Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dare To Change The World...

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in a square hole, the ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as crazy ones, we see genius, because the people, who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who’ll do it.

Apple computer advertising, 9/27/97

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gmail still BETA?

Was in school over the weekend and I was surfing the net in elect library. Logged on to my gmail account and then it struck me; gmail is still a BETA service, despite all these years…I looked over to timba and popped the “why” question at him…he gave me the look that says: “does it look as if I have a desk at googleplex?”

As far as am concerned, gmail is far from being a beta service and the beta tag should be stripped away from it. It’s a stable enough application. And if any further work is to be done on it, it should be under the guise of new features being added not refactoring of a BETA service, but once again, I don’t work in Google so wouldn’t know whatz up.

And still talking about BETA services, I recently started the BETA testing of ednutey5 and if things work out like I envisage, I should be deploying to full fledge production in the next, say, 3 to 4 years…

So far eduntey5 has been a pretty, nice and sexy service. I haven’t encountered any major bug and guess what may be required of me is just proper integration so as to ensure compatibility with other services I’m presently running...

So far it has been fun.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yeah, the web isn't the desktop

I have an entry in 60minuteswiththegeeks where I argued that trying to morph the web into a desktop might be a step in the wrong direction pointing out that such gestures fail to see the web as a unique platform…

This is not to say that I’m against the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS), definitely not! Saas is the future and it is the way to go.

I argued that wining on the web will involve a good understanding of the unique characteristic of the web and then building services that takes advantage of these characteristics. In that light the obvious ubiquity of the web is itself a chief characteristic of the web and so a model that allows for distributed or remote data processing is positively a strategy that will fit on the web.

My point was that taking advantage of the ubiquitousness of the web shouldn’t be the same thing as copying and pasting the desktop onto the web.

Quoting FORTUNE magazine, the technology section of July 23, 2007:

“The best SaaS offerings, however don’t just use the web but leverage its unique capabilities. They aren’t simple traditional, disk based software fitted with an online interface”

That is exactly the point I’m trying to make. Creating a parody of the desktop on the web is definitely off beam. Like someone aptly put it: “replication is not the same thing as innovation”

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lesson Learnt...

I got a scare at work recently...

I was working on a form that is suppose to jumpstart a service we will be deploying sometimes this year. And due to time constraint ( exams were fast approaching and my time table was looking like evil) and sheer carelessness on my part, I didn't put in place the necessary security measures and I apparently left the system susceptible...
Then I got a call from my OGA who says that there has been a security breach; that the database has been compromised...sqlinjection attack he said.


It was then I understood the value and importance of taking adequate security measures, I mean in like 5minutes I could have safeguarded the application and prevented this supposedly mayhem...right there I added "prevention is better than cure" as part of my guiding tenet when building applications...

So I got down to work, did some poking around to see the extent of the damage. At the end of the day, it wasn't what my OGA thought...but still, the lesson stuck.

When it comes to securing web application Jason Gilmore aptly put it when he said:
"Any Web server can be thought of as a castle under constant attack by a sea of barbarians. And, as the history of both conventional and information warfare shows, often the attackers' victory isn't entirely dependent upon their degree of skill or cunning, but rather on an oversight by the defenders."

You see, the interesting thing is that in most scenarios, the steps even needed to safeguard your applications are far from being complex. They are simple tasks that are so simple we sometimes forget how important they are.

So the lesson I learned from the scare? 'Never ever move from development to deploying again without first putting all the necessary security checks'.