I recently ran across a post by Michelle Hancock on LinkedIn and noticed that she had her email address showing right below her name. I sent her a LinkedIn message asking her how she did that, and she kindly replied that I could call her and she’d walk me through the process.

As it turns out, all she did was to append the email address to the end of the field for her last name.

So here’s the walk through:

  1. Go to your LinkedIn profile. You get there by clicking on the “profile” link on the right hand side from LinkedIn
    Step 1
  2. You should see your profile as it exists now and some links to edit, choose the one next to your name.
    profile selected
  3. You’ll be prompted to log in again (I think they do this for security reasons).
    login screen
  4. Once you get the edit form, tab to the last name.
    update form
  5. Go to the end of your last name, add a space or two, and then type your email address (or phone or whatever other info you want to show up there).
  6. Click save, and your new profile will display with the additional info attached
    profile selected

The down side to this is the same as the up side: now everybody has your email address, so if you’re worried about SPAM bots, you may want to put a space in there, or type it out as “me AT mydomain.com”.

And that’s all there is to it – now you have your email address where anybody can find it.

Note: Walt Feigenson tells me that this may be against the LinkedIn Terms and Conditions, and that you should only put the email in your profile. I haven’t verified this yet, but when I do I will update this post again with my findings.

I recently read a post on LinkedIn on the WAFUG group by Andrew Hedges:

Frameworks or libraries?

“Frameworks are larger abstractions than libraries. Abstractions leak, cost performance and take up mental resources.” … http://tr.im/20fm

Is the whole framework craze overkill for most projects? At what point does it make sense to use a framework over libraries that just do what you minimally need? Is it better to start with a large, leaky abstraction or only impose it if/when the project gets big enough to need it?

The answer to this for me is “it depends”, and it’s what keeps architects up at night. Frameworks are usually attempts to encapsulate some best practice or design patterns in a way that will help the developer achieve some gain in productivity, scalability or reliability.

During the dotBomb era, I worked for a small boutique consulting company designing web sites for a lot of startups. All of them were convinced they would be the next big thing, and most of them had extremely aggressive targets for scalability.

Because of this, we spent quite a bit of time with various frameworks trying to understand the balance between the complexity introduced and the scalability that the framework would give us. At the time, Sun was busy pushing the EJB framework, which was a study in how to over-engineer software. The big benefit promised by EJB was that you could theoretically scale your application to infinity and beyond. The downside was that it basically took a huge team of rocket scientists to get off the ground (this was not the nice simple POJO based EJB of today).

What we found was that in most cases, we could get the same sort of scalability for our clients out of simple Model 2 JSP based applications (MVC approach) by taking care to design the application from the database forward. By using the database for what it is really good at (caching, storing and reading data), building DAOs to interact with the database, and factoring the business logic out of the JSP’s, we were able to build a reliable MVC framework that we used with many clients. The framework was very similar to Struts, which didn’t yet exist, and which we started using once Struts2 was released.

Turns out that the amount of traffic that you have to experience to require the overhead of a complex framework like EJBs is not realistic for any but a handful of web sites.

Fundamentally as an architect, it’s my job to figure out what the real problem is, to solve that in a way that will answer the business need (immediately),  and to build it in a way that will allow for some level of deviation from today’s needs (future scalability and flexibility). So for almost every case that we came across, there was too much complexity and overhead in the EJB framework to make adoption a valid choice back then. Not only did an EJB design require significantly more developer work than the alternatives (making it more costly and harder to change), the initial application wouldn’t perform as well (since it was burdened with all the code that was required to make it scale seamlessly).

All of that said, EJB is also a great study in how a framework can be improved. With the current value proposition of EJB3, the objections that were so clear before have gone away: it no longer takes a rocket scientist to engineer EJBs, and in fact any complexity is fairly well hidden from the developer. Most of the overhead of the framework has been moved into the run-time, so it scales much more appropriately.

As an architect, my decision becomes much easier to include a framework like EJBs when it both saves development time, and gives me a clean and simple path to change. There’s always a balancing act between the time to market, and anticipated change in the application too. I worked on some applications that used MS Access or Domino to get off the ground quickly because when used as a framework those applications are great RAD tools. You can prototype and get to the 95% level of usability for an application very quickly, and for many apps this is better than good enough.

The problem with these (as with almost any framework) is when you get to the point you need to do something that the framework wasn’t designed for. You built a killer app in Access, and now you want to roll it out to the entire company. Well, even though Access claims to work for multiple users, turns out it is a pain, and uses some very archaic methods for things like sharing the database. And even if you reengineer it to store your data in an enterprise DB, it still has the problem of needing to be deployed somewhere or being shared (which again runs you into the locking and corruption problems).

Every problem requires thought and some knowledge of the limitations of the tools in your tool box. By understanding the business problem, and coming to a reasonable understanding of what sorts of changes you can anticipate (including unanticipated ones), you can choose the right level of complexity to solve the problem for today and tomorrow.

