April 29, 2014

Dissecting data measurement: Key metrics for assessing data quality
Arkady Maydanchik defines the purpose of data quality assessment: to identify data errors and erroneous data elements and to measure the impact of various data-driven business processes. Both components -- to identify errors and to understand their implications -- are critical. Data quality assessment can be accomplished in different ways, from simple qualitative assessment to detailed quantitative measurement. Assessments can be made based on general knowledge, guiding principles or specific standards. Data can be assessed at the macro level of general content or at the micro level of specific fields or values.

Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens: Which one is right for you?
There is a specific category of Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens that share the same minimum specs: Intel Atom Z3740 processors, 2GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage, Bluetooth, front- and rear-facing cameras, micro SD slot, micro USB 2.0 port, and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 pre-installed. ... Five major computer makers are selling such Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens. Because it can be tough to tell them apart, we put together this guide to quickly explain why you may (or may not) want to buy a particular model.

The Secret Path to Innovation
In meetings, the person in control of the conversation is often a leader who is forwarding a well thought-out agenda. But for the employee who is listening to the information, it may be perceived as uninteresting or even threatening. When we are uninterested, the RAS is not activated and what we hear just becomes noise. And when we feel threatened by something because we don't understand it or it seems overly burdensome, many of us shut down. Bolt, the fastest pigeon in the world was sold for £300,000 last year to a Chinese millionaire.

White House report on big data and privacy: Too little, too late
The White House is either late to the game -- or, as with exploit sales, a system with opportunistic holes hasn't been such a bad thing for defense. Stalking victims, civil and privacy rights groups, targeted segments of the population, and even the Federal Trade Commission have been fighting sellers like Spokeo -- and losing the battle -- for years. The FTC recently settled two cases with data brokers Checkmate and InfoTrack for selling consumer data to prospective employers and landlords in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In June 2012, Spokeo paid $800,000 to settle an FTC suit that alleged Spokeo illegally sold personal information.

How Moore’s Law Is Changing Everything
Saying that the pace of change in today’s business world is accelerating has become a leading cliché among executives and business consultants. But most of us leave it there. You can’t prove it, right? Besides, it’s not like we’re the first people to live through a time of aggressive transformation. Consider how British business leaders must have felt during the reign of King George III, as the steam engine, the cotton gin, and the railroad upended the old commercial world order. In their new book, however, MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee make the case that the cliché is indeed true, and they do it in a highly persuasive manner.

The state of the Internet: Faster, with more IPv6 -- and more attacks
With the increase in speed has also come an increase in IPv6 connectivity, particularly among educational institutions and a few key ISPs, such as Google Fiber and Verizon Wireless. It makes sense that Google Fiber is IPv6-connected by default, given the sheer newness of the network; ditto Verizon Wireless, which has a relatively rapid turnover in mobile devices and a newly deployed 4G LTE network. But IPv6 connectivity isn't close to what it ought to be, especially considering IPv4 addresses are expected to be entirely allocated by the end of the year.

The First Step Toward Successful Innovation
There are many steps along the path to delivering successful innovation: idea generation, identifying the most worthy ideas and delivering a fully formed product or technology to market. I’ve been thinking lately about the first phase of the innovation journey — creating or finding the right ideas in the sea of concepts competing for our attention. Sometimes I hear concerns that companies are overlooking promising ideas from employees already within the company; other times I hear worries that “not invented here” syndrome is keeping teams overly focused in their existing network echo chamber, unable to see the great ideas just outside their own walls.

Agile doesn't (necessarily) mean fragile
According to Gene Kim, founder of IT security firm Tripwire and DevOps author and speaker says that this highly cooperative and iterative environment doesn't create the shoddy environment (security wise, that is) they fear: in fact it can enhance security. "We've witnessed this downward spiral that happens in almost every IT organization. It became typical that whenever you wanted a new release or deployment, in most enterprises, it would take days or weeks or longer to complete. It involves tons of project sign-offs and hand-offs. This includes developers, DBAs, release teams, security and compliance people, operations teams and so on. This creates delays and is itself very error prone," Kim says.

Perceptive Software's closing the gaps in enterprise content management
Also newsworthy is Perceptive Software's entrance into the Leaders quadrant of Gartner's ECM Magic Quadrant report in September 2013. Gartner cited Perceptive Software's "strong execution and customer focus," adding that "customers are generally highly satisfied" with their product line and its ease of deployment. Since 2010, Perceptive has used acquisitions (with financial and strategic support from Lexmark) to fuel a substantial part of its double-digit growth. In the ECM Magic Quadrant report, Gartner wrote that Perceptive "needs to better articulate its strategy and road map" for its acquisitions, noting that its purchase of  Twistage and Acuo Technologies helped to strengthen its solutions in healthcare and higher education.

Being Agile: Eleven Breakthrough Techniques to Keep You from "Waterfalling Backward"
Having teams work closely together on one thing at a time helps eliminate multi-tasking – the each team shares a common goal (i.e., completing a user story) and any interruptions are met with stiff resistance because it impacts what the team is trying to accomplish. What we tend to see when teams don’t get the whole team approach is individual team members off in their cubes, isolated from each other, working for a week or two at a time, and being relatively unaware of what other team members are doing. The results are usually predictable – major problems at the end of an iteration due to a lack of regular interaction.

Quote for the day:

"Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction." -- Al Bernstein

April 28, 2014

Software Is Eating the World, and It Could Eat Your Business
One might say the events of the past three years have only served to reinforce Andreessen's perspective. Today Airbnb and Uber are reshaping the lodging and taxi industries by incorporating a crowdsourcing twist to their offerings. Creating communities of users and providers, these companies threaten incumbents by coordinating information about the services without having to invest in the resources necessary to deliver the services themselves. These businesses are asset-light and information-rich. Their growth is starting to bite: One hotel chain recently hired a CIO when it realized that Airbnb's 2013 bookings represented more than half of the total provided by this chain across all of its properties around the world.

U.S. search warrant can acquire foreign cloud, email data, judge rules
The move puts the U.S. further in conflict with foreign laws, particularly European data protection and privacy law, which aim to protect data from being taken outside the 28 member state's jurisdiction. It's long been known that U.S. authorities can legally, under its own legal system, acquire data from outside the United States. But the ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in New York has now further entrenched existing opinions shared by U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the Justice Dept. into the judicial system.

High-profile breaches throw a wrench into security policy management
"You have to pay attention to the tank pointed at your front door, but you also have to be aware that there are probably termites in your house, too. Taking care of the little security items always seem to get pushed to the back burner,"Buraglio said. "There's always going to be something larger that security professionals could be working on. But in reality, if they just focused on the fundamentals -- like keeping patches up to date -- they'd be so much further along," said John Pironti, president of Rowley, Mass.-based consultancy IP Architects LLC.

Six Steps for Deploying Data Security Controls
The best approach to implementing DLP is to start small and move methodically through all the steps to fully understand the project and results. iP is a good place to start before moving to larger datasets with more owners and business processes. The six steps below for deploying data security controls come from Neil Thacker, information security and strategy officer for the Websense office of the CSO and former head of security operations for Camelot (UK national Lottery) and Deutsche Bank.

