Category Archives: IT

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

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

New Skills and Services for Managing the Cloud

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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

Posted in IT, Security. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

badBIOS, a Bad-To-The-Bone, Halloween Malware

"Our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this"

“Our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this”

As a cyber security enthusiast, I like to think I know a thing or two about how to stay safe against viral threats.  But no article could have been more frighteningly fitting for arstechnica to post on Halloween, even for me. The article tells the story of Dragos Ruiu, a security icon responsible for the pwn2own hackathon franchise, who three years ago stumbled upon malware that took over a clean install of OS X on his Macbook Air.  He was unable to boot from CD, and found the machine was deleting data and undoing configuration changes without prompting. This is when it starts to get freaky.  The virus started propagating, even to machines completely disconnected from any traditional access point.  No networking, no power cables (running on batteries) fresh installs, with no contact with infected devices. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Science, Security. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

Vivek Kundra – U.S. Government CIO

"Put the citizen at the heart of Government Services- they are the customer, not the bureaucracy."

“Put the citizen at the heart of Government Services- they are the customer, not the bureaucracy.”

Vivek Kundra is an Indian American administrator who served as the first chief information officer of the United States from March, 2009 to August, 2011 under President Barack Obama. As CIO of the U.S. Government,  Vivek was one of the first to champion the use of cloud technology in the public sector. He believes in high level accountability for every IT project and was passionate about the ability to use government collected data to drive real consumer improvement.  I had the opportunity to hear Vivek speak as an Innovator at the World Innovation Forum.

Vivek’s first actions as CIO were centered around restructuring the project portfolio.  Many of the Government IT projects were millions of dollars over budget, and still years off schedule. He added three key strategies to focus spending and increase accountability: Continue reading

Posted in Government, IT, Project Management, Security. Tagged with , , , , , .

Will Pearson – Understanding Millennial Influencers

"This is the most educated generation in all of human history.. Resist the urge to dumb it down."

“This is the most educated generation in all of human history.. Resist the urge to dumb it down.”

William E. Pearson is the co-founder of Mental Floss, a bi-monthly magazine, which he started with Mangesh Hattikudur when both were students at Duke University. The idea was to blend knowledge with entertainment in such a way that it would be educational and fun. Mental Floss then started as a magazine, and has since found a way to capture the attention of the Millennial generation through engaging in multiple forms of social media, which is, as many of the most successful brands will tell you, no small feat.  Will’s talk was around how they have learned to engage their fickle audience, and how to embrace the way they view the world when you deliver content. Continue reading

Posted in Funny, IT, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , .

Rebecca Henderson – Sustainable Corporate Values

 Rebecca Henderson- Building a sustainable organization, culture, and values

“For the last 50 years we have been focused on reducing our reliance on Labor and Capital. All we have to do now is put the same focus on reducing energy and material dependence.”

In a riveting display of her professorial skills, this co-director of the business initiative at Harvard University “schooled” me on the subject of her career’s research: exploring how organizations respond to large-scale technological shifts, most recently in regard to energy and the environment.

Her success stories, or companies that seem to have been successful in navigating potentially damaging changes to their business, have done so by talking about some previously taboo subjects in capitalism: their values.  She contends that because values are a powerful motivator, and positive motivation has shown to make employees 3x as effective, sharing corporate values could have very positive economic effects.

Industry must become more self-regulating, because national governments just don’t have the jurisdiction to propose meaningful protections everywhere they are needed.  Having clear corporate values can drive to this goal.

Johnson & Johnson has been putting values at the heart of its business model for over a century, and it has paid off. Even after devastating losses in consumer sales due to Consent Decree, J&J acted quickly and responsibly to recall products. Now that these products are starting to return to the shelves, they are finding that the Brand Loyalty has survived, in no small part due to the ethical actions taken to protect their customers, which they put first. When you are against the ropes at a moral fork in the road, there is a lot to gain from taking the highroad.

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

Insights from World Innovation Forum 2013

A few weeks ago I attended the World Innovation Forum at the regal New York City Center, a two-day immersive look at what it means to build a culture of innovation, hearing from a broad range of speakers, across countless disciplines. From the experience, I came back to my work and personal life refreshed and invigorated, as is true of most conferences. I think what makes this experience truly unique is that unlike other conferences, Innovation is not an industry specific thing, and yet has become so widely desirable in so many facets of life. I found insights from this experience that I hope to carry across the broad spectrum of my creative endeavors, both personal and professional, and here, I plan to share them with you.

Continue reading

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