March 16, 2015

How a tiny screen has developers rethinking their iPhone apps
Developing for wearables also has gotten Evernote's team talking about whether it should rethink how it lays out all notes in the future, Hull said. If the company becomes good at making predictions, it may reorder note lists based on what it thinks you need, offering a special section in the Evernote app for you to grab the notes instead of performing a search. "Trying to predict what users need before they need it ... is where we see the future of the app going in general across all of our platforms," she said. "This functionality is one of the first places we're trying it, but I absolutely anticipate it will inform what we do in all of our apps in the long term."

My Answers for Microservices Awkward Questions
I think it's reasonable to start with a little context building. When I started working on the application I'm primarily responsible for microservices were very much fringe. Fred George was already giving (great) presentations on the topic, but the idea had gained neither momentum nor hype. I never set out to write "microsevices"; I set out to write a few small projects (codebases) that collaborated to provide a (single) solid user experience.  I pushed to move the team to small codebases after becoming frustrated with a monolith I was a part of building and a monolith I ended up inheriting.

What is 'USB Type C' and 'USB 3.1 Gen 1'?
Now, what's interesting about USB Type C is that unlike the MagSafe or Lightning ports you find on other Apple products, it's not proprietary. It is, in fact, part of the USB-IF spec that's been in the works since the end of 2013 and forms part of the USB 3.1 specification. The new MacBook isn't even the first device to feature a USB Type C port, but it was the first to use it so comprehensively, at least until Google unveiled the new Chromebook Pixel a few days later. The port isn't physically backward-compatible with existing USB ports, but the USB 3.1 standard it is built on is, so all that's needed is an adapter to make the conversion. USB Type C is the port, and if you look closely at the specifications, you'll find that Apple claim that the port can do a lot:

Open Compute: More Financial Services Firms Jump In
B of A adds another big name to those of Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs, which were among Open Compute's organizing members. At the summit, Capital One and JPMorgan Chase took part in the proceedings and said they too were adopting Open Compute specified hardware. Both had technology leaders on a panel that discussed financial services adoption of OCP. It included: Brian Armstrong, director of next generation infrastructure at Capital One; Matthew Liste, managing director, global technology at JPMorgan Chase; Grant Richard, managing director for technology at Goldman Sachs; and Bob Thurston, head of global data center engineering at Fidelity. "You already see incredible hardware running fantastic software. ... We view this as an inevitable thing to happen," said Richard.

Open technologies and collaboration = doing cloud right
How often do we experience a true alignment of people’s actions with their words? I bet most of us would say probably not often enough. The IT media is all abuzz with marketing noise about how cloud technology will transform IT, but they don’t always have concrete examples to point to. Check out this interesting project run by some pretty smart people who understand that by marrying open cloud technology with collaboration across multiple organizations they can truly transform IT service delivery.

From connected cows to everlasting elevators: How businesses are using machine learning
Eleven farmers fitted cows with internet-connected pedometers to report the number of steps they took each day to an Azure machine learning system. The system was trained to watch how the cows were moving and spot the spike in steps when the cow went into heat. Farmers would then be alerted by text, allowing them to artificially inseminate the animals at the optimal time. The system proved 95 percent accurate in detecting the onset of ovulation and the number of calves born across the farms rose by an average of 12 percent. Farmers also reported having more time as they no longer had to watch for the signs themselves.

Verizon PCI DSS report a wake-up call, says PCI Security Standards Council
“Often an organisation’s approach to PCI security is to focus on passing the annual compliance assessment. But this is just the start of a vigilant, proactive security program. Only a combination of people, process and technology, and a focus on making security a ‘business-as-usual’ practice, will help thwart these constant threats,” said Orfei. Of all the data breaches studied, Verizon’s findings show that not a single company was fully PCI DSS compliant at the time of the breach. “Another troubling trend from this year’s report is that data security is still inadequate," said Simonetti.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Innovate
The CEO’s rationale was that his predecessor had spent freely chasing bright shiny technology objects to the detriment of the business’ core technology infrastructure. And instead of social media or these other bright shiny technology objects delivering new competitive advantage, they actually left the business with a core infrastructure that daily was becoming less capable than the competition at delivering the core elements of value that customers expect from an online travel site. So, he felt that innovation would be a distraction to the business. Instead he wanted every single resource of the organization marshaled to modernize and stabilize the core technology of their online business to deliver great core value for customers, or there would be gradually fewer customers to deliver value to.

What Is Big Data Discovery?
According to Gartner, “Big Data Discovery” is the next big trend in analytics. It’s the logical combination of three of the hottest trends of the last few years in analytics: Big Data, Data Discovery, and Data Science. Each of these areas has seen explosive growth, but there are clear upsides and downsides to each. For example, Data Discovery excels in ease of use, but allows only limited depth of exploration, while Data Science provides powerful analysis but is slow, complex, and difficult to implement.

Q&A on Conscious Agility
If you’ve achieved a state of antifragility, agility is inherent. Agility itself is excellent, as long as responsiveness is sufficient in your context. However, it ceases to be enough when who you are today is on the fast track toward extinction. An organization has to acknowledge when it is time to undergo a rebirthing and that kind of willingness requires a great deal of courage. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is necessarily a secret recipe or technique, but perhaps a bit of intuition and a high degree of awareness and foresight is required.

Quote for the day:

"Great leaders understand that mistakes are opportunities. Wrathful leaders see any mistake as the failure of the people involved." -- @ManagersDiary