Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Page View

Who doesn't love books?  Who hasn't been touched by an author's remarkable insight, storytelling skills and carefully chosen words to form strings of thought?  And yet, starving artists most of them remain.

And they will remain as such.  No thanks to widespread piracy.

Irony is when 'don't be evil'  seems cut from the same page out of the commercial tactics books.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

SXSW and Preaching the Cloud Gospel

It's not exactly Krishnan's nor John's fault that the Cloudy Awards didn't turn out as much fun as expected. At least for them, and for those who do care about the impact of cloud computing, not for the SXSW audience.

You go to SXSW for the sheer awesomeness of the event that spells fun in all caps. What's not to like? There's music, a chance to get up close with web creatives and possibly be among the exclusive few to "sneek a peek" before the idea goes web big and of course, the schwags that scream "I'm genuine web because I'm attending SXSW! " Hey, it could be Spring Break 2.0 for all I know based on the comments, except with more brains.

Fortunately or not, cloud and internet are closely intertwined. As hyped as it is, the cloud gospel still needs a lot of preaching to dispel myths, encourage experimentation and discuss the impact especially on privacy concerns. And what better way than to dive in with influencers who make up Austin at this time.

But alas, oftentimes as is this case, the message seems to get lost, crushed under the weight of popularity. Looking at the result of the awards poll, one could not help but question if this was a good idea in the first place. Based on what he wrote, Krishnan doesn't seem too thrilled, least about winning but with the disparity of votes he felt should have elevated other respected luminaries in the cloud sphere.

He's got quite a point but one that we hope is not to appease the bottom drawers of whatever the folly of the results tally. I'm sure James, Simon and Lori understand the limitations of it all and wouldn't mind, really.

U2 and REM never did sell-out, did they? Flickr

In their right mind, they, like all the others who get far less votes, understand that this is all transitory and part of the growing pains which eventually would lead to better understanding of the values of the cloud as it goes mainstream. They, as would Krishnan, would still continue to do what they do best - write and share their thoughts unencumbered by the influence game and the analyst tag that most bloggers put a high premium on nowadays.

While others just see the cloud as vapor, true cloudies believe that underneath, there's something else - both dark and silver linings and they're committed to ensure that the latter will time and again come through.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Company Culture

Unlike in microbiology, it's not easy to identify the kind of company culture that exists within minutes of observation. Whereas in the lab, a Gram stain may not give the complete picture but at least it is a valid step towards finding cause that would be a factor in finding the proper course of treatment.

Neither would closer inspection be as helpful as evidenced by the series of company audits that often would fail to unmask the truth behind a week-long front. It is obvious that social behavior cannot be easily replicated in a lab setting. (Remember Enron and Anderson Consulting. Trust fail!)

But then, more often than not, a miscue or misstep would reveal more insight about the company and the prevalent behavior and personalities within it. The immediate responses and succeeding turn of events would provide enough feel on where the company stands in the spectrum of group dynamics and relationships. As they say, nothing is a illuminating as a problem.

Even better is the growing interest and developments in the field of analytics where supplied video is as objective as you can be looking through patterns and not just one-time occurrences. It's a big thing now with team sports as it supplies coaches and managers with analytical data.

But to see it being done inside offices and organizations is another matter. People have enough anxiety with big brother and cloud to worry about paranoia-inducing analytics even if with intent towards achieving not juts productivity and efficiency but healthier work environments, too.

With that said, a great alternative would be to spread awareness of the importance of a company culture that ties the company mission with staff morals and values. Bringing such to the fore,would be a brilliant step that announces how a company values it's staff and would go to great lengths to ensure success will be both a personal and group thing. Plus of course,how to build a strong one is always often easier and better.

Company culture is not just one elephant in the room.


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Friday, March 18, 2011

Alien Cloud

In the quest for invisibility and putting more spotlight on devs, apps, and core business, isn't it strange that the cloud is fast becoming the most abused and poked around technology since Roswell.

And what does it tell us really?

Either we're paranoids and cynics or

Really hoping to find alien life-form!

"Better be careful with that ... I'm not sure they're friendly"

Because why else would these guys be involved? :)

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wishful Thinking About Design

The whole business of education and learning at this time continues to move away from the traditional that it is still a surprise when some esteemed brand still fails to comprehend how meaningful inter-disciplinary studies are fast becoming the norm even as there are plenty of evidence to support it. 

Although, maybe, this really wasn't much of a surprise, Mr Nussbaum but glad you didn't let this slide by.  

Score one for Design.  And the whole business school thing, too even with shrinking enrollment numbers I guess.

Here's one school that probably gets it.  Dream school gig if ever there was one for one who is design-enamored.

