This main point of this book is the principle of “failing fast.” Since you don’t know everything (and a startup knows very little), it is most efficient to quickly create some data to base decisions on.
The distinction between “vanity metrics” and real, useful metrics is illuminating. A “vanity metric” shows (more...)
I’ve been following the discussion on the new In-Memory option in the Oracle 220.127.116.11.0 database. As far as I can see, it’s very easy for a developer to start using this feature, which will cost your company $23,000 per CPU at the next Oracle license audit.
One of the great things about working in IT is that you can often win an argument simply by being right. Not because of who you are or because you are more eloquent than others, but because the facts support your position. Almost every IT person I have ever met respects facts.
In order to win arguments this way, you of course need some facts to work with. And that’s where too many people fail. (more...)
Observing tourists around me, I’ve noticed that the regular selfie doesn’t cut it anymore. The essential travel accessory for the modern self-absorbed traveller is a selfie stick:
Of course, the whole selfie concept is the opposite of a traditional tourist snapshot: Not “see what I saw,” but “see me”. But while you are at it, why not make yourself a spectacle while you take the picture. Hence, the selfie stick.
We’ve just had a leak of 900,000 national identifier numbers here in Denmark. That’s about 16% of the total population, so it’s pretty big. These numbers are unique identifiers for a person (similar to Social Security Numbers) and are a good starting point for identity theft.
Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.
So how did these numbers leak? Through plain incompetence and lack of procedures. It (more...)
Each year at the annual Oracle ACE Director briefing, I look around at the laptops my fellow ACE Directors are carrying. More and more of them are MacBooks – I think we were up to around 50% last year.
That makes it all the more puzzling that the installation guide for the latest version of Oracle JDeveloper (12.1.3) does not mention OS X installs at all. The 12.1.2 version had sections (more...)
Big Data is not necessarily about crunching massive amounts of data – it’s about finding unrealized value in a data set. This might be done on huge sets of billions of records, using Map/Reduce running on thousands of servers. But it might also be done at a smaller scale by a concerned citizen.
More and more data is being made available by municipalities and countries. These are typical “big data” collections: Just a bunch of (more...)
Good usability is often seen as optional – something we can include in a system if we have the time and the resources for it. But sometimes, bad usability can cause economic damage. A couple of years ago, here in Denmark, a large, well-respected organization had to write manual checks for months to avoid having their phones cut off. The reason: Their new ERP system was so hard to use that invoices were not getting (more...)
Safe driving has two components: Safe cars and safe drivers.
A Volvo car is built like a tank and is equipped with all kinds of safety features – it’s a very safe car. Unfortunately, Volvo has unthinkingly undone all the advances they have made on the car side of the equation by making the driver much more likely to cause an accident. How did they do that? With touchscreens, of course.
The above phase means “who will guard the guards themselves?” and is relevant in many security contexts.
Here in Denmark, we are currently having our own “News of the World” affair. In our case, a contractor at the payment processor handling almost all Danish credit cards was able to automatically send a tip to a journalist whenever a celebrity used his or her credit card. That makes it hard to take an incognito honeymoon (more...)
Nike have been producing the Nike FuelBand for a couple of years, but have recently thrown in the towel. I own a Nike FuelBand and have enjoyed the fact that it’s pretty unobtrusive (just a matte black rubber wristband until you press the button).
I’ve found that the gamification aspect – you are this close to your daily goal, shown with little colored lights – worked well for me. There is a sync feature with (more...)
When people take on home renovation “Do-It-Yourself” projects beyond their skills, disaster ensues. Apparently, this is so common that you can base a whole TV series on this theme – where professionals rescue the disastrous DIY project for the grateful and clueless amateur handyman.
I’ve seen the same thing happen in many IT projects. The people in the organization overestimate their own skills and are unable or unwilling to pay the cost of professional external (more...)