Nov 30, 2015

Kibana 4 for Log Analysis | @CloudExpo @Logzio #DevOps #Microservices

In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which was later acquired by OANDA. He was also an early employee of server performance-monitoring company Akorri and storage resource-management startup Onaro, both of which were acquired by NetApp (NTAP). He graduated from the Techion - the Israeli version of MIT - and he later created an AI algorithm on naval warfare for the Israeli military.

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Low Canadian dollar costly for Mississauga budget

Low Canadian dollar costly for Mississauga budget
Mississauga - 25 minutes ago
The declining Canadian dollar is costing the city of Mississauga close to half-a-million dollars a year, according to its 2016 operating budget.

by via News for Canadian Dollar - Google Finance
Low Canadian dollar costly for Mississauga budget

How to Get the Most Out of Analytics | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Today, organizations have so much data at their disposal. This data includes company, customer, product, employee, and more… much more. The problem is that without the proper tools, mid-market companies often struggle with turning this information into meaningful and actionable insights. In a time where information is power, how can companies exploit their information assets to achieve a strategic advantage over the competition? Queue analytics.

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Canadian Dollar Outlook: CAD Too Hot To Handle This Week

Canadian Dollar Outlook: CAD Too Hot To Handle This Week
Pound Sterling Live - 10 hours ago
The Canadian dollar will be in focus on Wednesday the 2nd of December when the Bank of Canada delivers their latest policy decision and assessment.
Canadian Dollar Predicted Bullish in Advance of OPEC Meeting - Exchange Rates UK

by via News for Canadian Dollar - Google Finance
Canadian Dollar Outlook: CAD Too Hot To Handle This Week

IoT Keynote By @ChrisMatthieu | @ThingsExpo @Citrix #IoT #M2M #API #InternetOfThings

In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).

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Canadian dollar and business outlook

Canadian dollar and business outlook
Western Producer (subscription) - 1 hour ago
In Canadian domestic data, Canada's current account deficit (on a seasonally adjusted basis) narrowed C$0.4 billion in the third quarter to C$16.2 billion.

by via News for Canadian Dollar - Google Finance
Canadian dollar and business outlook

The Canadian Dollar's Effect On The iPhone

The Canadian Dollar's Effect On The iPhone
Benzinga - 55 minutes ago
Barclays on Monday issued an update on the telecommunications industry, commenting on the Canadian dollar's effect on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and the iPhone.

by via News for Canadian Dollar - Google Finance
The Canadian Dollar's Effect On The iPhone

The Content Corner: The Balance Between SEO and the User

I always think of SEO like the dentist—no one really likes it, but you need to do it. Yet, despite my lack of excitement for the topic, this will be at a minimum my second post (here’s the first) about the relationship between creating good content and SEO practices.

Today I want to dive a little more into often overlooked aspects of the content creation process and overall content maintenance.

Attack of the Clones

Electronic data storing and hosting concept

hoodesigns/iStock/Thinkstock

It’s common for us in the rush to create content to overlook existing content that could simply be updated as opposed to creating completely new pages. This type of duplicate content (whether created on purpose or accident) has actually been found to harm your site’s overall rankings on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes content that not only duplicates portions of content from other pages (and  exact duplicates of content from other sites) but also pages that have the same title or description (more on that below).

Review your site content and look for areas where duplicate content might be able to be removed or pages that may need to be consolidated. For example, if your site has blogger bios or several pages where “About Us” information is reused, when possible, consider editing the duplicates to add more depth or provide unique information that may be of interest of the user. I’m not advocating just changing a word or two to make it “different” to a search engine, but if the content can be revised based on improving the user’s experience, then go for it. This is a good example of that balance between leveraging good SEO strategy and doing what’s best for the user.

If some of your content is older, you may even have leftovers from the “users don’t scroll” era, causing duplicate page titles, such as “Keeping Things Fresh Page 1”, “Keeping Things Fresh Page 2,” etc. A content audit should have cleaned that up, but most of us don’t have the time or resources to perform a full content audit unless it’s part of a huge redesign or WCMS (web content management system) project, and even then fixing page titles on five year old content may be the furthest thing from our minds.

You may also have unintentional duplicate URLs depending on how your WCMS generates them for your content. Two examples of how this can occur are:

  • Dynamic URLs generated based on a user’s session and possible search criteria, such as URLs with various query strings (www.example.gov/topic1?s=topics) or
  • Content that lives in multiple categories and your WCMS uses that category in the URL (www.example.gov/topic1/blogpost and www.example.gov/topic2/sameblogpost).

Google provides tips on using canonical URLs to help you address these issues. Using canonical URLs can also improve your analytics data and allows you to set preferred URLs that your users will see.

One last duplication issue that you may want to investigate and can be fixed using canonical URLs is the preferred domain for your site. Duplication can occur here if your site is configured to show the same content for both www.example.gov or https://example.gov. Google also provides some guidance on setting your preferred domain, if this problem is applicable to your agency. The required switch from http to https should have little or no impact on SEO, so no worries there as long as it is handled correctly.

Make Mine Meta

Flat search engine optimization design concept

MPFphotography/iStock/Thinkstock

We all know that metadata remains a vitally important piece in content production and promotion. However, let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that when you’re in a pinch metadata might be the one part of the content creation process that suffers. In the interest of full disclosure, I admit to leaving a description tag empty or doing a sloppy copy and paste in the heat of some significant content development (so glad to get that off my chest).

For our discussion, the two most important pieces of metadata are those that display on the SERP: title and description. For both of these tags, your first reference point should be user personas or thinking about your users’ needs. Based on your knowledge of your audience, how can you best inform them about what to expect in this piece of content? What should they expect to learn? Why should they click that link? Also keep in mind the page title should be no longer than 70 characters; 55 characters or less is optimal.

Descriptions are possibly even more critical. While the title may grab the user’s attention, a well-written description can help them finally decide to click or not. Since the character limit for this field is similar to Twitter’s current limit (around 160 characters), some of the succinct writing best practices for that platform can be useful here. However, the descriptions need to be properly written sentences, not acronyms and emoticons. You should leverage your knowledge of your users and weave known keywords into the sentence. Google displays a user’s search terms in bold when they appear in your description on a SERP. Just as with content in general, unique and original writing is favored over duplicate or boilerplate offerings.

Many of the practices shared here are just good SEO and good content creation guidelines. For example, quality metadata also helps your content’s accessibility and its appearance when shared via social media. SEO can also serve as a reminder to do regular content audits to look for outdated or duplicate content. Just remember that the user comes first when it comes to content creation, but if the user can’t find your content, then you’ve wasted your time. Find the appropriate balance between SEO best practices and making quality content and you should be golden.

