July 31, 2014

Develop and Implement your customized plan for adopting healthy agile-lean practices
Effective impediment management can be learned with practice and improved with process maturity and experience; management support is still needed for removing organizational impediments. As multiplexing and multitasking reduces, and the team starts following Stop-Starting-Start-Finishing lean mantra, the number of NT events should reduce over a period of time. Moving away from non-lean behaviors (3B and 4B) to healthy agile-lean practices (3P and 4P), shown along the Y-dimension of Figure 1 is a challenge that can be addressed at the team-level. It usually doesn’t depend on and need not wait for senior management support.

Infographic: Capitalizing on the Internet of Things
Let us give you three figures that show why the IoT creates challenges both long-term and immediate. First, consider the number of IP-enabled devices such as cars, heating systems or production machines. Based on research by the analyst firm Machina Research 14 billion of those things will be connected by 2022. Second, the ITU predicts that by 2015, 75 percent of the world’s population will have internet access. And third, the omnipresent mobile revolution: according to the mobile forecast from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, more than 3 billion smartphones and tablets will be in use globally by 2017.

Hulu Chooses Cassandra Over HBase and Riak
“We looked at HBase and Riak at first,” said Rangel. “Cassandra was an afterthought.” ... “With Cassandra, it managed to handle the load, it’s very reliable, it allows range queries without limitations, and it’s easy to maintain,” said Rangel. “It’s night and day compared to HBase.” The team had to do some hardware changes because Cassandra specs are different. Cassandra is optimized for SSDs, which improved performance. Rangel also said that Cassandra was better at replication.

Attention Agile Programmers: Project Management is not Software Engineering
Many software developers today are working on client/server systems such as Web sites and Smartphone Apps. These systems are based on the exchange of requests and responses between a client and a server. In such systems, the Latency is the time interval between the moment the request is sent and the moment the response is received. The Throughput is the rate the requests are handled, i.e., how many requests are responded per unit of time. In client/server systems it is essential to constantly measure the latency and the throughput. A small code change, such as making an additional query to the database, may have a big impact on both.

Answer to OTP Bypass: Out-of-Band Two-Factor Authentication
When users attempt to visit their bank’s landing page, they get redirected to a fake bank page that steals their username/password. Then, they’re asked to type in the one-time password (OTP) sent by their bank’s mobile app - but, the SMS never arrives, so then the website prompts the user to install a malicious mobile app that’s pretending to be an OTP generator. Whew. This malicious Android app actually intercepts the real two-factor SMS tokens sent by the bank, thereby gaining access to the user’s account and stealing all their monies.

LibreOffice 4.3: The best open-source office suite gets better
According to Coverity, "LibreOffice has done an excellent job of addressing key defects in their code in the short time they have been part of the Coverity Scan service." Like previous versions, LibreOffice is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows systems. You can also run an older version, LibreOffice 4.2, from the cloud using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. With the United Kingdom making LibreOffice's native ODF its default format for government documents, LibreOffice is certain to become more popular. Other cash-strapped governments, such as Italy's Umbria province, have found switching to LibreOffice from Microsoft Office has saved them hundreds of thousands of Euros per thousand PCs.

'Software-defined' to define data center of the future
Simply being written in software shouldn't qualify as "software-defined"; the term should also apply to the overall resource served (e.g., networking or storage). Just as there are network switches for SDN, appropriately designed hardware and firmware solutions should exist for software-definable infrastructure. In other words, a well-designed physically assembled pool of modular (possibly proprietary and/or highly specialized) resource units could be elastically provisioned, dynamically partitioned and configured programmatically.

A New Hat for Negotiators
Kopelman, who broadly defines negotiations, thinks that even more enlightened win-win negotiators can find themselves impaired by the hat they wear. It’s as if the negotiator’s hat includes a set of blinders that artificially limits the options of every party in the negotiation. She says that we all wear multiple hats in our lives, and that each one represents a different role that comes with its own resources and constraints. (For instance, a business executive may also be a parent, a child, a spouse, a soccer fan, a scuba diver, or a church deacon.) But, Kopelman says, if we can integrate our hats, we might be able to use their combined assets to negotiate in a more genuine way and craft superior outcomes.

Top 5 Wearable Tech You Haven’t Heard of Yet
Forecast calls for 19 billion connected things by 2016, and the wearable technology sector is set to skyrocket from $3-5 billion in revenue to $30-50 billion over the next 2 years. The economic impact estimates as high as $14 trillion over the next decade (AllthingsCK.com). The products in beta and those already created are leading in the market. Fitbit fitness devices are available in 30,000 retail stores across 27 countries worldwide (Amazon published rankings). Google Glass expanded with Google Contact Lens. And the market for jackets that navigate, dresses that change color with mood, and bras that can track your heart rate are popping up everywhere.

Big Digital Leadership
Technology trends such as big data and the Cloud are driving the IT agenda, as are technology-fuelled trends such as mobility and social media. Increased user empowerment as demonstrated by the Byod movement is changing the CIO’s role from technology manager to digital leader. This white paper explores these trends from a strategic perspective. It also offers operational advice thus enabling you to turn these emerging themes into business value.

Quote for the day:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. -- Steve Jobs

July 28, 2014

Top 25 free tools for every Windows desktop
While smartphones descend on computer cognoscenti like Mongol hordes and tablets tempt the tried and true, the good ol' Windows desktop still reigns supreme in many corners of the modern tech world. That's where I live, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. If you haven't looked at free desktop programs lately, you'll be surprised. The inexorable shift to a post-PC world hasn’t deadened the market or dulled innovation. Quite the contrary. The current crop of free-for-personal-use (and cheap for corporate use) desktop apps runs rings around the best tools we had not long ago.

The Coming Human Body On A Chip That Will Change How We Make Drugs
Borrowing microfabrication techniques from the semiconductor industry, each organ-on-a-chip is built with small features, such as channels, vessels, and flexible membranes, designed to recreate the flow and forces that cells experience inside a human body. The structure can mimic the inhalation of, say, an asthma medication into the lungs and, later, how it’s broken down in the liver. It might one day help the military test treatments for biological or chemical weapons; hospitals to use a patient’s own stem cells to develop and test “personalized” treatments for their disease; and, of course, drug companies to more quickly screen promising new drugs.

Attackers install DDoS bots on Amazon cloud, exploiting Elasticsearch weakness
Security researchers reported earlier this year that attackers can exploit Elasticsearch’s scripting capability to execute arbitrary code on the underlying server, the issue being tracked as CVE-2014-3120 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database. Elasticsearch’s developers haven’t released a patch for the 1.1.x branch, but starting with version 1.2.0, released on May 22, dynamic scripting is disabled by default. Last week security researchers from Kaspersky Lab found new variants of Mayday, a Trojan program for Linux that’s used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

How To Build A Federal Information Security Team
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) was established in 2010 to raise national cyber security awareness, broaden the pool of cyber security workers through strong education programs, and build a globally competitive workforce. NICE developed a national cyber security workforce framework to codify cyberwork and to identify the specialty areas of cyber professionals. An update to the framework was announced in May of this year. But initiatives such as NICE need additional time and effort in order to achieve tangible and lasting results. What can agencies do in the short term? Here are some recommendations:

Big Switch Networks Launches Mature Hardware-Centric Data Centre SDN Solution
One of the biggest concerns I hear is about hardware and software SDN is reliability and what happens if the controller fails ? I spoke with Rob Sherwood, CTO at Big Switch on this issue. The network can sustain the loss of both SDN controllers and will continue to operate. In the event that both controllers are down and the network changes, the flow table in the device will have pre-calculated redundancy paths to cover failures in the physical network through cascading flow rules in Switch Light tables. If this sounds impossible, you should get in contact with Big Switch to understand it (they call it Sunny and Cloudy Day flow management).

Mobile Now Mission Critical
Mobile budgets are increasing, according to Forrester. Last year, 52 percent of insurers surveyed said they would increase mobile budgets by at least 5 percent and 14 percent said they would increase more than 10 percent, as insurers’ market positions increasingly depend on mobile strategies. Insurers also are responsible for responding to evolving customer demands in order to increase market share and build brand loyalty. As a result of these and other factors, mobile has become business critical for insurers. Deployed successfully, mobile applications can help insurers accomplish three objectives:

Can Data Analytics Make Teachers Better Educators?
Teachers are an excellent example. They've always been data workers — assessing students' understanding of the material based on test scores, classroom engagement, quality of homework, etc., with the goal of improving that understanding. Knowing that individual students learn in different ways, many schools today have adopted the idea of personalized learning as their pedagogical approach: They assess each student on their learning needs, interests, aspirations and cultural backgrounds to create a personalized education program designed to maximize education outcomes.

RackWare Adds Disaster Recovery to Cloud Migration Software Suite
The newly added capability provides whole-server protection and failover. It’s an alternative but not necessarily a replacement to more expensive DR options, such as running a fully replicated data center architected for high-availability or clustering technologies. RackWare’s benefits over traditional disaster recovery are set-up speed and simplicity. Workloads are protected in as little as an hour, compared to days and weeks it takes to deploy more complex disaster recovery options. The disaster recovery in RMM 3.0 is already being used in production by a few select customers. Sunkara said the limited access period helped the company gather feedback and fine-tune the product. It’s now widely available.

Bank of America: When software relationships turn sour
"This is a relationship that has gone bad. It is very rare to get this kind of escalation," said Neil Ward-Dutton, research director at MWD Advisors. "Part of the way to maintain revenue is by enforcing audits, but normally if the [customer] has been using software outside the agreement, you negotiate and come to a compromise." Commenting on the challenges Bank of America could face if the Tibco software it uses is “impounded”, he said: "If Bank of America has fairly well-defined projects, then migrating modern middleware should not require much recoding, since the applications would use standard coding. But there is always some vendor proprietary tools, which may need workarounds."

Why a Media Giant Sold Its Data Center and Headed to the Cloud
"As we moved down this digital path -- everything from creation to distribution -- we started looking at our operations and looking at what we should be and shouldn't be in," Simon says. "One of the questions we asked ourselves was: 'Do we really want to be in the business of running data centers anymore?'" Reaching the answer to that question was difficult. But in the end, Simon's higher-ups agreed: CondA(c) Nast would get out of the data center game. "The transition was a lot less challenging that the decision to do it," Simon says.

Quote for the day:

"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." -- Peter F. Drucker

July 27, 2014

A Roadmap to Agile Documentation
The adoption of agile methodologies in project management and software development has experienced a rapid growth in the last decade and is expected to keep growing. In transitioning to the agile way of working, many Johns and Janes throughout the world pose the same questions on what appears to be such a loose approach to development and is definitively a different, less traditional way of doing things. In the middle of all the differences in the way companies begin to work when transitioning to the agile mindset are issues relating to documenting.

How Ford plans to win the future like a software company
"When it comes to thinking like a software and technology company, [we need to make sure] the vehicle is updatable over time, and we want to plan on a certain number of software updates throughout the year," said Butler. "Device makers have been doing it for a long time. Automakers haven't been doing it for a long time... Enhancements on an ongoing basis need to be thought about and planned... There's some fundamental changes in terms of how we need to organize business." One of the biggest obstacles remains the product development lifecycle of a new automobile. In most cases, it's five years or more.

Analytics Handbook: Book 3 is Free
The team that brought you the Analytics Handbook, has freely published the third and final book, titled THE DATA ANALYTICS HANDBOOK RESEARCHERS + ACADEMICS. This book focuses on data science in research and academics communities. Like the previous 2 books in the series, it includes interviews with top experts in the field. Here are just a few of the people with interviews in this book.

3 Organizations That Can See the Future with Predictive Analytics
The ability to foresee the future would certainly be the ultimate competitive advantage. In reality though, no business has a crystal ball for making critical decisions. That’s why all critical business decisions have always carried a certain amount of risk. This risk has always and will always be part of the competitive game. While the elimination of risk is impossible, big data is forging a pathway for businesses to reduce it. Predictive analytics has been in use for a number of years and big data Hadoop is helping improve it’s usage and improve outcomes in the process. With big data, no longer is the size of the sample set a limiting factor, as a lot more data is available from a modeling perspective.

What SQL Server Clustering Can and Cannot Do
Microsoft Windows Failover Clustering is a high-availability option designed to increase the uptime of SQL Server instances. A cluster includes two or more physical servers, called nodes; identical configuration is recommended. One is identified as the active node, on which a SQL Server instance is running the production workload, and the other is a passive node, on which SQL Server is installed but not running. If the SQL Server instance on the active node fails, the passive node becomes the active node and begins to run the SQL Server production workload with some minimal failover downtime.

HaMIS: One 24/7 Product and Four Scrum Teams, Four Years Later
This paper grew from an initiative by two team members to share our experience with others. As we do for pretty much anything substantial in our team, we organised an open space to discuss this subject and, even more importantly, involved everyone. We asked team members from all teams to recommend subjects that the outside world might find interesting. In a second round, we asked everyone to write his or her most important message to the reader. The result is this compendium of topics that derive from our more than four years of agile and scrum practices at the Port of Rotterdam, one of the world's busiest ports.

The State of Enterprise Information Architecture
The good news is there’s no shortage of information to fuel those innovative trends. With this information explosion occurring all around us, the industry is seeing over a 50x growth in data from 2010 to 2020. That’s 80 exabytes to 40,000 EB that’s all coming from what was thought of in the past as the most unlikely sources: our wrists, our cars and even our refrigerators to name just a few. The question then becomes, what we do with that data? Well use it of course. This is where EIA comes in. This will be one of the many topics I will be addressing within the EA team here at Gartner.

Pageviews are Dead, Engagement is King
Unfortunately though, not all disruptors are popular, and for sites utilizing click-baiting as a key tactic in gaining unique pageviews, the feelings of animosity are growing. See, click-baiting, spurred on by social media sites, has a not-so-unknown dark side: "readers are being treated as stupid," Jake Beckman, the man behind @SavedYouAClick, told The Daily Beast. "It's social copy specifically intended to leave out information to create a curiosity gap. Some of it's disingenuous. It's not always, but the reader is always being manipulated."

Organizational culture has reached a tipping point, yet many culture change initiatives fail
Organizational culture has reached a tipping point. Most CEOs know that culture matters and can have a strong impact on business results. Studies now confirm it is considered as important to success as strategy, and in fact it should be a strategy in and of itself. That is the good news. The bad news is that despite this broad executive understanding of culture, and the many studies and books written over decades to demonstrate the link between culture and performance, the fact remains that too many culture change efforts still fail or fall short of their potential.

Adopting Information Governance in Small and Midsized Firms
One of the main drivers for effective IG initiatives that touch all law firms, regardless of size, is that regulations are starting to address how clients' vendors, including law firms, are managing their data. Outside counsel guidelines are now providing requirements on how clients expect their firms to handle and secure their data. Those requirements can range from "we don't want our data in a particular software application," to "we want our data destroyed X amount of years after the matter is completed." These types of requirements touch upon many different responsibilities within the firm, and part of the IG process is that there is an understanding that there needs to be a policy and procedure on how outside counsel guidelines are reviewed and agreed to.

Quote for the day:

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 26, 2014

Can Technology Fix Medicine?
“We want to believe that most of the things we do in medicine are based on evidence,” says Malay Gandhi, managing director of Rock Health, which funds health-care startups. “Some are, but most aren’t.” The opportunity, he says, is that medicine could become more analytical and evidence-based.  Data is also changing the role of patients, offering them a chance to play a more central part in their own care. One way is by using mobile technology to monitor sleep patterns, heart rate, activity levels, and so on. In development are even more advanced devices capable of continuously monitoring such key metrics as blood oxygen, glucose levels, and even stress.

Introducing Spring XD, a Runtime Environment for Big Data Applications
Spring XD provides support for the real-time evaluation of various machine learning scoring algorithms as well simple real-time data analytics using various types of counters and gauges. The analytics functionality is provided via modules that can be added to a stream. In that sense, real-time analytics is accomplished via exactly the same model as data ingestion. Whilst it is possible for the primary role of a stream is to be to perform real-time analytics, it's quite common to add a tap to initiate a secondary stream where analytics, e.g. a field-value-counter, are applied to the same data being ingested through a primary stream.

The ultimate guide to user experience
The secret to a good user experience (often shortened to UX) is not to make users have to think about what they're doing: it should come naturally to them to find what they're looking for and interact with your site. In a web design agency, user experience may be the responsibility of the team as a whole or a specific 'user experience designer'. There are even entire firms that specialise in user experience consultancy. In this post we've grouped together the best articles, interviews and tips features on Creative Bloq on the subject of user experience. Whatever your level of expertise, you're bound to find something to help your understanding and improve your technique.

7 tips for leading your IT team to greatness
Tredgold says it's always important to think about how improving the IT team can ultimately improve the business and its customers. He offered an example at DHL where he--as deputy CIO--and his department, focused on increasing the company's on-time delivery using technology. Instead of thinking about it as just getting packages somewhere more quickly, they focused on things like making sure children got packages on their actual birthdays and getting people medicine on the day the need it--and how their technology could impact those people. "Now this has a bigger purpose than … just making money for DHL," Tredgold said.

When Fighting with Your Boss, Protect Yourself First
These dissonant leaders are dangerous. They derail careers and blow up teams. They destroy people — sometimes overtly, sometimes slowly and insidiously. Over time we can find ourselves in perpetual, all-consuming combat with these bosses. We think about it all the time. We relive every last painful word hurled our way. We nurse our wounds. We plot revenge. We talk about our boss and the injustice of it all with anyone who will listen, including coworkers and loved ones. It’s tiresome, really, but we can’t help ourselves. It feels like a fight to the death. That’s because fighting with a powerful person — like a boss — sparks a deep, primal response: fear. After all, these people hold our lives in their hands — the keys to our futures, not to mention our daily bread.

W3C wants to open the social Web for the enterprise
"We've become social, but not the applications we use on the daily basis," said John Mertic, president of the OpenSocial Foundation. "We're trying to tear down these silos [of enterprise software] and make applications communicate with one another." The working group is refining a format to make social network activity streams digestible by different enterprise applications. The group is also working on a common vocabulary for functions that can be shared across applications as well.... "This will make it easier for a lot of these socials platforms to take hold, because you get out of the complex area of all how all the application programming interfaces work together," Mertic said.

A Few Good Rules
Engineers despise illogical, bureaucratic rules which act as obstacles to progress, yet there seems to be a at least a few at every company. Chances are, there were excellent reasons for enacting them at some point in the past. Gradually, over time they become deprecated, but the original authors cannot (or dare not) revoke them. Anyone who has worked on C++ codebases which forbid the use of STL for historic reasons, or Java projects which staunchly refuse to move past version 1.4 of the language understands just how counterproductive these measures can be.

Mobile Health’s Growing Pains
Enthusiasm has been slow to build in part because the technology is often still not perfect, with seemingly simple functions like step counters lacking precision. Another problem is motivation. Many people simply don’t seem to like using these apps and devices. It is clear, though, that a well-designed mobile health system can help if patients use it. At the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare, a health-care network that includes Boston’s two leading hospitals, Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General, a number of mobile programs have been shown to offer strong payoffs both in quality and cost.

Innovation Emerges From Stories We Tell
Plato told us that “those who tell the stories rule society.” Play with his words just a bit and you get: “Those who tell stories of innovation create innovative societies.” Of course you need the tools and resources and assets of innovation to create innovation. But nothing really innovative happens until the stuff of organizations begins to operate inside of authentic narrative. Capital, people and technologies are just balance sheet items, outside of the context of an innovation story. Narrative — real, authentic and aligned narrative — calls resources into action against ambition.

A portrait of the modern cloud developer
The biggest difference between developers now and developers in the past is the speed they can go. A modern development team can create development infrastructure in the cloud, build working software in a matter of days, and then destroy the infrastructure. And do it all over again the following week. Modern developers achieve this using automation tools, collaborative methodology, and ready-made components. But it's not all good news. Fewer and fewer developers are women. If you have a daughter, would you think of setting her up for a career in the dev world?

Quote for the day:

"The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." -- Ray Kroc

July 25, 2014

Super-Dense Computer Memory
Like flash memory, RRAM can store data without a constant supply of power. Whereas flash memory stores bits of information in the form of charge in transistors, RRAM stores bits using resistance. Each bit requires less space, increasing the amount of information that can be stored in a given area.  What’s more, it should be easier to stack up layers of RRAM, helping to further increase the amount of information that can be packed onto a single chip. RRAM can also operate a hundred times faster than flash. Some prototypes can store data densely enough to enable a terabyte chip the size of a postage stamp.

The internet is a politically and culturally loaded tool, particularly when it comes to censorship
Two different situations — the deletion of certain search links in Europe, and Vladimir Putin’s setting-up of the Russian internet for further censorship — have elements in common that cannot be denied. Yet I see the former as acceptable in theory and the latter as unacceptable in both theory and practice, and as such I view the nature of the internet differently in either case. It’s the same internet, of course, and therein lies the quandary. That quandary ultimately comes down to the ability of countries and regions to maintain their own characters and social systems in the context of a network that is, like it or not, steeped in a specific set of values.

Amazon CTO talks IoT in science, retail and on the playing fields
Armed with data points, Vogels rattled off a list of examples of how the Internet of Things (IoT) is already changing how Amazon does business -- and it's a list that extends well beyond Amazon drones. Amazon Dash is a new connected device that Vogels calls "a magic wand." For those enrolled in its grocery delivery service, customers can either speak into the wand or use it as a barcode scanner to reorder supplies. Dash streams the information into a virtual basket, and customers can check out online or via a smartphone app. Vogels' bigger point, however, was that the IoT is making inroads at many companies, not just at Amazon. Here is his rundown of how the IoT is already making an impact.

SoundLoc: Acoustic Method for Indoor Localization without Infrastructure
SoundLoc is a room-level localization system that exploits the intrinsic acoustic properties of individual rooms and obviates the needs for infrastructures. As we show in the study, rooms' acoustic properties can be characterized by Room Impulse Response (RIR). Nevertheless, obtaining precise RIRs is a time-consuming and expensive process. The main contributions of our work are the following. First, a cost-effective RIR measurement system is implemented and the Noise Adaptive Extraction of Reverberation (NAER) algorithm is developed to estimate room acoustic parameters in noisy conditions. Second, a comprehensive physical and statistical analysis of features extracted from RIRs is performed.

The ‘flexible & inclusive’ BYOD dream
BYOD evangelists talk about the importance of creating a “vendor neutral applications portfolio” with a future-proof architecture and rightly so. Let us remember that BYOD itself (as a phenomenon no less) is brought about (very often) by the fact that IT has not provided an adequate level of applications and/or device functionality to workers, so they will find their own preferred means of computing — and this often means BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) also comes into the mix. Intel reminds us that a decade ago, Wi-Fi was considered a new, disruptive technology… but today, it has become the computing norm. Consumerization and BYOD usage is on a comparable path.