Homeland Security struggles to tempt, retain cyber talent
Experts say Homeland Security doesn't have to wait for legislation. "It's self-inflicted damage, it's not that they need something from Congress," said Alan Paller, co-chairman of a task force DHS set up two years ago to recommend ways DHS could improve its cyber force. DHS can bypass time-consuming security clearances and fight cyber attacks more efficiently by declassifying work that is not secret, said Amit Yoran, a senior vice president at security company RSA who held top DHS posts in the George W. Bush administration. He warned lawmakers about the hiring problems in 2009.

Data manipulation tricks: Even better in R
After covering a recent session on data munging with Excel, I wanted to see how those tasks could be accomplished in R. Surely anything you can do in a spreadsheet should be doable in a platform designed for heavy-duty statistical analysis! (New to R? You can get up and running with our Beginner's guide to R series.) To more easily follow these tips and code, we have a companion PDF that you can download here. (Free registration is required.) To get started, you can download the Excel Magic PDF and sample data spreadsheet and then follow along. (The original Excel tips come from MaryJo Webster, senior data reporter with Digital First Media.)

Hackonomics: The cost of getting caught
Operating within layers of secrecy and razor-sharp opsec are the players in the cybercrime black market and thus the market's behavior: the market necessitates a fanatical obsession of trying not to get caught. The fear of getting caught dictates much more about the market than its conditions. Surely this has a cost, too. To get an understanding of a hacker's potential cost of getting caught doing black market business, ZDNet spoke with a number of high-profile attorneys. Marcia Hofmann is a litigator specializing in digital rights cases who woked on Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer's case.

The Courage of the Transparent CIO
The problem with being transparent is that it is not the path that leads you to getting what you want or even what you know is best for the organization. Being truly transparent requires a degree of trust and vulnerability. You must possess enough confidence in what you're presenting and in your organization's ability to recognize the right course of action. Most important, when the organization doesn't choose what you think is the best option, you must have the courage to accept that decision.

How to Negotiate a Collaborative Outsourcing Deal
It's sad. Why do companies outsource if they can't trust their supplier? If they need to change suppliers, they could do so. But what we find is that they don't trust any suppliers. Lack of trust was something that plagued Dell in their outsourcing relationship with GENCO, which had managed Dell's North American reverse logistic operations for eight years. The two decided to have a strategic meeting in a neutral location to discuss their lack of trust and what was causing it.

7 Golden Rules for Big Data Projects
It seems every organisation has either jumped or is seriously contemplating jumping onto the Big Data bandwagon. In an industry where the hype is often followed by the despair, I feel somewhat ashamed that the IT Industry that I work in pushes the barrow often before the horse. As a result, organisations get hyped up around the advantages and the outcomes of the technology without putting in place the safeguards to ensure project success. Often when I talk to my customers about Big Data, I like to ask some basic questions to ensure that whatever we deliver is achievable and is not going to be just another piece of technology sitting on the shelf.

Quote for the day:

"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails." --John C. Maxwell

April 27, 2014

An Easy Interface for the Internet of Things
With a new service called Freeboard, Bug Labs is giving people a simple one-click way to publish data from a “thing” to its own Web page (Bug Labs calls this “dweeting”). To get a sense of this, visit Dweet.io with your computer or mobile phone, click “try it now,” and you’ll see raw data from your device itself: its GPS coordinates and even the position of your computer mouse. The data is now on a public Web page and available for analysis and aggregation; another click stops this sharing. Freeboard, expected to be launched Tuesday, makes sense of such streams of data.

NHS 24’s new IT system plagued by testing issues
NHS 24’s chief executive John Turner said: "The new system is being built by BT and Capgemini, and our intention is to continue to develop the system with our suppliers and to deploy it when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, the current systems continue to work effectively in supporting the delivery of our services across Scotland, and people should not hesitate to contact the NHS 24 service if they need to. "In recent years, NHS 24 has been developing a programme to update our technology systems for the future. This will enable us to continue to provide safe and effective services to patients, to enhance the way NHS 24 works by delivering a more streamlined service for patients and staff, and to expand services in the years ahead.”

WAF - Typical Detection & Protection Techniques
WAF - Web Application Firewalls is a new breed of information security technology that offers protection to web sites and web applications from malicious attacks. As the name suggests, WAF solution is intended scanning the HTTP and HTTPS traffic alone. The WAF solutions have evolved over the last few years and are capable of preventing attacks that network firewalls and intrusion detection systems can't. The WAF offering typically comes in the form of a packaged appliance, i.e. with a purpose built hardware and a software running on it and is plugged in to the network. Different appliances offer different level of deployment capabilities, like, active / passive modes, support for High Availability,etc.

What is Apache Tez?
Tez generalizes the MapReduce paradigm to a more powerful framework based on expressing computations as a dataflow graph. Tez is not meant directly for end-users – in fact it enables developers to build end-user applications with much better performance and flexibility. Hadoop has traditionally been a batch-processing platform for large amounts of data. However, there are a lot of use cases for near-real-time performance of query processing. There are also several workloads, such as Machine Learning, which do not fit will into the MapReduce paradigm. Tez helps Hadoop address these use cases.

Big Data: Profitability, Potential and Problems in Banking
The truth is that financial institutions are struggling to profit from ever-increasing volumes of data. Banks are only using a small portion of this data to generate insights that enhance the customer experience. For instance, research reveals that less than half of banks analyze customers’ external data, such as social media activities and online behavior. And only 29% analyze customers’ share of wallet, one of the key measures of a bank’s relationship with its customers. Only 37% of banks have hands-on experience with live big data implementations, while the majority of banks are still focusing on pilots and experiments.

Implementing Compliance Incentives In Your Company
Make integrity, ethics and compliance part of the promotion, compensation and evaluation processes as well. For at the end of the day, the most effective way to communicate that “doing the right thing” is a priority is to reward it. Conversely, if employees are led to believe that, when it comes to compensation and career advancement, all that counts is short-term profitability, and that cutting ethical corners is an acceptable way of getting there, they’ll perform to that measure. To cite an example from a different walk of life: a college football coach can be told that the graduation rates of his players are what matters, but he’ll know differently if the sole focus of his contract extension talks [about] or the decision to fire him is [based on] his win-loss record.

The Deadly Data Science Sin of Confirmation Bias
Data scientists exhibit confirmation bias when they actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. This is a type of selection bias in collecting evidence. Note that confirmation biases are not limited to the collection of evidence: even if two (2) data scientists have the same evidence, their respective interpretations may be biased. In my experience, many data scientists exhibit a hidden yet deadly form of confirmation bias when they interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. This is difficult and sometimes impossible to detect yet occurs frequently.

Increasingly, Robots of All Sizes Are Human Workmates
Human-robot collaboration is “gaining an enormous amount of momentum,” says Henrik Christensen, executive director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech. “In the past, robots have penetrated 10 percent of the industry. There’s still 90 percent of the industry, and that’s where you need collaborative robots.” The Robotic Industries Association, a U.S. trade group, last week organized its first conference dedicated to collaborative robots, at which robot manufacturers and customers gathered to discuss the trend. Christensen was a keynote speaker.

