Writing Doable Tasks

On a project planning board on a wall, I recently saw this task:

Check-All-InterfacesThat is something that is easy to say in a meeting, but this is not a task. It is an amorphous blob of worry that nobody is going to do anything about, but everybody will feel bad about.

A real task is something that someone can actually do. If you really need to check all the interfaces, the first task in the “interface checking” sub-project is to write a list of all interfaces. That is a task you can assign to someone.

Engineered Systems for the Rest of Us

There are 10 types of people in the world – those who understand binary numbers and those who don’t.

The group who understands binary numbers can be sub-divided into two groups:

  • Those facing the challenges of running real-time analytics against terabyte databases while handling millions of transactions per second
  • Those who don’t

The people in the first category get lot of attention from Oracle Sales and Support, and don’t need much community support from user groups etc.

However, most of us fall in the second category. We are faced with more mundane tasks and don’t have a business case for buying expensive top-of-the-line hardware. However, we can benefit from smaller engineered systems like the Oracle Database Appliance. Because these systems are cheaper, we get less attention from Oracle and depend more on community support.

It can be hard for a small user group on its own to deliver the detailed information their members need about products like Oracle Database Appliance. But if Oracle could make demo systems available online that user groups could book time on, we could leverage the power of the user groups for the benefit of the entire Oracle community.   

Consumerization of Purchasing

Last year, a total of 720,000 Android-powered wearables were sold. Last Friday, Apple sold 957,000 Apple Watches on the back of their very strong fan base. It is OK for people with disposable income to spend $349 or even $599 for an Apple Watch that will be obsolete in 18 months. But most people should not consider paying $17,000 for a gold-plated one.

We’re seeing strong consumerization in IT where it is now consumer products that drive much of the innovation. We’re unfortunately also seeing consumerization of purchasing, too. This is where organizations buy cloud services on the basis of emotional appeal, disregarding proper vendor evaluation, ending up with expensive and obsolete technology.

Everybody can see that buying a $17,000 gold-plated Apple Watch is a questionable purchasing decision. Make sure your organization is not making equivalent IT purchases.

Memento Mori

I just attended the funeral of a friend from my university days. He was about my age, and now he’s gone.

Before you go to sleep tonight, think about what you have achieved today. And tomorrow, when you wake up, spend a few minutes thinking about what you will achieve that day.

You never know how many days you have left. Make sure each of them makes a difference.



ADF 12.2.1 New Features

Oracle has just updated their ADF Statement of Direction, announcing that ADF 12.2.1 will be out in 2015. Here is what they are promising for this release:

The Next Version of Oracle ADF

Oracle is planning to deliver the next version of Oracle ADF – 12.2.1 – as part of the next release of Oracle Fusion Middleware 12.2.1 in 2015. Some of the focus areas for this version include:

  • REST and JSON Support – including enhancement to the REST data control as well as the ability to publish business logic developed with Oracle ADF Business Components through REST interfaces.
  • Responsive UI Support – further enhancements to Oracle ADF to simplify and enhance support for responsive UI design and implementation.
  • Additional Oracle ADF Faces Components – new components, as well as enhancements to existing components, that further enrich the set of JSF components provided with Oracle ADF
  • JDK 8 support – aligning with the latest version of Java to support new language capabilities

I look forward to better support for REST & JSON – it will be a nice improvement if we can publish our business components as REST web services to consume in e.g. Mobile Application Framework.

You Don’t Need Oracle’s Cloud (Yet)

I was just in Budapest for the Oracle Partner Community Forum last week. They showed us a a preview of what Oracle has been up to with their Oracle Process Cloud Service and Oracle Integration Cloud Service since OpenWorld, and it’s looking good.

Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to buy into Oracle’s cloud at the Platform-as-a-Service level. After all, their only semi-available services are a database in the cloud and a WebLogic application server in the cloud. At the usual Oracle price tag, you need to be willing to pay a lot above market rate for the privilege of running your application in Oracle’s cloud.

But once the new services announced at OpenWorld (Process Cloud Service, Integration Cloud Service and Document Cloud Service) become generally available, Oracle has a much more compelling story.


Breathing: You’re Doing it Wrong

“Breathe, Joe, breathe.”

I’ve noticed some clear body language in the IT people arround me when they have to wait for something. They might be waiting for their code to compile, for the result of a code test, for a database result or a million other things. And what happens is that people impatiently tense up and start to breathe quicker and shallower. You should breathe slower instead.

There is a lot of science that shows that good breathing has myriad health benefits and a lot of people who will help you breathe better. Most people don’t breathe properly, but if you work in IT, you’ll have many opportunities to practice good breathing. Every time you wait for something, concentrate on your breath and breathe deeply.

Maybe some day we’ll all be wearing self-trackers that will gently notify us when our breathing becomes shallow and ineffective. In the meantime, use any computer-generated delay in your day as an opportunity for a good drink of oxygen. Delays are good for your health if you use them wisely.

Little Big Data

I just hear someone from IBM talk about how they are analyzing posts on their internal social network to gauge the attitude of the employees. With some claiming IBM is about to axe 112,000 jobs, I think I can guess the result.

Automated sentiment analysis is an interesting area, and Oracle is doing something similar with their Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring service.  But what struck me about the interview was that the engineer said “this is Big Data.” When asked, he admitted that he was analyzing only about 3 millions posts.

Sorry, IBM, 3 million records is not “Big Data” – most organizations generate more records every day.

But the misuse is telling – everybody is slapping the “Big Data” buzzword on everything they do. There are very few true Big Data projects out there, and fewer still that produce business value. Are you considering a Big Data project? The odds are 20:1 against it producing any business value.

Let There Be Light

Visiting some friends this weekend, I took my bike. This being Denmark in winter, it was of course pitch black as I was driving along a bike path around 5.30pm.

But where I was, there was light. Ahead of me, I could see light posts glowing softly, but the two right ahead of me were shining at full power. As I travelled, lights kept turning to full power ahead of me, and back to an energy-saving soft glow behind me.

This is technology that fits – unobtrusive, intelligent, and helpful. And what makes this possible is cheap sensors and computing power. Whatever you are doing, think of how you could improve it if computing power, memory, networking and sensors were free. Because that’s where we are going.

For more on intelligent lighting in Copenhagen, read http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/09/business/energy-environment/copenhagen-lighting-the-way-to-greener-more-efficient-cities.html

Don’t Upgrade to IOS 8.1.3

If you have Apple mobile devices and are considering upgrading to the latest version of iOS (8.1.3), don’t. If you have upgraded, quickly downgrade back to 8.1.2 before Apple makes that impossible.

The reason is that this version closes one of the loopholes that was used to “jailbreak” these devices, and there is one very good reason to jailbreak at least your iPad: To install the f.lux app.

Research has shown that reading on backlit screens like an iPad in the evening is very bad for your sleep, because the light from the screen has the bluish-white color of daylight. Exposing your eyes to this kind of light in the evening confuses the body and lowers the quality of your sleep. The f.lux app compensates for that by changing the color temperature to a reddish evening light when the sun sets.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t allow apps to control the screen the way f.lux needs, so you will have to jailbreak your device to install f.lux. I strongly recommend you do so if you have an iPad.