Repeatable Project Configuration – Best Practices for Team Software Development

Given that a series of highly unusual winter weather conditions have resulted in Chicago having colder same-day temperatures than the South Pole (seriously), many people in the city opted to work from home on the most inclement days. That includes myself, and working disconnected from my normal environment caused me to consider how important it is to make your solutions repeatable.…

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Technology Case Competitions: How to Evaluate the Ideal Technology Consultant

Many universities and companies sponsor case competitions on campuses nationwide.  These competitions typically range from business strategy case competitions to ‘hackathons’ (a pure coding competition).  While both of these competitions evaluate a contestant’s problem solving abilities, neither of them evaluates a candidate’s technological prowess and business skills simultaneously.  It is...

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Chipping Away at Credit Card Fraud

During the holiday season, the high-profile security breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus were covered extensively in the news.  The Target breach alone affected up to 70 million Americans.  There have been dozens of reported cyber-attacks in the last several years, but the sheer number of people affected in these events and the timing around Christmas put information security in the spotlight...

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Hits Keep on Coming: High Availability & Disaster Recovery at

When it comes to the IT challenges of the new Healthcare Exchange, the hits keep on coming.  Over the weekend, the hosting vendor, Terremark (a subsidiary of Verizon), “experienced a failure in a networking component” and the attempted fix crashed the system.  The failure is in the “Data Services Hub,” which connects the exchange to other...

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Can you handle a million new users?

“At lower volumes, it would work fine. At higher volumes, it has problems.” This quote is illustrative of many of the issues facing IT managers and teams as they work to scale their systems and platforms. Often, a system that works properly during the normal course of business is unable to handle a sudden influx of new users or potential customers.…

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Grading the Grid: What’s the true renewable tipping point?

If you were to plot U.S. renewable energy usage somewhere on the innovation adoption lifecycle, we’d still fall somewhere between the “Innovator” and “Early Adopter” phase. But with the cost of renewable energy dropping and the number of business and consumer distributed generation installations rising, a renewables-majority isn’t far off. For utilities, an operational change will be...

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Agile – A Voyage of Discovery

Agile might just be the greatest innovation in software development methodology – ever. The benefits of being able to implement changes rapidly, with user involvement, with no design surprises. What’s not to like? Well, in highly complex, highly integrated and regulated environments, Agile presents some additional risk and can, when used in isolation, be responsible for furthering...

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