Bitcoin is a crypto-currency which leverages the Blockchain. Similar to a real currency, Bitcoin is hailed as a revolutionary technology for storing value. It’s popularity stems from distrust in real world currencies, the un-regulated printing of currencies like the US Dollar.
Bitcoin is governed by “developers” and infrastructure. Crypto Miners who facilitate the transactions within the Bitcoin ecosystem have a shared consensus to regulate and evolve the Bitcoin economy. Bitcoin has governed parameters which include a limit on quantity, blocksize and others.
Today, the Bitcoin community seeks to evolve Bitcoin with agreed changes. Segwit2x, also known as the New York Agreement, is an industry-wide compromise that CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group Barry Silbert spearheaded in May to activate the Segregated Witness (Segwit) scaling upgrade for Bitcoin. Key mining pools and exchanges that agreed to the aforementioned plan include Bitmain’s Antpool, Btc.top, Bixin, Btcc Pool, F2pool, Huobi, Okcoin, Viabtc, BW, 1Hash, Canoe, Batpool, and Bitkan.
The event and announcement closely follow Bitmain’s release of its hard fork protection plan against UASF BIP148, which CEO Jihan Wu has described as an attack on Bitcoin. He spoke at the Summit on June 14 about how to prevent BIP148 from activating, outlining its weaknesses.
China owns ~80% of Bitcoin mining infrastructure and typically plays a dominant role in the future of Bitcoin.
Read more here.
In 2005, a research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.
The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.
“We’ve found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer,” said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.
You can see the dots on color prints from machines made by Xerox, Canon, and other manufacturers (for a list of the printers we investigated so far, see: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php). The dots are yellow, less than one millimeter in diameter, and are typically repeated over each page of a document. In order to see the pattern, you need a blue light, a magnifying glass, or a microscope (for instructions on how to see the dots, see: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/).
EFF and its partners began its project to break the printer code with the Xerox DocuColor line. Researchers Schoen, EFF intern Robert Lee, and volunteers Patrick Murphy and Joel Alwen compared dots from test pages sent in by EFF supporters, noting similarities and differences in their arrangement, and then found a simple way to read the pattern.
“So far, we’ve only broken the code for Xerox DocuColor printers,” said Schoen. “But we believe that other models from other manufacturers include the same personally identifiable information in their tracking dots.”
You can decode your own Xerox DocuColor prints using EFF’s automated program at http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/index.php#program.
Xerox previously admitted that it provided these tracking dots to the government, but indicated that only the Secret Service had the ability to read the code. The Secret Service maintains that it only uses the information for criminal counterfeit investigations. However, there are no laws to prevent the government from abusing this information.
“Underground democracy movements that produce political or religious pamphlets and flyers, like the Russian samizdat of the 1980s, will always need the anonymity of simple paper documents, but this technology makes it easier for governments to find dissenters,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “Even worse, it shows how the government and private industry make backroom deals to weaken our privacy by compromising everyday equipment like printers. The logical next question is: what other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?”
EFF is still working on cracking the codes from other printers and we need the public’s help. Find out how you can make your own test pages to be included in our research at http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/wp.php#testsheets.
In 2007, a team of Google engineers needed more accurate time for servers. Time is especially useful for synchronising data, and especially transactional data. Technologies like Cassandra depend on accurate time between database servers to be able to reconstruct the order-of-events on a database. The end goal is to be sure about the “State-of-Data”.
NTP (network time protocol) is what unix servers and internet machines use to synchronise time. Due to network delays or processing delays, a computer’s time can easily get out of sync with its peers. The margin of error has been minor, and the demand for high accuracy has been crucial. But for a large computing company like Google, keeping thousands of system accurate was important for them to create “Spanner“.
Spanner is the new time keeping platform that Google has constructed using GPS and an atomic clock. Fortunately the distances we have to cover is at most the span of the earth. I am sure the folks in NASA and other space faring agencies will have to consider time differences spanning larger quantums of space.
