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cloud computing

Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight

Friday, March 7th, 2014

IBM truckSXSW always serves up something interesting, but I was curious to see crowds surrounding an orange truck sitting opposite the conference centre. Normally that means something is being given away for free, and so it proved – but this time with a twist.

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IBM Watson meets Willy Wonka

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Question key

Forgive me for a bit of speculation here: I’ve spent a couple of hours in the company of the IBM team behind Watson, the cognitive computing brontosaur which, in 2011, famously won the US game show Jeopardy against two human competitors, in what had all the appearance of a fair fight.

This represented a reasonable test of an entire suite of processes, for breaking down a human language question into a search and then marshalling multiple potential answers into a ranked set of probabilities of being the answer, if not necessarily the one the human was expecting.

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Behind the scenes of a cloud conversation

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Cloud Power Cassidy

Eagle-eyed surfers will already have spotted my bumbling efforts as part of the Cloud Power initiative, and those who didn’t can now go and have a bit of a giggle, come back, and say whatever comes to their mind in reaction to the footage.

I thought I’d do a bit of a behind-the-scenes account here for interested parties, and also explain why I’m happy to take the risk of being an idiot in a video that exists purely because a single vendor – Microsoft – wanted to make it.

First off: Tim and I didn’t rehearse. I believe I get worse with each rehearsal, starting from a pretty low base in the first place. We had a set of basic questions but we didn’t have any set conclusions we were expected to work towards. Given the breadth of the questions being asked, this was something of a relief.

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Cloud security: is Android the weakest link?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

HTC Tattoo

Much has been written about the security of data in the cloud, and even more about the insecurity of the same. Until now, things have been somewhat quieter when it comes to how we access cloud-based data on the move. That, I suspect, is about to change.

Plenty of effort has been poured into securing online data stores, and plenty is made by the providers of those cloud services in making sure potential customers know about it. Which is why the bad guys are understandably looking for the soft targets, and at the moment that would appear to be Android apps.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: the smaller your business, the bigger the benefits of cloud computing. That rings especially true at the ‘free’ end of the cloud scale where the attraction of services such as those provided by Google can offer real bottom-line savings for hard pressed small business concerns. Security within the free or low-cost cloud isn’t somehow automatically weaker than that found at the expensive end of the cloud provision market either.

You can be sure that Google has invested heavily in securing the data at rest within those cloud bases, incorporating all the multi-layered protocols and synchronous replication processes you might expect. But perhaps it needs to invest more at the other end, the smartphone to be precise. What you need to ask yourself is whether Android could be the weak link in the cloud security chain?

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Twitter data demand highlights cloud control problems

Monday, January 10th, 2011

TwitterI see from the news that Twitter has been forced to bend over and succumb to a thorough Data Rogering by the US Government.
It appears that some foreign nationals are up in arms about this.
Can I say “I told you so”? For over two years, I have been raising the question of the territoriality and legal framework of data held by US companies, especially when the data is held on US territory
There are even considerations and worries about data held on EU-hosted servers owned by US corporations. As I reported a month or so ago,  at least Bob Muglia, President of servers and tools at Microsoft, was honest enough to admit that Microsoft would hand over data to the US authorities if so instructed, because they would have no choice but to comply.
Frankly, I feel a lot happier about Microsoft’s cloud solution now in the light of knowing what would happen. Confusion and obfuscation has no place in this matter
So you can imagine my reaction to another Very Well Known cloud vendor from America, with facilities in the UK, who, when asked by me to clarify their legal position on EU hosted data and attacks by US government said:
“At this time we’re not able to comment on this question”
When I followed up by asking “To be clear, <the CTO> has no comment on whether the data of his customers would or would not be taken out of the EU against the wishes of his customers?”, I received the reply “<we> cannot comment on this at this time”
Now please answer me this question: is this a company that you feel comfortable doing business with?

Twitter

I see from the news that Twitter has been forced to bend over and succumb to a thorough data rogering by the US Government.

It appears that some foreign nationals are up in arms about this.

Can I say “I told you so”? For over two years, I have been raising the question of the territoriality and legal framework of data held by US companies, especially when the data is held on US territory.

(more…)

Counting the cost of cloudy jargon

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Scenic_Snow Moutains 02 shortYou know that kid in class who would always have the answer to the question? The one who dislocates his shoulder to get his hand up, waves it frantically and puffs his cheeks up, bursting to belt out the answer? That’s how I felt, reading Davey’s blog about the cost of cloud computing.

If you go back to EMC’s linked page on the brief they gave the economic worthies of the CEBR, then I can see exactly why he would be bedazzled, confused and frustrated. It can seem completely impossible to go from an estimate for the whole of the European Union, right down to someone’s choice to rely on Gmail, much less make sense of the basis of the research. (more…)

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