Referencias | References

Referencias completas de vocabulario, eventos, crónicas, evidencias y otros contenidos utilizados en los proyectos relacionados con biotecnología y neurociencia de la KW Foundation.

Full references of vocabulary, events, chronicles, evidences and other contents used in KW Projects related to biotechnology and neuroscience.

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What's the difference between a vulnerability scan, penetration test and a risk analysis? [1231]

de System Administrator - sábado, 16 de mayo de 2015, 15:06

What's the difference between a vulnerability scan, penetration test and a risk analysis?

By Tony Martin-Vegue

Misunderstanding these important tools can put your company at risk – and cost you a lot of money

You’ve just deployed an ecommerce site for your small business or developed the next hot iPhone MMORGP. Now what?

Don’t get hacked!

Let’s examine the differences in depth and see how they complement each other.


Vulnerability assessment

Vulnerability assessments are most often confused with penetration tests and often used interchangeably, but they are worlds apart.

Vulnerability assessments are performed by using an off-the-shelf software package, such as Nessus or OpenVas to scan an IP address or range of IP addresses for known vulnerabilities. For example, the software has signatures for the Heartbleed bug or missing Apache web server patches and will alert if found. The software then produces a report that lists out found vulnerabilities and (depending on the software and options selected) will give an indication of the severity of the vulnerability and basic remediation steps.

It’s important to keep in mind that these scanners use a list of known vulnerabilities, meaning they are already known to the security community, hackers and the software vendors. There are vulnerabilities that are unknown to the public at large and these scanners will not find them.

Penetration test

Many “professional penetration testers” will actually just run a vulnerability scan, package up the report in a nice, pretty bow and call it a day. Nope – this is only a first step in a penetration test. A good penetration tester takes the output of a network scan or a vulnerability assessment and takes it to 11 – they probe an open port and see what can be exploited.

For example, let’s say a website is vulnerable to Heartbleed. Many websites still are. It’s one thing to run a scan and say “you are vulnerable to Heartbleed” and a completely different thing to exploit the bug and discover the depth of the problem and find out exactly what type of information could be revealed if it was exploited. This is the main difference – the website or service is actually being penetrated, just like a hacker would do.

Similar to a vulnerability scan, the results are usually ranked by severity and exploitability with remediation steps provided.

Penetration tests can be performed using automated tools, such as Metasploit, but veteran testers will write their own exploits from scratch.

Risk analysis

A risk analysis is often confused with the previous two terms, but it is also a very different animal. A risk analysis doesn't require any scanning tools or applications – it’s a discipline that analyzes a specific vulnerability (such as a line item from a penetration test) and attempts to ascertain the risk – including financial, reputational, business continuity, regulatory and others -  to the company if the vulnerability were to be exploited.

Many factors are considered when performing a risk analysis: asset, vulnerability, threat and impact to the company. An example of this would be an analyst trying to find the risk to the company of a server that is vulnerable to Heartbleed.

The analyst would first look at the vulnerable server, where it is on the network infrastructure and the type of data it stores. A server sitting on an internal network without outside connectivity, storing no data but vulnerable to Heartbleed has a much different risk posture than a customer-facing web server that stores credit card data and is also vulnerable to Heartbleed. A vulnerability scan does not make these distinctions. Next, the analyst examines threats that are likely to exploit the vulnerability, such as organized crime or insiders, and builds a profile of capabilities, motivations and objectives. Last, the impact to the company is ascertained – specifically, what bad thing would happen to the firm if an organized crime ring exploited Heartbleed and acquired cardholder data?

A risk analysis, when completed, will have a final risk rating with mitigating controls that can further reduce the risk. Business managers can then take the risk statement and mitigating controls and decide whether or not to implement them.

The three different concepts explained here are not exclusive of each other, but rather complement each other. In many information security programs, vulnerability assessments are the first step – they are used to perform wide sweeps of a network to find missing patches or misconfigured software. From there, one can either perform a penetration test to see how exploitable the vulnerability is or a risk analysis to ascertain the cost/benefit of fixing the vulnerability. Of course, you don’t need either to perform a risk analysis. Risk can be determined anywhere a threat and an asset is present. It can be data center in a hurricane zone or confidential papers sitting in a wastebasket.

It’s important to know the difference – each are significant in their own way and have vastly different purposes and outcomes. Make sure any company you hire to perform these services also knows the difference.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Tony Martin-Vegue

  • IDG Contributor Network 
  • Tony Martin-Vegue works for a large global retailer leading the firm’s cyber-crime program. His enterprise risk and security analyses are informed by his 20 years of technical expertise in areas such as network operations, cryptography and system administration. Tony holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of San Francisco and holds certifications including CISSP, CISM and CEH.




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de System Administrator - lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014, 17:19


Written By: Jason Dorrier

The internet is a little bit like an organism—a really huge organism, made up of over four billion IP addresses networked across the globe. How does the internet behave day to day? What are its natural cycles?

USC Viterbi School of Engineering project leader and computer science assistant professor, John Heidemann, decided to find out.

In collaboration with Lin Quan and Yuri Pradkin, Heidemann pinged 3.7 million IP address blocks—representing almost a billion unique IP addresses—every 11 minutes for two months earlier this year. They asked the simple question: When are these addresses active and when are they sleeping?

The team found some interesting trends. IP addresses using home WiFi routers in countries like the US and Western Europe were consistently on (or awake) around the clock, whereas addresses in Eastern Europe, South America, and Asia tended to cycle more regularly with day and night.

Why is this important? Think of it as a method for differentiating between a “sleeping” internet and a “broken” internet.

“This data helps us establish a baseline for the internet,” says Heidemann, “To understand how it functions, so that we have a better idea of how resilient it is as a whole, and can spot problems quicker.”

The simplest use of the data may be akin to a health checkup, but there might be other interesting research outcomes too. For example, an “always on” internet may correlate with economic development. Over the years, we might be able to track how countries are doing, adding internet data to other broad statistics like GDP.

You might also have noticed there are big holes in the map in Africa, Asia, and South America. These in part correlate to low-population areas—but they also show where internet coverage is still spotty. Indeed, billions around the world still lack regular internet access (a situation Google and Facebook are intent on remedying).

Heidemann’s map is intriguing, in part, because it’s a striking visual representation of just how connected the planet already is—and just how much more connected it is likely to become over next few years and decades.

Image Credit: USC Viterbi School of Engineering

This entry was posted in ComputingTech and tagged facebookgoogleinternet accessinternet balloonsJohn HeidemannLin Quanusc viterbi school of engineeringYuri Pradkin.


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When the Toaster Shares Your Data With the Refrigerator, the Bathroom Scale, and Tech Firms [1274]

de System Administrator - martes, 30 de junio de 2015, 22:53

When the Toaster Shares Your Data With the Refrigerator, the Bathroom Scale, and Tech Firms

By Vivek Wadhwa

Your toaster will soon talk to your toothbrush and your bathroom scale. They will all have a direct line to your car and to the health sensors in your smartphone. I have no idea what they will think of us or what they will gossip about, but our devices will be soon be sharing information about us — with each other and with the companies that make or support them.

It’s called the Internet of Things, a fancy name for the sensors embedded in our commonly used appliances and electronic devices, which will be connected to each other via WiFi, Bluetooth, or mobile-phone technology.  They will have computers in them to analyze the data that they gather and will upload this via the Internet to central storage facilities managed by technology companies. Just as our TVs are getting smarter, with the ability to stream Netflix shows, make Skype calls, and respond to our gestures, our devices will have increasingly sophisticated computers embedded in them for more and more purposes.

The Nest home thermostat already monitors its users’ daily movements and optimizes the temperature in their homes. It reduces energy bills and makes their houses more comfortable. Technology companies say they will use the Internet of Things in the same way: to improve our energy usage, health, security, and lifestyle and habits.

Well, that is what they claim. In reality, companies such as Apple and Google want to learn all they can about us so that they can market more products and services to us — and sell our data to others. Google Search, Gmail, and Apple Maps monitor our life for that purpose but are free and very helpful; and so will the new features on our devices be inexpensive and useful. They will tell us when we need to order more milk, eat our medicine, rethink having that extra slice of cheesecake, and take the dog for a walk. It’s a Faustian bargain, but one that most of us will readily make.

The ability to collect such data will have a profound effect on the economy. McKinsey Global Institute, in a new report, “The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype,” says that the economic impact of the Internet of Things could be $3.9 to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025 — 11 percent of the global economy. It will reach far beyond our homes and create value through productivity improvements, time savings, and improved asset utilization; by monitoring machines on the factory floor, the progress of ships at sea, and traffic patterns in cities; and through the economic value of reductions in disease, accidents, and deaths. It will monitor the natural world, people, and animals.

As CLSA analyst Ed Maguire explains it, when manufacturers connect their products, they gain insights into the distribution chain, into usage patterns, and into how to create iterative products. Turning electronic products into software-controlled machines makes possible continuous improvements both to the machines and to the business models for using them. The constant improvement in features that we see in our smartphones will become common on our other devices. Maguire says that companies will be able to “offer an experience or utility as a service that previously had to be purchased as a physical good.”

Everything will be connected, including cars, street lighting, jet engines, medical scanners, and household appliances. Rather than throwing appliances away when a new model comes out, we will just download new features. That is how the Tesla electric cars already work — they get software updates every few weeks that provide new features. Tesla’s latest software upgrades are enabling the cars to begin to drive themselves.

But the existence of all these sensors will create many new challenges. Businesses have not yet figured out how to use the data they already have. According to McKinsey, for example, oil rigs have as many as 30,000 sensors, but their owners examine only one percent of the data they collect. The data they do use mostly concern anomaly detection and control — not optimization and prediction, which would offer the greatest value.

Companies are also reluctant to change their business models, which they would need to do in order to offer better experiences and new methods of pricing. Sensor data will tell product manufacturers how much their products are used and will allow them to charge by usage. They will be able to bundle product upgrades and new services into usage charges. But that will mean accepting payment retrospectively rather than in advance, and will require them to build business operations that focus on data and software, with new organizational structures. So they will be reluctant to change. But creative new start-ups will take advantage of technology advances and put incumbents out of business. Note how Uber is using the technologies in our smartphones to disrupt the taxi industry. That is a prelude of things to come.