This is all in the effort to maintain the “State-of-Data”.
Talend, a 10-year old software company that specialises in open-sourced data management tools with a subscription-based premium model, raised $86+ million in an initial public offering (IPO). The lead underwriters include Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, and Citigroup.
The company said it issued 5.25 million American Depositary Shares at a price of $18 per share, above the $15-$17 range it originally declared, thus raising $94.5 million.
In 2014, Talend CEO Mike Tuchen said that the company could go public “sometime in the next couple of years.” The company trades on NASDAQ under the symbol TLND.
Talend’s competitive edge lies in the value of its data integration products which cost a fraction of tools sold by Informatica, Tibco, and enterprise software vendors like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Talend customers include AOL, Citi, GE Healthcare, Groupon, Lenovo, Orange, Sky, and Sony.
Last year, Talend generated a total revenue of $76 million. Its subscription revenue grew 39% year over year, representing $62.7 million of the total. The company isn’t profitable: it reported a net loss of $22 million for 2015. In the first quarter of this year, Talend produced a $5.2 million loss on $22.7 million in revenue, up 33.5 percent year over year. For that quarter, 84 percent of the revenue derived from subscriptions; the rest resulted from professional services.
Talend started in 2005 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California. The company had 566 employees as of March 31. Investors include Bpifrance, Iris Capital, Silver Lake Sumeru, Balderton Capital, and Idinvest Partners.
The company offers cloud and on-premises versions of its software, which supports the Hadoop open-source big data software and is based on the open-source Apache Camel.
Estonia is a small country bordering Russia, Latvia and Finland. It boasts of an advanced information management platform for government.
This platform is the X-Road platform which is an invisible but crucial backbone for data transactions between the various e-services databases in the public and private sectors. X-Road facilitates harmonious interoperability.
Estonia’s data stores are de-centralised meaning:There is no single owner / controller Every government agency or business can choose the right products suitable for them Services are added one at a time, as they are ready
All Estonian services that use multiple data stores use X-Road as a central connection between these data stores. All outgoing data from X-Road is digitally signed and encrypted. All incoming data is authenticated and logged.
X-Road was a system built to facilitate multi-data store queries, but has evolved to also facilitate multi-data store writes, and transmit large datasets. It was also designed for growth and currently supports:287 million queries (2013) Connects 170 database in Estonia Provides 2000 services in Estonia Connects 900 organisations daily Supports >50% of Estonians who use the government portal Eesti.ee
Services provided via X-Road include:Electronic Registration of residency Updating personal data (like address, exam results, health insurance etc…) Declare taxes electronically Check driving license validity Check for registered vehicles Registering newborn children for health insurance
Estonia showcases its e-society here. To transform its society into a community of digital governance and tech-savvy individuals, children as young as 7 are taught the principles and basics of coding.
Estonians are driven, forward-thinking and entrepreneurial, and the same goes for the government. It takes only five minutes to register a company there and, according to The Economist, the country in 2013 held the world record for the number of startups per person. And it’s not quantity over quality: Many Estonian startups are now successful companies that you may recognize, such as Skype, Transferwise, Pipedrive, Cloutex, Click & Grow, GrabCAD, Erply, Fortumo, Lingvist and others.
If all this sounds enticing and you wish to become an entrepreneur there, you’re in luck; starting a business in Estonia is easy, and you can do it without packing your bags, thanks to its e-residency service, a transnational digital identity available to anyone. An e-resident can not only establish a company in Estonia through the Internet, but they can also have access to other online services that have been available to Estonians for over a decade. This includes e-banking and remote money transfers, declaring Estonian taxes online, digitally signing and verifying contracts and documents, and much more.
E-residents are issued a smart ID card, a legal equivalent to handwritten signatures and face-to-face identification in Estonia and worldwide. The cards themselves are protected by 2048-bit encryption, and the signature/ID functionality is provided by two security certificates stored on the card’s microchip.
