Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Revolution will be Digital

It's truly amazing what is going on in Iran. In the span of a little less than a week, our public perception of the Iranians has done one huge 180. No longer do we think that they all hunkered down in some mosque planning the next attack on America or hacking into our computers trying to steal nuclear secrets of burning American flags and effigies of our leaders.

All of a sudden, they look very different to us. We can relate to them better today that we could last week. They are simply standing up for themselves, trying to point out to the world that, "Hey, we're not all bad people - there's just a few at the top that are making things, well, difficult for us."

And during this crisis, a seemingly unlikely ally has rushed to their side - the global digital community. Since their government has imposed a virtual media and Internet blackout, the only way to get news out is via the Internet, specifically social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

What was truly amazing to me is how Twitter changed the timing on a major upgrade to occur at 1:30AM Iranian time - smack in the middle of our business day - so that they would get a minimal disruption of service. That statement alone sums up the efforts of thousands of others who have stepped up by providing anonymous proxy servers, virtual machine images and the like to the Iranian bloggers, so that they can get their message out past the government censors.

No one can predict what will happen next, but I think that we are all seeing how powerful a community organized with new social networking technologies can truly become.

Monday, June 15, 2009

OfficeDepot Recycles Ink Cartridges and Gives you $3 each!

If you purchase a fair amount of office supplies, then make sure that you sign up for the Worklife Rewards program at Office Depot.  You get a quarterly gift card based on the amount that you spend, among other benefits - one of which I just found out about this weekend:  If you bring back a spent ink cartridge, you will get a $3 bonus reward added to your account.  Details are here:

Not only is it good for the environment - especially since HP stopped putting the free recycle envelopes in their packaging in favor of their useless promotions - but it can put some cash back in your pocket, which you'll likely just spend on more ink anyways...

Lots of New Stuff

The last few weeks have been quite hectic indeed!

In addition to my day job, I've been busy working with Doug Gault - Sumner's newest member - in re-structuring a number of our services and training classes.  I'm also happy to announce a couple of new products that we will be launching soon.

SumnerPrint is a PL/SQL-based solution that allows you to easily print APEX reports to PDF, HTML and XLS.  Built on top of PL/PDF, SumnerPrint easily integrates into any APEX application and allows your end users to print high fidelity reports with the click of the mouse.  Since it's built on PL/PDF, there is no middle tier to configure or extra servers to purchase.  You can be up and running with it in just a few minutes!

SumnerFramework is a set of APEX applications and tables that allow you to manage who has access to which APEX application.  It also provides a single point of management, so that you can centralize your role management for easier access and better reporting.

You'll be able to see demonstrations of both of these offerings at ODTUG next week.  If you can't make it, drop us a note and we can arrange for a private demonstration.

We've also launched a new corporate blog here:

While I will still occasionally still update this one, most of the APEX-related content will be posted on the new blog.  So be sure to bookmark both of them!