Frank's Blog

Enhanced eEPCs 

Today was the first time in my life that I wished for eEPC (enhanced event-driven process chains) stencils for OmniGraffle. Hence, I created a simple set that you can download here. The beautiful things that you can do with them are depicted below:



I introduced two visual extensions to the eEPC notation in the example. First, I'm depicting often executed functions larger, whereas seldom used functions are shown smaller. The same holds for events, systems, and roles. Via these simple layout changes, an immediate feedback of the important parts of an eEPC is given. This is quite important, since EPCs usually fill walls. As a second extension, I also depicted the often traversed edges in the diagram in bold. This also adds to an immediate visual feedback for the viewer. In my example, I simply assumed the important parts. If you have log data or annotations available, you could even simply automatically enhance your diagram.
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iDell(tm) 

Dell just announced its iMac clone, the iDell(tm) XPS One. At least one point towards this machine: it only requires one cord to operate. Everything else is obvious from the picture below. The official announcement can be found here.


From above, it looks like one of Darth Vaders star cruisers:


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BPEL in Practice 

Today I found a very nice article about a practical application of BPEL that I cannot hide from you:

"Process Integration of Mobile Farm Machines Using Automatically Generated BPEL Processes.

Increasing IT requirements in agriculture and farming lead to situations where mobile farm machines need to be integrated in the business processes of a farm. Since these processes and the communication partners change with the farm the farm machine works for an adapted process description must be created and used. Due to the strong variability and heterogenity of the partners Web Services and especially BPEL constitute an adequate infrastructure for the generation of such adapted business processes. Starting point for this approach is a BPEL model which serves a a template for automatic creation of an adapted concrete BPEL process."

(cited from Wirtschaftsinformatik 49 (2007) 4, S. 289-294)

The complete text is in German, but it is nevertheless worth reading it. One last citation: What do you think is a farmer doing after he gets out of his bed? Answer: The farmer first configures his IT environment using a software solution. Well done!
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Pumpkins 

Since Halloween is nearing, I have some interesting pictures of different pumpkins for you. I took them already some weeks ago at an exhibition that took place here.

First of all, there is the "Golden Delicious":



There are also ones that look like bottles:



Here are a few more:



And finally one that is called Aladin:



There was even a whole wagon covered with pumpkins:


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iLife 

During the last weeks I was very upset on getting myself one of these shiny all-new Alu-iMacs. When I was actually seeing them at the Gravis store in Berlin, however, I was a bit disappointed. That's for two major reasons. First, the back of the new iMac is made of cheap looking plastic colored in Dell-black(tm). This is a strong contrast to the otherwise very nice aluminum frame. You might ask, why care? I wouldn't if the back of my computer screen would face the wall. Second---and way worser---is the glossy screen. While the glossy screen is already annoying in the 13" Mac Books, at 20" or even 24" inch, there's no way of getting rid of all these reflections. Gravis furthermore made the mistake to place a new 24" iMac beside an old one. While the contrasts might be a little higher on the new one, the older was seemingly more eye-friendly.

Being a bit frustrated about the new iMacs, I decided to keep my old G4 Mac mini for a while longer. Since I always looked for iLife'06 at Ebay, I decided to get an iLife'08 for my G4 Macs. I was well aware of the fact that the new iMovie'08 might not run on my computers. On my 12" PowerBook, however, this was no problem. Besides the fact that the iLife installer checks if either an Intel CPU or a 64bit CPU is installed, no problem occurred so far (I got rid of the installer check by changing the corresponding script's function hasSufficientHardwareForiMovie() to always return true). Performance for small projects is quite acceptable. Like most other people, I do miss a lot of features contained in previous versions of iMovie'08. Since iMovie'06 is a free download for '08 users, the better (but older) version also runs on my Mac mini G4. Unfortunately, iMovie'08 requires a core graphics compatible video card. Hence, my Mac mini is out of the game for iMovie'08.

The most useful product of iLife (from my point of view) is the new iPhoto '08, version 7. While the new event display is a nice addon, iPhoto'08 really shines with its enhanced editing capabilities, that are in most cases non-destructive. That means, all changes are updated from the original picture. You can change the contrast or levels of your pictures and commit the changes. The next time you visit the editor, the sliders are not on their initial positions, but rather where you moved them. If you apply any changes, a fresh picture will be generated from the original. Furthermore, iPhoto'08 has a very nice import dialog, where you can now select the pictures you want to import as well as hiding the ones already imported. What's not contained is a picture sharing function between several user accounts. iPhoto'08 runs well on my Mac mini G4 and is faster (in all aspects I investigated) than iPhoto'05.

Finally, iWeb'08 found my interest. While I prefer coding HTML by hand instead of using pre-defined templates, the program is quite nice for beginners. It is so simple, I can recommend it to anyone without technical skills. When it comes to publish the pages to a website other than .Mac, however, you better know a coder, since at least for my webserver, the pages needed manual changes to work.

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