Daily Tech Digest - January 09, 2017

Compare benefits of a blade server architecture vs. hyper-convergence

While traditional storage required large arrays of hard drives to achieve adequate performance, today's SSD-based appliances are typically just 8 to 12 SSDs, including a commercial-off-the-shelf controller that is essentially identical to a server motherboard. The key distinguisher between hyper-converged infrastructure and a blade server architecture is that in hyper-converged systems, the storage is networked and then pooled to create a huge virtual SAN. New innovations such as software-defined infrastructure take this further, to the point that the storage pool and the networks connecting the appliances are virtualized and controlled automatically by orchestration software. This allows tenants of an HCI-based cloud to add and subtract to their configurations using scripts and policies, without central IT intervention.


New York gets smarter, one tech trial at a time (with video)

Smart city technology beta projects and pilot programs are gaining ground in New York City. Walk around the Big Apple, as Computerworld did recently, and you encounter everything from free public Wi-Fi to smart park benches and even sophisticated listening devices that can detect gunshots to allow a quick police response. Much of this wide-ranging tech focus goes back to 2014 when Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed the city's first Chief Technology Officer. He picked private sector tech veteran Minerva Tantoco for the role. During her tenure, she made a practice of pushing for small tech trials that could be modified and adjusted before being expanded. "Taking a page from the CTO playbook is the concept of using pilots and prototypes," Tantoco said in a video interview with Computerworld recorded at City Hall in June of 2016.


Why machine learning will decide which IoT ‘things’ survive

For a computer to reliably study patterns, the data set needs to be enormous. It needs to consider a multitude of factors, ranging from user preference to use cases, environment, and much more. But many or even most of these factors are time-dependent: frequency of use, frequency of behaviors, frequency of conditions, changes to user behavior over time, seasonal changes to the environment, data accuracy over the lifespan of the sensor, etc. Time is doled out democratically; a hundred million devices on solid connections won’t make a company’s clock turn faster. A six-month lead on a competitor can’t be closed with more users or funding. Your data will be fundamentally better than theirs, shown in the accuracy of your readings, and the number of features you support as earlier features become reliable enough to finalize and ship.


Are you ready for a state-sponsored cyber attack?

Geopolitical tensions ensure that 2017 will be another big year for state-sponsored cyber attacks. The lethality of state-sponsored attacks derives from their ability to bypass security point products by combining device, network and data center vulnerabilities into an integrated assault. Another aspect of state-sponsored cyber attacks is their willingness to patiently creep from organization to organization to get to their target. Irrespective of the lethality of state-sponsored cyber attacks, it is a mistake to think that there is no way to stop them. If your organization has something of value to a foreign government here are five cyber attack counter-measures you should be implementing.


15 of the coolest wired and wireless earbuds we saw at CES

Earbuds may never give you the rich, immersive audio-gasmic experience that a nice pair of open-back, over-ear headphones can offer—but so what? You don’t use earbuds to get lost in the nuances of music. You use them because they’re small, durable, convenient, and because over-ear headphones get super-sweaty if you try to wear them while you’re working out. But earbuds—especially wireless and “truly wireless” earbuds (thanks a lot, Apple AirPods)—are trickier than headphones, because something that goes inside your ear isn’t as universal, fit-wise, as something that covers your ear. So it’s no surprise that CES 2017 is awash with earbuds in all sizes and shapes, and with and without wires. Take a look at the coolest earbuds we saw on this year’s show floor.


Dangerous Assumptions That Put Enterprises At Risk

On the surface many of the assumptions people make don't seem too dangerous, but they can lead to a breach. The survey found that a third of organizations fail to take any type of preventative action because they think they won’t be affected by these attacks. In reality, Pozhogin said, "Any company can be targeted by a DDoS attack at any time, especially since these attacks are easy for cybercriminals to launch. It’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when it will happen." ... Depending on how a company states the complexity of its password policy, it could be handing out clues to hackers. "They assume that password complexity keeps them safer, but if they state that every password must begin with a digit and have five letters, they’re giving the hackers a hint about what should be the first key of a password," Kotler said.


Cyber risks to intensify in 2017

With cybersecurity firmly entrenched as one of the most consequential issues impacting international security, politics, economic stability and transactional crime, an understanding of existing and emerging cyber risks is more relevant than ever before. Stroz Friedberg’s predictions outline the top cybersecurity threats facing businesses and provide recommendations on how organisations can increase their resilience in the face of these threats. “In 2016 we witnessed everything from cyber attacks influencing public opinion to hacked IoT devices and the introduction of new cybersecurity regulations. This year we’ll see an intensification of these threats, along with new challenges and a blurring of lines between the actions and responsibilities of the state, markets, businesses and civil society,” said Ed Stroz, Co-President and Co-Founder of Stroz Friedberg.


Why Biometric Technology Is Still Not the Absolute Replacement for Passwords

Last year it was reported that in a United States Office of Human Resource Management, touch ID’s of millions of government employees were stolen which first raised the suspicion on the tech. Immediately ascertaining the threat, the mobile companies quickly altered the fingerprint system in the devices by adding a password security succeeding the touch ID. This data breach made it clear that biometrics is not impeccable. In fact they have simply shunned the passwords. Counting it can get very problematic if someone cannot log in with his or her touch ID, all the software companies ranging from Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Google’s Android have provided password tool as well to ensure this does not happen. So, relying on biometric authentication is not recommended at the current time as having a backup in the form of passwords is very important.


Everything is a virtual assistant now

Unlike the Whirlpool refrigerator, which can be minimally controlled by Alexa commands, LG announced a fridge that actually functions as an Alexa device. The LG Smart InstaView fridge has a camera inside so you can check what you need while you're at the store, and also a screen on the outside. The screen is interesting: By tapping on the screen twice, it becomes a transparent window so you can see what's inside without opening the door. Gadget fans will also be intrigued by the operating system that powers some of the smart features: It's WebOS!  Chinese smartphone giant Huawei announced at CES that its $599.99 Mate 9 phablet would become the first smartphone to ship with Alexa integration pre-installed and integrated. While Alexa is available in a smattering of mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms, the Huawei integration appears to offer "always-listening" hands-free access to Alexa.


The Best Strategic Leaders Balance Agility and Consistency

The best performers are, of course, consistent. Consistent leaders work hard and show up on time. They set goals for themselves and their employees and they achieve them. They plan diligently and produce excellent products and experiences for clients time and time again. They are diligent and possess resilience and grit. Consumers expect consistent products; people appreciate consistent management. But if organizational leaders are merely consistent, they risk rigidity. In changing environments, they can struggle to adapt and may cling to old habits and practices until those practices become counterproductive, distracting them from the more important new work that needs to be done. On the other side of the spectrum, great leaders are agile. Markets demand that companies and people adapt and change constantly.



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"Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money, power and influence." -- Henry Chester