December 26, 2013

The top 10 cloud provider tips of 2013
Cloud service providers have had many different opportunities for growth this year, from developing cloud partner programs to building industry-specific cloud markets. Software-defined networking (SDN) was a hot topic for cloud providers this year with several of our most popular expert tips covering everything from overcoming barriers to SDN adoption to determining which model of SDN to deploy. Check out our full list of top cloud provider tips for 2013, including advice on FISMA compliance and an analysis of what "open" cloud services really mean.

Four Tech Predictions for 2014 (From PayPal’s CTO)
What happens when new products and services deliver capabilities that help innovators envision better ways of eliminating friction points that people have been living with for years? What happens is that you get the perfect conditions for the kind of rapid technology-driven transformation that has been gathering momentum in the payment industry for the past couple of years. It’s a transformation that promises to revolutionize commerce by rendering the transaction all but invisible while making the payments process itself a foundation for new experiences that connects consumers and merchants in powerful new ways.

Make a high-performance computing and high-availability datacentre
Datacentre professionals must note also that although the use of virtualisation provides a better level of inherent availability, it is not a universal panacea. Virtual images of applications, virtual storage pools and virtual network paths are still dependent on the physical resources assigned to them, and the datacentre design must take this into account. If the server running the virtual image fails, it will still be necessary to spin up a new image elsewhere on the physical server system and reassign connections.

Leading by Letting Go
The trouble was that the scripts, metrics, and rules were getting in the way. Heavily scripted representatives couldn’t form genuinely warm and empathic relationships. They sounded wooden and stilted. Real relationships are built on open, person-to-person communication, one caring human being to another. ... The results? Call-handling time edged up slightly at the very beginning, then dropped and kept falling. Likelihood-to-recommend scores doubled, indicating far more enthusiastic advocacy of American Express on the part of customers. Employee attrition was cut in half.

The reality of android soldiers and why laws for robots are doomed to failure
For Sharkey robot soldiers can't comply with the basic rules of war. They can't distinguish between a combatant or a civilian or between a wounded soldier and a legitimate target. "There are no AI robotic systems capable of doing that at all," he argues, pointing to one UK-built system that can tell the difference between a human and a car "but has problems with a dancing bear or a dog on its hind legs." A robot weapons system won't be able to judge proportionality either, he argues; that is, judge whether civilian losses are acceptable and in proportion to the military advantage gained by an attack.

SOA Best Practices in the Mobile Age
The new opportunity in APIs is BaaS, an extension to the service API model. The goal of BaaS is to convert common and useful elements of mobile application logic-storage, identity management, social network integration, photo enhancing into Representational State Transfer (REST) Web services that the application invokes as needed, making these services "back ends” to mobile apps. As a concept, BaaS is similar to Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS); it offers functionality as a Web service.

Martin: Issues to consider when using SSD
There may be a lot of benefits when you add solid-state storage to your environment: greater speed, lower costs of energy and greater efficiency. But the technology has a new set of issues you'll need to monitor. Dennis Martin, president of Demartek, discusses those variables in this Storage Decisions video. He noted that users of solid-state drives have to keep track of data writes to their drives, a practice that isn't necessary with hard disk.

Should everyone learn how to code?
Are good coders simply born and not made? Of course not. But it's true that the best are frequently self-taught and loved coding from the start. Without strong self-motivation, it's very, very difficult to slog your way through the painstaking labor and long hours required to become a decent programmer. To be an excellent one, you need a whole lot of experience, which is why I've heard hiring managers say they're more impressed by an applicant who wrote a mobile app at age 14 than one with a BSCS from a good school.

Venture capitalist proposes California 2.0, a plan for six new states
”Something’s not working in our state, and I’m convinced that it is with the existing system, the existing breadth of industry and varying interests. California is untenable and un-governable,” Draper told a sparsely attended news conference at the Silicon Valley school for entrepreneurship that he created and that bears his name. There were about 20 people in the room, although only six appeared to be reporters.

Visualizing Java Garbage Collection
Modern GC is highly efficient, far more so than manual allocation typical in earlier languages. People from other language backgrounds often focus on GC pauses without fully understanding the context that automatic memory management operates in. Mark & Sweep is the fundamental algorithm used for GC by Java (and other runtimes). In the Mark & Sweep algorithm you have references pointing from the frames of each stack's thread, which point into program heap.

Quote for the day:

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on."— -- Walter Lippmann