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5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 7-27-12


5 at Frankfurt AirportIt'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 other post this week, No Surprise Mobile Programmers Making Big Bucks, please check it out. The Boston Globe recently ran a slide show of what it considered surprising 6 figure jobs. Mobile programmer was at the top of the list, but given the special skills required and the demand for talent, it hardly seems surprising.

Please consider subscribing if you like what you see here, and if you have something to say, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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

Vint Cerf, Vampire Slayer | Input Output

Vint Cerf helped develop the protocols that created the Internet as we know it, so when he speaks you should listen. In this piece Cerf warns that the forces that brought you SOPA and PIPA, continue to try and undermine Internet freedom, and we must remain vigilant. He also talked about Al Gore's role in the development of the commercial Internet, international Internet growth and more.

Microsoft fixes 'big boobs' coding gaffe | BBC

Apparently some juvenile programmers decided to use this phrase every time they ran Microsoft's tool designed to work with Linux. The code name came to light when Linux developers discovered it, and Microsoft removed it. Needless to say it left them embarassed and further prolonged the programmer 'boy's club' stereotype.

HTML5: To Fork or Not to Fork | HP Input Output

Two groups, WC3 and WHATWG, have created a fork that has the potential to create two versions of the yet-to-be-defined HTML5 standard. It's hard to say if this is a simple division of labor where the two groups will eventually come together, or if it actually represents a philosophical split about how to develop the final standard. For now, we can only watch.

Closed for Business | Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemell brings up the problem of piracy in the Android software world, a problem that he claims is driving many Android developers out of business or forcing them to change their delivery model. He blames easy piracy, at least partly due to the open nature of the platform (even though he says he's an open source advocate), on reducing the motivation of developers to create for-profit programs for Android. Have a look. It's a compelling read.

5 Ways to Think Wisely in Development | Java Code Geeks

This post offers some sound advice to programmers on things to consider when making development decisions. When you read them, you may find that most of them apply to any decisions, not just programming design and development issues.

Bonus Link: 12 Outdated Songs Rewritten for Today’s Tech | Laptop Magazine

And finally, a bit of technology news fun as one writer takes 12 classic pop songs and rewrites the lyrics to remove outdated references (such as instead of Take a Letter Maria, address it to my wife; it's compose a text Siri). Have a look. It's a fun exercise.

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

5 Links for Developer and IT Pros 3-16-12

5 3 16 12It'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 other post this week, Getting Beyond the Big Data Hype Cycle, please check it out. It discusses the true potential of big data and how get beyond the hype to the reality of how to manage, analyze and share it.

We also published an infographic this week, Time is of the Essence on the Web, which looks at the short attention spans of web visitors and why you need to take this into consideration when you design web sites and apps.

Please consider subscribing if you like what you see here, and if you have something to say, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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

Why the new iPad 3 might be just right for your business - FierceMobileIT

The new iPad 3 hits the streets today and you may be wondering what it offers IT from business perspective. Well, it turns out that the new iPad may provide some interesting use cases you hadn't considered, as this post points out.

What's the best Linux server for you? - ITworld

The Linux server you choose for your business depends a lot on what you do and the size of your business. This post looks at how to choose the best one based on size criteria.

Big backlash is building against Windows 8. Will Microsoft listen? - Computerworld Blogs

The Windows 8 consumer preview has been out for a while now, and it's looking like people are giving the big thumbs down on the dual Metro - traditional desktop interface. Even experienced user are finding it confusing. Microsoft needs to address this now before the release, but will it?

Lead Leaders: Why Loose Leadership Matters Most in the Coming Years - HP I/O

Social media expert (and he is one of the few who wears that title legitimately) Chris Brogan discusses why IT management will need to establish a looser form of leadership in the coming years. That may require leaving your old-school management techniques behind for a calmer one with different expectations and success metrics. It doesn't mean you don't manage, just that you do it in a different fashion than you might have in the past.

Is DevOps Killing the Operations Team? - Javalobby

It may seem like the push to automate of many task previously done by IT is an attempt to kill jobs, but this author suggests appearances might be deceptive. But as with Brogan's advice that IT managers have to learn new way to manage, IT ops pros may have to freshen up their skills to stay relevant in a shifting job landscape.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 9/30/11

5  9 30 11It'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 other post this week, Study Finds Freemium Model Generates Big App Store Revenue, please have a look. We look at how giving away your app, then charging for additional functionality may make you more money than simply charging more for an app up front.

