# Friday, April 30, 2004

First of all, I wish Google all the success in the world in its IPO, I hope it makes tons of money for the company, shareholders and its founders, they deserve it. I love when the free market rewards entrepreneurs. Google is the best damn place on the Internet, period. I have it as my home page and use the Google Toolbar extensively.

 

That said, I will not buy the IPO shares. Google is valued at 20 to 25 billion dollars. I don’t know how that happened because until yesterday, Google’s revenues were a total mystery to the entire planet except to their CFO and the Venture Capitalists Kleiner Perkins who invested in Google a while back (and also invested in my company four years ago).

 

I read the public S1 filing document today. Google’s revenue was just under a billion dollars last year. We can do the math, 25x revenues is super overvalued. So let’s look at earnings. Last year Google had $343 million of operating costs (you think a server farm of a gazillion servers is cheap?) so its valuation is at 73x earnings. That is crazy talk.

 

Sure Google can grow. This year they are projected to grow by more than 50%, but of course operating costs will actually double. They are projected to have revenues of $1.6 billion and operating costs with $620 million that will put earnings at about a billion. That sounds like a huge jump in one year, but hey they do have a kick-ass product. Even so, 25x earnings is still an overvalued stock, no matter how you look at it.

 

You know what this sounds like to me? The late 90s internet bubble. So let the buyer beware.

posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 11:30:15 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [6] Trackback
# Thursday, April 29, 2004

I am officially boycotting the US Postal Service after they dropped their sponsorship of Lance Armstrong. Like 5 tours is not enough? I am sure that someone will pony up the money for the greatest team in pro cycling.

Just a few days ago Lance won the Tour of Georgia, a 1,000 km stage race. Next stop, a 6th Tour de France victory in July.

posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 10:22:38 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [13] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 28, 2004

See you in Karachi June 15-17!

posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 4:36:24 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The most beautiful woman on the planet is single again, Halle Berry filed for divorce.

posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 10:03:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [5] Trackback
# Monday, April 26, 2004

So it is official. I am going to be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania this October.

Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain (well technically it is a volcano) in Africa.

 

Crazy enough to join me are two fellow RDs, Paul Sheriff and Richard Campbell. At 19,340 feet, this will edge out my time on Everest as the highest altitude I have been to. We are going to take the Western Breach route, sleep the last night at 18,000 feet and summit on the “real” side. When we come down, we will do a 5 day safari so expect lots of photos.

 

 

posted on Monday, April 26, 2004 3:31:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [11] Trackback
# Thursday, April 22, 2004

That is what I said to the ticket salesman last night at Shea Stadium as I bought a $5 ticket to the Mets v Expos game. Cheaper than a movie, Linda, Sara and I entered with high expectations. After a $6.50 beer, $2.50 hotdog and $3 popcorn, the Mets did get their money. The game was fun, pitching was good, but the Mets came up short 2-1. We had to shout French curses at the Montreal Expos, it was a hoot.

posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 1:00:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 21, 2004

CA’s Chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar has stepped down and resigned his position from the board. Enron/WorldCom style accounting scandals have reached our industry.  It is a sad day. In a strange move, CA has created a new position for Kumar as chief software architect. Why keep him around at all? Did he do something wrong? If not why did he have to resign then? Investors and customers want to know.

 

Sanjay is also the co-owner of the New York Islanders NHL team, is there something going on there too? I mean they just lost in the first round of the playoffs.

 

A sidebar, I have always wondered what it would be like if CA were based in Canada. Their home page would be www.ca.ca

 

Ha!

posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 4:16:45 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [7] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Richard Campbell and I are doing an interoperability session at TechED. We are using RedHat, Oracle, Windows 2003 and SQL Server and showing how they work and play well together. The Oracle 10g database runs on Linux, but Oracle provides support only for Red Hat Linux and SuSE. If you want to run Oracle 10g on any other Linux variant (you know the “free“ ones), you're on your own. It is kind of funny after you pay RedHat and Oracle the total cost it is higher than the Windows/SQL Server version. But Linux is free....I guess only if you don't want to run any business apps or have any support.

posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 4:24:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Monday, April 19, 2004

Last year at this time the government of Tunisia was using Open Source and was anti-Microsoft. So Microsoft did something unusual in the “battle” and just let their products and technology speak for themselves by putting on the first annual North Africa Developers Conference in Tunis, Tunisia.  The event was a smashing success since about 90% of the technical content was delivered by 3rd party developers and was not the typical MS Marketing crap. Microsoft Europe, Africa and Middle East CEO Jean Philippe Courtois delivered a keynote and met with government officials. Us Regional Directors were all over the place giving technical sessions, presenting case studies, and doing ask the experts booths.

