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Fruits aren’t necessarily healthy

I converted. Religiously – so to say.

In the 90ies I was into Sinix (anyone still knowing that?); essentially it was Unix anyway – no worries. In 1993 I commenced on Windows. V3.1 I think. C. C++. Basic. Visual Basic – stuff like that. Later MFC, STL, ATL and the ike. Always Windows; nearly solely. For more than 20 years. Attempts to religiously brainwash me away from Unix – however – failed more or less; though I developed a really strong and happy relationship with all Microsoft. Heartily. And not by religion.

I never really had a problem to discuss other personal computing options – especially the fruity ones. The only thing was that the “discusees” in these conversations always tended to claim the predomination of geniusness of their fruit – which always left me a bit suspicious.

And then – finally – at the end of August this year, curiosity beat suspiciousness. And I bought an Apple – not for eating (I’m more the meaty guy ;))

So, here I am – one month later! With reality proving the claims — or not. Here’s my 4 predominant awkward working experiences with a MacBook Pro after the first few weeks of usage:

1. Keyboard

The Mac comes with 4(!) different keyboard overlays; i.e.: one key could theoretically have 4 different effects (keys, shortcuts, functions – you name it). Fine. There is no Pos1/End keys. Still fine (though there would be enough room for adding those left and right form the cursor-up key). Anyway – things become blurring when you try to learn the shortcuts for

  • Start of line, end of line
  • Start of document, end of document
  • Back/forward one word, paragraph, …
  • All that including “selecting text”

Plus: Try those in an editor, then in mail, then in some of the Microsoft Office programs?

Disclaimer: I totally and full heartedly admit that arguing based on third-party apps developed for the Mac is inapplicable here! Hence, please no arguing that it’d be Microsoft’s fault not to adhere to MacBooks’ logic for shortcuts!

However: What IS the logic? And IF there is any: Why is it so fck.gly complicated? Some friends told me prior to converting to the fruit religion that it just takes 2 weeks to accomodate. Sorry folks: I failed that timeline miserably. I just don’t get it. I am open to continued learning: If you can provide a logic for me in this respect, you are tremendously welcome to post your comment here!

Disclaimer 2: In comparison to Apple, those shortcuts are well introduced and generally accepted in Microsoft’s OS and apps world. Pos1/End, selecting text, find, quit, close window, … etc. – all the same shortcut. I didn’t stumble by a single program recently doing it differently.

2. Finder

Did I mention that I love Unix, Linux, … . I always did. I never was an expert really, but I loved the straight-forwardness of that OS and its logic – even though some things just did not work (and some things in the past may have been utterly complicated to get to work). With regards to unix’ logic, Finder presents itself really perfectly in line. Directory structures do remind you to how unix always did it. The sidebar feels as if the important things have been mounted for you already. The user’s working directories all there (is that structuring with “Documents”, “Music”, “Pictures”, etc. actually stolen from Microsoft or the other way round?).

However, Finder starts failing its purpose when it comes to presenting the files contained. I got 4 really smart views (icons, list, a convenient column view and the cover view). But how (the hell) is all this sorted. Alphabetically? Then there’s no way of getting directories to the top. By date? Same problem made worse. Is there a way of setting a preference for the view for all Finder locations? No. Not without tweaking the guts of OS X. Is there a way of quickly resetting the view within one location? Well – after some search I found the awkward CMD+ALT+CTRL+<number> shortcut. Weird. And – to me – a totally ill logic of dealing with files.

Disclaimer: I hear the arguing, folks, that this is all a matter of getting used to it. Well, if it’s all about accomodation, who’s to claim advancement then?

3. iTunes

My NAS offers an iTunes Server which transforms the NAS’ MP3 library into an iTunes home sharing participant. Theoretically. However, iTunes never manages to discover the home server. iTunes in fact isn’t capable of dealing with my lovely music library by any other means than by adding it to its own library (which obviously is a redundancy overkill AND a lock-in, by the way).

The annoying fact here is, that even though everything is – or: should be – Apple-made, it doesn’t collaborate properly. This isn’t particularly desastrous; it just doesn’t give me the feeling of advancement before any Windows machine.

4. Finally – the BSOD comparison

I had 3 crashes. Already. Within the first month of use. 3 crashes that were more or less as significant as a BSOD on Windows. Mind(!): None of those 3 crahses where related to any non-Apple apps. I do have regular crashes of the Microsoft Office suite – for whatever reason. Office-on-Mac doesn’t seem to be really stable (need it anyway, so what can I do :)). At least re-starting it from an SSD is sufficiently fast.

Anyway – the 3 total crashes where as follows:

  1. Finder became unresponsive. As unresponsive as to prohibit itself from starting and force-quitting. Seemingly due to this, OS X refrained from shutting down, claiming that a program was hanging. Ultimately the only way of getting it to work again was to go for the 4-sec-power-key option. Well known from my old Windows computer. So: No difference here (and I never found out what made it so unresponsive; this one happened twice so far, btw)
  2. Network switching: It  seems OS X is pretty weak on TCP/IP (wired LAN or WiFI – whatsoever). I have a NAS connected when on private LAN (via SMB; AFP didn’t work for whatever reason). When leaving the private LAN without properly ejecting mounted drives, sometimes – unpredictably – the whole system hangs and remains as unresponsive as above. It may be that I am just too impatient to wait for it to respond again, but – well: I consider that a crash. Less desastrous ones happen ever and ever again when switching between networks, hotspots, … (e.g. when on travel). I already got used to that. Obviously network is the weak point in OS X.
  3. Printer Driver: I added an HP LaserJet to the list of printers, allowed OS X to download the appropriate driver from the AppStore, later disconnected from Ethernet and switched to WiFi-only mode becaue of a meeting and – booom – no more mouse/pad/keyboard interaction possible. Apps kept running. They even reacted to events. But I could by no means interact with them. Again: 4-sec-power-key-force-shutdown (little sidenote: the behaviour was reproducable until I deleted the printer completely).

Conclusion

And the learnings of all this – fortunately, for me:

  • Religion is a dangerous thing
  • Reality could proove religion wrong
  • Fruits aren’t necessarily healthy

Seriously spoken: The MacBook Pro on OS X Yosemite (recently upgraded to El Capitan) isn’t that much of an advancement to any properly setup and maintained Microsoft machine. And eventually I can now discuss the matter based on real-world experiences. This is particularly disturbing as one claim of the fruit guys always was and is, that because of the homogenity of hardware, OS and software that would be the case. Well, it isn’t.

That’s by no means particularly bad. I got a Windows tablet, an Android mobile and a Mac working horse now. Where there’s software, there’s errors. On any of the devices. That was and will remain true for all time. One just shouldn’t claim tremendous advance just because of a brand — though, to be honest, there’s one thing that I do like with my new toy: It shuts down and boots so brilliantly fast that work interruptions due to whatever error aren’t really hurting that much anymore – at least after the first 4 weeks.

Let’s see whether it remains like that.

 

 

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The “Next Big Thing” series wrap-up: How to rule them all?

What is it that remains for the 8th and last issue of the “Next Big Thing” blog post series: To “rule them all” (all the forces, disruptive challenges and game changing innovations) and keep services connected, operating, integrated, … to deliver value to the business.

A bit ago, I came upon Jonathan Murray’s concept of the Composable Enterprise – a paradigm which essentially preaches fully decoupled infrastructure and application as services for company IT. Whether the Composable Enterprise is an entire new approach or just a pin-pointed translation of what is essential to businesses mastering digital transformation challenges is all the same.

The importance lies with the core concepts of what Jonathan’s paradigm preaches. These are to

  • decouple the infrastructure
  • make data a service
  • decompose applications
  • and automate everything

Decouple the Infrastructure.

