Welcome to Worklight!

Consumer Web 2.0 tools and services like personalized homepages, gadget and widget frameworks, instant messaging, social networks, and others were built to be easy-to-use, open and ubiquitous. Security, compliance, data integration and other “enterprise-grade” traits were not a design consideration. As such, these technologies are not appropriate for use within the enterprise. But the popularity of Web 2.0 is spilling over to the enterprise. A recent Yankee Group survey found that 86% of non-IT employees are using at least one consumer Web 2.0 tool at work already.

The question is: can you leverage the convenience of consumer Web 2.0 tools and technologies while achieving the level of enterprise security and governance needed to be acceptable?

To address this challenge, companies must consider the following:

Authentication – how do you leverage existing authenticatioin mechanisms such as SSO and Web authentication while enabling secure access via Web 2.0 front ends?

Authorization – how do you apply existing authorization policies to enterprise data and services to Web 2.0 front ends without duplicating authorization logic and while avoiding overloading existing backends?

Application Security – how do you ensure the security of Web 2.0 front ends that run within untrusted third party containers such as personalized homepages, social networking sites and RSS readers and side by side with untrusted gadgets, applications and feeds?

Application Provisioning – how do you allow users to add applications to their Web destination of choice, maintaining the seamless ‘add-to’ experience while ensuring the integrity of the provisioning process and preventing unsanctioned distribution of the applications?

Scalability – how do you protect enterprise application servers from data-intensive consumer interfaces like RSS and AJAX that continuously poll servers for updates?

Integration – how do you connect to a wide variety of enterprise applications and data sources without falling into endless integration projects?

Self-service – how do you allow staff to define information views without requiring them to be programmers or getting IT involved?

Governance – how can you monitor and audit online activities? How do you retain information required by regulation?

Customization and Development – consumer-oriented web services are unique in how easy they make it for users to create new applications or customize existing ones. How can this be replicated in the enterprise?

Multitude of Web 2.0 Interfaces – there is a wide range of diverse “Web 2.0”-style services and technologies available. But there is very little in common between them (for example, SIP-based Instant Messaging, RSS, and a Google web page gadget). How do you support these consumer platforms without custom development each time?

The popularity of Web 2.0 in the enterprise introduces two new types of information security threats:

Previously-existing threats made more dangerous due to the proliferation of usage patterns popularized by Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. through user-generated content)

Threats associated with new Web 2.0 technologies (such as RSS)

Two of the most pernicious of these new threats include Cross-Site Scripting, Cross Site Request Forgery, and vulnerabilities associated with various client tools. WorkLight deals effectively with each of these threats and many more, making Web 2.0 tools safe for use in the enterprise.

The Technical Achievements of High Frequency Trading

If you aren’t familiar with high-frequency trading, I’ll bring you up to speed a bit, but you may want to read this in-depth guide to familiarize yourself some more.  It goes pretty deep into the nitty gritty from a technical point of view but also legal, regulatory and practical affects of the practice.

What I wanted to talk about today were a couple of the outstanding and noteworthy technical achievements of high frequency trading and what they mean to me from a philosophical perspective.  Whatever your ethical stance on the matter is, I think we can all agree that it is a marvel of capitalistic as well as technical achievement.

“The Frontiers of Capitalism”, Quite Literally

Business and sales Guru Chet Holmes used that term often, “the frontiers of capitalism” to describe his innovative approach to sales and the overall approach that salesman and business owners take to growing their business.  I think it fits absolutely perfectly with the concept of high-frequency trading, and while I think the ethical nature of the practice is quite dubious, I have to respect the initiative and innovation.  Taking anything to the barrier of concept and going beyond it is a giant achievement, and I think it should be respected, if not admired.

Philosophically speaking, the concept of essentially interupting a sales process, by microseconds, and undercutting/overpricing a bid, is something that only a the information age can do.  While we may have always had middlemen, there was a time and place for them, and they often provided a service.  It can be argued whether that service was worth the price they charged, but in any case they were there to enable a transaction to occur.  With the information age this has become programmatic, and the “service” aspect of the middleman has essentially disappeared.  This makes the process ethically dubious and it is starting to become a legal grey area as well.

