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Thursday, January 19 2017 @ 03:06 AM CST
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
“US Dept of Commerce green paper reveals that, er, it's a bit of a mess
-The Register, commenting on a new US DoC Green Paper on the IoT See all Quotes
Latest NewsEverything wrong with IoT (and how to fix it) – according to Uncle SamKieren McCarthyThe Register
January 19, 2017 - The US Department of Commerce has published a green paper [PDF] on the Internet of Things, the first step in a process to develop formal governmental policies on the technology.
Following a public request for comments back in April, the green paper attempts to summarize what a large number of companies, advocacy groups and interested individuals said with respect to what the key issues surrounding IoT were, what the benefits and challenges were, and what role the federal government should adopt.
The end result is a typically vague but well-meaning combination of "doing verbs," complete with lengthy resource references....here are the official "doing verbs" that outline the official "areas of engagement":
- Enabling Infrastructure Availability and Access: Fostering the physical and spectrum-related assets needed to support IoT growth and advancement.
- Crafting Balanced Policy and Building Coalitions: Removing barriers and encouraging coordination and collaboration; influencing, analyzing, devising, and promoting norms and practices that will protect IoT users while encouraging growth, advancement, and applicability of IoT technologies.
- Promoting Standards and Technology Advancement: Ensuring necessary technical standards are developed and in place to support global IoT interoperability and that the technical applications and devices to support IoT continue to advance.
- Encouraging Markets: Promoting the advancement of IoT through Department usage, application, and novel usage of the technologies; and translating the economic benefits and opportunities of IoT to foreign partners.
You've got until the beginning of April to send your views to Uncle Sam. ...Full Story
NIST Issues Draft Update to Cybersecurity Framework, ANSI Encourages Stakeholders to Comment Input Due by April 10, 2017
ANSI.org January 18, 2017 - The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a draft update to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework. The update provides new details on managing cyber supply chain risks, clarifying key terms, and introducing measurement methods for cybersecurity, and aims to further develop NIST’s voluntary guidance to organizations on reducing cybersecurity risks. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages all relevant stakeholders to submit draft comments to NIST by April 10, 2017.
Created through collaboration between industry and government, the framework was released in 2014 as a result of President Obama’s Executive Order “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.” It consists of standards, guidelines, and practices to promote the protection of critical infrastructure, and uses a common language to address and manage cybersecurity risk in a cost-effective way based on business needs without placing additional regulatory requirements on business.
NIST requests that comments on the Draft Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Version 1.1 be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.... ...Full Story
New Wi-Fi Standard Syncs Home Devices In Real Time
IoTDaily January 17, 2017 - Wireless connections within the Internet of Things may soon rival the capabilities of wired systems, based on new standards being released by Wi-Fi Alliance.
The new standard, called TimeSync, is a Wi-Fi feature that brings precise timing and synchronized operation to wireless devices by aligning them to the same internal clock....
This type of synchronization would enable properly synced audio and video playback wirelessly across a full surround-sound system,...
Bringing a cross-brand standard to wireless devices is the goal and Wi-Fi Alliance plans to launch a certification program for device manufacturers to integrate the TimeSync capability into their products later this year.... ...Full Story
Connected cars should be subject to third-party cybersecurity evaluations says EU agency
Out-Law.com January 17, 2017 - The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) said an "independent evaluation scheme" would help ensure technology developed for new 'connected cars', such as telematics, connected infotainment or intra-vehicular communication systems, is not vulnerable to hackers.
Existing car safety standards only "marginally address security", and "do not protect against attacks", ENISA said.... ...Full Story
Implementing Medical Device Cybersecurity: A Two-Stage Process
Med Device Online January 14, 2017 - ...In what many experts believe was a world first, manufacturer Johnson & Johnson recently issued a warning to patients on a cyber-vulnerability in one of its medical devices. The company announced that an insulin pump it supplies had a potential connectivity vulnerability. The wireless communication link the device used contained a potential exploit that could have been used by an unauthorised third party to alter the insulin dosage delivered to the patient....
Connected device cybersecurity is best approached in two stages:
- First, security is considered and specified in a top-down process, steering system architecture design at a fundamental level, and devolving down through the development process into testable units.
- Second, the design implementation is tested and verified against the specification requirements. To further prove system integrity, penetration testing can be used, conducted by testers separate from the original developer.... ...Full Story
Top Trends to Watch in 2017
Infosecurity Magazine January 13, 2017 - As we enter 2017, this will be the year in which the potential cracks in the pillars of the knowledge economy start to show....Until now, there has been very little talk of APIs in the context of cybersecurity. However, this will start to change as they become the ‘joins’ of the connected economy; enabling software and systems to interact as never before, uniting millions of businesses, products and services as they all drink together in the pool of ‘open data.’ Transport for London’s open API already powers over 500 new travel apps, while the Amazon Echo’s API could allow you to connect everything from your kettle to your car.
Yet by enabling different software to become fully interoperable, APIs will increasingly provide a potential pathway for cyber-attackers to hopscotch across every sector of the economy. Crucially, one of the potential consequences of APIs resides in the fact that all businesses, software and systems are only as secure as the weakest link in the API chain.
