There was a discussion in Koodiklinikka Slack about what software people use and that people have made "/uses" pages for that purpose. And inspired by Wes Bos /uses from "Syntax" Podcast here's my list.
Software development is one of the professions where you have to keep your knowledge up to date and follow what happens in the field. Staying current in the field and expanding your horizons can be achieved with different ways and one good way I have used is to follow different news sources, newsletters, listening podcasts and attending meetups. Here is my opinionated selection of resources to learn, share ideas, newsletters, meetups and other things for software developers. Meetups and some things are Finnish related.
There are some good sites to follow what happens in technology. They provide community powered links and discussions.
Podcasts provide nice resource for gathering experiences and new information how things can be done and what's happening and coming up in software development. I commute daily about an hour and time flies when you find good episodes to listen. Here's my selection of podcast relating to software development.
ATK-hetki: "Vesa Vänskä ja Antti Akonniemi keskustelevat teknologiasta, bisneksestä ja itsensä kehittämisestä."
Webbidevaus: "Puheradiota webbikehityksestä suomeksi! Juontajina Antti Mattila ja Riku Rouvila."
Normal information overload is easily achieved so it’s beneficial to use for example curated newsletters for the subjects which intersects the stack you’re using and topics you’re interested at.
The power of newsletter lies in the fact that it can deliver condensed and digestible content which is harder to achieve with other good news sources like feed subscriptions and Twitter. Well curated newsletter to targeted audience is a pleasure to read and even if you forgot to check your newsletter folder, you can always get back to them later.
Java Performance Tuning News: A monthly newsletter focusing on Java performance issues, including the latest tips, articles, and news about Java Performance. Curated by Jack Shirazi and Kirk Pepperdine.
DB Weekly: A weekly round-up of database technology news and articles covering new developments, SQL, NoSQL, document databases, graph databases, and more.
HTML and CSS
HTML5Weekly: Weekly HTML5 and Web Platform technology roundup. Curated by Peter Cooper.
CSS Weekly: Roundup of css articles, tutorials, experiments and tools. Curated by Zoran Jambor.
Couple of weeks ago at Tampere goes Agile the question was what's beyond agile and partial answer was DevOps. I've read about DevOps before and tried to introduce it to use in my daily job but new things move slowly. So, it was good time to hear more about DevOps and how others are using it at DevOps Finland meetup about ApiOPs and Test Automation. The meetup was held at GE Healthcare building in Vallila and organized by Eficode. Delicious coffee and sandwiches were from Warrior coffee. Here's my short notes about the topics discussed.
The talk was more about mindset related to developing APIs than tools but Swagger was mentioned for representing your API and SoapUI for testing. For API management Moilanen talked about APInf which is an API management platform.
Test automation with Robot Framework
Eficode guys talked about Test automation with Robot Framework which is a generic test automation framework for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). It's originally developed in Nokia Networks 2005 and open sourced in 2006. Robot Framework uses keyword-driven testing approach and it's capabilities can be extended by test libraries implemented either with Python or Java. Robot Framework is quite big in Finland but to get the work forward and more known worldwide there's now Robot Framework Association put together by Eficode, Omenia, Reaktor, Eliga, Knowit, Qentinel and HiQ.
After some technical difficulties with projector we heard intro to Robot Framework with Selenium2Library and saw video about using it. Selenium is a suite of tools to automate web browsers and with Selenium2Library you can use it with Robot Framework to easily implement and maintain automatic browser testing of your web application. Another use case which I find interesting is for testing REST APIs.
You can use Robot Framework in many was as we saw with the demo of a machine for automating payment terminal testing which Eficode had built (slides, blog post in Finnish). It was a Shapeoko 2 CNC milling machine where Arduino parsed g-code sent over terminal bus, payment terminal was captured with Tesseract OCR and it was controlled by Robot Framework running in Raspberry Pi. They had extended Robot Framework with new libraries for communicating over serial bus and reading images from Raspberry Pi camera.
What you can do with Robot Framework is up to you as the framework doesn't limit you.
Future of DevOps Finland
The last talk of the meetup was about the future of DevOps Finland. DevOps Finland was started in 2013 by Erno Aapa and now the load is distributed over new planning team to keep things active. Sharing is caring and so we were encouraged to share our experiences and war stories about DevOps by talking in some future meetup.
Some possible future themes for the meetup were also discussed.
e.g. Coreos, Mesos, Kubernetes, AWS tools, Rancher.
DevOps on Windows
PoweShell and Azure.
DevOps without computers
AWS lambda, heroku, dokku, aws beanstalk, Google app engine, IBM Bluemix. (DevOps as a service).
What could be a better way to spend a beautiful Autumn Saturday than visiting Tampere goes Agile and being inspired beyong agile. Well, I can think couple of activities which beat waking up 5:30 to catch a train to Tampere but attending a conference and listening to thought provoking presentations is always refreshing. So, what did they tell about being "Inspired beyond agile" in Tampere goes Agile 2015?
Tampere goes Agile 2015
Tampere goes Agile is a free to attend event about agile and this year the theme of the conference was "inspired beyond agile". The event was held at Sokos Hotel Ilves and there were roughly 140 attendees. Agile as a topic isn't interesting as it's practices are widely in use, so the event went past agile and concentrated on "being agile". How the organizational level and our mindsets has to change to make agile work. Waterfall mindset eats your agile culture for breakfast. And that's the problem many presentations addressed.
