telecom-the-biggest-it-expense

Click the graph to see the data source.

Back in January, Gartner announced that after a flat 2013, they projected that worldwide IT spending would grow in 2014 to reach $3.8 trillion in 2014. They even published a table breaking down this projected spending into categories: data center systems, devices, enterprise software, IT services, and telecom. What they didn’t do — and for some reason, analysts often skip this part — is turn those non-intuitive rows and columns numbers into a more intuitive visual representation. We did, and the result is the chart above.

The chart makes very clear what we’ve been saying all along: telecom is by and large the largest slice of the IT budget pie. At nearly 44%, telecom’s share of IT spending is:

  • Nearly twice as large as the next category, IT services (26%),
  • almost two and a half times the size of devices’ cut (18%), and
  • over five times that of enterprise software (8%).

telecom

As the largest part of the IT budget, telecom also provides the most opportunities to find efficiencies and places to save money:

  • Invoices from telecom carriers often have errors — and usually in their favor.
  • Many businesses are wired for 20th-century telecom and “overtrunked” with too much voice line capacity, while today’s workers rely more on wireless phones, and internet-based communication like email and instant messaging. Many are spending money on contracts to maintain PBX facilities that are no longer needed or lie in disuse.
  • Then there are the hundreds, if not thousands, of wireless plans in a business that are mismatched to their users’ actual voice, messaging, and data usage.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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On GitHub and speaking out

by Joey deVilla on March 17, 2014

on github and speaking out

Jule Ann Horvath’s resignation from GitHub
and the mess that led to it

shadow octocatIf you frequent new sites that cater to developers, you’ve probably already seen the TechCrunch article on Julie Ann Horvath’s departure from GitHub and the events and atmosphere within the company that led her to leave, as well as GitHub’s response. In my opinion, the loss is GitHub’s, as her contributions were not just technical, but also social, in the form of women-in-tech advocacy such as Passion Projects.

As is now customary in our industry, whenever a woman speaks out against a toxic, sexist culture at work, at conferences, or wherever programmers gather, the was the immediate man-childish, tone-deaf, brain-dead reaction to Horvath’s speaking out, which ran the gamut from “boys will be boys” to “she couldn’t handle the meritocracy” to “chicks ruin everything”. The message in their posts was that she, like most women, didn’t have the necessary technical or personal skills to succeed at GitHub, so she’s using the power of whining to get her way.

I think they’re wrong. I’m inclined to believe in Horvath’s story because I’ve seen this scenario time and again, in which a privileged group fails to see a problem and makes speaking out difficult. I’ve also seen it happen to me.

The Frosh Week incident

douglas library

If you lived in Canada and went to a high school that required you to wear a uniform, Queen’s was likely to be one of your choices for university. I chose it for its good engineering school and tight-knit culture, and had a wonderful — if someone Van Wilder-esque — stay there.

The incident took place the day before Frosh Week 1988, just before the newest wave to incoming students arrived for their week-long initiation, which was also a week’s worth of revelry and debauchery for us second-year students. My engineering classmates and I were at Alfie’s, the school’s largest pub, celebrating our return as sophomores by drinking pitchers of Lime and Lager and dancing to Bizarre Love Triangle and Yin and Yang the Flowerpot Man. I was dancing with Joan, a red-haired friend of mine, when a six-foot something blond guy walked up to me.

“You’re a fucking chink fag,” he said with gritted teeth.

“Nice day for it,” I replied. I was too busy dancing to deal with some drunk asshole. Besides, I’m a flip, not a chink. Get your hate-targets right, dude.

I found out later that he was upset because he was attracted to Joan and thought I’d beaten him to the punch in picking her up. I have two things to say: wrong, and tough shit.

He grabbed me my my shirt. “Why don’t you fucking go back to where you fucking came from?”

Oh, great. Not just a racist, but one who also uses clichés. I grabbed his neck and started pressing on his Adam’s apple. All the while, I was wondering where the hell the bar staff were. Usually, they jump on you if you did so much as stand on a chair.

“I came from across the street, asshole,” I said. That was true: I lived in a house that was very conveniently across the street from the pub.

My friend Rob, always smiles, saw the altercation and came up to us. He faced the guy, made the peace sign and said “Peace, man.”

The guy looked at Rob with incredulity, and perhaps taken aback by the message of universal peace and love, let go of me and looked like he was about to walk away.

“Well,” Rob said to me, “that looks like the end of –”

punch

That’s all I heard. The guy spun around on his heel and clocked me right in the nose. That’s not what knocked me unconscious — the back of my head smacking the dance floor did that.

