May 10, 2016

Actimo uses mobile APIs to bring the world together

"Our challenge is to make sure that the requests of customers [are combined] into one feature that all of our customers can use," said Gunge, adding that one of the advantages of providing software as a service is that they are able to create "an intelligent pooling of needs." Gunge also said that they are continuing to develop partnerships with WhatsApp and other mobile communication apps to broaden their customer reach. "Software is becoming a competitive advantage, and in order to operate together, you have to have APIs," said Gunge. "We are the mobile communication service that enables people to reach their mobile workforce, and that's our small part of the puzzle."

The Impact of the Blockchain Goes Beyond Financial Services

Blockchain technology can also take networked business models to a new level by supporting a whole host of breakthrough applications: native payment systems that run without banks, credit card companies, and other intermediaries will cut cost and time from transactions. Reputation systems built on social and economic capital and controlled by individuals, rather than by intermediaries like rating agencies and credit rating services, will change the dynamic between consumers and companies. Trustless transactions, where two or more people need not know nor trust each other to do business, will be feasible. There are staggering implications beyond financial services. While we’re only starting to see the possibilities of the blockchain, we expect these areas to be the first to experience a profound impact

Are Tech Giants Making Money on the Cloud?

Most major tech companies showed impressive growth in the segments that include the cloud business. Oracle and SAP, for example, posted the fastest growth as they fought to update their business models, though they are relative newcomers to the cloud trade, which still accounts for a small part of their business.  The problem with these numbers, though, is that they're impossible to compare in a meaningful way.  It's pretty clear that Netflix's revenue comes from video-streaming subscriptions and's from fees for the use of its cloud-based customer-relationship management software. In their earnings statements, Oracle and SAP also show pretty clearly where their cloud-based business ends and old-style sales begin. Other companies, however, aren't as transparent. Amazon breaks out revenue for Amazon Web Services, the business offering cloud capacity to companies.

How Mobile Device Management Is a CIO’s Best Friend

It’s easy for employees to hear “mobile device management” and jump to the conclusion that their privacy is being forfeited. And many company heads feared that’s exactly what they were doing—hence halting MDM for fear of lawsuits or other such actions. There’s a lot of uncertainty as to exactly what companies can and can’t do when it comes to mobile device management. But what is known is that companies have fiduciary and legal responsibilities to protect their customers, employees, and data. This duty gives them a right to manage and monitor the devices on which content is moved, ensuring the security of everyone involved. If we take this right away, big security problems can occur for enterprises small and large. So how do we manage mobile devices without making our employees feel like we are Big Brothering them?

When Things Become People

Things as autonomous purchasers represent a new customer opportunity. For example, a connected vending machine already accepts payments for purchases, but could one day soon have the ability to make its own payments for restocking or repair. This would require banks to determine appropriate payment, line of credit and cash management services for the vending machine. Banks would also need to market these services to the vending machine, validate its identity, and execute a smart contract. Finally, they would need to onboard and manage the vending machine as a small business customer. Things as autonomous purchasers could improve productivity, increase operational efficiency and enhance security of physical assets and people. However, as things are treated more like people, with the ability to self-sustain, new issues of trust, ethics and legal status will impact customer service, digital commerce, marketing and sales processes.

Site reliability engineering kicks rote tasks out of IT ops

IT operators tend to do many repetitive daily tasks and the work can be fairly reactive. Site reliability engineering is about how to automate away those more mundane parts of ops jobs, which included monitoring the network and the operations work on systems and security. "We try our best to simply not do operations," Underwood said. "When we end up doing operations, we regard that as a set of necessary steps to get to a point where we don't have to do that operational work anymore." That's the goal of Underwood, Petoff and the more than 70 contributors involved with creating the book. And it isn't just for the Web giants. "We think that this kind of approach applies to a whole bunch of software that's in production and a whole bunch [of] similar circumstances for lots of other organizations," Underwood said.

The $1500 DELL XPS 15 VS. The $1500 MacBook Pro 13

The CPU side is interesting: The Dell XPS 15 is still faster by a good clip, but we’re seeing far less scaling going from the XPS 15 to the MacBook Pro 13. So for folks using Blender, pursuing more cores may not yield the performance you expect.  Going to the GPU, though, you can see a huge performance benefit, as the GeForce GTX 960m in the Dell eats the lunches of both the Intel quad-core and and dual-core chips. When I tried to run it on the Macbook Pro 13’s Iris Pro 6100 graphics, it bombed out. Perhaps tinkering with it could have helped, but looking over the Blender results at, I’m not seeing any submitted results from an Intel IGP. That tells me this one test may be beyond the capability of Intel’s graphics.

As The Internet of Things Grows, Don't Underestimate Its Scale

Matt Larson of Network World recently remarked that there were six key problems, which can be summarized as communication and security issues. While we may worry that a hacker could take control of a SmartThings hub and turn up a thermostat, at a larger scale the HVAC system of a data center could be used to destroy entire companies. On that same level, Noteboom remarks that the IoT industry also has a big data problem that could have the same issue. He equates machines to users on Twitter, except that while the average active Twitter user sends two 200 byte messages a day, a fully-realized world of IoT would be 50 billion active machine "users." These machines, unlike humans, can talk constantly, all day long, and may be saying the same thing repeatedly (a thermostat could say "It is 62 degrees in this room," for example).

Apache Impala in CDH 5.7: 4x Faster for BI Workloads on Apache Hadoop

Impala has proven to be a high-performance analytics query engine since the beginning. Even as an initial production release in 2013, it demonstrated performance 2x faster than a traditional DBMS, and each subsequent release has continued to demonstrate the wide performance gap between Impala’s analytic-database architecture and SQL-on-Apache Hadoop alternatives. ... In previous releases, when queries started execution, Impala would start individual fragments one “level” of the plan tree at a time to ensure that receivers of data were always ready when the senders started. This approach led to a long start-up delay, particularly for complex queries with many fragments. In Impala 2.5, instead of starting fragments in wave after wave, the query start-up logic allows fragments to be started in any order, thereby increasing parallelism and reducing query start-up latencies.

Automation Will Never Eliminate Human Jobs

What about stalled income growth? Atkinson's argument is that it has nothing to do with productivity increases, either. Incomes stopped growing because of increased inequality within occupations, not because technology wiped out jobs in middle-wage professions. "To take an example from pro basketball, income inequality did not grow because technology eliminated middle-skilled players, it grew because of political economy factors, such as the introduction of free agency, " Atkinson writes. The people at the top of the income distribution aren't all bankers or tech gurus. Seven percent of the top 1 percent of earners are lawyers, another 7 percent doctors, 3 percent work in insurance and real estate. According to a recent article by Jonathan Rothwell, a Brookings Institution fellow, "there are five times as many top 1 percent workers in dental services as in software services."

Quote for the day:

"Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use." -- Wendell Johnson

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