Google Ejects Android ROM-Maker Cyanogen's Installer App From Play -- Citing Developer T&C Violations November 28, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
Tags: applets, apps, smart phone
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Well that didn't take long. Google has asked Cyanogen Inc. to remove its alternative Android ROM installer app from the Play store.
Cyanogen raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital back in September to turn its geek-beloved aftermarket version of Android into a mainstream flavour of the platform -- with the ultimate aim of using an Android variant to compete with standard Android (and iOS) for consumers' attention.
Ramblings on web design process October 26, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in E-Commerce, Project Management.
Tags: infographic, project management, Slideshare, web project management, web projects, web site design
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You know the phrase “It’s great when a plan comes together”? It strikes me as odd that we are surprised when the results of planning using a consistent process yields what we expect. That’s the purpose of a plan. Perhaps from experience we know that a plan and process don’t always match reality.
I found this infographic a while ago and posted it to Slideshare (shameless unintended plug). It is a useful visual to show the end to end process in plan, design and build phases of a website. From project to project, the actual timing can vary widely from what is shown. Factors such as scope and complexity, cost and resources will drive the actual durations. This graphic is useful in guiding the conversation with teams and clients alike. During status updates, it’s useful to ensure everyone understand which phase we are in. It helps set expectations and also show what’s next.
However, I’ve found that some phases are not optimized, like reviews and approvals. Reviews and approvals tend to take much more time than we expect. That makes project management interesting. How do you account for extended review cycles without impacting the delivery date? What makes it more fun is some client adding new features during the reviews. Call it scope creep. I’m sure they realize it will change the end date. Simple math, really. More features = more time.
Following the plan takes rigor and discipline. Flexibility also helps when reality hits. Keep your plan together. Sorting out the impact to the plan and getting everyone to agree can be a daily task for project managers. I always preface updates to clients with the phrase “I don’t make the news, just report it.” So, don’t be surprised. Expect the results you plan on.
It is great when a plan comes together. That’s why you use a process to make it happen.
Ramblings on positive change September 22, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in Behavior, career.
Tags: career, Change
Since my last post, I have gone through some changes. Changes in employment and changes in location. It came about fairly quickly, now that I have some time to reflect on it. I recently found a position as a project manager and am part of a web development group once again.
I am fortunate to have so many good people in my life. My family has been 100% supportive. I have great friends who wished me well and their help is only a phone call or email away. I have but to ask. That support makes the transition much easier.
Taking this new job required relocating out of state. Not something I had intended initially. For many reasons outside of my control, the job I wanted was not available locally. I have been solicited to work in many areas around the country but held out for an opportunity that was in my home town. Keep the other aspects of my life the same. Did not work out that way this time around. Over the last 5 years, I have had several career changes. Most of those were outside my control in terms of duration.
As for the work, it feels good to be back in many ways. Good to be working again. Good to be with an IT team that works closely with Marketing. Like any new job, it takes some time to get settled. Get up to speed. Learn the ropes. More shop worn cliches. There are some interesting challenges ahead. I firmly expect to have an impact and be able to help my new team. I already know they will listen. That makes things so much easier. In my first week, I have already established my skills and experience. Here the biggest change is people are willing to accept it. That has not always been true in the past.
Going forward, more changes will be dealt with. In both the personal and professional facets, I will have good people to work through any and all changes that come my way.
I am most grateful for that and hope that never changes!
Tags: coding, deployment methods, lifecycle, management, process, project management, projects, software, software development, software development lifecycle, software development teams, technology, tools
In my last post, I covered my recent efforts at software programming after a self-imposed hiatus. As a follow up, I wanted to talk about the development cycle. More specifically, the software development lifecycle. The most traditional development method is the Waterfall method. As it’s name implies, the lifecycle flows across phases with the result being a finished product that is tested to satisfy design requirements.
Deployment methods I have used include Waterfall and Agile among others and hybrids of these. As shown in the image, there is a feedback loop with testing that can introduce new/revised requirements. That starts the cycle over again, from the beginning. From my experience, there are two phases that seem to get short shrift. One or both of these typically get compressed due to project constraints and are sacrificed in order to stay on schedule. Those phases include Design and Test. What I have also found is that if you accelerate either of those, the project will reap a short term benefit. But, ultimately the project will not stay on track. Instead, the project will re-visit one or both phases, which causes waste, and any gains in time expected are then not delivered.
