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  • Business Tech - Computer Memory…the Other Kind

    Sometimes we need to take a fresh look at what we do. While our ground-level perspective is superior for detail, we need to pull back a few thousand feet to really see how things connect. This installment of Business Tech asks the deceptively simple question "Is your data complete?"

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  • Business Tech - Talking the Talk

    Writing for Spectrum has taught me a great deal about effective communication. Whether you are hunting for a job or already set with employment, your command of words is likely to be your most crucial non-technical skill.

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  • Business Tech : Print Media (Part 3)

    Print media's everincreasing use of electronic means of publication is making a major impact on the business model of publishing. Lower production and delivery costs, increased channels and fewer barriers to getting published, and the promise of a richer user experience as we move away from purely static print to more interactive forms are all benefits resulting from the shift. It is not, however, without it's problems. For example, how can content producers get paid enough to make a living, and how do they avoid getting ripped off?

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  • Business Tech : Print Media - Part 2

    Generating content (at least quality content) for print media hasn't changed much over the years. You still need people to write it, edit it, lay it out, etc. But today there are a number of tools which not only allow one person to assume more than one of these roles, but the format of the final product is also changing. See why "print" doesn't mean just print anymore.

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  • Business Tech: 50 Shades of Interface

    There's something standing between you and your data. And there should be. Classically, interfaces are thought of as access points, but a good interface is also a speed bump. We need to rethink connectivity.

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  • Business Tech: AI and DSS (Part I)

    Logic is supposed to be a computer's forte but only certain kinds of logic. Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support Systems are two approaches to expanding what a computer can evaluate. This is the beginning of a medium-deep dive on those topics.

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  • Business Tech: Alternate Financial Arraignments

    As they say, it takes money to make money. But finding funding for a startup or the expansion of an existing business comes with a variety of reporting and scheduling issues. Most IT professionals do not think of themselves as being involved in funding efforts, but we have a lot more impact — both positive or negative — than we may realize.

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  • Business Tech: Case Study

    We technical folks tend to look at businesses and immediately start thinking about what technology it could use. Many times, however, we would benefit by first stepping back and learning about the business model. This real-world case study explores how that can work..

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  • Business Tech: Corporate Caveman Concussion

    Igrocni the caveman sees you materialize, in whatever you are wearing right now, and hits you in the head with a rock. When you understand why he hit you, you'll have some insight into how the rest of your company sees your department.

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  • Business Tech: Crazy People

    The world demands synergy between business and technology, but the conversations between the two sides are often shouted across a gulf chocked full of misunderstanding. In the process, both parties sound crazy to each other until a commonality can be found. Chuck talks about how to address these issues and suggestions on how to find the commonalities so you no longer sound like "All those Crazy People".

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  • Business Tech: Degree and Kind

    In our Information Management industry, we are used to change. With our MultiValue databases and tools, we sometimes even revel in change since it is another opportunity to show how quickly we can do things. But in our praise of change and rush to coding, we sometimes forget to think about the change, even startingwith analyzing its basic nature.

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  • Business Tech: Developing for Google Glass, Part 1

    You have revamped your MultiValue applications by replacing the old green screens with robust GUI interfaces, made your applications web-accessible, shared your data through web services and other technologies, and gone mobile with smart phones and tablets. Well, get ready. Here comes the next wave — wearable technology. In this new series, Charles Barouch, a very experienced MultiValue Developer, will chronicle his story of what it takes to incorporate the new Google Glass device with a MultiValue Inventory application.

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  • Business Tech: Disaster Planning

    Planning It is human nature to want to avoid thinking about painful things. But when disaster strikes, not having any plans on how to react or recover can vastly limit our chances of survival — either personally or as a business. This article explores some of the issues of planning business survival after a catastrophe. If you are like most of us, you will find some things that had never occurred to you to think about.

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  • Business Tech: Epic Fantasy

    There is little doubt in anyone's mind that our economic landscape is changing. This, of course, will also impact our use and implementation of information technologies. This issue's Business Tech takes a look at some of these changes and makes some interesting (perhaps even controversial) predictions.

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  • Business Tech: Finding an Exit

    Bennett is covering hiring, so Business Tech is focused on the other side of the equation: the exit. Are your systems and procedures prepared to do things right? Remember, firing isn't the only way that people leave. You need to cover all the methods. If your company has employees, as most companies do, then join us in finding an Exit.

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  • Business Tech: Flawgorithms

    I'm on Facebook, talking to Ross Morrissey, and we end up in a conversation about flawed assumptions in formulas. It started me thinking.

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  • Business Tech: How to Win with Social Networking

    Many companies and professionals recognize the value of using social media to reach out to both existing customers and new prospects. Unfortunately, unless you have given careful thought to your use of these tools, the effort can backfire and have exactly the opposite effect of what you desired. Don't let social media become "social blunder."

