Daily Tech Digest - February 14, 2022

The DevOps Journey: Continuous Mindset Starts With Cultural Change

Continuous mindset is intertwined throughout all three of the above approaches. To reach the maximum value in each area, a continuous mindset needs to be enabled, matured and applied to disciplines in other DevOps areas. The changes are across people, processes, technology and culture. Like DevOps, gaining a continuous mindset is a journey that will take time, many steps and constant learning. Continuous mindset changes the way people achieve outcomes for your business. This requires an emphasis on changing the way people think at every level of the organization, the way people are connected and the way they work. Achieving true continuous mindset ROI requires significant cultural adoption and collaboration. A key component is leveraging strong organizational change management (OCM). ... Ultimately, a continuous mindset changes the organizational engagement model and requires organizations to align on how and when they will work together. This requires shifting responsibilities and empowering teams/individuals to contribute to the improvement of DevOps capabilities. 

What does a real economist think of cryptocurrencies?

It’s a computing question, but obviously intersects with economic issues and the core question is how will all this stuff pay for itself, which is still unclear. Economists do or at least could have a lot to say about that. I wouldn’t say the economists are worthless. I would say they haven’t been valuable yet. They may come to the party very late. Cryptocurrency is not fundamentally new monies, but you will find people in the sector who still will argue these things will serve as literal currencies. I think the name cryptocurrency has become unfortunate but clearly they are currencies can be used for some purposes sometimes black or gray market purposes, but I don’t think fundamentally that’s what they are. You see this with NFTs which are their own thing and they’re closely related to crypto. But like, how does that relate to a currency? Is an NFT an artwork? But within the language of cryptography it all makes more sense. It’s more of a unified development and that’s a way to think about it rather than thinking of them as currencies.

Hybrid working in the metaverse

Employees would be represented by avatars that used non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies to buy goods and services, and accessed applications, such as Slack or Dropbox, within this virtual space in order to communicate and collaborate. Operating as a platform-as-a-service offering, this virtual office would be based on technology ranging from augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to digital twins and would integrate with third-party tools and applications to create a truly immersive environment. But as to whether such a concept is likely to take off any time soon, Iain Fisher, director of the Northern European digital strategy and solutions practice at research and advisory firm ISG, is not convinced – although he does believe it could have a role to play in certain, predominantly creative, industries. For instance, he sees computer gaming being a “huge” market, while the immersive nature of the technology means it could appeal to retailers, entertainment providers and advertisers keen to offer new customer experiences.

The Long Road to Quantum: Are We There Yet?

In the past few years, we have witnessed that access to quantum computing hardware has catalyzed an entire ecosystem involving algorithms, middleware, firmware, control system. Indeed, there's an entire supply chain of quantum computing-relevant hardware and services. It includes Zapata, QCWare, Riverlane, Q-Control, and many others. The same will happen with the larger quantum ecosystem when access to other categories of quantum hardware systems are made available over the cloud: quantum simulators, quantum emulators, analog quantum machines, and programmable but targeted purpose quantum systems. Consider quantum sensing, quantum signal processing, quantum analog machine learning, communications. The list goes on. The barrier to entry to any one of those applications is enormous. Speaking specifically to cold atom-based quantum technology, which is what I know, it takes something like three or four Ph.D. physicists, two or more years, and $2M or so to establish a credible effort that involves hardware. Now, suppose the barrier to creating the hardware is removed; hardware expertise, the development time, and the capital costs of hardware now go away.

How the metaverse could shape cybersecurity in 2022

Ever since the idea of the Metaverse hit the news, a flurry of cybercriminal activity has been evident through rising NFT scams. Since these scams deploy social engineering tactics, it’s safe to say that social engineering attacks are not going away any time soon. In fact, there will likely be a rise in attacks as the metaverse continues to take shape. The fact that the Metaverse is so far going to house an extensive collection of sensitive data, there has to be a probable rise in hack attacks. Along with that is the evident impact it has on data privacy. If things remain vulnerable, there could be frequent hacks and data theft, harming all users. With that comes the imminent threat of scams and malware invasions. However, what is probably most deeply concerning is that the metaverse is built through blockchain technology. While this technology is secure, it is not immune to vulnerabilities altogether. Moreover, it is decentralized, with no designated admin or moderator to keep charge or control. With such an absence of authority, there will be no possible way to retrieve stolen or illegally obtained assets. Since the Metaverse will operate through avatars, there will be no concrete method to identify cybercriminals.

