Sunday, September 23, 2012

Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century

Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century

When Jonathan Goldman arrived for work in June 2006 at LinkedIn, the business networking site, the place still felt like a start-up. The company had just under 8 million accounts, and the number was growing quickly as existing members invited their friends and colleagues to join. But users weren’t seeking out connections with the people who were already on the site at the rate executives had expected. Something was apparently missing in the social experience. As one LinkedIn manager put it, “It was like arriving at a conference reception and realizing you don’t know anyone. So you just stand in the corner sipping your drink—and you probably leave early.”

Goldman, a PhD in physics from Stanford, was intrigued by the linking he did see going on and by the richness of the user profiles. It all made for messy data and unwieldy analysis, but as he began exploring people’s connections, he started to see possibilities. He began forming theories, testing hunches, and finding patterns that allowed him to predict whose networks a given profile would land in. He could imagine that new features capitalizing on the heuristics he was developing might provide value to users. But LinkedIn’s engineering team, caught up in the challenges of scaling up the site, seemed uninterested. Some colleagues were openly dismissive of Goldman’s ideas. Why would users need LinkedIn to figure out their networks for them? The site already had an address book importer that could pull in all a member’s connections.

Luckily, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s cofounder and CEO at the time (now its executive chairman), had faith in the power of analytics because of his experiences at PayPal, and he had granted Goldman a high degree of autonomy. For one thing, he had given Goldman a way to circumvent the traditional product release cycle by publishing small modules in the form of ads on the site’s most popular pages.

Through one such module, Goldman started to test what would happen if you presented users with names of people they hadn’t yet connected with but seemed likely to know—for example, people who had shared their tenures at schools and workplaces. He did this by ginning up a custom ad that displayed the three best new matches for each user based on the background entered in his or her LinkedIn profile. Within days it was obvious that something remarkable was taking place. The click-through rate on those ads was the highest ever seen. Goldman continued to refine how the suggestions were generated, incorporating networking ideas such as “triangle closing”—the notion that if you know Larry and Sue, there’s a good chance that Larry and Sue know each other. Goldman and his team also got the action required to respond to a suggestion down to one click.

It didn’t take long for LinkedIn’s top managers to recognize a good idea and make it a standard feature. That’s when things really took off. “People You May Know” ads achieved a click-through rate 30% higher than the rate obtained by other prompts to visit more pages on the site. They generated millions of new page views. Thanks to this one feature, LinkedIn’s growth trajectory shifted significantly upward.

A New Breed

Goldman is a good example of a new key player in organizations: the “data scientist.” It’s a high-ranking professional with the training and curiosity to make discoveries in the world of big data. The title has been around for only a few years. (It was coined in 2008 by one of us, D.J. Patil, and Jeff Hammerbacher, then the respective leads of data and analytics efforts at LinkedIn and Facebook.) But thousands of data scientists are already working at both start-ups and well-established companies. Their sudden appearance on the business scene reflects the fact that companies are now wrestling with information that comes in varieties and volumes never encountered before. If your organization stores multiple petabytes of data, if the information most critical to your business resides in forms other than rows and columns of numbers, or if answering your biggest question would involve a “mashup” of several analytical efforts, you’ve got a big data opportunity.

Much of the current enthusiasm for big data focuses on technologies that make taming it possible, including Hadoop (the most widely used framework for distributed file system processing) and related open-source tools, cloud computing, and data visualization. While those are important breakthroughs, at least as important are the people with the skill set (and the mind-set) to put them to good use. On this front, demand has raced ahead of supply. Indeed, the shortage of data scientists is becoming a serious constraint in some sectors. Greylock Partners, an early-stage venture firm that has backed companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Palo Alto Networks, and Workday, is worried enough about the tight labor pool that it has built its own specialized recruiting team to channel talent to businesses in its portfolio. “Once they have data,” says Dan Portillo, who leads that team, “they really need people who can manage it and find insights in it.”

Who Are These People?

