July 2011

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Trends and Applications

As the economy shifts to expansion mode, and businesses start hiring again, a familiar challenge is rearing its head. Companies are scrambling to find the talent needed to effectively run, maintain, and expand their technology platforms. This is not a new problem by any means, but this time around, it is taking on a greater urgency, as just about every organization relies on information technology to be competitive and responsive to growth opportunities. A new survey of 376 employers finds a majority depend on the educational sector - universities and colleges - to provide key IT skills, often in conjunction with their own internal training efforts. However, few of the executives and managers hiring out of colleges are entirely satisfied with the readiness of graduates.

Time series data is a sequence of data points typically measured at successive times and may be spaced at uniform time intervals. Time-stamped data can be analyzed to extract meaningful statistics or other characteristics of the data. It can also be used to forecast future events based on known past events. Time series data enables applications such as economic forecasting, census analysis and forecasting, fleet management, stock market analysis, and smart energy metering. Because it is time-stamped, time series data has a special internal structure that differs from relational data. Additionally, many applications such as smart metering store data at frequent intervals that require massive storage capacity. For these reasons, it is not sufficient to manage time series information using the traditional relational approach of storing one row for each time series entry.

Today, we operate in a global economy at internet speed. Globalization of our workforce has shifted the way work gets done. The explosion of wireless and edge technology has raised the expectations of consumers, who are more informed, educated, and knowledgeable about products and services. This changing landscape places immense pressure on business applications in organizations worldwide. Critical application outages caused by software defects can cost the business millions of dollars in revenue for every hour of downtime.

Columns - Applications Insight

One of the funniest moments in the classic Star Trek motion pictures is the scene when the engineer "Scotty" - who has traveled back in time to the 1980s with his comrades - attempts to use a computer. "Computer!" he exclaims, attempting to initiate a dialogue with the PC. Embarrassed, a contemporary engineer hands him a mouse. "Aha," says Scotty who then holds the mouse to his mouth only to again exclaim, "Computer!" The idea that computers in the future would be able to understand human speech was common a few decades ago. Speech generation and recognition is so fundamental to the human experience that we tend to underestimate the incredible complexity of human information processing that makes it possible.

Columns - Database Elaborations

Naïve approaches to business intelligence will occasionally trap designers as they juggle operational data stores and data warehouses. The trap results from an honest endeavor to simplify designs and increase consistency throughout the solution. Under the umbrella of consistency a designer may plan for a reference table used for operational look-ups to perform a second service as a star schema dimensional table. Some or all reference tables then are declared by fiat to also be dimensions. While on a superficial level there are similarities between dimension tables and more normalized look up or reference tables, fundamentally these two concepts are separate things.

Columns - DBA Corner

Simplification is important in today's era of increasing complexity and ever-changing software environments. A key component of simplification is to remember the basics and apply some elementary rules and practices to your database environment. Many problems arise because we don't keep track of the things most of us already know. I stumbled upon the idea for this month's column after recalling Malcolm Gladwell's excellent business book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. In this book, Gladwell offers up case studies and examples depicting the benefit of our "adaptive unconscious" - a powerful innate ability that provides us with instant and sophisticated information.

Columns - SQL Server Drill Down

Like most people, I chuckled under my breath when doomsayers started publishing books about the apocalypse predicted by their interpretation of the Mayan calendar. In their view, the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and thus spells doom for us all - despite the fact that the classical Mayan calendar, like ours today, was cyclical. But as I was considering some of the momentous and disruptive changes we're facing lately, it suddenly hit me. The year 2012 might be the year when life as we've known it as IT and data professionals changes, completely and irrevocably

MV Community

The development team at BlueFinity International today announced the release of a new version of its flagship product mv.NET, which combines the power and flexibility of proven MultiValue technology with the feature-rich Microsoft .NET environment. Its seamless integration with Visual Studio provides a rapid application development environment fine-tuned for the MultiValue developer.

Media Services Group (MSGL) a developer of integrated publishing and event management software, has formed a partnership with Entrinsik to offer MSGL clients Informer Web Reporting, Entrinsik's web-based reporting and analysis solution.

Registration is now open for the Revelation Software Users' Conference at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference dates are Tuesday, October 4 - Friday, October 7, 2011.