October 31, 2015

Without the proper amount preparedness and clear-headed foresight, a digital life left forsaken might cause a lot of ... inconvenience. Not only are there risks of fraud and identity theft with an unkempt digital afterlife, but there's also the possibility of exposing our darkest, digital secrets to unsuspecting (or overly curious) loved ones. OK, maybe we don't all have secrets lurking in our various inboxes. But anyone hoping to maintain some degree of privacy after death needs to take action before the reaper comes knocking. Google, Facebook, Twitter and other sites have various policies in place to deal with deceased users, so being aware of some of the options will help you maintain control over your information -- even from the grave.

Common Sense Software Engineering – Part IV; Life Cycles & Agile

All a life-cycle represents, is a way to get from the start of a project to a successful conclusion. It is a fairly straight-forward concept. Yet, today when reading anything about current variations on such techniques we are provided instead with a wealth of arcane terminology that really doesn’t mean much except to those who are using it. “Sprints”, “Stand-up Meetings”, “Scrum” and others appear to hide the simplicity of Agile’s foundations instead of allowing new-comers to easily understand it’s potential. Life-Cycles are also not to be taken as hard and fast rules of development as there are a number of standardized models that can be applied as the development situation warrants. Agile is just one among many such life-cycles but it appears increasingly that its promoters believe that it is more or less a panacea for all software development related issues.

Walmart undermines its online strategy — again

Walmart's online and mobile teams aren't ever given free rein. Sure, they can dream up great products and services for generating the most revenue and profits for online sales. But, it seems, they absolutely are not allowed to do anything that would truly threaten in-store revenue and profits. Result: Those services never go nearly far enough. Walmart's top bean-counters never forget on which side their bread is buttered. With that reality, buy-online-pickup-in-store made a lot of sense for Walmart. It makes the sale online, but it then finishes the transaction in a brick-and-mortar outlet, where the customer just might pick up a few more items before leaving. That takes advantage of all those locations staffed with personable, customer-facing employees, something that a sterile digital retailer can't match.

Could 5G networks make Brazil’s traffic mobile?

The most promising area of improvement could be transport. Brazil's has some of the worst congestion problems in the world. On Friday evenings in Sao Paulo, according to local traffic engineers, there are tailbacks for 112 miles on average but 183 miles at worst. At the moment, mobile phones actually make the traffic worse, because the first thing many drivers do at the traffic lights, in these days of screen addiction, is interact with their handset. There are systems in place already that try to improve the flow. Sao Paolo has a station dedicated to reporting traffic conditions and alternative routes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SulAmerica Traffic Radio gathered a large following of listeners who also act as reporters, calling in to update other motorists or to vent their frustrations.

It is time for CIOs to shift gears to multi-speed IT

CIOs are recognizing that they need to juggle orienting IT to maintain reliable legacy systems while also quenching the organization’s thirst for innovation. Of the C-level executives we surveyed in a 2015 Accenture Strategy survey of more than 900 executives around the world, 81 percent said the IT organization has reached a fork inthe road, and the choice before them is whether they will accelerate the digital agenda or move out of the passing lane to allow others in the organization to lead. Either way, 88 percent of executives believe that the IT organization needs to broaden its scope and keep pace with evolving needs of the business.

5 Steps from Business Analyst to Data Scientist

What’s the difference, you might ask? While the end result of these two jobs is often similar, a business analyst and a data scientist use different tools to get there. In general, data scientists have much greater technical expertise, especially in computer programming, systems engineering, and statistics. Business analysts, by their very nature, rely on intuition and have human biases that are starting to be seen as flaws that put them at a disadvantage compared to the cold hard facts that data scientists can produce. In addition, business analysts are often concerned with the single truth of what did happen in the past, while data scientists are working in a much more fluid version of what might happen in the future.

Engineering Internet of Things systems

Machine sensing and feedback loops, which have long been integral parts of control theory, have become possible on an enormous scale through the connection of low-cost sensors to cloud-based platforms providing analytics and security. The availability of operational and maintenance data that results has changed conventional wisdom about engineering practices and tools. Data has transformed industries such as retail, banking and insurance, giving rise to concepts such as business intelligence, the single customer view, multichannel marketing and financial market technical analysis. These and other such concepts have been made possible by the ability to monitor, analyze and react to business data generated by millions of transactions.

Nokia greenlights intelligent transportation system that uses drivers' smartphones

Until now, ITS systems have used short-range comms. But Nokia's navigation division, HERE - which is about to be sold to a group of German car makers - is preparing a pilot with Finnish traffic agencies to test a system that uses existing commercial mobile networks. "Transportation is one, or maybe the only, industry sector where the internet and modern mobile technologies haven't yet made a huge impact," Mika Rytk√∂nen, Nokia HERE's head of digital transport infrastructure and business development for the EU, says. "What we are building now is a system where standard mobile networks can be used to connect road traffic to the cloud and traffic-management centres. This C-ITS [cooperative ITS] can be used to introduce new digital services to increase safety and sustainability and ease traffic jams."

Four and a Half Types of NoSQL Databases, and When to Use Them

System performance (throughput and latency) is achieved by simplifying how data is retrieved, and time-to-value is achieved by bypassing a lot of data modeling effort that is typically done for relational databases, especially on data formats that have complexity or a lot of variation. ... Any application that currently runs slower than you want or need, and does not require the core RDBMS capabilities—such as multi-row transactions, full SQL querying support, or integration with commercial applications—can likely use a NoSQL database. There are four main types of NoSQL databases, plus one type of “database” that should also be considered in the mix. In this blog post, I’ll provide a brief description of these types of NoSQL databases and when they can be used.

How Applications of Big Data Play a Vital Role in Industries

The goals of organizations have also evolved into visualizing Big Data into the larger scheme of things. With the spike in allocated budgets and inclusion, the participation of Big Data to apply itself into industry verticals is also rising. Implementation of Big Data has indeed brought results and the applications of big data have also evolved with time. This infographic presents how applications of Big Data are driving Industries and bringing innovative practices of growth in respective industries. Big Data provides solutions to overcome challenges faced by Industries who’ve ventured into the field. The infographic details challenges faced in 10 different Industries and how certain practices are being revolutionaized because of Big Data.

Quote for the day:

"Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable." -- Joseph Wood Krutch

October 30, 2015

Preventing cyber attacks: making successful attacks unaffordable for cyber criminals

One of the negative consequences of an increasingly digital world is cyber criminals’ ability to launch numerous, sophisticated attacks at lower and lower costs. These adversaries continue to develop and use unique tools that cause great damage to businesses, governments, and organizations. As technology becomes less expensive, the cost of launching automated attacks decreases, which allows the number of attacks to increase at no net increase in cost. In the face of this increasing onslaught, the defenders generally rely on decades-old security technology, “often cobbled together in multiple layers of point products; there is no true visibility of the situation, nor are the point products designed to communicate with each other.”

Robots Can Now Teach Each Other New Tricks

The work is part of an effort to figure out how robots might share information in useful ways. That could reduce the need for meticulous reprogramming, and it could allow robots to adapt to quickly when faced with a new task or an unfamiliar setting. “It’s pointing in an interesting direction,” says Stefanie Tellex, an assistant professor at Brown University, whose group enabled the Baxter robot to learn. “When you put a robot in a new situation—and in the real world it happens in every room the robot goes into—you somehow want that same robot to engage in autonomous behaviors.” Speaking last week at the Bay Area Robotics Symposium, held at the University of California, Berkeley, Ashutosh Saxena, who led the development of TellMeDave and RoboBrain, said that robots will increasingly share information in the future.

