Archive for the ‘ IT ’ Category

Installing Ubuntu Unity on Toshiba NB200

Ok, its an exciting, liberating time. Nokia’s Maemo along with Intel brings MeeGo; JoliCloud rises as an alternative to Chrome OS infact even earlier than the much anticipated cloud OS from Google. Samsung relaases Galaxy Tab while JooJoo faced demise. Apple’s iPad sales continue to carry out and Ubuntu makes some radical strategic directions for its very popular linux distro.

Unity is the new shell for GNOME and I find it pretty decent for my netbook. I wanted a faster OS for my Toshiba NB200 but not at the loss of functionality. After trying out EasyPeasy and Jolicloud, I decided to give Ubuntu Unity a real try. (They are good but too restricted, kinda dumbing down my netbook…)

First the installaiton..

Created a USB boot installer using.

5 Minutes later, booted the device from the USB, ran Ubuntu LiveCD and chose to try Ubuntu. While trying, I decided to install Ubuntu and clicked on the associated link. A really kool feature about linux is that you can install the OS while running the LiveCD in parallel, that I did.

But to my surprise, it took exceedingly long time to install. After nearly 2 hours, setup finishes and reboots.

But no UBUNTU, BOOHOOHOO….

Got the notorious INITRAMFS ALERT! /dev/sdb1 (for you it could be different) not found.

Tried many things out:

  1. Edited the GRUB entry and changed the /dev/sdb1 to its associated UUID (of course had to run LiveCD again to get access to this installation).

  2. Changed the rootdelay just incase but didnt budge

  3. Ran LiveCD again, mounted my instance to the current file system and did this:

 

sudo mount mkdir /mnt/newroot

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/newroot

sudo mount –bind /proc /mnt/newroot/proc

sudo mount –bind /sys /mnt/newroot/sys

sudo mount –bind /dev /mnt/newroot/dev

and then..

sudo chroot /mnt/newroot /bin/bash

I needed the /bin/bash since I was chrooting from LiveCD

I restarted but still no Ubuntu. Finally, checked my BIOS SATA entry. It was set to AHCI, had to change it to RAID but in Toshiba shipped BIOS, there is either AHCI or Compatability mode which didnt work for me.

Final solution:

Applied Step 3. Then,

edited /etc/initramfs-tools/modules

added the entries:


sd_mod

and

scsi_mod

 

saved the file and ran:

sudo update-initramfs -u -k all

(since I have only one kernel, thats why -k all, otherwise choose this option wisely)

Then everything worked fine and I started writing this blog.

Ofcourse I also installed additional packages, and stuff. Unity is kool for my netbook.

Hope you enjoy it too!

PS: Don’t Listen to people complaining about bugs, surprises and different ways to do things, change is inevitable and Ubuntu Unity 10.10 is a pretty decent start for bigger, better things to come! Me Thinks…

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BI Competency Centers – A Program Management approach towards delivering excelling BI

I recently came across a client whose need’s where genuinely overwhelmed by a bit of frustration and a lack of solution partners who are not just technology implementers. The company had consolidated a lot of software solutions from various vendors, with overlapping features and functionality and had multiple departments participating in a tug of war for taking their departmental (and individual) BI ventures, enterprise wide. Interestingly, there was the case of an orphaned BI initiative there as well, the sponsors of that project had gone elsewhere!

The company came up with the idea of an excellence center (or a competency center) to try to standardize people, processes and technology. Easier said than done, the whole concept IS highly Utopian and is usually touted as a single solution to this fairly universal problem. But to achieve this”excellence”, a lot of background work is required which besides being costly is also time consuming.

To start with, a vision of an excellence center has to be developed. First of all, what DO THESE TERMS REALLY MEAN? Excellence Centers, Competency Centers, Strategy and Delivery Groups etc.It is one of the curse of hypes but a fairly reasonable mapping exists……”Program Management”

A Business Intelligence Program Management which sees BI implementations not just as a technology with limited business benefits but a business initiated venture with a targeted growth plan providing further services, features, ROI and sanity has a very strong case to sell.

According to Gartner Research, “A BICC is a cross-functional team with specific tasks, roles, responsibilities, and processes for supporting and promoting the effective use of Business Intelligence across the organization.”

BI Projects should be looked as ongoing, cyclical and iterative BI processes providing an improved delivery at each iteration. A Competency Center can provide the framework for measuring BI projects and their implementation, it also lets the company experience the cultural and operational transformations taking place as a result of a systematic and pervasive BI establishment. However, considering the different organizational behavior at different sized companies, operating in various verticals in diverse cultural backgrounds cannot be a single, enlightening offering.