Rewind into my own application development and delivery times during the 1990ies and the 00-years: When we were ready to launch a new business application we would – as part of the rollout process – inform IT of resources (servers, databases, connections, interface configurations) needed to run the thing. Today, large IT ecosystems sometimes still function that way, making them a slow and heavy-weight inhibitor of business agility. The change to incorporate here is two-folded: On the one hand infra responsibles must understand that they need to deliver on scale, time, demand, … of their business customers (which includes more uniform, more agile and more flexible – in terms of sourcing – delivery mechanisms). And on the other hand, application architects need to understand that it is not anymore their architecture that defines IT needs but in turn their architecture needs to adapt to and adopt agile IT infrastructure resources from wherever they may be sourced. By following that pattern, CIOs will enable their IT landscapes to leverage not only more cloud-like infrastructure sourcing on-premise (thereby enabling private clouds) but also will they become capable of ubiquitously using ubiquitous resources following hybrid sourcing models.

Make Data a Service.

This isn’t about BigData-like services, really. It might be (in the long run). But this is essentially about where the properties and information of IT – of applications and services – really is located. Rewind again. This time only for like 1 or 2 years. The second last delivery framework, that me and my team of gorgeous cloud aficionados created, was still built around a central source of information – essentially a master data database. This simply was the logical framework architecture approach back then. Even only a few months – when admittedly me and my then team (another awesome one) already knew that information needs to lie within the service – it was still less complex (hence: quicker) to construct our framework around such a central source of (service) wisdom. What the Composable Enterprise, though, rightly preaches is a complete shift of where information resides. Every single service, which offers its capabilities to the IT world around it, needs to provide a well-defined, easy to consume, transparently reachable interface to query and store any information relevant to the consumption of the service. Applications or other services using that service simply engage via that interface – not only to leverage the service’s capabilities but even more to store and retrieve data and information relevant to the service and the interaction with it. And there is no central database. In essence there is no database at all. There is no need for any. When services inherently know what they manage, need and provide, all db-centric architecture for the sole benefit of the db as such becomes void.

Decompose Applications.

The aforementioned leads one way into the decomposition pattern. More important, however, is to spend more thorough thinking about what a single business related activity – a business process – really needs in terms of application support. And in turn, what the applications providing this support to the business precisely need to be capable of. Decomposing Applications means to identify useful service entities which follow the above patterns, offer certain functionality in an atom kind-of way via well-defined interfaces (APIs) to the outside world and thereby create an application landscape which delivers on scale, time, demand, … just by being composed through service orchestration in the right – the needed – way. This is the end of huge monolithic ERP systems, which claim to offer all that a business needs (you just needed to customize them rightly). This is the commencing of light-weight services which rapidly adopt to changing underlying infrastructures and can be consumed not only for the benefit of the business owning them but – through orchestration –form whole new business process support systems for cross-company integration along new digitalized business models.

Automate Everything.

So, eventually we’ve ended at the heart of how to breath life into an IT which supports businesses in their digital transformation challenge.

Let me talk you into one final example emphasizing the importance of facing all these disruptive challenges openly: An Austrian bank of high reputation (and respectful success in the market) gave a talk at the Pioneers about how they discovered that they are actually not a good bank anymore, how they discovered that – in some years’ time – they’d not be able to live up to the market challenges and customers’ demands anymore. What they discovered was simply, that within some years they would lose customers just because of their inability to offer a user experience integrated with the mobile and social demands of today’s generations. What they did in turn was to found a development hub within their IT unit, solely focussing on creating a new app-based ecosystem around their offerings in order to deliver an innovative, modern, digital experience to their bank account holders.

Some time prior to the Pioneers, I had received a text that “my” bank (yes, I am one of their customers) now offers a currency exchange app through which I can simply order the amount of currency needed and would receive a confirmation once it’s ready to be handed to me in the nearest branch office. And some days past the Pioneers I received an eMail that a new “virtual bank servant” would be ready as an app in the net to serve all my account-related needs. Needless to say that a few moments later I was in and that the experience was just perfect even though they follow an “early validation” policy with their new developments, accepting possible errors and flaws for the benefit of reduced time to market and more accurate customer feedback.