If capitalizing on big data depends on hiring scarce data scientists, then the challenge for managers is to learn how to identify that talent, attract it to an enterprise, and make it productive. None of those tasks is as straightforward as it is with other, established organizational roles. Start with the fact that there are no university programs offering degrees in data science. There is also little consensus on where the role fits in an organization, how data scientists can add the most value, and how their performance should be measured.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Inventor of Email - The Facts

Inventor of Email - The Facts

V. A. Shiva Ayadurai, Inventor of EMAIL

In 1978, a 14-year-old named V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai developed a computer program, which replicated the features of the interoffice, inter-organizational paper mail system. He named his program “EMAIL”. Shiva filed an application for copyright in his program and in 1982 the United States Copyright Office issued a Certificate of Registration, No. TXu-111-775, to him on the program. As required by the Regulations of the Copyright Office, he deposited portions of the original source code with the program. Prominent in the code is the name “EMAIL” that he gave to the program. He received a second Certificate of Registration, No. TXu-108-715, for the “EMAIL User’s Manual” he had prepared to accompany the program and that taught unsophisticated user’s how to use EMAIL’s features.

Recently however, a substantial controversy has arisen as to who invented email. This controversy has resulted in an unfortunate series of attacks on Shiva. Part of the problem is that different people use to the term to mean somewhat different things.

The Invention of Email

In the summer of 1978, Shiva had been recruited for programming assignments at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark, New Jersey. One of his supervisors, Dr. Leslie P. Michelson, recognized his abilities and challenged him to translate the conventional paper-based interoffice and inter-organizational communication system (i.e., paper-based mail and memoranda) to an electronic communication system.

Systems for communications among widely dispersed computers were in existence at the time, but they were primitive and their usage was largely confined to computer scientists and specialists. Shiva envisioned something simpler, something that everyone, from secretary to CEO, could use to quickly and reliably send and receive digital messages.

Shiva embraced the project and began by performing a thorough evaluation of UMDNJ's paper-based mail system, the same as that used in offices and organizations around the world. He determined that the essential features of these systems included functions corresponding to “Inbox”, “Outbox”, “Drafts”, “Memo” (“To:”, “From:”, “Date:”, “Subject:”, “Body:”, “Cc:”, “Bcc:”), “Attachments”, “Folders”, “Compose”, “Forward”, “Reply”, “Address Book”, “Groups”, “Return Receipt”, “Sorting”. These capabilities were all to be provided in a software program having a sufficiently simple interface that needed no expertise in computer systems to use efficiently to “Send” and “Receive” mail electronically. It is these features that make his program “email” and that distinguish “email” from prior electronic communications.

Shiva went on to be recognized by the Westinghouse Science Talent Search Honors Group for his invention. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology highlighted his invention as one among four, in the incoming Freshman class of 1,040 students. His papers, documenting the invention of EMAIL were accepted by Smithsonian Institution. These are facts based on legal, governmental and institutional recognition and substantiation, and there is no disputing it.

Misconceptions About Email

Standard histories of the Internet, however, are full of claims that certain individuals (and teams) in the ARPAnet environment and other large companies in the 1970s and 1980s “invented email.” For example, the familiar “@” sign, early programs for sending and receiving messages, and technical specifications known as RFCs, are examples of such false claims to “email”. But as some claimants have admitted, even as late as December 1977, none of these innovations were intended to emulate the paper-based mail system - Inbox, Memo, Outbox, Folders, Address Book, etc.

Sending text messages electronically could be said to date back to the Morse code telegraph of the mid 1800s; or the 1939 World's Fair where IBM sent a message of congratulations from San Francisco to New York on an IBM radio-type, calling it a “high-speed substitute for mail service in the world of tomorrow.” The original text message, electronic transfer of content or images, ARPANET messaging, and even the “@” sign were used in primitive electronic communication systems. While the technology pioneers who created these systems should be heralded for their efforts, and given credit for their specific accomplishments and contributions, these early computer programs were clearly not email.

The Unfortunate Reaction to the Invention of Email

Based on false claims, over the past year (since the acceptance of Shiva's documents into the Smithsonian), industry insiders have chosen to launch an irrational denial of the invention. There is no direct dispute of the invention Copyright, but rather inaccurate claims, false statements, and personal attacks waged against Shiva. Attackers are attempting to discredit him, and his life's work. He has received threatening phone calls, unfair online comments, and his name and work has been maligned. It is but a sad commentary that a vocal minority have elected to hijack his accomplishment, apparently not satisfied with the recognition they have already received for their contributions to the field of text messaging. Following the Smithsonian news, they went into action. They began historical revisionism on their own “History of Electronic Mail” to hide the facts. They enlisted “historians” who started discussions among themselves to redefine the term “email” so as to credit their own work done prior to 1978, as “email”.

