Showing posts from 2011

What Is Enterprise Architecture Anyway?

There aren't a lot of books on enterprise architecture, never mind good books. The Art of Enterprise Information Architecture by Godinez et al (IBM Press, 2010) fills a big void. I recommend the book for an excellent overview of enterprise architecture (EA) and reference architecture (RA), followed by a detailed discussion on Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA) and an EIA RA.

The authors define architecture as well as EA. They provide an overview of EA as well as RA, noting that there are various elements of an architecture including business architecture, application architecture, security architecture, and, of course, information architecture (IA). After the introductory chapters, the book launches into a detailed discussion on IA, EIA, and a RA for EIA. EIA is explored in terms of multiple views (conceptual, logical) and models (component, operational).

As the authors explain, the key that explains the "enterprise" in an EA is the manner in which an EA provides…

India's Great Expectations

A fascinating debate, with a well-rounded panel, on India's superpower status, aspirations and potential. The panel: Manish Tewari (politician), Anil Dharker (columnist), Gayatri Shah (journalist), Rizvi Syed (poet), Vimlendu Jha (environmentalist), Neera Chandhoke (academician), Y P Singh (police).

Java Founder Leaves Google, Joins Startup

Just months after joining Google, Java founder James Gosling has moved on to a start-up working on oceanic robotics.

Hurricane Survival Kit

1. A flashlight. This is important. If you don't have a flashlight, buy an iPhone and install the flashlight app.

2. A bottle of scotch. If you don't have a bottle of scotch, you're SOL.

CFO's Case for Frequent Releases

A financial argument in support of frequent releases.

iCloud Is Lame, Stay With Dropbox

I feel silly now, but I was pretty excited when Apple (and Steve Jobs) announced iCloud just the other day (June 6, 2011, to be exact). Given the quality of their other products (iPhone et al), I had high expectations. But this is a truly mediocre effort and a premature announcement.

How did I arrive at this controversial conclusion? I installed iCloud on my desktop (also known as CloudMe, why can't Apple pick a name and stick with it?). I also installed the CloudMe sister app on my iPhone so that I could review the integration across devices. To my dismay, I discovered that iCloud is, in fact, no more than a file upload facility, whereas Dropbox is a true file sync tool. One saving grace is that it works at the folder level. You tell it which folders to track on your device, let's say your desktop. And if it sees a new file in one of the folders you've asked it to track, it will upload the file to the cloud. However, and this is where Dropbox leaves iCloud in the dust, i…

Nature Capture | Stream of Leaves

© Puneet Singh Lamba
Who: A river stream, jam packed with fall(en) leaves
What: Mostly oak leaves, looking gorgeous in their reflective container
Where: Greater Boston Area
When: November 13, 2010
Trivia: The leaves and acorns of oak trees are poisonous to cattle, if consumed in large amounts

An Economics-based Argument for Good Software Design

Martin Fowler is one of my favorite technical authors. I am sharing a link to his eminently thought-provoking keynote address (VIDEO) at the Agile Connect 2011 conference, June 8-9, Las Vegas. In order to whet your appetite, I'll reveal that his talk is comprised of three sections as follows. And I'll offer short summaries, in case you decide not to watch the 1+ hour video.
Non-deterministic tests and how best to deal with them. These are tests that succeed or fail randomly. They, therefore, cause your build to succeed or fail randomly. Fowler correctly recommends that such tests should be taken out of the suite and quarantined until the non-deterministic behavior has been fixed. He also lays out several root causes for non-deterministic tests including lack of test isolation (i.e. inter-test dependencies), asynchronous behavior (i.e. non-sequential events), remote services (i.e. failures outside your code).

An economics-based argument for when and why to invest in good software…

Nature Capture | Redpoll

© Puneet Singh Lamba
© Puneet Singh Lamba
© Puneet Singh Lamba
Who: Redpoll
What: Performing feeding acrobatics
Where: Greater Boston Area
When: March 19, 2011
Trivia: Redpolls almost exclusively hang out on birch trees, often in large flocks

Nature Capture | Painted Turtle

© Puneet Singh Lamba
© Puneet Singh Lamba
Who: Painted Turtle
What: Stuck, between a rock and a hard place!
Where: Greater Boston Area
When: April 30, 2011
Trivia: Turtles are the oldest living group of reptiles, dating back to the time of the earliest dinosaurs

Pi Is Still Wrong, And Math Is Still the Foundation of Computing

We recently celebrated Pi Day to commemorate that elusive number that cannot be fully expressed. Do you know why? Because it's an irrational number. Pi is remembered on March 14. Why? Because Pi is most commonly approximated as 3.14.

