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Monday, August 29 2016 @ 10:07 PM CDT
Monday, June 08 2015 @ 01:20 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Last July, the UK Cabinet Office adopted a rule requiring government purchasers to limit their technology acquisitions to products that implement an established list of “open standards.” Last week, Sweden took another step down the same road as it further refined a list of information and communications technology (ICT) standards. That list currently comprises sixteen standards. A posting at the European Commission EU Joinup Web site reports that other standards are to be added this year.
Monday, September 15 2014 @ 09:57 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
OpenForum Europe, an advocacy group focusing on IT openness in government, issued a press release earlier today announcing its launch of a new public Internet portal. At that site, anyone can report a government page that offers a document intended for collaborative use for downloading if that document is not available in an OpenDocument Format (ODF) compliant version. The portal is called FixMyDocuments.eu, and you can show your support for the initiative (as I have) by adding your name here (the first supporter listed is the EU's indominatable digital champion, Neelie Kroes).
Friday, January 04 2008 @ 06:24 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the fifth chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All product names used below are registered trademarks of their vendors.
Chapter 5: Open Standards
One of the two articles of faith that Eric Kriss and Peter Quinn embraced in drafting their evolving Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) was this: products built to "open standards" are more desirable than those that aren't. Superficially, the concept made perfect sense – only buy products that you can mix and match. That way, you can take advantage of both price competition as well as a wide selection of alternative products from multiple vendors, each with its own value-adding features. And if things don't work out, well, you're not locked in, and can swap out the loser and shop for a winner.
But did that make as much sense with routers and software as it did with light bulbs and lamps? And in any event, if this was such a great idea, why hadn't their predecessors been demanding open standards-based products for years? Finally, what exactly was that word "open" supposed to mean?
To answer these questions properly requires a brief hop, skip and jump through the history of standards, from their origins up to the present. And that's what this chapter is about.
Friday, December 28 2007 @ 12:07 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the fourth chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Chapter 4 – Eric Kriss, Peter Quinn and the ETRM
By the end of December 2005, I had been blogging on ODF developments in Massachusetts for about four months, providing interviews, legal analysis and news as it happened. In those early days, not many bloggers were covering the ODF story, and email began to come my way from people that I had never met before, from as far away as Australia, and as near as the State House in Boston. Some began with, "This seems really important – what can I do to help?" Others contained important information that someone wanted to share, and that I was happy to receive.
One such email arrived just before Christmas in 2005. In its entirety, it read:
Enjoy reading your consortiuminfo blog ... keep it up.
Happy New Year,
This was a pleasant and welcome surprise. Until the end of September, Eric Kriss had been the Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance, and therefore Peter Quinn's boss. Together, they had conceived, architected and launched the ambitious IT upgrade roadmap that in due course incorporated ODF into the state's procurement guidelines.
Monday, December 10 2007 @ 07:05 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the third chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
This chapter was revised at 8:30 AM on 12/11/07, most significantly by adding the "Lessons applied" section.
Chapter 3: What a Difference a Decade Can Make
In 1980, Microsoft was a small software vendor that had built its business primarily on downsizing mainframe programming languages to a point where they could be used to program the desktop computers that were then coming to market. The five year old company had total revenues of $7,520,720, and BASIC, its first product, was still its most successful. By comparison, Apple Computer had already reached sales of $100 million, and the same year launched the largest public offering since the Ford Motor Company had itself gone public some twenty-four years before. Microsoft was therefore far smaller than the company that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had formed a year after Bill Gates and Paul Allen sold their first product.
Moreover, in the years to come, PC-based word processing products like WordStar, and then WordPerfect, would become far more popular than Microsoft's own first word processing (originally called Multitool Word), providing low-cost alternatives to the proprietary minicomputer based software offerings of vendors like Wang Laboratories. IBM, too, provided a word processing program for the PC called DisplayWriter. That software was based on a similar program that IBM had developed for its mainframe systems customers. More importantly, another program was launched at just the right time to dramatically accelerate the sale of IBM PCs and their clones. That product was the legendary "killer app" of the IBM PC clone market: Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet software upon which Mitch Kapor built the fortunes of his Lotus Development Corporation.
