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5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 12-13-13

  
  
  

5 at a mall in Montrealby Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Companies still struggle with apps vs. browser question, please check it out. New data from Adobe suggests that apps users are far more engaged than mobile web users, but the data itself might not be the end of it because you still need to develop your mobile strategy in the context of your particular business goals --and so the question remains unanswered because there is no right answer.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Why Johnny Can’t Write Multithreaded Programs | Smart Bear Blog

Many programmers lose the thread when writing multi-threaded programs and this writer believes it's because they forget to apply basic programming principles.

Never, ever do this to Hadoop | InfoWorld

What is "this" in this case? It's putting Hadoop on a Storage Area Network. The writer argues that for performance reasons you should never do this, but instead buy servers with local disks or you will regret it. 

How to Recruit a Good Developer When You Don't Code | Mashable

It's always a challenge when you lack a set of skills like programming to know what you're looking for when you hire a programmer, but many startups are faced with this dilemma. You could have a great idea, but lack the programming chops to deliver it, and for that you'll need a programmer or two to help you get going.

Why CIOs stick with cloud computing despite NSA snooping scandal | PCWorld

Conventional wisdom says, CIOs were afraid of cloud for security reasons before the NSA revelations broke. This should only add fuel to the fire, right? Actually at least some CIOs say the advantages of the cloud outweigh the risks and they're going to continue to use cloud services in spite of surveillance.

Obama says he's not allowed iPhone for 'security reasons' | Reuters

BlackBerry may be in trouble, but the president is still using his and he says that his IT department won't let him switch to an iPhone because of security concerns. Looks like he'll stick with the BlackBerry for the time being until his staff figures out how to secure other phones.

Photo by Ron Miller Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

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Big companies see big business from big data in cloud

  
  
  

Dollars in the cloudby Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

Big Data and the Cloud are natural partners. Big Data requires a lot of resources which may vary over time and several announcements of late suggest that companies are beginning to recognize this as Amazon, Salesforce.com and IBM have announced big data crunching tools in the cloud.

The cloud by its nature has elastic sets of resources that can scale to whatever needs a company has. When you're talking about Big Data, that's going to require a lot more resources than most companies have to spare or are willing to invest in. That's where the cloud comes in.

Recently at the Amazon re:invent event, Amazon announced a new big data processing tool in the cloud they are calling Kinesis. As Amazon itself describes it, it's "a fully managed service for real-time processing of streaming data at massive scale." It's no wonder, that Amazon CTO Werner Vogels writing on The Guardian was predicting that Big Data analysis in the cloud would be a trend in 2014 that could allow for real-time data analysis.

Amazon has set a high bar for Kinesis. As Andy Patrazio wrote on CITEworld about the new product, "Kinesis is capable of accepting any amount of data, from any number of sources, scaling up and down as needed. The client library handles load balancing, coordination, and error handling, doing the background work, so the developer only needs to focus on processing the data as it becomes available."

But Amazon isn't alone trying to capture Big Data business in the cloud. Just last week at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference, SFDC was making its own Big Data announcements. Salesforce believes the future lies in the Internet of Things, sensor data with everything from toothbrushes to car engines and Coke machines offering data. This data will provide massive amounts of information and the Salesforce vision moving forward is to provide ways to process and understand that information to better serve your customers.

And finally, we have IBM, which has been searching for a way to monetize its Watson technology since it put on a big dog and pony show on Jeopardy a few years ago, defeating three Jeopardy champions. But it has had some difficulty applying that machine learning technology and massive data processing capability in the real world. Its latest attempt is to put Watson into the cloud where anyone can take advantage of this technology. For now as PCWorld reports they are working with third-party partners to build industry specific applications on top of the Watson platform to process data and provide answers to business problems. 

Each of these products and services illustrates that big companies see big potential for Big Data and they want a piece of this action. That all of these companies are in the cloud is not a coincidence. The cloud provides a place to store and process this data and provide customers with whatever resources they require (and are willing to pay for).

Photo Credit: CanStockPhoto
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5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 11-22-13

  
  
  

5 11 22 13by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Infographic: Your users might not be using sanctioned apps, please check it out. It's no secret BYOD and consumerization have changed the balance of of power in organizations. To combat that, many companies are producing their own internal apps as alternatives to consumer offerings, but research has found that a vast majority of users don't like the company offerings. That means you had better come up with better alternatives and work harder to understand your users' requirements.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

The Eurosceptic guide to cloud | Cloud Pro

As NSA spying revelations reverberate across the EU, it has inevitably lead to a call for new security regulations, but this writer is skeptical that politicians can solve the problem and challenges companies to take responsibility for their own security.

Lean Test Documentation | Sticky Minds

Testing documentation may not be the most sexy subject in the world, but a lot of time and effort goes into the software testing process where the testers are forced to document each and everything they do, a costly and time consuming process. One writer proposes a leaner and meaner way of doing things.

