Windows 10 Technical Preview, where is the START menu?

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As the Computer Weekly Developer Network blog seeks to track the work of the global community of software application developers working on Microsoft's new operating system, this post is merely meant to serve as some informal additional hands-on reportage.

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For a more fully prepared sequential step-by-step walkthrough of the install process you should read Cliff Saran's Windows 10 Technical Preview: Installing and test drive Build 9841.

First impressions

First impressions then -- "gosh that was easy and fast" wouldn't be overstating it.

The install took around half an hour and worked without a single glitch -- all the stages described in the picture story above presented themselves.

64-bit NOTE: Many users will sensibly opt to install the OS on a partitioned volume, but our installation here was carried out "all in" on a 64-bit Surface 1 machine.

But -- it's not always seamless.

As one journalist told me, "I tried it on an old Dell Latitude tablet. Not even the 32 bit preview would load."

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A few points of interest

If you do install on a tablet (that includes Surface, of course) then you may be wondering when the fabled return of the start menu will actually appear.

For tablets, the "START SCREEN" is enabled by default.

For desktop installation, the "START MENU" is enabled by default.

Perhaps Microsoft's Windows 8 developers still want us to think of the (infuriating for some) start screen as essentially still ideal for tablet use -- well, it's not 'perhaps' is it?

So it's a simple enough process to get your START menu enabled.

  1. Right click on the taskbar (not the desktop) at the bottom of the screen.
  2. You can do this with a pen on a Surface by holding it in place, but a mouse if kind of easier.
  3. Open the bottom PROPERTIES option.
  4. Taskbar and Start Menu Properties will open up.
  5. Select the third tab along labelled Start Menu.
  6. Check the box that reads "Use Start menu instead of Start screen" at the top.
  7. Apply and close.

... and yes there are instabilities, I already have a "Recent Folders" shortcut on my desktop that I can't get rid of, but it's good to be on the Windows 10 journey.


Apple Pay is easy peasy & never cheesy on Payeezy

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Apigee is trying to help developers integrate Apple Pay into their retail and gaming applications.

The company (Apigee) itself is actually an API management and predictive analytics platform specialist -- and Apple Pay (in case you hadn't noticed) is Apple's "mobile digital wallet" for iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

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The company (Apigee again, keep up) is working with payment technology firm First Data's cheekily named Apigee-powered Payeezy.com online ecommerce payments platform, which gives merchants access to Apple Pay.

Obviously there's now a big demand to integrate payments within apps, which means opening up payments platforms to the developer community -- so First Data is doing this with Apigee's API platform.

NOTE: Apigee is API gee for API management i.e. API as in Application Programming Interface, get it?

"There is high consumer demand for apps that can immediately support new mobile technology," said Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee.

"Through an API-centric approach, First Data's Payeezy.com makes it easy and fast for software developers to build apps that support the new single-touch mobile payment capabilities for Apple Pay."

Spell the facts out please

First Data is a global payment processing company serving six million merchant locations, thousands of card issuers and millions of consumers worldwide.

Payeezy.com is an eCommerce platform that provides an online tool for developers to deliver secure online and mobile payments.



Payeezy.com utilises the Apigee API platform, and First Data was able to significantly accelerate project development and time to market for Payeezy with Apigee. Through APIs, First Data is empowering developers to rapidly design apps for Apple Pay and new mobile payments.



Apigee Edge is an API platform to securely expose and manage data at large scale.

"Apigee Edge is purpose-built for the digital economy, delivering technology businesses need to manage the digital value chain from API exposure to API consumption - and to measure the success of an API program with end-to-end analytics.

Edge includes three components:

API Services,
Developer Services and
Analytics Services.

Apple Pay is easy peasy & never cheesy on Payeezy

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Apigee is trying to developers integrate Apple Pay into their retail and gaming applications.

The company (Apigee) itself is actually an API management and predictive analytics platform specialist -- and Apple Pay (in case you hadn't noticed) is Apple's "mobile digital wallet" for iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

1APIs for Dummies_0.png

The company (Apigee again, keep up) is working with payment technology firm First Data's cheekily named Apigee-powered Payeezy.com online ecommerce payments platform, which gives merchants access to Apple Pay.

Obviously there's now a big demand to integrate payments within apps, which means opening up payments platforms to the developer community -- so First Data is doing this with Apigee's API platform.

NOTE: Apigee is API gee for API management i.e. API as in Application Programming Interface, get it?

"There is high consumer demand for apps that can immediately support new mobile technology," said Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee.

"Through an API-centric approach, First Data's Payeezy.com makes it easy and fast for software developers to build apps that support the new single-touch mobile payment capabilities for Apple Pay."

Spell the facts out please

First Data is a global payment processing company serving six million merchant locations, thousands of card issuers and millions of consumers worldwide.

Payeezy.com is an eCommerce platform that provides an online tool for developers to deliver secure online and mobile payments.



Payeezy.com utilizes the Apigee API platform, and First Data was able to significantly accelerate project development and time to market for Payeezy with Apigee. Through APIs, First Data is empowering developers to rapidly design apps for Apple Pay and new mobile payments.



Apigee Edge is an API platform to securely expose and manage data at large scale.

"Apigee Edge is purpose-built for the digital economy, delivering technology businesses need to manage the digital value chain from API exposure to API consumption - and to measure the success of an API program with end-to-end analytics.

Edge includes three components:

API Services,
Developer Services and
Analytics Services.

How risky is human data?