Sunday, December 02 2007 @ 02:07 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the second chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained last week. The following is one of a number of stage-setting chapters to follow. Comments, corrections and suggestions gratefully accepted. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Chapter 2 – Products, Innovation and Market Share
Microsoft is the envy of many vendors for the hugely dominant position it enjoys in two key product areas: PC desktop operating systems – the software that enables and controls the core functions of personal computers - and "office productivity software" – the software applications most often utilized by PC users, whether at work or at home, to create documents, slides and spreadsheets and meet other common needs. Microsoft's 90% plus market share in such fundamental products is almost unprecedented in the technical marketplace, and this monopoly position enables it to charge top dollar for such software. It also makes it easy for Microsoft to sell other products and services to the same customers.
Microsoft acquired this enviable position in each case through a combination of luck, single-minded determination, obsessive attention to detail, and a willingness to play the game fast and hard – sometimes hard enough to attract the attention of both Federal and state antitrust regulators. Early on, Bill Gates and his team acquired a reputation for bare-knuckle tactics that they sometimes seemed to wear with brash pride. Eventually, these tactics (as well as tales of Gate's internal management style) progressed from industry rumors to the stuff of best sellers, like Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire.
With the emergence of the Web, of course, the opportunity for widely sharing stories, both real (of which there were many) and apocryphal, exploded. Soon Web sites such as Say No to Monopolies: Boycott Microsoft enthusiastically collected and posted tales of alleged technological terror and dirty deeds. More staid collections were posted at sites such as the Wikipedia. The increasing tide of litigation involving Microsoft, launched not only by state and federal regulators but by private parties as well, generated embarrassing documents. Such original sources were not only difficult to deny, but almost impossible to repress in the age of the Web - and of peer to peer file sharing as well.
Moreover, while Bill Gates and his co-founders rarely displayed the creative and innovative flair of contemporaries like Apple's Steve Jobs, neither were they troubled by the type of "not invented here" bias that sometimes led other vendors to pursue unique roads that sometimes led to dead ends.
Sunday, November 25 2007 @ 02:51 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
For some time I've been considering writing a book about what has become a standards war of truly epic proportions. I refer, of course, to the ongoing, ever expanding, still escalating conflict between ODF and OOXML, a battle that is playing out across five continents and in both the halls of government and the marketplace alike. And, needless to say, at countless blogs and news sites all the Web over as well.
Arrayed on one side or the other, either in the forefront of battle or behind the scenes, are most of the major IT vendors of our time. And at the center of the conflict is Microsoft, the most successful software vendor of all time, faced with the first significant challenge ever to ione of its core businesses and profit centers – its flagship Office productivity suite.
Quote of the Day
“[H]as digital technology gone too far?
-Mike Alexander asking, on the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Web, whether we're becoming too socially isolated See all Quotes
Latest NewsCAC Cybersecurity Standardization WorkUSITO.org
August 29, 2016 - On August 22, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released Several Opinions on Strengthening National Cybersecurity Standardization Work. The opinions encourage more coordination and collaboration among standards bodies, a stronger overall system, better quality standards, and an improved implementation method. They also ask for a greater involvement in international standardization work.
Specifically, the outline says to optimize standards across all levels by streamlining and simplifying mandatory standards and establishing national standards for critical information infrastructure security, national security related networks, and personal information protection. Additionally, it calls to optimize recommended national standards at the basic and general levels as well as develop recommended standards to meet special industry needs. ...Full Story
Brilliant, Fast Paced Page Turner (Five Stars)
Amazonn Reader Reviews August 26, 2016 - The Lafayette Campaign is a masterfully crafted satirical page turner. In this cyber thriller, our hero “Frank,” a quirky and eccentric “cyber geek” will keep you smiling and at times laughing out loud when he tries to figure out who is manipulating the election polls, while attempting to write a novel about his previous adventures.