How Internal Entrepreneurs Can Deal with Friendly Fire
Our first bit of advice for those of you in this situation is: persist. Your internal situation is not that different from the external entrepreneur who must “befriend” her market—thinking of it as a treasured counselor teaching her about current reality—and never treat it as an adversary. True, this is difficult, but it is nonetheless required. You must change your mindset about opposition—from foe to friend—and then work hard to maintain it. You will never succeed if you view your organization and your colleagues as enemies. All of this is just as true for your perception of your boss; perhaps more so.

Security must evolve to be 'all about the data'
That model, which, "relies on the program to identify the person and what is the operation," is now obsolete, he said. "Data are everywhere, on the device, in the cloud, moving around. You can't find all the places that are moving it around, so data need to be self-protecting. And existing apps are not coded that way." Changing that model, said Patrick Sweeney, executive director at Dell SonicWALL, would, "solve the BYOD problem." Instead of focusing on a device or a user, it would be, "only about the data -- not about the device, not about the network. You need to protect it, own it, revoke it." To do that in the next five years, he said, would require three things: "First, encrypt it with enterprise key management.

Zero-day broker exploits vulnerability in I2P to de-anonymize Tails users
Although Exodus sells zero-days, CEO Aaron Portnoy said he would provide the information to Tails so the flaws could be fixed. It’s not quite clear if the vulnerability broker’s decision was for the greater good or due to backlash from the security community. The zero-day is in the Invisible Internet Project, or I2P, networking component that comes bundled with Tails to encrypt web traffic and hide a user’s real IP address. The 30,000 I2P users who previously felt anonymous could be unmasked, their true IP address revealed, by visiting a booby-trapped website.

When it comes to Android vs. iOS in the enterprise, Android is the Borg
iOS is incredibly limiting, sold on a very limited set of form-factor devices, and can't be modified with anywhere near the flexibility of Android. On top of that, no matter what form-factor/price you might need, there's an Android device to fill that need. Not nearly as much with a few iPads and an iPhone. A great example of the flexibility available to Android comes out of an an interview I did with Dell almost two years ago where we discussed how they'd built a military-hardened kernel in Android for devices on the battlefield.

Seven Changes to Remove Waste From Your Software Development Process
Implementing User Stories has proved to be very challenging, most importantly with the software engineers as it has completely changed their perspective on their daily work. To succeed with implementations the following has been critical: Train people to User Stories; Coach functional analysts to help them define the right user stories; and Initiate functional analysis sessions for all roles (development, tests, UX) to contribute in User Story design and make it Ready To Develop. There are some technical areas where User Story design is not easy. In that case we have challenged the software engineers to see if it was possible for them to reframe their thinking and integrate technical solutions into User Stories, from the user perspective.

Quote for the day:

"An overburdened executive is the best executive, because he or she doesn't have the time to meddle" -- Jack Welch

July 24, 2014

6 Ways To Create An Agile Company Culture
One of the best places to start is with the people who will be executing on your vision: your employees. How you hire, train, and integrate new staff members will set the stage for the agile culture you want to create, eliminating resistance down the road. You want to establish a level of trust among employees, encourage collaboration across teams, and instill in them the understanding that failing, and failing fast, is key to learning and furthering the overall development process. Here are some of the steps we've taken to build an agile company at eNovance.

10 Technologies That Will Transform PCs in 2015 and Beyond
You might write off PCs as archaic or boring. You might take for granted that they'll get faster, lighter, more power-efficient and more convenient to use over time. But if you stop and consider all the things that go into making a computer better, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. Here are 10 PC advancements that will transform PCs over the next several years.

Collection Pipeline
Collection pipelines are a programming pattern where you organize some computation as a sequence of operations which compose by taking a collection as output of one operation and feeding it into the next. (Common operations are filter, map, and reduce.) This pattern is common in functional programming, and also in object-oriented languages which have lambdas. This article describes the pattern with several examples of how to form pipelines, both to introduce the pattern to those unfamiliar with it, and to help people understand the core concepts so they can more easily take ideas from one language to another.

Smart Supply Network 3.0: The Next Big Thing?
“The internet of things is the result of connecting collectors, sensors, smart phones – all kinds of things – with the internet,” says Sherman, principal essentialist at Trissential. It is the natural follow-on to Web 1.0, “which was mostly static web pages,” and Web 2.0, “which was more interactive and collaborative,” he says. “Now we have this network of interconnected nodes that gives us unprecedented ability to connect people and things and all of the data in the supply chain.” Instead of a linear supply chain where things don’t work together, “we can now create an optimally performing network that I call the smart supply network – or, taking it one step further, Smart Supply Network 3.0,” he says.

Why Your High-Efficiency Data Center Needs Good PDUs
Power consumption in the data center continues to be a rising trend. The need to provide redundant power systems with high reliability and availability of compute resources is a major driving force for the increase in power utilization. Some data centers use just as much power for non-compute or “overhead energy” like cooling, lighting and power conversions, as they do to power servers. The ultimate goal is to reduce this “overhead energy” loss so that more power is dedicated to revenue-generating equipment, without jeopardizing reliability and availability of resources.

Dutch government can use spy data gathered illegally, court rules
Although the court admitted the possibility exists that intelligence agencies gather and potentially use information that wasn't collected in line with Dutch legislation governing such practices, it has ruled that collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies is necessary to ensure the safety of the Dutch people. Moreover, the Hague court noted that data gathered by foreign intelligence agencies is subject to less strict privacy rules than the information gathered by Dutch agencies.

10 More Robots That Could Change Healthcare
It is difficult to estimate just how many robots are wandering the halls of our local hospitals, because it depends on how you define robot. For instance, at least 800 hospitals use telepresence robots. These are rolling devices controlled by doctors and equipped with cameras and tools to allow for remote consultations. There are also "robot surgeons" like the da Vinci, which also require a human to operate them remotely. Both of these are innovative, but they aren't robots so much as remotely operated machines. We wouldn't call a remote control toy car a robot.

The 7 principles of highly effective innovation culture change programs
Innovation culture is one of the five cornerstones on which innovation success builds. The other four are strategy, processes, organization/management/governance and networks/ecosystems. Actually, two thirds of executives regard culture to be more important than the firm’s strategy or its operating model, as a 2013 study by the Katzenbach Center has found. Ex-IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, who led one of the largest business transformations in history, even went further by saying that “culture is everything.” Changing culture is not easy and one in two attempts will fail. This figure may come as a surprise given the fact that since the mid-2000s, organizational change management and transformation have become permanent topics on the management agenda.

Tim Cook talks about Apple's drive for business penetration
This is the first time Apple has acknowledged that those numbers don't give the full story about the iPad in the enterprise market. During questions Cook acknowledged that penetration in business is low -- 20% -- compared to notebook adoption, which he pegged at over 60%. He went so far as to say Apple wins if it can drive penetration from 20% to 60%. Those figures certainly match a lot anecdotal evidence about the breadth of iPad use across a range of industries. It also highlights the importance of the partnership with IBM. As the tablet market has matured in the U.S. and other developed countries, we've seen slower refresh cycles compared to smartphones.

Lessons Learned Building Distributed Systems at Bitly
Asynchronous messaging has its complexities, though, and in many occasions it can be more natural to handle a certain kind of operations synchronously. As examples of this, Sean mentioned that URL shortening is implemented at bitly as a fully synchronous operation, due to the requirement for it to be as fast as possible and consistent, meaning that the same shortened URL should not be returned to different users. On the other hand, analytics have different requirements altogether that make it a suitable candidate for going fully asynchronous. So, when bitly wants to collect and process some metrics data related to a user action on a link, it just enqueues it downstream, where it will be eventually dealt with without much concern for how long this will take.

