Designing and Building AI-Based Solutions

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 23, 2020 2:30:00 PM

The future ain’t what it used to be. -Tom Petty, Spike

Consider two speculative sci-fi films, Blade Runner (1982) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Blade Runner was set in 2019 and 2001: A Space Odyssey was…2001. In both films, artificial intelligence (AI) plays a key role, and not in a good way.

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Inspiring transformation within your organization

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 21, 2020 9:15:00 AM

An old story about corporate culture runs something like this:

A consultant gives a seminar about corporate culture and the benefits of having a positive, supportive culture that encourages collaboration, open communication, innovation, and other goodies. Afterwards, a CEO is overheard to say, in all earnestness, “I want one of those cultures, and I want it Monday morning!”

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AI in Medicine in 2020

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 9, 2020 2:30:00 PM

The Star Wars canon has medical droids playing a prominent role in autonomous diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses. How cool would it be if even semi-autonomous systems could handle routine diagnoses and treatments, freeing doctors and caregivers to focus on more challenging cases? Well that future is a little closer to reality than some may think!

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What Can I do with NLP?

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 31, 2020 12:15:36 PM

Humankind, it seems, has for a long time been fascinated with the idea of machines that can mimic the human capabilities of thought, intuition, creativity, problem-solving, and communication. From the chess-playing Mechanical Turk of the 18th century (which was actually a clever and elaborate ruse) through the ELIZA computerized “psychotherapist” in the 1960s and any number of sci-fi franchises and Saturday-morning cartoons, history has no shortage of intelligent machines, real or imagined.

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5 FAQs About NLP

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 25, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Humans have a curious habit of talking to inanimate objects. As children, we talk to stuffed animals and other toys. (Sometimes, we answer for them.) This carries into adulthood; we talk to plants, cars, televisions, kitchen appliances, computers, rocks... Sometimes we chastise them when they misbehave.

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Digital Strategy: Precursor to Transformation

By Angela Spencer on Aug 24, 2020 11:56:55 AM

In the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights concoct a brilliant plan for penetrating a heavily fortified castle: Drawing on the Trojan Horse story, they build a wooden bunny (why not?) and position it outside the castle gates as a gift.

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AI and Cognitive Technologies for the Insurance Industry

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 29, 2020 2:30:00 PM

If someone asked you to list the top 10 technologically cutting-edge, forward-thinking industries aggressively adopting digital transformation, chances are “insurance” would not be among them.

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4 Types of Prototyping

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 15, 2020 2:30:00 PM

We take software prototyping seriously. Prototyping—in particular, rapid prototyping—is the best way to make sure we, as AndPlus developers, understand what our customers expect the software to do and how it will perform in supporting their business processes.

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How Does Snowflake Measure Up?

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 15, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Data has become the lifeblood of any modern enterprise. Making decisions on the basis of hunches and intuition can be valuable (assuming your hunches are correct most of the time). But to operate a medium- or large-size business, you need solid data and a way to extract actionable meaning from that data. Effective use of data is central to many companies’ digital transformation initiatives.

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Using Snowflake for Data Migration

By Brian Geary on Jul 9, 2020 10:22:48 AM

In the beginning, enterprise data lived on database storage servers and file servers in a company’s onsite data center. Although this arrangement gave company leadership peace of mind that their data resided safely within their metaphorical “four walls,” it was also a source of IT challenges:

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9 Reasons Digital Transformation Projects Fail

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 30, 2020 9:45:00 AM

By some estimates, more than half of all IT projects fail.

It’s not for lack of trying. And there are plenty of mistakes from which we can learn. 

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Best Practices for Rapid Prototyping

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 29, 2020 10:48:47 AM

We’ve discussed extensively the concept, advantages, and tools of rapid prototyping. It’s central to our development process here at AndPlus.

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Why is Rapid Prototyping Important?

By Matt Hull on Jun 25, 2020 1:24:43 PM

Whenever any new product is designed, the designers should spend a good deal of time and effort on the product’s user interface. “Should” is the operative term here; sometimes it doesn’t happen adequately if at all.

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Kotlin Versus Java in Android App Development

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 17, 2020 2:30:00 PM

One of the cool things about being a software developer is there’s always something new to learn. New programming languages, new frameworks, new development methodologies, new techniques.

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5 Things to Know About Full-Stack Development

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 3, 2020 2:30:00 PM

Polymath pol·y·math /[pol-ee-math] (noun): A person learned in many areas of the arts, sciences, and other academic disciplines.
-See Da Vinci, Leonardo

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Even AI needs UI

By Matt Hull on May 20, 2020 1:55:00 PM

In Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the computer onboard starship “Heart of Gold” could be described as intelligent (if “intelligent” is a synonym for “snarky”).

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What Do UX Designers Do All Day?

By Matt Hull on May 15, 2020 1:55:12 PM

Some people have it easy.

At a cocktail party, when asked, “What line of work are you in?” they can answer in a couple of words without fear of getting quizzical looks or blank stares. “Accountant.” “Tax attorney.” “Kindergarten teacher.” “Truck driver.” “Software developer.”

Then there are user experience (UX) designers…

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AndPlus Insights: Focus on Employee Training

By Brian Geary on May 6, 2020 3:47:23 PM

andplus-desk-2The past few years have seen an expansion in top-line business growth along with expectations of bottom-line improvements. Given these pressures, many companies have lost their focus on employee training and development as a strategic component to their corporate success.

Topics: AndPlus
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When good ideas meet bad UX

By Matt Hull on May 6, 2020 10:54:11 AM

Information technology is one of those occupations no one notices until something goes wrong. Few users send appreciative notes to IT managers because the team is doing a great job of keeping the network running. Let the network go down for five minutes and then duck as the nastygrams are fired off.

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If I Already Know What I Want, Should I Ask My Users What They Think? Why?

By Matt Hull on Apr 29, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Most large software projects come with interested parties or “stakeholders.” Each stakeholder wants something slightly different out of the project:

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Why UX Matters

By Matt Hull on Apr 15, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Software developers are a brilliant bunch. They are highly logical thinkers who can transform software requirements into elegant algorithms, coded for maximum efficiency and speed.

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Top 3 IoT Trends for 2020

By Abdul Dremali on Apr 8, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Just in case you’ve been hanging out in outer space for the last few years, IoT is the idea that all kinds of devices—from single-purpose temperature or pressure sensors in industrial machines and home automation devices to shipping containers, automobiles, and street lights—will be connected to each other and to the cloud in an ever-expanding network, both wired and wireless, providing data or carrying out useful tasks in isolation or in cooperation with other devices.

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Apple Claris: Bringing Digital Transformation to Smaller Companies

By Abdul Dremali on Mar 25, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Digital transformation isn’t easy.

The hardest part for most companies has less to do with the technology itself. The hardest part is overcoming the organizational inertia that keeps organizations trapped in their current, antiquated processes. The process of getting stakeholders to examine and rethink their processes is a cultural change that takes time. Organizational change must be nurtured and can’t be imposed.

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Artificial Intelligence, Table Stakes for Survivial

By Abdul Dremali on Mar 4, 2020 9:00:00 AM

One of the biggest mistakes business leaders make is assuming what brought them success in the past (business models, core competencies, business processes, and tools) will continue to do so indefinitely.

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Custom Versus Off-the-Shelf Development

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 12, 2020 9:05:00 AM

“Build or buy?”

It’s a common question in business:

  • Do we build a new factory or office building, or buy an existing one?
  • Do we build a product or technology from scratch, or buy a startup company that’s already doing something similar?
  • Do we develop and promote senior leadership from within (build), or hire outsiders (buy)?
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Is Digital Transformation Inevitable in Logistics?

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 5, 2020 9:05:00 AM

Digital transformations are complicated endeavors for any company, but their purpose is simple: improve business performance.

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Firmware Engineering in 2020

By Brian Geary on Feb 4, 2020 9:00:00 AM

There’s quite a bit of discussion amongst software developers (and AndPlus is no exception) regarding the importance of user-centered software design, usability, and user experience. To hear such talk, you’d think that the only kind of software that exists is the kind that people interact with directly by use of keyboards, mouse devices, game controllers, and touch screens.
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How to write a requirements document (for software dev)

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 22, 2020 9:15:00 AM

An architect wouldn’t design a custom house for you without knowing something about your family, lifestyle, hobbies, and tastes. These inputs, and more, inform the requirements for the house: how many bedrooms, how many floors, what type of kitchen, and so on. From these requirements, the architect can design the size and arrangement of the rooms and the style of the exterior.

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4 Reasons to Outsource Software Development

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 16, 2020 9:05:00 AM

When you need a software solution for your business, you have a lot of options. Traditional choices, such as hiring programmers full-time to develop the tools your company needs are being outpaced. Thanks to our new digital landscape, one of the most efficient methods used to develop software today is outsourcing.

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What Is an End-to-End Digital Transformation Solution?

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 2, 2020 9:05:00 AM

“Digital transformation” isn’t just a buzzword anymore.

Some companies treat it as a buzzword and nothing more. They talk about digital transformation without having any real digital transformation initiatives. These are likely the same companies that talk about their “disruptive technologies” that aren’t disrupting anything.

But an increasing number of businesses are recognizing the value proposition of digital transformation. They’re putting meaningful resources into actual digital transformation projects.

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Why Product Owners Love Working with AndPlus

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 27, 2019 9:15:00 AM

Think about the products or services you use most. You tend to go to the same hairstylists, restaurants, clothing stores, construction contractors, cleaning services, and automobile dealerships over and over again.

Why do you return to them? Sometimes it’s simply a matter of habit. Sometimes it’s good customer service.

