Glosario KW | KW Glossary
Ontology Design | Diseño de Ontologías
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Posted by Margaret Rouse
A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines. Independent accounting, security or IT consultants evaluate the strength and thoroughness of compliancepreparations. Auditors review security polices, user access controls and risk management procedures over the course of a compliance audit.
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“Ahora el seguro médico ACME SA es el más 'seguro' del planeta. Nuestro sistema de información detecta en tiempo real los errores de prescripción y despacho de medicamentos, y le alerta sobre cualquier acción preventiva para evitar potenciales problemas… mejorando su calidad de vida. Esto es así gracias a la integración de 2 millones de componentes desarrollados por el DKW MEDICINE INSTITUTE OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY en el sistema informático de atención primaria, administración hospitalaria y farmacia.”
También hablamos de los tres ámbitos para sembrar la “semilla KW”: universitario, redes sociales y el B2B/B2C tradicional. El primero validará segundo y tercero. Muchas empresas financiarán el desarrollo en el ambiente universitario, creando una nueva cadena de valor que beneficiará a ambos.
Los estudiantes universitarios podrán elaborar sus tesis de grado construyendo contenidos HKW y DKW en vez de escribir sendos documentos que se volverán amarillos y obsoletos en la biblioteca de la Universidad. Las investigaciones en las cátedras serán 100% reusables, generando contenidos “marca registrada” que les prestigiarán y, ¿porqué no?, serán una fuente de ingresos legítimos y universales por derechos de copyright.
El Hogar Digital es un escenario de enorme fertilidad para la tecnología KW, quizás la que más rápido popularice y masifique su uso.
Lo interesante es que, para construir productos “KW Compatible”, los fabricantes utilizarán esta tecnología en sus propias líneas de producción y estrategias comerciales.
Cualquier mensaje “de venta” para la tecnología KW deberá estar centrada en el protagonismo posible que el Usuario Final tendrá con ella.
5 ways a Connection Broker Simplifies Hosted Environments
With all the moving parts to think about when moving resources into the data center, a connection broker might be the last thing on your mind.
Waiting until you've designed the rest of your data center to consider the connection broker can be detrimental to the overall usability of your system.
This is why we've created our new eBook, which outlines five scenarios where including a connection broker into your design from the get-go can future-proof and improve your hosted desktop solution.
Download our new eBook and learn about:
Please read the attached whitepaper
Achieve Your IT Vision With Converged Infrastructure
Whether you've already deployed a converged system or have future deployment plans, you can maximize that investment with automation. This paper outlines 4 steps to reduce your IT complexity with converged infrastructure so your team gains the freedom to innovate and drive bottom-line results.
Please read the attached whitepaper.
Converged Infrastructures Deliver the Full Value of Virtualization
Converged Infrastructures Deliver the Full Value of Virtualization
By Ravi Chalaka | Hitachi Data Systems
Satisfied with your virtualization efforts?
How does an organization modernize IT and get more out of infrastructure resources? That’s a question many CIOs ask themselves. With hundreds or even thousands of physical hardware resources, increasing complexity and massive data growth, you need new, reliable ways to deliver IT services in an on-demand, flexible and scalable fashion. You also must address requests for faster delivery of business services, competition for resources and trade-offs between IT agility and vendor lock-in.
Please read the attached whitepaper.
Copyleft is the idea and the specific stipulation when distributing software that the user will be able to copy it freely, examine and modify the source code, and redistribute the software to others (free or priced) as long as the redistributed software is also passed along with the copyleft stipulation. The term was originated by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation. Copyleft favors the software user's rights and convenience over the commercial interests of the software makers. It also reflects the belief that freer redistribution and modification of software would encourage users to make improvements to it. ("Free software" is not the same as freeware, which is usually distributed with copyright restrictions.)
Stallman and his adherents do not object to the price or profit aspects of creation and redistribution of software - only to the current restrictions placed on who can use how many copies of the software and how and whether the software can be modified and redistributed.
The de facto collaboration that developed and refined Unix and other collegially-developed programs led the FSF to the idea of "free" software and copyleft. In 1983, the FSF began developing a "free software" project that would both demonstrate the concept while providing value to users. The project was called GNU, an operating system similar to a Unix system. GNU and its various components are currently available and are distributed with copyleft stipulations. Using GNU components, the popular Linux system is also issued with a copyleft.
