December 19, 2014

IT pros: Rethink before you replace
Rethink your solutions. Newer technologies sometimes offer simpler solutions than older apps. For example, Hangouts handles browser-based, multi-person meetings much easier than most legacy meeting apps. Similarly, Chromebox for Meetings offers an affordable, powerful alternative to traditional small office conferencing systems. Quip combines messaging, documents, and spreadsheet collaboration -- all in a single, easy-to-use app. The "default" choice from a legacy provider might now be matched by a clever combination of lower-priced hardware working with smarter software.

Not Just Code Monkeys
Martin Fowler keynotes on the importance of building a healthy social environment where software development can thrive. You can view here part 1 of this presentation ... Martin Fowler is an author, speaker, consultant and general loud-mouth on software development. He's the Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks - an international application development company, and has written several books on software development and also writes articles regularly

Android Will Soon Be Baked Right Into Your Car
In its current form, Android Auto allows drivers to display Android apps and functionality on a vehicles dashboard screen by connecting it to a smartphone. By baking Android fully into the car, Google would be able to control not just the infotainment system but also have access to a car’s camera, GPS, diagnostics and telematics … everything piece of data that a car can provide about its driver. Google already can collect much of this data through Android smartphones, but Android Auto locks drivers into the Google and Android experience while eliminating the need for a smartphone running on a limited battery.

Big Dataclast: My Concerns about Dataclysm
Contrary to his disclaimers about Big Data hype, Rudder expresses some hype of his own. Social media Big Data opens the door to a “poetry…of understanding. We are at the cusp of momentous change in the study of human communication.” He believes that the words people write on these sites provide the best source of information to date about the state and nature of human communication. I believe, however, that this data source reveals less than Rudder’s optimistic assessment. I suspect that it mostly reveals what people tend to say and how they tend to communicate on these particular social media sites, which support specific purposes and tend to be influenced by technological limitations—some imposed (e.g., Twitter’s 140 character limit) and others a by-product of the input device

A Feminist Critique of Silicon Valley
Obviously the pipeline is a huge issue. But too often, our industry focuses on early stages of the pipeline that they have no control over. You see venture capitalists talk about the need to get more 10-year-old girls into programming, and that’s so far removed from their direct sphere of influence. Meanwhile, there is attrition in every stage of the career path of women once they get into the industry. Over 50 percent of women will leave by the halfway point in their careers. We are not getting hired, and we are not getting promoted, and we are being systematically driven out of the industry.

Microsoft files suit against alleged tech support scammers
It is a big problem. Since May 2014 alone, Microsoft has received over 65,000 customer complaints regarding fraudulent tech support scams. According to a survey issued by Microsoft, over one-third of U.S. citizens fall for the scams once contacted, causing them to suffer approximately $1.5 billion in financial losses each year. In an attempt to stop the scammers, Microsoft filed a civil lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against a California company trading as Omnitech Support, and related companies, for unfair and deceptive business practices and trademark infringement, Microsoft said Thursday.

Cyber Attackers Increasingly Sneaking Corporate Data Out Through DNS
The technique is simple. Attackers encode data in base 64 and encapsulate the information within DNS requests, which are sent to an attacker-controlled server. The server then decodes the traffic and recovers the data. Generally, such techniques are considered tunneling if the communications channel can send data in either direction. DNS exfiltration is focused on getting the data outside of a company’s firewall without being detected. The straightforward technique is difficult to stop because every company needs to allow domain traffic to pass to the Internet. Moreover, because many companies are not looking for such covert communications channels, attackers are likely successful in exfiltrating sensitive corporate data, Cloudmark’s Cook said.

Reflections of an IT recruiter: Happy times are here again!
"In 2014 we really saw new positions, so companies were finally working with new budgets. Companies in the Tampa Bay area have done a lot on the infrastructure side and the security side of technology, versus the development side. "Have we had some development projects? Absolutely. But if I were to step back and look at the numbers, I can tell you with assurity that the majority of positions that we have filed and worked on, even all the way up to the executive level, have been more security-based and infrastructure-based."

Australia 2015 Tech: A Big Cloud Move Coming
“The old adage that IT must be aligned to business is probably over. IT and business must be integrated — business is taking over IT and IT is becoming part of business — you can’t separate these things. That is going to be a big trend in Australia next year,” Sweeney said. Transformation and disruption of traditional businesses has been gaining pace Down Under during 2014 and will continue to accelerate in 2015. Not only are companies such as Netflix, Uber and AirBnB making life rather uncomfortable for established players in their respective industries, the real threat of a slowdown in Australia’s economic growth could force even relatively new firms to rethink their business plans, according to Mark Troselj, managing director for NetSuite APAC and Japan.

McKinsey Global Identifies Twelve Technologies that Can Add to India’s GDP
“The spread of digital technologies, as well as advances in energy and genomics, can be one of the most dominant drivers of productivity in India, redefine how basic services are delivered, and contribute to higher living standards for millions of Indians by raising education levels and improving healthcare outcomes,” says Noshir Kaka, MD of McKinsey & Company in India. To assess the potential impact of the 12 technologies on the economy of India and the lives of its people, MGI sized more than 40 applications in six sectors of the economy: financial services, education and skills, healthcare, agriculture and food, energy, and infrastructure.

Quote for the day:

“Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.” -- Milton Hershey

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