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+ - Evaluating When to Kill a Project: What Criteria Do You Use?

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "It happens to all of us. Sometimes, the right way to fix a project is to cancel it. Making the decision to do so, though, has to be more than a gut response. Whatever the reason – at some point, you have to decide whether to keep plugging along, or to pull the plug.

It's easy to come up with a blasé statement like “I evaluate whether my original project statement will ever be achievable. If I determine that the project cannot meet my goals and objectives, we stop it.” But that assumes you know how to make that determination. Here's some advice on how to calibrate the issues to consider in the “Go/No-Go” decision process, whether the project is something of your own devising (anything from a personal coding project to a novel), or a corporate death march.

For example, "Are you dependent upon resources that are outside your control? If so, can you get them under control?"

And Hugo-award-winning CJ Cherryh points out, it might be that the inspiration isn't there at the moment, but you can set it aside to consider later. She adds, “Never destroy it – for fear it will achieve holy sanctity of ‘might-have-been’ in your memory. Being able to look at it and say, ‘Nope, there was no hope for this one’ is healthy.”

What criteria would you add?"

+ - Your 58-Word Cloud Vocabulary Test->

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "You think you know the cloud? Test your knowledge against these technical definitions, in a cloud-geek quiz by Tom Henderson. Close answers count, because this isn't Oxford or Webster’s, just a mixture of marketing-speak and geek speak. You’re on your honor. No peeking, and be nice.

So how many did you get right?"

Link to Original Source

+ - The Spam Battle Report 2014

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Like anything else, spam evolves, as do the means by which it gets delivered to your e-mail inbox and the manner in which sysadmins prevent it from doing so. If your thoughts on spam-fighting are a few years old, it's time for an update.

For instance, starting with the good news: According to Kaspersky, in 2013, the proportion of spam in email flows was 70%, which is 2.5 percentage points lower than in 2012. The bad news is that spam that does get through is far more dangerous. According to John Levine, chairman of the Internet Research Task Force's Anti-Spam Research Group and president of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail, "The ongoing threat is that spam is now essentially 100% criminal, and it's as likely to try to plant bank-account-stealing malware either directly or via links to compromised websites as to sell you something." As one example:

The content of spam is evolving to become more dangerous in new ways. For instance, Nick Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the security company Barracuda Labs, observes, “One new way we’ve seen are campaigns that use embedded Excel spreadsheets. The spammers break the words into individual cells to bypass the anti-spam tools. When viewed in an email it looks like a typical HTML attachment but it’s much more difficult to analyze."

So, here's the current state of the spammy art, and what you ought to know to fight it effectively."

+ - Can anyone design a job application platform that doesn't suck?

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Why does it take a half hour and triplicate-input-redundancy to apply for a job online? Why can’t these online application platforms just pull in LinkedIn data and be done with it? Isn’t it easier for these job application systems to just read our resumes and cover letters? Lisa Vaas has techie and business answers to these questions, hypotheses, and more.

...But half an hour later, I’m still fiddling with the thing, tweaking and correcting improperly filled-in fields as my life slowly drains away. I’m not even given a chance to see how the ATS translated my resume to populate its fields. Vaya con dios and fare thee well, job application.

Just from a user experience viewpoint, it’s irritating. . . .Why can’t these online application platforms pull in LinkedIn data and be done with it? Is all this really necessary to apply for a job? Or is it a Darwinian endurance test to winnow out the impatient and those lacking the ability to put up with horrific user interfaces?

A few questions come to mind: Why can’t somebody just create an ATS that doesn’t suck? Also, Wouldn’t it be easier for them to just read my cover letter and resume?


+ - iRobot ships a meeting robot that will attend meetings for you 1

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Hate meetings? Now you have an out. Just send the Ava 500 remote presence robot to attend meetings for you. Reports Wayne Rash, the autonomous robot will memorize your office, factory or lab space, avoid running into people and objects, and if HR rules require it, will even avoid running over interns. This robot can pretend to be you, it will bear an image of your face (or other body part) on its Cisco remote presence HD screen, and will even speed with your voice. The iRobot people say it will interact with others just as if it were you. You can make presentations, inspect manufacturing facilities and even discuss your blown bracket in the hallways.

I want one."

+ - Management Lessons from Heinlein

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Robert Anson Heinlein was an influential science-fiction author who created great page-turning stories, invented a “future history” that was in some ways prescient, and had a major impact on the SF field. But, it turns out, Heinlein’s short stories and novels also have quite a few good pointers for anyone who needs to make things happen.