Event started with a keynote by Bob Marshall who asked what's after agile. He has introduced the concept of right shifting where the core idea is that a large amount of organizations are underperforming. We're always more or less prisoners of our mindset and existing ways.
"It's not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best." - W. Edwards Deming
Marshall showed his right shifting organizational effectiveness chart where mean is around 1 (0 to 5 scale) and organizations using agile sit around 1.25 to 2. So, what's beyond that? Agile thinking isn't getting us there. What differs the organizations in the chart is their mindset: adhoc, analytic, synergistic and finally chaordic.
In order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our organizations, we'll need to be able to imagine better ones. The question is, what does an ideal organization look like? What kind of society we would build if it was wiped out? Starting from clean slate. We should look at the organization as a whole and what Marshall suggest is to use therapy to understand organization health and changing the mindset of the organization to one that's more conducive for high performance.
The ideal model for IT company is built around: people, relationships between people, collective mindset, cognitive function and motivation. And it's good to remember the difference between effectiveness and efficiency: Doing the right thing or doing the thing right.
Doctor, please fix my Agile!
Ville Törmälä talked about how we have seen changes on the method level, organizations are still mostly functioning the same ways as before. Many have tried to become more agile but without much success as there's a waterfall way of doing everything.
Törmälä presented his definition of agile: 1) Make the work better 2) Make the work work better 3) Make lives better. But waterfall mindset eats our agile culture for breakfast so it's about time to broaden our thinking about what really constitutes a long-term success in organizations doing any kind of knowledge work. Agile gives you tools and ideas but organizations can't change or improve by "doing agile" better. If you fail with one agile "method", you probably fail with the rest of them. It's a systemic problem. It's all built deep in to the thinking and structures of the organizations. That is the challenge.
"Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets". We should change from "project thinking" to "stable teams thinking". To change the power and influence structure from managing people to empowering people and further to liberating people.
One way of doing this is to use KBIs, Key Behaviour Indicators, where you write down examples of behaviour you want to see, think in what kind of environmental it's possible or could happen and then create the environment, write down concrete actions.
"The supreme art of agile is to subdue the waterfall thinking without fighting" - Sun Tzu, The Art of War
In summary, we need to look beyond methods and practices. Organizations change by changing how they think and become better by understanding better how work works, how to create value and how to learn better. We've to work with the system, aiming to understand and affect its thinking.
Pairing is sharing
Pair programming is a core agile technical practice but many people still have reluctance to pair and Maaret Pyhäjärvi talked about the deliberate practice in building up the skill of pairing to allow pairing to take one's skills on other activities to a new level. Pyhäjärvi shared her different stages of pairing and lessons picked up as a testing specialist.
Again, pairing is also about mindset and effective pairing is far from trivial - but it is skill that can be practiced. Pyhäjärvi talked about growth patterns from pairing with peers to pairing and mobbing with developers, from traditional style and side-by-side work to strong-style pairing and to pairing on both testing and programming activities.
Listeners also got to test specific style of pairing, Strong-style pairing, where for an idea to go from your head to the computer it must go through someone else's hands. You really need to think the steps through for the other to manage the given task.
One presented point about pairing was that you must unlearn ownership of ideas and contributions. Co-creation vs. collaboration.
Pyhäjärvi also told that selling pairing to team (of introvert programmers) is hard but Mob Programming has been their gateway to pair programming. It feels safer. You can read more about it from Mob Programming guide book.
Before lunch there was also nice lightning talk about documentation pipeline by Antti Virtanen. He told about Lessons learnt from creating a Documentation Pipeline for Continuous Deployment with Jenkins and other open source tools. His slides are available from SlideShare.
The DevOps magic with Jenkins was more or less standard practice and it was configured to generate documentation from database schema, JavaDocs, test coverage reports, performance test results and API specification. Reminded me of all the work I should introduce to our continuous integration.
3 standard tricks were presented:
Jenkins is the Swiss knife.
Database documentation in database metadata and generating ER-diagrams with SchemaSpy.
API documentation with Swagger.
When quality is just a cost: Useful approaches to testing
Testing is also important part of successful projects so Jani Grönman talked about useful approaches to testing and software quality.
"Software quality is measured by your customer success, not development project metrics and quality processes."
Grönman approached the topic with often surprisingly common attitude towards testing and quality:
"Quality is just a cost and like other costs, it should be avoided or minimized."
"Testing is it just another buffer in project's budget"
"testers are not skilled labor, it’s enough if they can read and write."
"What automation? They can quickly click trough the app can't they?".
And as you know this is all wrong. It's true that testing is expensive but so is development. Can you afford not to test? You should think it as an investment. The presentation went through the reasons and motivations behind the various attitudes and explored differences in views and how to best tackle them using the right technology and approach. He also talked about the schools of testing: Analytical, Standard, Quality, Context driven, Agile.
But overall you should know that testing is skilled activity and part of the development. Testing provides information to the project and you should use mix of techniques like exploratory and automatisation. And think about what testing would be most effective now. You need to choose the right set of QA tools for the job. One size fits no-one.
DevOps: Boosting the agile way of working
DevOps has been quite the buzzword for some time, so it was interesting to hear what Timo Stordell had to say how Devops is boosting the agile way of working. In short DevOps isn't anything revolutionary and should be seen an incremental way to improve our development practices. And talking about revolution, Stordell's slides had nice Soviet theme.
The presentation was more or less what you would expect from a topic covering DevOps and has nice touch to it. In short: Small bangs over a big bang, requirements management meet acceptance testing, standardize development environments, monitor to understand what to develop.
