Daily Tech Digest - August 06, 2019

Evolution of the internet: Celebrating 50 years since Arpanet

NW_internet 50th anniversary2
Daily traffic on the Internet surpassed 3 million packets in 1974. First measured in terabytes and petabytes, monthly traffic volume is now measured in exabytes, which is 1018 bytes. In 2017, the annual run rate for global IP traffic was 122 exabytes per month, or 1.5 zettabytes per year, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index. Annual global IP traffic will reach 396 exabytes per month, or 4.8 zettabytes per year, by 2022, Cisco predicts. As traffic volume has grown, so too has the number of devices connected to the internet. Today, the number of devices connected to IP networks is approaching 20 billion. By 2022, there will be 28.5 billion networked devices, up from 18 billion in 2017, Cisco predicts. That’s more than the number of people in the world. Overall, Cisco predicts there will be 3.6 networked devices per person by 2022, up from 2.4 in 2017. Today, smartphone traffic continues to grow and is poised to exceed PC traffic in the coming years. In 2018, PCs accounted for 41% of total IP traffic, but by 2022 PCs will account for only 19 percent of IP traffic, according to Cisco’s data. Smartphones will account for 44 percent of total IP traffic by 2022, up from 18% in 2017.

Why Every Developer Should Know a Bit of Technical Writing

First, technical writing can help you communicate more easily with your teammates. If you’re collaborating with other software developers on a regular basis, you know the importance of exchanging ideas, ensuring you’re working for the same high-level goals, and solving problems together. Technical writing abilities help you formally structure these bits of communication so your coworkers can better understand them; with an efficiently written message, you can avoid most misconceptions and ultimately work faster. You can also use your technical writing abilities to communicate with out-groups more efficiently, especially if those groups have limited technical knowledge. Rather than using terms unique to the development field, or describing code directly, you’ll have to find high-level ways to describe the challenges you’re facing, or use metaphors so that other people can grasp what you’re saying. Either way, you’ll be more valuable in client meetings, and you’ll be able to talk to account managers and team leaders in other departments in a way that makes sense to them, while still conveying what you need to convey.

Are developers honestly happy working 60-hour weeks?

The annual Stack Overflow survey is one of the most comprehensive snapshots of how programmers work, with this year's poll being taken by almost 90,000 developers across the globe. Commenting on the data, Robert Pozen, senior lecturer for technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategic Management at MIT Sloan School of Management, said although many "white-collar professionals" are content to work for longer than the standard 40-hour week, working hours can only be extended so far before it will negatively affect them. "Many professionals are quite happy working 40 to 55 hours per week," he says. "But if professionals work for 70 to 80 hours per week on a regular basis, their productivity will gradually deteriorate on average. They will lose focus, and the long work hours will undermine the rest of their lives. "Of course, professionals can have fruitful work spurts on projects they like or think are important. But that is the exception, rather than the rule." For developers, that fall in productivity is often mapped to an increase in poor quality and buggy code that will need to be fixed at some point, actually costing companies more in the long run.

What Millennials Think Of Boomers & Vice Versa

As with many misunderstandings at work, generational or otherwise, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and look for the upsides. Downsides are easy to find. (It’s why there are so many misunderstandings!) So the next time you find yourself looking across the generational divide with misgivings, here are some upsides to keep in mind about all the generations. Millennials owe a debt of gratitude to Gen X-ers for bringing a new generational identity to the workplace, one in which self-sufficiency and resourcefulness are highly valued, along with minimal management and maximum independence. This, combined with a bit of Gen X cynicism, paved the way for the Millennial perspective. Other Millennial advantages come from the time in history in which they grew up. For example, I’ve been surprised repeatedly by the exposure to other cultures that young people in this generation have had — high school students who spend a summer studying in South Korea, college students who opt for a gap year in Hungary, or who head to Ghana to work construction.

Evolution in action: How datacentre hardware is moving to meet tomorrow’s tech challenges

A demonstration system used separate memory and compute “bricks” (plus accelerator bricks based on GPUs or FPGAs) interconnected by a switch matrix. Another example was HPE’s experimental The Machine. This was built from compute nodes containing a CPU and memory, but instead of being connected directly together, the CPU and memory were connected through a switch chip that also linked to other nodes via a memory fabric. That memory fabric was intended to be Gen-Z, a high-speed interconnect using silicon photonics being developed by a consortium including HPE. But this has yet to be used in any shipping products, and the lack of involvement by Intel casts doubts over whether it will ever feature in mainstream servers. Meanwhile, existing interconnect technology is being pushed faster. Looking at the high performance computing (HPC) world, we can see that the most powerful systems are converging on interconnects based on one of two technologies: InfiniBand or Ethernet.