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How QA Works

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 20, 2019 9:15:00 AM

How do software development teams make sure the products they release are of high quality?

Not so long ago, a cynical answer to this question would have been something like, “Since when did software development teams care about quality?” It’s unfair, but it’s rooted in perceived quality issues from all types of development teams, from “lone wolf” contract developers to giant software conglomerates.

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Automated vs. Manual QA

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 13, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Software is complex stuff. Even relatively straightforward applications that do only a few things can have a dizzying number of possible “journeys” for users to take. Ideally, every one of those journeys is tested under all possible circumstances to ensure the software works as expected and doesn’t crash, pop-up useless error messages, or provide wrong answers.

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Artificial Intelligence in the World of Digital Transformation

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 6, 2019 9:05:00 AM

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the world around you, you’ve probably noticed quite a bit of discussion, speculation, and hand-wringing about emerging technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Much of what’s been written in the popular press and on social media centers around big, scary questions, such as:

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AndPlus Named Top App Developer for Enterprises by Clutch

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 4, 2019 4:03:36 PM

76% of IT professionals state that it takes three months on average to develop an app, so it’s important to choose the right app developer. At AndPlus, we are focused on solving complex problems with software, and doing it fast. Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews site, has released the 2019 Clutch Leader list. AndPlus is happy to announce that we have been named one of the top app developers for enterprises!

Clutch, a Washington, DC-based company, provides fair and transparent rankings of B2B companies. Their team of independent analysts conducts itnerviews with B2B clients and publishes reviews of past projects. These reviews form the basis for their ranking system and serve as a resource for potential customers. We are thankful to all of our clients who have left us reviews and allowed us to maintain a 4.9-star rating!

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Can You Afford to Skip Digital Transformation?

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 23, 2019 9:15:00 AM

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to assume today’s success will be there tomorrow. A company can thrive for generations, relying on a tried-and-true formula for success. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that what has always worked in the past will always continue to work in the future.

All it takes is one disruptive technology, one upstart company that comes out of nowhere with a better, faster, cheaper, more convenient way to deliver the same products and services, to completely upend an established company’s entire business model.

No one can predict the future, so it’s inherently difficult to anticipate these developments. But there are things businesses can do to put themselves in a better position to respond to these developments when they occur. The most important of these is digital transformation.

Digital Transformation: A Review

AndPlus understands digital transformation as the process of organizational change brought about by the use of digital technologies and business models to improve performance. Under this definition, digital transformation must include the following:

  • Business objective; typically, a desire to “move the needle” on some key performance metric
  • Foundation of one or more digital technologies
  • Organizational change, which includes some combination of processes, people, and strategy

It’s a tall order, and not easy to pull off. Many organizations treat it as no more than a buzzword. “All the cool companies say they’re pursuing digital transformations, so we’ll make the same claim,” while being light on the specifics of what’s actually being transformed.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find those businesses that successfully execute one or more digital transformations are better able to attract and keep happy customers. Their organizations reduce inefficiencies, eliminate cumbersome manual processes, and lower costs while readying for important market changes.

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Why Firmware is Secretly Everywhere

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 16, 2019 9:15:00 AM

A few years ago, journalist Sara Bongiorni wrote a book called A Year Without “Made in China:” One Family’s True Life Adventure in the Global Economy, about her family’s yearlong quest to boycott Chinese-made products. The author never quite articulates the fundamental reasons for her boycott, nor explores the macroeconomic reasons for China’s manufacturing juggernaut. But she does succeed in making the point that yes, it’s pretty difficult for a middle-class American family to avoid buying products that are made in China or that contain Chinese components or materials.

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How Firmware Works

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 9, 2019 9:05:00 AM

An old joke in hardware engineering circles says, contrary to popular belief, electronic gizmos don’t run on electricity. They run on smoke. When something goes wrong, the smoke (sometimes accompanied by flames) escapes, and the device stops working.

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Building Automation with BACnet

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 2, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Buildings are getting smarter all the time.

No, the structures at your local office park won’t be winning spelling bees or appearing on Jeopardy! But they are becoming more automated, energy-efficient, and easier to manage and protect. As a result, buildings are becoming safer, more pleasant places to live and work.

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Embedded Software and Cybersecurity

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 23, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In 2015, cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek demonstrated that a Jeep Cherokee could be hacked and its critical systems commandeered over the internet. They were able to completely disable the vehicle in one scenario; later they showed how they could arbitrarily control the vehicle’s acceleration, steering, and braking. Chrysler recalled 1.4 million of the vehicles to patch the exposed vulnerabilities, at great expense (and embarrassment) to the company.

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Firmware vs Embedded Software - What's the difference?

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 18, 2019 9:05:00 AM

What’s a computer?

Ask anyone that question, and you’ll probably get variations of, “A machine with a screen and a keyboard and pointing device, used for running various software programs.” This has been the general “high-level” definition since the personal computer became popular in homes and businesses in the early 1980s.

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Basic Attention Token - The Future of Advertising

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 17, 2019 5:15:20 PM

Advertising. Almost every business depends on it, in some form, as a major (if not primary) marketing tool. And for some companies—in fact, some entire industries, such as broadcast media and print journalism—advertising is the main source of revenue. Google could hardly fund its wide-ranging initiatives and services without the money it rakes in from online advertising.

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Mobile vs. Responsive Web Apps in 2019

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 16, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In 1994, the first smartphones became must-have devices and changed the way we do everything. It’s reasonably safe to say the mobile platform is here to stay.

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When Cross-Platform Development Works (and When It Doesn’t)

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 11, 2019 9:05:00 AM

 

We’ve discussed cross-platform mobile app development quite a bit in this space in the last couple of years. It seems like every time we turn around, there’s another cleverly (if non-descriptively) named framework that claims to overcome the limitations of the others and promises ever-higher rates of code reuse across platforms.

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User Experience: A Core Component of Digital Transformation

By Matt Hull on Sep 9, 2019 9:12:00 AM

We’ve discussed digital transformation—what it is, why it’s become so important, and how it benefits businesses that pursue it. By migrating business processes to digital platforms—and optimizing those processes, as part of the transformation—businesses realize greater efficiency, productivity, and cost savings.

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Transforming FinTech with Web Dashboards

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 4, 2019 9:05:00 AM

If you’ve ever sat in the driver’s seat of an automobile, you’ve used the dashboard—or “instrument cluster,” to use the technical term. The dashboard puts all the information you need front and center, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to see what’s going on with the car.

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The shortcomings of "No Code" app platforms

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 28, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Once upon a time, computer programming was done in “machine language;” the low-level instructions that told the computer’s processor exactly what to do. At a somewhat higher level was assembly language, which hid much of the processor-level instructions but was still painstaking, easy to mess up, and hard to debug. Both levels were also specific to a type of processor; programming a computer with a different manufacturer’s processor meant learning a whole new language.

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The State of Medically Prescribed Apps

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 21, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Among the more farfetched artifacts in the Star Trek universe is the medical tricorder. It’s a handheld device that can read a patient’s vital signs and even diagnose diseases when held near the patient. There’s no need for blood draws, biopsies, or waiting for lab results; just “wave the magic wand” and get all the medical information you need within seconds.

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The Evolution of Firmware Development

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 16, 2019 8:30:00 AM

We’ve discussed recently the importance of firmware engineering, especially in light of the coming deluge of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Today we go into a bit more detail about firmware development: How we got where we are in the evolution of firmware development, some of the main differences between firmware development and PC or mobile software development, and how those differences drive the execution of a firmware project.

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What are Blockchain’s Smart Contracts?

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 7, 2019 9:05:00 AM

 

Cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, are making headlines these days. When speculators run-up cryptocurrency value vs. the dollar, euro, and other government currencies, a speculative bubble results that can eventually burst. The resulting price crash causes significant financial losses to those became players late in the game.

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Improving the Design Phase of Digital Transformation

By Matt Hull on Jul 31, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Digital transformation: What is it? What can it mean to your organization? What does it take to be successful in a digital transformation initiative?

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Accelerating Digital Transformation with Design Thinking

By Matt Hull on Jul 17, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In the 1994 action film Speed, with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, a homicidal madman plants a bomb on a Los Angeles city bus and rigs it to explode if the vehicle’s speed falls below 50 miles per hour. (Spoiler alert: The good guys win and boy gets girl.)

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What Is Design Thinking?

By Matt Hull on Jul 3, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Take a look at a computer keyboard. Have you ever wondered why the letters are arranged the way they are (QWERT…) and not in a way that would make more sense or be easier to remember, such as maybe alphabetical order?

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3 Elements of Digital Transformation

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 19, 2019 9:05:00 AM

What are the elements of a successful digital transformation?

That is, what are the qualities, principles, cultural characteristics…and more an organization should have in place to increase chances for success with a digital transformation initiative?

It’s more than digital tools or infrastructure, although these are important. In this article, we discuss 3 elements critical to any digital transformation.

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Is Blockchain Ready to Transform Businesses?

By Brian Geary on Jun 5, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Ask the average person on the street what “blockchain” is, and you probably will get responses ranging from, “Block who?” to “Something to do with Bitcoin.”

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How Technology Changed Joint Replacement Surgery

By Abdul Dremali on May 29, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In 1891, at the 10th International Medical Conference, Professor Themistocles Glück of Germany presented the results of an experiment in which he used ivory to replace the femoral head (the “ball” part of the ball-and-socket) of human patients with deteriorated hip joints.