You’ve just finished reading the latest article from our Monday column, The Content Corner. This column focuses on helping solve the main content issues facing federal digital professionals, including producing enough content and making that content engaging.


by Tyrus Manuel via DigitalGov

AusPost delivery cost to rise

Budget Mailing Services use PreSort bulk-postage, and director and ... Whilst many companies are shifting from mail correspondence to email and ...
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Sprint Is Moving Toward DevOps | @CloudExpo #DevOps #IoT #BigData

Telecommunications giant Sprint places an emphasis on orchestration and automation to bring IT culture and infrastructure into readiness for cloud, software-defined data center and DevOps. Learn how Sprint has made IT infrastructure orchestration and automation a pillar of its strategic IT architecture future from Chris Saunderson, Program Manager and Lead Architect for Data Center Automation at Sprint in Kansas City, Missouri. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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Canadian dollar may not be weak enough to get the economic job done, US bank warns

Canadian dollar may not be weak enough to get the economic job done, US bank warns
The Globe and Mail - 16 minutes ago
The loonie has lost about 13 per cent against the U.S. dollar so far this year, weakened by sustained lower oil prices and the belief that the Federal Reserve will soon hike its benchmark rate while the Bank of Canada does nothing for some time yet ...

by via News for Canadian Dollar - Google Finance
Canadian dollar may not be weak enough to get the economic job done, US bank warns

Nov 29, 2015

The 2016 HTPC Build

I've loved many computers in my life, but the HTPC has always had a special place in my heart. It's the only always-on workhorse computer in our house, it is utterly silent, totally reliable, sips power, and it's at the center of our home entertainment, networking, storage, and gaming. This handy box does it all, 24/7.

I love this little machine to death; it's always been there for me and my family. The steady march of improvements in my HTPC build over the years lets me look back and see how far the old beige box PC has come in the last decade since I've been blogging:

2005 ~$1000 512 MB RAM, single core CPU 80 watts idle
2008 ~$520 2 GB RAM, dual core CPU 45 watts idle
2011 ~$420 4 GB RAM, dual core CPU + GPU 22 watts idle
2013 ~$300 8 GB RAM, dual core CPU + GPU×2 15 watts idle
2016 ~$320 8 GB RAM, dual core CPU + GPU×4 10 watts idle

As expected, the per-thread performance increase from 2013's Haswell CPU to 2016's Skylake CPU is modest – 20 percent at best, and that might be rounding up. About all you can do is slap more cores in there, to very limited benefit in most applications. The 6100T I chose is dual-core plus hyperthreading, which I consider the sweet spot, but there are some other Skylake 6000 series variants at the same 35w power envelope which offer true quad-core, or quad-core plus hyperthreading – and, inevitably, a slightly lower base clock rate. So it goes.

The real story is how power consumption was reduced another 33 percent. Here's what I measured with my trusty kill-a-watt:

  • 10w idle with display off
  • 11w idle with display on
  • 13w active standard netflix (720p?) movie playback
  • 14w multiple torrents, display off
  • 15w 1080p video playback in MPC-HC x64
  • 40w Lego Batman 3 high detail 720p gameplay
  • 56w Prime95 full CPU load + Rthdribl full GPU load

These are impressive numbers, much better than I expected. Maybe part of it is the latest Windows 10 update which supports the new Speed Shift technology in Skylake. Speed Shift hands over CPU clockspeed control to the CPU itself, so it can ramp its internal clock up and down dramatically faster than the OS could. A Skylake CPU, with the right OS support, gets up to speed and back to idle faster, resulting in better performance and less overall power draw.

Skylake's on-board HD 530 graphics is about twice as fast as the HD 4400 that it replaces. Haswell offered the first reasonable big screen gaming GPU on an Intel CPU, but only just. 720p was mostly attainable in older games with the HD 4400, but I sometimes had to drop to medium detail settings, or lower. Two generations on, with the HD 530, even recent games like GRID Autosport, Lego Jurassic Park and so on can now be played at 720p with high detail settings at consistently high framerates. It depends on the game, but a few can even be played at 1080p now with medium settings. I did have at least one saved benchmark result on the disk to compare with:

GRID 2, 1280×720, high detail defaults
Max Min Avg
i3-4130T, Intel HD 4400 GPU 32 21 27
i3-6100T, Intel HD 530 GPU 50 32 39

Skylake is a legitimate gaming system on a chip, provided you are OK with 720p. It's tremendous fun to play Lego Batman 3 with my son.

At 720p using high detail settings, where there used to be many instances of notable slowdown, particularly in co-op, it now feels very smooth throughout. And since games are much cheaper on PC than consoles, particularly through Steam, we have access to a complete range of gaming options from new to old, from indie to mainstream – and an enormous, inexpensive back catalog.

Of course, this is still far from the performance you'd get out of a $300 video card or a $300 console. You'll never be able to play a cutting edge, high end game like GTA V or Witcher 3 on this HTPC box. But you may not need to. Steam in-home streaming has truly come into its own in the last year. I tried streaming Batman: Arkham Knight from my beefy home office computer to the HTPC at 1080p, and I was surprised to discover just how effortless it was – nor could I detect any visual artifacts or input latency.

It's super easy to set up – just have the Steam client running on both machines at a logged in Windows desktop (can't be on the lock screen), and press the Stream button on any game that you don't have installed locally. Be careful with WiFi when streaming high resolutions, obviously, but if you're on a wired network, I found the experience is nearly identical to playing the game locally. As long as the game has native console / controller support, like Arkham Knight and Fallout 4, streaming to the big screen works great. Try it! That's how Henry and I are going to play through Just Cause 3 this Tuesday and I can't wait.

As before in 2013, I only upgraded the guts of the system, so the incremental cost is low.

That's a total of $321 for this upgrade cycle, about the cost of a new Xbox One or PS4. The i3-6100T should be a bit cheaper; according to Intel it has the same list price as the i3-6100, but suffers from weak availability. The motherboard I chose is a little more expensive, too, perhaps because it includes extras like built in WiFi and M.2 support, although I'm not using either quite yet. You might be able to source a cheaper H170 motherboard than mine.

The rest of the system has not changed much since 2013:

Populate these items to taste, pick whatever drives and mini-ITX case you prefer, but definitely stick with the PicoPSU, because removing the large, traditional case power supply makes the setup both a) much more power efficient at low wattage, and b) much roomier inside the case and easier to install, upgrade, and maintain.

I also switched to Xbox One controllers, for no really good reason other than the Xbox 360 is getting more obsolete every month, and now that my beloved Rock Band 4 is available on next-gen systems, I'm trying to slowly evict the 360s from my house.

