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LEAP SECOND 2015 – 2000 Networks impacted and quickly recovered

This link in Network World documents impacts caused by adding an additional second to the day and systems using the Network Time Protocol going out sync.  However, this year more advanced preparation kept vast majority of networks running smoothly throughout the transition.

The addition of a leap second to world clocks on Wednesday caused some networks to crash although most quickly recovered.  Some 2,000 networks stopped working just after midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis with Dyn, a company studies global Internet traffic flows.

Nearly 50 percent of those networks were in Brazil, which may indicate that ISPs use a common type of router that may not have been prepared for the leap second, he said.  Most of the networks quickly recovered, which may have required just a reboot of a router, Madory said.

The Internet’s global routing table, a distributed database of networks and how they connect, contains more than 500,000 networks, so the problems affected less than a half a percent, Madory said. The last leap second, added in 2012, caused problems for Linux systems such as slowdowns or CPU freezes. This time around, however, many companies looked to avoid issues with better preparation.

Windows 10 – New LOGIN screen introduced in build 10159

Microsoft continues to add a few more innovations and special features for the forthcoming “GOLD” copy that will debut on July 29th

Microsoft surprised testers of Windows 10 on Tuesday by launching build 10159 of its forthcoming operating system, just a day after the last update. Gabe Aul, an engineering general manager at Microsoft who serves as the public face of the Windows Insider Program, announced in a blog post that the company released the new build to testers in the program’s Fast ring.

Unlike yesterday’s build 10158, the latest build doesn’t bring that many new features. Instead, wrote Aul, it’s packed with more than 300 bug fixes, along with a mysterious “very interesting change.”  According to a report by Neowin, the change in question is a redesign of the login screen that puts a user’s photo front and center in a translucent pane over their desktop picture. It’s a marked difference from the previous iteration of the login screen, which placed a user’s photo to one side of their name, Microsoft account email and password field.

LEAP SECOND 2015 – Technical impacts of adjusting time on JUNE 30, 2015

Companies around the world used innovative & interesting solutions to work around timing differences associated with adding an extra second to the official atomic clock.

Leap second: Clocks to read 07:59:60 on Wednesday

The phenomenon, which is implemented every few years, prevents days from getting longer as the Earth’s rotation continually slows down due to factors such as the moon’s gravitational pull and earthquakes. The phenomenon, called a “leap second”, takes place every few years, where an additional second is inserted to the atomic clock, or UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

During the last leap second on Jun 30, 2012, more than 400 Qantas flights were delayed when the airline’s check-in system crashed, while websites such as Reddit, Mozilla and LinkedIn experienced glitches because the systems could not cope with the extra time.  This year, the leap second insertion is especially crucial to Asia as it takes place during working hours, unlike the early Sunday morning three years ago.

“In the past, leap seconds happened during weekends (and) holidays, so people were not working. … This year, (the leap second) is expected to affect more financial sectors because it’s during (trading) time,” said Dr Liu Yan Ying, a metrologist at the National Metrology Centre of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The centre oversees the national measurement standards in Singapore.

Facebook – Improved Mobile photo editor in development

Facebook will be improving photo upload capabilities in the coming months as documented in article below,2817,2486942,00.asp

Facebook is about to make it a lot easier for users to spruce up their photos before posting them to the social network. According to TechCrunch, Zuckerberg and Co. appear to be testing a new Snapchat-like photo uploader for the Facebook iOS app, which will let you jazz up your photos with text, filters, and stickers.

Facebook iOS photo edit toolsJust select a photo like you normally would and you’ll see a vertical line swipe across the image. From here, you can swipe right to select a different filter. At this point, Facebook’s selection of filters is small. There’s Auto, which will just correct the color; Vintage for a sepia look; Spring to brighten it up; Summer to give your image a golden tone; Fall for a more orangey look; Winter for a more muted, moody look; and Snow for black and white.

Windows 10 Professional – Links for new improved SECURITY features

Several new safeguards will be built into Windows 10 Professional to better protect corporate users

Learn about new features in Windows 10 for IT professionals, such as Enterprise Data Protection, Microsoft Passport, Device Guard, and more. These technical overviews are designed to help you understand key feature changes and benefits and answer common questions about Windows 10 technologies.

Device Guard overview

Device management overview

Enterprise Data Protection overview

Microsoft Passport overview

Provisioning packages overview

Untrusted font blocking overview

Leadership – Assessing personal growth progress at mid-point of 2015

John Maxwell shares some important self introspective guidelines and techniques leaders can use to assess their own growth in leadership skills

Today, at almost the mid-point of 2015, it’s a natural time to evaluate your progress in personal growth so far. So here are some questions to ask yourself to see how well you’ve been growing this year:

1. When was the last time you did something for the first time? — Have you been trying new things in 2015? Or are you still doing what you’ve always done? Trying new things – and sometimes failing – is one of the best ways to grow.

2. What have you learned and applied in the past six months? — How intentional have you been about learning and putting new ideas and skills into practice? What have you read, listened to, or attended that gave you practical guidance toward reaching your goals? And how have you applied what you learned?

3. What have you been doing daily to facilitate your growth? — Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. Once you’ve decided to grow, the progress is measured day by day. So what daily steps are you taking to get closer to your goals.

