January 23, 2015

FrontRange CEO bets against a cloud-only IT future
FrontRange CEO Jon Temple speaks with an accent that’s hard to locate. He’s actually a California-based Brit who has travelled around quite a bit. His company is a similarly confusing combination, with roots in South Africa and having once been best known for GoldMine, the sales contact management software that it still quietly sells. For some time now though its focus has been on the service desk, another melting pot sector that’s going through change. A person could be forgiven for getting confused…

Getting Ready for Windows 10 With Responsive Design
A flexible grid based layout should be familiar to anyone who has spent any time working with Windows 8 apps, but if you’re not certain head to this MSDN article and brush up on the “Dynamic layout” section. There are very few circumstances where your column and row definitions should not be Auto or Star sizing. In fact I’d go so far as to say if you need to set a fixed value, consider using auto and then having your child element at fixed width so the column/row will collapse if your child element needs to.

Which areas of IT infrastructure will evolve and emerge in 2015?
Every part of the IT stack is in transition - from end user devices to networks, application design, virtual server software, physical server design, storage systems, and even storage media. Some of these transitions are well underway and will accelerate in 2015, while others are just starting to emerge... Cost matters and the least expensive SSDs are likely to be ten times more expensive than the least expensive SATA disks up until the end of the decade.

Beyond the IoT Buzz Is A New Horizon of Embedded Intelligence
The big issue, however, is that most enterprises have yet to articulate or establish a wide-scale Enterprise Information Management or “EIM” strategy or look at how newly connected people, devices, information and places (the new “inter-nets”) will transform their business landscape and relationships. But this doesn’t mean that businesses have to get all their devices online and monitor them before passing go. A good approach is to “think globally (with EIM) but act locally.” To look at what data and content sources are most critical to your top information flows.

Big Data and mobile analytics: Ready to rule 2015
The revolution, then, lies in the data analysis process. Visual analytics solutions already exist on the web with companies such as CrazyEgg and Inspectlet, but since mobile traffic now outperforms web traffic and is expected to continue in that trajectory, the future of analytics is in visual mobile analytics. Traditional mobile analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, emphasize the “what” in their data: key metrics such as number of users, OS used, geographic breakdown, etc., but place no focus on the “why,” which provides the reason behind the metrics.

Sony SmartBand Talk review: Much more than just an activity tracker
Calls sounded excellent on the SmartBand Talk on both my end and the callers end. I thought the calling functionality was just going to be a gimmick, however with the high quality performance it was nice to hold calls while keeping both hands free to do other things. I always seem to forget to switch to sleep mode on my activity trackers, but the SmartBand Talk tracks sleep automatically. It seemed to be fairly accurate when switching into and out of the sleep mode, but if you spend a lot of time watching TV without moving then it may pick up that you were sleeping. The smart alarm feature is a nice way to wake up during a light sleep period. If the vibration alone doesn't work, you can also select to have an audible alarm go off at the same time.

Cloud computing: A critical component of precision medicine
“The issue isn’t just collecting human genomes, but having rich enough data about patient behavior and the phenotypic data from EMRs, so we can integrate health data to form a rich picture about a patient,” said David Shaywitz, the Chief Medical Officer of Bay Area genomics cloud computing startup DNANexus. This was actually a prevailing theme at last week’s JP Morgan conference. “The sequence part is the tool, the commodity – but it’s everything else you’ll do with it that’s the secret sauce,” Regeneron chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos said at the time.

3-D Transistors Made with Molecular Self-Assembly
The IBM group used a new approach known as “directed self-assembly,” using a class of materials called block copolymers (polymer chains are made up of two kinds of monomers, or blocks). It is possible to make these materials self-assemble into complex patterns, such as a densely packed row for stripes. This is done by tailoring the polymers’ length, size, and other characteristics, such as how two blocks attract and repel one another. Patterns made in this way can be much denser than what is possible using lithography. That means the approach can be used to create the smallest, most densely packed, and uniform parts of an integrated circuit: for example, the channels of silicon transistors, or the fins in 3-D transistors.

Why is India the hottest investment destination in Asia?
The Indian economic elephant, meanwhile is lumbering along and seemingly picking up pace. Riding high on investor confidence in the market due to a series of economic reforms by the new Indian government, the IMF and World Bank have projected 5.6% growth rate for India this year. Though this figure may not look substantial if looked at in isolation, it is still significant when compared to other developing countries. India is witnessing a vibrant and lively market. Arvind Singhal, Chairman of Technopak Advisors is ecstatic about Indian retail. According to him the merchandise retail market which is about US$ 525 billion in the current year is poised to cross US$1 trillion by 2020. These are big numbers indeed.

Learn or Lose: Agile Coaching and Organizational Survival
The shift needed in organizations that have barely started to embrace learning can only be created by individuals at all levels, and not confined to particular teams or functional silos. Anyone who can’t or won’t learn ― executives, middle-managers, salespeople, bean-counters, front-line workers, consultants and coaches alike ― will find they are part of the problem, and will feel increasingly insecure, and many well fight back. Agile coaching and approaches can help (a lot), but they are not an end in themselves, and must be pursued humanely and incrementally. Organizational transformation can be likened to rebuilding aeroplanes in the air, and traps abound for young players. And when it comes to this kind of change, we are all young players!

Quote for the day:

"Technology is the new leadership--another word for fear & hope. Or more precisely, leaders' latest influence tool and invisibility blanket." -- @gpetriglieri