The Japanese system is radically different from the system in my home country. Back in the UK, we take a test at the age of 17 and then the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) lets us drive until we're well past retirement age with no further testing or hoops to jump through. The Japanese system of periodic checks always seemed more sensible to me.
Since I've avoided any accidents or offenses in the last two years, I qualify for a "GOLD" license, which is valid for five years. It wasn't terribly hard for me to avoid prangs and misdemeanors -- I don't think I've driven a car on more than a dozen occasions in the last two years.
The latest generation Japanese driver's license features an IC chip that contains some personal data (the family register location). By encoding this information and not displaying it, the Japanese authorities hope to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of identity theft. If you want to see the data that's stored on your card, you can view it by using a special kiosk at the license renewal center. However, you will need to remember your 8 digit PIN. (Good luck with that).
I just spent the day at Progress Software's annual analyst day. The highlight of the event is, always, to hear from their customers about how they are getting real things done. This year we heard from: EMC, Sallie Mae, TD Securities, Royal Dikzwager, BT Global Services, Lincoln Financial Group, Sabre Holdings, and Fiserv.
The theme: High velocity business demands high velocity technologies such as complex event processing, enterprise infrastructure, data infrastrcuture, and others.
But, this post is about Kenneth Rugg, VP and GM of Integration Infrastrcuture for Progress Software, comments on open source software.
We've known for a while that cloud computing is important to IBM. It seems nearly every division has an effort in some aspect of the opportunity. And marketing has done its best to make it all look cohesive by wrapping these efforts under the Blue Cloud banner. But now we know they're serious. They have finally appointed a cloud czar, Erich Clementi, to bring all these efforts together. A veteran of their Systems & Technologies Group, he led SMB solutions, and last year he also took over IBM's Enterprise Initiatives. In those roles, Erich learned how important (and challenging) it is to coordinate efforts across their massive divisions while delivering holistic value to customers. Outside of Global Services, IBM doesn't have the best track record for these coordinated efforts, but we're willing to grant Clementi a grace period to prove us wrong.
And he won't be alone, as IBM has disclosed his set of lieutenants:
Frittering away the time with an experiment All experiments involving donuts are worth doing, so here's one you might try. Tomorrow, bring a box of donuts to work, and leave them in the kitchen. At the end of the day, go back to the kitchen and count the number of donuts that people have taken.
Next week, pick a meeting-filled day, and bring a new box of donuts to all of them. Don't leave the donuts in the kitchen--the point is to keep it visible at all times. At the end of the day, count the number of donuts consumed.
Chances are that the number of donuts consumed in Week One is greater than the number consumed in Week Two, for an obvious reason. People behave differently when they are observed. We like the donuts, but we don't like being seen taking a donut (Homer Simpson excluded).
This has been long rumored by Google Apps watchers, but we get confirmation today: Google is testing an offline email client. This is a Google Gmail Labs feature, which means that it's really test code for the brave. In fact, the Gmail Labs site helpfully warns that "there's an escape hatch" if a feature breaks.
That said, this is a big deal for Google. (Caveat: I haven't tested it yet, so I'll have to report back once I do). Here's what it means:
IT organizations focus on the business needs they understand, not on the ones that matter to business.
When we ask business execs and IT execs the same questions around the importance of technology to business goals, and how well IT does supporting those business goals, we get interesting results. First, business and IT see technology’s value differently: to business, the greatest value is in products and services, and in competitive differentiation, whereas to IT, the greatest value is in improving operational efficiency. But the second result is more interesting: both business and IT believe IT doesn’t do well supporting the business goals around products and services, or differentiation – but IT believes they do much worse than business believes they do.
Last week Jason Newton at HP blogged about what his company thinks (or at least wants you to think) are the hot trends in the data center for 2009. He provides a good list that's less a reflection of what enterprise customers are necessarily doing but certainly what they should be thinking. Heck, his list reflects a lot of the tactics we discuss with customers every day in our inquiries and published research, such as in "Retrofitting Your Data Center for Better Capacity".
2009 might be, in the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Ox, but January feels like the Month of PowerPoint. I've been doing a lot of speaking lately, including last week's great session about Lean and Agile in San Diego. (And thanks again to Rober Pryor of the San Diego Software Industry Council for the invitation.)
A small presentation to some Forrester clients about the state of the technology market, including where the opportunities lie, from a geographic, vertical, and solution perspective. Plus a few tips on how to emerge from the downturn a stronger company.
Friday, Iron Mountain and Microsoft announced a new partnership. Customers of Microsoft's backup offering, Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 service pack 1, can electronically vault redundant copies of their data to Iron Mountain's CloudRecovery service. This is welcomed news for DPM customers. Customers will continue to backup locally to disk for instant restore but rather than vault data to tape and physically transport tape to an offsite storage service provider, customers will vault data over the Internet to Iron Mountain. For disaster recovery purposes and long-term retention services, you need this redundant copy of your data offsite. By eliminating the physical tape transport you eliminate the risk of lost or stolen tapes or the need to deploy some kind of tape encryption solution. Microsoft DPM hasn't taken the backup world by storm since its introduction in 2005, but each subsequent release has added critical features and application support. Additionally, because it is often bundled in with Microsoft System Center, I expect adoption will increase among small and medium businesses (SMBs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).