mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

Join us in exploring the world of modern development, evolving technologies, and the art of future-proof software

Month: September 2012

Weekly recap: 10 hot IT skills for 2013, the data-less iPad, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on hot IT skills, small data, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Implement the data-less iPad
Do you want to know the simplest way to ensure that a lost mobile device doesn’t cause a data breach? Don’t store any data on the mobile device. How is this possible? It’s possible with web apps, which access data that’s securely stored on your database, but not on the device itself. And don’t forget that m-Power makes building web apps a breeze.

3 great ways other companies are using mobile apps

EducationMobile apps. They’ve taken the business world by storm. They’re helping businesses become more efficient, boost sales, improve customer satisfaction, and much more. The fact is, mobile apps offer all types of benefits to all types of businesses…yet many companies still hesitate to jump on board.

Why is that?

In my experience, companies hesitate for one of three reasons: They’re not sure exactly how mobile apps can help their business, they’re not sure how to build mobile apps, or they lack adequate resources.

Today, I’d like to take a look at each of these issues. First, let’s examine how mobile apps can help businesses. However, rather than explain all the different ways mobile apps can help a business, let’s look at some real-life examples. I’ve picked 3 great examples of ways that other companies are currently using mobile apps:

Weekly recap: 10 time management tips, predictive analytics, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on time management tips, predictive analytics, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Predictive analytics. Making little decisions with big data
As I mentioned in this article, predictive analytics is one of the next big trends in Business Intelligence. What is it, and how is it useful? This article attempts to answer those questions.

The huge trend that no one is talking about

Save MoneyThe cloud may get all of the press these days, but are companies actually doing anything about it? Probably not as much as the press would have you believe. I recently spoke with an IT professional at a large company about that very subject. When asked if his company had any plans for the cloud, his response was simple and straightforward: “Our whole business runs on the mainframe, and it runs well. Why would we move to the cloud?”

While it’s just one company, and one opinion, I get the feeling that many businesses are in a similar situation. There are many, many companies that have invested so much time and money into their current systems, they couldn’t possibly justify ditching everything and moving to the cloud any time soon.

That begs the obvious question: If these companies are stuck with old systems, how can they possibly keep up with tech trends? What if they want modern features and capabilities that aren’t supported by their outdated system?

Weekly recap: 6 uncomfortable questions IT teams should ask, HTML mistakes to avoid, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on HTML mistakes, data visualization, and more. I hope you find them useful:

HTML tag mistakes you should really avoid
If you ever edit your web application’s presentation layer at the source level, you should read this article. It describes a few common HTML mistakes that can cause problems if not corrected.

6 uncomfortable questions IT teams should ask
Would you describe your IT staff as “innovative”? This article takes a look at some highly innovative IT departments, as well as some hard questions that IT staffs must ask themselves if they want to be on that level. While the questions are good, I’d say that most of them boil down to this: How quickly can your IT department meet your user’s needs?

5 common Business Intelligence mistakes to avoid

EducationDid you know that most Business Intelligence (BI) projects fail? While the various surveys on the subject can’t seem to agree on the exact percentage, somewhere between 50% – 80% of BI projects end in failure.

Where do these projects go wrong? What could they have done differently?

While the reasons vary by company and situation, there are a few common mistakes that can lead to BI failure. What are they? While I’m sure there are more, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when implementing Business Intelligence:

Weekly recap: Top CIO challenges, teaching your ERP system new tricks, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on CIO challenges, CSS tips, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Could a cloud PET teach your old ERP system new tricks?
Many businesses have invested so much money and time in their current ERP system, they’re not going to replace it with a cloud-based solution any time soon. But, that doesn’t mean that they can’t take advantage of the latest technology. Analysts predict that traditional ERP systems will be enhanced with bolt-on web applications to lets them address modern business needs.

This mobile strategy might inspire you

Save Time“But…how can we use it in our business?”

That’s the biggest question surrounding every major tech trend. How can it help my company? Smart companies know that while big tech trends may get a lot of press, that doesn’t make them useful. They must understand the business value before jumping on board.

Rather than try to explain how certain tech trends can help your business, I prefer to take a look at real-life examples. Today, let’s check out a company that’s using a major tech trend (mobile) to save time and money.

What are they doing? They’re using off-the-shelf gadgets (instead of expensive business equipment) combined with simple mobile web apps to dramatically reduce the time it takes to log inventory. If you’d like to read the whole story, you can find it over on

What is NFC, and how can it help your business?

EducationThe topic of Near Field Communication (NFC) came up again this week with reports that the new iPhone will contain NFC chips. While I don’t care to speculate about the new iPhone, I do believe NFC is about to become very important for businesses in the next few years.

Why is NFC so important? How will it impact your business? Today, I’d like to answer those questions. In this article, we’ll take a look at the basics of NFC and how it can help your business.

What is NFC?

NFC is a technology standard that is used to transfer data between two devices at close range (usually within 4 inches of one another). For example, two NFC-equipped smartphones could transfer a data file simply by touching the devices together.

However, NFC goes far beyond transferring data from one smartphone to another. The real power of NFC comes in the form of tags. NFC tags are essentially paper-thin circuits that store data which can then be read by (or even overwritten) by an NFC-equipped device, like a smartphone. NFC tags can be placed almost anywhere, and can store all types of data. For instance, NFC tags could be placed on walls, embedded in paper, built into products, and much more.

How is this useful?

So, how is NFC useful to your business? The answer: All sorts of ways. Rather than try to explain every possible way, let me share a few examples of different ways businesses could (and probably will) use NFC in the near future: