Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Decade: it is Ages for Dot-Com World

Quiz question No1: When has NASDAQ reached its peak?
The answer: On March 10, 2000
Quiz question No2: When will be the next peak moment?
The answer: Hmm, it looks as if sooner than we expect?

I still remember, or, I still 'hear' the last dot-com bubble explosion. It was so unusual to read in the newspapers about Internet companies disappearing every day.
One year before that I was a freshly-baked student, and I felt that this is the moment to start new life as an IT specialist. I had a dream. I felt that each new dot-com company can appear on the Internet as a rainbow after the rain and start a new challenging e-business.
Sadly that rainbow disappeared as quickly as it appeared, the same was true for many companies as well.
At that time I was a PL/SQL programmer who had one-year experience and was working for Clinika.pl (BTW: now I see that its WWW address is still active but the content is really different from that in year 2000) and Internet had 'only' 400 million unique users (now Facebook brags about 600 million).
Nowadays I read many posts about 'e-*', and for the last two months I have noticed that sentences about millions or even billions of dollar investments are flowing into the Internet market as fresh meat, e.g.:
1. 'Facebook Exploring Permitting a Tender Offer for $1 Billion of Employee Shares at $60 Billion Valuation'
2. Grupon Reached $15 Billion Valuation
3. Twitter Reached $10 Billion Valuation
4. Zynga the fast-growing social gaming company is close to completing a funding round of $500 million, valuing the company at $10 billion
5. LinkedIn's plan to go public this year ushers in a new era of Internet and social media companies floating on the stock market.
6. E-* company Reached $x Billion Valuation.
7. ?
8. ?
9. Dot-Com Bubble Exploded Again?
10. Have we learned our lesson?
11. Will we learn our lesson?

It may seem a little bit strange but we are probably in a boom phase again. The success of social media (Facebook in particular) and more recently social commerce (Groupon) has reminded people of how quickly large, profitable, valuable franchises can be built. As a result, there is once again a rush to invest. This will probably lead to many disappointments and the 'rainbow' will again disappear as fast as an decade ago.
OK, now it is a little bit different than a decade ago. The companies have the real business models, significant revenues, valuations are growing up and up, etc.

Maybe I'm too much pessimistic, but in my private opinion, that 'young bubble' finds the investors from the 'e-new school' hoping that a rainbow will be shining more than one short 'e-day' this time.
It even seems to me that I hear a sentence in their minds:
'Find a new promising dot-com business and invest as fast as possible' :) .

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oracle Apex Asks: “Where is Tomcat?”

A few days ago I had to check one particular Apex plug-in for simple PDF printing. As you remember from my previous post, my newly installed laptop didn't have any Oracle DB sandbox, so I was 'forced' to make a quick decision: 'to do a full installation or to find some pre-installed Oracle virtual image'. I did some google search and the answer came sooner then I expected. The Oracle has a fully prepared DB environment and what is more interesting this DB image had 'Application Express' so I was really surprised.

To give more details, the following products are pre-installed and ready to go:

  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5
  • Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database Cache
  • Oracle XML DB
  • Oracle SQL Developer
  • Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler
  • Oracle Application Express 4.0
  • Oracle JDeveloper
  • Hands-On-Labs (accessed via the Toolbar Menu in Firefox)

Thus, I started a very quick download (in fact it wasn't so quick because all packed files were up to 6 GB). Having completed all standard procedures (i.e. downloading, unpacking, running VB) I made two simple VirtualBox corrections. And only then had I a fully working Oracle DB sandbox.

Uf :). Where are these days when the preparation of Oracle sandbox took me long hours?

Having checked the Apex PDF plug-in, I went through the whole Oracle sandbox and I have found an interesting Apex 'add-on' called Tomcat. OK, this is not the add-on in a common sense but an additional option that Apex could run with, or, in other words, could be used for a web tier.
You may ask why I was so surprised? The answer is 'Oracle does not support this installation option', what is more, it suggests installing: GlassFish, WebLogic, OC4J instead. Moreover, as I remember, there were many discussions on Oracle forums about that unsupported issue. So, the questions stay open: 'Why does Oracle state that it is an unsupported option and meanwhile using it in its demo example?'.

Nevertheless, if you would like to see how 'originally' Apex works with Tomcat, you could run this VirtualBox and check Oracle's sandbox, a well-done package.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Liberty Stands Still

This post is not about the revolution ongoing in Egypt, or a film with Wesley Snipes. It is just about LibreOffice on a very new Ubuntu installation and a few thoughts about my silent dream called 'software solution independence'.

Having been thinking for a long time 'to buy or to upgrade my personal hardware', I have finally made a decision and I have bought a new Dell Vostro 3700 laptop, uff. There were many questions regarding the technical parameters, etc., having read some interesting articles, I simply found all answers. Generally speaking, all steps/issues of buying (apart from one) went smoothly, because, as you probably agree, it is a nice moment of IT life to buy a new technical thing. :)

Thus, returning to this 'thing' that was tasteless for me.
Having collected my chosen technical laptop parameters (called: 'must have options', e.g. matte LCD, Ubuntu/no operating system), I moved to the laptop market, or in others words, I started to search for e-shops having my ideal laptop.
As you probably know, the whole laptops' market is occupied by the vendor of one operating system – 'the winner takes all or at least 90%'. How do they do that? Maybe they just 'stick' the number of the licence on the laptop's bottom during transportation, and after that they say: 'ups, now you should sell only with this OS'. ;)

I have even seen one organisation 'Freedom for laptops' that is going to take care of this 'sticky business' in Poland. I do really hope they will succeed and make me at least 90% happier next time I will search for my new laptop.

The King is dead, long live the King!

Continuing this melody of hope, I have removed OpenOffice from my newly installed Ubuntu 10.10. Having done this, I'm not saying that I don't like OpenOffice, I just don't like red coloured Oracle logo on it. It reminds me of the 'sticky business' options that I don't accept.
The new software removal/installation on Ubuntu is as easy as a pie, so I have installed LibreOffice – Liberty Stands Still ;)