Monday, August 27, 2007

Where am I?

I am just back from China and suffering from the usual affects of jet lag – so just a short blog (you’ll be pleased to hear).

I thought I’d pass on lots of Chinese wisdom, but you’ve probably heard them all before. Anyway, as I think they say, the longest blog begins with a single word!

So, I was thinking about my IP address now that I’m back – I was wondering what it was. So I downloaded a widget called what.ip.i.have by Vlad Sasu. I’m a big fan of widgets, which is now a Yahoo product ( I use widgets for the weather and the rainfall, and I have a BBC newsfeed and one showing my blogs (although it could be set for any other RSS feed). The new widget installed and told me my IP address.

The next stage, I thought, would be to look up that IP address on one of those sites that tell you where in the world each IP address comes from. I live in the beautiful west country near Bath and Bristol in the UK. My broadband connection is a slightly dear, but usually reliable, connection through BT.

So, my next stage was to go to Google and search for sites that would tell me where my IP address came from. I thought it would be an interesting test. In no particular order, I first tried Like many of the others, it “knew” my IP address already and showed that I was located in Silvertown in Newham, which is east London near the River Thames. I thought that perhaps BT’s cables joined the rest of the world at that point.

Next I tried, and that came up with Silvertown as well. So I thought that definitely must be where I am (Internetwise that is)., however, thought I was in Basingstoke, in England. And so did, which even gave Basingstoke’s longitude and latitude. also had me in Basingstoke. knew I was in the UK, but had my IP address as coming from Suffolk – which is about as far east of me as you can go without falling into the English Channel. had me miles from anywhere on the Yorkshire Dales – very picturesque, of course, but miles away. And that’s when I stopped.

I just wondered whether other people had tried these IP locators with any degree of success. Ah well, as they said in China, we do live in interesting times!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Social networking

Someone was telling me that some top IT people who write blogs regularly and have a presence on Facebook and Myspace, etc are now so busy with these Web-based interactions that they don’t have time to do their real jobs properly. So, they employ people to live their Web life for them while they get on with their proper work!

This is to confirm that I am really writing this blog and I don’t have an employee doing it for me!!

Facebook ( and Myspace ( are two really interesting examples of how the Web has developed. Both started out as the domain of youngsters and are now being colonized by older people – parents and grandparents of the original users. It appears that we are all keen on social networking.

Recently-announced figures suggest that Facebook has grown by 270 percent and Myspace by 72 percent in a year. Although Myspace has more users logging in each day (28.8 million) than Facebook (which has 15 million).

The good thing about these sites, according to marketeers, is that they identify new trends very early in their life-cycle. So marketing people know exactly what products they should be selling this season.

The downside, I suppose, is that this cult of newness means that after a time the excitement goes from these sites and they gradually shrink in terms of usage. At one time, everyone was talking about friendsreunited ( and catching up with old school friends. Once you’ve caught up, the point of such a site diminishes. Similarly, Friendster ( was very popular, but is perhaps less so now.

Youtube ( is also very popular with youngsters because of the humorous and other short videos you can see there. I’m not sure that much interaction occurs between users on this site except someone uploads a video and other people can watch it, but lots of people have joined.

A question many people ask is, are they dangerous? Facebook allows you to collect friends – in fact a colleague and I were having a competition earlier this year to see who could get the most friends on Facebook! When we stopped, we were still not even slightly close to the totals my children and their friends have. But is it dangerous? Does it encourage sexual predators, and are our youngsters at risk? The answer is probably not because the more real friends you have on these networks the less likely you are to talk to strangers.

Wikipedia (itself often maligned) lists 100 social networking sites at You can see how many you belong to.

Like lots of other people, I have an entry on LinkedIn (
www.linkedincom), Zoominfo (, Plaxo (, and Naymz (, and I have links to other people. However, if I really want to talk to any of these people, I e-mail them, which is exactly what I would have done if I didn’t belong to the networking site.

I think the plethora of social networking sites will eventually shrink to a few that everyone can use and a few that are specialized. I think some will grab people’s attention and become somewhere that you must have a presence, and others will wither and die as they forget to update or update with facilities that no-one really cares about. I think they could be useful as business tools if you could get people to join your group. For example, all the subscribers to Xephon’s ( CICS Update could form a group on Facebook and share information about CICS. However, I’m not sure that most people belonging to these networks take them that seriously and would spend enough time talking to their group for there to be a business case, at the moment.

Anyway, the real Trevor Eddolls will not be blogging next week because I am going to be a tourist in China. Any burglars reading this post, please note that someone will be feeding our large and fierce dogs twice a day.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Viper 2

Last week I was talking about AIX 6, which IBM is making available as an open beta – which means anyone can test it out so long as they report their findings to IBM. This week I want to talk about Viper 2, the latest version of DB2 9, which is also available as a download for beta testers. You can register for the Viper 2 open beta program at The commercial version is slated to ship later this year

DB2 9 (the original Viper) was released in July 2006. What made it so special was the way it could handle both relational and XML data easily, which was made possible by the use of pureXML. Users were able to simultaneously manage structured data plus documents and other types of content. This, IBM claims, made it superior to products from other database vendors – you know who they mean! Oracle 11g, which will have probably been announced when you read this, will have full native XML support. Sybase already has this facility.

According to recent figures from Gartner, IBM’s database software sales increased 8.8 percent in 2006 to just over $3.2 billion. However, Oracle’s had 14.9 percent growth and Microsoft had a 28 percent growth in databases. As a consequence, IBM’s share of the $15.2 billion relational database market decreased to 21.1 percent in 2006 from 22.1 percent in 2005.

Viper 2 offers enhanced workload management and security. The workload management tools will give better query performance from data warehouses, and better handling of XML data within the database – they say. There is also automated hands-off failover for high availability.

In addition, there’s simplified memory management and increased customization control. DB2 9 can perform transactional and analytical tasks at the same time, Viper 2 offers improved management tools for setting priorities between those tasks

And, it apparently has greater flexibility and granularity in security, auditing, and access control. It’s now easier to manage the process of granting access to specific information in the database. Viper 2 makes it simpler to manage and administer role-based privileges, for example label-based access control, which allows customers to set access privileges for individual columns of data. It is also easier to add performance and management enhancements to the system's audit facilities.

It is well worth a look.