Werner Vogels: Four cloud computing trends | Guardian 

When Amazon CTO Werner Vogels speaks it's worth listening. He's a smart guy in charge of one of the most important cloud infrastructure companies around. As you would expect he predicts the cloud will get bigger, faster, better and have more influence of every aspect of computing.

6 Years of IT Toil Is Worth, Um, a 3% Raise | Enterprise Cloud Site

When you think about an experienced IT pro these days, you probably think they command hefty salaries with huge raises and lots of great perks, but a research report suggest that 3 percent is what you can expect in 2014. It's better than no raise, but it's hardly substantial either.

Smartphones will be smarter than you by 2017 | FierceBigData

A new Gartner report suggests that smart phones are going to be really, really smart by 2017 with more responsive interfaces that anticipate your needs and send messages on your behalf. Not sure how I feel about that. 

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 11-15-13

  
  
  

5 at CinemarkBy Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Infographic: Your users might not be using sanctioned apps, please check it out. It's no secret BYOD and consumerization have changed the balance of of power in organizations. To combat that, many companies are producing their own internal apps as alternatives to consumer offerings, but research has found that a vast majority of users don't like the company offerings. That means you had better come up with better alternatives and work harder to understand your users' requirements.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links: 

Cloud-based security on its way to  being a billion dollar business | CSC Engage 

You could look at the cloud and see a security risk, but others might look at it and see a security opportunity. It all depends on your perspective, right? In fact, Gartner says it's already a billion dollar business and it predicts that number is just going to keep getting bigger. 

CoIT? No, it’s CoUX! | A Screw Loose Blog

We tend think of consumerization in terms of its impact on IT, but this writer says it's more about the user experience and IT pros need to pay attention to how well they are producing a good experience for their users. It takes more than a list of functions. Users expect a good experience too.

Interview with Heroku's Mattt Thompson: The Incredibly True Story of Why an iOS Developer Dropped His CS Classes and Eventually Learned How to Fly | Heroku Blog

The great thing about iOS and other app platforms is that in their own way they put app development in reach of people who might not have been programmers. Certainly Mattt (yes the three Ts is correct) Thompson had a computer science background, but he really took off when he became an iOS developer. This is his story. 

IT pros: Are you getting paid enough? | CITEworld

This is the kind of question that really doesn't make sense. The answer is always going to be No, but it's still worth asking, right?

Watson as a service: IBM preps AI in the cloud | InfoWorld

Ever since Watson beat the greatest Jeopardy champions ever, IBM has been searching for a way to make money with this technology beyond the dog and pony show. The latest effort is an attempt to offer artificial intelligence as a service in the cloud where anyone with a credit card can take advantage of Watson's abilities. 

Photo by Ron Miller Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 11-1-13

  
  
  

Number 5 section marker at Arlington National Cemetary

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Infographic: Mobile Developer Trends, please check it out. Smartphone developers have a lot of options besides iOS and Android, and this infographic illustrates some of the latest trends in mobile development including the most popular platforms. Number 3 might just surprise you

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Focus…it’s all about the UX | A Screw Loose Blog

Brian Katz is fed up with business complexity and he's not going to take it anymore. He says it's time we focused on the user and that means starting with interface. Make it easy. Hide the complexity. 

Tech industry calls for 'oversight and accountability' of NSA surveillance | Computerworld

Speaking of being mad as hell, how about the NSA grabbing data from Google, Yahoo! and other online services. Nobody understands better how hard it is to balance security and privacy than American tech giants, but they support ending bulk surveillance as a starting point --and at the very least starting a discussion on how to reel in the NSA.

Straight talk about cloud migration myths | IT Middleground

We've all heard the cloud FUD before, especially about security, but this piece gives you some straight talk on moving to the cloud and tries to bust some of the myths and fight FUD with information.

German Chancellor's BlackBerry Likely Withstood NSA Tapping | eWeek

For the all the fuss over allegations that the US spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it turns out between her Blackberry and the Secusmart chip inside of it, it is highly unlikely that the US was ever able to access any meaningful information from her phone.

Beating the Budget Blues | Enterprise Efficiency Blog 

Just about everyone works within budget constraints, but CIOs can't worry about what they don't have, they need to concentrate on spending the money allocated to them as wisely as possible to meet the needs of the business, and technology for technology's sake is not necessarily a good investment.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 7-26-13

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

5 with flag on top at checkout at Home Depot July 4th weekend 2013.It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Implementing ideas at the speed of thought, please check it out. Today, access to mobile development platforms and cloud services means if you can think it you can develop it without the cost associated with building your own infrastructure.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Five cloud mistakes guaranteed to make your deployment fail | Cloud Pro

You've heard all the advice you need to do a successful cloud deployment, but here are five ways to guarantee not that you'll succeed, but that you'll fail. You probably want to avoid these.

