February 2012 Archives

How do we manage mobiles outnumbering PCs in the enterprise?

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The mobility revolution will not be televised. That's because it's all happening in the data centre as mobile applications are being "managed" to a higher degree than ever before.

Managed applications? Yawn, boring, forget it -- right?

Have you stopped reading already? Have you heard this all before? It's an inconvenient truth, but vendors of all shapes and sizes have been slapping the "mobile application management" handle around with feverish fervour since the turn of the millennium if not before.

So why on Earth do applications need management and what makes this interesting?

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device

The challenge here is that companies have to manage personally owned BYOD devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops) that are brought into the workplace and then used to run corporate enterprise applications. Not only do firms need to lock down the security element in this equation, they also need to be able to perform analytics on the data that applications run on these devices impact.

This then, is the USP, the money shot, the $64,000 question i.e. how do we treat mobile devices (in many cases BYOD devices) the same as corporate desktops and servers and run complex data analytics on them.

With enterprises mobilising more key business functions and allowing employees to work at any time and from anywhere via mobile devices, managing and securing these mobile application environments has never been more critical.

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SAP is attempting to address this market need with its release this week of the Afaria 7.0 mobile device management tool. The product aims to provide dashboards for mobile analytics and to also simplify the distribution of applications in the first place.

IDC analyst Stacy Crook says that SAP has completely revamped and streamlined Afaria's administrative console with this release. "These enhancements have the opportunity to significantly benefit customers as the number of mobile devices surpasses PCs in the enterprise and IT requires more simplified, cost-effective mobility management."

Afaria offers end-user self-service portals so that users can register and manage their devices. There is also device security and some application management to keep workforces productive. The product works via what SAP rather charmingly describes as a "delightful" user interface -- and hey, it's even "optimised for touchpad interaction", but let's leave it there lest we stray into marketing too far.

For developers, Afaria has a new web services application programming interface (API) layer, providing access by customers and partners to help integrate with enterprise systems for automation between mobile device management (MDM) and the corporate systems.

Have we provided some tiny degree of clarity into what we really mean by this term "mobile device and application management", I sincerely hope so.

Are dumbed-down software development tools good for user testing?

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You don't buy a new car without kicking the tyres first do you? Well, these days you probably look up a car's most common failure points and faults online while also tracking web-based valuation sites, but you know what I mean.

As general car drivers we are generally not mechanics, so what use is kicking the tyres in the first place?

Do we do this as some sort of palliative excuse to mollify our subconscious into thinking that we've "checked the motor out" -- or is there true value in a non-technical user test at certain levels?

We see the same "dumbed down" testing scenario in software application development.

The Studio MX visualization product for building iPhone app prototypes has been released to private beta this week by its maker iRise.

A drag-and-drop UI allows users to assemble "realistic" iPhone screens with working controls and basic navigation, while more tech-savvy users can incorporate interactivity, business logic and sample data.

While thoroughbred software application development professionals sometimes appear to shudder at the notion of non-technical users being given drag-and-drop tools, there is an argument for better software here...

Users could be encouraged to "kick the tyres" on new iPhone apps, make suggestions and give feedback long before a single line of code is ever written -- a process which could (arguably) reduce the pains and stresses of poorly requested requirements in the first place.

"As we've learned in the desktop world over the last 10 years, static screenshots don't uncover the design flaws, requirements gaps, and usability errors that an interactive prototype can highlight -- and with mobile apps, the user experience is everything," said Maurice Martin, iRise COO and founder.

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When cloud application security gets nasty: multi-vectored DDoS

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With cloud computing application security still something of a moot point, a number of vendors are now attempting to align new and existing offerings to address the risk of security breaches in the virtual cloud domain.

Akamai is one such protagonist and the firm's Kona Site Defender has been launched/refreshed this month with view to shielding web sites and cloud applications from serious risks such as multi-vectored DDoS attacks.

What is a multi-vectored DDoS?

