Included Free: Runs in the Cloud

freeWe saw one of those signs while out shopping this weekend: “We’ll beat the competitor’s price or its FREE!”.    So we enjoyed a good chuckle, because who is going to give anything away for free?  But they got to use the word “FREE”, and I guess that’s all that matters. Along the same vein, today’s spam included one with the subject “Harness the Speed and Security of the Cloud”.   Another chuckle for me…but I don’t think that was the goal of the sender.

The Wikipedia entry on Cloud Computing admits that the popularity of the term “can be attributed to its use in marketing”.   We recognize that emphasizing being a “cloud solution” can be marketing hype and so we don’t talk about “the cloud” as often as we talk about our features.

At Spitfire we are all about the functionality of our Spitfire Project Management System. A very significant portion of that functionality was created as a direct result of listening to our users.  We are proud of both that functionality and the technological foundation that has allowed us to build an amazing feature set in our software.  So, we talk about our features.  A lot.

We don’t want to stop focusing on those features–and we promise we never will–but that same technological foundation that supports all those features was also designed to scale really, really well.  Therefore, I’m taking a moment today to emphasize that, yes, of course, the Spitfire Project Management System runs “in the cloud”, and that is equally true whether you think that means Software as a Service (SaaS) or software that scales incredibly well and runs on redundant virtual servers not tied to any local footprint. Continue reading

Infrastructure and Happiness

road workOh boy.  I have to admit to being perturbed this morning.  See, I’m a bit of road cyclist. I’ve traveled over 600 miles so far this season and there I was this morning on one of my favorite country roads and don’t you know that between last Friday morning and now they have torn up the road to prepare for resurfacing.  ARG!  And I should have expected it, because a week or two ago they were working on another of my routes. Having grown up in the big city, there is a large part of me that thinks these roads really didn’t need resurfacing for years yet.  But, left alone, roads deteriorate.  Or in the case of my particular path, increasing population density has made old specifications no longer adequate.   No matter the rationale,  I’m forced to deal with a ruined ride and disruption for weeks to come.  These rides are supposed to reduce stress – but I found myself quite unhappy today.

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Keep an Eye on that Budget!

bfaHaving an accurate budget for a construction project is a tricky business. During the early, estimating stage, a company wants to give an accurate representation of how much a project will cost, while adding some padding for the inevitable contingencies. Bid too high and you don’t get the job; bid too low and the project will surely go over budget very quickly, and you will gain a reputation of not being very good. Experienced contractors know how to come up with a good initial budget. Keeping an eye on that budget then becomes crucial during the life of the project.

Why do projects go over budget? There may be several reasons, but let’s focus on some of the most common.

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It Don’t Weigh Nothing and It Ain’t Moving…

printingIt is going back about 26 years now since I had a conversation with a client of mine about why it was so hard to make the simplest change to the software that I was developing for him.  After all, he only wanted a few “little” things on the screen changed, so he couldn’t understand how it could be so difficult.

So, I started to explain to him about data and tables and memory variables, etc., none of which resonated with him.  He still didn’t see how it could possibly take so long to do so little.

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