Short Takes: October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009 —  Security becoming common in the cycle
Microsoft has shown that it is serious about having its customers learn and use a security process throughout the development life cycle. Larger organizations have the resources to integrate Microsoft's security tools into their development requirements, and those organizations could help bring the Security Development Lifecycle process to the masses. Over time, the tools will become simpler, and security will become a more common part of the software development process.

Big vendors like Microsoft and IBM have a duty to make security one of the cornerstones of programming. The industry's blind eye to insecure development practices is over.     — David Worthington

New cloud on the block
Eucalyptus Systems is my new favorite startup. When they first formed to build an installable environment that could mimic Amazon's cloud, I thought they'd have a massive job ahead of them. And it seems as though they really did.

But after only a year or so of hard work, the company is well on its way. You can install Eucalyptus right now, if you want. Perhaps it's because Eucalyptus seems to have more doctors on board than non-doctors, as a company. Those Ph.D.s can really churn out the code when given an interesting new project.

But the real exciting thing about Eucalyptus is that their heavy lifting is nearly complete, and by next month, external contributors should already be knee deep in the open-source code behind Eucalyptus. When the community really gets going, expect to see some wild new ideas in the cloud.     — Alex Handy

Not your typical 'anti-virus'
When there’s a natural disaster, be it an earthquake, tsunami or outbreak of virus, there is an urgent need to interact with millions of people to collect data, sort it, make it retrievable, and get it out to a response team, which might also be a large number of people.

As the world braces for the upcoming flu season and a possible outbreak of H1N1 virus, a company called GoScan is working with U.S. government agencies to help ensure that health documents get into the hands of people working to fight the spread of the virus. GoScan’s technology enables doctors and hospitals to scan PDF forms with information such as a person’s date of birth, location, gender, allergies and other medical conditions to a central repository. The form processing software generates XML metadata that then can be searched via SharePoint—“Show me all men allergic to eggs living in Hollywood”—and a medical response can be coordinated, such as whether the person can take a preventative vaccine or other antiviral medications.

“States want to make decisions quickly,” said Mike Stuhley, CEO of GoScan. “They don’t want to appear like another Hurricane Katrina response.” — David Rubinstein

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