My greatest concerns in all this are the loss of privacy and confidentiality. Cameras are already recording our every move in city streets, in office buildings, and in shopping malls. Our newly talkative devices will keep track of everything we do, and our cars will know everywhere we have been. Privacy will be dead, even within our homes.

Already, there are debates about whether Facebook and Instagram can and should be able to legally use our likes and the pictures we upload for marketing purposes. Google reads our e-mails and keeps track of what we watch on YouTube in order to deliver advertisements to us. Will we be happy for the manufacturers of our refrigerators to recommend new flavors of ice cream; for our washing machines to suggest a brand of clothes to buy, or for our weighing machines to recommend new diet plans? They will have the data necessary for doing this — just as the maker of your smart TV maker is learning what shows you watch. Will we be happy for criminals and governments to hack our houses and learn even more about who we are and what we think?

I am not looking forward to having my bathroom scale tell my refrigerator not to order any more cheesecake, but know that it is an amazing — and scary — future that we are rapidly heading into.


Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University.

His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University. 

Image Credit: Ruta Production/

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Where Were You 3 Minutes Ago? Your Apps Know [1175]

de System Administrator - domingo, 29 de marzo de 2015, 18:08

Where Were You 3 Minutes Ago? Your Apps Know

By Elizabeth Dwoskin

Researchers used a “privacy nudge” to inform study participants when apps requested location data.Carnegie Mellon

Dozens of smartphone apps collect so much location data that their publishers can plot users’ comings and goings in detail, a forthcoming peer-reviewed study found.

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that a dozen or so popular Android apps collected device location – GPS coordinates accurate to within 50 meters – an average 6,200 times, or roughly every three minutes, per participant over a two-week study period.

The research comes at a time of increasing concern about electronic privacy. A 2014 Pew survey found that more than 90 percent of Americans feel they’ve lost control over personal data. While savvy users understand that using mobile devices entails some privacy tradeoffs – for example, a navigation app will reveal their location to the app’s publisher – most don’t realize the extent to which such information is collected and distributed, the researchers said.

The researchers recruited 23 users of Android version 4.3 from Craigslist and the Carnegie Mellon student body. Participants were allowed to use their own choice of apps after installing software that noted app requests for a variety of personal information; not only location but also contacts, call logs, calendar entries, and camera output. They weren’t told the purpose of the study and were screened to weed out people who had a technical background or strong views about privacy.

The researchers found that even apps that provided useful location-based services often requested the device’s location far more frequently than would be necessary to provide that service, the researchers said. The Weather Channel, for example, which provides local weather reports, requested device location an average 2,000 times, or every 10 minutes, during the study period. Groupon GRPN +0.40%, which necessarily gathers location data to offer local deals, requested one participant’s coordinates 1,062 times in two weeks.

“Does Groupon really need to know where you are every 20 minutes?” asked Norman M. Sadeh, a Carnegie Mellon professor who co-authored the study. “The person would have to be accessing Groupon in their sleep.”

Groupon and the Weather Channel did not respond to requests for comment.

App publishers have ample incentive to gather as much location data as they can. Marketers pay 10% to 20% more for online ads that include location information, said Greg Stuart, chief executive of the Mobile Marketing Association. In previous research, Sadeh and his colleagues found that when an app requests location, 73% of the time it shares the information with an advertising network.


Privacy nudges no longer can be implemented on Android.| Bloomberg News

Location data can make ads more relevant to consumers, by making it possible to draw inferences about what audience members are interested in, Stuart said. The data can be used to show an ad for a store to a potential customer who is nearby, a technique that boosts store traffic 40%, according to Mobile Marketing Association research. Or it can be used to present ads for store items to shoppers who are already inside. Users often aren’t aware that their location played a role in being shown a particular ad, Stuart added.

Among the software that handled the most location data were programs pre-installed on the device that couldn’t be easily deleted. Google Play Services, which distributes information to a variety of apps, computed location an average 2,200 times during the study period.

Google declined to comment.

In addition to tallying app requests for personal data, the Carnegie Mellon researchers explored a conundrum: Despite these widespread worries about information leaks, few users take actions that would plug them, such as downloading privacy software or adjusting their device’s settings.

The researchers sent to study participants a daily message – a “privacy nudge,” as Sadeh called it – telling them how many times apps collected their personal data. After receiving the nudges daily, 95% of participants reported reassessing their app permissions and 58% chose to restrict apps from collecting data.

Privacy nudges no longer can be implemented on Android. Operating system updates since the study was concluded removed the software that gave the researchers access to logs of app requests for personal information.



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Why 3D Printing a Jet Engine or Car Is Just the Beginning [1241]

de System Administrator - miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2015, 10:51


Why 3D Printing a Jet Engine or Car Is Just the Beginning

By Peter Diamandis

The 3D printing (digital manufacturing) market has had a lot of hype over the past few years.

