"When companies start to imitate one another, it's usually either an extreme case of flattery—or war. In the case of Google and Apple, it's both..."

Tensions in Silicon Valley's special relationship began to emerge in late 2007, when Google announced plans to develop Android for mobile phones. Apple had unveiled its iPhone in January of that year, and it was clear that the two companies would spar in the smartphone business. Still, both were niche players, with more formidable rivals in companies like Nokia (NOK), Samsung, and Research In Motion (RIMM). Only after software developers began creating thousands of mobile apps, and it became clear that phones would become the computers of the future, did the conflicts begin to grow serious. Last summer, Apple refused to approve two Google apps for sale to iPhone users, raising questions about how much of a Google presence Apple would allow on its devices. In August, Schmidt gave up his board seat. "Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple's core businesses," Jobs said at the time, "Eric's effectiveness as an Apple board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings."

I Don't Buy it! ☛ Did Foreigners Cause America's Financial Crisis? - TIME

A number of economists and policy analysts believe Caballero makes a lot of sense. Alex Pollock of the American Enterprise Institute says it's clear the foreign investors who bought the bonds of mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac served to fuel the housing bubble. Ohio State University professor René Stulz, who has studied the financial crisis, says Caballero has hit on a critical contributor. Says Stulz, "Investors looking for safe investments in the U.S. created a demand for new products that caused our financial system to work differently from how it had worked in the past and to become more fragile in ways that were not well understood at the time.

Just because there was "demand" in the market for "new product" doesn't absolve the creators of products where the risks are not clearly and accurately understood or communicated to the buyers... Make sure you read the full article.

Thoughts on what an Apple tablet should be – or not :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Andy Ihnatko

It’s not so much the quality of the latest “Apple will unveil their long-rumored tablet” scuttlebutt that convinced me to make the gamble…it’s the velocity. It’s hard to codify but as the debut of an under-wraps Apple device becomes imminent, Apple begins to collectively sigh with relief. The noise leaks out through the weatherstripping of the company’s legendary Storm Door Of Silence and though it doesn’t say anything as helpful as “10.2-inch OLED touchscreen, $699, mobile broadband contract is optional” it does say “Andy, book yourself a trip to San Francisco.”

Andy Ihnatko is always worth the read...

"Doing It Wrong" - /via @tbray

What I’m writing here is the single most important take-away from my Sun years, and it fits in a sentence: The community of developers whose work you see on the Web, who probably don’t know what ADO or UML or JPA even stand for, deploy better systems at less cost in less time at lower risk than we see in the Enterprise. This is true even when you factor in the greater flexibility and velocity of startups.

CNA Chief Motamed: What's Ahead for CNA, Economy, Industry

After 30 years at Chubb Corp, Thomas Motamed joined Chicago-based commercial lines insurer CNA Financial in January 2009 as chairman and CEO. In this edited interview with Insurance Journal’s Andrew Simpson, Motamed talks about his goals and changes at CNA, as well as the state of the economy and the financial and competitive environment facing the property/casualty insurance industry.  He also adds some advice for agents and brokers.

UI Test Automation Tools are Snake Oil

It happens over and over again. I visit a team and I ask about their testing situation. We talk about unit tests, exploratory testing, the works. Then, I ask about automated end-to-end testing and they point at a machine in the corner. That poor machine has an installation of some highly-priced per seat testing tool (or an open source one, it doesn’t matter), and the chair in front of it is empty. We walk over, sweep the dust away from the keyboard, and load up the tool. Then, we glance through their set of test scripts and try to run them. The system falls over a couple of times and then they give me that sheepish grin and say “we tried.” I say, “don’t worry, everyone does.

Make sure you go to the link and read the entire post. I generally agree with the points. We're headed in this direction with a new project and luckily the packages we're looking at provide API's into the application that the UI uses. We'll be able to automate many tests without directly going through the UI. But... the UI must still be tested thoroughly and UI testing tools are required.