Roadmaps in Enterprise Architecture: Work Packages and Timelines
An architect can identify a set of standard threads or dimensions that run through all Work Packages. These standard dimensions will generally indicate what has been achieved at that Milestone, so that we can look for improvements across a lifecycle. For each of these threads, there can be a status indicator at any given project Milestone. This is achieved using color-coding so that stakeholders can tell, at a glance, the status of a given Work Package at different points in time. Examples of these dimensions are Cost Savings, Resource Requirements, Risk, Classification etc.

The Zachman Framework - The Perfect Tool for Operating Model Management
On this blog I have covered various aspects of Zachman Framework and thinking behind it from John in a number of posts. His thoughts on using the framework to address complexity and change, the framework being ontology - a classification for Enterprise Assets and components are well documented in my previous posts and hence I won't repeat in this post. I will try and briefly cover how the latest version can be used to address the Operating Model creation and management challenges.

Quote for the day:

"Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not are slaves" -- Lord Byron

April 26, 2014

The High Cost of Low Quality IT
Ultimately, technology purchases and implementations aren’t like buying widgets. A half-baked solution full of “second choice” technologies may end up being unusable to end-users, especially over a prolonged period of time. And cut-rate implementations that are seriously delayed or over-budget can translate into lost revenues, and/or delayed time to market.  When evaluating information technology (especially for new solutions), make sure to compare specs to specs, technical capabilities to capabilities, and implementation expertise to expertise.

Big data key to bringing hyperlocal weather forecasts to Georgia farmers
Reckford is confident that hyperlocal forecasts enabled by big data analytics and sophisticated modeling technologies will one day yield similar benefits. Weather forecast models in the U.S. typically have a horizontal resolution of 12 kilometers, meaning they are based on data gathered from grid points spaced 12 kilometers apart. By building weather models with a 1.5 kilometer resolution, the Flint River Partnership project is looking to provide farmers in the area with much more granular weather information. That would lead to more informed decisions regarding irrigation, seeding, harvesting and fertilizer application, Reckford said.

Guess what? CIOs are back (if they were ever really gone)
With all the talk of chief marketing officers (CMOs) taking over IT budgets, it’s interesting to see a countervailing argument. Case in point: Clorox CIO Ralph Loura was promoted to senior vice president and ensconced on the company’s executive committee, according to The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal (reg required). Over the past few years, as bring your own device or BYOD mania swept through big companies, there was pushback among end-users who often viewed IT and CIOs as barriers between them and their favorite devices and apps. That’s why CMOs and other line-of-business managers started using their own budgets to do what needed doing.

Public Cloud Market Ready for 'Hypergrowth' Period
"You need to update your forecast to keep up with reality," said Andrew Bartels, an analyst with Forrester. "Now we have a new set of numbers to work with. One of the key trends behind this is that the cloud is starting to shift from a complement to a replacement for existing technology." Breaking down the public cloud market into segments, Forrester predicts that the global public cloud platform services will hit $44 billion by 2020, the cloud business services should reach $14 billion and the cloud applications, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) market, will hit $131 billion.

The smartphone era is finally getting the productivity software it needs
It has taken a while for the software that helps people get work done to catch up with the fact that many people are increasingly working on tablets and phones. Now new apps are making it easier to create and edit documents on the go. Meanwhile, cloud-based file storage services, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s ­OneDrive—which have plunged in cost and soared in usage—help keep the results in sync even as multiple users work on the same file simultaneously. Some cloud services do this by separating what look to users like unified files into separate entries—paragraphs, words, even individual characters—in easily manipulated databases.

Exclusive Interview: David Stringfellow, Chief Economist, State Utah Auditor
Two good benchmarks to separate the leaders from the laggards in the government sector are 1) the extent to which data is made available to both the public and data community in useful ways and 2) whether a government employs the right human capital in executive positions with both subject matter expertise and fluency in data use. Examples, include websites that open up the government checkbook to inspection. A good GUI is useful to a curious citizen, but of at least equal import is the ability of power data users to download the same data in bulk for true analytics. Governments will need Chief Data Scientists to marshal the resources to truly leverage the value of the data governments maintain to drive more efficiency.

Wearables and fashion: Blending the two will be a key to success
The connection between fashion and tech wearables is getting stronger as manufacturers recognize that people want to not only wear something that works well, but looks good, too. Face it. Putting on a wearable makes a statement, whether it's to tell someone that you are into health and fitness, or that you're a techie and you want instant access to texts and emails. "We're at the very beginning of wearables. People are finally waking up to the fact if you're going to be on someone's body, you have to at least be not unfashionable. With Shine, we were trying to be not unfashionable," said Sonny Vu, founder of Misfit Wearables, which developed the stylish Misfit Shine fitness tracking device.

5 Big Data Ted Talks Everyone Needs to See [VIDEOS]
It's a changing space out there, where what you like on Facebook can tell a marketer your inner-most desires, where the speed of algorithms concerns us more than the speed of light, where monuments and memorials are built to honor the humanity in us all -- from a data standpoint.  So, yes...big data may indeed be a buzzword, but it's influence on our business models, our lives and even on the grography of our planet is only beginning. These five Ted Talks get to the heart of the massive shift in perception when it comes to utilizing data, from the security to the oddities and everything in between. It's time to learn up about the data revolution, and begin to understand your data rights.

Australia’s Federal Privacy Act Gives Watchdog Teeth
So it's perhaps surprising that legislation has often failed to keep up with technological developments. Laws designed to cover the accidental loss of a few paper documents from a musty government warehouse are hardly suited to an era in which millions of individuals’ highly personal details can be mislaid on a USB drive the size of a thumbnail. The UK government demonstrated that when it lost the personal details of 25 million people on two non-encrypted CDs in 2007. Many other examples exist, all around the world. In fact the list of major organisations that haven't lost customer data seems to get shorter by the week.

Cloud-savvy Bluetooth 4.1 to reach devices by year end
It is technically possible for Bluetooth devices to send data to a cloud service today, but only through hub devices with a full OS and supporting drivers or special routers running a software stack. Bluetooth 4.1 will go into "dumb" equipment such as routers or set-top boxes, which can receive Bluetooth data and redirect it to cloud services via a basic software layer in the gateway equipment. The gateways don't need a full OS the way smartphones and tablets do, with an app in the wearable device specifying the cloud service to receive the Bluetooth data.

Quote for the day:

The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” -- Malcolm Gladwell

April 25, 2014

The background on Apple's '103-degree data center'
What wasn't explained is that Jackson and the reporter were walking down a hot aisle, and feeling the fan exhaust. The experience might have been different if they had walked down the cold aisle, where the rack fronts face the aisle. Apple isn't disclosing details about its Maiden data center operations, except at the 30,000 foot level, so it's unknown exactly what temperatures it's operating at. But it is possible to estimate a range.