Most recently, it seems this technology arena has entered the "trough of disillusionment," as 3D printing stock prices have taken a hit. But the fact remains: this exponential technology is still in its childhood and its potential for massive disruption (of manufacturing and supply chains) lies before us.

This article is about 3D printing's vast potential — our ability to soon 3D print complex systems like jet engines, rocket engines, cars and even houses.

But first, a few facts:

  • Today, we can 3D print in some 300 different materials, ranging from titanium to chocolate.
  • We can 3D print in full color.
  • We can 3D print in mixed materials — imagine a single print that combines metals, plastics and rubbers.
  • Best of all, complexity and personalization come for free.

What Does It Mean for "Complexity to Be Free"?

Think about this: If you 3D print a solid block of titanium, or an equal-sized block with a thousand moving components inside, the time and cost of both 3D printings is almost exactly the same (the solid block is actually more expensive from a materials cost).

Complexity and personalization in the 3D printing process come for free — i.e. no additional cost and no additional time. Today, we're finding we can 3D print things that you can't manufacture any other way.

Let's take a look at some of the exciting things being 3D printed now.

3D Printing Rocket Engines


SpaceX SuperDraco rocket engines.

In 2014, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket with a 3D-printed Main Oxidizer Valve (MOV) body in one of the nine Merlin 1D engines (the print took less than two days —whereas a traditional castings process can take months).

Even more impressive, SpaceX is now 3D printing its SuperDraco engine chamber for the Dragon 2 capsule.

According to SpaceX, the process "resulted in an order of magnitude reduction in lead-time compared with traditional machining — the path from the initial concept to the first hotfire was just over three months."

On a similar note, Planetary Resources Inc. (PRI) is demonstrating the 3D printing of integrated propulsion and structures of its ARKYD series of spacecraft. This technology has the potential to reduce the parts count by 100x, with an equal reduction in cost and labor.

3D Printing Jet Engines


GE engineers recently designed, 3D printed, and fired up this simple jet engine.

GE has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a complete, functioning jet engine (the size of a football), able to achieve 33,000 RPM.

3D printing has been used for decades to prototype parts — but now, with advances in laser technology, modeling and printing technology, GE has actually 3D printed a complete product.

Xinhua Wu, a lead researcher at Australia's Monash University, recently explained the allure of 3D printed jet engines. Because of their complexity, she noted, manufacturing jet engine parts requires on the order of 6 to 24 months. But 3D printing reduces manufacturing time to something more like one to two weeks.

"Simple or complex, 3D printing doesn't care," she said. "It produces [parts] in the same time."

3D Printing Cars

Last year, Jay Rogers from Local Motors built a 3D printed car.


Local Motors 3D printed car.

It's made of ABS plastic reinforced with carbon fiber. As they describe, "Everything on the car that could be integrated into a single material piece has been printed. This includes the chassis/frame, exterior body, and some interior features. The mechanical components of the vehicle, like battery, motors, wiring, and suspension, are sourced from Renault's Twizy, an electric powered city car."

It is called "The Strati," costs $15,000, and gets 80 kilometers range on a single charge. Today, the car takes 44 hours to print, but soon the team at Local Motors plans to cut the print process to less than 24 hours.

In the past, producing a new car with a new design was very expensive and time consuming — especially when it comes to actually designing the tooling to handle the production of the newly designed car.

With additive manufacturing, once you've designed the vehicle on a computer, you literally press *print*.

3D Printing Houses


WinSun 3D printed house.

In China, a company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering 3D printed 10 full-sized houses in a single day last year. They used a quick-drying concrete mixture composed mostly of recycled construction and waste material and pulled it off at a cost of less than $5,000 per house. Instead of using, say, bricks and mortar, the system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and glass fiber material and prints it, layer by layer.

The printers are 105 feet by 33 feet each and can print almost any digital design that the clients request. The process is environmentally friendly, fast and nearly labor-free.

Manufacturing Is a $10 Trillion Business Ripe for Disruption

We will continue to see advances in additive manufacturing dramatically changing how we produce the core infrastructure and machines that makes modern life possible.

Image Credit: Local MotorsSpaceX,


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Why Apple and Microsoft are suddenly playing nice [1441]

de System Administrator - miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2015, 15:52

Why Apple and Microsoft are suddenly playing nice

By Matt Kapko

Tense history aside, Apple and Microsoft now share considerable opportunities in the business world. Both IT administrators and users stand to benefit if friendly relations between the two technology leaders continue to develop, according to analysts and industry watchers.

Apple and Microsoft were founded less than a year apart in the mid-1970s. In the following years the companies went through multiple cycles of partnership and discord. Microsoft's surprise on-stage presence at an Apple media event last week demonstrated just how cordial things have again become as the two tech giants are seemingly pleased to be in each other's good graces.

The companies' shared future in the enterprise market in large part fuels this renewed spirit of compromise. And the software, services and devices both companies sell will be increasingly complementary. 

Apple hardware, Microsoft software

Microsoft's future in the business world will relate to OS and productivity software and cloud services, while Apple maintains a significant lead when it comes to software, according to Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of tech research firm Jackdaw

[Related Feature: CIOs say Apple still doesn't care about enterprise]

Microsoft "makes many of the tools employees actually need … to get their jobs done," Dawson says. "Apple obviously does make alternatives for some of those tools, but in the vast majority of cases they're either inferior or simply not supported by IT departments."