The Windows 10 wireless Xbox One adapter does have some perks. In addition to working with the newer and slightly nicer gamepads from the Xbox One, it supports an audio stream over each controller via the controller's headset connector. But really, for the purposes of Steam gaming, any USB controller will do.

While I've been over the moon in love with my HTPC for years, and I liked the Xbox 360, I have been thoroughly unimpressed with my newly purchased Xbox One. Both the new and old UIs are hard to use, it's quite slow relative to my very snappy HTPC, and it has a ton of useless features that I don't care about, like broadcast TV support. About all the Xbox One lets you do is sometimes play next gen games at 1080p without paying $200 or $300 for a fancy video card, and let's face it – the PS4 does that slightly better. If those same games are available on PC, you'll have a better experience streaming them from a gaming PC to either a cheap Steam streaming box, or a generalist HTPC like this one.

The Xbox One and PS4 are effectively plain old PCs, built on:

  • Intel Atom class (aka slow) AMD 8-core x86 CPU
  • 8 GB RAM
  • AMD Radeon 77xx / 78xx GPUs
  • cheap commodity 512GB or 1TB hard drives (not SSDs)

The golden age of x86 gaming is well upon us. That's why the future of PC gaming is looking brighter every day. We can see it coming true in the solid GPU and idle power improvements in Skylake, riding the inevitable wave of x86 becoming the dominant kind of (non mobile, anyway) gaming for the forseeable future.

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via Coding Horror http://blog.codinghorror.com/the-2016-htpc-build/

28 DevOps Architectures | @CloudExpo #DevOps #IoT #ContinuousDelivery

People want to get going with DevOps or Continuous Delivery, but need a place to start. Others are already on their way, but need some validation of their choices. A few months ago, I published the first volume of DevOps and Continuous Delivery reference architectures which has now been viewed over 50,000 times on SlideShare (it's free to download...no registration required). Three things helped people in the deck: (1) the reference architectures, (2) links to the sources for each architecture attached to each slide, and (3) no marketing fluff.

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Testing Challenges of IoT | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API #InternetOfThings

The tech industry has been abuzz about the potential of the Internet of Things for the past several years, and with good reason. As more devices become connected to one another, society steps even closer to the ultimate goal of an overarching, cohesive network facilitating communication between everyday objects and tools. The possibilities of a fully realized IoT are practically endless – so too, however, are the concerns surrounding IoT when it comes to software test management.

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Sandy Carter Keynote at @CloudExpo | @Sandy_Carter @IBMcloud #IoT #M2M #InternetOfThings

Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will discuss why this matters, how innovation will benefit, and how to foster an interest in tech. Learn why women need to take risks and embrace failure to give them the courage to crash through the glass ceiling. Sandy will share some of her own experiences and advice with 5 career hacks to help women get ahead, because talent is not enough.

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Nov 28, 2015

Big Data Enables Top User Experiences | @CloudExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData

Intuit uses deep-data analytics to gain a 360-degree view of its TurboTax application's users’ behavior and preferences for rapid applications improvements. The next BriefingsDirect big-data innovation case study highlights how Intuit uses deep-data analytics to gain a 360-degree view of its TurboTax application's users’ behavior and preferences. Such visibility allows for rapid applications improvements and enables the TurboTax user experience to be tailored to a highly detailed degree.

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The Complete ITaaS Transformation Framework By @PhilAbdoulaye | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Certain CIOs for incomprehensible reasons keep off their cloud transformation projects several key IT disciplines including Enterprise Architecture (EA), IT Service Management (ITSM) and most importantly Project Management. Do they consider them obsolete? useless? irrelevant? ITaaS Strategist Philippe Abdoulaye provides 7 keys that will boost PMOs and make them pivotal to any ITaaS (or cloud-related) transformation projects.

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Continuous Performance Validation | @CloudExpo #DevOps #IoT #BigData

There’s a common understanding about what it means for a coding task to be “done.” Yet, often this “doneness” is only a measure of functionality – not necessarily usability. Today, user experience is crucial to an application’s success, and that goes well beyond what color your button is or how prominently a call-to-action is placed. Users leave your site if pages don’t load fast enough or if the site simply feels sluggish when compared with your competitors’ sites.

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Nov 27, 2015

Keep Your Data Active | @CloudExpo @HGSTStorage #Cloud #IoT #BigData

We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.

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OPM Wants to Hear from You by December 9

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is looking for agency subject matter experts (SMEs) to participate in an occupational study of the Public Affairs Series 1035. OPM is accepting SME submissions until Wednesday, December 9th.

Supreme Court columns

trekandshoot/iStock/Thinkstock

The study will review the “current classification and qualification standards for public affairs work” and allow OPM to make any revisions or updates. OPM is interested to learn from agencies how public affairs work has changed since the current position classification standard was issued in 1981.

Interested SMEs can send their name, agency, email and telephone information to Riconda Fortson.

Editor’s Note: You can view our collection of digital government position descriptions. Have one that’s not in our group? Send it to DigitalGov!


by Andrea Sigritz via DigitalGov

Government Product Managers Play a Key Role in UX

Government product managers sit at the intersection of three circles—business, design and technology. We play a key role in user experience (UX), because we are tasked with understanding users to build a product that is desirable and viable. This product could be a paper or online form, a website or a mobile app.

Three intersecting gears.

NUMAX3D/iStock/Thinkstock

Product management is different from project management. Product managers are the defenders and voice of the product’s customers, while a project manager is more concerned with balancing costs, scope and schedule issues.

I recently completed a Product Development and Management class. Here are half a dozen things I learned and you need to know if you are a beginner to product management and its role in UX:

  1. Product managers understand user needs through interviews. For example, if the product is a website redesign, ask who will be using the new site? How and where do they access it now? Does the existing site meet their needs, in at least some ways? In what ways does it not? Interview questions should be open-ended as much as possible.
  2. Identifying user needs is important, but equally important is a product manager’s ability to translate those into features. Products are made up of little features, and product managers use user stories as they work with developers to build features. A user story is a sentence that describes the need and the benefit. It can generally be completed in one sprint and takes this form: As a _, I want _, so I can _. Notice that it doesn’t say HOW to build the feature. The developers may have a better idea than you, so let them be creative. Product managers work with developers to prioritize stories and features.
  3. A product manager can’t be afraid to ask “why?” If the product users are asking for a feature, ask why it is needed. Is it a “must have” item? Is it low in complexity? Or is it a complex, “nice to have?” Asking why will help you prioritize what features to build first and which ones to build later.
  4. A product manager will likely work with users to develop personas. A persona represents a group of users—their goals, needs, behaviors and pain points. It’s a good idea to print out personas and hang them in your office, so you keep your users in mind as you build and develop your product.
  5. An agile governance sprint.Agile software development values product managers who collaborate with customers throughout the lifecycle, not just when you are researching and conceiving the product. In agile, product managers go through many discover/design/develop/test cycles with customers.
  6. As you are developing the product, you can continue to collaborate with users in many ways. For example, you can show them wireframes (or rough drafts) of new websites or pages and see what they think. Storyboards show how one page on a website flows to others. See if your storyboards make sense to your future users.

