Overheard: Word of the Day

A Whatis.com blog


June 8, 2012  11:58 AM

Gamification and app/dev



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
application development, customer relationship management, gamification
“Help desks are ripe for gamification. “It’s a difficult job dealing with customer issues so if we can make this more fun that would be great.” — Kris Duggan

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is gamification, the application of game theory concepts and techniques to non-game activities.

June 6, 2012  2:33 PM

Quad gate



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
“The NAND gate has the property of functional completeness. That is, any other logic function (AND, OR, etc.) can be implemented using only NAND gates. An entire processor can be created using NAND gates alone.’
” –
Steven Colyer

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is quad gate. A quad gate an IC (integrated circuit or chip) containing four logic gates. The quad NAND gate is of particular interest, because any of the basic logic functions can be derived by connecting multiple NAND gates together. This feature makes the quad NAND gate useful as a “universal digital substitute,” and also can help students learn how digital logic circuits work.


June 5, 2012  11:42 AM

Minify those JavaScript and CSS files!



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
javascript, minify
“One of the best practices to speed up a web site or web application is to minify JavaScript and CSS files; which as a secondary effect, not only reduces the size of those files but also makes them harder to read (something helpful to prevent the stealing of your ideas and efforts).” — Roderigo Liberoff  

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is minification.  It’s the the removal of unnecessary characters from source code. The term minification is often associated with interpreted scripted languages that are deployed and transmitted over the Internet.


June 4, 2012  2:02 PM

Understanding the stack and the role of a stack pointer



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
buffers, stacks
“By convention, stacks usually grow down. This means that the stack starts at a high address in memory and progressively gets lower.”Ian Wienand

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is stack pointer, a small register that stores the address of the program request most recently entered into a stack.

I have to take a minute here to plug Ian Wienand’s free online book “Computer Science from the Bottom Up.”  If you’re interested in looking underneath the hood, this is the book to help you understand what you’re seeing.

Mr. Wienand explains the concept of a stack as clearly as anyone I’ve ever heard or read:

A stack is generic data structure that works exactly like a stack of plates; you can push an item (put a plate on top of a stack of plates), which then becomes the top item, or you can pop an item (take a plate off, exposing the previous plate).

Stacks are fundamental to function calls. Each time a function is called it gets a new stack frame. This is an area of memory which usually contains, at a minimum, the address to return to when complete, the input arguments to the function and space for local variables.


June 1, 2012  7:25 PM

The end of the raised floor data center? Maybe not



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Data Center
“At some point in the future, I think we’re likely to see most of the power and cabling overhead with the raised floor used mainly for water piping to serve cooling needs of close-coupled cooling systems.”Robert McFarlane

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is raised floor, a data center construction model in which a slightly higher floor is constructed above the building’s original concrete slab floor, leaving the open space created between the two for wiring or cooling infrastructure.

Although raised floors have been the norm in the modern-day data center, we have recently begun to see a return to construction that puts power and cooling above the hardware instead of below it.  It’s being pushed as being a “green data center” solution.  For one thing, putting the cooling system in the ceiling and allowing physics to let the cold air fall uses less power.


May 31, 2012  1:15 PM

Data visualization tools



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
data visualization
The adjustment [to data visualization tools] been a difficult one, both operationally and culturally. Business users trust their spreadsheets and don’t want to give them up.” — Ron Van Zanten

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is data visualization, a general term for technology that provides a graphical representation of data.  Data visualzation tools have executive dashboards that translate raw data numbers into colorful pie charts and bar graphs for faster, easier consumption of data.


May 30, 2012  12:51 AM

Overheard talking about noisy text



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
text analytics
Text analytics — also known as text mining or text data mining — helps organizations identify and understand what people think about them, their products and their services. The software, which combines advanced search techniques with speech-pattern-recognition capabilities, allows users to quickly scour mountains of unstructured or free-form text in the hope of identifying trends in customer sentiment that will ideally lead to positive change.

Mark Brunelli, Text analytics tools require serious devotion to customers

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is noisy text, electronically-stored communication that cannot be categorized properly by a text mining software program.


May 29, 2012  12:38 AM

Predictive modeling – rolling the dice in the real world



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Business Intelligence, CRM, ERP, predictive analysis, predictive modeling
“Predictive modeling allows for more informed marketing decisions and more effective resource allocation. Instead of blasting the same offers to everyone, you can target multiple offers by segment or focus on particular customer groups based on current or potential value.”

Colleen Ryan, Predictive Modeling: Turning Data Into Insight

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is predictive modeling. It’ s used a lot in customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Colleen Ryan does an excellent job explaining how predictive modeling works. While it might seem like voodoo, it’s really mathematical. Remember learning about probability and outcome back in sixth grade? Well, in the real world, its not just about rolling a pair of dice.

Or maybe it is.

Maybe trying to predict outcomes of any kind is still just…gambling.


May 24, 2012  11:42 AM

Overheard talking about Cassandra



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Cassandra, noSQL
For many years, open source was seen as a trailing effort to proprietary projects. In the big data/NoSQL space, this has been turned on its head. Cassandra is a really good example of how openness is leading the development of next-generation infrastructure technology.” — Joe Brockmeier

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is Cassandra, a highly-scalable NoSQL open source database system that was created for Facebook but has since become a top-level project over at the Apache Software Foundation.  Cassandra’s claim to fame? She can handle hundreds of thousands of requests per second.  According to Apache,  the largest Cassandra production cluster as of this writing exceeds 300 terabytes of data over 400 machines.


May 23, 2012  11:38 AM

Overheard talking about coaxial cables



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
coaxial cables, Data Center
Coaxial cables use a single copper conductor at the center, insulated by a plastic layer and a braided metal shield, which blocks interference. Coaxial cables are hard to install, but can support greater cable lengths than twisted pair.” — Carrie Higbie

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is conductor. Conductivity, in general, is the capacity to transmit something, such as electricity or heat.

An electrical conductor is a substance in which electrical charge carriers, usually electrons, move easily from atom to atom with the application of voltage. A substance that does not conduct electricity is called an insulator or dielectric material.


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