Displaying articles for: 11-29-2009 - 12-05-2009
This months Wired's cover story was on the efforts by one individual to escape off the grid. He should have known better though, since we can track Santa via a variety of Social media services and OnStar this year. A real person can't be all that hard to track down.
The NORAD Tracks Santa Web site is now live and features holiday games and activities that change daily. On Dec. 24, the Web site will stream videos, captured by NORAD "Santa Cams," from cities along Santa's journey.
"On Christmas Eve, starting at midnight (Mountain Standard Time, which is 2 a.m. on the East Coast), Web site visitors can watch Santa prepare his sleigh, check his list, and get ready for his journey. As soon as Santa takes off from the North Pole, children can track him with up-to-the-minute Google Maps and Google Earth reports."
The NORAD Tracks Santa program began Dec. 24, 1955, after a curious child called the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., requesting Santa's whereabouts. Just like many other organizations, they are taking advantage of the additional sensors and data analysts capabilities that are available.
There have been many stories about solar sails to move space ships and a while back I wrote about some work done at Rice on a single molecule car that they later attached a light motor, but this is the first story I've seen about using light to manipulate objects on the nano-scale like with extremely low light levels. It could have numerous implications in switching technology...
"Cornell researchers have used a very tiny beam of light with as little as 1 milliwatt of power to move a silicon structure up to 12 nanometers. That's enough to completely switch the optical properties of the structure from opaque to transparent"
They did this using two ring resonators -- circular waveguides whose circumference is matched to a multiple of the wavelength of the light used -- and exploiting the coupling between beams of light traveling through the two rings.
This has implications in the IT field, since this kind of switching can take place at Gigahertz repetition rates. These kinds of advances are critical for the continuation of Gilder's Law - the total bandwidth of communication systems triples every twelve months (proposed by George Gilder).
For the last few years I've been grading my predications at the end of the year (2006, 2007, 2008), so it seems like time to look at those for 2009. My predictions for 2010 will be out in a few weeks. 2009 has been a year for many organizations to look inward and focus on cost cutting instead of value generation. It was clear that was going to be the case, so my predictions were much more conservative than in the past.
Hopefully, 2010 will be a year for organizations to focus on why IT exists in the first place.
The predictions for 2009 were:
- SaaS - Software as a service clearly gathered momentum in 2009, but it is still a bit isolated and weak. B
- Cloud - Cloud is at the peak of the hype cycle and I firmly believe there are some disasters on the horizon that will cause it to sink in the valley of disillusionment. This has been a good year for cloud. A
- Virtualization - Virtualization has come out of its valley and is being adopted and used by even the most mainstream organizations. A
- Green - The petal has fallen off the flower a bit this year for Green, since it requires a longer term view There is still lots of talk but significantly less action in a year of cost cutting. I do believe that 2010 will see a refocusing on Green, since in a recent IDC global survey, senior information and communications technology and executives said that green IT initiatives are at the top of their lists. B
- Open Source and vendor consolidation - Vendor consolidation has happened in the services space to a significant extent in 2009 and of course we can't forget Sun and Oracle. There is quite a bit of momentum continuing for Open Source, but at least from my perspective. It comes up in conversation quite a bit less than it did last year. That may be because it is mainstream though. I don't believe that Open Source has forced the degree of consolidation I was expecting though. B
- Social Computing - One of the areas where cloud techniques are definitely being used is in the social computing space. With Google Wave being beta tested and a new version of SharePoint in the wings, collaboration is still advancing strongly. A
- Standards - Standards efforts have moved forward - 802.11n was finally ratified. But it didn't seem to be a big year for standards. Cloud computing and mashup techniques definitely needs them. C
- Analytics - You can't pick up a computer magazine lately without seeing something about the use of analytics to generate deeper insight and business value. A
- Smaller PCs - I think everyone can agree that this is the year that netbooks (miniPCs) came into their own. A
Many of my items were in an IEEE list of what was hot in 2009.
Since most of my grades were very high, it's clear I was very conservative in my predictions for 2009.
Earlier last month (on November 15th), we had the 38th anniversary of the Intel 4004. This little 4 bit computer started the whole microprocessor movement. It was the first commercially viable "CPU on a chip" - a microprocessor. When I think back on the transistor densities available back then verses today, it's an amazing amount of advancement that's taken place.
And shows how long a run Moore's law has had...
The 4004 was produced on 2" wafers and later on 3" wafers. I spent a number of years when I got out of college working at a semiconductor fab and a 2" wafer does not hold many chips. Today's microprocessors are produced on 12" or 300mm wafers. The 4004 microprocessor is one of the smallest microprocessor designs that ever went into commercial production, and since it was produced on a 2" wafer -- it had to be.
always looking for ways to more easily convey complex information. The use of a
heat map to show complex
information is not necessarily new but until recently I only found very
deliberate and almost proprietary implementations for specific data sets.
had also been exposed to Panopticode,
an open source application code quality analysis tool, which uses a heat map to
make code quality metrics more understandable and also show correlations between
various source code metrics.
I was about to create a heat map to help show complex relationships between
projects, their size and their impact when I stumbled upon an out of the box
heat map tool called Heat
Map Explorer from Lab Escape. I downloaded the 14-day trial and within a
few minutes I was able to create a meaningful heat map with data from a
Escape has a newer version of their product in beta which I have not yet tested
but will be shortly.
I've mentioned before the importance of application portfolio management and apps modernization in general. Recently, Steve Woods from HP wrote a very visual article on how tools can facilitate modernization activities. This kind of portfolio analysis can create an informative visualization of legacy source code, revealing patterns of similarity, uncovering the unintended patterns and relationships that develop over time during the maintenance process. Take a look at the article and it might help you think about the problem differently.
Somehow I've not really heard about Cyber Monday before this year, or maybe I just forgot since last year's retail holiday season was so dismal. Cyber Monday is the term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday. It's been around since 2005 and appears to be more of a marketing term than a reality -- as the busiest shopping day of the year. Some people say that Cyber Monday will catch up with Black Friday, but I doubt it, since Black Friday is as much a sport as it is shopping - sometimes a full contact sport at that. There is some difference of opinion about when it is though, since in the UK it is the first Monday of December.
With the recovery starting it will be interesting to see how the numbers pan out this year, since expectations are high. Retail organization's IT systems will be put to the test so it hopefully we'll not see too many IT system meltdowns, like they have in the past.