My job requires me to figure out road maps for software technologies. One of the key heuristics I use in figuring out where a software technology is likely to go is mapping out that technologies transition from a procedural to a declarative design environment. This technique is proving a big help for my work on utility computing.
This article on using GPS and cellular technologies to overlay virtual worlds on real ones is just too cool. It's awesome to see Niven and Barnes' Dream Park vision really starting to happen.
Atoning for my mistake of buying my wife a Dell laptop running XP that has more or less been a constant nightmare over the years we've owned it I decided to give her a birthday present a bit early – a new iMac. My wife is no technophobe but similarly she is not a technophile. To her a computer is a way to get things done. But her attitude changed when I get her the iMac.
Recently Sanjiva Weerawarana wrote in his blog how awful it was that settler homes in Gaza are being destroyed when the settlers leave. He further accuses anyone who believes the stated reason for the homes' destruction, that the Palestinians have better uses for the land, of being idiots. One wonders what Sanjiva would think of the Palestinian Authority's housing and public works minister Mohammed Shtayyeh who said "If Israel does not destroy settlers' homes, we will destroy them."
I suppose some of my readers may have noticed just a tiny change in the way my blog looks. The biggest change is actually a move from Blosxom to WordPress driven mostly by the fact that my hacked together kludge of a Blosxom website was becoming unmaintainable. I'm really impressed with WordPress, not only could I set it up in less than 5 minutes but it did just about everything I wanted right out of the box. I realize the color scheme is a bit extreme but I like it and I love the way the text flows to fill the screen size. Since my blog entries tend to be articles this is a much more natural way to present things. Now I just have to figure out how to work in the Google AdSense ads without them looking unpleasant.
All this talk of computing as a fungible utility is very nifty but it wouldn't be the first 'sounds great, adds nothing' technology to come down the pike (repeat after me – "I mostly just need XML and HTTP."). So as I embark on my new job of helping to figure out BEA's utility computing strategy I want to make sure that there is some value in "them thar hills". Which means that before I worry about what utility computing is or what it should do I want to first know what the problem is.