May 05, 2014

The stories behind 13 programming language names
Programmers generally agree that one of the hardest tasks in software development is naming things. One of things they have to name, though not very often, are new programming languages. When a new language is designed, the name chosen for it often follows one of several formulas: it's an acronym or abbreviation based on what it is (e.g., BASIC, COBOL, TCL, LISP), the name is derived from an existing language (e.g., C++, C#, CoffeeScript) or it's named after someone famous from math or computer science (e.g., Ada, Pascal, Turing). Sometimes, though, language designers get more creative when choosing a name. Here are the stories behind 13 of the the more unusual programming language names.

Why user experience and ecosystem will rule the cloud
It’s easy enough to start offering a cloud platform, but doing so successfully is a lot more difficult. James Urquhart explains how Amazon Web Services, Cloud Foundry and others are capitalizing on great user experiences and great ecosystems. Over the course of the last year or two, one key, fundamental rule of succeeding in the cloud computing business has become exceedingly clear: If you want to define and control any aspect of the cloud marketplace, you need to succeed at user experience and ecosystem. This is something that Amazon Web Services and Cloud Foundry clearly understand, and they’ve flourished as a result.

Revolutionary computers are on the way. Now we just need to know how to program them
A team of Stanford scientists has created a circuit board, dubbed “NeuroGrid,”consisting of 16 computing cores that simulate more than 1 million neurons and billion of synapses. They think it could be mass produced for about $400 per board, meaning it would be economically feasible to embed the boards into everything from robots to artificial limbs in order to speed up their computing cycles while significantly reducing their power consumption. But even if that’s possible, there would still be one big problem: Right now, NeuroGrid requires, essentially, a neuroscientist in order to program it.

9 Consultant Skills They Don't Teach You in Business School
In my 20 years as an international consultant, I’ve observed my colleagues in action: from the very predictable cohort of gray-suited analysts to the egotistical and colorful “friend” of the CEO. And then, they are those who do great work. These often discreet consultants share nine skills, not taught in business school, that separate the effective from the awesome:

Internet Of Things: What's Holding Us Back
Whirlpool CIO Michael Heim says "our toe is in the water on connected devices," as the company figures out the kind of connections customers really want in their homes, and what they'll pay for. Heim does see huge potential, and not just the cliché scenario of your refrigerator knowing all its contents and emailing you when the milk's running low. If customers let Whirlpool track appliance usage remotely, that would be a boon to product development, providing a window into what features people really use. What if the fridge told you when temperatures are varying, suggesting a pending failure, or your icemaker lost water pressure, suggesting a busted pipe might be spraying water all over your kitchen? What if your washer could be diagnosed remotely, since many appliances already generate electronic error codes?

Data breaches 9% more costly in 2013 than year before
Ponemon points out the 9% increase in breach costs is a big change from the past few years when breach costs either did not drop or rose only a bit. The cost stood at $214 per record lost in 2011. Factors in tallying data-breach costs include everything from forensics experts, outsourcing hotline support and free credit monitoring subscriptions, discounts to customers to make amends, in-house investigations, legal and all the extra work that mounts up after a breach. Heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, transportation, energy, financial services, communications, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing tend to have a higher per capita breach cost, the report says.

11 reasons encryption is (almost) dead
Encryption isn't always perfect, and even when the core algorithms are truly solid, many other links in the chain can go kablooie. There are hundreds of steps and millions of lines of code protecting our secrets. If any one of them fails, the data can be as easy to read as the face of a five-year-old playing Go Fish. ... Encryption is under assault more than ever -- and from more directions than previously thought. This doesn't mean you should forgo securing sensitive data, but forewarned is forearmed. It's impossible to secure the entire stack and chain. Here are 11 reasons encryption is no longer all it's cracked up to be.

3 Dimensions of Purpose
Here’s a test for purpose: Ask a colleague what they “do.” Most likely, they will respond with a short description of their role, and of the company or organization for which they work. Then ask them “why” they work. It’s in this answer that you will find out their purpose, and whether or not they find meaning in the cause or business for which they work. By asking these questions of your team, you will quickly learn how well you have communicated your purpose, and if there is alignment between their personal purposes and that of the company.

The Rising Strategic Risks of Cyberattacks
Organizations large and small lack the facts to make effective decisions, and traditional “protect the perimeter” technology strategies are proving insufficient. Most companies also have difficulty quantifying the impact of risks and mitigation plans. Much of the damage results from an inadequate response to a breach rather than the breach itself. Complicating matters further for executives, mitigating the effect of attacks often requires making complicated trade-offs between reducing risk and keeping pace with business demands (see sidebar “Seizing the initiative on cybersecurity: A top-team checklist”). Only a few CEOs realize that the real cost of cybercrime stems from delayed or lost technological innovation—problems resulting in part from how thoroughly companies are screening technology investments for their potential impact on the cyberrisk profile.

Bankers see a historic moment as mobile services boom
"It's a huge change ... you will come out with a completely new banking sector," said Clausen, head of the biggest bank in the Nordic region, where customers use online or smartphone banking more than anywhere else in the world. The surge in the take-up of mobile banking has taken many banks by surprise, prompting some to accelerate plans to close branches or adapt how their costly bricks-and-mortar branches are used. Granted, some executives said talk of the death of the branch is premature. Banks will push routine transactions on to tablet PCs or other automated platforms, but some branches will stay - albeit with a new look.

Quote for the day:

"No one can possibly achieve any real or lasting success... in business by being a conformist." -- J Paul Getty