Stordell had nice demo of how they perform acceptance testing using physical devices and automation. They have built a rig of CNC mill run by Raspberry Pi to test payment system.
For those interested about DevOps movement and everything around it there's DevOps Finland meetup group. You can also download Eficode's DevOps Quick Guide to read more about it.
Keynote: Beyond projects
Event's final keynote was by Allan Kelly who spoke about #noprojects. Why projects are wrong and what to do instead. The main point of the keynote was that the project model doesn't match software development and outlined an alternative to the project model and what companies need to do to achieve it. The presentation slides are available from SlideShare. Kelly has also written a book about team centric agile software developmen,: Xanpan, which combines Kanban and XP.
Going beyond projects is an interesting idea as everything we do is somewhat tied to doing things in projects. So, what's wrong with projects? Projects are temporary whereas software is forever. Projects have end dates which in turn is against the defining feature of successful software: it doesn't end. Software which is useful is used and demands change, stop changing it and you kill it. At worst the project metaphor leads to dead software, higher costs and missed business opportunities.
We should think projects more like a continuous flow where it's success isn't determined by staying on schedule, on budget, and with quality. We should concentrate on the value delivered and put value in flexibility as requirements change. This goes against the fixed nature of projects. Also after project you often break a functioning team and start all over again. We should put emphasis on teams, treat team as an unit and push work through it.
The other thing is that software is not milk. It's cheapest in small packages, not in big cartons. Software development has not economics of scale. Big projects are risk. Think small and make regular delivery which increases ROI. Fail fast, fail cheap. Quite basic agile thinking.
So, beyond projects: waterfall 2.0, continuous flow
Now we have #noestimates, #nomanagement and #noprojects. Profit?
It was my first time visiting Tampere goes Agile and it was nice conference. The topics provided something to think about and not just the same agile thinking. You could clearly see the theme "Inspired beyond agile" working through different presentations and the emphasis was about changing our mindsets.
Going beyond agile isn't easy as it's more about thinking than tools. Old habits die hard and changing the waterfall way of thinking isn't trivial. We should start with understanding our organization's health and changing the mindset of the organization to one that's more conducive for high performance. Switch from "project thinking" to "stable teams thinking" and change the power and influence structure from managing people to empowering people and further to liberating people.
The after party was at Ruby & Fellas but after early morning and couple of nice beers it was time to take train back home. But before that I had to visit the Moro Sky Bar with nice scenery over Tampere.
Software development is one of the professions where you just have to keep your knowledge up to date and follow what happens in the field. But as normal information overload is easily achieved so it's beneficial to use for example curated newsletters for the subjects which intersects the stack you're using and topics you're interested at. Here are my selection of newsletters for software developers covering topics like web and mobile development, user experience and design and general topics. For more newsletters for developers you can check what for example Dzone wrote.
The power of newsletter lies in the fact that it can deliver condensed and digestible content which is harder to achieve with other good news sources like feed subscriptions and Twitter. Well curated newsletter to targeted audience is a pleasure to read and even if you forgot to check your newsletter folder, you can always get back to them later :)
Java Performance Tuning News
A monthly newsletter focusing on Java performance issues, including the latest tips, articles, and news about Java Performance. Curated by Jack Shirazi and Kirk Pepperdine.
A weekly round-up of database technology news and articles covering new developments, SQL, NoSQL, document databases, graph databases, and more.
HTML and CSS
Weekly HTML5 and Web Platform technology roundup. Curated by Peter Cooper.
Roundup of css articles, tutorials, experiments and tools. Curated by Zoran Jambor.
SitePoint’s daily newsletter, which features the latest web development news.
Newsletter for designers, front-end developers and product managers.
Includes interesting and useful stuff Scott has found over the last few weeks and other wonderful things.
The Modern Web Observer
Biweekly email newsletter about current issues and trends in front-end web development. It is much like a commentory on the important current news and articles related to front end development.
Web Design Weekly
Links to the best news and articles to hit the interweb during the week.
Weekly email of curated links to articles, resources, freebies and inspiration for web designers and developers.
Once–weekly e-mail round-up of Node.js news and articles.
User experience and design
Five links each week with the best UX writing, process, analysis, and critique from around the web. Its content lies at the intersection of user experience design, game design, and tech industry critique.
Monthly newsletter where the author will share ideas on how to improve customer conversion and ease of use.
To satisfy your web aesthetics with list of the 5 best design links of the day. The content is manually curated by a couple great editors.
Updates you monthly about the happenings in the UX/usability arena.
UX Design Weekly
Best user experience design links every week, published every Friday.
Security is important part of software development and often it doesn't get enough attention or developers don't know enough about it. I have been following Troy Hunt on Twitter for some time and as he was coming to Owasp Helsinki Chapter Meeting #27 it was great opportunity to hear about application security at first hand. Especially about hacking yourself first. The event was held at Life Science Center in Keilaranta and although it didnt' provide much new information about security and how to protect against hackers, it was nice event. The event consisted talks presented by Troy Hunt: 50 Shades of AppSec and Hack yourself first.
50 Shades of AppSec
The first talk was "50 shades of appsec" which covered a broad spectrum of what’s happening in our industry and how challenging it’s becoming for those of us working in AppSec to keep ahead of the attacks. Troy covered everything from the social aspects of hacking through to some of the more obscure attacks and the increasing challenges we have as defenders.
