30 December 2013

Year 2013

As we look back towards the end of the year 2013, we can wonder about the many past occurrences in the world that made it eventful. Like they say it is always best to look on the brighter side of life as we project on into a gradual transition to 2014. It seems as things change the more they do stay the same and at the very slow pace life transitions in to a higher level of modernity while time skips ahead. We wonder what new experiences one will feel in new year for a non-stop rhythmic beats of the heart and the soul searching mind destined for greatness. The below lists a few major events that took place in 2013:

China Moon Rover Lands on Moon.(Dec-10)
Nelson Mandela Dies at 95.(Dec-04)
Iran Nuclear Deal.(Nov-22)
Super Typhoon Haitan Devastates Philippines.(Nov-07)
US government shutdown.(Oct-01)
Kenya Mall Attack.(Oct-21)
Washington DC Navy Yard Shooting.(Sep-17)
Tokyo Japan wins to host 2020 Olympics.(Sep-07)
Microsoft buys Nokia mobile business at $7.2bn.(Sep-02)
NASDAQ in error for three hours during trading time.(Aug-21)
Syria Chemical Attack Allegation.(Aug-21)
Spain train crash.(Jul-25)
Detroit files for bankruptcy.(Jul-18)
Boeing 777 Crashes at San Francisco Airport.(Jul-06)
Egypt Army Ousts President Mursi.(Jun-22)
US NSA Prism Program.(Jun-06)
Baltimore cruise ship fire in Caribbean.(May-27)
London shocked after brutal machete attack.(May-22)
Huge tornado hits Oklahoma.(May-20)
Scientists successfully cloned human stem cells.(May-17)
Yahoo buy Tumblr for $1.1bn.(May-17)
Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Over 700 Dead.(May-05)
Deadly earthquake hits China Sichuan.(Apr-18)
Boston Marathon Blasts.(Apr-16)
Margaret Thatcher Dies at 87.(Apr-07)
The rise of bitcoin.(Mar-20)
Cyprus plans to tax bank deposits.(Mar-17)
Meteorites injured hundreds in Russia.(Feb-14)
Pope Benedict XVI resigned.(Feb-10)
About 230 Dead During Brazil Nightclub Fire.(Jan-27)
Algeria Hostage Crisis.(Jan-16)
Stampede During New Year Fireworks in Ivory Coast.(Jan-01)

27 December 2013

Mobile Frameworks

Mobile applications are a hot commercial market for software developers. However, with the limitations of the user interface it brings with it a set of unique complexities and functionality. Responsive applications become all the more important on mobile devices and effect the web browser feel as well. There is a lot of competition in market from both mobile devices as well as applications. JavaScript and HTML frameworks are likely to play an even bigger role in the mobile applications development as they move further into native development. However, it has always been the case on mobile development that either C/C++/Objective-C, Java, and perhaps even Erlang have had a strong hold for native applications. One major issue for mobile development is to develop applications that can work across multiple devices seamlessly. In process, it forces one to lose native access to the platform in certain respects. Android and iOS have been the most popular platforms in last few years. The following framework options have been quite workable and popular on mobile platforms.

PhoneGap and Cordova are essentially similar.  However, PhoneGap utilizes Cordova under the covers as it's a distribution. 

Linked Data Platform

A new transformation in W3C specification to provide more flexibility and reduced sense of complexity for linked data. A paradigm shift from heavy weight RDF/SPARQL towards a more flexible and natural approach to viewing resources simply in manner of REST design and implementation. In so doing, emerging into a more closer dynamics of web of data which essentially aspires to become the global shared graph database on the web easing the path towards more semantically rich linked documents and navigation. The LDP tries to provide for a standard set of principles and patterns for the interaction of linked data via HTTP verbs.  The benefits of which become apparent towards remote web queries for URI based resources and the traversal of the web as one big connected graph of information. Documents then become more meaningful as they can hold more semantic information in form of concepts to provide metadata of what things they specifically are about which could be anything from people, places, events, products, and more. Also, the use of JSON-LD is a further accessible approach on the semantic data.

