Scrum

April 23, 2015  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Naeem Ashraf, a certified Scrum Master, and my new co-worker at Acumen Solutions.

For this #RTT, Naeem and I talked about Scrum, which is an iterative and incremental agile software development methodology for managing product development. Naeem talks about the importance of the product owner, who represents the stakeholder/customer, that the Scrum Master will be communicating with, and will be owning the deliverable and needs to be very hands-on. Naeem then goes on to talk about some of the processes involved in Scrum, that usually starts with the requirements gathering, then turning those requirements into user stories. The user stories are then ranked or weighted with a value. Then you start planning the Sprints with your team. Sprints can range anywhere from two (2) to four (4) weeks. A Sprint Review will occur after the completion of every sprint (every client or product owner is going to have their own preference on this cycle). The development team will then conduct a Sprint Retrospective to discuss the lessons learned, and what can be improved. I then asked Naeem about some of other software building methodologies, he instantly mentioned Waterfall, which he said was a slower process, and a lot more dependent on the requirements gathering phase. He then talked about how companies are developing their own hybrid approaches to software development, which utilizes the best of Waterfall, the best of Agile, and other unique customizations. Naeem highlighted that Acumen Solutions has developed their own unique DRIVE methodology, which allows Acumen Solutions to deliver successful projects for their clients.

For the #idontcook portion of this blog, I was honored to discuss food with Naeem who happens to have his own food Instagram (IG) account @the_gut. When we first met, our love for food in the #DMV area made us instant friends. When I asked Naeem to recommend a spot, he asked if he could give more than one, but I was insistent on only one suggestion.   Naeem recommended DCity Smokehouse, and their smoked chicken wings. Now everyone who has read this blog before understands my love for chicken wings and BBQ. It looks like I will be visiting DCity Smokehouse real soon!!

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Windows 10

November 13, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Jason Yates, Live Learning Instructor at Skillsoft. Jason works with an old friend of mine, Michael “MJ” Murphy, and together we did vlogs on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. If you haven’t seen either of those vlogs, check them out. Warning: MJ is quite opinionated on Windows 8 and he’s not shy about expressing his feelings.

For this #RTT, though, Jason and I talked about Windows 10, which is Microsoft’s new operating system (OS); that is, it hasn’t even been released, but since Jason signed up to be part of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, he was able to download Windows 10 before its public unveiling. “Windows 10 takes us back to the core of Windows”, is how Jason described the new operating system. “It’s a mashup of what was good with Windows 8, and what was good with Windows 7”, while referencing his liking of the touch-screen functionality available on Windows 8. The one feature he highlighted on Windows 10 is the comeback of the Start button, which had been previously available on Windows 7 and all other previous versions of Windows. Given the reemergence of the Start button, it will surely have an overwhelmingly positive effect on core corporate desktop users, who were all up in arms about Windows 8 and the lack of the Start button. In a few months, Jason and I will be getting together for another vlog after Windows 10 is released to the general public so we can discuss the differences between the soon-to-be-released version and the Technical Preview version Jason showed on the vlog.

For the #idontcook portion of this vlog, I asked Jason for a restaurant recommendation in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. He mentioned an authentic Thai restaurant named Pok Pok — he’s not the only one who likes this restaurant as it was featured on the popular Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”  On the show, Guy Fieri highlighted their Vietnamese-style Chicken Wings, but Jason mentioned his favorite dish is the Boar Collar.  One quote that Jason used to describe Pok Pok really stood out: “If you like Thai food, not just American Thai food, but street Thai food, Pok Pok is a great place to go.”  As us foodies know, that’s the type of top-notch restaurant recommendation we are looking for here at #idontcook!

 

MPLS

September 17, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Bana Qashu of Cbeyond, Inc., a Technology Ally for small and mid-sized businesses based out of Atlanta, GA.

Bana and I discussed MPLS, which stands for Multiprotocol Label Switching, and is the measurement of the bit-rate of available data resources expressed in bits per minute.  In layman’s terms, this has to do with your organization’s bandwidth, since it delivers data from one network location to another via a secure, optimized method.

Bana broke down the benefits of MPLS into 5 categories:

  1. Traffic Prioritization – You can prioritize what applications or services are critical to your business, such as VOIP, for example, which is going to get priority on YouTube.
  2. Security – You’re in your own private bandwidth cloud with an MPLS connection.
  3. Different Providers – Different service providers offer a MPLS specific router enabling a direct connection to your office network.
  4. Customizable Cloud – You get a customized cloud of bandwidth, such as the hub and spoke model or a fully meshed network.
  5. Capital Expenditure – It’s not as costly as a point-to-point connection and has low  installation fees.

