August 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
A while back, I wrote about a run-in I had with a rental car company, or to put it more accurately: a rental car company’s algorithm. It’s quite frightening to think about the implications of “lights-out” algorithms making important decisions that can affect all aspects of your life. And as someone who witnesses – first hand – the often abysmal job that enterprises do when testing their APIs (which frequently have algorithms running beneath the covers), I’m particularly concerned about what this will spell for the future.
If you’d like to learn more about these possible repercussions, check out the extremely well written article by Frank Pasquale on aeon.co.
Cyberspace is no longer an escape from the ‘real world’. It is now a force governing it via algorithms: recipe-like sets of instructions to solve problems. From Google search to OkCupid matchmaking, software orders and weights hundreds of variables into clean, simple interfaces, taking us from query to solution. Complex mathematics govern such answers, but it is hidden from plain view, thanks either to secrecy imposed by law, or to complexity outsiders cannot unravel.
If you’d like to read more of my posts about Big Data, click here.
July 11, 2015 Comments Off on Poshly – one of Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Big Data Companies – is growing
I’ve long been a fan of practical usages of Big Data: applications that aggregate raw information – and lots of it – to address real-world business challenges. I’ve already written about Poshly (disclosure: I’m an investor), and I continue to be impressed with their progress.
Poshly is expanding their team by hiring a lead front-end engineer and deployment specialist, so if you – or someone you know – is interested in joining a winning team in a hot space, I encourage you to check out these opportunities.
May 30, 2015 Comments Off on Increased reliance on APIs demands more effective testers
It seems everywhere you look these days, someone is extolling the virtues of APIs. For example, here’s an article from Fortune that highlights how APIs are serving as competitive differentiators.
However, those enterprises that are placing such emphasis on their APIs must appreciate that they also need to invest in their testing staff with proper tooling and training. I recently wrote about this on the SmartBear blog, which you can read here.
April 28, 2015 Comments Off on Excellent article on laptop encryption
Did you know that you have very few privacy rights when you cross a border (into the US or anywhere else in the world, for that matter)? I blogged about the dangers of bringing a laptop through customs a while back. Naturally, it’s a good idea to remove any sensitive information from your laptop, especially when you’re traveling. For those situations that require you to keep important data on a computer that’s at risk of being inspected (or stolen), full-disk encryption can be a lifesaver.
Operating system vendors have been doing a great job at strengthening their products, so there’s really no excuse not to take advantage of encryption. Here’s a link to an excellent article from Micah Lee on The Intercept that explains how to do this on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
With step-by-step instructions, it’s one of the best written tutorials I’ve seen about this topic. It’s well worth your time to make the effort, but remember: don’t lose your password!
March 1, 2015 Comments Off on ServiceV – a superb service virtualization technology for the API and Agile era
I’ve been working with SoapUI since its earliest days, and I’m very excited about the direction that SmartBear is taking the Ready! API platform, which includes products such as SoapUI NG Pro, LoadUI NG Pro, Security, and ServiceV Pro.
At WiseClouds we deliver classes and supporting consulting services on all these exciting solutions, and we’re honored that SmartBear directly sells these courses to their clients. Many of our students go on to earn their SoapUI certification after attending these classes.
Mock services have long been one of the most useful features in SoapUI. Customers use mock services to quickly stand up virtual versions of the real services (SOAP and REST) that are in development. They can then construct their tests using these virtual services and then quickly switch over to the live services once they’re ready. Some of these enterprises have come up with really creative uses for mock services, including simulating middleware, third party APIs, telecom switches, and all sorts of other scenarios.
ServiceV represents a bold step forward for SmartBear, offering tremendous new functionality (such as assertions, datasources, and simulation for network latency and message buses – to name just a few) for creating virtual services, which are now known as Virts.
ServiceV is an idea whose time has come, for two primary reasons:
1. The rise of the API economy
It’s no secret that APIs are more essential than even before: it’s nearly impossible to go through your day without interacting with an API, whether or not you know it. They are the foundation of modern software, infrastructure, and the entire Internet. And APIs commonly invoke other APIs, which is an enormous increase in complexity.
This means that properly testing these assets is not an optional responsibility: it’s mandatory, and will continue to gain in importance. Failing to adequately test APIs can be disastrous – just read the news most days for the latest examples of outages, breakins, and other API failures.
ServiceV makes it easy to develop comprehensive tests that truly reflect the realities of the modern, API-based information-processing environment.
2. The advent of Agile delivery methodologies for software
Thanks to Agile techniques, software of all types – including APIs – is delivered much more frequently now. In many organizations, the quality assurance team is finding it nearly impossible to keep pace with the frenetic schedules driven by these practices.
ServiceV is a way for architects, developers, and operations staff to provide something for their quality assurance colleagues to use while the actual services are still being shaped and refined.
At WiseClouds, we’re so enthusiastic about what ServiceV represents that in addition to our current training and consulting solutions, we’ll be launching an exciting new Software as a Service offering that’s built upon ServiceV. If you’d like to learn more about that, be sure to subscribe to the blog and I’ll keep you posted.
February 17, 2015 Comments Off on Fast Company names Poshly one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Big Data
I blogged about Poshly some time ago. One reason that I invested in them was that they’re a great example of employing Big Data to answer real-world questions, rather than just vacuuming up a bunch of information and trying to find a use for it.
Bradley Falk, Poshly’s CTO and co-founder states:
The great thing about beauty and personal care data is discovering how unique everyone is. We can create a portrait of a user in near realtime and discover how the small details can vary so much. We can react to trends, interests and sentiment to create value for both the consumer and the industry while protecting the user’s personal information.
As I’ve watched Poshly’s meteoric growth, I’ve been interested about the approach they would follow to maintain scalability. According to Matthew Drescher, Poshly’s Head of Data Engineering:
We are aggressively utilizing high performance, distributed in-memory computing techniques to vectorize our data, perform in-place analytics, and paint a landscape of insights for our customers to enjoy.
With the quality of data Poshly gathers, it is possible to take a very geometric approach to generating insights. It’s less like scraping through a haystack in search for a diamond than it is trying to realize the maximum realistic photo resolution.
If you’re interested in all things Big Data, stay tuned for a series of blog posts I’ll be writing on critical algorithms that should be part of your toolkit.
December 31, 2014 Comments Off on Ready! API/SoapUI NG Pro on-demand training and certification now available
I’m happy to announce that the current SoapUI Pro on-demand training course has been updated to showcase the new capabilities present in Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro: the next generation of SmartBear’s award-winning API testing solutions.
You can learn more here.