Quote for the day:

"When nobody around you measures up, it's time to check your yardstick." -- Bill Lemly

July 23, 2014

Exploring Autonomous System Numbers
“The classic definition of an Autonomous System is a set of routers under a single technical administration, using an interior gateway protocol (IGP) and common metrics to determine how to route packets within the AS, and using an inter-AS routing protocol to determine how to route packets to other ASs. Since this classic definition was developed, it has become common for a single AS to use several IGPs and sometimes several sets of metrics within an AS. The use of the term Autonomous System here stresses the fact that, even when multiple IGPs and metrics are used, the administration of an AS appears to other ASs to have a single coherent interior routing plan and presents a consistent picture of what destinations are reachable through it.”

Weak encryption enables attacker to change a victim’s password without being logged
To understand this vulnerability, let’s first take a look at the protocols behind Active Directory’s Single Sign On (SSO) authentication – NTLM and Kerberos. SSO is what allows users to provide their password only once even though they access various services – whether in the corporate network or in the Cloud. As mentioned, the underlying SSO authentication protocols are NTLM and Kerberos. NTLM is the older Windows’ authentication protocol which, although still enabled by default due to backward compatibility reasons, suffers from security issues and so has been superseded by the Kerberos protocol.

3 Risk Management Functions for Secure Cloud Governance
While risk formats have changed in the industry, business continuity is said to be affected with the ushering in of cloud model. The pressure on cloud service providers is increasing in terms of identifying and tracking new risks emerging out of this trend, which sometimes has an adverse impact on the business. Sethu Seetaraman, VP& Chief Risk Officer, Mphasis, says that risk management basics do not change with cloud....“As far as BCP/DR is concerned, the organisation owns BCP/DR in case of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service. Service providers will own BCP/DR in case of Software as a Service. You must build or take these services from the cloud service provider based on the availability risk,” avers Seetharaman.

Insurers Think Inside the (Black) Box
For most P&C insurers, a lack of underwriting profitability has been a long-standing problem. According to Insurance Services Office Ltd., insurers have posted net gains on underwriting for just 21 of the 113 quarters since the company began collecting quarterly data. And external factors, including persistently low interest rates, the glacial economic recovery and increasingly intense competition, over which insurers have little control, are exacerbating the profitability challenge. As a result, underwriting, due to its historically manual nature and its potential to increase profitability and reduce complexity, has for many insurers become a target for innovation.

Could health apps save your life? That depends on the FDA
The vast majority of the health apps you’ll find in Apple’s or Google’s app stores are harmless, like step counters and heart beat monitors. They’re non-clinical, non-actionable, and informational or motivational in nature. But the next wave of biometric devices and apps might go further, measuring things like real-time blood pressure, blood glucose, and oxygen levels. You’ll begin to see these more advanced biometrics as we move from single-purpose fitness trackers like FitBit to more all-purpose devices like Apple’s upcoming “iWatch.” Some have wondered if the FDA, in its current form, is up to the task of regulating these increasingly sophisticated devices and apps.

BGP Best Path Selection Algorithm
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routers typically receive multiple paths to the same destination. The BGP best path algorithm decides which is the best path to install in the IP routing table and to use for traffic forwarding. ... Assume that all paths that a router receives for a particular prefix are arranged in a list. The list is similar to the output of the show ip bgp longer-prefixes command. In this case, some paths are not considered as candidates for the best path. Such paths typically do not have the valid flag in the output of the show ip bgp longer-prefixes command.

5 Ways To Truly Change Your Management Style
As is with each stroke of an artist’s brush, every management decision, every corporate downsizing and every improvement initiative reveals something about the culture executives are creating. Since information travels quickly, the impact from these actions is felt more rapidly than ever before. ... If you’re wondering what you can do to change things up – and improve – read on. We’ve identified the root causes of five typical management failures that erode throughput rates, operating expenses and employee engagement levels. Each of the problems is an opportunity to mend your organization’s health and increase cash flow. Fail to recognize these signs, however, and employee’s innovative capabilities, creativity and purpose will be stifled.

eBook: Android Programming Succinctly
In Android Programming Succinctly, Ryan Hodson provides a useful overview of the Android application lifecycle. Topics ranging from creating a UI to adding widgets and embedding fragments are covered, and he provides plenty of links to Android documentation along the way. Each chapter is conveniently summarized to ensure you get the most out of reading the book, and summaries include helpful suggestions for expanding your abilities in this growing app market.

Small cell device tech set to connect workplace Wi-Fi with 3G and LTE
Day predicts that Cisco's early success with MicroCells will be followed by an explosion in small cell sales over the next 12 months, as the company starts focusing on bringing the technology to indoor workplaces. Specifically, Cisco wants to connect 3G and LTE cellular networks to Wi-Fi access points that are already widely deployed in enterprise facilities. The networking giant proposes to primarily deploy small, low-cost devices called Universal Small Cells that can be clipped on to Cisco's Aironet 3600 and 3700 Wi-Fi access points (see photo).

Architecting for the Cloud: Best Practices
There are some clear benefits to building apps in the cloud: A scalable infrastructure, should your app suddenly go viral Almost zero upfront infrastructure investment Reduced time to market But in today’s “era of tera”, software architects need to cope with ever-growing datasets, unpredictable traffic patterns, and the demand for faster response times. This paper focuses in on concepts, principles and best practices in creating new cloud applications or migrating existing apps to the cloud. Discover how concepts such as elasticity have emerged due to the cloud’s dynamic nature.

Quote for the day:

"Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work." -- John G. Pollard

July 22, 2014

Backup your data now: New, more powerful ransomware using Tor spotted in the wild
Critoni “seems to be a strong, well thought piece of malware,” according to French security researcher "Kafeine," who has a good write-up and several screenshots. Kafeine reported that Critoni can be delivered by the Angler exploit kit, but attackers using different vectors have also been spotted in the wild. Basically that means this is not a one-size-fits-all attack; there is not just one way to end up getting infected. “Early detection is not possible,” according to the advertised list of “pros.”

RSA's security utopia requires China, US to be friends
RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello urged the need for greater cooperation between nations and establish national and global policies that are appropriate for the current interdependent economy. He noted that while most governments and businesses recognize the world is more connected today than ever, they continue to behave as if they are not.  "We haven't really advanced that much in our thinking beyond where we were 100 years ago in the run-up to World War I. We pretend that geography, national identity, and incorporation are still the most meaningful dividing lines, ignoring the fact that the digital world has blurred those lines beyond recognition," Coviello said.

Whitepaper - Creating a Data Quality Strategy
In the 21st century, the majority of data managers and consumers understand the importance of accurate robust data. We know that our data warehouses, CRM systems, ERP systems, and business intelligence reports are compromised if the data we feed them is suspect. To realize the full benefits of their investments in enterprise computing systems, organizations must have a plan how to monitor, cleanse, and maintain their data in a quantified state.

7 considerations when moving on-premise software to cloud
To cloud or not to cloud is the question that many software vendors are currently facing. Should they continue to offer their software as on-premise or move to a cloud-based model? A move to cloud computing is a win-win scenario for cloud vendor and customers alike. As a cloud vendor, you get to benefit from the economies of scale, while your customer gets to benefit from additional capabilities that cloud brings at a lower cost of shared infrastructure. ... When you’ve made up your mind to migrate on-premise Software business to cloud based model, below are some key focus areas and challenges that you should consider:

Top 10 worst big data practices
The idea of the data lake is being sold by vendors to substitute for real use cases. (It’s also a way to escape the constraints of departmental funding.) The data-lake approach can be valid, but you should have actual use cases in mind. It isn’t hard to come up them in most midsize to large enterprises. Start by reviewing when someone last said, “No, we can’t, because the database can’t handle it.” Then move on to “duh.” For instance, “business development” isn’t supposed to be just a titular promotion for your top salesperson; it’s supposed to mean something.