Several federal agencies have product managers or teams (IRS, OPM for USAJOBS.gov). Some agencies, like Consumer Financial Protection Board, have a user experience (UX) department. Tell us what you have at the agency where you work!

 

 

 


by Karen Trebon via DigitalGov

API Design Using Behavior Driven Development By @JustinRohrman | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud

Test-driven development (TDD) has been around for a while now. Behavior-driven development (BDD), a comparably recent methodology, emerged from the practice of TDD and could reasonably be called a narrower application of TDD. The TDD process allows a developer to use a failing unit test to express a shortcoming of the system. The next step is to modify the production code to get the failing test to pass without making existing tests fail. BDD more or less takes this same concept and adds the idea that the tests should be written in easy-to-understand language describing the problem domain, and that tests should express user acceptance criteria.

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Testing Streaming Media | @CloudExpo #APM #IoT #DevOps #BigData

Here’s the thing: as sure as we’ll have another record-setting year for NFL streaming, you can also be sure that apps will fail and streaming services will go down. Whether you are dabbling in streaming or diving in whole-hog, you need to know what to do to give your users the most reliable experience possible. Here are a few tips.

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IoT = Cloud + Big Data + Analytics | @ThingsExpo #Cloud #IoT #BigData

Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a foundation and necessary defense for customer and cloud solutions, cyber becomes more and more commoditized. The real impact is how do we deliver a confidence or trust to customers and their customer journey with our organizations.

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FastWebHost Huge Black Friday Web Hosting Sale With Free Domain Name

FastWebHost kicks off holiday shopping season with 60% off deals with Free Domain name registration with all shared web hosting​ plans this Black ...
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The Business of IoT | @ThingsExpo @EmbeddedExperts #IoT #BigData

Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.

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Nov 26, 2015

Managers Don’t Have to Hate Agile | @CloudExpo #IoT #Agile #DevOps

Earlier this year Forbes published an article titled “Why Do Managers Hate Agile?” The author, Steve Denning, builds a case for managers hating Agile due to “management” and “Agile” being defined as two different worlds. It’s like Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus, only we’re talking about the IT world and management and developers, instead of men and women. The article caught my attention for the obvious reason that CollabNet sells products and services to help support Agile development efforts, sparking the question, “Why would managers hate Agile?”

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Justhost slashes price to $2.50 for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2015

With all the hosting plans, company provides 1 free domain name registration, or customers can transfer a domain for free. Their hosting comes with ...
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Gitrob on the Network | @ThingsExpo #BigData #IoT #M2M #Security

Developers generally like to share their code, and many of them do so by open sourcing it on GitHub, a social code hosting and collaboration service. Many companies also use GitHub as a convenient place to host both private and public code repositories by creating GitHub organizations where employees can be joined. Sometimes Employee might publish things that might be sensitive in nature and these things might lead to compromise of a system.

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Bring Anonymous’s War on Daesh to the Enterprise By @TheEbizWizard | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Anonymous’s self-organization gives it power, resilience, and above all, agility – in fact, far more than traditional organizations with vastly superior resources. On the other hand, its efforts are often capricious, and once a particular target loses its appeal, Anonymous’s attention tends to wander elsewhere. As the war against Daesh (formerly ISIS or ISIL) heats up following the terrorist attacks in Paris, the hacker group Anonymous has taken a leadership position in the global effort. Its battleground isn't in Europe, the Middle East, or any other location on earth. Anonymous is battling Daesh in cyberspace. Enterprises, in contrast, generally have clear, long-term goals – profitability, growth, customer satisfaction and the like, while Anonymous is deeply anarchic. Understanding how the members of Anonymous choose their goals, however, provides a measure of insight into self-organization for enterprises.

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What Are the Advantages of Cloud Computing? By @CHBoorman | @CloudExpo #IoT #Cloud

Here's a bold claim: Cloud computing has the potential to be as transformative as the advent of the automobile. Before the age of cars and buses, everything was undertaken at a fraction of the pace it is now-transport, distribution, socializing. The automobile revolutionized all of that, changing forever the way we moved, made friends and worked. Make no mistake, cloud computing is the 21st Century equivalent of the automobile. In case you've just returned from several years orbiting Mars, let me just explain what we mean by cloud computing. It refers to storing and accessing data, programs and services over the Internet instead of your computer hard drive. Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades-all your data lived somewhere inside that desktop PC. With cloud computing, you divest of the hard drive and enjoy the freedom of working anywhere, anytime, on any device. Your data, however much there is of it, is stored in huge data centers and storage farms often in places people have never heard of.

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You Don’t Have to Be a Tech Giant to Navigate the End of Safe Harbor By @ttul | @CloudExpo #Cloud

For the last 15 years, companies operating in the United States and Europe have benefited from Safe Harbor - a streamlined process that allowed U.S. companies to transfer and store European citizens' data in the U.S. provided a level of privacy protections were adhered to according to outlined European standards. Recently, however, an Irish court has ruled, in a case brought by an Austrian citizen concerned about how Facebook was handling his private data, that the Safe Harbor agreement is inconsistent with European privacy law, as it did not require all organizations entitled to work with EU privacy-related data to comply with it. The court’s decision means Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner must review the merits of the case and make a final determination about whether Facebook is allowed to transfer private data from its European users to the United States. In the mean time, companies that had relied on the Safe Harbor process can no longer do so. In today's data-centric business world, the ruling comes as a blow to thousands of companies operating at the global scale that are now faced with navigating new, complicated individual standards – across multiple regions.

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Invaluable Lessons from @CloudExpo | @IanKhanLive #Cloud #IoT #BigData

Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.

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The Language of Provisioning By @DMacVittie | @CloudExpo #Cloud

If you think of automated provisioning as a formal written language definition, it does have some value in illuminating issues with partial automation or portions of the overall data center that are not automated. The path to automation is not a straight one at most organizations. It takes time, it takes resources, and even though there is a definable ROI, the press of business needs wins every time there is a conflict – because meeting business needs is pretty much the purpose of IT. But taking the staggered approach has costs too, and it’s good on occasion to look at them. I’ve admittedly created this view, but it is a way to consider your automation efforts and how well they’re working with regard to the end goal.