For more information on MPLS please free to email Bana at Bana.Qashu@cbeyond.net.

For the#idontcook portion of this vlog, I asked Bana for her favorite restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, VA.  Bana lives in Alexandria and Old Town is such a cool area that I don’t visit nearly enough.  Bana mentioned Vermilion Restaurant, a modern, American farm-to-table restaurant that was selected as one of Washingtonian magazine’s 100 best restaurants in 2013.  When I asked Bana to give me her favorite menu item at Vermilion, she hemmed and hawed, and finally said she liked the steak.  Since steak is one of my favorite meals, I will be visiting Vermilion in Old Town sometime soon!

 

Microsoft Lync

July 2, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  1 Comment

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Stephen Dvoranchik of Ascendra, an IT and business consulting firm out of Reston, VA, that specializes in Unified Communications. This video was recorded using Microsoft Lync, which also happens to be the topic of discussion on this segment of #RTT.

Stephen and I talked about Microsoft Lync, an enterprise communications software that was first released by Microsoft under the name Office Communicator. Lync, is available in two flavors:  Microsoft Lync Server and Lync Online which is included in Office 365, Microsoft’s Online Cloud Solution.  Basic features of Lync include: instant messenger, Voice Over IP, video conferencing, screen sharing and online meeting capabilities. Stephen also discussed using Lync as your enterprise phone system, and that is when I revealed that in my first job out of college was selling phone systems. Phone systems have come a long way since those days, and Lync can offers great things in the enterprise voice space. One aspect Stephen highlighted was a feature  called Federation, which allows you to communicate with people outside of your organization, as if they were part of your network. You can see their persona and their presence as if they were in the office next to yours, but yet they are part of a different organization and network.

For the#idontcook segment of this vlog Stephen recommended The Counter, a custom built burger bar in the Reston Town Center, located in Reston, VA. Stephen talked about their healthy options, such as organic and grass fed meat.  Stephen’s favorite is the Organic Bison Burger on a pretzel roll with spicy pepper jack cheese and jalapenos. Then he likes to wash it down with a beer or a milkshake — all of you out there know I like a beers with my burger!

 

Cyber Security

May 1, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Mark Peters of MPI-Technology, a HUBZone IT services company in Washington, D.C. I met Mark at a FedScoop / FedTini happy hour, where Federal IT personnel often network.

Mark educated me on Cyber Security, and he simply defines it as, ‘securing your own information technology’. He then broke it down into three pieces: Accessibility, Confidentiality, and Integrity. “Your information technology has to be accessible to you, a cyber hacker could deny you service or damage your information technology. Confidentiality being the second piece — that you want your information private and it could be damaging to you if certain information is stolen. Then lastly is Integrity, which means that they can’t change this information. A great example of that would be when someone hijacks a website, and changes the data on the website.”  When I asked Marc what he was doing about these attacks, he mentioned something called the Kill Chain Process of Analysis, which is a seven-step process that would uncover the basic strategy a hacker uses to penetrate your defenses. Marc went on to talk about attacks in both the Federal and Corporate sectors, and even told us about how he got caught in the Target Credit Card Breach. For more information on Cyber Security, please feel free to reach out to Marc directly at: marc@mpi-technology.com

For the #idontcook segment of this vlog Mark recommended Founding Farmers on Pennsylvania Ave. NW in downtown D.C.  Founding Farmers is an upscale farmhouse with old wood, comfortable seating and extravagant community farm tables where folks gather to enjoy great meals. “It’s got a great, diverse, unusual menu with healthy choices, but even the healthy choices taste fantastic.” Marc recommends the chili, so go downtown, or to its Maryland location, for some amazing chili and corn bread!

As you may have noticed, I am wearing a throwback Bullets jersey in honor of my hometown Washington Wizards for making it to the second round of the NBA playoffs. I have been a Bullets fan since I was a little kid, and remember going to games at the old Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. The Wizards/Bullets have not been relevant for a long time, and seemed to be a cursed organization with countless losing seasons, not to mention terrible draft picks.  My favorite sports writer Bill Simmons summed it up best in his recent 33 Burning Questions From Round 1 article:

Q: Can the Wizards really make the Eastern Conference finals when they’re the Washington Wizards?

