December 08, 2014

Google is funding “an artificial intelligence for data science”
The first problem is that current Machine Learning (ML) methods still require considerable human expertise in devising appropriate features and models. The second problem is that the output of current methods, while accurate, is often hard to understand, which makes it hard to trust. The “automatic statistician” project from Cambridge aims to address both problems, by using Bayesian model selection strategies to automatically choose good models / features, and to interpret the resulting fit in easy-to-understand ways, in terms of human readable, automatically generated reports.

Researchers quantify the 'S' in HTTPS
The paper, The Cost of the "S" in HTTPS (PDF), was presented at ACM CoNEXT in Sydney, and suggests that while the use of HTTPS is increasing due to mounting security concerns, it could result in more latency online, greater battery drain for some connected devices, and the loss of in-network value-added services. The paper asserts that HTTPS "does not come for free", with the researchers saying that HTTPS "may introduce overhead in terms of infrastructure costs, communication latency, data usage, and energy consumption". The encryption offered by an HTTPS address may protect information from "man-in-the-middle" attacks, but that same functionality can hamper the application of "middlebox" network appliances, such as firewalls.

Cisco is missing the transition to software-defined networks
It is perhaps unsurprising that more and more buyers are starting to inspect alternative suppliers. Gartner research director Andrew Lerner says tyre-kicking is an apt metaphor for software-defined networks in the mainstream. He says people are interested but, at a session in the US in June 2014, analysts found many were waiting for increased marketing around the concept from the legacy network owners, especially Cisco. The real movement will come when networking specialists controlling budgets start getting questions from elsewhere in their organisation on why their demands cannot be supported, says Gartner.

Free Windows? Not a chance
Turner's dismissal of Windows as a "loss leader," however, won't preclude specific moves, especially on the consumer side that could include free upgrades to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1, or as a longer shot, from Windows 7, as well. But he implied that Microsoft will continue to charge OEMs for Windows licenses in most cases, its effort to crush Chromebooks with a underwritten-by-search OS notwithstanding. More information on how Microsoft plans to reap revenue from Windows will be forthcoming soon. "The business model stuff will be out in probably the early part of 2015," Turner said.

Fedora 21: Worth the wait
Anaconda will do all the right things, but they might be undone or overridden by the UEFI firmware. In the worst case, if your system still insists on booting Windows after Fedora (or any other UEFI-compatible Linux distribution) is installed, you can use Boot-Select again to get a list of bootable objects, and you should be able to select the Linux installation there. All right, let's get to the really interesting stuff. I am going to show a simple screenshot of each of the versions that I have installed and a few comments about what it was like installing and running that version, or perhaps something interesting or unexpected that I came across while installing it.

Detecting the Insider Threat – how to find the needle in a haystack?
The problem of detecting the insider threat before it actually happens is as difficult and complex to solve as the prediction of human behavior itself. What is the next action of a person? Which action will be inside the scope of assigned work for that person? Which action will indicate the preparation for an attack by that person? Recent technological advances have shown significant improvements in predicting what was previously considered unpredictable – human behavior. Despite some initial setbacks, systems such as Google Now, Siri, or Cortana aim to predict users’ needs before they even know them.

European firms satisfied with IT infrastructure outsourcing but priorities are changing
“The infrastructure services supplier landscape includes many different types of supplier, including global, regional and local traditional service providers, Indian outsourcers and emerging suppliers. This is increasing competition and forcing suppliers to bring new offerings and delivery models to the market,” the Forrester report stated. “Faced with this customer demand for better, faster and more cost-effective infrastructure services, and increased competition from emerging and India-centric suppliers, Europe's leading providers are forced to bring new offerings and delivery models to the market,” said Forrester analyst Wolfgang Benkel.

Social customer service next up in call centers
The interest in social media has sparked action between both contact center and unified communications (UC) vendors. In October, for example, UC provider 8x8 announced plans to incorporate Conversocial's cloud-based social media engagement technology. The combined product would enable contact center managers to have greater insight and control over their social media strategies. Many other vendors, including Avaya, Cisco, and Genesys, already natively support social media through their multi-channel contact center platforms.

Less is more for Australian startups
Australia's startup ecosystem has come a long way over the past two decades, but there remains a big difference between the local market and the homeland of the ecosystem that it is working to emulate: Silicon Valley. The domestic startup sector is seeing more and more entrants vying to pony up money to help early stage businesses get off the ground, but when it comes to more substantial later-stage funding, the dollars tend to dry up. However, the economic foundations underlying California's technology sector -- and the United States' tech industry in general -- run far and deep, with numerous wells from which to draw rich seams of funding.

Best Defense Against a Cyber-Attack Is to Know Your Adversary
Chapman, who is director of cyber operations at EdgeWave Security, believes that if enterprises looked at security the way the military does and used military-grade practices, few network breaches would succeed. Chapman gets his military slant because he was in charge of part of the U.S. Navy's cyber-war operations. This is why he thinks the North Korea theory about the attack on Sony Pictures isn't accurate. He said that nothing about the attack makes sense if you try to blame that country. Instead, he thinks the attack was either someone making use of readily available attack scripts found on the Internet or it was an inside job.

Quote for the day:

"Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong." -- Peter T. Mcintyre