Friday, November 30, 2012

Platform as service - cloud for developers, or something more?

Many CIOs wonder what Platform as a Service -- or PaaS -- really all about. Saugatuck CEO William McNee says, "PAAS all the developer tools and services for creating and/or customizing IT and integrating software for folks who want to use hosted computing rather than own it. PaaS might be the whole spectrum of activity that falls between simple turnkey multitenant apps and a pure developer lab for building and bridging something substantial from ground up."

My view is that PAAS is simply meant to be a means to develop, deploy and integrate cloud-based applications, whether public or private. Virtualization was the first cloud platform initiative; just move your apps and databases to virtualized servers. PAAS provides the tools to truly cloud-enable the enterprise. But that requires re-thinking your IT model. As I tried to capture in my book,Zen of Soa

it is this "re-think" that makes cloud such a world-shifting change. No longer tied to your data catner, you can focus on enabling the workforce with a way to collect and combine (in a boundary-free enterprise) an over-arching architecture where business processes are the primary focus, and the business rules that support them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Seeking Economic Growth? Make Transit Free!

For municipalities interested in jump-starting economic growth, making public transportation free is one avenue to success.

Local governments are considering paying for public transport out of taxpayers receipts, making travel free. Such an incentive might take cars, and congestion, off roads, and help the environment. Many people think it's an idea worth considering, but the costs need to be considered.

In Belgium, local government made public transport free, and with success. Lots of money was saved by all parties; the transport companies, the government and particularly the customers.

Busses often make sense, unless they are underutilized -- then they can actually contribute to more pollution. We see diesel power systems undergoing revolutionary technological advancements that have already achieved dramatic reductions in emissions for urban buses and highway engines. Advances in emissions-control systems and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) are helping clean diesel engines achieve emissions performance equivalent to compressed natural gas (CNG) and other alternatives. But if ridership isn't maintained, the advantages of the bus and bus lane vanish.


- Posted by Tom/Bluedog

Friday, November 23, 2012

Health care giver information access expands with a SAAS offering

Here's a software-as-a-service (saas) that meets the growing need to share health care information when being a care giver. If your parents are growing old, or you have a spouse who needs your attention, this could be a good way to share the data, and burden. CareZone addresses the need for a safe place to keep information about doctors, diagnosis, and medicines. CareZone lessens the burden when sharing among a select (and trusted) group -- your spouse, your immediate family and trusted neighbors. The service was introduced last February with little notice, and is growing.

- Posted by Tom/Bluedog

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I like the Surface -- signed, iPad

Oprah tweeted about the new Microsoft Surface. Using her iPad.

Of course, the reviews are positive about the Surface. The tile GUI and wide aspect ratio make the tablet stand out. And people love the idea of the integrated cover/keyboard.

I am still waiting for the larger version, so I can get my game on...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blackberry turning sour for DHS

As many users are BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), even government CIOs have to be responsive. One ramification -- BlackBerry suffered a serious setback as the de facto mobile device in federal government, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement chose the iPhone as its new mobile platform. Pushed by end user demand, and a lower Total Cost of Ownership, the government is seeking alternatives that bring quality smart phone capabilities to civil servants. It doesn't help when Blackberries have problems, as well. Over at Apple, the options for the federal sector are manifold. Technorati has a good brief on government use of iOS devices.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Avoid Stormy Clouds -- and Outages

There are some easy steps to avoid outages from your cloud provider. Here are six...

- SLAs are the cornerstone of your protection. THink of them as your insurance policy.
- Spread risk around, by deploying among various providers.
- Data at rest should be protected -- by encryption.
- The right technology can mean success -- for example, go with a VM approach, or web services?
- Build to the strengths of the cloud, by leveraging providers' available services.
- Define metrics that assess your capacity needs will keep you from overages.

Understand what your provider is capable of, and the services they offer. Amazon's AWS, for example, can be structured to comply with in-shore data storage requirements, if you are a government customer. Google's app hosting is friendly for some languages, less so for others. Find the right tool for your needs, before launching your cloud migration strategy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Blogger Sets Us Straight on the Broken Window

I made a point to a friend about hurricane Sandy *not* serving to boost the economy, in net. I pointed to the "Broken Window Fallacy" as how spending to 'repair' doesn't really boost overall growth.