SDN will play key role in mobile network security

Fortunately, today's organizational networks can address many of these issues, with centralized authentication, VPNs and mobile network security policy enforcement capabilities. But a major challenge remains: Security threats are not static -- they change and evolve with frightening regularity. So, traditional network-centric security is going to have to evolve to meet these new challenges. Again fortunately, though, we have at least a conceptual framework for the future of mobile network security: software-defined networking (SDN). SDN's most visible appeal is that it extends the traditional mix-and-match interoperability that has defined networking to date with a degree of programmability and adaptability that brings new cost, management and operational benefits.

12 Important Lessons Learned by Experienced Scrum Masters

So simple, yet powerful. The conversation is the most often used tool by the Scrum Masters we interviewed. Conversations are a simple tool, but often forgotten. One way to improve your conversation skills is to read How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie. The author talks about a list of things you must have in mind when you want to grow a relationship with people you work every day. You should always start talking about something other person cares about, don´t judge or argue, be interested in what their opinions are. ... Scrum Masters do not get successful unless the team succeeds too. For that Scrum Masters must learn to work with the team. That means they must enable the team and their work, not do the work for them or solve their problems for them.

DevOps and security, a match made in heaven

The promise of DevOps for advancing the information security objective is phenomenal, but unfortunately, the way most information security practitioners react to DevOps is one of moral outrage and fear. The fear being verbalized is that Dev and Ops are deploying more quickly than ever, and the outcomes haven't been so great. You're doing one release a year, what will happen if they are doing 10 deploys a day? We can understand why they might be just terrified of this. Yet, what Ashish described is that DevOps represents the ideal integration of testing into the the daily work of Dev and Ops. We have testing happening all the time. Developers own the responsibilities of building and running the test.

Millennials and the Retail Revolution

As Millennials shift toward online research and purchasing, the physical presence of their preferred brands under immense pressure to keep people coming to their store. The movement towards online retail has created a disparity in physical retail, causing many brands to shut down low-performing stores and rally their efforts to maintain consistent traffic in other stores. Retailers like Walmart and Target are getting ahead of this trend by launching smaller urban stores that target high-demand needs of their customers. Similarly, brands are adopting more pop-up retail strategies, where they set up shop for short periods of time and offer exciting limited time deals, enticing shoppers to take advantage of the temporary offerings. These trends are catching fire as more retailers make these strategic changes to adopt the "Millennial style".

50+ Data Science and Machine Learning Cheat Sheets

There are thousands of packages and hundreds of functions out there in the Data science world! An aspiring data enthusiast need not know all. Here are the most important ones that have been brainstormed and captured in a compact few pages.  Mastering Data science involves understanding of statistics, Mathematics, Programming knowledge especially in R, Python & SQL and then deploying a combination of all these to derive insights using the business understanding & a human instinct—that drives decisions.  Here are the cheatsheets by category:

Three baseline IT security tips for small businesses

"A lot of companies rely on the idea of 'security through obscurity,'" said Crellin. "They're focused on running their business and probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about hackers." These attackers probably aren't interested in any one particular small business, said Crellin, but they tend to rely on a shotgun strategy. "Small and middle-market businesses are targets because there are so many of them. It's like a thief in a parking lot looking for one unlocked car." If your organization is unlocked, he said, you're a likely target. Common methods of hacking—phishing, brute-force password attacks,keylogging spyware, and social engineering—can cost small and medium businesses thousands of dollars.

Steps For Getting an IoT Implementation Right

“While the research uncovered some intriguing differences across geographies and industries, the generally held consensus is that the opportunities will be met with challenges,” Janet Jaiswal, vice president of enterprise marketing at Aeris, noted in a statement. “As the number of connected devices grows, organizations will not only be under increased pressures to better manage their devices and obtain data-generated insights to improve operational efficiencies, but they will also need a deeper understanding of how best to address the complexities associated with connectivity and data consumption to lower operational costs,” Jaiswal says. Big data and application development are other significant concerns within the enterprise, the study notes.

Better late than never? Samsung IT arms push into autos

"There are two trends: the car becomes a connected software device, and the entire mobile and ICT ecosystem is getting very interested in playing a part in that evolution," Bonte said. That is particularly welcome as demand for smartphones, TVs and computers slows, but Samsung is arriving late at a party where some of the best partners are already taken. ... Samsung patent filings show a wide range of technologies including a drowsy-driving detection system, an alert system for break-in attempts and a transparent display for directions and traffic information. Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co Ltd recently formed a dedicated team to sell components such as camera modules to new auto clients and says it would consider acquisitions to boost car-related businesses.

Quote for the day:

“Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal” -- Howard Gardner

October 29, 2015

Fighting Developer Fatigue with JNBridge

A better approach would be to keep as much of the .NET-based technology as possible, and start by nibbling around the margins, creating framework code in Python, and calling the more substantial .NET-based logic where needed. Later, more Python skills can be acquired and more Python code can be added, as necessary, and functionality can be migrated out of the .NET libraries if that’s what’s desired. This “go slow” approach can mitigate developer fatigue and allow you to avoid prematurely committing to new technologies that may turn out to be insufficiently robust for production use, or may soon be supplanted by even newer technologies. Note the approach described here can be used to continue using both legacy .NET and Java binaries with emerging languages.

Google threatens action against Symantec-issued certificates

Google discovered the incident because, as part of its Chrome browser policies, it requires all CAs to disclose the EV certificates they issue in a public audit log as part of a new protocol called Certificate Transparency (CT). Following the incident, Symantec determined that the certificates in question were issued during product testing and never left the organization. It also fired several employees who failed to follow internal policies. The company's initial investigation determined that 23 test certificates had been issued for domain names belonging to Google, Opera and three other unnamed organizations. However, with only "a few minutes of work" Google was able to find additional unauthorized certificates that Symantec missed, calling into question the results of the company's internal audit.

Is your information security program giving you static?

Most of us in the information technology have many responsibilities other than security. On the other hand, we fight against a growing number of hackers whose only job is to find new ways to break into our systems. Their motivations vary from the hobbyist who just loves technology and lacks ethics, to those sponsored by organized crime, to those propped up by foreign governments. Regardless of the reason, they have vast amounts of time to put into finding ways into our networks and applications. Since we can't keep up, should we just give up? While tempting, this is obviously not possible. As such, we must find ways to replace our static approach to security with a dynamic one. A few weeks ago, former NSA Director Keith Alexander,speaking at a conference, put it well stating that "We need to move now to a new approach to cybersecurity — an approach that is proactive, agile and adaptive."

Steamy Windows

Windows 10 since its launch has had lots of coverage and I've no intention of covering many of those things again. There’s plenty of excellent posts already talking about some of the user experience and consumer enhancements, everything from the start button, to continuum and universal apps. As important as I think those things are, getting the user experience across multiple devices is key to Windows10 success, those things aren’t really my area. I like many of you work with Windows 10 in the enterprise, deploying it, supporting it and delivering application to it. With that in mind, I wanted to write an article that focuses elsewhere and looks at some of the enterprise enhancements and capabilities that you will find tucked away inside this shiny new operating system and its ecosystem.

