I'm a big fan of Agile. I believe it's very much more pragmatic (build what you need, test driven, flexible) for a lot of IT organizations due to the speed of changes within a company. Check it out if you haven't in the past.
Frankly Speaking: Agile programming is no hooey | InfoWorld | News | 2008-04-28 | By Frank Hayes, ComputerworldIf you read Tom Hoffmans article "A Telco Giant Gets Agile" about how BT is using agile programming for a major software project, you may have stumbled a bit when you got to the description of the "Manifesto for Agile Software Development." Chances are good that, after a quick read, your reaction was "Thats all agile is?"
Or maybe your response was "What a load of hooey"
Agile programmers value individuals and interactions over processes and tools? Working software over comprehensive documentation? Customer collaboration over contract negotiation? Responding to change over following a plan? Thats all very warm and fuzzy, but kumbaya circles dont deliver real applications.
Hard-nosed pragmatism is what you need to produce real software -- right?
Exactly. So lets get hard-nosed and pragmatic for a moment about software development.
What do we know from a half-century of software projects? Most of them fail. They run over budget, run late, run off the rails. They cost more, take longer, and deliver less functionality than they should.[Read More]
Pragmatic viewpoints of Open Computing
Frankly Speaking: Agile programming is no hooey | InfoWorld | News | 2008-04-28 | By Frank Hayes, Computerworld
AlbertTWong 120000HPW1 513 Visits
Absolutely. There is real business value to using open source software. The question, in my mind, is not how or what but when.
When:Assuming software is "good enough" for your task at hand, it's a matter of risk. The two major ones that come to my mind are operational risk (support/maintenance, upgrade path, skills) and financial risk (open source legal, loss of revenue). Take for example your business execution runtime environment or a part of the business that needs to be differentiated due to competition. In the case of your business execution runtime environment, it's your primary environment for all your business transactions. Obviously, that environment should be as robust and well supported and maintained as possible. In areas of the business that is non-differentiated from a business point of view, heck, use open source. Another good area to use open source is when you need a key technology but can't afford it at the time. Don't shortcut your architecture due to costs. Try to find a piece of software that will provide equivalent functionality while giving you architectural and product options in the future.
Open source code examined | InfoWorld | News | 2008-05-19 | By Paul KrillA code analysis of popular open source software projects has revealed that the quality and security of open source software continues to improve.
In its "Scan Report on Open Source Software 2008," Coverity analyzed more than 55 million lines of code on a recurring basis from more than 250 open source projects. Detailed Tuesday, the project utilized the Coverity Prevent static source code analyzer and was done during a two-year period. Some of the projects analyzed included the Apache Web server, Linux, Firefox, and the Samba file and printer sharing system. Scripting languages such as PHP and Ruby were examined as well.[Read More]
Great tool to run to check for security vulnerabilities in WebSphere Application Server. I have this in my toolkit along with DB2 Monitoring Console and IBM Support Assistant.
-------IBM - IBM Security Scanner for WebSphere Application ServerThis command-line Java™ tool checks for potential security vulnerabilities that are caused by improper or incorrect WebSphere® Application Server security configuration[Read More]
Loss prevention (ie. shrink as the retail industry calls it) is a pretty big deal. In some retailers, the amount loss in shrink is almost the amount earned in profit! Because of this, retailers use a range of solutions to solve this. Sometimes they use people (eg. the greeter at the front of the store), process (eg. make sure everyone uses the same processes so that they can baseline it against comparable stores and see oddities) or technology. Obviously I'm going to talk about the technology solution. I've seen/used the following solutions
* Video cameras with analytics (eg. IBM S3).* Item level RFID to track items in shelves or it's location in the store. In addition, you can use this technology to more easily perform manual cycle counts to know the exact amount of loss.* Software that does some type of business intelligence in the sales transaction like scan for unusually high manual override / no-sale or certain customers going to the same checker.
