Daily Tech Digest - December 05, 2021

How Data Scientists Can Improve Their Coding Skills

Learning is incremental by nature and builds upon what we already know. Learning should not be drastically distant from our existing knowledge graph, which makes self-reflection increasingly important. ... After reflecting on what we have learned, the next step is to teach others with no prior exposure to the content. If we truly understand it, we can break the concept into multiple digestible modules and make it easier to understand. Teaching takes place in different forms. It could be a tutorial, a technical blog, a LinkedIn post, a YouTube video, etc. I’ve been writing long-form technical blogs on Medium and shorter-form Data Science primers on LinkedIn for a while. In addition, I’m experimenting with YouTube videos, which provide a great supplementary channel to learning. Without these two ingredients, my Data Science journey would have been more bumpy and challenging. Honestly, all of my aha moments come after extensive reflection and teaching, which is my biggest motivation to be active on multiple platforms.

5 Dashboard Design Best Practices

From a design perspective, anything that doesn’t convey useful information should be removed. Things that don’t add value like chart grids or decorations are prime examples. This can also include things that look cool but don’t really add anything to the dashboard like a gauge chart where a simple number value gives the user the same information while taking up less space. If you are conflicted, you should probably err on the side of caution and remove something if it doesn’t add any functional value. Space is a prized dashboard commodity, so you don’t want to waste any space on things that are just there to look pretty. Using proportion and relative sizing to display differences in data is another way to make data easier for viewers to quickly understand. Things like bubble charts, area charts or Sankey diagrams can be used to visually show differences that can be understood with a glance. The purpose of a dashboard is to convey information efficiently so users can make better decisions. This means you shouldn’t try to mislead people or steer them toward a certain decision.

From The Great Resignation To The Great Migration

Much has been written about The Great Resignation, the trend for over 3.4% of the US workforce to leave their jobs every month. Yes, the trend is real: companies like Amazon are losing more than a third of their workers each year, forcing employers to ramp up hiring like we have never seen before. But while we often blame the massive quit rate on the Pandemic, let me suggest that something else is going on. This is a massive and possibly irreversible trend: that of giving workers a new sense of mobility they’ve never had before. Consider a few simple facts. Today more than 45% of employees now work remotely (25% full time), which means changing jobs is a simple as getting a new email address. Only 11% of companies offer formal career programs for employees, so in many cases, the only opportunity to grow is by leaving. And wages, benefits, and working conditions are all a “work in process.” Today US companies spend 32% of their entire payroll on benefits and most are totally redesigning them to improve healthcare, flexibility, and education.

How Much Has Quantum Computing Actually Advanced?

Everyone's working hard to build a quantum computer. And it's great that there are all these systems people are working on. There's real progress. But if you go back to one of the points of the quantum supremacy experiment—and something I've been talking about for a few years now—one of the key requirements is gate errors. I think gate errors are way more important than the number of qubits at this time. It's nice to show that you can make a lot of qubits, but if you don't make them well enough, it's less clear what the advance is. In the long run, if you want to do a complex quantum computation, say with error correction, you need way below 1% gate errors. So it's great that people are building larger systems, but it would be even more important to see data on how well the qubits are working. In this regard, I am impressed with the group in China who reproduced the quantum supremacy results, where they show that they can operate their system well with low errors.

How Banks Can Bridge The Data Sharing Privacy Gap

Consent management rules regarding online advertising data collection may be tightening in numerous European Union markets. The Belgian Data Authority recently alleged that online advertising trade organization IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TFC) breaches the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Statements from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), one of the legal coordinators on the case, also alleged IAB Europe was aware its consent popups violated GDPR. The case highlights why EU entities must pay careful attention to how consent management standards are changing to ensure they remain compliant. Experts also predict that GDPR regulatory oversight surrounding consent management will increase in 2022, meaning organizations must carefully look at how they structure consent boxes and other forms provided to customers. It is also becoming increasingly important for consumers to understand what data they share and which entities may access their information. 