How to Advance an Organization’s Data Culture

Speaking at the recent Tableau Conference in Las Vegas, deRhodes described what he called an evolution in data culture at Kaiser, and it’s one that he believes most organizations must undergo. “At Kaiser Permanente, we thought we were going to use Tableau to create dashboards and help drive fact-based decision making,” he said. “What we didn’t expect was the impact that would have on our data culture. Using analytics is altering how we think, behave and work.” That change in the overall perception of who is responsible for analytics comes from “data democratization,” deRhodes said. “We have more eyeballs looking at the data, and with more people looking at it, we’re getting more insights than we ever did before.” To change data culture and influence other changes that need to occur to get more insights out of data requires six essential steps, deRhodes said

NIST awards three-year grant for cybersecurity jobs 'heat map'

Overall, the cybersecurity sector has struggled to fill open jobs. Last year in the U.S., Burning Glass found there were nearly 50,000 jobs posted requiring a CISSP security certification, “the primary credential in cybersecurity work.” However only 65,000 people hold that credential — and most were already employed. Rodney Peterson, the lead of NIST’s National Institute for Cybersecurity Education, told FedScoop that the map would help demonstrate where gaps lie. “The data exists, but we want to visualize it on a map, so if you are in Michigan and you apply [to a job in another region] you want to see what is the demand but more importantly what is the supply — you can start to drill down the data geographically,” Peterson said.

This startup wants to bring the Internet of things to the enterprise

The software focus gives the customer a lot of flexibility. So if the sensor is designed to measure temperature for example, the system can be changed to measure temperature once a day, and later, once every hour. An operator could also change the range when an alert might sound or otherwise adjust parameters in the software. For people used to dealing with today’s computer and mobile software this may not sound revolutionary, but for the embedded world of old-school sensors, such flexibility can still be rare because programming the sensors is so complicated. That’s where the Helium software comes into play.

Financial Services Warms Up to AI

Publicis.Sapient ‘buckets’ AI platforms into three main categories: ‘big data’ tools, which enable humans to draw conclusions from massive amounts of connected and correlated data; correlation-based platforms such as IBM Watson and Google Deep Mind, which analyze large sets of data to determine patterns and where individual data points have been statistically relevant; and causal-based platforms such as Lucid, which apply an understanding of how humans think to problem sets. “The three categories of tools collect the data, answer ‘what’, and answer ‘why’,” Sutton said. By way of background, Sutton noted that AI first appeared in the 1970s and 1980s when pioneers such as Alan Kay, Doug Lenat and Marvin Minsky conceptualized different means to simulate human intelligence and technology.

Defining Enterprise Architecture: Economics and the Role of I.T.

In any case, assuming for a moment, the bulk of IT is going outboard, why would an Enterprise need IT people in the Information Age? That is, what do IT people bring to the table to an Enterprise in the Information Age? I submit, IT people bring to the table the drafting skills... the drafting skills! They know how to describe things. They know how to build models. This is non-trivial! You send a mechanical engineer to a university... not to trade school... to university for four years to learn how to do drafting... to learn how to describe things so every other mechanical engineer in the universe can understand precisely what it is they are describing. Is this an important idea? This is a REALLY important idea.

From Imperative to Functional and Back-Monads are for Functional Languages

A pure function is a concept that equates the mathematical notion of a function with the software notion of a subroutine (often, confusingly, also called a function). A pure function is a subroutine that behaves like a mathematical function: its only input is its arguments and its only output is its return value, and it may have absolutely no other effect on the world. It is therefore said that pure functions are free of side-effects: they may not engage in I/O, and may not mutate any variables that may be observed by other pure functions. A pure functional programming (PFP) language is one where all subroutines must be pure functions. Contrast this to non-PFP or imperative languages, which allow impure functions,

Quote for the day:

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." -- Ernest Hemingway

October 28, 2015

Windows Tablet Sales Boosted By Enterprise Demand

One example is the system's Continuum feature, which tailors applications to different platforms. If a user relies on a tablet, then touch input is emphasized. If an employee works with a keyboard, then keyboard input is front and center. Also, Microsoft tablets have been tuned to work well with mobile-device management software. This feature enables IT departments to manage these devices more easily than in the past. Finally, the vendor did a good job designing the Surface. "Microsoft has positioned its tablets as PC replacements," said Strategy Analytics' Hochmuth. For example, the Surface 2-in-1 functions enable workers to swap out their laptop or desktop PC for a tablet.

IBM – Is the Elephant going to dance again?

One of the biggest growth areas is that of the mid-market. The mid-market is services provided for 1,000 users or less. Yes it sounds small but to get hung up on size undervalues its importance. The mid-market are the enterprises of the future, the next global success stories. This is also a very influential group. Below the 1,000-user threshold you find early adopters, business optimisers and innovators all using the new cloud-connected tools to improve the processes and productivity that drives business forward. While IBM as a brand is huge, as those in marketing reading this will certainly agree, they are helping businesses innovate; and are doing so on a one-to-one basis.

5 ways technology is revolutionizing the way we shop

No matter how easy it has become to shop online, sometimes you just want to visit an actual store. Why? Because the in-store experience matters. And it is improving all the time, thanks to technology. Once you enter a store, advanced technology may be at work in ways most shoppers might not even realize — through devices that tell retailers when your favorite items are running low and with apps that help you navigate the floor plan. Here are just a few of the cool technological advances starting to happen in brick-and-mortar stores today.

Genome researchers raise alarm over big data

Narayan Desai, a computer scientist at communications giant Ericsson in San Jose, California, is not impressed by the way the study compares the demands of other disciplines. “This isn’t a particularly credible analysis,” he says. Desai points out that the paper gives short shrift to the way in which other disciplines handle the data they collect — for instance, the paper underestimates the processing and analysis aspects of the video and text data collected and distributed by Twitter and YouTube, such as advertisement targeting and serving videos to diverse formats. Nevertheless, Desai says, genomics will have to address the fundamental question of how much data it should generate. “The world has a limited capacity for data collection and analysis, and it should be used well.

How Does a PDOS Attack Work?

By exploiting security flaws or misconfigurations PDoS can destroy the firmware and/or basic functions of system. It is a contrast to its well-known cousin, the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which overloads systems with requests meant to saturate resources through unintended usage. One method PDoS accomplish its damage is via remote or physical administration on the management interfaces of the victim’s hardware, such as routers, printers, or other networking hardware. In the case of firmware attacks, the attacker may use vulnerabilities to replace a device’s basic software with a modified, corrupt, or defective firmware image—a process which when done legitimately is known as flashing

Senate passes first major cyber bill in years

As a civilian agency with a major cybersecurity role, DHS is seen as having the most effective privacy oversight mechanisms to review data received under CISA. Funnelling data through the DHS ensures it will "receive an additional scrub to remove any residual personal information," Feinstein said Tuesday. In this spirit, lawmakers blocked a contentious addition from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that would have facilitated a direct transfer of cyber threat data between businesses and the FBI and Secret Service. Despite the back-and-forth over numerous amendments, the final measure passed easily, with the broad bipartisan support that the bill's co-sponsors touted throughout debate.

Can citizen developers bring shadow IT into the light?

A key reason for this is the accelerating enterprise use of cloud-based software platforms that allow citizen developers to access corporate data more easily than data stored on servers in corporate data centers controlled by the IT department, he says. But here’s the problem. Many citizen developer platforms purport to offer data access and other controls to help ensure regulatory compliance, but Driver says that these are often of limited use. "Compliance controls? Vendors over-hype them and the truth is that citizen developers are essentially ignoring regulatory and compliance issues," he says. "Some platforms do look after that, but there are examples of apps built with citizen developer tools that completely ignore privacy and compliance issues."

Improving Customer Experience is Top Business Priority

“Customer experience is now clearly at the heart of digital transformation, and digital is at the center of that customer experience,” said Anatoly Roytman, managing director Accenture Interactive and global digital commerce lead. “But many companies have considerable ground to cover on their path to becoming digital enterprises. They’re challenged with setting a digital vision and strategy, getting the right people in place, and measuring digital success.” ... Considering these prevailing challenges, it may not be surprising that only five percent of respondents think their organization is exceeding their customers’ expectations in digital experiences, while 73 percent believe they meet those expectations.

