Code Combat: Wield JS, Slay Orcs, Get Jobs!

CodeCombatNever has Javascript been more fun to learn. A startup venture backed by Y Combinator wants to teach you that language you’ve always wanted to learn through gameification – or the usage of elements of game design(e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play)- to enhance motivation and the learning process. Slay orcs and battle minions by programming your units in a real-time web game. Compete against your friends to see who wrote the more robust code. Possibly get a job for your efforts?  Welcome to CodeCombat. Continue reading

Posted in Inspirations, IT, Shifting Perspectives, Software, Technology, video games. Tagged with , , , , , .

Facebook Replaces php with ‘Hack’

hack-programming-language-facebook-codeLast week, facebook announced that it had given its website, largely written in a programming language called php, a programming equivalent of a face lift.  They also made a splash in the web development industry by releasing a new web programming language called Hack to the open source community. Hack is based on the php, but claims to keep “all the good parts” while removing some of its limitations. Since Facebook has been converting it’s legacy php to hack for some time now, you can trust that hack can stand up to the highest expectations, and that Facebook clearly has a lot of faith in the strength of the language. Continue reading

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Are You Color Blind?

The human eye

The human eye is one amazing instrument – a phenomenon of biological engineering, and the window through which we interact with our world.  The fastest and arguably strongest muscle – it is second only to the brain in its complexity. At Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, where I now work, our mission is to promote healthy vision for everyone.

This doesn’t mean just vision correction! It means treating the full range of optical conditions, from common myopia (short sightedness) to the more complex and currently incurable glaucoma –  and everything in between.  It means designing products that don’t just improve the quality of vision, but are also safe and non-damaging to this special organ.

It’s easy to just focus on simple vision correction, because 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, and only a fraction of them are treated. But in the spirit of Healthy Vision, I had a very interesting discussion with my coworkers about color blindness – and learned some pretty amazing things! Read on to take a hue test to see how accurately you see the lush colors of the world, and to hear about exciting research into curing color blindness. Continue reading

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Google’s “Android Wear” Technology

Android wear

Google announced on March 18th that they had created a new interface for wearable technology based on the Android platform, which they named, “Android Wear”. This adaptation of Android is meant to be lightweight, highly contextual, and aware of your surroundings. Check out the video after the break.  My thoughts on the technology to follow. Continue reading

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Coin: Risk vs Reward

OnlyCoinAfter completing a $50,000 kickstarter campaign in under 40 minutes, this small company’s mission is to shrink the size of your wallet by decreasing the amount of plastic a person has to carry to a single card.

A small step to the transition of plastic to digital money management, there is a lot to like about the slick promo video for the card that can store debit card, credit card, and loyalty/gift cards on a single swipe-able card.  I love the idea, but will the execution be solid enough to stave off the security concerns around a comprehensive identity theft target? Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Hardware, Security, Software, Technology. Tagged with , , , , .

New Skills and Services for Managing the Cloud

cloud

Over this week, I have been reading a lot about new companies creating new industries, markets, and services for the unmet needs IT organizations as they shift to the more and more mainstream paradigm of cloud computing. Gone are the days of a 2D IT department! It’s no longer just about Operations and Engineering.  The challenges of managing infrastructure outside the corporate wall, processing big data, and growing threat of cyber attacks have created some cool opportunities – and in this post I want to highlight a few that caught my attention. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Security, Shifting Perspectives, Software, Technology. Tagged with , , .

Solving Complex Problems Without Adding Complexity

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Ever wonder why a common complaint in the workforce of many large companies is that the business processes are too complex?  While every company tries to remove inefficiencies, its a recurring narrative that the bigger a company is and the longer it has been around, the more likely it is to be mired down in processes that sap productivity and don’t add value.

Yves Morieux is a Senior Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group,  head of BCG’s Institute for Organization.  In a recent TED talk, he really got me jazzed looking at how the top two organizational structures that corporate leaders use for resolving business challenges contribute directly to this productivity atrophy.  It is his opinion that these methods are obsolete and no longer work into today’s corporations.  He makes some compelling arguments.  What do you think? Continue reading

Posted in IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , .

Information Security for the “Internet of Things”

As a technology professional and a futurist, I enjoy thinking about what is the next step in the evolution of the use of technology. One of the prominent theories for that next leap is dubbed the “Internet of Things”. The internet of things is a world where everything, from your house, to your microwave, to your car, is “smart”, connected to the internet, and controllable by a computer.  Many of the prerequisites are already in play: IPv6, open hardware like Arduino, and RFID technology have laid the building blocks for more devices than ever before to be identifiable nodes on the internet. Smartphones have given you the remote control 2.0, an internet device carried by virtually every human being in the developing world with a wide array of uses. Wireless internet is expanding – 4G, wifi hotspots, and projects like Google Loon will give you access to the hyper expanding network from virtually anywhere on the planet.

A lot of the new “smart” devices joining Wi-Fi networks add new conveniences to our lives, but could potentially be opening us up to new vulnerabilities as well. I heard of a new one reading a blog by Arik Hesseldahl. Continue reading

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

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Brandon Sanderson is an accomplished writer of epic fantasy, and the author of the Way of Kings, book one in a projected 10 book series called the stormlight archive.  In this creative world, ravaged by deadly storms and littered with the remains of the god-like Knights Radiant, Brandon crafts nuanced and bold characters that race to unite their people’s before the impending apocalyptic Desolation. Published in 2011, it won the David Gemmell Legend Award for Best Novel.  I recommend the series based on what I have read so far.  Though it is a little on the long side, I think it is a strong foundation for plenty of epic fantasy action to come.   Continue reading

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Android’s ART Runtime Promises Better Performance

Android taskes a bite out of apple
The graphic may misrepresent the actual numbers of iPhone users comparatively to the Android platform, but it certainly feels like over the last three years the Android platform has gotten bigger and bigger, capturing more mobile market share, with mods, apps, and number of hardware platforms running the software all ballooning. It is a major contender for the #1 mobile platform.  But there are side effects to growth that fast.  With finite resources, there are plenty of requested changes, plenty of potential improvements, that never get made in favor of keeping the lights on. The Dalvik runtime is one such bit of code in the android platform.

Dalvik is the process virtual machine (VM) in Google’s Android operating system. It is the software that runs the apps on Android devices.  Having gone largely unchanged in years, Android has begun open beta of its replacement, the ART runtime, which promises better performance and battery life. Here’s how ART will deliver on that promise.

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