More blatantly, they registered the InternetHallofFame.Org web site, seven (7) days after the Smithsonian news and issued a new award to one of their own as “inventor of email”. Through the PR machine of BBN (a multi-billion dollar company), they were proclaimed as the “king of email”, and “godfather of email”. These actions were taken to protect their false branding and diminish the accolades and just recognition Shiva was beginning to receive. Shiva’s news likely threatens BBN’s entire brand, which has deliberately juxtaposed “innovation”, with the “@” logo, along with the face of their mascot, the self-proclaimed “inventor of email”. They have removed damaging references to eminent Internet pioneers of the time such as MA Padlipsky who exposed their lies, and showed that BBN’s mascot, was not the “inventor of email”.

Some industry insiders have even gone to the extent, in the midst of the overwhelming facts, to now attempt to confuse the public that "EMAIL" is not "email". It is a fact that the term "email", the juxtaposition of those five characters "e", "m", "a", "i" and "l", did not exist prior to 1978. The naming of the software program EMAIL in all capitals was because at UMDNJ, the names of software programs, subroutines and variables written in FORTRAN IV used the upper-case naming convention. Moreover, at that time, the use of upper case for the naming of programs, subroutine and variable names, was also a carry over from the days of writing software programs using punch cards. The fact is EMAIL is email, upper case, lower case, any case.

A Time for Reflection

Sadly, some of these individuals have even gone further, deciding that false allegations are insufficient to make their case and have resorted to character assassination of the most debased nature including removal and destruction of facts on Wikipedia to discredit Shiva as an inventor of any kind. Threatening and racist emails telling him “to hang himself by his dhothi”, blogs referring to him as a “flagrant fraud”, and comments that EMAIL was “not an invention” are beyond disbelief, and reflect a parochial attitude that innovation can only take place in large universities, big companies, and the military. As MIT's Institute Professor Noam Chomsky reflected: “The efforts to belittle the innovation of a 14-year-old child should lead to reflection on the larger story of how power is gained, maintained, and expanded, and the need to encourage, not undermine, the capacities for creative inquiry that are widely shared and could flourish, if recognized and given the support they deserve.“

Of course a claim such as “I invented email” will leave anyone open to criticism and doubt, and as some suggest “hatred”. In this case, the victim has not made a “claim”, but rather been recognized by the government and top educational institutions in the world as an inventor. Regardless of the vitriol, animosity and bigotry by a vocal minority, a simple truth stands: email was invented by a 14-year-old working in Newark, NJ in 1978.

Source :
             தமிழில் வாசிப்பதற்கு

Copy Right Certificate

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Microsoft points to security tool to plug IE vulnerability

Microsoft points to security tool to plug IE vulnerability

Microsoft has urged Windows users to install a free security software to protect their PCs from a newly discovered vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser.

The software giant said it will advise customers on its Web site to install the software as an interim measure, buying some time for it to fix the bug and release a new, more secure version of Internet Explorer, Reuters reported on Monday.

The free security tool, called the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), will prevent hackers from gaining access to Windows-based systems and is currently available on Microsoft Web site.

This comes after security researcher Eric Romang discovered a new zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer, which he claimed woud affect fully patched versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9.

Pakistan cuts off all access to YouTube

Pakistan cuts off all access to YouTube

Pakistan has now blocked YouTube entirely from the country, after the video sharing site declined to remove the "Innocence of Muslims" trailer that sparked protests throughout the world.

Attempting to browse to the site results in users within Pakistan being redirected to a page that states "this page is blocked due to restrictions enforced by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA)," even if the video is not related to the offending trailer.

The PTA has stated that it was ordered by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to block all anti-Islamic videos. It had previously been provided with a list of 753 anti-Islamic sites, which has now grown to 934 sites.

Google's Transparency Report shows that, at about 7 a.m. AEST (2 p.m. PT), YouTube traffic from Pakistan dropped off dramatically, and states that the site is inaccessible from the country.

Google has not put in place a country-wide block, and has told ZDNet that there are no issues with its network that would prevent Pakistan users from visiting the site.

YouTube has previously stated that the video is "clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube," but the Australian Department of Broadband and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) disagrees with the video remaining online, stating that the video is "clearly offensive" and is calling on Google to "review its terms of service to see if they are being appropriately applied in this case."

