Daily Tech Digest - June 29, 2017

On-premise or In the cloud? Most suitable location for apps in a hybrid environment

If the application, or the data it processes, is subject to regulatory oversight under compliance regimes such as HIPAA or PCI, then there is a clear need to understand the security compliance status of that application, and if moving it to the cloud will risk a compliance violation. For example, HIPAA requires accountability practices on all Local Area Networks, Wide Area Networks, and for users accessing the network remotely through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If the application needs to be compliant with PCI, you will need to have a firewall at each Internet connection the application uses, and between any network demilitarised zone and the internal network zone. Applications under this regulation, and others, are not ideal candidates for migration to the cloud.


Building AI: 3 theorems you need to know

Combined with the no-free-lunch-theorem, we realize this is the only way to create an effective learner: change its inductive biases so it can become effective for something else, namely, our data. Inductive biases also have to do with the problem of overfitting. In machine learning, overfitting occurs when your model performs well on training data, but the performance becomes horrible when switched to test data. Overfitting happens when you apply incorrect inductive biases in a model. If the equations of the model truly reflect the data (for example, a linear model applied to data generated by a linear process), then any fit will be a correct fit for test data. In a way, the model – in its very architecture – contains knowledge about the data. Such a model can learn very fast; with only a few data points, it can begin generating accurate predictions.


This Cell Phone Can Make Calls Even Without A Battery

There is still a long way to go before that happens. The phone has a basic touch-sensitive number pad and its only display is a tiny red LED that glows briefly when a key is pressed. A large touchscreen would require around 400 milliwatts—over one hundred thousand times as much as power as Talla's phone currently needs. Most importantly, voice calls are still awkward. You have to press a button, walky-talky style, to switch between listening and talking, and sustaining a conversation through clouds of static is near impossible. Talla promises better call quality and an E-Ink display for text messages on the next generation device, possibly along with a camera to snap selfies. Smith says that even as the prototype stands, built from off-the-shelf components, it is much cheaper than a normal phone.


The Internet of Things is Revolutionizing Tracking and Receiving Packages

In a perfect world, pressing a button in your bathroom when you are out of toilet paper only to have a drone drop it on your doorstep hours later is the height of convenience. You don't even have to make a shopping list or tie a string around your finger in order to remember this often-forgotten necessity. But when you have to worry about someone driving by and seeing the toilet paper on your doorstep, realizing they are also out of toilet paper, and taking it for themselves, this stops being a convenience and instead becomes another burden of daily life. Going to the store on your way home is certainly preferable. The Internet of Things has come up with a number of solutions to stolen packages. So far the doorbell camera seems to be one of the most popular choices, followed by sitting at home waiting for your package to arrive.


Rise of the Machines

Move over R2D2 – robots are no longer just the stuff of sci-fi. They’re already here, and whether it’s through advancing drug design or charting the oceans, UK technology is transforming the impact that robots are having on our lives. At STFC, we’re helping to develop robots that can combat world hunger and explore the universe. Our research is driving forward the field and bushing the boundaries of what robots can do. Meanwhile, a whole variety of other UK-funded research is developing robots for use in medicine, disaster relief, deep sea exploration and so much more. Robots are helping us to achieve incredible things, and they’re changing the world around us in ways that nobody – not even George Lucas himself – could have predicted.


Can Design Thinking Unleash Organizational Innovation?

Design thinking’s ability to uncover customers’ unarticulated needs and its processes for testing potential success with small inexpensive experiments provided the framework they needed. The team ultimately focused on three core design principles: “customer empathy,” “go broad before narrow” and “rapid experimentation.” I love the phrase: “Uncover customers’ unarticulated needs.” The heart to any organization looking to become more innovative and creative in their thinking is to “uncover customers’ unarticulated needs.” It is likely the biggest operationalization challenge when it comes to integrating data science into an organization’s business models; to help organizations to become more effective at leveraging data and analytics to uncover their customers’ unarticulated needs.


Microsoft Cognitive Services brings cloud AI to the enterprise

The learning curve for Microsoft Cognitive Services is minimal for developers already familiar with building cloud applications, and those who are unfamiliar can integrate Cognitive Services with Azure Logic Apps with minimal coding. Still, these services aren't without their challenges. For example, it can be difficult to connect cloud-based applications with internal data sources, whether they reside on central databases or are distributed across remote systems and sensors. Implement a hybrid network and data integration strategy before you deploy production AI applications. Developers should also use Microsoft's free service tier to become familiar with the AI services, APIs and SDKs and to build and test applications.


‘Separating IT and cyber security: A necessity not a nice to do’

Cyber security and IT responsibilities must be separated in order to provide adequate checks and balances and ensure that existing cybersecurity measures are effective in protecting the business against a variety of malware and ransomware. In most organisations, IT departments are responsible for configuring and maintaining on-premises network infrastructures and cloud based systems, so they cannot also be responsible for verifying the security of these networks. This situation would be akin to asking a payroll professional to audit their own entries – in short, it’s simply not appropriate. When a business reaches a certain size, it will almost certainly engage with two separate accountancy firms, one to file its taxes, and another to complete its annual audit. The two very rarely interact, and it is unlikely that businesses would entrust the same firm with both responsibilities.


Security in a cloud-native environment

If you are architecting a cloud solution that can scale to support large volume, can run across different data center instances, and can be provisioned semi or fully automatically, you need to consider security as one of the core building blocks of your architecture. Cloud-native microservices are growing in numbers exponentially, and the rise of IoT is making ways to create more and more interfaces and service endpoints—this makes it more critical to secure application endpoints based on role-based authentication. Every incoming request knows the caller and its role with respect to the called application endpoint. These roles essentially determine if the calling client has enough privileges to perform the requested operation on the called application.


Life As An IT Contractor

Jerry McKune, an independent IT contractor based in the St. Louis area, said he appreciates the variability of IT contracting and the opportunity to keep learning new skills. “I love variety. I cannot stand to do the same thing over and over and over again. There’s a lot of variety in the contract world.” The challenge of variety, however, is that each new assignment means a new learning curve. “Education takes time,” McKune said. “If you’re on a six-month contract, and there’s a four- to five-month learning curve, there’s only going to be a short period of time at the end of it where you really know what you’re doing and you’re capable of performing the tasks assigned to you without help from somebody else.” Learning to rely on other people and not being afraid to say you don’t know something are essential traits.



Quote for the day:


"The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday." -- Tim Fargo