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.
November 13, 2014 Comments Off on Webinar on Data-driven API Testing Using Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro
Far too many software services and APIs are placed into production without comprehensive, data-driven testing. This oversight often results in unnecessary software flaws, service outages, sluggish performance, and frustrated users.
On Monday November 24 at 10:00 PST (18:00 GMT), I’ll be presenting a Webinar along with Jim Holmes from Falafel Software. We’ll cover the following essential topics during this 45-minute event.
We’ll illustrate these concepts with practical examples using SmartBear’s Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro technology. You can sign up here, and even if you can’t make the live event we’ll send you a recording afterwards.
October 31, 2014 Comments Off on Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro: the next step in delivering mission-critical APIs
I’ve been designing, developing, and testing APIs for many years. APIs used to be of interest primarily to narrow constituencies such as architects and developers. That’s no longer the case: today, APIs constitute the foundation of Service Oriented Architecture, and thus most modern applications.
SoapUI has long been considered the premier service-testing tool. Over the past 7 years, WiseClouds has participated in the incredible growth of the SoapUI ecosystem by offering training, certification, and consulting services.
From its inception, SoapUI has been an elegant, powerful technology, but as the years have gone by, it’s matured into something much more than a testing tool. In fact, it’s now a platform containing all the technology necessary to place an API into service.
I’m very excited about the direction the product is taking, with the release of Ready! API containing SoapUI NG (next generation) and related technologies for service virtualization, load testing, and security. We’re expanding our training classes and certification to cover all of this new functionality.
I’ll be blogging about some of the new capabilities in Ready! API, but for now you can learn more here.
August 31, 2014 Comments Off on Poshly: a great practical example of Big Data in action
With any new innovation, hype can often outstrip results, especially in the early days. A few years back, we saw this with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA): it had lots of promise, but there were relatively few examples of successful implementations. Nowadays, SOAP and REST services – supported by the principles of service orientation – are the primary techniques that distributed applications use to communicate. This has led to all sorts of innovative solutions, especially when pairing these services with mobile devices.
The same things are happening in Big Data: you hear about it all the time, but it’s natural to wonder how it’s being used to add value. Unsurprisingly, new technologies are often viewed as solutions in search of problems, and this is particularly relevant for Big Data since it’s such an all-encompassing discipline.
For Big Data, it’s always useful to look for practical applications: first define the problem, and then use Big Data to supply the solution. Poshly is a textbook example of what I mean: Big Data technologies and practices are being applied to meaningful problems, thereby helping customers answer questions that were very difficult to resolve prior to these advances.
Disclosure: I’m an investor in Poshly through my participation in Astia Angels, an organization I encourage you to check out. Poshly recently closed a $1.5MM investment, which you can read about here at TechCrunch.
Poshly’s website offers a variety of beauty product giveaways which consumers can compete to win by answering personal questions about their beauty routines, habits, interests, and more. The data these questions generate is highly personalized, but only shared with Poshly’s brand customers after being anonymized – meaning users’ personally identifiable information is removed, like their name, email or address. This “hyper-personal data,” as CEO Doreen Bloch calls it, helps brands better understand their customer base in general, or influence larger decisions, like what retail channel to roll out to next, for example.
I’m increasingly learning about dynamic startups like Poshly that are finding realistic uses for Big Data. As time goes by, I suspect that eventually we’ll stop using the term Big Data, and depict it instead as just plain “data” as we portray the exciting ways that information is being put to work.