Attention Span 2009.05.05 (morning edition)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Hackers Break Into Virginia Health Professions Database, Demand Ransom

Hackers last week broke into a Virginia state Web site used by pharmacists to track prescription drug abuse. They deleted records on more than 8 million patients and replaced the site's homepage with a ransom note demanding $10 million for the return of the records, according to a posting on Wikileaks.org, an online clearinghouse for leaked documents.

Wikileaks reports that the Web site for the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was defaced last week with a message claiming that the database of prescriptions had been bundled into an encrypted, password-protected file.

Hitachi Data Systems Enables Integrated Server-to-Storage Virtualization

Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT : ) and the only provider of Services Oriented Storage Solutions, today announced a new end-to-end server-to-storage virtualization initiative to drive efficiencies across virtualized environments. To support this strategy, Hitachi Data Systems also announced two important business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for virtual environments...

US needs 'digital warfare force'

The BBC seems to have 'picked up' this theme. First there appeared a story about creating a botnet as an offensive weapon, posited by an un-official source (an ex-USAF officer). Now this story. This has the feel of a 'drum beat'. Someone, somewhere is going to break a story, or someone is letting out an 'official' version of a story. I noted the last line of the story: 'The US administration is due imminently to publish the results of a 60-day review on cyber-security ordered by President Obama.'

The US has set up specialised detachments dealing with IT problems

The head of America's National Security Agency says that America needs to build a digital warfare force for the future, according to reports.

Lt Gen Keith Alexander, who also heads the Pentagon's new Cyber Command, outlined his views in a report for the House Armed Services subcommittee.

The right not to get caught

A report on the Open Rights Group event held recently in London, at which Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross discussed privacy in an age of electronic visibility.

... This was perhaps one of the key take away points of the evening - the contemporary concept of privacy hasn’t been around that long, being mostly a middle class 20th century contrivance, so should we be really all that shocked/bothered that the concept is being changed as new social norms emerge?

An Open Letter

From Adventures in Open Source, and open letter to MSFT, HP, IBM and ORCL with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. The unfortunate aspect of this letter is that it seems to actually be a 'course of last resort' for small ISVs who have labored to create proprietary software and have failed to gain traction.

Think of it as “fauxpen source“. Take some product that is pretty much end of life, sanitize it a bit and release it as open source. Call everything else “enterprise extensions”. Update your website and suddenly you are an open source company. Or, you can just acquire an open source company (I’m looking at you, Oracle) and be assured of a piece of the coming windfall.


Declan on the 'Informed P2P User Act'

Sometimes I marvel at the gap between technology's uptake and the ability of the legal system to address it with some level of cluefulness. For so many reasons, the approach proposed by this legislation is toxic.

P2P bill could regulate Web browsers, FTP clients

The U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to examine a bill that would force peer-to-peer applications to provide specific notice to consumers that their files might be shared.

The hearing before a House Energy subcommittee comes about a month after reports that specifications about the helicopter used as Marine One may have been leaked through a P2P network. Meanwhile, a second House committee is probing whether LimeWire or another P2P application was responsible.

Tuesday's hearing is expected to focus on a bill introduced in March by Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a California Republican. The catch: while it appears intended to target only P2P applications, the measure sweeps in Web browsers, FTP applications, instant messaging utilities, and other common programs too.

Bono's Informed P2P User Act says that it will be "unlawful" for P2P software to cause files to be made available unless two rules are followed. First, the utility's installation process must provide "clear and conspicuous notice" of its features and obtain the user's "informed consent." Second, the program must step through that notice-and-consent process every time it runs.

Her bill defines P2P applications as software that lets files be marked for transfer, transferred, and received. (The exact wording: "to designate files available for transmission to another computer; to transmit files directly to another computer; and to request the transmission of files from another computer.")


Attention Span 2009.05.04

Monday, Monday....

SpringSource acquires Hyperic, takes on IBM and Microsoft

With Hyperic, SpringSource completes its vision to provide a "complete suite of software products that accelerate the entire build, run, manage enterprise Java application lifecycle," and moves from framework provider to a true solution provider, one that competes directly with IBM and Microsoft.

White as the New Green

That study, by current and former scientists of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, concludes that “painting urban surfaces in warm parts of the world white or a light color could offset the carbon emissions of all 600 million of the world’s cars for 18 to 20 years,” Kornell writes.

VMware’s Licensing - A “Slap In The Face For Cisco?” Hey Moe!

Clearly the Nexus 1000v is just the first in a series of technology and architectural elements that Cisco is introducing to integrate more tightly into virtualized and Cloud environments. The realities of adoption of the 1000v come down to who is making the purchasing decisions, how virtualization is being addressed as an enterprise architecture issue, how the organization is structured and what pain points might be felt from the current limitations associated with VMware’s vSwitch from both a technological and operational perspective.

Oh, it also depends on price, too ...

Group to test virtual management interoperability

The VMAN Forum, on the other hand, will be developing test tools for measuring conformance with the standards and will hold "plugfests" for vendors to test their products, according to the DMTF. The tools will help vendors prove that their products interoperate to the level proposed by standards also coming out of DMTF working groups. Vendors such as Cisco, Citrix, HP, IBM, Microsoft and VMware are among the forum's first members.


Attention Span 2009.05.03

What caught my attention today:

Globalism Goes Viral

David Brooks column on organizational approaches to threat & crisis. Great final sentence (but I'm not publishing the spoiler). (HT to John Hagel)

The bottom line is that the swine flu crisis is two emergent problems piled on top of one another. At bottom, there is the dynamic network of the outbreak. It is fueled by complex feedback loops consisting of the virus itself, human mobility to spread it and environmental factors to make it potent. On top, there is the psychology of fear caused by the disease. It emerges from rumors, news reports, Tweets and expert warnings.


The Solid State Future.

Mike Speiser has a great post on his blog regarding the role of storage, and specifically the role of solid-state storage in the next major technology leaps.

I particularly like his point that the slavish attendance to Moore's Law in the assessment and adoption of new tech has brought us to a point where the datacenter is out of balance. He posits that SSD will help regain that balance with respect to I/O (otherwise known as networks in today's datacenter that's so dependent on SANs).

Today we find ourselves on the cusp of a transition in storage as massive as the move from tape to disk — the move from spinning disk to solid state disk (SSD, also popularly known as flash memory). While it may appear that the transition from disk to SSD will mean higher CAPEX on a cost per unit of storage basis, that may be misleading. Amdahl’s Law helps us to understand the maximum improvement to a system when only part of the system is improved. Mainframe’s leveraged Amdahl’s Law to maintain balance in a mainframe system between the various components (compute, storage, and so on) to optimize overall system performance.   

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