Z Trek: The Alan Zeichick Weblog

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Wishing Ted Bahr the best on the Bahr Gallery

Ted Bahr has the coolest art store on Long Island: The Bahr Gallery. Ted is the “B” of BZ Media – and I’m the “Z.” We’ve worked together, off and on, since the early 1990s, beginning at Miller Freeman in San Francisco. We started…
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USC shows how AI can make cities smarter

The trash truck rumbles down the street, and its cameras pour video into the city’s data lake. An AI-powered application mines that image data looking for graffiti—and advises whether to dispatch a fully equipped paint crew or a squad with…
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14 ways to optimize your application’s real-world performance

Users care passionately about their software being fast and responsive. You need to give your applications both 0-60 speed and the strongest long-term endurance. Here are 14 guidelines for choosing a deployment platform to optimize performance,…

Little spam boxes filled with cash

Little boxes, little boxes, all the same. If this spam has anything that makes it interesting, beyond the terrible grammar, it’s that the faux shipments are so detailed: 61x156x73m, with a capacity of 680 liters. Of course, this is spam…
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Wishing Cantor Barry Reich a wonderful retirement

Can you believe that Cantor Barry Reich has been with Peninsula Temple Sholom for 51 years? That’s an incredible tenure. He began at the Burlingame, Calif., synagogue as a liturgical singer who showed up on a motorcycle. He retires — well,…
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Don’t play “Topper” with someone’s grief

It’s so easy to relate to someone’s sorrows by saying, “Oh yes, that happened to me too.” A friend lost a job; well, you lost a job once. A friend lost a pet; well, your Fluffy got cancer and died. And speaking of cancer… or losing…

Hillary Clinton isn’t Secretary of State — hasn’t been for some time

If writing parts of a message in ALL CAPS lent credibility, this spam might be believable. But really? How long has it been since Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State? Look at the email addresses, look at the names, look at the typos. It’s…
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How not to fail at GDPR compliance

You wouldn’t enjoy paying a fine of 4 percent of your company’s total revenue. But that’s the potential penalty if your company is found in violation of the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes…
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The public cloud is part of your network — but it’s not entirely

The public cloud is part of your network. But it's also not part of your network. That can make security tricky, and sometimes become a nightmare. The cloud represents resources that your business rents. Computational resources, like CPU…
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How to streamline third-party security risk assessments

It’s standard practice for a company to ask its tech suppliers to fill out detailed questionnaires about their security practices. Companies use that information when choosing a supplier. Too much is at stake, in terms of company reputation…
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Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are essential for cloud computing

No more pizza boxes: Traditional hardware firewalls can't adequately protect a modern corporate network and its users. Why? Because while there still may be physical servers inside an on-premises data center or in a wiring closet somewhere,…
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Wandering into the Linux vs GNU/Linux controversy

Chapter One: Christine Hall Should the popular Linux operating system be referred to as "Linux" or "GNU/Linux"? It’s a thing, or at least it used to be, writes my friend Christine Hall in her aptly named article, “Is It Linux or GNU/Linux?,…
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Key takeaways from RSA Conference 2018

Nine takeaways from the RSA Conference 2018 can give business leaders some perspective on how to think about the latest threats and information security trends. I attended the conference in April, along with more than 42,000 corporate security…
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The perfect sport for CEOs

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd is known as an avid tennis fan and supporter of the sport’s development, having played in college at Baylor University. At the Collision Conference last week in New Orleans, Hurd discussed the similar challenges facing…
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Five things you need to know about microservices

Microservices are a software architecture that have become quite popular in conjunction with cloud-native applications. Microservices allow companies to add or update new or existing tech-powered features more easily—and quite frequently even…
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Blockchain increases trust between business partners

No doubt you’ve heard about blockchain. It’s the a distributed digital ledger technology that lets participants add and view blocks of transaction records, but not delete or change them without being detected. Most of us know blockchain…
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Staying awake, worrying about network attackers

Get ready for insomnia. Attackers are finding new techniques, and here are five that will give you nightmares worse than after you watched the slasher film everyone warned you about when you were a kid. At a panel at the 2018 RSA Conference…
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Why your Security Operations Center can’t scale

Blame people for the SOC scalability challenge. On the other hand, don't blame your people. It's not their fault. The security operations center (SOC) team is frequently overwhelmed, particularly the Tier 1 security analysts tasked with triage.…
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Microsoft Security thinks like Skynet

Got Terminator? Microsoft is putting artificial intelligence in charge of automatically responding to detected threats, with a forthcoming update to Windows Defender ATP. Microsoft is expanding its use of artificial intelligence and big data…
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Threat report from Oracle, KPMG points to strong trust in the cloud

Is the cloud ready for sensitive data? You bet it is. Some 90% of businesses in a new survey say that at least half of their cloud-based data is indeed sensitive, the kind that cybercriminals would love to get their hands on. The migration…
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Hot new Verizon Data Breach report focuses on ransomware, botnets

Ransomware rules the cybercrime world – perhaps because ransomware attacks are often successful and financially remunerative for criminals. Ransomware features prominently in Verizon’s fresh-off-the-press 2018 Data Breach Investigations…

Oh, look, a message from Citibank House, USA

How very British – having correspondence from “Citibank House,” somewhere in the state of North Carolina. It’s like the address for the British Broadcasting Corp. was simply BBC, Bush House, London, for many decades. The building's street…
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What IHS Markit says about the IoT and colocation hosts

Endpoints everywhere! That’s the future, driven by the Internet of Things. When IoT devices are deployed in their billions, network traffic patterns won’t look at all like today’s patterns. Sure, enterprises have a few employees working…
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Blockchain solves PDF document signature headaches

The purchase order looks legitimate, yet does it have all the proper approvals? Many lawyers reviewed this draft contract so is this the latest version? Can we prove that this essential document hasn’t been tampered with, before I sign…
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There's no one best programming language

Asking “which is the best programming language” is like asking about the most important cooking tool in your kitchen. Mixer? Spatula? Microwave? Cooktop? Measuring cup? Egg timer? Lemon zester? All are critical, depending on what you’re…

The FBI isn’t sending you to a Nigerian bank for an ATM card

Mr. Christopher A. Wray is confused. Otherwise, why else would he use an email address that says Eric Wilson? Why else would he say he’s head of the FBI, but uses an email domain at a supply-chain management company in Pennsylvania? Why would…
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Make software as simple as possible – but not simpler

Albert Einstein famously said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Agile development guru Venkat Subramaniam has a knack for taking that insight and illustrating just how desperately the software development…
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Let’s make data warehouses more autonomous — here’s why

As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. In a data-driven organization, the best tools for measuring the performance are business intelligence (BI) and analytics engines, which require data. And that explains why data…
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The economic cost of data breaches to a business – and to the country

“We estimate that malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016.” That’s from a February 2018 report, “The Cost of Malicious Cyber Activity to the U.S. Economy,” by the Council of Economic…
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DevOps gets rid of the developer / operations wall

The “throw it over the wall” problem is familiar to anyone who’s seen designers and builders create something that can’t actually be deployed or maintained out in the real world. In the tech world, avoiding this problem is a big part…