P Versus NP Complexity Theory

The P Versus NP issue deals with whether every problem whose solution can be quickly verified by a computer can also be quickly solved by a computer. This is a major unsolved problem in computer science.

In common, practical terms, it deals with how to identify problems that are either extremely difficult or impossible to solve.  In order of difficulty from easy to hard, problems are classified as P, NP, NP-Complete and NP-Hard.

So why do we care? When approaching complex problems, it's useful to have at least some idea of whether the problem is precisely solvable, or if an approximation is the best that can be accomplished. 

Android/PHP/JQuery RESTful JSON MySQL Client-Server Overview

The title of this blog entry is quite a mouthful.  The purpose is to give a broad overview of the moving parts necessary to implement an application with client mobile and desktop devices that interact with a server database to alter and retrieve data.

I won't define all the classes, methods and acronyms on the graphic as they're easy to look up using an Internet search.  There are other choices that can be made for the details of the implementation, but this should provide a starting point for thinking through the necessary elements.

The communication vehicle for client-server interaction is typically the Internet Protocol Suite.


Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Released

Google's latest Android release is now available. You can find a good summary on the Android website.

There are significant improvements/additions to:

  • User Interface
  • Multitasking
  • Voice Input
  • Control Over Network Data
  • Social Networking Interfaces
  • Camera Capabilities
  • Gallery and Photo Editing
  • Web Browsing
  • Email
  • Wi-Fi Connection
  • Unified Framework for Phones and Tablets

Look for phone manufacturers and service providers to start releasing phones running Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Software Revolution

As software transforms industry after industry, it's becoming apparent that the world is transitioning to a software driven paradigm that won't be denied.

Manufacturing, entertainment, journalism, music ... they are just a few of the business domains that have been dramatically altered by the power of software.

Software often gives an order of magnitude or two advantage to the new businesses that fully leverage its capabilities.

Some of the effects on society are profound:

  • Radical lowering of costs.
  • Shifting of the demands of labor from the physical to the intellectual.
  • Increasing the rate of change.

What are some takeaways for businesses large and small?

  • Embrace the change ... don't fight it.
  • Try to get ahead of the curve instead of playing catch-up.
  • Develop an understanding of the latest new technologies, which are, today, things like smartphones, cloud computing and tablet computing.
  • Don't rely on yesterday's technology to carry the day. Witness the speed with which tablet computing is replacing PCs.
  • Give some of the latest technologies a try. Test them. See what they can do for you.



Generation Smartphone

Could this really follow Generation Y to become the name of the newest generation? Some think so.
According to a number of reports, the young are foregoing other media for the smartphone. They tend to always have their smartphones with them. They use them more than many would like. And they are changing the nature of social interaction.
Many are ditching their televisions, computers, iPods, cameras, maps and address books in favor of the combined convenience of smartphones.
Some see this, in part, as a serious addiction problem. The trend, however, seems irreversible.
The young have always been obsessed with communicating. It's understandable why a device with so many ways of communicating would be a big hit.

Marketing and Technology ... Not So Far Apart Any More

Certainly traditional media such as newspapers, TV, radio and magazines are still very important to marketing products and services. But the newer, high tech, internet driven media and tools are playing an ever increasing role. Consider:

And the list goes on. Some long for the 'good old days' as portrayed in the popular TV series Mad Men. Come up with a great angle on a product, buy a lot of space in paper media and watch the sales roll in. Technology was left up to the back room gnomes who would calculate results and play with budgets.

Today, technology is center stage in most marketing campaigns. There are, of course, challenges in the marriage of the two domains. Consider this list:

  • Finding the right balance between the new and the traditional.
  • Knowing how far to go with technology. Just like traditional media, it can get expensive.
  • Getting the traditional media folks to interact with the new media folks.
  • Not forgetting the importance of branding, positioning, images and other 'soft' elements when dealing with 'hard' technology.

So, how to deal with all this? Some thoughts:

  • Technology can be applied incrementally. Small scale at first to judge results, then a broader roll out.
  • Technology can provide a lot of detail about results and how it is working. It can be much more transparent than traditional media if reported correctly.
  • Technology can provide two way dialogues with the audience. This can be informative and allow adjustments as time passes.

A good example showing that today's audiences want both old and new media is the YouTube phenomenon. People like watching moving images. It's been around for 100 years. YouTube provides audiences a new element of control and interaction that enhances their experience.

Find ways to marry the two like that, and you're on your way to success. 

Re-tooling for the Information Age

The internet, web sites, smartphones, tablets, social networking, cloud computing ... the Information Age is getting into full swing. Just as the U.S. transitioned completely to the Industrial Age in the 1930's, we are now completing our move into the Information Age.
Whether as an individual or business, it will become increasingly difficult to compete without using Information Age tools and processes. Emerging markets, with their lower cost base, will take most of the remaining Industrial Age jobs and opportunities. Manufacturing in the U.S. won't disappear, but it too will have to adopt Information Age ways.
Some, often those of older generations, regret the popularity of new, fast paced tools such as social networking. It would be more productive to give them a try and leverage their value.
The rapid spread of smartphones is accelerating  the use of tools such as social networking. They offer a great way to take the plunge into a new world.