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Forget unstructured data, we must now consider human-generated unstructured data.

Varonis Systems is keen on this human data term.

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The company has launched its Unstructured Data Risk Assessment as a professional services offering to identify areas where sensitive data is potentially exposed -- so that we can then implement controls.

Varonis Veep Ken Spinner says that many data-centric developers struggle with understanding the risks associated with their rapidly growing volumes of unstructured data.

What is human data?

"These are the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, media files and other business data stored in file servers and NAS devices. These include critical and often sensitive or confidential data assets and in many cases no one is aware that this information is widely accessible, often by everyone in the company," he said.

With the Varonis Unstructured Data Risk Assessment, we can empower enterprises with actionable insight into how they can best prioritise their use of Varonis technology to improve and automate data security and data management and significantly reduce the possibility of a data breach."

Working in concert with a company's IT staff after the installation of Varonis DatAdvantage, Varonis Professional Services personnel collect and analyse metadata from key infrastructure components and return a detailed, written analysis to be reviewed.

The scope of the assessment can be customised and typically includes detail on areas such as:

• Folders exposed to global access groups
• Sensitive files with global access groups
• Folders with inconsistent permissions
• Users with too much access
• Unused, but enabled user accounts

What to expect from NetSuite SuiteConnect 2014

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Okay so here's how to market the cloud computing proposition.

If you have a corporate day for CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, operations executives and everyone else in the stakeholder selection pack... then don't just call it a meeting, brand it with a specific 'event' label.

Something like Cloud Summit 2014, or Virtualisation For Business Disruption is good -- better if you can get the company name in too though.

Next... get your CEO and founder (two different people, ideally) to turn up.

Sort out an agenda and make sure you've booked drinks & nibbles and that you've accommodated for:

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• the gluten intolerant,
• those with nut allergies,
• those with a proclivity for other quirky digestive needs.

We recommend no 'octopus amuse-bouche canapes', it's just way too left of field.

Finally, run an ad in the newspapers deliberately haranguing your competition.

Oh... and if possible, have your CEO's last keynote staged with a session where he or she takes direct pot-shots at big name players such as SAP and Microsoft.

This is NetSuite, this is how they (it) do it... this is the way the company rolls.

... and so it was that NetSuite SuiteConnect 2014 shall come to pass.

Next week sees CEO Zach Nelson's keynote examine how companies are using the cloud to transform operations -- and there promises of real-world success stories of how European businesses are using cloud solutions.

Nelson and founder Evan Goldberg will detail NetSuite's roadmap for the future including new product enhancements.

All just industry showboating?

Perhaps not, there will be 12 educational breakout sessions to further improve cloud expertise.

Among the real techie stuff here are sessions entitled:

High-Tech: Critical Metrics for the High-Value SaaS Business.
Creating a Customer Centric Organisation with Cloud ERP. Deep Dive Demo.
Forecast & Planning Best Practices.

Nelson describes himself as an American Britophile and is plotting to move to the UK for a period early next year to help bed in recent acquisition Venda (the UK commerce technology leader) and to unsettle a large accountancy software related company named after a herb beginning with S.

Editorial disclosure: Adrian Bridgwater has worked as blogger for NetSuite at it's annual SuiteWorld 2014 conference but has no other professional relationship with the company.







TIBCO's holy trinity for 'in the moment' Fast Data

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TIBCO used its annual conference and user symposium this week to launch a new version of its Fast Data platform.

This is claimed to be the only platform on the market that provides all three core capabilities of speedy/fast data analysis:

  1. Integration,
  2. Analytics and,
  3. Event Processing

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The technology proposition here hinges on the creation of an infrastructure layer of technology (hence the use of the term 'platform') that will allow users to interpret, understand and act on all data.

All data?

When TIBCO says ALL data, it is suggesting that its software can span data residing on-premise or in the cloud (or web), data emanating from big data sources, or data coming from the Internet of Things (or other mobile).

"Customers are increasingly being challenged to extract information, analyse insight and make decisions based on huge volumes of data as events occur in order to remain competitive," said the company, in a press statement.

TIBCO CTO Matt Quinn suggests that without the core capabilities of integration, analytics and event processing, customers are left to cobble solutions together.

Queue - the sell for this Fast Data platform.

In the moment data

The firm says that it has now integrated the necessary solutions to empower customers to combine big data with information captured "in the moment" from their own applications, web, cloud and mobile channels, as well as the data coming from the Internet of Things, enabling insights that can be immediately extracted and decisions applied as situations unfold.

The product update breakdown

 Cross platform integration for TIBCO FTL (faster than light) - this product can now be used from TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks for integration or TIBCO StreamBase for events processing.

 Native integration of TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R with TIBCO StreamBase - TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R now integrates with TIBCO StreamBase to enable real-time decision making from big data insights.

 TIBCO StreamBase connectors - TIBCO StreamBase now supports a wide range of open source connectors enabling customers to connect, understand and act on the data processed from the Internet of Things.

 TIBCO Live Datamart support for HTML 5 -TIBCO Live Datamart now supports HTML 5 to deliver operational visibility in various forms, from dedicated desktop clients to web and mobile applications.

According to a press statement, "The rise of the Internet of Things and mobile technologies allow organizations to capture data virtually everywhere. With TIBCO Live Datamart, support for HTML 5, decisions makers are operationally aware, wherever they are, through web or mobile applications."

What to expect from TIBCO NOW

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TIBCO NOW is staged this week in San Francisco, so what can we expect?