MacBooks and other Apple devices will be more compelling to enterprises if Microsoft starts treating that hardware as a "first-class citizen" for new Office apps and other software, according to Dawson. However, Apple also needs to continue to make it easier for businesses to deploy those devices at scale along with the Microsoft software they need.

"Except for Windows, Microsoft's elements will increasingly need to run on Apple hardware, so the companies will definitely be working together more," Dawson says. "The good thing is that Microsoft has stopped resisting this inevitable outcome, and is instead embracing a future that's as much about third-party devices as its own devices and operating systems." 

History of ebbs and flows between Apple and Microsoft 

The companies may be friendly today for revenue's sake, and for future opportunities in enterprise, but the relationship hasn't been this way for long.

Just two years ago, Apple's CEO Tim Cook painted Microsoft as a confused competitor. "They chased after netbooks," Cook said during a press event in October 2013. "Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they will do next?" 

During the dawn of the smartphone revolution in 2007, Microsoft's former CEO Steve Ballmer told USA Today: "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." 

And when the late Steve Jobs, cofounder and CEO of Apple, was asked what it was like using iTunes on a Windows PC at the 2007 D Conference, he said: "It's like giving a glass of ice water to someone in hell."

These aren't exact the sentiments of friendly corporations, but that was then, and today is a different story … for now.

"Who to know better about productivity than Microsoft?" Phil Schiller, Apple's vice president of marketing, asked a notably quiet crowd at the company's event last week before inviting Microsoft on stage to demonstrate new Office 365 features for the iPad Pro.

"Though the companies absolutely still compete, the increased degree of rationality at Microsoft has opened the door to partnerships and other forms of working together," says Dawson.

Kirk Koenigsbauer (L), Corporate Vice President, Office 365 Client Apps and Services Team, is greeted by Phil Schiller as he takes the stage to discuss Microsoft Office for the iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015

'Real magic happens' when Apple, Microsoft cooperate

Chip Pearson, the former CEO of JAMF Software, a mobile device management vendor for Apple products, who's now focused on strategic partnerships, says the "real magic happens" when Apple and Microsoft work together on products for enterprise. "I believe that in a perfect world, an organization or user has Microsoft applications and backend services running on Apple endpoints." 

IT administrators and users both benefit from having their technology needs met through the cooperation and coexistence of both companies, according to Pearson. "It's hard to look at any human endeavor where two groups of very capable and skilled people weren't able to do more when working together."

Of course, there's no telling how long relations between the two competitive companies will continue to be friendly. "Many things change on a cyclical pattern, and there does seem to be a historical precedent for the warming trend to continue," says Pearson. "However, history isn't destiny, and humans working together for their common goals is good as long as both parties are getting their needs met."

Dawson has an equally positive outlook for the companies' alliance in enterprise, but he sees more subtle signs of compromise instead of more formal partnerships like the ones Apple struck with IBM and Cisco. "As long as Microsoft stays on this more rational, open course with regard to developing software for third party devices and platforms, I can only see the relationship continuing to warm up."


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Why Is It So Hard For Robots to Pick Up Fruit? [1529]

de System Administrator - domingo, 18 de octubre de 2015, 15:15

Why Is It So Hard For Robots to Pick Up Fruit?


by Ria Misra

Sure, this new fruit-handling robot looks cool, but what can one do with a fruit-handling robot, really? Maybe not much right now—but figuring out how to let robots pick up fruit has some interesting potential.

Farming has become more and more automated, at almost every possible entry point. And yet, still, there are parts that humans can do in a moment and robots find incredibly tricky—one of those parts is handling some ripe fruits, vegetables and spices. Their shapes are unpredictable, they bruise or break easily, and distinguishing them from their surroundings (or their less ripe counterparts) isn’t always easy.


Of course, this new robot from Cambridge Consultants isn’t anywhere near a point where it could do that kind of work in the field (although the manufacturer does point to it as a potential tool in food processing plants). Eventually, though, it and robots like it might be able to inch us closer to fully robotic farms.



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Why Microsoft’s HoloLens Is the Next Big Enterprise Thing [1111]

de System Administrator - miércoles, 18 de febrero de 2015, 18:55

Why Microsoft’s HoloLens Is the Next Big Enterprise Thing

HoloLens could be the next big thing in business computing and can be used in some way to provide a better customer experience, improve business collaboration and so much more.

By Jonathan Hassell

If you had followed along on Twitter or gone straight to the source and listened to the live streaming version of the big Microsoft Windows 10 event on Jan. 21, you probably felt the excitement. That energy was not just about Windows 10: Yeah, that operating system seems nice, and the fit and finish will probably make it the next Windows 7 — you know, the version of the product that corporations land on and run for a decade or more because it is just solid, reliable, and compatible. Everyone who skipped Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will certainly gravitate toward a major migration toward Windows 10, and Microsoft understands this. It looks like a solid release.

But what folks were really pumped up about was the introduction of a technology and a prototype that was completely out of left field to basically anyone who watches Microsoft on a regular basis: the HoloLens.

