Shuffle Lets iPhone Users Maintain Their Privacy

If you’re like me, you’ve seen a rise in the number of robocalls -- automated phone calls that deliver a pre-recorded message or connect with a telemarketer -- to your cell phone. According to a recent latest National Robocall Index™ report by YouMail, every second, 963 robocalls are made somewhere in America. In total, an estimated 2.5 billion robocalls were made in March to U.S. phones. That’s why Craig Collet, Founder and CEO, of Shuffle started his company. Craig is concerned about privacy, especially given the amount of information that’s associated with cell phone numbers and individuals today. Shuffle empowers users to choose how they want to interact with the world. Subscribers to the app can create different shuffle numbers for different people or companies on a single device enabling you to call and message privately and securely. Shuffle is particularly popular for people who want different numbers for:A second phone number Job search Home business or second business Dating Social networking Local numbers for a geographically-dispersed business Classified ads (i.e. Craig’s List) Short-term projects Staying in touch with different people (i.e. professional, personal, private) To date the app has several thousand users in 35 countries with the vast majority in the U.S. and Canada. The average subscriber has 1.5 numbers; however, some business users have as many as 20 since they want to have a local number to call for each of the markets they’re serving. According to Collett, users are finding value in the service as 80% of users continue their subscriptions from month to month. Keep an eye out in the Fall since Shuffle is developing advanced privacy features that will be ready by then. Read more

Agile On a Fixed Scope Contract

I spent a recent week working with a program that is starting up some work using an agile methodology, but has a mixed team, both in terms of time on the program and time with agile. So it was an interesting week, because I picked up a bunch of new ideas from people with experiences different from mine. It also means I've done a lot of thinking about agile, which hopefully will result in a few interesting thoughts to write down.One of the biggest questions on the program is how to handle agile on a fixed scope contract. It's all very well to say that we value customer collaboration over contract negotiation. And we do; even in the defense industry, very few programs over my couple of decades of experience actually go to court or contract arbitration to resolve disagreements, and only in cases where the customer relationship has already broken down irretrievably.The Fixed Scope ChallengeBut what about the cases where the customer relationship is good, but the customer just isn't interested in early delivery or in changing the scope of the contract? I don't think it does any good to tell a team that has no control over their customer's mindset that agile will be ineffective without that flexibility. And I don't think it makes sense to be the absolutist that thinks agile isn't worth doing in these kinds of cases.I understand that for agile advocates, it can be frustrating to see teams operate with "constrained" agile or "partial" agile, run into problems, and then see agile get the blame. Unfortunately, I think that frustration is just something we have to live with; the cost of discouraging agile adoption in cases where the program isn't "pure" agile is to discourage agile adoption as a whole, and to convince people that agile methodologies can't be that great if they only work on unrealistic "perfect" programs.So if we're going to encourage the use of agile, even in cases where the customer doesn't intend to be flexible about scope or schedule, we have to face that problem squarely. Of course, the customer is giving up the ability to adjust and prioritize the work in response to more information. If that's not a priority for them, we can mostly ignore it, though we might still want to try to pull them in as much as possible to see what we're building so we ensure we don't disappoint them at the end.The bigger issue is that our fixed scope and fixed schedule, by definition, has to be based on some estimate that has less fidelity than we'll have once we start doing the work. So when we run into those inevitable challenges where something is harder than expected, we won't have the flexibility to work with the customer to give them the highest priority items first.Advantages We Get AnywaySo what advantages do we get from agile on this kind of contract? I think there are still plenty worth having:Lower risk. Even in cases where the customer or program leadership does not have a positive connotation for the word "agile", it tends to be very easy to present the practices of continuous integration and automated test. It is obvious that putting a lot of software pieces together all at once is risky, and that tests that can be run continuously as the software changes can be an early warning of introduced bugs.Easier staffing. Traditional programs have a bell-shaped curve of staffing. In my industry, systems engineering peaks first, followed by software and hardware, followed by the test organization. It is hard to staff up to the peak, both in terms of availability and in getting people up to speed on the work. Agile tends to emphasize level staffing, with teams working continuously, which is easier on both counts.Efficiency. As I've pointed out before, I don't think a primary motivation for agile should be cost or schedule savings. Methodology changes are accidental, not essential, which means they don't make the real problem any simpler. Still, if by bringing in agile methodologies, and keeping the cross-functional team in place, can reduce the amount of documentation that is needed to communicate within the team (and reduce the confusion that results from throwing requirements documents over the wall), then some work can be avoided.Specific SuggestionsSo we've decided that it's still worth following an agile methodology on a fixed scope, fixed schedule contract. But we would like to do more than just run our agile program within a "waterfall box". So what do we do? It's hard to make a complete list, but I can think of some good suggestions:Leverage Ambiguity. Fixed-scope programs typically have some "source" requirements document that comes from the customer. Every one of these documents has some kind of ambiguity in how the requirements will be met. An agile program can start by minimally meeting the requirements, especially in areas that are not perceived to be as important to the customer.Work the System. Even fixed-scope programs typically have some process for change. (In the defense industry, we typically call this an Engineering Change Proposal or ECP.) Over time, the program manager builds trust with the customer (which can be helped by early demonstrations of real functionality, even for customers who do not value "agile"). This trust can be leveraged to get customers comfortable with small contract changes to trade a fuller implementation of a feature for the removal of some unimportant but annoying requirement.Keep the Practices, Lose the Jargon. Some customers may not have a positive view of agile, because some previous vendor ruined agile for them by doing it badly. In many cases, though, the practices of agile are obviously superior and can be used as long as the agile-style jargon is avoided. So Kanban becomes "continuous workflow tracking system", and agile itself becomes "feature based development". Nothing is being hidden here; in fact, by using language from the customer's vocabulary, the value of the practices is being made clearer.Play the Long Game. It is a clear fact that even on a fixed-scope, fixed- schedule contract, a customer will allow a contractor to do almost anything in terms of interpreting requirements and adjusting schedules as long as the customer trusts the contractor. It takes a long time to build that trust, but the transparency, focus on working software as a measure of progress, and continual process of really listening to the customer that comes with agile is the fastest way to build that trust. And at the end of the day, the individuals and interactions are more important than our processes and tools, even agile processes and agile tools.None of these suggestions will make 10 months of work fit into a 5 month schedule. But that 10 months of work was never going to fit into 5 months anyway. At least with an agile methodology, there's a chance the customer will be brought to realize that fact while there's still time to focus on the most important half. Read more