If you like what you see here, please consider subscribing and if you have something to say, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

And here we go with this week's links:

The Great Web Hope: HTML5 On Mobile Still A Work In Progress - paidContent

At a conference recently, developers batted around the  idea of an open, standards-based, HTML5-driven mobile web. Such an approach has to be pretty attractive to a developer, but there are limitations and we are probably not going to be abandoning stand-alone apps just yet.

What's With all the Cloud Paranoia - ZDNet

One writer is confused by the rabid response he gets every time he writes about the cloud and he's wondering where all this fear is coming from.

It Takes Open Source to Raise a Village - Network World

Much of the same philosophy that drives the open source community is also driving ecologists who are trying to develop an open platform on which they can build eco-friendly industrial machines.

Identifying Passionate Developers - Musings of the Bare Bones Coder

It takes more than pure coding skill to get hired at this company. It takes some passion and the desire to help your fellow developers. This article looks at ways you might be able to find people with those traits as you go through the interview process.

The Future Desktop - ReadWriteWeb

What might the future PC look like? Think holograms, molecular computing or quantum computing. Whatever comes next it's probably not going to involve silicon which could reach the end of its capacity to scale up in the next 10 years. This article explores some possible silicon chip replacements.
Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 5/20/11

Friday Five on Ness SPL BlogIt's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we scour the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our other post this week, New Project Extends Cloud Foundry to Python/Perl, please check it out, and if you like what you see here, please subscribe. As always, feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

And now this week's links:

Disaster Recovery in the Cloud - Microsoft - Cloud Power - Forbes

One thing the recent storms in the southern US, not to mention the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand have taught us is that data can disappear in a heartbeat. That's one of the advantages of backing up to the cloud and it could get you back in business quickly should a disaster strike your company.

Flash is Still a Useful Development Tool, Says Software Training Expert - Climbing the IT Ladder

Sure, Flash is Steve Jobs favorite whipping boy (and with good reason), but it still has places where it plays well, and one of those is in training where Flash-based training tools like Adobe Captivate can make a training developers life a heck of a lot easier.

Top 5 Developer Skills That Will Get You Hired or Promoted - Software Quality Connection

We all want to make more money and this article looks at key skills you need to adopt to get the highest paying programming jobs. You know you want to click through.

Keeping Up with the IT Exec Career Curve —

As with the previous story, IT managers and C-level executives need to keep up with an ever-changing technology landscape to keep moving up the ladder. This article looks at some ways you can follow trends and keep up with the latest innovations

New Privacy Laws in India and China Could Make IT Outsourcing Ugly - BNET

It's never easy dealing with outsourcing in Asia, but it could be about to get even more difficult due to new privacy laws in India and China. If you didn't think you needed help navigating in these countries before, this will probably convince you.

Photo by chego101 on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 4/29/11

502266936 320f680ea9 mWelcome back to our regular Friday feature where we look for some of the best links from around the Web for developers and IT pros. One commenter last week suggested last week's links were "good, but not that great." All I can say is we do our best and hope you like what we present here every week. 
Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments section, and as always, if you like what you see, please consider subscribing.
And here are this week's links:
How to Source Clean Power? Ask! -
It's easy to think that Cloud Computing is naturally a greener alternative to running your own data center, but those public cloud data centers use up tremendous amounts of power. The good news is some of the biggest providers are looking for ways to mitigate their environmental impact. This report provides some practical advice on how to choose a green Cloud vendor.
What Do You Mean, “Agile”? - Software Quality Connection

As you know, Agile is more of an idea than a fixed approach to software development. This piece looks at the different meanings of Agile and how different companies are implementing it at their organizations.

Beyond Process and Tools: People Issues in Agile Software - InformIT

Speaking of Agile, Matthew Heuser interviews authors Ken Howard and Barry Rogers about their new book Individuals and Interactions: An Agile Guide. They discuss the challenge in trying to implement the Agile approach, the role of individuals in that process, and how to build a strong development team.

How to work around Amazon EC2 outages - James Cohen

Last week's Amazon EC2 outage was startling to most and devastating to some, taking down some popular web services with it. James Cohen offers IT pros some practical advice to work around the problem should it ever happen again.

Tech Comics: "Ode to Joy" —

Always like to include some humor in the 5 links when we can. This one looks at the easiest way to close a business department IT Help Desk ticket. 

Photo by Unhindered by Talent on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Five Links for Developers and IT Pros 4/8/11

1416686380 ca5da4cecb mIt's Friday and that must mean another five valuable links for developers an IT pros collected from our travels around the Web.

