October 15, 2014

This Headline Is One of Many Experiments on You
“When doing things online, there’s a very large probability you’re going to be involved in multiple experiments every day,” Sinan Aral, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, said during a break at a conference for practitioners of large-scale user experiments last weekend in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Look at Google, Amazon, eBay, Airbnb, Facebook—all of these businesses run hundreds of experiments, and they also account for a large proportion of Web traffic.”

Distributing data science brainpower more equitably among the haves and have-nots
Everybody has to make a living. Data scientists, like anybody else, tend to gravitate to where the jobs are, especially those that fetch higher salaries, offer the resources needed to achieve their dreams and promise more rewarding career paths. For that reason, larger employers with well-established, amply funded big-data initiatives tend to have an advantage over smaller organizations when it comes to recruiting the best and brightest data scientists. For that reason, nonprofits, charities and small businesses tend not to have full time staff data scientists, even though they may benefit as much from data mining and predictive modeling as much as their Fortune 1000 counterparts.

How is a Mega Data Center Different from a Massive One?
The concept of “size” in data center discussions and reports is sometime defined by power capacity, utility supply, number of racks, building area or the compute room area. Density today also has a variety of meanings. DCI proposes that in data center context, size should only describe size of the compute space, and density should be measured peak kW load. Size, according to the think tank, is defined using rack yield and area of the compute space. Here are DCI’s size definitions:

Big Data Can Guess Who You Are Based on Your Zip Code
The database is a fascinating glimpse into how marketers see the world, and how data profiles can link populations in distant cities—or not. Though cities like Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, might be compared culturally, their marketing profiles are fairly distinct. And while the majority of consumers in Beverly Hills share a profile with those on Philadelphia's Main Line, for example, they don't match up with the profile for residents of similarly expensive zip codes on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Flashback: CP/M and the beginning of the microcomputer era
Like all operating systems of the time, CP/M was a proprietary operating system, with the source code closely protected by its creators. Even so, through judicious pre-Internet networking on the university-centric Arpanet, I was able to get my hands on a reverse-engineered dump of the CP/M source code. In fact, the CP/M source code is what inspired me to write this article today. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the first build of CP/M, the Computer History Museum is releasing dumps of a few different versions of CP/M source code, including the reverse-engineered listing I found so valuable to my work.

POODLE flaw POOs on SSL (time to panic?)
security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in SSL 3.0 that allows attackers to decrypt encrypted connections. ... The attack is, we're told, easy to perform, and can be done on-the-fly using JavaScript. It is a blunder within the blueprints of SSL 3.0 rather than a software bug, so it affects any product following the protocol. ... Websites and...browsers are...expected to end support for SSL v3 as it's now considered insecure by design, and instead enforce the use of TLS. ... Websites that end support for SSL v3 will become incompatible with older browsers and OSes...the final nail in the coffin for machines stuck on IE6 and XP.

CIOs fear poor cloud investment is making businesses uncompetitive
CIOs acknowledged the missed opportunities and threats involved if IT does not move to a more flexible and agile approach to support revenue growth and competitiveness.  Over a third of CIOs admitted that if their IT departments were not able to modernise IT effectively in the next 12 months it would lead to reduced staff productivity (38%), increased time to market (34%), reduced ability to service customers in new ways (33%), a risk of data theft occurring (35%) and limit their company’s ability to launch new products and services (35%).

Big Data and Quantified Self-Awareness
A lack of self-awareness, what I call self-not-so-aware-ness, is a blessing at times since it makes us blissfully blind. Happiness, according to some psychologists, is largely about self-delusion. As David McRaney explained in his book ...  “You believe that your abilities are sound, your memories perfect, your thoughts rational and wholly conscious, the story of your life true and accurate, and your personality stable and stellar. The truth is that your brain lies to you. Inside your skull is a vast and far-reaching personal conspiracy to keep you from uncovering the facts about who you actually are, how capable you tend to be, and how confident you deserve you feel.”

French Bank to Allow Sending Money With Tweets
As part of the service, called S-Money, people will be able to transfer up to 500 euros, about $635, through their Twitter accounts in the latest sign of how technology is seeping into the world of banking. "The service is instantaneous," said Nicolas Chatillon, the head of the BPCE unit that is overseeing the project. He first approached Twitter with the money transfer idea over the summer. "We are pioneers," he said. "We’re trying to make life easier for Twitter users." The American tech giant, which is testing a ‘‘buy’’ button that can be embedded in posts that allow users to buy products through their smartphones or computers, did not directly partner with BPCE on the money transfer service.

More Than LeSS
This is just about the opposite of what senior management typically seeks: they strive for low-risk ways to achieve short-term goals. They are often looking for the legendary low-hanging fruit. This leads to what might be called the “conundrum of change”: small organizational changes can lessen problems, conveniently avoiding the underlying structural problems. And because the prolonged structural problems remain, the next issue will be just around the corner and will require another quick fix.

Quote for the day:

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind." -- Henry James