Security, Real or Imagined?

I’ve opined on the security of cloud solutions in the past, usually stating that the odds were good that established cloud vendors have better security than the average data center. Yesterday, I saw an shared an article about how researchers reversed engineered the Dropbox client. While this isn’t necessarily a critical issue for Dropbox, it does raise some interesting discussion points around security through obfuscation.

First, the Research

The researchers decompiled the Dropbox client which was compiled in a manner that decompiling was difficult. Once the researchers were able to do it, they hijacked the account. Given that a program would already possess full access to a person’s machine to accomplish this, there wouldn’t be new data to access through the client.

Continue reading

Review: The New Kingmakers


I will admit that I have been following what Stephen O’Grady and James Governor have been doing over at Redmonk for quite some time. They were doing for developers what I wish people had been doing when I was a developer. When Stephen published his book, I promptly went out and got it…and then had to wait to find time to read it.

I am so glad that I did. It took a little more time to get around to writing this review, but it is important to write because The New Kingmakers is full of truth. What Stephen has written about is the critical start of the trend we are seeing all over the world of technology.

Before I go into that, let me talk about the book.

Continue reading

The AIIM Website Tribulations

If you’ve been to the AIIM Website recently, you may have seen this message:

Thank you for your patience as we undergo a major system migration to improve the services we bring you. We ARE available to assist you if you encounter any problems.

While a majority of the issues have  been resolved, the message is still there until I am 100% sure that every open ticket is unrelated to the migration.

What migration do you ask?

The one I hinted earlier this year when I talked about AIIM’s Website Performance. The migration is part of our long-term plan to improve the services we provide to our members.

The future is here but the ride has been bumpier than expected.

Continue reading

Engineering Discipline in Software Development

This may or may not have happened in my past.

I am descended from a long line of engineers. I remember when growing up that being able to use a new device without reading the directions was considered a badge of honor.

One year, I received an electronic game called Maniac. It was a four player game that consisted of four sub-games. You would play each one in sequence, earning 1 or 2 points each. When I received the game, I tossed the directions into the trash, confident that we could learn how to play. The first three games were figured out, but the fourth was forever a mystery. The most amazing thing was one year, one of my friends actually scored a point on the fourth game! We could never replicate that partial success and it is still a mystery to me as I write this.

That attitude is what makes a good engineer. The desire to systematically determine the proper solution and to rule out false trails. This is a skillset that served me well as a developer.

And yet….

Continue reading

Requirements, Worth the Read

Over the years, I’ve read, written, reviewed, and otherwise made use of a large variety of Requirements documents. Many were exercises in typing, some were a bare minimum to meet a checkbox, and others were useful tools. The latter ones are invaluable, and the others should be so, but aren’t due to process-heavy development cycles or teams just trying to “deliver the mail”.

Regardless of the type of Requirements document provided, it is important to not only understand the requirements, but to know how they might impact each other.  Some of this requires experience, the rest just requires a little time.

I present three, out of many, situations that could have been avoided if a little attention had been applied to understanding the requirements.

Curse of the Old Requirement

Continue reading