Category Archives: Work

Ethics of Driverless Cars

Driverless CarsGoogle has been developing the driverless car for over half a decade, and with each passing year these automated chauffeurs move farther away from science fiction and closer to reality. Five states have passed laws enabling such vehicles, and as of April of this year, over 700,000 miles have been driven without an accident.

While commercialization is still a long way off, last week a debate raged over the ethical situations that may arise when a driverless vehicle is put into a situation where a crash is imminent. As a hypothetical example, what if a crash was unavoidable, and a driverless car had to choose where to guide the car – either to collide with a schoolbus or a volvo?  Physics dictates that hitting an object of larger mass will statistically be the safest, but there are kids on board! What is the correct decision?  Is the law, and by extension, the public, prepared for cars that “choose” the best scenario?

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Posted in Hardware, Science, Security, Shifting Perspectives, Technology. Tagged with , , .

Code Combat: Wield JS, Slay Orcs, Get Jobs!

CodeCombatNever has Javascript been more fun to learn. A startup venture backed by Y Combinator wants to teach you that language you’ve always wanted to learn through gameification – or the usage of elements of game design(e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play)- to enhance motivation and the learning process. Slay orcs and battle minions by programming your units in a real-time web game. Compete against your friends to see who wrote the more robust code. Possibly get a job for your efforts?  Welcome to CodeCombat. Continue reading

Posted in Inspirations, IT, Shifting Perspectives, Software, Technology, video games. Tagged with , , , , , .

Facebook Replaces php with ‘Hack’

hack-programming-language-facebook-codeLast week, facebook announced that it had given its website, largely written in a programming language called php, a programming equivalent of a face lift.  They also made a splash in the web development industry by releasing a new web programming language called Hack to the open source community. Hack is based on the php, but claims to keep “all the good parts” while removing some of its limitations. Since Facebook has been converting it’s legacy php to hack for some time now, you can trust that hack can stand up to the highest expectations, and that Facebook clearly has a lot of faith in the strength of the language. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Shifting Perspectives, Software, Technology. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , .

Coin: Risk vs Reward

OnlyCoinAfter completing a $50,000 kickstarter campaign in under 40 minutes, this small company’s mission is to shrink the size of your wallet by decreasing the amount of plastic a person has to carry to a single card.

A small step to the transition of plastic to digital money management, there is a lot to like about the slick promo video for the card that can store debit card, credit card, and loyalty/gift cards on a single swipe-able card.  I love the idea, but will the execution be solid enough to stave off the security concerns around a comprehensive identity theft target? Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Hardware, Security, Software, Technology. Tagged with , , , , .

New Skills and Services for Managing the Cloud

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Over this week, I have been reading a lot about new companies creating new industries, markets, and services for the unmet needs IT organizations as they shift to the more and more mainstream paradigm of cloud computing. Gone are the days of a 2D IT department! It’s no longer just about Operations and Engineering.  The challenges of managing infrastructure outside the corporate wall, processing big data, and growing threat of cyber attacks have created some cool opportunities – and in this post I want to highlight a few that caught my attention. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Security, Shifting Perspectives, Software, Technology. Tagged with , , .

Solving Complex Problems Without Adding Complexity

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Ever wonder why a common complaint in the workforce of many large companies is that the business processes are too complex?  While every company tries to remove inefficiencies, its a recurring narrative that the bigger a company is and the longer it has been around, the more likely it is to be mired down in processes that sap productivity and don’t add value.

Yves Morieux is a Senior Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group,  head of BCG’s Institute for Organization.  In a recent TED talk, he really got me jazzed looking at how the top two organizational structures that corporate leaders use for resolving business challenges contribute directly to this productivity atrophy.  It is his opinion that these methods are obsolete and no longer work into today’s corporations.  He makes some compelling arguments.  What do you think? Continue reading

Posted in IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , .

Information Security for the “Internet of Things”

As a technology professional and a futurist, I enjoy thinking about what is the next step in the evolution of the use of technology. One of the prominent theories for that next leap is dubbed the “Internet of Things”. The internet of things is a world where everything, from your house, to your microwave, to your car, is “smart”, connected to the internet, and controllable by a computer.  Many of the prerequisites are already in play: IPv6, open hardware like Arduino, and RFID technology have laid the building blocks for more devices than ever before to be identifiable nodes on the internet. Smartphones have given you the remote control 2.0, an internet device carried by virtually every human being in the developing world with a wide array of uses. Wireless internet is expanding – 4G, wifi hotspots, and projects like Google Loon will give you access to the hyper expanding network from virtually anywhere on the planet.

A lot of the new “smart” devices joining Wi-Fi networks add new conveniences to our lives, but could potentially be opening us up to new vulnerabilities as well. I heard of a new one reading a blog by Arik Hesseldahl. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Security. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

badBIOS, a Bad-To-The-Bone, Halloween Malware

"Our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this"

“Our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this”

As a cyber security enthusiast, I like to think I know a thing or two about how to stay safe against viral threats.  But no article could have been more frighteningly fitting for arstechnica to post on Halloween, even for me. The article tells the story of Dragos Ruiu, a security icon responsible for the pwn2own hackathon franchise, who three years ago stumbled upon malware that took over a clean install of OS X on his Macbook Air.  He was unable to boot from CD, and found the machine was deleting data and undoing configuration changes without prompting. This is when it starts to get freaky.  The virus started propagating, even to machines completely disconnected from any traditional access point.  No networking, no power cables (running on batteries) fresh installs, with no contact with infected devices. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Science, Security. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

Vivek Kundra – U.S. Government CIO

"Put the citizen at the heart of Government Services- they are the customer, not the bureaucracy."

“Put the citizen at the heart of Government Services- they are the customer, not the bureaucracy.”

Vivek Kundra is an Indian American administrator who served as the first chief information officer of the United States from March, 2009 to August, 2011 under President Barack Obama. As CIO of the U.S. Government,  Vivek was one of the first to champion the use of cloud technology in the public sector. He believes in high level accountability for every IT project and was passionate about the ability to use government collected data to drive real consumer improvement.  I had the opportunity to hear Vivek speak as an Innovator at the World Innovation Forum.

Vivek’s first actions as CIO were centered around restructuring the project portfolio.  Many of the Government IT projects were millions of dollars over budget, and still years off schedule. He added three key strategies to focus spending and increase accountability: Continue reading

Posted in Government, IT, Project Management, Security. Tagged with , , , , , .

Dan Pink – To Sell is Human

"Whether you are peddling cars in the lot or ideas in the meeting, increase your effectiveness by decreasing your power."

Dan Pink is the author of five provocative bestselling books about the changing world of work. I highly recommend his work, as it is easy to get through and extremely informative.  His talk at the conference was around His book, To Sell is Human, about the art of selling: what has changed, what no longer works, and how to sell in a world of information parity.  Check out the video after the break of the core concepts of his book!

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Posted in Inspirations, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , , , .