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Showing posts from May, 2006
Folklore and Software…Pure Inspiration
I first encountered Trolltech about four years ago and have been intrigued since. After you get over the odd name and being reminded of Peer Gynt and the Three Billy Goats Gruff legends, you realize the company has some interesting technology that will go a long way in helping with device software optimization (DSO). You also realize that Trolltech is a company of and for developers – after all, if trolls are exposed to sunlight they turn to stone. And, we all know that real developers prefer to work their magic in the wee hours of the night and avoid those harmful ultra-violet rays at all cost.

So why do I find Trolltech so intriguing? They have a simple product lineup – Qt and Qtopia. Their mission is to unleash the creative power of the developer. In this day and age of turning software development into a structured discipline instead of a creative expression, Trolltech’s mission is commendable. There should be a little creative expressio…
If Everyone Wrote Clean Code Would You Too?
As I mentioned earlier, Coverity is one of the vendors to watch. They really can make your code cleaner, more reliable, and more secure.

I saw a presentation given by Coverity CTO, Ben Chelf , that unequivocally proved to a room full of highly skilled developers that it is neither simple or pleasant to cover 100% of your code when searching for bugs and the simplest of things are not really as simple as they appear. At the end of the session, developers were clamoring to find out more about what Coverity could do for them. This is what every good demo sets out to accomplish.

Coverity views the software life cycle as “design / code / system test / QA / release. " The Coverity products fit squarely in the “code and system test” portion of the life cycle and focus on quality, security, and concurrency. By conducting 100% code coverage of all possible paths in the source code, Coverity can uncover bugs early in the life cycle – read as - …
Understanding the Gem
One of the unique vendors I encountered at the Wind River Worldwide User Conference was Kuka Controls. The company, among other offerings, makes two products that can really enhance the experience between device software and a traditional Microsoft Windows environment. The two Kuka products with so much to offer in terms of integration are VxWin and CeWin.

Kuka’s VxWin allows Wind River’s VxWorks device software operating system to run on the same PC as Microsoft Windows. There are certainly benefits in terms of hardware reduction, overall weight decreases of the entire system, and reduced mean time between failure (MTBF). But the benefit around unification is delivered via integration of a device software operating system and the standard as well as ubiquitous Microsoft Windows operating system. This means a device can use Windows for a GUI display or enterprise connection. Some of the scenarios this enables are: completion of the ERP system for manufacturi…
Look What I Found...
One of the biggest benefits of going to conferences is coming across new and exciting vendors in the industry. While you are attending the conference and caught up in the excitement, it’s thrilling to find a new gem with innovative and creative ideas, products, and offerings. Last week at the Wind River Worldwide User Conference, I found five exciting “newish” companies and one stalwart with a new twist on things.

The five new companies I uncovered last week were:
Coverity
Encirq
Klocwork
Kuka Controls (VxWin)
Trolltech

And the one big surprise came in the form of IBM Rational with its realtime offerings.

There was one unique thing I noticed about each of these vendors. They all have products, services, or offerings around a theme of unification. Unification of devices. Unification of existing applications and device software. Unification of the enterprise to the field. This is exciting. These vendors have a clear vision that the problems faced in developing a…
Changes
The 2006 Wind River Worldwide User Conference concluded today. This conference was edgy. From the ultra-hip urban graphics on everything from signage to hotel room keys to a Phil Gordon hosted poker tournament, Wind River is shaking up a staid and conservative industry.

If there was one clearly identifiable theme at this conference, it was think differently. Wind River is at the heart of the DSO (Device Software Optimization) movement. While the core DSO tenets are standardization, openness of both standards and source, the espousing of best practices and an ecosystem it really means that all of the billions of IP enabled devices will be able to connect securely, reliably, and safely when and where they need to.

Shaking up an industry that has been content with building software for processors in devices is a tall task. Contentment is always a troublesome companion. Technology and the tools we build are capable of allowing constant connectivity. And, society is demanding connecti…
Back to the Future…Almost
Do you recall the big vision of a few years ago…the one that said because of connected appliances in your house along with a low cost, pervasive and reliable network, when an appliance begins to fail, a simple message is sent to the appropriate repair person and before you even know your appliance has a problem a fix or patch has been dispensed.

I thought this concept was brilliant, with the exception of one fatal flaw…household appliances rarely break. Or, let me rephrase this, the unattractive ones that you want to replace but can only justify replacement if they break never fail!

I’ve lived my entire adult life not being able to justify replacing a traditional white appliance with a luxurious, high tech, minimalist design because the random and ugly but perfectly functioning white appliance would never break.

So, while I thought the concept was useful, I realized its practicality was lacking – those white appliances are just too durable – that old Maytag co…
Blinded by Science … and Business
Science makes great things possible. Science and business together provide us with solutions. When you think about the equation of: Needs + Features = Benefits this is what purveyors of technology need to offer to their customers.

Today, at the Wind River Worlwide User Conference I hosted a panel comprised of business and technology visionaries from Motorola, Philips Semiconductors, and Smiths Aerospace. These trailblazers in the DSO space are looking at things differently; far differently than they did 3 years ago. Today, they are concerned with who their customers are, what their customers expect from them, and building out a workable ecosystem of their value chain. In some cases, their competitors may also be their customer. They inhabit a world in 2006 that was not even dreamed of in 2003.

What is certain from the way these business leaders are thinking about DSO makes it clear that devices need to be reliable, secure, and integrated while d…
Anticipation…
In my last post, I mentioned the importance of beginning with the end in mind. This fundamental and basic design principle translates into the customer of the product being satisfied. Satisfied with how the technology works, its reliability, and the delivery of expectations. I think of the workaround “solutions” that we all accept and undertake because basic design principles were not followed. And, I think of so many promises that were made and broken regarding technology.

So, as I await the start of the 2nd annual Wind River Worldwide User Conference and the announcements that are sure to coincide – I think we are at an inflection point in the market. That is one of having sufficient tools and technology to deliver products that make a difference. And, the difference can be made if we begin with the end in mind. Ask the basic questions about use and break free of the technology searching for a solution shackle. Let’s identify problems and be creative, thoughtful, and pur…
Welcome to “What’s Next?”, a blog designed to provoke thought, incite debate, and spark dialog among not only technologists, but all who benefit or attempt to benefit from the technology we are so dependent upon.

On the whole, I believe the technology industry has done a superb job in creating the tools to make technology useful. I also believe that we have failed to really capitalize on said tools to make technology, ubiquitous, relevant, and most importantly transparent. We still struggle too much with technology. We need to think differently about what we are doing and really begin to solve all problems with the end in mind. So, just think about what I’ve said. My subsequent posts will make you realize that we can certainly attain far more than we have – after all, it’s just software, it can do anything!

What’s next for me….I will be at the Wind River User Conference in Orlando, FL from May 16 – 18. I’m hoping to be inspired by what I hear and see and to find some answers abou…