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How Tech Transformed Modern Banking

By Abdul Dremali on May 15, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In his 1991 song “Better Class of Losers,” Randy Travis sang that his kind of people were not those who “pay their bills on home computers.” At that time—before the World Wide Web—paying bills on home computers was revolutionary, available only on online services such as AOL and CompuServe.

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The State of Virtual Assistants in 2019

By Abdul Dremali on May 1, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In the 1890s, a German math teacher by the name of Wilhelm von Osten was convinced that his horse, named Hans, was capable of counting, addition, subtraction, square roots—in short, all manner of math problems. Von Osten would ask Hans a math question, and Hans would tap out the answer with one of his hooves. (Obviously, Hans was limited to positive integers.)

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Kotlin: A Java Alternative

By Brian Geary on Apr 3, 2019 9:05:00 AM

At one time in the history of computing, there was only a handful of high-level languages: COBOL, Ada, BASIC, FORTRAN, Pascal, C, and a few others.

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Edge Computing in Analytics

By Abdul Dremali on Mar 27, 2019 9:05:00 AM

We’ve been hearing for years now that the future of computing is all about the cloud. Cloud computing, we’re told, will have numerous advantages for enterprises large and small:

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Google's Dart 2.1: X Things to Know

By Brian Geary on Mar 20, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Here at AndPlus, we take a targeted approach to everything we do. Thanks to our fine-tuned, Agile-based development process, our clients tell us we consistently hit the bullseye. That’s why, even though we try to keep sharp objects out of our developers’ hands, we’re excited about a relatively new programming language called Dart.

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The Future of RAD Platforms

By Brian Geary on Mar 13, 2019 9:05:00 AM

In mathematics, a radical is the symbol used to indicate the square (or cube, or other) root operation. In chemistry, a radical (sometimes called a “free radical”) is an atom, ion, or molecule that has an unpaired valence electron, and thus is highly reactive. In politics, a radical is one who subscribes to extremist viewpoints. In youth culture, something radical is just far out, dude. Except their way to hip to go to the trouble of pronouncing all those syllables, so radical is just “rad.”

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How Do APIs Work?

By Brian Geary on Mar 7, 2019 9:45:00 AM

It’s been a while since we talked much about APIs in this space, so it’s probably time we revisited the topic. APIs (short for application programming interfaces) are becoming more important in software development all the time, so it’s a good idea for both techies and their customers to have a little refresher on what APIs are, how they work, and why they’re so important these days.

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Technical Architecture: Foundation for growth

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 11, 2019 9:05:00 AM

By and large, computer programmers are, by both nature and necessity, a detail-oriented bunch. It takes someone who can get down into the weeds, the world of bits and bytes, of ones and zeroes, to craft an effective program to make a computer do something useful.

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CX vs. UX: Battle of the Buzzwords

By Matt Hull on Jan 30, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Recently, we talked in this space about user experience (UX) and why it’s so important to get it right when designing, building, and selling a software product. To recap, Google has come up with a handy way to evaluate and give a numerical value to a product’s UX, which helps guide designers and developers in the right direction to make improvements.

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DuckDuckGo, Apple Maps and Privacy

By Brian Geary on Jan 28, 2019 11:05:00 AM

In 2016, Apple found itself engaged in a high-profile dispute with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the privacy and device encryption features of the company’s iPhone product line. The specific iPhone in question had been in the possession of Syed Rizwan Farook, who was suspected of conducting a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. The FBI recovered the phone after Farook was killed in a shootout with police.

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Rapid Prototyping in 2020

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 24, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Remember the “telephone” game? If not, it went something like this:

Kid 1 whispers a few words in Kid 2’s ear. Kid 2 then relays the message (again, by whispering) to Kid 3, and so on until the last kid receives the message and says it out loud. Usually, that message is not even close to the original, to the short-term amusement of everyone involved.

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The Launch Sprint

By Brian Geary on Jan 9, 2019 9:03:00 AM

When you watch a rocket launch—whether it’s a high-profile NASA Mars mission or a commercial satellite launch by the likes of SpaceX—you’re seeing the culmination of months, sometimes years, of design, development, project management, planning, and execution. The bit where the rocket actually leaves the launch pad and goes into space should be the easy part: Just count down to zero, push a button, and watch it go, right?

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The Lifecycle Sprint

By Brian Geary on Jan 7, 2019 9:05:00 AM

There are two basic ways to think about new software versions:

  • “Yay!”
  • “Oh no, not again…”

Which one you adopt depends mainly on your attitude towards the software to begin with, and how much effort is required to implement it. The first reaction is reserved for software that you like using and for which you look forward to new features and benefits. Software with easy update paths (for example, those that don’t require uninstalling the previous version, don’t break existing files, and don’t require reboots) also fall in this category. The second reaction is pretty much for all other software.

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Leading with design: The Product Map Sprint

By Matt Hull on Dec 31, 2018 9:06:00 AM

Today we start a series of blog posts that dive into the design and development process we use here at AndPlus.

Our philosophy at AndPlus follows the Agile development methodology. By way of review, Agile breaks down a development project into short (one- or two-week) mini development cycles called sprints. A fundamental principle of Agile is that at the end of each development sprint, the team should have a working (albeit not necessarily complete) version of the software product.

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Automated vs Manual QA

By Brian Geary on Dec 26, 2018 9:05:00 AM

If you’ve ever been using a piece of software that crashed or went into some catatonic state for no apparent reason, your first thought, probably, was “why didn’t they test this?” followed by some choice words for the developers.

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Technology is changing industries

By Brian Geary on Dec 24, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Humankind had been cooking rice for over 12,000 years before someone had the bright idea of automating the process with rice-cooking appliances. (Why we needed to automate a process that runs mostly without human intervention anyway is a debate for another time.) Although the electric rice steamer (some models of which could be considered “robots” in the broadest sense of the term) didn’t revolutionize the culinary arts the way, say, fire did, it’s just one small example of the surprising application of technology in an area one might not consider “high tech.”

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UX starts with H.E.A.R.T

By Matt Hull on Dec 13, 2018 10:05:00 AM

Have you ever used software whose user interface had some or all of the following characteristics?

  • No clear path for performing a task
  • Non-intuitive controls
  • Poorly worded, non-descriptive labels
  • Unhelpful error messages
  • No feedback when you take an action (Is it doing anything, or is it stuck?)
  • Data entry fields that allow you to enter invalid data
  • Date entry fields that require you to duplicate data entry or enter extraneous data for no good reason
  • Poor or nonexistent help

If so, you’re not alone—in fact, if you haven’t encountered such software, you are in a tiny minority.

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Why businesses are seeking digital transformation

By Brian Geary on Dec 10, 2018 10:05:00 AM

Earlier in this space, we talked about the meaning of digital transformation, both for business in general and for AndPlus in particular. For today’s post, let’s dig a little deeper and explore what motivates businesses to seek such a thing.

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How Creativity Solves Business Problems

By Brian Geary on Dec 5, 2018 9:06:00 AM

In one of the many memorable scenes from Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, heroes Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect find themselves on Earth, circa 2,000,000 BC, in the company of a large population of middle managers, hairdressers, management consultants, marketing people…in short, the “useless” third of their home planet who were sent to colonize Earth. In a committee meeting, they discuss the difficulty they’ve had in inventing the wheel. Ford Prefect, exasperated, exclaims that it’s the “single simplest machine in the Universe,” to which a marketing person replies, “All right Mr. Wiseguy, if you’re so clever, you tell us what color it should be.”

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What is computational photography?

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 28, 2018 11:05:00 AM

Once upon a time, photography was all about delayed gratification. You couldn’t see the results of your efforts until you had taken the film someplace to be developed and printed—a process that could take a day or more. And if you didn’t take many pictures, the roll of film might stay in your camera for months before you finished the roll and took it in for processing. If the photos were out of focus, too light, too dark, or poorly composed, you were out of luck.

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Modern IoT Frameworks

By Brian Geary on Nov 26, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The era of the Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived, if somewhat fitfully. Lots of observers (including this blog) have sung the praises of IoT and how transformative it will be, with compelling benefits for both businesses and consumers.

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The State of Swift in 2018

By Brian Geary on Nov 19, 2018 9:05:00 AM

As if there weren’t enough programming languages out there, along comes one that has gone from zero to one of the most popular languages in only a couple of years. The language is Swift, designed to succeed Objective-C in the world of app development for iOS devices and their numerous relatives.

Topics: Swift
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Designing for Dark Mode

By Matt Hull on Nov 12, 2018 9:10:00 AM

The world, it seems, is getting dark.

It’s not for want of sunlight or electricity to power our myriad lighting devices. (Indeed, light pollution is considered by many to be a growing problem with environmental and public health implications.) It’s an aesthetic preference for darker colors in our daily lives. Our kitchen appliances have gone from white to black or unpainted stainless steel. Computer cases, for which “ivory” was once de rigeur, are now almost universally black or some shade of dark grey. Look around on our roads and you’ll mainly see cars that are black (even matte black), grey, or some muted shade of silver.

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Transformation, Transcription or Disruption?

By Brian Geary on Nov 7, 2018 9:05:00 AM

“My fellow Americans,” said every presidential candidate ever, “It’s time for a change.” Not every presidential candidate has said it in so many words, but when you boil down the rhetoric, that’s what it comes down to. The reality, of course, is things are going to change anyway, no matter who occupies the White House. The only thing about it that stays the same is that the occupant will always take credit when things change for the better and blame someone else when they don’t.

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What exactly IS 'Digital Transformation'?

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 5, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The world of business is rife with buzzwords. Some self-proclaimed business guru comes up with a clever term for a concept that forward-thinking businesses ought to adopt, and suddenly companies large and small start dropping that term into their mission statements, business plans, and marketing materials. Examples that have fallen into and out of vogue in recent years include “synergy,” “game changer,” “thought leader,” “move the needle,” and “right-size.”

