April 14, 2015

Enough With the Silos – Connect, Connect, Connect
It was the year that interest in Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) exploded and began to influence the way developers built software. It was the year that virtual machines took off like a rocket. From a technology perspective, it was a busy year. Before then it usually made sense to drop applications into silos, no matter whether the silo was a cluster of powerful machines or a single server. You could provision enough hardware to ensure reasonable performance, configure the application for backup and recovery, wrap it all up in a bow and dump it in a dark corner of the data center. Windows and Linux both encouraged the silo approach because neither operating system shared resources efficiently between co-residing apps. It had become a one-app-per-server world.

Cloud machine learning wars heat up
Machine learning is the next frontier in Big Data innovation. And the cloud is the next frontier within that frontier. Almost five years ago, Google launched its Prediction API cloud-based machine learning service. This past July, Microsoft launched its Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML) service as a preview, and brought it into general availability in February. That service had (and has) surprisingly good integration with code written in the open source R programming language. ... They also provide APIs for developers to send input variable values and receive a predicted value for the target variable. The attraction of putting this all in the cloud is that any client application can run a prediction by making a single web service call.

Multi Threaded PowerShell Cookbook
I had the idea to try to directly leverage the TPL from within Powershell and effectively tackle the problem in exactly the same way as one would if writing multi threaded code in .NET, e.g., instantiating Task objects, etc. ... My preference was to use the TPL but I quickly found that things didn't quite work. Although we can write .NET code directly from within Powershell, that doesn't mean we should try to follow the same patterns in both. They are both markedly different and at the thread level I found that trying to instantiate and manipulate threads from within a Powershell script was a recipe for disaster. That left me using the System.Management.Automation.Runspace namespace and the results were quite pleasing.

Pivotal sets the stage for open-source in-memory computing
Releasing the code is the first step in Pivotal's plan,formulated earlier this year, to open-source components of the company's Big Data Suite, which includes GemFire. Later this year, the company plans to release the code for its Pivotal Hawq SQL engine for Hadoop and the Pivotal Greenplum Database. Not all of GemFire is being open-sourced. The company is holding back some advanced features for its commercial edition, such as the ability to stage continuous queries and establish wide-area network connectivity between clusters. Those who pay for the commercial edition will also receive enterprise-level support.

Digital Lumens: Why CIOs should 'lean in' to the IoT
The first thing that CIOs need to do is lean forward into IoT. I think in many cases CIOs are watching it happen without their control and management. I think that engenders fear, engenders fear about management of data, engenders fear about products and organization, I'm sure engenders fear about security. ... It's the role of the CIO to lean forward, talk about the security and policy procedures of the company but then say, 'Well, once you have those in our building, how can we help you? How can we think about that data flow? How can we store that reliably for you? What are other integration points?'

Wearable devices - now a reality for the workplace
The primary reasons for wearable devices are to gain access to IT resources without encumbering the user and getting in the way of the task in hand. So many other items of technology involve varying degrees of significant physical commitment - sitting down to use a desktop or laptop, two hands to use a tablet while standing and even cradling a smartphone requires a hand and at least one eye or ear. Something worn on the wrist, accessed by a glance, tap or spoken word not only fits a Dick Tracey wish-list, it also frees up hands, is out of sight and allows the user to be 'footloose'.

Metadata-Driven Design: Designing a Flexible Engine for API Data Retrieval
From plain flat files to structured XML files to the more esoteric ones (like ISO 2709), developers and administrators have been shuffling these files and ingesting their data for decades. There are both advocates and naysayers on the time-honored practice of ingesting data files. Critics point out that data files are not real-time sources of information, and depending on the chosen format, it may require a certain amount of coordination and finesse in order for them to be handled properly. Advocates, on the other hand, would make the argument that data files have been used for decades, and as a result, the accrued cornucopia of libraries and commands for handling them can empower even the untrained novice.

3 best practices for bootstrapping an open source business
That open source startups are hard to find in the investment-first ecosystem is not surprising, because they're usually started by people who actually build the product. Most of the time, seeking early stage investment for an open source product doesn't make financial sense. On the other hand, there's much to be gained from the business and marketing knowledge in local startup communities, so being sequestered from them can put open source developers at a disadvantage. If you're bootstrapping your open source company, here are three tips to help you prepare for that ultimate transition from development project to fully fledged business.

IBM Creates Watson Health to Analyze Medical Data
The Watson Health announcement is also the latest in flurry of initiatives IBM has announced this year that include new corporate partnerships as well as moves in cloud computing, data analytics and Watson. They are evidence that IBM is intent on investing for future growth, and showing it is doing so, in a year when its financial performance is likely to lag. IBM has reported disappointing earnings recently, and Virginia M. Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, has told industry analysts and investors that 2015 would be a transition year in which new growth businesses like Watson did not yet overcome the profit erosion in some of its traditional hardware and software products.

Government IT over the last five years – the good, the bad and the digital
“The landscape has changed significantly under the Government Digital Service. GDS has had a significant impact, and what’s happened which has been good is the dynamic and disruptive leadership shown by GDS in tech and digital and IT,” said Adam Thilthorpe, director of professionalism at BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. “Some of the things they’ve done have had real impact on people’s lives and have made things better. Some of the things that they’ve done would actually be a great lesson to be listened to in the private sector.”

Quote for the day:

"It is always safe to assume, not that the old way is wrong, but that there may be a better way." -- Henry F Harrower

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