IT budgeting: The smart person's guide

For an IT executive who is uncomfortable with numbers or loathe to endure the justification process that accompanies budgeting, it can be a difficult exercise, and the temptation can be to simply tweak last year's budget, to succumb to arbitrary cuts. To help IT leaders not only endure the budgeting process, but to use it as a strategic tool to drive their priorities, we've assembled this guide. It should make budgeting less painful and help you understand how to use your budget as a planning and communication tool. As the saying goes, "You put your money where your mouth is," and your budget ultimately puts company resources behind the plans you've been articulating through the year.

Surviving The Hyperconnected Economy With Data Integration

A smart starting point is creating a vision for how the digital economy can differentiate you from your competition. Bringing business and technology teams together early on to drive innovation can ensure successful momentum while using strategic advisory services can help organizations learn from the experiences of others. Truly successful digital transformation necessitates a secure platform for development around high speed data analytics paired with highly accountable service and support. Few companies, though, are able to independently provide the kind of accountability needed across all elements of technology, support, and service; choosing to focus on one area reduces risk and provides long-term sustainable solutions.

Quote for the day:

"Everything you do online can be tracked and more than likely will be tracked. People are starting to understand the implications of this." -- Boling Jiang

October 27, 2015

Millennials don't even know what cybersecurity is

One big result: 65 percent of respondents said they believe they can stay safe online. But that confidence is coupled with apparent apathy and ignorance. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they were not taught how to stay safe online (or they weren't sure if they'd been taught Internet security) in school. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they hadn't heard about any cyberattacks in the past year. The survey was conducted from July 29 to Aug. 10, in the wake of the Office of Personnel Management breach, the Target breach and many other high-profile cyber incidents. It wasn't all bravado. Plenty of respondents said they weren't interested in pursuing a cybersecurity career because they didn't think they had the right skills.

Intel buys Saffron AI because it can't afford to miss the next big thing in tech again

The future of computing is pretty clear to those who know where to look. With everything from our homes to our factories connected and generating more information than can be stored in a single data center, let alone be processed by a human being, the race is on to build computers that can help people make sense of the digital information that threatens to overwhelm them. Intel’s role in this digital overload is threefold. First it wants to put as many chips as it can into what are called the edge devices—the laptops, watches, gateways or any devices that we may interact with or that gathers information from the world and feeds it back to the network. In many ways, because Intel missed out on mobile, it lost out on much of this opportunity.

What's Fixie and Why Should C# Programmers Care?

The difference with Fixie is that it takes a conventions-based approach, which is a benefit as we do not need to use attributes to mark classes and methods as tests. Using other testing frameworks usually involves having to decorate classes and/or methods with attributes that tell the test runner (e.g. Visual Studio Test Explorer) that this is a test that can be executed. With Fixie, this "test discovery" is not enabled through attributes, but rather by following a set of default conventions. Once installed (via NuGet) out of the box, Fixie comes with a set of default conventions that describe test discovery. The first convention has to do with how test classes are named. To create a test class it is simply named as you wish but postfixed with "Tests".

Clay Christensen explains, defends ‘disruptive innovation’

The word disruption has many connotations in the English language. I just didn’t realize how that would create such a wide misapplication of the word “disruption” into things that I never meant it to be applied to. In 1998, the Academy of Management meetings were held in Silicon Valley and the keynote speaker was Andy Grove, then Chairman of Intel. The very first slide in his presentation was about the theory of disruption. During his presentation, Grove said: “We’re not calling it ‘Disruptive Innovation,’ we’re calling it the ‘Christensen Effect.’” They were doing this to be more precise in their language, because they found the term “disruption” to be too broad and easily misapplied.

New data center study results a 'wake up call' for DCIM providers

It's no secret that humans have spent the last few decades using technology to automate as many manual tasks as possible. However, the data center that powers much of this automation is still very much a manual operation in a shockingly large number of organizations. According to a new research report sponsored by Intel DCM, 43% of data centers use manual methods for tasks like capacity planning and forecasting. This State of the Data Center report surveyed 200 data center managers operating in the US and UK. Jeff Klaus, the general manager of data center solutions at Intel, said that he was surprised by how high that number was. ... One potential explanation is that the operators simply do not know what automation capabilities are available to them.

Qualcomm wants the next smart home cameras to have Snapdragon processors and LTE

"We've done a lot of work getting cameras and computer vision optimized in the phone space," says Raj Talluri, who oversees mobile computing for Qualcomm. "Typically it's harder in the phone space - a phone has a pinhole camera and is always moving - but now we're bringing that technology into this space where the application is a little different, but the technology we built applies perfectly." Talluri also envisions the reduced delay enabling new applications for home monitoring. "What you have is a much smarter camera," he says. "What I'd call a conscious camera of what's happening in the scene." ... Talluri suggests Qualcomm's tech could go further than that, like knowing to ignore a car that passes by outside a window, all without uploading any footage.

JPMorgan Chase says it is building a rival to Apple Pay

Chase Pay is also promising superior security, a critical selling point after retailers including Target Corp and Home Depot Inc suffered from hacking attacks, Smith said. Longer term, Chase also hopes merchants will offer more discounts through Chase Pay, encouraging consumers to use the technology more. Chase Pay will initially work for consumers that already have Chase credit, debit, and prepaid cards, Smith told Reuters in an interview. There are about 94 million of those cards outstanding now in the United States, and the bank has more spending on them than any other issuer. The app will work on Apple and Android-based phones. JPMorgan Chase's consumer bank has already factored the system's near-term launch costs into its expense estimates, and expects the benefits to come over the medium to long term.

Don't overdo with biometrics, expert warns

Late last month, the Office of Personnel Management admitted that 5.6 million fingerprints had been stolen from its servers -- not just 1.1 million as had been reported over the summer. Some of these fingerprints belonged to federal employees with secret clearances. Meanwhile, if a password is stolen, it is relatively simple to reset it with a different one. It is currently not practical, however, to provide users with new fingerprints, voices, or eyeballs. That puts biometrics in the same category of data as other permanent personal identifiers, such as Social Security numbers. Since they can retain their value for years -- and will only become more valuable as the use of biometrics expands -- they are likely to become prime targets for hackers. According to Munshani, a better use of biometrics is to save it for second-level controls.

Agile Enterprise Architecture

The role of EA traditionally has been one of a strategic endeavor to help the organization anticipate large-scale change that can impact the organization’s revenue and profit margin, to plan for, and implement new (or modified) business & technology capabilities that can address the change effectively. The struggle here is in reconciling the strategic nature of EA with the agile needs that the organization impinges upon EA as a practice. Strategy, by definition, is meant to define a business vision followed by a set of goals, objectives and roadmaps that chart out the organization’s path towards realizing the vision in the medium- to long-term time horizon. Strategies necessarily do take time to develop and need to be vetted thoroughly with the organization’s principal stakeholders, internal and external, before being accepted across the organization (and its partners).

UED: The Unified Execution Diagram

This new modelling technique has been developed because visualizing concurrency in, for example UML, does not offer a satisfying solution. Many software engineers confirmed this and because of this reason the UED has been quickly adopted in many design teams within Philips Healthcare. For example, a sequence diagram is often used to depict a specific use-case, where occasionally limitted thread interaction is included. Other shortcomming of UML with respect to a UED will become clear when reading the rest of the document. The UED depicts the interaction between all threads in a single diagram. A UED can depict all information that is relevant for an execution architecture.

