January 25, 2016

When Virtual Reality Meets Education

In what may turn out to be an immersive education game changer, Google launched its Pioneer Expeditions in September 2015. Under this program, thousands of schools around the world are getting — for one day — a kit containing everything a teacher needs to take their class on a virtual trip: Asus smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, a library of 100+ virtual trips ... This global distribution of VR content and access will undoubtedly influence a pedagogical shift as these new technologies allow a literature teacher in Chicago to “take” her students to Verona to look at the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or a teacher in the Bronx to “bring” her Ancient Civilizations class to the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.

John D McGonagle: Welcome to a world of Internet of Things

In the future, a consumer will want their rights to extend to their machines, but traditional analysis of contractual offer and acceptance, and the existence of binding contracts, will become complicated where machines are automatically interacting. After all, it may not always be obvious or implied that a machine has authority to act on its owner’s behalf. Taking a more strategic view, IoT will undoubtedly lead to the proliferation of valuable technology. However, serious questions still remain. How will it be protected? Will it be patentable? IoT devices will also require cloud computing power to collect, store, analyse, search and deliver vast amounts of data.

Configuration as a Service

This is where Configuration as a service comes in – the ability to change the behavior of our software systems on the fly without the need to make code changes. Recently the squad I work in released Skyscanner’s first iteration of Configuration as a Service. Our main motivation behind the system was to enable anyone in the business to safely make changes to our production systems while having the changes backed by A/B tests and associated metrics & reporting. Another motivation was that the system allows us to gracefully bypass a service which is experiencing an unexpected problem. Having this flexibility means we can continue deliver the core experience which people come to Skyscanner for even if something goes wrong behind the scenes.

4 essentials to creating a world-class threat intelligence program

"Aim small, miss small" according to Gundert, applies equally well to threat intelligence — a subject that produces an immense amount of data. He explains, "True success in threat intelligence is predicated on constraining intelligence efforts to specific business objectives, which removes the large surface area and leaves only a challenging sliver of value to pursue." ... Besides using threat vendors as sources, in-house data gathering capabilities are important sources of company-specific information and a way to verify vendors. Gundert adds, "For example, building an internal Web crawler that analyzes the web page code of the business's top 5,000 daily web destinations may provide insight into drive-by attacks."

From Monolith to Multilith at ticketea

Three years ago ticketea was basically a monolith, an all-in-one solution that was designed this way due to some constraints and advantages at that time. Basic constraints were size of the team and money, and some of the advantages were reduced time to market for new features, deployments were easy, the infrastructure necessary to run all this was small and cheap and most members of the team at the time had a full picture of the platform. We basically had an API and a frontend web application, which is better than having all in one single web application. Having a separate API was already a big head start. In the beginning of 2013, we had to create a business intelligence solution that fit our needs and thus we created Odin, which was more like a Satellite to this monolith.

5 reasons why IoT needs data analytics

Businesses will need to use analytics to generate insights because, with the Internet of Things, the stakes have never been higher. Analytics has already been used in industries like retail and finance, but the Internet of Things promises to broaden its scope into other areas such as healthcare. ... Wearable devices are able to collect and send patient data to doctors in real-time and RFID sensors are helping provide greater confidence in the pharmaceutical supply chain. With more data becoming available all the time, medical IoT devices combined with analytics tools could be used in the future to not only identify health issues, but ultimately cure them.

Why Cloud Computing Will Shake Up Security

Traditionally, switching products have relied on elaborate routing protocols and network encapsulations to make sure that, for example, Rack A doesn’t talk to Rack B, but can talk to Rack C. It gets way more complicated in the jumble known as network management. But in cloud computing, the network management mess goes away. For example, Security Groups, the network controls Amazon uses that are defined up front and deployed automatically. This is a huge time saver because you no longer have to set up network access control policies and the need for software switches is greatly reduced.

Choose the right PaaS for developing cloud applications

The key factor in choosing the right PaaS type for developing cloud applications is understanding the project at hand, said Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, maker of the Riak open source database. No one PaaS type fits all circumstances, and that may necessitate keeping several in a developer's toolkit simultaneously. "There are a large number of distinct PaaS types, because application development scenarios differ," McCrory said. Concurring with Hurwitz, he said one is the SaaS style, typified in the way that Force is tied to Salesforce. Heroku, he said, is different in that, "you upload everything you want to run, and put the apps online. It isn't bound to Salesforce as tightly as Force."

Healthcare IT's battle to keep sensitive data safe

Unlike the financial sector, security awareness in healthcare is lagging. Also unlike the financial sector—and much to the chagrin of the industry—hacked medical records command a premium on the black market because health data is far more permanent. Healthcare organizations are facing a cybersecurity crisis. ... Beyond patient data, pharmaceutical research information is a highly attractive target for cyberespionage. It takes an average of 12 years to research a drug and get it approved, typically costing the research company $359 million. Competing companies, often sponsored by nation-states, can be motivated to cut costs and time through the act of cybertheft.

The Imperative for Ethical Standards in Analytics

Other research and publications have also pointedly raised concerns and risks regarding the perils associated with breaches or questionable use of data. These concerns have risen all the way to the White House, where at a recent conference DJ Patil, the White House chief data scientist, emphasized, "My ask is that every training course, every curriculum, every MOOC, every college class, every professional degree, every program at a company has a data ethics curriculum that is intrinsic – not some bolt on, but intrinsic – to the training of every data scientist, every computer scientist, every data engineer, every data operations person."

Quote for the day:

"Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable." -- Joseph Wood Krutch