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Thursday, December 08 2016 @ 07:57 PM 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
“There’s over a million new pieces of malware that hit the system every day
-Sifma cybersecurity operations manager Tom Wagner, describing the level of assault on major financial institution systems See all Quotes
Latest NewsEU, US to collaborate on open data re-useCyrille ChaussonEE Times
December 8, 2016 - The European Commission, represented by DG Connect, and the US government, represented by the Department of Commerce, have announced a joint-project to enhance the re-use of data between the two areas....Easing the re-use of open data by businesses to create new services and encouraging the exchange of best practices are among the objectives of this collaboration. Through this joint project, the US and the UE also want to “identify needs from data users for a better usability of open data originating from the EU and the US”.... ...Full Story
Universe’s Constants Now Known with Sufficient Certainty to Completely Redefine the International System of Units
NIST.gov December 7, 2016 - Fundamental constants are physical quantities that are universal in nature. For example, the speed of light in vacuum and the charge of a single electron are the same everywhere in the universe. That is why scientists would like to use invariant quantities of nature to define the seven base measurement units of the International System of Units (SI), or the modern metric system, rather than to rely on measurements of physical artifacts.
According to a recent evaluation and update of the values of the fundamental constants by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the uncertainties in measurements of the constants have now been reduced to such exceedingly low levels that all of the SI units can now be linked to them....“The reduced uncertainties in these four fundamental physical constants are very significant,” said NIST chemist Donald Burgess, co-editor of the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data (JPCRD). “These now ultra-small uncertainties in the constants will allow the CGPM to revise the International System of Units so that the seven base units will be exactly defined in terms of fundamental constants. In turn, many equations that describe the laws of nature—such as the relationship between energy and temperature as expressed through Boltzmann’s constant—will now be exact and not depend on measurement units that have inherent uncertainties because of the way that they are currently defined.”... ...Full Story
New consortium aims to build bridge between environmental, health data
Proud Green Building December 6, 2016 - You can sequence your unique genome in search of genetic mutations that cause disease. But it’s much harder to study your “exposome” — the cumulative effect of your environment on your health over a lifetime.
Now, a pan-Canadian research consortium wants to connect detailed environmental data with public health data to study Canadians’ exposomes, according to University of Toronto....
CANUE is starting with six environmental attributes that affect health: air pollution, noise pollution, proximity to green space such as nature or parks, exposure to extreme weather, transportation options and neighborhood factors. Neighborhood factors consider both physical and intangible attributes of a person’s local surroundings, including urban design, land use, walkability, socioeconomic factors and more.... ...Full Story
53 steps to stronger cybersecurity
FCW.com December 5, 2016 - The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity on Dec. 2 unveiled its recommendations to the White House on how to address the nation's biggest and most urgent cybersecurity issues. The 100-page report, which addresses both President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump, calls for immediate and longer-term actions from government and commercial interests alike.
The report includes 53 suggested action items in all, including the creation of an appointed post of assistant to the president for cybersecurity. That individual would report through the national security advisor, and "inform and coordinate with the Director of OMB on efforts by the Federal CIO and CISO to secure federal agencies."...More broadly, the commission also looked to inform the incoming administration on where the biggest cybersecurity fires are. The report centers on six imperatives, which were outlined in November:
- Protecting, defending and securing today's information infrastructure and digital networks.
- Innovating and accelerating investment for the security and growth of digital networks and the digital economy.
- Preparing consumers to thrive in a digital age.
- Building cybersecurity workforce capabilities.
- Better equipping government to function effectively and securely in the digital age.