Quote for the day:

"A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him." -- H.S.M. Burns

October 26, 2015

Computer Security and Privacy: Benefits and Risks of the Internet of Things

Kohno was an author on the first publications demonstrating the security risks of wirelessly reprogrammable pacemakers and defibrillators. Former Vice President Dick Cheney even had doctors disable the wireless mechanism in his defibrillator due to hacking concerns. Kohno stresses that the benefits of these devices outweigh the security risks and that patients should have no qualms using them. However, he believes that device manufacturers must improve the security of current and future devices. Roesner has led groundbreaking work in the area of online data collection, trying to identify who is gathering information and what's being done with it. With further support from NSF, she led the development of a tool called ShareMeNot.

The grip banks have over their customers is weakening

If banks are not willing or obliged to share, there are services that will retrieve current-account data without the bank’s approval. These startups ask customers to share their online banking passwords, in order to log into their accounts and copy and paste page upon page of online statements. Such “scraping” happens in a legal grey area. Banks moan about their terms of service being breached. British regulators frown upon it, for security reasons, making life difficult for would-be Mints; American regulators are said to be unhappy as well. Services such as Yodlee, a Californian outfit, offer to scrape or download bank records, whichever is least inconvenient. Online lending platforms are wary of scraping: customers are understandably reluctant to hand over their passwords.

HP just dropped out of the public cloud – now what?

Fast forward six months, and this week HP announced via a blog post that it is “grounded in the cloud” and will sunset its HP Helion Public Cloud on Jan. 31, 2016. The company said it would not comment any more on the issue. Forrester Research Principal Analyst Dave Bartoletti says that when doubts about HP’s public cloud business direction emerged in the spring, it sent a signal to customers that the company was deprioritizing the public cloud. He says this week’s public admission was good. “It’s important for them to move forward and re-align their strategy,” he says. HP isn’t the first to bow out of the public cloud market or change up its approach.Rackspace last summer announced it would offer managed public cloud services instead of commodity, race-to-the-bottom cloud pricing for IaaS.

Overcoming “New Vendor Risk”: Pure Storage’s Techniques

Here’s the problem, though: these same smaller emerging companies are often doing verycool things that have the potential to solve a whole lot of problems. In today’s rapidly shifting storage market, sticking with the status quo is becoming an unpalatable choice as companies seek to gain the benefits of new features and new platforms. In order to help customers gain a sense of comfort around their platform, Pure Storage has put together a program with three key points, each intended to address important customer concerns. Called Evergreen Storage, this program is intended to help customers maintain their storage investment with Pure. Consider the traditional storage buying cycle. Every few years, you replace what you have and go through a labor-intensive data migration process in order to stand up the new storage and decommission the old.

Bridging Microsoft Word and the Browser

The POI library supports Office Open XML file formats - OOXML. It contains the API to read the various sections of the documents. On loading the document into POI memory, it has all the metadata and content of the document. We can read this information easily by traversing the various sections (e.g. paragraph, table, table cell etc.). However, the generation of HTML equivalent elements is not possible with POI alone. ... Xdocreport is built on POI core and POI-OOXML with generic OOXML-SCHEMAS. It will load the document with the help of POI core and read the content and metadata with the help of poi-ooxml and ooxml-schemas. Since it uses the schema library, it is easy to navigate through the elements of the document. Xdocreport provides the visitor style API to read each section of the document and generate the content in HTML.

Using Automation to Supplement Agility

One of the biggest challenges is that despite the promise of improving the manner in which the application design and development phases proceed, the focus remains on satisfying functional requirements while largely ignoring the data requirements. At the same time, the data design teams often fret about each detail of the model, resulting in designs that often do not resonate with the application development teams. ... Data modeling tools must evolve in lock-step with evolving development methodologies. Adopting aspects of the Agile methodology to enable faster cycling, closely-coupled interactions between designers, developers and their business clients and more rapid turnaround for changes in underlying data architectures. Some facets of the data modeling approaches are prime for renovation.

CIOs And CMOs Must Rally To Lead Change

CMOs will have good partners, though. As they continue to break free of IT gravity and invest in business technology, CIOs will be at their sides. 2016 is the year that a new breed of customer-obsessed CIOs will become the norm. Fast-cycle strategy and governance will be more common throughout technology management and CIOs will push hard on departmental leaders to let go of their confined systems to make room for a simpler, unified, agile portfolio. Firms without these senior leadership efforts will find themselves falling further behind in 2016, with poor customer experience ratings impacting their bottom line. Look for common symptoms of these laggards

Turing Phone: The hacker-resistant smartphone with stretchable storage

"Since data will be stored with a trustworthy tag which belongs to the user who issues the key it doesn't matter where the data is stored, the user may retrieve it when desired. There's always a way to check where the keys are, much like the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin." Underpinning this distributed storage is the security provided by Turing Robotics Industries (TRI), which started out as a company researching decentralised cryptographic keys. In the five years since TRI was established, the firm developed the Identity Based Authentication Infrastructure that will provide the foundation for the system.

Building Microservices With Java

This article does not discuss whether microservices are good or evil,nor whether you should design your app for microservices upfront or extract the services as they emerge from your monolith application. The approaches described here are not the only ones available, but they should give you a pretty good overview of several possibilities. Even though the Java ecosystem is the main focus in this article, the concepts should be transferrable to other languages and technologies. I have named the approaches in this article container-less, self-contained, and in-container. These terms may not be entirely established, but they fulfill their purpose here to differentiate the approaches. I will describe what each means in the sections that follow.

Artificial intelligence can go wrong – but how will we know?

“Deep learning produces rich, multi-layered representations that their developers may not clearly understand,” says Microsoft Distinguished Scientist Eric Horvitz, who is sponsoring a 100-year study at Stanford of how AI will influence people and society, looking at why we aren't already getting more benefits from AI, as well as concerns AI may be difficult to control. The power of deep learning produces “inscrutable” systems that can’t explain why they made decisions, either to the user working with the system or someone auditing the decision later. ... “Backing up from a poor result to ‘what’s causing the problem, where do I put my effort, where do I make my system better, what really failed, how do I do blame assignments,’ is not a trivial problem,” Horvitz explains

Quote for the day:

"Nobody who ever gave their best regretted it." -- George Halas

October 25, 2015

6 Keys To Big Data Victory

If you look at big data as something that happens inside your organization’s current boundaries, that uses technology to process data and discover signals, and then to deliver those signals in established ways, you will get some value. Bigger wins come from using big data and a data lake to support a much wider and deeper effort. This expansion can only happen when users (whether analysts or product engineers), software engineers, data management professionals, DevOps, and business experts all work together. A data lake is perfectly suited to enable such a cross-functional team to thrive. Instead of seeing part of the picture, you can see all of it, going years back, in great detail, illuminated by powerful analytics.

Featured Interview: Jim Machi on Dialogic’s Vision for NFV

NFV is more than just separating the network function software from the proprietary hardware; it also involves additional management and orchestration functionality that controls how application capacity is scaled out and up, how applications are chained together to support an end-to-end service and the interaction with the underlying virtual compute, storage and networking infrastructure. The scope of NFV includes all these moving parts come, but service providers don’t have to wait to really start to take full advantage of the benefits of a cloud infrastructure. And not every one of our customers have the resources like the larger tier one service providers to be on the forefront of this technology turn, or is even ready for deploying a comprehensive orchestration capability

Google Is Working On A New Type Of Algorithm Called “Thought Vectors”

Part of the initial motivation for developing “thought vectors” was to improve translation software, such as Google Translate, which currently uses dictionaries to translate individual words and searches through previously translated documents to find typical translations for phrases. Although these methods often provide the rough meaning, they are also prone to delivering nonsense and dubious grammar. Thought vectors, Hinton explained, work at a higher level by extracting something closer to actual meaning. The technique works by ascribing each word a set of numbers (or vector) that define its position in a theoretical “meaning space” or cloud.

