How do you fill Steve Jobs’ shoes?

Succession Planning was well done at Apple because management had focused on nurturing a culture that transcends individuals. Numerous studies over last couple of years pointed to this.

If I were Tim Cook, I would try the following:

  • Try to be Tim Cook as much as possible
  • Don’t try to fill Steve Jobs’ shoes, instead try to “stand on Steve’s shoulders”
  • Don’t try to fight for recognition because that would be a trap, I can only become a better Tim Cook
  • Don’t pay much attention to the hype, just get on with the job
Steve has done a good job at Succession Planning at Apple. The onus is now on Tim Cook to capitalise on this, and that task may be made hard by any form of obsession with past achievements.

Certified IT Architect, an attempt by The Open Group to raise the profile of this profession

The Open Group Certified Architect Program offers a career map for folks specialised in architecting Information Systems. The name “IT Architect” suggests that the focus is only on Information Technology, which I think is a bit of a narrow scoping. But this is certainly an opening for folks looking to map their career on an institutionalised structure.

The Open Group released a Certified Architect program, I learned about it on a recent blog post by Mike Walker. Since this is work from The Open Group, it’s going to spark reactions from friends and foes alike, depending on the side of the proverbial fence where people sit, it is either going to be dubbed “nice job!” or just “a completely skewed piece”. I don’t know, everyone’s entitled to his/her tastes.

By calling it IT Architect however, I am wondering if The Open Group intentionally limited the scope of what this entails. Professor Guido Dedene might have said that it should be more about Information Systems Architect, which is broader and more hollistic than just IT Architect. And I would agree with Pr. Dedene, because I think that mastering the technology alone isn’t sufficient to help solve business problems. If the mastery goes beyond Technology, then I would argue that IT is a reductive qualifer.

IT Certification may have gained some undue bad reputation because of some people misusing (abusing) the term. I have come across people walking around with all sorts of certifications yet you’d find that their knowledge and actual experience wouldn’t stand any proper scrutiny. I’ve even known people calling themselves architects when they didn’t have the faintest clue as to what the terms may signify. Those are certainly a few bad cases that shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the reputation of this profession. This is also not to say that certification isn’t useful, it clearly is a plus when walking to job interviews where the paper is what people value first and foremost.

Mike Walker’s blog gives a nice overview of The Open Group’s Certified Architect program, people starting up in the field would do well to get informed in this manner then chose their path diligently. Efforts of this kind are definitely a welcome contribution to the profession of Architect in Information Technology (IT) – I shall say Information Systems (IS) field.

Pimping my MacBook Pro late 2008 – Part 1, install 8 GB Ram

If you’ve got an oldish (mine is late 2008) MacBook Pro, and you don’t have say €2000 to spend, there is a way to give it a new lease of life. Upgrade two essential components that play a vital role on the machine’s performance: the memory and the boot drive (hard disk). It’s very easy to upgrade the RAM of your MacBook Pro late 2008 edition. In this post I explain how I installed 8 GB Ram on mine.

If you’ve got an oldish (mine is late 2008) MacBook Pro, and you don’t have say €2000 to spend, there is a way to give it a new lease of life if you do have say 10% of that amount of money, which is €200. Upgrade two essential components that play a vital role on the machine’s performance: the memory and the boot drive (hard disk).

Sure the latest processor will help if you run video editing software or some computation intensive software. But for most common usages, performance bottleneck starts with memory access. If your computer has enough memory to run everything you need, you are unlikely to see performance problems. If it must access the disk at some stage, then that is a second tier of performance bottleneck that you need to address. Most of the time, once you’re past the initial application load time, having decent memory will give you a nice performance boost.

So starting with the memory upgrade, I looked for sources and found the following items from Amazon €65,8:

I ordered both items from Amazon UK, they took 3 days to arrive. I shut down my laptop, waited about 10 min for it to cool down, opened it up, removed the modules that were already there and replaced them with the new modules from Kingston. The instructions for upgrading memory on your MacBook Pro from Apple Support page are very straightforward.

The whole operation lasted for about 15 min, including time to dust my machine. It was a child play, and it made a difference already. I now scarcely have to wait for something to complete. And the result can be seen in the third picture on this post, above.

I have ordered a bracket for installing a second hard drive in the machine. I expect it to arrive in the coming days. I’ll publish Part II of this post once I get the kit.

Twitter open sourced a really useful web front-ent toolkit, it’s called Bootstrap

Twitter’s web front-end toolkit called Bootstrap is a really useful addition to the open source community.

Timing sometimes can be a strange thing, it can be nice when it works in your favour.