10 basic facts should cover us off...

Fact #1 -- TIBCO will remind us that its company name is justifiably capitalised and that it stands for The Information Business COmpany.

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Fact #2 -- Company CEO Vivek Ranadivé (विवेक रणदिवे) will talk about his "two-second advantage" data theory and mention his work with the Sacramento Kings in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

NOTE: For European readers: basketball is a game of four quarters where men (or women) bounce a 22 ounce ball between 29.5 and 30 inches in circumference into a steel hoop.

Fact #3 -- The firm will remind us it has just released version 5.6 of its Jaspersoft business intelligence (BI) software.

Fact #4 -- Australian CTO Matt Quinn will be interesting, convivial and (arguably) a good source for quotes.

Fact #5 -- The firm will talk about its new integrated Content Analytics capability in its TIBCO Spotfire Analytics platform.

"Now customers can connect to new sources of unstructured text-based data and discover trends, identify patterns, and derive new business insights for improved decision making. Fully integrated into the Spotfire UI, the new Spotfire product capability powered by Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine (AIE), will deliver fast, comprehensive sentiment, content, and text analytics functionality," said the company, in a press statement.

Fact #6 -- Technical breakout sessions at TIBCO NOW will focus on products such as BusinessWorks 6, ActiveMatrix BPM, StreamBase, Jaspersoft, and Spotfire -- all TIBCO own-brand products.

Fact #7 -- Product VP Lars Bauerle will remind us that the ability to quickly derive insight from human-generated content is quickly becoming a critical business need for organisations looking to understand overall corporate performance.

"With Spotfire Content Analytics, we combine our intuitive visual discovery platform with a powerful content analytics engine to offer a best-in-class product for human-created, unstructured content, regardless of the source or format," said Bauerle.

Fact #8 -- TIBCO decided to drop the previous 'TUCON' name for its annual event based on the need to stress the immediacy factor (i.e. Now) of its technical proposition to the market.

Fact #9 -- These five speakers will present keynotes.

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Fact #10 -- The Barenaked Ladies will play the closing concert -- people will inevitably try and pronounce quite complex lyrics: Chickity China the Chinese chicken, you have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'.


Vserv envisions big smart actionable data

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The CWDN blog team recently met up with Dippak Khurana, co-founder & CEO of mobile marketing platform company Vserv.

Khurana talks about the-called 'smart data revolution' no less.

The smart what?

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Well, yes, exactly - this term has been defined by Cambridge Semantics as data that is discovered, integrated, searched, visualised and analysed differently.

We can say that 'smart data' is more flexible in terms of which models it fits into, easy to interpret by humans and machine, more universal in terms of where it can be mapped out and more repurposable.

Khurana explains that by using a smart data approach, his firm augments user profiles by connecting them with multiple sources like telcos, apps, offline partners and data management platforms (DMPs).

Actionable user personas

Through its proprietary algorithm and 500 million+ unique user profiles, Vserv creates what it calls 'actionable user personas' and identifies intent signals in real-time.

With data on over 50% of the mobile Internet users across the world's emerging markets, Vserv insists that its mission is to empower marketers, app developers, telcos and data providers to derive sharper results.

Emerging acceleration

Vserv, is the only company to have inked partnerships with key telcos in emerging markets like Vodafone, Airtel, Aircel, Globe, Mobifone, and Robi Axiata to accelerate these offerings.

"The businesses of tomorrow will all operate on the simple premise of data - and the smarter that data is, the sharper the results will be," says Dippak Khurana, Co-Founder & CEO, Vserv.

"Using our Vserv Smart Data, marketers are already seeing over 5X growth in the conversion rate. We estimate the Smart Data opportunity entailing e-commerce, in app purchases, mobile operators and mobile advertising to be a USD 260 billion industry currently, across emerging markets alone."

Current mobile ad systems expose most ads to people with little-to-no interest. With smart data, Vserv combines user personas with real-time intent signals to show most relevant ads to users.


IBM's data (architecture) developer gets new tools

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IBM makes a direct play for the "data developer" (or perhaps "data architecture developer") this month at its Insight 2014 conference.

Not quite a formalised term as such, IBM has previously talked about the "developer DBA", who is obviously a close relative if not in fact the same person.

The company is aiming to serve this new worker (by whatever name) with a new generation of data services on the IBM Cloud.

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NOTE: Analytics pays back $13.01 for every dollar spent - 1.2 times more than it did three years ago (Nucleus Research) -- yet, other studies show that data cleaning and preparation takes approximately 80 percent of the total data engineering effort (Taylor & Francis Group).

This above pain point, is what IBM is setting out to tackle.

The new cloud-based services promise options to :

• Simplify and automate the ability to find, refine and prepare data
• Warehouse data in the cloud, making it "instantly" available for analytics
• Curate unstructured data services to increase the confidence in analytics
• Enhance mobile and web applications with embedded analytics

"All the data in the world is useless if you can't put it to work. The new cloud-born services from IBM provide data professionals the ability to deliver data with speed and confidence as the fuel for applications and analytics," said Beth Smith, general manager, Big Data, IBM.

"The ability to source and manage the right data will help keep data management streamlined, while adhering to increasingly stringent regulatory demands, and produce results and analysis of real value."

The new services introduced by IBM claim to be able to provide capabilities to help shift from working on the data to putting data to work for their business.

IBM DataWorks is a set of cloud-based data refinery services that shape, cleanse, match and secure data. The new services enable business users to find, use and contribute data for analysis; application developers to embed data services into new applications; and IT and data professionals to enable self-service data access and instill confidence to act on the data.