So this year the conference was held in the logical location of Casablanca, Morocco. Microsoft has been in Morocco for 10 years and is the headquarters of the sub. There is lots of development going on in Morocco so the attendees were top notch.

So there is debate over where to have the NDC next year. Many at Microsoft North Africa think Algeria is the place to have it, but may be worried that attendance might not be as strong as in the past two years. But those who argue for Algeria think that Microsoft has another great opportunity to lets its technology speak for itself in a newly emerging market. Hope it is held there!

posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 11:42:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [5] Trackback
# Friday, April 16, 2004

Day 3 of Africa Developers Conference started with a bit of a painc. My session on TSQL was scheduled to start at 9am, but the translators did not show up. Three years ago I was in Morocco on vacation I learned a few terms in Arabic and “No Problem” or MaCain Mushleel so I said “No Translator, McCain Mushkeel”. That got a laugh. Eventually my translator showed up and the technical content was presented. After that was the closing keynote, we had almost 1,500 developers at the event, and Microsoft extimates that there are 5,000 developers, so there was a great reach at this event.

See you next year in Algeria!

posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 8:34:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [19] Trackback
# Thursday, April 15, 2004

Day 2 of the 2004 North Africa Developers Conference

Ask the experts was quite an experience. Ingo and I staffed the Distributed Applications booth, but also took on Mobility and SQL Server/Data Access. We had quite a long conversation with the Federal Reserve bank of Mocorro about a check clearing HA SQL Server applicaiton. Log Shipping and triggers were the hot topics as well as seperate files for index, data and logs.

Also Goskin, Ingo and I visited the Hassan II Mosque and it was awesome. It is the third largest Mozque in the world, behind Mecca and Medina and the largest closed Mosque in the world. It can accomidate over 75,000 worshipers. It had a retracting roof and amazing turkish baths in the basement.

After the Mosque visit and some McDonalds, we hit the shops in the medina. It was loads of fun trying to get the best price for our items. I think the photo below shows the solution to my latest hair problem (Kathleen won't let me cut it.)

 

posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 3:54:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 14, 2004

In Cairo, I danced with a Belly Dancer so Clemens had to one up me here in Casablanca. :)

posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 10:35:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [18] Trackback

Day 1 of the 2004 North Africa Developers Conference got off to a rough start, but it still doesn’t suck, even without hummus and lots of second hand smoke. (Nor did last year.) I had the first session after the keynote (on ASP. NET Mobile Controls) and the keynote was 30 minutes over. (The Keynote was all in French, but it was pretty cool, showed Whidbey Smart Device Extensions and new Language Features to name a few.) When I got to my room the A/V was not working. But I started as soon as I could. But there was no translator!!! After about 15 minutes they passed out the translation headphones and life was good.

I spoke about the Mobile Web Controls for the first session and many people really got into it and laughed at my translated jokes. I showed the adaptive rendering for different devices, so I showed each example in HTML (both IE and Netscape) and OpenWave and Nokia browsers as well as the pocket pc mobile IE. The audience mocked my lousy French. At least I did type in "Bonjour Monde" instead of "Hello World."

 

After lunch by the pool, did my second session “SQL Server Notification Services” and after that spoke at length with the Casablanca Stock Exchange IT guy about using SSNF over their customer home grown solution.

 

Now I am at Casa de Malek doing the email thing and blogging. Goskin, Ingo and I will go to the Hassan II Mosque tomorrow, the second largest mosque in the world (behind Mecca) and the largest closed religious building in the world.

 

Of course I am here with the other Regional Directors, we had a dinner last night:

 

posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 3:55:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [9] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 13, 2004

My first day in Casablanca went off as expected. Arrived in town and met up with Makek, Clemens, Ingo, Andrew et al and had dinner at Makek’s Mom and Dad’s house, a traditional Moroccan meal. Then Malek, Andrew and I painted the town for a while and saw a Scottish band (with a cute lead singer named Lola) play at a local watering hole. Tomorrow the NDC begins…

posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 10:28:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback
# Monday, April 12, 2004

So part of the deal of Nicole living with me while she was going to culinary school was that she had to hand over her gourmet pizza recipe. Since she heads back to Munich real soon, I had her walk me through her Pizza recipe last week. Yes techies can cook!

 

We started in the morning with the dough. Here is what we used:

 

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. warm water (max. 100 deg. F)

1/2 tsp. dry active yeast or 1 tsp. fresh yeast

a pinch or two of sugar

1 tsp. flour.

