July 20, 2014

Being a Good Enterprise Architecture Citizen
One of the big problem I see with most enterprise level tools is they want to do everything. Most large enterprises would already have a financing system, organization directory, customer relationship management, document management, messaging, business process, calendaring and user authentication systems in place already. Yet, quite a few enterprise tools I have seen have their own data store for finance, organization directory, customer relationship management, document management, messaging, business process, calendaring and user authentication.

Fujitsu designs leaner supercomputer with fewer switches
Fujitsu has developed an approach to cluster supercomputers that reduces the number of network switches by 40% without sacrificing performance. The approach centers on using a new communications algorithm that efficiently controls data transmissions as well as deploying a multilayer full-mesh topology in the arrangement of the network. Compared to a three-layer "fat-tree" network topology, which employs a tree-like structure of connections, the multilayer full-mesh topology eliminates a layer of switches through more efficient mapping.

A Checklist for Architecture & Design Review
One of the key aspects of the IT Governance is to ensure that the investments made in software assets are optimal and there is a quantifiable return on such investments. This also means that such investment does not lead to risks that could lead to damages. Most of us are well aware that reviews play a key role in ensuring the quality of the software assets. As such, in this blog post, I have tried to come up with a checklist for reviewing the architecture and design of a software application. While the choice of specific design best practice is interdependent on another, a careful tradeoff is necessary. For a detailed discussion on Trade off Analysis of Software Quality Attributes.

How Data and Analytics Can Help the Developing World
First, data can be used to keep people healthy. With the help of IBM, the city of Tshwane, South Africa piloted a crowdsourced app known as WaterWatchers that lets users report water supply information, such as faulty pipes, through SMS. As a result, IBM found that the city was losing almost $30 million in wasted water annually. A similar effort by Cipesa, a Kampala-based communications technology non-profit, allows journalists and citizens to monitor and document health services delivery in Northern Uganda with a mobile app, in order to identify discrepancies in official reports and drive infrastructure improvement efforts

Can You Trust Your Algorithms?
A lot depends on the data, including when it was measured, by whom, and with what accuracy. “It also depends on the algorithms you use to mine the data,” he says. “Yes of course we can get patterns and yes of course there are many case studies where the patterns really buy you something. But optimizing and calibrating these models to certain situations is, for the foreseeable future, going to be the central component. Without algorithmic differentiation, it’s going to be a major pain.” Failure to abide by the laws of mathematics could doom some big data projects being susceptible to the dreaded random factor.

Google Smart Contact Lens Focuses On Healthcare Billions
Today, under a new development and licensing deal between Google and the Alcon eyewear division at Novartis, the two companies said they will create a smart contact lens that contains a low power microchip and an almost invisible, hair-thin electronic circuit. The lens can measure diabetics’ blood sugar levels directly from tear fluid on the surface of the eyeball. The system sends data to a mobile device to keep the individual informed. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company wanted to use “the latest technology in ‘minituarisation’ of electronics” in order to improve people’s “quality of life”.

Home router security to be tested in upcoming hacking contest
Researchers are gearing up to hack an array of different home routers during a contest next month at the Defcon 22 security conference. The contest is called SOHOpelessly Broken—a nod to the small office/home office space targeted by the products—and follows a growing number of large scale attacks this year against routers and other home embedded systems. The competition is organized by security consultancy firm Independent Security Evaluators and advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and will have two separate challenges.

Apple-IBM deal threatens Android's enterprise push
The analyst firm said IBM's Endpoint Manager software "excels in patch management, multiplatform support and overall scalability" and called the software a "good choice for organizations heavily focused on security configuration management, including patching and those that require strong multiplatform server management in addition to client management or scalability to support tens of thousands of endpoints." But Gartner said in the May report that the IBM software is "not as good a choice" for those organizations that require simple usability, a failing which seems to beg for the kind of help that Apple may provide. Gartner also faulted IBM for complexity in its packaging, bundling and pricing of its various management software functions.

A Large-Scale Empirical Study on Software Reuse in Mobile Apps
The fact that software reuse, in the form of inheritance, class, and library reuse, is prevalent in mobile apps of the Google Play app store, means that app developers reap all the typical reuse benefits, such as improved productivity, higher-quality software and faster time to market, although many didn’t receive a formal training in software engineering. It isn’t clear whether this successful reuse is due to the quality of mobile platforms, development tools, app stores, or a combination of other factors. Possible other factors could be the relatively small size of the mobile app code base and development teams, although in recent work, we’ve found that for these characteristics, mobile apps behave identically to small Unix utility applications

A Few BGP Security Considerations
BGP uses TCP for transport which makes it vulnerable to TCP based attacks. The example used in the book is the TCP reset attack, and it involves sending a spoofed a packet with the TCP reset bit set. If such a packet is received, the TCP session is immediately terminated. For this attack to be successful, the packet must have src/dst IP addresses and src/dest TCP ports that match what the BGP speaker expects to receive from its neighbour. Since it’s BGP, it’s known to the attacker that either source or destination port is 179 (depending on who is client/server in the particular session), with the other port being a randomly generated number. Armed with this knowledge, the attacker sends a series of packets with varying port numbers, eventually sending just the right one, resetting the session between the two BGP speakers.

Quote for the day:

"Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself." -- Robert Collier