IBM dashDB is a cloud-based data warehousing and analytics service with in-memory technology built-in. dashDB keeps infrastructure concerns out of the way of critical and time sensitive analytics. A new integration of dashDB with Cloudant, IBM's NoSQL database as a service (DBaaS), allows Cloudant clients to embed analytics in their applications.

IBM Cloudant - IBM is extending its portfolio with Cloudant Local, an on-premise edition of the fully managed cloud database-as-a-service that enables a fluid hybrid cloud data layer that spans private data centers, mobile devices and third-party cloud providers. This ensures customers can easily reconfigure their cloud data platforms over time to optimise the cost, security, reach and performance.

Mini case study

The power of these capabilities could enable, for example, a ride sharing service company to improve their customers' experience by ensuring their drivers are in the right place at the right time. The company can take taxi trip information, captured in a mobile application running on Cloudant, directly into dashDB, and then use DataWorks to refine and load additional weather and traffic data to provide more insight. With dashDB, Cloudant and DataWorks working together, new insights can be leveraged to improve customer experience and grow revenue.

Watson Curator

IBM also introduced Watson Curator, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that increases confidence in the delivery of quality content collections and governance for IBM Watson Solutions.

For example, an individual insurance risk analyst can quickly review and add context to documents so that many underwriters across the enterprise can get higher quality responses on risk assessments from Watson Engagement Advisor. IBM Watson Curator actively guides subject matter experts -- in this case the risk expert -- through the entire curation process in order to minimise the time and effort required.

Analytical Insight my dear (IBM) Watson

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IBM is reaching out to so-called "data developers" with analytics tools across what is now an increasingly broad portfolio of products - the firm has detailed its news at the Insight 2014 conference.

IBM's cadre of products in this field now include:

• Cognos Business Intelligence,
• SPSS predictive analytics and, of course...
• IBM Watson Analytics.

To be fair, IBM is also reaching out to partners, customers and users at every level with these technologies.

The democratisation banner for all users

Firms today like to release products under what they call a democratisation banner - this simply means that they to see their products used by ALL TYPES OF USERS.

"Developers (and individuals) will have the ability to incorporate data-driven decision making into every business decision," says IBM.

If the programmers (and the users) get these technologies working properly, then (in theory) businesses will be able to use the insights gained from cloud-based analytics solutions to:

• implement new services,
• drive corporate performance,
• and manage governance, risk and compliance.

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Alistair Rennie, general manager for business analytics at IBM says that his firm has also announced five so-called "solution accelerators" for data professionals:

Customer Insight - to support sales, marketing and service.
Operations Insight - info on the condition and performance of assets to optimise operations and provide predictive maintenance and drive process efficiencies.
Security and Fraud Insight - for "situational awareness" to enable faster response and early warning of potential anomalies.
Risk and Compliance Insight - to better manage financial risk, operational risk and compliance.
Data Warehouse Modernization Projects - for quicker access to information generated across the enterprise.

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The program will provide clients access to pre-integrated software solutions and industry and technology-specific services expertise that is designed to enable businesses across a range of industries to incorporate five different types of data-driven insights to improve business performance.

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence on Cloud is currently in beta and is planned to be available in the first quarter of 2015. IBM SPSS Modeler is planned to be available via IBM's Cloud marketplace within 30 days.








IBM (superhero) intelligence cybercrime analytics

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IBM has announced new high-speed analysis and criminal investigation software.

The product is designed to uncover hidden criminal threats buried deep inside massive volumes of disparate corporate data.

Non-obvious relationships, it's complicated

IBM i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis (EIA) is said to be able to find "non-obvious relationships" masked within hundreds of terabytes of data and trillions of objects.

The firm's challenge to data developers (an increasingly prevalent term overheard at the Impact 2014 conference) is that they should now be able to fuse together multiple data sources and gain visibility into threats.

Hidden covert operations, for months at a time

Citing research from the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), IBM says that cybercriminals have the ability to hide their covert activity for months after an attack.

The company insists that i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis (EIA) analyses huge amounts of disparate data to discover weak-signal relationships that reveal the true nature and source of an attack.

"The solution unravels these hidden connections that can be divided by as many as six degrees of separation between disparate sources - from corporate records and social media chatter to data accessed by remote sensors and third-party applications. As developments unfold, EIA provides always-on recommendations that proactively alert analysts to new related abnormalities at the speed of attack," said the company.

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Maria Vello, president and CEO of The National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA) says that threat analysts and investigators need the ability to look at every possible data set and relationship - no matter how distant or unrelated they may seem - and be able to make key associations and correlations in seconds.

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According to Bob Griffin, general manager, i2, Threat and Counter Fraud, IBM, "With IBM i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis, we've changed the ability of investigators to find that illusive needle in a haystack that helps them detect a cyber attack. This provides any organization with always-on analytics that turns massive amounts of data into real-time insights in a way that simply wasn't possible before."

What to expect from IBM Insight 2014

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The first rule of technical conferences is: conferences start before the conference.

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Generally on social media and also in terms of events often now labelled as "day zero" gatherings, we know that events start before they start.

IBM's big blue data

What was once called IBM Information on Demand (IoD) is now called IBM Insight.

Insight works better right -- after all, let's consider the accepted flow of information today...

i. internet of things & wearables & sensors
ii. big data
iii. analytics
iv. IBM Watson
v. insight

Somehow replacing point v. with Information on Demand doesn't work anymore.

Surely it could have been called IBM Analytics -- but that makes a better hashtag so there you go:

#IBMInsight
#WatsonAnalytics

The conference is will bring together more than 13,000 attendees, 300 customer and business partner speakers and many IBM executives and what IBM likes to call "distinguished engineers" (and they actually always are) to discuss big data and analytics.

During the show, IBM will unveil new products and services while highlighting new client success stories. IBM executives will also provide attendees with the skills (and... wait for it...) the "insight" and resources necessary to understand how to effectively tackle big data for competitive advantage.

So onward to the sessions...

How to make real-time decision making real -- may be the biggest challenge for any organisation seeking to obtain the greatest value and insight to improve business performance from volumes of data at its disposal says IBM.

IBM promises to discuss the relevance and role of analytics across different lines of business.

"Supported by IBM client examples, we'll show how business leaders are capitalising on big data and analytics to transform their industries, and changing their customer's experience," says the firm.

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Speaker microphones and clips are pre-baked & ready to go/eat

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The stage is set: but will IBM offer up spin or substance?

How to build a community application platform

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Social reality number #1: companies today need individual employees to be ambassadors of the firm's brand.

Social reality number #2: the job title 'head of community' is now very real.

Social reality number #3: the IT industry is selling software to build professionally branded and 'gamified' communities.

Why the reality check?

Because Jive Software has announced the fall (they're American, they just mean November) cloud release of its JiveX external community platform.

The software is an 'external community application platform' designed to be used for building partner and customer engagement communities.

JiveX works to give community managers (and participant users) ROI-focused analytics and so-called "brand affinity" with interactions across both mobile and web.

"In the digitally connected world, an engaging community for customers and partners is a business imperative. However, in order to unlock the true potential of these communities, brands need to deliver user experiences that create meaningful engagements and interactions with their audiences," said Clara Liang, chief product officer, Jive Software.

"Our latest update to the JiveX platform provides companies with even more ways to put their users first, enabling brands to better encourage and increase participation and discussions within the community," she added.

By showcasing 'top and relevant' activities, users can scan for the most important posts, questions, announcements and discussions.

New role badges provide a visual cue of a user's role (such as community administrators, moderators, experts and champions) so members can easily associate what someone is saying to their role in the community.

With new 'Most Helpful' ratings, users can effectively identify the most helpful replies to questions with a yes or no vote to guide other community members more quickly to which content was the best and most helpful.

With new ROI analytics, community managers can access new reports providing quantitative data enabling them to demonstrate the value of their community.

Community managers can now take advantage of new simplified management capabilities to customize their community's mobile browsers to deliver the best browsing experience possible while providing the same flexible layouts equivalent to the desktop experience.

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Social reality number #4: a real company being social

"At Sidecar, our community is arguably one of the most important elements of our business - providing a shared voice among our corporate offices, network of drivers and our valued customers especially on mobile devices," said Maria Ogneva, head of community, Sidecar.

Sidecar is marketplace for people to give (and get) rides from their mobile phone

Ogneva says that she uses this software to 'encourage and empower' each individual employee to be ambassadors of the firm's brand.

Social reality number #5: Jive CEO Tony Zingale is nothing if not social.

Social reality number #6: Social systems are now part of the CIO/CTO roadmap.

Sean Dahlberg, community manager at Spiceworks insists that his opinion here is relevant as he represents an IT community with six million users where brands such as Dell, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dropbox Box and 3,000+ others connect with their customers and prospects.

"Professionals in all industries are using specialised communities to connect and engage with each other whether the brands trying to sell to them are actively participating in those conversations or not," said Dahlberg.

"We see it every day in the Spiceworks. Brands have an enormous opportunity to join the conversation in an open, honest way on their customers' turf. Doing so can help humanise the brand and create a one-to-many discussion on topics both parties care about," he added.

Social reality number #7: The anti-social company is dead, eventually.

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JiveWorld 14: notes from day zero summit

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Jive Software kicked off its JiveWorld 14 event this October with an informal 'day zero' style executive summit.

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Initial sessions focused on using communication and collaboration solutions like Jive to span the communications challenges arising between baby boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y & the so-called millennials generation.

Defining success culture

A later panel featured Mark Boncheck, founder (and his PR people say also 'chief catalyst') at social business strategy company thinkORBIT, a firm with capital letters in its name that are not an acronym.

Boncheck was joined by Jeff Hayzlett from Bloomberg TV's C-Suite and also the very magically named Azure Antoinette who lists herself as a commissioned poet and author as well as being a millennial advocate.

Snappy one liners

"As soon as something becomes a hashtag it becomes a t-shirt," said Antoinette.

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The poet was explaining how different the world is for millennials who she says use truncated syllables, acronyms, bad spelling and, basically, all the things that the core theories of business management would not advise.

Boncheck argued that this is no open and shut case, he was one of the 'first thousand' people to sign up for Twitter, but he is definitely outside of the millennials age bracket.

"Millennial is not a generation, it is a mindset," said Boncheck.

Jive worktypes

Unsurprisingly, the line from Jive here is that when you create a community around a common purpose, all the generational differences start to blend into the background.

