Government Open Data

There are many sources available to gain access to governmental data.  Below are just a few:


College Courses On-line and Free

<a href="" title="Classroom by SLU Madrid Campus, on Flickr"><img src="" width="240" height="141" alt="Classroom"></a>
Classroom by SLU Madrid Campus

It’s been talked about for years and now it has become a reality.  Below are the top college course websites that offer free classes.

Coursera –  Currently free, but this can change in the near future.  They have  large variety of courses from many universities.  Format of courses are short videos, quizzes and problem sets with immediate feedback.  They also have Q&A and student forums.
EDX – Currently free with plans to charge for certifications.   They focus on the humanities and sciences and are linked to Harvard and MIT.   Format  of courses are short videos, problem sets, forums, wiki’s andFacebook study groups.
UDACITY – Currently free with plans to charge for degrees. They focus on computer science,  math and other sciences with no defined university affiliation.  Format of courses are short videos, quizzes and problem sets, wiki’s and forums.

Software for Century CD by Projectlab

Century CD UnitI bought 2 of these CD units about 10 years ago from TigerDirect for myself and my dad.  They worked great and as I updated OS versions  they continued to work.  But my XP machine crashed about a year ago and I had to reinstall XP and I could not find the CD.

I searched the Internet with no information to help me.  Looks like ProjectLab Ltd. went out of business and left no information for the many that have purchased these devices.

There is one site which provides alot of information and you can see in the footer that this site was created by Tigerdirect,  most likely due to an outcry from its customers.

BUT, the site is missing one thing, the software needed to run the Century CD & Dynamic Data Storage, from Projectlab.    Luckily my old man found his CD and  I hope this helps all of you CenturyCD owners that are in the same predicament I was.  Please find a link to a zip file of the CD Image.

I hope I’m not causing any copyright problems by posting the  information from the CD, but it looks like this company does not exist and many of us are stuck with a device that does not work due  to Projectlab’s failure to survive.

Please comment with any other information you have about the Century CD by Projectlab.

Link to Software for  Century CD and Dynamic Data Storage for Windows   Version 1.2

– Pure Performance

Agile Software Development in a Nutshell

Agile methodology uses war room type collaboration and short iterations to produce incremental versions of software to meet the changing requirements of stakeholders.

  • Working software is key measurement
  • Requirements are done in iterations
  • A War Room type collaboration
  • Minimal documentation –  Just enough documentation is created and maintained

Basic principles

  • Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software
  • Welcome changing requirements
  • Working software is delivered frequently
  • Working software is the principal measure of progress
  • Close, daily collaboration between business and IT
  • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication
  • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  • Self-organizing teams
  • Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

To Make it Work

  1. Adopt short iterations no more than four weeks in length
  2. Focus on the delivery of working software,  as a general rule, an iteration should be seen as a failure if all it produces is documentation
  3. Promote quality oriented techniques such as test first development, coding conventions and refactoring
  4. Remove as many barriers to communication and collaboration as you possibly can by making it as easy as possible for people to work together.
  5. Make sure that everyone involved, including business stakeholders, data professionals and quality assurance professionals work in an evolutionary if not Agile manner
  6. Streamline RUP as much as possible, less is definitely more

From: Overcoming the Myths of IBM Rational Unified Process (RUP) and Agile Development


  • No documentation
  • Undisciplined
  • Not scalable to large, complex projects
  • No traceability
  • Issues and risk management is not done


Overcoming the Myths of IBM Rational Unified Process (RUP) and Agile Development -IBM
Manifesto for Agile Software Development – Agile Manifesto
The Experts’ Take on Business Analysis and Agile – Modern Analyst
RUP and Agile Development Overcoming Myths – IBM
Agile software development – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The IT Value Stack

In The IT Value Stack, Ade McCormack looks to bridge the gap between IT and business.  Using his “IT Value Stack” Ade teaches us how to get these two groups to work together.  I believe every company runs into this issue.  The IT group believes they need to have the latest and greatest technologies to get things done and the business side wants to know what they are getting for their dollars.  Below are the seven steps to get these two groups to mesh.

Strategy entwinement

“Involve IT experts in strategy design”

Your business depends on IT to get through the day, you have computers, networks and the information stored on this equipment.   If you try to implement a strategy without the IT group, then you could be looking at serious delays and even costly mistakes.

The business side and the IT side may seem to speak different languages, but both can learn to translate one another’s message into actual English.  Work together.

Process entwinement

“IT personal should be business process consultants”

The business side needs to identify and document all their business processes and the IT side needs to use this information to build reliable and stable procedures for supporting the process.  It’s not just hardware and software.

People entwinement

“Link IT personal with users, collaborate”

Collaboration between IT and non-IT areas is a crucial step toward turning people into advocates instead of protesters of technology.  If your employees are unwilling to collaborate, then find employees that are willing to work together.  Employees that have business and technology abilities is a plus.

Technology management

“Manage IT so it works for your company”

Have a management team that is technology savvy. If you don’t, have a CIO that has the communication skills to get upper management up to speed.

Hire IT personnel that have both technical expertise and people skills.  Instill in your employees that collaboration is a very important objective.

Service management

“Include service level agreements on all projects”

IT goes beyond problem solving, it must provide excellent service.  Clearly define your service levels to your users and have well trained support personnel to handle issues that arise.  Reward exceptional service, because good service will build bonds between your IT staff and users, and it will reflect on your bottom line.

Circulation management

“Make information accessible to all”

Your data is your business.  IT needs to transform that data into information, which will become knowledge, and eventually wisdom!  To provide information properly and to all who need to know is not a cut and dry process.  Many variables can impede the process like politics, poor management, and short sidedness.   Strong approaches must be defined to circulate data throughout your business and managing the flow of data is critical.

Value creation

“IT needs to show executives how they help the bottom line”

The actual value from IT investment lies with everyone in the company, from users to the company’s board.

Ade’s tips on creating technological value:

  • Make sure IT decisions are technically sound and solid for the business as a whole
  • Teach non-IT personnel to become technology savvy
  • Run the IT department as a business with high standards
  • Make sure information circulates and builds wisdom
  • Measure and identify your IT value
  • Control supplies
  • Be a leader

Great jQuery Resources

JqueryIn my last post I talked about PHP resources. In this post I have compiled my best jQuery resource.  I hope you find this useful.

Please add you favorite in the comment area.


PHP Resources

During development, you run across resources that are invaluable. But, if you don’t take the time to save those resources, then you may not be able to find them again for later use. However, if you bookmark a resource in Delicious then you can reference it when needed. I also subscribe to many blog feeds, so I’m also bookmarking the posts I know I will reference in the future. Below are a few of my favorite PHP resources. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

What are your favorite PHP resources that you bookmark?