July 09, 2016

Why African businesses need to embrace open source software

“The main thing about open source is the community behind the projects, there is always a hive of contributors and reviewers participating in enhancing and advancing the project,” Serem told IDG Connect. “This results in a more feature rich project and more secure as well. There is also the factor of ease of access and usage that comes with open source. Open source licenses are mostly free and flexible.” Serem said that such advantages can push Africa companies in terms of technology deployments. He added that: “Africa being an emerging economy means most companies and governments are not that high up the revenue scale, this can limit their access to certain technologies that enhance their productivity and service delivery due to their proprietary and mostly expensive nature.


Industry Differences in Data Science Roles, Skills and Project Outcomes

The frequency of data science roles varied considerably across industries. Researchers were the most popular type of data scientist in 6 of the 10 industries reported here. The other three data science roles were the most popular roles in the remaining industries. These different industry profiles could simply be a reflection of the amount and type of work that each industry requires of its data scientists. For example, Information Technology was the only industry in which Developers were the most common type of data scientist. Some industries, on the other hand, are driven less by technological innovation and more by insight generation and creative problem-solving in which other data science roles come to the fore including Researchers and Creatives, respectively.


Will Automation and Robotics Lead to a Better Life?

In March, Judy Wajcman, Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, streamed a lecture on automation and robotics at the Oxford Martin School (University of Oxford) via the 21school channel on YouTube. She talks about a few very interesting aspects of the “Could vs Should” in technology and science fields. I found her takes on how invention and design reflects the shape of a society truly fascinating. Clearly you need to remember it’s not all black-and-white, but there’s a lot of intriguing ideas heres. Interested in the future, in science, technology, design or other forms of innovation? This video will be very interesting for you, enjoy!


Cyber spies are still using these old Windows flaws to target their victims

"Even though the vulnerabilities used in the attacks were patched by Microsoft, the attackers can still rely on a social engineering trick to compromise their targets if they ignore multiple security warnings displayed and agree to enable dangerous features of the document. The content of the malicious PPS is based on carefully chosen, genuine news articles featuring widely discussed geopolitical topics, which makes the document look more trustworthy and likely to be opened. This leads many users to become infected," the researchers warned. Once malicious software has been installed on the target's machine, it sends the attackers Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files and any login credentials saved into the browser.


Software is Eating the World(?)

While fintech is not a “hardware” business, which is the main point Elad is making, it seems like a software-enabled, network connected, smart bank account is still just a bank account. A digital wallet is still the same payment information, just on your phone. Just as software-turned-hardware investors have to understand the change in fundamentals, I believe too many founders and investors underestimate the complexities of the financial services system and regulatory environment. You still need a bank account or credit card somewhere to transfer money, regardless of the app/mobile wallet/bot you use. Forward-thinking banks can replicate or acquire customer experience or process improvement technology. However, to truly change the paradigm of financial services, we will need more innovation around the regulatory environment and infrastructure of the system.


Connected Cars World: Auto makers still adapting to a changing market

“The value of the data collected [by cars] will be far more than $10 a month,” he says. Instead, they should be looking at telematics as a way to save money: real-time diagnostics can predict problems and save the driver money, while at the same time help avoid costly recalls. Currently the customer has no idea what kind of data their cars are generating, while the car industry doesn’t understand the value of that data per car. But once they are ready to collect, integrate and offer data in the right way, new possibilities will open up. Fiat Chrysler’s Cavazzini says that once OEMs get a grip on the data, they will be able to “understand the life of the customer and offer new & better services.” Andrew Weil, a Senior VP at Nuance, sees the car a whole new way to interact with people. Rather than merely repeat the smartphone experience, he sees the connected car as an opportunity to manage the whole journey from door to door.


Relational vs. graph databases: Which to use and when?

Start by drawing the domain on a whiteboard. If your domain entities have relationships to other entities, and your queries rely on exploring those relationships, then a graph database is a great fit. Developers find the whiteboard test very convenient to work with because of its adaptability. This ability to adapt is particularly useful as new information about the domain becomes known or changes in requirements cause the model to change. Existing deployments are also potential candidates for introducing graph databases, of course. Again, this is because graph databases can really help improve or even dissolve performance and scaling problems caused by joins. While graph databases can support transactional data with ACID guarantees, data warehouse systems and offline analytical workloads can also be moved into a real-time environment using graph database.


Blockchain: the answer to life, the universe and everything?

The core of the idea is to get computers burning energy in order to prove that they are trustworthy, and stamping that trust on the “blocks” of recorded transactions. You could still lie to the network – but you’d need to burn more energy doing so than every honest participant, combined. Bitcoin was the first technology to use the blockchain, but the currency is now starting to look a bit like the steam pumping engines invented in the 17th century. Yes, it’s ingenious, but the real revolution comes when the underlying technology is used for something altogether new. And so the technology world has fallen over itself to find out what that invention could be. A permissionless, distributed, trust-free network has the power to revolutionise not just financial technology, stock markets and banking, but also the music industry, digital access in some of the world’s poorest nations, and could even ensure your Italian extra-virgin olive oil really is from Italy.


Docker usage rises, but high portability pointless for most

Docker is a sound approach to running and scaling applications. Those enterprises willing to spend money for additional development -- and hire some pricey Docker talent -- will find that it works and delivers on most of what it promises. But that doesn't mean it's a necessary tool. But we're still in the honeymoon stage with Docker -- and containers in general. Docker satisfies many requirements for independent software vendors that are moving to cloud or new application development. Software vendors need to build cloud-based applications that have hardened product-oriented capabilities. Moreover, they value Docker portability because they may have to support all public cloud providers at some point. Applications can be built from the ground up using the container-oriented architecture versus containerizing applications that were not designed for that purpose, making Docker usage attractive for new application development.


Mobile banking: Is it worth the security risk?

Clearly, the big cost is your security. As I've already explained, so long as you remain within the usage constraints of your bank, you should not fall under any undue malice. This same thing applies to any online activity. A nod to caution and common sense will go a long way. However, should you find yourself on the wrong end of a spoofing (or other) attack and a ne'er do well winds up with your account information, you can rest assured (according to this Bankrate post) that most banking and credit card institutions promise to cover 100 percent of mobile fraud loss. Although that is reassuring, there can be a period of time before your bank actually does cover that loss. That means you cannot lean on the bank to make up for missteps when using mobile banking.



Quote for the day:


"Action is not about talking. It's about how you are listened to." -- Bob Dunham