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Monday, December 04, 2006

Expectations and Violations

Opinion: Project problems are seldom just about products and processes, says Paul Glen. At the first sign of trouble, look for strained relationships.


Microsoft Gets Help From Both Sides of the Aisle on Lobbying

In its efforts to fight back against the Massachusetts IT division's adoption of the Open Document Format as a standard , Microsoft got lobbying help from Democrats in the state and from Republicans in Washington.


State’s Snub on File Formats Caught Microsoft by Surprise

According to e-mails obtained by Computerworld, Microsoft initially thought its Office Open XML file format would be adopted as an acceptable open format by the Massachusetts IT Division.


Open Dialogue: How Microsoft and Massachusetts Defused a Political Battle Over ODF

More than 300 e-mails, obtained under Massachusetts public records laws, show Microsoft lobbied for legislation that could have stripped the state's IT unit of much of its decision-making power. But it backed off and compromised with the state's CIO on plug-in support for the Open Document Format in Office.


Keeping Two Sets of Books

Opinion: Bruce A. Stewart espouses a second set of books for IT departments that want to see where the budget-changing opportunities lie.


Tool Was ‘Just Write’

Letter: Google’s Writely saved the day for journalist.


Radar for the System Builder

Opinion: Michael H. Hugos asks his project team leaders five yes-or-no questions every week. They are the radar that keeps projects from running aground.


In HP’s Defense

Letter: Reporter was basically receiving stolen property.


Long Live the Queen

Letter: It hasn’t been the King’s English since Elizabeth took the throne.


Uploading larger files through your dashboard

By Naureen Kabir, Google Base Support

We have some good news to share: previously, the file size limit for files uploaded through your Google Base dashboard was 10 MB, and now we've doubled our capacity to handle files up to 20 MB for those files uploaded directly via this Google Base web interface. If you're a provider who's been having problems uploading your file through FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and your file size is 20 MB or less, you now have an easier way to do this. For files larger than 20 MB, you'll need to continue using FTP to upload.

Remote Access

Posted by: Amanda Walker, Member of Technical Staff, Mac Team

I started my career working on Mac networking products way back in the '80s and '90s, well before the Internet was in everybody's living room. For example, I wrote SLIP and PPP packages to get Mac users online over dialup connections, pitched in on efforts to standardize things so that everyone's gear would actually work with everyone else's, and so on. In those days, "Internet client software" meant Telnet and FTP, not web browsers and streaming video. We could see the potential, but it would take years for reality to catch up to the vision.

About a year ago, I got a phone call out of the blue from a recruiter, asking if I was interested in talking to Google about its incipient Mac team. This was quite a surprise: Until that point, while I was an avid Google user, I hadn't noticed Google paying any special attention to Mac users, beyond delivering a Mac version of Google Earth.

By the time I got the recruiting call, I had not worked on insanely great Mac software for awhile. The idea of a Google Mac team was very intriguing, and things snowballed from there. As Greg Robbins noted, Google was quietly recruiting a top-notch Mac development group, and the search wasn't limited to just Silicon Valley. I live near Washington D.C., where Google does not have an engineering office, so I mostly work at home. This has its downside -- there's no excellent, free Google food, and I sometimes feel like I'm living at work (hmm, maybe I am: check out the picture).

However, it all works surprisingly well, at least for our team. VPN, high-speed Internet service, and flat-rate long distance make it a lot easier than it used to be, but I also spend about 20% of my time working from Mountain View and other Google offices. Of course, there are worse things than having to leave D.C. for California during the winter.

In the '80s, I chose to develop Mac networking software because I wanted to change the world. Here in the future, it's a much taller order. Technology is moving faster than ever, and Apple and Google are both very careful not to tip their hands in advance about future products. So instead of questions like "the Inter-what?", I get questions like "will I be able to watch YouTube on my iPhone?" Unfortunately, they don't tell me the answer to that. But I'm ready for anything: one thing my home office has in common with the Googleplex is an espresso machine, available 24/7.

Google and Indiana University's Net Trust

Post by L. Jean Camp, Associate Professor, Indiana University

Net Trust is a new approach to security being developed at Indiana University's School of Informatics, with funding from Google's Open Source Program Office and released under the Apache license. It is a trust mechanism, not a security mechanism. Net Trust is designed to undermine fraud and credential subversion that use human engineering (also called pretexting) by building interfaces that make use of humans' natural trust behaviors.

The goal is to leverage social trust for online trust, not to use technological mechanisms to create new modes of trust. Net Trust provides social and human solutions to their respective elements of masquerade attacks and human engineering.

Net Trust is in early development at Google Code and is available in demo mode. It can be downloaded and used, including warning boxes and the interaction experience, though the backend is not yet constructed. Please feel free to play with it and contribute!

Debugging browser errors

Adding the Google Analytics tracking code to your website is easy?simply add the JavaScript snippet to the source code. But what happens when you make changes to your website and start to see browser error messages? Don't panic. Check these issues to avoid common mistakes.