RELATED GLOSSARY TERMS: Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition) , high-performance computing (HPC), Open Directory Project (ODP), LiveDistro, Yellowdog Updater, Modified (YUM), BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) , shell, Free Software Foundation (FSF) , Tcl/Tk (Tool Command Language), open source beer
This was last updated in September 2005
Copyright is the ownership of an intellectual property within the limits prescribed by a particular nation's or international law. In the United States, for example, the copyright law provides that the owner of a property has the exclusive right to print, distribute, and copy the work, and permission must be obtained by anyone else to reuse the work in these ways. Copyright is provided automatically to the author of any original work covered by the law as soon as the work is created. The author does not have to formally register the work, although registration makes the copyright more visible. (See Circular 66, "Copyright Registration for Online Works," from the U.S Copyright Office.) Copyright extends to unpublished as well as published works. The U.S. law extends copyright for 50 years beyond the life of the author. For reviews and certain other purposes, the "fair use" of a work, typically a quotation or paragraph, is allowed without permission of the author.
The Free Software Foundation fosters a new concept called copyleft in which anyone can freely reuse a work as long as they in turn do not try to restrict others from using their reuse.
EditPros, an editing and marketing communications firm, has allowed us to reprint below an article about copyright as it applies to the Internet.
Are You Violating Copyright on the Internet?
The Internet, inarguably one of the most remarkable developments in international communication and information access, is fast becoming a lair of copyright abuse. The notion of freedom of information and the ease of posting, copying and distributing messages on the Internet may have created a false impression that text and graphic materials on World Wide Web sites, postings in "usenet" news groups, and messages distributed through e-mail lists and other electronic channels are exempt from copyright statutes.
In the United States, copyright is a protection provided under title 17 of the U.S. Code, articulated in the 1976 Copyright Act. Copyright of a creative work extends 50 years beyond the lifespan of its author or designer. Works afforded copyright protection include literature, journalistic reports, musical compositions, theatrical scripts, choreography, artistic matter, architectural designs, motion pictures, computer software, multimedia digital creations, and audio and video recordings. Copyright protection encompasses Web page textual content, graphics, design elements, as well as postings on discussion groups. Canada's Intellectual and Industrial Property Law, Great Britain's Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, and legislation in other countries signatory to the international Berne Convention copyright principles provide similar protections.
Generally speaking, facts may not be copyrighted; but content related to presentation, organization and conclusions derived from facts certainly can be. Never assume that anything is in the "public domain" without a statement to that effect. Here are some copyright issues important to companies, organizations and individuals.
Handling of External Links
Even though links are addresses and are not subject to copyright regulations, problems can arise in their presentation. If your Web site is composed using frames, and linked sites appear as a window within your frame set, you may be creating the deceptive impression that the content of the linked site is yours. Use HTML coding to ensure that linked external sites appear in their own window, clearly distinct from your site. Incidentally, you may wish to disavow responsibility for the content of sites to which you provide links.
Work for Hire
While copyright ordinarily belongs to the author, copyright ownership of works for hire belong to the employer. The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 provides two definitions of a work for hire: 1. a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or 2. a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. U.S. Copyright Office documentation further states, "Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution."
Just as making bootleg tapes of recorded music and photocopying books are illegal activities, printing and distributing contents of Web pages or discussion group postings may constitute copyright infringement. And companies may be liable for such activities conducted by their employees using company computing or photocopying equipment. However, the law does not necessarily prohibit downloading files or excerpting and quoting materials. The doctrine of fair use preserves your right to reproduce works or portions of works for certain purposes, notably education, analysis and criticism, parody, research and journalistic reporting. The amount of the work excerpted and the implications of your use on the marketability or value of the works are considerations in determining fair use. Works that are not fixed in a tangible form, such as extemporaneous speeches, do not qualify for copyright protection. Titles of works, and improvisational musical or choreographic compositions that have not been annotated, likewise cannot be copyrighted. Names of musical groups, slogans and short phrases may gain protection as trademarks when registered through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Protecting Your Own Works
Although copyright automatically applies to any creative work you produce, you can strengthen your legal copyright protection by registering works with the U.S. Copyright Office. Doing so establishes an official record of your copyright, and must be done before filing an infringement civil lawsuit in Federal district court. Registration costs $20. For information, visit the Copyright Office Web site or call (202) 707-3000; TTY is (202) 707-6737.