A multi-vectored DDoS attack might see (for example) a company's online web applications "overloaded" by hackers outside of the firm, but via web-based channels that allow input/output levels to go into meltdown. A firm might find that its email, instant message, Skype and website services themselves are simultaneously fried by hackers as they pile on pressure to communicate.

With Kona Site Defender, Akamai has provided a real-time web security-monitoring tool with adaptive rate controls in an always-on format.

The company says that while many organisations still wish to pair acceleration with web security in order to give users of primary sites and web applications a good experience, an increasing number find that the requirement for protection from DDoS and application layer attacks applies to a much broader number of their web properties.

"Attackers don't stay on one layer anymore; they tend to include both network and application-based techniques, which makes defending against them more complicated," said Wendy Nather, research director of 451 Research's enterprise security practice.

Because the Akamai Intelligent Platform is designed to only accept valid HTTP/S requests on port 80 and port 443, network layer attacks such as TCP SYN floods, UDP floods and other network packet based attacks are deflected. The Akamai Intelligent Platform is further designed with built-in automatic protections against HTTP "slow client" attacks (e.g. Slowloris) and HTTP Request Smuggling attacks.

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"Akamai's platform-based approach to web security can offer protection to customers without incurring the performance penalty often associated with other methods, such as traffic scrubbing. At the application layer, where attacks such as SQL injection and cross site scripting are prevalent, the Akamai technology is differentiated through the inclusion of a full-feature web application firewall," said the company, in a press statement.

Games (software development) without frontiers

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Paris, France was this week's location for social gaming platform company Gree to hold its first European press conference.

Founded by Yoshikazu Tanaka (that's Tanaka San to you and me) -- Japan's answer to Mark Zuckerbueg, Gree has been ranked as Japan's fastest growing tech company in 2010 and Tanaka sits on the country's rich list as well as the front cover of Forbes Magazine Asia.

Gree is no shrinking violet and has ambitions to become the largest mobile social gaming platform in the world and attract one billion users as its target within five years -- so, yes, that effectively means taking on Facebook at its own game.

But the company asserts that it is distinctly different from Facebook and Zynga (the San Francisco-based social network game developers) in that the company has its own platform and its own games.

So should developers really sit up and look at what's happening in mobile gaming with social connections?

Tanaka asserts that mobile gaming is now bigger than console games in Japan - "In Japan, when we speak of gaming - we are talking about mobile social gaming," he said.

"The Gree platform is a global, mobile, social gaming platform that will connect gamers with high-quality content from around the world while offering developers access to a fully 'borderless' cross-platform network of high-engagement iOS and Android players."

• 14-language multilingual support is planned.
• The company claims to have 200 million users.
• Smartphone, set top box & consoles are the three game form factors to be aware of.
• Gree provides financial support for software developers.
• The company also partners with some of the big games houses.

For a self-made millionaire games fan Tanaka San doesn't smile a lot, maybe that's just because he's a hard grafter. His company has just announced an agreement with Ubisoft to bring a brand-new Assassin's Creed mobile game to the Gree platform.

The platform itself will launch in Q2 2012 -- and the new Assassin's Creed title will be available in December in English and Japanese, with other languages to follow.

Ubisoft business development director Deborah Papiernik explained that although Assassin's Creed has sold 38 million copies to date in its console-based iteration, today as many 25 percent of her company's developers are now focused on online gaming.

Papiernik also said that Assassin's Creed has extended out into novels, cartoons, short films and movies. So a social mobile version of the game would seem to be the next logical step in the franchise.

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Gree has also partnered with another French games developer, Gameloft. This partnership is scheduled to produce the game Gang Domination on Gree.

So the Gree strategy may be insightful -- it may even provide pointers for software application developers. The company says it will now continue to focus on building relationships with both third party game developers and big games house publishers as it moves towards releasing its new platform.

As a fan of very solitary console-based games I find it hard to see the attraction of a smaller screen with socially connected gaming options; but I know I am old and out of date and that this is the way forward for software games development.