Andrew Updegrove does a brilliant job of creating likeable characters one can relate to, while weaving a gripping story with constant twists and turns you never see coming. The story moves at a very fast pace, but it’s easy to follow, enjoyable and impossible to put down.
This is one the best and most entertaining books I have read this year, and I would highly recommend it not only to “cyber geeks” and anyone interested in cyber security issues, but also to anyone with any interest in politics, elections, or anyone who is simply looking to read a fun yet technically accurate book with unforgettable characters you can’t stop thinking about long after you have finished the novel.
I loved how Andrew Updegrove was able to make such a technical subject so fun and entertaining, and can’t wait for “Frank’s” next adventure! ...Full Story
NISO Launches New Project to Create a Flexible API Framework for E-Content in Libraries
NISO.org August 25, 2016 - Voting Members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved a new project to modernize library-vendor technical interoperability to improve the access of digital library content and electronic books. Building upon a set of API (Application Programming Interface) Requirements developed by Queens Library, a new NISO Working Group will create a foundational API set that the library community can build on. This set will fulfill an array of user and library needs, including quicker response times, flexible item discovery and delivery options, improved resource availability, and more seamless integration of electronic and physical resources.... ...Full Story
US.gov to open-source made-to-order software, allow contributions
The Register August 18, 2016 - United States chief information officer Tony Scott and chief acquisition officer Anne E Rung have issued a joint memo decreeing that henceforth all government agencies need to consider open-sourcing any bespoke software they commission....The policy therefore implements a three-year pilot during which US government agencies will be required to open source a fifth of their bespoke code. Security agencies are exempt from the policy.
The policy also calls for any bespoke development effort to “acquire and enforce rights sufficient to enable Government-wide reuse of custom-developed code.” There's also a requirement to keep an up-to-date inventory of code and to lodge open source code at code.gov.
Elsewhere the policy suggests that when sharing code, agencies should engage with existing communities whenever possible, rather than trying to create their own. Which sounds like a shout-out to whoever provisions storage at GitHub, if nothing else. There's even a section 5.2.F in which agencies are encouraged to ready themselves for code contributions from third parties within and without government, creating the potential for citizen coders to help build government apps.
The memo also insists that whenever agencies need new software they must consider “whether to use an existing Federal software solution or to acquire or develop a new software solution.” Agencies must also consider whether it is possible to get what they need by mixing government and commercial code.... ...Full Story
From eCars to cybersecurity: standards seen as natural enemy of the tech industry
DW.com August 17, 2016 - Not enough charging stations? That's not the problem. The problem is knowing which adapter fits your car.
Imagine you're driving your shiny new eCar to the beach and you come to charge it at one of ABB's electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Don't get me wrong, it looks like they have done their level best to cater for every possible standard, but it's a confusing array of options.
First, do you want AC or DC?...AC won't give you as much juice as DC, a fast-charging option. So you pick DC. But are you a CHAdeMO or a CCS? That depends on who made your car...."These standards are driven by the car manufacturers," says Robert Itschner, managing director of Business Unit Power Conversion at ABB Switzerland. "CHAdeMO is the standard used by Asian car makers and CCS is the European equivalent."... ...Full Story
Web at 25: Celebrating the 25th anniversary of World Wide Web
TheCourier.co.uk August 17, 2016 - Twenty-five years ago on August 6 1991, the first publicly available website was launched and the World Wide Web (WWW) was born.