Now THIS is an obstacle. Since they lost Game 5 of the 1979 Finals to Seattle (R.I.P.), here’s your Washington basketball history in fewer than 90 words without mentioning that (a) they missed the playoffs 22 times in 35 years, and (b) they won only two playoff series total: Kwame over Pau; C-Webb for Mitch; Sheed for Strickland; Rip for Stackhouse; Gilbert vs. Jarvaris; $100 million for Juwan; the Rubio/Curry pick for Miller and Foye; Kenny Green one pick over Karl Malone; Wes Unseld, then Ernie Grunfeld; MJ ruining LaBradford Smith; past-their-primes Bernard, Moses and MJ; Andray Blatche’s extension/amnesty; top-12 picks on Hot Plate Williams, Muggsy Bogues, Tom Hammonds and Jared Jeffries; top-six picks on Vesely, Porter, Cal Cheaney and Mel Turpin; Gheorghe Muresan AND Manute Bol; and again, Kenny Green ONE PICK BEFORE KARL MALONE.

My favorite Wizards fact: Since Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes left the franchise in 1981, they haven’t employed a single player whose jersey could be retired. Not one! That’s impossible!

As sad as it is for me to read all of that, it makes me happy that the Wizards have the possibility of advancing deep in this year’s NBA playoffs.  It’s crazy to think about it, but hey that’s the reason I am a Bullet’s fan — #bulletsfever

SevaCloud

March 20, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  1 Comment

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Sunny Chowdhury of SevaCloud, which is a Cloud Consulting Firm out of Gilbert, Arizona.  This video was filmed at the Microsoft Convergence Conference which is their annual ERP and CRM conference for both partners and customers.

Sunny educated me on his company SevaCloud, which is a cloud consulting firm, that built its cloud infrastructure on Microsoft’s cloud platform Windows Azure.  Sunny and his team can host your Microsoft ERP or CRM solution in the SevaCloud environment, and rid your organization of the headaches that go with supporting your own on-premise infrastructure.  He also talked about the different licensing models you can use with the SevaCloud solution, which doesn’t require you to pay for the software up front, but with a more cost effective pay as you go monthly solution.  This conversation on licensing prompted me to state the obvious quote “Software is not free!!”.  For more information on SevaCloud, you can contact Sunny at sunny@sevacloud.com.

For the #idontcook portion of this vlog, and since we were in Atlanta for Convergence, I asked Sunny for his favorite place to eat in the Atlanta area.  Sunny tried to give me 2 answers and before I could stop him he mentioned a breakfast place called the Flying Biscuit Cafe.  Since we try to keep it simple here on #RTT, I made Sunny give me one restaurant recommendation in the Atlanta area and he mentioned La Fonda Latina.  “Very, very, good restaurant, they have Cuban food, the Paella del Mar is absolutely incredible, and they have several locations.”

 

Dynamics GP

February 26, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Erika Pecora of Gross, Mendelsohn Technology Solutions Group, which is located in downtown Baltimore, MD.

Erika and I discussed Dynamics GP, which is a mid-market business accounting software or ERP Software package that is one of four accounting packages acquired by Microsoft that now share the Microsoft Dynamics Business Solutions brand.  The Dynamics GP product was originally developed by Great Plains Software, and it was one of the first accounting packages in the U.S. designed and written to be multi-user and to run under Windows as 32 bit software.

When I asked Erika about Dynamics GP, she described it as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system for mid-market sized businesses.  When I asked her about the difference between Dynamics GP and the very popular accounting system Quickbooks, she said that the GP can integrate better with 3rd party products and integrate with custom applications.  Another thing Erika mentioned was the reporting capabilities of GP (just take a look at a screen shot of a GP home page).  This home page can show numerous reports based on what users want to see. This example shows Customer YTD Sales by State, Sales per Month and many more.

For more information on Microsoft Dynamics GP, you can contact Erika at epecora@gma-cpa.com.

For the #idontcook portion of this vlog, I asked Erika about her favorite restaurant in Baltimore, MD.  Erika recommended Woodberry Kitchen right off route 83, just outside of Baltimore city.  Woodberry Kitchen relies on relationships with Chesapeake area growers to provide ingredients that nourish and delight their guests. Erika recommends the Oven Roasted Chicken & Biscuit that is served with fresh vegetables.  “Woodberry Kitchen is a farm-to-table concept, so everything is fresh.”

Bandwidth

January 16, 2014  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Tom Collins of Atlantech Online an internet service provider out of Silver Spring, MD.

Tom and I discussed bandwidth, which is a measurement of the bit-rate of available data resources expressed in bits per minute.  In layman’s terms, this means the speed of your internet service, or the size of your ‘internet pipe’.  Tom told stories about the old days of the internet modem, and how slow internet connections used to be.  Tom also listed some of the current internet service providers (ISPs) for both residential and business.

