Archive for the ‘development’ Category

Oct05

Amazon Brings Enterprise Databases to the Cloud

The people over at Amazon Web Services have been busy at work the last couple weeks. The Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) team has rolled out two significant computing options over that will really help pave the way for more enterprise adoption of their services.

Last Tuesday, Amazon announced that it plans to unveil the ability to run Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server on the EC2 platform later this fall.  This announcement is a huge step and will allow customers to deploy ASP.NET applications using a host of database options as well as other Windows-based applications such as Windows Media transcoding.  This advancement in cloud computing will really ease the transition for potential enterprise clients which still tend to be very Windows heavy – ASP.NET portals still seem to be rather popular in my experience.

Last week, in an email to developers, they also announced that Oracle has certified EC2 as “the first cloud computing platform that has been authorized to run supported Oracle databases” which also increases the database options for enterprises and developers alike.  According to the announcement, customers will be able to run Oracle 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware and the Oracle Enterprise Manager on AWS.  Oracle is really taking an interest in the project and has delivered a set of free images to help make deployment easier.

I don’t claim to know how many ‘enterprise’ clients Amazon Web Services has on its roster but I think this is really a step in the right direction.  I know enterprise security executives are still wary about throwing their proprietary data in the ‘cloud’ but who wouldn’t enjoy a little extra cushion for those PR heavy days when your site gets overloaded.  I can only imagine how busy the Bear Sterns intranet was the day their employees found out it was over.

This will also continue to lower the barrier of entry for web-based start-ups.  The language of choice these days tends to be PHP, but that isn’t normally a part of the university curriculum.  Now, students can continue to expand on those class projects and turn them into successful (hopefully…) start-ups.  Of course, that’s only for those few that aren’t programming before they hit high school.

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Jul03

Apparently Intuit QuickBase Isn’t Dead

Ok, so almost 3 months ago when TechCrunch wrote that Intuit (the makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks, Quicken, etc) were launching a development platform within QuickBase I signed up.  I thought it would be pretty cool to at least see what they were doing and I’m really into Enterprise software (small, medium or large enterprises are all the same to me – business is business no matter the size).

Well, after registering I didn’t get a confirmation email, a “thanks for registering” email or even a “you were rejected, better luck next time”.   I figured it was a good try, I guess I’m not getting that 5 minutes back.  Then yesterday, completely out of the blue, I get a note from QuickBase that  I’ve “been accepted into the Intuit QuickBase Developer Program”.  Ok, well that’s cool but you may want to communicate a little better next time.  I figured some server troll somewhere ate my application.  Good thing you didn’t make me submit my password when I initially signed up or I would have been in trouble.

Anyways, I’ve completed the registration and I’m going to begin poking around what they have to offer.  At first glance it seems functional but not as visually pleasing as something I’d expect from Intuit.  It is in Beta though so I won’t give them too hard of a time.

More to come on QuickBase in the near future.  Maybe if I can find a few hours I’ll get an example application up.

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Mar25

Needed Gmail Enhancements

As I’ve stated several times, I love the various Google products and use several of them on a daily basis. My Gmail is open almost all day long, I use Google Reader to sort, manage and read my news, I share photos and documents with Picasa and Google Docs and I communicate with people all over the world (literally) with Google Talk. When I start my own business I’ll probably use Google Apps to keep costs low and because it allows me the ability to use the Gmail web interface and it’s easy to install. Simply put, they have created an amazing suite of free services but as my usage grows, so does the need for a few enhancements to make things even better.

Since Gmail released the IMAP feature a few months ago I’ve been a pretty happy camper. While I’m pretty happy, there is always room for improvement. I think Gmail recognizes that since they’re continually releasing new features! Keep it up guys.

  • Tagging: The ability to label emails with several tags is great but having to select them from a drop down list is inefficient. It would be great if there was a type-ahead feature that auto-completed tags as I began typing them. It would also be great if you could apply multiple tags to filters.
  • Filtering: Gmail has a great filter set-up but there is one thing I’d like to see added. The ability to apply multiple tags to filtered messages. Some people may not use tags to quite the same extent I do but I like to keep an organized mailbox. With my travels for work I also like to make sure I keep as many records as possible and there are some emails that I get on a regular basis that I like filtered into two buckets. Hotel receipts are the main culprit (expense reporting can be such a pain). Currently, I just have to filter it with one tag and add the second manually. Not a huge deal, but it would definitely be a time saver.
  • Shortcut Keys: For those of us that use Outlook all day for corporate email, shortcut keys are where it’s at. I can successfully navigate almost all of Outlook (that I use at least) without touching the mouse. Google has done a pretty good job building out the shortcut keys but some of them are counter-intuitive. Maybe the problem is they just aren’t intuitive based on the Windows habits that we have all picked up. I’d like to see the ability to customize your shortcut keys or at least add a few more like ‘ALT+s’ to quickly send an email from compose mode.

If I new anything about writing GreaseMonkey scripts or had a couple hours of extra time I would consider writing a couple of these enhancements myself. But…since I don’t and I have no extra time I’m hoping the various Google teams go ahead and step-up.

These are obviously just my opinions but I think they’re enhancements that would benefit the masses.

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