September 22, 2014

What you need to know about the robots that feed humanity
The Department of Agricultural and Biological engineering at the University of Illinois,divides agricultural robots into three generations. The first gen is comprised of basic ones that can collect data, while the second gen bots are capable of harvesting, seeding, spraying and cultivation. Finally, the third and most advanced generation are comprised of autonomous robots capable of caring for plants without (or with minimal) human intervention. As you can see below, American farms already use machines from across three generations, though most of the ones that fall under the third are still in development.

Identity Crisis: Should Employees Create Their Own Job Titles?
"We think the main reason is that it gives people a chance to rethink their work and what is important about it, and what they add to the work that is unique and important," said Dan Cable, professor of organizational behavior at London Business School and co-author of the report. "Then by developing their own job title, they get to inject a little bit of themselves into the title, and make it more accurate and descriptive." Cable also noted that self-reflective job titles tend to reduce formality and hierarchy in a business, which makes people feel better and less threatened at work. It can also serve as an icebreaker in meetings with external stakeholders, Cable said.

Radar Gun Targets Texting & Driving
The gun distinguishes the unique signal from sending and receiving texts from other background signals. This would allow police to meet their ticket quota... er... keep the roads safe with a simple device. Presumably, it could even be combined with a traditional radar gun to put the bite on you twice... er... save you from your own poor choices. Next, the company will develop a gun that checks to make sure you are wearing your seat belt -- or that you're not getting too much of a groove on to your favorite jam, daydreaming about winning the lottery and quitting your job, or looking for the french fry you dropped behind the seat.

CIOs Must Actively Engage in Opportunities to Influence IT Decisions in Business Budgets
"In the past, the use of IT to support the business came almost as an afterthought, long after the business strategy and strategic initiatives for the coming period had been designed and sanctioned by top management," said Cassio Dreyfuss, research vice president at Gartner. "Over time, IT has graduated from being a support tool to being a business enabling and a business creation tool. Under that much broader and inclusive perspective, it makes more sense to talk about IT-related expenditures in each and every business initiative and respective budget. In this way, the CIO is challenged to adopt a higher profile and actively engage in opportunities to influence IT decisions in business budgets."

Hands on with Microsoft's Internet of Things platform
The Windows IoT tools add support for Arduino-style Wiring apps to its Visual C++ compiler, along with tools for monitoring Galileo devices connected to a network. While I could have just connected my Galileo to my existing wired network, it was easier to just set up a simple peer-to-peer connection over the provided USB adapter and cable. That way the device could sit next to my keyboard, and I could monitor its status LEDs while I worked. Booting a Windows Galileo is easy. Plug in the Windows microSD card, turn on the power, and wait for the onboard LEDs to stop blinking. Once its booted, you can log in using a telnet client, which drops you in at the familiar Windows command prompt.

What microservices architecture really means
SOA initiatives tended to be a top-down, driven by managers frustrated with multiple, siloed dev teams reinventing the same functionality. From what I can tell, microservices architecture appears to be more of a grassroots developer trend. Developers don't like duplication of effort, either, especially when they're under greater pressure than ever to build more and better apps -- many of them Web and mobile apps with different presentation layers but similar services behind the scenes. You've probably heard that SOA failed. That's not entirely fair, since it succeeded in some cases -- famously, at Amazon -- but as a trend it pretty much tanked in 2008 or 2009. Why might microservices fare better? Here are a few reasons:

Brocade unveils OpenDaylight SDN controller
Brocade says the tested and commercially supported Vyatta Controller supports a range of underlying physical and virtual network infrastructure, such as multivendor switches, routers, firewalls, VPNs and load balancers. Brocade says it will be continuously updated with OpenDaylight code, which means it will attain the group policy model and Cisco-developed OpFlex policy protocol in the “Lithium” release of OpenDaylight expected next year. Juniper is also offering an open source controller with OpenContrail, but it is not based on OpenDaylight even though Juniper is contributing to the consortium.

GS Collections by Example – Part 1
Why would you use GS Collections now that Java 8 is out and includes the Streams API? While the Streams API is a big improvement to the Java Collections Framework, it doesn’t have all the features you might want. As shown in the matrix above, GS Collections has multimaps, bags, immutable containers, and primitive containers. GS Collections has optimized replacements for HashSet and HashMap, and its Bags and Multimaps build on those optimized types. The GS Collections iteration patterns are on the collections interfaces so there’s no need to “enter” the API with a call to stream() and “exit” the API with a call to collect(). This results in much more succinct code in many cases.

How the Data Explosion Changes the Way We Do Business
Companies seem to be doing a variety of things. One angle is to kind of turn a blind eye, pretend it’s not happening, but the other more thought provoking and beneficial angle seems to be to embrace this new wealth of data and find new and creative ways to do that. For those companies then it becomes the question of build or buy or amend. One of the trends I’m seeing is in the core applications that run businesses, like ERP systems. It’s very difficult to change those in any significant way without lots of upheaval. I see a lot more activity around the ERPs, taking bits and pieces of data from them as needed but building solutions that don’t circumvent the ERP but run adjacent to it. Is that a fair assessment?

Dell bets on its end-to-end datacentre infrastructure strategy
“Virtualisation is running across the entire datacentre – so all layers of storage, network and servers are becoming virtualised. All elements in the datacentre are becoming applications running in virtual machines,” Dell said in his keynote address. “Everything is going to the cloud. We’re seeing this idea of the integrated appliance taking hold,” he added. Dell emphasised how its datacentre products such as VRTX and PowerEdge, as well as its datacentre management strategies and the company’s acquisitions – including Quest Software – are helping businesses shape their IT plans.

Quote for the day:

"Leadership offers an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, no matter what the project." -- Bill Owens

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