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AndPlus Ranked as top mobile development company by goodfirms

By Brian Geary on Nov 2, 2018 9:20:47 AM


Washington D.C. based GoodFirms acknowledged AndPlus and placed it among the list of top mobile app development companies and top web development companies on its research and review platform.

Topics: awards
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What's Hot in the World of Javascript These Days?

By Brian Geary on Oct 29, 2018 9:05:00 AM

“When you’re hot,” observed country singer Jerry Reed in the early ‘70s, “you’re hot.” An astute commentator on the human condition, Jerry also found the converse to be true: “When you’re not, you’re not.” On its face, it seems so obvious, right? But sometimes it takes a country song to set us straight on these things.

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The State of Industrial IoT

By Brian Geary on Oct 24, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Few technological innovations have been both hyped and misunderstood as much as the internet of things (IoT). For many consumers, the scope of IoT begins and ends with smart-home systems that can monitor security cameras and control lights, locks, sprinklers, air conditioners, and other devices from the homeowner’s smartphone. Certainly, smart-home technology is an IoT application that is easily grasped by the average consumer. But it’s only one example of a technology that has wide-ranging applications and use cases, from agriculture and forestry to climatology, biology, zoology, and more.

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Alexa Presentation Language - A new future for Natural Language Processing

By Brian Geary on Oct 22, 2018 9:05:00 PM

When Amazon’s Echo product line first appeared in 2014, its user interface was all about—nay, only about—voice commands to and responses from the device’s natural-language processing personality (known in Amazon’s parlance as an “intelligent personal assistant”) called Alexa.

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Amazon challenges Google with Machine Vision in Mapping

By Brian Geary on Oct 15, 2018 9:05:00 AM

If you live, work, or just drive around in any large city, you know how frustrating it can be to find a place to park your vehicle. Paying for the privilege is a given; it’s just a question of how far away from your actual destination it will be and how much you will be charged.

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Web Apps vs Native Mobile Apps

By Brian Geary on Oct 10, 2018 9:05:00 AM

From the “It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again” Department

Previously in this space, we discussed the relative merits of web applications in comparison with native apps for desktop platforms, such as Windows and Mac. Today we examine the question: Are there similar advantages and disadvantages with regard to native mobile apps?

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Business Automation - The Future of Enterprise

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 8, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The robots are coming! The robots are coming!

Okay, Paul Revere, settle down. Yes, robots of various kinds and with various capabilities are in development. Many are already available, in some form or fashion, and deployed in industries from manufacturing to hospitality and security. And there has been more than a little hand-wringing and scaremongering about how robots, and automation in general, will affect jobs, the economy, and the nature of business itself.

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Umbrella.JS - a Viable jQuery Alternative?

By Brian Geary on Oct 1, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Consider the lowly umbrella: A mundane object, often cheaply made and inexpensively acquired, and with a singular habit of failing to do the job it was designed for. In anything but a light rain that falls straight down, an umbrella—even one of those big golf umbrellas—will keep very little of you dry. And if you’re sharing it with someone, forget it. As the Police sang many years ago, “It’s a big enough umbrella, but it’s always me that ends up getting wet.” It’s a wonder anyone uses the dadgum things at all.

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Mastodon - Is It Any Different?

By Brian Geary on Sep 26, 2018 9:05:00 AM

It’s hard to believe, but Twitter is 12 years old this year. Remember when it was new? At the time, a whole lot of people wrote it off as a solution in search of a problem. Who, in their right mind, would want to participate in a service whose only function was to enable people to share their most mundane thoughts with each other, and with the world at large, in 140-character chunks?

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Web Apps vs Native Desktop Apps

By Brian Geary on Sep 24, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The grand vision for human-computer interaction in recent years has been mobility: Users with lightweight, low-power “dumb terminals” communicating with cloud services via ubiquitous and speedy wireless connections to perform every computing task imaginable, from email and web surfing to more computationally intensive tasks such as video editing and big-data analytics. All of this, of course, would be courtesy of the cloud; there would no longer be any need, outside of perhaps gaming, for laptops and desktops with super-powerful, multicore processors.

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Bing Now Runs on .NET core

By Brian Geary on Sep 17, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Fun fact: “dogfood” (one word) has become a verb, at least in the business slang lexicon. “Dogfooding” is synonymous with “eating one’s own dog food,” which in turn refers to a business’s practice of using its own products—the same products it manufactures and sells to its customers—in the conduct of its business. This practice is generally considered a healthy sign for a business—how can you trust a business that uses its competitors’ products? It has a dark flip side, however: “not invented here,” the refusal to use someone else’s technology simply because your business didn’t come up with it, even if your own equivalent technology is inferior or nonexistent.

Topics: Bing .NET Core
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The Trend of "Decentralization"

By Brian Geary on Sep 12, 2018 9:05:00 AM

What happens when you take an activity that is traditionally controlled or managed by a central system or authority, and distribute that control into the hands of larger communities?

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AI and the Arts

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 10, 2018 9:35:00 AM

Computer scientists, by and large, are not considered particularly artistic. When you spend your time in the world of bits and bytes, algorithms and loops, and nodes and edges, you may not think much about aesthetics. To the extent that you do, you might think, “How can I get a computer to create an image or a song or a poem by itself?”

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Microsoft Azure

By Brian Geary on Sep 5, 2018 9:05:00 AM

In one of the many memorable scenes in the 1987 film The Princess Bride, the disguised hero, Westley (played by Cary Elwes) rescues the captured princess (Robin Wright) from the evil Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) by challenging Vizzini to a battle of wits involving a bottle of wine, two goblets, and the deadly poison iocane. Westley takes the goblets, administers the poison out of Vizzini’s sight, and challenges Vizzini to drink from one. Vizzini spends several minutes overintellectualizing to decide which one is poisoned, and even switches the goblets while Westley is distracted. Finally, he chooses one and they both drink. Vizinni gloats over his superior intellect until he keels over dead.

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AndPlus and Amazon Web Services, 200 Deployments and Counting

By Brian Geary on Aug 27, 2018 9:05:00 AM

As mentioned many times in this space, cloud-based services are becoming increasingly attractive to businesses of all sizes for all kinds of applications, from web servers and e-commerce to big data, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT). With its convenience, security, flexibility, and low cost, cloud has many advantages over building, equipping, and staffing an on-premise data center.

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A Beginners Guide to PyTorch

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 22, 2018 9:05:00 AM

As if we needed more evidence that machine learning is making its way out of the lab and into the hands of “regular” developers and their applications, along comes PyTorch, a Python open-source package developed at Facebook that enables neural network modeling, training, and testing, with a focus on deep learning and high performance.

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How We Maximize Security by Deploying to AWS and Azure

By Brian Geary on Aug 20, 2018 9:05:00 AM

To the extent that they understood it at all, corporate executives have often regarded talk of deploying critical business applications and data in “the cloud” with suspicion: “How,” they asked, “do we guarantee security when our applications and data are in someone else’s data center, not ours?”

Topics: AWS Azure Cloud
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What Does "Disruption" Really Mean?

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 13, 2018 9:04:00 AM

The term “disruptive,” when applied to business in general and technology in particular, has become something of a buzzword since its original coinage by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christiansen in the 1990s. Companies in all industries now claim to provide “disruptive” technologies or apply “disruptive” business models or processes.

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Ballerina - A new way to Approach Cloud-Native Programming

By Brian Geary on Aug 8, 2018 9:05:00 AM

It’s a strange irony: The more we try to make technology simpler, easier, more intuitive, and more convenient for end users, the more complex it becomes.

Consider the personal computer. The earliest PCs were simple by modern standards, with straightforward hardware architecture and minimally functional operating systems. But the user interfaces (C:\> prompt, anyone?) were opaque to anyone who wasn’t a computer engineer or hobbyist.

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So... What's up With Crypto?

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 6, 2018 9:05:00 AM

At the end of 2017, speculators had run the value of a single Bitcoin to over $18,000—a far cry from the pennies that Bitcoins were trading for just a few years ago. But then the Bitcoin price fell back, almost as fast as it had risen, and at this writing has been trading in the $5,000–$10,000 range for several months. The buzz about cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular has faded in tandem with Bitcoin’s trading price.

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Vue Native - Because 400 Cross-Platform Frameworks Wasn't Enough

By Brian Geary on Aug 1, 2018 9:06:00 AM

From the “Be Careful What You Wish For” Department

Can it really have been only a year or so ago that commentators, both in this blog and the mobile development community at large, were complaining about how hard it was to write cross-platform mobile apps, and wouldn’t it be nice if there were some way—any way!—to generate fully native apps for each mobile operating system from a single code base?

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Reducing Technical Risk with AndPlus

By Brian Geary on Jul 25, 2018 9:05:00 AM

You have to be a little bit crazy to be a C-level IT leader.

The CIO or CTO position is a thankless one at best. The only time you’re noticed is when things go wrong. And whether it’s infrastructure, security, or business systems, there are lots of things that can go wrong.

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Data Visualization Frameworks for Python

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 23, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Ever since philosopher and mathematician René Descartes first set quill to paper to draw a line on his newfangled “Cartesian plane” in the 17th century, people have sought ever-cleverer ways to represent data in a pictorial format. The reasons are obvious: A graph, chart, gauge, or map can, at a glance, show important features and trends of a data set that you might miss by poring over tables of numbers. It’s the reason why Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is still considered the bible of data visualization almost 40 years after its first release, and why firms large and small are demanding software “dashboards” showing the real-time health of their businesses.

