Archive | August, 2012

A Generation Lost in the Bazaar – ACM Queue

Getting hooked on computers is easy—almost anybody can make a program work, just as almost anybody can nail two pieces of wood together in a few tries. The trouble is that the market for two pieces of wood nailed together—inexpertly—is fairly small outside of the “proud grandfather” segment, and getting from there to a decent set of chairs or fitted cupboards takes talent, practice, and education. The extra 9,900 percent had neither practice nor education when they arrived in our trade, and before they ever had the chance to acquire it, the party was over and most of them were out of a job. I will charitably assume that those who managed to hang on were the most talented and most skilled, but even then there is no escaping that as IT professionals they mostly sucked because of their lack of ballast.

The bazaar meme advocated by Raymond, “Just hack it,” as opposed to the carefully designed cathedrals of the pre-dot-com years, unfortunately did, not die with the dot-com madness, and tod

(Full Story: A Generation Lost in the Bazaar – ACM Queue)

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Unstoppable JBoss ‘mafia’ has big biz tech in its crosshairs • The Register

Perhaps it makes sense, after all, that JBoss, more than any other, including MySQL, is set to define the next generation of enterprise technology. From NoSQL to mobile, JBoss executives are pulling down sacred cows and reshaping the enterprise. They can’t help it. It’s in their DNA.

(Full Story: Unstoppable JBoss ‘mafia’ has big biz tech in its crosshairs • The Register)

JVM performance optimization, Part 1: A JVM technology primer – JavaWorld

Most enterprises are willing to sacrifice the narrowly perfect performance of machine-optimized code for the benefits of Java:

Ease of coding and feature development (meaning, faster time to market)
Access to knowledgeable programmers
Rapid development using Java APIs and standard libraries
Portability — no need to rewrite a Java application for every new platform

(Full Story: JVM performance optimization, Part 1: A JVM technology primer – JavaWorld)

Study: Your Boss Really Is More Productive Than You (Sorry) – The Atlantic

Mathematically, taking a boss in the 10th percentile of productivity and replacing them with a supervisor in the 90th percentile was the rough equivalent of adding an extra worker to a nine-person team.

“If bosses were mere decorations, one would expect no variation” between them, the researchers write. “The fact there is wide variation…implies that there is a substantial productivity effect that bosses confer on their teams.”

So what were the good bosses doing right? The researchers considered two possibilities. Either a boss might have been really good at motivating their team (i.e., they were a cheerleader, or maybe a drill sergeant) or they might have taught employees lasting skills (i.e., they were a coach). By looking at how well workers sustained their productivity after switching supervisors, the team concluded that teaching accounted for about two-thirds of a boss’s impact on his workers’ productivity.

(Full Story: Study: Your Boss Really Is More Productive Than You (Sorry) – The Atlantic)

Top 5 Surprises When Starting Out as a Software Developer | Henrik Warne’s blog

1. Complexity from Aggregation
2. Few Clever Algorithms
3. Software is Never Done
4. Writing Matters
5. People Interaction

(Full Story: Top 5 Surprises When Starting Out as a Software Developer | Henrik Warne’s blog)

Why Union Pacific Builds Its Own Tech – Informationweek

While Tennison jokes that UP isn’t likely to get into the general ledger software business anytime soon, it did develop its own supply chain applications, as the likes of SAP and Oracle couldn’t meet its stringent performance requirements (it will tolerate only 1.5 hours of downtime a month for system upgrades and changes)…

..The mother of all UP IT projects is NetControl, a Linux-based transportation management system to replace the mainframe-based system the company rolled out in the late 1960s. About 270 people worldwide are working on NetControl, which Tennison calls “our family jewels.” The $200 million system, which is rolled out in increments, is about halfway done and due to be fully operational in 2017.

(Full Story: Why Union Pacific Builds Its Own Tech – Informationweek)

Pabst CIO Ben Haines brewing cloud first IT | ZDNet

But first Haines had to clean out its legacy infrastructure in a process that’s still ongoing. More often than not, being nimble requires a cloud first approach—an unlikely strategy given the size of its acquisition-happy rivals. “What I’ve been doing is ripping out legacy and replacing them with software as a service,” said Haines.

His first move was ditching Microsoft Outlook and Exchange for Google Apps. Okta, which manages identity as a service, Zendesk (helpdesk), Concur (expense management, Box (doc sharing) and Tidemark (analytics) were ushered in to put IT in front of business. BlackBerries were tossed—along with the servers that went with them—for Apple iPhones and cloud mobile device management tools. Haines’ method is to replace commodity infrastructure with cloud services.

(Full Story: Pabst CIO Ben Haines brewing cloud first IT | ZDNet)

Gartner: Application Development Now Worth More Than $9 Billion Globally

Analyst firm Gartner has identified the technology industry’s usual suspects as key drivers underpinning a worldwide application development (AD) software market projected to reach more than US$9 billion in 2012.

An increase of 1.8 percent over 2011’s market size, Gartner says that evolving software delivery models, new development methodologies, emerging mobile application development, and open source software will drive IT spending.

(Full Story: Gartner: Application Development Now Worth More Than $9 Billion Globally)

Why Working At Home Could Hurt Your Career – Forbes

Advice to remote workers who need to compensate for lack of face time:

1. Update colleagues and supervisors via e-mail, especially when you are working long hours.
2. Show your face when you’re in the office, including meeting with your supervisor.
3. Respond immediately to e-mails and calls.
4. Get your colleagues to talk you up.

(Full Story: Why Working At Home Could Hurt Your Career – Forbes)

Lexim – making eLearning available to every teacher, from any institution

Lexim is a learning management system that is available to all teachers, regardless of which system their institution has adopted.

(Full Story: Lexim – making eLearning available to every teacher, from any institution)