Happy Holidays

We appreciate your business!


We’ve been getting lots of calls, emails and text messages about this commercial…. yes it is the leadership team at NeuEon (@ 12 seconds in).

Thanks to our friends at VistaPrint for running it again this year, Happy Holidays!

 

.NET goes open source – what does it mean for you?

You may have been a little distracted yesterday by the historic landing of Philae on Comet 67P, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you missed Microsoft’s announcement that it’s open-sourcing the .NET stack and making available a free, relatively-full-featured version of Visual Studio. And it’s true; the .Net Foundation Github page now features links to repos for .NET Core 5, ASP.NET 5, the Azure SDK, and several other projects. You can also now download Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition, which has many of the features of Visual Studio Professional.

I’ll add my voice to the crowd shouting “It’s about time you did that!” A free, non-crippled IDE removes a major barrier to entry for use of Azure services and Visual Studio Online. Now that the full tool pipeline is available at reasonable cost, Azure becomes an option for a broader audience, especially for open-source development. However, for many existing Microsoft development teams, Community probably doesn’t provide much of a benefit. Some teams might be able to do some more of your cross-plaftorm mobile development in Visual Studio, but the license terms for Community restrict its use in for-profit endeavors. This demonstrates that Microsoft is not yet ready to walk away from their “developers as profit center” mindset, and will continue to limit Microsoft’s ability to compete with other platforms.

Cross-platform .NET could make Microsoft more of a presence in cloud services, but that’s more potential than reality at this point. I appreciate the tacit admission that Windows can’t compete with Linux on any non-desktop platform, but the tools to actually build and run the .NET CLI on a non-Windows platform don’t yet exist. Once they do, they have the potential to reduce infrastructure costs for any .NET-based development team. Windows-only organizations will have to adapt to a heterogenous environment to take advantage of those savings, and that will be a slow process.

In summary, if you’re trying to decide whether to go .NET or not for a project that will launch in the next six months, the announcement probably doesn’t influence your decision much. Open-source projects now have access to a free-as-in-beer, capable version of Visual Studio, but you will likely still need one of the paid versions in order to do commercial development. You’ll also need to deploy your .NET code on Windows for the foreseeable future, unless Mono can run your project and you’re willing to give it a try. And the terms of the rest of the tool chain for web apps (TFS, IIS and SQL Server) haven’t changed. .NET is still a hard sell for teams that don’t have an existing Microsoft investment.

 

A great day and a great cause

We were proud to sponsor this year’s Walk to Defeat ALS event in Boston.  We had a fantastic team of walkers and raised $13,125, the highest team amount raised that day.   The overall event raised over $400K!

Thanks to everyone involved.

2014 ALS Walk Boston-9081

A Watch Guy’s Thoughts On The Apple Watch

On Tuesday Apple announced several new products including the Apple Watch. Apple’s giant ecosystem has the ability to move markets and affect the lives of software developers world-wide. This watch has the potential to open up new markets and create a new segment of the “app economy”.  Apple Watch developers will soon be popping up. There are many things to think about when developing for this form factor and there will be debates for a long time on the usefulness and future of the product. Apple has a history of disrupting markets and even putting a few developers out of business. Just ask anyone who built a calculator or flashlight app… So while I continue to ponder the long-term implications of connected wearable devices and the replacement of credit cards with a swipe of my  Apple Watch and Apple’s new Apple Pay system, I started to wonder what will hundreds of millions of iPhone users eying the Apple Watch do to the traditional watch market, not to mention the current “smart watch” market. Well, along came this article from a watch enthusiast that I felt answered this question fairly well…

A Watch Guy’s Thoughts On The Apple Watch After Seeing It In The Metal (Tons Of Live Photos) — HODINKEE – Wristwatch News, Reviews, & Original Stories.

 

http://images.apple.com/v/watch/a/design/images/hero_leather_large.png

 

The Future of Point of Sale

Great presentation this morning from Sid and Sharise from our client Snows Home and Garden at the Cape Cod Technology Council @CapeCodTech

 

Software/App Company 101

This is great article about one of our clients about how she started her company and launched her first app, congrats MJ!

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/money/2014/07/24/vermont-mobile-phone-apps-wellness-teens/13067789/

 

WEBINAR: The Evolving Role of the CIO

Hear how Cloud technologies and Big Data are causing major changes to the CIO role.

Are Big Data and Cloud Services a threat to CIOs? In the past, CIOs have served primarily as custodians of IT infrastructure. Big Data – together with social, mobile, and Cloud (SOMOCO) computing – throws the value of legacy IT infrastructure into question and undermines the traditional authority of CIOs. For corporate CIOs, getting comfortable with IT infrastructure and services outside their four walls and raised floors, will require reaching beyond the traditional comfort zone of IT. It will require a multi-disciplinary approach including business management, math, and behavioral science with far less emphasis on traditional IT practices. And add to the mix, the mindset of a venture capitalist!

Click link to view http://www.everynetwork.com/thought-leadership/overview?upcoming_webinars=true

Takeaway: 
Understanding and preparing for the new roles and responsibilities of tomorrow’s CIO.

