February 28, 2016

Google AI can pinpoint where any snap was taken, just by looking at pixels

PlaNet treats the task as a classification problem and uses multiple visual cues, including weather patterns, vegetation, road markings, and architectural details, to identify an exact location in some cases. This approach allows it to "express uncertainty about a photo". So, for example, it can be fairly confident about the location of an image of the Eiffel Tower, whereas a picture of a fjord could be in New Zealand or Norway. The system was developed by dividing the world into a grid of 26,000 squares. The more images taken in a given location, the bigger the square, so cities are larger than remote areas while oceans are completely ignored.

Beyond Bitcoin—Blockchain Is Coming to Disrupt Your Industry: Weekend Reading

Blockchain technology is a new solution to a more challenging version of the Byzantine Generals Problem that includes the ability to add participants over time. A blockchain is a digital, distributed transaction ledger, with identical copies maintained on multiple computer systems controlled by different entities. Anyone participating in a blockchain can review the entries in it; users can update the blockchain only by consensus of a majority of participants. Once entered into a blockchain, information can never be erased; ideally, a blockchain contains an accurate and verifiable record of every transaction ever made.⁶ It would have made for a very reliable way for Byzantine generals to exchange information.

Fintech a boon for the unbanked but a nightmare for regulators

What is exciting for us consumers is becoming a nightmare for regulators around the world. Already the banking behemoths are protesting that the horrendously burdensome regulations introduced since the 2008 global financial crash make it hard for them to compete with these spritely new disruptors. While they are spending large sums to make sure they can use the new technologies for driving efficiencies down to their own bottom lines, they are at the same time protesting that these pesky start-ups have unfair advantages because their new business paradigms duck around current regulatory regimes. But these protests are pushing regulators into an awkward corner. They are under strong pressure to let innovators flourish if they can improve services to consumers, and give the millions of “unbanked” first-time access to bank loans.

A succesful Git branching model considered harmful

The basic principle in making usable systems is to have sane defaults. This branching model makes that mistake from the very beginning by not using the master branch for something that a developer who clones the repository would expect it to be used, development. Using individual (long lived) branches for features also make it harder to ensure that everything works together when changes are merged back together. This is especially pronounced in today’s world where continuous integration should be the default practice of software development regardless how big the project is. By integrating all changes together regularly you’ll avoid big integration issues that waste a lot of time to resolve, especially for bigger projects with hundreds or thousands of developers.

Adding a data virtualization layer to IT systems: Three questions to ask

The objections typically focus on three aspects of the implementation. The first is the simplicity of the implementation. How easy is it to implement? The second is how easy is it to get to the data? What does the data look like when you're getting access to it? [This question is important] because you're providing the capability of accessing multiple sources now, and you're providing, essentially, virtual data sets that didn't exist in their original form, because you're providing the federation. So, how flexible is it for you to be able to present the data back to one or more consumers? Then, of course, the question of when I introduce another layer between my consumers and the actual sources of data, isn't that going to create yet another layer of complexity when it comes to computational performance? Is it going to perform well?

Transformational vs. Contemporary Leadership Styles

There are certain points of departure between the two styles. While it emphasizes gaining trust and influencing followers, servant leadership calls for more sacrifice on the part of the leader. The pursuit of profits is secondary for the servant leader. Followers are more likely to have greater freedom under a servant leader than transformational leader. Another principal difference is the leader’s focus. Though both styles call the leader to service, the servant leader’s ultimate focus is the follower, while the transformational leader’s greatest concern is to encourage followers to serve the organization diligently. The fundamental difference between the two styles is that the servant leader focuses on the followers’ needs, while the transformational leader focuses on organizational goals.

Taking a bite at the Apple

The FBI has argued many times that encryption can thwart legitimate investigations, leaving vital clues undiscovered. But security researchers point out that what works for the good guys works for the bad guys, too. If a subverted operating system managed to escape into the “wild” even once, then the security of every iPhone would be put at risk. The trade-off, says Kenneth White, a director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, an American charity, is not security versus privacy, but security for everyone versus the police’s ability to investigate specific crimes. And the risk of a leak would rise with every extra person who had access to the nobbled code: defence lawyers demanding to see it; court-appointed experts given the job of checking it works as intended; and so on.

Reveals Vision for a Secure Internet of Things

“Given ubiquitous connectivity and the rapid emergence of IoT, the need for a well-designed, structured and comprehensive security architecture has never been greater,” he continued. Embedded systems and connected devices are already deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, and the footprint is expanding at a staggering rate. Gartner estimates that 4.9 billion connected things were in use by the end of 2015, a 30% increase from 2014. This will rise to 25 billion by 2020 as consumer-facing applications drive volume growth, while enterprise sales account for the majority of revenue. Security is a core need for manufacturers, developers, service providers and others who produce and use connected devices.

Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer). A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused, and action oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination. “Design is the action of bringing something new and desired into existence—a proactive stance that resolves or dissolves problematic situations by design. It is a compound of routine, adaptive and design expertise brought to bear on complex dynamic situations.” —Harold Nelson

Making enterprise-architecture more tangible

Within an architecture, there are four key dimensions that we need to keep track of at all times: physical stuff, virtual information, relations between people, and aspirationalmotivations such as enterprise-purpose, brands and more. In practice, it’s hard to keep track even of three of those themes at a time – a single face on that tetrahedron. But in the middle of each face is a reminder of the ‘missing’ theme – and if we rotate the tetrahedron, other faces in turn come into view, reminding us of the whole-as-whole. Architecture made tangible… Even that tetrahedron-model is a bit abstract, though. Let’s take it a step further, moreinto the people-realm…

Quote for the day:

"It's not enough to do your best, you must know what to do and then do your best." -- W. Edwards Deming