It has to be Tailored for each concern whether a corporate or a department. But in general, a few set of services are considered core to the BI concerns in a company, namely,

  1. The Periodic Assessment of ROI and Cost vs Benefits.
  2. The standardization of processes and technology, whcih includes an enterprise level integration infrastructure again for both business and technology.
  3. A well defined and controlled Risk Management perspective on the BI space.
  4. A carefully crafted Knowledge Management initiative including organizational change.
  5. A focused and prioritized agenda on Business User “Buy-In” into the BI environment.

Several companies provide their BICC setup and operations competencies and consultancies these days.  However, there aren’t many best practices or guidelines in choosing the right partner for establishing one. Minimum requirements could be the ability of execute BI projects and programs, strong Human Resources, Business Processes and Systems Integration skills etc.

Although BICCs are ongoing programs, they should be highly target oriented. These milestones and performance targets are based on various assessment calculators which usually come as part of a BICC setup.

A very creative way to visualize the progress and understand the whole philosophy behind the BICCs is wonderful BI Maturity Model for demonstrating the characteristics of a BI program or project, developed by TDWI.

There is also a fairly detailed book on the topic of establishing and developing a BICC, published from SAS and Wiley and Co, Titled:

“Business Intelligence Competency Centers: A Team Approach to Maximizing Competitive Advantage (Wiley and SAS Business Series) by Gloria J. Miller, Dagmar Brautigam, Stefanie V. Gerlach

Although the book is written by one of the BICC consultancy firms, the ideas presented are applicable universally. Their interpretation of the core services offered (or should be) by a BICC have been widely adopted by both the industry and the academia.

Source: Business Intelligence Competency Centers, a Team Approach to Maximize Competitive Advantage" SAS and Wiley Co.

Source: Business Intelligence Competency Centers, a Team Approach to Maximize Competitive Advantage" SAS and Wiley Co.

All of these services are interrelated and each serves as an input to others. Each service also serves more than one goal of the BICC.

For example, the Advanced Analytics service besides providing a greater usability of BI and its infrastructure also increases the ROI. It also presents a strong case for evangelizing BI. It gives the business users an insight on what CAN happen from your BI environment. For organizations not having a sound infrastructure in place, an aggressively advertised advanced analytics service can form the motive to invest in a holistic enterprise information architecture, for example.

Establishing a BICC is a highly subjective matter and varies substantially from case to case. However a template based road map can be followed as one provided in the referred book. Primarily it depends on the existence of a similar setup already in the company, the maturity of the company in terms of its processes and policies for change management and technology, the type of people in terms of domain expertise and skill levels, the budget and time constraints etc.

As part of a general best practice, it is ideal to grow the BICC organically, meaning from bottom up with sponsorship from the top. A departmental wide BICC prototype which is planned for the enterprise but services one smaller concern at a time, like a department and then growing gradually into covering more departments and offering richer services.

Having a centric approach towards managing the concerns of BI is a daunting task but has its dividends promised if done well. The success of BI projects heavily rely on their continuity, reliability, flexibility, visibility and scalabiilty. BICCs offer just that.

Bill Gates

BBC presented a documentary titled ‘How a Geek Changed the World’, the Geek epitomized here is Bill Gates, who needs little introduction. He co-founded Microsoft Co. the biggest economic revolution of the modern times. The age of technology boomed by his vision of personal computing which has become inevitable now. However, as he retires now and hangs his boots from Microsoft, a new era has had already begun in technology, the rise of the Open Enterprise, with movements like the Free Software Foundation radicalizing the way technology is to be consumed. As much as Bill Gates and co were ridiculed by the likes of IBM for favoring desktop computing, Bill Gates has been throughout his career been an anti-open source and anti-FSF advocate and with the muscle of technology lock-in on nearly the entire world, he tried all he could to carry out controversies most famous of which being with Netscape.

Although one has to give credit to Bill Gates for revolutionizing technology to the masses, to non-techies and geeks no matter how he did it. His business savvy is admirable reflected by his ability to solve various business challenges using his technologies.

Although as his retirement approached, several changes took place, the cathedral and the bazaar foresighted it, the emergence of Google also boosted the open source movement and Microsoft in all the gone by years opposing it, finally shows the white flag. Microsoft’s own open source repository can be found out at their recently launched http://www.codeplex.com website.

He presents his retirement to the world with a light comedy but the jokes has been on him, Yahoo! venture being a near disaster, Microsoft embarrassed by the stubbornness and ego to give in, the failure of their flagship product (Windows Vista) might not show an opportune moment for him to leave but the end has finally come.

A new era has begun in computing. But with all due respect (with a lot of reservations), to a man who showed that achievement is more important that paper degrees, Bill Gates finally at the mercy of historians now…

Startup Insiders – The Art of the Start

There is a healthy activity going on these days in the Pakistan IT scene. P@SHA (Pakistan All Software Houses Association) alongwith some volunteering entrepreneurs are running an evangelising campaign for budding tech entrepreneurs in Pakistan. They have recently started to publish their videos too. Check this:

All due credit to Ali Raza Shaikh, CEO of Nuvica Inc. for this video.

Inspired from that from atleast the feel-good-about-Pakistan-IT-Setup-And_Enthusiasm feeling, I came across this and found it worthwhile to share it here:::

Social and Economic Factors establish IT Context

I just came across this blog article my Mike Gotta, who blogs here: Collaborative Thinking:

This is an ineresting overview of three concepts regarding technology adoption in the developing world, its limitations and strengths:

Interesting series of articles that strategists should keep in mind. While some of the information addresses trends that might seem disconnected from the immediate “pain of the day”, there are interesting narratives in these stories that perhaps have some metaphorical correlation with similar activities that transpire (albeit at a micro scale) within a particular enterprise:

Survival Over The Long Term

Global companies that have delivered strong share price growth over the past three years are more proactive on corporate sustainability issues than those that have seen their share price stagnate or decline, according to a major new research report from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

…..

Overall, the majority of global businesses do not seem to be performing particularly well when it comes to implementing sustainability policies or programmes. Out of a list of 16 sustainable policies, which encompassed issues ranging from energy consumption and carbon emissions to diversity and governance, companies polled for this report had implemented an average of just five. Many executives also rated the quality of their company’s sustainability efforts as poor—with only a smaller number saying that they are doing well.

…..

Other key findings from the research include:

  • Business leaders are open to more regulation on social and environmental issues.
  • Communication, then the environment, are top corporate priorities on sustainability.
  • The supply chain is the weakest link.
  • Sustainability reporting needs more work.
  • Sustainability does pay.

EIU.com

The Pro/Con Of Technology To Leapfrog Progress

The World Bank’s researchers looked at 28 examples of new technologies that achieved a market penetration of at least 5% in the developed world, and found that 23 of them went on to manage a penetration of over 50%. Once early adopters latch onto something new and useful, in other words, the rest of the population can quickly follow. The researchers then considered 67 new technologies that had achieved a 5% penetration in the developing world, and found that only six of them went on to reach 50%. That suggests that although new technologies are often adopted by a small minority of people in poor countries, they then fail to achieve widespread diffusion, so their benefits do not become more generally available.

Lavatories before laptops

The World Bank concludes that a country’s capacity to absorb and benefit from new technology depends on the availability of more basic forms of infrastructure. This has clear implications for development policy. Building a fibre-optic backbone or putting plasma screens into schools may be much more glamorous than building electrical grids, sewerage systems, water pipelines, roads, railways and schools. It would be great if you could always jump straight to the high-tech solution, as you can with mobile phones. But with technology, as with education, health care and economic development, such short-cuts are rare. Most of the time, to go high-tech, you need to have gone medium-tech first.

Technology and development | The limits of leapfrogging | Economist.com

Early Adoption Does Not Guarantee Mainstream Success

Emerging economies are better at adopting new technologies than at putting them into widespread use

…..

Broadly, two sets of obstacles stand in the way of technological progress in emerging economies. The first is their technological inheritance. Most advances are based on the labours of previous generations: you need electricity to run computers and reliable communications for modern health care, for instance. So countries that failed to adopt old technologies are at a disadvantage when it comes to new ones. Mobile phones, which require no wires, are a prominent exception.

…..

The other set of problems has to do with the intangible things that affect a country’s capacity to absorb technology: education; R&D; financial systems; the quality of government. In general, developing countries’ educational levels have soared in the past decade or so. Middle-income countries have achieved universal primary-school enrolment and poor countries have increased the number of children completing primary school dramatically. Even so, illiteracy still bedevils some middle-income countries and many poor ones.

…..

Yet it would be wrong to be gloomy about the technological outlook of emerging economies. The channels of technology transfer have widened enormously over the past ten years. Technological literacy has risen, especially among the young. But all this has helped emerging economies mainly in the first stage: absorption. The second stage—diffusion—has so far proved much more testing.

Technology in emerging economies | Of internet cafés and power cuts | Economist.com