But that’s not what impresses me.  It’s the initial fact that some figured out you could do this, set up million dollar systems to get it done, and then started competing with other people that did it.  They went from hi-speed fiber-optic cables connections from Wall Street to Jersey City, to multi-state Microwave Transmission Towers from NYC to Chicago, just to shave a couple of microseconds off the tranmission time.

And this is all getting powered by a capitalist endeavor that doesn’t have to do with free market, but just has to do with the technical infrastructure that a marketplace utilizes.  Using computer systems to run global finances has allowed those with more computing power and speed and know-how to come in and arbitrage the entire system!

Not to mention that making pennies off millions of transactions sounds remarkable similar to the Superman 3 penny pinching scheme!  It’s crazy!



Personal Blog – I Hate Fantasy Football

This may come off as a little bit of a rant, but I’m sure anybody reading this who also plays fantasy sports will be able to understand where I am coming from.  For those that don’t quite understand I will try to make it palatable for you, since it may seem a little bit illogical unless someone is close to the matter.   If you don’t get, you don’t get it, and that’s probably a good thing.  Fantasy football is like an addiction, so maybe this little ran will keep some young, impressionable minds away from the addicting, entertaining but also infuriating world of fantasy sports.

Reason #1 – It’s a Time Sink

When I signed up for my fantasy football league I didn’t expect it would become as big of an obsession as it became.  Within the first month I was already checking my phone dozens of times a day.  It has literally taken over maybe 20% of my waking life, and my Sundays are completely devoted to it.  When I would go to a family gathering on Sundays with my fiancee I would spend the whole time chatting with her cousins about our teams, checking out stats, and all the while we really should just be enjoying some time together with families.  Nope, it’s all about the fantasy.

Reason #2 – It’s a Crap Shoot

A lot of noise has been made recently about how fantasy sports is essentially like gambling, and while I don’t bet on it, I have come to completely agree with that statement.  I don’t really win or lose money, but it is entirely up to chance.  Sports betting itself is hard to beat, but take that and break it down into dozens of different decisions and dynamics (like choosing a team, drafting players, trading players, benching players) and it becomes this giant ball of random that you can’t readily escape.  I’d love to take credit for my wins and suffer my losses, but in the end you have to realize that it’s essential just a big crap shoot.

Reason #3 – I Can’t Stop

Just like any other types of addiction, you know it’s bad for you, but you still can’t stop.  This is me and fantasy football to a nutshell.  The only hope I have is when the season ends, and god forbid I pick up on basketball, baseball or even gold (yes, they have fantasy golf too, it’s getting out of hand).

I heard on the Colin Cowherd show that people who play fantasy football spending 20 hours a week doing it.  That’s like a part time job.  I wonder if in the coming years there will begin to be support groups for people that have become hopefully fantasy heads.  “Hi, My name is Bob, and I Play Fantasy”.  I can see it now.

So those are my three reasons why I hate fantasy football (but still play it) and they are probably reasons you should take to not play it either.  But if you are reading this, it is probably too late.  Hell, who needs Sundays anyway.


Personal Blog – Washing Machine Saga

And now for another installment of my personal blog.  This time around I will talk about a recent saga I had with a broken washing machine.  It was one filled with frustration, flooding, fury and a f*ck ton of money (sorry for the language).  My hope is that someone might learn a bit from my experience and not have to go through what I went through…

It all started on an innocuous saturday night while I was sitting at home in my boxers (sorry for the graphic description).  I had just thrown a load of laundry in my wonderful (as I thought at the time) stacked washer dryer unit.  I had just purchased this thing about a year ago, it cost me a pretty penny, and up until this time it had worked wondered.  Had all types of cycles and settings, handled big loads and small loads and add this dispenser thingy for fabric softener, it was brilliant.  Then something happened.

While I don’t know exactly how to describe it, let’s say it went something like this… Watching the end of the USC vs. Utah game I hear a suspicious clunking sound.  Thought that might be odd but it certainly wasn’t anything that my brilliant washer/dryer would be suspicious for… So I kept watching the game, it was a pretty interesting one too… Utah was threatening to tie, but USC (I think it was USC) was putting pressure on the offensive line… Anyway, I digress, back to the horror show…

So I hear that clunking and don’t think anything of it at first, then I heard a swishing noise… What the hell is that?  I don’t know, so I go check it out and lo and behold what do I find?  Soaping water leaking all over the floor of the laundry room… It was threatening to pour down the stairs like a waterfall.   In a bit of a panic I go to turn the washing machine off, which I do, but it seems the damage is done and there is a broken pipe or something because the water just kept coming.

