Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com


January 12, 2008  5:23 PM

Overheard: Google is leading the new industrial revolution

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
nicholas_carr.jpg The real electrical innovation wasn’t Thomas Edison’s idea of installing individual power plants in factories. It was Edison’s financial clerk, Samuel Insull, who thought of creating a central plant that powers an entire region, turning electricity into a utility and vastly dropping its price.

Nicholas Carr, as quoted in When Google Grows Up

January 12, 2008  4:36 PM

Agile Development Glossary

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
agile.gif Here’s a handy glossary for business owners who want to learn how to speak Agile to their PMO.
Acceptance Test:
An acceptance test confirms that an story is complete by matching a user action scenario with a desired outcome. Acceptance testing is also called beta testing, application testing, and end user testing.
Agile Software Development:
Agile software development is a methodology for the creative process that anticipates the need for flexibility and applies a level of pragmatism into the delivery of the finished product. Agile software development (ASD) focuses on keeping code simple, testing often, and delivering functional bits of the application as soon as they’re ready.
Customer:
In agile software development, a customer is a person with an understanding of both the business needs and operational constraints for a project. The customer provides guidance during development on what priorities should be emphasized.
Domain Model:
A domain model describes the application domain responsible for creating a shared language between business and IT.
Iteration:
An iteration is a single development cycle, usually measured as one week or two weeks. An iteration may also be defined as the elapsed time between iteration planning sessions.
Planning Board:
A planning board is used to track the progress of an agile develoment project. After iteration planning, stories are written on cards and pinned up in priority order on a planning board located in the development area. Development progress is marked on story cards during the week and reviewed daily.
Planning Game:
A planning game is a meeting attended by both IT and business teams that is focused on choosing stories for a release or iteration. Story selection is based upon which estimates of which stories will provide the most business value given development estimates.
Release:
A release is a deployable software package that is culmination of several iterations of development. Releases can be made before the end of an iteration.
Release Plan:
A release plan is an evolving flowchart that describes which features will be delivered in upcoming releases. Each story in a release plan has a rough size estimate associated with it.
Spike:
A spike is a story that cannot be estimated until a development team runs a time-boxed investigation. The output of a spike story is an estimate for the original story.
Stand-up:
A stand-up is a daily progress meeting, traditionally held within a development area. Business customers may attend for the purpose of gathering information. The term “standup” is derived from the way it is run all attendees must remain standing to keep it short and the team engaged.
Story:
A story is a particular business need assigned to the software development team. Stories must be broken down into small enough components that they may be delivered in a single development iteration.
Timebox:
A timebox is a defined period of time during which a task must be accomplished. Timeboxes are commonly used in agile software development to manage software development risk. Development teams are repeatedly tasked with producing a releasable improvement to software, timeboxed to a specific number of weeks.
Velocity:
Velocity is the budget of story units available for planning the next iteration of a development project. Velocity is based on measurements taken during previous iteration cycles. Velocity is calculated by adding the original estimates of the stories that were successfully
delivered in an iteration.
Wiki:
A wiki is a server program that allows users to collaborate in forming the
content of a Web site. With a wiki, any user can edit the site content, including other users’ contributions, using a regular Web browser.

Here’s our newest Word-2-Go glossary — it’s got a lot of our Agile vocabulary all in one handy printable page. Take a quiz and see how many you already know!.


January 12, 2008  3:20 PM

Overheard: Social media and the enterprise? Not yet

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
shel_israel.jpg The IT guy is someone my heart goes out to, because he’s got an extremely difficult job. People who he reports to see him as a cog in progress and a drain of money; the people he’s supposed to serve see him as a bottleneck.

Shel Israel, as quoted in Naked IT: Shel Israel on social media and IT (includes podcast)

Michael Krigsman writes: The Global Neighborhood interviews [sponsored by SAP] point toward the future, to a time when the enterprise embraces social media as a mechanism to enhance communications. However, that time has not yet arrived, and for the moment, social media remains an interesting curiosity for most large enterprises. On the other hand, forward-thinking organizations are studying how to integrate social media, minimizing disruption wherever possible, to gain its benefits.

I agree with Michael. Until social media translates directly into dollars, we’ll be stuck with the status quo. The legacy systems already in place are just to big, complicated and expensive to mess with — and the IT guy would be the last person on the planet to ask for more on his plate.

BTW, I love the tag line for Michael’s blog IT Project Failures. “Rearranging the deck chairs.”


January 12, 2008  2:36 PM

Overheard: iPhone will be most disruptive tech of 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
fred_vogelstein_sm.jpg But as important as the iPhone has been to the fortunes of Apple and AT&T, its real impact is on the structure of the $11 billion-a-year US mobile phone industry.

Fred Vogelstein The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry

This was a great “big picture” story.


January 12, 2008  2:12 PM

Overheard: Is there a smart grid in the house?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
martin_lamonica.gif Results from a year-long study on high-tech electricity meters found smart grid technology performed as intended, saving consumers about 10 percent on their bills while easing strain on the power grid.