Now, for a moment imagine just a few of the important patterns behind this approach:

  • System maintenance and keeping-the-lights-on IT management
  • Flexible scaling of infrastructures
  • Core banking applications and services delivering the relevant information to the customer facing apps
  • App deployment on a regular – maybe a daily – basis
  • Integration of third-party service information
  • Data and information collection and aggregation for the benefit of enhanced customer behaviour insight
  • Provision of information to social platforms (to influence customer decisions)
  • Monitoring and dashboards (customer-facing as well as internally to business and IT leaders)
  • Risk mitigation
  • … (I could probably go on for hours)

All of the above capabilities can – and shall – be automated to a certain, a great extent. And this is precisely what the “automate everything” pattern is about.

Conclusion

There is a huge business shift going on. Software, back in the 80ies and 90ies was a driver for growth, had its downturn in and post the .com age and now enters an era of being ubiquitously demanded.

Through the innovative possibilities by combining existing mobile, social and data technologies, through the merge of physical and digital worlds and through the tremendously rapid invention of new thing-based daily-life support, businesses of all kind will face the need for software – even if they had not felt that need so far.

The Composable Enterprise – or whatever one wants to call a paradigm of loosely coupled services being orchestrated through well-defined transparently consumable interfaces – is a way for businesses to accommodate this challenge more rapidly. Automating daily routine – like e.g. the aforementioned tasks – will be key to enterprises which want to stay on the edge of innovation within these fast changing times.

Most importantly, though, is to stay focussed within the blurring worlds of things, humans and businesses. To keep the focus on innovation not for the benefit of innovation as such but for the benefit of growing the business behind.

Innovation Architects will be the business angels of tomorrow – navigating their stakeholders through an ongoing revolution and supporting or driving the right decisions for implementing and orchestrating services in a business-focussed way.

 

{the feature image of this last “The Next Big Thing” series post shows a design by New Jersey and New York-based architects and designers Patricia Sabater, Christopher Booth and Aditya Chauan: The Sky Cloud Skyscraper – found on evolo.us/architecture}

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The “Next Big Thing” series: Digital Transformation

Beware! No. 7 of the “Next Big Thing” blog post series is probably going to be at the heart of all the big business disruptions to come:

 

“Digital Business”

as a term has more or less become a substitute for the formerly heavily stressed “Industry 4.0”. Digital Business can best be described by a couple of examples illustrating how every business – without exception – will be disrupted by the huge innovative potential rolling along:

Example No. 1 – Retail and Education

School notifies the parents of a boy that he needs a certain educative material by tomorrow; they do that by means of a private message to the parents coming from the school’s facebook profile. The boy’s mother investigates through her mobile phone where the particular material can be purchased, connects to the store chain by means of a mobile app and requests availability information. The store responds with availability and price (through their app) also informs that the particular item has to be sent from a remote outlet and requests confirmation for the purchase and delivery. The mother responds with payment data and the school’s address for target delivery whereas the store chain triggers delivery of the item to the nearest train station, notifies the train operating company that a parcel needs to be delivered by tomorrow to the respective address whereas the train company in turn arranges for delivery to take place to the school’s nearest train station and from there by a drone directly to the school.

Example No. 2 – Weather and Insurance

A terrible thunderstorm destroys a house’s window. The respective sensors thoroughly detect the reason for the breakage of glass not to be from human intervention but from bad weather conditions and notifies the smart home automation gateway of what has happened. The gateway holds police, hospital and insurance contact information as well as necessary private customer IDs. Location address is derived via GPS positioning. The gateway self-triggers a notification and remediation workflow with the insurance company, which in turn assesses the incident to be a valid insurance case, triggers a repair order with an associated window glassworks company. The glassworks company fits the order into their schedule as it is treated an emergency under the given circumstances, rushes to the given location, repairs the windows, the workers report back to the insurance via mobile app and the insurance closes the case. All this happens without any human intervention other than final approval by the house’s owner that everything is OK again.