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AR Kit 2 - Apple Doubles Down on Augmented Reality

By Brian Geary on Jul 16, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Do you suffer from any of these symptoms?

  • Thinking that augmented reality (AR) is a fad with no practical application
  • Thinking that AR is for kids and gamers only, not for solving real-world business problems
  • Thinking “What’s AR?”
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Create ML - Machine Learning in Swift???

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 11, 2018 9:06:00 AM

The news around machine learning (ML) just keeps getting better, as new and improved tools and techniques become available and more developers (not just computer science PhDs) can gain experience developing ML-based apps. The latest: Apple recently announced the release of the Create ML framework, a set of methods that developers can use to create and train ML models using Apple’s well-known Swift programming environment.

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Immutable.JS - Yet Another Javascript Framework?

By Brian Geary on Jul 9, 2018 9:05:00 AM

We talk a lot in this blog about programming frameworks and how they help developers do their jobs in various languages. It seems at times that for any given programming language there is an endless list of frameworks available. This is great for us, because it gives us an endless stream of material for the blog.

Topics: JavaScript
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The Versatility of Spark + Hadoop

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 4, 2018 9:05:00 AM

“Big data”—the gathering, manipulation, analysis, and reporting of data based on one or more data sets that are too large to be managed by traditional means—has had a big problem: Because of the vast quantity of data to be processed, a single computer, or even a high-end virtual or physical server with multiple CPU cores, is not up to the task of processing that much data efficiently. It’s much better to divide the work among several computers or servers operating in parallel.

Topics: Big Data
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Apache JMeter vs Gatling for Load Testing

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 27, 2018 9:05:00 AM

An old metaphor, intended to explain the concept of “infinity,” states that an infinite number of monkeys, banging away at an infinite number of keyboards, would write code just as well as we humans can, with better commenting.

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Tensorflow.js -- Wait what?

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 25, 2018 9:05:00 AM

For much of its history, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies of all kinds have been relegated to computer science laboratories and arcane academic papers. As discussed many times in this space, only recently has the technology, specifically machine learning techniques, advanced to a state where developers at large can experiment with it without requiring a PhD in computer science.

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Ayla for IoT

By Brian Geary on Jun 18, 2018 9:05:00 AM

There’s been a good deal of talk, in this blog and elsewhere, about the brave new world of the internet of things (IoT) and how it will transform our personal and business lives. The talk has been accompanied by no small amount of hype, with pundits proclaiming that there will be anywhere from hundreds of millions to trillions(!) of devices connected to the internet in the near future.

Topics: Ayla Iot
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Fresco vs Picasso vs Glide

By Brian Geary on Jun 13, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Images in apps and web pages are a bit like electricity, or the internet itself: You don’t notice them until they aren’t there. And when they aren’t there, the experience can be unpleasant.

When an image loads slowly or not at all, it’s easy to blame the network connection or the size of the image. However, there’s actually much more to it than that. An app’s ability to load images quickly depends in large part on the efficiency of its image processing routines, which use complex algorithms to load images as fast as possible without degrading image quality.

Topics: Image Loading
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Java 9 Modules

By Brian Geary on Jun 11, 2018 9:05:00 AM

In the world of software development, enhancements in development tools and platforms tends to be incremental. Certainly, new tools, frameworks, and platforms that ease the job of software development or software project management come along with sometimes mind-spinning regularity, and we have discussed a good number of them in this space. But after that initial release, revolutionary enhancements of those tools in functionality, capability, and ease of use are pretty rare.

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Amazon Workspaces

By Brian Geary on Jun 4, 2018 11:30:00 AM

In enterprise computing, somewhere between the era of punched-card computers and the rise of the personal computer, there was the heyday of the mainframe and the “dumb terminal”—a keyboard and a monochrome monitor with no graphics capability, no mouse, no speakers, no webcam, no USB anything. One mainframe computer could support a large number of simultaneous users who logged in via these dumb terminals; they neither knew nor cared where the actual computer was located.

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Docker, Kubernetes and the World of Containers

By Brian Geary on May 30, 2018 9:05:00 AM

A friend recently shared an item on Facebook that described the top 10 developer excuses, including things like “it worked yesterday” and “you must have a virus.” The number one excuse: “It works fine on my machine!”

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Android Go

By Brian Geary on May 28, 2018 9:05:00 AM

In his 2014 song “First World Problems,” “Weird Al” Yankovic sings about someone with issues—among them, “my house is so big, I can’t get Wi-Fi in the kitchen.” A first-world problem if there ever was one. We in developed countries take ubiquitous connectivity for granted, so it’s easy to forget that for over half of the world’s population, internet connectivity ranges from slow to nonexistent.

Topics: Android Go
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CarPlay, Android Auto and the Future of Connected Software in Cars

By Brian Geary on May 21, 2018 9:05:00 AM

If you have only recently started hearing about Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, you may be surprised to learn that the technologies have been available since 2014—almost ancient history when it comes to mobile tech. It seems that the technologies have at last become available in enough new car models to make their way into the public consciousness.

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Factory Robotics - Can There Be Too Much Autonomy?

By Brian Geary on May 16, 2018 9:05:00 AM

A common theme in science fiction is that of robots who are, or somehow become, intelligent enough to have opinions on the way humans are running things; invariably, the opinion is that they don’t much care for it, and they decide as a group to take action in the form of the violent overthrow of their human masters.

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5G Cellular is coming - does it really matter?

By Brian Geary on May 14, 2018 9:05:00 AM

By now, you’ve probably started reading and hearing about fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks, how they will enable lightning-fast download speeds and low latency, and how 5G is a disruptive technology that will change everything for everyone everywhere. Oh, and that every mobile carrier is the undisputed leader in 5G technology.

Topics: 5G Cellular
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7 Things That Can Derail Your Product Launch

By Brian Geary on May 7, 2018 9:05:00 AM


It's wonderful when startups succeed and burst into the limelight, but one of the sad facts of entrepreneurial life is that startup companies often fail. The biggest reason, according to some observers, is lack of a market for the product or service the company is building. But even in those companies that have a compelling idea and large, strong market, startups often fail to deliver a product that lives up to its expectations—or, sometimes, any product at all—before the cash runs out and investors become disenchanted. Many great ideas have withered on the vine for want of a solid product launch.

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ARKit vs ARCore

By Brian Geary on May 2, 2018 9:05:00 AM

As you’ve probably gathered by reading this blog, we’re really excited about the future of augmented reality (AR) technology. That’s especially true now that the two biggest mobile ecosystems, iOS and Android, have development kits (ARKit and ARCore, respectively) that enable developers to bring AR apps to the mass market, without having to fuss around learning the science behind AR.

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FirstNet - Cellular Network for First Responders

By Brian Geary on Apr 30, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The events of Sept. 11, 2001—as well as those of many large-scale disasters since then—highlighted the shortcomings of the communications systems used by first-responder emergency services agencies. Various police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel operated on different radio communication channels and thus could not share information with each other. Even within agencies, communication channels became overloaded with traffic. It was clear that the traditional network of dispatchers, command centers, vehicle radios, and walkie-talkies was not up to the task, and a better solution was needed.

Topics: FirstNet
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Microsoft Blazor - C# in Your Browser

By Brian Geary on Apr 24, 2018 1:40:00 PM

For a long time, developers with expertise in the .NET framework have wanted to be able to create compelling, performant web applications that leveraged the rich .NET environment and its easy-to-use programming languages. It wasn’t impossible, but it always seemed more complex than it ought to be—certainly more complex than delivering similar applications in JavaScript or PHP.

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Identifying Exoplanets with Machine Learning and AI

By Abdul Dremali on Apr 23, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) was, to say the least, a pretty smart guy... in fact, some say he was almost as smart as me. Without the aid of even a dollar-store calculator, he established the physical laws that describe the motion of planets through the heavens. His work predated and inspired Isaac Newton’s development of the theory of universal gravitation.

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Vulkan Is Coming to macOS and iOS

By Brian Geary on Apr 18, 2018 9:05:00 AM

In ancient Roman mythology, Vulcan was the god of fire and metal smithery. It’s from his name that we get the word “volcano.” Much later, in Star Trek lore, Vulcan was the home planet of First Officer Spock of the starship Enterprise.

Topics: Vulkan
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Augmented Reality is Finally Coming to Life Thanks to Google and Apple

By Brian Geary on Apr 16, 2018 9:05:00 AM

We talk a lot about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) here at AndPlus, not only in this blog but also amongst ourselves and with our clients. These two related technologies are poised to spur some truly innovative, useful applications—and not just in the gaming and entertainment worlds.

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Apple and IBM introduce Machine Learning Partnership

By Abdul Dremali on Apr 9, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Ask the average person on the street what IBM does, and you might get a blank stare, or perhaps “Didn’t they do that 'Jeopardy!’ thing a few years ago?” Once a household name whose mainframes, PCs, and typewriters could be found in nearly every large company around the world, IBM has mostly fallen off the pop culture radar in the last few years.

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Chrome Apps Are Dead - Now what?

By Brian Geary on Apr 4, 2018 9:05:00 AM

You’d better sit down for this.

Google has officially ended support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of the Chrome browser. The Chrome App store is no more.

Shocking, isn’t it? Try to contain your disappointment.

Topics: Chrome Apps
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How Banking Became Much More Convenient With Custom Machine Vision Algorithms

By Abdul Dremali on Apr 2, 2018 9:05:00 AM

If you’ve been in a bank lately, you’ve probably noticed there aren’t many tellers—perhaps two or three at any given time, tops. Many banks now encourage their customers to use ATMs instead for most of their banking needs. (Don’t weep for the bank tellers, though -- because of the phenomenal growth in the number of bank branches, there are actually more bank tellers employed in the U.S. than ever before.)