Mobile data collection platform ices Blue Bell's transaction drops
"We have around 1,500 different vehicles running out on the road each and every day," Jim Kruse, Blue Bell's board secretary and controller, said during a presentation at the Collaborate 14 conference in Las Vegas. "No one else touches our product except for us." Prior to 2012, the company's mobile data collection software was Gemini from ClearOrbit -- now called Take Supply Chain. But Blue Bell was having problems. Kruse said transactions would sometimes go kaput if an employee in the ice cream production facility or distribution center lost mobile connectivity in the middle of a transaction.

So Long IT Specialist, Hello Full-Stack Engineer
An engineer by training, Reed saw an opportunity to apply the new product introduction (NPI) process developed at GE a couple of decades ago to the world of IT development. Years ago, a GE engineer might split his or her time between supporting a plant, providing customer service, and developing a new product. With NPI, we turned that on its ear and said you're going to focus only on this new product," explains Reed. "You take people with different areas of expertise and you give them one focus." That's what Reed did with IT. "We take folks that might do five different things in the course of the day and focus them on one task -- with the added twist being that you can't be someone who just writes code," says Reed.

Shadow IT: Far Bigger, Less Manageable And More Important Than You Think
Even when lines of business initiate technology purchases, it is increasingly including IT. So for the CIO worried about Shadow IT and the developers that foster it, don't. Even with the rise of DevOps, those developers more often than not are happy to collaborate with IT in the ongoing maintenance of applications; they simply don't want to be blocked from starting on such projects.  CIOs that encourage developers to use open source and the cloud position themselves to assume control as soon as developers move onto the next business-changing application. It may not be the kind of control they want, but it's the reality of the modern enterprise.

Thoughts on SDN Consumability
The OpenDaylight Project recently found that 76% of network engineers want “open source SDN” (the, um, open definition of “open source SDN” may account for some of that exuberance)…from commercial suppliers. That doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, that incumbent networking suppliers should necessarily assume they automatically get to keep most of their business if and when the networking world goes all-SDN-all-the-time. The market is open for anyone—or combinations of interests—who can meet the following “Open SDN” requirements, according to the ODP survey:

ArchiMate® Q&A with Phil Beauvoir
Well, firstly Archi is a tool for modeling Enterprise Architecture using the ArchiMate language and notation, but what really makes it stand out from the other tools is its accessibility and the fact that it is free, open source and cross-platform. It can do a lot of, if not all of, the things that the bigger tools provide without any financial or other commitment. However, free is not much use if there’s no quality. One thing I’ve always strived for in developing Archi is to ensure that even if it only does a few things compared with the bigger tools, it does those things well.

Treating Enterprise Software like Game Design
The “MDA” acronym stands for “Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics”. Mechanics refers to the algorithms and data structures that drive the game, such as how running characters animate or the arc of a character’s jump. Dynamics refers to the run-time interaction between the mechanics and the player, such as the pressing this button to jump or showing the character’s health as a bar at the top left of the screen. Aesthetics refers to how the player enjoys the game and what the player gets out of the game. Aesthetics is often the hardest to describe to non-gamers. Some games may offer multiplayer where players enjoy the social and competitive aspects, like the an online game of “Call of Duty” or “Doom”.

Showing empathy in your leadership
“Empathy isn’t a weakness, but fundamental to good management,” said Kristen Leverone, senior vice president for Lee Hecht Harrison’s Global Talent Development Practice. “It means being able to understand and relate to others’ feelings. After all, if a supervisor or manager can’t tune into the feelings of employees, it’s going to be very difficult to motivate or engage them. The survey seems to have struck a chord, and the findings should raise concerns for management.” What is empathy? It’s an understanding of someone else’s world, and showing the person that you understand.

The Hidden Business Benefits of Regulation
In Friedman’s free-market world, there would be no upper limit to the amount courts could award injured parties, and no restrictions on class-action suits or on lawyers working on contingency. Since the prospect of costly litigation is as unpalatable to most corporate leaders today as regulation, they want to have it both ways: deregulation and limits on litigation. But that implies that all businesses will self-regulate, which is a lofty goal. In fact, until greed and sin vanish from this earth, businesses might just as well curse the darkness as to demand such total self-regulation.

Project portfolio management best practices in the SOA landscape
One of the project portfolio management best practices is to get control and definition of work categorization, said Tim Madewell, senior VP of professional services at San Francisco-based PPM tool vendor Innotas. This involves organizing information about projects and ongoing SOA infrastructure into categories -- including large, capital-intensive projects -- and budgeting support and maintenance to keep the lights on. A well-defined portfolio management process can also include other risks, like compliance, regulatory issues, and anything that will require IT.

Quote for the day:

Morale is the core of any team's unity. If you don't believe in each other it's harder to believe in where you are going. -- +Shawn Upchurch

April 24, 2014

Key Considerations in Choosing an IT Monitoring Solution
Small organizations have limited resources, but still require enterprise class IT monitoring capabilities to grow and be more agile. We spoke to Abhilash Purushothaman, Head - Service Assurance Business, India & SAARC, CA Technologies, to understand the importance of such solutions and key considerations while choosing one - See more at: http://www.pcquest.com/pcquest/interview/213560/key-considerations-choosing-it-monitoring-solution#sthash.w9qZVgfy.dpuf

How to Limit the Damage from a Data Breach by Planning Ahead
Let’s take a break from talking prevention and go where nobody likes to go: how to prepare for the time when what you don’t want to happen does happen. It pays to do some planning in this regard as evidenced by Snapchat, for instance, who has taken a bad situation and made it worse by their handling of it. Data breaches are not just a public relations burden but can cause negative impact on your company’s value and reputation. All eyes are going to be on you, the infosec pro, to provide clear answers quickly. In fact that’s one of the things we’ll deal with in this webinar – the top 5 questions in a data breach:

10 Great Android Apps for IT Pros
In the 18 months since, the 2013 Nexus 7 has proved amazing, and the Moto X is a great smartphone -- both of which are reasonably pricedand unlocked.  This isn’t to say other Android phones and tablets aren’t also good, but the Nexus 7 with LTE from T-Mobile gives me the power and connectivity to fix just about any minor IT problem remotely, earning it a permanent place in my cargo pocket -- and on my list of essential “MacGyver IT” troubleshooting tools. Here are the apps every Android-wielding IT pro should know about.

Improving SQL Server Performance by Looking at the Plan Cache
The SQL Server plan cache stores details on statements that are being executed over time. Each time a statement executes SQL Server will look inside the plan cache first to see if a plan already exists. If a plan exists SQL Server will use that plan instead of spending time compiling a new plan. This ensures the engine operates efficiently. The plan cache holds a great deal of information about the overall health of your database instance. You can use the plan cache to investigate current performance issues as well as proactively look for opportunities to improve performance.

T5 Lands Financial Customer in Atlanta Data Center
“T5 continues to attract discerning customers such as financial services companies and healthcare firms that need to maintain sensitive data, and address security as part of their own compliance requirements,” said Tim Bright, Senior Vice President, of T5 Data Centers. “They come to T5 because of our reputation for reliable service, operational stability across our national portfolio, our willingness to customize our security, and power redundancy and resiliency. With backgrounds in Enterprise Data Center development, operations, and consulting, T5 approaches data center design differently by designing the kind of data center our clients would build themselves, even before we start customization.”

