Linus Torvalds’s Lessons on Software Development M… – Input Output
“If anyone knows the joys and sorrows of managing software development projects, it would be Linus Torvalds, creator of the world’s most popular open-source software program: the Linux operating system. For more than 20 years, Torvalds has been directing thousands of developers to improve the open source OS. He and I sat down to talk about effective techniques in running large-scale distributed programming teams – and the things that don’t work, too.”
Sysco’s Produce Division Makes Room For Local Farmers | Fast Company
Interesting example of systemic constraints and redesign:
“When Michigan State University wanted to serve more locally grown produce, Mike Passorelli’s basil would have been ideal. He grows it in a greenhouse two hours west, and labels it organic gardens. But the school can’t buy directly from tons of farms; that would be an organizational nightmare. So in 2007, it asked its food supplier, Sysco, to provide. That turned into a lesson on just how complex our nation’s food system is: To distribute local food, Sysco had to first spend three years restructuring its produce division in Michigan–a feat it’s now reproducing nationwide.”
The Great Tech War Of 2012 | Fast Company
Terrific piece in Fast Company:
“…To state this as clearly as possible: The four American companies that have come to define 21st-century information technology and entertainment are on the verge of war. Over the next two years, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will increasingly collide in the markets for mobile phones and tablets, mobile apps, social networking, and more. This competition will be intense. Each of the four has shown competitive excellence, strategic genius, and superb execution that have left the rest of the world in the dust.”
Good report. Used a sliver in my Active Information post.
“In June 2011 the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a global survey of 586 senior executives, sponsored by SAS, to look at the state of big data, along with the organisational characteristics of companies that are adept at extracting value from data. It also explores the most challenging aspects of data management…”
Economist Intelligence Unit: Master data fundament… – Input Output
This week’s Active Information post:
“…And sure, we’ve heard all of this before. All those data management activities that get head nods, lumped into architecture and COEs (read: overhead) and then get resource gutted as soon the economy gets challenging, or a “business critical” project comes along.
But, here’s the thing. According to the EIU research, the organizations that have actively, consistently invested in data management fundamentals are reaping more than business benefits…”
Zen and the Art of Simplicity at Work – The Source – WSJ
I preach simplicity in architecture everyday, just not so eloquently…
“Tracing the Zen Aesthetic, what sets shibumi apart as a powerful design ideal is the unique combination of surprising impact and uncommon simplicity.
It entails achieving maximum effect through minimum means, which, it turns out, is a universal pursuit that takes many forms: artists and designers use white or ‘negative’ space to convey visual power; scientists and mathematicians and engineers search for theories that explain highly complex phenomena in stunningly simple ways.
What these various forms all have in common, and what shibumi has at its core, is the element of subtraction.
Not only is the thought of subtracting something in order to create value a very different way of thinking (neuroscientists have shown using functional MRI scans that addition and subtraction demand different brain circuitry), it figures centrally in Zen.”
Archives for October 2011
Link Collection — October 23, 2011
There’s Something Happening Here – NYTimes.com
“There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me. One says this is the start of “The Great Disruption.” The other says that this is all part of “The Big Shift.” You decide.”
Mechanical Sympathy: Single Writer Principle
Single Writer Principle
When trying to build a highly scalable system the single biggest limitation on scalability is having multiple writers contend for any item of data or resource. Sure, algorithms can be bad, but let’s assume they have a reasonable Big O notation so we’ll focus on the scalability limitations of the systems design.
I keep seeing people just accept having multiple writers as the norm. There is a lot of research in computer science for managing this contention that boils down to 2 basic approaches. One is to provide mutual exclusion to the contended resource while the mutation takes place; the other is to take an optimistic strategy and swap in the changes if the underlying resource has not changed while you created the new copy.
disruptor – Concurrent Programming Framework – Google Project Hosting
What is the Disruptor?
LMAX aims to be the fastest trading platform in the world. Clearly, in order to achieve this we needed to do something special to achieve very low-latency and high-throughput with our Java platform. Performance testing showed that using queues to pass data between stages of the system was introducing latency, so we focused on optimising this area.
The Disruptor is the result of our research and testing. We found that cache misses at the CPU-level, and locks requiring kernel arbitration are both extremely costly, so we created a framework which has “mechanical sympathy” for the hardware it’s running on, and that’s lock-free.
This is not a specialist solution, it’s not designed to work only for a financial application. The Disruptor is a general-purpose mechanism for solving a difficult problem in concurrent programming.
Active Information: Data Scientists, Moneyball, Competitive Analytics & Big Data Definition
I’ve been remiss in sharing my active information posts. The latest:
Data Scientists: Heavy Lifting Required
“Good data scientists understand, in a deep way, that the heavy lifting of cleanup and preparation isn’t something that gets in the way of solving the problem: it is the problem.” – DJ Patil
On Davenport on Moneyball: Swing or ride the pine
Companies looking to compete on analytics, or for that matter, just stay competitive, need leaders who realize that having tunnel vision on singular, staid metrics, will lead to singular, staid businesses.
Taking the right path to Competitive Analytics
The evolution from experienced to transformed analytics takes one of two paths, which depends on the nature and goals of the organization.
Big Data definitions will be Big Data problem
It seems that the definitions and opinions on what is, and isn’t, big data, could fill a terabyte or two on their own.
Link Collection — October 9, 2011
What Visual Designers Can Learn From Biggie Smalls | Blog | design mind
“I often think of Biggie’s process when we discuss the visual design process in the studio and within the company. What can we as designers learn from it? To me, there are a few strong themes we can embrace from it when facing difficulties in our daily work or when we assess our working methods, regardless of what discipline we work in or the context of our everyday projects.”
Thoughtful Programmer: Visible Business
“You may be writing software to detect or determine that “Something has happened”, or you may be writing software to deal with the fact that “Something has happened”.
Either way, visibility is the key… your software is either making “something that has happened” visible, or your software is making “something that needs to happen” visible. Your software may be making “something” visible to people, or your software may be making “something” visible to another system.”
Charles Eames on Design: Rare Q&A from 1972 | Brain Pickings
Q: “What are the boundaries of design?” Eames: “What are the boundaries of problems?”