Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

July 22, 2009  12:11 PM

Overheard – JeOS and VM sprawl

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“If you are feeling the pangs associated with VM sprawl, I strongly suggest a healthy slug of JeOS each morning and once again in the afternoon to clear your system of the painful bloating that is brought on by virtualizing the general purpose OS.”

Billy Marshall Is JeOS a Tonic for VM Sprawl?

JeOS is an acronym for “just enough operating system.”  It’s pretty much what it sounds like and it’s handy for building virtual appliances.  You include just the parts of the operating system that are required to support a particular application. The idea is to make the appliance smaller and more stable than it would be if it was running under a full-sized general purpose operating system.  It’s pronounced “juice.”

July 21, 2009  6:57 PM

Overheard – application streaming

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Centralizing the desktop image does not magically protect it from viruses, intrusion attempts, system compromises, or operational failures. It does, however, allow for rapid recovery or return to homeostasis if an event warrants such action.

Amrit Williams, Client-Side Virtualization Part III: HAL 9000, Hosted Virtual Desktops, and the Death Star

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) seems to be the generic umbrella term that gets slapped on any initiative that involves centralized desktop management. There’s a lot of lingo being tossed around. Today’s Word of the Day is application streaming. In this distribution model, software is housed on a centralized server and is streamed to the client upon demand.

July 20, 2009  3:31 PM

Overheard – Computer hardware visual reference

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“This idea grew out of the need of a visual aid for customers while I worked at CompUSA.”

Sonic84, Artist’s comments

Today we’re featuring Sonic84’s excellent fast reference chart for hardware.  He’s created an illustrated cheatsheet for RAM, hard drives, ports, slots and connectors.  Sonic told me he took most of the photos with a Canon Powershot A630. Sonic says “the thing has a great macro.”   When asked where he found all the hardware, he said:

“I collect old computers and for a while my local Goodwill had a lot of vintage stuff going through it. Combined with the techshop I worked in, I had a lot of diverse hardware at my disposal.  Sometimes I’d find hardware eBay.  I had to do that when I was searching for rare stuff like a PAC418 socket and 32Bit RAMBUS chip.”

July 15, 2009  6:55 PM

Overheard – Augmented reality in Amsterdam

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“If you want to inject real wow factor into your mobile campaigns, you want augmented reality (AR). The customer points a camera phone at a barcode image on a billboard or magazine, and they see a 3D image – of your new product, perhaps – appear on the screen, while the real world remains in the background.”

From a white paper at MobiThinking

Augmented reality – an overlay technology for mobile devices. It’s being tested in Amsterdam. You look through your phone’s camera and see information about nearby stores or restaurants, ATM machines, etc. Very cool!

When I used to think about the future of mobile marketing, I envisioned a time when my phone would be spammed with promotional text messages IN ADDITION to emails. Augmented reality paints a much nicer picture. It’s pull, not push.

So what’s the worst thing that can happen?  When I use the app on my iPhone, I’ll see a screen jammed-packed with text or hear a bunch of audio messages all at one time? I can live with that.  It’s a much better prospect than hearing my phone constantly dinging as spam comes in.

From the L.A. Times

When Apple announced the addition of a compass to the iPhone 3GS, shortsighted onlookers responded with a yawn. Yay, we can find magnetic north.

But iPhone app developers quickly saw an opportunity, and a new breed of “augmented reality” apps are about to be born.

Holding the phone in front of you, locations are plotted on a live view of the world in relation to where you’re standing. The apps combine the phone’s key features — camera, GPS, compass and Internet connectivity — to create a sort of heads-up display reminiscent of first-person shooter video games.

July 14, 2009  2:22 PM

Overheard – Defining parameters for data encryption

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

“Massachusetts is taking data encryption regulation to the next level by actually defining what is meant by encryption, and this definition includes all data that is in transition, in storage and on portable devices.”

Mark Wright, The Evolution of Data


“Encrypted,” transformation of data through the use of a 128-bit or higher algorithmic process, or other means or process approved by the office of consumer affairs and business regulation that is at least as secure as such algorithmic process, into a form in which there is a low probability of assigning meaning without use of a confidential process or key.