If you appoint an independent Web developer to create and maintain your Web site, make sure through written agreement that you retain the copyright to your Web content.
Place a copyright notice on each of your Web pages and other published materials. Spell out the word "Copyright" or use the encircled "c" symbol, along with the year of publication and your name, as shown in this example:
Copyright 1998 EditPros marketing communications If you're concerned about copyright protection in other nations, add: "All rights reserved."
How to Stay Legal
If you'd like to share the contents of an interesting Web page with your company employees, describe the page and tell them the URL address of the Web site so they can look for themselves. And if the latest edition of a business newspaper contains an article you'd like to distribute to your 12 board members, either ask the publication for permission to make copies, or buy a dozen copies of the newspaper. Retention of value through sales of that newspaper, after all, is what copyright law is intended to protect.
The United States Copyright Office contains an explanation of American copyright basics and a list of frequently asked questions, as well as the complete text of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Topics include copyright ownership and transfer, copyright notice, and copyright infringement and remedies. The site is maintained by the U.S. Library of Congress.
Most of the material in this definition/topic was reprinted from an EditPros newsletter with their permission. EditPros is a writing, editing, and publishing management firm in Davis, California with their own Web site.
RELATED GLOSSARY TERMS: FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974),Electrohippies Collective, Carnivore, lawful interception (LI), cypherpunk, Information Awareness Office (IAO), lifestyle polygraph, Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (e-signature bill), cyberstalking, I-SPY Act -- Internet Spyware Prevention Act of 2005 (H.R. 744)
This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by Margaret Rouse
Cowboy coding describes an undisciplined approach to software development that allows individual programmers to make up their own rules.
Cowboy coding is programming lingo for an approach tosoftware development that gives programmers almost complete control over the development process. In this context, cowboy is a synonym for maverick -- an independent rebel who makes his own rules.
An organization might permit cowboy coding because there are not enough resources to commit to the design phase or a project deadline is looming. Sometimes cowboy coding is permitted because of a misguided attempt to stimulate innovation or because communication channels fail and there is little or no business stakeholder involvement or managerial oversight. An individual developer or small team might be given only a minimal description of requirements and no guidance regarding how these objectives should be achieved. They are free to select frameworks, coding languages, libraries, technologies and other build tools as they see fit.
The cowboy approach to coding typically focuses on quick fixes and getting a working product into production as quickly as possible. There is nodocumentation or formal process for quality assurance testing, as required by continuous integration and other Agile software developmentmethodologies. Instead of producing lean, well-written code, cowboy code often has errors that cause failures upon deployment or make it difficult to maintain over time. Integrating the various components of the code may also be a challenge since with cowboy coding there are no agreed-upon best practices to provide continuity.
Continue Reading About cowboy coding
Creating and Testing Your IT Recovery Plan
Creating and Testing Your IT Recovery Plan
Regular tests of your IT disaster recovery plan can mean the difference between a temporary inconvenience or going out of business.
Testing at least once per month is important to maintain engineering best practices, to comply with stringent standards for data protection and recovery, and to gain confidence and peace of mind. In the midst of disaster is not the time to determine the flaws in your backup and recovery system. Backup alone is useless without the ability to efficiently recover, and technologists know all too well that the only path from “ought to work” to “known to work” is through testing.
A recent study found that only 16 percent of companies test their disaster recovery plan each month, with over half testing just once or twice per year, if ever. Adding to the concern, almost one – third of tests resulted in failure.
The reasons cited for infrequent testing include the usual litany of tight budgets, disruption to employees and customers, interruption of sales and revenue, and of course the scarcity of time. This survey covered mostly large enterprises, and the challenges are even greater for smaller firms. According to the survey findings1
Yet new systems have arrived that allow daily automated testing of full recovery, putting such assurances in reach of every business. Backup without rapid recovery and testing will soon be as obsolete as buildings without sprinklers or cars without seatbelts.
Please read the attached whitepaper.