Watch Out, China: Google 'Ignites' Hong Kong, Taiwan Start-Ups

For decades, Hongkongers worried that their rote-education system was stifling entrepreneurship. Moreover, outsized profits from real estate speculation attracted those who thrived on risk. ... Finally, Hong Kong has become a start-up hotspot. And companies like Google are joining the effort. The iconic American brand has put its financial muscle behind developing marketing talent, teaming up with 40 partners across Hong Kong to launch “Google Ignite.” And that’s not all. Along with the Center for Entrepreneurship of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Google is behind the EYE Program, which is promoting the ten best start-ups in the city. Chan’s and Lau’s Sam the Local has been selected as one of them.

SDN will play key role in mobile network security

The bottom line? First, SDN is the key direction for networking today, and, while the benefits of SDN extend far beyond security alone, security needs may very well provide the key justification for its implementation. Policy-based SDN is an ideal vehicle for implementing -- and updating as new threats are identified -- security across the entire network, right to the mobile edge. Virtualization enables the transparent and universal implementation of key security functionality. Ultimately, there is no easier or more effective strategy for mobile security -- and security overall. A cautionary note: The programmability that is essential to SDN requires its own security; the viability of SDN itself is called into question if, for example,an SDN controller is hacked.

The Cloud Architect: A Necessary Evil?

The title “Architect” is a problematic one, as there are Data Architects, Infrastructure Architects, Application Architects, Technical Architects, Enterprise Architects (EA), and many, many more. However, as the drive to Modern (i.e., Cloud) Architectures continues, we are now seeing references to “Cloud Architects”. This title seems to be a necessary evil, as the move to cloud-based architectures is inevitable. ... Taken together, this expansion has increased the pressure for Architects to now focus more on Enterprise-wide thinking, as both the size, scale, and breadth of componentry has exploded to include many services that are no longer under the direct control of the Architect.

Hiring good tech people: Where to start?

“The problems we’re trying to solve are pretty difficult,” he said. “Making the wrong hiring choice can really be a disaster.” He added that with a staff as small as his, “the next person hired is a major contributor.” ... A key to finding good talent is making sure your job description is precise, so that you don’t waste your time or prospects’ time, said one participant. “Your job description better reflect on what they’ll actually work on,” he said. Though one attendee noted a company that has no job descriptions, something that he said he liked, although others in the crowd were shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. “I do like that because I can’t focus on anything for too long…that’s why I like going to this Unconference,” he said, drawing a laugh.

Defense Intelligence Analysis In The Age Of Big Data – Analysis

The big data phenomenon presents defense intelligence with a range of opportunities, from off-the-shelf tools to complex business-process reforms. Some tools can be absorbed wholesale by the IC; for example, social networking tools such as Wikis and Chat are already being used to facilitate better collaboration between analysts. Beyond simple software acquisitions, however, disruptive information technologies have birthed a number of trends in how data are collected, moved, stored, and organized. Four of the most salient prevailing concepts, which are already transforming the economy and society, could reshape all-source intelligence.

Global government spending on Internet of Everything skyrockets

Global spending at all levels of government for IoT will reach US$1.2 trillion in 2017, according to a recent IDC Government Insights forecast. “Government overall is one of the fastest-growing sectors with respect to IoT,” said Ruthbea Clarke, IDC's smart cities research director. “I think there’s starting to be less confusion around understanding what it is.” Traditionally, governments worldwide have been slow to adopt IoE due to a variety of reasons. In developing countries, governments are usually dealing with typically not enough infrastructure, notes Clarke. They are busy building new cities and trying to scale to demand quickly and safely. In more developed countries, such as the United States, that are quite urbanized already, the infrastructure is in place but is often old and in need of modernization.

Serilog - An Excellent Logging Framework Integrated With .NET Applications

Logging is an approach to record information about a program's execution for debugging and tracing purposes. Logging usually involves writing text messages to log files or sending data to monitoring applications. ... If you start your application and logging is enabled, logging information is sent to the configured logging destination like a log file, console or database. Serilog is an excellent logging framework and has been active for years. Unlike other logging libraries for .NET, Serilog is built with structured log data in mind. This framework is built around the idea that log messages should be more than a collection of strings. Log messages are preserved as structured data(JSON) that can be written in document form to a variety of output providers.

Quote for the day:

"Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world." -- Isaac Asimov

October 24, 2015

Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill

In general, people are comfortable with the idea that self-driving vehicles should be programmed to minimize the death toll. This utilitarian approach is certainly laudable but the participants were willing to go only so far. “[Participants] were not as confident that autonomous vehicles would be programmed that way in reality—and for a good reason: they actually wished others to cruise in utilitarian autonomous vehicles, more than they wanted to buy utilitarian autonomous vehicles themselves,” conclude Bonnefon and co. And therein lies the paradox. People are in favor of cars that sacrifice the occupant to save other lives—as long they don’t have to drive one themselves.

Prepping for Data Driven Innovation

It is important for businesses to understand that data validates theory and give it a perspective. Acting on a hypothesis without validation is close to flying blind. So, it is important to understand what role data plays. For example – In innovation, we have a tendency of going top-down, but more often than not, innovation fails because it is not backed by detailed data points to validate the assumptions. So, businesses should convince themselves to align in a way that facilitates data in decision making processes. For innovation process, it does a couple of things: it validates the assumption; it helps ideas germinate fast and find their product market fit as well as it helps ideas fail quick. So, businesses end up spending less money and time on failed products and more resources on the ones that are closer to their customer’s need.

Deriving Value from Data Before It Goes Dark

It’s much more efficient to derive value from data before it goes dark by implementing a fast data solution in a data pipeline to ingest and analyze data in real time. This allows the enterprise to take action, automatically implement transactions, and make decisions based on information available in live data streams. Rather than losing time waiting for data at rest to be classified and made available for Big Data analysis, the enterprise can immediately analyze and act on real-time information, based on defined business policies. The enterprise can gain instant insight into sales, production and distribution trends, and capitalize on opportunities to create value by leveraging instant insights to shape products and services and steer marketing and sales campaigns.

As sites move to SHA2 encryption, millions face HTTPS lock-out

"Given that many sites are 75 percent through to SHA2 migration, it's likely that those users with old browsers will start to experience problems with increased frequency throughout 2016," said Ristic. Mozilla found out the hard way last year. Last year, the browser maker updated its website with a new SHA2-hashed SSL certificate. But those who were running a browser or operating system that didn't support SHA2 couldn't get onto the website. The upgrade "killed one million downloads," said Mozilla's Chris More in a bug listing at the time. "A lot of the world is still running old browsers and come to our website to get Firefox," he said. And it won't be the last time it happens.

20 hybrid cloud insights from top industry experts

One cloud does not fit all organizations. That’s true whether it is a public or private cloud. A hybrid cloud option allows your business to create a custom solution that fits your organizational needs. However, there are always questions with new solutions. We reached out to industry thought leaders to answer some of the marketplace’s most pressing questions on hybrid cloud. In this eBook, you’ll learn why thought leaders like Kevin Jackson, founder and CEO GovCloud Network, look at hybrid cloud from the viewpoint of hybrid IT. You’ll also hear from Shelly Kramer, co-CEO, V3+Broadsuite, on what CIOs need to consider when adopting hybrid cloud.