Earlier this week, we published Mobile users continue to split among browsers and apps use. If you haven't read it, please have a look, and if you like what you see here, as always we ask that you take a moment to subscribe so you get our content sent automatically.

Here we go:

Making An Application Security Program Succeed - threatpost
One of the reasons you may be developing insecure programs is simply because lack of a security plan Communication between the development and security teams is essential, as is being nice because an adversarial relationship can derail many a well-intentioned organization's best laid plans.

10 reasons you deserve a raise - TechRepublic
If you're an IT pro how can you not read this article? If nothing else it will make you realize just how much you do and how valuable you are to your company. Whether that results in a raise is entirely between you and your boss, however.

Problems with Agile? Check your Culture! - Agile Zone
Did you ever think about why Agile just isn't working at your company? Well, Agile success depends on a lot of factors, especially the culture of your organization. Check the great visual aid in this one.

iOS, Android, and the mobile web
It's no easy task trying to nail down which development environment is the best starting point, especially for companies with limited development resources. This piece looks at the pros and cons of each one ultimately deciding that Android is the best starting point. See if you agree.

On a small screen, user experience is everything - O'Reilly Radar
There's no doubt that developing for the small screen is a different exercise than developing for a larger one. The lack of real estate means you have have to concentrate on how to use the limited space while enhancing the user experience.

Photo by bredgur on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

The Real Keys to Business Agility (5 for Friday)


During the webinar we did last week with the Sand Hill Group, Kamesh Pemmaraju suggested that, based on their research, "Agility" was the "#1 Driver for the Move to the Cloud." Given the intense and ever-mounting competition in the software industry and among companies for whom software is key to their success (think of PayPal or Amazon, to name just two of countless examples), organizations are looking for ways to increase efficiency, on the one hand, and improve their ability to shift operational focus quickly, on the other. Everyone wants to be more agile.

It is easy to understand why organizations believe that cloud-based solutions will help them achieve this goal. If you can spin up a virtual machine on a cloud without the need to buy and install hardware, or easily store data remotely in order to support a more mobile, decentralized organization, or give members of said organization instant access to a critical SaaS application, then we're talking about a technology that will make your business undeniably lighter on its feet.

Nevertheless, technology alone cannot make a business agile. In fact, unless you have the right organizational structures in place and the right people in the right roles, you will be unable to take full advantage of any such enabling technology, cloud-based or otherwise.

My thoughts on this subject have been most recently influenced by Terri Griffith, Professor of Management at Santa Clara University, who points out that, "Our work is not done in silos – yet much of our technology infrastructure and work practice are built as if it were."

To counteract this siloed thinking, she advocates a "systems savvy" management approach which understands that in any enterprise technology, organizational structures, and the people working in the enterprise are inextricably connected and that you can't address issues in one area without affecting the others.

In terms of business agility and the cloud, this means that simply replacing on-prem systems with EC2 or licensed, shrinkwrapped software with Google Docs is not enough. You have to modify your organization so that, from a policy and communication standpoint, it is flexible enough to take advantage of these "as needed" tools when they are actually needed and that the people in the organization are autonomous enough to decide for themselves when to do so.

Faisal Hoque addressed this latter issue in an article from last April entitled "Achieving Business Agility through Convergence" in which he wrote that "firms must replace traditional command and control approaches with mechanisms that facilitate coordination within and across locales." He goes on to stress that such mechanisms should "provide individuals, groups and units with the autonomy to improvise and act on local knowledge, while orchestrating coherent behavior across the firm."

To maintain this kind of coordinated but distributed autonomy calls for a truly collaborative approach to organization-wide communication. It also calls for a systematic approach to business intelligence that not only captures real-time data on organizational performance but disseminates it efficiently across the enterprise. (This is a major challenge for many organizations in part because, while they collect critical data on an ongoing basis, they encounter numerous technical obstacles when it comes to accessing it, as Ness' Glenn Gruber discussed in this post.)

Finally, returning to Professor Griffith's schema, the agile organization needs people that are comfortable working in an environment that cultivates ubiquitous autonomy. Not only that, the leaders of the organization need to have the confidence that employees are competent enough to be relied on to take appropriate risks, on the one hand, while consistently attending to real business needs on the other.

Getting the "people part" right is inevitably a question of intelligent hiring practices, thoughtful and practical training, and carefully crafted systems of management and compensation. It becomes a bit trickier when, as many companies today do, you are heavily reliant on an ecosystem of partners to deliver your products and services to the people who matter most in the final instance, your customers.