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Electron - From Browser to Desktop

By Brian Geary on Mar 26, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Continuing the flurry of posts here related to cross-platform development, we turn our attention now to yet another up-and-coming cross-platform technology: Electron. The Electron framework (formerly known as Atom Shell) enables developers to build desktop apps using standard Web tools: HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

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.NET Core - Cross Platform Frameworks for Future Apps

By Brian Geary on Mar 21, 2018 9:05:00 AM

We’ve talked several times in this space about cross-platform development, mainly with regard to mobile app development. The software project management, business strategy, and marketing advantages of being able to develop one code base and release the app for both iOS and Android at the same time are manifold: quicker time to market, better resource allocation, easier testing cycle, more consistent application look and feel, and more.

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A Beginner’s Guide to App Monitoring

By Abdul Dremali on Mar 14, 2018 10:26:09 AM

Congratulations! You’ve developed, designed, tested, and now launched your app, which excited users have been downloading since the release date. While this is cause for celebration, your work isn’t over yet (is it ever?).

Even though your app has launched, you still need to continue to monitor its performance. Doing so on a consistent basis can help deter users from deleting it, let alone bad mouthing it on review sites.

Still, while you may be a pro in the design and development department, you may be a newbie when it comes to app monitoring—or could benefit from a crash course. Either way, read on to learn about app monitoring basics.

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Progressive Web Applications

By Brian Geary on Mar 12, 2018 9:05:00 AM

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a whole lot of progress in the last couple of years to make it easier for developers to deliver applications that work the same across platforms, across devices, and across browsers. The business of software development, it seems, is finally catching on to the fact that customers want the same experience regardless of hardware and platform choice, and developers don’t want to develop and maintain multiple flavors of the same app.

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Flash Is Dead (thank God) - What's Next?

By Brian Geary on Mar 7, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The long global nightmare is coming to a merciful end. Adobe announced last year that it will end development work and support for its long-lived Flash platform in 2020.

Topics: Adobe Flash
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Boston Officially Ranked Number 1 City for Startups... Again!

By Brian Geary on Mar 5, 2018 9:05:00 AM

The results are in. For the second year running, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has recognized the Boston metro area as tops in the nation for startups.

Topics: startups
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Flutter - A Bright Future for Cross-Platform Mobile Applications

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 28, 2018 1:23:20 PM

It wasn’t too long ago when developers like us had to build applications for Android and iOS in entirely different environments, with entirely different enginneering teams. This was soon remedied by frameworks such as PhoneGap, Xamarin and React Native. While we've had success with the three in the past, it always felt like they were missing that special something that makes native applications feel... well... native.

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MIT Musings Vol 5 - Conclusion

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 26, 2018 9:05:00 AM


The conclusion of this series is posted over o MIT's blog. Click here to read: 

https://executive.mit.edu/blog/a-participants-perspective-on-ais-role-in-business

I'd like to take a moment to extend my thanks to the MIT Sloan School of Management, their staff and my classmates. Most of all I'd like to thank the boss man, Sean Mahoney who inspires me to continue learning no matter what. 

Thanks for reading along! I'll be blogging regularly here and contributing occasionally to the MIT Executive Education blog. 

 

 

 

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Algorithms Are Everywhere and It's Kind of Annoying

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 21, 2018 9:05:00 AM

You ever open up instagram ready to consume some Grade-A content but immediately start seeing posts from '5 Days Ago' at the top of your feed? That's because Instagram sucks at algorithms and want to ruin your life.

You ever have a dream about a specific product then about 20 minutes after your REM cycle is over, BOOM it's on your Facebook feed? Yeah that's also an algorithm.

You ever say something out loud then it shows up as an ad everywhere you look. YEP YOU GUESSED IT MORE ALGORITHMS BUDDY. 

There’s been a good deal of chatter in recent years about algorithms. This previously esoteric concept has become a household term because algorithms of various sorts are pervading our lives, in often not-so-good ways. There's some useful ones that make our digital experience much better though, for example: Google’s algorithms that determine what sites show up on that all-important first page of search results are closely guarded secrets and the subject of much speculation among search engine optimization experts. Amazon and Netflix use algorithms to make recommendations based on your past viewing or buying selections. The list goes on...and on and on and onnnnnn.

Topics: Algorithms
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The Power of Ember.js

By Brian Geary on Feb 19, 2018 9:05:00 AM

It wasn’t so long ago that software developers’ skill sets pretty much consisted of one thing: the programming languages they knew. If you had experience in Pascal or C, you could get a job as a programmer.

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What Is a Tech Stack?

By Brian Geary on Feb 12, 2018 9:05:00 AM

You’ve heard of smokestacks, library stacks, and haystacks. You probably have a stack of paper on your desk, and you may have had, if ever so briefly, a stack of chips at a casino card table. But what the heck is a technology stack?

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MIT Musings Vol 4 - AI in society (Jobs)

By Abdul Dremali on Feb 7, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Quick note: this is the final segment to this series. If you haven't seen all the posts click here to start with the first one. There will be a round-up/reflection post up on MIT's blog soon. I'll keep ya updated.

 

At AndPlus, we’re pretty excited about recent advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics. That’s hardly surprising, considering that we’re a pretty nerdy bunch that digs that sort of thing.... and it's literally our job. Of course, as software engineers, we expect to be designing, developing, and using these technologies in new and creative ways.

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IOT in Healthcare

By Brian Geary on Jan 29, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Like many industries, healthcare is poised to be revolutionized by the Internet of Things (IoT). We already have the Fitbit and similar devices that incorporate various sensors and work with smartphone apps for fitness monitoring. However, there are many more ways that the medical industry can take advantage of IoT devices, and with good end-to-end development, we can expect to see some innovative systems on the market in the next few years.

Topics: Iot Healthcare
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MIT Musings Vol 3 - Robotics in Business

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 24, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Here at AndPlus, both in this blog and in our daily work, we talk a lot about robotics. They may not be quite as awesome as they are in the movies... but we understand their importance in the future of hardware/software integration, a field we specialize in. We believe that the convergence of advanced hardware, standardized software platforms and machine learning will bring about practical, intelligent robots that will help us with many, if not most, aspects of our lives—at home, on the road, in the office, on the factory floor, in the warehouse, and in many other settings.

Topics: Robotics
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Human Interface Guidelines for Newbies

By Brian Geary on Jan 22, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Think about the most successful smartphone apps—the ones that get the best reviews, the ones that you use most. What do they all have in common?

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Efficiency, Office Design, and the AndPlus Culture

By Brian Geary on Jan 15, 2018 9:05:00 AM

There’s been a good deal of debate recently in the “knowledge worker” community around whether teleworking is beneficial for the employee, the organization, or both. Teleworking, in case you’re way behind on your LinkedIn feed, is a working arrangement where an employee can work from a remote location (such as home, the beach, a bar, or wherever) instead of coming into the office. Advocates of teleworking (also known as telecommuting) claim that employees can be happier and more productive in this arrangement. Detractors believe it’s a good way for employees to goof off.

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MIT Musings - Vol 2

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 10, 2018 3:44:46 PM

Sup y'all Happy New Year! This is part 2 of a series of reflective posts. Missed the first part? No worries click here.

I've rounded out 2017 by finishing my first course with MIT's Executive Education program studying the Business Implications of Artificial Intelligence. I'm happy to continue my musings on what I've learned and the discussions that took place with my classmates. This 2nd module focused on Natural Language Processing. What is that? What the heck does it do and why does it matter?? Well let's talk... 

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Apple's Attempt to Catalyze Augmented Reality Development

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 10, 2018 9:05:00 AM

In the last couple of years, if you were asked to list the top augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) development companies, the list would have included names such as Google and Oculus, but probably not Apple. But with the recent release of ARKit in iOS 11, Apple is shrewdly making a bid to establish itself as a player in the AR space.

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The 5 Levels of Autonomy

By Abdul Dremali on Jan 8, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Many years ago, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, in his seminal I, Robot, proposed the Three Laws of Robotics:

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Hardware/Software Integration - Custom Apps for Complex Instruments

By Brian Geary on Jan 3, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Suppose you run the shipping department for a company that ships products all over the world. You convinced upper management to buy a device for your department that weighs each package and detects its dimensions—width, length, and height—and shows the results on a display on the device’s font panel. All the shipping clerk has to do is read the information and enter it into the company’s shipping software, which calculates the rate and prints the shipping label.

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5 Steps to Building a Web Dashboard

By Brian Geary on Dec 27, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Think, for a moment, about the dashboard in the vehicle you drive. Whether your vehicle is a 1973 AMC Gremlin, a yacht, or a Boeing 747, the characteristics are the same. They all provide:


  • Instant, visual indications of the most important operational parameters of the vehicle.
  • Visual and/or audible indications of abnormal conditions.
  • Controls for certain important functions.
  • Indications that are arranged to be seen all at once.
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The Importance of Design When Building Complex Software

By Matt Hull on Dec 25, 2017 9:05:00 AM

We’ve all seen examples of bad design in our daily lives: appliances that break on first use, floor plans that are difficult to navigate, and of course, computer software that makes tasks harder, not easier.

