March 23, 2015

One on One with IBM’s Global VP for Data Analytics
Projects that have an opportunity to be less successful are ones that are way too broad in scope. People’s patience and tolerance for longer-term projects in today’s world just isn’t there anymore. If something is taking 18 months, that’s way too long. If you have a much smaller set of projects that are in these three-to-four month increments, then they can see success, they can see something building, they can start getting value right away, and then they can move onto the next thing. And then before you know it, a year-and-a-half has elapsed and it looks like you have had a tremendous amount of success, because you’ve probably had five small projects, and you’re already seeing value and outcomes from those projects. And that’s typically what companies are looking for now.

Technology and Persuasion
If habit formation as a business model was once largely limited to casinos and cigarette manufacturers, today technology has opened up the option to a broad range of companies. Insights from psychology and behavioral economics about how and why people make certain choices, combined with digital technologies, social media, and smartphones, have enabled designers of websites, apps, and a wide variety of other products to create sophisticated persuasive technologies. How these technologies work and why are the big questions this Business Report will answer.

Hot IT skills that will get you hired and well-paid
Tech skills are the future of business, as each corner of the enterprise depends on technology in some fashion to meet goals and objectives. With those skills come the promise of more money and job security. But the question remains: Which skills are worth your investment in time and resources? Talk of DevOps, big data, cybersecurity and other IT skills fill the ether, but how do they stack up in the real world? We spoke with to find the answer as well as look at the IT job market as a whole One of the best predictors of what's to come is to look at the past. So with the first quarter of 2015 almost behind us, we look back to see what's going on within the tech jobs market and which skills have grown in demand over the past year.

The Data Lake Debate: Pro is Up First
Organizations have been capturing data for years, long before big data. Typically, a fraction of this data gets scrubbed, transformed, aggregated, and moved into structured data warehouses, data marts, analytical sandboxes, and the like. Business users then use their reporting and analytical tools to go ask this subset of data predefined questions (based on what and how the data is structured)—and the data answers. This is today’s tried-&-true process. Here’s how the story changes with a data lake: An organization captures whatever data it wants in its raw form in the data lake. A business user can now ask the data lake any question based on the known data in the lake.

How Startups Are Using Big Data Tech to Disrupt Markets
Big data has made a dramatic impact on companies all over America, but running big data programs is only one side of the puzzle. After collecting the data, companies need to analyze it. A huge part of analysis is creating visuals that explain large amounts of seemingly abstract data in a clear, concise way. It’s no surprise then that many companies are turning to data visualization tools to streamline the transformation of their business data into something more useful. With a surge in start-up companies seeing big results in figures and customers, it’s no surprise to discover they haven’t done this all on luck alone. Companies like Pandora, Uber, Netflix and other start-ups that went big use big data to determine what their customers want more of, who their friends are, and generally what they like—all before their customers do.

The Open Group Explores Security and Ways to Assure Safer Supply Chains
One of the things we are going to do with the new document is focus on the software and systems engineering process from the start of the stakeholders, all the way through requirements, analysis, definition, design, development, implementation, operation, and sustainment, all the way to disposal. Critical things are going to happen at every one of those places in the lifecycle The beauty of that process is that you involve the stakeholders early. So when those security controls are actually selected they can be traced back to a specific security requirement, which is part of a larger set of requirements that support that mission or business operation, and now you have the stakeholders involved in the process.

How to think about risk mitigation
At first glance this term may seem to have a pejorative connotation. After all, developing nations generally want to improve themselves by going forward or becoming more progressive which seems to run counter to going backwards on anything. Rather, in this instance, I mean a nation must begin working backwards as a mental exercise rather than a physical one. That is, a developing nation must envision a worst case scenario that could occur through a deliberate information security attack by another nation, cyber-criminals or computer hacktivists. Then, working backwards, the country can put in place those safeguards would be necessary in order to have rapidly, detected, reacted, contained, corrected and learned from the event.

Are your restores ready for World Backup Day 2015?
In case you forgot or did not know, World Backup Day is March 31 2015 (@worldbackupday) so now is a good time to be ready. The only challenge that I have with the World Backup Day (view their site here) that has gone on for a few years know is that it is a good way to call out the importance of backing up or protecting data. However its time to also put more emphasis and focus on being able to make sure those backups or protection copies actually work. By this I mean doing more than making sure that your data can be read from tape, disk, SSD or cloud service actually going a step further and verifying that restored data can actually be used (read, written, etc).

The Electric Mood-Control Acid Test
The device, which you’ll be able to buy later this year for a price that has yet to be disclosed, was developed by a team of neuroscientists and engineers at the startup Thync. It’s a small, curved piece of plastic that snaps onto electrodes and produces pulses of electricity. A wireless signal from a smartphone app controls the frequency and intensity of the pulses, gradually changing them in five- to 20-minute long programs that Thync calls vibes. The amount of electricity it produces is small—once it’s set up properly, I can barely feel it. Yet Thync says it has a marked impact on key parts of a person’s brain. An energy vibe, the company contends, can make you feel as if you’ve just had a Red Bull or similar energy drink.

My latest Microsoft update problem
What happened was that, when my machine started to shut down, it told me it was going to ""Configure Windows Updates". Then it rebooted, and on startup it continued with "Configuring Windows Updates". But after a while it said, "Update Installation Failed", and it was backing out the updates. Grr. Then it rebooted again, and said again that it was "Removing Update Installation" or some such, and after a while it rebooted again. Just as I started to fear that it had stuck itself in an endless reboot loop, the third reboot succeeded. But then when I went to shut down again, it started the same cycle... and it is obvious that it is going to do that over, and over, and over again now. Three reboots and a lot of waiting for "Configuring Windows Updates" followed by "Removing Windows Updates".

Quote for the day:

"Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them; power flows to the man who knows how." -- Elbert Hubbard