If there is a trend you're seeing, it is the business intelligence / analytics. That is where the true value is. Too often people think, "Oh, we've got cameras" or "we have people to check on our products". Do you think people really have time to see all the videos and spot trends or really check if goods are missing? Com'on, it doesn't happen. Automation with smart software is one of the best investments you can make on reducing shrink.
IBM Retail: Drive operational excellenceLoss Prevention for RetailHow do you currently manage daily security incidents, unplanned disasters and shrinkage problems? What processes have you implemented to prepare for these situations? IBM can help you answer these questions with a fully automated video asset management and monitoring solution for rapid access and retrieval of video content.
IBM Retail: Drive operational excellenceRFID for stores from IBMImagine you can engage customers by bringing together their preferences, transaction histories and current in-store activities with promotions, stock levels and seasonal events. You may already be introducing RFID at a case and pallet level. Will you be ready for item-level RFID in the store?[Read More]
Some customers asked me how to provide a "trusted" retailing environment. Something that will give people a better consumer experience. One of my favorite solutions is using IBM Smart Surveillance System. In the past, we've used the system to:
* Identify customers so that we can provided them personalized services (eg. the part when Tom Cruze goes into the Gap to get some clothes in the movie Minority Report)* Use it as a way to collect marketing data. After all, Point of Sales receipts show what people have bought, not what they've looked at or considered buying.* Monitor for theft (loss prevention) in the stores or look for "odd circumstances" and alert the appropriate store team.
You can see it in action at one of the IBM Retail Briefing Centers or at the IBM booth at the National Retailing Federation expo.
---------------IBM Research - PeopleVisionIBM Smart Surveillance System Previous PeopleVision ProjectThe IBM Smart Surveillance system S3 is developed by the Exploratory Computer Vision Group in IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. The system is a middleware offering for use in surveillance systems and provides video based behavioral analysis capabilities. Release 1 of the Smart Surveillance System provides two components
Smart Surveillance Engine SSE which provides the front end video analysis capabilities. Middleware for Large Scale Surveillance MILS which provides data management capabilities.
Harvard Business Review which suggests that online games are useful for honing crucial leadership skills in business
AlbertTWong 120000HPW1 520 Visits
As a person still in Generation Y, I still play a lot of video games. If you catch me at the airport/airplane, many times you'll see me with trusty Nintendo DS playing some SquareSoft RPG game or a puzzle/thinking game like Brain Age. If you see me on the laptop, I'll probably be playing Team Fortress 2, Company of Heroes or World of Warcraft. So as I was reading my RSS newsfeed, I happen to run into the below article. I can definitely relate as a former WoW guildmaster.
The phattest loot: MMO experience could win you that new jobBeing an active participant in a raiding guild these days requires quite a bit of time, attention, and a skill set that is just as useful in the real world as it is in the digital one. Taking cues from a report put out by the Harvard Business Review which suggests that online games are useful for honing crucial leadership skills in business, one writer has a suggestion for MMO players out there: put your experience on your resume.
Massively's Cameron Sorden has written a neat article that looks at the various traits common to good raiders and relates them to the business world. Conflict resolution, organizational tasks, data tracking, and long-term planning are common activities for guild leaders and officers alike, as they work to micromanage a staff all looking to get ahead in the world. He goes pretty in-depth with his analysis, so if you're at all into MMOs, this is worth a read.[Read More]
AlbertTWong 120000HPW1 446 Visits
As a member of Generation Y, I could really relate to this article.
Communicating with your boss: Tips for Generation YSurvey reveals real differences in the communication styles of different generations
Like every generation, Gen Y is subject to its share of myths and stereotypes as it enters the IT workforce. Sometimes painted as privileged, technology-obsessed individuals who avoid face-to-face interaction, Millennial workers actually have many basic needs in common with their more experienced colleagues, including recognition, constructive feedback, and a healthy relationship with one's boss. That said, there are some real differences in the communication styles of different generations.