Example No. 3 – Holiday and Healthcare

The wearable body control device of an elderly lady records asynchronous heartbeat also slowly decelerating. The pattern is maintained within the device as being a situation of life endangering heart condition, hence the device commences transfer of detailed health monitoring data via the lady’s mobile phone to her children on the one hand and to her doctor in charge on the other hand. Both parties have (by means of device configuration) agreed to confirm the reception of data within 5 minutes after start of transmission. As none of this happens (because the kids are on holiday and the doctor is busy doing surgery) the device triggers notification of the nearest ambulance, transmits the patterns of normal health condition plus current condition and includes name, location, health insurance and nearest relatives data as well as the electronic apartment access key. The ambulance’s customer request system notifies the doctor in charge as well as the lady’s children that they’re taking over the case, an ambulance rushes to location, personal opens via mobile phone using the received electronic key, finds the lady breathing short and saves her life by commencing respective treatment immediately.

Fictious?

Well – maybe, today. But technology for all this is available and business models around it have begun to mature.

What these examples show – besides that they all encompass the integration of Things with several or all aspects of the Nexus of Forces discussed earlier in this article series – is an aspect essential to understanding “Digital Business” and that immense digitalization of our daily life: “Digital Business” is nothing else than the seamless (mean it;. literally: s-e-a-m-l-e-s-s) connection of humans, businesses and things (as in the IoT definition). “Digital Business” is a merger of physical and digital worlds!

In turn, this means plain simply, that there will be no business whatsoever that goes without software. Businesses already penetrated by software will experience increasing software, automation and integration challenges and businesses that haven’t yet introduced software into their models will face an increased challenge doing so, as well as to integrate with the digital world around them. Essentially for nothing else than just for staying in business.

 

{the 8th issue of this blog post series covers a way to approach all those challenges through creating a true services ecosystem for the enterprise; and as it’s the last it also wraps up and concludes}

{feature image found on http://marketingland.com/}

 

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The “Next Big Thing” series: Discussing The Thing

Opening chapter No. 6 of the “Next Big Thing” blog post series by discussing the Internet of Things!

What’s essentially so entirely new about the Internet of Things? Things are not. Connectivity and protocols might be – but not entirely. Mastering the data produced by things – well: we’ve discussed that bit in one of the earlier posts of this series.

What’s really entirely new is the speed of adoption that the topic now reaches; and this speed is based on the possibilities that technology innovation have begun to offer to new things-based ecosystems.

In order to understand that, one has to judge the elements of a things-based architecture. While the article “Understanding the IoT Landscape” offers a quite comprehensive simplified IoT architecture, I would tend to be a little more detailed in assessing the elements of a functioning IoT ecosystem:

Architecture building blocks in an IoT Ecosystem

Figure: Architecture building blocks in an IoT Ecosystem

  1. The Thing itself. The variety of what a “Thing” may be is vast: medical human wearable monitoring devices (e.g. heart monitor), medical measurement devices (such as a diabetes meter), sensors, transmitters and alert devices in automated cars, smart home automation sensors, fitness wearables or simply watches that take over several of the above capabilities at once, … and many more things that aren’t even invented or thought of yet (the aforementioned article gives a decent list of what Things could possibly be). Discussing implementation architectures for the Thing itself would exceed the scope of this article by far, obviously.
  2. The Thing’s UI: This is already an interestingly ambiguous architecture element. Do Things have UIs? Yes, they do. Sometimes only comprised of one or a few LEDs or the-like of it. They could, of course, also have none at all if in case interfacing with a Thing’s user is delegated to either a mobile phone or a gateway which the Thing is connected to.
  3. Thing Connectivity and Communication Layer: The purpose of which is solely to bridge the gap between the Thing itself and the first connectivity point capable of transferring data through well-established protocols. Thing Connectivity may sometimes be reached through WiFi but often also by just using Bluetooth or any other wireless near field communication protocols.
  4. Thing Gateway: Rarely will Things directly feed data into any backend analytics or application layer; simply because it is too costly and complicated to accomplishing high performant, secure and reliable data connection based on proprietary protocols over long connectivity routes. Hence, we’ll often see some kind of gateway being introduced with the Thing which in simple cases could just be a mobile phone.
  5. Data Store: By whatever way Things might be leveraged by the business’s backend IT, we will always see a data collection and storage layer introduced to directly capture and provide Thing data for further compute, analysis and application integration.
  6. Application Integration: One essential topic to consider when introducing Things into business models is to envision an application landscape around the Thing in order to offer app-based Thing interaction to the end consumer as well as information from Things and their usage to the Thing’s business plus to third-party consumers in order to drive cross-business integration. New cross-enterprise business models will evolve anyway – the better Things-centered businesses allow for integration and orchestration, the better they will be able to leverage and let others leverage their disruptive innovations.
  7. Analytics: No Thing-based business – no Things introduction – will make any sense without creating the ability to leverage the information produced for analysis and even more for prediction or even prescription. We will see more of that in the next section of the article.

