December 29, 2015

Building an Agile Team: What Does DevOps Mean to You?

You don’t need to be a superhero. What you need to do is be smart enough to automate your job and progress through to make things repeatable and better. That’s really what DevOps has become. We’ve finally bridged the gap of development dropping operations with complete trash and saying, “Deal with it. It’s your problem now.” And then not taking responsibility when there are bugs and errors, and people are getting up at 2am to recycle services, and all that happens. ... Now in a big corporate environment, where you need to put line items on everything, DevOps became something that was easy to sell. They could say that they need these DevOps engineers and that there have been studies about DevOps, so now big corporations can buy into it. But big corporations do what big corporations do, so every single person needs a line item and a number.

Internet-connected homes open the door to hackers

When computers hold the reins, criminals can grab control in unexpected ways. That connected coffee maker in the office -- it wouldn't be much of a stretch for a hacker to put it into a continuous loop and brew coffee throughout the weekend, flooding the office, Mohan said. Mohan's company monitors lighting systems in large commercial buildings to help his customers improve energy efficiency. Enlighted also makes sure intruders don't take control of the lighting. "If I turned them on and off 10 times per second on Sunday, none of the fixtures would work on Monday," Mohan said. Mayhem could hit at home, too. Tech-savvy thieves could look at the settings of your connected thermostat, lighting and security system to figure out you're away on vacation. Can you say burgle?

Retailers are “in store” for dramatic changes, thanks to the IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) will disrupt all industries, but there’s little doubt that retail will be one of the most disrupted. More so than companies in other industries, retailers are increasingly coming in direct contact with consumers that fully embrace digital transformation in their lives, including IoT-related technology and innovation. Retailers that want to be innovative and stay current with the latest technologies need to embrace the IoT and embed it into their operations not only to impact front- and back-office process efficiencies, but also to earn the loyalty of the next-generation consumer. Leading retailers are already developing strategies and plans to leverage IoT-related technologies.

Here's one of the most interesting predictions for the future of bitcoin

"A cryptocurrency market will have exchanges, it will have brokers, it will have speculators, it will have payment networks," he says. "The features of blockchain as a market are institutional adoption, integration with existing business processes, IT planning and budgeting, evaluating technology replacement." In other words, the two products are pitching at different audiences - one to consumers and currency speculators, the other to corporate IT departments. The crucial element in understanding all this is that while bitcoin's blockchain is the best known, it's not the only one. Blockchain is shorthand for the complex cryptography-based software underpinning the network. It regulates transactions and records who owns which bitcoins. It's faster, cheaper, and quicker than traditional payment methods.

Getting my Raspberry Pi Zero kitted out

The BCM43143 wi-fi adapter integrated in this unit is a low-power and low-CPU load device, so it really is an excellent companion for the Raspberry Pi Zero. If you then plug a combined wireless keyboard and mouse USB receiver into one of the ports of the Broadcom hub, you have solved your three basic needs - keyboard, mouse and network connection - and youstill have a free USB port. This is great stuff. ... The next thing I got for the Zero was a mini-HDMI video cable, so that I could get rid of the slightly clunky mini-to-full HDMI adapter. This is nowhere near as big of a deal as the wi-fi adapter was, and if you already have an HDMI cable that you could use with the adapter that is included with the Zero from most sources, then you probably want to spare yourself the expense of this cable.

Mobile Payments - More Secure Than Conventional Payments?

Mobile devices are often used to conduct online credit or debit card transactions where the consumer provides actual card numbers to the merchant. However, this is not a new topic and readers should refer to other sources to understand the risk and best practices related to traditional online transactions. Also, the security of online money transfer services between individuals is outside the scope of this article. So, despite the recent survey results, are mobile payments really less secure than using credit cards or cash? While cash has the advantage of seeming anonymous, there is little recourse if something goes wrong with a purchase and no automatic tracking of transactions. Given today’s ubiquitous video surveillance and affordable facial recognition technology, the perceived anonymity probably does not match reality in most cases.

The future of mobility

There are two profoundly different visions of the future of mobility. Fundamental differences center around whether today’s system of private ownership of driver-controlled vehicles remains relatively unchanged or whether we eventually migrate to a driverless system of predominantly shared mobility. There is also a critical difference about the pathway forward. The “insider” view believes that today’s system can progress in an orderly, linear fashion, in which the current industry assets and fundamental structure remain essentially intact. The “disrupter” view envisions a tipping-point approach to a very different future, one that offers great promise and potential societal benefits

CES 2016 will be full of wearables, but would you really wear them?

Wearables weren't always the obvious choice when people wanted to make a fashion statement with personal tech. For almost a decade, that honor has gone to the smartphone, whose metal bodies and glass screens have been the epitome of cool for almost a decade. But that's begun to change. Take the iPhone, which was the apex of tech fashion for years but has perhaps become too commonplace. And now that Google's Android mobile software has gotten good enough to be a decent Apple alternative, other phone makers are getting fashionable too. Whatever the reason, phones are everywhere, and now that they look roughly the same, they can't be the fashion symbol they once were. "You're starting to see the phone become the thing that's buried somewhere on you," said Raskin.

Test Run - Introduction to Spark for .NET Developers

Spark is an open source computing framework for Big Data, and it’s becoming increasingly popular, especially in machine learning scenarios. In this article I’ll describe how to install Spark on a machine running a Windows OS, and explain basic Spark functionality from a .NET developer’s point of view. ... The Scala interpreter has a built-in Spark context object named sc, which is used to access Spark functionality. The textFile function loads the contents of a text file into a Spark data structure called a resilient distributed dataset (RDD). RDDs are the primary programming abstraction used in Spark. You can think of an RDD as somewhat similar to a .NET collection stored in RAM across several machines.

Can AI Solve Information Overload?

Of course, we are already seeing how this works with business intelligence dashboards like the one from Domo. It’s not technically AI, but the dashboards help us make better decisions because we can parse the data easier. We see a visual representation of quarterly sales or software uptime and can then react appropriately. Eventually, dashboards will include AI components that make automated decisions based on the collected data.  “These solutions don't have to be orders of magnitude better than us at what they do to be useful,” says Stowe Boyd, a managing director for research at Gigaom. “In fact, a tool that does something no better than me but frees me from doing it – like a concierge bot that would make flight and hotel arrangements for me – would be worth a great deal.”

Quote for the day:

"A pessimist is somebody who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks." -- Oscar Wilde

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