December 31, 2014

The Greatest Tech Wins and Epic Comebacks of 2014
While 2014 didn't bring much in the way of revolutionary technology, it was a great year for refinement. The products and services we've relied on for years became cheaper and more accessible, while once-difficult concepts like virtual reality and mobile wallets starte to look a little more practical. And if you look hard enough, you can even find some examples where the government didn't screw everything up. Here are the top 10 products, companies and ideas that emerged victorious in the tech world this year.

REST-y Reader
In the first list are books that speak directly to the work of HTTP, APIs, REST, and Hypermedia. These are certainly not the only books on these subjects but they are the ones I find myself referring to most often in my own work. The second list contains books that, while not directly in the field of APIs, have affected my thinking on the way we design and implement stuff on the Web. I had a hard time narrowing down this list and there are quite a few more I’d add but I’ll save that for another time. Finally, I added a section named "Other Resources." These are sources that I have found useful over time that are not in full-on book form.

11 things to consider before going to work for a startup
The fact of the matter, according to Robert Half Technology data, is that 8 out of 10 employees prefer the structure and stability of an established organization over the volatility of the startup market ... We hear a lot about startup success stories, but the fact is that most fail. Different statistics put the average failure rates from 40 percent to as high as 90 percent. According to this Wall Street Journal article, 3 out of 4 startups fail. What does that mean for you? It means you’ve got to do your research and make sure the organization you go with has the best chances of survival.

The Top Technology Failures of 2014
All successful technologies are alike, but every failed technology flops in its own way. Success means a technology solves a problem, whether it’s installed on a billion smartphones or used by a few scientists carrying out specialized work. But many—maybe most—technologies do not succeed, typically because they fail to reach the scale of adoption that would make them relevant. The reasons for failure aren’t predictable. This year we saw promising technologies felled by Supreme Court decisions, TV cameras, public opinion, and even by fibbing graduate students.

Technology’s Impact on Workers
The internet and cell phones have infiltrated every cranny of American workplaces, and digital technology has transformed vast numbers of American jobs. Work done in the most sophisticated scientific enterprises, entirely new technology businesses, the extensive array of knowledge and media endeavors, the places where crops are grown, the factory floor, and even mom-and-pop stores has been reshaped by new pathways to information and new avenues of selling goods and services. For most office workers now, life on the job means life online.

Nine insanely long-running tech lawsuits
At the center of Charles Dickens's Bleak House is the fictional court case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, a dispute over an inheritance that has gone on for decades. It may have been inspired by the legal wrangle over the estate of William Jennens, which incredibly dragged on for more than a century and ended only when legal fees had devoured all that remained of Jennens's vast wealth. The tech industry has seen a number of long-running lawsuits as well. While none have gone on for quite so long, the fast pace of technological change means that often, no matter who wins or loses, the tech world has changed so much by the time the verdict arrives that it becomes difficult to remember what the argument was about in the first place.

Delivery by drone: French postal video shows it can be done
News reports say from France say the test took place near the town of Pourrières, which is in the southern region of Provence. La Poste has not specified when the service will be in full swing, but suggested that it anticipates using Géodrone to provide service to residents in remote mountainous and maritime regions. The Géodrone project represents another impressive achievement for France’s emerging unmanned aircraft industry. Earlier this year, drone enthusiasts in the Alps conducted a Star Wars-style pod race in a French forest with the permission of the local government. Meanwhile, a researcher in Holland has showed how an ambulance drone can deliver a defibrillator to a heart attack victim in under two minutes.

Infrastructure Analysis -- A New Culture of Analytics
there is a significant amount of information that organizations can learn through deeper analysis of the underlying infrastructure. A time map of the time network architecture is useful for large corporate networks improving a legacy of unreliable, imprecise, un-adaptable time sources across the network and applications. A time map can identify, for example: an application server responsible for distributing unreliable time across the network and all applications that rely on it, time distribution networks falling out of sync when companies glue time distribution networks together ...  if the system is relying on the sources that sync back to the same source, and how far downstream the tie source is and how reliable it is.

India blocks 32 websites, including GitHub, Internet Archive, Pastebin, Vimeo
Internet users in India are starting to lose to access websites including GitHub, Internet Archive, Pastebin, and Vimeo under an order from India's DoT (Department of Telecom). It appears an order to block the sites issued on December 17 is taking effect -- albeit unevenly. Today, Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore, India) Policy Director Pranesh Prakash posted a copy of the notice listing the 32 blocked URLs. ... Problems accessing GitHub are going to be especially painful for India's enormous developer workforce, and will definitely impact both India's domestic and outsourced software development business sector.

Windows Server cloud support unlikely bedfellow for Google
From Google's perspective, Microsoft is a dominant force in enterprise computing, any service that doesn't support Microsoft technologies could face extinction in the enterprise. The move also shows that Google is willing to open itself up to a competitor's technologies if it is in the best interests of mutual customers -- a trait Microsoft seems increasingly willing to manifest as well. Running Windows on Google may increase the likelihood of further price-competition wars in the cloud space. Google does not have much of an edge or a differentiator against Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft, so it is primarily left to compete on price.

Quote for the day:

"You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile." -- Brian Tracy