Not Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan Could Cost You Everything
Disaster recovery planning is a very large topic, with just one part being about backing up and recovering your data. To give you a real life example of what I mean by saying that data backup and recovery is just part of an overall disaster recovery plan, I will refer to a recent posting on Reddit. The post talks about how the System Admin gets a ticket saying that the power is out in their office in Kiev and that the UPS battery is down to 13%. In response, the technician at the office simply shuts down the gear. The next day they received a news report that basically stated that the entire building, that was once their Kiev office, was no longer functional as fire and collapsed floors had completely devastated it. The System Admin ends his post by asking how is your disaster recovery plan, and have you tested it.
When you start thinking about planning out your disaster recovery plan, you need to think about completely unrealistic disasters, along with the normal types of disaster crisis scenarios. If you have a disaster recovery plan already in place, does it take into account what happens if the office is completely destroyed or is inaccessible? How about multiple points of connectivity? When was the last time that your disaster recovery plan was actually tested?
When to Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan
It is a good practice to update and test your disaster recovery plan whenever large changes are made. What happens when you have everything set the way you want it and nothing huge has changed? My suggestion is to treat it like your smoke detector; twice a year when the time changes and you change the batteries in your smoke detectors, test your entire disaster recovery plan. Testing that plan should include asking yourself questions and exploring “what if” scenarios like: what happens if Bob, the main System Admin goes missing or dies by the proverbial bus that hunts down System Admins, or what happens if the building is on fire and everything inside is gone, or what happens if the cloud service you rely on for production/backup/disaster recovery suddenly closes its doors. All of these things needs to be accounted for along with many other scenarios in order to be able to recover from a disaster and continue running your business.
Not Making Time for Disaster Recovery Could Cost You
It seems like one of the hardest things to do is to make the time to either create or test your disaster recovery plan. Most of the time it seems like it comes down to time, and not having enough time is the biggest excuse given for not creating or testing a disaster recovery plan. This issue of time almost always comes down to priorities. When creating or testing your disaster recovery plan is too low on your priority list, it simply never gets done.
One of the best ways to go about pushing up the priority of disaster recovery is simply to think about how much each minute, hour, day, and week of downtime will cost the company. For instance, say an hour of downtime on the company website costs the company $3000 in lost e-commerce revenue. Now multiply that over hours or even days and your talking about huge potential losses that could have been avoided. Plus, that is not even factoring in the potential revenue loss of new customers who may not even consider your company after not being able to read about your company/products or the negative affect it has on the company image. The costs, even in this small scale disaster scenery, add up quickly.
The reality is, if you think data loss won’t happen to your company think again. 74% of companies have experienced data loss at the workplace and 32% of companies take several days to recover from the loss of data. The scary truth is 16% of companies that experience data loss never recover. When you think in terms of the potential cost to the company, it should help you prioritize your disaster recovery planning and testing along with justifying the costs of both the planning, infrastructure, and testing.
I think Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” When it comes to disaster recovery, failing to have a plan is a sure-fire way to set the company up for failure in the event of a disaster, and it could cost the company everything.
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Creative Commons (COPYRIGHT)
Part of the Open source glossary:
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers copyright licenses for digital work.
No registration is necessary to use the Creative Commons licenses. Instead, content creators select which of the organization's six licenses best meets their goals, then tag their work so that others know under which terms and conditions the work is released. Users can search the CreativeCommons.org website for creative works such as music, videos, academic writing, code or images to use commercially or to modify, adapt or build upon.
The six categories of licenses offered are:
This was last updated in July 2013
Contributor(s): Emily McLaughlin
Customer Relationship Management
La administración de la relación con los clientes, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), es parte de una estrategia de negocio centrada en el cliente. Una parte fundamental de su idea es, precisamente, la de recopilar la mayor cantidad de información posible sobre ellos y así poder dar valor a la oferta. Esto se refiere a poder brindarles soluciones que se adecuen perfectamente a sus necesidades, sin generarles nuevas. Por lo tanto, el nombre CRM hace referencia a una estrategia de negocio basada principalmente en la satisfacción de los clientes. También se identifican con esta sigla los sistemas informáticos que le dan soporte.
El concepto más cercano es Marketing Relacional. También tiene que ver con: Clienting, Marketing 1x1,Marketing Directo, etc.
Please read the attached handbook.
