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Public Safety Blog Series–#IACP2013: Law Enforcement Professionals Unite

October 18, 2013 at 9:36 am PST

Even in the face of the U.S. government shutdown, law enforcement around the world continued undeterred. The 120th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition will take place October 19-23, 2013 in Philadelphia.

A key event for law enforcement education, IACP 2013 topics will include everything from tracking officer injuries to understanding the power of social media.

One session we are especially excited about will be presented as part of the Chief Executive Track by Chief Todd Miller, Director of Public Safety at the Mankato Department of Public Safety, and his team.

 

This workshop will highlight strategies agencies are using to deal with mass shootings and individual crisis incidents. If you’re attending IACP2013, join this session to learn how to prepare for the resulting media frenzy and develop a community response -- Saturday, 10/19/2013 1:00PM -- 3:00PM, Room 115AB. Read More »

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Day 2 of Educause 2013: Videoconferencing, Engagement and the Student Experience

October 18, 2013 at 9:06 am PST

Day 2 of Educause 2013 has been both information-filled and somewhat fascinating. During the general session this morning, author and renowned game designer, Jane McGonigal, shared some intriguing facts about the power of gaming in higher education. A few facts she shared that I found especially interesting included -- 71% of employees are not engaged (at a cost of 300 billion dollars per year), and that the longer you stay in school, the less engaged you become.

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Getting a Handle on Your Data

When your incident response team gets access to a new log data source, chances are that the events may not only contain an entirely different type of data, but may also be formatted differently than any log data source you already have. Having a data collection and organization standard will ease management and analysis of the data later on. Event attributes must be normalized to a standard format so events from disparate sources have meaning when viewed homogeneously. In addition to normalization, log events must be parsed into fields and labeled in a consistent way across data sources. Ensuring that log data is organized properly is a minimum requirement for efficient log analysis. Without digestible and flexible components, it’s extremely difficult to comprehend a log message. If you have ever paged through screen after screen of log data with no filter, you know what I’m talking about.

Normalization

Data normalization is the process of transforming a log event into its canonical form, that is, the accepted standard representation of the data required by the organization consuming the data. If the same data can be represented in multiple formats, each possible iteration of the data can be considered a member of an equivalence class. To allow proper sorting, searching, and correlation, all data in the equivalence class must be formatted identically.

As an example, let’s consider timestamps. The C function strftime and its approximately 40 format specifiers give an indication of the potential number of ways a date and time can be represented. The lack of an internationally recognized standard timestamp format, combined with the fact that most programming libraries have adopted strftime’s conversion specifications, means that application developers are free to define timestamps as they see fit. Consuming data that includes timestamps requires recognizing the different formats and normalizing them to an organization’s adopted standard format. Other data contained in logs that may require normalization includes MAC addresses, phone numbers, alarm types, IP addresses, and DNS names. These are examples of equivalence classes, where the same data may be represented by different applications in different formats. In the case of an IP address or a DNS name, the CSIRT may find it beneficial not to normalize the data in-place, but rather to create an additional field, the labels of which are standardized across all data sources where possible.

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It’s Time for an Intelligent Approach to Video Collaboration

As we’ve been preparing for next week’s Collaboration Summit, I’ve been reflecting on the past 10 years in the video and communications industry. In today’s hyper-connected world, the bar has been raised and user expectations are higher than ever before, especially as it relates to video and its impact on efficiency and productivity.  Users want to be connected all the time while having more control of when or how they are reached.  They want to have access to an array of video collaboration experiences with the ability to choose how they want to interact based on what’s going on during the day.  And they want it to be easy to use, easy to connect to others, easy to integrate with business applications and content, and of course easy to manage.

The list of user requirements is exciting for the industry.  It proves the immense value inherent in video communications and is inspiring everyone to think harder about what users want not only now, but also years into the future.  Yet keeping up with these demands is no easy feat for any technology vendor and can be even more challenging for IT teams supporting all of these new user scenarios in a business environment.  Simply put, video communications needs to be reimagined so that the promise of pervasive adoption can happen, and can happen in a way that delivers unsurpassable value.

It’s time for a more intelligent approach. Read More »

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How An Engineer Looks At Weight Loss

There are two ways to write this blog. One is all positive, happy and humorous. The other is to be real. I’ve wrote both versions. I like the happy one better. I had some funny, “You know you’re fat when…” Foxworthy-isc quips…oh you silly hillbillies with your cornbread!  but, to my surprise, weight loss is more than just losing weight, it’s personal. Dad gum…is it personal… Therefore, here we go…a real and unvarnished look at how I lost over 100lbs in two years.  By the way…this is a long blog. I’ve subtitled each section so you can skip around if ya wanna.

“How about that! 3 more and that’s a perfect score in bowling! Woot!! Woot!!!” As a Lebowski under achiever, 300 is a magic number. So when my Dr. told me I weighted 297lbs on 10Oct11 heck man, I was happy at my accomplishment! Honestly, as a hillbilly that grew up on a diet of Crisco, Emge lard and deep fried everything and STILL have low cholesterol numbers, I felt great!! Suck it tofu eaters!! I was happy fat. Comfortable in my own skin, I loved to laugh and make fun of leaf eaters, calorie counters…joggers! Get a grip man! Be happy who ya are and enjoy life daddy-o!

My Doctor threw a brick thru my temple of celebration. “Well, let’s see if you cheer this Jimmy Ray… I have to start you on blood pressure pills right  now because you are close to stoke levels (he watched me take two pills right there in his office) and I have to monitor you for self-induced diabetes…”

Wait a minute…WTF…but…none of that runs in my family.

As a matter of fact, about the only thing that really kills off Purser’s are bullets and each other. There must be a mistake. I’m healthy… I AM!!! He flipped over the chart and showed me what every engineer needs to see; numbers and histograms based against a benchmark. Oh crap…jokes on me….who’s laughing now.

But that middle thing…self-induced??! You mean there are folks in this world I know personally that have medical problems they could not help ,they  do not want and go bankrupt trying to cure and I’m so friggen fat and lazy that…I’m inducing them in myself?????????????????????????????????????  Whatta friggen ungrateful piece of crap I am. Given the gift of health and this is what I’m doing with it. Man…Whatta friggen whanker I am.

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