iPhone 6 Features and Specs


iphone 6 - sizes

The iPhone 6 is official as of today!

Key Features/Specs of the iPhone 6 are:

  1. Comes in 2 sizes 4.7″ and 5.5″
  2. Operating System: iOS 8
  3. Processor: A8
  4. Thickness – 6.9 mm and 7.1  mm for the Plus model
  5. Landscape mode for home page
  6. Screen: Super tough ion-strengthened
  7. Display: Retina display on both models
  8. Storage/memory: 16/32/64/128 GB
  9. Camera: iSight / 1.5 µ pixels, ƒ/2.2 aperture
  10. Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
  11. Colors: Space Gray, White/Silver, Gold
  12. Inbuilt health application
  13. Environmentally friendly – Beryllium, Mercury, Arsenic, BFR, and PVC free
  14. Predictive keyboard – learns as you type
  15. Burst mode in camera for Selfies
  16. Timelapse and slo-mo video capture
  17. Focusing capabilities of a DSLR camera
  18. WiFi: 802.11ac, iPhone 6 Wi-Fi speeds are up to three times faster than iPhone 5s.
  19. 50% more energy efficient

 

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Posted in 1. New Technology, 2. Social Media, Productivity Tools

Apple, September 9 – iPhone 6, iWatch or both?


Apple September 9

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Posted in 1. New Technology, 2. Social Media

Data Privacy


Data Privacy Cartoon

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Posted in 1. New Technology, 2. Social Media, 4. Software Development, 6. Big Data, Risk Management

Yahoo Finance Portal Crashes as Nasdaq drops 100 pts


When Marissa Meyer took the reins of Yahoo in July 2012, she promised a better and more reliable portal experience. However, Yahoo’s share of portal users has been steadily declining over the years, and today we got first-hand experience in one of the reasons why! The Nasdaq dropped a 100 points at 14:30 EST today in anticipation of a lack luster 1st Quarter earnings season and as a result, Yahoo’s Finance portal got overloaded and died on us! I guess it could not handle the load of a couple of million investors who probably rushed to it to see the effect of the market on their personal portfolios.Yahoo Finance

What I fail to understand is that in this day and age of super-scalable,  super-elastic cloud network  infrastructure, why is it that Ms. Meyer’s company can’t keep the portal up an running.  It’s not even like we had a Black Monday kind of scenario today. Its just a 100 pt drop! And given that their user base is only shrinking, why?!

And no, I am not a freebie user of yahoo services venting here; I am a paying customer on one of their subscription plans for web hosting, business email and portal use.

 

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Posted in 1. New Technology, 2. Social Media, 5. Cloud Computing, Uncategorized

Make your Online Banking Safer with Trusteer


Hi everyone! I am writing this post to share a simple solution to make your online banking experience safer – both for you and your family.Trusteer Architecture

Without getting into the technical details of the kinds of shady methods used by hackers and viruses to get at your email user-ids, passwords, bank account numbers, online banking password etc., let me just assure you that there is a plethora of methods being employed by the bad guys – and most of our home computers are sitting ducks.

The list of hacking techniques that you could fall victim to is endless. Phishing, Key logging, Screen shotting, Browser Hijacking, Session Hijacking, Drive By Hacking, Spoofing, Sniffing, Viruses, Worms are just a few of them.

While I personally try my best to ensure I have a ‘clean’ computer to do all my online banking on, I am always looking for ways to secure it further. Trusteer is another little gold nugget I have found in this quest. The product has a sole purpose – “End-point Centric Fraud Prevention”. This is security speak for preventing fraud via a home computer that you and I would normally use to do our online banking from.


Why use Trusteer?Trusteer is recommended by banks

To start with, your bank recommends it. Most Canadian banks (TD Canada Trust, ING Direct, Scotia Bank) are proactively suggesting that their clients install and use Trusteer. It is also being used outside of Canada in the Continental US (Bank of America and others) and Europe (Royal Bank of Scotland and others).