The BYOD Revolution: A Dream of Efficiency or a Security Nightmare?
"Bring your own device" phenomenon is becoming more and more prevalent in IT today. Employees tend to use their own devices whether IT departments allow or know about it or not. So what do you need to know to keep up with this trend? In this webinar, hear a panel of experts discuss how BYOD is transforming the workplace and its benefits in improving efficiency and productivity of your business as well as discover the security concerns to look out for like data breaches, mobile malware and hacking.

A Tough Corporate Job Asks One Question: Can You Hack It?
Chief information security officers have one of the toughest jobs in the business world: They must stay one step ahead of criminal masterminds in Moscow and military hackers in Shanghai, check off a growing list of compliance boxes and keep close tabs on leaky vendors and reckless employees who upload sensitive data to Dropbox accounts and unlocked iPhones. They must be skilled in crisis management and communications, and expert in the most sophisticated technology, though they have come to learn the hard way that even the shiniest new security mousetraps are not foolproof.

Stealthy Web tracking tools pose increasing privacy risks to users
"The tracking mechanisms we study are advanced in that they are hard to control, hard to detect and resilient to blocking or removing," they wrote. Although the tracking methods have been known about for some time, the researchers showed how the methods are increasingly being used on top-tier, highly trafficked websites. One of the techniques, called canvas fingerprinting, involves using a Web browser's canvas API to draw an invisible image and extract a "fingerprint" of a person's computer.

Leadership Caffeine—In Praise of Mistakes Made for the Right Reasons
Remember, character always gets a positive vote. After a certain age, character is formed and nothing you can do will alter someone’s core character. You cannot change someone. Assess character carefully. Look for behavioral examples around values, and if the view is dissonant, it’s a non-starter. Passion and desire are powerful reasons to take a chance on someone, even if others around you suggest this person isn’t right for a role. I like betting on the underdog if I’ve done my homework on the individual. Taking chances on people who show that extra spark is part of the essence of leadership. Much like character, you cannot teach passion, you can only help it emerge.

Unusual Ways to Create a Mobile App
RoboVM is a new open-source project with the ambition to solve this problem without compromising on neither developer nor app-user experience. The goal of the RoboVM project is to bring Java and other JVM languages, such as Scala, Clojure and Kotlin, to iOS devices. Unlike other similar tools, RoboVM doesn’t impose any restrictions on the Java platform features accessible to the developer, such as reflection or file I/O, and lets the developer reuse the vast ecosystem of Java 3rd party libraries. It is also unique in allowing the developer to access the full native iOS APIs through a Java to Objective-C bridge.

Quote for the day:

"Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking." -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

July 21, 2014

Translating network policy in SDN isn't a one-protocol show
It's better to define how a three-tiered web application is designed, enabling the middle-tier app server to talk to the web servers and the back-end database tier, but to prevent the web servers from talking directly to the database tier. In that scenario, an imperative model would have required specific definitions of ACLs, which would be defined specifically for the infrastructure in the deployment -- i.e. switch commands using IOS or NX-OS -- which only makes sense for the network administrators and is a notion that's distant from the concerns of the application owners and architects.

Forensic scientist identifies suspicious 'back doors' running on every iOS device
Zdziarski, better known as the hacker "NerveGas" in the iPhone development community, worked as dev-team member on many of the early iOS jailbreaks and is the author of five iOS-related O’Reilly books including "Hacking and Securing iOS Applications." In December 2013, an NSA program dubbed DROPOUTJEEP was reveled by security researcher Jacob Appelbaum that reportedly gave the agency almost complete access to the iPhone. The leaked document, dated 2008, noted that the malware required "implant via close access methods" but ominously noted that "a remote installation capability will be pursued for a future release."

Julia King: We're all data scientists now
"As front-line workers have their capabilities augmented by digital technologies, they are emboldened to make informed, real-time decisions and encouraged to become more engaged with the organization," notes a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute. But these workers must know how to deal with all of the data coming their way if it's to yield the flabbergasting productivity gains McKinsey predicts. In the manufacturing sector alone, the business consultancy maintains that big data and analytics can yield improvements in production, supply chain and R&D amounting to something between $125 billion and $270 billion.

Our Cloud Disaster Recovery Story
We took the "small jump, medium jump, high jump" approach. In this case, we deployed one low-risk server using the startup vendor's methodology. Then we moved to one mid-risk server. Then a mid-risk n-tier application. Armageddon didn't ensue. In terms of permission, our IT organization has earned credibility with other business units in our city. We offer a high level of uptime. If we screw up, we admit it and communicate about it. Although we must enforce policy, we aren't the No Police. And we recognize that we aren’t the owners of systems; we're the custodians.

Data integration as a business opportunity
A significant fraction of IT professional services industry revenue comes from data integration. But as a software business, data integration has been more problematic. Informatica, the largest independent data integration software vendor, does $1 billion in revenue. INFA’s enterprise value (market capitalization after adjusting for cash and debt) is $3 billion, which puts it way short of other category leaders such as VMware, and even sits behind Tableau.* When I talk with data integration startups, I ask questions such as “What fraction of Informatica’s revenue are you shooting for?” and, as a follow-up, “Why would that be grounds for excitement?”

13 ways to optimize your Android smartphone
Listen up, Android users: It's time for a smartphone tuneup. Don't get me wrong, most Android devices work fine out of the box. But with a few minutes of manipulation and a few helpful apps, you can optimize your phone to make it more powerful, useful, and efficient. Isn't that what technology's all about? Let's get to it, then. Here are 13 quick tweaks that'll improve your Android experience.

Chinese hackers break into US federal government employee database
Speaking at a news conference in Beijing Thursday, Kerry said of the breach, “At this point in time, it does not appear to have compromised any sensitive material.” But he also condemned China’s cyber spying in unusually harsh language, saying it “harmed our business and threatened our nation's competitiveness." Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed that they were aware of an attempt to hack into the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which houses the personnel files of federal employees, including those applying for top-security clearance.

Why Bankers will Rely More on ‘Tablet Banking’
Tablets used today to help a customer get an experience – saves time by up to 10 folds. Those are going to grow up in popularity, and people will begin to trust them as a main form of communication. So in future, customers will interact with their banks seamlessly with tablets without a lag. Intel is strengthening its tablet market – focusing on industry verticals like banking, financial services and insurance, education etc. For that, Intel may soon, in partnership with various OEMs, offer these tablets across those industry verticals. Tablet banking allows for great user experience, especially with the rich interface tablets offer, which is nearly unlimited.

Government-grade malware in hacker hands
Gyges was discovered in March this year by Sentinel Labs Research Lab, as detailed within the company's latest intelligence report (.PDF). According to the report, the malware probably originated from Russia, and "is virtually invisible and capable of operating undetected for long periods of time." "It comes to us as no surprise that this type of intelligence agency-grade malware would eventually fall into cybercriminals’ hands," Sentinel Labs states. "Gyges is an early example of how advanced techniques and code developed by governments for espionage are effectively being repurposed, modularized and coupled with other malware to commit cybercrime."

Why is SaaS testing harder than traditional testing?
SaaS testing tends to require executing a greater number of test types. Service-level agreement (SLA) adherence, failover/disaster recovery and deployment are examples of SaaS tests that are typically not part of traditional Web application testing. These may be tested in standard Web applications, but they generally are not deemed critical. In SaaS, SLA adherence is required in order to avoid business disruption. Failover and disaster recovery are essential in order to verify the SaaS is solid and responds appropriately if a release or server fails.

