snydeq writes: Complaints of stricture over structure, signs of technical prowess on the wane — the best days of the Apache Software Foundation may be behind, writes InfoWorld's Serdar Yegalulp. 'Since its inception, the Apache Software Foundation has had a profound impact in shaping the open source movement and the tech industry at large.... But tensions within the ASF and grumbling throughout the open source community have called into question whether the Apache Way is well suited to sponsoring the development of open source projects in today's software world. Changing attitudes toward open source licensing, conflicts with the GPL, concerns about technical innovation under the Way, fallout from the foundation's handling of specific projects in recent years — the ASF may soon find itself passed over by the kinds of projects that have helped make it such a central fixture in open source, thanks in some measure to the way the new wave of bootstrapped, decentralized projects on GitHub don't require a foundationlike atmosphere to keep them vibrant or relevant.' Meanwhile, Andrew C. Oliver offers a personal perspective on his work with Apache, why he left, and how the foundation can revamp itself in the coming years: 'I could never regret my time at Apache. I owe it my career to some degree. It isn't how I would choose to develop software again, because my interests and my role in the world have changed. That said, I think the long-term health of the organization requires it get back to its ideals, open up its private lists, and let sunshine disinfect the interests. My poorly articulated reasons for leaving a long time ago stemmed from my inability to effect that change.'
snydeq writes: While it does well in portraying the founding of Apple, the development of the Mac, and the return of Steve Jobs to a struggling Apple, 'Jobs' the movie falls short of telling the story that should have been made into a movie about Jobs the man. 'The movie portrays the man as a brilliant but difficult visionary who had the cunning and force of will to get what he wanted and to inspire people to deliver beyond their own expectations — which is true, as far as it goes,' writes Galen Gruman. 'Missing are the explosions of abuse he would hurl on friends and coworkers, as well as the utter ruthlessness he would use to hurt his enemies. Instead, the mean scenes in the movie are ultimately used to set up a "why Jobs was ultimately right" segment.... The most interesting part of the Steve Jobs story occurs after Jobs was fired from Apple, and that's where I wish the movie had focused its attention. It would have provided rich material for a more compelling drama.'
snydeq writes: Tech Watch's Woody Leonhard offers insights on Windows 8.1 X 64 Pro Build 9471, which was apparently leaked yesterday, and is very close to final. 'I've been playing with the leaked Windows 8.1 Build 9471 for several hours now and come away both relieved and upset. I say "relieved" because there aren't any huge changes from the Preview version that you've no doubt come to know, admire, and/or loathe. I say "upset" because Microsoft hasn't changed a couple of the new features that are decidedly anti-consumer' — including Smart Search, the black underbelly of Windows 8.1.
snydeq writes: Carcasses in computer hardware, endless streams of anatomical close-ups, the occasional encounter with fecal matter both real and metaphoric — IT is an industry of consummate professionals willing to go to almost any length (or depth) in the name of technology. 'If there's anything we've learned along the way, it's that when it comes to IT, there will never be a shortage of nasty work to get done. Compiled here you will find the worst of the worst — a Hall of Shame, if you will, highlighting the unsung heroes of the unseemly side of IT.'
snydeq writes: Taming technology is sometimes more art than science, but the difference can sometimes be hard to discern, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'You've probably come across colleagues who were extremely skilled at their jobs — system administrators who can bend a zsh shell to their every whim, or developers who can write lengthy functions that compile without a whimper the first time. You've probably also come across colleagues who were extremely talented — who could instantly visualize a new infrastructure addition and sketch it out to extreme detail on a whiteboard while they assembled it in their head, for example, or who could devise a new, elegant UI without breaking a sweat. The truly gifted among us exhibit both of those traits, but most fall into one category or another. There is a difference between skill and talent. Such is true in many vocations, of course, but IT can present a stark contrast between the two.'
snydeq writes: The far-out future of Internet-enabled sensors and objects promises big business benefits — and it's not as far off as you think, InfoWorld reports. 'Resource monitoring, usage pattern tracking, just-in-time delivery of goods and services — some IoT pioneers have launched or are deploying projects, and they're seeing positive results. But if your organization is looking to explore IoT as a business strategy, be warned that a number of technical and administrative challenges await you. Here's a look at the opportunities, hurdles, and new skills required to make the most of this intersection of Web-enabled physical objects and the deluge of data they will bring.'
snydeq writes: Java 8 brings exciting developments, but as with any new technology, you can count on the good, the bad, and the headaches, writes Andrew C. Oliver. 'Java 8 is trying to "innovate," according to the Microsoft meaning of the word. This means stealing a lot of things that have typically been handled by other frameworks and languages, then incorporating them into the language or runtime (aka standardization). Ahead of the next release, the Java community is talking about Project Lambda, streams, functional interfaces, and all sorts of other goodies. So let's dive into what's great — and what we can hate.'