Martin LaMonica, GridWise trial finds ‘smart grids’ cut electricity bills

Homeowners in the study were equipped with a gateway device that used an existing broadband Internet connection to receive pricing information from the utility, which was transmitted wirelessly to a smart thermostat and a smart meter. The thermostat had an LED display to indicate when the utility was automatically controlling appliances.

Consumers had the ability to preset certain conditions. They could manually override those settings and go online and see how prices fluctuated in real time.

IBM was the systems integrator in the project to provide the back-end software that communicated information between utilities and consumers.


January 12, 2008  1:43 PM

Overheard: Bad programmers kill startups

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
paul_graham.gif But when I think about what killed most of the startups in the e-commerce business back in the 90s, it was bad programmers.

Paul Graham, The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups


January 12, 2008  12:05 AM

Overheard: Did Web 2.0 bubble puts national public safety network in jeopardy?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
fcc-logo.gif Frontline Wireless, which has made no secret of its desire to bid and win on the D-block spectrum, has a released a statement saying ” Frontline is closed for business at this time. We have no further comment.”

Paul Miller, 700MHz hopeful Frontline “closed for business”

Frontline Wireless LLC was the only prospective bidder that seemed interested in buying the D-block spectrum, the only spectrum in the upcoming FCC auction that was earmarked to be shared with public safety. According the New York Times, Frontline wasn’t able to raise the $128 million dollars it had to pony up to stay in the auction.

It came as a shock because the Silicon Valley startup had big backers. Frontline’s management includes former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications Policy Janice Obuchowski.

Whispers of “Web 2.0 bubble” began to turn into out-loud happy hour conversations, but I’m not buying it. The inabilty to raise funds is more likely tied to the fact that the FCC was asking for too much. Figuratively and literally.

The auction rules for the D-block are ridiculously complex, requiring that public safety officials get the last word when it comes to deciding how to build the network — and what private company wants to have to deal with that? Even worse, whoever builds the network has to foot the entire bill, which is expected to be in the billions. Sure I’d like to spend billions of my own money and have a government bureaucracy call the shots for me. Wouldn’t you?


January 11, 2008  5:27 PM

Quiz: What’s new in mobile and telecom?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mobile_tv.gif You’re an expert in your own area of technology,
but how much do you know about what’s going on
in the mobile/telecom game?

1. The Federal Communication Commission’s auction will begin on January 24, shortly before Super Bowl XLII. What are they auctioning off?
a) analog airwaves returned by television broadcasters
b) antenna space on new and existing towers
Answer

2. Why was there a blogswarm and lots of TV news about Frontline Wireless closing its doors?
a) it was the first big Web 2.0 startup to fail
b) it was the only company that expressed interest in creating a U.S. National Public Safety Network
Answer

3. According to Forbes Magazine, what is America’s most wired city?
a) Seattle
b) Atlanta
Answer

4. Which government agency lost phone service because they couldn’t keep track of charges and neglected to pay their bill?
a) Federal Bureau of Investigation
b) Federal Communications Commission
Answer

5. What is wireless charging?
a) a proposed national standard for mobile phone charging, using USB instead of propritary connectors and voltages
b) a way to charge your cell phone without actually having to plug it in to something
Answer

6. Why is the iPhone considered to be a disruptive technology?
a) because there are so many features on one device (iPod, phone, Internet, photos, text messaging,video, etc.)
b) because it showed the wireless industry that a profit could be made on mobile devices, not just cell phone contracts
Answer

7. What is air-time marketing?
a) a business model where cell phone service would be absolutely free because sponsors would foot the bill
b) permission-based advertising via Bluetooth — for instance you might walk past a pizza parlor and receive a coupon on your phone
Answer

8. What is the Open Handset Alliance?
a) a consortium led by Google to develop open standards for mobile devices
b) a group of teen-age hackers who claimed responsibility for unlocking the iPhone
Answer

9. What is Android?
a) a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications
b) mobile humanoid robots equipped with VoIP phones that will take the place of traditional phone booths in Grand Central Station
Answer

10. What is the purpose of a cell phone jammer?
a) to prevent rude people with cell phones from talking by sending out a radio signal so powerful that their cell phone is overwhelmed and cannot communicate with a cell tower
b) it allows users in different cell phone networks to initiate free conference calls
Answer


January 11, 2008  3:07 PM

Overheard: The most wired city in the United States is…???

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
atlanta.jpg For the second year in a row, Atlanta tops Forbes.com’s survey of America’s most wired cities in the U.S.To calculate our list, we looked at the percentage of Internet users with high-speed access, the range of service providers within a city and the availability of public wireless hot spots.

Elizabeth Woyke, America’s Most Wired Cities


January 11, 2008  2:17 AM

Overheard: One security glitch per 1,000 lines of code

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
homeland_security_logo.jpg A US Department of Homeland Security bug-fixing scheme has uncovered an average of one security glitch per 1,000 lines of code in 180 widely used open source software projects.

Matthew Broersma, Open Source Security Bugs Uncovered

The program, called the Open Source Hardening Project, is sponsored by the DHS and carried out by Coverity and Stanford University. Launched in March 2006, the US$300,000 project was initially launched to review the code of 180 open source software projects frequently used by developers of government websites and application developers.


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