March 18, 2014

Your next corporate computer might be a Chromebook
What's still missing? Skype or Lync for creating conference calls, that's what. Yes, I know about Google's Hangouts but I really like Skype. I also like Lync. At some point, I expect the two to merge into a single service, because they're both Microsoft properties now. Seriously, Chrome OS needs something other than Hangouts for making calls and conference calls. There are a few Hangout-related apps but I still want Skype. I use Skype on other devices and I really need it on my Chromebook. Lync access would also work for a lot of businesses because they've standardized on it for internal chat and audio conferencing as well.

How Stephen Wolfram plans to reinvent data science & make wearables useful (interview)
It’s a little bit generalized relative to that in the following ways. When data comes in, we have some really good technology for finding what’s interesting in the data. You can generate endless charts and graphs and tables, and things about the data. We have good ways of figuring out what is likely to be the thing where you say, “Oh, that’s an interesting feature of my data,” both because you know a lot about the world and because we have good algorithms for just dealing with the actual raw data. First step is automatic data analysis.

HIDAche - An Exercise in Hardware/Software Integration
The goal of this article is to provide information, by means of a fairly simple example, about how we can make a USB device that communicates with the computer and how we can create cool applications that utilize that communication. As this article is not meant to be an in-depth look at USB I will only cover the basics. ... So to create HIDAche we first need to know what functionality we will need from a hardware perspective. Pretty simple. We need to know the packet format for a HID mouse and keyboard so we can imitate them, USB communication to get that information to the computer, and a way to store our prank settings.

Quantum rewrites the rules of computing
Classic computers use bits -- ones and zeroes -- for processing instructions, and they work based on a series of instructions. Ask the computer a question, and it will move through the calculation in a linear, orderly way. A quantum computer combines computing with quantum mechanics, one of the most mysterious and complex branches of physics. The field was created to explain physical phenomena, like the odd actions of subatomic particles, that classical physics fails to do. One of the rules of quantum mechanics is that a quantum system can be in more than one state at once. But that concept goes against what's known of the world. Something can be green or red but it cannot be green and red at the same time.

With a carrier agnostic-SIM, a carmaker could attach your car to whatever carrier to you happen to have relationship with and change your connection whenever you switched carriers. Or it could run a managed service with multiple carriers, connecting to whomever’s network had the best capacity or coverage wherever you happened to be driving, said van der Berg, who is now with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Big data: Why IT departments mustn't be a drag on analytics
"Some banks have tried to do analytics on enterprise data warehouses. The tons of analytics we do, if we dared do that, you might actually stall because of the computation power that you're pulling. So we're very careful about doing that," Grogan said. "When I say we maintain our own analytics infrastructure, I mean exactly that. We maintain a pure, cerebral infrastructure that is only used for analytics and analytical processes." But that processing independence doesn't preclude Grogan for being a strong advocate of spreading access to analytics via a secure, governed, self-service portal where staff can research economic and portfolio data.

How to Use Social Media to Improve Your IT Recruiting Strategy
To attract the top quality talent, businesses must engage candidates through venues like social media to sell them on the merits of the company and its mission, Berkowitz says. And one way to do that is by developing an effective social media hiring strategy. "The goal should be to both make potential applicants aware that you have jobs available and to also show what it's like to work for your company -- showcasing the company's personality and culture," Berkowitz says, but that involves more than just posting an endless stream of want ads.

Cyberspying Targets Energy Secrets
“You finally wake up one day and you’re sitting in a world where this is a serious threat to the industry as a whole.” Attacks can go unnoticed for years, or are never reported. As a result, estimates of stolen intellectual property vary “so widely as to be meaningless,” according to a 2011 report on foreign cyberspying by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, which cited calculations of between $2 billion and $400 billion a year. Companies say they worry most about state-sponsored attacks, which tend to be “incredibly well organized, incredibly sophisticated,” according to BP’s Deasy. Some of the hackers are looking for proprietary data about oil fields, painstakingly gathered using costly seismic surveys, which underpins a business worth $3 trillion a year.

6 Business Opportunities Banks Can Tap In Using Analytics
Thirty percent of banking customers transact with more than one bank with 2.4% of churn expected among primary bank customers within one year, according to a study by IBM. Private sector banks fare slightly better in customer penetration due to a larger portfolio of account offerings and their ability to leverage process capabilities to unlock higher revenue opportunities. The study shows that 87% of customers have only one account with their primary bank and only 58% of their investments lie with them. This provides potential business opportunities for other banks to take advantage of the remaining 42% of customer investments with the help of analytics backed personalization.

Ambitious IT pros seek COO role
With technology now the cornerstone of most companies' operations, there is a growing cross-industry push to connect the oversight of IT with operations. In some cases, like at Learning Ally, the answer is a blended CIO/COO position. At other companies, the CIO is now reporting to the COO or to a hands-on CEO instead of the CFO, which had been the prevalent organizational structure in recent years due to the focus on cost cutting. ... "It used to be that IT was a support function, making sure people had phones and computers. Now IT is in charge of everything from e-commerce applications to mobility. Since those things are the business ... it makes sense to have more overlapping roles."

Quote for the day:

"The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. " -- Arnold Palmer

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