Apple unveils new store design in San Francisco

Apple Inc unveiled a new vision for its hugely successful retail stores on Thursday, aiming to give shoppers the experience of setting foot in the headquarters of the company credited with inventing the smartphone. Speaking at a media event in San Francisco on Thursday, Apple executives offered a sneak peak of a new store that features design elements that will later roll out to more locations worldwide, including new spaces for socialization and collaboration. The makeover follows Apple's first-ever decline in iPhone sales and its first revenue drop in 13 years in an increasingly saturated market.While the redesign includes plenty of glass, metal and blonde wood – the sleek materials shoppers have come to associate with the company – it also borrows features from Apple's hotly anticipated new headquarters in Silicon Valley, which is set to open early next year.Like the new campus, the San Francisco store features terrazzo floors, and the ceiling fixtures are also similar, BJ Siegel, Apple's senior director of design for real estate and development, said in an interview. "We're trying to be one company and have one point of view," he said.Shoppers who enter the "boardroom" at the San Francisco store, a new space for entrepreneurs and small business owners, will get an idea of the look of Apple’s futuristic headquarters, which is likened to a spaceship for its circular design. Much of the furniture is identical to that Apple employees will find in the new campus, including tables designed in part by Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. When working with small business customers, "we want them to feel like they have left the retail environment and entered Apple," Siegel said. The Apple Store is the envy of many in the retail world, with the highest sales per square foot in the industry, but some say the stores have lost their edge since the first one opened 15 years ago. With the new design, industry watchers are getting a glimpse of how Apple retail leader Angela Ahrendts, who joined the company two years ago from Burberry, will put her stamp on the store. Other elements of the new floor plan include a redesigned section for accessories, an open space dubbed the "forum" for community events and a leafy plaza that will be open to the public round the clock. "We will know we have done really great if it feels like a town square," Ahrendts said. (Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Andrew Hay) Read more

