SEC guidelines push for clearer data breach disclosures

American companies haven't always been forthright about disclosing data breaches in a responsible way, and regulators want to encourage better behavior. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued "interpretive guidance" that it hopes will bot…
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AT&T rolling out sponsored data to prepaid customers

AT&T announcing logo

A few years ago, AT&T rolled out a “sponsored data” program that’d let companies “sponsor” a customer’s data charges. That feature was initially rolled out to postpaid customers, and now prepaid subscribers are getting it, too.

AT&T is now texting its prepaid customers to tell them that sponsored data is now included with their plan. This means that customers can stream content from select services without using their data allotment.

As of today, there are three services that appear to be supported by AT&T’s sponsored data offering. Those are DirecTV (including DirecTV Now), U-Verse TV, and Fullscreen, all of which are owned by AT&T.

Customers on AT&T’s prepaid plans with limited high-speed data, which are its $ 35 and $ 45 plans, are automatically enrolled into the sponsored data program. It is possible to opt out of sponsored data by going into your account, selecting Manage Data, then toggle the feature off.

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InfluxData and the TICK stack for IoT data streaming

Tesla uses InfluxData in its energy products. Image courtesy of Tesla.

With every advancement in technology we get a new database to get excited about. With the cloud, we started caring about scale, and No-SQL databases rose to the fore. With social networks, graph databases became the hot new thing. And now, with the internet of things, time series databases are getting their day in the sun.

That’s why InfluxData just raised $ 35 million in a round led by Sapphire Ventures. The goal is to expand the company’s database sales beyond its current customers, which include Tesla, IBM, and Nordstrom. At the end of January, another time series database called Timescale raised $ 12.4 million in funding. So the space is hot.

Time series databases aren’t new. Traditionally, they are simply a measurement of the state of some sensor and the time. But now that there are connected sensors that can take in data hundreds of times a day or more, these databases are seeing more action. Plus, in many situations it’s not enough to collect the data and then ship it somewhere as a log. Now people want to take action on that data. And they want to take that action as soon as possible.

This means that time series databases aren’t just handling a greater velocity and volume of data; they also have to analyze it as it streams by. Think of it as the more active version of logging data as performed by companies such as Splunk. There are many time series databases out there, including giants such as GE’s Predix, as well as smaller projects like Riak or Graphite. Many projects started as ways to monitor IT systems and websites, not thermostat readings or automotive data.

In InfluxData’s case, CEO Evan Kaplan touts the speed of the database plus the available suite of tools it works with, which allows developers to monitor IoT assets and query data even as more data is coming in. It also stores data in a compressed format and quickly ditches the dregs it doesn’t need.

Together with tools called Telegraf, Chronograf, and Kapacitor, Kaplan is selling a concept called the TICK stack. It is designed to rapidly ingest and handle data while also giving users the tools to query it. As a lover of many IT stacks—from the historical LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack for web development to the more recent SMACK (Spark, Mesos, Akka, Cassandra, and Kafka) stack for big data—I like the idea of one for the IoT.

However, note that in this case Influx is promoting the tools it is developing as opposed to developers promoting a collection of independent technologies that they have found to work well together. That doesn’t mean it will fail; it’s just a different genesis.

As for revenue, InfluxData has a slightly different model than the traditional open-source efforts. It offers one server for free, and as the database expands, customers will pay for an enterprise license so they can build a larger cluster capable of handling more. Given how much time series data machines throw off, it’s a model that should net it plenty of revenue over time.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

New macOS bug can cause serious data loss

A new flaw has been discovered in macOS High Sierra that can cause data to be lost when writing to disk images. It affects those formatted using the Apple File System (APFS) specifically, but it shouldn’t be a problem for your primary SSD. Apple’s latest software releases have been plagued by pesky bugs. The company has worked […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac