Portable Code And You!

As handheld devices and network computers compete with traditional PCs as targets for application development, defining the goals of portable software requires more careful consideration. Portable code is not, in itself, a novel achievement. The Ada language, for example, ensures that a given program will compile and run according to specification on any combination of computer and operating system for which a validated Ada compiler has been written. Note well, however, the distinction between running according to specification vs. running identically from one platform to another. An Ada program, for example, lets a programmer specify that numbers shall have a certain minimum precision in decimal digits, but an optimizing compiler might provide more precision than required if this is a free side effect of using a…

Are Global Directories Even Relevant Anymore?

On average, an employee’s name appears 16 different times across myriad corporate systems. It’s more than likely Joe Doak’s payroll records, human resource dossier and travel preferences are all completely separate. Each instance of Doak’s name is unaware of the others. If Doak’s name appears 16 times inside the company, imagine the havoc wrought by a simple change of address. We all know what happens. The address gets changed in one or two places, with the other records trailing by years or, worse, never catching up. And the likelihood of all records ever containing the same basic information is slim to none. What’s the answer? The Holy Grail, of course–global directories. No one disputes the huge advantage of global directories, doing no less than what IBM’s…

Security Sometimes Means Simplicity

A tiny computer lock developed by the organization that guards America’s nuclear stockpile is promising big network security benefits. But industry observers are only cautiously optimistic that the device will do what its developers claim. ssmsMeasuring 4.6 mm by 9.24 mm, the latest weapon in the battle for enterprise security is no bigger than a shirt button. The lock consists of six code wheels, each of which can be turned to one of 10 positions, limiting would-be crackers to a one-in-a-million chance of breaking the code. “What’s kind of cool is that nothing limits us to one in a million,” says Frank Peter, a mechanical engineer at Albuquerque, N.M.-based Sandia National Laboratories and designer of the chip lock. “We’re starting to think about one-in-a-trillion (odds) or…

Outstanding Business Planning!

obpThere’s a mystique to the term business plan that makes it sound like you couldn’t possibly do one without an MBA or two, but much of what makes up a bona-fide blueprint is probably already in your head. A business plan is a part-words and part-numbers profile of where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan to get there. The words describe your company, its products and services, competitors, customers, management, operations, marketing and sales plans, industrial outlook, and long-term goals. The numbers estimate your cash flow, income and expenses, balance sheet (what you have and what you owe), and a break-even analysis. There aren’t too many people not intimidated by both numbers and words, but once you break the plan down…

U Of Miami Found IBM’s Servers To Be The Best

ibmsBack in 1997, IT managers at Miami University set out to make their system Y2K compliant–and their technology overhaul snowballed shortly thereafter. “We realized that the amount we were willing to invest for Y2K could bring us a whole new system that would grow with our future technology needs,” says Kristin Froehlke, associate provost for computing and information services and CIO at Miami University. “We knew it was time to seize the moment.” Their first need was for a more robust software solution to handle the school’s many administrative duties. They had been operating with a patchwork of commercial, custom and homegrown legacy systems and applications running on an IBM 9672 R21 mainframe under OS/390 MVS and CICS. “We had a hybrid of homegrown and vendor-supplied…

Job Market Is So Magically Different Than It Was

Has your job, if you still have it, been transformed into a series of projects? If so, you are a participant (willing or otherwise) in the trend toward the “projectization” of work. If this is the Brave New World, we need to learn how to thrive when we’re not skiing between projects. Many of us who are now consultants are doing project work that is uncannily similar to what middle management used to do. Middle management became the villain at the beginning of the downsizing era. It was something that could be stamped out in the name of improved communication with the front-line troops. It was seen as an expensive bottleneck that slowed organizational adaptation to market changes. jmismIt was a wasteful expense that, if skewered,…

The Digital Property Boom Continues: Protect Yo Neck!

By the time you read this, Lesley Harris will have moved from her Toronto home to Washington D.C. to be with her new husband. But if you’re one of her clients, it probably won’t matter. After all, Harris, an intellectual property lawyer, consultant, fiction writer and author of a new book on the increasing value of digital material, does most of her work by e-mail. “This is my office,” she says, tapping her laptop. “My Canadian clients don’t mind where I am since they don’t see me. “I don’t even give out my business card any more. I just tell people if you need me click on my (Web site) photo and you can e-mail me directly.” wappsAs a lawyer, Harris is the kind of person…