Plans for the next FreeplaneGTD version

I’ve recently received some donations from the users of the addon. It’s always great to see others find my work useful. Upping my spirits I’ve decided to take a look at further possible enhancements.

Looking at the forks of the addon I found Alex implemented some great features for the 1.9 branch, that could be interesting for others.

He has implemented support for cancelled tasks, archiving solution for weekly reviews, display of tasks closed in various timeframes. These all help in practicing proper GTD, including the periodic reviews that I’m not very efficient at.

An other useful addition is that he found the way of running modification interceptors, that are executed at every map change.

I plan to use these to automatically

  • update task changes (text, status, context icons) on the task list,
  • Update task list when a new project icon is added,
  • convert shorthands to tasks,
  • Update contexts based on icons,
  • Re-evaluate upon map configuration property changes (aliases, context icons)

These changes take time, if interested feel free to motivate me with donations!

FreeplaneGTD v2.0.0 released

After a long silence I finally released a new version of the addon.

It might not show much on the outside, save the rendering of the task list window, where the previous pixelated display is gone.

More or less everything else was rewritten from scratch under the bonnet. I refactored the code base to allow for more structured programming approach. The ugly rendering of the task list has been replaced with the built-in JavaFX webkit based browser, that is not only better looking and faster, but the add-on doesn’t have to ship with a 1M bulk.

Starting this release the window several features were added to support side by side usage. The position of the task list can be saved, so if it’s closed it will open on the last screen position and use the same size. The window no longer closes when selecting a task, so it’s useful for navigation in the map. Task parsing, editing, archiving will refresh the task window straight away.

The release is available at the release page, on GitHub and on SourceForge.

If you like the addon, don’t forget to honor the work put into it by donating to the author.

Continue reading “FreeplaneGTD v2.0.0 released”

WBS for Freeplane

I’ve been contacted about my FreeplaneGTD addon, if it could be used for creating and maintaining work-breakdown-structures (WBS).

As there is a huge difference between what WBS and GTD is used for, I have to turn down the idea of integrating any kind of WBS support into the already quite bloated GTD add-on. Nevertheless I decided to see how this could be implemented in Freeplane.
Continue reading “WBS for Freeplane”

PSD2 for insurance

Recently a friend of mine, who works in insurance, told me that he just heard of the PSD2 Directive, and asked me if I knew what would it mean to them in the insurance business. I could not answer straight away, as I currently work in the bank sector and thus on the receiving end of the directive. Seeded by his interest I decided to sum up my ideas on the topic.
For those unfamiliar with the PSD2 abbreviation it is the second payment services directive released by the EU. As the name gives away it is about payment services and as such it doesn’t directly affect the insurance business. However it cannot be brushed off at that, as there will be deeper and more difficult challenges for them to face.

Continue reading “PSD2 for insurance”

FreeplaneGTD rebooted 

After using my addon for a while, I’ve completely got fed up with the ugliness of the task list. 

The flying saucer library, I’ve used to display the list is great for simple HTML display. When  you consider what the original list looked like it’s a great improvement. 

Unfortunately it was quite difficult to get working within the Freeplane sandbox and required a long time to start up. Also it made the entire addon bulky for no good reason. 

I’ve decided to revisit the topic and try to use the webkit based HTML renderer, that’s distributed since Java version 7.

It took some extreme experimenting and debugging of the Freeplane internals, the Groovy runtime and even the Java runtime for a while, but I think I finally figured out how to use the component in the addon. I still have to work out some of the quirks, but you can expect to receive a new version sometime over the summer months. 

I plan to introduce a few major modifications to the addon too. First of all I plan to change the shortcut system to leave the annotations in the original node text and add it to the attributes only. It leaves the nodes more readable, so if the attributes are hidden on the map you will still be able to see the entire value. 

Another idea is to add a new notation system which is better suited for the notations used in our age. Contexts will be marked up with #, responsibles with @, priority in {} and dates within  []. Since the shortcuts remove the content at the moment and the attributes are used in the task list that won’t affect most of the maps,, but I don’t want to support both annotation types in the long run. 

If you have any ideas for improvement, please share it with me! 

