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The problems with Cryptocurrency

The blockchain, cryptocurrency, and token platforms rival machine learning and artificial intelligence as the biggest new tech trends set to disrupt existing industries. In just a few short years, there are hundreds of crypto tokes, with a combined market value in the billions of dollars. However, there are still a few issues that these platforms need to address before they can become mainstream:

Volatility

The biggest issue with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is the volatility. Financial instruments don’t exhibit the sort of volatility we see from these virtual currencies. Often, the value can rise and fall in hours by staggering amounts. Once Bitcoin and other currencies achieve a level of stability that hovers around one and two percent annually, we will see the potential for wider adoption.

Security

What makes Bitcoin popular is also its greatest threat. The blockchain is akin to a public ledger that nodes on the network verify. However, the problem is that users can add certain bits of information to the transactions and blocks anonymously. What happens when the content is controversial or illegal? Everyone who has a copy of the blockchain, in theory, is in legal trouble.

Anonymity

Bitcoin is popular because of its pseudo-anonymity. There are tokens which are completely private that will probably not see wide adoption due to the potential for criminal and illegal uses. For a token to succeed in the wider space, it cannot be with anonymity, as governments and authorities will not allow such a situation to exist.

 

How do you mine a cryptocurrency?

Even though it is getting harder and harder, people are still mining Bitcoin and other Altcoins, hoping to benefit if and when the value of Bitcoin goes back to pre-crash levels. For those new to the process, mining is where you use your computer or graphics card to perform complex calculations for the cryptocurrency network and get paid in that currency.

There are two ways you can mine, with a CPU or a GPU. The CPU is the processor in your computer, and a GPU is a high-end version of the card that drives the display on your computer. Nowadays, GPU mining is much faster and more productive then mining with a CPU. Also, dedicated miners buy multiple expensive GPU’s and build mining rigs.

You cannot mine all currencies with a CPU, some are too complex and require a GPU for any economic benefit. Mining with both CPU’s and GPU is very power intensive affair and requires a lot of electricity. In locations where electricity is expensive, it is not economical to mine.

If you have a powerful computer that is idle most of the day and electricity is cheap, you can easily start mining the most profitable currency available. If a currency is old and has seen a lot of mining, the difficulty increases, making it harder, and longer to gain any benefit from mining. Having said that, even for the sake of experimentation, you can choose a currency, create a wallet, and mine a few coins.

Understanding the “Levels” of NOC Technicians

Summary: Technicians are often categorised based on their skill, experience, and role they play within the organization.

Within every command center lies a team of skilled technicians that are tasked with keeping the organization’s network healthy and running up to speed. Now, because of the time sensitivity factor that plays a large role in how much down time there is between network “hiccups”, each technician must play his or her role in attributing to the overall defense of the network itself.

“Levels”

NOC technicians are categorized based on levels. Each level indicates a certain type of expertise and problem-solving ability that the technician can bring to the table. For example, if there is a hardware failure, and alert may be assigned to a Level 1 technician. He might do some basic diagnosis and reports to the more experienced technicians but ultimately he’s limited to a certain level of authority over the issue.

Upon further inspection, if the alert is more serious than hardware failure, the problem will be address by a Level 2 or Level 3 technician instead. Each technician plays a role in addressing, diagnosing, and fixing the problem at hand. Whomever is assigned to a certain station, and also depending on the amount of experience this individual has, must have a specific level of training so everything can run smoothly. Think of it like clockwork.

NOC Capabilities

Technicians are tasked with continuously searching for any anomalous activities while making adjustments on the go in order to keep the network free and healthy from any malicious attacks. Keep in mind that the capabilities of a NOC go far beyond simple tasks such as diagnosing attacks and fixing them. Some other capabilities include: policy enforcement, patch management, storage management, email management services, and more.

Blog submitted by Constant Technologies, Inc.: For custom control room furniture designed to fit any NOC or command center, visit Constant Technologies, Inc.


 

How to deal with the KRACK Wifi vulnerability

There is a severe flaw in the encryption security protocols in use by wireless networks that could let attackers hijack traffic, inject malware, and even steal passwords. The flaw, known as KRACK, for Key Reinstallation Attack affects every computing platform publicly available today: Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android.

The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks,” Vanhoef wrote on the “official” Krack attack site. “To prevent the attack, users must update affected products as soon as security updates become available. Note that if your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected.”

The good news is that the attack does not work over the internet. The attacker or malicious actor needs to be within the range of the wireless network. This means airports, hotels, and other public wireless networks become extremely high-risk areas for dealing with important or sensitive data.

