BlackBerry Live/Jam 2013

I’m at the BlackBerry Live Americas conference in Orlando. Why? Well primarily because of two reasons: 1) the dean asked me if I wanted to attend and is supporting my travel and 2) because I want to see how the company was going to try to regain some of its former glory.

Some answers were provided in this morning’s general session. Blackberry CEO, Thorsten Heins, started his keynote by stating that the turnaround had begun. He noted the accomplishments of getting Blackberry OS 10, the increase of the number of apps on Blackberry World, and putting together a global executive management team. What he didn’t say were, well….numbers. What is the market share? How many of the apps of the 120k they are reporting are just straight ports from Android? Those types of things were missing….and noticeably so.

What was apparent is their view of mobility. It seems that they are viewing a “mobile device” as just about anything. This is evidenced by their integration into cars. They brought out a Bentley that was totally tricked out and built on BlackBerry 10.

Another thing that stood out to me was their view of the mobile experience. The CEO stated that the mobile experience should be different from the desktop experience. This seems to be a very different position than the ones taken by Microsoft and Apple. For example, there is little difference in the user experience between different Windows 8 devices. It will be interesting to see if users will prefer a totally different experience over a similar one.

They also announced that they were extending Blackberry server to support iOS and Android devices, and opening up BBM globally. Both of these are good moves in my opinion, especially in the case of the blackberry server product as organizations struggle to deal with BYOD environments.

I’m currently sitting in the Blackberry Jam session now and they are bringing in people from SAP and Moog to tout their big corporate developer partnerships. It’s interesting to see how they are attempting to engage the developer community.

They are talking now about how their Android runtime can be used to port apps to the BB 10 platform by bringing out an executive from Songza. They used the runtime to bring their app over to Blackberry and are now developing a native app. The question in my mind is this: given the scant market share that Blackberry has, how many companies will follow Songza’s example and continue to develop a native version of the app? To me, if the market share isn’t there to justify the development of a native app, then why do it? The end result of this is a Blackberry World full of substandard apps that will translate into even less market share.

I’ll try to write more as the week progresses.

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Why I am a Cubs Fan

I haven’t posted in quite a while for numerous reasons, but primarily because I have been swamped with getting a journal article out and reading my doctoral student’s dissertations in their various states of completeness.

So, since I kinda need a break and because another baseball season is almost upon us, I thought that I might write about something non-technology related and discuss my reasons for being a fan of the oft-hapless Chicago Cubs.

My love for the Cubbies began when I was about 8 or 9 years old…or about the time my family got cable television.  You see, as a young boy growing up in central Florida, we did not have any local major league teams.   The Rays and the Marlins were not yet in existence, so my only access to watch baseball before we got cable was to catch the game of the week that the major networks carried on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.  The only problem with that was that I was busy outside playing with my friends at that time, so I couldn’t catch it.  After cable though we were able to catch two teams at many times during the week.  The Braves on TBS and the Cubs on WGN.  Since I never really liked the powder blue uniforms the braves wore back then and since I didn’t really like the announcers for the Braves, I found myself watching WGN and a Cubs fan was born.

Through the years though, I began to find myself learning more about the Cubs and their history.  The curse of the goat, the homer in the Gloamin’, the Sandberg game, and the cast of characters that made up my favorite team (Harry included).  Sure, they were horrible most of the time, but they had character and they stuck together.  Not to mention, they were loved by the fans at Wrigley whom always seemed to pack the stands regardless of the time of day the game or how bad the record.  I thought to myself, this is what loyalty is.  How could you not want to be a part of that?

It’s more than loyalty though.  For Cubs fans are the hopelessly eternal optimists of the world.  I am sure that most of you baseball fans know that it has been quite a while since the Cubs won a world series (this season will be 105 years).  Yet, every year Cub fans greet baseball season with the feeling that, if the stars are aligned just right and we can catch a few breaks here and there, something magical might happen.

