Amazon is beefing up their security offerings via the acquisition of security startup Sqrrl. As Amazon makes their services more secure, is Google losing their mojo?
A former Google employee certainly thinks so – calling the company “arrogant” and “conservative”. This former employee has made headlines in the past for criticizing the “Google Plus” social site while still employed at Google… well he is at least 1 for 2.
Another company is getting called out (but by a much more respected member of the tech community)… Linus Torvalds continues to publicly trash Intel’s patching efforts for Meltdown and Spectre. It makes you wonder what is going on over at Intel.
- AWS beefs up threat detection with Sqrrl acquisition
AWS has purchased Sqrrl, a Cambridge, Mass. security startup with roots in the NSA. The company helps analyze a variety of sources to track and understand security threats quickly using machine learning.
The announcement appeared on the Sqrrl home page in note from company CEO Mark Terenzoni. “We’re thrilled to share that Sqrrl has been acquired by Amazon. We will be joining the Amazon Web Services family, and we’re looking forward to working together on customer offerings for the future,” he wrote.
The question in these types of purchases is what happens to the customers. The statement suggested that at least for the time being, Sqrrl will continue to work with its existing customers.
According to a 2016 Computerworld review, the solution collects data from a variety of sources and presents threat findings in a dashboard for security analysts, who can view a visual representation of any potential vulnerabilities.
- Ford Scoops Up Software Firms as It Drives Toward the Driverless
Ford Motor Co. is acquiring two small software firms to help build out its mobility business, a move that highlights the need for auto companies to seed their management teams with technology talent to keep pace in a fast-changing transportation sector.
Ford said Thursday it is buying Autonomic Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif., startup with 70 employees that is developing a software backbone for Ford to provide urban transit services to consumers and businesses. Ford said the firm’s CEO, Sunny Madra, will lead a new team inside Ford that will come up with ideas for new transit options.
The nation’s No. 2 auto maker by sales also said it would acquire TransLoc, a North Carolina firm that makes software to help transportation operators optimize drive routes. Ford didn’t disclose terms of either transaction.
- AI will turn the workforce into hyper productive business centaurs
Aficionados of centaur chess argue that the pairing of man and machine takes the game to never-before-seen levels of perfection, with blunder-free games, perfect tactical play and the flawless execution of strategic plans.
Over the last 20 years, these AI systems have evolved drastically; just last month, a new program called AlphaZero is the new reigning chess champion thanks to its moves that are “unthinkable” to a human player. But the centaur chess model of human/computer collaboration has grown more relevant to the entire world of work — as AI technology moves from the lab to the business world, an entire workforce of centaurs becomes possible, enabling previously unimagined levels of productivity and performance.
- The state of AI in marketing in 5 charts
According to a Salesforce study from July, about half of the 3,500 marketing leaders surveyed are already using AI, and more than a quarter of these leaders are planning to pilot AI programs in the next two years.
Using AI for media buying is one of the strongest use cases for AI. Marketers believe AI can improve targeting and personalization when it comes to media placements. According to Salesforce’s report, 60 percent of marketers believe AI will have a “substantial or transformational” impact on their business’ programmatic and media buying in the next five years.
- Facebook Names Former IBM Watson Executive as Head of AI Group
The hiring of Pesenti, who has a more managerial background, may indicate that Facebook is looking to step up the application of its artificial intelligence research in its business, rather than just focusing on the academic exploration of the science. Facebook is trying to rely more on AI to help it spot and remove photos and videos that violate its policies, for example, instead of waiting for users to flag troublesome content. A Facebook spokesman said LeCun will still “set the scientific agenda for the group.”
- Why Barcelona’s anti-Microsoft move to open source could be a disaster
While I’ve been on the record in favor of such technological sovereignty in the past, with the caveat that preferences for open source trump mandates, the reality of such moves comes at a steep price. The City of Munich is now spending €50 million to undo its long flirtation with Linux desktops. Why? “Users were unhappy and software essential for the public sector is mostly only available for Windows,” Munich councilor Anne Hübner detailed. The city initially spent 15 years (and millions of euros) trying to get away from Microsoft, but “those efforts eventually failed.”
Again, why? Because they put ideology before the practical needs of real people. Even at open source company Red Hat it’s now common to see plenty of Macs and iPhones, both proprietary in ways Microsoft Windows never approached. It turns out that true “freedom” comes when people can do their jobs, not when they’re shackled to some grand ideology.
- Linus Torvalds declares Intel fix for Meltdown/Spectre ‘COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE’
These and other kind epithets are awarded by Torvalds in a public email chain between him and David Woodhouse, an engineer at Amazon in the U.K., regarding Intel’s solution as relating to the Linux kernel. The issue is (as far as I can tell as someone far out of their depth) a clumsy and, Torvalds argues, “insane” implementation of a fix that essentially does nothing while also doing a bunch of unnecessary things.
The fix needs to address Meltdown (which primarily affects Intel chips), but instead of just doing so across the board, it makes the whole fix something the user or administrator has to opt into at boot. Why even ask, if this is such a huge vulnerability? And why do it at such a low level when future CPUs will supposedly not require it, at which point the choice would be at best unnecessary and at worst misleading or lead to performance issues?
- Yes, cities should indeed fight for tech jobs
What all these critics are missing though is that the economy has changed dramatically over the past thirty years. Everyone is competing for better jobs and better income, be they workers and citizens or cities, states, and even national governments. China is competing ferociously to bring back AI talent to its mainland from the United States in just the same way that Illinois is trying to get Amazon to set up shop through a payroll tax recapture strategy.
Here’s what I see with the Amazon process: 238 cities across North America, in just a few weeks, managed to each put together their own proposals on what they would offer to bring the company to their area. Boston has taken decades to extend the green line to Somerville, but managed to put together a second-phase winning proposal for Somerville in just a matter of weeks.
- New study predicts Atlanta has best shot at becoming Amazon’s HQ2
However, the firm is betting on Atlanta as the top pick for a variety of reasons.
It’s still close enough to DC, Boston and New York, but Atlanta has more available space to offer, and is affordable. If Amazon were to choose this southern city, it could build on the outskirts of town to avoid crowding, overpricing and congestion.
- IBM’s Growth Comes at a Cost
Still, IBM’s shares fell Friday, much like they have done following 10 of its last 12 quarterly reports. A bit of growth, as it turns out, isn’t quite enough to assuage concerns about how the company gets there. Fourth-quarter gross margins slipped below the 50% line for the first time in five years for what is typically the company’s strongest seasonal period. And, while IBM did project annual revenue growth for 2018, it is unclear if the company can do that without continued help from favorable exchange rates.
- Google is ‘arrogant’, ‘conservative’, ‘can no longer innovate’, says Googler of 13 years as he quits
“The main reason I left Google is that they can no longer innovate. They’ve pretty much lost that ability. […] First, they’re conservative. […] They are so focused on protecting what they’ve got, that they fear risk-taking and real innovation. Second, they are mired in politics. […] Third, Google is arrogant. Google has the arrogance of the “we”, not the “I”. When a company is as dramatically successful as Google has been, the organization can become afflicted with a sense of invincibility and almost manifest destiny, which leads to tragic outcomes: complacency, not-invented-here syndrome, loss of touch with customers, poor strategic decision-making, ” Yegge shared in a blog post on Medium.
Photo: Joey Kyber