November 19, 2015

Power To The People: Stop Thinking Of Them As Users

Users are people. Treat them like people. The makers of apps and operating systems, media and television tend to forget this principle. Why? Because to truly acknowledge that users are people and not just big numbers on a spreadsheet is to acknowledge that people are individuals with vast diversity of cultures, needs, opinions wants, hopes and fears. The uniqueness of people is a messy business and individuals don’t scale. ... The term user was distinguished the actor—end user—of the software from the people that created, often known as developers. The user was synonymous with the word “operator.” User specifically meant a human. Systems where the primary actors were other machines or pieces of software do not classify the other operators as users.

Forget Big Data, use "Little Data" instead

To help reconnect with other humans, rather than treat customers as a data point in the Big data pile, we should add a personal touch via "little data", which is personal, specific information. "I wouldn't be surprised if $1bn is wasted on Big Data this year," he said, adding: "Little Data often makes the most magic. Big Data is about a pattern… but Little Data is about a person." While he admitted Big Data has huge potential -- he pointed to medical research as an example -- but said companies shouldn't ignore personal information they have on customers. "Creating magic for customers often costs nothing," he said. "It's the Little Data, and Little Data is almost free." He pointed to BA, which sent him a personalised email asking why he always books one-way trips rather than returns -- it's because of his work travel.

Why AI could destroy more jobs than it creates, and how to save them

Brynjolfsson identifies various astonishing technologies lining up to encroach on human labour. Take Rethink Robotics' Baxter, a robotic humanoid torso complete with arms, claw-like grips and a head with an LCD face. Baxter is designed to replace factory line workers employed in repetitive but as-yet-unautomated tasks, such as inserting large components into circuit boards. Baxter can be trained to carry out new jobs far more simply than its robotic predecessors, primarily by taking its arm and guiding it to where it needs to pick up and drop items. His 'hands' can be swapped out for suctions cups or different grippers to allow him to take on different tasks.

In The Cloud, The Big Get Bigger

As cloud computing moved into the mainstream, some smaller cloud providers and wanna-be suppliers were acquired. In May, EMC bought Virtustream; ActiveState sold its PaaS system, Stackato, to HP in July; HP also bought Amazon API look-alike Eucalyptus Systems in September 2014. OpenStack vendor Piston Cloud Computing was acquired by Cisco in January; GoGrid was purchased by Datapipe the same month. The consolidation continues apace, with the table stakes growing each month for what it takes to become a global cloud provider. "The consolidation and shakeout will accelerate in 2016, which will force many current providers to refocus on a narrower field, retreat from cloud or exit," Forrester said.

Is Microsoft Azure PCI DSS Compliane?

Not allowing users to change logging entries is one thing. Maintaining log file integrity is a completely different thing. If there is failure here for a QSA and/or Microsoft to misunderstand a simple PCI DSS control like this, what else is wrong? Have the compensating controls been understood correctly? So. Is Microsoft Azure PCI DSS Compliant? Some of it might be, some of it definitely isn’t (according to the data above), and to date I haven’t been able to find any formal documentation that assures me, a seasoned Qualified Security Assessor, that any of the services you can buy from Azure have been correctly validated. If you decide to host your CDE or parts of it in Azure, do so at your own risk.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Surviving A Tech Bubble

We’re in a cycle — I don’t believe in the questions about the bubble. I think cycles come and get a little overheated. It’s more like a deflation: How much air comes out of the balloon versus the balloon actually popping? While the market is never in equilibrium, the public and private markets have different variables driving their valuations. Once companies go public, there is a change in how people value them. Pre-IPO, they are judged by their potential and then post, they are judged by their performance. Unfortunately, the performance of those companies don’t always back up their valuations. Today, public markets are demanding sustainable business models before allowing companies to go public, while in the past companies often went public without the need to prove their model out.

Dell Pushing Advanced Scale to the Enterprise

If supercomputers are the spearhead of advanced computing, the slowdown in Moore’s Law has flattened the spear tip just as the enterprise’s need for advanced computing has grown. Result: Some of the grandeur has slipped from the TOP500 and making the list is not the badge of glory it once was. Ganthier said, “It’s kind of starting to run its course because standing up [in the TOP500] is just a beauty contest.” The real action, Dell is betting, is putting HPC to work. He said Dell wouldn’t walk away from the TOP500 – there were 13 Dells on the list this year – but it wasn’t a priority. In implementing this strategy, Turkel said Dell wants to replicate in the HPC sphere what the company did to the PC market starting in the late 1980s and later on with X86 servers – ease and broaden market acceptance of technology.

The Amazing Ways Shell Uses Analytics to Drive Business Success

Of course, we’ve long been conscious of the fact that we could eventually use up all of the non-renewable oil and gas buried under the earth – perhaps sooner than we think. While this is an environmental concern to us all, it’s a financial one to companies like Shell. Dwindling reserves mean the cost of getting at what is available goes up, as they are forced to look deeper underground in ever more remote locations. One alternative is offered by the growing hope that “unconventional resources”, such as shale gas and tight oil will fill the gap. These resources, trapped in shale and sandstone, now supply 20% of the gas used in the USA and their use is expanding rapidly around the globe.

Blockchain Revolution Butts Head With Creaky Banking Pay Systems

“The payments leg is some of the real difficulty here,” he said in an interview. The services that move cash between financial firms and their customers “are all running lagged systems and none of them communicate efficiently,” he said. “We need everyone else to catch up to us.” ItBit is one of dozens of new companies seeking to use blockchain technology to revolutionize back-office functions for markets ranging from commodities to loans to bonds. Wall Street firms see the technology as a way to reduce costs and increase efficiency as they face stricter regulatory requirements following the 2008 financial crisis. While trading in stocks or derivatives is done in milliseconds, the verification and settlement of those transactions still take days.

Why Privacy Advocates Warn the Cybersecurity Bill Is a Mistake

"The first problem with CISA is that it has very weak front-end privacy protection," said Robyn Greene, policy counsel, New America's Open Technology Institute, a Washington think tank. "There's a low requirement for companies to remove unnecessary personally identifiable information from the information they want to share with the government." Under CISA, companies would only be required to remove PII if they know it is not directly related to a threat. The institute's position is that PII should be removed before sharing unless it is necessary to identify or protect against a threat. "Your personal information is personal and shouldn't be shared with the government or other companies unnecessarily," Greene said.

Quote for the day:

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." -- Sam Ewing,

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