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Canadian dollar edges lower, US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Canadian dollar edges lower, US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday
The Province - 29 minutes ago
TORONTO - The Canadian dollar edged lower on what is expected to be a quiet day for stocks with the U.S. market closed for that country's Thanksgiving holiday.

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Canadian dollar edges lower, US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Canadian dollar edges lower, US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Canadian dollar edges lower, US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday
CanadianBusiness.com - 14 minutes ago
TORONTO - The Canadian dollar edged lower on what is expected to be a quiet day for stocks with the U.S. market closed for that country's Thanksgiving holiday.

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Canadian dollar edges lower, US markets closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Nov 25, 2015

Whistler businesses hoping to cash in on low Canadian dollar

Whistler businesses hoping to cash in on low Canadian dollar
MetroNews Canada - 8 minutes ago
Whistler businesses hoping to cash in on low Canadian dollar. Low dollar has helped bring more American tourists to Whistler for record setting summer and strong start to winter.

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Whistler businesses hoping to cash in on low Canadian dollar

Continuous Nature of DevOps | @CloudExpo #DevOps #IoT #Microservices

Put the word continuous in front of many things and we help define DevOps: continuous delivery, continuous testing, continuous assessment, and there is more. The next BriefingsDirect DevOps thought leadership discussion explores the concept of continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications and systems. Put the word continuous in front of many things and we help define DevOps: continuous delivery, continuous testing, continuous assessment, and there is more.

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TSX gains 73 points; Canadian dollar edges ahead

TSX gains 73 points; Canadian dollar edges ahead
Times Colonist - 1 hour ago
On the commodity markets, the December gold contract lost US$3.10 at US$1,070.70, while the January crude oil contract dropped 51 cents at US$42.36.

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TSX gains 73 points; Canadian dollar edges ahead

The Data Briefing: How Neuroscience and Communication Theory Inform Good User Experience Design

Standing on the corner, waiting in the rain, I swear I’ll never, ever, use that app again. Why? Because the bad user experience (UX) design was preventing me from determining when the Metrobus would arrive.

UX is everything from the visual design to the navigation structure of the website or mobile app. This month, DigitalGov is focusing on UX design. Good UX design is based on understanding how people perceive and process information on everything from websites to mobile apps. In this article, I will describe two fundamental neuroscience concepts and one communication theory that explain how to create good UX design.

Cognitive Barriers

The first neuroscience concept is cognitive barriers. Cognitive barriers can best be illustrated by the difficulties I had with a mobile app designed to display information about the Metro system. First, the number of steps to find information seemed excessive. Second, the perceived length of the steps was also excessive in that I had to do a lot of scrolling just to find the right address. Finally, the difficulty of the instructions was also bad UX in that I had to input a number from the bus stop sign and then verify the number with the address (again!). Try doing that when you are balancing an umbrella in one hand and working with frozen fingers in the hand holding the smartphone. All these barriers required more cognitive resources than I had available on a cold, rainy November morning.

Colourful abstract brain illustration

airiesummer/iStock/Thinkstock

Cognitive Load

The second neuroscience concept is understanding how the mobile app, website or data visualization affects your user’s cognitive resources. Cognitive load describes how much of the user’s working memory is required for a task or decision. You may have heard of the famous “7 plus or minus 2” theory, which explains people can only keep seven concepts at a time in their working memory.

This applies to UX when designing navigation for a website or mobile app. Presenting a long menu list on a mobile app can overtax a user’s cognitive load because the user needs mental resources to parse each menu item and then choose the appropriate item. Some UX designers try to lighten the cognitive load by presenting icons, but these can also be mentally taxing as users try to determine if the icon looks more like a bird or an ice-cream cone. Then, the user is left to wonder what kind of choice the bird icon represents.

Elaboration Likelihood Model

Understanding the two neuroscience concepts of cognitive barriers and cognitive load helps in understanding the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM). ELM is a communication theory that explains how people are persuaded by the way they process information. People can take the central route in processing information whereby they are highly-interested in the message and the strengths of the arguments in the message. In contrast, people that take the peripheral route are more influenced by other factors surrounding the message. They could be influenced by the overall credibility of the source, how attractively the message is displayed, or what they will gain from receiving the message.

How Do These Concepts Support a Good UX?

  1. ELM recognizes the importance of a good message. What is the purpose of the website or mobile app and what should the user get out of using the website or mobile app?
  2. How do the design elements reinforce the message and make it easier for people to process the message and the arguments supporting the message?
  3. Home screen of the Ask Karen iPhone app.Does the design help guide the decision-making process by reducing cognitive barriers and cognitive load?
  4. Is there a good balance between message and design so that the user does not veer off the central route into a peripheral route?

Let’s examine a federal government mobile app that has good UX design. Because it is the holiday season and that means lots of food, I find Ask Karen from the USDA to be especially helpful.

From the iTunes description: “Ask Karen provides 24/7 assistance and tips on preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.” The opening screen has a simple interface that just asks if you prefer the English or Spanish version (extra points for being bilingual). The menu systems are easy to navigate, and the site helps keep me on the central route of ELM through the good use of design elements such as easy-to-read fonts, intuitive icons and minimal scrolling.

Good UX design is essential to unlocking the value of federal government data. Understanding the neuroscience and communication theory behind how people process information will help the developers, agency communicators and data scientists best present and deliver vitally-needed data products and services to the American public.

Support and food allergies screens of the USDA "Ask Karen" iPhone app.

Each week, The Data Briefing showcases the latest federal data news and trends.

Dr. William Brantley is the Training Administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Global Intellectual Property Academy. You can find out more about his personal work in open data, analytics, and related topics at BillBrantley.com. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the USPTO or GSA.


by Bill Brantley via DigitalGov

The Canadian dollar will rally, just not yet

The Canadian dollar will rally, just not yet
Financial Post - 9 minutes ago
Next week will be critical for the Canadian dollar, and investors may want to avoid hedging any of their foreign currency exposure for now.

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The Canadian dollar will rally, just not yet

Optimize DevOps By @IsomorphicHQ | @CloudExpo #API #IoT #DevOps

DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of complex UI widgets that behave differently in desktop vs. mobile context, and described the API and code structures that enable these capabilities.

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The IoT Is Getting Agile By @Flint_Brenton | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API

Every day, every hour, every minute, devices are becoming connected. The Internet of Things (or Iot) has gone from a buzzword floating through the echoes of Silicon Valley to a tangible and quickly advancing movement in the world of hardware. But, like a stone tossed into a pond, the effects of the Internet of Things are quickly rippling outward, causing immense changes to the environment surrounding it. And, as it turns out, the IoT is a rather big stone and it's making a large splash. The IoT revolution is necessitating enormous changes to companies who want to play in this brave new world - and those companies are not few in number.

