The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
Issue No. 55 - 1 September 2011
In This Issue
Social Media and the Enterprise
IBM's Petabyte Array
ISO Approves C++ 11
Batteries Not Included
Three Free Stanford Online Courses
Seen Recently
CB photo
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Social Media and the Enterprise, Part II
The second part of Claude Baudoin's report, subtitled "From Fear to Reasoned Adoption," was published by Cutter. Clients can log in and download it from this link. As usual, others can ask nicely...

One of the points made in Part II is that companies that restrict access to social networks because they fear productivity losses are fighting the wrong fight, and are "paying lip service to management by objectives (MBO) without really practicing it." Kevin O'Keefe coincidentally made the same point in his blog, in the specific case of law firms (cited in Vince Polley's Miscellaneous IT-Related Legal News).
Big Data

You remember what "RAID" means, right? Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks. This story doesn't say whether the disks are inexpensive, but IBM Research's new water-cooled, 120-petabyte storage system is based on the same principle. Given the reduction in the price of disks, it is the cost of the integration work, not the cost of the individual disks in this array that will drive the total price if it is ever commercialized.

A Thirteen-Year Hiatus Ends

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has unanimously approved C++ 11 (as in "2011" -- so much for using four-digit year numbers after the Y2K scare), the first revision in the standard since 1998. Now the race starts to produce compliant compilers, and for application writers to replace some of the extension libraries they used with C++ 98 with the new standard features contained in C++ 11 (at least if they want to improve the maintainability and perhaps the performance of their code).

Batteries Not Included

Everytime I see an article about an ad-hoc, peer-to-peer network architecture supposed to ensure connectivity in an area where the central infrastructure has failed after a disaster, I think of how long this is going to actually work before power runs out. In most of the situations these architectures are meant to address, power will be cut off, and the devices will consume more power to talk to each other and act as relays than they normally do to connect to a cell tower. While the first few hours may be crucial to rescue efforts, the system is unlikely to hold up for very long as its nodes die off. Practicality, however, has never stood in the way of a good PhD thesis, hence the latest example, LifeNet from Georgia Tech.

Three Free Online Courses from Stanford

Stanford University professors are offering three online courses for free to anyone who registers for them:

  • Introduction to AI, by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig
  • Database Software, by Stanford CS department chairwoman Jennifer Widom
  • Machine Learning, by Andrew Ng

The classes will use various advanced tools to grade the classes and to moderate questions from students (a good idea, since 58,000 people have registered for the AI course).

Seen Recently...

"A PMP cert doesn't indicate you have a clue as a project manager. Understood?"

-- Dave Lewis, security practitioner, @gattaca on Twitter 


"The point of 'big data' is not 'big data' but pattern recognition."

-- Simon Wardley (Leading Edge Forum), @swardley on Twitter