Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Servers For Truth or IBM vs. Oracle

Youtube has a new IBM commercial, officially by "Servers For Truth", dealing with the still ongoing discussion about Oracle's TPC benchmark-related claims and the facts behind them. If you ever experienced election campaigns in the US, this commercial comes close to some of those election-related spots.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The most advanced voice recognition system of its kind

Maybe this is how all started. Over the years in the US I had to deal with lots of the then more advanced systems where it was a battle of human vs. machine. Having a foreign accent didn't help and often the machines won. And so I learned that there is almost always a "*0" to get into the "cheat mode"...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Redpaper on System x Virtualization Strategies

IBM this week published a 60 page strong Redpaper titled "System x Virtualization Strategies". After giving an overview of IBM's System x platform, it discusses various options for virtualization on System x, including solutions from VMware, Red Hat, Citrix, and Microsoft.

If you are new to virtualization or want to get an up-to-date overview, this is worth a read.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Google Buzz educates public about data privacy

I had written about the Data Privacy Day on January 28th. One of the big corporate sponsors is (any guesses?): Google. Quoting from Wikipedia:
Data Privacy Day's educational initiative has focused on raising awareness among teens and young adults about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking.
It turns out that with the introduction of Google Buzz, Google itself created a lot of awareness in the public how important it is to protect privacy of personal information. To me this brought up again one of  fundamental rules of online activities:

Do not trust anybody, not even a service provider.

Before using an online service it is important to look at the risks vs. convenience. How will I use a service, what data could be possibly be exposed? The latter is about the worst case. It is about what happens when there is a leak, a change in policies, or other problems, not about the terms of use accepted when signing up. Do I trust that company? And then we are back to the fundamental rule...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bank Data R Us (not anymore)

The European Parliament voted down a temporary agreement that allowed US agencies to access information on bank transfers of EU citizens. Strong privacy concerns were the driving motivation behind the parliaments decision to stop the data access.

The decision is interesting for EU citizens in several aspects: One is the strong emphasize on data privacy and data protection, the second one is that the EU parliament made use of its veto powers and shot down a decision of the EU council, indicating that it cannot be ignored in the future.

(For those not living in the EU, here is more background on the EU Parliament. The members are directly elected by the EU citizens.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Playing around with db2diag

Over the past few days I have been playing with db2diag. It is the log analysis tool and it allows you to search, filter, and format the DB2 diagnostic logs. One of the simple examples is that I wanted to see when errors or warnings were produced on my test system. I could do that by calling:

db2diag -l Error,Warning -fmt "%ts %level %db"

This would only print the timestamp, the "error" level, and, if it was for a specific database, the database name.

2010-02-05-13.05.51.947000 Warning
2010-02-05-13.05.52.449000 Error PUREDB
2010-02-05-13.05.52.449000 Error PUREDB
2010-02-05-14.10.24.619000 Warning

The output is much quicker to digest than the diagnostic itself. And I could also use the output as input for some other scripts. Have you used db2diag in the past?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Electrocardiography (ECG), Health Checks, Performance Expert, DB2, and Oracle

Earlier today I wrote about a 24 hour ECG. That got me thinking. Did you know that IBM Information Management Services actually offer health checks? You can have a "health" specialist (in this case not a physician!) look over your database installation. Like you would expect, if there are findings, recommendations are given and maybe a prescription is handed over.

Similar to the 24 hour ECG, there is also a product called DB2 Performance Expert that does exactly (and much more) what this wearable mini-computer does. It collects all the data points and lets you evaluate them, even assists you in that.

BTW: Some non-DB2 (but Oracle) customers come to see the health specialists, too. They are suffering from high costs and other issues. Read more about it here.

Electrocardiography (ECG), Twitter, and Databases

Someone in my family currently is having a 24 hour electrocardiography (ECG). Basically, the heart region is fully wired and connected to a "wearable" mini-computer/database and data is collected over a 24 hour period. That part of the 24 h ECG is fully automated. The person in question gets wired, the computer set up, and everything is ready to go. The more complicated part is keeping an activity log. Think of it as a silly form of Twitter.

You write down the time and the start of activities:
16:05 running
16:15 sitting and talking
16:40 reading
...
18:18 eating & drinking
...
x:yy sleeping

After the recording period is over, the data is evaluated manually. Someone will take a look at the plotted graphs, look for "interesting" peaks, gaps, dense graphs, etc. and correlate that with the activity log.

Wouldn't that be something that could be done by a database application and mostly automated? Looking for patterns, for irregularities, correlating timestamped data, and eventually reporting back a list of events to take a closer look? Instead of keeping a paper-based log, timestamped activities could be stored with the mini-computer/database (enter it with a wireless device or have that person wear a USB connector... ;-) or correlated with the twitter account...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One more thing: An amazing, unbelievable, great video - wonderful!!!

On YouTube you find the condensed iPad Keynote. It boils down to...?!

Give me what that guy had... (Larry E.)

I was reading Conor's take on the great "Larry E. Show" which made me watch it. As eWeek stated, Larry E. is protected by the First Amendment, i.e., he is more or less free to say what he wants, even if it is far from the truth. But it is interesting to see how the world looks according to Larry. Does he believe what he is saying? Or is it fake? That reminded me of a very famous scene in a movie. Here is a shorter version... ;-)

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