Showthiefing, it’s coming to your store…


This is classic in my opinion. I just read this article where Amazon will be “making it easier” for people to “scan” brick and mortar products and have that product automatically be added to their Amazon cart. I say “scan” because that’s all you have to do is take a picture with your phone and in seconds the product is added to your Amazon cart. The technology behind it is simple pattern and packaging recognition. Although I am sure its more complicated than that….

With that, I am now coining this action as “showthiefing” and no one can use that without my direct permission!

IBM’s Processor Value Unit [PVU] licensing for Distributed Software

Image Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use not permitted.WebSphere Commerce fits into the “Distributed Software” pricing model at IBM. This means you pay by processor type and how many cores that are active for the software. Essentially any “active” core the software is running on you have to pay the Processor Value Unit (PVU) for each of those cores. From the writing of this article the suggested retail price per 100 PVU’s is $119,000*. You can read more about that on the Passport Advantage site here. I specifically say active because there are some implementations that have active-passive fail over. You don’t pay for the “passive” part of that implementation until it becomes active. In an active-active implementation you would pay for both active instances. So if each active instance is 200 PVU’s, you would be required to license 400 PVU’s.

The primary reason I wanted to write about this is to save these links to some vital sites when wanting to know how much WebSphere Commerce cost or how many PVU’s are calculated for a specific processor or service (like Amazon Cloud).

The first link is the one I mentioned above. It is the product page for WebSphere Commerce. Here you can even launch into a PVU calculator where you can find out how many PVU’s for a specific hardware implementation may cost.

The next link is the Processor Value Unit [PVU] licensing for Distributed Software page where it looks like it gets updated pretty frequently. This is the place to go to get a quick summary of how many cores and PVU’s are for specific processors and hardware.

The last link is for anyone considering the Amazon Cloud. First I will say you may want to check out the Commerce On The Cloud offering by IBM prior to going to Amazon. However, if you want pricing for the Amazon Cloud you will enjoy this page: Licensing for Amazon Cloud.

 *Pricing:  Catalog prices are exclusive of tax and subject to change without notice. Passport Advantage customers will see their Relationship Suggested Volume Pricing during checkout. – link

The Cloud, is it a platform or just more of the same?

I have been digging into the various “cloud” offerings on the net and trying to see if there is a common ground in this space and as usual it appears the usual players are making bets on their “cloud” offerings. When you start seeing sites like, LinkedIn, Facebook, or API’s like Microsofts Azure, all using different technologies to provide applications within “their cloud” it quickly shows people are off in their own camps.   I have been reading up on the DeltaCloud (Many clouds. One API. No problem) which is attempting to solve this disparity with a wrapper approach. As long as you have a particular clouds “module” installed on the server, your code can connect to and participate in that cloud. The API’s seem to be very basic out of the gate but I think the direction is worth watching.  Amazon has a huge web presence and companies like Eucalyptus have even standardized on its API’s for their own back-end so it makes me wonder if there will be camps but not many camps in the end.

Using the same application programming interfaces (APIs) that Amazon deploys for its Amazon Web Services (AWS), Eucalyptus allows users to set up their own private clouds and move workloads among internal servers, or to and from AWS. The software is available both as free, open-source code and as a paid version. – PC World

Do we need the same for collaboration?  Open Social (Many sites, one API – sound familiar?) is suppose to fix that but it isn’t totally adopted by all players either.

A common API means you have less to learn to build for multiple websites. OpenSocial is currently being developed by a broad set of members of the web community. The ultimate goal is for any social website to be able to implement the API and host 3rd party social applications. – OpenSocial

If we really want a true cloud then there is going to have to be some level of common API, data model, and interfaces across the players otherwise developers and IT will be needed for the integration points.  As more and more stuff moves to the cloud you may see more and more job openings for “ developer” or “OpenSocial developer” or “AWS experience a plus”.

I think this is a frontier of opportunity for any IT person or developer – which is one of the reasons I love this industry.  It is forever changing and challenging.

New “Bob’s Picks” on my site

I added a new Amazon widget to my site (check it out in the upper right of the site).  I look at the new carousel widget as quick links to products that I am either reading or reviewing.  I actually had to make a few minor changes to the overall site in order to get this thing to display.  I moved the page navigation to the left and I had to make a few size and CSS adjustments.  All in all I think I like the widget.