doing TODAY and not getting caught in the HYPE of tomorrow

Alan Williamson

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Alan Wiliamson's Blog Finally, after years of providing just a command line interface to their web services, Amazon has released a web based management console. Has it been worth the wait? In a nutshell, yes. We knew this day was coming, and 8th of January was that day. Built using Yahoo's YUI framework, using JSP at the backend, Amazon's engineers have delivered a very rich, functional and darn right stunning looking console. It begs you to want to use it. Initial Tour The first you notice instantly is how clean everything is laid out, choice of colours and controls just flow beautifully. The front page is your main overview page giving you the state of EC2 and the amount of resources you are presently consuming. Nice little 'refresh' button, that simply updates one of the inner panels instead of forcing a whole page refresh. This is the small details that carry on th... (more)

Product Review: Sun Blade

When Sun Microsystems rings you up and asks whether or not you'd be interested in playing with a new desktop system they've just announced that's aimed at Java developers, amongst many, what can you do but nod affirmatively. After much paperwork to allow the machine to leave the shores of the U.S., it arrived here in Scotland where it was immediately unpacked and fired up. That was two months ago. So how did I get on? Well, let me take you through the trials and tribulations of working with a Sun desktop machine, as opposed to a Windows-based system, to develop Java applications... (more)

Money...The Root of All Evil

When all is said and done, I hope you're reading this column ­ the first in the new millennium ­ in familiar surroundings. With any luck, the prophets of doom around the Y2K problem have been proved wrong and the world didn't stop spinning suddenly in a haze of apocalyptic fireworks. If this is the case, I congratulate the human race for making it past another one of life's man-made hurdles. That's not to say that all our systems have made it smoothly into the new age. Who knows what state the world's IT systems will be in? I'm thinking it's not going to be quite as bad as predi... (more)

Happy Birthday!

Can you believe it? I know I certainly can't. This column is officially celebrating its twelfth issue, and being the mathematical genius that I am ­ and since this joyous magazine is printed on a monthly schedule ­ I can safely deduce that our first year anniversary is upon us. Fantastic. Experts reckon that most marriages break up in the first year, so I guess we've successfully made it past the hardest part. On that note I think we'll take a whistlestop tour of what I've been ranting about over the last year and look at any changes that make the arguments posed in the last 12 m... (more)

Scandalous Propaganda: 'Twenty-Eight Times Faster than J2EE!'

It's the start of a new year; what fruits will our computing orchard serve up this season? This time last year the industry was excitedly preparing us for how Web services would take over. Sun was gearing up for their Sun ONE announcement in February after Microsoft had begun filtering out information on what their .NET was really about. With 12 months now in the time bank, I can truly say I have not seen any major change. Just a lot more people than usual, particularly vendor companies, talking a great game. A couple of months ago I introduced the notion that the whole Web servic... (more)