Daily Tech Digest - July 15, 2017

Grooming effective remote developers in the world of DevOps

"You really have to double down on being good at communication and being clear and building relationships and trust with people," Copeland said in an interview. "Because if you don't trust somebody they're going to think you're a talking head." Copeland noted that a base level of technology is required for remote developers to be effective. A chat system is required, he said, as well as a video conferencing system that supports multiple users and a good microphone for each user. Regarding synchronous communication, Copeland said, "I hope that we have holographic telepresence someday," but until then seeing each other on screens will have to do. Often, remote developers like Copeland are among an organization's top development assets.


Enterprise Software Fuels IT Spending As CIOs Become Builders Again

Gartner's predictions for 2017 IT spending have gone up and down over the last few quarters, but most of the tweaks to its forecasts were due to fluctuations in the value of the dollar. (In constant currency terms, Gartner predicts IT spending growth this year to be 3.3 percent.) Those fluctuations are not altering the fundamental trends in IT spending: As users hang on to their mobile phones for two, three or even four years, rather than refreshing them every year or so, the big driver for IT growth will be the digital transformation of businesses. Digital business trends include the use of IoT infrastructure in manufacturing and blockchain technology in financial services and other industries, as well as "smart machines" in retail, Lovelock said.


Physical Security Is Critical For Protecting Your Data

A good example of how this matters is the theft of physical devices. If someone can break through physical security then they can steal a server. Even if the data on that server is encrypted, once a thief has physical access to a device, they can take their time to break the encryption or work around it to access data. Once we start thinking about hacking physical security, we move quickly into the realm of IoT. Vizza says hacking these devices is relatively easy. "A lot of IoT devices have been, historically, set up on a completely different architecture. Unlike the seven-layer OSI model, the IoT is set up on a four-layer model and security was an afterthought at best. A lot of the original PLCs and other devices have security bolted on, if it's done at all".


Here's the brutal reality of online hate

Online abuse is as old as the internet. Being anonymous encourages people to say things they'd never say in public and push the boundaries of accepted behavior because they feel they won't be held accountable. Distance adds to the problem. It's a lot harder to pull out all the stops when you're looking someone in the eye. On the internet, you don't see your target or the emotional devastation you leave behind. Racial minorities often get the brunt of the abuse online. Black Lives Matter activists, including DeRay McKesson, have been harassed in tweets, emails and posts. And there's enough hatred out there to ensure feminists, Jews, Muslims and the LGBTQ community are constant targets. The internet amplifies the effect, organizing the haters into packs of digital attack dogs.


IoT: What You Need to Know About Risk and Responsibility

The Internet of Things (or, IoT) is a blanket term used to describe all of the technology that is being deployed in homes and businesses. That is, technology that isn’t normally considered part of traditional IT infrastructure -- things your IT staff already manage, like computers, mobile devices, network equipment, etc. These new devices connect to the public Internet and communicate in ways that make them “smarter”. They include security cameras, climate control, inventory logistics, power meters, and even “smart beds” in hospitals. While the improvements in efficiency and cost savings that IoT devices can bring to a business cannot be ignored, it’s important to understand the risks associated with “smart” devices.


Which Spark machine learning API should you use?

Consider if a car manufacturer replaces the seat in a car and surveys customers on how comfortable it is. At one end the shorter customers may say the seat is much more comfortable. At the other end, taller customers will say it is really uncomfortable to the point that they wouldn’t buy the car and the people in the middle balance out the difference. On average the new seat might be slightly more comfortable but if no one over 6 feet tall buys the car anymore, we’ve failed somehow. Spark’s hypothesis testing allows you to do a Pearson chi-squared or a Kolmogorov–Smirnov test to see how well something “fits” or whether the distribution of values is “normal.” This can be used most anywhere we have two series of data.


Why mobile hardware security is fundamentally broken

Recent exploits show that our devices are not as secure as we are led to believe. For instance, hacker Jan Krissler published a high-profile hack of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 iris scanning feature, using a consumer grade camera and contact lenses. In Singapore, ethical hackers from the Whitehat Society at the Singapore Management University (SMU) showed that it was possible to take over a user’s device using only their phone number, and then use the device’s camera and audio equipment to spy on the user. Even the smartcard chip, which provides tamper-proof security for phones and cumbersome hardware tokens, offers practically no protection against misuse. Smartcard chips don’t authenticate the user, and are unable to decipher the intent of the person using it, be it for the owner or a person with malicious goals.


Beyond user interface testing: Here's what you need to know

The most common way to look beyond user interface testing is by examining and verifying database values. Software applications update data constantly. Changes in the UI can trigger ongoing or multiple database value updates, kick off triggers and be managed through indexes, just to name a few possibilities. Tracking and verifying data value changes triggered from UI actions provides valuable testing data. For example, many QA testers use SQL to create a repository of tests for verifying database values and then execute them before user interface testing. Defects not visible in the UI can frequently be evident in the database, and testing within the database can find defects before user interface testing occurs.


A View from the Trenches: the C-Suite’s Role in Organizational Transformation

Transformations in tech-focused companies impact not just the development team, but the entire organization. Transformations represent a fundamental shift in how an organization as a whole thinks, acts, and produces. They are collaborative, self-organizing, open, and efficient, but changing the way an entire organization operates - from the way teams are organized to how they interact with clients - takes time and a willingness to trudge through the initial discomfort and uncertainty of change. Recent data from the State of Agile survey shows that three of the top four reasons why Agile projects fail fall under the category of culture. Culture at "odds with agile values" accounted for 46% of answers, while both "lack of management support" and "lack of support for cultural transition" accounted for 38% of answers each.


A.I. innovation finds a home on mobile devices

Innovative mobile apps married to increasingly powerful artificial intelligence (A.I.) are rapidly getting smarter -- making them even more helpful for users. These kinds of apps, showcased at VentureBeat's two-day MobileBeat conference here this week, are designed to anticipate user needs. Who knew, for example, that you can use your smartphone to simplify the process of getting a green card to enter the United States or to streamline corporate travel? During a "Startup Showcase" session, Visabot showcased its appropriately-named Green Card app. The program is based on a bot that walks users through a series of simple questions that, when answered, generates a package of documents you can file with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to complete the application process.



Quote for the day:


"Never be ashamed of your past. It’s all part of what made you the amazing person you are today." --Yehuda Berg