[ Related: Microsoft Doesn’t Know What It Has With HoloLens ]

What Is Hololens?

Think of HoloLens as a better version of the Oculus Rift, which is now owned by Facebook, and a much better and more applicable to reality product than Google Glass, which was just abandoned — or, rather, put on hiatus until the fall. (Three guesses as to how long that hiatus actually is.)

[ Related: How Google Glass Could Still See Consumer Success ]

[ Related: Google Glass is Alive and Well in the Enterprise ]

HoloLens is a wearable device that takes the real world and inserts into it virtual objects; it is augmented reality at its cutting edge now. It is a pair of glasses through which you can see the real world, but it also has a unique display element that lets the computer paint images on top of that reality, in color and with an apparently astonishing closeness to reality.

No additional devices, like a smartphone or another computer, are necessary, although you have to wonder how long the battery that powers the unit will last. In any event, since this device is not yet in production, there is time to figure out the details. Let us focus on the bigger picture.

[ Related: Microsoft Leaps into 3D Computing with Windows Holographic and HoloLens ]

The demos that the company allowed some press to walk through were scenarios where putting virtual elements within the physical world really improves the end user experience. For example, a “father” was connected with his “daughter” via a Skype call, and the daughter was using the HoloLens while her father walked her through how to repair a plumbing issue with her sink — he was able to draw arrows basically right on top of her field of vision directing her where to put the replacement part, how to install it, what tool to use to perform each task and so on.

Rather than having to rely on only words to describe the procedure, he was able to guide the daughter through the repair easily. Another demonstration involved actually using one’s hands to interact with the virtual objects projected into the physical field of vision.

People are excited about the gaming aspect of HoloLens. Building Minecraft structures on Mars, or immersing yourself into first person shooter games in a way even the Oculus Rift did not allow you to experience. The technology is amazing; Microsoft Research has long been on the forefront of cutting-edge technology, almost to the point that their projects can sometimes seem indistinguishable from magic. Microsoft Research is a group of highly talented, intellectually gifted, top quality researchers and academicians that really develop some of the most interesting and bleeding edge technologies around.

HoloLens Is Huge for the Corporate Crowd

HoloLens has a future that not everyone quite grasping at the moment. That is, its future in business. Gaming is fun, sure, but these devices can be used in almost any business in some way to provide such a better experience for customers that I suspect they will be throwing money at you.

This device can be used in business collaboration settings, too. Imagine an interactive business review, where you literally move numbers around on a page. Imagine an earnings presentation where you can actually transform bar and pie charts to answer questions and derive insight. Even consider an analytics angle: What if you can take a virtual walking tour of all of your New York customers’ buying habits in a certain Brooklyn location?

Also, consider the potential of HoloLens alongside the absolutely gorgeous and eminently usable Surface Hub product, which was also announced at the event. Surface Hub (no, not the utility installed on all Surface Pro 3 tablets — kudos go to Redmond for yet another product naming clash) is the premium office conference room display with a reasonably powerful computer included at no additional charge — 4K resolution with a couple of display sizes, with the largest reaching a giant 84 inches diagonal, a Windows 10 computer, Office, Cortana and more, and it is touch sensitive and you can use pens on it, too. It is, literally, meant to be the hub of the conference room.

[ Related: Hands-on: Microsoft's Massive Surface Hub Enables Big-Screen Collaboration ]

Consider what types of applications you could have while teaming up with colleagues or having a product design review on an 84-inch screen with everyone in the room using HoloLens, able to make design changes in 3D (and perhaps 4D by the time this all makes it to the market) or change the colors on parts.

Imagine how a large airplane manufacturer might use HoloLens together with the Surface Hub—or even just HoloLens by itself—to walk airframe customers through choosing interiors, which they can see virtually installed instantaneously. Imagine how large homebuilders can revolutionize their design centers by walking customers through the empty shell of a house with a couple of HoloLens units and show all sorts of upgrades, custom features, structure changes and more.

Think of hospitals revolutionizing medical and surgical training and minimizing error rates and patient deaths even further by always having a second experienced surgeon on hand virtually during difficult procedures.

If you take a couple of minutes, you can imagine many scenarios within your day where you can enhance your productivity and your business by immersing yourself into an experience.

The Last Word

Resist the strong temptation to relegate HoloLens into the category of devices that computer gaming enthusiasts and Dungeons and Dragons players use in their spare time, with not much practical application. This is anything but a toy.

The possibilities that HoloLens enables to transform the way businesses show their employees and customers their products, and the new items, services, and businesses this sort of augmented reality device can create based on those new experiences, are pretty much endless.

When HoloLens actually hits the market, expect developers to start writing apps that make these wearables sing. This kind of technology, marketed and productized appropriately, is what makes the technology field so exciting.

We may be on the cusp of the next big thing in business computing. Who would have thought it would be a pair of computerized glasses?

Jonathan Hassell — Contributing writer

Jonathan Hassell runs 82 Ventures, a technical writing and consulting firm based in Charlotte, N.C.