And knowing how tight (especially to fork out hard-earned cash) it must be to gain entry to any design-infused business school, one can settle for this free resource: Designing Media

Not a lightweight by any means.  

And no certificate but then again, good design learning, nonetheless.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Pwn3d: Applying lessons from hacker threat to cloud computing risks

OK, so cloud computing risk as an issue is a misconception since these risks are addressable.  Yet, what we should be worried about is false sense of security because from now on, it will always be a never-ending game of creating and sorting through codes to outwit or out-hack each other. 

No arguing that for conferences, Cloud Connect is one of the better content events.  So whenever they have something to say (or haven't said), it may very be good for us to listen.  But this time last week, have you noticed something that wasn't on everybody's mouth.  

Yeah, noticeably absent was all the blabber about security

But of course what is a cloud discourse without any mention of security but a yawner, don't you think?  Fear not for Cloud Connect hasn't completely abandoned it but instead addressed this, albeit in a slideshow entitled, Five Massive Cloud Computing Misconceptions - specifically;

Pretty reassuring if you ask me.

Now contrast this with the riveting story detailing what happened with cyber-security firm HBGary and how it was reduced from top-notch  to objects of ridicule by hacktivists bent on exposing the firms Team Themis machination that was supposed to infiltrate Wikileaks.

"As if getting pwn3d by Anonymous and having sensitive information compromised wasn't bad enough, the content of the exposed e-mails uncovered a larger scandal involving an HBGary affiliate--HBGary Federal. Apparently, HBGary Federal was involved in an ethically dubious plan to use fake social networking profiles to discredit groups that criticize the US Chamber of Commerce."

Moving on he shares his pearls of wisdom derived from this sordid tale which you might very well learn a lot from.

1. Protecting data is a complex and difficult task.
2. Skilled hackers are a formidable force and security measures are more like speed bumps that breaking in is more of a matter of when not if.
3. Ethics and moral code matters in IT!

I'm not sure about you but I think that anyone who is interested in cloud computing ought to know this well enough to form his own conclusions on implementing security measures.   

Can they secure their cloud by themselves privately or does the public cloud do a much better job than they ever hoped to build?

This is to say that cloud computing nor security has no silver bullets and unless you approach and treat both using due diligence - monitoring and implementing strict methods of control, you haven't got a prayer.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Cloud PH: Philippines' Bright Future in Cloud Computing

Speakers and panelists are all praises and bullish about state of Philippine IT and its potential in the age of the cloud computing.

At the inaugural event aptly titled, Cloud Computing Now organized by ITProsAsia held at Duhit Thani Manila last Friday - March 4, speakers and panelists all agreed that despite the fears and security issues, there is no stopping cloud computing. Cost savings aside, there are lots of opportunities that open up with the use of the cloud, one of which is innovation which in effect leads to more potential gains.

"Cloud computing not only brought technological but also economic innovations which will create more jobs" , says Michael Mudd, Regional Representative of the Open Cloud Computing Alliance.

True enough, one by one, every speaker went on to extol the virtues of cloud computing across all spectrum - from companies and developers to benefits for users.

This is not to say that the cloud is without manageable risks. Anthony Lim, Asia Pacific Advisor of (ISC)2 explains that "IT systems are moving so fast that humans can barely cope; this human element is what makes them vulnerable and remains the weakest part of security".


Fortunately, says Mr. Mudd, there are at least 3 things that work in the country's favor and it is clear that taking full advantage of these can thrust the Philippines to the top of the cloud computing adoption heap in Asia and even the world.

1. Language. As much as it is changing, the language of computing is still primarily English which works well for Filipinos. And with an IT skill set that ranks within the 20s, the Philippine IT workforce enjoys a good base already.

2. High interest. Unlike some countries he has been to, he has observed that majority of young Filipinos still believe in IT as a future and that this desire for learning is a strength in itself that will drive IT a long way.

3. Chaotic mentality. There are plenty of news about Vietnam getting a lot of foreign investments and they probably can become one of the top countries for IT if they put their minds to it, much like what they've done with coffee production.

Except that IT isn't just like any production industry. And the Philippines isn't like Vietnam or China that is governed by some form of authoritarianism which might help explain why Filipinos are among the best in network management and as well as hacking.

As Roger Strukhoff, the event moderator, opines, "At their core, Filipinos will always break out of rigidity; a trait that has big potential innovation values when paired with technology that levels the playing field - like cloud computing".

Mr Lim further adds, "In Asia, you go to India for software development, or Korea if you want the best gaming technology but Philippines is where you go to get those who in a good sense, hack best. In this age of the cloud, that is a good thing to have!"

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