Daily Tech Digest - November 28, 2016

Ultimate Kanban: Scaling Agile without Frameworks at Ultimate Software

Ultimate started experimenting with Agile principles (namely, Scrum) in 2005. This initial transition to Scrum provided Ultimate with better visibility into the progress of teams towards wider business goals. However, there were some common sources of interruption that the Scrum did not handle very well. Regulatory changes that required immediate attention often forced teams to throw out plans for their sprints and start work for the new requirements. The ideal small Scrum team size (7-9 members) led to arbitrarily small teams with a very high cross-team coordination costs. Most importantly, though, after trying our hand at Scrum for a while, we did not see any major improvement in productivity.


The next big job in tech: Robot programmer

If your business is interested in bringing robotic programmers in, Mass said it's important to integrate them with other engineers. "Don't isolate them," he said. "From my experience, some problems in robotics can only be solved by a clever combination of software, electronics and mechanical design. Sometimes, changing the surface or angle around a sensor can make all the difference to making it work reliably. Make sure all of your engineers are working closely together and are talking to each other about their problems. Sometimes a solution can come from an unexpected direction." How to go about training to be a robot programmer? There are many books that teach programming, and you can also get your hands on a robotics kit. Also, Mass said "you shouldn't be afraid of reading data sheets or using an oscilloscope."


Information Architecture: What Is It and Where Did it Come From?

In order to understand IA, we first need to know where it originated. The term first started appearing in the 1970s. In 1970, a group of people at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center were responsible for developing technology that could support the ‘architecture of information’. They were single-handedly responsible for many important contributions in what is today known as human-computer interaction. They introduced the first person computer with a user-friendly interface, laser printing, and the first WYSIWYG text editor. Modern use of the term IA, strictly related to the design of information, was officially introduced in the mid-1970s at the American Institute of Architecture conference where a man named Richard Saul Wurman introduced an idea that he called ‘the architecture of information’.


Upcoming bank rules could serve as a model for money management firms

Mr. Jacco believes banking regulations on cybersecurity will eventually apply to money managers. “It will be harder for them,” he said. “Some of them don't have big external websites; maybe they just have trading sites. Now on top of that they need a risk management function.” The regulations also will create a compliance change and organizational shift at money managers, Mr. Jacco said. The federal regulations, once established, “could create a new market standard for cybersecurity in general. The market may force everyone — managers, regulators — into that direction. But this phenomenon could take a long time to play itself out,” said Morgan Lewis' Mr. Horn.


The Internet of Things is making hospitals more vulnerable to hackers

Unfortunately, IoT start-ups often consider security to be a low priority, or an expensive headache that can be dealt with later on. That's a problem when those systems can potentially make the difference between life and death. "When implementing IoT solutions the components are chosen for their low cost and specific capabilities; however, the capabilities are significantly below what might be justified when the assets protected are human life, and security costs may be a significant portion of the cost, or even greater than the cost of the components. Prevalent vulnerabilities, however, do not only facilitate malicious actions, they may also increase the likelihood and impact of human errors and system failures," the report warns.


Six key principles for efficient cyber investigations

Even the largest companies appear to be less equipped to deal with more sophisticated cyberattacks, like the latest IoT-based Mirai DDoS attack or the attacks detected months or years after the initial breach, such as the Yahoo and Dropbox attacks. Inundated by alerts, analysts lack the automated and intelligence-driven processes to hone in on attacks across the kill chain and breaches continue far too long. To address this fundamental mismatch, organizations need a new perspective on the way they detect and respond to attacks. Like police investigations in the real world, every cyber investigation starts with a lead upon which a hypothesis is built. As more evidence is gathered in the field, the case continues to build until investigators can confirm or refute the direction of the investigation.


Q&A on the ​Practice of System and Network Administration

The key is to get information as early as possible. Discovering a problem on launch day is the worst. A simple technique is have a beta launch to find problems early. Everyone knows that, but people don’t think to do it for internal systems or system administration tools. We take this even further. Can you launch a single feature to validate assumptions months ahead of the real launch? I like to launch a service with no features, just the welcome-page, months ahead of the actual system launch. This gives us time to practice software upgrades, develop the backup procedures, document and test our runbook, and so on. Meanwhile the developers flesh out the system by adding features. When the system is ready for real users, there are very few surprises because the system has been running for months. Best of all, users get access to new features faster.


Whatever you're doing in Linux, Windows 10 will soon do it too

"Whatever it is that you normally do on Linux to build an application: whether it's in Go, in Erlang, in C, whatever you use, please, give it a try on Bash WSL, and importantly file bugs on us. "It really makes our life a lot easier and helps us build a product that we can all use and be far more productive with." The pledge to improve Windows' support for Linux tools reflects a recent change in Microsoft's rhetoric towards open-source software. While Microsoft's then CEO Steve Ballmer described open-source software as a cancer in 2001, in 2014 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proclaimed that "Microsoft loves Linux". Nadella's declaration may be simplistic, and ignore Microsoft's desire to stop organizations switching from Microsoft to open-source desktop software, as seen in Munich, but the tech giant has changed its hardline approach—even if only for pragmatic reasons.


Fault injection destined to be a must-have technique for software pros

Purposefully creating situations that can cause services and software to crash or malfunction is called fault injection. This is a QA paradigm that two software engineers from Microsoft believe can mitigate the risks associated with modern software deployment and management, especially in relation to applications and services in the cloud, by helping engineers observe and find fixes for these failures in a controlled manner rather than dealing with them for the first time at an unexpected moment. ... Fault injection could be compared to the testing method known as "stress testing," Zervos added -- creating more traffic or putting more stress on a service externally. But even this type of test will not provide the kind of information or insight fault injection can provide, including a look at how dependencies will behave in a given situation.


2017 Predictions: Mobile Is The Face Of Digital

There is no question that mobile moments are the battleground to win, serve and retain your customers. What a mobile moment is and where it surfaces, however, will become amorphous as it extends beyond smartphones to platforms and connected devices and then eventually lives in a consumer’s personal ecosystem. App usage as we know it has likely peaked. In 2017, platforms will expand in importance as consumers continue to consolidate their time into fewer places on the smartphone. Already, they spend 84% of their time in just five apps. These experiences that we loosely still refer to as mobile (but not for much longer) experience will lives as fragments on third party platforms.



Quote for the day:


"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." -- Alan Alda