Quote for the day:

"Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great" -- Mark Twain

July 20, 2014

Being a Good Enterprise Architecture Citizen
One of the big problem I see with most enterprise level tools is they want to do everything. Most large enterprises would already have a financing system, organization directory, customer relationship management, document management, messaging, business process, calendaring and user authentication systems in place already. Yet, quite a few enterprise tools I have seen have their own data store for finance, organization directory, customer relationship management, document management, messaging, business process, calendaring and user authentication.

Fujitsu designs leaner supercomputer with fewer switches
Fujitsu has developed an approach to cluster supercomputers that reduces the number of network switches by 40% without sacrificing performance. The approach centers on using a new communications algorithm that efficiently controls data transmissions as well as deploying a multilayer full-mesh topology in the arrangement of the network. Compared to a three-layer "fat-tree" network topology, which employs a tree-like structure of connections, the multilayer full-mesh topology eliminates a layer of switches through more efficient mapping.

A Checklist for Architecture & Design Review
One of the key aspects of the IT Governance is to ensure that the investments made in software assets are optimal and there is a quantifiable return on such investments. This also means that such investment does not lead to risks that could lead to damages. Most of us are well aware that reviews play a key role in ensuring the quality of the software assets. As such, in this blog post, I have tried to come up with a checklist for reviewing the architecture and design of a software application. While the choice of specific design best practice is interdependent on another, a careful tradeoff is necessary. For a detailed discussion on Trade off Analysis of Software Quality Attributes.

How Data and Analytics Can Help the Developing World
First, data can be used to keep people healthy. With the help of IBM, the city of Tshwane, South Africa piloted a crowdsourced app known as WaterWatchers that lets users report water supply information, such as faulty pipes, through SMS. As a result, IBM found that the city was losing almost $30 million in wasted water annually. A similar effort by Cipesa, a Kampala-based communications technology non-profit, allows journalists and citizens to monitor and document health services delivery in Northern Uganda with a mobile app, in order to identify discrepancies in official reports and drive infrastructure improvement efforts

Can You Trust Your Algorithms?
A lot depends on the data, including when it was measured, by whom, and with what accuracy. “It also depends on the algorithms you use to mine the data,” he says. “Yes of course we can get patterns and yes of course there are many case studies where the patterns really buy you something. But optimizing and calibrating these models to certain situations is, for the foreseeable future, going to be the central component. Without algorithmic differentiation, it’s going to be a major pain.” Failure to abide by the laws of mathematics could doom some big data projects being susceptible to the dreaded random factor.

Google Smart Contact Lens Focuses On Healthcare Billions
Today, under a new development and licensing deal between Google and the Alcon eyewear division at Novartis, the two companies said they will create a smart contact lens that contains a low power microchip and an almost invisible, hair-thin electronic circuit. The lens can measure diabetics’ blood sugar levels directly from tear fluid on the surface of the eyeball. The system sends data to a mobile device to keep the individual informed. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company wanted to use “the latest technology in ‘minituarisation’ of electronics” in order to improve people’s “quality of life”.

Home router security to be tested in upcoming hacking contest
Researchers are gearing up to hack an array of different home routers during a contest next month at the Defcon 22 security conference. The contest is called SOHOpelessly Broken—a nod to the small office/home office space targeted by the products—and follows a growing number of large scale attacks this year against routers and other home embedded systems. The competition is organized by security consultancy firm Independent Security Evaluators and advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and will have two separate challenges.

Apple-IBM deal threatens Android's enterprise push
The analyst firm said IBM's Endpoint Manager software "excels in patch management, multiplatform support and overall scalability" and called the software a "good choice for organizations heavily focused on security configuration management, including patching and those that require strong multiplatform server management in addition to client management or scalability to support tens of thousands of endpoints." But Gartner said in the May report that the IBM software is "not as good a choice" for those organizations that require simple usability, a failing which seems to beg for the kind of help that Apple may provide. Gartner also faulted IBM for complexity in its packaging, bundling and pricing of its various management software functions.

A Large-Scale Empirical Study on Software Reuse in Mobile Apps
The fact that software reuse, in the form of inheritance, class, and library reuse, is prevalent in mobile apps of the Google Play app store, means that app developers reap all the typical reuse benefits, such as improved productivity, higher-quality software and faster time to market, although many didn’t receive a formal training in software engineering. It isn’t clear whether this successful reuse is due to the quality of mobile platforms, development tools, app stores, or a combination of other factors. Possible other factors could be the relatively small size of the mobile app code base and development teams, although in recent work, we’ve found that for these characteristics, mobile apps behave identically to small Unix utility applications

A Few BGP Security Considerations
BGP uses TCP for transport which makes it vulnerable to TCP based attacks. The example used in the book is the TCP reset attack, and it involves sending a spoofed a packet with the TCP reset bit set. If such a packet is received, the TCP session is immediately terminated. For this attack to be successful, the packet must have src/dst IP addresses and src/dest TCP ports that match what the BGP speaker expects to receive from its neighbour. Since it’s BGP, it’s known to the attacker that either source or destination port is 179 (depending on who is client/server in the particular session), with the other port being a randomly generated number. Armed with this knowledge, the attacker sends a series of packets with varying port numbers, eventually sending just the right one, resetting the session between the two BGP speakers.

Quote for the day:

"Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself." -- Robert Collier

July 19, 2014

Authentic Leadership and Letting Your Strengths ‘Bloom’
When something goes well, you wish you’d done it sooner. We did a pretty good job of integrating [acquisitions]. So, I don’t have a lot of regrets about that call. It’s interesting that the first acquisition Medtronic [made was] eventually spun off. It was interesting because it was not a fantastic [deal], but it opened the door to a lot of other things and put us in the game and gave us self-confidence. So, I don’t even regret doing that [one]. We were in chains and we had to bust loose from those chains. So I don’t have a lot of second thoughts about those deals.

Net Threats: Internet Openness in Danger
War ignited this year over Net Neutrality, with government officials, lawmakers, Internet service providers, entertainment providers, and even comedians joining the fray. The conflict stems primarily from the explosion of American data consumption – and who should pay for it. Internet service providers maintain that entertainment providers like Netflix and Google should pay for the rise in Internet traffic, while content providers argue that those costs would undermine the freeness and fairness of the Internet for smaller companies and organizations.

HP Throws Trafodion Hat into OLTP Hadoop Ring
Trafodion fills a gap in Hadoop when it comes to ANSI-compliant and ACID-supporting transactional databases, says Rohit Jain, a distinguished engineer at HP who’s the chief technologist for Seaquest and Trafodion. “We took our transactional heritage and experience and IP [intellectual property] and brought it down to HBase, because HBase doesn’t have the transactional support,” Jain tells Datanami. “It has ACID support only at the row level. We bring full-blown ACID for cross-row, cross-table, cross statement-type transactions. Essentially this is a little niche that has not been filled yet by anybody. We’re effectively saying you can use Hadoop for all workloads, all the way from OLTP to analytics.”

Math can make the Internet 5-10 times faster
The advantage is that errors along the way do not require that a packet be sent again. Instead, the upstream and downstream data are used to reconstruct what is missing using a mathematical equation. "With the old systems you would send packet 1, packet 2, packet 3 and so on. We replace that with a mathematical equation. We don't send packets. We send a mathematical equation. You can compare it with cars on the road. Now we can do without red lights. We can send cars into the intersection from all directions without their having to stop for each other. This means that traffic flows much faster," explains Frank Fitzek.

From Big Data to Deep Data
The real problem of big data is that we are increasingly outsourcing our capacity to sense and think to algorithms programmed into machines. While this seems very convenient and cool at first and offers access to services that many of us want, it also raises a question about who actually owns big data, about the rights of individuals and citizens to own their personal data and to exercise choices regarding its use. While big data has certainly opened up a whole new range of possibilities, I would like to suggest a distinction between surface big data and deep data. Surface data is just data about others: what others do and say. That is what almost all current big data is composed of.