"Australia has strong anti-vilification laws. If people believe this video is in breach of these laws, they can make a complaint to Google or the Human Rights Commission," the department said in a statement.

"What people shouldn't do is engage in violent protests on the streets. It is totally unacceptable behaviour and should be condemned."

DBCDE did not respond to queries as to whether it had actually made a request of its own to have the video removed.

UK gov. should sell its 16 million IPv4 addresses, says petition

UK gov. should sell its 16 million IPv4 addresses, says petition

The U.K. government's department responsible for employment and social security checks has stashed away in its back pocket more than 16 million old IPv4 addresses, which could be worth as much as $1.5 billion (£924 million).

An e-petition has been set up on the U.K. government's website to push the Department of Work and Pensions into selling the chunk of, what are commonly referred to as "/8" addresses, which would plug a sizeable hole in the country's deficit.

First written about by programmer and author John Graham-Cumming, he explains that the block is "completely unused." He says that a quick check shows that there are "no networks for that block of addresses," just as it happens "when IPv4 is running out there's a huge block sitting unused."

IDG-owned Network World believes that an entire "/8" block of addresses could be pegged at between $500 million and $1.5 billion on the IPv4 resale market.

"The world has run out of IPv4 addresses, making connection of new people and computers to the Internet a chore - and making existing addresses extremely valuable," the e-petition author Jo Shields writes.

"Analysis shows that the DWP is not using any of these addresses in public. If they are being used for internal, private networks then this is a phenomenal waste of public funds - the block is specifically earmarked for use on internal private networks, and using the globally routed internally is madness."

Only this week, ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols noted that businesses in Europe particularly are struggling, as the Regional Internet Registry for the European and Middle-Eastern market is "down to its last IPv4 block."

If an e-petition reaches the 100,000 signature mark, it will be eligible for a debate in the U.K. House of Commons, and could be enacted into law.

It's currently in the low-hundreds, so we'll keep an eye out and see where it goes.

Hong Kong no longer sells world's cheapest iPhone

Hong Kong no longer sells world's cheapest iPhone

Apple's iPhone 5 in Hong Kong will be priced from HK$5,588 (US$721) contract-free, which is an increase of almost 10 percent compared to the HK$5,088 (US$656) pricetag for iPhone 4S.

According to overseas reports, an unlocked iPhone 5 in the United States will be priced from US$649, which is lower than what will be offered in Hong Kong.

The duty-free Asian city previously offered Apple products priced in line with those in the U.S. but buyers do not need to pay any consumption tax when they purchase goods in the city. This makes the prices of Apple products in Hong Kong the most competitive worldwide.

However, it also makes Hong Kong a destination for smugglers, especially those trying to resell goods to China where Apple products are generally sold at least 20 percent more than in Hong Kong due to various taxes imposed on the goods.

As the Hong Kong dollar is pegged with the US dollar, making exchange rates between the two currencies stable over time, Apple's move to lift the retail price of iPhone 5 in Hong Kong could only be explained as an strategic approach in the region.

The U.S. company will benefit most from the price hike as the move is unlikely to scare off the consumers since the US$721 per set for iPhone 5 is likely to remain competitive compared to most other countries.

On the other hand, if the retail price of iPhone 5 in China remains unchanged starting from 4,999 yuan (US$792) this time, it will still leave room of some US$70 over the pricetag of a same handset sold in Hong Kong. This will still allow the reselling business in China attractive for potential smugglers

Questions about the iPhone 5 nano-SIM

Questions about the iPhone 5 nano-SIM

It seems that there's been quite a rush to pre-order the newest shiny thing to come out of Apple, the iPhone 5, with 2 million snapped up in 24 hours. Judging from my mailbox, an awful lot of you are expecting your new handsets to land on September 21.

But it seems that some of you are already anticipating a speed bump in your enjoyment of your new iPhone -- the petite nano-SIM that Apple has chosen to adopt. If you're picking up an iPhone 5 and planning on having it replace your current handset, whether that be an iPhone or not, you're going to have to wait until you get your hands on a compatible nano-SIM from your carrier, and then wait for the carrier to transfer your account from the old SIM card to the new one.