There was some nice bad examples how not to do things and hilarious examples how even criminal masterminds are fallible. Asking questions in StackOverflow with an account tied to your real identity, take a photo with iPhone and not clearing the EXIF data (which has location info).
"50 Shades of AppSec" talk didn't provide much new information which I wouldn't have read from Twitter or other news sources but was entertaining anyways. Good presentation matters.
Hack yourself first
If you're protecting applications against attacks it's good to know how attackers can exploit your application's security holes. The online attacks against websites has accelerated quickly and the same risks continue to be exploited. These are often easily identified directly within the browser; it’s just a matter of understanding the vulnerable patterns to look for.
Troy Hunt's "Hack Yourself First" talk was about developers building up cyber-offence skills and proactively seeking out security vulnerabilities in their own websites before an attacker does. It looked at website security from the attacker’s perspective and how to exploit common risks in a vulnerable web application. As usual the issues were quite basic information and could be easily identified and fixed with right knowledge and tools like Havij and Fiddler.
One interesting example was to use Fiddler to proxy your device's traffic and look how remote server communicates with it and even decrypt HTTPS. You can e.g. edit request and response and change values sent to mobile. One example is to change the value for admin and see if the mobile application validates it on every request or do you really get admin rights to the application or service. Practical example was capture the traffic sent to British Airways mobile app and see the WiFi password list for free WiFi.
Second interesting example was about using WiFi Pineapple. To trick devices to connect with "known" wireless network, capture and circumvent it's traffic. You did know that devices broadcasts the SSIDs they have previously connected and with devices like Pineapple you can easily see it and then do some magic.
Q & A and afterwords
The questions and answers section was quite active as security is an interesting topic. There were good questions like how do you verify companies you use, like you're using Freedome from F-Secure? It's about choosing the least risky option. Better than WiFi at airport without VPN. You don't really know.
Other interesting topic was about how security people don't understand development and developers don't understand security. It's about working together and not just security people saying "There are vulnerabilities, fix those." More cooperation would be better and it needs support from higher up to work together.
Afterwards the event had reserved the sauna on the 7th floor which provided also nice views over Laajalahti and some refreshments. Time to network and try to do small talk although I'm not the most social person. I wasn't surprised that Troy didn't join us to the sauna but it was nice that he had some time to talk in the lounge.
I didn't get the Owasp sticker but I got some crafty swag from Nixu and Troy also provided one month free pass for Pluralsight which has courses to educate yourself
Thanks to the organizers and event sponsor Nixu. Nicely noticed that Hunt is in Europe and to get him to talk about security. I also got a ride home with some good tips about restaurants in Tallinn which was nice. Thumbs up.
In late November it's again time for business- and IT decision-makers, experts, project managers, IT architects, consultants and bloggers to travel to Munich, Germany to visit Fujitsu’s largest IT-event in Europe: Fujitsu Forum 2014. This year the event is held 19th and 20th November at the ICM in Munich and there will probably be over 10,000 attendees around the world getting insights and looking for strategic and operative ways to modernize and develop their own IT or the IT landscapes of their customers. Last year I was one of the bloggers invited by Fujitsu to visit Fujitsu Forum 2013 and it was an insightful experience.
The motto of the Fujitsu Forum 2014 is "Human Centric Innovation" which expresses focus on a safe and prosperous future through innovations in information and communication technology. The event description tells us that these ICT innovations strongly support enterprises, public organizations and individuals in creating wealth and value. In overall Fujitsu Forum is a good place to find innovations that reduce costs and risks as well as increase agility and improve efficiency. Big and important words but what does it mean in practice? The event overview with summary about keynotes and breakout sessions gives you some idea about the different topics covered so let’s take a short look at the events I would select to attend.
There are a lot of simultaneous events so to make it easier to organize the events of your choice there's an excellent schedule builder. The presentations in in the list of Keynotes and Breakout sessions are divided in three conference tracks: "Human Empowerment", "Connected Infrastructure", "Creative Intelligence". The topics cover themes like how to design the future, workplace of 2020, tablet meets notebook, digital transformation, wearable technologies, Internet of Things and connected vehicles. Overall I selected 14 sessions to my agenda but pruned it to three keynotes and five breakout sessions as you don’t have time for every interesting topic.
Keynote: Human Centric Innovation & how to design the future by Tango Matsumoto and Brian Johnson (Intel), 19 November, 11:00, Auditorium
"How value can be generated for your business and for our society by the new Human Centric Innovation approach. Matsumoto will explain how Fujitsu contributes to business growth and the resolution of social challenges which will set the scene for all the subsequent presentations."
"What kind of future do you want to live in? What are you excited about and what concerns you? What is your request of the future? Brian Johnson answers these questions and more with The Tomorrow Project, a fascinating initiative to investigate not only the future of computing but also the broader implications on our lives and planet."
Workplace Anywhere - Increasing enterprise productivity by David Rosewell, Simon Gray and Thomas Zell, 19 November, 13:00, Room 13b
"Organizations are mobilizing the enterprise to deliver both increased productivity and cost savings. They seek to empower and enable their people to get the job done and look to embrace more flexible working practices to maximize productivity. We will guide you through the options and a vision for the 2020 workplace to identify your ideal workplace strategy."
Keynote: Fujitsu and its customers by Jürgen Walter, 19 November, 14:00, Auditorium
"Human Centric Innovation is for a world where technology complements all of our lives. A place where information continually delivers knowledge and innovation thrives. How does Fujitsu implement this vision and how do customers benefit from it? Jürgen Walter will address these questions, depicting some remarkable customer examples."