¿La solución para la rápida entrega de aplicaciones para móviles? Es una prueba de crowdsourcing
Crowdsourced Testing es una plataforma web que conecta empresas especializadas en desarrollo de software y sitios web con una red internacional de profesionales del aseguramiento de calidad (testers) que pueden probar sus productos para encontrar fallas y reportarlas de forma rápida y expedita para facilitar su corrección, donde el cliente son las empresas que pagan por este servicio y el usuario el grupo de testers encargado de las mejoras. Los testers de Crowdsourced Testing son trabajadores independientes que trabajan desde su casa, todos con experiencia previa en aseguramiento de calidad de productos informáticos.
The solution to speedy mobile app delivery? It's crowdsourced testing
Sometimes you just need a lot of users playing with your app to find out how it's really working. Enter crowdsourced testing. It's the latest strategy to speed up your mobile dev.
At a time when the pressure to develop, test and release mobile apps quickly has never been more intense, the idea of crowdsourced testing is growing in popularity. The concept is simple: A crowdsourced testing company can offer thousands of testers in different locations around the world a wide swath of devices, and by literally throwing a "crowd" at the problem, testing that might take weeks with a small internal team can be done on a weekend, said Peter Blair, vice president of marketing at Applause. And it's an idea that has apparently caught hold. According to data from market research firm Gartner Group, there were 30 crowdsourced testing companies operating at the end of last year, offering fully vetted (qualified) testers, up from just 20 companies in 2015.
Priyanka Halder, director of quality assurance at HomeMe, is no stranger to crowdsourced testing. She participated in a number of "bug battles" at uTest, a software testing community that also offers crowdsourced testing opportunities. So when she joined the small startup HomeMe she immediately began thinking about a crowdsourced testing solution.
"We're a pretty small company and we needed a larger number of people looking at our app and on a tight budget," she said. "This is the perfect model for us because we can't afford a big team on our site."
People just do things that no system, no automation and no engineer could ever predict they'd do."
Peter Blairvice president of marketing, Applause
With crowdsourced testing it is all about the big team. Blair said Applause has over 250,000 fully vetted testers, most of whom are QA professionals with full-time jobs who do this on the side. These testers are located around the world, and are paired with "pretty much every mobile device you can think of," he said. So a crowdsourced customer wouldn't have to worry about having access to every single version of an Android phone, which Blair said is a huge selling point.
But the biggest issue, he said, is that companies are hungry to see how real users actually interface with their products. "People just do things that no system, no automation and no engineer could ever predict they'd do," he explained. "Customers who've used us just to augment their teams many times end up staying on because they like seeing the results of our exploratory testing," he said, and they can't get that information easily any other way.
Halder said she looked at a number of crowdsourced testing options before settling on Applause. The biggest plus for her was how easy it was to get the testing feedback and how mature the company's process was. "It can be a nightmare to coordinate how to get the information back from the testers. This ended up being a way for us to get more people actually using our app for less money and get all the feedback we need."
CROWDSOURCING FOR ENTERPRISE IT
10 KEY QUESTIONS (AND ANSWERS) ON CROWDSOURCING FOR ENTERPRISE IT
A starting guide for augmenting technical teams with crowdsourced design, development and data science talent
A crowdsourcing platform is essentially an open marketplace for technical talent. The requirements, timelines, and economics behind crowdsourced projects are critical to successful outcomes. Varying crowdsourcing communities have an equal variety of payments being offered for open innovation challenges. Crowdsourcing is meritocratic - contributions are rewarded based on value. However, the cost-efficiencies of a crowdsourced model reside in the model's direct access to talent, not in the compensated value for that talent. Fair market value is expected for any work output. The major cost difference with between legacy sourcing models and a crowdsourcing model is (1) the ability to directly tap into technical expertise, and (2) that costs are NOT based around time or effort.
Please read the attached whitepaper.
Customer Service Model
Mastering the Modern Customer Service Model
by Wheelhouse Enterprises
Perfecting your in-house customer service system has never been easy until now. The cloud has made customer service tools readily available and revolutionized how they are implemented. Our newest white paper details the tools necessary for the most modern, up-to-date customer service tools for your organization. Whether you're looking for specific tools for your contact center or CRM, we have you covered.
Please read the attached whitepaper.
