Monday, January 28, 2013

Online Mail Order Business

Model the data processing that might take place in an on-line mail order business. Assume that consumers can order and pay on-line. 

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Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cloud Computing Advantages and Disadvantages

Cloud computing was introduced this week as a giant client server environment. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of computing on the Internet.

Cloud computing refers to anything that is involved in delivering host-based services on the Internet. The services are of three types: IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). The term ‘cloud computing’ is derived from the symbol of the cloud that often describes the Internet in flowcharts and diagrams. 

Recently, cloud computing has become one of the most hyped information technology topics of the decade (Enslin 2012). With cloud computing one can access documents and applications from any part of the world. This frees you from being bound to your computer at home. Miller says that cloud computing is definitely not for everyone (Miller 2009). There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of internet computing.

While analyzing the advantages, Miller says computing on the internet results in lower IT infrastructure and software costs. This is because, to handle their peak needs companies will not need to invest in more powerful servers and equipments to handle the peaks. If the IT department uses the computing power of the cloud to supplement internal computing resources, the peak needs can be easily handled by servers and computers in the cloud. As for software costs, with cloud computing IT staff are saved the cost of installing and maintaining the software programs on every computer in the organization (Miller 2009).

Cloud computing also results in enhanced service accessibility. This means that with this technology one can access services that are otherwise unavailable. The vast majority of the function is performed on the server-side, which means the user can run on a device with very little capacity. This has opened up countless possibilities in the forms of mobile phone and hand-help computers. This enables one to gain access to services from multiple device types, whether laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and so on (Clarke 2009). Clarke further talks about the technical advantages of cloud computing including professional backup and recovery, collaboration convenience, scalability, and copyright convenience.

One may think that with all these benefits, cloud computing may not have any disadvantages. However, that is not true. One of the main limitations is that it requires high-speed internet connection at all times. A lot of good features of portable computing create issues when you’re depending on web-based applications. To solve this problem, certain web-based applications are now being designed in such a way that one can work on a desktop with internet connection. An example is Google Gears, which converts Google’s web based applications to locally run applications (Miller 2009).

According to Miller another issue is the security of the data on the cloud. There are possibilities of unauthorized access to your data that is stored in the cloud. In addition, although the data is generally safe, but if it happens to somehow get deleted, there is no way to create a backup. In such cases, people generally lose all their information. Another disadvantage that is subject to change in the near future is the limited features of internet computing. Today not all web-based applications have the unique features that their traditional desktop applications have.

As with everything else, cloud computing has its pros and cons. Users must appreciate the advantages, disadvantages, and risks and then carefully consider how it can be applicable to their specific needs (Clarke 2009). Wherever cloud computing is adopted, risk management must be planned and implemented.

·         Clarke, R. (2009). “Computing Clouds on the Horizon? Benefits and Risk’s from the User’s Perspective”. Available:
Last accessed 25th January 2013.
·         Enslin, Z. (2012). Cloud computing adoption: Control objectives for information and related technology (COBIT) - mapped risks and risk mitigating controls. African Journal of Business Management, Vol.6 (37), pp. 10185-10194.
·         Miller, M. (2009). Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online. US: Que Publishing.

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

The Logical View of Architecture Documentation

Architectures can be documented from several different perspectives. Some of these are conceptual view, logical view, process view, development view, and physical view. Choose one of these. Explain the primary documented approach (i.e. how is it represented). Discuss the advantages and disadvantages 

There are several perspectives and methods for documenting architectures. The need for documentation arises throughout the life time of a system and it is used for specific purposes such as using the architecture as the basis for downstream design or implementation; checking to see if design or implementation conforms to the architecture; seeing if the architecture is ready to support a formal evaluation for fitness of purpose; and using it to support project planning (Nord, Clements, Emery, & Hillard 2009).

Phillippe Krutchen’s recent paper describes four main views of software architectures that can be utilized in system building, plus a special fifth view that ties all the other four together, i.e. the “four plus one” approach to architecture (Krutchen 1995). The four main views are logical view, process view, development view, and physical view. 

In this article we will be looking at the logical documentation approach. The logical view is based on the object model of the design, because here an object-oriented design method is used. This approach focuses on the functional needs of the system, emphasizing on the services that the system provides to the users. In this approach, the system in question is broken down to form a set group of abstractions, which are mostly taken as object classes or objects, from the trouble area or domain. This break down helps to identify the general functions or methods and elements of design across the different elements of the specific system, as well as creates a scope for functional analysis. They make use of the principle of inheritance, abstraction, and inheritance (Krutchen 1995).