What do you do?

The first step is to ensure that your home wireless equipment, phones, and computers are running up-to-date software to minimise the risk of an attack. Once you have updates in place, then you’re free to use wireless anywhere. Unfortunately, you will need to avoid using most free and public wireless networks to remain secure until you do patch your client devices.

Android uses encryption to transfer data there is not much danger in using an Android device, even on unpatched networks. So for example, even if someone hijacks the session of your Android device on the wireless network, the traffic from your phone to Google’s servers will be encrypted.

 

Best Practices Sound for Band Directors

Being a great band director is a lot of hard work and practice. It takes dedication to get your students to sound great, and it’s not easy getting that organization together in order to put on a show. Band is highly coordinated, and it requires extreme discipline, especially when travelling around the country. Here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Portable Equipment

You’ll be doing some travel, and your school might have assigned you a vehicle or a budget for this purpose. Make sure the equipment you have to cart around is portable, and fits neatly where it needs to go. Include at least one bag for each student in your ensemble. Portable equipment, like a Bogen amplifier, is essential when you have to travel across state lines, or even just a few miles. It also helps make unloading a breeze.

Set Goals

Set specific goals that measure up to the talent you have to deal with. Make sure that you have some challenges along the way so students stay motivated, but managing expectations and placing the right goals can be important for growth. Not everyone can compete at the top level, but but many can be pushed to persevere and do their best.

Remember the Kids

Being a band director is a rewarding job because you get to spend time doing the music you love with the kids you care about. Try and keep that in mind as you travel to various competitions, and let the stressors roll off of you.

Article submitted by CAM Electronics. CAM Electronics offers the best in quality AV systems for professional use. Contact CAM Electronics to learn more about amplifiers, and other ways to enhance your professional audio system.

Smart home basics

The basic definition of a smart home is a set of appliances which connect to the internet that you can control or automate remotely. The primary reason for the slow growth of the smart home market is because the requirements for each home differs. Two people will not use the same automation. It is that individuality that makes implementing a smart home a step-by-step process. Here are the various components you will need for a smart home:

Lights

Smart lights can reduce your electricity bill. All smart lights are LED, and you can use your phone to set schedules to ensure that lights are only on when you want them. Also, you can remotely switch off any light. You can get connected-bulbs like the Hue or replace the light switch with a smart-switch.

Smart speakers

Use smart speakers like the Echo or Google Home to control other smart devices, stream music, and for everyday tasks like shopping lists. You can also call for cabs, check the weather, and any of the other thousand skills that exist on the platform.

Plugs

You can make any appliance or device in your house smart with a smart plug. Just like the lights, you can control them remotely. Some smart plugs provide and track power use so you can keep track of what uses the most power in your home.

Cameras

Security cameras are also part of the smart home ecosystem. You can trigger certain automation under certain conditions. For example, you can trigger an alert and switch a light on when a camera detects motion. New cameras like those from Nest can even distinguish the sound of breaking glass and generate an alert.

Should You Trust Digital Wallets?

Summary: Digital wallets are the latest in online merchant accounts. But, are they truly a safe alternative?

The versatility and functionality of digital wallets put them in a league of their own. However, there are still some minor concerns that you should be aware of prior to placing your full trust into this technology. Now, in order to understand whether or not digital wallets are right for you, you’ll want to see what types of challenges digital wallets are facing today and what they are doing to overcome them. This article will cover all aspects of these challenges so you can determine if this new technology is perfect for you.

Secure Technology or Fraudulent Magnet?

First off, it should be understood that a digital wallet isn’t easy for an outside to gain access to. While nothing is immune to outside hackers, digital wallets utilize an advanced encryption method to ensure that each and every transaction remains private and secure. This brings up the point of finding a secure platform to work with. Be sure that every merchant account provider that you look into has the latest in security technologies.

Digital wallets never release an account number to a retailer. Because everything is “tokenized”, which means that the transaction takes places within a single session, you’ll find that it leaves behind little to no trace of personal activity. Now, every transaction number is unique and no account data is attached to it, so thieves are less likely to try and snuff out an account number or any other valuable data that links directly to your funds. Without access to this data, cyber criminals are less likely to gain access.

App-Based Digital Wallets

Another security implementation that digital wallets are using these days is password or fingerprint technologies. Since most digital wallets are based on mobile apps, they’ll require you to create a secure password and/or input a fingerprint for access purposes. Keeping your phone on you at all times is relatively ideal to keep your wallet protected, but it doesn’t beat creating a secure password.

