February 03, 2014

The risks of Agile software development: Overcoming feature creep
It is important not to confuse scope creep with intentional technical debt. In Agile projects, some teams will purposely incur debt because delivering to the market can trump the quality or completeness of the solution. Developers have to get something out there because the competition has some functionality that their product lacks. That said, developers must plan to prevent scope creep even when they incur intentional technical debt.

OpenStack creates innovation for private clouds + competition
Giving large enterprises the power of a large cloud platform isn’t in Kemp’s opinion just about technology. Technology is important in order to make things possible, but “you are dealing with a cultural transformation.” “You are dealing with a different way of thinking about building software and with a lot of existing applications that are not going to run very well in the ideal cloud architecture that we see the Amazon-style cloud companies leveraging,” said Chris Kemp.

Oracle's cloud growth: Will it measure up?
What Goldmacher is trying to solve for with Oracle's cloud growth is going to be a common problem for the industry. Mixed revenue models---licensing, support and cloud subscriptions---ultimately mean less transparency by product line. While Workday, Salesforce and NetSuite are easier to understand regarding cloud growth, tech giants can talk growth with a lot of footnotes and other assumptions. Simply put, cloud washing is an epidemic.

Data classification for cloud readiness
Several types of processes exist for classifying data, including manual processes, location-based processes that classify data based on a user’s or system’s location, application-based processes such as database-specific classification, and automated processes used by various technologies, some of which are described in the ”Protecting confidential data” section later in this paper. This paper introduces two generalized terminology models that are based on well-used and industry-respected models. These terminology models, both of which provide three levels of classification sensitivity, are shown in the following table.

Big Data Goes Legal
Attorneys are fighting back against the seemingly insurmountable onslaught of big data as it relates to their litigation practice. Legal analytics, a term often made interchangeable with technology assisted review or predictive coding, attempts to help an attorney be a “copilot” in the matrix of litigation, with big data guiding the focus and prioritization of data review and categorization. Leaders and innovators in the legal technology space are now in an arms race to create the most defensible, statistically validating tools to sift through data and locate the “smoking gun” as quickly as possible.

New CIOs need at least two years to take charge, research finds
Ninety days is often quoted by management books, such as Michael Watkins’ ‘The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter’, as the critical amount of time an executive needs to succeed in their role. However, Peppard believes that there is a process of learning that all CIOs have to go through until they have mastered the assignment of a new role, which takes much longer.

Hackers use '.enc' trick to deliver Zeus banking malware
Gary Warner, Malcovery's chief technologist, posted on his blog an assortment of spam messages, which spoofed brands and organizations such as the payment processor ADP, the Better Business Bureau and the British tax authority HMRC. The spam messages contain a ".zip" file, which, if opened, contains a small application called UPATRE. That executable file downloads a ".enc" file, which it then decrypts. The decrypted file is GameOver Zeus, a variant of the notorious Zeus malware.

Dell offers bare-metal switches through Cumulus partnership
With the right skills in place, an IT organization can greatly reduce the cost of network operations by exploiting the programmability of these bare-metal Dell switches, he said. The capital costs will also be lower. Dell isn't disclosing how much it will charge for bare-metal switches, but Joshipura said the price will be around 20% lower than switches running Dell's proprietary software, depending on volume and type of customer.

Malicious intent can turn Chrome speech recognition into spying device
Ater first reported his findings privately to Google in September 2013. Ater said Google engineers had a fix within weeks. Then a week ago, with no evidence of Google removing the bug from Chrome, Ater decided to go public: “As of today, almost four months after learning about this issue, Google is still waiting for the standards group to agree on the best course of action, and your browser is still vulnerable.”

Data-driven policy and commerce requires algorithmic transparency
Part of the trouble is that big data has long since become a big buzzword, enabling marketers, vendors, media, academics, and politicians to project whatever they like upon it. That bubble is hard to puncture with criticism, real or otherwise. That reality has been acknowledged by close observers of the phenomenon, like Ken Cukier, The Economist's data editor, who suggests thinking about it in terms of its features:

Quote for the day:

"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority." -- Ken Blanchard