July 13, 2009  5:14 PM

Overheard – BIOS attack

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Until now, common wisdom has been that the large variety of BIOS implementations means it is unfeasible for attackers to create portable, widespread BIOS malware. Core’s researchers proved this wrong.”

Sherri Davidoff, BIOS can become a source of malware

According to Core’s CTO, Ivan Arce, the researchers identified a specific section of BIOS code — a decompression routine — used in the majority of motherboards. BIOS code is stored compressed so that it takes up less space, and code must be decompressed before it runs. The decompression routine is exactly the same in many different motherboards. This gives attackers a single snippet of code that they can target in order to compromise many different BIOSes. The result? For the first time, researchers showed that BIOS-level malware can practically infect a wide variety of hardware.

July 10, 2009  3:32 PM

Overheard – Distributed denial of service attack

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
There are a lot of statements being made by people who are not involved in analyzing these attacks, and a lot of inappropriate rhetoric about ‘cyberwar.’

Dave Dittrich as quoted in Latest DDoS attacks extremely unsophisticated, experts say

DDoS attacks were aimed at several U.S. government sites this past week, including sites for the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq electronic exchange, the Washington Post and South Korean government sites were also attacked.

Researchers from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) and the Korea Internet Security Center are busy analyzing the traffic packets and it looks like there might be a “command and control server” out there giving orders to a zombie army.  If that’s true, it should be easier to catch whoever is behind the attacks. Hopefully.

July 9, 2009  12:04 PM

Overheard – Karmic Koala comes with GRUB 2

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Ubuntu 9.10, codenamed Karmic Koala, is the next major release of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution…The alpha 2 release ships with GRUB 2, the next-generation of GNU’s GRUB bootloader.”

Ryan Paul, First look: Ubuntu 9.10 alpha 2 brings Ext4, GRUB 2

There are still some aspects of GRUB 2 that are not yet working properly in this alpha release, the most notable of which is support for booting other operating systems. Users with multiboot configurations are encouraged to wait for alpha 3 or use a workaround to install GRUB 1. The Ubuntu developers are seeking help from the community to test the new version of GRUB on a wide range of hardware configurations. Testing instructions and a growing list of results can be found at the Ubuntu wiki.

If you want to test alpha 2 yourself, you can download a CD image from the Ubuntu website.

July 8, 2009  4:35 PM

Overheard – 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
The Computer History Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit with a multimedia exhibit called “The Silicon Engine.”

Dan Nosowitz, The First Integrated Circuit Chip: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary

How can you resist stopping to read about the Traitorous Eight?

Using oral histories from those who experienced the creation and development of the integrated circuit, the Computer History Museum compiled a documentary on this invention that irrefutably changed the world. The year-long exhibit will feature examples of early transistors, the vacuum tubes they replaced, and early integrated circuits, as well as explaining who was behind the inventions, especially the so-called “Traitorous Eight” engineers that largely developed the IC back in 1959.

July 7, 2009  1:43 PM

Overheard – Defining kanban for programmers

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“We in the software community are new to kanban, and it is easy to get a bit too enthusiastic, and unintentionally change the meaning of kanban when we discuss it.”

Henrik Mårtensson, Defining Kanba

Kanban is used by in both lean and agile software development methodologies. Henrik explains that the kanban boards filled with sticky notes used by software developers are work-in-progress (WIP) kanban cards.

Scott Miller says

Each sticker or card represents a task at a small level – design login screen, develop reservation stored procedure, test login (the smaller the task the better). The stickers/cards may also be agile user stories. In addition, there are usually columns for “To Do”, “Active”, “Failed Test”, and “Complete”. There may also be columns for the different teams that are touching the task.

The task is moved along from one column to the next and everyone on the team can see what the status is and what task is due next, without everyone needing a copy of Microsoft Project on their PC’s (not that there’s anything wrong with that…). This also empowers the development team to be a “pull” system. A developer can pull a card from the “To Do” column and work on it. The project manager can see what the status is at any moment.

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