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Showing posts from 2015

Managing Technical Debt

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Everyone knows they must manage their financial debt to be successful in business. Managing “Technical Debt” is another matter. Far from an imaginary concept, “tech debt” is real. Almost every project incurs technical debt over time. Typically during the development and production phases. Unrealistic expectations, "scope creep," stakeholder demands, or poor project management can encourage software development teams to sacrifice quality or take shortcuts. While some “tech debt” can speed the development process, unless it is “paid back” with a revision, the longer the debt is allowed to accrue the more difficult and expensive it becomes to fix. Just like financial debt, companies either must address it or ignore it at their own peril. Eventually the “loan comes due.” Steven Rabin writing in the December issue of SD Times presents an excellent case for managing your technical debt. Highly recommended reading.

Will Nuclear Fusion Change Our World?

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What if our world was powered by a cheap, safe, clean, virtually limitless, sustainable fuel source such as water? If energy is cheap and available to all nations, that could reduce global political tensions. And if it comes from a clean-burning fuel source, that reduces air pollution. Billionaires such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen have been big supporters or research into fusion as an energy source.

"What we're really doing here is trying to build a star on Earth," said Laban Coblentz at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a massive fusion reactor being built by 35 countries in southern France. Fusion is what keeps stars, including our own sun, burning bright. Nuclear Fusion is also the principle behind how a hydrogen bomb works.

As a source of energy, fusion works like this:

You take two gases called deuterium and tritium and you heat them under pressure to at least 100 million…

Big Data Drives Revenue

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According to a survey of more than 1,000 decision-makers worldwide sponsored by Capgemini and EMC, the majority of respondents said Big Data is a driver of revenue and is becoming as valuable to their businesses as existing products and services.

Below is a summary of their findings:


36 percent said that, due to the strategic importance of big data, they have had to circumvent IT teams to carry out the necessary data analytics required to gain business insights.

64 percent indicated that big data is changing traditional business boundaries and enabling new providers to move into their industry.

54 percent reported that their big data investments over the next three years will outstrip past investments.

43 percent already have or are currently reorganizing in order to exploit new big data opportunities.

61 percent acknowledge that big data is now a driver of revenues in its own right and is becoming as valuable to their businesses as their existing products and services.

24 percent of…

Black Hat 2015

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The premier cybersecurity conference took place last week in Las Vegas. In case you weren't able to attend, PC Magazine has an awesome summary of the most significant and ominous developments at Black Hat 2015.
In the words of Max Eddy writing for PCMag: "Black Hat bills itself as the premiere show for offensive security, and it lived up to its promise. This year, we knew we'd hear about hacking Linux-powered rifles, remotely taking control of cars, and attacking Android phones with malicious text messages. But that was only the beginning.Though the Stagefright Android vulnerability was on everyone's mind, another Android security flaw was just as terrifying. This one allowed a clever attacker to use dormant plug-ins on most Android devices to take control of the phone as if the attacker were holding it. Other research focused on a clever attack that could steal all of your files from a cloud storage service without you ever being the wiser."

The Best Tablets of 2015

Looking for a back to school tablet? Or just want to upgrade? PC Magazine has a review of the “10 Best for 2015.” Read about them here.

The 10 Fastest Supercomputers in the World

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For those of us who are old enough to remember the 80’s and 90’s there was an ongoing “competition” to determine which computer was the “world’s fastest.” During the 2000’s as technology became more “personal” most of the public tended to focus on the latest consumer technologies such as phones, tablets, gaming systems, HD displays, and smartwatches. However cutting edge research still occurs at the “high end.” The performance of some of these systems is nothing short of mind blowing. Here are the 10 Fastest Supercomputers in the world according to eWeek. Awesome!

Approaching IT Security Like Homeland Security

According to Karen A. Frenkel at CIO|Insight, President Obama has identified cyber-security as a top national security challenge and has ordered a review of federal efforts to defend the U.S. information and communications infrastructure. The goal is to develop a comprehensive approach to securing America's digital infrastructure. Brian Beyer, CEO of Red Canary, explains that while your organization may not have the budget, resources, experts, or technology of our national government, organizations of all sizes can benefit from applying the same security tactics as the Department of Homeland Security. This slideshow presents some of Beyer's tips to help you defend your business.

