Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kalido in a box?

Bloor's Philip Howard writes in that Kalido gets a competitor.

The problem Kalido addresses is dealing with change in a datawarehouse; for nearly 10 years Kalido has been the only company trying to The new kid on the block aiming to manage changing/evolving business models without having to completely rebuild your datawarehouse is BIReady, a small Dutch company (hmm, Kalido came out of Royal Dutch Shell ... do those Netherlanders know something we don't?) which claims to deliver 'fully model driven' data warehouse with support for history of change.

This is an area which has traditionally been dealt with by large numbers of staff and consultants. Kalido has managed to make some sales in large multi-national companies who value the benefits of managing not just evolving models, but multiple concurrently active models. BIReady looks too small to bite off these very large organisations (like Shell, Unilever etc) - but they may help to commoditise this part of the DW market, and perhaps make people think about model-driven warehousing further down the food chain.

One to watch.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Listen to the music

I love listening to music. At work, I use my own laptop like a (rather large) iPod - its a great way to zone out of the open plan hubbub. Currently I'm just about to hit 6000 tracks, which I mostly have on permanent shuffle. We're looking into sound systems for our house in Italy and although I think the Sonos system (described here by Joel Spolsky) looks fab, I also tripped over the Slim Devices Squeezebox and wanted to have a go with that first, as it's a lot cheaper.

Essentially, we've moved our music collection onto a network attached file server (from Qnap, which conveniently comes with the Slimserver software pre-installed on Linux). You can continue to rip CDs using Windows Media Player (just pointing it at the new network directory).

Slimserver indexes the collection (very slowly - what's that all about?) and then you're ready to go.

Setting up the Squeezebox was easy - apart from revealing yet again what a poor wireless network we have. Eventually I convinced myself to replace the ADSL/wireless router, replacing a Belkin which has never been very reliable with a Netgear Rangemax, which was a doddle to set up and so far seems solid as a rock. The Squeezebox is in the living room, plugged into the home cinema's spare input (DVD, Sky+ and now this).

The Squeezebox looks fabulous - sleek and white and not too small (or large). The music reproduction is fine as far as my aging ears nnd cheap home cinema speakers can tell; and I easily can re-rip my CDs at a higher bit rate. However needing a separate remote is a bit of a pain (that now makes FIVE remotes to lose). That's where Sonos wins - they have a beautiful (massively expensive) wireless remote that can control all your Sonos Zone Players using an iPod like panel. The Squeezebox has a complete phonepad of function keys, and the interaction with the display is not entirely intuitive.

Anyway, it all works fine (as long as we balance the Squeezebox on a box of chocolates - it must be in the worst place in the house for wireless, as far as possible from the base station and practically behind the TV). So now I have to work out how to build playlists, and then decide if I want to fork out double or treble for Sonos at the house in Italy.

Choices, choices!