Malvertising – the new silent killer?

For sites that use these ad networks, limiting who can advertise on your site can cut back on the chance you're going to serve up malvertising. "Most of these ad networks allow you a wide array of which type of ads you'll accept," says Wilson. "I'll accept ads from IBM, Dell and Oracle, but I'm not going to accept ads from just any random unknown person."  Websites that use ad networks should also make sure their security is up to date, says Kowsik Guruswamy, CTO of Menlo Security. In a March report, Menlo Security found that of the top million ranked domains on Alexa, one third are running software with security gaps. "There are domains out there running software that hasn't been updated in years," he says. "We're seeing sites that are running software from 2010 that have known vulnerabilities."

You’ve Been Misled About What Makes a Good Password

The results show that making a password longer or adding symbols is a better way to strengthen it than by adding uppercase characters or numbers. That’s because people tend to add uppercase characters at the start of passwords and numbers at the end, and password attacking methods can take advantage of that, says Dell’Amico. “Basically you need to make your passwords less predictable,” he says. The new method could be used to create more accurate ways to give people a sense of the strength of a password, says Dell’Amico. A good way of doing that is important but has long proven elusive, says Mark Burnett, a security researcher who published one of the password research databases used in the study.

The Business Value of (Effective) Architecture – Part 2

So here’s how I went about to measure the value of EA. I started with the premise that if we had perfect information and did perfect planning, each project would cost exactly what we projected, it would finish on time, and it would deliver the expected business results. If we take a simple scenario of a $100M annual budget for capital projects and assume that on average the projects take 12 months, have a 12 month payback (business benefits in the first 12 months of operation equal the initial project cost), and have a maintenance cost of 20% of the original project cost, and the cost of capital or the internal rate of return is 10%, then the net present value (NPV) of the $100M investment is $143M which represents a 43% ROI over a 5 year period.

Developing Test Automation Scripts and Automation Frameworks

Framework is so nice word that when you say it – it makes an impression. For instance, the Zachman Framework is not related to any developed components – it’s a methodology to define enterprise architectures. The same goes for in-house automation built frameworks – they can contain both components for test automation along with approaches, describing how to automate something in the best possible way. This is what test automation experts (including me) show to their customers willing to start test automation for the first time or to understand what is going on their current automation project. One more important framework family to mention. Those are tool specific or project specific frameworks and target less coding experienced staff – to enable them write and support automation scripts.

The New Old: High-Tech and Design for Aging

We are entering an age of “invisibility” — automated solutions are disappearing into the fabric of users’ daily lives and allowing someone to live without thinking twice about using them (think Samantha, the OS in the movie “Her”). More and more innovators are coming to us to create health care products that integrate with mobile technology, the cloud and artificial intelligence. As boomers increasingly demand to age in place, however, we’ve found that creating advanced technology isn’t enough anymore — we must spend time talking to aging users and their caregivers and studying the ecosystems of their lives to understand how the new technologies we develop can best service them.

Quote for the day:

“You never win unless you win the hearts of people.” -- Syed Bokhari

October 23, 2015

IT pros weigh Dell versus HP as one swells, the other splits

"One could argue HP is splitting to disaggregate itself so HP Enterprise is free to find more relevant software assets for its portfolio," Woollacott said. "It will be interesting to see who can do a better job at cohesively integrating these assets, identifying the overlaps and creating a roadmap." The acquisition of VMware, long the leader in virtualization, could offer Dell a major advantage over HP, but officials from both companies this week did not clearly spell out what strategic role VMware would play, except to convey that Dell has no plans to change VMware's strategic course. If this hands-off approach, at least for the short term, plays out, some analysts think it will serve both VMware and Dell well.

Defining the "I" In Small Business CIO

A small business typically has no CIO. The company may employ an IT manager, but in many cases owners and CEOs fill the role as they spin different functional and tactical plates simultaneously in a precarious balancing act to prevent overspending and keep the business solvent. While corporations employ CIOs and full tech-savvy teams to focus on infrastructure, innovation, integration and intelligence, SMB leaders don’t have that luxury. Thinking about analytics and its potential benefits may be a plate too many for the SMB owner/CEO. Often, it’s the head of sales or someone in marketing – if there is a marketing department – who starts to wonder how analytics could help the business.

What Dancing Lizards Can Teach Us About Human-Robot Interaction

Living systems famously resist control. Models and robots offer scientists a modicum of command over otherwise unwieldy factors, like when and where a lizard chooses to dance. Robots, the authors argue, are particularly useful when it comes to the complicated world of animal social interactions. They offer amphibian examples: several different studies used “faux frogs” to re-create the visual and auditory cues of a frog mating display. (One robo-frog had pneumatic vocal sacs made of condoms.) Having separate control over the two parts of a frog’s display—the inflation and the singing—allowed researchers to ask which was more important to mating success. This sort of research cannot be written off as only working on “lower” animals either.

Ford Motors, PwC, Starwood CIOs Talk Future Of IT

Klevorn's approach to innovation is partially influenced by her business acumen, which she said has proven advantageous in her role as CIO. "You have to have a hand in both places," she said of today's IT leaders, who have to be strategic and innovative, in addition to possessing technological expertise. "Everything we do -- whether in our fields or outside our fields -- has a huge tech component." Sufficient experience, whether through formal education or on-the-job training, is critical for CIOs. "You can't be a chef without ever having cooked," noted Starwood's Poulter. Future IT leaders can't fill a senior position without knowing firsthand how networking works or how data influences outcomes.

Surface Book vs. Surface Pro 4: Picking the best came down to just one thing

We both agree that the Book’s appeal lies in its discrete GPU, battery life, and laptop-like form factor. The SP4 is slightly cheaper but offers some serious bang for your buck. Gordon and I know both devices: I spent time with the Book, then tested the Surface Pro 4. Gordon owns a SP3 and wrote our Surface Book review.  But a funny thing happened on the way to publication: Each of us became convinced that the other Microsoft product was better. I’m sold on the Book’s long battery life, and Gordon was more partial to the sharp uptick in performance the SP4 offered—without all the cash you’d have to lay out for the Surface Book. So here’s what we decided to do: make our case for each product, and let you decide who’s right.

How Shamsheer Vayalil Built VPS Healthcare into a Billion-dollar Firm

You learn something new every day. As someone who didn’t know how to run a business and had no previous experience of running hospitals, it was a completely new challenge. And I was enjoying that journey — to be there every day, talking to the mechanics, talking to the contracting people, talking to them about construction, learning how the electromechanics work inside an operating room, and how the waste water should be ejected out of the hospitals. So, everything was different. Everything was learning. And I was very keen to learn. I would be there early in the morning, spend 18-20 hours without any problem, fully charged. I didn’t get sleep because of the excitement. This is still the case, sometimes when you have interesting projects.

Are wearables worth the cybersecurity risk in the enterprise?

How can we effectively provide security on devices that appear insecure by design? It seems the safest option is to ban all wearables in the enterprise – there are too many risks associated with them, many of which seemingly cannot be controlled. If this thought has crossed your mind, I may have bad news for you. This isn't really an option for most organizations, especially those looking to stay current in today's fast-paced society. TechTarget's Michael Cobb explains, "Banning wearable technology outright may well drive employees from shadow IT to rogue IT – which is much harder to deal with." If the threat of rogue IT isn't enough to convince you, also consider that there may very well be real benefits of wearables for your organization. 