The Logical view is represented with the Booch approach using class templates and diagrams (Booch 1993). Class diagrams depict a set group of curriculum and their rational or coherent relationships, like association, composition, usage, and so forward. Related groups of classes can be combined together to form sets called class categories. On the other hand, class templates take into account each class as an individual, and emphasize the major group operations and recognize and classify the key characteristics of objects. 
In the Booch notation, only architecturally significant objects are taken into consideration. Krutchen emphasizes the object-oriented style to represent the logical view. He says that the principle guideline for logical view design is to maintain a single, logical object-model across the complete system in order to avoid untimely specialization or division of classes for each processor and site.

 Krutchen predicted an iterative process for architectural design. It starts with describing the critical scenarios. Next the architect can identify the key abstractions from the troubled domain and model them in the Logical View. The logical classes can be mapped to modules and packages in the Developmental View, and to tasks and processes in the Process View. The process concludes with processes and modules being mapped to the hardware in the Physical View. This shows that the four views are not entirely independent of each other (May 2004).

However, in the architectural documentation of certain systems, some views may be irrelevant, i.e. not all views are mandatory. The main advantage of the Logical View is that is it mandatory for all system documentation processes. In his paper, Krutchen says that Logical View considers each object as active and potentially concurrent. This means that each object behaves parallel to other objects, and more attention is given to the exact degree of concurrency needed to achieve this effect. 
This leads to the one disadvantage of logical view, that is, it only considers the functional aspect of the requirements. 

All four architecture views are important in documentation. The Logical view is important as it takes into account the functional requirements of the system with major emphasis on the kind of services the system provides for its users. 

·         Booch, G. (1993). Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications, 2nd ed. Redwood City, California, p589.

·         Kruchten, P. (1995). “Architectural Blueprints - The “4+1”View Model of Software Architecture”. IEEE Software, 12(6):42–50.

·         May. N. (2004) “A Survey of Software Architecture Viewpoint Models”. ISO/IEC 10746 [Online]. Available:

·         Nord, R.L., Clements, P.C., Emery, D., and Hilliard, R. A. (2009). “Reviewing Architecture Documents using Question Sets”. Joint Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture. p325-328

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Privacy and security issues in terms of ownership of data

Privacy and/or security issues are inherent in large databases. Who owns the data about a particular person: medical, credit, personal, financial, consumer information, etc.? Support your position.

A database is specialized to manage and handle data in a computer application system. Data can be stored in many forms, like text, symbols, digital, images, graphics, and even sound. Various sectors like government, public security, finance, medical, energy, business, taxation, transportation, social, education, corporate and other sectors have formed their own databases application systems to store large amounts of information in the database, to handle and use, in order to lead the society into this information era. With the advance in internet applications, databases have a greater role to play (Ji 2011).

Ji further goes on to say that while development of these database applications systems has brought about social development and progress, it has also created issues of security and privacy of the stored data. The potential safety hazards for large databases are great, owing to their universality. One example is a hospital database where illegal invasion leads to stealing of numerous patients’ private information. 

Now the question is who owns this data? Who is responsible for it? Data ownership means both possession of and responsibility for the data. Ownership refers to power and control both. (Loshlin 2001).Telling the consumer that he "owns" his corporate data is very dangerous. If he tries to exercise his "rights" of ownership it could have disastrous repercussions on the enterprise and its data. The term "stewardship" is a better term to explain this. It involves a broader responsibility and here where the user must consider the consequences of changing "his" data (Scofield 1998).

What about medical data? Who owns it? There was never a doubt when it was about paper records. It was mainly the clinicians and insurers who owned the medical records. But with the development of electronic health information, it becomes problematic. The law gives patients the rights of privacy and access to their own records but federal and state laws do not give property rights to patients. Patients do not have the right to solely possess or destroy their original records (Hall & Schulman 2009) 

With the enforcement of laws like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and requirements of Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) auditors, organizations are beginning to realize the importance of securing their data properly .First of all, the data is classified into private, company confidential, company restricted,  and public. This classification of data is done by the owner. Here the owner is the director or head of the organization. For a financial organization it may be the CFO.

This data owner is responsible for setting up a policy so that only authorized people can access and see the data. The data owner must also determine who has access to the data; how the data should be kept secure, for how long the data must be retained, what the appropriate disposal methods are, and whether the data should be encrypted.  (Woodbury 2007)

Privacy is a complicating issue. What information should remain private, and in what situations? Consider credit information. When someone applies for a credit card it is considered private information, although in order to receive that credit, a credit bureau is consulted. At that point, the fact that the credit card application has been taken is now added to the credit record.

Woodbury says that appropriate data ownership and data classification are key elements in an organization’s security policy. Without these, it will be difficult to implement a security policy. An organization, be it finance, medical, credit, or consumer related, will not be able to meet the regulatory and internal requirements regarding access control for its data, without this.  

