Tag Archives: work smart

Stop websites from tracking you

An earlier post on how cookies are used to track you, explained how tracking cookies work. This post will show you how to stop websites from tracking you using Firefox 4. This latest release has a Do-not-track feature that lets you tell websites you don’t want your browsing behavior tracked.

By turning on the Do-not-track feature, Firefox tells websites you visit that you don’t want your browsing behavior tracked. Please note that honoring this setting is voluntary. To put it differently websites are not required to respect it.

Turning on the Do-not-track feature in Firefox 4

  • Click the Firefox button at the top of your browser window and click options.
  • Make sure you’re on the Advanced panel.
  • Select the General tab.
  • In the browsing section check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.
  • Click OK to leave
Do-not-track feature

Check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked option

Revoke Access to Twitter Account

There is a growing number of Twitter Apps that trick you into giving them access to your account and so enabling them to send spam on your behalf. Should you (like me at least once) fall for this trap, here is an easy way to prevent further damage. Use the following url: http://twitter.com/settings/connections or click the links that are highlighted in the screen shot on the right to manage your Twitter connections.




After that you just click Revoke Access below the Application that is using your account to spam others. An example is depicted in the screen shot below (for a non spamming App):

Whitehorses SOA Specialized Partner

Whitehorses a Gold level partner of OPN, has achieved the Specialized status for Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). Achieving this Whitehorses has been recognized by Oracle for its expertise in delivering services specifically around Oracle SOA Suite 11g through business results and proven success.

Frank Dorst, CTO of Whitehorses:

“We strongly believe in the power of IT. Information technology makes real change possible and that does not always have to mean huge investments. We distinguish ourselves by clearly defined improvement projects, with involvement of both IT and business in which collaboration with customers is essential. Achieving Specialization is our confirmation that we are doing well. It continues our long relationship with Oracle and gives our customers the confidence to work with a qualified party. ”

Bas Diepen, senior manager of Alliances and Channels at Oracle:

Whitehorses know how to keep changes small and simple, no matter how big projects are. We are pleased that the investment they have made in gaining knowledge and Oracle skills, is now reflected in achieving this Specialized status.”

Looking back on 100 blog posts

Not only is it the time of year to look back (and think about what the future might bring), I also noticed that deltalounge came to 100 blog posts. Further back in history and perspective my first post ever was on the IT-eye weblog together with people like Mike van Alst, Andrej Koelewijn, and Tom Hofte. Later on I moved to the Whitehorses blog where I joined guys like Edwin Biemond and where I’m still a regular blogger.

Some highlights

There were serial posts on ESB performance tuning, Oracle (Advanced) Queueing and on AIA 11g. There was probably the most extensive coverage of the SOA Symposium by a non-professional blog. However the most eye balls were for the (technical) posts:

and these non-technical posts:

Program SOA Symposium 2010 available

The agenda for the SOA Symposium 2010 has been posted. Again there are very interesting sessions during this 2 day conference. The largest and most comprehensive in the field of SOA and Cloud Computing. The Real World SOA Case Studies track offers a great opportunity to learn from the experience of others. In this track you will find:

Real-life accounts of successful and failed SOA projects discussed first-hand by those that experienced the project lifecycles and have a story to tell. These veteran practitioners will provide advice and insights regarding challenges, pitfalls, proven practices, and general project information that demonstrates the intricacies of implementing and governing service-oriented solutions in the real world.

I will be presenting the first session in this track on Using a Service Bus to Connect the Supply Chain. If you have any topics or questions in advance that you think I should address, please post them in the comments. Hope to meet you in Berlin.

Motivating without money

Some of the RSA talks are distilled by the folks at CognitiveMedia into abridged animated versions – RSAnimate. Here is one om motivation and drive:

There are loads of examples in litterature but also in more popular books like Freakonomics that:

People respond to incentives

In the animation you’ll see the kind of incentives that work well for tasks that go beyond mechanical skills and that require rudimentary cognitive skills (like conceptual and creative thinking). These incentives include the following aspects :

  • Autonomy – Which demands engagement instead of management and control.
  • Mastery – It is great fun to learn things and sometimes even be (really) good at something!
  • Purpose – Humans are purpose maximizers even more than money maximizers.

Please note that money isn’t one of them. In short for organizations and managers it boils down to:

Treat people as people!

Let me know what you think on this subject in the comments….

Group Development and a Lessons Learned session

Yesterday I attended a Lessons Learned session for a Software Development project where I’ll be involved in the upcoming phase. All participants shared their opinion on the negative and positive experiences. What went well and what needed improvement. Putting all these opinions expressed on Post-It notes in perspective I realized that the major part of the negative experience where from the early days of the project. Whereas the positive experiences seemed to be from the most recent period. This brought me back to one of the models I was taught on Group Development while taking training and coaching courses. It suddenly made sense to me that there had to be a relation with the Tuckman’s Group Development Model.

Tuckman’s Group Development Model

Tuckman Group Development ModelThe Group Development Model that was proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 has four phases:

  • Forming: Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Processes are often ignored. Members test tolerance of system and leader.
  • Storming: Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles.
  • Norming: Agreement and consensus is largely forms among the team. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Commitment and unity is strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities.
  • Performing: The team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader. There is a focus on over-achieving goals.

More in this PDF on Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.
So in which phase do you think the most fun, excitement and productivity is? And as you guessed this was reflected in the Lessons Learned session mentioned: The negative experiences were during the Storming, and the positive experiences during the Performing phase.

Note that:

These phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results.

It is important to realize this because sometimes a group of people in a meeting go through these same four phases. And if your a real goal oriented person you could try to skip the first two of three steps. That in will have a severe impact on the buy in of the group / team.
The teams that don’t get out of the Storming phase usually deliver no or very low quality software…

A business case for Service Orientation by Audi

Audi S5 - make reuse work

Audi S5

For me it is great to see the benefits of principles like reuse outside of IT. In this post i’ll share another example. Recently I read an article (in Dutch) on the success of Audi. Audi managed to keep up it’s sales even during 2009 (Annual Report 2009 PDF Alert 16MB!). Audi delivered 949,729 (compared to 1,003,469 in 2008) cars to customers worldwide in 2009. Sales were thus only 5.4 percent down on the record level of 2008 (source).

Besides innovation it is said in the Dutch magazine Management Team that reuse is one of the driving forces. It is great to have another example of how the principles behind Service Orientation not only deliver value in IT but also – or probably mainly – for the business when applied e.g. in other engineering disciplines.

Reusable building blocks

Audi has limited the number of modules engineer are allowed to use to construct a new model. There are two main lines, based on how the engine is placed:

Limiting the number of construction modules for engines, gearboxes, air conditioning results in several benefits:

  • Lower costs per car compared to it’s competitors.
  • Serve a larger number of niche markets compared to the competition.
  • Shortened time-to-market.
  • At production lines both employees and robots can work on several models. This enables Audi to produce the models that are in demand, while at the same time keeping a high utilization rate.

Audi claims to save 20% per manufactured car, and to save 30% on the development of new models. The economies of scale are further leveraged because of the reuse of components in the Volkswagen Group.

Gestures as the human – device interface

Pranav Mistry did a great TED talk on tools that help the fysical world to interact with the digital world. Pranav works on a project called Sixth Sense and most of his examples are based on this project and the research that led to it.

And the busines – IT gap

Inspiring talks like these make me wonder if there is any groundbreaking research that could bridge the business IT gap that is mentioned so often. One thing that makes this even more complicated is that both “IT” and “business” are concepts, unlike the real fysical world. Besides that the concept do not follow laws of nature like the fysical world does.
To build a bridge between business and IT bith need a level of understanding of how the other works. In most case this will require a lot of communication.