As a programmer, I admit I have squeezed several phases. My advice – whatever process you employ, don’t cheat it. Having a solid design ensures requirements are addressed and adequate testing provides confidence for success at launch. Whatever method you use, adhere to the diligence in each phase and then keep progressing forward. Each phase should be sized according to the project goal. Changes to existing code base can be minimal and have little design impact. Great! Testing should then focus on regression impact to ensure everything is working with new changes integrated cleanly.
Does your mileage match mine? Comments invited!
Ramblings on coding once again June 18, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in career.
Tags: coding, CSS, eclipse ide, HTML, java, java complier, jQuery, oracle java, PHP, programmer, Python, Ruby, software, software development, software development teams, technology
I learned a long time ago that being good in one thing can limit your career. I did not limit myself and have worked as a software programmer, system administrator, project manager and supervisor. I quickly learned that moving into each new role requires a change in focus and leads to new insights as to how teams interact. In each role, I have always worked with software development teams in one capacity or another.
Over the last two months, I set a goal for myself to re-new my skills (and learn new ones) in software programming. The web is so good at providing learning resources and somehow, I found my way to the CodeAcademy web site. It tracks your progress and also awards badges and points, like a video game.
The first day, I ‘earned’ 68 points and getting back into coding was easier than I thought. I started with a HTML refresher and quickly re-gained a developer frame of mind. While the tools are different since my first job, the actual coding is similar to the bike riding syndrome. I then began using the site every day and started a consecutive day coding streak.
Each day, I learned more about HTML and moved on to CSS, Java and gained insight into working with jQuery, PHP, Python and Ruby. I find an affinity to the server side apps of PHP, Ruby and Python.
My recent daily learning regimen using Codeacedemy has just ended. I worked my way through 1000 exercises over a consecutive 60 day period. On weekends and holidays, it took a concerted effort to find the time to code. During this streak, I also installed Eclipse IDE, created an account on JSFiddle and reviewed Oracle Java training also. Also a bonus, my MAC OS provides access to the java complier and Ruby via the command line as they are built in to the OS. The command line brings me back to the old days….<insert favorite old soldier story here>.
I’m not done yet and there is always more to learn. My intent here is to keep improving my skills. Having always worked with technical people, I understand the software development process from different perspectives. I also know that being able to ‘wear different hats’ is a positive and makes me more marketable.
Now that I am riding the coding bike once again, I am comfortable working on these applications as part of a development team. I also bring my experience and perspective as a project manager, supervisor and system administrator to the table. I continue to code and to learn about syntax intricacies and improving on my skills.
If you have programming skills, you may be aware of the site I used. For new programmers, it is a good place to consider – especially, since it is free. I like the Eclipse IDE (also free) and have also used DreamWeaver in the past. Oracle provides a good overview with Java also. Everyone builds their toolkit over time. I am refreshing mine and adding new ones.
Ramblings on the Programmable World June 6, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in Cloud Computing, Trends.
Tags: big data, connections, data mining, data usage, network
I am an active reader of Wired and enjoy articles that deal with emerging trends. From a recent issue, I found an a write up that relates to big data. In the near future, data will be generated by every day items. The main concept of the piece deals with connecting our analog devices such as a refrigerator (and, everything else) to a network. The idea is not a far fetched as it used to be. This is not limited to active devices either. Passive devices, such as doors and windows can be connected as well. They will be talking to us and each other. All of this is the early stages of a programmable world and will take some time to sort out.
We know from Moore’s Law that electronic devices get cheaper all the time. Here is a direct link to the article in Wired that describes how will be connecting sensors to physical devices and integrating them into the programmable world.
According to the author, there are three stages. The first involves getting devices on the network. The prospect of generating, monitoring this data and then triggering events as a result will lead to applications not within our purview currently. And, this it not just for residential use; factory automation can be taken to a new level. Bringing the analog world into the digital age. Having a system to collect and arrange the data is required. Think about when every device in your house is connected to your Wi-Fi network. The second stage will have those devices on the network sync with each other – output from one device triggers an action in another. The third and final stage involves using these devices as a system or single platform. To make this work, we will need repeatable and consistent patterns. The first generation will be crude and will not handle exceptions well. We will get smarter about that and iterate on stimulus and response triggers.
We have experienced discrete pieces of connected devices into disparate networks already. Wireless (aka, WiFi), Bluetooth, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communications (NFC) are routinely used in security badges, printers, cameras, smart phones and tablets. The next iteration will be connecting them together.
