Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

January 15, 2008  12:56 PM

Overheard: OpenNMS

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
tarus_balog.jpg We’ve worked very hard to build the OpenNMS community over the last seven plus years. We’ve done it by focusing on two things: OpenNMS will always be free, and OpenNMS will never suck.

Tarus Balog, Adventures in Open Source

OpenNMS won SearchNetworking.com’s Product Innovation Award in 2007.

OpenNMS [was] the gold medal winner in our network and IT management platforms category. The open source enterprise-grade network management system was designed as a replacement for more expensive commercial products such as IBM Tivoli and HP OpenView. It periodically checks that services are available, isolates problems, collects performance information, and helps resolve outages. And it’s free.

In our Product Leadership survey, readers praised OpenNMS for being easy to customize, easy to integrate and — of course — free. These attributes are all characteristic of any open source product. Because of its open source nature, OpenNMS has a community of developers contributing to its code. The code is open for anyone to view or adapt to suit individual needs.

January 14, 2008  8:07 PM

Overheard: Telecoms, those were the days my friends (you thought they’d never end)

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
blackberry.jpg When the big four cellular companies decided to hike the price of sending a text message, they all managed to settle on precisely the same increase.

Scott Woolley, Text Message 15 Cents

Even if the incumbent cell carriers end up buying a big chunk of the spectrum, their freedom to set prices freely will change. That’s thanks to the deft political maneuvering of Google. At Google’s request the FCC decreed that a third of the airwaves at auction (ones between 15 and 15.8 inches in length) must be used in “open” networks. Open networks let the people who use the network, not the people who build it, choose what applications to run or what mobile devices to use. To that end Google recently announced plans for open cell phones, which could run any application, and AT&T and Verizon Wireless have committed to opening their networks.

January 14, 2008  4:57 PM

Overheard: A La Mobile introduces first Andoid prototype

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

A La Mobile, based in San Ramon, Calif., a start-up dedicated to Linux-based “open” systems for mobile devices, says [today’s] demonstration proves that Android can deliver on its promise of making it easier for consumers to get access to all sorts of applications.

Leslie Cauley, Introducing the first Android prototype

Andy Rubin, Google’s senior director of mobile platforms, says the coalition is on track to roll out an Android-based phone in the second half of this year.

According to Google: “Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. This early look at the Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications on the Android platform using the Java programming language.”

January 12, 2008  7:52 PM

Who is IT? Dennis Gabor, father of holography

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
dennis-gabor.jpg Dennis Gabor (1900-1979) is the inventor of holography. To acknowledge his creativity and scientific insight, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971.

Yuri Denisyuk is credited with recording the first 3-D holograph back in 1962. Here is a 3-D hologram from the NTT DoCoMo R&D Center in Yokosuka, Japan. Wikipedia and How Stuff Works are good sources to learn more about types of holograms and how they are used in security.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/sgm-_EiA62M" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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

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