Fujitsu Laboratories Group’s R&D vision and key initiatives by Hideyuki Saso, 19 November, 15:00, Room 13b
"Fujitsu Laboratories’ R&D vision, highlighting key activities, under a mission to conduct R&D from a mid to long-term perspective, to generate new business models and discover new markets to drive Fujitsu’s business. We backcast future markets, products and services, engaging in trend-conscious R&D of: platform/applied/verification technologies, ubiquitous computing domain human interfaces and devices, data-leveraging domain knowledge platforms and cybersecurity, ICT platform domain computing and networking, software-supporting product development and manufacturing, and electronic devices. By interlinking such technologies, we aim to drive global business."
Keynote: Digital Transformation & Fujitsu in Society by Joseph Reger and Duncan Tait, 20 November, 10:00, Auditorium
"As the Internet and other information and communication technologies penetrate all areas and aspects of life, business and infrastructure, a hyper-connected world is created. Digital and analog businesses, processes and, indeed, worlds converge on the basis of ICT technologies. Innovation accelerates, new value propositions and new businesses are created, existing businesses fundamentally transformed. What this development means, what technologies it requires and will create and how to not just cope with it but how to make good use of it, is the subject of the presentation."
"Fujitsu uses the power of technology to contribute to the development of sustainable societies around the world. Working with both businesses and governments, in fields as diverse as energy, transportation, food, health, the environment, and education, Fujitsu’s ICT can drive social innovation and generate solutions. Duncan will present highlights from this area of Fujitsu’s activities and show that the company’s vision of a Human Centric Intelligent Society is already becoming a reality."
The human-centric workplace: Joy and efficiency got married by Christian Bock, Markus Seifart and Jeffrey Shomper, 20 November, 12:00, Room 13b,
"A successful workplace IT strategy is all about people. Generation Y and BYOD drive a new understanding of workplace IT, one that puts the user at the center and embraces individuality. Progressive companies realize that this new thinking boosts both productivity and employee satisfaction. Fujitsu shares best practices that empower users to achieve their full potential."
Wearable technologies for human empowerment by Naoyuki Sawazaki, 20 November, 13:00, Room 12
"Although various types of wearable devices such as eyeglasses, watches and other gadgets for health and fitness are gaining more attention in consumer markets, the true potential of wearable technologies lies in enterprise or business use. Because they enable users to get ICT support in a hands-free manner, they offer a clear advantage especially for workers in factory or building maintenance and other onsite operations to make their work more efficient, with fewer errors and oversights, even when they are not experts. In this session, current trends of wearable technologies are briefly reviewed, and then, research activities in Fujitsu Laboratories including the newly developed glove-style wearable device are introduced."
Exploiting IoT & Hyperconnectivity - A Life & Death Example by Joseph Reger and Antonio Jara, 20 November, 15:00, Room 13b
"The Internet of Things promises to create huge new opportunities in business and society. In this session we demonstrate the use of Fujitsu RunMyProcess to connect wearables, mobiles, cloud software and physical sensors in order to show how time saved through hyperconnectivity could literally mean the difference between life and death for a critically injured cyclist."
And of course there's a comprehensive exhibition of products and solutions which reveals e.g. how data center and client landscapes can be improved through innovation initiatives. Though this year I'm not sure what to expect and look forward to regarding Fujitsu's Ultrabooks and tablets. Anyways the exhibition offered by Fujitsu and its partners has always been interesting. Last year we got i.a. hands-on with U904 and T904 Ultrabooks and tested the 360 degree video conferences and collaboration setup.
We all love technical topics and talks but there's time also for refreshments and entertainment. On Wednesday evening there's an opportunity to enjoy Oktoberfest themed evening event. It's a nice entertainment and networking opportunity with drinks and special Bavarian dishes. Last year there was crispy roast chicken (Hendl), spiced strips of pork belly (Hüttenspeck), bread and dripping (Schmalzbrot), chive bread, savory cheese spread with pretzels (Obatzda und Brezn). Hmmm, and now I’m again hungry :)
Fujitsu Forum with keynotes, breakout sessions and exhibition looks interesting and also this year I'm one of the Fujitsu Digital Influencer program's bloggers invited to visit Fujitsu Forum 2014. It will be exciting to see the latest technology trends and other bloggers and Master your Business campaign team. In other news I'm again taking part in Fujitsu's Master Your Business campaign which starts on November 6th. The campaign will be fun as I just got the device I'm testing and it's pretty sweet.
Technology has changed our workplace and the tools we use to master our business by replacing the desktop computers with laptops and Ultrabooks and also enabling us to work regardless of our location. For couple of months I have been testing Fujitsu's LIFEBOOK U904 as part of the Master your business campaign and put the Ultrabook through different tasks and tested how it performs. As the project has turned to it's last third let's see what have been my experiences. Also there's still time for readers to take part and win an overnight stay at a Marriott hotel.
Couple of months with LIFEBOOK U904
It has been about three months since I got Fujitsu's LIFEBOOK U904 to be used for the Master your business campaign with 16 other bloggers. During that time I have put the Ultrabook through different tasks and tested how it performs to the campaign blog.
This far I have explored the topics and features of LIFEBOOK U904 concerning its special features like display, touchscreen, security, vPro, explored what are Fujitsu's services and solutions and though about how the workplace and changed and how the future workplace might look like. We also tested unified communications and collaboration tools with 10 other insiders and experts. The Master your business campaign has turned to it's last third and there's still five exciting tasks to fulfill although I have "earned" to keep my precious new Ultrabook.