The most obvious items that spring to your mind, I expect, are from Lazarus Long, such as this one:

Heinlein’s recurring character, Lazarus Long, certainly offers plenty of management advice. In Long’s first appearance in Methusaleh’s Children, in which another character asks what Long expects a meeting resolution to be, he says, “A committee is the only known form of life with a hundred bellies and no brain.” That’s an oft-quoted quip, but too often it leaves off the next line: “But presently somebody with a mind of his own will bulldoze them into accepting his plan. I don’t know what it will be.” It was an important thing for me to learn: The plan that is adopted often is not “the best” but the brain-child of the most persistent communicator.

...but it turns out to be a minor example. See if you agree with these, and what you'd add to the list."

+ - IBM researcher: Companies won't invest in data privacy until society demands it ->

Submitted by rsmiller510
rsmiller510 (1051940) writes "Of course we have the ability today to collect all kinds of data on people, but what we lack is the art of subtlety when it comes to using that data to understand people better and give a personalized experience that feels amazing instead of creepy. IBM researcher Marie Wallace says that as a society we are far behind our abilities to collect and process data, and we need to demand data privacy so that our politicians and the companies we frequent online will take us seriously. But do we have the gumption to ask?"
Link to Original Source

+ - How to Tell Your Client That His "Expert" is an Idiot

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "It’s a danger for any consultant, and for most inter-departmental internal project staff: To get the work done, you need to work with someone else who supplies expertise you lack. But when the “expert” turns out to be the wrong person how do you tell the client (or boss) that you just can’t work with that individual? It’s possible to do so, but it does take a deft hand. Here's one set of instructions, but surely there are plenty more you could add."

+ - Android can't escape the Pandora's Box of openness->

Submitted by rsmiller510
rsmiller510 (1051940) writes "As a large company with a target on its back, Google has to walk a fine line when it comes to Android. That's because when it made Android open source, it left it vulnerable to forking where it could eventually lose control of its own project. It's an issue Oracle has faced in the past and one Google has to be wary of even if as a mature OS, it's more difficult to pull off at scale."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Standards Wars and the Sausage Factory 1

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "We all know how important tech standards are. But the making of them is sometimes a particularly ugly process. Years, millions of dollars, and endless arguments are spent arguing about standards. The reason for our fights aren’t any different from those that drove Edison and Westinghouse: It’s all about who benefits – and profits – from a standard.

As just one example, Steven Vaughan-Nichols details the steps it took to approve a networking standard that everyone, everyone knew was needed: "Take, for example, the long hard road for the now-universal IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. There was nothing new about the multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) and channel-bonding techniques when companies start moving from 802.11g to 802.11n in 2003. Yet it wasn’t until 2009 that the standard became official.""

+ - When the Project Manager Is the Problem

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Project managers need to be great traffic cops, coordinators, and problem solvers. When they do their jobs right, they make everyone around them more effective. But when they’re bad — ouch. They can become the worst sort of bottleneck, and inspiration for a lot of heavy drinking.

The question is: How can you tell that the source of the problem is the project manager rather than the situation in which an otherwise-good project manager finds herself? And even when it's obvious, what can you do about it? In The Cure After Diagnosing a Bad Project Manager, Tim Walker helps you identify when it’s the project manager who’s the problem as well as causes and some useful, non-career-limiting solutions. ("Copy out, then copy up" might have been useful to me in one poopstorm.)

Got suggestions to add to his list?"

+ - Why VMware just spent $1.54 billion on AirWatch->

Submitted by rsmiller510
rsmiller510 (1051940) writes "By now you've heard the news that VMware spent $1.54 billion to purchase AirWatch, but the real story isn't that they did it, but why they did it and what that means to the mobile device management market. It's worth noting, for instance that this is the fourth deal by a large company for an MDM vendor in the last year or so, but this one's a little different because AirWatch is the belle of the ball and the one company with a significant customer base and that's actually making money. And you can be sure that there are big companies out there pausing this morning and seeing which players are left on the board."
Link to Original Source

+ - To get data to work for you, package it like the big data companies->

Submitted by rsmiller510
rsmiller510 (1051940) writes "Just about every company by now understands the power of big data to help transform decision making, but it's much harder to take all that information and present it in a way that makes sense and allows you to put it to work. You could actually learn a lot about how to do this by mimicking how big data companies package and sell their data and apply these same principles to create packages of data to help lines of business answer key questions about marketing, sales, R&D and other key business areas."
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+ - Moving beyond Snowden, what kind of country does America want to be->

Submitted by rsmiller510
rsmiller510 (1051940) writes "We've pretty much exhausted the Edward Snowden debate. You may think he's a hero or a villain, but whatever you think you can't undo what he did. The genie is out of the bottle and we now what we know about the extent of government surveillance. We can't pretend we don't, so the time has come to debate the issues and figure just what level of surveillance is required to make us safe --and if we can do it within the rule of law or continue to give security apparatus carte blance to monitor anyone's activities at any time, regardless of whether they are suspected of a crime or not."
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