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Why the Millennials Are the Most Important Generation Yet [1267]

de System Administrator - viernes, 26 de junio de 2015, 20:28

Why the Millennials Are the Most Important Generation Yet

By Peter Diamandis

Millennials are those born between 1980-2000, today between the ages of 15-35. This post is about millennials – why they are changing the game, how to hire them, and how to keep them motivated.

The data presented below comes from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report” – one of the reports I look forward to each year. Kudos to Mary and Kleiner Perkins for this awesome data.

This is my analysis of what it all means.

Millennials Are Changing the Game

No matter what Internet-related business you’re in, millennials are your most important demographic. Understanding how they think is critical. It’s an understatement to say that the world they’ve grown up in is dramatically different than Gen X (born 1965 – 1980) and Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964).

This year, they became the largest generation in the workforce.


And I would posit that their workforce is still largely misunderstood – and immensely undervalued.

I personally have a team of 5 millennials that is doing amazing things – they are more flexible, motivated, creative, and hard-working than most. If you want to tap into the millennial talent pool and keep them on your team, you have to adapt to their new modes of thinking.

Millennials’ Values Are Changing

A cohort of 4,000 graduates under the age of 31, from around the world, were asked the question: which three benefits would you most value from an employer?

The top three responses, by healthy margins, might not be what you’d expect:

  1. Training and Development – they want to learn
  2. Flexible Hours – they want to be spontaneous, they want to feel “free”
  3. Cash Bonuses – they want to have “upside” in the value they are creating


Empowered by a world connected by technology, millennials have new tools and capabilities at their disposal.

Many of the tasks we had to do at work have been digitized, dematerialized, demonetized, and democratized – and the people in this generation know how to leverage these exponential tools to do things faster, better, and more effectively than their predecessors.

As such, they crave flexibility. They expect to be mobile and work from home/office/cafes/etc at their will.

As the Meeker report outlines:

  • 32% believe they will be working ‘mainly flexible hours’ in the future.
  • 38% are freelancing, versus 32% of those over the age of 35.
  • ~20% identify as ‘night owls,’ and often prefer to work outside of normal business hours.
  • 34% prefer to collaborate online at work, as opposed to in-person or via phone.
  • 45% use personal smartphones for work purposes (vs. 18% for older generations).
  • 41% are likely to download applications to use for work purposes in the next 12 months and use their own money to pay for them.

Millennials Live in an “On-Demand” World

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, this year, the “on-demand” economy (think companies like Uber, AirBnb, Instacart, etc.) has exploded.

According to venture capital research firm CB Insights, funding for on-demand companies jumped 514 percent last year to $4.12 billion. New investments in early 2015 have totaled at least $3.78 billion.

And, as it also turns out, millennials make up the largest cohort of “on-demand” workers.


This isn’t a coincidence – it is largely reflective of their different mindsets.

Getting things “on-demand” – what they want, when they want, where they want, how they want – is indicative of their priorities.

Look at the chart below: Hiring managers ranked qualities each generation is more likely to possess.

The results: Millennials are significantly more narcissistic (more on this later), open to change, creative, money driven, adaptable, and entrepreneurial than other generations.


…and there is a huge disconnect

There is a perception disconnect between managers and millennials – and it is making it difficult for companies with “older” cultures to attract and retain the best talent out there.

The Career Advisory board did another study to compare the difference between managers’ and millennials’ views of the most important factors that indicate career success to millennials.

Most managers (48%) thought that MONEY was the most important thing to millennials.

What did the millennials want most? MEANINGFUL WORK.

This is consistent with my experience with the many millennial entrepreneurs and colleagues I work with, advise, invest in and support.

Here are a few tips I’ve found useful in how to hire and retain great millennials.

How to Hire and Retain Millennials

  1. Give them the freedom/autonomy to work the way they want to work. In my mind (and this depends largely on the job/company), if the millennials on my team have a laptop and an Internet connection, they can be working. Some of them work best at 11 p.m. Some of them want to work and travel at the same time (telepresence robots like the BEAM make working remotely a breeze, and VR will make it even easier down the line). The notion of a 9-to-5 workweek isn’t attractive to them. Instead, be clear about milestones and deadlines and let your team accomplish them as they see fit.
  2. Have a massively transformative purpose (MTP). Millennials are mission-driven. The brightest, most hard-working of them want to change the world. You need to think 10x bigger and catalyze innovation in your organization by finding a massively transformative purpose that your team can rally around. Think about Elon Musk’s MTP: to go to Mars and make humanity an interplanetary species. Or Google’s: to organize the world’s information. Millennials will flock to you if you have a compelling MTP and if your organization isn’t afraid to take moonshots.
  3. Align the incentives. If millennials have “upside” in the value that they create, they are going to work harder, faster and better than if a) they don’t have upside, or b) their upside isn’t clear. The game these days is all about incentives. Profit-sharing, prizes, status, gamification and friendly competition are all highly motivating to this group. Leverage these strategies to get the best work out of your team. My goal is to give them extraordinary upside based on their extraordinary results.
  4. Challenge them. Millennials love a good challenge. You saw in the results above that they are more narcissistic and perhaps egotistical than previous generations. Use this in your favor. Give them the authority and autonomy to challenge you. Let them prove why their particular solution is better than yours. They are also more creative and entrepreneurial than past generations, so you might be, in the very least, surprised by the results you get.
  5. Encourage them to experiment with exponential technologies. If they think they can optimize a process by using a new tech platform, say yes! Encourage them to leverage crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, machine learning/data mining, robotics/telepresence, VR/AR, etc. All of these experiments, if they work, will make your business more scalable, less expensive, and more fun.