As I previously wrote the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK U904 is marble black with aluminium and magnesium housing which makes it robust and light. Behind the 14" screen there’s brilliant IGZO touchscreen with 3200 x 1800 resolution and it’s run by Intel Haswell Core i5-4200U -processor and integrated HD Graphics 4400. It comes with Windows 8.1 Professional and 6 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD drive. To make it a perfect for mobile office the U904 is equipped with embedded 3G/LTE modem. You can also find full size Ethernet port, WLAN, Bluetooth and dock connector. Also the power adapter is now pretty small compared to previous models.
Couple of months with Fujitsu’s second generation Ultrabook has been good and it still feels good although some aspects could be better. Notebook Check has made good review of LIFEBOOK U904 and on most parts I agree what they have to say about different aspects of U904. They also have some nice pictures also from behind the bottom plate.
The multitouch screen is an edge-to-edge glass pane with 3200x1800 resolution makes single pixels are virtually invisible and picture is sharp. It also brings more usable scenarios for Windows 8 but it would be better if it could be turned around for tablet use with pen as the T904 is capable. I'm not quite adjusted to use the full potential of the 10-point multitouch screen but it works great. The display's hinges are firm but the screen is still wobbling slightly when inputs are made. As the screen isn't antiglare coated it can be annoying to use in bright environments.
The chiclet keyboard works nicely and is responsive but is a bit tough to press and thus doesn’t have as precise and sharp feeling as in my Macbook Pro. And if the evening gets dark you can turn on the keyboard backlight. The touchpad is generous in size and smoother than before and inputs are accurate. The stereo speakers’ sound is a bit cold and hard but using headphones is fine. The connectivity is good with WiFi capable of 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bands but unfortunately doesn't support the ac standard. The Wi-Fi card can be exchanged if required. The more interesting part is the embedded 3G/LTE support for situations where you don't have WLAN.
The ultrabook is is barely audible when idling but fan speeds up during load and the laptop starts to squeal even during simple load (fan speeds up temporarily) which is unpleasant. The machine is very cool in both idle and low load and doesn't get very hot even with heavy load (due throttling). The battery runtime is great with light use and lasts for over 12 hours and with more active use with WiFi and surfing the internet you get about 6,5 hours. It takes about 2 hours to recharge.
The serviceability and upgradeability are ok and by opening the bottom tray it is possible to access all important components. The batter is non-removable but you can upgrade the SO-DIMM memory module and the 2.5-inch size SSD. Also the you can access the fan for cleaning purposes.
Although LIFEBOOKs are meant for business applications they can be also used for entertainment like light gaming. The graphics chip could be Iris Pro series but also the 4400 has enough power to run for example Mark of the Ninja, Dead Space, Rocksmith and Alan Wake. You just have to take care to leave the bottom's fan outlet clear or the CPU and GPU throttles as the machine heats up. Also it seems that it does not max out its Turbo Boost.
The machine performs nicely and is more than enough for office work and with the SSD there are barely any waiting times. The test results are somewhat higher than e.g. LIFEBOOK U772 Ultrabook which has Intel Core i5-3427U (1.8 GHz) and Intel HD Graphics 4000. It got 3DMark 06: 4501 and PCMark 7: 4146.
Fujitsu LIFEBOOK U904 is the second generation of Ultrabooks from Fujitsu and is a solid business device and feels much better than the previous U772. The 14" sized Ultrabook has elegant design, is ultra-slim and light but still robust with aluminium and magnesium housing. The IGZO 3200x1800 resolution multitouch screen is brilliant and sharp. The machine performs nicely and is more than enough for office work although under heavy load the CPU and GPU throttles easily. The keyboard and touch pad works nicely and pretty smoothly. For mobile workers the connectivity options are great with 3G/LTE and long battery runtime. Also the power adapter is now pretty small compared to previous models and is easier to carry with you. Here in Finland you can get the U904 from Verkkokauppa.com with 1900 euros.
Touch screen is brilliant
Light, slim and robust housing
Connectivity: WiFi, LAN, 3G/LTE
Somewhat repairable and upgradable
Performance for office work
CPU & GPU throttling: don't provide maximum performance
Fan placement at the bottom isn't optimized
Speaker's sound is metallic
Master your business campaign
I’ve been testing the LIFEBOOK U904 as part of Fujitsu’s Master your business campaign with 16 other bloggers around the Europe and Middle East. Part of the participants tests the ESPRIMO Q920 minicomputer. The campaign will last about three months until 11.4.2014 and there will be 15 tasks for the bloggers to solve. I have done the two thirds of the tasks so I can keep this nice Ultrabook. Also the readers can participate and win an overnight stay at a Marriott hotel.
Check out the Master you business campaign site for more information about LIFEBOOK U904 Ultrabook and ESPRIMO Q920 minicomputer. There are lots of interesting articles and creative solutions to the tasks.
Munich in Autumn isn't maybe the most predictable travel target but for many decision-makers, experts, project managers, IT architects, consultants and users it's the place to go when Fujitsu's largest IT-event in Europe took place on 6th and 7th November. I was one of the invited bloggers to visit Fujitsu Forum 2013 and again it was very insightful and exciting two days. With the motto "Reshaping ICT, Reshaping Business and Society" there were over 11,000 attendees around the world getting new information and looking for strategic and operative options for modernising and developing their IT.
