Category Archives: Uncategorized

Possibility of home entertainment hacking exposes #IoT users to maliciousness

“The very nature of hacking dictates that people will find the new and innovative hacking targets, such as hacking into toys, smart TVs and refrigerators which are seemingly harmless, and try and compromise them – simply because they can,” argued Lastline VP of product development, Brian Laing.

“IoT presents one of those unchartered [sic] territories where people are opening themselves up to all sorts of maliciousness, purely because these devices are connected to the internet.”

Source: Home Entertainment Tops IoT Security Fears List – Infosecurity Magazine

Is IoT the Next Industrial Revolution?

Depends on how you define Internet of Things!

Broadly defined, “smart devices” in business and the home will be a large market that likely causes disruption to many of our present day activities and use cases.

IoT often includes the category of “automation”. Automation is coming at us very fast and will soon show up in places you may not be expecting (retailers, restaurants, for example). Automation will impact and replace existing job categories. To the extent this frees up labor to work at activities that add more value, this is good. But this will require training and re-training and the upheaval may have undesirable effects for many.

Right now, IoT is in the “mania” phase where anything is imaginable and anything is possible. The “market” will eventually sort out what is desirable and needed and many of today’s hyped applications may simply vanish.

Is IoT the Next Industrial Revolution? Potentially yes! What ever shape IoT takes in the years to come, IoT will have large impacts on all of us.

Source: IoT Ecosystem – Internet of Things Predictions & Business Potential – Business Insider

What do we call someone who creates software?

Sample titles used:

  • Computer scientist
  • Software developer
  • Software engineer
  • Engineer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Development engineer
  • Web developer
  • Mobile applications developer (and specialties like Android apps or iOS apps developer)
  • Front end developer
  • Back end developer
  • Full stack developer
  • Devops engineer
  • Programmer
  • Computer programmer
  • Coder
  • Systems analyst
  • Information systems technician
  • Analyst/programmer
  • Database administrator (some are expected to developer database applications)
  • Software architect
  • Principal engineer
  • Senior engineer
  • Junior developer
  • Junior engineer
  • Data architect
  • Software consultant
  • Software craftsman

You can almost take a large set of nouns used in any business title and pair up with any of “engineer”, “developer”, “scientist”, “architect” and so on. The number of potential titles is huge.

Continue reading What do we call someone who creates software?

MIT Study finds that online learning works

Some have been saying online courses do not work but an MIT study finds otherwise:

Massive open online courses are not only effective, researchers have discovered, they are as effective as what’s being traditionally taught in the classroom — regardless of how prepared or in the know students are.

via MIT Study: How Do Online Courses Compare to Traditional Learning? | BostInno.

Fascinating TED talk on our “addiction to experts”

The thesis is that we are “addicted to experts” and when listening to experts, some research shows we basically stop thinking. Instead, we should continue to think for ourselves and must be willing to dissent from and to confront experts (who can be wrong more often than many may admit).

Prof. Noreena Hertz taught and conducted research at University College London at the time this talk was presented in 2010. She has expounded on this thesis in a later book (which I have not yet read)

Unfortunately, I have been burned by “experts” on numerous occasions so I rarely accept an expert’s statement without doing critical analysis of my own. Sorry to say.

US GAO’s full report on HealthCare.gov management failures

Here is the full report: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management (PDF)

I do not have time to read it just now but look forward to going over it later as a lesson in software engineering practices.

McDonald’s installs 7,000 self-order entry systems in Europe

As the cost of labor increases, investing in fixed cost capital improvements like robotics and self order systems becomes an easy decision for those hiring low skilled work forces:

McDonald’s hires 7,000 touch-screen cashiers – CNET.

Grocery stores, bank ATMS, even Home Depot, have replaced cashiers and clerks with self checkout systems. The McDonald’s systems use debit and credit cards only – making it all the more easy for your activities to be monitored.

Cover Oregon software failed due to “ideological blindness” to the organization and management failures

Cover Oregon ran Oregon’s failed online health insurance market; it never enrolled a private individual and is being abandoned in a shift to the Federal HealthCare.gov web service.

The system never worked but insiders refused to believe what they were seeing because a “true believer mentality won out”.

This mind set is common in too many software projects with thoughts like “its just a few problems and will work fine once we get through this”, “we will make up the lost time later”, “the defects are not that serious-they are fixable”, “we can just drop a few features”.

Though the beta site was limited to insurance agents and certified consumer assisters, exchange managers — not unexpectedly — encountered bugs. “On Day 1, agents couldn’t even log in,” Jovick said.

It was the reaction from certain other people in the room that was disturbing.

Troubleshooters for Oracle, the project’s lead vendor, “were flabbergasted” and completely stumped by how the system was malfunctioning, Jovick recalled. Rather than knowing who to call to get problems fixed, Oracle’s reaction was “Huh? How did that happen?'”At that point, no one realized Oregon and Oracle had built “this absolute disaster that just didn’t do anything,” Jovick said.

via Cover Oregon insider Tom Jovick speaks: Health exchange problems stumped Oracle, blindsided staff video | OregonLive.com.

The management team ignored the warnings of many consultants who found “lousy code”, poor testing, lack of test environments, and more.  They were true believers in the ideals of the project and were blinded to what was in front of them.

Oregon ended up enrolling people by hand using paper applications. They lost 20,000 applications and enrolled 4,500 “non documented” immigrants (formerly known as illegal aliens) who did not qualify.

There is a potential that the  Cover Oregon organization be shut down and the staff laid off  (Update: Cover Oregon was shut down after spending about $450 million and never enabling a single consumer to enroll online). From a traditional business perspective, it seems they made need an entirely new organization that is not carrying “emotional baggage”, which is unfortunate for the staff. From a marketing perspective the “Cover Oregon” brand is irreparably damaged and should be replaced.

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