ECB Paper Marks Success Factors for CBDCs, Digital Euro

The first one is ‘merchant acceptance’ which has to be wide, meaning users should be able to pay digitally anywhere. Unlike paper cash, a digital currency is likely to come with fees for each transaction and require dedicated devices to process the payments. There are other differences as well, despite both forms of money having legal tender status. The ECB elaborates: ... The second success factor has been defined as ‘efficient distribution.’ The ECB officials quote a Eurosystem report, according to which a digital euro should be distributed by supervised intermediaries such as banks and regulated payment providers. To encourage the distribution of the central bank digital currency, incentives may be paid to supervised intermediaries. The document divides intermediary services into two categories: onboarding and funding services — which would include operations required to open, manage, and close a CBDC account — and payment services.

Let there be light: Ensuring visibility across the entire API lifecycle

When approaching API visibility, the first thing we have to recognize is that today's enterprises actively avoid managing all their APIs through one system. According to IBM's Tony Curcio, Director of Integration Engineering, many of his enterprise customers already work with hybrid architectures that leverage classic on-premise infrastructure while adopting SaaS and IaaS across various cloud vendors. These architectures aim to increase resilience and flexibility, but are well aware that it complicates centralization efforts' to: 'These architectures aim to increase resilience and flexibility, but at the cost of complicating centralization efforts In these organizations, it is imperative to have a centralized API location with deployment into each of these locations, to ensure greater visibility and better management of API-related business activities. The challenge for security teams is that there isn't one central place where all APIs are managed by the development team - and as time passes, that complexity is likely to only get worse.

DevOps for Quantum Computing

Like any other Azure environment, quantum workspaces and the classical environments can be automatically provisioned by deploying Azure Resource Manager templates. These JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) files contain definitions for the two target environments: The quantum environment contains all resources required for executing quantum jobs and storing input and output data: an Azure Quantum workspace connecting hardware providers and its associated Azure Storage account for storing job results after they are complete. This environment should be kept in its separate resource group. This allows separating the lifecycle of these resources from that of the classical resources;  The classical environment contains all other Azure resources you need for executing the classical software components. Types of resources are highly dependent on the selected compute model and the integration model. You would often recreate this environment with each deployment. You can store and version both templates in a code repository (for example, Azure Repos or GitHub repositories).

Is the UK government’s new IoT cybersecurity bill fit for purpose?

The bill outlines three key areas of minimum security standards. The first is a ban on universal default passwords — such as “password” or “admin” — which are often preset in a device’s factory settings and are easily guessable. The second will require manufacturers to provide a public point of contact to make it simpler for anyone to report a security vulnerability. And, the third is that IoT manufacturers will also have to keep customers updated about the minimum amount of time a product will receive vital security updates. This new cybersecurity regime will be overseen by an as-yet-undesignated regulator, that will have the power to levy GDPR-style penalties; companies that fail to comply with PSTI could be fined £10 million or 4% of their annual revenue, as well as up to £20,000 a day in the case of an ongoing contravention. On the face of it, the PSTI bill sounds like a step in the right direction, and the ban on default passwords especially has been widely commended by the cybersecurity industry as a “common sense” measure.

Werner Vogel’s 6 Rules for Good API Design

Once an API is created, it should never be deleted, or changed. “Once you put an API out there, businesses will build on top of it,” Vogels said, adding that changing the API will basically break their businesses. Backward capability is a must. This is not to say you can’t modify, or improve the API. But whatever changes you make shouldn’t alter the API such that calls coming in from the previous versions won’t be affected. As an example, AWS has enhanced its Simple Storage Service (S3) in multiple ways since its launch in 2006, but the first-generation APIs are still supported. The way to design the APIs is to not start with what the engineers think would make for a good API. Instead, figure out what your users need from the API first, and then “work backwards from their use cases. And then come up with a minimal and simplest form of API that you can actually offer,” Vogels said. As an example, Vogels described an advertisement system that can be used for multiple campaigns.

Quote for the day:

"Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them." -- Robert Jarvik

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