Internet of Things: Changing the Insurance Value Chain
The rise of the Internet of things could change every link in the insurance value chain, according to “The Internet of Things and the Insurance Value Chain,” from Celent, creating new business opportunities for early adopters and saddling late adopters with adverse selection. Donald Light, director of Celent's Americas P&C insurance practice, explains that the Internet of things (IoT) consists of three interdependent components: things with networked sensors, such as automobiles, machines, buildings and people; data stores, whether they are local or in the cloud; and analytics engines.

A 'cloud first' strategy calls for strong security: Five tips to get there
Security is still a major obstacle for IT when it comes to cloud adoption. That was made crystal clear at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council seminar on securing data, availability and reputation in the cloud, which attracted a mix of security, IT, entrepreneurs and business folks. As one attendee succinctly put it, "Why should we trustAWS [Amazon Web Services] when we have no visibility into their other side?" Still, there are plenty of organizations thinking in terms of a "cloud first" strategy, including the federal government. For readers who are looking for guidance on cloud security, here are five quick tips from the seminar's expert panelists on how to minimize security risks before partnering with AWS or any number of Anything as a Service providers.

How to create a solid, healthy company culture
It doesn’t matter what size organization you are working or running — culture is key to achieving success. One of the easiest examples of how a weak corporate culture can topple a company was AOL/Time Warner. There was the buttoned-down corporate culture of Time Warner on the one hand, and the entrepreneurial spirit of AOL on the other. It was one of the key factors that led to the demise of the largest merger in the history of U.S. business. So how does one create a healthy culture? There are four basic ingredients

How GE Applies Lean Startup Practices
GE Appliance’s first attempt to apply FastWorks has been to create a refrigerator with French doors (doors that open from the middle) for their high end “Monogram” line. In January 2013, Chip Blankenship, CEO of GE Appliances issued a challenge to the newly formed team: “You’re going to change every part the customer sees. You won’t have a lot of money. There will be a very small team. There will be a working product in 3 months. And you will have a production product in 11 or 12 months.” The cross-functional team was thrown into a room together. They became a tight group as they went down to the factory floor and built products together and looked at market research together.

FCC will seek comments about its latest net neutrality proposal
Under the proposal, "broadband providers would be required to offer a baseline level of service to their subscribers, along with the ability to enter into individual negotiations with content providers," the official said by email. "In all instances, broadbandA providers would need to act in a commercially reasonable manner subject to [FCC] review on a case-by-case basis." The FCC will seek comment on "exactly what the baseline level of service would be, the construction of a 'commercially reasonable' standard, and the manner in which disputes would be resolved," the official added.

Quote for the day:

"Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience." -- Steve Burnett

April 23, 2014

IT Control Is An Illusion
Mott's span-of-control argument jibes with his three-year initiative to flip GM's reliance on outsourcing, from 90% outsourced IT to 90% in-house. He makes a strong case for moving IT in-house, citing how expensive, slow, and undifferentiated traditional outsourcing work can be. ... Real innovation happens when IT pros are tightly aligned with company strategy and the CIO has a seat at the CEO's table; IT must produce clear strategies, governance, and metrics; IT is a strategic asset, with speed of innovation a major success factor; and sustained competitive advantage comes from a focus on continuous improvement, creative process, and technological change. No arguments from me there.

Think Capacity, Availability and Efficiency. Think DCIM.
When it comes to data center infrastructure management (DCIM), I do see a common set of challenges that decision-makers expect DCIM to solve. Whether it’s reducing energy costs, improving the management of the asset portfolio, or conducing “what if” scenarios on potential downtime issues, it invariably comes down to three core infrastructure challenges: Capacity, Availability and Efficiency. This trio is what ultimately defines the physical infrastructure’s ability to serve the business. So let’s define the terms. From a DCIM perspective, here is how I would define these capabilities:

ARIN runs out of IPv4 addresses
After today’s announcement by ARIN, they have now entered Phase 4 of their IPv4 exhaustion plan. Their Number Resource Policy Manual (NRPM) defines the process that organizations can request IPv4 addresses. At this moment, IPv4 addresses will only be allocated on an emergency basis. This means that an ISP can make one final request for a /22, but after that they will not get any more address space. This may be concerning for many organizations that intend to continue using IPv4 for decades to come. There are probably no organizations in the ARIN territories that are actively planning to stop using IPv4 at some point in the future.

The 9 Most Difficult-to-Fill IT Roles
If you look at data from across the Web, most companies are looking for IT pros with specific experience -- the more the better, but with everyone chasing the same talent, some areas of IT are downright difficult to fill. Recently, TEKsystems conducted a survey of 244 CIOs, CTOs and other senior IT professionals. These IT decision-makers spanned industries that include technology, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, government and professional services representing business large and small. Respondents marked big data, security, mobility and cloud computing as the trends having the largest impacts on their organization. The technology/roles outlined here, according to the survey, are the toughest areas in which to find tech talent.

Briefly, here is the idea: a Big Opportunity articulates in language that is analytically accurate and emotionally compelling an opportunity that will move an organization forward in a substantial way. It is that exciting possibility which, if you can capitalize on it, will place you into a prosperous, winning future. It is related to vision and strategy in a very straightforward way: a strategy shows you what you need to get to a vision; a vision shows you what you will be doing if you get to, and are able to capitalize on, a big opportunity.

Sysadmin Tips and Tricks - Stop Using Root!
If you think about it, it’s clear that the operating system had to be very good at keeping users from being able to stomp on each other’s files and processes. So the early UNIX™ variants were multi-user systems from the get-go. In the ensuing forty years, these systems have only gotten better at keeping the various users and processes from harming each other. And this is the technology that you’re paying for when you use Linux or other modern variants. Now, you may think, “That doesn’t apply to me—I’m the only user on my server!” But are you, really?

Data Governance Required For Healthcare Data Warehouse
With more data pouring in via EHRs and rules related to the Affordable Care Act and other regulations, healthcare's existing lag in data-governance use will grow if organizations don't get moving, according to experts. With healthcare providers considering how to incorporate even more information from medical devices ranging from implants to fitness trackers, it's even more vital for them to figure out governance. Healthcare already has a reputation for being behind in big-data use, a tool vital for healthcare providers' ability to reduce costs while simultaneously improving performance.

Optical LANs Starting to Move From Cloud Giants to Data Centers
Fiber optics removes the need for wiring closets and air conditioning units, requires less cabling than copper-based LANs, less power and fewer electronics, Bernardino said. It also reaches farther than copper—20 to 30 kilometers, compared with 100 meters for copper—enabling the school district to centralize management so that when a problem arises in a building, network technicians no longer have to drive miles out to remote buildings to fix the problem. It can be handled from a central location. It also eliminates the need to upgrade cabling infrastructures, reducing operating expenses by ensuring that as technology evolves, the only components needing a refresh are the active endpoints.

Why IT Managers Should Define Reference Architecture to Map Big Data
Reference architecture is described in terms of technological components that achieve the capabilities and drive the vision of the project. Big data technologies are mapped to the architecture in order to illustrate how the architecture can be implemented and deployed. Organizations can use this reference architecture as a preparatory point for outlining their own distinctive and custom-tailored architecture. “With heavy investment in current BI systems, customers want to enhance the current capability of their analytics by bringing in big data solutions to their existing enterprise system’s landscape, but the million dollar question on how this is to be done,” says Ranka.