The impact to IT when discussing the change through IoT cannot be overestimated. Just by assessing the layers described above it does become obvious that we will see quite a lot of new architectural approaches evolve which in turn need to be integrated with existing IT landscapes. Also – as with all the more recent disruptions in enterprise IT – the orchestration of different services maturing in the “Things” space will be key for IT organizations to offer utmost business value when leveraging the Internet of Things.

 

{No. 7 of this blog post series will cover “Digitalization” and “Digital Transformation” – and what it really means to any business}

{feature image borrowed from the IoT wikipedia article}

 

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The “Next Big Thing” series: What’s Industry 4.0 anyway?

So, here’s to continue with “The Next Big Thing” blog post series. Let’s take a leap into what really matters in the coming years – to all kinds of businesses:

Once upon a time

there was The Web. Then Web 2.0. Web 3.0 (Semantics and Augmentation). Then the saying of the “3rd Industrial Revolution”.

I recall, that in the beginnings of the term being used people explained this to be the raise of Cloud Computing and the ubiquitous social and mobile interconnection, whereas later many have corrected themselves to see it as the Industrial Revolution that was started with the raise of the personal computer.

Nowadays, no one seems to be really talking of any Industrial Revolution anymore (might be that they’re unsure whether it’s the 3rd, the 4th or whether we’re in the midst of a constant revolution anyway), but businesses needed a term to describe their striving for technologies that constantly get smarter and help them grow.

Industry 4.0 was born. And it seemed for some time that the core concepts of Industry 4.0 are robotics and the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Whereas the first is still true, “Industry 4.0” has become a term used mainly in the field of manufacturing: Smart factories supported by intense introduction of robotics-based technologies and machines as well as heavy adoption of Automation form the cornerstones of the Industry 4.0 age.

And while there are expert sources that extend the coverage of the Industry 4.0 term also into a world outside of factories (with smart machines like e.g. drones, driverless cars and human support roboters – see e.g. my German-only blog post “Innovationskraft ist nicht das Problem” or the keynote discussed there), the most confusing definition of Industry 4.0 occurred to me in both the English and the German version of Wikipedia, where the article defining the term (at the moment of writing this post) starts by saying: “Industry 4.0 is a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government”.

Hence, I trust that for the benefit of a clear and focussed discussion within this little blog series, it is of advantage to omit the term “Industry 4.0” for a moment and talk about what really will disrupt business and IT in the next couple of years.

And these are mainly

3 Aspects

of an extensively integrated and orchestrated world:

  • Things
  • Digitalized business
  • and a great amount of lightweight well-orchestrated and automated services

The upcoming issues of this series will cover these aspects in more detail – stay tuned.

 

{We’ll start into the “Things” stuff with No. 6 of this blog post series}

{feature image found on www.automationworld.com}

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IT Bildung fürs Digitale Zeitalter

Und wieder eine “Jammer”meldung (nein, nicht Yammer, das Microsoft Enterprise Social Network ;)):

41.000 IT Experten fehlen

meldet BITKOM e.V. in einer Aussendung vom 11.11.2014! Und konkludiert nach der Diskussion der durchaus repräsentativen Analyseergebnisse (1.500 Unternehmen wurden befragt), dass es dringend eines “Pflichtfachs Informatik in der Sekundarstufe I” bedürfe.