For example, one vulnerable API in an App Store can allow hackers to take over millions of smartphones. This means that software design and information security will increasingly come together, as business begins to realize that there must be a common standard of cybersecurity enshrined at the heart of the design process across the entire conjoined software ecosystem.... ...Full Story
W3C and OGC put more Spatial (and space-born) Data on the Web
W3C.org January 12, 2017 - The Spatial Data on the Web Working Group, a collaboration between W3C and the Open Geospatial Consortium, has published 4 documents today. "QB4ST" adds extensions to the "RDF Data Cube" for spatio-temporal components. These are designed to make it easier to share and manipulate data such as Earth Observations with linkable slices through time and space. The QB4ST extensions are used in another of today’s publications, "Publishing and Using Earth Observation Data with the RDF Data Cube and the Discrete Global Grid System," which shows how SPARQL queries can be served through OGC’s developing Discrete Global Grid System for observations, coupled with a triple store for observational metadata. The approach makes use of the power of Linked Data on the Web without requiring all data points to be encoded as RDF triples....The latest Working Draft of the "Semantic Sensor Network Ontology" sets out a modular approach that allows alignment with related vocabularies. The modular architecture supports the judicious use of “just enough” semantics for diverse applications, including satellite imagery, large scale scientific monitoring, industrial and household infrastructure, citizen observers, and the Web of Things. Finally, the Working Group is pleased to publish an update to its "Spatial Data on the Web Best Practices" document that advises on best practices related to the publication and usage of spatial data on the Web; the use of Web technologies as they may be applied to location. ...Full Story
HDMI 2.1 Announced: Supports 8Kp60, Dynamic HDR, New Color Spaces, New 48G Cable
Anandtech January 11, 2017 - The HDMI Forum on Wednesday announced key specifications of the HDMI 2.1 standard, which will be published in the second quarter. The new standard will increase link bandwidth to 48 Gbps and will enable support for up to 10K resolutions without compression, new color spaces with up to 16 bits per component, dynamic HDR, variable refresh rates for gaming applications as well as new audio formats
The most important feature that the HDMI 2.1 specification brings is massively increased bandwidth over predecessors. That additional bandwidth (48 Gbps over 18 Gbps, a bit more than what a USB-C cable is rated for) will enable longer-term evolution of displays and TVs, but will require the industry to adopt the new 48G cable, which will keep using the existing connectors (Type A, C and D) and will retain backwards compatibility with existing equipment. The standard-length 48G cables (up to two meters) will use copper wires, but it remains to be seen what happens to long cables. It is noteworthy that while some of the new features that the HDMI 2.1 spec brings to the table require the new cable, others do not. As a result, some of the new features might be supported on some devices, whereas others might be not.... ...Full Story
Ford and Toyota Establish SmartDeviceLink Consortium to Accelerate Industry-Driven Standard for In-Vehicle Apps
Ford et al. January 10, 2017 - Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Company are forming SmartDeviceLink Consortium, a nonprofit organization working to manage an open source software platform with the goal of giving consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.
Mazda Motor Corporation, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) and Suzuki Motor Corporation are the first automaker members of the consortium. Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo join as the first supplier members. Harman, Panasonic, Pioneer and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join.
SmartDeviceLink provides consumers easy access to smartphone apps using voice commands and in-vehicle displays. Adopting the open source platform gives automakers and suppliers a uniform standard with which to integrate apps. Developers benefit because they can focus on creating the best experience for customers by integrating one linking solution for use by all participating automakers....SmartDeviceLink enables smartphone app developers to seamlessly integrate their app functions with in-vehicle technology such as the vehicle display screen, steering wheel controls and voice recognition. With this new level of integration, drivers enjoy their favorite apps on the road in an enhanced, user-friendly way.... ...Full Story
VR Industry Forum launches with Sony Pictures, Ericsson, NAB, others on board
FierceCable.com January 9, 2017 - The Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) is the latest nonprofit industry group assembled to help push widespread adoption of virtual reality.
Founding members include Akamai Technologies, ARRIS International, b<>com, Baylor University, CableLabs, Cinova Media, Dolby Laboratories, DTG, DTS, EBU, Ericsson, Fraunhofer, Harmonic, Huawei, Intel, Irdeto, Ittiam, MovieLabs, NABPILOT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Technicolor, TNO, Sky, Sony Pictures, Vantrix, Verizon, Viaccess-Orca and Orah.
The Forum sprang up from a series of meetings over the past year in which the group has looked at ways to agree on industry standards for an “interoperable, end-to-end ecosystem presenting high-quality audio-visual VR services.”...VRIF has stated its specific goals as advocating for voluntary consensus on common VR technical standards, interoperability, best practices guidelines, and general promotion of VR services and apps.
The VRIF comes to the fore less than a month after the official launch of the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA), a group counting Acer Starbreeze, Google, HTC Vive, Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung and Sony Interactive Entertainment among its members.
The GVRA members are mostly headset vendors—as opposed to the VRIF membership which includes many technology vendors, industry groups and service providers—but its stated goals don’t veer too far from the VRIF’s similar sounding mission to help foster development and adoption for VR.... ...Full Story