Now I’m in a real panic and I wonder how the hell I’m going to stop this water… Shutoff valve!  I think it myself, there’s got to be a shutoff valve somewhere… So I tread into the soapy water, now about an inch thick, going to the back of the washing machine to where the water hookup is, looking for a valve.  I find none, but what else do I see?

Electrical Socket + Water Floods = Don’t Mix

Yeah, you read that right, the water was rising up to an electrical socket.  Well oil beef hooked (read that fast, and you get the idea).  Alright, now I’m freaking out… What the hell do I do.  I decide then to get the hell out of there, not wanting to electrocute myself…

(Spoiler, I don’t think I was in real danger, there is a surge protector setting on the outlet that would have tripped a circuit breaker).

I knew there was a master valve in the basement that would shut off water, so I ran quick to the basement and turned it (hoping I was turning it in the right direction).  And crisis was averted, for now…

WTF Happened?

I still don’t really know.  After the drama subsided I called a plumber and was told that it was the washing machine itself that was broken.  So I called a repair man, who was very nice, and was told he would come in and take a look.  He told me the something something was broken but he couldn’t fix it that day, it would take at least 3 days because he needed to order parts.

I had ordered my stacked washer/dryers not 1 year before.. So what happened?  My only guess is that I overloaded the machine.  So take this, if anything, as the moral of the story:

Don’t Overload the Washing Machine

Know where the water shutoff valve is

Don’t be an idiot.



Personal Blog – Out on the Town in NYC

A bit of a departure from the normal posts I wanted to get a little bit personal today.  Nothing serious, just a little light-hearted post about my first vacation as a married man.  I’m taking my lovely wife Natalie to the Big Apple, New York City!  And I’m trying to think of the best ways to go about spending our time in the big city.  I have a few ideas and I wanted to share them (don’t worry, Natalie doesn’t read this blog).  Maybe I can get some feedback from our wonderful readers?  Let me know what you think…

Central Park Horse Ride

Central Park is an obvious choice for activity in New York.  The carriage rides are especially historic, and I think it’s something my wife has always wanted to do.  I’ve heard that the Mayor was going to get rid of the carriage rides, so maybe it’s something we need to do before it’s gone.  Has anyone had any experience taking a carriage ride through Central Park?  Is it good?  Should I go for it or not?  Let me know!

I know Central Park is probably a gorgeous place anyway, so not sure if we really need the horse carriage to enjoy ourselves, but I think it’s still such a classic NYC thing to do that it makes a lot of sense.

Seeing a Broadway Show

Obviously we can’t go to NYC without seeing a legit broadway show.  I’ve never actually seen one, although I’ve seen some when they went on roadtrips here in Seattle and once in San Francisco.  Now the question is, what show should I see?

Wicked, The Musical

Wicked is, I think, the most popular musical among women (at least that’s the sentiment I get from my wife and her friends).  So this is probably an obvious choice.  Now I just need to find some tickets, and see if they don’t completely drain my bank account (I’ve heard broadway tickets can be a bit, eh, expensive, to say the least).

Are there any other shows that we should see?  Let me know!  I’ve heard “Book of Mormon” is excellent and hilarious, but it is also sold out for like 3 years.  I hate to get ripped off by a ticket reseller.  Maybe that one will have to wait until the hype dies down and I can get something for a reasonable price.

Also, are all broadway show’s musicals?  Or are some simple dramas or comedies?  I know the classic experience is the musical experience, but I’m not sure I’ll enjoy it so much.  My wife will, but I kinda think I’ll be sitting there bored, drinking wine, for 2 and a half hours.  Who knows, maybe it won’t be so bad.

Any other options?

What other options do I have?  I’m think the general touristy stuff like Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, Ellis Island, and maybe a Yankee or Met Game (if they are still in season, I don’t even know).  But other than that, what other stuff can I do? I need some feedback from you guys!