February 24, 2016

Humans 2.0: How the robot revolution is going to change how we see, feel, and talk

"Just as humans like you and I are not able to do everything and don't know about everything, robots will always have limitations," said Veloso. "The thing would be to continue developing algorithms in which the robots themselves are useful but capable of asking for help." The swallowable robot—called the MuBot—has been the focus of researcher Ben Winstone's work at Bristol Robotics Lab in the west of England. ... "Medical practitioners have spent years developing a highly enhanced sense of touch to allow them to carefully palpate tissue and recognise suspect lumps and bumps," said Winstone.

Agile Approaches in Test Planning

A plan to test is in itself a useful artifact. It can shape our context and explain to ourselves and others how we will conduct testing. The problem I have is the inefficiency of writing a plan consisting of information that is already available and changing. Practicalities like which test environment to test in and what risks to cover are useful to have and to communicate. Also, agreements on the scope of testing (e.g., what browsers do we test on) are easy to write down. The Scrum framework however already provides an artifact that can be useful for this: the definition of done (DoD). This document will change and, more importantly, it’s a token of conversation. What I mean by a “token of conversation” is that the DoD is just a result, a statement that goes with a story.

Identifying and tackling big data issues

Capitalizing on big data remains a huge challenge for many companies because of a variety of reasons, ranging from identifying the right data to finding the right people to implement the technology -- and the right one, at that. But as experts tell Laskowski, the most common reason companies encounter major big data issues is not the wrong technology, but the wrong culture. In this SearchCIO handbook, get advice on how to build a data-driven culture to help realize big data success. In our second piece, CTO Niel Nickolaisen recounts how he executed a "dirt cheap" advanced analytics project and helped improve student retention rates at the university where he was CIO.

Why microservices are about to have their "cloud" moment

Traditional enterprise systems are still designed as monoliths: All-in-one, all-or-nothing, difficult to scale, difficult to understand, and difficult to maintain. Monoliths can quickly turn into nightmares that stifle innovation, stifle progress, and stifle joy. The negative side effects monoliths cause can be catastrophic for a company, engendering everything from low morale, to high employee turnover, to preventing a company from hiring top engineering talent, to lost market opportunities, and, in extreme cases, to the failure of a company. A valid question to ask is whether microservices are actually just SOA dressed up in new clothes. The answer is both yes and no. Yes, because the initial goals—decoupling, isolation, composition, integration, discrete and autonomous services—are the same.

Foundations, bright lines, and building successful open source ecosystems

We're seeing an accelerating rise of open source foundations over this past 4-5 years from launches such as the Outercurve Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation, to a growing number of sub-foundations being launched through the Linux Foundation. Simon Phipps gave a great OSCON talk in Amsterdam last fall, in which he calls for an end to new open source foundations with lots of valuable questions, many of them around bad corporate actors. Bryan Cantrill gave an excellent talk in 2014 on Corporate Open Source Anti-patterns relating his experiences in the OpenSolaris world, but at one point he claims one doesn't need foundations. I can't agree with either of them that all new open source foundations have no value.

Security Concerns Continue Amid Cloud Adoption

"Encryption got a bad rap in the past 40 years," said Sol Cates, chief security officer at Vormetric, in an interview with InformationWeek. It was perceived as slow and complicated. "How do you apply it without breaking anything?" he asked. Early adopters of encryption were paranoid, or sensitive and paranoid, or aware of regulatory compliance, Cates noted. All these factors may have impeded the wide implementation of encryption as a security solution. But attitudes have shifted again, as companies now seek encryption solutions. As more data is collected by organizations, the C-suite is experiencing more concern over its security. Customers also expect their data to be kept safe, Cates explained. That collection of data is growing exponentially, as gigabytes pile into terabytes, finally adding up to petabytes. Do you protect it all?

Cyber-criminals, despair: Now the accountants are joining the battle against you

The IT people may well say that cybercrime is an important issue - but when the accountants tells you it is then you know you really have to worry. But now the US Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the UK's Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have jointly published a report, Cybersecurity - Fighting Crime's Enfant Terrible, as their contribution to the debate, as well as offering some practical advice on how organisations can come to terms with it and beat it. The report argues that accountants and finance professionals "can, and should, play a leading role in defining key areas of a strategic approach to mitigating cybercrime risks". This it breaks down into four, discrete chunks.

Enterprise data architecture strategy and the big data lake

The data lake takes a fundamentally different approach to data storage than the conventional data acquisition and ingestion method. The traditional method seeks to make the data conform to a predefined data model to create a uniform data asset that is shared by all data consumers. By normalizing the data into a single defined format, this approach, called schema-on-write, can limit the ways the data can be analyzed downstream. The approach that is typically applied for data stored in a data lake is called schema-on-read, meaning there are no predefined constraints for how the data is stored, but that it is the consumer's responsibility to apply the rules for rendering the accessed data in a way that is suited to each user's needs.

How To Manage The Risks And Costs of Software Compliance

“Software audits often come in different forms. For example, I have seen software audits from vendors come across as information requests or reviews. When a company responds to these requests without specialized advice, there is a lost opportunity to control costs. I worked with one client on such a request recently where we could have negotiated a limit to scope of the audit. Unfortunately, that discussion did not take place and the audit is now applicable to the client’s operations around the world,” Machal-Fulk says. Timing makes a major difference in seeking legal advice. “Once data is released to the vendor, the user’s ability to negotiate and adjust the scope of the audit is reduced,” Machal-Fulk says. Knowing when to involve legal experts is a matter of a professional judgement

IoT and Asset Management: An interdependent relationship?

Well, for many, it’s a lack of holistic vision, or the joined up thinking that is required to link together seemingly disparate business issues. To some degree, that’s to be expected, because IoT is a game-changer in the truest sense. With IoT, everything really is connected, even if this was unthinkable in the past. And when you have a large number of legacy systems and devices, it can be hard to conceive of how these can be ‘tamed’ and connected in such a way that they speak the same language. Our colleagues at Sogeti HighTech have developed their smartEngine solution architecture to meet this challenge and others, allowing organizations to get accurate and reliable heterogeneous data from machines and their components.

Quote for the day:

"You have all the reason in the world to achieve your grandest dreams. Imagination plus innovation equals realization." -- Denis Waitley