User Experience Research

A user experience interview is when a trained moderator guides an open-ended one-on-one conversation with an existing or potential user. A moderator can explore the user’s general attitude, motivation, troubles, and behavioral. An interview does have limits, it should not be used an evaluation tool. They are not good for assessing the details of a solution or understanding the details of past experiences. It is better to interview people in their own space then in an office setting and always conduct interviews in person when possible. In most cases a phone interview should be used as a last resort since you will be not able to see the person’s face and behavior.

Analyzing raw data into valuable actionable insights is a skill that is often gets skipped when learning about learning about a user experience. The success of the research efforts starts with setting clear objectives and research goals to help design and implement a relevant study. Choosing a method that will allow you to collect the right sort of data for your questions. Some things to consider are before collecting data are the stage of product life cycle, associated risks, and business goals. Once different patterns and themes have identified with in the data start looking for connections between what has been found and the business goals and research objectives.

The Importance of intelligence requirements

How important are intelligence requirements?

Intelligence requirements are important for gathering and analysis; “what is useful and what is not”. Requirements start with leadership or upper management defining what the requirements are based on strategic, operational, or current needs to accomplish the mission at hand. Without clearly defined requirements the intelligence team will not be able to accomplish the objectives and deliver the desired results to complete the mission or task at hand.
An Intelligence team can vary in size from large departments of 100+ analysis to a small team of 5. Thus, intelligence requirements will vary in size and scope depending on the resources available able to gather, process, and deliver intelligence to the stakeholders.

Can intelligence meet organizational necessities without having them?

Without clear intelligence requirements the intelligence team will not be the desired result or needs for leadership or stakeholder. The resulting intelligence might be inefficient or incomplete, making it will be hard for leadership to know where or when to apply it.

Designing a plan for research

When designing a plan for research, there are several things to consider in terms of approach, design, and methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Depending upon preference or subject matter, one may choose a more qualitative or quantitative method of research.

Research arises when there are questions about human behavior or beliefs. There are four worldviews that often shape a research question: postpositivism, transformative, constructivism, and pragmatism. There are also three designs in research. Quantitative research is a more traditional approach by testing theories. It uses numbers and focuses upon closed ended questions. Qualitative research are studies that examine social or human problems using open ended questions. Because either method has its advantages and disadvantages, a mixed approach is often used to provide a more complete understanding of a research question. Personal experiences and audience also play a role in which type of approach should be used in research.

Important elements in understanding literature reviews

Literature reviews are the ongoing conversations about an issue. They provide a deeper understanding of that issue by familiarizing the reader with past and current trends of the research topic. They also render insight as to how others have approached the issue. Reading literature reviews allow the reader to fully engage in the conversation in order to identify its strengths, weaknesses, or gaps that will ultimately become the starting point for new research. Understanding one’s relation to the issue will better assist that reader in developing their own research question.

The most important element to understand is that literature reviews are the ongoing conversations about an issue. Literature reviews reveal what research has or has not been done. They allow the reader to gain meaningful understanding of the current field. It is important to become part of that ongoing conversation through reading and engagement in order to be able to identify one’s position, enabling them to take an informative approach to a new research question.

Why is have establishing cyber attributes importent?

Implementing cyber attribution for cyber security is very important in the process of tracking, identifying and laying blame on the perpetrator or course of a cyberattack. Establishing cyber attributes can be difficult because the underlying architecture of the internet offers numerous ways for an attacker to hide their behavior. Often companies lack the resources or expertise needed to track down cyber criminals, thus they usually hire outside information security experts. Once the identity or attribution has been established, an analyst should be able to establish:

  • What was the reason or motivation?
  • Who was behind it?
  • Where did it come from?
  • Will it return?

Key indicators that enable attribution

  • Tradecraft: Behavior frequently used to conduct cyber-attacks.
  • Infrastructure: Communication structures used to deliver capabilities.
  • Malware: Software designed to enable unauthorized functions on a PC or information resource.
  • Intent: Commitment to carry out certain actions based on content.

Also, metadata can be used to identity where it came from. However, these data points can be easily faked:

  • Source IP address
  • Email data
  • Hosting platforms
  • Domain names

 

Cyber Security in Business

The industry has a love hate relationship with cyber intelligence, they want to have secure things, but they struggle with balancing security and giving users ease of use. Maintaining all the items needed for effective outcomes for intelligence teams is not very cost effective for many companies. Available data for successful outcome will vary by company, and what risk appetite they elect to have in their information security program

Laws and criminal statutes can vary widely from state to state and from country to country. There is not a set of rules that everyone follows in what is illegal and how data/evidence may be collected. Many of these laws can land intelligence teams and penetration testers on the wrong side of statue and find themselves subject to criminal and civil penalties.

The industry has been dragging their feet on keeping up with security updates on equipment which leaves open an unknown amount of zero day vulnerabilities that are unknown to intelligence teams until they are exploited You never know how many places have unpatched, and equipment that has been many years past the end of development or support windows. Many small businesses rely on router and modem settings for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance so that they can accept credit cards. Most do not have a firewall or security appliance

The American Civil War

War is an extremely serious event that occurs when an issue cannot be resolved in peace or compromise. Slavery was the issue of the mid-nineteenth century in America. The agrarian South wanted slavery maintained, and even expanded. The industrious North did not, promoting personal liberties and opportunity. Tension grew over the issue of slavery as America spread throughout the west. Ironically, the nation began breaking apart as one-by-one, southern states decided to secede into their own confederation, all united in slavery.

The newly elected President Abraham Lincoln worked diligently with Congress on possible scenarios to intervene or allow the institution of slavery to continue. Slavery had fulfilled a unique way of life to the Cotton States. It brought prosperity to its citizens. Many believed in their right to uphold slavery under the Constitution. Unfortunately, Lincoln understood the Constitution all too well. The carefully written manuscript did not address slavery. As any spreading disease, Abraham Lincoln believed it should not be encouraged for a young nation based upon freedom. As a competent leader, President Lincoln recognized diverse interpretations of the Constitution. However, in light of ongoing rebellion and secession, and for the sake of a nation’s integrity, he felt it necessary to resolve.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States

Winning a war takes strength, strategy, a suitable battleground, and a firm conviction for success. Neither side was expecting war, nor were they wanting to do so. But the majority of Southerners thought it would be a quick victory as they easily captured the ill-equipped, federally occupied Ford Sumter off the South Carolina coast on April 12, 1861. With these first shots of the American Civil War, Lincoln concluded it would take more time, more resources, and more manpower to secure victory and unite the nation once again.

Our nation may not have been prepared to go to war although to some, it seemed a foregone conclusion. Yet the North was already in position to win the war. Essentially, the federal government had the money and resources to outfit and supply a successful war campaign. The Northern states were an industrialized culture with various types of mills and factories. The government maintained arsenals such as Liberty, Kansas, and they were also equipped to mass produce more guns and ammunition. In contrast, the Confederate South was primarily a society of farmers whose available tools and machinery supported an agrarian economy. There was but one manufacturer capable of producing heavy arsenal, located in the state of Virginia. The South could import weaponry from overseas unless they were blocked by the Union navy. Lack of munitions prompted desperation and creativity. Many volunteers supplied their own guns while others converted weapons from farm implements. Moreover, countless weapons were salvaged through Union capture or conquer.

The Civil War was fought in Southern terrain and along the extensive Atlantic coastline. The North already had access to over 300 vessels of various sizes and capabilities, naval shipyards, and the means to build more and repair as needed. The coastal region was difficult for the Confederates to defend as they scarcely owned or had limited access to warships. While they did import large ships from Britain, they again resorted to converting and outfitting available vessels, including tugboats and cutters for immediate battle. In fact, the Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory is credited for construction of torpedo boats and a submarine, the C.S.S. Hunley, which took down many vessels belonging to the North. In addition, Jefferson Davis solicited privateers to help capture additional ships for their cause.

American Civil War
American Civil War

The Union easily accessed the battleground via rivers such as the Tennessee and the Cumberland. Rivers and bridges were heavily patrolled with armed steamboats developed out of the Transportation Revolution. The steamboats supplied food and equipment to Northern soldiers. The modern railroad and telegraph were also used by the North. The Alleghenies of West Virginia provided railroad access, a great barrier, and gave the Union a strategic advantage over the Confederates. In addition, macadamized roads were much easier for Union soldiers to travel upon foot, as opposed to muddy gravel over difficult terrain that often wore Southern soldiers down. Without food and provisions, many Confederate soldiers became weak with hunger.

The availability of manpower was one of the most significant resources that brought the North to victory. In total population, the North outnumbered the South by 2 to 1, which was reflected in armed strength. There were career soldiers and volunteers. The North organized recruitment camps. The very first Union regiment came out of the state of Massachusetts. Northern soldiers organized for battle, security, and protection, especially at the rivers, railroads, and the area surrounding Washington D.C. When the South sabotaged telegraph lines, destroyed railroad bridges, or damaged ships, the North could send workers for repair and reconstruction. When Lincoln needed more men, he was able to order a new supply.

Each side could boast skillful leadership including commanding leaders Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, highly trained at West Point but chose which side to fight, based upon loyalty. Training of soldiers, on the other hand, varied greatly. Conviction was noteworthy but sometimes questionable due to drunkenness and inappropriate behavior. Regardless, thousands of soldiers went into battle inadequately outfitted and ill-prepared. While attempting to reclaim western Virginia in 1862 against the North’s General George McClellan, Confederate soldiers were observed to be exposed and vulnerable. Furthermore, many were weak and sickened from disease.

Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee
Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

Directing them all was President Abraham Lincoln who exercised his authority and knowledge of the Constitution, helping to facilitate a Northern victory. At the onset, he arrested underground secessionists and other defiant activity, holding them under Article I, Section 9. He imprisoned Southern privateers as well, deeming them rebels and pirates. After the Battle of Antietam, September 1862, Abraham Lincoln delivered the infamous Emancipation Proclamation. As of January 1, 1863, all slaves became free from any slave or rebellious state. The Proclamation not only released indentured laborers in the South, it allowed 186,000 newly freed males to enlist in the Civil War, providing additional military strength to the Union army.

The issue of slavery was at the core of the American Civil War. The South felt so strongly in their belief that they were willing to rebel, to secede in order to continue the traditional aristocratic life they had enjoyed. There was much at stake and they were confident they could win. Yet the South had no means of winning. The best they could hope for was to avoid great loss.

For Lincoln and much of the North, allowing slavery to continue was a violation of the Constitution. Their convictions lie not, as much, in taking slavery away, but upholding the Constitution, reinforcing the integrity of our forefathers’ vision, and securing a united nation. They had to go to war. It was not an easy victory. Hundreds upon thousands of lives were lost. In the Spring of 1865, the American Civil War ended as General Lee and the Confederate army surrendered. Abraham Lincoln did not live to see the end of the war, but history would still remember him as one of our nation’s greatest heroes.

Confiscation Act of 1862

Confiscation Act of 1862 was an updated version of the 1861 Act that gave the federal government the right to take away all property, which included slaves. This law was directed toward anyone who was considered a threat to Lincoln’s government or war effort. There was concern about federal government’s power in taking away personal freedoms or right to property. But it was an important step toward releasing the slaves from bondage and it added to the number of solders who could help fight in Lincoln’s army.

What is Microservice Architecture

Microservices architecture is a style that structures an application as a collection of services. This breaks all processes into its own service, where each service has its own container with its own data storage, does not share data. The inverse is monolith architecture which builds all capabilities into a single executable and process. This is a server-side system based on a single application to develop and manage.

Microservices vs. Monolith Architecture
Microservices vs. Monolith Architecture

 

Microservices implements smart endpoints uses no complex middle-ware the brain lay in the application and the network just help to route information.

Some characteristics of microservices architecture are:

  • Componentization via services
  • Organized around business capabilities
  • Decentralized data management
  • Designed for failure

Advantages of using microservices are:

  • A team can choose an any language for the service
  • Less risk in change
  • Partial Development
  • Independent Scaling
Monolith Microservices
Simple Complex
Whole Development Partial Development
No availability when other services failed Some availability when other services fail
Consistently
Preserves modularity
Multiple platforms

What is a chaos monkey?

A chaos monkey is a tool that randomly stops services in the infrastructure during the data, while services are being monitored. Since Failure will happen in any disturbed services having a chaos monkey will force developers to anticipate how that failure would happen and how it will be handled. Since failure will happen in any distributed system telling a chaos monkey into an infrastructure will make people more aware of the fact that things will break by forcing it to happen, then monitoring and recovery can handle the event. This effects how to code is designed and written to become more robust. This is chaos engineering which is the discipline of experimenting on a software system in production in order to build confidence in the system’s capability to withstand turbulent and unexpected conditions.

Netflix’s chaos monkey repository on GitHub

What is Conway’s Law?

Conway’s law states that an “organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.” This is based on the reasoning that for a software module to function, multiple authors must communicate frequently with each other. Thus, the software interface structure of a system will reflect the social boundaries of the organization that produced it. In microservices, there is a lot of variation on how big the size of each team and the number of services to support should be.

 

References

IBM Cloud. (2019, Febuary 26). What are Microservices? Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdBtNQZH8a4

Richardson, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from microservices.io: https://microservices.io

Thoughtworks. (2015, January 31). Martin Fowler – Microservices. Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yko4TbC8cI

ThoughtWorks. (n.d.). Martin Fowler. Retrieved from http://www.thoughtworks.com: https://www.thoughtworks.com/profiles/martin-fowler

Wikipedia. (2020, February ). Conway’s law. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_law

 

The Crittenden Proposal

With 7 southern states already attempting to secede and form a new nation, Congress debated how to keep the Union together by law, coercion, or compromise.

Jordan CrittendenKentucky Senator John J. Crittenden, a member of the “Committee of Thirteen,” devised a compromise, a series of amendments to the Constitution in hopes of avoiding further secession threats. Essentially, it would guarantee slavery would remain in established states without government interference. It was later modified to the 36° 30’ parallel. Believing there is no compromise when it involves slavery, the proposal was denied by Lincoln stating it would set back all he had worked to achieve. As a result, the southern states proceeded to form an independent Confederate government.