To manage the uncertainty that goes along with these critical partnerships one must, as Ronald Reagan once said in a very different context, "Trust, but verify." That is, when your commercial fate is closely linked to that of others (whose fate in turn depends on others still), trusting and being trustworthy are essential attributes. However, such trust need not be blind. Vetting potential partners, paying particular attention to the way they approach partnerships, is absolutely necessary.

One organizational behavior to be on the lookout for: Does this future partner identify with my organization and make my goals their own? (And a question to pose to yourself: Is this how I treat my own partners and their goals?)

So, yes, the cloud offers powerful alternatives to "business as usual" and the efficiences it can afford will definitely contribute to business agility. But it can only do so if it is implemented with an eye to "systems thinking" and its implementation is thoughtfully interwoven with forward-looking organizational change and the empowerment of employees.

(A different approach to "5 for Friday," I know, but does it work? - The Editor)

Take a Virtual Tour of Our Software Product Labs


Editor's Note: If you'd like to go right ahead and take the virtual tour of our Software Product Labs, be our guest. If you'd like first to be swayed by our thoughts on trust, partnership, and the collaborative experience in global software development, please proceed.

When you entrust your development work to an external team, regardless of where they sit, the experience of working together is almost more important than how well they write code.

Don't get me wrong, technical performance matters. The end product needs to reflect the qualities people associate with your brand, just as it must meet the internal standards you have set for the work you do. That's a given.

However, when you are choosing a partner, especially one with whom you will need to work closely over a period of years, your selection will be guided by more than whether or not "they can do it."

As odd as it may sound in a business context your selection of a global development partner - and you have many from which to choose - will be guided by feelings. How does it feel to work with this organization? Is the experience imbued with a true spirit of collaboration? Is it marked by ease of communication and mutual understanding? Is there a shared sense of commitment? And most importantly, all along the way, do you feel that you are both invested in the success of the partnership itself?

Unfortunately, trying to describe "The Experience,” even in words that are aspirational and inspiring, inevitably falls flat. No matter how eloquent, our phrases will certainly echo and be echoed by those of our competitors. We all promise a positive, collaborative, and rewarding experience, but how can you know what it's like until you've actually experienced it?

One way of course is to ask current clients - people who are having or have had "the experience" - but generally that step is reserved for much further down the sales process. So, if you are curious, but not quite ready for that step, Ness Software Product Labs team created a virtual tour of the lab environment so that you could, at least virtually, get the basic feeling of what we're about.

The quick tour takes you through some of the elements of what it’s like working with Ness, introduces you to some of our people, includes a few client stories, and gives you a chance to "meet" our COO, Raja Nagarajan. Take a look, let us know what you think.

Of course, if you'd just like to speak with us or our current clients, we'd be happy to arrange that as well!

Power to the People


"The power of passion far exceeds contractual obligation and you can take my word for it!" - Raja Nagarajan

One might assume that successful software development, thanks no doubt to the highly technical nature of the discipline, depends above all else on something technical. This is not the case.

Successful software development depends on people. Not only that, it depends less on their technical skills, in the long run, than on their people skills.

Actually, it goes deeper than that. Sure, people skills - the ability to communicate; the ability to plan and design; the ability to think and persuade and inspire - matter. But what matters more is that the people involved behave like, well, people.

How do people behave? People care. People get excited. People get invested in things. People become impassioned.

When people care, when they get invested at a personal level, they take things seriously. What happens next, the outcome of their actions, really begins to mean something.

And ultimately, when you are working with someone, when you are collaborating with them on a complex software product, for example, isn't that how you want them to think, feel and act? You want them to care; you want them to be invested; you want them to want the outcome as much as you do.

Now, we could point you to studies by McKinsey and A.T. Kearney and all the rest to show why performance management and a focus on people as people can pay big dividends.

We could also point you to our white paper, "Mastering the Art of Globalizing Software R&D," that addresses this issue in some detail. There you can read all about the importance of fostering executive buy-in, of enabling frequent and ongoing communication, of eliminating (corporate) cultural barriers in support of a "one company" approach, and of recognizing that your team is not a cost but an asset.

Finally, we could regale you with stories from our years of collaboration with companies like PayPal, Pearson Learning, Business Objects and others to demonstrate that this "people first" philosophy is the best way to globalize software development.

Of course then it would seem like we were trying to pitch you or sell to you. In other words, we'd be treating you like a "prospect," rather than a person.

So, instead, having stated our view, we'll simply ask, "What do you think?"
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