In the example, Frederic Bastiat presented a parable in 1850 of the broken window to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is actually not a net-benefit to society. The story demonstrates how opportunity costs, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are "unseen" or ignored.

Guest blogger Phil responded to my position thusly:

I did see mention of this in the link you sent, but it occurs to me that the repair of Sandy's destruction of power lines could result in not only money exchanging hands to benefit the linemen of the world. It could also eliminate the danger of loss of electrical power in the future, and the improvements could also benefit areas that were unaffected by Sandy.

Suppose that the "repairs" to the power grid included the elimination of telephone poles and placed the "repaired" lines beneath ground with the transformers placed in underground bunkers? Then not only would the repairmen receive funds for their work, but society would benefit from reduce risk of power outages in the future. Once the repairs in the damaged areas was complete, undamaged lines could be ultimately replaced without a disruption in service. The power would continue to run along the poles while the new underground system was constructed in those areas undamaged in the storm. Then once the new system was complete the power delivery could be switched to the underground system and the poles demolished. That would lower unemployment, provide a net benefit to society and with the multiplier effect increase the GDP. Not so sure that there is a fallacy, only a lack of forward thinkers.

Granted there is a weakness in my argument. That is expediency. The residents in the areas damaged by the storm would never stand for the time it would take for a new system to be built before power was restored.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cloud + Mobile = Better Use of Resources, Happier End Users

Telecoms -- part of my core customer base when I launched Bluedog -- have an integral role in cloud computing. Those cloud services have the highest need to have always-on access and users expect a flawless network experience. Verizon's acquisition of private-cloud provider Terremark, for example, highlights the importance of cloud to telcos. Jason Young, vice president of product strategy at T-Mobile USA, during a panel discussion at the Open Mobile Summit remarked, “What we spend a lot of time thinking about, from a network standpoint, is that we’re a highway to the cloud." He went on to explain that basically means just connecting customers to the cloud-based services they want to use. The convergence of cloud and mobile was the topic of discussion at the OpenMobile Summit. With the iPhone and other smart phones becoming ubiquitous, the iPad continues its rapid growth and internet access becomes standard in everything from a TV through to cars, fridges and a host of other devices, the mobile economy is ramping up. As teleco carriers continue to redefine business models and new entrants continue to disrupt existing markets -- and make new ones -- the focus of the role of cloud on mobile will sharpen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Have You Been a Victim of Cybercrime?

After my ex stole my identity to get credit cards, I went into full-on personal data protection mode. It seems having someone you know rip off your critical credit-related information isn't uncommon. And, on the Internet, there are many opportunities to have your good name besmirched.
This graphic from Tech News tells the story.

Cybersecurity is a rising concern globally -- for individuals, businesses and even governments. Unfortunately, many either don't take the threat seriously or aren't doing enough to protect themselves from cybercrime.
- Posted by Tom/Bluedog

Monday, November 5, 2012

Only 22? The British Empire Really Was World-Spanning

A new study has found that at various times the British have invaded almost 90 per cent of the countries around the globe. The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries in the world found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British. Among this group of nations are such small and out-of-the-way places as Guatemala, Tajikistan and the Marshall Islands, as well some European ones, such as Luxembourg. Read more here...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Post-hurricane New Yorkers Turning to Bicycles

With subway service spotty at best and long lines forming for buses, many inner city commuters in New York are opting for the reliable bicycle. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and with key commuting options crippled, a surge in cycling has resulted.

As East Coast residents assess the damage from the hurricane, many are seeking alternatives to get around in the coming days. Streets are flooded, tress are down, roads are blocked by debris, gas stations are powerless, and public transit is shut down. In New York City, the subway won’t reopen for a week, and the bus system is slowed down by cleanup efforts.

If you are looking for suitable routes, there are plenty of options.

Read more at CNBC...
- Posted by Tom/Bluedog