Cloud done right

This Google Cloud Data center is a thing of beauty to anyone who has maintained large scale IT infrastructure long term. It’s well constructed, simply laid out, and efficient. The computing power displayed in these fully populated rows of chassis’ used to take a small army of hands-on technicians onsite to maintain and this would suck power that you would not believe and take untold miles of cable. With this layout I imagine things are much simpler and greener.

apgoogle data center
Google Data center, Associated Press Photo

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet : All Tech Considered : NPR by 

It’s a timely topic, since there’s a price war going on as tech titans aim to control the cloud market. Amazon Web Services, an arm of the e-commerce giant, is the reigning king of large-scale cloud services. If you’ve ever watched streaming TV on Netflix, clicked on a Pinterest pin, or listened to music on Spotify, you’ve used Amazon Web Services, or AWS.

“We delivered computing power as if it was a utility,” says Matt Wood, Amazon Web Services’ chief data scientist.

A decade ago, startups and other Internet companies had to set up their own data centers and computing backbones, which meant a serious capital investment up front and fairly fixed computing resources.

via The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet : All Tech Considered : NPR.

Future of Technology survey from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

A majority of Americans are optimistic about technology’s potential impacts on our future even after the last couple of decades of dystopian future films from Hollywood. Most of them when asked about specifics like personal implants or robots caring for elderly were against those notions of technology.

When asked for their general views on technology’s long-term impact on life in the future, technological optimists outnumber pessimists by two-to-one. Six in ten Americans (59%) feel that technological advancements will lead to a future in which people’s lives are mostly better, while 30% believe that life will be mostly worse.

Demographically, these technological optimists are more likely to be men than women, and more likely to be college graduates than to have not completed college. Indeed, men with a college degree have an especially sunny outlook: 79% of this group expects that technology will have a mostly positive impact on life in the future, while just 14% expects that impact to be mostly negative. Despite having much different rates of technology use and ownership, younger and older Americans are equally positive about the long-term impact of technological change on life in the future.

Read the full survey here Future of Technology – Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet – NSA, Berkman Center Panel Discussion

A good discussion on what’s right and what’s wrong with the current NSA rule sets and oversight. It starts dry but gets very interesting, please stick with it to the end.

The long-term viability of an unowned, open Internet remains in question. Any analysis of where the Internet is headed as a protocol and a platform must take into account the activities of both public and private entities that see the Internet as a source of intelligence — and a field of contention. Yochai Benkler, Bruce Schneier, and Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center are joined by John DeLong and Anne Neuberger of the National Security Agency in a conversation moderated by Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher on the future of an open internet in the face of challenges to privacy in an unsecure world.
More info on this event here: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/2…

This talk was co-sponsored by: the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Law School American Civil Liberties Union, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, National Security Journal, and National Security and Law Association.

License

Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

via Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet – YouTube.

Some Sanity From the Kansas House

Educating our children is one of the most significant things we do as parents and as a society. It’s something key that differentiates us as a species from the other species on this planet – no other species takes as much time to nurture and pass their knowledge to their children. We spend 18 years or more on just our children – and we commit to paying taxes to educate all children, not just our own, even after our children are long out on their own.

That’s why I applaud this vote by the Kansas house, which is a rarity these days. We can’t just have Johnson county as the shining beacon on the hill, we have to raise the level of education throughout Kansas to match our best school districts. In this interconnected age we can’t afford to be an island of knowledge wealth in a sea of misery and ignorance because that will bring disaster longer term for all of Kansas. All Kansans should be proud of the monies we spend on education, it’s to create a better future for everyone. History shows that islands of knowledge in seas of ignorance tend to wash away – so all children in Kansas need their education to be the best it can or we will create a grim future for everyone, including our descendants.

House rejects compromise on school finance bill | Wichita Eagle

  • By Bryan Lowry
  • Eagle Topeka bureau

The House sent a strong message to the Senate early Sunday by voting down a school finance bill that was packed with conservative policy changes.

The House had passed a bill with overwhelming bipartisan support on Friday, but a conference committee with Senate leaders Saturday yielded a bill that Democrats and moderate Republicans refused to support.

And enough conservatives also decided that the bill, which would have stripped teachers of due process rights and granted property tax breaks for parents with children in home or private school, went too far.

via House rejects compromise on school finance bill | Wichita Eagle.

‘Electronic skin’ equipped with memory

This is merely the beginning — nano-technology razor thin wearable and/or implantable sensors coupled with computer on a chips wearing highly accurate medical devices that track everything will become the norm as these devices will become printable or otherwise available for mass production. Forget about those bulky android watches, this is the real future to come.

