Allegient Blog

Metaprogramming and the Importance of Convention

Posted by Preston Sego | April 20, 2015


Metaprogramming is a powerful feature that exists in many popular programming languages. It exists broadly in the forms of Reflection (Obj-C, C#, Java, Ruby, ...), Templates (C++, D) and many others. Metaprogramming opens up a whole new world of code simplification and enables the programmer to truly enforce conventions.  This article will focus on using Ruby to provide high-level metaprogramming concepts and will provide several examples to investigate.

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2015 Microsoft Visio Olympics, Grand Champions!

Posted by Anjulia Urasky | April 14, 2015

Allegient participated for its second year in Microsoft’s Visio Olympics and came out the Grand Challenge Winners! The Olympics consisted of three challenges, culminating with an on-site visit to Seattle where partners asked detailed questions about both sales and technical functions.

Microsoft utilizes the Visio Olympics to strengthen its partnerships and provide support. The partners use the challenges and on-site program to gain input from Microsoft about functionality and product placement. Microsoft provides the training sessions and on-site visit only to its partners – making it an exclusive and useful experience in gaining a competitive edge!

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Cool Strollers for Hip Parents - The Innovation for Demographics

Posted by Martin J. Wagner | April 9, 2015

This is the sixth post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

Microsoft knew what they were doing when they put Microsoft Office at my fingertips for the first time. Like many alumni of Indiana University, I am incredibly proficient in Word, Access, PowerPoint, and Excel. It is no surprise that I have used these tools at my first job after college. My first course as adjunct faculty for the Kelley School of Business, I taught the BUS K201, The Computer in Business.  Students in K201 learned advanced Access and Excel in my class. Would I have the same preference for another office suite if it was not Microsoft Office? I doubt it. 

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An Introduction to Feature Extraction and Implementation in Accord.NET

Posted by Evan Kirsch | April 6, 2015

The concept of machine learning is that, given a set of data, you can generalize and predict output of the system given additional inputs. If you’ve ever used a linear regression, you’ve used a simple form of machine learning. Regressions are part of a subset of the field called supervised machine learning, which also contains decision trees and certain aspects of neural networks. These are collectively known as supervised learning techniques because you already know the desired output value when you apply them. On the other hand, what if you don’t know what you’re looking for? This is when you use unsupervised learning techniques. Unsupervised learning does not know what the desired output value is, using algorithms to try to explain key features of the data set provided. In this article I will use an unsupervised learning technique called principal component analysis using Accord.NET. If you’re not interested in the theory behind principal component analysis, please feel free to jump directly to the case study.

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Visio: It's Not Just for Flowcharts Anymore

Posted by Geoff Lynch | March 25, 2015

Recently a colleague and I had the honor of attending the 2015 Visio Onsite Continuation Program hosted by Microsoft in Seattle. This unique offering was made available to Allegient as well as several other Microsoft business partners from all over the country. What was special about this exclusive gathering was that we were all there to explorer the depths of functionality and interoperability of Visio.  Much more than an online training course could have ever provided, ours was a consortium of colleagues who desired to ask more detailed questions, such as the development sequences for building dashboards, how to tightly integrate Visio, Excel, and SharePoint into a dashboard powerhouse, and debugging strategies (to name a few). 

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Even Your Mattress Can Be an Innovation

Posted by Sarah Boswell | March 23, 2015

This is the fifth post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

Buying online is interesting, isn’t it? Sometimes we want extreme customization, sometimes extreme simplicity. Either way, we just want something that works.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was browsing online for a window seat cushion. (I have this idea that I’ll sit in the window and read a book and enjoy the sunlight.) Unfortunately, I didn’t find what I was looking for at local stores. But my favorite result on Google was a site called Cushion Source. It guides you through choosing the quality, style, and size of your seat cushion, and then offers hundreds of upholstery options. It would have been a great online shopping experience, maybe even an impulse buy, but I stopped at the price tag. I decided I can keep looking for a better deal. Absence of a window seat isn’t what’s keeping me up at night.

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Speaking in Idioms – The Innovation of Process Needs

Posted by Martin J. Wagner | March 12, 2015

This is the fourth post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

Up next in Peter Drucker’s seven sources of innovation is process. I like to think about this source of innovation as the elephant in the room. This metaphorical idiom is the obvious truth that is either being ignored or unaddressed. We all know the elephant is there; it is impossible to ignore. Bill Hogan tells us what to do with this elephant: we take one bite at a time. Drucker tells us that we all know about the need, but usually no one does anything about it.

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How Facebook Trumped Myspace: Taking Advantage of Incongruities

Posted by Sarah Boswell | March 3, 2015

This is the third post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

I remember I was sitting in a stuffy Ball State dorm room with some friends at journalism camp when I first set up my Facebook account. They were a group of people from all over the country, and we stayed in touch for the next year or so, sending messages about our various high school friends and plans for college. One of the girls even became my roommate. We wrote on each other’s wall every day like pen pals, and became true friends because of that opportunity to interact online.

What’s great about Facebook is that it has evolved so much since it started in 2004 in a different dorm room at Harvard University. Facebook was founded on the values of exclusivity, being able to read things you wouldn’t otherwise know, and seeing it practically in real time. That’s similar to how it is now – except everybody uses it, from your mom to your grandma to the nice lady who organizes the church bulletin. But they’re all seeing your life unfold in real time, in such a way that they wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

In 2008, I adopted Facebook, and ditched Myspace, which I remember felt jumbled and cluttered, and none of my friends were using it anymore. I had tried Xanga before that, and I remember I "subscribed" to a few of my friends’ pages, people I had met at a different summer camp and only saw once a year. But as teenagers, our interests change and so do our social media habits.

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Can Data Warehouse Development follow an Agile/Scrum SDLC?

Posted by Warren Sifre | February 25, 2015

“A Data Warehouse is not a project, but an evolution that adapts to the ever changing needs of the business.”

If we agree with the statement above then why not Agile/Scrum Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)?

Many people believe Data Warehouse development cannot follow an Agile/Scrum SDLC. Well, I would suggest it can, given the right team composition and mindset.

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The Unexpected Success of the 2007 Apple iPhone

Posted by Martin J. Wagner | February 20, 2015

This is the second post in a new blog series inspired by Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To see the previous post, please click here.

In her post last week, Sarah Boswell introduced the Five Principles of Innovation, the key factors to help a person identify innovative ideas. Starting this week, we’ll begin to explore the Seven Sources of Innovation, or the ways to take advantage of innovative opportunities.

Our first source is The Unexpected.  According to Drucker, “The best source for successful innovation is from an unexpected success or failure.  Exploitation of this requires analysis simply because an unexpected success is a symptom.” 

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