I just got out of Tim Berners-Lee’s discussion of the Semantic Web at the 2002 MIT eBusiness Conference. As it turns out, I think Dave’s description of what the semantic web concept means is closer to describing it than mine, but mine is a complementary vision. Fundamentally, the semantic web is about giving meaning to raw data present on the web in other formats, such as plain old HTML pages, so that the meaning of a particular piece of data and its relationship to other data on the Web can be understood by machines. The key pieces of the vision are:

  • A common understanding that data in the semantic web can be expressed in a subject, verb, object framework
  • A common way of identifying what a given piece of data is through applying a unique URI through a framework called RDF
  • A set of ontologies that relate different semantic concepts together.

Dave’s example is bang on for the basic concept – “TBL” (subject), “MIT eBusiness Conference” (object), “will be presenting a keynote at” (verb). I think it’s complementary to what Google does. Google knows that something is authoritative because of the link relationships it has—I link to and am linked to by a lot of sites and therefore my articles float higher in the system than a page that isn’t linked to by or doesn’t itself link to anything else.

But that only goes so far. If I’m searching for information on a common noun like jaguar, Google doesn’t know a priori whether the information that it returns to me is about Jaguar the car, jaguar the animal, Jaguar the Atari gaming device, etc. The search engine Manjara at Yale can take a stab at separating the links by clustering the pages based on commonalities in the words on each page. But the semantic web concept gives the author power to identify what he’s writing about by unequivocally expressing the linkage to a semantic definition through RDF.

What about my example? It extends the idea of all this data being ontologically parseable and imagines that data being passed about by Web Services. So if you can express through a URI linkage what you mean by the title of a weblog entry, or the price of a contract line item, then the system receiving the web service call can interpret your request in a more reliable way without having to meet system by system and agree on your taxonomy beforehand.

Alas, I didn’t get to talk to TBL before he was hustled out. Maybe I can get a chance to open a dialogue with him before I graduate and see if I’m on track.

Can’t hear the orchestra. You’re talking too loud

New York Times: Lamenting the Fade-Out of Classical Radio. Apparently another classical station is undergoing a format change to embrace more talk. Michael Kimmelman writes:

The big problem is that music has been progressively dumbed down over the years, and not just at WNYC. Talk about music has replaced music itself, or the music is guitar sonatas and easy-listening favorites, background noise that drives away serious devotees. The public can judge quality. If you cheapen a product enough, eventually no one will want it. It is no surprise people have stopped tuning in.

As someone who’s often felt the urge to call up stations in Boston and Washington and yell at them to find something in a minor key, or with a chorus, or written before 1780 or after 1880, I’ll confirm Kimmelman’s observations. But this isn’t the whole story. The dismemberment of “Performance Today”, one of the refuges of unique, challenging, and interesting classical music performance, shows that classical music has someone actively gunning for it. [Disclaimer: I’ve been on “Performance Today” as part of the Virginia Glee Club.]

I’ll also note that the disappearance of jazz stations should have served as a warning. But we were all tuned in to Rush, Howard, and even “All Things Considered” to notice.

Semantic Web or not Semantic Web

Dave talks about Tim Berners-Lee’s semantic web. Dave, I don’t think I get it either, but here’s my shot at another, complementary vision:

  1. The Manila API defines a message to consist of a bunch of things, including title, message body, potentially link and news item department, and other whatnots.
  2. The Blogger API defines a message to consist of a slightly different bunch of things, including a message body.
  3. With the semantic web, you could have data about both APIs living on a server somewhere, including how they map to each other. Then any Manila enabled tool could post to anything that supported the Blogger API, as long as the receiving tool was aware that the semantic mapping was out there somewhere.

Or, in a business context (well, the previous point was a business context too):

  1. My application deals in line items for a government contract.
  2. So does the government’s, except theirs structures line items completely differently — it views the important elements as the financial payment data, where I care about how the widgets are to be made.
  3. I’ve never done business with the government before, but if my system uses a semantic mark up that is available on the net and is mapped to the government’s system, I can send them a transaction marked up in my format and theirs will know how to interpret it without any extra coding.

I may be way off base here. But I’m presenting a poster at MIT’s Annual eBusiness Conference on Thursday and will hopefully get to talk to Tim about this in more depth (he’s speaking at lunch).

A scawchah heah in Boston; and Patriots Day

Starting from 42° F, climbing to 82°. This isn’t the April I know and love.

Having been a little flip yesterday about the Patriots Day holiday, I decided to do a little more research. Here’s what I found (courtesy this page): Patriots Day is a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, celebrated on or around April 19. It commemorates the battles at Lexington and Concord that were the opening skirmishes in the war for independence. The holiday touches down in my neighborhood too: April 18 was the night that the light was set in Old North Church warning that the British were marching to Concord.

Given all the publicity over the Marathon over the last week or so, I’m disappointed that there wasn’t much in the way of reminders to those non-native New Englanders like myself what the holiday is really about.

Weird holiday (not that I’m complaining)

I have no idea why Massachusetts has a random holiday called Patriots Day (no, it’s not about the football team), unless it’s to let everyone attend the Boston Marathon.

I have even less idea why MIT gives us two days off for that holiday.

But I’m not really complaining. 🙂

Sending instant messages to Google

Interconnected: Googlematic. You can now do a Google search using AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Messenger; see the page for details. This is the sort of incredible mind bomb I was hoping to see when Google opened up its new API.

It occurs to me that someone should take the next logical step and create an email gateway to Google. There are times that it’s helpful to have a permanent record of searches, for instance when researching a topic for a paper. Email would be one way to automate that process.

RIAA hoist by its own price-fixin’ petard?

Blogaritaville: Price Fixing Since 1996 Caused CD Sales Slowdown. When the RIAA is trying to blame consumers’ file-sharing ways for slumping sales in 2001, I think it’s worth looking at some other factors. Scriban compares average cost of a CD (from the RIAA’s own figures!) against CD unit sales and makes a fairly persuasive argument.

Of course, correlation is not causality. There are other factors at work, like the rise of lousy me-too bands in just about every segment and the inexplicable resurgence of teen pop (I thought Kriss Kross had been the final stake in that coffin. You remember Kriss Kross—fourteen year old kids rapping “I’m the mack daddy! No, I’m the daddy mack!”).