June 08, 2016

Google and Amazon are slowly killing the gadget as we know it

The real brilliance of the Chromecast lies in what it isn't, rather than what it is. It doesn't have an interface of its own. You just push a button on your phone and have whatever YouTube video you're watching or Spotify album you're listening to appear on your TV screen. A nice side effect: It's relatively simple to take an existing smartphone app and add Chromecast streaming capabilities, and literally tens of thousands of apps have done that integration. You don't have to think about it or learn a new interface; you just click and go. ... This trend isn't going to kill off the smartphone, or the PC, or the tablet. But it means lower-cost gadgetry that lasts a lot longer. We're only seeing the early stages of this shift now, but it has a lot of potential to shake up how we think about and how we buy our devices.

Blockchain's Hype Exceeds Its Grasp - For Now

Blockchain faces challenges beyond basic business practicality. The lack of universal standards and regulatory governance, a shortage of engineers schooled in working with the software, and questions about blockchain's scalability dampen the technology's adoption. For now, Nichol and other experts says blockchain is caughtin a hype cycle where it’s long on promise, short on practical implementations. "There’s a long way to go before any of the solutions that have been in the headlines in the past 18 months will be ready for enterprise deployment," says Martha Bennett, a Forrester Research analyst who advises clients on blockchain. "Anything that requires a large number of industry players to agree on a common set of processes is likely to be even further into the future; and that’s before we bring regulatory aspects into it."

Humans make mistakes: Is cloud automation the answer?

We want to automate for several purposes. One is scalability but the benefit that most immediately becomes apparent is that humans make mistakes. That's just the way things work. Someone goes in and either through negligence or just mistakenly deploys resources into the wrong region. Something like, they want to set up a test lab, which is no big deal, but they want to set it up in Singapore where it won't conflict or affect any of [their] production or DR workloads which are running in the US. The problem is that now you have resources that are unaccounted for, that are running in another region and are checked out by the governance folks. So we have a scanner that goes and looks for new resources in a region and then we can do something about it.

Security researchers' smart home findings may keep you up at night

To learn what happens when IoT devices are assembled into a smart home system, Fernandes, along with Atul Prakash, also of the University of Michigan, and Jaeyeon Jung of Microsoft Research looked at several smart home platforms. "We looked at what systems existed, and what features they offered," writes Fernandes. "We also looked at what devices they could interact with, whether they supported third-party apps, and how many apps were in their app stores." In addition, the researchers took a good look at the security features of the various platforms, asking the question, "In what ways are emerging, programmable, smart homes vulnerable to attacks, and what do these attacks entail?" To answer the question, the researchers decided to focus on one particular smart home system.

How to Hire and Retain An Expert Security Staff

Healthcare organizations may not be able to offer competitive salaries to lure top security talent compared to other industries such as banking, finance and insurance. So when hiring a qualified candidate isn’t a viable option and outsourcing isn’t feasible either, then the next best alternative is to develop and train the individuals currently on staff. Quite frankly, this should be happening already but the training budget is usually the first thing on the cutting block, assuming there is a formal training budget at all. Enhancing the security skills and knowledge of the current staff can fulfill multiple objectives and requirements, including compliance with regulations that mandate security training, as well as providing improvements to the information security program through better execution and security decision-making.

Design Patterns in the Real World: Flyweight

A flyweight is an object that minimizes memory use by sharing as much data as possible with other similar objects; it is a way to use objects in large numbers when a simple repeated representation would use an unacceptable amount of memory. Reading carefully the definition above, one can see the obvious similarities with what we call a "cache" in software engineering. As such, two important aspects should be considered: implementations of this design pattern may lead to garbage collection unfriendly solutions, as retained, shared objects may be ineligible for garbage collection; and not stated explicitly, but it makes sense to define those shared objects as stateless/immutable. This way we can overcome some evident problems like data race conditions and objects with illegal state.

Stress at work is costing employers $300 billion a year - here's why

Research suggests that people may be more stressed today than ever before - and it's costing employers (and employees) big time.According to a new infographic created by Eastern Kentucky University's online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety program, companies spend about $300 billion annually for health care and missed work days as a result of workplace stress. Meanwhile, employees are feeling less energetic, more agitated, and getting less sleep due to increased demands at work - causing them to experience physical and psychological symptoms, fight with people close to them, and have more accidents on the job, among other things. Check out the infographic below to see how stress in the workplace is "reshaping" America

Everything is “Lock-in”: Focus on Switching Costs

After spending tens of millions of dollars putting an ERP system in place, few companies are willing to drop it and move to a frisky competitor! CFOs want to squeeze out every ounce of benefit from an asset before paying to replace it. Even the cloud isn’t immune from financial lock-in. While we think of cloud as exclusively a pay-as-you-go model, many providers offer discounts if you make monthly or annual commitments. While this creates cost savings, it also creates a disincentive to leave. A major financial commitment to a vendor means that switching providers is going to be painful. There may be early termination fees, or reimbursement of upfront discounts. Any wholesale change from one vendor to another typically means that large projects get spun up, and teams spend time on migration efforts instead of other value-added opportunities.

6 Proven Project Management Team Communication Strategies

Make sure you don’t leave anyone out when you invite people to meetings or send out reports about recent developments. If you’re not sure whether certain people need to be involved in a meeting or kept in the loop about the latest project activities or updates, err on the side of caution and include them. It’s always better to gain more input from more people than limited input from just a few team members who are regarded as key players. ... It’s natural that the opinions and thoughts of higher-level project participants may be given more weight than those of junior team members. But that’s a mistake. Even if they disagree with people who outrank them, all team members should be able to freely communicate their thoughts, opinions and concerns without fear of ridicule or consequence. Great ideas are great ideas, regardless of who they come from.

Can AI predict potential security breaches? Armorway is betting on it

Using AI in the cybersecurity realm has exploded recently with MIT and IBM Watson both joining the fray of seeking to predict internet crimes before they happen. Using predictive technology for physical crime has also begun to gain traction, with the LAPD's PredPol software gaining national acclaim as a means for predicting crime. However, it has also raised some concerns about the ethical concerns the technology presents. In the post-Snowden age, questions about privacy and surveillance are paramount, and some people may not be comfortable with algorithms predicting who might commit a crime.

Quote for the day:

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." -- Louisa May

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