April 11, 2015

Big Data Platforms: How To Migrate From Relational Databases to NoSQL
With our discussion scope sufficiently narrowed, we'll start by tackling a relatively simple relational structure. The very first thing we'll need to do is to evaluate which entities can be de-normalized to become what I call super-classes. "Super-class" is not a standard big data term. It's my term and I find it makes things easier for the initial discussion. I'll explain why later. Each of these super-classes will be used to help define the new composite structure (an actual Big Data term). We'll be using the following Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) to lay out the steps needed to identify our super-classes.

5 Competitive Strategies of Successful (and Ethical) Companies
Ethics becomes part of the competitive advantage that enables them to succeed. When I talk about a conscious strategy incorporating ethics, I am not thinking of a formal (written) strategic plan. Many organizations do not have formal strategic plans. But whether or not there is a formal plan, successful companies employ certain strategies to compete effectively. It is among these competitive strategies that ethics finds a place. I identify five competitive strategies common to companies that are successful and ethical on a sustained basis. None of these strategies considered alone guarantees ethical success. However, each strategy increases your chances of combined ethical and market success.

The App That’s a Breath of Fresh Air
Like many other innovations, BreezoMeter was born out of frustration. Its CEO, Ran Korber, was frustrated by the lack of centralized air quality information available when he was seeking a place clear of air pollution for his new home in Israel. As an environmental engineer with a pregnant wife, he was particularly concerned about the air quality. Finding nothing on the market provided all the answer he sought, he created his own solution. The app proved successful in Israel where 300 sensors sufficed to cover the most populated areas of an area roughly the size of New Jersey. Scaling up to cover an area hundreds of time bigger was a challenge for the startup. BreezoMeters’s CMO, Ziv Lautman, said it took half a year to collect air quality data from thousands of sensors scattered around the United States.

IS Audit Basics: Auditor: About Yourself (And How Others See You)
Technical expertise is necessary, but not sufficient to be or become a successful auditor. That is, a successful auditor is one who is credible, respected and personable enough to be considered a valuable source of information and advice. Having a good knowledge of oneself and the soft skills that facilitate human interaction is just as important as professional knowledge and, probably, harder to acquire. Being sensitive to how others perceive us is at least as important. “O would some Power with vision teach us to see ourselves as others see us! It would from many a blunder free us, and foolish notions.

10 minutes with… Two-Factor Authentication author Mark Stanislav
By combining different ‘factor classes’ (e.g. something you have, something you know, something you are), account security is greatly strengthened as the challenge of a criminal to get past two factors is a difficult hurdle. Because passwords are often poorly created, easily stolen, and commonly reused, their ability to protect our most important systems and services aren’t well matched for the needs and risks facing people today. Through the book I am able to educate my readers about not just what two-factor authentication is, but what choices they have to do it, what the upsides and downsides are to different methods, and what they should think about to make sound decisions regarding their security needs.

Intuitive Reasoning, Effective Analytics & Success: Lessons from Dr. Jonas Salk
To perceive something differently or even to know something as being true is of little or no value if you’re not willing to stand apart from the crowd. It’s very clear from his interview this was never an issue for Dr. Salk. He was extraordinarily thick-skinned, and had an exceptionally healthy attitude regarding criticism and rejection. And yet, he was fully willing to follow the hard road necessary for a new truth to be recognized and accepted. People lacking these high-EQ attributes are unfortunately likely to keep intuitive reasoning to themselves or just give up. ... the greatest insights, advances and innovations using big data will come from people with unique subject matter expertise and high intuitive reasoning skills – enabling them to “see” challenges very differently. And they will probably not be formally trained in data science or programming.

Burn Rate Doesn’t Matter
Too bad burn rate doesn’t matter. More specifically, burn rate (net cash outflow per month) is a vanity metric. Just as top-line revenue doesn’t tell you much about the health of a DJIA blue-chip, burn rate says very little about whether a startup is on track. Only by evaluating a company’s use of cash and long-term strategy can high burn be diagnosed as good or bad. In many cases, the low burn ideal is actually dangerous. At Founders Fund we avoid investing in companies unless they are consuming cash. We’re here to invest when doing so will bring about positive progress faster, which often manifests as the conversion of cash into assets and increased burn. Cash-flow-positive businesses are usually past this inflection point, or simply don’t have enough ideas about what valuable things to do with more money.

Self Service: A Data Scientist Productivity Boost
There are no less than six new and emerging roles within any organization, with data developers/engineers and business analysts being two of those, according to a recent Forrester webcast. The pool of data developers and engineers is roughly three million worldwide. These individuals count data modeling as a core skill; where data is in their DNA and the IT department is their home. Data developers have Excel, SQL, Microsoft Access and declarative dataflow diagrams down cold. They can work in declarative programming metaphors, draw dataflow mapping diagrams of what they want the system to do, but don’t necessarily do a lot of coding. The challenges this group faces are similar to those of the data scientist.

Surveys: Employees at fault in majority of breaches
"Security awareness is a must, but it's a slow and difficult task, and as CompTIA study shows human error is still the largest factor behind security breaches," said Igor Baikalov, chief scientist at Los Angeles-based Securonix, Inc. "The game changer," he said, "is continuous risk monitoring through automated analytics." It can detect human error, reduce false positives, and lower incidence response times, he said. "Humans were always considered to be the weakest point of the IT security chains -- and the more privileges they have, the more risk they pose to the corporate network," said Péter Gyöngyösi, product manager at Luxembourg-based BalaBit IT Security.

Asynchronous Programming in .Net with QnA
Task based Asynchronous Pattern (TAP) is based on concept of a task, represented by Task type inSystem.Threasing.Tasks namespace. It represents an asynchronous operation which you could wait for completion, cancel it, or specify a continuation to execute when this asynchronous operation is complete. It provides an object-oriented approach to writing asynchronous code. This frees up developer from worrying about semantics of language or execution environment for executing asynchronous operation and he can rather focus on functional aspects of application. Core idea here is to enable developer to execute methods on a separate thread seamlessly.

Quote for the day:

“Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal” -- Howard Gardner