SWIFT network wasn't hacked in $81 million Bangladesh heist : CEO

FRANKFURT SWIFT's payment network was not hacked in the $81 million heist on the Bangladesh central bank earlier this year, SWIFT's chief executive said on Thursday, adding it was unlikely to be the last such attack on a bank.Gottfried Leibbrandt said SWIFT's network, used by firms and institutions across the world to exchange information about financial transactions, had not been violated during the cyber attack, in which funds were stolen from a Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Fed in February.Security researchers at British defense contractor BAE Systems said last month the hackers had manipulated SWIFT's Alliance Access server software, which banks use to interface with SWIFT's messaging platform, in a bid to cover up the fraudulent transfers they had ordered."At the end of the day we weren’t breached, it was from our perspective a customer fraud," Leibbrandt said at a financial conference in Frankfurt. "I don’t think it was the first, I don’t think it will be the last."The SWIFT messaging network is used by commercial and central banks including the Fed and the ECB.SWIFT, a cooperative owned by 3,000 financial institutions, has rejected allegations by officials in Bangladesh that its technicians made the Asian country's central bank more vulnerable to hacking before the heist, one of the biggest ever cyber swindles. Bangladeshi police and a central bank official told Reuters the SWIFT technicians introduced security loopholes when connecting the messaging network to Bangladesh's first real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system.Reuters has not been able to independently verify the allegations. In a letter to users dated May 3, SWIFT told its bank customers that they were responsible for securing computers used to send messages over its network.Representatives from SWIFT, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Bangladesh Bank met in Basel on Tuesday and promised to cooperate to recover the stolen funds, following weeks of accusations over who is to blame. (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; editing by Andrew Roche) Read more

Spring AMPQ 1.6.0 Release Candidate (and 1.5.6) Available

We are pleased to announce that the Spring AMQP 1.6 release candidate (1.6.0.RC1) is now available in the spring milestone repo.The 1.5.6 maintenance release is also available with a few bug fixes.Here is a summary of the 1.6.0 release contents, for more details, refer to the what’s new in the reference documentation as well as the closed JIRA Issues for this release.A new jar spring-rabbit-test containing a test harness to help with testing @RabbitListener methods; see the testing chapter.Multiple @RabbitListener annotations on a method (when using Java 8) and the @RabbitListeners annotation (for pre-Java 8), each allowing the same method to be the listener method for multiple listener containers.Full support for the Delayed Message Exchange RabbitMQ plugin.An AsyncRabbitTemplate returning ListenableFuture for request/reply messaging.An option to publish ApplicationEvents when listener containers go idle.The caching connection factory now exposes cache statistics@RabbitListener methods now communicate type information to the message converter for inbound messages. This means, for example, the Jackson2JsonMessageConverter no longer needs a custom class mapper when a message without type information in the headers is received (e.g. from a sender that is not a Spring AMQP app). Instead, the @RabbitListener method parameter type is used in the conversion. In addition, the Method and bean are also made available via message properties to custom converters.@Bean public SimpleRabbitListenerContainerFactory rabbitListenerContainerFactory( ConnectionFactory rabbitConnectionFactory) { SimpleRabbitListenerContainerFactory factory = new SimpleRabbitListenerContainerFactory(); factory.setConnectionFactory(rabbitConnectionFactory); factory.setMessageConverter(new Jackson2JsonMessageConverter()); return factory; } public static class MyService { @RabbitListener(queues="foos") public void handleFoos(Foo foo) { ... } @RabbitListener(queues="lists.of.bars") public void handleBarLists(List bars) { ... } } @RabbitListener irrecoverable errors are now considered to be fatal by the default error handler, to avoid endless redelivery of such messages.@RabbitListener @SendTo addresses (used when the inbound message has no replyTo) can now contain a SpEL expression evaluated at runtime against the input and output message.When using java serialized messages, you can now specify a “white list” of allowable classes/packages for deserialization. This is recommended when receiving serialized objects from untrusted sources.You can now declare ‘internal’ exchanges to which messages cannot be directly published.The log appenders can now be configured with multiple broker addresses and client properties can be set.@QueueBinding annotations now support arguments for queues, exchanges and bindings.We expect to have the final release at the end of May.Please download and try the release candidate so we can address any issues before GA. Next up (2017) is 2.0 which will may require Spring 5 and include some Reactive Streams effort.We welcome any feedback, questions, or help, using the usual mechanisms:Project Page | JIRA | Contribution | Help Read more

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