CowboyRobot writes "HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is one of the most widely used application protocols on the Internet. Since its publication, RFC 2616 (HTTP 1.1) has served as a foundation for the unprecedented growth of the Internet: billions of devices of all shapes and sizes speak HTTP every day. What began as a simple one-line protocol for retrieving hypertext quickly evolved into a generic hypermedia transport protocol. Now a decade later it is used to power just about any use case imaginable. However, as more and more everyday interactions continue to migrate to the Web, HTTP has begun to show signs of stress. Users and developers alike are now demanding near-realtime responsiveness and protocol performance from HTTP 1.1, which it simply cannot provide without some modifications. To meet these new challenges, HTTP must continue to evolve. HTTP 2.0 will make applications faster, simpler, and more robust by enabling efficient multiplexing and low-latency delivery over a single connection and allowing Web developers to undo many of the application "hacks" used today to work around the limitations of HTTP 1.1."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "David Chisnall, of the University of Cambridge, describes how interfacing between languages is increasingly important. You can no longer expect a nontrivial application to be written in a single language. High-level languages typically call code written in lower-level languages as part of their standard libraries (for example, GUI rendering), but adding calls can be difficult. In particular, interfaces between two languages that are not C are often difficult to construct. Even relatively simple examples, such as bridging between C++ and Java, are not typically handled automatically and require a C interface. The problem of interfacing between languages is going to become increasingly important to compiler writers over the coming years."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "In November, Denmark-based Bitcoin Internet Payment System suffered a DDoS attack. Unfortunately for users of the company's free online wallets for storing bitcoins, the DDoS attack was merely a smokescreen for a digital heist that quickly drained numerous wallets, netting the attackers a reported 1,295 bitcoins — worth nearly $1 million — and leaving wallet users with little chance that they'd ever see their money again. Given the potential spoils from a successful online heist, related attacks are becoming more common. But not all bitcoin heists have been executed via hack attacks or malware. For example, a China-based bitcoin exchange called GBL launched in May. Almost 1,000 people used the service to deposit bitcoins worth about $4.1 million. But the exchange was revealed to be an elaborate scam after whoever launched the site shut it down on October 26 and absconded with the funds. The warnings are all the same: "Don't trust any online wallet.", "Find alternative storage solutions as soon as possible.", and "You don't have to keep your Bitcoins online with someone else. You can store your Bitcoins yourself, encrypted and offline.""Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "The incentives are high for many businesses and government agencies to not be too heavy handed in combating the global botnet pandemic. There's money to be had and, with each passing day, more interesting ways are being uncovered in how to package the data, and how to employ it. It used to be that the worlds of bug hunters and malware analysts were separate and far between. In the last couple of years the ability to analyze malware samples and identify exploitable vulnerabilities in them has become very important. Given that some botnets have a bigger pool of victims than many commercial software vendors have licensed customers, the value of an exploit that grants reliable remote control of a popular malware agent is rising in value. In many ways, botnets have become a golden goose to those charged with gathering intelligence on the populations of foreign entities. The bulk of the victim's data is useful for mapping populations, communication profiles, and as egress points for counter intelligence exercises. Then, given how many botnet victims there are, the probability that a few "interesting" computers will have succumbed along the way is similarly high — providing direct insight in to a pool of high value targets."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "InformationWeek has a slideshow of 10 IT Job Titles We Miss, looking back at obsolete skills from the past 20 years.
From 1995, "Want to check your electronic mail from the road? Just get to the nearest PC and surf the Internet. Lotus Development has come up with a way for users of its cc:Mail system to access their corporate network-based mail via the World Wide Web."
Remember 'cc:Mail Administrator', or for that matter, 'BBS Manager' or 'DEC Field Engineer/VAX Programmer'?"Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "Unmanned space missions can generate hundreds of terabytes of data every hour. What's a space agency to do? NASA has dozens of missions active at any given time: Robotic spacecraft beaming high-resolution images and other data from great distances; Earth-based projects surveying polar ice or examining global climate change. As you might imagine, the volume of data generated by these multiple efforts is staggering. For Chris Mattmann, a principal investigator for the big-data initiative at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., the term "terabytes of data" is hardly daunting. NASA, he pointed out, also makes good use of Apache TIKA, an open-source tool for detecting and extracting metadata and structured text from documents, to decipher the 18,000 to 50,000 file formats available online. "For us, file formats are where all the scientific observations, metadata, and information about the data are stored," said Mattmann. "We have to reach into files, crack them open, and pull this information out, because a lot of it feeds algorithms, analytics, and visualizations.""Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "Ageism in IT isn't a new story, but it typically doesn't travel beyond the confines of Silicon Valley and its youthful startup culture. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, told the audience at a 2007 Y Combinator Startup School event: "I want to stress the importance of being young and technical. Young people are just smarter." Zuckerberg's now a wizened 28-year-old, which also happens to be the average age of Facebook employees, according to a recent study. The average age of Google's workforce is 29. Michael Meyers-Jouan, 65, has been laid off four times in the past 10 years. "In general, whenever I got an explanation of my rejection after an interview, I was told I 'didn't have enough energy.'" Compensation was sometimes an issue — he sought a salary commensurate with his four decades of IT experience. He also acknowledged that his current skill set, which includes the likes of .NET, Visual Basic, C#, and SQL Server, had a visible blind spot: web development. The MIT graduate eventually opted to retire, but that wasn't his first choice. "I would have continued working for at least another five years.""Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "The price of a stolen identity has dropped as much as 37 percent in the cybercrime underground: to $25 for a U.S. identity, and $40 for an overseas identity. For $300 or less, you can acquire credentials for a bank account with a balance of $70,000 to $150,000, and $400 is all it takes to get a rival or targeted business knocked offline with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)-for-hire attack. Meanwhile, ID theft and bank account credentials are getting cheaper because there is just so much inventory (a.k.a. stolen personal information) out there. Bots are cheap, too: 1,000 bots go for $20, and 15,000, for $250."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "Amazon has established a public repository of climate and geological information collected by NASA for public use. The placement of the data on Amazon Web Services will give it proximity to what are expected to be many researcher applications that can avoid data transfer charges if they also are located on AWS. "By bringing these NASA public data assets into the AWS cloud, we help NASA engage a larger community for global change impact modeling and analysis," said Jamie Kinney, AWS senior manager for scientific computing, in the announcement of the repository. The data is expected to be used in research on climate change, weather forecasting, and earth's surface conditions. Applications tracking regional rainfall, ice cap shrinkage, and other features of the globe will be made possible through the availability of the data. The centralized, public repository will be located at http://aws.amazon.com/datasets."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "Android has a commanding lead over all other smartphone operating systems, according to data from IDC. Hardware makers shipped a combined 211.6 million Android smartphones during the third quarter of the year. Samsung alone accounted for 39.9%. At the same time, Apple saw its share of the smartphone market slip further, while Microsoft continued to make gains. "We believe the absence of a large-screen device may have contributed to Apple's inability to grow share in the third quarter," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. The sooner Apple can bring iPhones with large screens to market, the better."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "In their fourth annual survey, Dr. Dobb's compared the salaries of 3,000 developers and managers. The results show that after several years of being flat, salaries are on the rise once again. The West coast remains the most lucratve part of the country to work in development, and the highest earners tend to be between 36 and 55 years old. Survey respondants were also asked what matters most about their jobs. "The fact that half of those surveyed could find seven attributes of their job more meaningful than base salary continues to signal a workforce that is engaged in its profession for reasons far beyond money. This is consistent with the general sentiment that a passion for software development motivates most of us in this field."
[Slideshow]"Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "With Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 13.10 just out and Windows XP support going away, this is a good time for companies to consider (again) switching to Linux on the desktop. Businesses need to understand their compliance requirements and develop a plan for training IT staff before deciding to move forward with a full conversion. But overall, Ubuntu Linux has matured into a viable alternative to proprietary operating systems in the enterprise. The effort companies put into a Linux desktop replacement program will be worth the savings in licensing fees. Next year may finally be the “year of the Linux desktop.”"Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "If you are in the market for a data scientist, chances are the search will be long, difficult and costly. The term 'big data' is definitely overused, but there is no doubt that business and technology leaders are banking that big data will help provide analytics for a variety of needs in the very near future, including regulatory reporting, client targeting, trading strategies, portfolio management and more. "Finding big data talent is difficult, retaining it is nearly impossible," said Dr. Usama Fayyad, chairman of Oasis500, and former CDO at Yahoo! "And the role of data scientist is impossible to fill, especially outside of the US." Unfortunately, universities are not yet up to the task of producing large numbers of data scientists. Only a few schools have degrees that focus on the data sciences. For instance, Stanford offers online courses for data mining and statistics. The University of California at Berkeley offers a Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS), but the program is only starting up in January 2014. It will take most students about a year to complete the MIDS course, but keep in mind that many enrollees will likely have full-time jobs and will only take the courses part time, lengthening the time until they graduate."Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "The advantage of parallel programming over serial computing is increased computing performance, achieved by way of reducing latency, increasing throughput, and reducing CPU power consumption. Two approaches for optimizing are to make a program run faster with the same workload (reflected in Amdahl's Law) or to run a program in the same time with a larger workload (Gustafson-Barsis' Law). "Gustafson noted that problem sizes grow as computers become more powerful. As the problem size grows, the work required for the parallel part of the problem frequently grows much faster than the serial part. If this is true for a given application, then as the problem size grows the serial fraction decreases and speedup improves...History clearly favors programs attacking and solving larger, more complex problems, so Gustafson's observations fit the historical trend. Nevertheless, Amdahl's Law still haunts you when you need to make an application run faster on the same workload to meet some latency target.""Link to Original Source
CowboyRobot writes "The Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment is developing a plan to reuse waste heat from nearby data centers and other sources to power a so-called “district heating” system that would deliver sustainable hot water and heat to buildings in the city’s South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods. The city is working with tenants, local heating utility Seattle Steam, and Corix, a Vancouver, Ontario-based provider of sustainable utility infrastructures, on the plan. With the abundance of large sewer lines and the presence of a local steam system — two other sources of waste heat — the building blocks are in place to bring the plan to fruition. In the meantime, Corix is in the process of performing an analysis of the proposed system’s viability, both in terms of cost and its ability to be priced competitively, and the city’s staff is working to build interest among all the potential stakeholders. Among the buildings that could potentially be heated by the system would be the new headquarters complex Amazon hopes to build in the South Lake Union area."Link to Original Source