D (DATA CENTER)
D (OPEN SOURCE)
D (WEB SERVICES)
D - Vocabulario Popular Montevideano
MONTEVIDEANOS EN POCAS PALABRAS
Para cualquier organización es esencial contar con una buena gestión de sus dispositivos. Las tendencias como el Bring your own device (BYOD) y la consumerización IT también ayudan a que estos servicios tomen impulso. En este contexto, las soluciones DaaS posibilitan la gestión de servicios de las PCs de una forma segura con costos reducidos. No está de más recordar que este sistema ofrece portabilidad para que pueda ser administrado desde cualquier lugar y equipo.
Dan Bricklin: Spreadsheet Inventor on a Life in Computing
Spreadsheet Inventor Dan Bricklin on a Life in Computing
Posted by Martin Veitch
If you use spreadsheets — and today the number of users that do so must be in the hundreds of millions — then every time you open a new workbook, edit a cell or calculate a formula, you can thank Dan Bricklin’s legacy. Bricklin, an MIT graduate and Harvard MBA, developed VisiCalc with Bob Frankston back in 1979. The program not only gave rise to many of the elements of modern spreadsheet programs, selling over a million copies along the way, but, after its 1981 port, also helped the IBM Personal Computer become one of the most important new products of the 20thcentury.
Recently I spoke to Bricklin by phone about VisiCalc, its legacy, the rise of the PC generation and what’s happened since.
First, I asked him to sketch a picture of financial management as it was when he wrote the code for what would become VisiCalc.
“For hundreds of years, financial stuff was done on pen and paper and frequently on columns and rows with labels around them. [In the 1970s] we’d be doing it on paper or typing up things. That’s how you kept your books. When they talked about book-keeping, it was exactly that: there were pages in books. Our first name for VisiCalc was Calcu-ledger because that helped explain what we were doing: providing calculations for general ledger.”
Although the spreadsheet made his name, Bricklin had been largely concentrating on another software category that was to change the way the world worked.
“My background was in word processing but, back then, computerised printing of letters was mostly used in things like fundraising where you’d print one letter hundreds of times. The idea of using that equipment for a plain old letter by a typist… they were just too expensive. The idea of a screen-based word processor was a new thing when I was working in the Seventies at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) but I had been exposed to systems like [drawing program] Sketchpad which were interactive programs that had started to become popular in the Sixties and Seventies in research institutions. Computers were becoming important in newspapers so a reporter could type something in and see what it would look like but [for the majority of people] the idea of using a computer to do these things was new.”
When Bricklin prototyped VisiCalc, he showed it to his Harvard professor who told him that his competition was calculating on the back of an envelope; if VisiCalc wasn’t faster, people would never use it. That notion helped make Bricklin a pioneer in another way: delivering a user experience (even before the term had been coined) that was intuitive so a new computer user would understand the new electronic tools. So, VisiCalc looked like a ledger book. Similarly, in word processing, manual tools like scissors and glue became ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ features. Add in extra automation capabilities such as having words automatically wrap around lines of text and you had something that was revolutionary, in the days before even Wang and WordStar automated office tasks.
But at the time, computers were rare, pricey and lacking a standard.
“A person being able to buy a computer in a Radio Shack store was a new thing in the Seventies. The only connection most people had to a computer was using automated teller machines. Timesharing with a terminal where you all shared this remote computer was being developed in the Sixties and started to become popular in the Seventies. People were starting to do financial forecasting but that would cost thousands of dollars a month, plus you’d need terminals. For sizeable companies doing MRP [manufacturing resource planning] that was reasonable, but it would cost $5,000 to $10,000 each for a word processing system of letter quality.”
That pioneer environment explains why Bricklin had no great expectations for commercial success with VisiCalc but he was driven by an idea.
“I came from the word processing world and in this What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get world I’d seen a mouse and was familiar with interactive systems. I think it’d seen an Alto [early Xerox computer], played Space War [a game for the DEC PDP-1], seen Sketchpad, knew APL and Basic. The idea of having what we did with words and numbers on paper but with computation seemed pretty obvious; if there was a ‘eureka’ moment, that was it.
“But I was in word processing and did word processing take off like crazy? No. Was it on every desk? No. Today, people hardly know how to write [in longhand] but in those days the idea that computers would be cheap enough... We knew what should be but we also knew from hindsight that acceptance was very slow. I had seen the mouse in the 1970s, it was invented before that and didn’t come into acceptance until the 80s. So although we had something we saw was wonderful, we had no expectations.”