Developers Are More Remote-Based, Company Connected & Burnt Out

Remote work is the new normal for developers. It's not only something they prefer, but something they increasingly demand from employers. Eighty-six percent of respondents currently work remotely in some capacity, with nearly 1/3 working from home full time. Forty-three percent say the ability to work remotely is a must-have when considering an offer with a company. The traditional narrative of remote workers as isolated and disengaged from their companies is proving false for many. Seventy-one percent of developers who work remotely said they feel connected to their company’s community. But the issue hasn’t disappeared entirely. The twenty-nine percent who don’t feel connected say they feel excluded from offline team conversations or don’t feel integrated into their company’s culture when working remotely. The burnout problem is real. Two-thirds of all respondents said their stress levels have caused them to feel burnt out or work fatigued, regardless of whether or not they work remotely. Developers expect remote work to improve work-life balance. But the reality doesn’t always line up with that hope.

Think beyond tick-box compliance

According to Holt, compliance, alongside the need to recognise and leverage the business value of data, are data control challenges. In her experience, viewing them in this way makes the alignment of business and compliance objectives much less of a problem. “Organisations can begin to identify existing use cases and processes that depend on this control, and form interdisciplinary teams involving stakeholders from both compliance and other business roles to collaborate on shared outcomes and objectives. From this comes shared processes and workflows, shared technology, and – to some extent – shared budgets. By intertwining compliance goals within the broader enterprise initiative for data control and value realisation, there’s the potential for compliance to cease being a cost centre over time,” says Holt. “Benefits, such as improved customer relations and consumer trust, provide ‘softer’ returns that are often difficult to quantitatively measure over a short-term period, but can be significant and should not be neglected in calculations,” she adds.

The Phantom Menace in Unit Testing

Let me state up front that this is not a rant about unit testing; unit tests are critically important elements of a robust and healthy software implementation. Instead, it is a cautionary tale about a small class of unit tests that may deceive you by seeming to provide test coverage but failing to do so. I call this class of unit tests phantom tests because they return what are, in fact, correct results but not necessarily because the system-under-test (SUT) is doing the right thing or, indeed, doing anything. In these cases, the SUT “naturally” returns the expected value, so doing (a) the correct thing, (b) something unrelated, or even (c) nothing, would still yield a passing test. If the SUT is doing (b) or (c), then it follows that the test is adding no value. Moreover, I submit that the presence of such tests is often deleterious, making you worse off than not having them because you think you have coverage when you do not. When you then go to make a change to the SUT supposedly covered by that test, and the test still passes, you might blissfully conclude that your change did not introduce any bugs to the code, so you go on your merry way to your next task.

Evaluate the COBIT framework 2019 update

ISACA updated every part of the COBIT framework for 2019. The changes and additions to COBIT 2019 are encapsulated within the COBIT document suite, which is available to ISACA members for free. The principal changes include a new publication within the core framework, several new objectives, security practices updates and updated references to other standards, guidelines and regulations. Four core publications express the COBIT framework. The introduction and methodology publication provides definitions, explains management objectives and lays out the COBIT framework's structure. The governance and management objectives publication details the COBIT model and all constituent governance and management objectives, each associated with a specific process. A design publication, which is new in COBIT 2019, offers practical and prescriptive guidance that enables adopters to put COBIT into practice within the specific needs of their organizations.

Lessons Learned From A Year Of Testing Web Platform

Certain kinds of failures had side-effects that we didn’t anticipate. Even though our fancy automatic recovery mechanisms kicked in, the workers were doomed to fail all subsequent attempts. That’s because the unexpected side-effects persisted across independent work orders. The most common explanation will be familiar to desktop computer users: the machines ran out of disk space. From overflowing logs and temporary web browser profiles, to outdated operating system files and discarded test results, the machines had a way of accumulating useless cruft. It wasn’t just storage, though. Sometimes, the file system persisted faulty state. This entire class of problem can be addressed by avoiding state. This is a core tenet in many of today’s popular web application deployment strategies. The “immutable infrastructure” pattern achieves this by operating in terms of machine images and recovering from failure by replacing broken deployments with brand new ones. The “serverless” pattern does away with the concept of persistence altogether, which can make sense if the task is small enough.

Quote for the day:

"If you want extraordinary results, you must put in extraordinary efforts." -- Cory Booker

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