Glen Martin

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Top Stories by Glen Martin

I'm frequently asked about the difference between portability and interoperability, and am often surprised at how many people refer to one when they mean the other. On the surface, the terms are pretty understandable: interoperability means that different systems will work together. Portability means that systems will work in different places. It's clear that enterprise customers need both. How many times have you heard an IT person say, "Our systems don't need to talk to each other?" or "Our deployment needs are never going to change?" (No doubt such folks still have 640KB PCs on their desks.) But many developers overlook technology advancements and pretend they can go on deploying their applications on the same systems. This despite 64-bit processors waiting in the wings, whose architectures are rather different from those we use today. Portability doesn't just m... (more)

Gone Fishing

I saw a television ad the other day that portrayed someone using a cellular phone as a fancy cash card to make a vending machine purchase. As a person who hates to carry loose change - once you start, you suddenly realize you have a pocketful - this spoke to the kind of useful integration into people's lives that a new technology needs to be successful. If you think a cash card is easier to carry than a cellular phone...you're right. But the integration of functions into one device is more convenient still. A cell phone is one device that could act as a cash card, map, traffic-st... (more)

Dial Tone for Business Apps

Around 15 years ago there was a cascading switch failure in the telephone network along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Phones stopped working. So did air traffic control, because information about air traffic was communicated between control towers using the phone network. The failure was caused by incompatible implementations of the interswitch trunk protocols. These specs, while very long and detailed, are necessarily imperfect. With the best of intentions, different development teams interpreted the specs in different ways. When one switch started to fail, it sent... (more)