Getting the Specs Right

10/13/04 | by JAdP | Categories: TIA Life

We're currently working on a project where the business need was years old, and the RFP spec was written four years before getting funding - and was done by a consultant who didn't bother to understand the customer's business.

As a result we're doing a full business process analysis/strategic planning gig on top of the contracted work. And what was specified as a stand-alone app in multiple locations interfacing with a main frame through flat files, has become a full-blown enterprise app with a central Oracle server, Oracle Enterprise Application Server for Wireless and EAI (Open Source Jetstream) to the mainframe app.

It has become a much more exciting project, but a lot more work in the same time frame.

But we're gaining lots of "lessons learned" for the customer, as well as ourselves. &#59;)

The first lesson is a renewed appreciation for how powerful a wiki(flowchart, business process flow chart) can be. For the first time in 30 years, silos of knowledge within the customer's organization are being unified into the "big picture". And the JAD sessions have caused both the business and IT stake-holders to open up and share their knowledge of their piece of the puzzle.

The second lesson has been to combine presentations of the process analysis (current state and future state) with the UI prototyping JAD sessions.

It has been great working with the customer's folk, and their excitement about finally getting a wireless logistics system has made all the extra work worthwhile.

The third lesson? Bad specs make for a lot of extra work. But this isn't really new is it? :))

So, in a relatively short period of time, we're turning out-dated specs based upon a poor understanding of the customer's working day and deprecated wireless standards, into a complete business process model, data flow model, enterprise data model and system architecture... And having a lot of fun doing it. :>>

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Installing & Securing Windows XP

09/19/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement, Toys and Tools

François PLANQUE recently wrote in his blog about the trials and tribulations of moving, especially in regards to his computer and networking equipment. In his "Installing & Securing Windows XP" article, he focused on the problems associated with recovering a PC and upgrading to Windows XP at the same time. I recently had a similar experience (caused by a laptop monitor dying rather than by a move) and found the following helpful.

Jerry Pournelle, Ph.D. published a good "crib sheet" for installing a new system in the "Hot House Computing" article of the Chaos Manor column for DDJ. I've adapted it here, from my own experiences.

  1. The drive software, or other start-up software from the manufacturer's boot disk.
  2. Windows XP.
  3. Windows XP SP-1a from a CD.
  4. Intel chipset information from the motherboard disk for a new installation or driver software.
  5. Intel Ethernet from that disk for a new installation or more driver software from the manufacturer's CD.
  6. A firewall or hide behind a router.
  7. Any good Anti Virus from the Intel startup disk (includes NAV) or other non-online source.
  8. Intel Active Monitor from the Intel startup disk, if required.
  9. Other stuff from the Intel startup disk.
  10. Windows updates, then Office updates (if used) then your applications and their updates.

PC World magazine has had some helpful articles and product reviews as well.

Symantec's Norton wiki(Firewall) and Internet Security Suite are always highly rated, though I've had many problems (crashing Windows, ccApp.exe failing, loosing connection with Outlook 2002) with the 2004 version of NIS. We're planning on trying Trend Micro's PC-cillin internet security suite when the next NIS subscription runs out.

In addition to AdAware and Spybot - Search & Destroy, we've found the Yahoo Toolbar Anti-spy to be useful.

Of course, I would rather being doing something fun - analyzing and designing a large Oracle database application, like the wireless Logistics Barcode system we're doing for a regional transportation district here in the Bay Area with our partner Eleusinian Enterprises.


Bluetooth Pairing

08/28/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Mobile and Wireless, TIA Tools & Toys, PAN, Bluetooth

Pairing is the process of establishing trust between any two nodes of a wiki(bluetooth) wiki(personal area network) (PAN). This discussion will go into the basics of pairing, and what pairing allows and doesn't allow, per the Bluetooth specification. You can also read my blog on Jabra vs Plantronics to see the instructions for pairing the Jabra to a phone, the instructions for pairing the Plantronics to a phone, the reality of pairing these two devices to my Sony Ericsson T68i, and any oddities, bugs or features discovered by having two headsets paired to one phone.

Pairing creates a secure and automated connection between two devices with Bluetooth radios. The connection is secure due to wiki(encryption) and the use of a "passkey". It is automated as once the pairing is accomplished, the devices will automatically connect upon command. Pairing is also referred to as "creating a trusted pair" or "bonding".

According to the Bluetooth SIG, pairing is constantly evolving and allowing new functions. Some examples given on their website are:

"Your wireless headset connects to the mobile phone in your briefcase. Your handheld automatically synchronizes with your personal computer when you walk in the office. Your mobile phone, handheld, and personal computer all share the same address book, schedule, and to-do list.

"And this is just the beginning. Bluetooth Wireless Technology is now poised to enhance industrial automation, expand gaming possibilities and propel delivery-tracking innovation. A Bluetooth pen, a Bluetooth briefcase, a Bluetooth refrigerator - not only possible, but inevitable and real with Bluetooth Wireless Technology."


Jabra versus Plantronics

08/28/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Mobile and Wireless, Toys and Tools, TIA Tools & Toys, Bluetooth

Recently I had the opportunity to use a Plantronics M3000 Bluetooth headset for several months. My normal headset is a Jabra FreeSpeak BT200. The Jabra is easy to use, extremely comfortable, and produces high-quality sound through both the speaker and the microphone. The Plantronics doesn't match any of these.

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Blogs as Viral Marketing: TrackBack & Pingback

08/08/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement, Business Perspective, Business Life

Blogs can be a great form of viral marketing. Why? The functions in web logs that separate them from a bulletin board or discussion forum and allow blogs to intermesh. Specifically, I'm referring to TrackBacks and Pingbacks. What are these functions, how do they work, and why do they allow blogs to be non-intrusive viral marketing tools?

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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