It keeps your computer clean of:

  •  Man-in-the-browser malwareTrusteer Complements Antivirus
  •  Detects new zero-day threats
  •  Stops phishing of login credentials and payment card data
  •  Notifies fraud prevention teams in participating banks of any threat activity

The company is owned by IBM – the technology provider to almost every major bank on the planet. So that’s added comfort.


How does it tell you when you are safe to bank?

Once you install Trusteer on your computer, it works behind the scenes with your browser.  The browser URL window will show a green colored icon indicating that your session is safe on the site you are on. See the image below with the icon circled in red.

Trusteer Browser Alert

If you accidentally typed a variation of your bank’s web address/URL, and went to a phishing site, the URL window will not display the green icon and you should know something is amiss. Trusteer partners with most banks in North America, so you would see the green icon the moment you are on their site. Trusteer will also warn you proactively when it detects any other activity on your computer that is potentially malicious; for e.g. consider a scenario where some malware in your computer is attempting to capture your web banking id or password or any details when you are on your bank’s site.

So go ahead and install it and be a little safer.

You can download it from the following sites.download button

Hope you enjoyed this post; Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family – post it on Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook or all three!  Thanks for reading and be safe till my next post.

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Posted in 1. New Technology, Uncategorized

Program Management basics


When I decided to write this post on program management, I was tempted to follow the routine format of any other blog post but then decided to do it bit differently. There are so many variables and angles to program management that it is probably best addressed as a Q&A. So here goes.

Que.: What is a program?

A program is a collection of projects that are usually done to meet a strategic need or objective of the organization. The projects in the program will have inter-dependencies between some of them.  While an individual project may meet one or more objectives, the program when delivered successfully, will be broader in benefit and help meet an overall organizational strategy or objective. Another way to look at it would be – a single project may not yield all the benefits that a collection of projects would.

Que.: What are the basic elements of Program Management?

Any aspect of program management will fall under one of the following five key elements of program management.

Program Management Five Key Elements by Sri Prakash

    1. Program Infrastructure: Setting up all the technology, support processes, work spaces, and people required to run the program office.
    2. Fiscal Planning & Control: Putting in place clearly published standards, procedures, and controls for managing the fiscal needs of the program. This includes setting up of program budgets and the staff required in assisting the program manager in managing the budget.
    3. Planning Programs & Projects: Defining a clear framework for planning for the program and the individual projects within the program. Program Planning is very different from Project Planning and must be done after all individual project plans are developed.
    4. Governance Model for Program & Projects: Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities for all those participating in the delivery of the program.
    5. Management of Program & Projects: This is the ongoing monitoring of the program and its underlying activities. This essentially includes monitoring and reporting on program progress, financial burn-rates, percentage completion, highlighting and addressing risks, and ensuring that the environment is kept conducive for the completion of the underlying projects in the program.

Que.: Why do we need to run so many projects in parallel – why can’t we do them in sequence?

It is definitely far more complex to run a multitude of projects in parallel as a program; the reason we run these projects in parallel is for a number of reasons:

Time: Time is of the essence when it comes to executing a program; a program is almost always designed to meet a strategic need of an organization that has “time” as one of the cornerstones. For example, your program may require putting in place all the processes, people, and systems to support your organization’s strategy which may read something like:  “to become the second largest provider of solar LED panels in the Eastern United State by the year 2019”. There is little chance of meeting this aim if you do all the projects required to meet this strategy in sequence.
Economies of scale: It is far more cost effective to handle projects in parallel where resources can be shared across projects and where the knowledge on one project often becomes critical to another due to the interdependencies between the projects in a program. Resource utilization is maximized and down-time is reduced.
Change: Managing change in an organization is always tricky. Staff resent change; you can gear up your staff for a major change as long as it is promised to happen for a reasonable/finite period of time after which staff knows that the organization will settle back into steady state with the promised benefits that the change will bring about. Doing projects in sequence results in staff experiencing what seems to be a never ending cycle of change resulting in burn-out due to project-fatigue.