A CIO's hierarchy of needs | Word of Pie

Every CIO has a series of needs and tasks he or she must do to be effective. This post looks at these in the form a pyramid a la Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 

The irrelevance of Microsoft | Benedict Evans

You've probably heard that Microsoft had a losing quarter, which is hardly reason to hit the panic button even if it was their first losing one ever, but Evans looks beyond the quarter to the long term. And these graphs may convince you that Microsoft is in far deeper trouble than one bad earnings report would suggest. 

Clashing Coding Styles: Learning to Work with a Growing Team of Programmers | Smartbear Blog

If you have a large project team, chances are you are going to have a range of coding styles, and much like making a writing project with many voices sound cohesive, you need to do the same with your coding project. This article offers some practical advice on how to make that happen.

Majority of businesses remain in the dark over data breaches | DaniWeb

A new study by Verizon found that a vast majority of companies have had breaches and it takes several months for them to realize and most of the time they find out from third parties or customers, not through their own security apparatus. That's a pretty sad testament.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

Note: I'm heading on vacation for a couple of weeks, so the 5 Links for Developers and IT Pros series is taking a break with me. See you in a few weeks.

Implementing ideas at the speed of thought

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

Young woman manipulating ideas in the air.Think of some great ideas from the recent past, whether it's Uber, Airbnb, Spotify or Instagram --they all were disruptive ideas that were within reach because of mobile, social and the cloud.

We are in an age where if you can think it, you can build it. Call it development at the speed of thought. Even a decade ago, many great ideas very likely stayed inside the heads of their their thinkers because it was one thing to have the idea, it was another altogether to have the resources to implement it.

Consider that today you can become an Android developer for just $25, which gives you access to all of the development tools and Google Play for distribution. You can become an iOS developer for just $99 a year, which gives you access to the software development kit, debugging and testing tools and the App Store for distribution. Both require a trivial monetary investment, beyond investing the time to learn how these tools work. 

These tools provide a way to test ideas very quickly for very little financial risk. If an idea fails to materialize, you can move on and try the next thing, and if it works, cloud infrastructure gives you the ability to scale quickly without a high-cost data center investment.

Twenty years ago when I was working as a technical writer, I remember sitting in a conference room with a project manager who knew Visual Basic cold. He sketched out a software interface in a few minutes and I recall sitting there dumbfounded at how quickly he was able to create a dummy interface.

Today's tools make that trick look rather primitive and they give entrepreneurs a greater edge than at any time in history. You can think it and begin to build a  business in minutes. Simply pull out your smartphone, tablet or laptop; grab some online infrastructure, and you're ready to start.

All you need for all intents and purposes is a device and a credit card. Of course, you also need to know someone with development skills or you need to learn them fast, but none of these issues are out of reach.

And if you do need other expertise, that's a simple matter as well because today's online tools make it easier than ever before to build small teams with a variety of required expertise quickly.

In earlier times, you had to sell your idea to someone with a lot of money before you could even think of testing it out and trying it. The cost of ramping up was very likely so expensive and finding investors so time-consuming and difficult, most people's projects very likely never got off the ground. The obstacles to succeeding were just too daunting and too dependent on factors outside of your control.

Today, that's all changed and you can think of an idea and put it in action within minutes and that's fairly remarkable if you think about it.

Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 4-5-13

  
  
  

5 4 5 13by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, comScore Shocker: Android loses market share in latest report, please check it out. You might expect the same-old, same old from comScore's latest mobile market share figures, but you would be mistaken. There were several surprises.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Mobile-Device Management: 10 Best Practices for Creating a BYOD Policy | eWeek

Bring your own device is spreading across organizations, and it's causing some confusion among IT pros on how to manage a hodge podge of devices. This article offers some practical advice for creating sensible BYOD policy in your organization.

Why What You’re Reading About Blink Is Probably Wrong | Infrequently Noted

When Google announced its new browser rendering engine Blink this week, it certainly generated a lot of strong opinions. This article maintains that most of those are wrong. Do you agree? 

What is Open Source Cloud? | Linux.com

This post gives you a cloud computing primer, then explains the importance of cloud computing in the context of open source and that having an open cloud is essential to keep the work of the open source movement moving forward.

Your Code May Work, But It Still Might Suck | Smartbear

There is value in dedication to your programming craft and that means creating elegant code in every step of the process, even ones that might not seem to matter. Just because it works doesn't mean it's art and that's what you should be striving to produce.. See the next post. 

The Artful Organization | Agile Zone

When I saw Seth Godin speak a couple of weeks ago, he spoke of the importance creating something unique and how creative organizations will win --and this post extends that notion on the importance of being an organization that creates something unique and beautiful and offers some resources to help get you there.