ARTS announced three new standards this month to help IT support the Business:
Data Warehouse Model: A totally new design to support business intelligence. Based on the ARTS Data Model, the new Warehouse is more than a data model because it enables a consistent flow of accurate data through our standard XML schemas and/or operational data model directly to a warehouse. If you're looking to enhance your business intelligence, you should review the ARTS Warehouse Model! Read the press release or download the Data Warehouse specification that is free to ARTS members.
Tax Transaction: This new standard links information from tax service providers to a retailer's POS system. The benefits are ability to download the latest tax rules to a retailer's POS and/or tax calculation systems, which then increases the accuracy of tax liability calculations. Do you want to save time maintaining your tax application? Read the press release or download the technical specification. All schema documentation is free to ARTS members.
Retail Transaction Interface (RTI): RTI makes existing Point of Sale (POS) transaction functions available as SOA Services, enabling the business logic behind these services to be easily reused in multiple customer and associate touch-points such as self checkout, fuel at grocery stores, kiosks, shop on the web, store within a store, portable shopper, mobile line buster and other complementary store solutions. Wanting to provide a consistent look and feel to customer from all sales channels? Read the press release or download the technical specification that is free to ARTS members
Read more at http://www.nrf-arts.org/[Read More]
I thought the article at Infoworld was very good at setting expectations on "security solutions".
Summary: At the Interop conference, Joshua Corman, principal security strategist for IBM/ISS, discussed the misconceptions and half-truths surrounding the security industry
7 dirty secrets of the security industry
Corporate IT executives need to beware the seven dirty secrets of the security industry that can undermine the safety of business networks, a security expert told attendees at Interop Las Vegas.
"It's best to have a healthy level of skepticism about what security vendors are trying to tell you," says Joshua Corman, principal security strategist for IBM/ISS, which itself is a security vendor.
He called his talk "Unsafe at any speed: 7 Dirty Secrets of the Security Industry," harkening back to the 1960s Ralph Nader book about automobile safety, Unsafe at Any Speed. Nader's book took car makers to task for worrying more about cosmetic improvements than upgrades to make cars more safe.
Security vendors have at times invested development money in management GUIs rather than new security features. And they have a tendency to add features only when customers demand them, he says. "The goal of the security vendor is not to secure, it's to make money," Corman says.[Read More]
More links of high availablity and disaster recovery with WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Application Server, DB2
Just to follow up on my previous posts, here are some links on deeper details on how to setup IBM middleware for high availability and disaster recovery.
Disaster Recovery and High Availability * Seven Tiers of Disaster Recovery* IBM High-Availability Center of Competency* Business continuity* Business Continuity Self-Assessment Tool* IBM Global Services Business Continuity and Recovery Services
WebSphere Application Server* WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment V6: High Availability Solutions
WebSphere MQ* Understanding high availability with WebSphere MQ* High Availability for WebSphere Message Broker on Distributed Platforms (examples using HACMP and Linux-HA)
DB2 UDB* Open Source Linux High Availability for IBM® DB2® Universal Database™ Implementation Guide* DB2 Universal Database (DB2 UDB) for Linux with DRBD and Heartbeat: A Low-Cost Open Linux High Availability Solution* DB2 HADR Introduction* DB2 HADR Overview* Database Availability Comparison* Is HADR Hard?* Technical Comparison of DB2 HADR and Oracle Data Guard* Automating IBM DB2 UDB HADR with HACMP* Automating DB2 Universal Database (DB2 UDB) HADR Failover using Heartbeat for Linux* Automating DB2 HADR Failover on Linux using Tivoli System Automation for Multiplatforms* HADR - High Availability Disaster Recovery Demystified in IBM DB2 8.2
Please note that there are other potential solutions: GPFS, Linux-HA, HACMP, Storage (Global Mirror, Metro Mirror), System I iCluster, System I HASM, zOS GDPS, zOS Parallel Sysplex
Thanks to Alan Robertson for the links![Read More]