I was talking with the recruiter who got me my job at Quovera (formerly Millenia Vision) about why she has the text “{LION}” after her name. She explained to me that it’s an acronym that is for people who practice “open” networking.

I did some searching, and found this site at http://www.themetanetwork/ which appears to be the basis of the LinkedIn Open Networking Community, and signed up.  There was a form to fill out that told about my current networking level on LinkedIn, and finally I got told that I’d go through an approval process.

Once I got the approval email, I was asked to complete my profile. Interestingly the profile on this site has forms for all sorts of other networking profile sites in additon to the ones I’ve seen before (and mentioned in prior posts to this blog). So I’ve filled that in as best I can, and we’ll see …

There are just way too many places on the web that try to help you with networking for any of them to be very valuable. LinkedIn seems to have kept a solid focus and finally seems to have a high penetration after all these years. If only it could keep my address book up to date ….

I just ran across a great post (actually a friend posted the link on Facebook) on social networking called “The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook” by Tamar Weinberg that gives you lots of good ideas on the do’s and don’ts of social networking. Highly recommended for newbies like me trying to figure this stuff out.

A couple of days back, I solved a problem I was having with Plaxo. For a few weeks, I was unable to connect to any of the Plaxo web servers from any of my home machines.

Being a fairly knowledgeable network person, I spent hours trying to diagnose the problem. I could get to all other web sites, but not to anything in the plaxo.com domain. Worse, I could resolve, ping and traceroute looked fine.

First I thought it might be something caused by Plaxo being bought by Comcast. Comcast had just recently been in the news for blocking traffic to keep bandwidth available, so I figured it wasn’t inconceivable that somebody made a mistake in a firewall somewhere that was blocking traffic between them and AT&T.

I sent an email to Plaxo to ask them if their site was up, and called AT&T to see if we could diagnose the problem. AT&T as usual was very nice (and annoying) and started me out with the normal insane steps:

  1. Turn off your firewall
  2. Clear your cache
  3. Turn off your router

After getting past all the annoying stuff, I got to their level 2 support, and then to the 2Wire support to see if they could find anything with my router that might be causing this. Naturally they found nothing, and everything looked OK.

So I escalated with Plaxo, calling them on the phone to see if there was anything they could do. There were emails and phone calls back in forth that never solved the problem:

  • First call I was told that there was a problem with one of their servers, and that it would be working the next day (not).
  • Another call I was told they had found the problem in their web server, and it would be fixed shortly
  • I got numerous emails telling me to uninstall the Plaxo software and log in again, which of course didn’t work since I couldn’t even get to the web site.
  • I had numerous emails diagnosing the problem as a Mac issue, or a PC issue, which again it wasn’t since it was happening on the Mac, iPhone and PC (and the iPhone doesn’t even have a Plaxo client).

Finally at some point, I got a support guy who told me that my IP address was indeed blocked at their server. Now we’re getting somewhere. But no, it still doesn’t work.

Luckily for me this guy is good, so he tells me that there was an old version of the Plaxo client for Mac that their servers were detecting as a bot attack, so if I uninstall that everything should be golden. I do, and lo and behold I can get to Plaxo again …

So it appears that Plaxo can be incompatible with itself …

I wonder how many people are blocked with the same problem right now.

Recently I’ve entered the world of using the web for self marketing.

I saw a very interesting talk by Walter Feigenson at the last CPC Job Connections meeting about marketing yourself using the web.

I already had a LinkedIn profile, and had my resume on a couple different places, but his talk convinced me that I ought to do some more. So I did the following:

  1. Set up Google reader so I can see all the web changes in one place.
  2. Built a profile on Naymz (http://www.naymz.com), unclear on exactly what this one does.
  3. Ziki (http://www.ziki.com) – Signed up, but never got the validation email. This is supposed to be a job finding service.
  4. Spokeo (http://www.spokeo.com) – Signed up – not clear on what this site does beyond search for names.
  5. Ziggs (http://www.ziggs.com) – Signed up and built profile, this one looks interesting.

Just signing up for these things takes time, getting them to be consistent seems like it will be a pain. It reminds me of posting your resume to all of the job search sites. Not too bad the first time, but then going back to update is going to be hard.

Next thing I did was to add cross links from as many different places as I could to my web site (http://www.accuweaver.com). This is supposed to help with the ranking on the search engines, since the search engines use the assumption that if a lot of sites link to you, you must be important.

I also cleaned up my LinkedIn profile, added links, and added my company to the Companies part of LinkedIn.Then after all of this, I got hit again with the suggestion that I should set up a Facebook profile. Walt had mentioned it, but it took hearing it a few more times for me to act.  It still seems a bit smarmy, and unlikely to be useful as a business networking tool, but we’ll see.

Next: Making sure I’m posted on a huge list of sites I got from Valerie Colber