Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines

U.S. colleges can track hundreds of thousands of students using short-range phone sensors and campus-wide Wi-Fi networks to assess their academic performance, monitor their conduct, or rate their mental health. Academicians and education advocates are concerned such monitoring and supervision will infantilize students and make them accept surveillance as a normal part of life. The schools rely on networks of Bluetooth transmitters and wireless access points to piece together students’ movements. School and technology company officials say location tracking allows schools to intervene before problems crop up, but some institutions calculate “risk scores” based on factors such as how often pupils visit the library. Critics contend such policies could undermine student independence and discourage non-academic pursuits. The University of California, San Diego’s Erin Rose Glass said, “We’re reinforcing this sense of powerlessness … when we could be asking harder questions, like: why are we creating institutions where students don’t want to show up?”

The systems highlight how widespread surveillance has increasingly become a fact of life: Students “should have all the rights, responsibilities and privileges that an adult has. So why do we treat them so differently?”

— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/12/24/colleges-are-turning-students-phones-into-surveillance-machines-tracking-locations-hundreds-thousands/

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud

When mainstream cloud computing first began to appear on the horizon, (Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloudproduct in 2006.) many organizations were initially hesitant to entrust their most valuable data and processes to a technological innovation named after something that appears so delicate.

Oh, how times have changed. Today, an estimated 96% of organizations use cloud computing, with over 80% operating multi-cloud landscapes thanks to a range of benefits that include efficiency, scalability, flexibility, mobility, disaster recovery and security.

As organizations continue to transition more of their computing infrastructure to cloud environments, the decision on what provider to use commonly comes down to the Big Three — Amazon Web Services vs. Microsoft’s Azure vs. Google Cloud Platform. And one of the top concerns when choosing a cloud computing provider is, yes, security.

securityboulevard.com/2019/12/aws-vs-azure-vs-google-whats-the-difference-from-a-cloud-security-standpoint/

The Cloud runs on Linux

A decade ago clouds were more marketing hot air than reality. Today, IDC says more than a third of all IT spending worldwide is on the cloud. Looking ahead, Gartner predicts that half of global enterprises will have gone all-in on the cloud by 2021. And the Cloud runs on Linux.

www.zdnet.com/article/2019s-five-biggest-linux-and-open-source-stories/

AWS and Azure

seekingalpha.com/article/4313893-aws-and-azure-racing-for-best-business-opportunity-of-21st-century

Summary

  • AWS just wrapped up its annual user conference, launching 28 new products at the conference.
  • Cloud platforms are evolving from a focus on commoditized IT infrastructure compute instances to offering an incredibly wide range of services.
  • Every company must utilize the cloud to access the leading technologies.  AWS and Azure are clearly in the leadership positions.
  • Thoughts on valuation in the context of what AWS CEO Andy Jassy calls the “most titanic shift that we’ve seen in technology in our lifetime”.

AWS Solutions Architect salary

As the demand for professionals with AWS certification continues to rise, so too do their salaries and benefits. In the USA, AWS solutions architect certification is reported to be the highest-earning certification, at an average annual salary of $113,000. 

Outside of the US, countries such as Canada, Australia, UK, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, and India are great places for AWS solutions architects to work. Below is a series of tables showing AWS solutions architect salary for beginners, intermediary, manager, and late-career levels in the countries mentioned above. This data is compiled from Payscale. 

See here for more:

www.simplilearn.com/average-annual-salary-of-an-aws-solutions-architect-article

The Rise of Serverless Computing

An excellent article on Serverless Computing, by Paul Castro, Vatche Ishakian, Vinod Muthusamy, Aleksander Slominski, in the Communications of the ACM, December 2019, volume 62, no. 12, pages 44-54 (https://doi.org/10.1145/3368454)

Studies of reported usage of cloud resources in datacenters show a substantial gap between the resources that cloud customers allocate and pay for (leasing VMs), and actual resource utilization (CPU, memory, and so on). Enter Serverless computing where VMs do not have to be provisioned; it is a FaaS (Function as a Service) paradigm. In the cloud context, the current serverless landscape was introduced during an AWS re:Invent event in 2014. Since then, multiple cloud providers, industrial, and academic institutions have introduced their own serverless platforms.

Which AWS certification?

As the market leader and most mature provider in the cloud computing space, AWS is considered a thought leader and point of reference for all of its competitors. In 2019, AWS continues to lead in public cloud adoption, and it currently offers eleven certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.

AWS offers 11 different certifications. The article below discusses which one is right for you:

https://cloudacademy.com/blog/choosing-the-right-aws-certification/

New Orleans cyber attack

The City of New Orleans has suffered a cybersecurity attack serious enough for Mayor LaToya Cantrell to declare a state of emergency. 

The attack started at 5 a.m. CST on Friday, December 13, according to the City of New Orleans’ emergency preparedness campaign, NOLA Ready, managed by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. NOLA Ready tweeted that “suspicious activity was detected on the City’s network,” and as investigations progressed, “activity indicating a cybersecurity incident was detected around 11 a.m.” As a precautionary measure, the NOLA tweet confirmed, the city’s IT department gave the order for all employees to power down computers and disconnect from Wi-Fi. All city servers were also powered down, and employees told to unplug any of their devices.

www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/12/14/new-orleans-declares-state-of-emergency-following-cyber-attack/

AWS vs Azure

Amazon has the top spot when it comes to cloud market share, but Microsoft is presenting more of a threat than ever.

Amazon Web Services essentially invented the modern cloud computing market in the mid-’00s, and dominates it to this day. According to estimates from Gartner, AWS has 47.8% market share, with its position reinforced by new products in databases, AI, and other fields.

But Microsoft, the runner-up, is catching up, with its arsenal of long-time enterprise customers. Already, analysts say that AWS — which has historically prided itself on paying attention to customers, not competitors — is showing rare signs of becoming more reactive to Microsoft’s big moves.

www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-amazon-aws-reinvent-execs-2019-12