January 13, 2015

Using COBIT 5 to Deliver Information and Data Governance
Part of doing this successfully involves ensuring the availability of reliable and useful information for decision making. This clearly involves keeping the ratio of erroneous or unavailable information to a minimum. Limiting erroneous decision making also involves ensuring that reporting is complete, timely and accurate.2 Measuring performance here involves looking at the percent of reports that are not delivered on time and the percent of reports containing inaccuracies. These obviously need to be kept to a minimum. Clearly, this function is enabled by backup systems, applications, data and documentation. These should be worked according to a defined schedule that meets business requirements.

Computers may soon know you better than your spouse
To judge the effectiveness of the computer algorithms, researchers gave questionnaires to friends and relatives of some participants. The survey results and computerized assessments were then compared with the self-assessments from the subjects. With just 10 likes, the computer would know someone as well as a work colleague. With more than 70, it would get to the level of a friend or roommate, and with more than 300 to the level of a spouse or close relative. The study is notable because of its large sample size, said Jennifer Golbeck a computer scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park and the director of the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab.

New Form of Memory Could Advance Brain-Inspired Computers
Phase-change memory is expected to hit the market in the next few years. It can write information more quickly, and pack it more densely, than the memory used in computers today (see “A Preview of Future Disk Drives”). A phase-change memory chip consists of a grid of “cells” that can each switch between two states to represent a digital bit of information—a 1 or a 0. In IBM’s experimental system, each “synapse” is represented by a pair of memory cells working together. Computer scientists have been working for some time on chips that crudely mimic neurons and synapses. Such “neuromorphic” designs are radically different from the chips we use today.

5 ways to give IT recognition
We all like to know that our efforts are appreciated. For people working in IT, recognition is too often neglected, simply because so much of what IT workers do is behind the scenes and goes unnoticed by the majority of employees. Click through to see five things that Paul Ingevaldson, author of The 9 ½ Secrets of a Great IT Organization, did when he was the CIO at Ace Hardware that cost little to nothing and that you can implement today.

Google Launches Cloud Application Performance Tool
Google Cloud Trace can perform a sort of "replay" analysis of a process stream to identify which users experienced slow request response times and then compose a report that identifies where the time is being spent in the system. Some slowdowns affect only a handful of users but nevertheless produce urgent complaints. Developers often have trouble identifying what's different about the response they obtained from the application versus other users. Cloud Trace is intended to speed the process up. Cloud Trace can break the steps of a single request down into the number of milliseconds that each part takes, pinpointing for developers the likely location of the slowdown.

Samsung, SmartThings and the open door to the smart home (Q&A)
In effect, Samsung is readying for the Internet of Things (IoT), the term for the concept of using sensors and other technologies to hook just about anything you can think of into the Internet. Analyst firm Gartner predicts the number of networked devices will surge to 26 billion units by 2020 from about 900 million in 2009, turning formerly "dumb" objects into smart ones that can communicate with each other. IDC reckons the IoT market will hit $3.04 trillion that same year. Samsung acquired smart-home startup SmartThings in August to help with its push. SmartThings' technology helps consumers to control their appliances with their smartphones, smartwatches and other devices, and SmartThings has been viewed as key to Samsung's smart-home and Internet of Things efforts.

When interviewing, we make a point of ensuring there are women involved. This gives women candidates someone to relate to, and someone to ask questions which are often difficult to ask men. It's also vital to have women interview men, since we've found that women often spot problematic behaviors that men miss as we just don't have the experiences of subtle discriminations. Getting a diverse group of people inside the company isn't just a matter of recruiting, it also means paying a lot of attention to the environment we have, to try to ensure we don't have the same Alienating Atmosphere that much of the industry exhibits. One argument I've heard against this approach is that if everyone did this, then we would run out of pink, sparkly marbles.

EU countries that set data retention rules must ensure they comply with e-Privacy Directive
In its opinion, the European Parliament's Legal Services unit said EU countries, since the CJEU's judgment, have had the option of either repealing their own laws on data retention or maintaining them. However, it said that should countries choose to maintain the rules then those rules must adhere to the e-Privacy Directive. ... The e-Privacy Directive sets out rules that generally protect the privacy of electronic communications and data associated with those messages, 'traffic data'. One specific provision places a general prohibition on the unauthorised storage of communications and traffic data.

The Future of Scaling and Strategy
One way that scaling strategies work is by distributing products and services through existing platforms. An existing network or platform may be able to replicate a product or service. This is especially helpful for non-profit programs who are already limited in regard to resources, but want to reach as many of those who would benefit from the program as possible. A small non-profit may be able to piggyback on an existing network, especially with the availability of cloud computing to get their message to a wider audience than they could otherwise.

Data Acceleration: Turning Technology Into Solutions
The landscape of solutions that foster data acceleration and enable a successful data supply chain has grown more complex than ever. Executives need to fully understand the technology components available on the market, because each supports data acceleration in unique ways. They also need to recognize that these components deliver maximum value only when they are combined in ways that capitalize on their complementary advantages. Only then can they decide which configurations may be best for their organization’s needs and discuss prospective solutions with vendors – and ultimately achieve returns from their analytics and big data investment.

Quote for the day:

"A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible." --Polybius