May 03, 2014

Intel searches for the value in open data
Intel is one of several large tech companies seeking economic value in open data. A research network called the Governance Lab, or GovLab, at New York University recently began publishing OpenData500, a list of companies using government data to generate new business, including include Amazon Web Services, Garmin, IBM and Yelp. In exploring open data, Intel’s hypothesis is that “any kind of silo-ed, isolated data set is. . . really limited in its ability to discover insights you didn’t know you were looking for,” said Brandon Barnett, director of business innovation.

Cathy O'Neil talks about trust in data analysis
I guess if I had to pinpoint my single most massive peeve, which really cannot be termed "pet," it would have to be hiding perverse incentives (and almost all incentives are perverse in some way) behind what people present at "objective truth". In my experience, outside of the world of sports where everything is transparent (except steroid use), there is always some opacity and gaming going on and someone's either making money off of it, gaining status from its publication, or wielding power through it.  And come to think of it, you've asked me the wrong question altogether. My biggest peeve with data interpretations is how many aren't published at all.

The promise of information
What sets information design apart from other design disciplines, aside from a commitment to what Two Twelve’s David Gibson listed as ‘hierarchy, logic, clarity, context’, is a belief in a kind of metadesigner, an ‘architect’ if you will, who will coordinate and transform information on behalf of the user. The ‘transformer’ was one subject of the first information design conference, so it was nice to hear Sue Walker from the University of Reading looking at how the Isotype folk, who coined the term, developed children’s information books in the 1940s and 50s.

Why the operating system still (kind of) matters
“If you look at the single-node Linux story, there is only one story, which is Red Hat,” Shuttleworth acknowledged. “What is more interesting, though, is if you look at Linux at large, you realize that single-node enterprise Linux story is a decreasing share of Linux in total. There are now vastly more Ubuntu servers running for enterprises than Red Hat servers running for enterprises. If you just look at what people are running on the web, for example, you see that very clearly.” So, he argues, as more companies start looking to build private clouds, they’ll want to keep those applications running on Ubuntu because its truer open source license structure is better suited to the idea of an elastic environment.

The Surprising Secret to Employee Engagement
Too often, Mark says, leaders fail to provide appreciation frequently enough. We often get so caught up in the push for continuous achievement that we forget to take to time to recognize what people have already achieved. Mark recommends that we actually schedule time for recognition each week. If it's on our calendars, we're much more likely to actually take the time to recognize what people have done well. He also recommends that we don't just recognize the top two or three performers. This can create a culture where most people don't feel appreciated.

Why Facial Recognition Isn't the Way of the Future...Yet
Jay Hauhn, CTO and VP of Industry Relations for Tyco Integrated Security, breaks down the use of facial recognition into two categories: cooperative environments and non-cooperative environments. In the former, the person whose face is going to be scanned is aware of it and is opting into a process where it's serving as their credential; they're going to look straight into a camera with no attempt to obscure their face. Non-cooperative environments, however, are when the subject is not necessarily aware that their face is being scanned and is making no attempt to look directly at the camera."In cooperative environments, it works fairly well," says Hauhn.

Microsoft Readies a Virtual Assistant for the Corporate World
“It knows everything I’m doing—what I’m reading, what I’m liking, who I’m following, the people I’m interacting with, who I’m responding to fastest—and serves up a personalized experience about what content is most interesting, what things I should be involved in, what people I should interact with,” says Julia White, general manager of the Microsoft Office suite. “My work is no longer about who sent me e-mail most recently; it’s about what’s most important to me.”  Oslo is the first app built on a platform known as the Office Graph, a database developed by the former employees of Fast Search & Transfer in Oslo, Norway, which Microsoft acquired in 2009.

Infor and 'No Fugly Software': Design as a competitive weapon
For Infor, design is therefore a euphemism for the broad collaboration associated with distilling processes and information down to what the user really needs, presenting that information in the most compelling and useful manner, and making it all look and feel good. Empathy for the user is central to this process. Although other large software vendors, like SAP, have embraced this kind of design thinking, the extent to which Infor is retooling both products and corporate culture around design appears unrivaled among companies of its size. As I noted on Twitter, Infor is actively trying to incorporate design as a core strategic theme into its cultural DNA.

Parsing EDI to XML (and vice verse)
Most of the articles related to EDI revolved around business controversies and comparisons between the different formats and dialects. Completely irrelevant to my research. I still don't understand why do so many EDI formats still co-exist nowadays (> 5000). It appeared to me that EDI was veiled in mystery and the lack of information and cooperation was not something to be considered as a simple act of randomness... I will leap over the entertaining side of EDI, like the conspiracy behind the multiple formats, the rebellious movement against VANs, and the ever ongoing discussion on whether XML will eventually bury EDI (with UBL being the latest contender). My goal here is to share my knowledge on the basics of parsing an EDI message, and hope that someone else may find that useful.

Why Is RAID Dying a Slow Death?
First and foremost, one of the more common RAID levels -- RAID 5 -- began to show serious weakness as disk sizes continued to grow ever larger. Today, there are disks on the market that are a whopping 5 TB in size, which is massive by the standards of the era in which RAID was born. Back then, RAID adapters could rebuild the relatively small disks of that era relatively quickly. That is, when a disk in an array failed, it didn't take too long to rebuild the failed disk. However, as disk capacity continued to increase, the amount of time that it took to rebuild failed disks also increased. The problem: During a rebuild, there is additional stress on the whole array as bits are gathered to rebuild the lost disk. As such, the potential for a double-disk fault increases.

Quote for the day:

“A person who cannot handle setbacks will never handle victories either.” -- Orrin Woodward