1. Check the tracking code
Correctly installed Google Analytics tracking code does not generate browser errors. If you're seeing them, first check that your tracking code is installed exactly as it appears in your Google Analytics profile setting. Learn how to find your tracking code in the help center article Where Can I Find My Tracking Code?

2. Test your page
Google Analytics uses JavaScript code that is designed not to interfere with other JavaScript on your website. That said, when an error occurs, browser error messages often reference th e first script executed. On a site using our tracking code, that is usually the first script executed, which makes debugging confusing. When debugging JavaScript on a site tracked by Google Analytics, try commenting out or temporarily removing the tracking code until you can detect and correct the error. Once your code is bug-free, adding the tracking code back in should not cause any browser errors to occur.

3. Secure your site
Another feature of many dynamic sites is the use of a secure section for things such as shopping carts or user registration. When tracking these areas, check the secure status of your pages. If you're seeing an error or a notice that some portions of the page are not secure, make sure you are using the secure version of the tracking code. Compare the standard versus the secure version:

Standard: <script src="" type="text/javascript">

Secure: <script src="" type="text/javascript">

For more information, take a look at this article in the troubleshooting section of the help center: How can I obtain tracking code for secure pages?

We want you to maximize the power of your site by using Analytics?and that includes successful integration of the tracking code without introducing errors or preventing you from perfecting the other code on your site. Properly installing the tracking code, carefully testing your site, and ensuring secure sites are tracked securely are some of the ways you can make Google Analytics work for you.



From the Google Blog:
You might have noticed from the Google homepage that today is World AIDS Day. We want to remember all those who have suffered from HIV/AIDS in the 25 years since it was first identified, and we want to support everyone working to eradicate this scourge: Today, there are about 40 million people living with HIV worldwide, and it is increasing in every region in the world. In Africa, it is the leading cause of death -- 5,500 Africans die each day from this insidious disease.

One effort that is making a difference is (RED), a company founded this year by Bono and Bobby Shriver. A percentage of the profits from each (RED) product sold is given to The Global Fund. We are supporting the (RED) effort by offering promotional support to (RED) and (RED) products on Google properties throughout the holiday season.

We hope you choose to support them with your purchases. Companies offering (RED) products have committed to contribute a portion of profits from the sales of that product into Global Fund-financed AIDS programmes in Africa.

Together, let's make a big difference. Read more at or visit the (RED) blog.

Raise awareness of the World AIDS Campaign by adding a ribbon or World AIDS Day badge to your blog. If you're using the new Layouts templates in new version of Blogger in beta, use one of the buttons below to put an image on your blog in just two clicks. Or, add the badge to your website with these instructions.


So long, and thanks for all the Blogger!

Today we?re saying goodbye to Steve Jenson, who is leaving Blogger and Google. SteveJ ? seen here with his backing band ? has worked on Blogger, first at Pyra and then at Google, for the past five years: coding it, fixing it, keeping it alive, and making it better. (By now he's likely worked on it as long as Ev did, which is no small feat!)

(Blogger Family Photo, 2/2003; SteveJ's toward the right)

We say thanks for Blogger, because the site would not even be around today were it not for Steve?s dedication and skill.

We?re going to miss you lots, Steve.

? Pete, Eric, and the rest of the Blogger team

Sandbox Maintenance ? December 1

We need to refresh the API Sandbox database on December 1st at 3pm US Pacific Time. As a result, the Sandbox will be unavailable for a few hours.

-- Jon Diorio, Product Marketing

Surveys Spotlight Lack of SOA Knowledge

A recent Ventana Research survey contained some news both good and bad about SOA. In the good column, 81 percent of respondents said SOA is important “to some degree” for business intelligence. This is likely due to SOA’s perceived importance to enterprise integration. The respondents said they planned to integrate their BI tools with other enterprise services such [...] [more]

Small-Town Outsourcing

It seems as if every corner of the world is pitching itself as an outsourcing alternative to India, from Eastern Europe to Latin America to China. But a number of alternatives are emerging here in the U.S. Rural America is becoming an option, particularly for U.S. companies that want to keep work on their own shores and for European companies that [...] [more]

University of Toronto Hypes ?Human Rights? Open Source Project

China has been hit hard (by human rights groups as well as other governments) because it censors what its citizens can publish or view on the Internet. Google and other tech shops even caught flak for cooperating with the Chinese government’s restrictions. Developers at the University of Toronto are about to release what they see as [...] [more]

Media Singing the SOA Blues

A new wave of SOA “anti-hype” commentary is appearing in the media. Now that more and more companies have real-world experience, we?re learning that SOA, no matter how great it may sound in theory, takes a lot of painstaking work to get to deployment. At the top of the list is the problem of pitching SOA [...] [more]

The Debate Is On: Windows Vista Launch Spurs Reactions from All Corners

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is calling this week’s release of Windows Vista the company’s biggest launch ever, and argues in a lengthy Q&A that the new version of the venerable operating system will trigger an explosion of business innovation and software development. The company says the launch, which kicked off Thursday, is “a new day for business,” and [...] [more]