KinderStart Accuses Google of Abuse

More evidence that Google is displacing Microsoft as the evil empire. Computerworld is reporting that Inc. has filed a class action lawsuit in California alleging that Google:

…violating its right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution, violating Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act by using a monopoly position to harm competitors, engaging in unfair practices and competition under California law, and committing defamation and libel.

KinderStart operates a web site for parents of children under the age of 7. There’s so much we don’t know yet – but this can’t be good news for Google’s PR folks.

American Way and GTD

The American Way Magazine has a great article on Getting Things Done. If you know someone you thing would benefit from using GTD but haven’t been able to make your point – this article will probably win them over. It very succinctly describes the benefits of the process.

One interesting quote from the article which really resonates with me:

Publisher Michael Hyatt observes another change wrought by GTD: a dramatic drop in his tolerance for the hopelessly disorganized. It drives me crazy, he confesses. I had to terminate a few high-profile people who would commit to something in a meeting and then just wouldn’t follow through, so it was a colossal waste of everyones time.

Court Ducks, Google Triumphs

The Google Blog has the latest news regarding their legal dispute with the government. Google has successfully limited the scope of this specific request. The federal government is monolithic and moves at a ponderous pace. The legal decision appears to have hinged on the governments failure to describe the value of the information and why it is necessary. Well I’m guessing their next request won’t be as vague. This is the first round in a long battle and the best thing you can say about the dispute is that it is being conducted in broad daylight. I’m no legal pundit but it really feels like the court in this particular case did not extend themselves. So many politicians complain that the courts legislate but this is clearly not one of those cases. The judge ducked the decision indicating that the government can’t support their claims.

The posts closing paragraph is one we’ll be quoting from in the future:

We will always be subject to government subpoenas, but the fact that the judge sent a clear message about privacy is reassuring. What his ruling means is that neither the government nor anyone else has carte blanche when demanding data from Internet companies. When a party resists an overbroad subpoena, our legal process can be an effective check on such demands and be a protector of our users.

Correlation Patents

Patent Office in Violation of Patent – That’s the headline I want read some day.

Michael Crichton (yea – that one) has written a New York Times Op-Ed piece on a the use of correlation patents in the biomedical industry. Anyone who thinks the patent office and associated industries isn’t ripe for an oversight body needs to read this editorial. I’ve lost track of the number of stories like this. It’s criminal but there is apparently no way to get off the bus.

From the editorial:

All this may sound absurd, but it is the heart of a case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. In 1986 researchers filed a patent application for a method of testing the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, in the blood. They went one step further and asked for a patent on the basic biological relationship between homocysteine and vitamin deficiency. A patent was granted that covered both the test and the scientific fact. Eventually, a company called Metabolite took over the license for the patent.

Although Metabolite does not have a monopoly on test methods — other companies make homocysteine tests, too — they assert licensing rights on the correlation of elevated homocysteine with vitamin deficiency. A company called LabCorp used a different test but published an article mentioning the patented fact. Metabolite sued on a number of grounds, and has won in court so far.

The seven concentric circles of hell are populated by an ever increasing number of lawyers. Patent lawyers comprise the inner circle.

Configurable Item Granularity

I recently read a posting entitled A first look at HP ServiceDesk. I’m going to have to read the referenced thesis – The Convergence of Metadata and IT Service Management. I don’t have enough context to comment but I’m not really seeing the point.

I recently read a posting entitled A first look at HP ServiceDesk. I’m going to have to read the referenced thesis – The Convergence of Metadata and IT Service Management. I don’t have enough context to comment but I’m not really seeing the point.

I didn’t realize until I had started in on this that this post was from 2003. I’m sure everyone’s moved on at this point – soooo, never mind.

My company uses OVSD. We stumbled early on with CIs because we tried to be too granular. It is the hardest one of the hardest things with which we dealt. That being said, our challenge was around whether it made sense to consider a subsystem a CI. We dove too deep and ended up having to withdraw to a higher level. This is one of those traps that’s easier to see after you’ve fallen in.

For us, several factors influenced us to raise the level of detail:

  1. The level of detail required for service calls and incidents.
  2. The level of detail required for development purposes.

OVSD is a service management tool – not a configuration management tool. The low level of detail should be reserved for development methodology oriented tools. If you’re building software and you need to keep versions of objects, the little pieces matter. If you’re trouble shooting a problem, if you can see the change orders associated with a CI and you understand the symptoms within that context – you’re almost all the way there. Most support professionals don’t need more to resolve issues.

I’ll read the thesis, but from my perspective the point is to strike a balance between the different service offerings. Technical professionals do not use OVSD to determine if an index should be added. The support staff responsible for an application should know the volume and performance characteristics of a table based on the DBMS reporting tools. OVSD is a general tool which binds together others (the one ring) – it does not displace them.

The post ends with the following questions. I have added my answers besides each:

  1. Is a database a configuration item? Yes.
  2. Is a database table a configuration item? No. Unless you have a huge table used for some hugely critical purpose it doesn’t make sense to go to this level of detail.
  3. Is a database column a configuration item? Well – I guess the answer above takes all the mystery out of this answer – no.
  4. Is a database index a configuration item? Ditto – no way.

Outsourcing Original Content

I’m not certain how long it will stay available to the unsubscribed, but there’s a hugely humorous post by Lee Gomes on the Wall Street Journal on web content.

Update: I neglected to explain the major theme of the post in my original discussion here – web masters are paying pennies to individuals on shore and off to crank out what they loosely call “original content”. In fact they are outsourcing the production of crap.

My favorite quote:

In fact, search engines are more like a TV camera crew let loose in the middle of a crowd of rowdy fans after a game. Seeing the camera, everyone acts boorishly and jostles to get in front. The act of observing something changes it.

You just have to love that observation.