A common question being considered by many people I’m talking to is “to what extent should we adopt public cloud services, and to what extent do we build ourselves?”. Cloud services exist on a spectrum from simple IaaS “provision of a virtualised instance” through Platform-as-a-Service offerings such as managed databases and API management platforms, all the way through to highly differentiated - and highly proprietary - Software-as-a-Service business applications. Adopting cloud services, especially higher value services, can deliver massive value by cutting time-to-value of digital solutions, providing better, more robust services, and allowing businesses to stick to what they are good at.
When I started blogging a few years back, I did so at Tumblr. Although I don’t use my blog much, I am planning to publish the occasional article still, and it felt increasingly weird just being me and a bunch of teenagers on there. I considered Medium, but for a while I’ve wanted to self-host my blog. The obvious option was always something like Wordpress or Ghost, but I didn’t really want the hassle of another piece of internet-facing software to be kept patched and updated, and paying for someone else to do it for me felt ridiculous for something I use so infrequently.
I admit it. I didn’t start to understand what the Twitter fuss was actually about until a couple of years ago. This may be something to do with the fact that I’m due to turn 40 next year, and am therefore – officially – an old fart. I’d opened up an account briefly, and it reinforced my impression it was all Justin Bieber, trolling and cat pictures. It sat there as one of those slightly sad egg avatars, for years, unloved.
It was great to have the opportunity to speak at the Ansible London November meet-up (my first as an attendee or speaker, believe it or not). Thanks to Marco for organising, Mudassar/Hotels.com for sorting the venue, and whoever bought the beer/pizza for doing that. Sorry for anyone who had to stand; I guess turnout was better than expected! I really enjoyed talking to a fantastic bunch of enthusiastic people doing some very interesting things - everyone seemed to have a story to tell.
One of my quirks is a strange (some might say masochistic) interest in economics, famously known as “the dismal science”. I probably spend more time reading about it than is either necessary or sensible. But if there’s one thing I would say everyone should look at, it’s last Friday’s book review by Larry Summers of ‘House of Debt’ by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, two leading academic economists. When Larry Summers says it ‘could be the most important book to come out of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession’, it’s probably worth paying attention.
Time for one of my rare blog posts - which I’ll follow up with another on a related topic … I’ve been meaning to get to grips with an IT automation tool such as Puppet, Chef, or SaltStack for ages now, but one of the perennial issues of having a “technical architect” consulting job is that I rarely have the excuse to sit down and do hands-on stuff with new technology on client time.
We’re about to put out a BJSS white paper on DevOps - hopefully sometime in the next week, barring delays getting it into appropriately pretty PDF format. During the review process, one of the people reading asked about a new term - “NoOps” - they’d recently heard. This blog post appears to be the source of the term. It provoked a bit of a storm. A well-argued response is at https://gist.github.com/2140086.
Nigel Wilson from BJSS will be presenting a seminar at the Government ICT conference at the QEII on some fascinating work we have done on the NHS Spine II project, using Agile and DevOps techniques to deliver a critical piece of enterprise infrastructure over a variety of highly scalable open source technologies. Unfortunately I’m unable to go due to being at a critical stage of a client project, but it should be well worth attending.
Lucy Kellaway’s recent Klout article and various discussions I’ve seen recently around endorsements on LinkedIn have got me thinking. The general consensus at the moment from sensible people seems to be that, at least in their current state, they’re pretty useless. For Klout, the reason is clear: the whole thing is based around the idea that your social media activity somehow correlates with your real world influence. That’s blatantly not the case: many of the most genuinely influential people I know either don’t have social media accounts, or don’t touch them.
For a while now, I’ve been thinking I would like to do more with social networking from a work perspective, having closely observed how powerful it can be on the Close the Door campaign I help out with. There are obviously a multitude of options on how to use the plethora of networks. I don’t want to swamp people with posts they’re not interested in, so have sat down and thought about how I’d like to post and where.