Fujitsu Forum 2013
Fujitsu Forum 2013 in Munich is Fujitsu's largest IT-event in Europe and was this year attended by more than 11,000 IT experts from around the world. With keynotes, breakout sessions, expert talks, exhibition and evening event the Fujitsu Forum is good place to get new information and looki for strategic and operative options for modernising and developing IT. Just like last year, I was invited by Fujitsu LIFEBOOK4Life campaign with three other insiders aka bloggers to spend couple of days at the Forum and to get insight what the future of IT might look like.
This year the Forum was held with the motto "Reshaping ICT, Reshaping Business and Society" and the focus was more about how the technology affects us and how we can make it work for us. Or in business words: "How to combine business processes and IT to form a stable basis that will ensure growth and success in the future." The main topic was reworked from last years' "Reshaping ICT – Reshaping Business" and the ICT trend could be easily seen from the buzzwords I heard also this year. Consumerization, BYOD, tablets, virtualization, in-sync, cloud and "One workplace – on any device" were still hot topics but maybe not so strong than last year as most of the hype has passed.
Our great LIFEBOOK4LIFE team had planned two keynotes and one breakout session which meant the days wouldn't be so packed and we would have time to share our insights and to stroll at the Exhibition area.
We started with Defining Your Workplace Strategy: Our Recommendation to IT breakout session by Meinolf Althaus (Fujitsu) who told us how to manage the different users' needs for the workplace. The three points were: Analyze your users and create user profiles (one size does not fit all); Accommodate multiple devices, operating systems, delivery technologies; Rely on a partner which offers an end-to-end portfolio.
Last year we missed the opening keynote but this year we were wiser. The opening keynote provided a view to Fujitsu's technology and services vision: human centric intelligent society. The keynote presented the idea behind the "human centric intelligent society" vision and also the exhibition was also built on the three dimensions presented on the keynote: Technology and infrastructure and integration (optimize ict systems from end to end); process and information (power business and society with information); people and innovation (create innovation through people). The main point was that we are in a global village and virtually everything and everybody are connected in one extensive network. But with global village come some challenges both in business and society sense. For example social media is more pervasive and the volume of information is astounding. The question is, how do you mine, analyze and act upon that data? For more detailed information check Marco Rossi's short recap of the session and how Fujitsu's services address this topic.
Our last session was on Thursday and I have always liked Dr. Reger's presentations which are both informative, clever and witty. The CIO Session: "All things considered" - How the internet of things changes our world gave us good ideas what are the technology trends that are going to affect our lives and businesses in the next few years and how the world could look like when every possible machine has it's own IP address.
Internet of things = there is no people and cat has IP address - Dr. Joseph Reger
In short "All things considered human centric intelligent society is the internet done right. The job is done by the things for the people. Internet of things will make our lives more complex but with multiple opportunities.". The road to Internet of things isn't yet paved and there are still many problems to solve like starting with IPv6 becoming mainstream, standards to control the devices and security issues. Reger gave some Sci-Fi like examples what kind of possibilities the Internet of things will present to help our everyday life for example by sensing different things and acting based on that information. It's worth to check out the video recording of the session from the Documentation or read the written recap by Fujitsu's Marco Rossi.
Overall, I have to admit I didn't get a good grasp about the message of the Fujitsu Forum 2013 which had a bit different aspect to cover than last year. The same ideas were on the background but from my Fujitsu Forum 2012 insights the message is easier to pinpoint: "The work and workplace is changing to support mobility and working anywhere anytime. The borders between business and private life are blurring, consumerization (same devices home and work) and BYOD (bring your own device) are coming more common. We should think more about user-oriented workplace. In the future the devices we use will be more diverse and we have more of them. Thus there will be need for virtualization, syncing data and support for "One workplace – on any device" ideology. Different tasks have different needs for the device so we need a dynamic desktop experience." Maybe the topic felt this year more vague as I attended two keynotes which had more abstract than concrete ideas how the workplace might look like compared to last years' three breakout sessions.
If you weren't able to attend the Forum or some particular session you can re-experience the Fujitsu Forum 2013 and watch or download the presentations from Fujitsu Forum 2013 documentation page.
Between the breakout sessions and keynotes we had time to check out the exhibition are with 250 highlights from the portfolio offered by Fujitsu and its partners. I especially liked innovative ideas like The Office 21: Intelligent Desk which showed how to make the physical desk better and the unified communication & collaboration setup (article by FujitsuFans.com) which presented how video conferencing and sharing ideas can work more seamlessly. I also didn't know that Fujitsu also makes ATMs.
Some highlight from the exhibition in 15 seconds: ATM, retail solution, unified communications, U904, T904, mainboards, displays, Eternus parts, intelligent desk, cad.
And of course as a technology geek getting my hands on to Fujitsu’s new LIFEBOOKs Ultrabooks with IGZO display was nice. Both the versatile T904 convertible ultrabook/tablet and the ultra-slim U904 were beautiful devices and I especially liked how the RJ-45 port was designed. Also the semi-rugged STYLISTIC Q704 tablet had nice use cases and accessories to support it.
For more detailed information about the different topics presented at the Exhibition check the Fujitsu Fans -blog with the forum tag and the YouTube playlist. I just don't understand how Abassin who keeps the Fujitsu Fans blog (MixBlogeu in YouTube) had time to do so many hands-ons and interviews at the Forum :) If you're interested to know more about the new LIFEBOOK Ultrabooks U904 and T904 check the hands-on articles from the Fujitsu Fan blog as they present nicely what kind of Ultrabooks they are.