Note: as this press conference was in Paris I did desperately want to use the headline Jeux (Software Development) Sans Frontières - vive le Entente Cordiale!

Integrated data, SIM cards, helicopters & Alice Springs

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There's too much talk in information technology at the moment. I know: hello pot, I'm kettle -- who I am to rant about IT commentary? But hear me out...

The automated distribution of so-called "news" relating to tiny point-level platform and application adjustments is everywhere.

The real future for enterprise data and applications almost seems to get glossed over in the fuzz and fog of daily news distribution.

So what really matters for enterprise data today? It has to be:

• Mobile enough for new device form factors
• Secure enough to touch "systems of record" such as ERP
• Integrated with the corporate data centre
• Available in real time
• Available in Alice Springs

Let's get to the Australian connection in bullet point five in a moment.

For our first four points I will reference Magic Software. The company has recently developed a mobile solution for industrial services company Cape plc. Here's your case study in one paragraph summary:

Magic's technology developed a mobile solution that enables Cape's management team to access integrated data from the company's of enterprise systems, including SAP R/3, bespoke .NET applications and multiple databases, all on a single mobile device screen. By providing an accurate, real-time view of available stock and delivery schedules, this mobile solution empowers Cape managers to reach faster, better informed decisions that drive productivity, save resources and reduce human error.

So, as promised, on to Alice Springs...

After a recent business trip to the Australian "red centre", Magic's managing director David Akka wrote on his own blog about the differing scales of mobile connectivity we see today:

I experienced the two extremes of mobile technology, in Alice Springs at Lasseters Hotel Casino (made famous by Priscilla Queen of the dessert) the cigarette vending machine is all controlled via a touch screen with a SIM card updating the supplier when stocks are low. On the other end of the spectrum whilst in the outback I took a helicopter ride where the pilot took the locals mobiles up with him just to get coverage and pick up their text messages.

... and the moral of this story is --

If you want to build a connected mobile-enabled data structure then think about real time secure cross platform integration; but if you want to send a text message in Alice Springs then steal the SIM from the cigarette vending machine or hire a helicopter.

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Apple's Mountain Lion OS X: 100 New Features

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Apple has released the ninth major release of its OS X operating system to developer preview stage. Continuing the big cat family naming tradition, Mountain Lion will introduce Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring.

NOTE: Mountain Lion is an American colloquial term for the big cat also known as the Cougar.

More extended reports will follow, but suffice to say for now that the operating system (once it has been through developer hands) will feature over 100 new features, one of which will be a security enhancement.

Gatekeeper is a new security feature that guards against malware by giving users complete control over what apps are installed on a machine Mac.

The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer programme members now.

Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.



The developer preview of Mountain Lion features the new Messages app, which replaces iChat and allows you to send unlimited messages, high-quality photos and videos directly from your Mac to another Mac or iOS device.

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Mountain Lion running on an iMac and a MacBook.

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The logo.

The below video was produced by Cult of Mac, it shows 30 New OS X Mountain Lion Features In 2 Minutes.

How do we manage the BYOD boom, at the technical end?

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Much though we may deride our government's best efforts to drag the tea and biscuit-chomping safe-job-for-life civil servants that line Victoria Street into the 21st Century, the UK public sector does appear to be trying to embrace the new world of information technology effectively.

Not only do we see the government G-Cloud with its 1700 (or so) services being currently being put out to tender... its seems that UK PLC has also moved towards creating a BYOD strategy.

BYOD (bring your own device)

The government has (surprise surprise) realised that "significant amounts of public money can be saved" if it allows staff to bring their own devices into the workplace.

"BYOD is coming to government although obviously not in the areas needing the greatest security," said Liam Maxwell, director of ICT Futures at the Cabinet Office.

So clearly (or hopefully perhaps) this will give rise to newly fueled interest in technologies pertaining to mobile device optimisation, security, compliance and management.

To pick one example from many to illustrate the technology in question -- Centrify has this month announced its DirectControl for Mobile. The tool itself claims to centrally control, secure and audit access to cross-platform systems, mobile devices and applications using Active Directory.

NOTE: Active Directory is special-purpose network administration and security database from Microsoft. It can be used to authenticate and authorise users and computers within a network of Windows domain types assigning and enforcing security policies.

Centrify's new cloud-based service is intended to let enterprises centrally secure and manage smart phones and tablets, including iPads and Android devices, using existing Active Directory infrastructure, skill sets and processes to enable easy, rapid deployment combined with enterprise-class scalability.

The company has also announced Centrify Express for Mobile, representing what it claims to be the industry's "first and only" free mobile security offering with no limit on the number of devices that can be supported.

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The company argues to validate its position in this market with the following statement:

"Current Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors deliver their functionality by forcing IT organisations to install additional infrastructure, learn new processes, and/or make intrusive changes to their IT environment to manage these devices. DirectControl for Mobile allows organisations to quickly and securely bring large populations of mobile devices under management using automated self-enrolment without requiring IT staff to deploy additional infrastructure, implement changes in firewall configurations, learn new skill sets or operate yet another management console. The solution maximises security and visibility through centralised management and reporting of enrolled devices and installed applications and through security policy enforcement of devices across the entire organisation."

Will the government keep control of its BYOD strategy and keep all our public data secure? Do we need to worry?

Will civil servants get drunk and leave their tablets and laptops and smartphones (filled with sensitive data that shouldn't be there) on trains, planes and taxis?

No of course they won't - not all at, this will not happen.

How to name your killer software start up

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Company names have a certain special place in the information technology industry.

If you are about to launch the "next big thing" in cloud-based mobile next generation web 2.0 enabled geo-location aware Software-as-a-Service computing then you will want to know how to name your company right?

So how do you do it?

While companies often like to capitalise all the letters of their name to try and conjure up some extra degree of impact, we know that NVIDIA is really Nvidia,
CAST Software is Cast and so on.

Of course if you do have acronyms to show off then use them if they work. It seems to have worked out for International Business Machines and Gesellschaft für Software und System Entwicklung mbH really is better as SUSE isn't it?

Then there is the new trend -- start with lower case and then throw in some caps in the style of eSnips, coComment or ownCloud Inc.

Many of course go the whole hog and stick to lower case for their entire moniker.

Alternatively, some firms opt for the caps on/off routine a la YouTube.

Then there is real next gen style as in del.icio.us (delicious)

Not to forget the old "leave a letter out because it's trendy" misspelling technique as evidenced at Flickr, SoonR and even Zoomr.

You could try the portmanteau style blended approach that seems to have worked pretty well for Microsoft (microcomputers + software), Skype (sky + peer-to-peer network) and Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopedia).

Perhaps Shakespeare's Juliet had it right after all:

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose. 
By any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Ah no but it is important, so why not try the random technology business name generator linked here - it looks like I am launching Total Cyber Paradigm Megacorp Inc.

Hands off, I saw it first!

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Serena: can we fix requirements management?

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There's a great visual joke used to illustrate what the world of software application development requirements management entails. You can view the cartoon I have in mind at My Project Management Expert (dot com) at this link, or below.

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So, clearly, we want to simplify the requirements management process so that customers can communicate with their software programmers and tell them what they really want and, crucially, get what they want -- and, even more crucially, get what they really need.

Serena Software chief evangelist Kevin Parker suggests that there is conflict in requirements management today between speed and accuracy.

So what are our objectives here?

  • We don't want to produce the 400 page specifications that no one ever reads and that are out of date before development begins.

"With Agile and Lean we get to change our approach but this changes our relationship with the business units: we have to train them to recognise how to prioritise the areas we are to work on. The key to success here is the 'product owner' role: having a team member who is at ease with being in the business and who understands how it works," says Parker.

