Daily Tech Digest - March 02, 2019

In the wildest dreams of enthusiasts, these devices will be a gateway to something called the decentralized web, or “Web 3.0.” In this future version of the internet, blockchains and similar technologies would support decentralized applications—“dapps”—that look and feel like the mobile apps we use today but run on public, peer-to-peer networks instead of the private servers of big tech companies. It’s widely thought that a major impediment to mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency and dapps is that these technologies are too difficult to use for people who are not especially tech savvy. Better user experiences, starting with cryptographic key management, could change that. But getting there is not straightforward, given that key security is paramount: you lose your keys, you lose your assets. This also explains why Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin seems so excited about one particular feature of HTC’s Exodus 1, called social key recovery. Essentially, users can choose a small group of contacts and give them parts of their keys.

Q&A with Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs: Plugging the tech skills gap

The tech sector is notorious for experiencing high staff turnover. Tech workers regularly switch jobs to climb the career ladder or have the chance to get their hands on the latest equipment, in turn taking their training and specialist skills with them. This can be seen as problematic for companies across the board, but the spreading out of great talent and important skills throughout the sector means an overall boost to the UK’s tech capability. Bigger companies should also seriously consider tech apprenticeship schemes as a long-term solution to addressing skill shortages, with this presenting the opportunity to train young people in the sector and the company from the ground up. So rather than viewing this trend as negative, businesses need to accept this is part of the industry and use it as an opportunity to equip the next generation of talent. I would encourage tech firms to focus, not just on investing in the latest equipment, but in creating a culture that sees employees leave on good terms, with the potential for them to return with an even greater skill set than when they left.

New chemistry-based data storage would blow Moore’s Law out of the water

New chemistry-based data storage would blow Moore’s Law out of the water
Ultra-miniaturization, using chemistry and its molecules and atoms, has been on the scientific community radar for a while. However, it’s been rocky—temperature has been a problem, among other things. One big issue, which may be about to be solved, is related to controlling flowing electrons. The flowing current, acting like a wave, gets interfered with—a bit like a water wave. The trouble is called quantum interference and is an area in which the researchers claim to be making progress. Researchers want to get a handle on “not only measuring quantum phenomena in single molecules, but also controlling them,” says Nongjian "NJ" Tao, director of the ASU's Biodesign Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, in the article. He says that by figuring the charge-transport properties better, they’ll be able to develop the new, ultra-tiny electronics devices. If successful, data storage equipment and the general processing of information could end up operating through high-speed, high-power molecular switches. Transistors and rectifiers could also become molecular scale. Miniaturization-limiting silicon could be replaced.

Create an IT support process to take on any outage

Issue management platforms can initiate post-mortems as a follow-up action to a major or critical issue. The tool supplies a detailed log of the incident response timeline and actions/results for review. Post-mortems focus on root causes rather than proximate causes. Proximate causes are the reasons or triggers that started the issue. A root cause is the central fault that, if corrected, could prevent all such incidents. For example, an application throws an error because its volume runs out of storage. The application error is the proximate cause of the issue, but the root cause is a lack of monitoring of logical unit number (LUN) usage and remaining capacity. The post-mortem evaluation might result in new storage monitoring that triggers an alert when the LUN hits 85% full. With that fix in place, administrators can add storage before an application error ever occurs. Similarly, a post-mortem could inform a decision to upgrade systems or software.

Equifax CTO: 3 keys to leading culture change

CIO Hands Collaboration
Tech leaders need to recognize, and embrace, the biggest barrier to technology plans isn’t whether the technology will work – it’s the organizational culture. Ten or 15 years ago, the danger was in the details of knowing whether or not Vendor A could interoperate with Vendor B. Today, we don’t have those same technology barriers; instead, people and cultures have become our largest challenges regardless of the size of the company or industry. Encouraging teams to think and act differently requires an invitation to have them join you in a different way of working. Whether or not they accept that invitation is up to them, but it’s up to you to make decisions based on their response. Change must occur – people either want to change or you need to change the people. Look at your team and your people, your own cadence, your own style, and your own words. We have to be intentional about the way we work, the way we talk, the way we interact and the types of people we hire.

Node.js JavaScript vs PHP: Which programming language is winning over developers?