Que.: Why do I need a Program Manager; can’t a Project Manager oversee the program?

A project manager is used to playing a role where they are focused on the specific deliverables of a project. Project managers work on detailed planning at a task level, identifying and assigning tasks to the right individual, managing a plan, and ensuring tasks are completed on time so that the project deliverable is met. Their scope of functioning is far narrower and a lot deeper than a program manager.

A program manager is a leader in the true sense of the word. The program manager brings clarity and structure to an otherwise chaotic scenario normally associated with multiple projects each vying for attention and priority. The program manager will be able to set the relative priorities for all the projects in the program by understanding the interdependencies, comparative benefits of each project, and alignment of these projects with respect to the overall goals and strategic objectives of the program. A program manager may often have to make tough decisions around diverting resources from one project to another in the overall interests of the program. A program manager’s role is strategic and macro in focus versus a project manager who tends to be more objective and micro in focus.

To know more about program management, project management,  and other technology related information, follow my blog.

Thanks for reading and be safe till my next post.

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Posted in 3. Project Management, Risk Management

Common Mistakes in Project Costing


Hi everyone… over my 20 plus years of managing programs, projects, and project managers, I have developed and reviewed hundreds of project cost-estimates and proposals. Here are a few takeaways that I continue to bear in mind and hope you might find useful when it comes to costing for your projects.

Common Mistakes

  1. Not accounting for historical costs (maybe due to lack of availability of numbers, unwillingness by stakeholders to provide historical costs).Project Costing
  2. Over reliance on historical numbers.
  3. Guesstimates versus estimates (not using a basis/model for estimating).
  4. Lack of transparency – not using accurate labor rates/costs.
  5. Underestimation – not being aware of market cost/rates.
  6. Lack of understanding of the estimating process.
  7. Lack of experience in estimating – never estimated before or never did so frequently in the past.
  8. Lack of understanding of a project life cycle – risks and how to manage / mitigate them with appropriate resourcing.
  9. Picking a Project Manager who is a pure administrator/paper pusher who relies on others for estimates on every line item.
  10. Not re-validating a line item estimate that is received from someone.
  11. Using Project Managers who do not understand the culture of the organization.
  12. Not listing assumptions behind each cost element.
  13. Not accounting for market conditions that can affect human resource cost/rates on multi-year projects.
  14. Lack of detailed planning – too many high-level line items in the estimates.
  15. In sufficient cross-review of a project manager’s estimates by functional managers, directors, and/or sponsors.
  16. Project Costing by decree – imposing a budget and timelines on a project.

Consequences:

  1. Inaccurate line-item estimates quickly add up – larger the plan, greater the magnitude of error.
  2. Time lost in re-estimating, refining when you find out estimates are wrong/invalid.
  3. Lowers confidence of staff who participated in the development of estimates.
  4. Project slowdowns when you discover that estimates were off; results in: crisis, finger pointing, root cause analysis, re-estimation and justification, requesting and getting additional funds.
  5. Lack of trust in the planning process.
  6. In some cases, firing and re-hiring of project manager may be required resulting in major down-time.
  7. When bringing in a project manager from the outside, the project manager almost always has a lack of understanding of the culture of the organization; estimation that is done without an understanding/insight into the culture of the organization is almost always inaccurate (either grossly over or under budget).
  8. Over-reliance on historical numbers can be a mistake unless the project is exactly similar to the historical one.
  9. When budgets are imposed on a project versus determining what a project will truly cost, the project is bound to fail.

As a rule, make sure that the project manager you hire is aware of these common mistakes. You can use the list (1 to 16) as a checklist when reviewing any cost proposal whether it is by your internal project manager or a vendor who is submitting a proposal.

Thanks for reading. Be safe till my next post.

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Posted in 3. Project Management, Risk Management
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