Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog, Elizabeth White, Jyoti Bansal, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Geeks, Germs, and Software

Geeks, Germs, and Software

At a recent presentation given by a software engineer from a very large automotive company, I gleaned some remarkable facts:for a particular car model where the basic price goes up as the livery becomes lusher and the initials on the trunk longer, half of the increase in value comes purely from software. I had assumed that the extra greenbacks in the price came from fancier music systems combined with a cool retro steering wheel and dashboard fascia; apparently it just comes from good old lines of code.

The average top-of-the-line luxury car has close to a gigabyte of software running it, and consequently enjoys the same development issues as any other project producing such volumes of code. One of these issues is the communication between different modules, and a car's software architecture built around layers and subsystem separation reminds me very much of good old fashioned message queues and transport buses, while the irony of the terminology is poetically sweet.

There are some teething problems, however. I'd have assumed the story was apocryphal had it not been told by a car engineer: some autos are built with Bluetooth technology to provide wireless comms between the car's various subsystems. A not-too-pleased owner of said set of wheels one day found his pride and joy wouldn't start when he turned the key. After the tow truck was called and the garage's grease monkeys failed to find a leak or physical problem, the final diagnosis was that it had caught a phone virus. It seems technology had followed nature, where just as the avian flu virus can jump between species, so malicious software designed for one device can inadvertently infect another. Adds new meaning to the phrase, "Honey, I crashed the car."

At the same conference, apart from the fantastic technology being demonstrated, I was struck by the fact that directly afterward another conference targeted at an entirely different technology industry was being assembled in the same venue. The booths and accessories being put together for this were noticeably shabbier and had the appearance of "hand me downs" from another era when said alternative profession enjoyed more prosperity and fortune. The thought the image instilled in me was that we, as software engineers, are now in our purple patch when it comes to our industry's health and future potential.

In "Guns, Germs and Steel" (www.wwnorton.com/catalog/spring99/gunsgerms.htm) Jared Diamond articulates how societies were really created around the ability to make tools, which in turn led to the ability to divide labor, allowing for farmers on the one hand and elders and armies on the other. This division of responsibility led to better organizational units that were able to conquer neighboring tribes more easily, and ultimately became responsible for the modern day colonization and the growth of civilizations.

In the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 1900s it was machinery that changed the way societies lived and worked together, and the much-celebrated heroes of the age built things that smoked, choked, and clanked their way along railroad tracks, canals, or spanned ravines. Civil engineering is now a well-respected discipline that universities teach. When I went through college computer science degrees were considered an oddity, now com-sci is a mainstream rite of passage to getting a career in software.

To a certain extent today's super heroes of social change come from the software industry. Love him or loathe him, but Bill Gates was recently given a knighthood by the Queen of England for his services to the technology industry. This could be seen as on par with the industrial heroes of yore who were given similar gongs in their lifetime and then had statues and museums created to celebrate their lives and contribution to social change.

The change that software is able to leverage on our daily lives should never be underestimated. The Internet is a phenomenal example of how a relatively simple technology has just enabled a massive peer-to-the-power-of-peer network of information and communication that affects each of us daily.

I was recently planning a bike touring vacation and was reading a guide book on the various routes. This book's list of preparation tasks included an entry: "Check you have enough camera film." Staring at my digital camera that I take for granted with its ability to record short video clips with sound as well as images, I was reminded of the cartoon in which a daughter, while sitting on her father's knee, asks the question, "Daddy - tell me what it was like when you had to go to a photo lab and wait to see the results of your pictures?" Each time I take my eight-year-old son around the science museum I am not only impressed and in reverence of the great inventions of the last century that shaped our present day machines, I find it a little disconcerting to see the last room of display cases filled with what looks a little like the contents of my house not so many years ago - vinyl records, disposable camera flash bulbs, floppy disks that are floppy, digital watches with red LED displays, and so forth.

If half of the advances in engineering a luxury car, once the bastion of the nuts and bolts brigade, is done with for loops and asynchronous message calls, are software developers the pioneers driving forward technology? As occurred in previous ages, do we also drive society itself and how people operate their lives? Above all, however, we should all feel proud and privileged to exist in an era when such change is occurring, and also slightly humbled by our individual ability to contribute to how lives and the future are organized. To paraphrase a much-quoted prophecy: "It is the geeks who shall inherit the earth."

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
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" ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
China Unicom exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, ICT, data communica...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...