There is a great potential here with the number of devices to connect in the trillions. A big number. Each device generating data based on stimulus. Management will require programming - lots of programming and networking to make this all work together. Big companies are looking at this including Qualcomm, Cisco, GE and IBM as well as start ups are working on this as well. Changes will be seen in the home, factory and the office.
To revise an old phrase, this isn’t your Father’s network. Devices with embedded sensors will generate a lot of chatter. Who is going to listen? Where will that data be stored? What standards will be needed for command and control? We will get that sorted that out and then look for the next challenge.
This is why big data is the sweet spot for SaaS May 15, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in Cloud Computing, Trends.
Tags: big data, cloud, cloud computing, data mining, metrics
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People often ask me where the smart money is in big data. I often tell them that's a foolish question, because I'm not an investor -- but if I were, I'd look to software as a service.
There are two primary reasons why, the first of which is obvious: Companies are tired of managing applications and infrastructure, so something that optimizes a common task using techniques they don't know on servers they don't have to manage is probably compelling.
Tags: B2B, B2B Marketing, content access, content strategy, search, SEO, SEOmoz_org
Today, I came across this presentation on SlideShare that enumerates five trends in B2B marketing. The presentation is titled ‘The Future of Content Marketing: 5 Beyonds‘ and I hope the link works for you. There is a lot of great insight here along with humor and some foul language for those easily offended. I hope the message resonates with you and I’m glad to see someone talking about moving the state of the art for content marketing forward.
Here is a brief summary of the 5 Beyonds mentioned and my comments.
1) Beyond Guttenberg – we continue to use print as the reference for content marketing. Move on! We have smart phones, tablets – all this computing power at our fingertips to present static content. I think responsive web sites will accelerate this change to present more dynamic content.
2) Beyond Search – Let Google change the SEO algorithms. You need to build a community around the brand. SEO Moz is mentioned as a great example. Well deserved shout out and kudos to Rand and the team.
3) Beyond One Size fits All – About time. Gets to the 1st beyond as well. Dynamic and personal content. B2C is already doing this and so is banner ads. Show that you know me and present content that is of interest to me. Not the masses. Having a personalized experience also provides motivation to come back.
4) Beyond Teaching – Don’t just explain it. Provide a way to use it.
5) Beyond Faceless Brands – Put your name on it. And your face. Establishing a relationship aligns with the community concept and builds credibility and authenticity.
When you flip through the deck, you will find that there are more than 5 beyonds. As a tease, there actually are 10 and I’m not going to list them here…use the link above. I will mention that I do like the implications of content islands and platform silos.
Thanks to Velocity Partners for sharing.
Training pays off in Boston on Monday April 17, 2013Posted by Edwin Ritter in Behavior.
Tags: crisis, emergency response, leadership, preparedness, responsiveness, training
I need to stress the positives in this post about the bombing in Boston on Monday. Let me be clear - it was awful. But I want to focus on and highlight the good here. The first responders reacted immediately. No hesitation. Civic leaders quickly communicated to the public and worked with local, state and federal officials. Their impressive response was the result of proper training conducted via simulations. The pay off from those drills was clearly demonstrated as we watched, posted and reacted with our comments.
I see it as a positive that there are overwhelmingly more good people among us than there are evil ones. That was evident right from the beginning. From those acts of bravery and kindness, we should be confident and committed to belonging to a society willing to assist others. We immediately put aside our differences and acted as one community that went beyond the borders of towns and states to show support.
Previously, I wrote a blog post about disasters after the tsunami in Japan. That piece talked about how you would respond if you were there. Today, I saw this piece from the Harvard Business Review on how leaders emerge from these crisis events. It prompted me to post this article. I want to relay my gratitude to all who responded. To those who spontaneously helped out others who happened to be near them and provided comfort, food and shelter. There are good people among us and they will help us get back to normal after this.
The Boston marathon will be held again. Good. The runners will train for that day and the city of Boston will prepare for the 2014 race. They will be well organized as they usual and they will update their plans based on learnings from what happened Monday. They will also revise their training to be ready for anything and everything that comes their way.
In the grand scheme, my ramblings here will not change anything. I am grateful to the kind and helping people assisting others in a dire situation. Going forward, let’s not jump to conclusions to quickly. This event should remind us not to rush to make brash or grandiose statements but instead to observe, collect some facts based in reality and trust those in authority to respond correctly.
To respond as they are trained to do.