 

We used 2 parts all purpose flour and 1 part slept flour, but maybe would do 3 to 1 next time. Before I left for work it the morning we made the dough and I had lots of fun making it! Adding the yeast was the most fun. As I was working all day, the dough was rising.

 

When I got home we went to work on the rest. First up was the sauce. Here is the recipe for the sauce:

 

About 350 grams of whole, peeled tomatoes

2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (Nicole minced it!)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

a few leaves of fresh basil

 

So I put the tomatoes into the blender and added everything in to a pot and let it simmer.

 

Next we started caramelizing onions and cooking a red pepper.

 

Ok lastly we brought it all together! The oven was set to 500 degrees. I took the dough and rolled out to fit onto a 12 inch pizza pan. Rolling was cool. By now I started to drink wine and Kathleen (the guinea pig) arrived and was starting to distract me and Nicole was on the phone, so I was really flying without a net! Once I put the dough on the pan, I put on the sauce and toppings. Kathleen wanted Mushrooms on her side of the pizza. We also added corn and zucchini. I was also accused of being a onion hog.

 

So I put it in and after about 8 minutes I put on the basil and fresh mozzarella. I left the pizza in for about 4 more minutes and out came my masterpiece!

 

Kathleen was one happy customer.

posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 4:19:32 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Saturday, April 10, 2004

One of the coolest places I have even been to, Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Piccu , was hit by a big mudslide. The rail link was covered and hundreds of tourists are stranded and 11 people died.

This is sad since it is the only town around. It is a 5 day trek to Cusco over a 13,000 pass. I'll be thinking about eveyone down there this weekend.

posted on Saturday, April 10, 2004 3:38:51 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Friday, April 09, 2004

I have to say that today I am proud to be a member of the Association of Competitive Technology since its inception. I have been very active with them, ACT has put me in front of Congress several times on a variety of tech issues.

 

ACT is demanding that the state of Michigan and the U.S Department of Justice immediately withdraw their lawsuit against Oracle Corp, a suit I find silly.

 

ACT won’t bring this up, but in the late 90s when ACT was advocating the DOJ drop their lawsuit against Microsoft, Larry Ellison, Oracle’s absolutely insane Chair and CEO hired a private investigator to go through our garbage in the ACT headquarters in Washington DC. So I have a pretty large personal dislike of Larry, and still think the DOJ is wrong.

 

 

posted on Friday, April 09, 2004 10:38:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Thursday, April 08, 2004

I am all prepared and ready to go back to Africa for this year’s North Africa Developer’s Conference. Second time to Africa this year already.

 

I am going to be presenting on three topics this year:

 

·        SQL Server Notification Services

·        ASP .NET Mobile Web Forms

·        TSQL Enhancements in SQL Server 2005 (aka Yukon)

 

I am going to be staying with Malek at his house in Casablanca in a guest room (along with Clemens). I guess we will have it out with rows and columns for das Blog with Malek the referee.  

 

This is a very international event and speakers from all over the world are going to be there along with a strong showing of fellow Regional Directors. There will be a slew of technical information on both current stuff and Longhorn, Whidbey and Yukon.

posted on Thursday, April 08, 2004 2:14:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [8] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The Mets won their first game of the year last night, defeating the evil Atlanta Braves. Rookie Kaz Matsui from Japan hit a home run in the first pitch he saw in the Majors, and went 3 for 3, go Japan power!

posted on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 6:07:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback
# Monday, April 05, 2004

The Treaty of Versailles was probably less obvious. Sun’s agreement with Microsoft on Friday further doomed Sun Microsystems. Sure Scott and Steve can be on stage together all they like and exchange hockey jerseys declaring “peace“, but it really was Sun giving up a worthless front in the war for its survival.

 

Microsoft has never really been a super threat to Sun. Maybe recently with Windows Server 2003, but in the last 20 years of Scott calling Bill Darth Vader or making fun of the fact that Bill Dropped out of Harvard, Microsoft was the boy in Redmond that everyone in the Valley loved to hate.

 

So while Sun was announcing layoffs and blackmailing Microsoft for 1.8 billion in the same day, they pulled off a great coup. Sensing that settling with Sun would help Microsoft end its legal problems (Sun also said the settlement satisfies the objectives the company was pursuing in the European Union actions pending against Microsoft.), Sun used Bill and Co for a desperate influx of cash. Too bad it is too little to late.

 

Even after cutting almost 10% of its workforce and doing a management shakeup, Sun is still on life support. Linux is really Public Enemy Number 1 for Sun. Sun has no Linux strategy and Linux is a technology that could render Sun obsolete. Linux is based off Unix and makes it obsolete since it is more modern and cheaper (Linux is not free). Sun sells Unix. Linux runs on low end machines. Sun’s Unix does not. Sun makes lots of money selling very expensive hardware. That business is getting worse and worse by the day.

