Transparency  (theme 1)

Arthur C Clark famously claimed that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. This is nowhere more true than in our world of mobile devices and cloud computing. Indeed, for many, the very notion of ‘cloud computing’ is a mystical notion and they have only very hazy notions of what occurs within and beyond their device.

This is a modern malaise at the consumer level and much effort has gone into debating the right approaches to simplifying these interfaces. Recently I came across this thought provoking article fighting the growing enthusiasm for the ‘disappearing interface’. It argues that great interfaces deserve visibility, transparency, and to give the user a real model of underlying reality. Indeed, I’ve never been so frustrated as those occasions when my hitherto magical iPhone failed to connect a call, make a tweet, start an app, or randomly restarted – the lack of transparency made the highs high, but the lows incredibly low.

(This is one more reason I’m excited about the growth of the Maker movement and hacker-spaces like my local Robot Garden. The theme is build your own, understand it, hands on experience, for young and old. Sharing and growing understanding of emerging technologies, tools, and methodologies for building, hacking, designing. All together they form a crucial antidote to the black box model of technology.)

A lack of transparency can also affect those of us charged with running applications, in the ‘cloud’, at scale. Abstraction layers and technology silos can make it difficult to see exactly what’s happening with cloud applications. This is fine while everything is is working, but brings inevitable challenges, frustration, and ‘blame-storming’ when things go wrong.

AppEnsure is a Citrix Startup Accelerator company, enabling IT professionals to ‘peel back the covers’ and fix the magic, for enterprise and cloud scale IT. AppEnsure has been part of Citrix Startup Accelerator since mid-2012 and were one of two companies that won our global challenge at Citrix Synergy 2012. AppEnsure brings a new, non-invasive, low-impact, elegantly-simple way for the application owner to see what’s going on for each application. They let you, the app owner, understand why the rabbit is refusing to emerge from the hat.

Ultimately we cannot afford technology indistinguishable from magic. It’s critical that we be able to peel back the covers, both individually and at a cloud level. The Maker movement gives that to any interested individual, and AppEnsure adds a new, very straightforward, way to give that to IT professionals.