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Showing posts from October, 2012

With Each Passing Week

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Following on from yesterday's e-crime congress, Mid-year Forum in London, I had a few thoughts, based on the presentations and my own ideas of the constantly evolving risks we face.

So let's accept that that the arrival of the 'Internet of Things' and 'Always-on' technologies is creating a constantly growing surface opportunity for the kinds of sophisticated criminals that once use to exist only in the imagination of the science-fiction author, William Gibson.

What concerns me after a decade of chairing and speaking at e-crime and info security conferences, is the shortage of new and even radical ideas and answers, as business and industry struggles to keep pace with the parabolic curve of exploitation, vulnerability and criminal opportunity.

In the middle of the biggest recession in sixty years, many businesses are even more focused on cutting their technology costs that building a resilient defense posture and the language of risk has changed very little…

Software and Chips

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There’s a conversation running through the camera community at present, that certain manufacturers are disabling features in order to switch them on, one by one in subsequent product releases.

To me, it sounds as if the technology is now moving so quickly in this particular space, with product advances such as Lytro, that there’s seemingly little commercial point in releasing a new camera with all the super new, software-driven features in one go. Instead, as the product design teams work on new chips and new software, which can take a couple of years, it may make more sense to dribble out the features over a period of time to keep the sales going.

Otherwise, why would you buy the next expensive upgrade, if like me, what you have is perfectly good for now? The same conversation could conceivably extend to all kinds of software-driven commodity products where manufacturers depend on quarterly and annual sales targets. You only have to think of the iPhone being jailbroken and already …

From Bradford to Beijing

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I wanted to return to the theme, briefly touched-upon in the last blog entry and that's what will happen when computers cease to merely assist us in making discoveries but discover things for themselves. Perhaps things that are too complex for most of us to understand, like abstruse mathematics?

A Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. Steven Strogatz,argues that we are living in a special window of time, stretching from the dawn of the scientific revolution, 350 years ago, to a point, a few decades into the future. Only people living in this window can say they truly understand the world in which they live. Why is this so? It's because as the volume of knowledge and 'Big Data' continues to expand at a near geometric rate, we are building a web, so tangled and so complex in terms of supporting information and infrastructure, it is rapidly running away from our limited human ability to make sense of it.

Samuel Arbesman, in ARC magazine, argues that th…

Big Data - Big Limits

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It must be more than twenty years since I predicted that one day, we would be able to cram all the world's data into a single optical disk. I recall, that I was writing an article about Apple Computer, perhaps it was for Computer Weekly, with Apple very much a niche player at the time and Steve Jobs, as ever, well ahead of the curve, had expressed real excitement about the technology.

Of course, I was wrong in one very important respect. All the world's data or the sum of human knowledge, twenty years ago, is only a fraction of what it is today, at a time when IDC reports that three exabytes of new data are created each twenty-four hours. That's two to the sixtieth bytes or simply a billion gigabytes; I'm told about 50,000 years worth of DVD quality video. As volumes of data continue to grow at near exponential rates, the prevailing 'Big Data' debate surrounds the very real challenge of storing and making sense of it all, let alone the the privacy implication…

Past and Future

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In the technology business, memories are short and thanks to the internet, attention spans are now even shorter.

I've been blogging for a decade now and was one of the first columnists to use 'Blogger' when it was a new idea, WAP was the next big thing for mobile platforms, MP3 music players were a hot item and Apple was still struggling to sell products like my Powerbook 3400 laptop computer which they gave me for free.

In my attic, there are boxes of old magazines I used to edit and which I haven't seen for years, stored like nostalgic time capsules, so that one day, I could tell my grandchildren, 'I told you so!'

There's Microsoft BackOffice Magazine, Lotus Notes Magazine and Java Vision alongside old copies of Computer Weekly and a full set of 'AquaCorps', the magazine for technical divers. Very few people remember these or indeed, what the pace and change in technologies was like before the arrival of the internet and the beginning of the mill…