Jive has hosted its own free to use worktype finder for users to assess themselves as classify themselves into one of the following groups

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  • As a COACH, you are adept at growing relationships.
  • As a CONNECTOR, you are a matchmaker, bridge and catalyst.
  • As an ENERGISER, you bring excitement and enthusiasm.
  • As an EXPERT, you create the systems and structures to make things flourish.
  • As an EXPLORER, you are the creative spark and wellspring of ideas.
  • As an OPTIMISER, you organise and coordinate the activities of others.
  • As a PLANNER, you like to create the processes that establish and streamline.
  • As a PRODUCER, you take great pride in bringing vision into reality.

In the wider conference

In addition to notes above, this event offered more than sixty breakout sessions and hands-on training workshops about topics such as advanced community management, customer and partner communities and internal collaboration.

New this year is JiveWorld14's Developer Conference will include an open hackathon.

JiveWorld 14: one language for baby boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y & millennials

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Jive Software kicked off its JiveWorld 14 event this October with an informal 'day zero' style executive summit hosted by the firm's sharply dressed man CEO Tony Zingale.

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Jive is a company that specialises in modern communication and collaboration solutions for business - it produces an enterprise platform level product set with a core piece of technology simply known as Jive, plus also the JiveX external community application and Producteev, a social task management app for teams.

A 'fireside chat' (two execs playing talking heads) between two representatives from PwC Digital Services Consulting Group focused on the issue of employing and working with the new stream of so-called 'millennials' i.e. the demographic cohort used to denote those born from somewhere around the decade before year 2000 and onwards.

Spanning the generation gap

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PwC Margaret Burke talked about the problems associated with getting 'baby boomers', plus also Generations Y and X all being able to talk to the millennials out there today.

Saying that "when you are born makes a difference", Burke said that her firm is using Jive technology to help span the generation gap and allow her firm to instill values such as corporate responsibility across the employee base.

If younger users refuse to use email as a primary communications stream (and they do) then a firm needs to look at other ways to connect across the age gaps that exist.

Why the why factor matters

"We know that we need to be honest with people [so transparency is really important], but it's not just about the what, it's also about the why factor. We looked at our compensation scheme and realised that we didn't give employees a proper contextual explanation of why pay sits at a certain level and why (or not) bonus payments might have been made to certain individuals," said Burke.

If you can't explain the why factor behind a certain piece of communication then you fail says Burke.

Flexibility matters too

As well as the need to be transparent and be able to engage with employees at any level - firms need to be flexible.

The work life balance has a significant impact upon the way firms will experience employees turnover and satisfaction today, so (argued the speakers) firms will need the tools to be able to give workers the option to be able to work from anywhere.

PwC says it is transforming its workforce to meet the needs of millennials and (no surprise) the firm is a Jive customer - but this session was not overly peppered with product selling, so that part is assumed.

Image (top) credit: http://www.pwc.co.uk/







What to expect from JiveWorld #jw14 2014

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JiveWorld 2014 kicks off next week, so what should attendees (and watchers from afar) expect?

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As those hip to the groove with Jive's beat will know, the company is a collaborations and communications solutions specialist.

Jive itself is the eponymously named social collaboration software - this is not just messaging and chat, this is software that is supposed to "drive strategic alignment and employee productivity" (as they say in marketing-land).

JiveX (note a 'superscript' x please) is an out-of-the-box external community application to connect collaborate with customers and partners that is supposed to go beyond Q&A forum software.

Producteev (PRON: proh-duck-teev) is the firm's social task management app for teams -- and it's completely free.

The firm's annual customer, partner, employee, social business strategist, technical user and software application developer symposium is held next week in Las Vegas.

Workstyles, that's just one word now

JiveWorld14 will teach us all about what "collaborative workstyles" means in the 21st Century -- an age when the term work styles is now one word i.e. workstyles.

The event will feature TED speakers Adam Sadowky and Azure Antoinette and executives from FICO, Schneider Electric and Mylan .

Azure Antoinette will use performance poetry to explore the way people's individual workstyles are reshaping business and humanity overall.

They're zany, they're socially mind-bendingly bonkers

TED speaker Adam Sadowsky who is founder of Syyn Labs, will take the stage along with his team of "mad scientists" to share how they collaborate and mix up their creative ideas into mind-bending machines.

"Jive [helps] employees' insights, ideas and impact - and we're excited to bring so many of them together in one place to not only celebrate and share their success, but get inspired by some of today's most creative and collaborative minds," said Elisa Steele, executive vice president of marketing and products, Jive.

Preferred workstyles for preferential perfection

Steele will be aim to showcase how today's businesses can identify the "preferred workstyles" of their employees,

Also at the show, Todd Moran, director of social enterprise at Schneider Electric, a global energy management specialist and last year's winner of Jive's "New Way to Business" award, will share how Schneider is building momentum to organically modify the company's workstyle one business group at a time.

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... and for developers

The accompanying JiveWorld14 - Developer Conference features a keynote by Matthew McCullough @ GitHub.

Matthew is a 15-year veteran of enterprise software development, open source education, and co-founder of Ambient Ideas, LLC, a Denver consultancy.

He is currently is VP of Training at GitHub.com, author of the Git Master Class series for O'Reilly, speaker at over 30 national and international conferences, author of three of the top 10 DZone RefCards, and President of the Denver Open Source Users Group.

The developer track features Jive engineers presenting on each integration disciplines including:

• Tiles, Streams & Templates
• Jive Apps
• Analytics
• Cartridges
• External Storage
• Mobile SDK (iOS + Android)
• Producteev
• & more ...

Oh ... and there's OK GO to.