snydeq writes: Stings, penetration pwns, spy games — it's all in a day’s work along the thin gray line of IT security, writes Roger A. Grimes, introducing his five true tales of (mostly) white hat hacking. "Three guys sitting in a room, hacking away, watching porn, and getting paid to do it — life was good," Grimes writes of a gig probing for vulnerabilities in a set-top box for a large cable company hoping to prevent hackers from posting porn to the Disney Channel feed. Spamming porn spammers, Web beacon stings with the FBI, luring a spy to a honeypot — "I can't say I'm proud of all the things I did, but the stories speak for themselves."
snydeq writes: Andrew Oliver offers further proof that drunk driving and on-site servers don't mix. Oliver, who had earlier announced a New Year's resolution to go all-in on cloud services, had that business strategy expedited when a drunk driver, fleeing a hit-and-run, drove his SUV directly into the beauty shop next door to his company's main offices. 'Our servers were down for eight hours, and various services were intermittent for at least 12 hours. Had things been worse, we could have lost everything. Like our customers, we needed HA and DR. Moreover, we thought, maybe our critical services like email, our website, and Jira should be in a real data center. This made going all-cloud a top priority for us rather than "when we get to it.",' Oliver writes, detailing his company's resultant hurry-up migration plan to 100 percent cloud services.
snydeq writes: Born or made, network admins share certain defining characteristics. Deep End's Paul Venezia offers nine: 'I hope that this insight into the extremely logical, yet consistently dangerous world of the network admin has shed some light on how we work and how we think. I don't expect it to curtail the repeated claims of the network being down, but maybe it's a start. In fact, if you're reading this and you are not a network admin, perhaps you should find the closest one and buy him or her a cup of coffee. They could probably use it.'
snydeq writes: Serdar Yegalulp offers a long view of the current evolution of Linux, one that sees the open source OS firmly entrenched as a cornerstone of IT, evolving in almost every direction at once — including most demonstrably toward the mobile and embedded markets. 'If Linux acceptance and development are peaking, where does Linux go from up? Because Linux is such a mutable phenomenon and appears in so many incarnations, there may not be any single answer to that question. More important, perhaps, is how Linux — the perennial upstart — will embrace the challenges of being a mature and, in many areas, market-leading project. Here's a look at the future of Linux: as raw material, as the product of community and corporate contributions, and as the target of any number of challenges to its ethos, technical prowess, and growth.'
snydeq writes: The U.S. health care industry is undergoing several massive transformations, not the least of which is the shift to interoperable EHR (electronic health records) systems. The ONC's Doug Fridsma discusses the various issues that many health care IT and medical providers have raised regarding use of these systems, which are mandated for 2014 under the HITECH Act of 2004, and are all the more important in light of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act , aka Obamacare. Key to the transition, says Fridsma, is transforming health IT for EHRs into something more akin to the Internet, and less like traditional ERP and IT systems. 'I think what we're trying to do is the equivalent of what you've got in the Internet, which is horizontal integration rather than vertical integration,' Fridsma says. 'We've done a lot of work looking at what other countries have done, and we've tried to learn from those experiences. Rather than trying to build this top down and create restrictions, we're really trying to ask, "What's the path of least regret in what we need to do?"'
snydeq writes: InfoWorld's Roger Grimes interviews a longtime friend and cyber warrior under contract with the U.S. government, offering a fascinating glimpse of the front lines in the ever-escalating and completely clandestine cyber war. From the interview: 'They didn't seem to care that I had hacked our own government years ago or that I smoked pot. I wasn't sure I was going to take the job, but then they showed me the work environment and introduced me to a few future coworkers. I was impressed.... We have tens of thousands of ready-to-use bugs in single applications, single operating systems.... It's all zero-days. Literally, if you can name the software or the controller, we have ways to exploit it. There is no software that isn't easily crackable. In the last few years, every publicly known and patched bug makes almost no impact on us. They aren't scratching the surface.'
snydeq writes: Changes in Microsoft's forthcoming upgrade to Windows 8 reveal the dark underbelly of Microsoft's evolving agenda, one that finds pieces of Windows 8 inexplicably disappearing and a new feature that allows Microsoft to track your local searches cropping up, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'As Windows 8.1 Milestone Preview testers push and prod their way into the dark corners of Windows 8.1 "Blue," they're finding a bunch of things that go bump in the night. From new and likely unwelcome features, to nudges into the Microsoft data tracking sphere, to entire lopped-off pieces of Windows 8, it looks like Microsoft is changing Windows to further its own agenda.'
snydeq writes: From the quiz: "Are you a devoted disciple of computational logic or just a chimp who types those funny brackets and variable names until the thing seems to work? Because, let's face it, only some of us can be artists who craft elegant, lithe structures out of data and logic. The rest are just throwing code together to see what sticks. This quiz — the third in our series of Programming IQ tests — is here to separate the former group from the latter. If you haven't passed our first two iterations, Round 1 and Round 2 are still here awaiting your acumen, as is our "Hello, world" programming language quiz, for testing your programming polyglot mettle."