|By Roger Strukhoff||
|December 1, 2010 11:12 AM EST||
I had a chance to read the book, Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace, recently, published in 2005 and written by longtime NPR international correspondent Micahael Goldfarb. It is the story of a writer and teacher, Ahmad Shawkut, who suffered greatly under Saddam Hussein, then thought he had achieved intellectual freedom when Hussein was ousted, only to be murdered during the early days of the US occupation in Iraq.
The book had nothing to do with Cloud Computing, or technology for that matter, other than to offer brief descriptions of the satellite phones in use there and to note that Iraqi police stations had no computers. Its author generally maintained a measured tone throughout, with occasional bursts of rage when describing the gulf between what supercilious commentators in the US say happened versus what really did happen to many ordinary Iraqi citizens during this war.
Yet it struck me as another example of a place where IT could and should be used as a true liberating force.
IT Irony in the US and UK
There is appalling irony, and lots of it, in the US and UK today regarding how IT has been turned into a weapon by these countries' governments against their people. Ubiquitous cameras throughout London have now given the British government a perpetual view of its citizens acts and perhaps intentions, at least in their public lives. Meanwhile, in the US, domestic spying revelations no doubt form only the tip of an iceberg, and it turns out to be true that thousands of images of people's junk have been saved for future reference and who know what else.
Whatever one's opinion of Julian Assenge and WikiLeaks is, it seems that most would agree that Attorney General Eric Holder is being ludicrous with his "this is not saber rattling" threats to arrest a foreign citizen who published material at a foreign-based website. The US got to experience life as the world's lone superpower for a 12-year period from 1989 to 2001; it demonstrated that it was not the sort of imperium that would try to enslave the part of the world it couldn't obliterate, but also showed the world that it could not function as either the world's policeman or beacon of ethics.
Failure is the Only Option
The lost decade of the "aughts," precipitated financially by the Clinton administration's pursuit of Microsoft in court (go back and look, you'll see the dot-com crash started when Redmond was perceived as the evil empire), then socially by a mission that was not accomplished quite as expeditiously as the Bush administration thought, left the United States in an amazing financial mess, and seemingly toothless in international affairs.
The President flies to Denmark to try to convince sneering Euros to let Chicago have the Olympics. Fail. The Vice-President gets insulted by the country's Israeli allies in unprecedented fashion, only to accede to ever more demands. Fail. The President goes to India, begging for business from a nation with an average wealth 2% of the US. He moves onto South Korea, unable to secure the most basic trade agreement. He continues to Japan, where no one remembers even now that he was there. Fail, fail, and fail.
This is not a commentary on the President, but rather, the parlous situation the United States finds itself in today. These failures follow several decades of foreign misadventure, an increasingly obese and uneducated public that doesn't really like to vote much, and a debased media that thinks it's being destroyed by the Internet rather than by its own irrelevance.
Don't Abandon All Hope, Ye
But the great hope of IT as liberation technology lives elsewhere. It chips away at a priggish Chinese government's attempts to control it utterly. It serves as an invaluable tool for on-the-spot reporting of social disruption from Toronto to Bangkok. It is a key contributor to increased standards of living throughout the world, especially in those countries that are the most aggressive in its adoption, from Morocco and Senegal to Ukraine and Poland to Malaysia and Vietnam.
And Iraq. Ahmad Shawkut, in the book about him, was a dreamer, and an argumentative one, a guy who couldn't (wouldn't) put a lid on his opinions to save his own skin. He is not presented as wholly heroic, as the author notes the stress he put on his family and the futility of much of his utopian thinking. Mr. Shawkut loved the metaphysical, not the practical.
But he was undone by a place in which secrets and gossip pass quickly and unendingly through dark alleyways, as they have for thousands of years. If the police did, in fact, have some computers, if the populace did have wide access to the Web, if people were able to see beyond the limited horizon of the local ridgeline, then the Ahmad Shawkuts of the world could gain the influence they simply don't have today. Yes, in my opinion, Cloud Computing's potential to transform societies is even greater than its potential to transform datacenters.
One can only wish that the citizens of the US and UK can someday better restrain the power of their governments to misuse IT, just as other governments of the world can better bring IT's advantages to their citizens.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 483
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 27, 2015 09:15 AM EST Reads: 282
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 27, 2015 07:45 AM EST Reads: 418
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 27, 2015 07:30 AM EST Reads: 314
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 27, 2015 04:15 AM EST Reads: 708
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 27, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 328
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 27, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 218
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 27, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 454
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 27, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 517
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 27, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 424
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 27, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 560
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 27, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 309
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 27, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 463
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Nov. 27, 2015 12:45 AM EST Reads: 395
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 27, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 339
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 26, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 402
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 26, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 387
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Nov. 26, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 528
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 26, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 528
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Nov. 26, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 503