But great innovations don’t stop there. Blockchain, the principle behind bitcoin that also secures the integrity of e-residency data, will be used to provide unparalleled safety to 1 million Estonian health records. The blockchain will be used to register any and all changes, illicit or otherwise, done to the health records, protecting their authenticity and effectively eliminating any abuse of the data therein.
There are many lessons we can learn from Estonia. To increases efficiency and maturity of services, a country needs to be willing to adapt and evolve infrastructure to the needs to the new economy. These include transparency, precise and equitable delivery of services to the community.
Are you famous yet? In another case of “Schadenfreude“, the Panama Papers have placed a list of dignitaries in the public spotlight a year after the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung received 2.6 terabytes of documents related to Mossack Fonseca from an anonymous source. This eclipses Wikileaks Cablegate 2010 (1.7 GB), Offshore Leaks 2013 (260 GB), Lux Leaks 2014 (4 GB), and Swiss Leaks 2015 (3.3 GB).
The Panama Papers comprises e-mails, PDF files, photos, and excerpts of an internal Mossack Fonseca database. It covers a period spanning from the 1970s to the spring of 2016 with data on some 214,000 companies. There is a folder for each shell firm that contains e-mails, contracts, transcripts, and scanned documents. The leak comprises 4,804,618 emails, 3,047,306 database format files, 2,154,264 PDFs, 1,117,026 images, 320,166 text files, and 2,242 files in other formats.
Meet Nuix, the Australian company that has the technology to make sense of all this data.
Kimonolabs started as a Winter 2014 Y Combinator class startup. It recently raised USD5M in 2014, but this hasn’t help delaying their choice to shutter their doors for jobs at Palantir. Pratap explained that the startup has not been able to have the impact it wanted within the two years from launch. So Kimonolabs falls too the wayside where many other web-scaping tools have gone leaving their 125K users in the lurch.
They have given 2 weeks notice to their users to migrate data and services from the platform. The last day is 29 Feb 2016. The absolute last day for API services is 31st March 2016. Your data will be purged and Palantir will not have access to it. If you depend on this service, you will probably be scrambling at this point for alternatives. I am sure that when you assess the risk for utilising a technology like Kimonolabs, you will consider the financial and resource stability of the company.
Meet CAPSICUM Business Architects, a company founded by CEO Terry Roach (Australia) and focused on understanding your business. The approach is to turn it into a digital model using semantics and a custom-built business modelling platform “Jalapeno” thus enabling, facilitating and quantifying change.
This is indeed revolutionary, and CAPSICUM leads where many have failed to map the evolving enterprise.
The Jalapeno tool is a semantic modelling tool leveraging tuples and RDF to describe an enterprise, and it stores this information in a database. It models the organisation from a top-down perspective, maybe a business-centric perspective, or from existing standards. Of course this tool is really as good as its modellers.
Why do I say this is revolutionary? The reason for this, is that the bulk of enterprise architects continually struggle to map the existing enterprise working from the ground up, and often are unable to plan the future state effectively.
Maybe the approach to enterprise architecture has been reactive for most of the time, and largely unable to meet the speed of changing business scenarios. Maybe Business Architecture has a better chance, but maybe Jalapeno has the design to be truely revolutionary.
It’s probably best to map an organisation at the strategic business level, where benefits of change are being considered, and mapping that through the organisation measuring CAPEX, OPEX, actors, structure and cost of change. Gap architecture really.
This all sounds very familiar as an idealistic state of well governed enterprise architecture or business architecture practices, and I’ll definitely be happy to see the Jalapeno platform make further progress.
Data visualization is the art of presenting often complex datasets in a visually engaging way.
David McCandless, in his TED 2010 talk discussed that sight has by far the fastest and biggest bandwidth of any of the five senses. The eye takes in ~80% of our information. View his talk.