Note: Contract handsets will be supplied with SIM cards.However, Apple also sells contract free handsets in a number of territories. 
Some of you are already wondering if you can bypass this potentially tedious process and slash your existing SIM card down to size. Here's a question from today's Hardware 2.0 mailbox:

What's to stop me cutting down my existing SIM to fit into my new iPhone 5? I chopped a full-size SIM to fit into my iPhone 4 when that was released so I don't see why I can't just do the same.
Technically, yes, you can. The chip part of the SIM card is unchanged. All that's different is the plastic housing that it is embedded into. And that's the problem.

With the micro-SIM, all that was different was the height and width of the card, so you could just chop off excess plastic until it would fit. It wasn't really that tricky to do, and it wasn't long until SIM cutters hit the market that allowed you to do the job in one go.

However, things are different with the nano-SIM. Not only is it smaller, it's also thinner. 12 percent thinner, in fact, down from 0.76 mm to 0.67 mm. It doesn't sound like a lot, but if Apple has engineered the tolerance tight on the new SIM card tray, it could be enough to jam the SIM in the handset, or even damage the SIM or the handset.

The tolerances might be loose enough to make this a moot point -- after all, I had a dual-SIM adapter installed in my iPhone 4 that fitted under the existing SIM and had a ribbon cable that squeezed between the SIM tray and slot that worked perfectly -- but at this stage we just don't know.

Some have suggested not just chopping down an existing SIM, but then sanding it down slightly to fit. Over on sister site CNET Asia, John Chan has a comprehensive how-to guide which seems easy enough to follow. If you're feeling adventurous then it's worth a go, but do bear in mind a few things.

First, if you wreak your SIM, your new handset as well as your old handset will be out of action until you get a replacement SIM. Cutting and sanding the SIM exposes it to stresses -- particularly bending -- that it's not designed to handle. Also, if you sand it too much, it's dead.

Secondly, there's also scope for cutting it wrong. Again, do that and it's not going to work.

Also, thirdly, if you're going to attempt this, make sure the SIM card is clean and free from plastic debris before inserting it into your new iPhone 5. You don't want your new handset contaminated with plastic dust.

Personally, as much as I hate waiting, I'd either wait until I get a nano-SIM, or see what result other -- more daring types -- have in cutting down SIMs. If it turns out that the sanding is unnecessary then the whole endeavor becomes a lot easier.

Another question I've being asked a lot is this one:

Do you think that there will be a shortage of nano-SIMs come September 21?
This is a tough question to answer.

I'm not aware of any carrier that has started to send nano-SIMs out to customers who have pre-ordered iPhone 5's, which means that there will be a rush for them once the handsets are out. If carriers started trickling out the new SIMs now would at least alleviate some of the rush come shipping day.

In spite of Apple's figures, we still don't know how new iPhone 5s will actually land on launch day. What we do know though is that carriers all around the world are going to need to make sure they have plenty of nano-SIMs to hand to accommodate for these new handsets, but it's quite possible that there will be shortages in some areas.

I think that it is quite possible that some people picking up an iPhone 5 on launch day won't be able to use it for a few days until they get their hands on a compatible SIM. I know it's tough having to wait, but that's how it is at times.

2M iPhones in 24 hours, Office 2013, power over USB

2M iPhones in 24 hours, Office 2013, power over USB

The Apple craziness has died down (at least until the iPhone 5 launches later this week), but overnight it was Microsoft's turn to shine.

The Redmond-based company officially announced its Office 2013 prices and packaging, and it's really pushing the subscription-based model for its "premium" products. To allay any fears that customers are paying a subscription for a word processor, Microsoft has thrown in Skype minutes and more SkyDrive storage. Small Business Premium customers also have a few added bonuses, like HD video conferencing and hosted email.

Of course, it hasn't completely eliminated its traditional pay-once products, but, depending on your circumstances, they might not represent value for money. If you're having difficulty deciding which is right for you, ZDNet contributor Ed Bott has broken down what you'd lose and gain from each.

While there are no firm dates for the release of Office 2013, the company did finally confirm what we've all known for a while: Windows 8 and its Surface RT tablet will be made commercially available on October 26, and will launch the day before, on October 25, in New York City.