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Why Agile Has Taken Over the Software Dev World

By Brian Geary on Dec 18, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Today, it seems that almost every software development organization employing more than one programmer subscribes to the Agile methodology. In fact, it’s difficult to find one that doesn’t. Given its pervasiveness now, it’s hard to remember that only a few years ago, Agile was a newfangled idea that only a few development shops were trying, while others dismissed it as a passing fad or were “waiting to see…”

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Photoshop's New 'Select Subject' Feature and How It Works

By Abdul Dremali on Dec 13, 2017 9:05:00 AM


Even before there were digital images and image editing software, graphic artists had an occasional need to extract an arbitrary shape (such as the outline of a human subject) from an image so that it could be placed in other images. In the days of chemical photography, this involved complex darkroom techniques or even painstakingly cutting things out of paper prints with scissors. Imagine fitting that into your schedule these days!

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Demistifying the new Alexa Lineup

By Brian Geary on Dec 11, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Science fiction is littered with sentient, omnipresent computers that respond to voice commands. From the fatally flawed HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey to the cool, confident Starship Enterprise computer to the snarky, easily distracted Heart of Gold computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, humans have imagined anthropomorphic computers that hear all, know all and control all.

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What is the "AI Winter"?

By Abdul Dremali on Dec 4, 2017 9:05:00 AM

As a society, we have grown accustomed to straight-line trajectories for technology: from concept to practical application, relentless performance improvement, and finally to maturity. The internal-combustion engine, personal computer, and smartphone have all followed this path, and have consistently lived up to whatever hype has been generated around them. It’s so common that we forget that not every technology follows this trajectory.

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MIT Musings: Vol 1

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 30, 2017 3:30:54 PM

In this new occasional feature in our blog, AndPlus Innovation Lead Abdul Dremali shares his thoughts on what he’s learning in the Executive Education courses he is taking at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

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Staff and Skill Augmentation the AndPlus Way

By Brian Geary on Nov 27, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Companies often have excellent in-house staff and resources, but they don’t have the capacity or the skills needed for a particular project. AndPlus is adept at staff and skills augmentation, and we have the results to prove it.

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The Art of Testing Software

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 22, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Some things are more art than science. And while software development is definitely a science, testing it has more than a few artistic aspects to the process. Dan Valderrama, QA Engineer at AndPlus, talks about the typical two-week sprint and how the company ensures a quality, shippable product at the end of it.

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Machine Learning in the Healthcare Industry

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 20, 2017 9:05:00 AM

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the inhabitants had access to advanced medical care provided by robots. The Star Wars medical droids had the ability to diagnose and treat their patients with extraordinary knowledge and numerous built-in surgical tools. They had extra added bonus skills in reasoning and communication with their patients—any species from any planet speaking any language. Their bedside manner was, of course, impeccable.

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The MoSCoW Method

By Brian Geary on Nov 13, 2017 9:05:00 AM

“Sir?”

“What!? Can’t you see I’m busy? None of project development's stories are getting done on time and user features are still lagging behind.”

“I‘m sorry, sir. I know you're busy, but Mr. Petrov is on the phone. He says he may be able to help.”

“Who?”

“Sergei Petrov, our contact in Moscow.”

“Oh, that's unexpected. What’s he want?”

“He said it’s for your ears only. And it’s terribly important. Something about the MoSCoW method.”

Topics: MoSCoW Method
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Machine Learning in the Financial Industry

By Abdul Dremali on Nov 8, 2017 9:05:00 AM

You’ve read a number of articles in this space about different types of machine learning, with a high-level view of how they work and the types of technologies that machine learning will enable in the future. “But,” you’re thinking, “What are some of the ways machine learning is being applied right now, to do useful work outside the laboratory?”

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How to Start Building an Android Product

By Brian Geary on Nov 6, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Let’s say your latest iOS app (discussed earlier in this space) that you've worked on so hard took off. It’s off the charts at the Apple store and you’re raking in the dough, $1.99 at a time. Great! But here’s the bad news: By not having an Android version on the market as well, you are doing the following:

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React Native vs. Xamarin

By Brian Geary on Oct 30, 2017 9:05:00 AM

First there were the VCR wars (VHS vs. Betamax—look it up if you’re too young to remember). Then there were various game console wars (Atari vs. Intellivision, Sega vs. Nintendo, Xbox vs. PlayStation), browser wars (Mosaic vs. Netscape, Netscape vs. Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer vs. Firefox vs. Chrome…), and mobile platform wars (iOS vs. Android). You’d think that, as a society, we’d be getting tired of these belligerent metaphors. In case we’re not, here’s another one: The cross-platform mobile development framework wars, pitting React Native vs. Xamarin. It’s a bit esoteric to begin with and doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, so it’s unlikely to become meme fodder. Thankfully.

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Responsive Web Apps Vs. Native Mobile Apps

By Brian Geary on Oct 25, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Remember when “surfing the web” was a thing? The very phrase seems as antiquated as the dial-up modems we used for that purpose. Once the novelty of the World Wide Web wore off, we as a society spent less time following random links and started more purpose-driven Internet activities, such as shopping for books, buying airline tickets, and meeting people in “chat rooms.”

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BACnet: Our Journey With Phoenix Controls

By Brian Geary on Oct 23, 2017 9:05:00 AM

At AndPlus, we work hard to find the right software solutions to problems experienced by our clients. “When Phoenix Controls identified that the old control system used for their valve wasn’t very functional, they turned to us for answers,” says Max Grayer, a technical architect at AndPlus. “We created a touchscreen controller that displays critical data such as room occupancy, room offset, temperature and air changes per hour.”

Topics: BACnet
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How AndPlus executes the Google Ventures Design Sprint

By Matt Hull on Oct 16, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Software developers are a funny bunch. Not necessarily “ha ha” funny—you don’t see many developers on the stand-up comedy circuit—but they have certain peculiarities. Although they are generally amenable to learning new things, such as shopping for books, buying airline tickets, and meeting people in “chat rooms.” Witness, for example, the great struggles some development teams had when switching from procedural to object-oriented programming.

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Self-Driving Cars and Their Effect on Traffic

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 11, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Imagine, if you will, a world in which you can do, in a car, all the things you’re not supposed to do while driving: talking on your phone, texting, watching “Laverne and Shirley” reruns, putting on makeup, playing the trombone, etc. You will be able to do those things because you won’t actually be driving the car; the car will drive itself to your destination.

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How to Start Building an iOS Product

By Brian Geary on Oct 9, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Just ask anyone who owns an iPhone: You will learn that it is humankind’s greatest invention, better than fire, the wheel, agriculture and espresso combined. And it’s the only item on the planet worthy of camping out for—for days on end—to get the latest version.

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Updating Apps for the new iPhone X

By Brian Geary on Oct 4, 2017 9:29:19 AM


It's that time of year! Brand new iPhone design means making our designers & engineers completely throw away years of their hard work and start all over again! Just kidding.... kind of.
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Machine Learning vs Deep Learning. What's the Difference?

By Abdul Dremali on Oct 2, 2017 10:30:00 AM

If you buy into the hype, you might believe an army of intelligent robots is on the march RIGHT NOW, coming to TAKE YOUR JOB.

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Apple's Face ID is a Triumph of Machine Learning Technology

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 27, 2017 11:44:52 AM

Lately the term "Machine Learning" gets kicked around like a hackysack in a stoners basement. It's becoming a ubiquitous buzzword because it really is exciting technology that's finally making its way into our lives, but a large majority of the buzz is nothing more than lazy marketing. Apple is one of the tech giants that's bringing machine learning into the mainstream in effective and even mindblowing ways.

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How We Handle Greenfield vs Brownfield Projects

By Brian Geary on Sep 25, 2017 9:05:00 AM

The terms “greenfield project” and “brownfield project” are used in many industries besides IT, and usually the meaning is the same: greenfield describes a completely new project that has to be executed from scratch, while a brownfield project is one that has been worked on by others and is now being handed off to someone else for completion. In many instances, brownfield also indicates some type of contamination, which could make finishing the project more challenging.

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Cloud Computing and Where it Stands in 2018

By Brian Geary on Sep 20, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Cloud computing has been a trendy topic for years. Today the industry is riddled with competition, and consumers have multiple options to choose from. Prices have decreased, while quality has improved as a result of competition in the market. Companies like AWS, Google Cloud and Azure have been advancing their technologies dramatically in an attempt to get ahead. Here’s where cloud computing stands in 2018.

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An Interns Summer at AndPlus

By Hirsh Agarwal on Sep 19, 2017 10:37:07 AM

As the Summer of 2017 comes to a seemingly abrupt halt, my time at AndPlus is over... for now at least! For the past three months I have been an Intern working on machine learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence research. Throughout this experience I’ve had the chance to work on various machine learning projects with a number of full time employees here at AndPlus.

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The Challenges of Building Machine Learning Tech

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 18, 2017 9:05:00 AM

We’ve all been told that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but any competent dog trainer will tell you that most old dogs can indeed be taught new tricks, when properly motivated and rewarded. For a real teaching challenge, try teaching a computer to reliably identify a Chesterfield couch (or any couch, for that matter) in a photograph.

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React Native, the Future of Cross Platform Development?

By Brian Geary on Sep 11, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Ever since iOS and Android established themselves as the two dominant mobile platforms, app developers have had to make a choice: If you’re going to create an app with both Android and iOS versions, which do you work on first? “Both” has never been a viable option, because developing for each platform is sufficiently different that precious little code can be shared between the two. This means that app development takes twice as long as it should, sometimes longer. In an environment where speed to market can determine commercial success or failure, this state of affairs is a major handicap.

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Equal parts Design & Engineering: A Recipe for Success

By Brian Geary on Sep 6, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Great engineering doesn't mean compromising on excellent design. In many technological developments, however, the functions of design and engineering are far removed from each other. The design component fulfills the esthetic requirements, but the most critical requirement for a successful app is its functionality and how well it contributes to delivering what the user needs. Let’s look at what the two concepts are and how they can be meshed for the ideal customer experience.