Stake Holder Leadership - Bear in Mind: Loving the Champion Bear
Much can be learned from this story. This particular chapter1 presents a discussion about stakeholder management—investigating the concept that stakeholders differ in their perceptions—and introduces a strategy for influence. Let me first give you my definition of the term “stakeholders”: They are a person or organization (e.g. customer, sponsor, performing organization, or the public) that is actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the execution or completion of the project. A stakeholder may also exert influence over the project and its deliverables.

Quote for the day:

"Most ideas are created by looking at something existing in a new and different way." -- Stephanie Vozza

April 22, 2014

Security Manager's Journal: Virtual machines, real mess
We found that those virtual machines were not running any antivirus software and hadn't been patched in more than two years, so we ran a virus scan of one of the virtual machines. Suddenly, everything became very clear. The virtual machine was infected with a virus whose characteristics matched the activity that caused the denial of service to the office. In fact, all 30 desktops in the classroom were infected. But that's not the worst of it. The installed images were derived from a base image maintained at a cloud provider. That base image contained the virus, which explains how 30 machines became infected.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database Security - Firewall Configuration
Deployment of cloud-based technologies introduces a wide range of challenges; however few of them are subjected to the same degree of scrutiny, concern, and public debate as security. In order to properly analyze security related challenges, it is important to note that they encompass several distinct but interrelated concepts, such as data integrity and confidentiality, access control, authentication, and authorization. In this article, we will start reviewing them in the context of Microsoft Azure Software as a Service-based SQL Database, focusing in particular on the SQL Server and database-level firewall access control functionality and methods that can be employed to implement it.

New iOS malware highlights threat to Apple mobile devices
The malware is designed to listen for outgoing connections. Once it recognises an Apple ID and password, it sends these unencrypted IDs and passwords to the cyber criminals behind the malware. The Unflod malware also highlights the risks of installing unknown apps on jailbroken iPhones. Reports of the malware targeting Apple iOS emerged in posts on reddit by iOS users hit by repeated system crashes after installing iOS customisations that were not part of the official Cydia market. A developer for the Cydia market, an alternative to the Apple App Store, has responded to news by in a reddit comment, saying that the probability of Unflod coming from a default Cydia repository is fairly low.

It’s Official: 2013 Was the Busiest Year Yet for Cyber Criminals
The finding comes in a report from the security arm of the telecom giant Verizon set to be published on Wednesday. The Verizon annual Data Breach Investigations Report is one of the most highly regarded in the industry and is now in its tenth year. It contains data on attacks from 50 companies and organizations, covering more than 63,000 computer security incidents and 1,347 confirmed breaches in 95 countries. As these things go, the report contains more data to analyze than any other report of its kind, said Jay Jacobs, a Verizon analyst and one of the report’s co-authors. If combating nine kinds of attacks sounds too ambitious, then maybe this will make it sound a little easier: On average, roughly 72 percent of all attacks were carried out using one of three methods, though the specifics tend to vary by industry.

What Is A Distributed Database And Why Do You Need One?
Grab this technical whitepaper to learn more about the NuoDB distributed database. Learn more about how NuoDB: Cracked the code and finally built a distributed database; Conceived the Durable Distributed Architecture (DDC) by studying the shortcomings of traditional designs; Built a database designed to scale-out on demand in the cloud; and Can provide your app with on-demand scale out, geo-distributed data management and resilience to failure

Managing the Demand for IT Infrastructure
To save costs and prepare for adoption of next-generation infrastructure technology and hybrid-cloud models, leading organizations are adopting commercial-style demand and service management that has two key characteristics. The first is a standard services catalog with clearly priced offerings that can be consumed on a price-times-quantity basis. Such a catalog requires creating bottom-up unit costs for each service based on a detailed bill of materials. This means that unit costs should be an aggregation of all the components making up the service and not an arbitrarily stipulated cost mostly based on averages and allocations.

Business success increasingly hinges on supply chain innovation and procurement advantages
The power of data-driven business networks and the analytics derived from them are increasing, but how do enterprises best leverage that intelligence as they seek new services, products and efficiency? How do automation and intelligence enter the picture for better matching buyers and sellers? BriefingsDirect had an opportunity to learn first-hand at the recent 2014 Ariba LIVE Conference. To learn more about how business—led by procurement—is changing and evolving, and how to best exploit this new wave of innovation, we sat down with Rachel Spasser, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Ariba, and Andrew Bartolini, Chief Research Officer at Ardent Partners.

SEC seeks data on cyber security policies at Wall Street firms
The SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) will review each company's tools and policies regarding governance, risk identification and assessment, network and data security controls, remote access and third party cyber risks. In a security alert released last week, the SEC said the effort was launched after participants at an SEC-sponsored roundtable discussion in March stressed the importance of strong cybersecurity controls at Wall Street firms. During the roundtable, SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar recommended that the Commission collect information from broker-dealers and other financial firms about their cyber readiness.

Now is the time to switch back to Firefox
Mozilla's commitments to your privacy and to the open web are much more important than what any of its staff might have done in the past. In any case, Mozilla co-founder and former chief executive Brendan Eich has already quit, and Mozilla chairman Mitchell Baker has very publicly apologised. At this point, anybody who still thinks boycotting Firefox is a good idea is behind the times. It needs -- and deserves -- your support. Businesses, of course, tend to judge things on merit, which is where the argument for Firefox is strongest. I switched back to Mozilla Firefox in the middle of last summer, when it first became a better browser than Chrome, at least for me.

Intuitive, Robust Date and Time Handling, Finally Comes to Java
When dealing with dates and times we usually think in terms of years, months, days, hours minutes and seconds. However, this is only one model of time, one I refer to as “human”. The second common model is “machine” or “continuous” time. In this model, a point on the time-line is represented by a single large number. This approach is easy for computers to deal with, and is seen in the UNIX count of seconds from 1970, matched in Java by the millisecond count from 1970. The java.time API provides a machine view of time via the Instant value type. It provides the ability to represent a point on the time-line without any other contextual information, such as a time-zone.

Quote for the day:

"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

April 21, 2014

802.11ac standard: How did we get here?
Wireless technology began developing in the early 1970s and has since become an everyday necessity for both consumer and enterprise. The 802.11 standard, which governs the technology's development, has gone through several facelifts in the 17 years since the specification was first created. Today, unfettered access to data has revolutionized the industrial world, fueling the growth of efficiency, productivity and ultimately revenues for businesses worldwide. SearchNetworking created this visual timeline that illustrates key events in the evolution of the 802.11 standard.

The enterprise products with disruptive potential for 2014
Innovation in productivity and collaboration applications have continued apace and I omitted most of them here, since I'll cover them separately in a future exploration. However, despite growing enthusiasm, I find that workers often don't do well with excessive novelty when it comes to their business applications. While there are many interesting new tools emerging all the time, most of them are likely to fade away as they fail to find an audience. Nevertheless, it's one of the more exciting areas, especially as the innovation level at the top end of the product space is more limited.

