Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cooks, Computer Scientists and Software Engineers

As head of the Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering degree at the Santo Domingo Institute of Technology (INTEC), one of the questions I field more often is the difference between this degree and our BSc in Computer Science.  This  second degree is actually named “Information Systems Engineering” (both at INTEC and generally at all Dominican universities), but is typically accredited as a BSc in CS internationally; a recent curricular reform may change that, though, as it is now based on the ACM/IEEE guidelines for Information Systems programs.  I have a variety of resources to answer the question of how they differ, but recently drew on a long tradition of cooking and software development parallels and came up with an explanation that seems to satisfy people more than previous ones.

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Bridging Two Fallacies

As an IT leader, I often find myself walking a thin line: I am the company’s voice before the employees, and the employees’ voice before the company.  This extends to mediating between internal parties and vendors, auditors, consultants and other external entities as well.  While not an absolute situation (and certainly not at my current workplace), it is often the case that higher leadership pushes an IT management model that is ultimately a fallacy.  Curiously enough, other parties’ retort is also deeply flawed.  Both are rooted in good intentions, but tangle up in a vicious circle that does more harm than good, even though no one overtly intends it.  In a sense, a lot of IT leadership and management efforts are spent bridging these two fallacies. Continue reading

The Polyglot Requirement: Another Argument Against HTML5 For Mobile Apps

After being hailed as the next big thing for mobile applications, HTML5 has suffered a series of setbacks in its quest to dominate application development for post-PC devices.  High-visibility episodes from big social companies, insightful rebukes from industry experts, and critiques aimed at “always-on” connectivity demands have all served to tarnish HTML5’s reputation as a viable mobile platform.  Today, as I reminisced about an editorial that made the rounds recently, I wondered if we should add “the polyglot requirement” to the list of drawbacks imputed to HTML5 regarding mobile development. Continue reading

Chrome OS First Impressions

Nearly two months ago, Google launched its first internally built laptop, the Chromebook Pixel.  Reviews have been polarized (and polarizing): what exactly is the target market?  Who is willing to put down ~1,400 dollars for a laptop that can basically only run Google Chrome?  The debate had me take a hard, long, critical look at Chrome OS – I have previously done little more than deride it in 15-second rants, tangentially mentioning Google TV and Android.  This time, after careful pondering (but not without hesitation), I ended up buying the $249 ARM-based Chromebook.  These are my thoughts after finally getting my mitts on Chrome OS.

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Choosing Rules For Bounding Tasks In Time

I’ve been using GTD since late 2006, but it really took on a whole new level for me after reading The Secret Weapon Manifesto. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, Getting Things Done (GTD) is a time/task management methodology first introduced by Dave Allen in his 2002 book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”; The Secret Weapon (hereafter “TSW”) is a specific, detailed guide to implementing the GTD methodology using the popular Evernote note-taking service.

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Cloud As Master, Or Cloud As Backup?

Cloud storage is no longer the future; it is the present.  No longer the realm of tech savvy users, nearly everyone today actively uses (not to say depends on) a cloud-based storage service of some sort.

Recently, in the search of a more productivity-oriented second device, I sort of “impulse bought” a Chromebook.  While I wait for it to ship, I’ve been thinking about the way I use cloud storage, and whether I should make any fundamental changes to my working habits to make the most of the new purchase.  You see, I currently use Dropbox, whereas the Chromebook has much better integration with (surprise, surprise) Google Drive.  But productive usage of Google Drive, it seems, hinges on converting all your files to the Google Docs format, seeing as Microsoft Office documents can be read, but not edited.  On closer examination, however, what I initially thought was a document format issue uncovered for me a deeper issue about how we use cloud storage and what this may tell us about the strategies of key providers in this space.

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