I came to about a minute later to see a lot of blood on my new shirt. Joan had completely gone to pieces and was crying profusely. Some of my bigger friends were jockeying to be the one to teach the guy a lesson.

“Just give me the word,” my friend Simon said, “and I’ll fucking waste him.” He yelled across the bar at the guy. “You hear me, homes? I’ll fucking waste you!” Simon only calls someone “homes” when he’s about to administer righteous beat-downs.

I was being carried out the back exit of the pub while Simon kept asking for permission to try out some new martial arts moves on the guy. I was in too much pain to really care about justice, or revenge and too scared to think straight. All I could ask was “Why did that guy hate me so much? What did I ever do to him?”

The worst part wasn’t getting clocked. It was what followed.

stop snitching

Some of my friends knew this guy and tried to “make me understand where he was coming from”. One guy in my engineering class told me “Look, Joey, he’s from a small town. All the people he’s ever known until a year ago are white. He’s also from a poor farming family — he hasn’t been out much. Be a trooper, try and understand where he’s coming from. Don’t press charges. It’ll only make things worse.”

Another guy said “Look, the world’s not fair. I think you’re a good guy, and one of the nicest engineers I know. But you look…different from most of the people here, and that’s the way things work. I wish it wasn’t that way, but I don’t make the rules. It’s not your fault. Just let it go, and keep on keepin’ on.”

Bad as it was from people I knew, it was even worse from the pub’s management, as well as the student constables (students charged with keeping order at the campus pubs and events). The head constable brushed off the whole thing with “Hey, sometimes people say things they don’t mean when they were drunk. Besides, I hear it was over a girl.”

If it was over a girl, then why did he never mention her? All I heard were racist epithets.

“It’s just a misunderstanding,” he continued. “If you make a fuss, he’ll just come down on you harder.”

“Isn’t it your job to make sure he doesn’t?”

“Well, on campus, yes,” he replied. “But off campus, no. And we can’t be everywhere. We’re not cops.”

“Well, I’m thinking of going to the cops.”

A look of grave concern appeared on his face. “That…,” he said, with great delicacy, “might not be…wise. Think about it: it’ll bring attention to the school from the Mayor’s office and the press, and you probably know that is exactly what we don’t need right now. It could jeopardize events, maybe even shut down the pub.”

As he walked me out of his office, he put a hand on my shoulder and said “Look, what happened was awful. I don’t deny that. Sometimes the world isn’t fair [Again with that line! Do they teach it in secret WASP classes?], but I’m asking you not to make things worse. For you, and the school.”

Between the omerta pressure from so-called friends and people supposedly in charge of keeping the peace, and to my own shame, I was disheartened enough not to press charges. I spent the next few weeks living with that haunted feeling that I was no longer safe in my school, that no one had my back.

“But I was okay with it!”

sheldon

David Wong, who consistently writes great, insightful stuff, has this as the fifth and final item in his article, 5 Ways You’re Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You:

#1. You Assumed That Because You Were OK With a Situation, Everybody Was

This will happen to you. You will be on one side of a conflict that does not feel like a conflict to you, because that is the conflict. Trust me, there’s a great chance you’ll be oblivious to it until it’s too late. Entire governments have fallen this way.

In many cases, they mean it honestly – “I’m not angry at anyone, I just want to leave things the way they are. Which incidentally involves me having all of the power.

This is why the same people who scream about The Big Bang Theory being “nerd blackface” also seem to be oblivious to the fact that the tech field often seems as welcoming to women as medicine or law were a century ago, or worse still, actively add their own poison to the toxic stew. The former is relevant to their interests, the latter is someone else’s problem. It’s also why it’s difficult to speak out in these situations, and why Horvath waited a year before going public.

Complicating matters is that once you’re out of school and in the “real world”, you’re no longer playing the small ball of who-punched-whom at the pub, but a much bigger game of job, money, and grown-up (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) lives. The stakes are higher, speaking out carries much bigger consequences, and the punishments for upsetting the status quo are far, far more harsh. In these cases, the decision to speak out is made with a lot of deliberation, because it comes with a huge price tag and it often seems that you’re on your own.

From my own, much less significant experience, I get where Horvath’s coming from. I’ve seen that sort of circling of wagons that follows when one speaks out — or in my own case, is about to speak out. Think about that when looking at the GitHub story, as well as the responses from within and outside the company.

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Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto revealed!

by Joey deVilla on March 6, 2014

The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, has been outed on Newsweek! The most surprising thing is that Satoshi Nakamoto is an actual Japanese person named “Satoshi Nakamoto”. I always assumed that it was a pseudonym and that he looked like this:

not satoshi nakamoto

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An early look at Apple’s CarPlay

by Joey deVilla on March 4, 2014

apple announces carplay

During their Q4 2013 earnings call, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that they were working on introducing new product categories in the coming year. That year has come, and with it comes the first new product category: car/computing integration. The first product, CarPlay (referred to as “iOS in the Car” in earlier marketing materials), brings better integration between your iOS and the built-in dashboard displays on your car. It lets you access iOS functionality on your iPhone 5-series devices from your dashboard controls or with voice, and giving your dashboard display the iOS look and feel.

Here’s the phone interface:

carplay phone

Here’s the text-messaging interface:

carplay messages

Here’s Maps:

carplay maps

And here’s music:

carplay music

CarPlay connects to your car’s dashboard system via a Lightning cable, so it’s compatible only with the iPhone 5 series of devices: the original iPhone 5, as well as the iPhone 5C and 5S. It will be available in certain models from these car manufacturers in 2014:

carplay 2014 makes

and these “committed partners” will make it available in “future models”:

carplay later makes

Volvo posted the first promotional video for their cars featuring CarPlay…

the Engadget folks managed to get a hands-on demo of CarPlay in a Ferrari at the Geneva Motor Show:

…and here’s what appears to be uncut footage for a Mercedes Benz CarPlay demo video:

Further Reading

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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call kris krug

Creative Commons photo by Kris Krüg. Click to see the source.

If you’re…

  1. Heading down to Austin in the next couple of days to take part in the annual SxSWi (South By Southwest Interactive) conference, and
  2. In need of a professional photo — a portrait, a headshot, a group photo, whatever,

…then you should drop Kris Krüg a line. He’s going to be there and he takes awesome pictures, including the one of me above from SxSWi 2011. I was wandering about the bar’s back patio when I ran into Kris, who said “I’ve gotta get a picture of you!”, and I was only to happy to oblige. Kris does great work — book him before he’s all booked out!

There are all sorts of ways to get in touch with Kris, and they’re listed on his “Contact Me” page.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Bitcoin joke of the day

by Joey deVilla on February 28, 2014

sorry i only use bitcoin

From the webcomic Cyanide and Happiness, by Rob DenBleyker.
Click to see the source.

Thanks to Anne Mackenzie for the find!

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Happy birthday, Steve!: Steve Jobs holding up an iPhone with a candle on top.

Click the photo to see O’Reilly’s deals page.

Today is Steve Jobs’ birthday, and O’Reilly’s commemorating it with a 50% off sale on all Apple ebooks and videos. Just use the discount code DEAL when buying them from O’Reilly store before February 25, 2014 at 5:00 a.m. Pacific (GMT – 8), and you’ll be able to get them for half price.

Recommended

At half price, there are some particularly good deals, including:

ios 7 programming fundamentals

iOS 7 Programming Fundamentals, by Matt Neuberg. If you’re an experienced developer, but new to Objective-C (and haven’t touched C in a while) and iOS, this is a good introduction. The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Language: Starts with a chapter titled “Just enough C” to get you comfortable, then spends the rest of its time getting you up to speed on Objective-C’s way of using classes, objects, and messaging.
  2. IDE: Once you’re familiar with the language, this next section covers working with Xcode projects, building user interfaces with Xcode, the editor and debugging tools, and what you need to do to deploy apps to devices.
  3. Cocoa: This section covers those parts of the Cocoa framework that you’re most likely to use, as well as issues of memory management and communication between objects.

At half price, the book is US$15.99, which makes for a pretty sweet deal.

ios 7 programming cookbook

iOS 7 Programming Cookbook, by Vandad Nahavandipoor. Once you’ve dipped your toe into iOS programming, you’ll find this book useful, as it’s a “how do I do this?” reference for iOS developers. Yes, you’ll find a lot of this information scattered all over the place online, but it’s often nice to have it gathering up into a single package, which this book does pretty well.

At half price, this book goes for $21.99.

Not Recommended

head first iphone ipad development

If you look at the Head First series of books on Amazon, you’ll find that they generally get great reviews. Not Head First iPhone and iPad Development, which got a low number of stars and is a bit disappointing compared to other Head First programming books I’ve read (especially the various editions of Head First C#). The just-released third edition of Head First iPhone and iPad Development seems to have cut out material that appeared in the second, has some sloppy editing, and reads like as though it were put together by contractual obligation. At half price, it’s US$13.99.

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly intro to iOS development, I’d much rather you got your paws on The iOS Apprentice from Ray Wenderlich’s site. It may not be as cheap as Head First iPhone and iPad Development, but you’ll get way more bang for your developer tutorial buck.

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