(Did you know, there's also Pi Approximation Day? Can you guess when? It's July 22. Can you guess why? Because 22/7 is a common approximation of Pi.)

Most of us working in the endlessly challenging field of information technology don't often get to deal directly with math during our daily working lives. Math is that unsung hero, quietly making it all possible.

It is, however, useful (and humbling) to remember occasionally that math is, in fact, the foundation of computing. And there are so many fascinating mathematical problems still waiting to be solved.

Therefore, without further ado, let me whet your appetite with this intriguing blog post by a young mathematician at MIT, explaining why Pi might actually be WRONG!

And if you're kee…

When Should a Link Open a New Window?

I recently posted this question on Stack Exchange, a great family of websites for getting informed responses to meaningful questions. The answers I received indicate that there are broadly two use cases to consider.

One, it is clearly recommended to open a new browser instance/window/tab in certain situations. Such cases include where the link is a detour from the main workflow, e.g. print or help. In these circumstances, the new window contains no navigation. Also, the detour cannot be reproduced via use of the back button.Two, when moving to a new domain, opinion is divided on whether to force a new window (target="_blank") or let the user decide (click for the same window, ctrl+click for a new window).
Thoughts? Click on the link above to view the detailed discussion on Stack Overflow.

Twitter Switches from Ruby on Rails to Java

Twitter has recently refactored its search module to replace a Ruby on Rails solution with a Java-based framework called Blender.

Finally, Radiation Levels Explained!

The PDF link is the best way to view this infographic from Scientific American.

Agile Is Not For Everyone

Consultants and process coaches need to consider carefully whether they're forcing Agile onto organizations even when the organization's cultural leanings suggest that Agile may not be a good fit. As this article points out, often organizations are looking for results not a wholesale change of culture.

Essential Reading on HTTP and REST

Okay, so it's a bit risky to refer to this giant of contemporary computer science as a horse. But, as the saying goes, this is straight from the horse's mouth. Trust me, it doesn't get any more authoritative than this!

Roy Fielding is co-author of the HTTP specification and the ubiquitous Apache Web Server. He created the Representational State Transfer (REST) paradigm as an architectural style for the Web. Since then REST has received much well-deserved attention.

His doctoral thesis (FREE PDF!) is a seminal work that contains an excellent discussion on the following.

Software architectures in general, well worth reading for the survey and rigor contained herein, especially given the lack of consensus on what entails an architecture definition
How network-based application architectures (e.g. the Web) are unique, an impressive discourse on the nature and function of the Internet
Why Fielding proposed the REST architectural style for distributed hypermedia systems.
Finally, Fiel…

Haven't Met You Yet

Incredibly reminiscent of Bollywood, Billy Joel, and musicals in general!

Scientific Contributions: US Declining, Canada Rising

This is according to The Economist. Scientific contributions from the US, Britain, Germany, Japan, and France are on the decline. Canada, Italy, China and others are on the rise.

Inner Workings of the HTTP Protocol

A detailed article on the above.

Revolutionary Agile Project Management with RTC

[DISCLAIMER: I have NO monetary relationship with IBM or any of its subsidiaries.]

If you develop any serious software, I'm sure you're tired of manual steps required to collaborate among the various tools involved in the process of Agile software development. You need to take a hard look at IBM's Rational Team Concert (RTC) for its ability to facilitate collaboration among the multitude of tools development shops use for managing requirements, stories, code, builds, tests, deployments, issues, defects and all of the various threads that run through a large software development effort. Hint: RTC has legendary Eclipse pedigree.

I've been using RTC for about a month now and strongly recommend it as a solid option for truly end-to-end Agile software development. You may be familiar with other Agile Project Management (APM) tools such as Rally. I've used Rally extensively and it's a good product. RTC, however, is in a league of its own. It has no real competitor. (…

Follow Your Tax Dollars

A plain English statement on where US tax dollars are spent. It doesn't get any simpler than this. (Even if English isn't your first language.)