- Ensuring an open, fair, competitive and secure global digital economy.... ...Full Story
New ISO Standard Could Save Industry $30 Billion hull coating
The Maritime Executive December 5, 2016 - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has now published ISO 19030, a new standard conceived to measure changes in ship-specific hull and propeller performance....the move has the potential to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent and saving operators up to $30 billion in annual energy costs.... ...Full Story
New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
Phys Org December 2, 2016 - Throwing a perfect strike in virtual bowling doesn't require your gaming system to precisely track the position and orientation of your swinging arm. But if you're operating a robotic forklift around a factory, manipulating a mechanical arm on an assembly line or guiding a remote-controlled laser scalpel inside a patient, the ability to pinpoint exactly where it is in three-dimensional (3-D) space is critical.
To make that measurement more reliable, a public-private team led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a new standard test method to evaluate how well an optical tracking system can define an object's position and orientation—known as its "pose"—with six degrees of freedom: up/down, right/left, forward/backward, pitch, yaw and roll.... ...Full Story
SD Association Launches Speedy New Standard for Smartphones
Associations Now December 1, 2016 - The association that sets the standards for the most popular kind of flash memory is upping its standards for mobile devices.
Last week, the SD Association (SDA) announced a new class of microSD card that is designed to allow for use on devices that support the cards (which are largely Android-based). Last year, a feature was added to Android that allows users to tie their phones’ internal storage with that of a microSD card—and it’s been around long enough that most recent devices that have microSD slots support the feature...The App Performance Class 1 (or A1) standard, which was requested by mobile manufacturers, is designed to...set minimum standards for input and output speed for microSD cards... ...Full Story
North American Electric Reliability Corporation and IEEE Sign Agreement to Cooperate on Bulk Power System Analysis, Standards, Cyber Security
NERC/IEEE November 29, 2016 - The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and IEEE recently entered an agreement to identify and launch joint initiatives on key issues, including coordination on bulk power system analysis, cyber security and the interface between NERC Reliability Standards and IEEE equipment standards....Challenges at the forefront of the industry such as system protection, power system modeling, inverter-based resources, technology integration and cyber security require close cooperation between NERC and IEEE on the jurisdictional authorities of both groups and the high reliability and security of the bulk power system....The memorandum of understanding identifies priorities for initial collaboration, including geomagnetic disturbance standards, synchrophasors, essential reliability services, voltage stability and frequency response.... ...Full Story
Review: The Doodlebug War - 5 Stard
The Olso Times November 28, 2016 - The Doodlebug War is a thriller/political satire that focuses on a real-world cybersecurity vulnerability that is being ignored as we rely increasingly on the Internet. Like the two preceding books in the series, everything in the book is technically accurate and could actually happen....In The Doodlebug War, the vulnerability is the increasing movement of all government and private sector computing resources to huge data centers as the "cloud computing" business model becomes pervasive. The result is that not only all operating and application software is hosted in a limited number of geographic locations, but that all data is being hosted there as well. The data centers are concentrated in order to take advantage of lowest cost sources of electricity because of the enormous power demands and costs of running the centers.
The result is what may be termed "vulnerability by design," as virtually all data will soon be stored in above ground facilities that could be easily destroyed in the case of war.... ...Full Story
ICASI Transfers Development of Security Open Standard to OASIS
ICASI.org November 28, 2016 - The Industry Consortium for Advancement of Security on the Internet (ICASI) has announced it transferred further development and maintenance of its Common Vulnerability Reporting Framework (CVRF) Version 1.1 standard to the OASIS Common Security Advisory Framework (CSAF) Technical Committee, part of an international consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information society. ICASI’s CVRF standard has been widely adopted by the major Internet backbone providers. Transferring ICASI’s CVRF standard to OASIS will encourage broader industry participation in the continued development of the standard while enhancing OASIS’s cybersecurity automation standards portfolio....ICASI took the lead in developing CVRF 1.0 as an open standard four years ago to provide an innovative solution to solve a critical security vulnerability communications problem. Based on a common XML-based framework, CVRF consolidates and brings consistency to vulnerability documentation. It provides the industry with faster and more consistent report creation processes. CVRF users benefit from the standard by being able to receive and process needed information more quickly and easily.... ...Full Story