Streams Library Brings Lazy Evaluation and Functional-style to C++14
Streams is a C++14 library that provides lazy evaluation and functional-style transformations on the data, to ease the use of C++ standard library containers and algorithms. Streams support many common functional operations such as map, filter, and reduce. Streams are an abstraction on a set of data that has a specific order. Various operations can be applied to streams such that data passes through the stream pipeline in a lazy manner, only getting passed to the next operation when it is requested

The Tech Startup Scene in Cape Town
“A lot of the developed countries round the world are looking to produce solutions for the developing world,” says Edelstein. “I think in South Africa there are two types of entrepreneurs. [Those] who are looking to create applications or platforms that are applicable to the whole world. [And those] who are looking to provide solutions for South Africa or Africa.” “The people who were early into the internet industry were more concerned about building a business. Because they were doing it in South Africa they couldn’t compete with Silicon Valley.

New Health Data Deluges Require Secure Information Flow Enablement Via Standards,
We, like others, put a great deal of effort into describing the problems, but figuring out how to bring IT technologies to bear on business problems, how to encourage different parts of organizations to speak to one another and across organizations to speak the same language, and to operate using common standards and language. That’s really what we’re all about. And it is, in a large sense, part of the process of helping to bring healthcare into the 21st Century. A number of industries are a couple of decades ahead of healthcare in the way they use large datasets — big data, some people refer to it as.

Zaana Howard on Design Thinking at Lean UX 14
Design Thinking is really kind of abstract and useless term in many ways that just causes more confusion than clarity to people overall and Design Thinking is really, I think it’s more the mindset that you bring to design more than it is an actual process or method in itself. Design Thinking often just follows design process, if you use the UK Design council double diamonds sort of method it’s just discover, define, design, deliver, develop, deliver, something like that, and then it’s really just about the mindset that you bring to each of those stages that allows you to do Design Thinking and such.

The robots are coming: The big question is will you hand over your job - or your life?
"Unmanned systems are increasingly likely to replace people in the workplace, carrying out tasks with increased effectiveness and efficiency, while reducing risk to humans. This could ultimately lead to mass unemployment and social unrest," it warns, perhaps invoking the shade of Rick Deckard by noting "There will almost certainly be challenges to overcome, such as establishing whether we can learn to 'trust' robots." It said improvements in robotics have "obvious applications" for military usage, noting that unmanned naval vessels such as reconnaissance submarines to probe a hostile shore could be as standard a part of the military set up as drones in the air.

Quote for the day:

"For an organization to be exceptional, all teams within the organization must be moving toward a shared vision." -- @Rich McCourt

July 18, 2014

IT Career Advice: How To Sell
Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the CIO who needs to sell the board of directors on funding for a critical strategic technology initiative. The CIO must explain why this initiative is important, anticipate potential objections, and hope to persuade and guide the board to a favorable decision. And that's only a simplistic view. The CIO's initiative will compete for resources with other high-priority investments, and some sponsors of these initiatives may have direct personal ties to certain board members. Competing projects may have been previously promised to shareholders or employees.

Microsoft CEO Lays Out Vision of Cloud Convergence
"We're building out that digital infrastructure that ties together people, their activities, their relationships, to all of the artifacts of their life – be they photos or documents and more. That's what digital work and life experiences mean," Nadella says. "We're going to do the best job of being able to enable dual use," he says. "This entire notion that somehow I buy my device for consumption and personal use, and then I'll give up that device for work and take another device, just doesn't work. We know that. Simply saying even just BYOD is not good enough. We've got to harmonize this dual use."

Hidden Benefit To The ACA: It May Help Bring Science 2.0 To Pass
The volume of data is daunting - so are concerns about interoperability, security and the ability to adapt rapidly to the lessons in the data, writes Dana Gardner at Big Data Journal. That is why Boundaryless Information Flow, Open Platform 3.0 adaptation, and security for the healthcare industry are headline topics for The Open Group’s upcoming event, Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow on July 21 and 22 in Boston, he notes. Solving the issue will take a combination of enterprise architecture, communication and collaboration among healthcare ecosystem players. It's no secret that Collaboration and Participation are the big missing puzzles in the Science 2.0 mission.

Making the Most At-Risk Generation Less Risky
Millennials are the most likely to engage in questionable or risky behavior, and not just in terms of compromising standards. This generation is also particularly open and transparent on social media tools, making them more likely to share information about work experiences, both positive and negative, with others in their social networks. This behavior could create significant reputational risk, and today’s directors don’t want their dirty laundry aired worldwide. Millennials are also the most likely to keep copies of confidential company documents, which, if shared outside the company, could get into the hands of competitors.

Drilling into Network Disruptions
When Swedish communications services provider TDC needed network infrastructure improvements from their disparate networks across several Nordic countries, they needed both simplicity in execution and agility in performance. Our next innovation case study interview therefore highlights how TDC in Stockholm found ways to better determine root causes to any network disruption, and conduct deep inspection of the traffic to best manage their service-level agreements (SLAs). BriefingsDirect had an opportunity to learn first-hand how over 50,000 devices can be monitored and managed across a state-of-the-art network when we interviewed Lars Niklasson, the Senior Consultant at TDC.

Design Thinking and the Transformation of Hyatt’s Culture
To get out in front, Hyatt went back to school. The company connected with the Design School (d.school) at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and started using human-centered innovation concepts to create change within the organization. Hyatt leaders began by asking themselves, “Why do we need to change, what is the platform for change and why is it necessary?” and then used Stanford’s design innovation to help transform their culture. Hyatt’s management began with engagement surveys, listening to their employees and understanding what mattered to them.

5 Reasons Going Paperless Won't Work
Technologists have been striving to go paperless for at least 30 years, but it still hasn't happened. (The idea sounded good on paper.) The reality is that, for most organizations, there are multiple places in their workflow where the analog meets the digital, and where technology still hasn't been able to replace important legacy processes. Instead of throwing out legacy processes that are working, however, organizations would be wise to look to new solutions that include paper as an option in their digital workflows, embracing the old while ushering in the new. Here's why:

Intel experiments with mindfulness to combat digital overload
A handful of employees at Intel Corp. is taking statistics like these to heart. Two years ago, they rolled out a program to help colleagues manage the digital barrage that is part and parcel of every workday: hundreds upon hundreds of emails per day, instant messages that must be attended to. Nowhere in the Intel program, however, are there any lessons in improving organizational or multitasking skills. Instead, Intel's mindful awareness program, as it's called, is designed to develop things like better focus,emotional intelligence and stress management.

No money, no problem: Building a security awareness program on a shoestring budget
Often, executives view security and business as two separate items, and while this point-of-view is changing, it takes effort to get some executives to commit to security and make it part of the business overall. When this happens, tangible security needs such as license renewals, support and service contracts, firewalls and other appliances all of those are things that executives understand. However, awareness training, to the executives at least, seems like an extended version of general security training, and there just isn't money for something like that. At the same time, there's also a shakeup happening - thanks to a seemingly endless stream of data breaches this year that have placed several large companies in the headlines.

Why '123456' is a great password
Strong passwords would be more likely adopted if people learned to use them only on critical accounts, such as employer websites, online banking and e-commerce sites that store the user's credit card number. To be effective, this group should be small. Websites that hold no sensitive information and would not present a threat if hacked should get the throwaway credentials. ... "Far from optimal outcomes will result if accounts are grouped arbitrarily," the research says. Following the standard advice of choosing and never reusing passwords of eight characters or more that includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, is "an impossible task as portfolio size grows," the research said.

Quote for the day:

"If you define your company by how you differ from the competition, you're probably in trouble" -- Omar Hamoui