Virtual Apple ][ Online Disk Archive

These guys have an entire library of old Apple ][ programs online that run within the browser. They use an ActiveX control that’s an Apple ][gs virtual machine emulator running within the IE… Sweet!

[with Virtual Apple]…”you can now relive, play, and enjoy old Apple 2 games and other disks through the internet and web browser. This web site uses an ActiveX application and Apple IIgs emulator to automatically download and play most Apple 2 disk images online. To play a game, just select the disk from the menu and click on Yes to automatically download the ActiveX emulator and disk images. (Note: Requires Internet Explorer and Windows) Don’t worry, there isn’t any spyware to worry about, and it’s completely free!” (via Boing Boing)

Gopher Net Nostalgia

A back in my day, we surfed the net with rodents

Via Wired News: “Back in 1992, when “yahoo” was something cowboys yelled and “ebay” was just pig Latin, the University of Minnesota developed a new way of looking at data on the Internet. Their protocol, called “gopher” after the UMN mascot, allowed archivists to present the mishmash of information in a standard format, and enabled readers to navigate documents on a world of servers using a simple visual interface.

For a while, it seemed as if gopher might open the Internet up to the nontechnical masses and usher in a new era of online communication. It very well might have, if the Web hadn’t come along and done it instead.

Mention gopher to a newcomer to the Web and you might get a blank stare. Mention it to an old-timer and you’re likely to see a nostalgic smile…”

Indeed. Before NCSA Mosaic hit FTP servers and made the WWW usable, Gopher clients/servers were all the rage.

One thing I’d like to point out that the article neglected to mention was the fact that Wired Magazine had its own Gopher Server, which existed back in the days before its web site.

ERP All Over Again

After taking week off to spend with the family I’m getting back into the swing of things and stealing some time to blog.

To motivate myself this morning I read an out of the ordinary article in Info World regarding how ERP implementations are coming back into favor (again).

The topic of the article is of particular interest to me because I’m in midst of an implementation of PeopleSoft 8.4 and seeing many of the themes of this article played out in real-time.

Some excellent quotes:

“You can sit there and turn [the] PeopleSoft [ERP software] upside down and sideways and say, ‘Now, make it do what I asked it to do.’ But then, next upgrade — poof — it takes four years.”

“The only real way to solve the upgrade problem is to crack ERP applications — and their custom modifications — into discrete components that use standards-based interfaces. Upgrade one component or even a group of them and, with luck, you won’t break anything else.”

“The idea that you really need to componentize the functionality, separate the logic from the process from the application, is something that isn’t just good computer science, it’s good business, too,” says Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. “Without a doubt, that is where the market is going,” he says and adds that this massive overhaul of architecture, although underway, will take years.

“And 41 percent say they’re using Web services to expand the functionality of ERP apps to a greater number of users, which makes sense given our readers’ prediction that more employees will use ERP apps in the next 12 months.”

“Companies now crave a single global accounting function, Shepherd says, with global visibility and common processes. Other business drivers include global cash management, global credit management, a more unified view of customers, and global purchasing leverage in procurement.”

“It’s an implementation that affects every level of the company, every level of the organization,” says Sonnax’s Loewer. “An ERP implementation seems like it’s 75 percent culture and 25 percent technology.”

In that last quote, I might argue that the culture change is more like 85 percent of the effort, but that might simply be my own experience.

SMTP in a Spam-ridden world

CNET News.com has a well researched article on whether this is the End of the road for SMTP in a world that is deluged with Spam.

Some interesting quotes…

“The flaws are so severe, some now believe, that the protocol that gave rise to the most significant explosion in written communication since Gutenberg may no longer be capable of serving its purpose in a world of con artists, pornographers, virus authors and unscrupulous spammers.”

Ouch!

“Some say rewriting SMTP from the ground up would be prohibitively difficult because of the protocol’s global user base, which is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.”

“Proposals requiring a change to desktop mail software are even harder to deploy.”

CloudMark’s SpamNet has worked well for me, but I agree that the focus should be more at the server and protocol level.

Susan Sluizer, who co-authored the 1981 Mail Transport Protocol, SMTP’s direct predecessor, “counters this by suggesting two protocols–SMTP and a new one, with tighter authentication–could easily coexist, with e-mail applications supporting both side by side. In that way, people using one protocol would not be prevented from exchanging mail with those using another.”

Although…

“Microsoft, for example, advocates a change to the domain name system (DNS) that would make it harder for spammers to disguise their identity.”

“The “minor enhancement” Microsoft is preparing to release would let individuals, companies and other organizations publish the identification numbers of their mail servers in the DNS database.”

“Microsoft–with its Hotmail Web mail service, its MSN mail service, and others under its control–could single-handedly give such a system a sizeable implementation boost.”

“Harry Katz, program manager of Microsoft’s Exchange server group, warned that, in the rush to fix e-mail, the industry risks harming the openness that gave rise to the Internet’s success in the first place.”

Indeed.

SPAM false-positives can be rude

This is the unfortunate result of the “every growing uphill battle with SPAM”, but apparently an email to me from Anders Jacobsen was rejected due to some of the drastic, but efficient, measures John has been applying to the server.

Anders brings up some interesting points, in that the automated rejection notices, from legitimate senders, present themselves as bad-mannered netiquette that penetrates the social fabric of the online world.

As I said in my response to Anders, “SPAM has effectively transformed an efficient means of communication into a bastion of nonsense.”

Blah! I’m going home!

ISO Creation Tool for Windows XP

Nice!

Alex Feinman has created the ISO Recorder Power Toy, which “is a UI component that allows you to use CD-Recording capabilities of Windows XP to record and create ISO images.” (via Lockergnome)

There’s also a companion application called CreateCD, which “is a command-line tool that allows recording files and folders to a data CD from command line. … It can also be used from a scripts and batch files to perform automated backup on CD-RW.” (e.g. Robocopy backup scripts)

PeopleSoft CEO says .Net is IT ‘asbestos’

I can’t say that I agree with Mr. Conway of PeopleSoft in regard to his comment about .Net last week…

“PeopleSoft president and CEO Craig Conway has described Microsoft’s .Net initiative as the information technology equivalent of asbestos.”

“Conway then added that, in his opinion, Microsoft’s .Net strategy will not help business to control the costs of their enterprise applications, as it assumes code will be executed by PCs.”

Specifically, the second quote certainly seems a bit hypocritical since PeopleSoft up until version 7.02(?) was a hard-core Client/Server based application environment.

However, perhaps it is a sign of how far these titans of client/server computing have progressed in the last 5 or so years.

As far as this goes with .Net, in the short-term, PCs and especially Windows-based applications are not going away — Especially in the enterprise. It’s not something you can ignore or displace. Their ubiquity is a reality.

IMHO, .Net provides a means to enhance disparate desktop applications and provide the edge-glue to integrate with business process and enterprise legacy applications a like.