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Salesforce.com partner FirstRain gets personal with analytics

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Silicon Valley data specialist FirstRain is at Dreamforce 2014 to put what it calls personal business analytics power into the new predictive data offerings from Salesforce.com.

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Joining the Salesforce Analytics Cloud ecosystem now, FirstRain brings its branded to the central Salesforce Analytics Cloud to produce a tool that explores structured data that has been enriched with personalised company-specific analytics drawn from the unstructured web and social media.

Users direct this software to find and highlight hard-to-find changes in their business performance and determine what action to take.

"We're excited to see the productivity gains the combination of Salesforce Analytics Cloud with FirstRain's personal business analytics will give our mutual customers," said Penny Herscher, FirstRain president and CEO.

Salesforce hopes its customers will use the firm's new Wave self-service analytics technology on structured customer and market data. Then, from that point, combine it with FirstRain analytics from the wider world of unstructured data.

This will allow users to explore risks and opportunities says the firm. For example, sales management can explore which deals are being delayed in a current quarter, use FirstRain to show the reasons why and then predict which future deals are being impacted by the same risks.

"FirstRain uses deep data science, unstructured text analytics on the web and social media with sophisticated personalisation to create the deep personal understanding of the customer's business that is critical to every business professional today," said Herscher.

FirstRain says it is broadly used by externally-facing teams i) to provide sales units with customer understanding for enterprise sales methodologies ii) to equip global executive teams with real-time analysis of their top customers or iii) to help strategic marketing teams analyse the dynamics of vertical markets and competitors.

FirstRain works across manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare and financial services to combine structured and unstructured analytics into insights to drive fact-based decisions.

Progress: the 'application ice age' ends in 2015

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With just a hint of PR spin, Progress Software has attempted to coin the 'end of the application ice age' as a period we are about to experience in 2015 given the coalescing forces coming together in next-generation cloud environments.

Technology has reached a tipping point says Progress (Ed - isn't it always?).

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The firm has been understandably overexcited given it is hosting its 'Exchange' annual user, customer and partner event in Orlando this week.

The trends defining the start of a new era for application development are:

1. Citizen Developers

Citizen developers (or the BYOA generation) are technically adept business users that understand the business and have enough technical experience to build apps or to effectively participate in the development process.

IT will start responding to this trend and leading organizations will help promote this concept by enabling citizen developers to be more self-sufficient in building complex business applications without exacerbating shadow IT.

2. The Internet of Things Bridge

Organisations will start to deliver on the hype of IoT across a wide array of industries. Initial steps will be taken to assimilate IoT processing into internal and customer facing applications, including increased use of IoT friendly languages like Node.js.

3. Developers Get a 1-2 Punch with Low-code + Agile

While organisations strive to build smooth enterprise architecture concepts -- silos often exist between different development efforts.Moving forward, organisations will react to the diversity of applications and their mix of developer skill sets by using a combination of development approaches that include both low-code (high-productivity) and agile (high-control).

NOTE: This will allow different skillsets to be applied in an effective and collaborative fashion without the constraints of a one platform approach.

4. Node.js Will Supercharge JavaScript Adoption

JavaScript's rapid growth will continue and will be buoyed by the success of Node.js on the server side, along with the power of MongoDB. Another key driver will be the adoption of PaaS solutions that allow Node.js developers to focus on developing applications instead of worrying about the deployment, scaling, management and monitoring of Node.js and MongoDB applications.

"This will parallel the rise of DevOps as it automates key processes and enables small development projects to take off while also providing the infrastructure for large, mission-critical applications. One of the major indicators of this trend will be the release of Node.js 1.0."

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5. The Enterprise will Start Drinking from "Data Ponds."

Issues with disparate data sources should be solved by now. 2015 will bring the next step in the evolution of data usage. As an increasing number of data streams feed the so-called "data ponds," the enterprise will take their newfound ability to integrate these data sources and start building business applications that transform the data into actionable insight. This will not only increase the value of that data but it will also incentivise businesses to ensure all of their business critical data is integrated and flowing into the same pond.

6. The Transaction Superhighway

Tech Savvy Consumers Will Begin to Travel in the Retail HOV (high occupancy vehicle) Lane.

According to a Progress Software press statement, "2015 will be the year that tech savvy consumers say goodbye to standing in long lines. The proliferation of online ordering and in-store pickup will continue but the trend will become more widespread as the user experience becomes more streamlined and reliable."

Retailers will also start exploring the crossroads of the Internet of Things and predictive analytics to enable "predictive selling." For example, the connected home will enable certain retailers to break down even more additional road blocks and offer consumers products they may have not realized they needed, such as milk or water filters. With an alert to the consumers phone followed by home delievery, the only action needed from the consumer was to open the alert and press buy.

What to expect from Progress Exchange 2014

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Every vendor, user group, Special Interest Group (SIG) and technical community seems to have a conference/symposium/convention (delete as applicable) these days doesn't it?

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Time then for Progress Exchange 2014, this year's annual gathering from the application platform-as-a-service (aPaaS) company that talks about data connectivity at the heart of where it sees the vision of its technology proposition.

Version 2 of the firm's application development platform Pacific arrived last year and the firm will use this year's event to explain how to navigate its model-driven, point-and-click interface that promises to let users build apps without much coding -- or no coding at all in fact.

Pacific generates user interfaces automatically, so users can focus on the application and it combines app development with data integration.

All data sources combined, nice

From one interface, connect to all the data sources available, no matter where they reside, in the cloud or on-premise says Progress.

