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First Coffee - Firefox 1.5 Is Here - NaNo's Done - The Office Christmas Party White Paper - RightNow Turns Water Into Wine - Nokia and PLDT
[November 30, 2005]

First Coffee - Firefox 1.5 Is Here - NaNo's Done - The Office Christmas Party White Paper - RightNow Turns Water Into Wine - Nokia and PLDT

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Johnny Cash’s magnificent gospel collection, God:

Nokia and a telecommunications provider in the Philippines, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, have set up a Next Generation Network Laboratory to develop and test end-to-end Fixed- Mobile Convergence services prior to their commercial launch.

The “laboratory” will use PLDT’s current fixed and mobile networks to create converged services for PLDT Group customers.

Nokia has provided the Next Generation Network Laboratory with end-to-end Fixed-Mobile Convergence products, comprised of Unified Core and converged access networks as well as Nokia multimedia and VoIP enabled terminals.

“We see convergence as an opportunity to… drive the future growth of our business,” said Don Rae, Chief Operations Adviser, PLDT. “The Next Generation Network Laboratory provides us with a test bed where we can trial new ideas and services before commercial launches.”

Markku Nieminen, Account Director, Networks, Nokia said that Nokia is trialing its converged products with other operators for consumer and corporate customers, “as well as fixed and mobile networks, in what is shaping up to be a new chapter in this industry.”

Happy birthday, Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens in 1835. Those who know his work only through Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn know little about one of the most funny, thoughtful and incisive American writers of all time. Indeed, Twain is one of the few writers of any vintage who can be read with pleasure at any stage and situation of life.

His was an astounding output, including travelogue, bestsellers, short stories, moving personal recollections (“My Military Campaign,” yes, click on it, it’s the story of his involvement in the Civil War, takes ten minutes to read and you’ve never read anything like it.) the first gonzo journalism – Innocents Abroad – and serious historical fiction such as the unjustly neglected The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. So many of his sayings have passed into common mangled usage – “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” “it is better to keep you mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt,” that it’s easy to forget where they originated.

(Thanks to The Writer’s Almanac for help with these birthday shout-outs.)

CEO Greg Gianforte’s written a folksy explanation of his RightNow Technology’s reliance upon source software: “Imagine a car company that got its steel for free…”

Instead of spending its money on costly raw materials, this company “could invest in high-value differentiators such as better vehicle design, build-to-order manufacturing, and superb customer service,” Gianforte says, adding that such a company could offer customers completely care-free car ownership, “all they’d ever have to do would be to get in and drive.”

The car company itself “could operate quite profitably while offering its extremely compelling value proposition,” which “in a nutshell, describes the business model of an on demand software vendor using open source technology.”

Calling on-demand software delivery “an extraordinarily effective way to monetize open source,” Gianforte equates it to turning the water of open source into the wine of business value.

The customer, Gianforte declares, “doesn’t care which operating system or database the on demand vendor is using in the hosting facility, as long as the application is scalable, reliable and secure.” This leaves on-demand vendors free to use open source options such as Linux, MySQL, and Apache to keep customer cost low.

In fact, Gianforte attributes RightNow’s success – “over 1 billion customer interactions on behalf of our clients in the past few years at 99.98% reliability, grown revenue for 31 consecutive quarters,” etc. – because “we decided to use open source, rather than become just another distribution channel for monopolistically priced technologies from Microsoft and Oracle… there is simply no good reason to pay through the nose for proprietary solutions that offer no discernible functional advantages over their open source counterparts.”

As with much of what RightNow does it’s hard to argue with that, if only because it’s hard to argue with continued success. First CoffeeSM is, some have noted, a fan of RightNow, guilty as charged – when one is also a Washington Redskins fan it’s nice to have at least one winner with a sane owner, to back.

Confirmation that yes, there is a white paper for everything:

Attention all human resources professionals, and other slobs who get stuck with the absolutely thankless job of organizing the company Christmas party,, State HR Answers and Tools, has published a white paper that can help with the office Christmas party, even with the question of whether or not to have one.

A recent poll at the Business & Legal Reports Inc. website found that “a clear majority,” pegged at 70 percent of HR managers say their organizations usually host a holiday party. And according to the HR managers, their parties are for the most part “not bad” or “excellent.” Only 19 percent either say their party is boring or embarrassing.

When asked “How would you rate your company’s holiday party?” 33% of the visitors to, identified as HR managers, answered “Not bad,” 30% said “What holiday party?”, 19% said “Excellent,” 14% said “A snooze fest,” and only five percent were lucky enough to attend “A showcase of embarrassing behavior.”

So in the spirit of the season’s editors have posted a white paper describing how to avoid the major problems that can occur at holiday parties. It gives advice on how to control alcohol-related problems such as slips and falls, unwanted sexual advances, automobile accidents, and aggressive behavior.

There is also a discussion of drink tickets, whether or not to include guests, whether to hold the event on or off premises, and how to use party “chaperones.”

And to make the event seem even more like work, they describe their idea to have attendees sign a “party disclosure/waiver,” which “both educates employees on their personal responsibilities and helps employers reduce liabilities.”

The white paper, ordinarily restricted to’s paid subscribers, is available at no charge, no registration required, as BLR’s holiday gift to the HR community. Simply go to

Now, for some really good egg nog recipes…

Yes! Great news! One year after the debut of Firefox 1.0, and more than 100 million downloads later, Mozilla Corp. today released Firefox 1.5, the latest version of its acclaimed open source Web browser, available now as a free download from

Firefox 1.5 has improved its performance and usability, lots of security and privacy enhancements, best-in-class support for Web standards and greater customization options. First CoffeeSM has downloaded it, is using it, and is happy.

Come on, join the good guys. Come over to the light. What are you waiting for?

Yes, First CoffeeSM finished a 50,000-word novel draft for National Novel Writing Month. Thank you again, Chris Baty, for the idea of a deadline. What a concept.

If read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content.

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