Month: September 2020

Where to find free and open data sets on the web

Bosses love to hear the word “free.” Everyone wants to get something for nothing. The good news is that there’s a burgeoning collection of free data available for the taking. Some of it might even be useful for your project or your career.

What’s the catch? Sometimes there’s no catch at all. Many of the sources below come from government agencies. Once they’re done collecting the information, it often costs them very little to share it openly with everyone. Technically it’s not free because you’re paying for it on April 15th. But the good news is that your project budget

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Who thought political ads featuring Deepfake Putin and Kim trashing the US was a good idea?

A not-for-profit called RepresentUS, working with creative media agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address, recently used the popular Deepfake AI system to create a pair of political ads featuring actors digitally manipulated to look like Vladmir Putin and Kim Jong Un mocking the current state of US politics.

The ads were reportedly slated to air on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC in their DC markets but were “pulled at the last minute” for reasons unknown.

Allow me to clear the mystery: they were probably pulled because this is a bad idea. But before we get into that, let’s take a moment

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2 egregious cloud security threats the CSA missed

My interesting weekend reading was this Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) report, which was vendor sponsored, highlighting 11 cloud security threats that should be on top of everyone’s mind. These threats are described as “egregious.”

CSA surveyed 241 experts on security issues in the cloud industry and came up with these top 11 threats:

  1. Data breaches
  2. Misconfiguration and inadequate change control
  3. Lack of cloud security architecture and strategy
  4. Insufficient identity, credential, access, and key management
  5. Account hijacking
  6. Insider threat
  7. Insecure interfaces and APIs
  8. Weak control plane
  9. Metastructure and applistructure failures
  10. Limited cloud usage visibility
  11. Abuse and nefarious use of cloud
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Dell’s XPS 13 family gets a big performance update with Intel’s 11th-gen chips

It’s that time of year again. Intel announces new processors, and laptop makers quickly follow suit with a slew of updates to their respective lineups. So Dell today announced a refresh of its XPS 13 lineup including Intel’s 11th gen Tiger Lake processors.

The 11th Gen chips offer better performance-per-watt than their predecessors, translating to either faster computing or longer battery life for the same performance.

The i5 and i7 configurations use Intel’s new Xe graphics, which are already showing to be a dramatic improvement over Intel’s prior integrated graphics. It’s enough of a jump to beat some low-end dedicated

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Azure Databricks previews parallelized Photon query engine

Microsoft has unveiled a preview of a C++-based vectorized query engine for the Azure Databricks cloud analytics and AI service based on Apache Spark. Azure Databricks, which is delivered in partnership with Databricks, introduced the Photon-powered Delta Engine September 22.

Written in C++ and compatible with Spark APIs, Photon is a vectorized query engine that leverages modern CPU architecture and the Delta Lake open source transactional storage layer to enhance Apache Spark 3.0 performance by as much as 20x. Microsoft said that as organizations embrace data-driven decision-making, it is now imperative for them to have a platform that can

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Azure Databricks previews parallelized Photon query engine

Microsoft has unveiled a preview of a C++-based vectorized query engine for the Azure Databricks cloud analytics and AI service based on Apache Spark. Azure Databricks, which is delivered in partnership with Databricks, introduced the Photon-powered Delta Engine September 22.

Written in C++ and compatible with Spark APIs, Photon is a vectorized query engine that leverages modern CPU architecture and the Delta Lake open source transactional storage layer to enhance Apache Spark 3.0 performance by as much as 20x. Microsoft said that as organizations embrace data-driven decision-making, it is now imperative for them to have a platform that can

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