And lest the whole two days be just about technical topics there was an Oktoberfest themed evening event on Wednesday. This year the event provided something different and was more social than previous years' concerts with Anastacia (2011) and Amy McDonald (2012) which were also nice. At the "Oktoberfest" there were special Bavarian dishes, such as crispy roast chicken (Hendl), spiced strips of pork belly (Hüttenspeck) and of course pretzels (Obatzda und Brezn) and excellent beer. And it was not just food and drinks as there were playful games like sawing a log, throwing a pint, hammering nails and throwing balls. If the games weren't for you, you could take a ride in a carousel, ferris wheel or swing (schauke).
The Oktoberfest atmosphere was something like this:
Fujitsu Forum 2013 is over but the new insights are just starting to form up to new ideas how to do things better. This was my third visit to the Forum and every year has been interesting and a bit different and great on their own kind of way. This year the sessions, keynotes, I listened were more about ideas than doing and they gave a good view how the future might look like with trends like Internet of things and how Fujitsu sees the future and business through their "human centric intelligent society" vision. I also got to see great looking Ultrabooks, interesting new concepts and products and I really liked the Oktoberfest themed evening event which was more social than previous years' concerts.
The three days in Munich went fast and it was again great to visit Fujitsu Forum and to see other Insiders and the campaign crew. Thanks LIFEBOOK4Life and Fujitsu.
In two weeks time it's again that time of the year when business- and IT decision-makers, experts and specialists, project managers and IT architects, consultants and users travel to Germany to visit Fujitsu's largest IT-event in Europe: Fujitsu Forum 2013. And that's also the destination where I'm going as I'm one of the bloggers invited by Fujitsu's Lifebook4Life campaign to visit the forum. This year the event is held 6th and 7th November at the ICM in Munich and there will probably be over 12,000 attendees around the world getting insights and looking for strategic and operative options for modernizing and developing their IT.
The motto this year, "Reshaping ICT, Reshaping Business and Society", highlights the key theme that is addressed by all aspects of the event: How to combine business processes and IT to form a stable basis that will ensure growth and success in the future. So what can you expect from Fujitsu Forum 2013? The event overview gives you some idea about the different topics covered but let’s look which events I’m looking forward to the most.
The presentations I picked from Keynotes and the list of 52 Breakout Sessions for my Fujitsu Forum 2013 agenda span all of the three conference tracks, "Create innovation through people", "Power Business and Society with information" and "Optimize ICT systems from end to end", and cover topics like cloud services, creating value from enabling innovative IT models with mobile technologies and information security and data protection. Overall I selected 10 sessions to my agenda but pruned it to one Keynote and four Breakouts as you don't have time for every interesting topic.
Defining Your Workplace Strategy: Our Recommendation to IT by Meinolf Althaus (Fujitsu), 6 November, 10:00, Room 13b
Adopting new computing devices and delivering concepts to provide optimized workplaces for the different user roles within a company present a new challenge. An optimized end-to-end selection, from back-end to workplace devices and a suitable combination of desktop delivery methods is essential to guarantee high availability, flexibility and user satisfaction. This session looks at the various ways to identify the ideal workplace strategy.
Leveraging Advanced ICT to Support Fujitsu Technology and Service Vision by Tatsuo Tomita (Fujitsu), 6 November, 13:00, Room 4
Leveraging ICT to generate New Value for society is essential to enable sustainable growth and advancement of societies. This session highlights how Fujitsu’s R&D is being leveraged toward realizing a Human Centric Intelligent Society envisioned by Fujitsu, by supporting the Fujitsu Technology and Service Vision, to be achieved through Three Actions: Create Innovation through People’s Activities; Power Business and Society with Information; and Optimize ICT Systems from End to End. We introduce how it will contribute to societal growth and realization of a prosperous society in which people can thrive.
Intelligent Workplace. Greater Efficiency. Here is the answer! by Anand Srivatsa (Intel) and Dieter Heiss (Fujitsu), 6 November, 16:00, Room 13a
There are fundamental changes taking place in society, new technology and changing demands are redesigning the workplace. The enterprise workplace will dramatically improve interactions across applications and between workers, driving productivity and improvements in work quality. This session will show you how new technologies support you at your workplace and how to ensure efficiency in and outside the office.
Keynote: The CIO Session by Dr. Joseph Reger (Fujitsu) and Ed Goldman (Intel), 7th November, 10:00
"All things considered" – How the internet of things changes our world
Powering Healthcare Information – improve and secure the healthcare data value chain by Lester Russel (Fujitsu), 7 November, 12:00, Room 5
Healthcare costs are rising and the burden of managing long term conditions threatens to destabilize whole economies. Clinical information has to flow smoothly to ensure a seamless patient journey through the healthcare system and the safe practice of medicine has special requirements in terms of the data value chain. The right information, in the right place, at the right time. This session will give examples of how IT can power healthcare in new and exciting ways and underpin the radically different processes we need to adopt, if we are to avoid meltdown in our healthcare systems.
And lest the whole two days be just about technical topics there's the Oktoberfest themed Evening Event on Wednesday. Excellent entertainment and networking opportunity with drinks together with special Bavarian dishes, such as crispy roast chicken (Hendl), spiced strips of pork belly (Hüttenspeck), bread and dripping (Schmalzbrot), chive bread, savory cheese spread with pretzels (Obatzda und Brezn). Hmmm, and now I'm hungry :)