Die Deutsche Sekundarstufe I entspricht der Österreichischen “Unterstufe” (also z.B. Hauptschule oder Gymnasium, Klasse 1 – 4, oder 5. bis 8. Schulstufe). Das ist aber hier überhaupt nicht das Thema, denn der Ansatz und die Forderung ist sowieso grundlegend falsch (egal für welche Schulstufe) und geht vollkommen an dem vorbei, was in einem Bildungssystem für das “Lernen” von IT nötig wäre!

IT wird in kürzester Zukunft integraler Bestandteil aller Wirtschaftszweige sein. In einem eigens dafür geschaffenen Schulunterrichtsgegenstand – in einer eigenen Lerneinheit – disjunkt von allem anderen Lernen durch Lehrkräfte, die die Ausbildung dazu nie bekommen haben, “Computer-Gebrauch” unterrichten zu lassen, ist so sinnentleert wie auf Grund von Lehrermangel einen Geographiker Physik unterrichten zu lassen (ja, auch das kommt – zumindest im österreichischen Schulsystem – tatsächlich vor, insofern überrascht mich die Forderung nicht wirklich; sie ärgert mich bloß).

Die einzige wirklich zielführende Maßnahme ist das integrierte Benutzen von Computern im Unterricht.

  • Ob eine Schülerin ihr Heft oder ihr Notebook zum Mitschreiben benutzt, muss egal sein.
  • Ob ein Schüler das Tafelbild abmalt oder mit dem Tablet fotografiert, ist völlig einerlei.
  • Ob eine Schülerin ein Wörterbuch oder linguee.com am Mobiltelefon zum Nachschlagen verwendet, darf keinen Unterschied machen.
  • Die Nutzung von Mobilgeräten im Unterricht muss explizit erlaubt sein (verbieten kann die Schule ja gerne die Nutzung bestimmter Apps, wenn sie es nicht schafft, den SchülerInnen den richtigen – den zielführenden – Umgang mit dem Gerät zu vermitteln)

So lange unser Schulsystem “Informatik” als Unterrichtsgegenstand begreift, anstatt IT als integralen Bestandteil des Lebens, bildet es unserer Schüler eindimensional, allenfalls parallel in verschiedenen, voneinander getrennten Disziplinen aus. Die Realität ereilt die Ausgebildeten dann, wenn die erste Jobausschreibung mit der Forderung nach IT-Kenntnissen überrascht – und viele (wenn nicht alle) Jobausschreibungen werden das in Zukunft! Aufgabe jedes IT-Unternehmens, -Vereins oder -Netzwerkes ist es daher, Informatikunterricht abzulehnen und die echte Integration der IT in das Ausbildungssystem zu betreiben!

 

Das Feature Bild entstammt dem – grundsätzlich erfreulichen – Focus.DE Artikel: “Tablet-Computer sollen Unterricht verbessern

 

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The “Next Big Thing” series: #Mobile Everywhere

{this is No. 4 of the “Next Big Thing” blog post series, which discusses the revolution to come through ongoing innovation in IT and the challenges involved with’em}

 

I would be interested in getting to know, how many readers of this series still know a person not owning a smartphone? (I do, by the way ;))

Even though I have written several times about the danger of it and how important it is to consider behaviour for a healthy adoption of “Mobile Everywhere” (e.g. in “Switch Offor “3 importances for a self-aware social networker) I am still a strong believer in the advantages that elaborate mobile technology brings into day-2-day life.

Not only do mobile phone technology and mobile app ecosystems add significant value to the other two forces (data and social) but additionally they’ve meanwhile “learned” to make vast use of them. You could actually describe a stacked model of this bond of disruptive technologies which are discussed in this series in a way that

  • data is the back-end business layer of the future
  • social platforms are the middleware to bring together information offers and information needs
  • and mobile technology is the front end to support information and data consumption in both ways

The image below turns the “Nexus”-model from the beginning of this series into a stack appearance:

 

Nexus of Forces (stacked)

Nexus of Forces (stacked)

 

Which – essentially – closes the loop with why we do see a bond of not only the technologies in mobility, social media and data and analytics but even more the visions, strategies and concepts of these three. Needless to say, therefore, that businesses who have a strong strategy and vision around the Nexus of Forces and – at the same time – are backed by a strong Service Orchestration roadmap will be the winners of the “race of embrace” of this bond.

