Discover Machine Learning

Computers have been around for less than 100 years. In that short period of time, some incredible things have happened: they’ve been universally adopted so quickly that we have them in our houses. In our cars. Even in our pockets. In the last 40 years, there have been many significant events when it comes to computers:

  • Continuous decrease in size and increase in power.
  • Access to computing at home and at work.
  • Networking, the spread of the internet, and acceptance of the web.
  • Computers in our hands (cell phones).

Similarly to those past events, an important development in computer science which has the potential to significantly impact the way we develop applications is machine learning and artificial neural networks.

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Understanding: the Difference Maker

Three doors, a teal one opened, to represent the process of deciding on a custom software development company

In the world of software consulting, it can be virtually impossible to determine what the fair market value for software development is. Nobody estimates work according to the same parameters: some firms have differing rates for differing services, some have offshore development services, some won’t provide a meaningful estimate at all (and for good reason). (more…)

Smart Toilets and Other Scary Futures: the View from My Office Chair

Photo by Olabi Makerspace via Flickr

On a recent Tuesday night tapas meet-up, my friend and I were talking about social media and her use of it. She had been studiously avoiding it in an effort to keep her online profile low. I countered with my usual “that ship has sailed” speech: She has a Gmail account, uses Google, debit and credit cards, club and membership cards, etc. Her eyes grew wide in disbelief and she launched into a somewhat predictable reaction of fear, loathing and righteous indignation over the violation of her privacy.

I sighed and began to talk about technology, how and why we use it, Big Data and the Internet of Things, which may not have been the smartest of moves, but was fueled by our solid friendship and the arrival of miniature plates of mussels, crostini, and warmed olives.

I can’t help it. I am authentically interested in how new technology moves from the academic to the novel to the ubiquitous over time and I’ve been a spectator of that evolution for over a decade. (more…)

Socks and Sandals (and software-development faux pas)

I’ve worked with a lot of clients and potential clients over the past 10+ years. Sometimes, in conversation about a project, the client will roll out, oh-so-casually, one of about 10 pat statements that reveal a pernicious and erroneous belief about the process of software development. Now, most of my job involves educating clients so I take a deep breath and wade into the waters of a software-development ideation faux pas, of explaining why what the client has just said is analogous to pairing socks and sandals: Sure, it makes sense on one level, but it’s never a good idea. (Note: I’ve been chided by our development team that wool socks and Birkenstocks are certainly acceptable and that Keens and short anklets are also acceptable. I sigh. I choose to fight my battles one at a time. . .)

Moving on.

The objective here is to give the audience a bit of quick and dirty insight that, I hope, will help clients be . . . well, better clients. Better clients always, without exception, mean a more successful project — cheaper, faster and far, far fewer hair-tearing-out incidents. (more…)

Four Things to Know before You Start a Compliance-Focused Software Project

Why would a reasonable person undertake one of the most difficult types of software development efforts out there? Very rarely the answer is because it just sounds like a wicked fun thing to do. Usually, the decision is driven by the realization that you, as a business, are backed into a corner and, despite months or years of Denial, Bargaining, Anger, and Depression you’ve finally come to accept that the pain of creating or updating this application is equal to or less than the current or inevitable pain of not doing so.

The root of this pain can be summed as follows: (more…)