Why microservices need event-driven architecture

The ability for data to transit wide area networks, which are often unstable and unpredictable, can be tricky and time consuming. Add to that the challenges being created by the Internet of Things, big data, mobile devices. This creates significant risks to microservices initiatives. Older systems are not quick and easy to update, but on the flip side microservices need to be swift and flexible. Older implementations rely on aging communication protocols, while microservices rely on APIs and open protocols. Most legacy systems will be deployed on premise, while most microservices live in the cloud. Newer systems such as IoT networks use highly specialized protocols, but most microservices APIs and frameworks do not support them as standard. Event-driven architecture addresses these mismatches between legacy systems and microservices. ... EDA takes data from being static to fluid. For example, stuck, at rest in a database locked underneath an API to being fully in motion - consumable as business-critical events happen in real-time. RESTful Microservices alone are not enough.

Performance Vs. Scalability

Sometimes architects divide systems into smaller parts. They may separate a data store into two physically different parts. This means that one part of the system can scale up or down separately from the other parts of the system. This can be useful when one part of the system receives more traffic than other parts. For example, the menu part of the system may receive thousands of requests per second, while the ordering part may only receive a few transactions per second. If the menu part of the system maxes out resources, it may slow down ordering even though ordering is not doing much work. Independent scaling would allow you to throw resources at the menu so that ordering doesn’t suffer performance degradation. On its face, this seems like a nice-to-have feature of the architecture. However, this may massively increase the system’s complexity, and it may actually increase costs. Database instances are often expensive, and you often pay a flat monthly fee whether you use them heavily or not. Moreover, the busier part of the system should only affect the performance of the less active part if the active part maxes out resources.

Inside the blockchain developers’ mind: Can EOS deliver a killer social DApp?

On Ethereum, users have just addressed similar to Bitcoin addresses, which are a long string of numbers and letters that are free to create because they don’t take up any network storage. This is critical because anything that takes up network storage or uses some of the network’s computational resources has a real-world cost that must be paid by someone. Steem wanted to be a social blockchain and so, the theory went. They needed a centralized account that would be easy to remember which they would use to manage their frequent interactions. So, it made perfect sense for these accounts to have human-readable names that were easy to remember, but that also meant that they took up network storage. But, this centralized account also makes you a target. If you have a single private key that you regularly use to access an account and that account holds valuable tokens, then hackers are going to do their best to gain access to your computer so that they can steal your money and anything else of value you might have on there.

No more transistors: The end of Moore’s law

The problem with Moore’s Law in 2022 is that the size of a transistor is now so small that there just isn’t much more we can do to make them smaller. The transistor gate, the part of the transistor through which electrons flow as electric current, is now approaching a width of just 2 nanometers, according to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s production roadmap for 2024. A silicon atom is 0.2 nanometers wide, which puts the gate length of 2 nanometers at roughly 10 silicon atoms across. At these scales, controlling the flow of electrons becomes increasingly more difficult as all kinds of quantum effects play themselves out within the transistor itself. With larger transistors, a deformation of the crystal on the scale of atoms doesn’t affect the overall flow of current, but when you only have about 10 atoms distance to work with, any changes in the underlying atomic structure are going to affect this current through the transistor. Ultimately, the transistor is approaching the point where it is simply as small as we can ever make it and have it still function. The way we’ve been building and improving silicon chips is coming to its final iteration.

Embracing Agile Values as a Tech and People Lead

A key agile principle to me is “Embrace Change”, the subtitle of XP Xplained by Kent Beck. Change is continuous in our world and also at work. Accepting this fact makes it easier to let go of a decision that was taken once under different circumstances, and find a new solution. To change something is also easier if there is already momentum from another change. So I like to understand where the momentum is and then facilitate its flow. We had a large organizational change at the beginning of 2020. Some teams were newly created and everyone at MOIA was allowed to self-select into one of around 15 teams. That was very exciting. Some team formations went really well. Others didn’t. There were two frontend developers who had self-selected into a team that had less frontend work to do than expected. These two tried to make it work by taking over more responsibility in other fields, thus supporting their team, but after a year they were frustrated and felt stuck. Recognizing the right moment that they needed support from the outside to change their team assignment was very important.

Quote for the day:

"Successful leadership requires positive self-regard fused with optimism about a desired outcome." -- Warren Bennis

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