So is a new generation of requirements management tools on the way to make this stage of activity more collaborative, open and more traceable?

Let's ask a more 'punctual' question perhaps i.e. is the 'consumerisation of IT' making requirements management easier or harder?

Serena's Parker says that the honest answer is both.

As users get more familiar with IT and use applications every day, they get to know what it is they really want from their applications. Business users see how technologies are being exploited and then use these examples.

"But the ever-present spectre is more pressure to deliver quickly. Look at how fast Lehman Brothers disappeared, Borders Books collapsed, Virgin Records left the high street: IT is not about margin and competitive wins; it is about business survival," he said.

So what is next for requirements management? Serena's Parker writes as follows:

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"Requirements churn continues to be a significant drag: When requirements change after they have been approved it can cost up to 20% of the overall development budget. According to Tom Murphy at Gartner, errors found in production are 3 times more likely to be errors from bad requirements than from implementation errors."

"So we have to develop systems that allow for requirements to evolve that are integrated into the development lifecycle. We get to make informed decisions about the impact of the change on the schedule. We get to gather approvals from the stakeholders to sign up for the delay and the extra costs."

"And we get to communicate the delay downstream so that teams can adjust their project plans. Of course we also get to see where the late changes are coming from and adjust resources, develop training and modify the cadence of development to match that of the business."

"We need to take a leaf from the civil and mechanical engineering playbook and remember that development requirements are owned by the business and managed by the contractors. We need this same shift to occur with software requirements: the business needs to see them as the definitive definition of their business, their business process and their business systems."

"When they change their business it needs to be documented in the requirements management tool. Then we need to communicate those changes downstream as change-orders to IT."

A mobile phone is not just a small computer

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This is a guest post to the Computer Weekly Developer Network written by Marshal Datkowitz, a senior user experience architect in the 'user experience' group at Infragistics.

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A mobile device is very different to a PC. Sure they are smaller, but it's much more than that. People bring to their mobile devices a whole different set of expectations. They use them differently, use them in different places and want different things from them. Mobile devices make different physical and cognitive demands on users. This piece will explore these differences and give you strategies you can put to work right away on your next mobile project.

First the most obvious - display size

The average size of PC monitor is 21 inches, a display resolution no smaller than 1024 X 768. Compare that to the typical smart phone display, 3.9 inches and a resolution of 800 X 480. So clearly there is not as much space to work with. Your screens must be more concise, you can't show as many options. The paths through your application have to be super clear; therefore you'll need to spend more time on the functional design than you typically do. Strive to use less text and better icons.

If you want to rely on icons heavily to convey your features, functions and contents, your icons should be more concrete, less complex and represent the concept you're trying to express as closely as possible. For example, you want to depict the concept of a note. You want it simple, so don't include much detail - you don't need lines on the paper or a texture on the clip.

Your text should be as legible and as readable as possible. To make your text more legible, use a font size of at least 10 points and turn up the contrast. Watch for Chromatic Aberration, that's when you place red on dark blue (or dark blue on red) and cause the colors to vibrate - not good!

Input - how we use it

A mobile device relies mostly on fingers -- gestures, on screen keyboard and tapping icons or buttons. The downside to the touch screen is that there is no tactile feedback like we have on a physical keyboard, therefore it is easier to make input mistakes and we are a lot slower using them. To compensate, provide sound or vibration for key presses and minimise text entry. Fingers can be large so make your buttons large (35 pixels square) and visually separated from other buttons or objects to reduce error.

Use innovative ways to input data like photographs Daily Burn's MealSnap app uses photography's to add food to its calorie counter, Quick Response codes (links, text and other data), accelerometer to select items by tilting the phone to indicate a choice, use detected location (GPS) so users don't have to manually enter a current address and lastly voice to input text into fields (Google search). Take advantage of the hardware, Windows Phones have three dedicated buttons (back, start, and search) - use them to reduce clutter on the interface and therefor minimise error.