Predictions for 2017

​It’s already February and I dug through so many articles and posts on predictions for the rise of the cloud, IoT, devops, Linux desktops, whatnot that I lost count myself. Looking at the article 10 IT leaders weigh in on their biggest talent gaps for 2017 I thought it is a good time to make a prediction for the year with a little less optimism.
Due to the increase in IT talent demands inexperienced programmers will be forced to design cloud enabled software, which can quickly lead to security issues.
According to the quoted article, the industry figures they interviewed emphasized that cloud, security, devops and leadership skills are all in high demand. When business models are about “going digital” and “moving to the cloud” and “aiming for agility” it’s not a surprise to see the talent in these areas is scarce. Looking at the rise of the developer’s wages shows that there is a cut-throat race there to hunt down talents or anyone really with a little knowledge of the field.
Considering how the educational system is still mass producing specialists with narrow and usually quite obsolete skill set whom the market is mostly turning into specialists in a narrow field I think the experts mentioned in the article as ones with “well-rounded CVs”, are not likely to evolve.
I see no reason for the knowledge gap to close, so even if wages no longer rise, the empty seats will not be filled with experienced individuals. The most experienced will float to  lead developer, architect, team leader positions leaving another hole with their rise. They will rarely know what software design, security or performance aspects to consider in their designs and it is unlikely for them to have people management experience either.
Looking at the past, before the era of the explosion of the internet bubble, it always worked this way, so it’s not a big change you could say. System administrators became CIOs in one go, and got around pretty well. The main difference I see, is that most IT departments were dealing with in-house applications in that era, that ticked away on a forgotten server tucked away in a banged-up cupboard of a basement storage room. Unfortunately these people will design applications in the cloud for the cloud instead. Their applications are exposed on publicly available servers along with the data. The provider can only go as far as providing a framework that can be used to develop secure software.

My prediction for the year?

There will be serious breakdowns and security incidents all over the applications moved to cloud infrastructure. I’m using the term security in the broadest term, including the entire spectrum of the sacred security CIA triad. Data is exposed by hackers, who don’t even break a sweat stealing customer data.(Confidentiality) Your orders are getting mixed up or lost on webshops(Integrity).  Nice,  shiny gadgets you bought from a high flyer startup will cease to work without their backing services when poisoned releases roll out(Availability).

As for the root cause, I still don’t see how to get more talents in the field. So I advise to think about doing the next best thing.
To avoid these problems companies, that can identify with the scenario above, can and should start investing in their processes and their existing talent pool. Develop internal carrier roadmaps with security and quality focus. Provide comprehensive education plans, and provide time compensation to meet these plans. Make sure that your solution designs are always peer-validated and properly documented.  If you can afford find experts for hire to develop quality standards, and regularly go over your business continuity plans to see if they still fit your business.
Otherwise you can expect to be looking at the wrong kind of cloud business model.

State of affairs 

It’s been a while since I last posted anything significant on this blog. Just to show I’m alive I try to summarize what’s going on around me. 

First of all I started coauthoring the articles of the Atoll Group, which meant most of the ideas I was going to share here went there. 

I also got the heat turned up in my day job. I’m currently assigned to a large scale business transformation program.  I first lead the integration stream, than got the technical management role for the data transformation team in the migration stream. This has quite a few stories to go with, but none I could share publicly. One of the main reasons that prevented me from writing is the 65km commute  twice a day, that sucks the joy of life from me. (don’t tell anyone, but I type and drive now) 

To make matters worse I also started to attend an MBA course, which has been a long time dream of mine. Since I am always pressed for time, I chose to do it in an expedited way, that only takes a year of my weekends. I’m now attending 8 classes at the university every Saturday, writing papers for submission and working on my thesis in my spare time. 

Both the program in  my day job and my MBA are due to complete at the end of the year, so I will be back with posts once I’m done there. 

SAMU case study at Telekom featured on the monthly AEA event

In accordance with the long existing friendship between the Association of Enterprise Architects and the Atoll Group, Atoll was invited to present on the monthly gathering of the Hungarian chapter of the AEA.

Atoll was the first ever presenter on these monthly occasions of the Association and is following the life of the chapter ever since. This time Atoll has asked one of their major local client to share their experience with the SAMU enterprise architecture repository.

wp-1469188383843.jpegThe presentation took place at the Telekom, who kindly offered their location for the event. Appearing on the stage was no other than Tamás Nacsák, the Chief Enterprise Architect at Telekom Hungary, and Gábor Vincellér, the development manager of the SAMU product. Continue reading “SAMU case study at Telekom featured on the monthly AEA event”