May 11, 2016

Can the 'internet of moving things' end traffic jams?

"Transport providers from Singapore to Sao Paulo can now analyse journeys trip by trip and understand why a bus was late, spot where there is unused capacity or see opportunities for new routes." Mr Shivakumar, a former Google engineer, says his firm has been able to help delivery companies in San Francisco optimise their routes in real time, testing different scenarios based on current traffic flows and weather conditions. This type of analysis has led some companies to experiment with mobile delivery hubs, rather than having all goods stored in one warehouse and making all the journeys from there. Taxi firms now know where the most demand is at each point during the day, even the areas where customers tip the most. "Experience might tell you one thing, but the data might tell you something else," says Mr Shivakumar.

The questions to ask before implementing any big data strategy

Whether you run a small business with just a few employees, or are in charge of a multinational corporation, you can benefit from an effective big data strategy. Thanks to analytics, data mining, and the constant stream of data flowing through everyday devices and products, there is more market data available today than at any other time in history. ... Why? Even the most powerful computers aren’t going to sift aimlessly through multiple trillion gigabytes of information in an appropriate timeframe for gathering information on your market and your target audience. You need a focused, data-driven strategy that will not just aim to collect information but to use that information in the most effective ways possible to help your business overcome obstacles and improve your bottom line.

What blockchain isn't?

The beauty of ‘pure’ blockchain is in circumventing trust barriers between the parties involved. There is no membership validation onto the network, no gatekeepers or overseers - true democratisation! However, if trust is of the essence in a given network and it is imperative that contributors know each other (e.g. market infrastructure for interbank payments), then it becomes a distributed database. ... Blockchain is not easy to define as opinions on its core components vary dramatically. It will take a number of years, perhaps, decades, before blockchain establishes itself on a large scale in finance, with masses of technological obstacles along the way.  Never-the-less, the momentum is growing for blockchain; use-cases are being identified and proof-of-concepts are becoming more solid. The good news is that these developments don’t just focus on blockchain for its own sake, but can be used as real solutions to real financial problems.

Inside-Out versus Outside-In

Outside-In technologies enable the people in the front office to find and share the resource they need to improve their performance within these new business models. “The Future of Work” is a term used to describe the manner in which these new technologies are deployed in new optimal ways. Much of the confusion about the increasing use of social tools, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, and trend to bypass the IT department to use external cloud solutions, arises from the disconnect between the Outside-In work practices of the front office and the Inside-Out practices of IT’s traditional back office deployments. Understanding this and refocusing on the new working practices of the front office is a necessary break through in reacting to the inevitable changes already under way in most enterprises.

How Bimodal IT Can Kill Your Company

"It's not just all of the agile-based technology methods that companies have to deal with, but you see the leaders building a more modern end-to-end process and toolkit," he said. "They're using design thinking and minimum requirements to see what truly adds value to the customer. Without that you're just using agile to do the wrong thing more quickly." Companies clinging to bimodal IT are holding on to a practice that can't be successful in the long run, according to McCarthy. The only question for CIOs is whether they will make the move away from bimodal on their own terms, or under duress. "The economics, the deliverables -- all these things are tectonic plates in IT that are shifting," said McCarthy. "Will the CIOs make the change, or will a new shift in senior management force the change?"

State of Blockchain Q1 2016: Blockchain Funding Overtakes Bitcoin

While the conventional wisdom among Silicon Valley venture capitalists and others is that businesses that can successfully become platforms represent the ideal investment, the purpose of distinguishing between blockchain platforms and software providers is not to cast judgment on the merits of the various blockchain business models. Indeed, it is likely that significant success can be achieved in any of the four platform/software quadrants. Instead, the distinction drawn in Slide 10 allows us to observe where blockchain initiatives are concentrating. The two most crowded areas of the blockchain matrix appear to be the public platform and private software quadrants. For example, there are literally hundreds of public blockchains, represented by altcoins.

Q&A on Express.js with Evan Hahn

Unless you're writing a single purpose web app, you're going to need to route requests to different handlers. Evan goes over how to set up routing and sub-applications in a way that makes it more obvious how the pieces fit together. For those building web sites, Evan shows how to the view middleware works with two popular options, Pug and EJS. In the final section, entitled "Express in Context", Evan walks us through hooking up Express to other back-end systems to build a more complete (and more useful) service. He uses the Passport middleware to provide user authentication and MongoDb to build out a database back-end. He shows how to use the Mocha testing framework in concert with the Chai assertion library to craft a suite of automated test. He even provides a brief introduction to LESS, how to use Browserify and Grunt, and how to deploy to end result to Heroku.

Docker launches Security Scanning to test containers for known vulnerabilities

The secure platform includes specifications such as using all Linux isolation capabilities, and making it secure from default. Secure access deals with the "who" of containers, regarding security best practices around authentication, authorization, access control, and auditing. This is where the Docker 1.8 update came into play in late 2015, introducing features such as Docker Content Trust which allows a user to verify the publisher of a specific container image. And, it is the tier that this latest announcement falls into as well. To determine potential vulnerabilities, Docker Security Scanning provides a deep analysis of the containers in question. "It actually does a binary by binary analysis of a container just to look at everything that it can find inside of each of the layers of the container," McCauley said.

Three reasons you should care about technology asset management

This is not a new issue. The problem began with the deployment of the PC in the business world. In those days, we were installing them as quickly as possible, without any provision for tracking or centralized management. The growing complexity of office networks, and the related deployment of large numbers of network devices to locked closets, has made matters worse. We got away with poor asset management until the organized hacking world discovered that it could use this inability to its advantage. Thus, even small businesses today have numerous vulnerable computing devices and software packages, and most have no means of tracking either the hardware or software, or assessing the related risks. We pay the price via network penetrations and data breaches.

Make Your Bed Feel Just Right With Smartphone Powered Climate Control

With traditional sheets, most of the air being pumped under the covers hits your feet instead, flowing upward only when lying on your side. For most users, this is fine. After all, you’ll be comfortable from head to toe as long as the feet are kept warm and dry. The unit is fairly loud when running, which will certainly be an issue for light sleepers. In Turbo Heat mode (used to quickly warm the bed before sleep), the fan on a single unit increases the noise floor by 10 decibels, or less than half that amount in typical use. The manufacturer stresses BedJet should not be used as a substitute for air conditioning during summer months, since cooling requires a room temperature below 79 degrees. ... While the included wireless remote control is functional, the new Bluetooth-connected BedJet smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) offers a better experience.

Quote for the day:

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight." -- Jim Rohn