Contributions of Individual Programming Languages to Software Development
In this blog post, I look at the contributions of several different programming languages to our discipline. In most cases, the listed language was not the very first to introduce the concept or feature, but was the first to make it popular or "mainstream." The purpose of this post is NOT to state which programming language is best or why one is the best thing since sliced bread while another is the worse thing to ever happen to a software developer. I also don't cover markup "languages" such as XML or HTML in this post, though they obviously have had significant influence on software development.

3 Benefits of Mining POS Gold
When retailers were asked to name their best systems or operations decision in 2013, the top answer was focusing on mobile and traditional Point of Sale (POS). In the same 2014 Tech Spending Survey from Integrated Solutions for Retailers (ISR), POS hardware and software headed the list of projected planned investments for this year. Those results shouldn’t be surprising. Advanced POS technology now enables retailers to collect an array of granular data on customer activity and product sales. Putting this information to work can provide retailers with a critical strategic edge. Here are three areas where POS information can make a difference:

Even Good Employees Hoard Great Ideas
What most companies should focus on first is creating an environment, or a culture, that fosters innovation. For example, in the case of the employee wanting an NDA before sharing her idea, the underlying issue may not have been money, but rather commitment and trust. For some reason, this employee didn’t feel that part of her job was to help the company come up with new ways of working, and she wasn’t excited about helping the company improve; she was only innovating because it was good for her. At the same time, she didn’t trust her manager or colleagues to explore or implement her idea, because she was afraid that she wouldn’t be recognized for her contribution. Paying her for the idea likely wouldn’t resolve these issues; rather, it might reinforce them.

Satellite communication systems are rife with security flaws, vulnerable to hackers
"We uncovered what would appear to be multiple backdoors, hardcoded credentials, undocumented and/or insecure protocols, and weak encryption algorithms." "These vulnerabilities allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to compromise the affected products," the researchers said. "In certain cases no user interaction is required to exploit the vulnerability; just sending a simple SMS or specially crafted message from one ship to another ship would be successful for some of the SATCOM systems."

Dark alleys ahead when SDN automation meets Internet of Things
For IoT to work, we'll have to turn our network security strategies upside down. Today's networks are unapologetically skeptical, even hostile. If someone wants bandwidth, if they intend to pass traffic, we place the burden on proof-of-policy compliance that involves the device, the user, or a contextual combination of the two. If we define an endpoint as a person/process, plus context, plus device, we find that we put enough hoops in place that it's relatively expensive for endpoints to add themselves to a network of their choosing. Today endpoints need sponsors.

Bart Perkins: How to keep projects on track
The problems didn't come out of nowhere, of course. But IT leadership can fix problems only if they're known. And problems that fester are more difficult to fix. Unfortunately, project staff can feel strong but subtle pressure to keep problems to themselves. They worry that they won't be perceived as team players if they report any concerns. Less experienced staff can feel an unfounded optimism that convinces them that the project team will be able to recover from missed deadlines by working harder. In the case of the Fortune 500 company cited above, all six failing projects had executive sponsors who were politically powerful and known to attack bearers of bad news. Nobody wanted to raise a red flag and admit that their project was in trouble.

'BYOS' Should Replace BYOD
Wearables take us to that next level of mobility: the fully connected life, where information is available anywhere, anytime. That's a serious concern for those of us who need to manage the BYOS world. If you think smartphones present challenges when it comes to management and security, what are we supposed to do when executives want to access corporate data from their connected cars? Almost half of Baby Boomers consider it vital to access the phone in the vehicle for business and applications, according to an IDC research report.

10 Top Information Security Threats for the Next Two Years
The information security threat landscape is constantly evolving. To help you navigate the terrain, each year the Internet Security Forum (ISF) -- a nonprofit association that assesses security and risk management issues on behalf of its members -- issues its Threat Horizon report to provide members with a forward-looking view of the biggest security threats over a two-year horizon. What follows are the 10 biggest threats on the horizon through 2016 that your organization may have to manage and mitigate, along with commentary from Steve Durbin, the ISF's global vice president.

Quote for the day:

"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity." -- Thomas Wolfe

April 20, 2014

Data Governance for Regulated Industries
Securely and cost-effectively managing petabytes of data from siloed systems is both a threat and opportunity for banking, healthcare, and other organizations in highly regulated industries. Technology advancements and the changing economics of storage and compute have made it possible to leverage this data to do more far-reaching and sophisticated analysis. However, sweeping changes to privacy and transparency laws have heightened the importance of data governance.

Shiny Objects and the Senior Management Team
Effective management teams learn to recognize the signs of a breakdown in discipline and they redouble their efforts to promote clarity and minimize the tendency to fill ambiguity with unqualified activities. These groups recognize the dangers of hubris born of success (Jim Collins) or the tendency to flail in search of quick answers when things go wrong. They understand that they are accountable for setting direction and ensuring that each and every choice to apply company resources must create the right kind of value. And they accept that determining just what the right kind of value truly is, is an exercise that can only be resolved through debate and deliberation.

How to Detect Criminal Gangs Using Mobile Phone Data
Criminal networks are just as social as friendship or business networks. So the same techniques that can tease apart the links between our friends and colleagues should also work for thieves, drug dealers, and organized crime in general. But how would your ordinary law enforcement officer go about collecting and analyzing data in this way? Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Emilio Ferrara at Indiana University in Bloomington and a few pals. These guys have created a bespoke software platform that can bring together information from mobile phone records, from police databases and from the knowledge and expertise of agents themselves to recreate detailed networks behind criminal organizations.

Dynamic Generation of Client Proxy at Runtime in WCF using a Single Factory
In conventional method, if client proxy for a WCF service is required to be generated at runtime programmatically, an instance of ChannelFactory (generic type) is created passing the interface type of the service (contract) as parameter to the generic class. This requires different implementation for different services for generating client proxy which reduces the generic scope. This article describes a method to create a factory class which generates client proxy at runtime from the type of the service contract received as parameter. This will eliminate separate implementation requirement by using a single factory class with the help of .NET reflection.

The dilution of enterprise-architecture
SA is a job title used by systems integrators in the bid, and sometimes delivery phase. The person responsible for solution outline or high-level design. Must join everything up into a coherent solution architecture, identify and mitigate all manner of technical risks, with the delivery time and cost in mind. EA is a job title used by people for the manager, leader or member of a strategic and cross-organisational function, responsible for optimisation of the enterprise system estate. Often, the job is described as requiring engagement with senior executives and their strategies.

6 Top Information Governance Certifications: Don’t Have One? Well You Should
There are numerous information governance certifications you can get to advance your career. Depending on the professional value of each certification, how long it takes to complete it, the cost and the level of difficulty, some certifications might be more necessary for you than others. After learning more about your options, including the popular certifications below, you can be a better judge of what will suit your needs and professional goals.