… and much, much more.

The proof is in the pudding. This most excellent blog was drafted by Cody on my team (a superstar at age 24) at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, passed to me to edit, then to my other rockstars Marissa and Kelley at 11 p.m. for a final edit and to get out to you. I love my millennial team for their brilliance and dedication.

[image courtesy of Shutterstock; charts courtesy of KPCB]

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Wikipedia y los países en desarrollo [577]

de System Administrator - viernes, 15 de agosto de 2014, 21:18

El servicio gratuito de Wikipedia conquista millones de suscriptores en los países en desarrollo

Por Mihaela Marín

La enciclopedia online más conocida del mundo está ganando cada vez más terreno con su proyecto Wikipedia Zero entre los usuarios de móviles de los países emergentes. Su vicepresidente de Ingeniería y Desarrollo de Producto, Erik Möller, declara en una entrevista para el periódico The Guardian que la iniciativa nacida de la Fundación Wikimedia para permitir el acceso gratuito a poblaciones situadas en los territorios emergentes ha alcanzado la cifra de 350 millones de inscritos en 29 países del mundo.  

Muy parecido al programa Facebook Zero, el proyecto Wikipedia Zero se inició con el principal objetivo de eliminar la barrera de coste que impide a las poblaciones de los países en desarrollo tener acceso a los servicios de Internet. La iniciativa de reunir el conocimiento humano y hacerlo disponible de forma gratuita a todas las poblaciones se ha realizado con la ayuda de unacolaboración con los operadores de telefonía móvil dentro de un programa que se ha extendido a Tailandia, Arabia Saudí, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jordania, Bangladesh y con las nuevas incorporaciones de este año de Kosovo, Nepal y Kirguistán:

“Cientos de millones de personas tienen acceso al Internet a través de sus dispositivos móviles. Tenemos que ofrecer a estos usuarios la mejor experiencia posible, tanto en la consulta del contenido como en la contribución de su creación, de tal manera que cada persona del mundo pueda acceder a la suma de todo el conocimiento”, explica el responsable del departamento de Ingeniería.

El crecimiento del número de suscriptores ha ido acompañado de la necesidad de solucionar otros retos. Erik Möller declara que para facilitar más el trabajo de los voluntarios que aportan contenido online usando sus smartphones, el equipo técnico ha tenido que adaptar mejor la plataforma web a los dispositivos móviles. La Fundación Wikimedia también ha trabajado parareforzar las aplicaciones para iOS y Android. Al final del mes de julio hizo conocido un rediseño desde las bases, con nuevas características incluyendo mayor rapidez de navegación y la opción de editar y guardar páginas para la lectura offline entre las más importantes.



Imagen: Los países adheridos al proyecto Wikipedia Zero hasta el julio de 2014

Un proyecto complejo, pero que no abandona sus metas

Aparte de todos estos retos, una de las más difíciles tareas que la Fundación ha tenido que cumplir para llegar a los objetivos actuales ha sido la deencontrar a esos operadores móviles dispuestos a eliminar sus costespara permitir un acceso gratuito al contenido de la enciclopedia. La organización ha realizado importantes esfuerzos para convencer a estas compañías de los beneficios del proyecto principalmente porque la política de Wikipedia no admite el pago de los proveedores de telecomunicaciones y tampoco los acuerdos exclusivos:

“Convencer a los operadores ha sido una misión muy difícil. Wikipedia solicitaba al mismo tiempo un compromiso a largo plazo, inversiones técnicas y a diferencia de Facebook no ofrecía publicidad”, comenta Kul Wadhwa, el director del proyecto Wikipedia Zero.

Actualmente en su página oficial, la Fundación Wikimedia continúa su misión humanitaria de democratizar el conocimiento para las poblaciones de los países en desarrollo llamando la atención sobre los beneficios que puedan tener los operadores móviles si deciden juntarse al proyecto.

Entre los más importantes se menciona la posibilidad de ocupar una posición estratégica en un mercado en crecimiento por ofrecer un servicio que tenga un gran impacto en las vidas de muchas personas y por otro lado la oportunidad de reforzar el nombre comercial al ser vinculado a los cambios positivos (contribución a la educación, crecimiento social y soporte económico).

Mihaela Marín

Mi interés por la tecnología ha nacido cuando me he dado cuenta de que nos permite ver el lado escondido de la realidad. Todavía quedan muchas cosas por descubrir y suficiente curiosidad para entender lo que realmente somos. Especializada en Periodismo y Marketing, he podido compartir experiencias con profesionales del mundo empresarial tecnológico. Siempre en búsqueda de ideas, escribo para hacer conocido el trabajo innovador, capaz de cambiar los problemas en soluciones.


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