Digital leaders at DHL, CVS defend against, exploit digital disruption

Increasingly, DHL is turning to technology to build relationships with package recipients. In Germany, DHL is piloting an unusual partnership with Amazon and Audi that would enable DHL to deliver packages to the trunks of Audi customers. "It's something … that might not be recommended for countries with high security issues because you might find the package, but not the car," Ciano joked. "It's on the high end, the extreme of innovation." In the U.S. and Europe, DHL is partnering with third-party delivery locations (Ciano mentioned CVS as a U.S. example) to give customers package pick-up options.

Microsoft has been quietly laying the groundwork to build its own version of Android

What would that mean? The source code for Android is released under an open source license, which means it's freely available for anybody to see and modify. Microsoft would simply take a recent version of it, add links to its own apps and services, and maintain that version in parallel to whatever Google does with the main version of Android. This is exactly what Amazon did with Android a few years ago when it started building the Kindle Fire tablet. Intriguingly, when a reporter asked Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green about the possibility earlier this month, she didn't outright deny it. Instead, she said only, "We'll go wherever our customers are." While this idea may seem rash, Microsoft has already started laying the groundwork.

How the Internet of Things will Impact our Productivity

The Internet of Things will help individual companies to limit the waste factor in global economies in more effective ways. Products which are connected to the web can communicate how they're being used or their current status. In the near future, Porter predicts that this data will be used to schedule maintenance when it's really needed, not according to a set of inefficient rules that negatively impact the productivity of many a customer service. Usage data, on the other hand, will feed back into predictive analytics which will be used to reduce failures and improve product design. In sum, all those functionalities will boost the efficiency of our products and increase their value, inspiring a surge of productivity and innovation.

Quote for the day:

"Just because something is easy to measure doesn't mean it's important." -- Seth Godin

October 22, 2015

MySQL 5.7 aims at deeper convergence with Oracle tech and NoSQL

“MySQL 5.7 delivers a wide range of innovations, allowing developers, database administrators and DevOps teams to build and manage next-generation web and cloud-based applications capable of processing ever-increasing volumes of data,” said Ulin. “It builds on development milestone releases that have enabled users to preview, test and provide feedback during the development process. As a result, this release has been a collaborative process involving a wide range of members of the MySQL community.” In an interview with Computer Weekly, he added: “We scale very well up to 64-core plus with the software now. So in two years’ time, for example, when a CIO equips his IT shop with new machines, 5.7 is written to fully utilise those.

8 qualities of strong mentors

One of the most important roles of a leader is to provide workplace supervision. It is our duty to manage others in their work – particularly those who are newer and/or less experienced — and ensure that they perform their duties correctly and on schedule. Without such supervision, it is generally assumed that workers will slack and underperform. But if we want our people to grow in their positions and achieve optimal job satisfaction and retention then we need to also provide mentorship. Mentorship is a relationship that is created between an experienced professional and a less experienced mentee or protege. Its primary purpose is to build a support system that allows for the natural exchange of ideas, a forum for constructive advice, and a recipe for success.

Five Principles for Applying Data Science for Social Good

" We've already seen deep learning applied to ocean health, satellite imagery used to estimate poverty levels, and cellphone data used to elucidate Nairobi's hidden public transportation routes. And yet, for all this excitement about the potential of this "data for good movement," we are still desperately far from creating lasting impact. Many efforts will not only fall short of lasting impact - they will make no change at all.  At DataKind, we've spent the last three years teaming data scientists with social change organizations, to bring the same algorithms that companies use to boost profits, to mission-driven organizations in order to boost their impact. It has become clear that using data science in the service of humanity requires much more than free software, free labor, and good intentions.

The governance of data, data governance/management and data classification

"The world is being re-shaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is dramatically transforming the way we live and work." Nowhere is this transformation more apparent than in cloud-based services. By their nature cloud services offer a rich and near endless source of data for us to manage and if correctly managed, from which we can extract value. While one sees cloud service providers securing their environment to offer a more reliable and trusted service, users of cloud services may find daily management of data and relate extraction of value and benefits, an increasingly complex aspect of their businesses.

Is Your Smartphone Putting Your Employer At Risk?

One of the biggest threats to company data in a BYOD environment is a lost or stolen device, says Terry Evans, founder of CyberSecurity Biz. When a personal device falls into the wrong hands, company data may be at risk. Evans says there are some simple actions you can take to guard against such threats. If you have an IT department, check if they offer "wiping" apps that can be accessed remotely and can erase or lock your phone. (While Evans doesn’t recommend specific apps, examples of these are Autowipe and Android Lost for Android and Find My iPhone for iOS. These are available in the app stores.) If your device is lost or stolen, report it to your IT department or your own supervisor immediately so the company can be on the lookout for breaches.

Safe Harbor was for EU privacy: But how safe is US data in Europe?

The European Commission instituted the Safe Harbor agreement in 2000 to facilitate moving digital information between the US and the EU with appropriate safeguards to protect European citizens' privacy. Without the agreement in place, the European Court of Justice ruled that each of the EU's 28 member states should individually regulate how companies collect and use online personal data. The ruling may impact US tech companies, like Google, the most because they rely on their global network of datacenters to manage their global consumer bases. Notably, personal search data is commonly used to develop targeted online advertising. To access digital data that is stored in the EU, American companies will now need to comply with Europe's stringent privacy rules through other legal frameworks.

CFOs seek single source of truth for their big-data-driven business transformation

To combat the data divide across departments, CFOs are prioritising more holistic and collaborative planning and analysis, partnering with key C-suite executives to deliver aggregate views of critical business information ... “Faced with a challenging macroeconomic environment and the need to provide a more holistic view of the business, CFOs are increasingly becoming the ‘knowledge executive’ in the organisation,” said Tom Bogan, CEO, Adaptive Insights. “As both the volume and sources of data increase, CFOs are working across departments, driving toward a single source of truth that gives them a more consistent, comprehensive view of the organisation in real time. This view will ultimately provide more accurate business insights and inform more effective business strategy.”

CIO interview: Frans Westerlund, Fiskars

“When a company goes through a major change, IT also needs to transform to be able to support this change,” says Westerlund. “We had scattered teams and fragmented systems.” He says the company started by harmonising its IT infrastructure. It then implemented a centralised IT organisation, initiated shared processes and created new decision-making models. The result has been a complete IT governance overhaul to manage the new model. All strategic IT decisions have been moved from country organisations to Fiskars’ executive board, while on a local level decisions are made by each business sector’s management teams.

Stylish and Sane: A Guide to Better CSS

There are two principles that can help you stay sane when styling your site. The first is that you should treat your CSS like code. CSS is the most neglected programming language. We think it’s too hard to keep it maintainable so we don’t even try. When you start applying the same coding practices you’re used to in other languages, you’ll see that writing CSS isn’t so bad. The second is that you should think about your styles like a consumer. We don’t think about re-use when we style our websites, so our styling is never re-usable. When coding something new, we find it hard to know what the right way is to do it, or even what the end product should look like. When you’re actually consuming an API as you code it, it ends up being much easier to understand and use.

Agile Failure Patterns to Look For

Who wouldn’t agree that the four core principles of the Agile Manifesto – Individuals and interactions over processes and tools; Working software over comprehensive documentation; Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and Responding to change over following a plan – aren’t derived from applying common sense to a serious problem? ... the scope of an Agile organizational transformation is often completely underestimated. That Agile is not the quick fix for everything that’s going wrong. Each organization has it own set of dysfunctions and hence solutions dealing with them need to be tailored specifically to that organization.

Quote for the day:

"The really important things are said over cocktails and are never done." -- Peter F. Drucker