Last weekend, I upgraded my server to Tiger, which unfortunately broke my mail and web service for a few days. As for mail, I'd been upgrading since the first release of Panther, but upgrading from 10.3. to 10.4 was imperfect and left some mail files in a zombie state. After searching the Apple support logs and chatting with tech support, I had to resort to a fresh install, which cleared up the mail problem. As for the web service, the Handbook runs on a straightforward Apache/Tomcat/MySQL/Java platform, and once I realized that Tomcat wasn't starting automatically on reboot, all was well with the site.
This experience really brings home the notion of a programming model, the conceptual space in which my site and my head lives. There are so many moving parts - I didn't mention the bit about beginning to install a new Linux appliance as a dedicated firewall - and if any one of them takes ill, it soon spreads to bringing everything down. Vibrant software requires attention, else it will rot.
The IBM Rational Software Development Conference is next week, and I'll be giving a keynote on innovation, addressing the issue of how we keep the pipeline of great products filled. In short, a combination of adaptation, skunk works projects, and intentional research are what we use to produce a steady stream of great and useful things, and I'll be talking about examples in each of those spaces. Oh, I'll also talk about some of the more outrageous research projects going on at IBM, ranging from Blue Gene to Millipede.
In addition to the various sites I visit weekly, I've been enjoying Will Wheaton's blog. Will is a writer, a comedian, an actor, and a consummate uber-geek.