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Nov 24, 2015

Ushering in the IoT | @ThingsExpo @Luxoft #IoT #BigData #InternetOfThings

With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and their surroundings. And this data can help make better decisions through improved insights.

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PubNub Announces BLOCKS | @ThingsExpo @PubNub #IoT #Microservices

PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.

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Taking Cloud Databases to the Edge By @IBMCloudant | @ThingsExpo #IoT

Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and related open source tools and open standards.

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Opening Keynote at @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo #BigData #IoT #M2M #API

In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facing today's increasingly digital enterprise. It's time to rethink how we innovate, leveraging the very turbulence that drives the business to change. In his Opening Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Jason Bloomberg, leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, provided a thought-provoking look at how modern digital practices, including self-organization and DevOps, can provide a template for rethinking how innovation processes can continue to drive strategic value.

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Using Spark Streaming for keyword detection

As new kinds of devices connect to the internet, they generate petabytes of data every day. Companies analyze this valuable data to better understand and meet their customers’ needs. Streaming big data analytics gives users the ability to analyze data in real time, which is useful in time-critical applications like fraud detection. In this article, learn how to use the Spark Streaming platform for real-time keyword detection.

Data Collection: the Battlefields of Modern Business By @KRBenedict | @BigDataExpo #BigData

In 1854 Cholera broke out in the Soho neighborhood of London. Hundreds of people were struck down and died within days. No one at the time understood where the disease came from, how to treat it, or how it was transmitted. A local physician, Dr. John Snow spent every possible moment of his day studying the victims and data in an attempt to understand the disease. His biggest challenge was a lack of data. He had only the list of the dead and a blank map of the neighborhood. What he needed was more data. This was solved when he met the local priest, Henry Whitehouse. Whitehouse had recorded the time of death, and the location where all the families lived and died. When these sources of data where combined, and then overlaid on a map, visual patterns emerged which ultimately led the two to see the common denominator for all the victims was drinking contaminated water from the Broad Street water pump.

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Canadian dollar rises as oil rallies on Middle East tensions

Canadian dollar rises as oil rallies on Middle East tensions
Reuters Canada - 22 minutes ago
TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, helped by the rally in crude oil on raised geopolitical tensions, while the U.S.

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Canadian dollar rises as oil rallies on Middle East tensions

Trends on Tuesday: What Mobile Devices Do People Use to Access Federal Sites?

Mobile users of government websites are growing in double digit percentages and will likely soon become the majority.

For some recent internal project research, I dove into some of the federal government-wide analytics looking at mobile usage and found a few interesting tidbits to share:

  • It’s an OS battle of the As. Apple devices slightly edge out Android as the most popular with 49.24% to 44.88% of the audience.
  • There’s no realistic third contender. Windows devices make up less than 4% and Blackberry less than .5% of the audience, then it trails off quickly from there with Nokia, Symbian, and FirefoxOS holding hundredths of a percent.

List of Android and i O S sessions, by version of operating system

  • Android devices are slow to get upgrades. The top operating system version is Android 4.4.2, which launched almost two years ago in December of 2013 (Android 6.0 launched this October), but many Android users are at the mercy of their carrier, device manufacturer or both, for getting upgrades pushed through.
  • Screen resolutions are incredibly fragmented. While Apple’s small product offering of one phone per year helps establish standards, after you leave the comfort of the five resolutions from the last five Apple phones, there’s an infinite long tail of device screen sizes.

I should note: This doesn’t include all government websites, just federal ones using the Digital Analytics Program (DAP). For a sampling of the government agencies included and a high level overview, check out analytics.usa.gov.

While I compared one year and three month data for different purposes, this post focused on the most recent three month data since phones are upgraded fairly frequently—sometimes annually, for people who are particularly clumsy, or for those using U.S. cell providers that offer annual upgrades. Using one year data gives a bigger picture—especially for things like tax season, when the IRS is frequently at the top of analytics.usa.gov—but the accuracy of the data quickly decays, as Apple releases new devices and OS versions in the fall and Android manufacturers churn out new phones year-round.

3-D mobile smart phones and pie chart

everythingpossible/iStock/Thinkstock


by Will Sullivan via DigitalGov

Canadian dollar up; US stock futures down

Canadian dollar up; US stock futures down
Times Colonist - 41 minutes ago
TORONTO - The futures market suggested a lower open for U.S. stock markets as the prices for oil and gold both gained ground on Tuesday morning.

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Canadian dollar up; US stock futures down

Nov 23, 2015

Wearable Tech: Here to Stay? | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #Wearables

Wearable technology has come a long way since the calculator watch. In the past whenever I thought of the term “wearable technology” the first things I would like of were always calculator watches and pedometers, but boy have things changed! Even if you’re a skeptic, this blogger thinks that pretty much everyone will be using some type of wearable tech by 2020. It seems like wearable technology is everywhere. Whether it is Google Glass, or the Samsung Galaxy Gear, there seems to be nothing that you can't tech out. There is Colour Change Couture, fabric that changes color when wet, The Programmable T-shirt, which, when combined with the smartphone app, allows the wearer to display tweets, Facebook statuses, and pictures. Celebs are even getting on the wearable tech bandwagon; Nicole Scherzinger wore a dress made of silk, Swarovski crystals, and 2,000 LED lights that displayed tweets in real time when the hashtag #tweetthedress was used. For more on the future of fashion, check out this slideshow (you really should, there's some pretty cool stuff in there).

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Big Data, IoT, and Russian Nesting Dolls | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData

I recently spent the weekend up in the lakes region of New Hampshire, and made the rounds of all the various country stores and craft shops that are a staple of the area. In one shop, I noticed something I hadn’t seen in a long time: a large set of Russian nesting dolls. The quality, craftsmanship, and level of detail were impressive. As I removed the cover on the first intricately painted doll, nestled inside was the next, slightly smaller one, a duplicate of the outer doll, with all of the same detail on a slightly smaller scale. As I continued opening each successive doll, revealing the next smaller duplicate, I started looking for discrepancies, loss of detail in the duplication as I dove recursively into smaller and smaller dolls. The quality and attention to detail, even at the smallest level, remained for each of the dolls. Each doll was a representation of information, just on different levels and scales.

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TSX closes 51 points lower; Canadian dollar down

TSX closes 51 points lower; Canadian dollar down
Times Colonist - 19 minutes ago
TORONTO - Weakness in metals prices weighed on mining stocks, pushing the Toronto stock market to a lower close. Toronto's S&P/TSX composite index gave back 51.11 points to close at 13,382.38 on Monday.
CANADA STOCKS-TSX futures down as commodity prices tumble - Reuters

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TSX closes 51 points lower; Canadian dollar down

FOREX-Oil bounce helps Norwegian crown, Canadian dollar recover

FOREX-Oil bounce helps Norwegian crown, Canadian dollar recover
Reuters - 8 hours ago
Dollar index touches 7-month high (New throughout after oil market move). By Patrick Graham. LONDON, Nov 23 The Norwegian crown jumped to its highest in six weeks and the Australian and Canadian dollars recovered on Monday after oil prices jumped ...