Photo by Ron Miller. Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 3-8-13

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

5 3 8 13It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Suddenly Everybody Wants to Follow Apple's Integrated Hardware-Software Model, please check it out. What do Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon all have in common? They are trying to emulate Apple's successful software-hardware integration strategy -- but do these competitors have the chops to pull it off?

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Cloud haters: You too will be assimilated | ZDNet

In this amusing post, you'll learn no matter how much you hate the cloud and all it stands for, resistance if futile and you will be assimilated.

Apps Reorder the Job Landscape | WSJ.com

Companies are finding an interesting outcome from building apps. Sure, it costs money to hire developers to design and maintain them, but in some instances, it's giving users power to do things themselves that used to require the help of employees -- and that means fewer customer service jobs.

The Missing Docs: For When You're Not There | Mendix Blog

It's bound to happen. You're going to get called away for a family emergency or you're going to finally take that long-planned vacation and you need to document how to keep the department going while you're gone. This piece offers some sound advice on how to create a document for your staff to keep things going in your absence.

This is Not Your Father’s Software Industry | blog.payne.org

The software industry is in the midst of a radical shift and companies like Uber and Airbnb are leading the way. This author believes we will begin to see more apps that resemble these companies and less that resemble traditional enterprise software over the next decade.

Five reasons why Windows 8 has failed | ZDNet

Windows 8 desktop sales are dismal so far and there are many reasons including developers don't like it and neither do end users. That's a pretty deadly combination right there and there are three other reasons too.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

Microsoft getting squeezed between Chromebook and iPad

  
  
  

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by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

Back in the 80s when I was working for a small management consulting firm in Boston, the operations manager went shopping for these new-fangled devices called PCs. She ended up buying IBM-brand PCs and I remember her saying, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

Many people in IT today probably feel the same way about Microsoft, but is it still true or is Microsoft on a slippery slope toward irrelevancy caught in the middle of a changing computing landscape?

There are two key trends squeezing Microsoft as it gets attacked relentlessly on two fronts. The first is the iPad and the second is the Chromebook -- and by extension the broader trends of mobile and cloud computing.

Microsoft is not stupid. It has recognized these assailants and they have taken action to fend them off. On the user level, they developed a broad cloud computing plan that includes Office 365 and Sky Drive. On the enterprise side, they are making a push to the cloud with hosted versions of SharePoint and Exchange, and the Azure development platform among other steps.

Windows 8 is an attempt to capture a single screen view of the world with Windows 8 on the desktop, Windows 8 Phone and Windows RT and Windows 8 on tablets. They have developed their own tablets and made investments in Nokia and Dell to keep the PC and phone ecosystem oriented toward their products.

Make no mistake, Microsoft remains a formidable company with deep pockets and lots of smart people. It still maintains a powerful presence in the enterprise, but if you look at any company starting out today, how many are going to go with the Windows/Office model which has been the revenue bedrock of the company for so long? Not very many. That means as these newer businesses grow and develop, they are not going to be Microsoft shops as in the past.  

It's like a company with an old demographic. The market is still strong, but the youngsters aren't buying into the vision.

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And of course we have begun to witness the shift away from PCs. So far, the numbers have not been very kind to Windows 8 on the desktop or any device for that matter. comScore announced its latest figures and Microsoft phones are still langusihing at a dismal 2.9 percent of US market share, continuing a downward trend. Meanwhile, although Microsoft has not announced Surface RT sales, reports have them sitting at around the same 3 percent. The Surface Pro came out this week to mixed reviews. By contrast, Apple announced it sold 22.9 million iPads and 47 million iPhones last quarter. 

Samsung ChromeBookThen there is the Chromebook, the cheap cloud-based notebooks running Google's Chrome OS. As Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote on ZDNet, Chromebook is coming on much stronger and much more quickly than expected. As he reported, Acer, which just started manufacturing Chromebooks at the end of last year, now reports that these machines will account for between 5 and 10 percent of its US shipments this year. 

Other PC manufacturers are noticing too. Recently Lenovo announced a new Chromebook offering and just this week HP jumped on board, albeit with what sounds like a very poor implementation. The key here though is that these traditional PC/Windows manufacturing companies are looking elsewhere and selling alternatives and that has to be cutting further into the Windows market.

I'm not suggesting, by the way, that Microsoft is going anywhere any time soon. I expect it will be around for years to come, but it is clear that Microsoft's key markets are being squeezed by devices that aren't running Windows -- and if you're placing your bets on Microsoft, you might want to at least think about that choice moving forward, and recognize that there are alternatives now.

Photo Credit I'm a PC: bytesrc on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons SA license.

Photo Credit iPad: Sean MacEntee on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons SA license.

Photo Credit Chromebook: Google

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