Weekend Reads 112219

While the term “network slicing” typically brings up an association with 5G technology and services, they are not directly related. Network slicing simply is the ability for to carve out multiple virtual networks, with significantly different performance characteristics, from a common physical infrastructure. 5G resonates with network slicing because 5G ‘by definition’ includes distinct service classes for very high bandwidth, ultra-low latency with high availability, and massive IoT. It is hard to see how the 5G services vision is achievable without network slicing. —Jonathan Homa

Have you actually thought about how much you are tracked on a daily basis? Think about everything you post on social media, what you search, the apps that are generating metadata (with or without your consent), what your phone knows about you. Not forgetting your “voice assistants,” there is a worrying amount of data we generate every day that builds an impressive digital footprint. —Stuart Peck

So, if there’s always been a battle of the browsers, why do we care so much about how many browsers are available today? You’d think it wouldn’t matter much. After all, browsers are nothing more than a shell through which we access the web, right? Superficially, that’s true. As consumers, browsers provide us with key navigational elements that help us move around the web: the home button, address bar, back and forward buttons, bookmarks, and more. —Suzanne Scacca

So what are the advantages of Li-ion (as compared to VLA or VRLA) batteries? First, the power density of Li-ion technology exceeds that of VLA or VRLA, so Li-ion batteries deliver more power from a smaller footprint. Second, Li-ion technology allows for more charge/discharge cycles without degrading the battery. —Chris Brown

Years ago, I spoke with the risk management leader at a bank where I was consulting. This person was new in the role and was outlining plans for implementing an IT risk management program. The company’s program was to be based on the NIST 800 series, which predates the creation of NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and they had worked out their own proprietary risk rating system based on the control catalog in SP 800-53. It was well thought out and the leader had some success in a previous role working with the same solution. —Jack Freund

If you consider cybersecurity breaches to be the “new normal,” you’re in good company. A recent survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab revealed that 86% of 250 top security officials who participated believe that cybersecurity breaches are inevitable. The complexity of today’s cyber environments guarantees that every company is on a path to a breach. —Ariel Zeitlin

An IT crash at Britain’s TSB bank that locked out nearly 2 million customers and halved parent Sabadell’s profits last year was caused by moving to a new banking platform before it had been properly tested, an investigation has found. —Lawrence White and Iain Withers

Online multiplayer gaming is growing rapidly, with free-to-play titles like Fortnite and League of Legends each generating over a billion dollars in revenue via in-game purchases. However, game-play experience is easily affected by network conditions, with poor “lag” causing frustrated gamers to complain on forums and churn between ISPs. —Vijay Sivaraman

One of the recurring and common complaints about Agile and its associated methodologies is that it doesn’t make an explicit provision for balancing software maintenance with new features. I’ll make the case that those are both related, and explain a system that I’ve seen work in the past to balance both maintenance and quality with new product work. —Trevor O

Usenet — Netnews — was conceived almost exactly 40 years ago this month. To understand where it came from and why certain decisions were made the way they were, it’s important to understand the technological constraints of the time. —Steven Bellovin