·         Hall, M.A. and Schulman, K.A. (2009). Ownership of Medical Information. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301 (12), p. 1282-1284.

·         Ji, J. (2011). Security Issues with Databases [Online]. Available at:
[Accessed January 26 2013].

·         Loshlin, D. (2001). Enterprise Knowledge Management: The Data Quality Approach. US: Academic Press. 

·         Scofield, M. (1998). Issues of Data Ownership [Online]. Available:
·         [Accessed January 26 2013].

·         Woodbury, C. (2007). The Importance of Data Classification and Ownership [Online]. Available:
[Accessed January 26 2013].

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Television Looking Beyond the Idiot Box

Select a technology, such as electricity, the internal combustion engine, television, the telephone, etc., and describe how the invention and widespread adoption of this technology changed society. Who benefited or lost out due to the adoption of the technology?

The invention of the television is a momentous landmark in the much trodden path of technological advancements that have changed and shaped the ways in which individuals, communities and cultures interact and relate to each other.

Though scientific and technological research led to the invention of the television, it soon emerged as a powerful medium of communication that not only had tremendous impact on news media and entertainment but also challenged the structure of family, cultural and social life.
In 1962 Malvina Reynolds composed a song about “little boxes” kept inside the other little boxes made of “ticky tacky” and in the blink of an eye the television became a powerful symbol associated with middle-class conformity. Though the little box was not all pervasive in those days as it has become now, Pete Seeger who sang the song had the idea just right decades ago.
The paradox is that even as television has brought the world together, it has driven wedges among people. Watching it is no longer a group activity as it was in the 60s or the 70s; family has disappeared into separate rooms and the nation hardly comes together except for rare broadcast of a disaster or a celebration (Katz and Liebes 2007). 

Until a decade ago it was our major source of entertainment, news, sports scores, weather reports and other information. It was our window to the world and our most persuasive salesperson which continually tries to create new demands. Internationalization through satellite television has led to pluralism which is far removed from the earlier network-defined linguistic and cultural constraints. This is also seen by many as undermining of the shared bases of democracy and community.

Advertisers understood the power of this medium and have been using a number of strategy like rapid paced format and other special effects (Biggens 1989; Huston & Wright 1989) to hold the attention of the audience, especially the children whose vulnerability and largely unmonitored exposure to advertising through television has aroused regulatory concern all across the world, especially in developing countries where the regulatory codes are not yet well defined. Persuasive marketing strategists are gearing up to create customers for life (Donahoo 2007) even as they are inveighed with charges like gender stereotyping, promoting unhealthy body images and consumption behaviors. Armed with the powerful visual impact of television, advertisements have been able to dictate consumer behavior and create markets for new products.

Until the 80s theories related to television watching were implicit with negative connotations but over the years television has also emerged as an educational tool. Research has favorably evaluated the effectiveness of curriculum-based television programming for children in areas as diverse as science, social skills, mathematics, and literacy (Bryant, Alexander and Brown 2004) and established a co-relation between enhanced short and long term learning through educational media. 

The television has called a variety of names— from the idiot box to the devil’s instrument but its contribution and all pervasive influence on the modern cultures and societies cannot be denied or overlooked. The multi-faceted application attributes of “second screen” gadgets like PCs, tablets and cell phones have gradually usurped the central position television enjoyed in our lives but the television is not ready for the dump heap yet. As a medium of entertainment and information it has still retained a measure of its relevance and usage.  

  • Biggens, B (1989). Violence on Australian television. Television violence and children: Report to Australian Broadcasting Tribunal's inquiry.

  • Donahoo, D (2007). Idolising Children. University of New South Wales Press Ltd. Sydney. p164-165, 169, 177.
·         J. Bryant, A. F. Alexander & D. Brown, Learning from Educational Television Programs, Learning from Television: Psychological and Educational Research. M. J. A. Howe (ed.) London: Academic Press, 1983), pp. 1–30.
  • Katz, Elihu & Liebes, Tamar ( 2007). No More Peace: How terror, disaster and war have upstaged media events. International Journal of communication 1:157-66.
  • Huston A & Wright J (1989). Interview reported in Biggens, B. Violence on Australian television. Television violence and children. Report to Australian Broadcasting Tribunal's Inquiry.

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Discovery of Customer Malfeasance

Read the short case “Discovery of Customer Malfeasance” in Chapter 10 of the textbook and answer these questions: 
  • How far should you be willing to push the ethical case that you should not be aiding and abetting tax fraud?
  • Would you personally and/or your company be criminally liable if you did? This answer may vary based on the laws in your country.
  • What does due diligence require in this case?
  • In general, what responsibilities do computing professionals have in situations like this?
  • Is it enough to produce (as employees and as companies) what the client requests?

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Elad Shalom,
CTO at