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  • Business Tech: Identity

    As technologists, identifying people uniquely, whether customers, vendors, or employees, is a core component of many of our tasks. As people, our identities are at risk

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  • Business Tech: Managing Creative Talent

    When we hear the word "creative," we tend to think of musicians, authors, visual artists, and the like. Although many members of the Information Technology community consider themselves to be, and may actually have degrees in, Computer Science, Software Engineering, or Networks, we have more in common in our work needs and habits with the artists than is first apparent. Managers of these group of people are advised to understand and remember this.

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  • Business Tech: Marketing - Part 2

    With many different ways of getting your message out to the world — print ads, banner ads, e-mail campaigns, coupons — how do you know which methods are effective at generating sales? Explore the various techniques for gathering and analyzing marketing metrics.

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  • Business Tech: Marketing - Part 3

    Most people know that businesses try to brand their products and services. And when they present them to the world, they usually slant the message is a particular way. These are examples of what is known in marketing as modification.

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  • Business Tech: Money

    Money may or may not make the world go around, but it certainly is a pretty good lubricant. When the supply of it starts to dwindle, such as during a tough economy, the wheels of business start to squeak. Although a company's IT department usually cannot directly generate more money to help oil the gears, it can do something almost as good - generate information about money. Where does it come from, where does it go, and how can we do more with less of it?

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  • Business Tech: MultiValue in the Clouds

    Although there are still concerns with Cloud Computing — data privacy, guaranteed service levels, etc. — it appears that the Cloud is here to stay. So what will it take to be able to deploy your MultiValue applications in the Cloud? (Hint — you are almost there already.)

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  • Business Tech: Negotiation

    Every day, without even realizing it, we engage in multiple negotiations, whether it is between a manager and a vendor, a developer and their boss, or even between two coworkers. Unfortunately too often these "negotiations" start off as an argument for each side trying to browbeat the other into submission. This article explores a few of the ways to avoid confrontational issues and turn these conversations into true negotiations looking for a common good.

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  • Business Tech: Parametrics

    any of us are drowning in a sea of hundreds of programs. Parametrics allow us to severely reduce the total while still serving the same needs. If you believe that "code is a mortgage on your soul" read on.

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  • Business Tech: Perspective

    In many cases our understanding of a situation is determined in large part by our perspective - our viewpoint of the issue. In in order to get a more complete picture, we need to make a conscious effort to understand the other person's perspective. Knowing where they are "coming from" can often help us understand things in a completely different way.

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  • Business Tech: Print Media Part 1

    When we hear the term "Print Media," most of us think of newspapers, books, and magazines. But digital media news, articles, and books is simply a different delivery mechanism that has much the same business requirements as its "dead tree" (paper) counterpart.

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  • Business Tech: Same Difference

    It is easy to see businesses as unique snowflakes but it's equally easy to see them as all the same. As professionals, whether employees or consultants, we need both perspectives in the course of our work life. While we can make the case the Amazon isn't eBay, we can also make the case that your accountant and your dog groomer are in the same business.

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  • Business Tech: Snowmagedon

    The same data can have many different meanings to different people, depending on their business focus and outlook. Take the weather forecast for example. Predictions of heavy snow will give ski resort operators elation and big smiles. The reactions of insurance agents, on the other hand, will be somewhat different. But first, somebody has to figure out how to obtain and present the data to the target audience to use in their projections. (That's you.)

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  • Business Tech: Spending Down MultiValue

    For many departments, the end of the year provides a time to take a look at the budgets and make use of any leftover funds. Of course, we do not want to be spending money just to spend it. Here are some ideas of some high-return ways to do that spend down.

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  • Business Tech: The Offensive

    We all know what it feels like when we are the target of untrue statements, misrepresentations, uninformed opinions, back-stabbing politics, and attacks on our competence. If you don't, you've been lucky. Get out of IT and into a safer career, something like jungle warfare mercenary. For those of us for whom it is too late, the author offers some advice on dealing with the devils.

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  • Business Tech: The Point (of Sale)

    Sometimes it seems that businesses have given up on expecting the best from their employees. We found a place where they aren't even expecting competent. Let the barkeep pour you a straight shot of truth about The Point (of Sale).

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  • Business Tech: The Tug-O-War Between T.I.E.D. and T.I.M.

    T.I.M and T.I.E.D. Wait for no man. Charles Barouch talks about the emotional side of technology.

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  • Business Tech: UI/UX Part IV: Kansei Engineering

    When we think of programming as engineering, we can get lost in a sea of methods like Waterfall and Agile. This isn't that article. Kansei engineering is a guiding principal for mechanical engineering which adapts surprisingly well to programming. Let's take our view of UX up a notch and examine a philosophy that promotes user experience to the top of our priority list.