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FOREX-Oil bounce helps Norwegian crown, Canadian dollar recover

Microservices in a Hybrid Environment | @CloudExpo @XebiaLabs #IoT #Microservices

Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (releases quarterly).

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Adaptive Two-Factor Authentication: Is It All It’s Cracked up to Be? | @CloudExpo #Cloud

It’s a given that employee access to corporate systems should be both as secure and simple as possible. Up until recently however, time-strapped CIOs, under pressure from demanding staff and challenged with authenticating users all over the world on multiple devices, have been torn between relying on the fatally flawed password or hard token two-factor authentication (2FA) to keep their systems secure.

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Cloud Platforms: The Crucial Foundation By @BDaleiden | @CloudExpo #Cloud

In today’s pharmaceutical supply chain, counterfeit activity is thriving. As pharma companies have expanded target markets and outsourced production over the last decade, the supply chain has become increasingly global, virtual, and vulnerable. Illicit activity has thrived, and patients have suffered, with hundreds of thousands dying each year from counterfeit and contaminated drugs. More than 40 countries have responded with new laws that regulate prescription medications as they travel through the supply chain. While this is a quantum leap forward for patient health, the implications for supply chain stakeholders, from pharmaceutical companies and their contract manufacturing partners to the pharmacies that serve patients are daunting: they must master each country’s disparate track and trace requirements; create a system architecture capable of generating, managing, and storing what will be unprecedented volumes of regulated data; and figure out how to efficiently exchange that data with hundreds to tens of thousands of direct and indirect supply chain partners.

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Canadian Dollar Forecast: Crash Coming in 2016

Canadian Dollar Forecast: Crash Coming in 2016
Profit Confidential - 27 minutes ago
Last year's epic crash in crude oil prices rocked the Canadian energy sector to its core, decimating the Canadian dollar ahead of 2016. Now, a provincial government in Canada passed a piece of environmental legislation that could drive the “loonie,” a ...

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Canadian Dollar Forecast: Crash Coming in 2016

Wherever You Go, There We Are: the Geolocation API

No matter how you go mobile, you can meet your user’s needs. Recommendations based on location are plentiful, particularly on native apps. But don’t fret, agencies with mobile websites: you can also get in the location customization game.

Mobile phone gps navigation, travel destination, location and positioning concept of a map and single marker over a smart phone

cybrain/iStock/Thinkstock

Geolocation is a W3C scripting API that can be used with JavaScript in Web browsers. In the past, geolocation could only be done in native apps through a mobile programming API. With the Geolocation API, a mobile web app can request a user’s location.

Screen capture of the Find Your Park service on an iPhone asking for permission to use the phone's Current Location.There are numerous ways federal agencies could use this API. For example, the National Park Service (NPS)’s FindYourPark.com provides customized recommendations based on a user’s location. As noted in a previous DigitalGov article, NPS metadata from NPS.gov is pulled over to the FindYourPark website, including information about Centennial Rvents and the maps for the find feature.

Geolocation is not part of W3C HTML5 or the WHATWG HTML. However, W3C has published specifications to standardize this API to retrieve the geographical location information for a client-side device.

Additional Resources:


by Ashley Wichman via DigitalGov

Leadership for DevOps Success | @DevOpsSummit @G2G3 #DevOps #IoT

Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.

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The Content Corner: Good UX Needs Good Content

As DigitalGov focuses on user experience this month it is good to remember one harsh truth: You cannot have a good user experience with bad content. It is important to keep a “content first” strategy in place during any website redesign or new site development. It is so easy for the various disciplines involved in designing a site to lose sight of the content and of each other.

Graphic illustration of a machine that processes pieces of content and produces a web page.

enotmaks/iStock/Thinkstock

I’ve been there, and I am sure most of us have. A new, exciting redesign of your site is getting started and the very first thing being discussed is how it’s going to look. Full disclosure: last week, I referred to a major system redesign I was involved with, and I am already building wireframes. Sorry, dear readers, but I am not perfect either. Content considerations and the users’ needs are driving the development behind those wireframes, but I fear that content is still being slighted.

Without Content There is Nothing

I’m staring at my paper wireframes as I type this and making a pained expression as I look at the blocks of completely fake content within each of my design elements. I didn’t even use Lorem Ipsum or Bacon Ipsum (a personal favorite), I just used Blokk which creates content that looks like a bad CIA redaction document. Why would I do such a thing? Why did we ever start using Lorem Ipsum in the first place?

I started in this profession as a designer first and then became more and more involved with content creation as time progressed. As a designer, when presenting my concepts and mockups to a group of stakeholders, I wanted them to look at the design, the cool colors or slick interface. So why would each of these sessions devolve into nitpicking the real content I borrowed from the existing site? Back then it was frustrating; today we need to understand that a complete focus on the content is actually the conversation you desperately want to be having with stakeholders or subject matter experts (SMEs).

However, again with a focus on the design and the content a distraction, it was replaced with dummy text and designers drew upon an old printing tradition of using Lorem Ipsum. How could stakeholders be distracted by nonsensical Latin? They can fully see the designs in all their glory. Except of course certain constituents were distracted by the Latin (or even Latin with various types of meat interspersed). Which answers the earlier question of why I started using Blokk. Has anyone else suddenly realized that they have incrementally divorced content so far from the design process that it has been turned into black blobs? I feel and share your pain.

The Price of Discounting Your Content

I am not going to name names, but I was recently allowed to review a site redesign and discuss various needs and concerns about content. As this discussion continued the response about where and how I could present pieces of content was “Um, no, we’re not sure the site can do that.” I was discussing pretty standard and existing content, not new or revolutionary ideas. If you ever find yourself at any stage of a design project trying to figure out ways to make your content fit or work within the designs, then that should serve as an alarm. You have most likely fallen prey to the common errors I shared above. Content became an inconvenience or a distraction in the heat of design and programming concerns.

One other detrimental effect of losing sight of your content and even using filler such as Lorem Ipsum is that you aren’t getting a true sense of the content and therefore also aren’t giving the designer a chance to properly plan for reality. Another true confession: Many times when I have used any type of filler content, the filler always somehow magically fits into any design element almost perfectly. How convenient! And once real content was introduced it suddenly didn’t fit so nicely anymore and all my wonderful boxes were broken. How can these issues be corrected? Use a little something called proto content.