One key point I mentioned to Tom was the growth and adoption of Cloud computing, and how its growth relates to bandwidth.  “Bandwidth is a big part of successful cloud computing, because the computing of the application is done on servers that are not in your local environment, they are out in the cloud.”  In the old days, software was hosted on-premise, and you did not need a strong internet connection to have access to your locally stored software applications.  But now with cloud computing you are leveraging the internet to access these critical applications.

The highlight of the video was when Tom discussed the differences between ethernet over copper, and ethernet over fiber.  “Ethernet over copper uses copper wires, regular phone lines that you have been used to over the years, they get bundle together and at your premise, a device is put on place, looks like a cable modem, that aggregates the multiple copper pairs and delivers a ethernet interface that delivers this bandwidth over these copper wires.”  There are some limitations to Ethernet over Copper, so then Tom went on to talk about Ethernet over Fiber.  “The 2 main advantages of Ethernet over Fiber, there are no speed limitations, and no distance limitations.”  For information on bandwidth, you can reach Tom at tcollins@atlantech.net.

For the #idontcook portion of this vlog, I asked Tom for his favorite restaurant in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland.  Tom’s company Atlantech Online is in downtown Silver Spring, and I wanted to know his number one spot in the area.  Tom mentioned Ray’s the Classics, a steak house on Colesville Road, which is owned and operated by the Ray’s the Steaks folks on the other side of the river.  Tom recommended the Filet and brocolli and the baked potato.  “You can order one Filet, and 2 sides, and that can serve two people!”

Liferay

October 25, 2013  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed John Bull ofEastBanc Technologies.  John and I discussed Liferay, which is an open source portal, content management and application integration platform. It was a great conversation, which focused on portal, content management, and open source technologies.

John talked about portals and why enterprises of every size implement this great technology.  Portals or web portals are web applications (internal or external) which consolidate and/or integrate data, content and applications and present in a uniform way.  “A single uniform experience” is how John described it. Portals enable organizations both large and small to become more efficient through improved collaboration, workflow and search.

Another great feature of Liferay is content management, which is a set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing, and publishing of information in virtually any form or medium.  John made this great point about content management, “Think of all the documents any organization has, you have word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, HTML files, images, videos, and the challenges that organizations face today that those are different formats, and often in different places. So how do you bring manageability to those?”  I’m thinking, and I know John is thinking that Liferay can be your answer to content chaos.

The last thing John and I discussed was open source software, which in brief is computer software where the source code can be freely used, modified, and shared. “Open source is simply a different way for organizations to own software, said John” in contrast to an upfront licensing and support model, open source software users frequently only pay for support. The lack of an expensive licensing model, and the huge community of developers makes open source software an interesting alternative for organizations both large and small.

For the #idontcook portion of this vlog, I asked John for his favorite lunch spot walking distance to EastBanc office in Georgetown.  After giving it some deep thought, John tried to give me 2 of his favorite places, I guess Georgetown has so many great places John couldn’t pick just one.  But since I insisted that pick one, he named Thunderburger, a rock and roll themed burger bar on the historic M Street in Georgetown.  “Awesome business lunch at Thunderburger, it’s the bomb!”  Everyone who reads this blog knows I love burgers, and I co-sign John’s statement, the burgers at Thunderburger are the bomb!

 

jQuery

August 28, 2013  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

On the latest segment of Rothman Tech-Tips (#RTT), I interviewed Jack Swayze, an old co-worker and a DC-based SharePoint contractor. First and foremost, check out Jack’s Atari T-shirt. I had an Atari, with Pong, Space Invaders, Asteroid, Pitfall, Combat, Q-bert — now those are what I call top-notch video games!

Jack and I discussed jQuery, a cross-browser JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML. Now I know all of this sounds crazy-technical, but let’s try to explain this in a way that makes sense to you. Software is written in different languages or codes, and there are hundreds of different languages. For example, Jack is writing an application in jQuery which is about 100/150 lines of code. If were to write that application in JavaScript, it would take about 500 lines of code. So jQuery makes Jack’s life much easier, and also because he is able to create better and more robust applications.

For the #idontcook segment, Jack and I talked about where he lived when we first met — a boathouse on the SW waterfront. Yes, you read that correctly, Jack used to live on a boat, and it was docked at the SW waterfront in DC. So I asked him his favorite place to go eat and drink in that area, and he said without hesitation, Cantina Marina.  Now as I stated in the video, I love Cantina Marina. It reminds you of a great beach bar, and makes it hard to believe you are still in the city. Jack always gets the fish tacos with a Shiner Bock beer, and I always go for the steak tacos with this crazy drink called the Coronarita. It is an awesome concoction of a margarita with a upside-down Corona sticking out of it.