Smartwatches Already Obsolete?

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Like many I followed the release of the Apple Watch earlier this year. And although I think they look cool, there was just something about the whole idea of "smartwatches" that kept bothering me. Like, "Why do we need something like this?" and "Would I actually wear one?" I hardly ever wear a watch. Ever. And when I do I'm a Casio "G Shock" kind of guy except for when I wear the Tag-Heuer my wife gave me for my birthday. I have a colleague that wears a Rolex. And two that wear Breitlings. My Dad always wore an Omega. A watch can make a bold fashion statement. And at least for now, most "smartwatches" don't cut it although definitely the $17K Gold Apple Watch qualifies. For business and communications, my current phone (Galaxy S6 Edge) does everything I need. Plus tells the time! So I was interested to read this article by Rob Enderle in SD Times. Enderle makes some good points. But what is most important about any technology is…

Developing an Excel Dashboard Application

The following was presented at the SOBIE Academic Conference, April 17, 2015:

"Effective decision-making requires information to be available in a format that highlights key performance variables and trends while allowing the user to “drill down” to deeper levels of detail as necessary. It is important that the data also be updateable in real-time. Microsoft Excel and Access allow information to be stored and presented in ways that facilitate the decision-making process. The power and flexibility of Pivot-Tables, Sparkline Graphs, Conditional Formatting, and Data Analysis functions in Excel combined with the storage capacity and connectivity of Access make it possible to design a customizable application.

A sample dashboard that analyzes salary and benefit information is demonstrated along with a discussion of all formulas and macros used. Methods for automatically connecting to and updating the spreadsheet from an external data source such as Microsoft Access are included."



Excel Charts Show Travel Stats for Indiana

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Earlier this semester, the MIS 320 Business Decision Making class had to analyze data collected on travel to and from Indiana. The assignment was to create a series of charts that would visually interpret the data for use by Indiana business leaders, politicians, state and local governments, and average citizens. On the surface, this appeared simple enough--after all how hard could graphs be? The challenge was that the data collected was from multiple sources and unorganized. Students had to dig deep in order to uncover useful information. They also were encouraged to experiment with color, 3-D effects, and styles. Some of the more interesting examples are shown here:

Taylor Kinney created this effective area chart comparing the number of people who visit Indiana from the rest of the United States to the number of people from Indiana who travel outside the state. It is not surprising that the highest activity involves the surrounding "five state" region.



Keflome Gebrenegus…

Get Ready for 5G!

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The mobile networks that our smartphones and other devices rely on to connect to the Internet today typically use 4G technology. According to Stephen Shankland reporting for c|net on the 2015 Mobile World Congress, higher-performance fifth-generation networks are coming soon and the possibilities seem endless. Gartner predicts the number of devices connected to the Internet to increase from 5 billion in 2015 to 25 billion by 2020.

Using 5G technology, sensors will be built into appliances, security systems, health monitors, door locks, cars, and wearable devices. "You'll have tags on your dogs talking to devices in your home," says Femi Adeyemi, lead mobile architect for Fujitsu. "You'll know when your children come home. Cars on the highway will be autonomously managed."

The difference in speed will be awesome as well. 5G networks will allow for downloads at up to 10Gbs. Compared to the relative “slowness” of today’s 4G networks (about 100-150Mbps) events …

Apple Pay Gaining Support

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Apple Pay is rapidly gaining support in the mobile economy. According to Don Reisinger at eWeek, the latest news is that JetBlue will become the first domestic carrier to enable its passengers to use Apple Pay to make in-flight purchases—from food to movies. JetBlue is just one of a number of businesses that are supporting Apple Pay. The service has so far proved reliable and is growing in popularity. While the platform is still in its infancy, it has a solid foundation to build on and is continuing to win converts among merchants and consumers. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express all support Apple Pay. To learn more about Apple Pay vist: http://www.eweek.com/mobile/slideshows/how-apple-pay-is-winning-converts-to-the-mobile-payment-service.html