I guess that’s the real reason that I am a Cubs fan.  Let’s face it.  We live in a pretty cold world where people just don’t believe in anything magical anymore.  They love to tell you all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t do something before you even try and their afraid to take a chance on something because it might not work out. I know it sounds stupid, but every year the Cubs give me a reason to keep hoping for the best.  They and their fans start the season with a type of optimism that (in my opinion) you just don’t find anymore. That magic does exist, fairy tales do come true, and that the impossible just might happen.  I often think of that commercial for the PS3 game that shows the Cubs winning it all.  That would be a glorious day indeed.   However, if something magical doesn’t happen this season, then there’s always the catch phrase of all Cubs fans…

Wait ’till next year. 🙂

HICCS – Session Spotlight

DISCLAIMER: I am live blogging this from the conference, so please forgive any typos. 🙂

Today at HICCS I am attending some sessions in the cloud service science and systems track. I am interested to see some of the research in this area considering I have done research in this area (mostly related to adoption of cloud computing and cloud curriculums) and also have doctoral students doing their dissertations in this area. I was also a reviewer for this particular track.

The first paper being presented is particularly interesting to me. It is on developers preference on platform as a service.

Presentation at HICCS

The researchers here did a literature review to create a working definition for PaaS and performed a study to discern what developers preferred in a PaaS platform. They started with discussions with focus groups and experts and used that to create an online survey. The results of the survey were then analyzed using conjoint analysis and exploratory factor analysis.

“Must have” features such as availibility and standardized API’s were identified and excluded from the analysis. The researchers then identified 10 different attributes that would be evaluated via the survey. They had a total of 103 respondents that all had PaaS experience.

The results showed that developers preferred offline SDKs to online development environments, they wanted knowledge sharing features to be built in to the community, there was a preference for a marketplace that handled payments, and they preferred pay per use pricing versus other pricing models. They were relatively split on migration between PaaS providers where about half wanted migration to be included as a service and about half preferred tools for migration.

I plan on going into the proceedings and reading the actual paper in more detail and may have more to say about this, but at this time I can see where most of these results are coming from. The only thing that is a bit weird to me is the migration issue.

If you are developing on a platform (ex. Azure), what is the chance that you are going to migrate to another platform? I can see where cost issues might influence the desire to migrate, but if you are developing for a platform, you are generally developing an application based on the characteristics of that particular platform. That being said, would it be smart to try to migrate your application to a different platform that may have other characteristics? I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, that is my in conference update for today. I will try to post another update on a paper I find interesting for each day of the conference.

Aloha!

Aloha!

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Made it Maui, although my luggage didn’t.  I have been fully assimilated into the Hawaiian community and have changed my name to Kimo (the Hawaiian translation of James). I might not come back!

Headed to Maui

I am writing this post on the flight to the Hawaiian International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICCS). As far as conferences go in my field, this one is pretty prestigious. In fact, I believe it is the number 2 ranked conference in the discipline. The fact that it is Maui doesn’t hurt though either! However, the 12 hours on an airplane, that’s a different story (see below).

I am presenting a paper that I wrote with a colleague from Colorado State University on the use of social media as a way to facilitate knowledge transfer in the Chamorro culture of Guam. This is a topic that is very dear to my co-author since she is a descendant of the Chamorro culture.

The Chamorro people are in danger of losing their language and teachings because the elders are not passing the lessons down to the next generations. We examined how the Chamorro were using social media to try to preserve the culture through sharing information on the sites.

I will send some updates throughout the week. Aloha!

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Workshop on Information Security and Privacy

I recently presented a paper at the Workshop on Information Security and Privacy (WISP) in Orlando, FL.  WISP is an official auxiliary meeting to the International Conference on Information Systems.

I have to say the conference was very good and it was nice to see all of the different research being done in the area of security.  My paper focused in on security education, training, and awareness programs (SETA).  In brief, it argued that current programs focus more on education and pay little attention to making people aware of their environments so that they can make appropriate security decisions based on those environments.

We had a keynote speaker from the US Naval Academy that really opened our eyes to how vulnerable we are to cyber attacks.  It also featured a great lunch (best conference lunch EVER) sponsored by a company named ProctorU.  This company essentially proctors online students taking exams by watching them through their webcams.

I have attached some of the pictures of the event below courtesy of one of the conference organizers, Dr. Yair Levy.

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