Thursday, December 31, 2015

End-of-Year Roundup

In 2016, virtualization in the cloud will mean most any application will run within a cloud environment — s step forward for many organizations. Just build and deploy in the native container (Java’s JVM, a dot-net infrastructure, PHP or other scripted language). Of course, Gartner predicts growth, some of which will come from calling traditional IT offerings "cloud" just by way of moving apps to a new data center. Nevertheless, migration of applications to cloud-based infrastructure will continue. While infrastructure is the usual focus, better services will be delivered via an application-oriented migration. Virtualization addresses infrastructure expansion, but being “cloud-ready” will mean expansion into app-level deployments that are agile (easy to maintain and upgrade), scalable (take advantage of on-demand capacity) and reliable (secure and crash-proof).

To leverage this coming groundswell, I advise revisiting applications, their integration, and the underlying data architectures. Perhaps these components need to be tweaked, or revised? I suggest considering new tools for deployment, monitoring, and management. Bluedog’s own infrastructure uses automated monitoring to alert our technologists to bottlenecks and highlight potential capacity issues — before an outage occurs. We use Nagios to monitoring infrastructure. It generates alerts when running out of disk, CPU, or memory, a reactive approach. Proactive monitoring generates alerts when a system is starting to experience symptoms that can lead to a degradation of performance or capacity, a preferable outcome. Tools such as the SWING Dashboard displays key performance indicators (KPI) daily, with a user-focused, visually appealing display.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Reach out and touch someone...

Haptic feedback can be useful with touch displays. How about holographic haptic feedback? Engineering researchers in Japan have come up with just such a scheme!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

D.I.Y. Auto-Drive

Tired of waiting for a solution, George Hotz designed a self-driving car. Himself. Although his self-driving configuration is more like an autopilot feature on a Tesla -- meant for highways, not city streets. Nevertheless, impressive engineering feat, from the original iPhone hacker.

Read more at Bloomberg

Thursday, December 17, 2015

To Catch a Drone, You Need a Drone

In Japan, the police are being proactive about illegal dangerous drone incursions, with a drone-snatching... drone. In video footage and pictures photos, the police unit appears to be equipped with a custom net for netting illicit aerial vehicles in the skies over Tokyo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

US Government: Don't Impede E.U.-U.S. travel

US citizens may require visas to enter the EU should the United States move ahead with plans to scrap visa-free travel for select EU nationals. Twenty-eight member state ambassadors to the US made the threat on Monday (14 December) in an op-ed in The Hill after the US House of Representatives voted in support of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015. The US bill would ban certain EU nationals from entering the US without a visa if they had visited Iraq, Iran, Syria or Sudan after March 2011. This is referring to specific nationals with a history of travel to Iraq, Iran, Syria, or the Sudan, but the idea that visas will be required in addition to the security screenings (and biometric scanning) already done, is an added impediment to U.S. - E.U. partnership.

This is a very bad idea.

Monday, December 14, 2015

U.K. Poised to Garner Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles, as the U.S. Over-regulates

Over at The Telegraph, we read that Google considers the UK a key market for development of its self-driving cars. It seems the company is "very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK, [placing] the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice." Google has also escaped excessive regulation in the area of drone development in the easier regulatory climes of Australia.

The U.S., on the other hand, is regulating toys as well as radio-controlled vehicles and non-UAV type drones. All but the smallest will qualify for tracking by the Federal Aviation Administration as the agency attempts to impose order on the burgeoning hobbyist use of the unmanned craft. Drones must be registered starting Dec. 21 and the agency will charge a $5 fee, which is required under current law, according to the FAA.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Google's Quantum Computer

From over at Futurism:

Google claims that a controversial computer it purchased in 2013 is capable of using quantum physics to solve math much faster than regular computers. They note that the type of math it solves is crucial to the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

Companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Google (as well as several governments) have been trying to develop quantum computers which use quantum mechanics to handle data. It is believed that quantum computers can make AI computers much more powerful. NASA has high hopes for the technology, as well. “It is a truly disruptive technology that could change how we do everything,” said Deepak Biswas, director of exploration technology at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Holiday Parable... Of Sorts

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two
of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box
with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do
you think this is?"

Read the rest, here...