The tablet in particular has some tongues wagging; there are concerns over what the competition might mean for Android. At least on the business front, ZDNet contributor Ben Woods asked, "What does an Android tablet (or even iOS) offer that a Windows tablet can't?" Integrating Android or iOS into a business has always been an issue, but what if Microsoft makes the integration between desktop and device completely seamless? That might be something to give at least Android a run for its money.

Android is also not feeling much love from the Apple camp, which is now able to wave its figures in its face. In just 24 hours, Apple secured 2 million pre-orders, eclipsing previous records for its smartphone and leading to demand outstripping the company's ability to supply the new device, despite the controversy surrounding its changed charging adapter.

But speaking of charging adapters, we could be just a few months out from seeing laptops and more power-hungry devices charged via a new technology called USB power delivery. The idea is pretty smart: TVs of the future, which are already fixed and plugged in to an outlet, may have a special USB port that can be used to charge a laptop and send/receive data at the same time. Sounds like a great idea for those presentations.

But don't expect any Japanese manufacturers to be pumping this sort of technology out of China anytime soon. Panasonic and Canon have shut down their plants following Chinese protests against Japan over a national dispute regarding the ownership of a set of islands in the East China Sea. Sony is also avoiding any travel to the country out of fear for its staff's safety.

Three tips to escape the tyranny of IT metrics

Three tips to escape the tyranny of IT metrics

Summary: IT metrics can be a curse against innovation and becoming a strategic partner with the business. Here are steps you can take to escape the tyranny.

Many IT organizations rely on metrics to evaluate their own work and incentivize employees around specific goals. Although appearing beneficial, metrics can drive shortsighted behaviors at the expense of innovation and real business value.  

One typical white paper (PDF download) on this topic describes 100 IT performance metrics in categories such as:

Infrastructure and operations
Staff resources
Technology change management
Financial management
Delivering value
The metrics are a collection of traditional, almost stereotypical, performance standards that describe IT's ability to maintain its systems and deliver core services to users. Example metrics in the list include:

Total Infrastructure Incidents (by infrastructure type excluding desktop incidents) 
Max Downtime (Peak Hours) 
Average Application Response Time
Actual Hours by Request Priority
Total Backlog Request Hours by Type
Total Defects Introduced from Changes
Actual Costs-to-date by Application Priority
Percent of Hours by Business Priority
Cost savings from efficiency improvements
From an IT-centric point of view, metrics such as these make complete sense. By giving the IT organization a single set of standards, metrics do unify execution and foster consistency. Metrics also play a political role: helping IT demonstrate its value and "proving" that IT does important work. In addition, the numbers give non-technical management a yardstick for evaluating IT. 

Despite the obvious convenience and utility of traditional metrics, there are problems. Most significantly, they perpetuate the old status quo of IT as technical services provider devoid of strategic benefit to the organization. Although measures such as server uptime are important, they do not encourage IT to understand the company's business nor do they reward innovation and strategic partnership. By incentivizing cost and efficiency to the exclusion of innovation, such metrics ultimately devalue IT.


Fighting the metrics battle can make even the most hardened CIO weary and tired. Follow these tips to change the role and perception of IT within your organization and escape the tyranny of technical metrics:

1. Embrace the metrics. Operational excellence is the first step to improving IT's credibility and becoming a strategic partner to the business. If you can't deliver projects on time, within budget, and with high customer satisfaction then your team must improve its game. In other words, learn to handle the basics first.

2. Listen and learn from the business. An IT department that achieves operational excellence naturally gains respect from the business. The next step is engaging with operating folks in lines of business to learn about their goals and strategies; become a friend and learn to understand pains and triumphs in the business.

3. Offer solutions to the business. Having established a history of capable execution and then created a relationship with the business, you are now in a position to offer ideas and solutions. Continue to listen thoughtfully but become proactive in proposing ways that IT can help the business accomplish its goals and relieve its pains. Start slowly but relentlessly engage with good ideas in the spirit of cooperation and helpfulness.

In summary, use metrics to establish a baseline for operational excellence but never forget that innovation and strategic partnership with the business are your true goals. Although traditional IT metrics can be useful, they are not a substitute for finding ways to help your company innovate.

Research: The devalued future of IT in a marketing world

Research: The devalued future of IT in a marketing world

Summary: New research demonstrates the changing role of IT. Here is advice to ensure your IT organization is not marginalized as a consequence of these changes.

The world of IT is bifurcating into infrastructure providers and innovators. It’s time for CIOs to get on the right side of that wave.