Just as I’ve started creating my own web UI toolkit, I get the news that Twitter open sourced their toolkit called Bootstrap. The timing couldn’t be any better for me, for the following reasons:

  • A few months ago I had come to the conclusion that 960 Grid System was a great choice for structuring web pages in a scalable manner
  • I’ve checked out lots of resources for creating nice looking page style elements, via Mashable, and I have yet to find the one “killer toolkit”. So, I’ve been reluctantly looking to make my own – with my non-existing front-end design skills, that was going to be exciting
  • Two of the projects that I am working on at the moment have now got embryonic style elements, it was time to dress them up a bit
So you can imagine the smile on my face as I went through Twitter’s blog this morning. Technical folks can’t design UI, and that’s good news for everybody. The trouble is though, technical people are often allowed to make UI design decisions, often for the lack of a better alternative (or awareness). With a toolkit like Twitter’s Bootstrap, I think those of us who can’t afford their own front-end design teams would hugely benefit by simply adopting it. The worse effect that this have may be to help reduce the amount of frankly “offending site designs” that hit the web regularly.

Github is becoming a cloud IDE, very cool

GitHub is quickly becoming a cloud IDE, which is good news for developers around the world.

Github is gearing towards becoming a cloud IDE, that is promising. Given their meteoric rise, and how well they perform, this will be pretty cool eventually. In a recent rant, I didn’t exactly flatter the existing raft of IDEs. And I think this evolution of GitHub supports (just a bit) my rant, that the incumbent IDEs aren’t working hard enough for developers.

People with fixed workstations, people who are using desktops that are seldom turned off or infrequently turned to other purposes, may not appreciate the value of having a svelte development environment. But the semi-mobile development folks, web developers, would probably rush to try out this new feature.

On a similar but entirely different vein, WordPress made blogging super easy and we all know the results, a massive success well beyond its initial target group. Drupal made web content management a breeze, and they are scoring big names quite regularly. PHP made web development affordable for the masses, this drove its widespread adoption. Ruby endeavoured to “bring the fun into development”, the results are there for all to see, an entirely fresh movement: frameworks like Rails, Sinatra (and Scalatra for Scala), Grails, Play, all were somehow inspired by the movement that Ruby created.

I see the current trend in Cloud IDEs taking a similar path to the technologies cited in the previous paragraph, some of the cloud IDE providers will eventually make it big and people will flock.

I now have my eyes on Node.js, that may be another silent(?) revolution in the making:

Imagine building apps with JavaScript, or let’s say Node.js, and HTML5 for example, using a Cloud IDE, deploying on cloud  environments. That may be enough to hit a respectable 80/20 balance, where a lot of the regular functionality surfacing is quickly built using these technologies, the heavy lifting and differentiator stuff is built using the more traditional technologies. If adoption follows, or shall I say as people start reaping benefits (or just following the new hypes/trends), then we could be looking at a totally new development technology landscape.

Is this too far fetched? Who knows, I’m curious.

Possibly a turning point for the Android platform

Google buying Motorolla may be a crucial point in their move for curating the Android platform. The platform fragmentation may thus gain pace, giving Windows Phone a much needed indirect lift.

Here is a kind of move that I’ve been expecting to happen for some time: Google CEO Larry Page explains reasoning behind Motorola acquisition (spoiler: patents). If Android momentum were to be (at least partially) helped by its positioning, uniting some of the players that might have been losing out to the iPhone, then one of those parties would want to wriggle themselves out of such status quo some day. That’s a thought in my mind since the introduction of the Android platform.

This move by Google may be adding to what I see as (an understandable) confusion building up around the Android platform. If Android fragmentation should accelerate, then Microsoft’s Windows Phone is set to score some points.

UPDATE: After reading tech news about this topic, I think this article from AllThingsD is well worth checking out (be sure to also read Kara Swisher’s post, linked in the same article): Google’s Motorolla buy has Wall Street selling.

MacBookPro late 2008 running OSX Lion, is the best computer setup I’ve ever had

I’ve yet to have any issue with my MBP late 2008 edition running OSX Lion. This is the best computer setup I’ve ever had, if only I could get SSD on it (reseller’s crappy order management fault) it would just be awesome. If no MBP ships in September then I think I’ll get the latest MacBook Air, shift most of my virtual machines to cloud providers, then I’ll be all set for the best productive work and pleasurable computing experience.

I’ve yet to have any issue with my MBP late 2008 edition running OSX Lion. This is the best computer setup I’ve ever had. If only I could get SSD on it (due to reseller’s shoddy order management) it would just be awesome. If no MBP ships in September then I think I’ll get the latest MacBook Air, move all my virtual machines to various cloud providers,  then I’ll be all set for the best productive work and pleasurable computing experience.

Everything about my setup is pleasing, from the way it behaves every day to the way it looks. I like the way everything looks and feels, every button, every control. One particularly nice feature is the way the windows lost the bulky chrome, they now only show useful content. Making scrollbars disappear when you’re not scrolling is cool. No more clutter. The windows displayed on my screen feel as if they were real-life thin silver plates up in the air for serving content. It’s just posh. I didn’t expect the level of polish that I’m enjoying now, so that’s a really nice surprise.

The polish of OSX Lion along with the way I tend to run lots of things simultaneously really show the age of my hardware, 4GB RAM and 3 years old. This is why I want to see how it performs if the boot drive is an SSD. But clearly for my daily use, an Intel i7 and 8 GB RAM with SSD is the way to go.