Context - where we use it

PC's are used in homes and offices, pretty predictable and stable places. Good lighting, limited distractions and a relatively focused user. Take all those factors we know about PC users and throw it all away for mobile users.

Environmental and cognitive issues that rarely occur at the desktop often appear in a mobile environment. Distractions such as noise will draw the user's attention away from the device or at least interfere with detecting sounds from your application. Sun glare can obliterate the screen and make it difficult to use your application at all. A cognitive issue such as the overload of information makes it difficult for users to concentrate on your application - they look at the screen, look up at something else and then go back to the screen. Help users by pairing down your application to the bare minimum so they can quickly understand what it is doing for them and allow them to readily find their way back when distracted.

Mobile device users (for the most part) are on the move. They have a limited amount of time and have come to your application for a specific reason. They come with questions that need to be answered immediately. If your application is to be successful it must help the users get to those answers quickly, if you can consistently help users they will come back often, they will spend time in your application.

Your users will be in a rush, so help them get to it! Keep your application to the bare minimum and do it really well.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at the difference between a PC and mobile device. Developers who are simply miniaturising the PC experience for the mobile device are missing the point. We need to focus our attention on what users want most from our applications and give it to them - simply but elegantly.

BlackBerry DevCon Europe 2012, effortless new user paradigm or same old same old?

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Research In Motion's (RIM) developer proposition has been brought to a simmering boil this week with the staging of its BlackBerry DevCon Europe conference in Amsterdam.

Watching the 'livestream' from the Dutch capital online... RIM appears, arguably, somewhat refreshed this week, sporting a selection of industry partners and a new CEO in the shape of the affable if somewhat intensely Germanic Thorsten Heins.

The company has worked hard in recent weeks to improve developer monetisation options and proffer forth an assorted bag of software development tools in areas such as the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) Social Platform SDK for BlackBerry Java; as well as BlackBerry Theme Studio, which provides a suite of design tools that allow designers and developers to create themes for BlackBerry smartphones.

Was that four BlackBerry's and one "the company" in one sentence? Yes it was.

RIM's Heins pointed to the new functionality on the BlackBerry PlayBook (aggregating social media feeds, emails and other alerts as it does) calling it an "effortless user paradigm", which sounds a lot like 'marketingspeak'... so did he just learn that phrase in English of did he really mean it?

BabelFish translates "effortless user paradigm" as "müheloses Benutzerparadigma", which if you translate it backwards comes out as, "easy user paradigm" -- so he may have been genuinely excited.

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The conference has drawn in 2000 attendees to draw deep on the heady smoke of Amsterdam's technical community this week. This is perhaps a good time to mention that despite recent media-fuelled naysaying, there are now 75 million BlackBerry users worldwide.

What is also important to highlight is the fact that general industry opinion appears to suggest that the BlackBerry PlayBook (with the operating system it now has) may now become the device it was always intended to be -- and enjoy an increase in popularity.

Readers may remember that in light of Hewlett Packard's decision to contribute webOS to the open source community, RIM has also been busy highlighting the BlackBerry WebWorks resource, which is also open source. Developers are encouraged to build HTML5 apps for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets with "native-like capabilities" using WebWorks.

RIM executives used the keynote this morning to demonstrate the "simplified process" for building apps for the BlackBerry platform. The team also pointed to C/C++ native software development for PlayBooks - and also BlackBerry Runtime for Android options to port Android apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook

Alec Saunders, VP of developer relations & ecosystem at RIM agreed to have his PR team attribute this statement to his name, "With cutting-edge developer tools, streamlined processes and a high level of dedicated support, we're making it easier than ever for developers to enjoy a strong experience developing for the BlackBerry platform and to effectively monetise their offerings."

So is RIM getting it right now?

It's hard to say whether RIM is getting it completely right. It is getting it a whole lot "righter" though and with six million app downloads per day something must be going right. For example, Yankee Group has said that BlackBerry users download more paid apps "on average" than Android users do.