Biometric identification that goes beyond finger prints
The past few years have seen a great biometric leap forward, as the saturation of smartphones and biotech advances have expanded the universe of potential biomarkers and applications. It's not just the iPhone 5's fingerprint sensors or Fujitsu's plan to embed a palm vein scanner into its mobiles. We're talking scanning the irises of all 1.2 billion Indians, as well as long-range iris scans, gait-recognition systems that use your smartphone's accelerometer to identify you while you pace, electrocardiogram wristbands rigged to open your door and, yes, the butt and body odor scans. Some applications raise amusing reliability questions: How effective would a body odor ID system be if you were to eat a lot of garlic or wear a new perfume?

The data platform for a new era
At the event we celebrated the launch of SQL Server 2014. With this version we now have in-memory capabilities across all data workloads delivering breakthrough performance for applications in throughput and latency. Our relational database in SQL Server has been handling data warehouse workloads in the terabytes to petabyte scale using in-memory columnar data management. With the release of SQL Server 2014, we have added in-memory Online Transaction Processing. In-memory technology has been allowing users to manipulate millions of records at the speed of thought, and scaling analytics solutions to billions of records in SQL Server Analysis Services.

Cisco and Microsoft SQL Server 2014
Cisco and Microsoft, with our strategic storage partners EMC and NetApp, have worked to create Cisco Validated Designs built on Microsoft reference architectures. All solutions and reference architectures are field tested and validated with a primary objective to help simplify implementation and the deployment of Microsoft SQL Server workloads on Cisco UCS. Our integrated infrastructures with our partner EMC are banded ‘VSPEX’ while our solutions with our partner NetApp are branded ‘FlexPod’. With the release of SQL Server 2014, our inventory of SQL Server solutions will grow as we bring to market in spring 2014 reference architectures to support consolidation and high availability scenarios.

Nashorn - The Combined Power of Java and JavaScript in JDK 8
Starting with the JDK 8 Nashorn replaces Rhino as Java’s embedded JavaScript engine. Nashorn supports the full ECMAScript 5.1 specification plus some extensions. It compiles JavaScript to Java bytecode using new language features based on JSR 292, including invokedynamic, that were introduced in JDK 7. This brings a 2 to 10x performance boost over the former Rhino implementation, although it is still somewhat short of V8, the engine inside Chrome and Node.js. If you are interested in details of the implementation you can have a look at these slides from the 2013 JVM Language Summit.

Quote for the day:

"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven't." -- Thomas Edison

April 19, 2014

Apple's anti-Android Holy War gets real
Apple played it cool, massively increasing its R&D investments and scouting for new executive talent to help push things forward. (In the last 12-months Apple has managed to poach at least three CEOs; numerous CTO's and an army of experts in wearable, medical and sensor technologies.) The rejuvenated company is about to respond to the negativity with new products we can only speculate about and iPhone 6, which anyone in the know in the mobile biz already calls the only phone to be of "any importance" this year.

Three Things Missing from Most Enterprise Cloud Strategies
The core problem is that some things are missing in enterprise cloud computing strategies, and these things are often not addressed or understood until it’s too late. My lot in life lately has been getting on airplanes and explaining this to many organizations that find their cloud strategies dead in the water, typically because they overlooked some fundamentals. So, save yourself the plane fare. Here are three of the most overlooked items that go missing from most enterprise cloud computing strategies. As I explain them, count how many are missing within your own organization.

Nike fires majority of FuelBand team, will stop making wearable hardware
"As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities," Nike spokesman Brian Strong said in an email. "As our Digital Sport priorities evolve, we expect to make changes within the team, and there will be a small number of layoffs. We do not comment on individual employment matters." The company informed members of the 70-person hardware team -- part of its larger, technology-focused Digital Sport division comprised of about 200 people -- of the job cuts Thursday. About 30 employees reside at Nike's Hong Kong offices, with the remainder of the team at Nike's Beaverton, Ore., headquarters.

The Big Data Approach to Telematics Insurance
The potential in Big Data can take the current UBI models to an altogether different level. A convergence of multiple data dimensions can now be cohesively collected, analyzed, and modeled to offer truly dynamic, accurate and predictive risk management frameworks for insurers that maximize the benefit for the consumers. Through Big Data, insurers can include in addition to a consumer's driving patterns as seen through accelerator data, turn data, braking data, etc. and demographic & credit history; data dimensions such as current weather conditions, road traffic patterns and conditions, condition of the automobile, etc.

Discover effective data protection
We’d like to thank you for registering by offering you a free chapter of the book, “Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking” (CRC Taylor & Francis) by noted IT industry veteran and Server StorageIO founder Greg Schulz. In this chapter, you’ll learn opportunities for protecting data in cloud, virtual, and data storage networks -- specifically on maintaining availability and accessibility of both active and inactive data. Download the chapter now.

5 considerations when choosing between a SaaS or on-premises
Adoption of software as a service (SaaS) is accelerating and many organizations are realizing the transformative benefits. A recent IBM study highlighted how leading organizations (Pacesetters) are leveraging SaaS deployments to unlock benefits such as reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), increased enterprise collaboration and enhanced market agility. Enterprise software vendors are realizing that deployment choice is a key consideration for prospects and often are offering both cloud and on-premises versions of their software suites. When faced with the choice of cloud-based or on-premises software deployments, many purchasing organizations continue to struggle with this decision.

The rise of big data brings tremendous possibilities and frightening perils
What is scary is that we will lose our privacy, opening the door to new types of crime and fraud. Governments and employers will gain more control over us, and have corporations reap greater profits from the information that we innocently handed over to them. More data and more computing will mean more money and power. Look at the advantage that bankers on Wall Street have already gained with high-frequency trading and how they are skimming billions of dollars from our financial system. We surely need stronger laws and technology protections. And we need to be aware of the perils. We must also realize that with our misdeeds, there will be nowhere to hide—not even in our past.

The U.S. Government Wants 6,000 New 'Cyberwarriors' by 2016
The Pentagon plans to triple its cybersecurity staff by 2016, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced recently. A few days later, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Gilgen said at a conference on cybercrime that his agency’s cyber division plans to hire 1,000 agents and 1,000 analysts in the coming year. Just those two agencies are looking for 6,000 people with cybersecurity skills in the next two years. That’s a very tall order. A look at one way the government has tried to build and recruit such talent—offering university scholarships—shows why.

Can Facebook Innovate? A Conversation With Mark Zuckerberg
Well, so there are a bunch of things here. One thing is that Facebook Messenger is actually a really successful thing. More than 10 billion messages a day that flow through Facebook’s messaging products. But I think we basically saw that the messaging space is bigger than we’d initially realized, and that the use cases that WhatsApp and Messenger have are more different than we had thought originally. Messenger is more about chatting with friends and WhatsApp is like an SMS replacement. Those things sound similar, but when you go into the nuances of how people use it, they are both very big in different markets.

Twenty Years of Patterns’ Impact
Design patterns have helped narrow this gap by documenting a well­working solution to a problem that occurs repeatedly in a given context. Instead of presenting a copyandpasteready code snippet, patterns discuss forces impacting the solution design. Examples of such forces are performance and security in Web applications: encryption and decryption algorithms improve security but introduce processing overhead. Ward Cunningham once described the best patterns as your older brother teaching you how to do something right.

Quote for the day:

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald