Open Source

POP Goes the Blockchain

Blockchain. I can probably stop here. Merely having the word on the Vidya site will increase blog readership more than if I posted a deleted scene from Black Panther. There are already thousands of thought pieces explaining Blockchain, how it will revolutionize commerce, how it will transform the Internet. There is even a company whose decision to add Blockchain to its name led to a 600% stock surge and a financial windfall for its CEO!

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It's Not Only About the Benjamins

The 2017 Stack Overflow Developers Survey had the most respondents since they began the project in 2011. You really should take a look. They cover a lot of ground, and the findings across geography and demographics are fascinating. It’s interesting most developers report feeling underpaid. That isn’t surprising to me, but it might be counterintuitive to people more accustomed to Stark Industries than to Pied Piper. It’s natural to follow up by asking which programming languages pay the most, and those answers did surprise me.

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Vidya Reloaded

Welcome to the first new post on our brand new website! Thank you for checking it out. At Vidya we pride ourselves on embracing emerging technologies and helping our clients leverage them to realize their potential. This website proves we practice what we preach. We built it with Hugo, a stunningly fast static-site generator built on Google’s popular Go programming language, which continues to shoot up the Tiobe Index.

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Mo Incentives Mo Problems

As I help to revolutionize how government buys IT by teaching federal acquisition professionals to avoid spending hundreds of millions for deliverables that don’t work, I have stressed that the best way to maximize value and save taxpayer dollars is to understand the principles behind agile software development and to construct contracts accordingly. Incentives (also called fee) have long been a significant part of government contracts–including contracts for software application development.

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All We Do Is Win Win Win

I have written quite a bit recently about my longstanding passion for improving the way government procures technology and manages technology projects. The administration has taken many significant steps toward that goal, and I have played a small role in the process to this point. But that role is about to get a lot bigger. As I wrote before, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)–the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States– challenged us to improve how government “builds and buys digital services.

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Learning the Playbook

Every (American) football fan knows that it is at least as important to know the playbook as it is to be blessed with speed, strength, and endorsement deals. After decades of failure with technology projects, including of course the high-profile debacle that was the initial rollout of HealthCare.gov, the United States government has taken steps to solve the problem. One of them was to create its own U.S. Digital Service Playbook, a guide to best practices for making technology work in government.

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Analytics With Apache Spark Is Here

As promised earlier this year, we at Vidya are proud to officially announce our newest course Analytics with Apache Spark. Spark is a cool technology making an enormous–and growing–impact in the Big Data space, so naturally there are a lot of courses out there. Ours is different. Naturally we spend a lot of time on Spark itself with numerous code examples and challenging exercises, but we also stress the importance of things that have always mattered and still matter–architecture, security, and software engineering concepts like unit and integration testing, continuous integration, and continuous delivery.

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The Fix Is In

I spent most of my career building software for U.S. government clients as a contractor, and one thing I noticed is just how bad the government is at running software projects. Take every bad thing every commercial software project ever did in the 1990’s, and it was built into the government software development process. It’s like modeling every high school after Bayside High. Eventually, everyone else caught on with the infamous rollout of HealthCare.

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Analytics With Apache Spark Is Coming

At Vidya we currently offer two courses, Software Engineering in Java and Agile Software Project Management with Scrum. In response to popular demand…OK, like eight or nine people…we are currently working on a third course to be ready by Summer 2015 tentatively called Analytics with Apache Spark. As “Big Data” becomes more and more of a thing, there just aren’t enough software engineers who know the tools and techniques for doing meaningful, performant, cloud-scale analytics.

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Oracle v. Google Just Got Real

Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I describe why the biggest names in technology are getting involved in the legal battle between Oracle and Google over Android and the profound consequences this case could have for technology in the future. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction. In November, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief with the Supreme Court of the United States asking the justices to reverse a decision involving Google and Oracle that would have profound consequences for technology if it stands.

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