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Core ML vs Tensorflow Lite

By Abdul Dremali on Sep 4, 2017 9:05:00 AM

With all the buzz about machine learning, artificial neural networks, and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI), it’s fair to ask, “When will I have it on my smartphone?”

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AndPlus is now the #1 Mobile App Developer in Boston!

By Brian Geary on Aug 30, 2017 12:34:45 PM


The exciting Summer of 2017 at AndPlus is coming to an exceptionally fun close as we find out that we are now ranked as Clutch.co's top mobile development agency in Boston. Between shipping quality products for our customers and publishing our first machine learning research paper, the AndPlus team is ecstatic to be Boston's leading software development company. Great design & engineering with a transparent and honest process has all culminated in the top spot on the prestigious websites ranking system.



Topics: clutch
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Innovation as culture, what sets AndPlus apart

By Brian Geary on Aug 28, 2017 9:05:00 AM

We’re so used to hearing new business “buzzwords” every so often that it has become easy to ignore them. Innovation is a word that’s been around for some time, which refers to developing and implementing new or more effective products, processes and ideas.

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Virtual and Augmented Reality: Their Future in Mobile Apps

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 23, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Two remarkable developments in the last year represented the brilliant (or unholy, depending on your perspective) union of two inexorable trends: mobile apps and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR). One was the release of the insanely popular Pokémon Go smartphone app, which brought augmented reality to cartoon character hunters of all ages. The other was Google Cardboard and the virtual reality content that can be played on it, giving anyone with a few bucks, a smartphone, and some free time a taste of the virtual reality experience.

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The Difference Between Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Statistical Pattern Recognition

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 21, 2017 9:05:00 AM

“Artificial intelligence.” “Artificial neural networks.” “Machine learning.” “Deep learning.” “Computer vision.” “Statistical pattern recognition.” There has been a whole lot of artificial intelligence terminology thrown about recently because of the accelerating pace of advancement in the field. These aren't just silly buzzwords we use to sound cool (well, not always). To the uninitiated, all the terms tend to sound alike, and many of them have been used more or less interchangeably in the popular press. However, there are subtle differences, and in this blog I'll sort a few of them out for you.

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How to Prioritize Agile Backlog

By Brian Geary on Aug 14, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Most professional software development shops, AndPlus included, have adopted some variation of the Agile development methodology. Among the most important concepts in Agile is that of the product backlog, which is simply a list of items (front-end features and under-the-hood tasks) that need to be implemented in the software product.

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Futureproofing Design & User Experience

By Matt Hull on Aug 9, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Futureproofing software designs and user experience minimizes the risk of ending up with obsolete programs and outdated apps. It’s a challenge facing all software development companies, but by keeping up with trends it's possible to anticipate and prepare for changes in requirements and include them in the planning.

 

Here are some of the issues we expect to see, and what we’re doing to address them.

Topics: UX
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We just published our first Machine Learning research!

By Abdul Dremali on Aug 8, 2017 10:14:12 AM


We did it! After a summer of filling up every whiteboard in the building with linear algebra, matrices and illegible scribble, our first machine learning paper is DONE! 

The Innovation Lab team at AndPlus consists of any employee who wants to create software with up and coming tech. We primarily focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision. Andrew Huang, Hirsh Agarwal, and Abdul Dremali (me!) have taken the resources provided by AndPlus and published our very first paper. 

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The Rise, Death and Re-Emergence of Virtual Reality

By Brian Geary on Aug 7, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “Virtual reality is coming, and it’s going to be so cool! It’s going to change everything! It’s…”

 

OK, yes, you have heard it before. So much so that, like the neighbors of the little boy who cried “wolf,” you might not believe it anymore.

So you can be excused if you’re a bit dubious about new claims that virtual reality (VR) is just around the corner and will have all this compelling content and useful applications. Every time these claims have been made, the actual results have been disappointing at best and stomach-churning at worst.

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Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the Future of Interface

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 31, 2017 9:05:00 AM

For as long as most of us can remember, we have interacted with our computers via some variation on the theme of the graphical user interface (GUI), keyboard, and pointing device. The advent of touch-sensitive displays, and their popularization via smartphones and tablets was not really a radical departure. It eliminated the mouse and clumsy stylus sure, but there seems to be obvious missing piece.

 

All of that may change sooner than you think. Augmented reality and virtual reality are rising in popularity as the tech continues to advance.

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Aligning Your Development Team to Your Business (strategic goals)

By Brian Geary on Jul 26, 2017 9:05:00 AM

 

Companies are progressively realizing that IT and software have a critical role in their business strategies, and this makes it essential to align a custom software program with business goals across the organization. Before engaging in a development project, it’s important to have a clear idea of how the new software will support their strategic objectives in the long term. This enables us to understand the larger, operational context of the project, and helps at project level to spot potential roadblocks. JD Roger, project manager, explains how AndPlus works with prospective clients to ensure that we do just that.

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The Past, Present and Future of Machine Learning

By Abdul Dremali on Jul 24, 2017 9:05:00 AM

By this time, you’ve probably heard a whole lot of thought, talk, and speculation about the coming revolution in intelligent machines, from self-driving cars and other robots to facial recognition systems andmore. It’s not just science fiction anymore. We really are gettingcloser to a new reality where it will be harder to tell the difference between “natural” and “artificial” intelligence.

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How BACnet Works

By Brian Geary on Jul 17, 2017 9:05:00 AM

“Holy building automation, BACman! There’s a construction project that needs our help!”

“Quickly, Bobbin! To the BACmobile!”

 While our heroes make their way to the construction site on the outskirts of Gotham, let’s talk a bit about BACnet.

Topics: BACnet
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"Outsource" Doesn't Mean What You Think it Means

By Brian Geary on Jul 12, 2017 9:05:00 AM

In the past few years, the term “outsourcing” has accumulated some unpleasant baggage, becoming associated with the idea of eliminating domestic jobs and shipping the work to much cheaper overseas providers. Worse yet, the quality of the products and services of these “outsourced” resources is often regarded as inferior to what was provided domestically.

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What Is an API and How Does It Help You?

By Brian Geary on Jul 10, 2017 9:05:00 AM

At some point in the recent past, you may have heard someone mention the term “API.” You probably recalled hearing this term before, and had some idea of what it meant. Perhaps you nodded knowingly, making a mental note to look it up when you got back to your desk. Maybe you followed up on it, or maybe you were distracted by the coffee brewing in the break room. It happens.

Topics: API
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The Ubiquity Bluetooth Low Energy

By Brian Geary on Jul 3, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is everywhere now, from headphones to peripherals to advanced medical instruments. Being hailed as a game-changer by the industry, it’s a wireless personal area network that is able to send data short distances with low energy consumption. BLE was built specifically to power the Internet of Things, and its ability to operate using minimal energy makes it suitable for devices running for long periods of time on batteries or energy-harvesting equipment. Inexpensive and easy to work with, BLE’s adaptable architecture offers developers unlimited potential.

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Onshore vs. Offshore Software Development

By Brian Geary on Jun 28, 2017 9:05:00 AM

The Internet is a powerful tool for commerce, enabling organizations and individuals around the world to do business with each other. We are now able to engage in cross-border trading in goods and services in ways that were cumbersome or impossible just a few years ago.

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5 Most Important Choices when Picking a Software Dev Shop

By Brian Geary on Jun 26, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Picking a software development shop is a bit like buying a used car. With a used car, you have certain features in mind, but you can’t special-order anything; you have to select from what’s available. Similarly, all software development shops have their strengths and weaknesses, and you usually can’t cherry-pick parts from different shops to assemble a team. You have to see what’s available and evaluate them on what they bring to the table.

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Web Applications – Making the Browser King of the Castle

By Brian Geary on Jun 19, 2017 9:05:00 AM

New trends in web technologies have made high performing, fully functional web applications a reality. The days of stand-alone desktop applications are long gone, and there’s no longer the requirement for users to download bulky software.

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The Effect of Custom Software on A Business

By Brian Geary on Jun 14, 2017 9:05:00 AM

“One size fits all” has never been a great concept, and in the business computing environment it can be particularly limiting. Every business has specific challenges, and it’s impossible for generic solutions to be a perfect fit for every company. That means off-the-shelf software applications created for typical scenarios usually can’t compete with custom software, which is developed to address a company’s specific needs, but they are often chosen because of the belief that it’s complex and costly to tailor-make a program. What business owners don’t always note, however, is the effect custom software has on a business and the benefits it brings to the table.

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A Newbie's Guide to Blockchain

By Brian Geary on Jun 12, 2017 9:05:00 AM

The world has long needed a method of creating secure, unalterable digital records. Developed in 2008 to form the backbone of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, blockchain is a digital ledger technology that fills this gap. It stores data in records called blocks using a decentralized structure, which enables users to make secure online transactions or value exchanges.

Topics: Blockchain
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Apple releases new Machine Learning API

By Abdul Dremali on Jun 6, 2017 3:17:26 PM

 

Machine learning is everywhere these days. It’s a popular buzzword for good reason. Every major tech company (AndPlus included!) is building complex software to solve everyday problems using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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3 Common Mistakes When Building an MVP

By Brian Geary on Jun 5, 2017 9:05:00 AM

Admit it: When you read “MVP” in the title of this article, you thought “most valuable player." Huh? Sorry to disappoint, but in this context, MVP has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with the success of a software development project. In software development, MVP stands for minimum viable product.

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