With the benefit of hindsight though, grass shoots and signs were discernible.
“There were people making money out of software. [Mainframe database maker] Cullinane was the first pre-packaged software company to go public so we knew it was possible. But on the PC there were no [commercial] models. Almost nobody knew who Bill Gates was and he was maybe making a few million dollars a year.”
Also, the economics of the day were very different as an Apple II “fully loaded” with daisywheel printer and screen cost about $5,000, the equivalent of about $18,000 today.
This was also a time of scepticism about personal computing with the leading IT suppliers considering it a fad for hobbyists rather than a big opportunity to sell to business users. This attitude was underlined when Bricklin says he considered putting VisiCalc on DEC’s PDP-11 microcomputer before deciding on the Apple II.
“I was thinking about it but the sales person wasn’t very aggressive. It was classical Innovator’s Dilemma. [DEC CEO] Ken Olsen saw PCs as wheelbarrows when he was selling pickup trucks.”
That sort of attitude was unlikely to change Bricklin’s desire to set up his own company with Frankston rather than market his idea to the computing giants of the time.
“I wanted to start a business and be an entrepreneur,” he recalls. “I had taken a few classes at Harvard; there weren’t many in those days but I took those that were on offer.”
Although VisiCalc is sometimes presented as a smash hit that immediately launched the IBM PC, that notion is wrong on three points. VisiCalc was released on the Apple II in 1979, there were other ports before it was made available on the IBM PC, and the initial reaction from the wider world was lukewarm.
“When it first came out, almost nobody but a few people in the computer press wrote about it. There was a humorous article about the National Computer Conference [scene of the VisiCalc launch] in the New York Times where the VisiCalc name was considered funny and the author was making fun of all the computer terms. It then appeared in an announcement about my wedding in the Fall and my father-in-law was able to put some wording in about me being the creator of VisiCalc…
“We had ‘serious volume’ of 1,000 units per month for the first year. That’s nothing, that’s how many copies of a program are downloaded onto iPads every day, or every minute.”
But by comparison to other business software for the personal computer, VisiCalc was a success and the most clued-in sales people at resellers used it to show what personal computers could do.
“They knew that by demonstrating VisiCalc they could sell a PC… it was a killer app. People at HP got it too. One of my classmates at business school worked there and was making a small desktop computer that ran Basic and his boss put VisiCalc on that. Tandy started advertising about VisiCalc and sales started doing a lot better. By the time the IBM PC came out it was understood that it was a good thing and people in the business press started to say ‘can it run VisiCalc?’”
If the laurels are to Bricklin and Frankston for creating the modern spreadsheet from the confluence of the rise in microcomputers, business interest and new software development languages, it was another program and company that cashed in on the full flowering of those trends.
“When Lotus 1-2-3 came out [in 1983], the moon and stars were aligned for [Lotus founder and Bricklin’s friend] Mitch Kapor [to be successful] just as they had been for me to create VisiCalc,” says Bricklin, who adds that he knew the better program when he saw it.
Turn another corner and things could have been different though. Microsoft’s dominance of PC software could have been even greater had it been smarter with its Multiplan product, Bricklin believes.
Had Bricklin been more aggressive and the laws of the day been different, he could have pursued Lotus through the courts for the many features that arguably were derived from VisiCalc.
“The law in the US was that you couldn’t patent software and the chances were one in ten you could try to sneak it through and call it a system,” he recalls.
In truth, Bricklin would make an unlikely litigant and says he never considered such a path. He is proud, rather, that his legacy still looms large, even if he didn’t make the millions that others did. The tech investor Ben Rosen called VisiCalc “the software tail that wags (and sells) the personal computer dog” and there’s no doubt that it played a big part in what happened later to our digitising universe.
While some pioneers skulk and criticise others that followed them and were successful, Bricklin appears to have no trace of bitterness. He remains a staunch fan of Microsoft and Excel, a product that remains a cash machine and still bears the stamp of VisiCalc, 35 years on.
“Doing VisiCalc, I had to come up with the essence of what you need in 32K of RAM and our notion of what was important was correct, it turned out,” he says.
But the power and richness of Excel are remarkable, he says, rejecting the notion that the Redmond company is guilty of creating bloatware.