Most of the time, thieves that gain access to accounts do so by breaking a simple password like “rabbit4” or “Jeremy1”. Instead, if it allows, combine numbers, letters and symbols to maximize your account’s security – and be sure to write it down in the case you forget it. Doing this will deter hackers from gaining access to your account and stealing personal information and funds. Remember, you always have the option of resetting your account remotely by logging into the app from a desktop or laptop.

Bio submitted by Charge.com: Searching for a tried and true Internet credit card processing service that values security and functionality? Visit the experts at Charge.com for more information.

Why Technology Designers Play a Pivotal Role in Successful Command Centers

Summary: Working with technology designers can save you money, time, and effort on your command center project.

Technology designers plays a key role in the overall success of a command center. Just like architects and engineers have an indispensable place within the overall design, the technology designer is now a critical component to a successful output.

Leaving the Past Behind

This is more of a non-traditional approach to design – essentially moving away from the 20th century way of thinking. This may require some adjustment in the thinking of clients, architects, and the rest of the team, but it’s also an absolute necessity when it comes to successful command center projects – which ironically relies on technology to thrive.

The Technology Designer Must be Involved from the Get-Go

The time to utilize a technology designer is at the beginning stages of the project, never in the middle or towards the end. The reason behind this is that the technology designer can assist the owner in making strategic decisions which will have a significant impact on the overall success of the project. For instance, say you bring in a technology designer to take a look at the blueprints that the architect has drawn out and sees major flaws. It’d obviously require a redesign and because you haven’t started the construction phase yet, it shouldn’t pose much of a threat to additional costs.

Remember, a technology designer can discover things like insufficient data centers, flawed video display placement, and inappropriate space, which all correlate to productivity and functionality. By catching problems like these and changing the design early on, thousands and thousands of dollars, along with months of wasted time and effort, could be saved.

Blog submitted by Constant Technologies, Inc.: Let the experts at Constant Technologies, Inc. design the finest security operation center consoles for your organization. With decades of experience on their hands, Constant Technologies, Inc. has paved the way for effective custom command center design.

Amazon faces hurdles in Singapore

Amazon is making a big push into Southeast Asia, and its new venture in Singapore is already facing some hurdles. There are two problems for Amazon in Singapore. The first is that Singaporeans have a lot of shopping malls and prefer to shop in physical stores. The second issue is that rival e-commerce operations like Lazada and Alibaba entered the market a long time ago.

Unlike other countries, Singapore is a unique country where a shopping mall is only a few minutes away. Most people use public transport and phase little in the way of congestion. There are too many stores, and retailers are starting to scale back slightly. With a retail presence around the corner, very few of the islands shoppers buy online. Last year, only 4.6% of retails sales were online.

“Singapore is a very small city-state, so shopping is one of the favorite pastimes for all Singaporeans,” said Chan Hock Fai, a fund manager at Amundi Asset Management. Because retailing is a more mature market in the country, compared with emerging retail and e-commerce markets, “growth rates are harder to come by,” he said.

A report by Google and Temasek Holdings projects e-commerce in Southeast Asia to reach $88 billion by the year 2025. Amazon began its Singapore venture with Prime Now, a two-hour delivery service:

“We’ve launched Prime Now in 50 cities across nine countries, and Singapore is our biggest launch ever,” said Amanda Ip, a spokeswoman at Amazon Prime Now. “We are grateful for the exciting response from customers.”

Outsourced Vs. In-house EDI: The benefits and drawbacks

One of the biggest decisions from a business standpoint is choosing between purchasing software for an in-house EDI implementation as opposed to going with an outsourced EDI service bureau. Below, we look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of both options:

Outsource

Benefits

One of the immediate benefits is the cost savings from identifying and eliminating bad business practices.

Access to the latest technology. When you use a SaaS model, the latest technology is available immediately.

There is a focus on the customer relationship and business rather than the technology itself

Drawbacks

There is an implementation fee

You will need to pay for any transaction, including changing information.

There is no way to know in advance how much time to purchase for mapping business functions and data.

No way to expedite the queue for transactions.

In-House

Benefits

Lower long-term costs as you only pay upfront and do not pay per transaction.

A much greater control of information, as data is not sent to a third party.

Greater business partner satisfaction

Drawbacks

The high initial capital expense for the software and any work to connect existing software.

Requires personnel with knowledge of EDI to manage the in-house systems and troubleshoot issues.

Regular maintenance costs and upgrades will incur separate costs.

Article by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA. They are the premier EDI outsource experts and the best option to scale your business.