Turning talk into action – What we will cover: 
The IT role through a different lens
How Cloud technologies are shifting decision-making and how CIOs can add value
Big Data: who will be responsible for harnessing its potential?
The CIOs department as a profit center

Who should watch? 
CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, CFOs and business managers responsible for their organization’s technology.

Speaker – Peter Karlson
Peter is the President/CEO of NeuEon Inc. Peter is a serial entrepreneur with experience in bootstrapping, strategic investments and angel financing. NeuEon specializes in providing strategic guidance and advice to entrepreneurs and established organizations looking to create and use technology more effectively.  As a former chief technology officer for two Massachusetts based technology services firms, Peter has gained diverse industry expertise in healthcare, non-profit, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and publishing.  He has been involved with developing Internet technologies since 1991 with the creation of the first Internet browser, the InterNavigator™

Webinar presented in conjunction with EveryNetwork Inc.

LearnLaunchX Second Cohort Launches

We would like to congratulate all the companies in the second cohort of LearnLaunchX, the premier ed tech accelerator.   We had the privilege to work with LLX and the cohort over the past three months.

The demo day was a great success last night, Boston Business Journal did a great write-up on the event.

LLX Demo Day

 

Healthcare data, cost transparency, and @TeamFloriDUH

Last month, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a data set describing Medicare payments to healthcare providers and other organizations in fiscal 2012. While shockingly detailed in some ways – it includes the name and address of every doctor who billed Medicare for at least 10 unique patients – it also proved to be frustratingly incomplete and misleading, even for those of us who more-or-less know what all the numbers and codes mean. While we welcome any data that will help people understand how our healthcare system works, we found it difficult to see how this data could be used to help patients “get the best value for their healthcare dollar,” as the press release announcing the dataset asserted.

Concurrent with the release of the data, and receiving much less notice, the Health Data Consortium announced it would base its Code-a-Palooza contest associated with the upcoming Health Datapalooza conference on the new dataset. Last week, HDC announced the finalists. While most of the list could be considered the “usual suspects,” one stands out: Team FloriDUH, three individuals with a love of healthcare IT and a scrappy attitude. While the application is still under wraps, they’ve announced the formation of a 501c3 foundation and, today, a crowdfunding initiative through Medstartr. They aim to use the funds they raise to “Fill the Void” of healthcare data by marrying CMS payment data to other data sets, and publishing that data on the Internet, along with an API that will allow other people to build on their work.

This is the kind of activity that gets us excited. Data transparency will not cure all of healthcare’s woes, but it will go a long way toward helping all of us figure out what we need to change about the current system, and how we should go about changing it. We hope you’ll join us in supporting Team FloriDUH.

Lessons from a Launch

One of our clients recently asked us to lead a review of an application launch that went less well than everyone involved would have liked. Re-living the experience through post-mortem dissection isn’t my idea of a good time, but such exercises are critical for figuring out how to avoid repeating mistakes. After spending several hours with the team, we came up with  three themes that cover the main issues:

Understand the whole environment. In this case, the team was hired to re-vamp an e-commerce site based on an older version of Magento. They did a bang-up job with the main project, but made some changes that interrupted order processing flow after the site went live. This caused a couple of days of tail-chasing to get the warehouse and financial systems integration back online. Surprisingly, no one on the outsourced team thought to ask about integration, and no one from the customer thought to tell the team about it. We live in a connected age, and systems hardly, if ever, operate in isolation. In any development project, the delivery team must take time to understand where the system fits into the larger picture, and figure out how planned changes might affect those integrations.

Test your assumptions. On launch, the application experienced serious performance issues and functional failures that sent the team scrambling for fixes. This occurred despite the fact that the application had undergone extensive acceptance testing in a staging environment prior to launch. Post-launch discussions revealed that the staging environment, which was a pre-existing environment from previous development efforts, differed from the production environment in a few significant ways. Those differences made it impossible to catch the fatal issues during testing. The outsourced team took the staging environment at face value, and didn’t question whether or not it reflected the production environment.

Think of the (customer’s) customers. The outsourced team’s go-live approach involved taking the old application offline for a period of time while the new application was deployed. The team anticipated that the site would be offline for no more than an hour, and scheduled the downtime for business hours, for the convenience of the team. Of course, Murphy’s law prevailed, and the tasks expected to take less than an hour ended up taking most of the day. This cost the direct customer thousands of dollars of lost revenue and, no doubt, annoyed the consumers who wanted to use the site. This situation probably could have been avoided entirely through the application of some technical know-how and a few hundred dollars in additional hosting fees for new virtual servers to run the new site temporarily alongside the old site, a deal the customer would have made gladly if the outsourced team had presented the option.

These lessons seem obvious in retrospect, but isn’t that always the case? Fortunately, this team has taken the experience seriously, engaged in frank and open discussion of what went wrong, and has changed the environment and their techniques to avoid making the same mistakes again. The customer, to their credit, has given the team another bite at the apple in the form of a follow-on project. I expect this one will have a much more positive outcome.