4. How are you passing on what you are learning? — This is the most important question for a leader. That’s because I believe we’re called to be “rivers,” not “reservoirs.” In other words, we’re at our best when we let what we learn flow through us so it can impact others. How have you done at strategically sharing your learning with those around you?

Google GMAIL – New UNDO SEND button added

Sometimes when sending an email a mistake may be seen and Google now allows 10 seconds to completely re-call the message for further editing

It took Google six years to add an ‘Undo Send’ feature to Gmail. Thankfully, the company didn’t waste much time adding it to its Inbox app.  You have 10 seconds to hit Undo after you send a message.  The feature has been around for a few weeks; Google is highlighting that it’s now available by default on Inbox’s Web, Android and iOS apps.

Network Security – Banks attacked 3X more than any other sector

Banks have good reasons for having some of the most hardened security environments based on the following research report

Financial services organizations–traditionally some of the best-fortified against cyber attacks –see three times as many attack attempts by cybercriminals than other industries do, a new study by Raytheon/Websense shows. Among the tricks they’re using to try to bypass security at banks: code obfuscation, redirected code, and code injection, says Carl Leonard, principal security analyst for Websense Security Labs, who notes that his team intercepts data-theft incidents but not distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack attempts.

The financial services industry is considered the gold standard for security as one of the early adopters of the newest security technologies, and with one of the most active cyber threat intelligence-sharing organizations, the FS-ISAC. Regulatory pressure indeed has been a major factor in its maturity in security, but that hasn’t stopped money-hungry cybercriminals from continuing to hack away at banks and financial firm’s defenses.

Banks are well-aware that their security measures aren’t deterring the bad guys. A recent survey by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) found that almost half of financial firms consider cyber security the biggest risk to the overall economy. Cybercriminals and nation-states are now regularly performing reconnaissance to find employees within financial firms to target, as well as to probe for vulnerabilities via vulnerability scans. Brian Lozada, CSO for Abacus Group, which provides managed IT services and solutions for hedge funds and private equity funds, says his firm has witnessed an uptick in these scans the past few months.

Scans looking at open ports, protocols being run, services being run, that sort of thing,” Lozada says of the recon efforts, which he says mainly come from China and Eastern Europe, including Russia. “They are putting out feelers for our environment, trying to listen and look at opportunities,” something that’s a common phenomenon for financial services firms today, he says.

Leadership – Building a lasting Legacy

Key leadership principles are shared in this informative blog post by John Maxwell

That’s because we all leave some kind of legacy – whether we’re trying to or not.  What is a legacy? Something you leave behind. That includes possessions that we pass on to the next generation. But it’s so much more than things. We are all capable of leaving either a positive or negative legacy, based on the people we have influenced and the principles that we have lived and taught.

How To Achieve the Legacy You Want to Leave:

1. Choose it — Here is the legacy I want to leave: I want to add value to the lives of others. When I’m gone, my hope is that those around me will say that I added value to them.

2. Live it — Your life is like a book. The title page is your name, the preface your introduction to the world. The pages are a daily record of your efforts, trials, pleasures, discouragements, and achievements. Day by day your thoughts and acts are being inscribed in your book of life. Hour by hour, the record is being made that must stand for all time. Once the word ‘finis’ must be written, let it then be said of your book that it is a record of noble purpose, generous service, and work well done.

3. Pass it on by every means possible — Really, the best way to pass on your legacy is described in #2 above: Live it! That’s because people learn best from what they can see. It’s been said that 89% of our learning is visual, so living out what you believe to be important is critical.

COBOL – Business Use continues in 2015

I learned COBOL in early 1970s while in high school and later even had opportunity to have dinner with inventory Grace Hopper twice at our ASM and DPMA meetings in Roanoke decades ago. I wrote last COBOL program back in 2013 for a former client.  While other programming languages are more popular today, COBOL continues to survive in many organizations with IBM mainframes.

COBOL has been around since Eisenhower sat in the Oval Office. At one time, it was estimated that 80% of all business applications were written in COBOL — a total that represented more than 2 billion lines of code. That was nearly 20 years ago. Does COBOL still matter to the world of enterprise IT today? Many people seem to think so.

And, why do we care? In part, it’s because there are lots and lots of applications written in COBOL that remain part of the enterprise IT landscape. And, like many other things with historical foundations, COBOL has a whiff of the “retro-cool” about it: You can even get COBOL development environments that run on Raspberry Pi. There are a number of options for someone who wants to use COBOL — the real question is why you might want to do so.

The first reason is employability. As noted, there are still plenty of companies running applications built on COBOL. And not all of those applications are archaic: Since 2002, COBOL has had an object-oriented framework. And as you’ll see, a number of the options we list have Java as an intermediate target — a strategy that has both plusses and minuses when it comes to performance and compatibility with other applications.

The next reason is readability. COBOL is known as a “verbose” language, especially when it’s compared to a very terse language like C++. From a debugging standpoint, COBOL can be like reading a novel.  So let’s take a look at the modern options in COBOL. Let us know whether you’re using COBOL — and why. Surely the story will be as compelling as one written in Grace Hopper’s legacy language…