February 27, 2016

Can off-the-shelf software survive the cloud onslaught?

The SaaS approach has the momentum, and this is likely to continue, conclude Dan Ma and Abraham Seidmann, the report's authors. "Continuous technology improvements, increasing adoption of software standards, and efforts to create a uniform platform for different applications cause us to believe that SaaS will eventually attain a solid position in the market," they state. ... For off-the shelf providers, their advice is the exact opposite -- vendors should avoid price-cutting. "For them, lowering prices to make their software cheaper is not a good strategy. Rather, they should actively invest in developing full-feature software and enhancing its perceived value."

Writing Cross-Platform Apps with React Native

Developers have flocked to React for a number of reasons. It's lightweight, and offers impressive performance, especially for quickly-changing data. Because of its component structure, it also encourages you to naturally write more modular, reusable code. React Native is just React, but for mobile. There are some differences: you'll use a <View> component rather than a <div>, and an <Image> instead of an <img> tag. The developer experience remains much the same. Having some Objective-C or Java knowledge can be useful, and mobile development does come with its own tricky considerations (have I tested this on multiple physical devices? Are my touch targets large enough?). However, React Native will feel almost entirely familiar, and comfortable, to developers who already know how to work with React in the browser.

Data Breaches and What You Can Do About Them

When a data breach occurs, an organisation would require timely legal advice from lawyers, on understanding the implications of the data breach and in responding to the data breach including notification of regulators and/or affected individuals, should the circumstances require such action. The organisation would also require a competent technical team with the ability to forensically ascertain the cause of the data breach as well as the extent by which data has been compromised. Such technical/forensic work would go hand in hand with the legal work being carried out by the lawyers as the result of the technical/forensic work would often dictate the legal steps to be carried out post-breach.

Building Kali Linux for Intel Edison

This documentation goes though the process of manually building a base Kali Linux image for the Intel Edison board. These steps were derived from frankensteining the edison build scripts for Debian Jessie and some of the Kali Linux ARM build scripts. All of the content from this post can be found in my github repo for this project here, along with pre compiled images (coming soon!) and ansible scripts for automated building. Note, all of these steps were tested in Ubuntu Linux 14.04 x64 LTS. As of this writing, this OS/Version has the most support for doing Edison source builds. I have done these steps in other operating systems, but the process is not as clean due to bugs, script tweaks, etc.

Bitt Launches Barbados Dollar on Blockchain, Calls for Bitcoin Unity

To create its digital dollar, Bitt takes advantage of the Colored Coins protocol, which allows for the creation of new assets on top of the bitcoin blockchain. "This new layer can be used to assign a specific type of asset to a small fraction of a bitcoin," the company explains in an informational brochure. Bitt’s version of the Barbadian dollar is therefore able to act as a digital asset, with its value honored 1:1 with the country’s government-backed currency. Abed went on to state that transactions on this network can be observed by the government and local regulators as they are sent peer-to-peer to Bitt wallets. In the future, Abed said, Bitt aims to upgrade its functionality via new technologies such as Liquid, Blockstream’s project that enables bitcoin funds to move between exchanges, and BitGo Instant, a tool that enables zero-confirmation transactions.

Do Ethics Matter?

There are really three levels of ethics to consider. The first is known as “pre conventional.” At this level a person acts almost solely in their own best interests. This causes them to follow rules only to avoid punishment or to receive rewards. At this level a person will willingly break moral or legal laws if they feel there is no chance of being caught. The second level of ethics is the “conventional” level. At this level a person conforms to the expectations of others in society. They are very likely to try hard to uphold all morale and legal laws.  The highest level of ethics is call the “principled” level. At this level a person lives by an internal set of morals, values and ethics. They uphold these morales, values and ethics regardless of any consequences or majority opinion.

Docker improves container security and management

For both Linux or Windows, another handy new feature is that Docker image IDs now represent what's really inside a container. Before, you had to take it on faith that a container was what it claimed to be. Until you actually ran a container, say a Ngnix web server, you couldn't be sure that's what was really inside it. You can now be certain that the application you're running is what you expect it to be by just specifying its ID. For management, Docker has just released Docker Datacenter (DDC). This is an integrated, end-to-end agile application development and management platform. With DDC, organizations are empowered to deploy a Containers as a Services (CaaS) either on-premises or in a private cloud.

A Web for All: Accessibility and Inclusive Design

There are four primary disabilities; cognitive, visual, auditory, and mobility. People can have any or all of these in different combinations. We call these “primary disabilities”, and they are usually what we think of. Total blindness, total deafness, complete loss of movement, or greatly limited ability to physically or cognitively interact are hallmarks of these issues. These are, of course, realities for a significant part of the population. Making information and technology available, usable and enjoyable for people with these challenges is very important. Having said that, there is an even larger reality. Every one of us, if we are lucky enough to reach an advanced age, will deal with some form of disability, even if not as completely manifested as the examples listed. There are also “situational disabilities”, and these can affect anyone.

Rant: Cyber predators feed off the vulnerable

The predators lie in wait for the herd to get moving and, at crucial junctures, there will be vulnerable members of this community that become isolated. And that’s when they will strike. An older, slower member of the community will struggle to keep up. The herd doesn’t offer protection now as each member is worried about its own dangerous bottlenecks, uphill climbs and unexpected freefall plummets that come with the new unfamiliar territory. At some stage, the entire herd will have to navigate their way through a shimmering new solution that, at first glance to the weary participants, looks exactly like the life-enhancing refreshment they need. The solution is cast in a deceptively beautiful light, little beams casting positive headlines over each little ripple as it rolls gently past. In this light its very liquidity seems like an advert for a better world.

Quote for the day:

“Great relationships occur only with intention and attention.” -- S.Chris Edmonds