Running Low On Disk Space?

Follow the instructions in this article to free up space on your main (C:) drive. Especially run this before running CRASHPLAN, which backs up your home folder by default. The home folder also happens to contain a ton of junk in the form of temp files, temporary internet files, and other e-dust. My cleanup was way overdue and ended up recovering several GB on C: drive, which is absolutely precious for the performance of your PC.

Military Interventions and the EU

Good background reading for understanding France's willingness to consider military intervention in Libya.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

This article contains an excellent set of suggestions for improving your LinkedIn profile's search engine optimization (SEO).

Is Libya an Excuse to Raise Oil Prices?

Are oil companies using Libya as an excuse to raise oil prices? Libya produces about 2% of the world's oil. Why should disruption in oil production from Libya cause any more than a minor blip in oil prices?

Benchmark Your CPU

Use this site to benchmark your CPU, especially useful BEFORE you buy!

Top Toys!

TIME magazine's list of the century's top 100 toys. I would have thought that most of these originated much later than the decades they're bracketed under.

A History of Computers

No-a-more Gaddafi!


Al Jazeera English: Live Streaming

American regulators and content providers claim that there is no market for Al Jazeera in the US. Watch and decide for yourself.

Al Qaeda: An American Invention

As this very interesting (and not very surprising) BBC video explains, Al Qaeda as an organized hierarchy never existed. The name and structure was invented by the US. Bin Laden merely funded disparate pro-Islamic, anti-US initiatives but simply wasn't sitting at the top of some mafia-like family, calling the shots.

Arab Revolution 2.0

As usual, Wikipedia has an excellent summary of what I call the Arab Revolution 2.0 (since it was fueled, in large part, by the Internet). December 18, 2010-Ongoing. Tunisia. Algeria. Libya. Jordan. Mauritania. Sudan. Oman. Yemen. Saudi Arabia. Egypt. Syria. Morocco. Djibouti. Iraq. Somalia. Bahrain. Kuwait. Deaths: 851. Arrests: 1,000+. Injured: 4,000+.

The Arab Uprising in 100 Words

Arab uprising in 100 words. Triggered in Tunisia. Street vendor Bouazizi's 12/17 self-immolation (died on 1/4) to protest the authorities' seizure of his goods. Pushed Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia. Uprising spread to Egypt. Caused Mubarak's family to flee to Britain. Causing tremors in Jordan (government sacked), Algeria (protests), Libya (protests), Sudan (protests). Latest beneficiary is Yemen. Saleh has promised not to run for reelection.

Wine Tasting

Rhymes with time wasting (spoonerism). Enough said. (And you learned something new!)

Dropbox Versus Google Docs

I use Dropbox to keep editable documents synchronized across machines (e.g. PowerPoint presentations and Excel sheets). I use Google Docs to store read-only documents in the cloud (e.g. PDF books).

Small Portions

Super Size, the McDonald's trademark became a liability after the movie Super Size Me (2004) turned it into a four letter word. McDonald's discontinued the term in 2004. Nevertheless, McDonald's and most other food outlets continue to serve very large portions. I despised large portions well before the movie came out. I go out of my way to buy the smallest portion available, especially when comes to products containing sugar, salt or other stuff you're supposed to consume in moderation. Small fries, which the family often shares. I love the new Haagen Dazs single portion cups (3.6 FL OZ, 106 mL). I stock up on Pepsi's smallest can offering, the 227 mL.

The Facebook Age

Many of us are well and truly in the Facebook age. New Year wishes are communicated almost exclusively via Facebook status updates or similar and reciprocated via Facebook like-clicks and comments. It's a shift from a push model (passively receive letters, greeting cards, phone calls, emails) to a pull model (actively visit Facebook to receive your wishes). The only exceptions we're willing to make are for those who are not on Facebook (grandparents et al). Although the Facebook model can be highly impersonal, it can also be highly efficient and effective. You reach out to all your family and friends in a matter of a few keystrokes. And there's still plenty of room for adding personal touches via comments et al. Thoughts?

Less Is More

Haagen Dazs single serve cups (3.6 FL Oz, 106 mL). Spoon inside. Chocolate Peanut Butter.