 

Not to mention IBM’s recent love-fest with Linux and more recent attacks on Sun. This makes IBM public enemy #2 for Sun.

 

Maybe Scott should sue Linux and IBM too…After over 7 years of using the American and European legal systems and costing the taxpayers billions, Sun got a few month operating cash out of Microsoft. I hope you use it wisely.

 

 

posted on Monday, April 05, 2004 2:45:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Friday, April 02, 2004

Netscape co-founder, Marc Andreessen speaking at the 3rd annual "Open Source in Government" at George Washington University in Washington DC last week, and came up with his personal top twelve reasons for why open source will boom over the next 5-10 years. Too bad they are all wrong, here is my point by point rebuttal. Here they are:

 

1.       "The Internet is powered by open source."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: Not true Mark. Microsoft’s IIS server powers the majority of the internet. On the client side Internet Explorer is the dominate client.

 

2.       "The Internet is the carrier for open source."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: True, but also it is a carrier for all other types of software, just browse the internet and there are tons of sites selling the stuff.

 

3.       "The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: I prefer my software development teams all in the same room, not scattered around the world in different time zones. I know it is all cool and “new age” to say you want to have a team all spread out around the world, but it is just not at all efficient. All management gurus are on my side, sorry. This was cool in the dot com phase, time for the industry to grow up.

 

4.       "It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: NOT true. See yesterday’s blog.

 

5.       "Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: You are a sad and cynical man to say this.

 

6.       "Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: And NOT profit. This ensures that only cool features get built, NOT the mission critical features. Where is incremental backup and replication in postgress. What about transactions and stored procedures missing for so long in MySQL. See my blog here. Sorry Marc, capitalism works, just ask our friends in the USSR.

 

7.       "Open source means standing on the shoulders of giants."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: This is so vaigue, I am beginning to think that you are taking yourself way too seriously. My thoughts are that Microsoft, Apple, SUN, SAP, etc are a giants.

 

8.       "Servers have always been expensive and proprietary, but Linux runs on Intel."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: As does Microsoft. TCO for Microsoft is much lower than Linux. I have proven this so many times I am sick of doing so. See my New York City Council testimony.

 

9.       "Embedded devices are making greater use of open source."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: This is flat out false.

 

10.   "There are an increasing number of companies developing software that aren't software companies."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: What are they then, hobbyists? They are not doing QA then? No code reviews? Is the software mission critical? Are they using Linux? And who cares if they are making software then?

 

11.   "Companies are increasingly supporting Linux."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: That is grand. They are also supporting Sun and Microsoft and many other technologies.

 

12.   "It's free."

 

Steve’s Rebuttal: Not true. Linux is NOT FREE. See my New York City Council testimony.

posted on Friday, April 02, 2004 2:09:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [8] Trackback
# Thursday, April 01, 2004

For a long time it has been asserted as "fact" about Linux being more secure because it's OPEN and therefore more eyes look at the code and are able to secure it easier. Naive Marc “right place at the right time” Andreessen lists it as the 4th reason in his “why open source is better” list.

 

 This “fact” is dead wrong. I have always believed that Linux will be far LESS secure than propriety software since all it takes is one bad hacker to ruin they day. In a new report, Is Linux More Secure Than Windows? from Forrester Research Inc., says that Microsoft fixes security problems faster! One of the benefits of open source is that there are so many free developers working non stop to fix bugs fast. But somehow Microsoft seems to fix things faster. Guess Adam Smith was right after all.

 

The industry and the author of the article from Forrester believe that based the available data on the past security vulnerabilities, security vulnerabilities follow a timeline from discovery to fix. During this timeline hackers exploit the vulnerability. (Hackers have a “time to market” so to speak that is getting quicker and quicker, see below.)

 

Since the goal is to fix the vulnerabilities faster to reduce attacks then Microsoft is actually more secure. Microsoft took an average of 25 days to fix a vulnerability and RedHat took an average of 57 days.

 

Now forget the MS v Linux issue (more on that soon), but we have to take some responsibility ourselves, no matter what the OS. We have to install patches. Prior to the Nimda worm being released the patch for the exploit had existed for 331 days. SQL Slammer, 6 months. Welchia/ Nachi just over 5 months. Recently with the Blaster worm the patch for the exploit was released only 25 days before the worm was released. In each case a patch was available. We are seeing hackers watching for security alerts and then using those alerts to create exploits and take advantage of the fact that deploying security patches is a complex process in the corporate space or simply not done in the end-user space.

posted on Thursday, April 01, 2004 12:41:35 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback