IWMW reflections/ Hug a Developer

This year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop 2009 was, as last year, a very friendly, useful, forward-looking conference. I suspect that some organisations didn’t send people this year because of the economic climate, which is a pity because the mindset of the conference was very focused on coping with future changes. There was, as last year, a lot of discussion of what the commercial sector can provide, and whether Google will conquer all. A phrase that got some use was “80/20 solutions”, i.e. 80% of the functionality at 20% of the effort.

For me the most interesting contribution was Prof. Derek Law’s opening keynote. He warned that the HE library sector may be too focused on responding to changing economic conditions, when the cultural changes happening now are arguably more significant. Read the rest of this entry »

The Holy Grail of Infosecurity

Monty Python and The Holy Grail is, as well as being one of the finest comedy films of all time, also rich in security management concepts, and scenarios from which any ITSec team can learn, apparently. 

A recent article on the British Computer Society website takes a closer look at some of these situations, and how the lessons can help corporate IT teams to address common security issues and smooth security management.


The Ongoing Software Crisis

Recommended by Jan Grant, who describes it as “a thoroughly inspiring video… well worth 48 minutes of your time,” Yahoo developer Douglas Crockford’s lecture on software quality discusses the “Software Crisis” which has been going on for 40 years now. He mentions bloat; cruft; over-time, over-budget, under-spec projects; redundant code; unmaintainable code and security issues but ends with some positive recommendations.

If you work in software, or in IT generally, it’s both reassuring and depressing to know that, to a first approximation, all software sucks. It’s worth all of us, developers and managers, thinking about what can go wrong and why it does and this presentation provides a useful context. Crockford was also mentioned in my previous post.