The growing popularity of Node.js JavaScript was captured by 2018 Node.js User Survey , which also shed light on how the language is being used. "Node.js continues to see it's popularity grow on every continent and in a very broad set of use cases due to its flexibility and utility for a wide variety of use cases", it stated, with web apps being the most popular use case, followed by enterprise apps. Of course, the problem with the surveys above is they are canvassing developers who work primarily with JavaScript, and who as a result may be more likely to choose Node.js at the backend. It's also not necessarily the case that firms either wholly use a single back-end language. Organizations may use Node.js JavaScript for some sites and services and PHP on servers supporting other sites. That dual-use is borne out by the surveys, with almost one third of developers saying they used PHP alongside Node.js in the 2018 Node.js user survey, while respondents to the Vue.js survey also reported using a variety of languages at the backend.

ROX Is the New ROI: Prioritizing Customer Experience

PwC’s 2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey — the results of which will be published soon — highlights the need to focus on both ROI and ROX. For example, we asked more than 21,000 consumers in 27 territories around the world what they thought was the most influential type of advertising. About 35 percent said traditional TV ads, the highest percentage among all of the choices. This might seem like good news for the world’s biggest companies, because that’s where they still spend the bulk of their advertising dollars. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll see the desire for experience staring us right in the face. ... There are other ways you can balance your focus on ROX versus ROI, including with your physical retail space. Retailers, banks, and auto dealerships invest enormous amounts of resources and time in their stores, branches, and showrooms. Yet, in today’s harried world, where so much product research is done online by consumers, creating the best customer experience is often more about getting patrons in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Data: if it’s the next oil, is it renewable or toxic?

Data: if it’s the next oil, is it renewable or toxic? image
It all boils down to privacy. Data has the potential to support the discovery of new medical treatments. It could transform healthcare for the better — and it is hard to find anyone who would not be in favour of that. But at what price? Regulators seem to have decided that in some cases the price is too high. ... The EU’s GDPR and other privacy regulations being rolled out across the world in countries like Canada, Japan and Brazil are an attempt to ensure we get the benefits of data without the penalty of lack of privacy. But GDPR does not always work. How often do you throw your hands up in frustration because you have to read and agree/disagree with privacy policies and opt-in requests, just to get a tiny piece of information? It sometimes takes longer to read the disclaimers and other compliance inspired literature, than get the actual information you need. According to Sarah Burnett, Executive Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Everest Group: “Organisations are confusing their ability to share data internally between departments.”

Teen becomes first millionaire through HackerOne bug bounties

According to bug bounty pioneer and CEO of Luta Security, Katie Moussouris, although targeted bug bounties have a role to play in cyber security, they are not a “silver bullet”, and run the risk of wiping out talent pipelines if poorly implemented, by providing incentives for people with cyber security skills to work outside organisations in pursuit of bounties. Lopez said he was proud to see his work recognised and valued. “To me, this achievement represents that companies and the people that trust them are becoming more secure than they were before, and that is incredible. This is what motivates me to continue to push myself and inspires me to get my hacking to the next level,” he said. Lopez is a top-ranked hacker on HackerOne’s leaderboard, out of more than 330,000 hackers competing for the top spot. His specialty is finding insecure direct object reference (IDOR) vulnerabilities.

The big picture: Is IoT in the enterprise about making money or saving money?

Is IoT in the enterprise about making money or saving money?
Basically, we’ve got about a third of companies hoping to save some money, another third looking for new revenue from increased production, monetizing data or creating product-as-a-service offerings, and the last third expecting a little of both. That couldmean that the IoT offers something for everyone, solving whatever problems a company might face, which is how Seth Robinson, senior director for technology analysis at CompTIA pitched the results in a statement: “This recognition that IoT is not simply a tool for cost savings, but a potential source of new revenue, is mirrored by our finding that for a majority of companies, funding for IoT projects often comes from places other than the IT department. This demonstrates not only the importance of IoT to future strategy, but the company-wide impact IoT tends to have.” In other words, the IoT fights crime and cures cancer! It’s a deodorant that doubles as a floor wax!

Quote for the day:

"Many people read History books but it takes just a few people to LEAD the cause that will shape the course of HISTORY." -- Fela Durotoye

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