Identification, Discovery and Distribution of Apps

Sometime back I was building an online service to discover food. As we were on it, we also found many such services springing up all around us. We had a catchy URL using the generic top level domain “menu”. The product is Has.Menu, and in Dubai the URL would be

Soon, it became apparent that everyone is moving to mobile apps, and the fight is on the top spots in mobile app stores. Featured app, recommended app, most downloaded app, top developer, and that competition is tough. I can almost say that I watched the whole thing moving from...

Bring Your Own Device, Too

Some years back I was in Australia. As we went around the city, I couldn’t help but notice BYO written in front of most of the restaurants. It’s the shortened version of Bring Your Own Bottle of wine or beer. These days, we hear a lot about BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. In corporate world, it means the employees can bring their own phone, tablet or laptop to work, and get it integrated to the corporate IT infrastructure.

Some years back, I had written that an innovation moves from researchers to corporates and eventually to consumers. The adoption of...

Anything That Can Be Digitized Will Be Digitized

Electronic devices had first made computing easier. Hence the name computers. Increasingly, we are relying on electronic devices for managing information - to capture, store, analyze and retrieve. Not surprisingly, we have the term information technology.

The effect of information technology is ever-increasing in our lives. Computers fueled information technology, and in turn information technology fueled the adoption of computers. Over a period of time, both computers and information technology have become faster, cheaper and reliable. Today the smart phones are taking the place of computers, and we are probably witnessing a massive explosion in information technology. Smart phones makes...

The Perfect Solution

The perfect solution does not exist. A working solution does. Especially in the case of software systems.

We have been perfecting the software for while, and it always takes another week to improve that feature.

The complete solution does not exist. An acceptable solution does. The more it gets complete, the more it gets complex, and the lesser useful it becomes.

We have been trying to find the essential pieces in our software, to make it acceptable enough. Mobile access is essential, but do we need an app for that? User management is essential, but does it have to be...

The Internet Big Bang

Today Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of technical infrastructure at Google wrote a post in Google+ about the corkboard rack/servers Google built in 1999. From the post and the comments we can make some interesting inferences.

  • Google had 112 servers in 1999 and they added 1,680 servers packed in 21 or so racks. Let us round it off to 1,800 servers in 1999.
  • Google today has more than an order of magnitude number of servers. Let us round it off to 18,000 servers.
  • 3 to 4 of the current servers is equivalent to the entire computing power available in...

Information Services

I have been thinking about writing a post with the title Information Services. That is when I got a notification on Code Halos, a new book by Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring - three Cognizant consultants studying the Future of Work and about Millennial Workforce. I quickly went through the book and the core idea of Code Halo is something related to what I imagined as Information Services.

Quickly put, we have technology and then information technology came about. The service industry, in general, used technology as a differentiator and built their capabilities. It could be transportation, hospitality,...

The Database and The Userbase

In the Internet world there are only two valuable assets - the database and the userbase. And both are hard to acquire. Recently, we have been struggling to create formidable databases in certain domains, and the cost to build and maintain those are pretty high. Even with the sophistication of technology that are practically available and reachable, applied on freely available - “public domain” - data, I am hardly satisfied with the quality of results (I being the perfectionist part of me).

A few recent acquisitions by Google and similar companies underline this even more - two or three “red”...

Only One Miracle At A Time

Over-engineering is something every designer, every architect should be beware about. In the essay The Second-system Effect, Frederick Brooks points out one common pitfall - when the architect designs his second system, it is the most dangerous system he will design, because he will try to incorporate everything that he missed in the first system. I have observed this to be very true in many occasions. Over a period, architects get out of this. Slowly they tend to build balanced, and mostly conservative systems as they age in the profession.

I use a principle while building systems - Information Technology...

It's The Data, Stupid!

We started our efforts to build software products a few months back. Soon we churned out some small applications, as part of our training program. The product is a small library management system, built on Ruby on Rails, the open source way. Soon we started getting enquiries, from big and small libraries who are on the way to computerization.

The product’s evolution is from a training program. It boasts nothing that refers to Z39.50, MARC-21 or anything related to libraries. In fact, the key concept around which the product was rental inventory management, making it customizable to track a generic...

Single Version Of The Truth?

One of the often-quoted phrase, almost a cliche, in Information Management space is single version of the truth. In the past I have quoted to justify or sell master data management and enterprise data warehousing solutions. Off late, I have started looking objectively on the business necessities of single version of truth. Partly, this is due to the observation that not all business scenarios require a single version of the truth.

Is it because the IT systems or databases are unreliable or incapable of defining the truth or facts? No. It is due to many different reasons. While the truth...