Proto Content

I’m not sure if he invented the concept, but I know Liam King is a big proponent of proto content and its use in site design. King wonderfully describes the use of Lorem Ipsum as akin to an inert gas that fills any space, but is meaningless. It does nothing to help a designer or anyone involved learn more about the relationship between the content, the user’s needs, and the site design. This relationship is the key to any website project at any stage. If the interaction of these three elements is off, then your new site is likely to provide a sub-standard user experience (another harsh truth).

The image below helps to demonstrate both the dangers of filler content and a useful best practice I will definitely be sure to follow in the future. The main issue illustrated is how the filler content does fill the space as perfectly as the designer needs it to. The next Upcoming Events box has realistic content and not only provides a true example of how this design element will commonly appear on the site, but also helps the designer gain a better understanding of how it serves the user. The last box is very important because it represents a worst-case content scenario. In my experience, always expect there to be more information and content than you planned on. This is great example to help plan for those overly long titles.

Example of the effect of fake content and optimal real and worst case content (Source: Gather Content)

Liam King, Lagom Strategy; GatherContent.com

Be sure that real content (even if it’s not final content, just as close to reality as possible) is at the center of any UX consideration such as a redesign. One good way to facilitate this is to have all the members of the design team working closely together: the content expert, the UX designer, and the programmers. This close and frequent interaction helps to organically generate questions and conversation among the team members to give everyone a better understanding of the role content plays in the site and more important, how the user interacts with the content.

You’ve just finished reading the latest article from our Monday column, The Content Corner. This column focuses on helping solve the main content issues facing federal digital professionals, including producing enough content and making that content engaging.


by Tyrus Manuel via DigitalGov

Canadian dollar traders are getting ready for the last leg down

Canadian dollar traders are getting ready for the last leg down
The Globe and Mail - 27 minutes ago
“That's going to be the trough for the Canadian dollar,” Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank Financial, said in a telephone interview from Montreal.
Canadian Dollar Drops Against Most Majors - RTT News
C$ falls with lower commodity prices, trims losses - Reuters Canada

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Canadian dollar traders are getting ready for the last leg down

BMO Capital Markets Awarded Best Bank for the Canadian Dollar by FX Week for ...

BMO Capital Markets Awarded Best Bank for the Canadian Dollar by FX Week for ...
Stockhouse - 30 minutes ago
23, 2015) - BMO Capital Markets, the investment and corporate banking arm of BMO Financial Group (NYSE:BMO) (TSX:BMO), has been named Best Bank for the Canadian Dollar by FX Week for the fifth year running. "We're committed to helping our clients ...
Best Bank for Canadian Dollar: BMO Capital Markets - FX Week (subscription)

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BMO Capital Markets Awarded Best Bank for the Canadian Dollar by FX Week for ...

Canadian dollar and business outlook

Canadian dollar and business outlook
Western Producer (subscription) - 21 minutes ago
WINNIPEG, November 23 The Canadian dollar weakened against its US counterpart on Monday as sharp losses in crude oil futures dragged down the loonie.

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Canadian dollar and business outlook

Driving IoT from Hype to Reality | @ThingsExpo @PubNub #IoT #M2M #API

The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.

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Nov 21, 2015

Announcing @AlertLogic to Exhibit at @CloudExpo New York | #Cloud

SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Fully managed by a team of experts, the Alert Logic Security-as-a-Service solution provides network, system and web application protection immediately, wherever your IT infrastructure resides.

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IoT in the Enterprise One Year Later | @ThingsExpo @Citrix #IoT #M2M #API

I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.

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[video] Cross-Channel Marketing in a Cloud-Driven, Digital World By @Adobe | @CloudExpo #Cloud

In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).

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How to Sponsor and Exhibit at 2016 @ThingsExpo | #IoT #M2M #BigData #InternetOfThings

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

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Security + DevOps: How to Get it Right? | @CloudExpo #DevOps #Microservices

The pervasiveness of software is driving the dynamics of business transactions everywhere. We live in a time of a highly competitive and truly global economy where the question being answered among businesses now is “who can innovate the fastest?” To keep pace with the increasing velocity of software updated being introduced to the market, enterprises embrace DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices, along with implementing a fully-automated software delivery process, in order to keep up with the demand to go faster.

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Tap-as-a-Service: Enabling Traffic Monitoring in OpenStack Clouds | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud

It is no surprise that OpenStack has evolved into a widely adopted cloud management framework. As it hurtles on a trajectory of rapid growth, a new breed of demands are making themselves felt – demands that a mature platform of this nature and scope must satisfy. One such requirement is the ability to monitor traffic flowing in the myriad of virtual networks found in an OpenStack datacenter. Conceptually speaking, the monitoring process involves placing tap devices at appropriate locations within the network infrastructure and attaching traffic analyzers to them. These analyzers can then see the same packets passing through those network segments, as if they were also in-line. A logical tap device can be easily constructed using the port-mirroring function of a network switching element, which makes it possible to have a copy of the packets traversing one or more switch ports delivered to another port on the same switch. This capability is supported by almost all modern physical and virtual switches. So, why is it [still] not possible to monitor the activity in OpenStack virtual networks?

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How Sprint Is Moving Toward DevOps By @Dana_Gardner | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Telecommunications giant Sprint places an emphasis on orchestration and automation to bring IT culture and infrastructure into readiness for cloud, software-defined data center and DevOps. Learn how Sprint has made IT infrastructure orchestration and automation a pillar of its strategic IT architecture future from Chris Saunderson, Program Manager and Lead Architect for Data Center Automation at Sprint in Kansas City, Missouri. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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Reinventing the Handshake | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Security

My father used to tell me that the key to success in life was to look people in the eye and give them a firm handshake. But the art of the handshake seems to have died in my generation. I grew up in the era of high fives, forearm smashes and fist pumps. I played baseball, so there were also a lot of butt pats, (but let’s not go into that). It seems like the importance of handshakes and eye-to-eye contact have diminished even further in my daughter’s generation. Every day I watch her friends look down at their smartphones while texting each other “omg hi bff” as they greet each other at school or at the mall.

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Exploding Open Source — CIO Lessons from the Edge By @ABridgwater | @CloudExpo #Cloud #BigData

The combined notions of open source and the ‘community contribution’ model of collaborative software application development are, of course, not new. The history of open source is actually traced back to early software exchanges between universities driven by academic principles of knowledge sharing in the 1960s. Sometime afterwards (August 25, 1991), Finnish computer scientist Linus Torvalds created Linux… and the rest is history.

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Gambling problem: Growth slows for Playtech

Playtech is considered a proxy for the global betting industry, with its business booming alongside the growth of online gambling around th...