From : Nature News & Comment
Researchers have created a wearable device that is as thin as a temporary tattoo and can store and transmit data about a person’s movements, receive diagnostic information and release drugs into skin.Similar efforts to develop ‘electronic skin’ abound, but the device is the first that can store information and also deliver medicine — combining patient treatment and monitoring. Its creators, who report their findings today in Nature Nanotechnology1, say that the technology could one day aid patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy.The researchers constructed the device by layering a package of stretchable nanomaterials — sensors that detect temperature and motion, resistive RAM for data storage, microheaters and drugs — onto a material that mimics the softness and flexibility of the skin. The result was a sticky patch containing a device roughly 4 centimetres long, 2 cm wide and 0.003 millimetres thick, says study co-author Nanshu Lu, a mechanical engineer at the University of Texas in Austin.

via ‘Electronic skin' equipped with memory : Nature News & Comment.

Volvo Road Magnets Tell Autonomous Cars Where to Go | EE Times

An interesting direction from the world of autonomous cars.

Carmakers have been stuffing intelligence and instrumentation into cars since at least 1980 in an effort to get them to drive themselves, safely.

Autonomous-car designs almost all depend on stuffing enough intelligence into a car to allow it to drive. Volvo is experimenting ways to make the road do some of the work as well.

The Swedish carmaker launched an EU-funded SARTRE Project, whose goal is to get cars to gather into cooperative "road trains" travelling at a consistent speed in a single lane to save gas and reduce lane-change-induced chaos.

via Volvo Road Magnets Tell Autonomous Cars Where to Go | EE Times.

Mann and Rahmstorf on IPCC 2013

There’s not room for doubt or argument any longer.

? Mann and Rahmstorf on IPCC 2013 – YouTube.

MDG’s – What We Need for the Future but What Conservatives Will Hate

Much more information here http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgoverview/

No Slowdown in Global Warming

Peter Sinclair on the recent media storm purporting that Global Warming has somehow slowed or stopped.

What’s the best encryption method for security?

This question is getting asked a lot, and the answers you see out in the public sphere of the internet range from pathetically underwhelming to just plain wrong in some cases. So this is my attempt to point people in the right directions. When you do see people who know what they are talking about discussing security the talk can turn towards holy wars, philosophical rabbit holes, or just become so overburdened with acronyms that a layman has to give up. So I’m going to point you to some concise and comprehensive web documents to help solve the problem.

Disclaimer: I’m not an authority, nor am I speaking for my employer, or any other group; this is entirely my own humble opinion.

You must use a combination of security protocols, practices, and standards to truly secure your data and network into the next decade. The brute force hacking ability available to individuals has been greatly extended and enhanced the past few years. By strapping together a high-powered computer and some high-powered video cards hackers can have the power of one of yester year’s supercomputers in their hands without spending the equivalent of a small nation’s budget to get there. Everything, including the methods in the links I’m going send you to, is theoretically hackable given enough computing horsepower and time. Your task is to make the time and horsepower curve too steep for hackers anytime in the immediate future and to persistently upgrade as these methods and standards evolve.

The first stop is Cisco and their next generation encryption white paper. Pay attention to the tables in the document first – upgrading to the recommended Next Generation encryption levels is best, but where circumstance, budget, or hardware capacities prevent that you should go to the “acceptable” levels, and if even that’s not possible, then at least try to meet the minimums in appendix A at the bottom and then add some controls to protect or mitigate your weakly encrypted data. Pay the most attention to tables one and two, which are pretty self-explanatory, and please read the caveats in the text, the heavier overhead encryption methods can cause hardware and software processing overload if you don’t engineer to right capacity. Also note that there’s an NSA paper linked if you need to see what’s needed for Government encryption security.

Next stop is the National Institute of Standards & Technology PDF http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-131A/sp800-131A.pdf – this document tells you what our best standards body thinks.

The next stop  is W3C – since so much of what we do is web centric, it’s very important to make sure Developers are securing data locally, through web encryption standards, and for cross site vulnerabilities. If you are following modern web standards then you’ll be using a bit of XML to share data & you will find sub links for encrypting XML as well as other protocols, and since it’s important to follow standards to prevent hacking, you should use the W3C validation tools against your pages regularly.

All of this is for naught however if you don’t layer your security – encrypting is just one part of protecting data. You must also consider physical layers, process deterrents, and prevention of social engineering attacks. When all is said and done remember that you must still be able to work – don’t make yourself so secure that you can’t.