The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 118 - 15 April 2014
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In This Issue
Solid State Devices
Taxonomy Software Directory
Cloud Security Benchmark
Heartbleed and You
Webcast on MOOCs
Seen Recently
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Solid State Devices
Data storage based on solid state devices (SSD), using the same Flash technology that gave us the ubiquitous "thumb drives" or "USB keys," is still expensive in large amounts, but its higher speed and durability compared to older storage media (both a consequence of the lack of moving parts) makes it ideal for key data that constitutes a bottleneck in a system. Originally used for caches, SSDs are increasingly used to store entire databases, or at least frequently accessed tables.

HP and Intel just issued a joint white paper entitled "Using SSDs to Eliminate Network Performance Bottlenecks."
Taxonomy Software
Heather Hedden's always relevant and well-written blog, "The Accidental Taxonomist" (also the title of her equally excellent book) tells us this week that the directory of taxonomy software originally assembled by British consultant Leonard Will is now being maintained by Access Innovations and is available here.

Reader beware: one size does not fit all, and the market evolves, especially now that the need for taxonomies (and ontologies) is starting to be better understood, generating more demand and more requirements. Ms. Hedden notes that many entries are now dated, so while the directory can serve as a starting point to build a list of candidate products, do not expect the authors to do your selection work for you (but you know who to call if that's what you need!)
Cloud Security Benchmark Webcast
On April 2, CloudeAssurance presented the results of its cloud security benchmark study. The 92-minute recording is available here.
Heartbleed and You
The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has justifiably raised alarms, but do you really need to change all your passwords right away? Mashable has published a very useful list of the most used Web sites (social networks, collaboration and e-mail hosts, etc.) and whether they used the incriminated version of SSL.

While this can help users prioritize their defensive measures, don't let this lull you into a false sense of security. Several vendors (including Cisco) are still looking though their code to find all the places where buggy pieces of OpenSSL may have been reused. This means that more systems, including network equipment and mobile devices, may be found to be affected.
A Webcast on MOOCs
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to expand, and some studies have been published that prove their effectiveness. Even thought the drop-out rate is very high, the fact that millions can enroll from anywhere the Internet goes means that many people do benefit, especially in places where highly skilled teachers and professors are rare.

The ACM Learning Center will present a Webcast, "The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone," on April 23 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern US time (18:30 GMT). The speaker will be Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera. Register here.
Seen Recently...

"Life is too short to remove USB safely."

-- Huge sign in front of a computer store,

tweeted by Belinda Barnet