"Simply add new data sources without rewriting code. It's really that easy," says the sales blurb.

Progress will also focus on OpenEdge.

This is the company's scalable open platform for building dynamic multi-language applications that is compatible with any database, user interface and operating system.

Not afraid of meaty claims with weighty stats, the firm claims that -- OpenEdge is 40% more productive and provides a 30% cost savings versus the competition whether you deploy on-premise, to mobile devices, or in the cloud.

What happens in Orlando, get's shared outside Orlando

Progress Exchange 2014 workshops are instructor-led, hands-on and there are BYOD sessions designed to introduce technical users to the latest Progress technologies through real-world exercises.

Examples of sessions include:

  • Advanced Business Applications for the Cloud
  • Agility through Business Rules Management
  • OpenEdge Progress Developer Studio Business Applications for a Mobile World
  • OpenEdge Advanced Development
  • Rapid Application Development for the Cloud

Progress insists it has brought together tools, tips and (ah-hem) so-termed 'visionary ideas' to explore every stage of the application lifecycle.

Every stage of the app lifecycle?

That would mean from building to managing, from integrating data to defining rules, to using it to drive business.

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According to a day zero pre-event show blog, "Each year, the Showcase@Exchange features event sponsors and Progress partners and customers who have built applications using Progress technologies. This year, we're doing something even cooler, we're featuring an Innovator Row where some of the coolest apps built on Progress technology will be on display for everyone to see and learn about. On this year's Innovator Row you'll find companies including DataPA, Franchise Technologies, GMT Europe BV, Infor, Jungle Lasers, Ypsilon who will be sporting point of sale systems for major food/beverage retailers, apps designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and more."

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The secret underworld of games cheats, detectives & aimbots

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The Computer Weekly Developer Network this weekend features a guest post from Paco Hope at software security firm Cigital on the subject of the specific types of hacks suffered by online gaming sites -- and what games developers need to do to make their software more resilient to attacks.

TECHNICAL NOTE: Common attacks include aimbots, triggerbots, radar hacks and texture hacks that are specific to this industry segment.

The worldwide video game market is a multi-billion dollar market, generating an estimated £58 billion of revenue in 2013 -- however, only about 20% of released games generate any profit and cheating is one reason for this. Games that don't do enough to protect players from "cheating" risk alienating and restricting their potential pool of players.

Security in gaming helps protect the integrity of the gaming experience and the revenue that comes with it.

Hope speaks...

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This is a subject close to the heart of myself and my colleague, technical manager, Amit Sethi so we've shared our views on what it looks like to do the right amount of security in gaming.

Regardless of the business model - from single/multi-player packaged games to multiplayer online and freemium games - most are built in some form of client/server architecture.

It's a fair game

A perfectly fair game would make all decisions centrally at the server, never trusting the client at all (since a cheating player can change how his or her local system works). In reality, however, such a naïve design cannot be implemented in a practical way.

Games need to provide immediate feedback to user inputs. There isn't enough time for the server to receive the inputs ("fire!"), make decisions ("did I hit?"), and respond to the player quickly enough ("you missed"). Instead, game servers trust game clients to handle many parts of the game experience that players shouldn't see.

Moreover, game servers often trust game clients to adjudicate outcomes.

This is called a "client-side trust" problem. Unfortunately, given the high latency and low bandwidth of many players' network connections, this will be part of games' designs for many years.

How do people exploit these trust issues?

Attacks range from simple "lag switches" to complex hardware and software attacks.

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Image credit: GeekNative

A "lag switch" adds artificial slowness to a user's network connection, which can delay other players' actions in the user's game client, giving the user an unfair advantage. People use cheating programs that modify game clients and data files on disk and in memory. They intercept and modify messages between their game client and the game server. They modify their operating systems and device drivers. They even modify hardware; for example, to repeatedly send an input ("fire!") faster than a player ever could.

Perfect aim, but you're going to hell for this

The ultimate goal of many hacks is to gain an unfair advantage. For example, an "aimbot" ensures that a weapon always aims perfectly; a cheater can use "texture hacks" to make walls invisible and enemies brightly coloured.

This ain't a scene, it's an arms race

Defending against these attacks is complex, and ultimately is in effect something of an "arms race" in the real world.

Cheaters develop attacks; game developers develop corresponding responses. Game developers often defend the integrity of the client's execution by adding surveillance technology outside the game.

These modules don't contribute to the game play, but rather monitor the other programs on a user's PC or device, looking for processes that the developer believes threaten the game's integrity.

Surveillance programs can create privacy concerns among users, who may not want to send a steady stream of information about their PC and their actions back to the game's developer. This surveillance approach also represents an after-the-fact approach to securing a game.

Security that is built into a game is more effective.

Since we need to provide real-time feedback to players, we cannot rely on traditional preventative security controls. Detective controls, that rely on server-side statistical analysis, offer a valuable compromise, helping to identify some cheaters. Players with nearly perfect aim or movement in unusual patterns are candidates for extra scrutiny.

Game operators can act on that information centrally by, for example, banning players.

Rich statistic gathering is just one example of a security control that cannot be added to a game easily after the game is launched. Security needs to be built into games early to ensure that a small number of users do not ruin other players' gameplay experience and steer a title towards that 80% of unprofitable games.

About the author

Paco Hope is a principal consultant with Cigital, Inc. and has 12 years of experience in the security of gaming systems (lottery systems, online gaming, casino gaming devices), web applications, operating systems, and embedded devices (e.g., mobile phones, smart cards).

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