“Microsoft came from engineers building things: programmers, programmers, programmers — and the hearts and minds of programmers mattered a lot to them. People want to customise things, make it right for what their problem is. It’s the difference between being a carpenter and being an architect — one size does not fit all.
“Microsoft built systems that could be customised, so users could replace that part themselves and it listened to a lot of people and provided what they wanted, all the bells and whistles. People say you end up with bloatware and only 10% of the features get used by any user but that 10% is different for a lot of users. Apple went for smaller number of people and that’s OK because there’s Microsoft for the rest. [Microsoft] had business practices that people didn’t like but is that different than other companies in other industries? Not necessarily.
“As a child of the Sixties I think of Bob Dylan: ‘the loser now will be later to win’. It goes in cycles. The founder of Intel [Andrew Grove] said it: Only the Paranoid Survive and you only have so much time [at the top].”
If Bricklin was before his time with VisiCalc, he was also early onto new trends in user input, creating pen-operated applications at Slate Corporation in the early 1990s and in 2009, a Note Taker app for the “magical” iPad he so admires.
“I decided I wanted to get into that [iOS] world because there were times when I wanted to get something down and if I write 5 and it’s a bit off, that’s OK. But if I did that on a keyboard and it’s a 6, that’s no good for a telephone number. I got to learn what’s it’s like, that world of app stores and so on, and I did all the support so I got to see what people needed.”
That took him to the latest stage of his journey, as CTO for a company specialising in using HTML5 to make software multiplatform.
“I saw businesses were going to replace clipboards with tablets and that’s why I decided to joinAlpha Software. I couldn’t do everything on my own because there’s so much at the back end you need to do but I wanted to innovate at the front end. Being able to customise is something that’s exciting to watch but it takes time. You’d think that in companies with billions of dollars, why would people be carrying around procedure manuals instead of on a digital reader? But they do. [Automating cross-platform capabilities] is extremely important in business. You’d think that most companies would have started taking great advantage of custom mobile opportunities internally, but most haven’t gotten there yet.”
Bricklin remains awestruck by changes he has seen in a lifetime of computing that has made him a sort of smarter Forrest Gump or Zelig for the binary age — a person who was around at some of the biggest the zeitgeist moments in computing history.
“When I was working in word processing in my early twenties, I was doing programming for a person who worked for Jay Forrester and the year I was born as it turned out, Forrester showed theWhirlwind computer on TV and that was the first time the general public got to see a computer in action, in this video from 1951 [YouTube clip
]. Bricklin’s boss stayed up for days making sure it was ready for demo and you can see him there in the background [starting at 4.01]. Those were computers that were the size of big rooms and I was working with him on something you could fit in a desk. And now it’s in the pocket and on a watch soon. This is a progression I’ve seen my whole life and it’s a joy each time.”
Bricklin seems content to be recognised as a founding father of the segment, rather than a Rockerfeller.
“If you look at the old basketball players, they didn’t make as much either,” he says, philosophically. “But we wanted to bring computing to more people and we did that.”
Bricklin delights in the fact that science fiction has become reality and that naysayers have been disproved. It gives him pleasure to think that that those who mocked the personal computer as a place to store recipes now Google their ingredients to automatically generate recipes.
“In 2001: A Space Odyssey they’re using a tablet that looks just like an iPad and it’s this magical device. The crystal ball of fiction is now real. In The Wizard of Oz they had this remote thing; the witch could see things at a distance, control things at distance. This is something you can now buy in a store: a drone-controlling iPad. You can communicate with other people in real time and you can control it with a wave of your hands.”
He ponders the rise of the PC and the changes it wrought as people were freed to create, compose, calculate and pay.
“God!” he exclaims, stretching the syllable in wonder, his voice rising to a crescendo. “It was so exciting to see the thing you believe in succeed and to be accepted. My daughter as a youngster once said, ‘Daddy, did they teach you spreadsheets at school?’ and then, after a few seconds corrected herself. ‘Wait a minute…’ That’s really cool to see people use things that we thought should be used. To be vindicated, that was pretty cool.”
Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect
Data center design standards bodies
Words to go: Data center design standards bodies
Need a handy reference sheet of the various data center standards organizations? Keep this list by your desk as a reference.
Several organizations produce data center design standards, best practices and guidelines. This glossary lets you keep track of which body produces which standards, and what each acronym means.
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