It was created by the now internationally known Sir Tim Berners-Lee who, just eight months earlier, first posted the simple text page on an internal web server hosted by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research....Today there are over one billion sites on the World Wide Web – none of which would have been possible without the work of Berners-Lee,...Today’s Smart Phones, social media and advanced websites the world over would not have happened without that initial ground breaking work. It’s sometimes hard to imagine living in a world without them. Everything from banking to shopping to paying bills is increasingly done online.
But has digital technology gone too far?...
Two sets of data released this week certainly suggest a growing paradox in everyday life with technology bringing us closer but also seen to be getting in the way.... ...Full Story
Patent Advisory Group for Web Payments Working Group Launched
W3C.org August 16, 2016 - In accordance with the W3C Patent Policy, W3C has launched a Web Payments Working Group Patent Advisory Group (PAG) in response to disclosures related to two specifications of the Web Payments Working Group; see the PAG charter. W3C launches a PAG to resolve issues in the event a patent has been disclosed that may be essential, but is not available under the W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements. Public comments regarding these disclosures may be sent to email@example.com (public archive). Learn more about Patent Advisory Groups. ...Full Story
Carnegie Mellon U aims to unlock industrial 3D printing potential with new consortium that includes GE, Alcoa and United States Steel
www.3drs.org August 15, 2016 - ...for the 3D printing revolution to really pick up steam, a major push or technological breakthrough is needed to make this a truly accessible and affordable large-scale manufacturing option. In an attempt to realize that breakthrough, Carnegie Mellon University has announced a new consortium that brings together major companies, nonprofit institutes and the US government. Together, they will be working to fully unlock the potential of industrial 3D printing.
This ambitious consortium is headquartered in Carnegie Mellon University's NextManufacturing Center, and was announced at a campus event in late July by engineering professor and center director Jack Beuth. “Additive manufacturing is here now, and it's here to stay,” he said at the event. “One of the most important steps in making real progress with this technology is to bring all the key players — academia, industry, government, nonprofits — together to share knowledge, ideas and challenges. It's an integral part of creating a thriving additive manufacturing ecosystem, and today, we get do that here at Carnegie Mellon.”... ...Full Story
You heard it here first I've not only been writing about this risk for years, but I even wrote a cybersecurity thriller showing exactly how it could be done. So far, the election is tracking the plot of the book in a very disturbing fashion. You can find it here: http://mybook.to/lafayettecampaign
The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked
The New York Times August 12, 2016 - ...It’s unclear what mechanism the Trump campaign envisions for this rigging. Voter fraud through impersonation or illegal voting is vanishingly rare in the United States, and rigging the election by [physically] tampering with voting machines would be nearly impossible....But it’s still a bleak landscape.
Over the years, the team at Princeton, cooperating with other researchers, has managed to disable and tamper with many direct recording electronic systems that use touch-screen computers without a verifiable paper trail.
I’m not the only one who is worried. This month, Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, said his department was concerned about infiltration of the nation’s electoral systems. Experts have warned about voting machine vulnerability for years, but nothing has changed. The mere existence of this discussion is cause for alarm. The United States needs to return, as soon as possible, to a paper-based, auditable voting system in all jurisdictions that still use electronic-only unverifiable voting machines.... ...Full Story
ANSI Announces 2016 Legal Issues Forum: Employment Law, Cybersecurity, and Social Media
ANSI.org August 12, 2016 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) will hold its annual Legal Issues Forum on Nuts and Bolts Business Issues from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2016, at the FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. The event is part of World Standards Week (WSW), a series of meetings and celebrations hosted annually by ANSI, coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system.
A broad range of legal experts will lead panel discussions on employment law, cybersecurity, and social media – all topics of importance to non-profit organizations in the standardization community. Each session will be structured as a 90-minute moderated discussion, with considerable opportunity for audience Q&A. ANSI members and all interested stakeholders including those from government, industry, business, consumer groups, and academia are encouraged to attend and share their perspectives on these critical issues.
For the first time, this annual event is being offered free of charge to ANSI members. Non-members have a registration fee of $249.... ...Full Story