May 28, 2016

Can blockchain tech transform the investment industry?

Blockchain technology has already been described as a game changer in light of recent developments, having changed the existing rules of the traditional investment market. As a decentralised database, blockchain technology has already made the online investment market more fluid whilst acting as an interesting tool for the secondary market, enabling smaller investments and trade volumes. These smaller investments were not possible before due to the cost of the middle man. For example a £5,000 investment did not make sense if the notary and the trustee would take a cut amounting to £2,000. In my opinion, blockchain technology makes much more sense for secondary markets such as real estate investments and equity crowdfunding. This is especially because previously these investments would not be viable due to the high transaction costs.


Anonymity, Transparency and Privacy are not Incompatible

With regards to “privacy” and the protection of personal data, the use of pseudonyms cannot be considered to be an anonymization procedure, because by definition anonymization should be irreversible and ensure that the data cannot be traced back to an individual. Hence, “privacy” and anonymity cannot be considered as synonyms but antonyms. Anonymization is a technique used to erase the personalization of the data when it is not required for the purpose of the data processing activities (i.e. statistical data). This technique allows companies such as financial institutions to retain and process data after the expiration of their legal conservation period or for other purposes. In this case, the data no longer fall under the scope of the personal data protection regime because they are no longer identifiable.


5 Reasons Enterprises Still Worry About Cloud Security

Cloud computing has seen Moore’s Law-style exponential growth over the last ten years or so and there seems to be no plateau in sight. World-wide spending on public cloud infrastructure -- hardware and software -- is expected to reach $38B this year and $173B by 2026, with Amazon holding the largest infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market share. Schulze believes we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg and that Amazon as a cloud provider will be more dominant and influential than the likes of Microsoft, Apple, or any of the major tech giants.  “Most [security] vendors were not surprised but overwhelmed by the rapid adoption of cloud and they may not have ramped up enough,” says Schulze. He also notes that cloud computing is just a whole lot more complex than traditional environments.


5 practical uses for blockchain — from Airbnb to stock markets

For those not up to speed, blockchain is a database protocol developed to underpin bitcoin. Rather than having a central record keeping system, identical records are spread across everyone connected to a network. They are all updated simultaneously and transactions only go through when enough parties on the network sign off on them. This technology eliminates the need for costly middle men in financial transactions, but also presents plenty of other opportunities for new ways of record keeping and decentralising markets.  Goldman's report, titled "Blockchain: Putting Theory into Practice", says that "the discussion often remains abstract," and so is trying to "shift the focus from theory to practice," by looking at real-world applications for blockchain technology.


How Blockchain Technology Could Change The World

Worldwide, the financial services market is the largest sector of industry by market capitalization. If blockchain technology can replace just a fraction of that by enabling peer-to-peer transactions in other sectors then it clearly has the potential to create huge efficiencies. The technology was initially pushed into the headlines several years ago thanks to the virtual currency Bitcoin. The value of one unit of the currency (which is underpinned by blockchain technology) rose from pennies to over £$1,000 between 2011 and 2013, making a handful of early adopter enthusiasts very wealthy. Of course, this generated press interest. Since then, while Bitcoin’s value may have fallen and the currency established a more stable rate of growth, the buzz around the blockchain concept has intensified.


Former Googler Lets Us In On The Surprising Secret To Being A Good Boss

For all of us raised in a culture that preaches, "If you can’t say something nice…", that criticism might not sound so nice. But Scott knows now that it was the kindest thing Sandberg could have done for her. "If she hadn't said it just that way, I would've kept blowing her off. I wouldn't have addressed the problem. And what a silly thing to let trip you up." (Incidentally, she did work with that speaking coach, and kicked her um habit handily.) In the years since, Scott has worked to operationalize what it was that made Sandberg such a great boss. It sounds so simple to say that bosses need to tell employees when they're screwing up. But it very rarely happens. To help teach radical candor—this all-important but often neglected skill—to her own teams, Scott boiled it down to a simple framework: Picture a basic graph divided into four quadrants.


Mobile backend as a service: Features and deployment options

Enterprise IT organizations have been slow to build and deploy mobile apps due to a lack of development expertise, tight budgets, new languages and development environments, unfamiliar Agile methodologies and release cycles, and the complexity of supporting two major operating systems with hundreds of device permutations. Indeed, a 2015 Gartner survey found that "the average number of custom apps per company that have been developed so far is less than 10, despite huge internal demands to mobilize." Without C-level IT leadership, IT organizations will languish behind their more innovative and aggressive peers in building the mobile skills and applications necessary to succeed in what some call the app economy. Software automation and services, along with what the above Gartner analysis called "lightweight Web and mobile-style app integration," are the only way to cross the technological chasm without unrealistic injections of money and manpower.


Is the end of the U.S. tech market upon us?

In fact, it often takes months to years of planning to make a major platform shift. Losing a vendor and resources suddenly can create a catastrophe because the needed support organizations collapse with the company and IT often doesn’t have the internal resources and competing vendors with the skills to pick up the slack.  Given these increasing financial pressures are forcing company executives to sacrifice long-term corporate viability in exchange for short-term performance I’m suggesting another attribute be taken into account other than price. In fact, you might want to devalue price in anything that requires long-term support given a practice of focusing on quarterly returns can drive below cost pricing to support revenues over the short term and actually reduce the long-term viability of the tech vendor you need to support this too good to be true pricing.


Google's victory over Oracle: A win for developers

Part of Google's winning argument was that APIs serve more of a functional purpose, rather than a creative one. The Federal Circuit has already established that APIs show a degree of creativity meriting copyright protection -- but Thursday's ruling set a very high bar for the level of creativity needed to exempt APIs from fair use, said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. Clearly, "Oracle and others with strong, widely adopted platforms like Java have a higher bar," he said. "It seems natural that the design of complex APIs involves creativity; however, the court has decided that this creativity bar is not reached by this relatively complex set of Java APIs." All that said, Thursday's ruling doesn't actually set any real legal precedent. Every "fair use" claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. And while Google's victory may seem to set a high bar for the level of "creativity" that APIs must show to merit legal protection, the jury simply answered a yes-or-no question.


Basis Peak Review – Intel’s Best Fitness Tracker

The sleep tracking was one of the strongest selling points in the first Basis tracker and, with Peak, it remains one of the most accurate sleep trackers we have tested so far. The watch can monitor three levels of sleep. Deep sleep, light and REM and also mark every move and turn you make while sleeping. As a downside, the Basis is not displaying the resting HR as one of its sleep metrics. It is a very useful sign in telling you if you are overtraining. However, it appears that the company is aware of the issue and working on a new firmware update. All the data captured by the Basis Peak tracker syncs to your smartphone, via a dedicated app. The app is free to download and compatible with both, Android and iOS mobile owners. You can also access your data via a web browser, thanks, to the online portal provided by Basis.



Quote for the day:


"A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power." -- Brian Tracy