Gartner analyst, Mark P. McDonald, wrote a compelling piece showing IT growth rates over the last decade. Here's his graphic showing the trend: 

You can see that IT growth rates have declined dramatically and are rising slowly. Given high activity levels around computing that we see in the enterprise, Mark tries to reconcile these slowing growth rates. His conclusion:

It’s difficult to reconcile these budget numbers against the level of IT activity.  CIOs and IT have been busy over the past ten years.  Activity requires funding, so in an environment of flat budgets you have to ask where is the money coming from?

The answer is most of the money has come from IT sweating its assets and resources — doing more with less.  Or more accurately doing more while keeping the budget flat.  Outsourcing, offshoring, consolidation, renegotiating contracts all play a role in cutting IT costs and keeping them down, even in the face of increased transaction and data storage demands.  This has made IT infrastructure one of the most productive resources in the organization.
We can conclude that most organizations view IT as a means to increase productivity and efficiency, rather than a source of innovation and business transformation.

As another data point, Gartner analyst Laura McLellan predicts, "by 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO." Her webinar on this topic includes the following slide, showing that marketing budgets are large and growing more rapidly than those in IT:

This next chart completes the picture: marketing is taking more control over its own technology budget and leaving IT in the dust:


If you are a CIO, you can take several steps to prevent your IT organization from becoming marginalized.

Also read: Three tips to escape the tyranny of IT metrics

Consider the following points to help turn your IT organization into a source of innovation and transformation:

Execute with excellence: deliver your projects on time and within budget. When IT fails to deliver the basics, it loses credibility and undermines attempts to raise the bar in other areas. Make sure that IT supplies basic infrastructure, security, and reliability without a lot of fanfare. At the most basic level, IT should disappear because things just work.

Make friends with the business. Get engaged and meet with folks from marketing and the lines of business. If you do not understand what these folks need to get their jobs done, you diminish your capacity to offer beneficial assistance. Seriously, spend lots of time with them.
Take a leadership role. Having achieved delivery excellence and learned to understand the business, you are now actually in a position to make a change. Be strategic in your thinking, so the business perceives value in your proposals; if you can help drive a material transformation or improvement, the business will find your suggestions useful.

Communicate with simplicity. After coming up with ideas, develop simple messages and language to test your ideas with folks from the business. Avoiding all technical jargon and concepts has two benefits: first and most important, it forces you to think clearly and crisply; second, simplicity increases the chances that the business audience will understand your intent and see the benefits.
Repeat and evolve. Becoming an innovation partner and breaking patterns of the past requires commitment, so be prepared to invest time and energy. Continue delivering with excellence, talking with the business, being a leader, and presenting your ideas in simple, clear terms.
The world of CIOs and IT is likely to split into infrastructure providers and innovation partners. To become a genuine partner to the business, start taking steps today. If you don't make a change soon, your IT organization end up a commodity shop in a transforming world.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FBI denies link to leak of 12 million Apple codes

FBI denies link to leak of 12 million Apple codes

The FBI says there is "no evidence" that a hacker group gained access to 12 million identifying codes for Apple devices via an FBI agent's laptop.

AntiSec, a hacker group, posted a file on the internet on Monday that it said contained more than one million of Apple's so-called UDID codes.

UDIDs are a 40-character string unique to each Apple device.

AntiSec said it gained the codes from the laptop of an FBI agent called Christopher Stangl.

Mr Stangl works in the bureau's Regional Cyber Action Team, Wired Magazine reports.

AntiSec suggested that the 12 million codes were being used by the FBI to track the associated users.

Along with the posted file, the group said in a statement that it had only released one million IDs and had scrubbed identifying information, including full names, telephone numbers and addresses.

Commenting on the AntiSec revelation, the FBI said it had no indication of any link to its agent or computer.

"At this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data," the bureau said in a statement on Tuesday.

Peter Kruse, an e-crime specialist with CSIS Security Group in Denmark, tweeted on Tuesday that the leak "is real" and that he confirmed three of his own devices in the data.

Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Internet Storm Center told the AFP that while "there is nothing else in the file that would implicate the FBI... it is not clear who would have a file like this".

Hackers identifying themselves with AntiSec have made previous hits this year on the websites of Panda Labs' anti-malware products and New York Ironwork - a company that sells equipment to US police.