Now, thinking of the Pioneers, which I’ve started this blog series with, I recall that one could see all forms of leveraging the aforementioned concepts in the ideas of the startups presenting there. And – unsurprisingly to me – not a single moment during those 2 festival days back in October this year, “Cloud” was even mentioned, let alone discussed. It is no topic anymore. Period.

However, there’s more: The Nexus of Forces as such is only the beginning of a path leading into the next industrial revolution and we’re already well under way. Hence, this blog series will continue discussing concepts and challenges which build upon the Nexus of Forces and takes it to the next level with change to come for each and every enterprise – software-based, hardware-based or not even technology-based at all.

 

{No. 5 of this blog post series takes the first step into “Industry 4.0” and related disruptive topics}

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What Private Clouds and Cloud “Youngsters” have (not) in common

What is a Cloud “Youngster”? For the benefit of this post I will use the term for those traditional IT providers moving into offering Cloud services. And I am mainly talking about Enterprise Cloud providers; i.e. those who want to transform themselves from being an Enterprise hosting and outsourcing partner to a (public) Cloud provider for large enterprises.

So, what is this commonness about?

The question raises as Cloud “Youngsters” typically evolve from some elephant-like organizations who’s processes serve the purpose of utmost control of their IT’s consumption. Myriads of personal take proper care of exactly what happens when with which portion of the IT, when used through an application of one of their customers who – in a long enduring engagement process – outsourced their stuff to the IT provider (the “hoster”). And this scenario is actually not that much different from how IT is provided internally to a company’s business lines. Today.

In short: the keyword for how this works is – “slow”.

With the evolution of Cloud the hoster becomes the “Cloud Youngster” taking its experience in providing IT to offer a Cloud to its customers.

Which is good. No question about it. The problem raises when after that decision (“we have a lot of experience in how to do this – let’s provide a cloud“) nothing happens in addition …

E.g.: Check out this teched blog post: “Private Cloud Principles” (http://blogs.technet.com/b/privatecloud/archive/2010/10/12/private-cloud-principles.aspx). It describes in a pretty abstract manner what challenges are faced when the internal provider of IT to a company’s business wants to start providing IT as a Cloud. No, I won’t repeat the post, of course; but I’ll stress a few bullet points:

  • A comsuming entity must perceive compute resources as being infinite even thought they aren’t
  • Mitigating failure through redundancy of components is too resource consuming
  • Reduce human involvement for the sake of agility and predicatbility
  • Incentive a behaviour which drives consumption down whenever possible

Our “Youngster” faces exactly the same challenges as its IT is far from being infinite, whereas its customer’s expectation demands exactly that: infinite resources. Closing this gap without investing into huge DC ramp ups can only be done through the measures described above (and more); and I believe the article gives quite a good guideline for a few paradigms (while it is pleasently economical with Microsoft product references ;)).

Therefore, I’d claim that Cloud “Youngsters” have a lot if not all in common with a company having decided to take the change challenge and transform their internal IT provisioning into a Private Cloud.

What – as I experienced it – they do not have in common, though, is the commitment for change.

Large hosters/outsourcers oftenly tend to believe that the step into being a Cloud provider is done by leveraging their processes, paradigms and provisioning means and just virtualizing their infrastructure. That approach leaks the clear decision for transformation. Tranformation far too often ends in slide ware and not at the end of a proper program to establish fully elastic IT-as-a-Service – for the benefit of Cloud customers.

Taking this decision and really executing upon it is probably the bigest challenge in it all. The ones starting kicking their IT into a Private Cloud have done this decision. Deliberately and consciously.

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