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  • Business Tech: UI/UX Part V

    In the final part of our series on UI/UX, we examine ways to extend the concepts beyond software and into other aspects of your work.

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  • Business Tech: User Ownership of Data

    Gone are the days when the Data Processing department was both keeper and defender of the data and parceled it out to users on green bar reports where they could look but not touch. Today's users insist that data be presented to them in such a manner that they can manipulate it, summarize it, use it, and even lose it. This provides the modern IT department with a new set of challenges.

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  • Business Tech: UX/UI Part I

    Programming has escaped the computer. It's in our phones, our TVs, even in our kitchen appliances. Now might be a good time to re-think how your programs connect to the people who use them. UX and UI are the current words for a very old idea: making things obvious.

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  • Business Tech: Watch Your Language

    Knowing a new developers roots, and how they were shown to do things is important when training new developers. In this Article, Chuck talks about how to talk at new developers that are coming from different languages.

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  • Business Tech: Why I Hate Technology

    Ever been blamed by a person in your company for the hardware and software decisions that happened before you got there? Been rewarded with a smile because they got a new computer or monitor, even if you had nothing to do with it? This article is about that.

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  • Business Tech: You Could be an Ostrich Farmer!

    Charles Barouch pulls his head out of the sand and goes looking for the secrets that his co-workers and friends know. It leads to a few unexpected places.

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  • Calls May Be Recorded for Quality Assurance: Using MultiValue to Manage Multimedia

    Too often we think of databases as being just about the data stored in them. Sometimes the database is an index to things outside of it. Multimedia and MultiValue may not seem like a perfect pairing to most people, but when you have to develop a system to sift through thousands and thousands of "calls recorded for quality assurance," a little database architecture can go a long way.

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  • Developing for Google Glass Part 2

    In the first article in this series, the author attempted to create an inventory application using Google Glass. Unfortunately, the first approach was a Glassonly attempt. That didn't work out quite as planned. This article talks about the author's second attempt, which is to combine Google Glass with an Android-based app, also having a MultiValue database on the backend. The saga continues.

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  • MV Your Way - PHP Edition

    The little-used FUNCTION command in mvBASIC is our ticket to easing new developers into our systems. Just like a picture of your family on your office desk makes the place a bit more yours, letting them bring some of their commands with them can help your new employees feel at home.

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  • MV Your Way: Extending mvBASIC

    Every developer, regardless of languages used, tends to have a list of commands or processes or functions that annoy them. In MultiValue, it can be things like how the parenthetic version of the LOCATE statement has a parameter order of needle, haystack but the INDEX statement is haystack, needle. Or maybe you wish that OCONV had a few more options. This column is all about remaking MultiValue to work your way.

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  • Roll Your Own (Highly Experimental) MultiValue Database Part 1

    Chuck gets "geekish" in this article exploring the thought process required to make a database engine. Our MultiValue database vendors do this job so well and seamlessly that developers often forget what really is going on and how much they don't have think about when working with their Line of Business applications. This is Part 1 of a series of articles walking us through the process for creating a database engine called "Lumpy."

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  • Six Million Dollar Date

    We've looked at how to wrap the OPEN statement (Six Million Dollar Open) previously. This time we are going to wrap one aspect of the INPUT statement, date handling. People outside of our industry may not consciously realize it, but dates are tricky things.

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  • Spotlight: 4GL

    We're going to kick off a series of spotlight articles on various 4GLs by offering a crash course on why you want a 4GL. Whether your challenge is integrating with new technologies, accelerating development time, embracing RAD, or working with bigger teams, 4GLs can help you build bigger, better, and faster applications.

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  • The Cost of Context Switching

    A lot has been written about the subject of multitasking and context switching. Most of the articles against multitasking concentrate on a very narrow time definition of a task. This article takes a broader view

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  • UX/UI Part II: Assumptions

    Interfaces work, or fail, based on agreed reality. The challenge isn't solely about languages. It has to do with culture, generational changes, and real world experience. Computer programming is a dialog between the programmer and the user. Let's start questioning the assumptions we make in creating our conversations.

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  • Wearable Tech: Going beyond Eyewear

    At the moment, when most people hear the term "wearable technology," they think of Google Glass. But as this interview with Mike Holmlund of Plantronics demonstrates, wearable technology is already a well-established arena. He shares with us some of the things that Plantronics has done and some things that are currently under development, along with telling us how developers can dive in and explore the use of these capabilities on their own.

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  • Why Programmers Should Plan

    Planning. It's not just for managers. Planning is an important part of a programmer's career, also.

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  • XMV: CALLER and GET.CMD

    CALLER is a TCL command which calls a subroutine. It is useful for testing. GET.CMD is a subroutine command which gets all of the command line values used.

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