Given this rise of Android one might assume that this situation will change; but if it allows RIM to form some stronger bedrock under its foundations as it sorts its house out, then this is surely no bad thing for the industry or users alike?

According to RIM, "Attendees at DevCon Europe will also learn more about the BlackBerry 10 developer roadmap and how this new operating system will open up even more opportunities for app developers. BlackBerry 10 combines the best of BlackBerry OS and QNX, offering developers a single, converged platform, built from the ground up."

Note: QNX is a mobile operating system that was originally developed for embedded systems. The operating system's developer, QNX Software Systems, was acquired by Research in Motion (RIM) and the OS adapted for use in the BlackBerry Playbook tablet

RIMs groundwork in terms of alignment to HTML5 will now be crucial. The company says that already one-quarter of all apps on BlackBerry App World today have been built using HTML5 and the enhancements and native-like integration offered by BlackBerry WebWorks.

So effortless user paradigm? Possibly a bit cheesy. Exciting new user interface and company on the turnaround? Maybe. Excuse to go to the next BlackBerry DevCon and see if this stuff is really starting to bed in? Absolutely.

Microsoft: "committed to resolve current issues" with Hyper-V & OpenStack

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Microsoft has been working to "engineer compatibility" between its Hyper-V virtualisation software into the OpenStack open source cloud project since October 2010, but the progress appears to be hitting a few "snags and niggles" at this time.

Definition Note #1: OpenStack seeks to build a ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. The project is backed by Rackspace, NASA, Citrix, Dell, AMD, Intel and others.

Definition Note #2: Microsoft describes Hyper-V as a provides a virtualisation platform combined with a set of integrated management tools to manage both physical and virtual resources.

Microsoft is reportedly taking the Hyper-V snag in its stride and overcoming the current task at hand in much the same way that it did when the company first submitted Hyper-V drivers to the Linux kernel.

"Microsoft is committed to working with the community to resolve the current issues with Hyper-V and OpenStack," said the company, in a press statement.

At the time of stating its original intentions in this space back in 2010, Ted MacLean, general manager for the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft said, "Support for Windows Server Hyper-V on OpenStack reinforces Microsoft's commitment to delivering choice and flexibility to customers in the cloud. Giving customers the option to use Microsoft's enterprise-ready virtualisation platform, Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, when they deploy OpenStack as their cloud solution is a win for all."

Questions now arise as to:

a) how diligently Microsoft is working to get its coding house in order here and...

b) ... whether Microsoft is doing this with an eye on real world production environments where it will make money, or whether these efforts largely represent technical maneuverings designed to allow Microsoft to keep pace with Amazon, VMware and others in this space.

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IBM supercomputer to hit 20 petaflops, doubles fastest in TOP500

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Last November IBM announced its next generation supercomputing project, Blue Gene/Q, a project undertaken by software application developers and other computer scientists to build an "ultra-scale" technical computing platform.

IBM has logically named its latest beast "Sequoia", the tallest in the forest.

Blue Gene/Q is expected to predict the path of hurricanes, analyse the ocean floor to discover oil, simulate nuclear weapons performance and decode gene sequences.

The machine will also have practical software application development implementations.

Indeed, Rogue Wave Software has just announced a pre-release version of its TotalView massively parallel, interactive, and automated debugging tool optimised for IBM Blue Gene/Q-based Sequoia.

Partnering with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM, Rogue Wave has worked in parallel to define the debugging interfaces and port the TotalView debugger simultaneously alongside the development of the Blue Gene/Q hardware.

Due to be unveiled later in 2012, Sequoia is expected to deliver 20 petaflops at peak performance levels, double the speed of the fastest system currently on the TOP500 list.

According to Rogue Wave, LLNL plans to use Sequoia's computational capability to advance the understanding of fundamental physics and engineering questions that arise in the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) program to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the United States' nuclear deterrent without testing.

It also keeps coffee cups warm. Just kidding.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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