A few interesting projects coming out include: 
Stanbol - semantic data for content management 
Marmotta - a linked data platform 
Callimachus - a data-driven semantic web framework
Lyo - an Eclipse based SDK for Linked Lifecycle Data
Tabulator - semantic data browser and editor adds LDP support
RWW-Play - Linked Data Profile
Node_ldp - linked data platform for Node.js
MyProfile - WebId based authentication/authorization API
ELDA  - an implementation of the Linked Data API


26 December 2013

Britain Largest Economy

Chances of Britain ever becoming the largest economy in EU, in distant future, would mean that the banking industry in the country will gain more rights to do what they want at the expense of taxpayers. What it really means is that income divide will increase. The rich will get richer. More corporations will setup outsourcing to save costs. Loss of jobs in the long run for British people. Even shortage of housing as more foreigners take ownership of companies and houses. It means more investment into the country at the expense of the taxpayer. If China were to ever supersede America it can only mean at the level of many Chinese people who still struggle to live in the country. Top economy does not mean great things for everyone. Higher taxes and higher interest rates are inevitable. Inflation will be higher but it will never balance in salaries. Cost of living rises in top economy and yet the value and quality of life decreases for many. If America which is near close to a capitalist economy lags behind then this can only mean that Britain and China will move ahead at the expense of long term sustainability. However, the rise of the EU and the failure of many regions within, means that Britain has a surviving chance. The EU has not been good for either the struggling countries nor for the more stable ones. EU has also instigated many unnecessary trade restrictions which does not make it any easier for economic growth. As EU struggles it dissipates its effects into Britain, Asia, and the Americas. Even the emerging economies rely on the EU for much more than just trade. Globalization often means there will be volatility and fluctuations in economic returns from one region to the next. Often immigration of unskilled workers is detrimental for most economies as it digs into public services and means little to no productivity of the economy. One of the fastest ways towards sustainable economic growth is consumer spending. The power of the consumer and taxpayer is key to almost any economy even beyond businesses. It is ultimately the consumer that drives the market economy and that provides the distillation of supply and demand within any business provided products and services. And, it is that very cycle that provides for positive job growth. These days the consumer and taxpayer is ignored while policies and bureaucratic decisions are made under the covers of corporate greed and shareholder value to facilitate more control and less progress for the taxpayer. The balance of power between the taxpayer, governments, and businesses ultimately means the shift towards economic progress for all.

Text Extraction From Image Files

It is possible to extract text from document files, from web pages, from even pdf files. However, one can run into erratic situations when it comes to image based files. For example, how do you extract floor plan details from an image file. For image files, one really requires an OCR (Optical Character Recognizer). There are a few libraries available for this very purpose but for large-scale developments it is probably best to utilize a custom based solution as they can often be quite memory intensive. There are bound to be quite a few available on Python compared to Java.

Google Transit

Google has built up an extensive amount of mapping and layered data. They have even devised a multiple transit data feeds to allow one to obtain information (GTFS). This feed data on transit should really be available in every city of the world to help commuters travel around with ease of accessibility of information. London specifically also has a Transport for London feeds service on a whole range of information available. Unfortunately, as there is no real agreed global standard it creates for added complexities of data aggregation on transit within the various cities of the world who each seem to have their own approaches. Majority of the mapping work on Google Maps is done in JavaScript. But, there are also alternatives available like Leaflet.js, OpenLayers, Yahoo Maps and more. Unfortunately, one major drawback of relying on Google APIs or for that matter any commercial vendor specific APIs for data is that they provide no reliability for long term availability of the service or that it might in fact change over time on which one might have in fact built a web application. It would be useful on some providers to support versions of their APIs that way backward compatibility can save many who rely on their services. Also, travel information can potentially also be semantically applied using linked data from geonames.

Pair Programming

One of the lamest approaches to come out of software engineering in agile methodology is pair programming. It does not work on all occasions and is really a very unperceptive way to be productive in development. Most developers want a sense of autonomy, freedom, personal space, and exploratory approach to their development work. Not be constrained by process and by someone constantly over their shoulder feeding them nonsense. Pair programming can work when it is flexible within co-located desks. But, if two people are physically sitting next to each other it just becomes one really long and unproductive exercise. "Why do you want to do it this way why not that way" - if a senior developer keeps hearing that in their daily work day it is bound to drive them insane. Pair programming can work wonders on a complex piece of legacy code where there is virtually no tests and one needs to do a major service migration. In that respect, it means pairing with someone who either does know the legacy code or someone who can help in process of identifying problematic story cases. It may in that respect also lend towards productivity as one writes out a test case while another is doing the implementation or documentation. It may even help during training of a junior developer. But, really pair programming on a daily work day can be a very droning and frustrating process. For developers, that like to research and investigate new approaches as they go through their every day development, it does not really lend well to pair programming. One cannot test everything before deploying to production. There are always unknowns in a production environment for any number of things to go wrong. Agile approach is meant to work precisely for the reason of making a team agile - quickness, lightness, ease of movement, and nimble. Generally, a mixture of Lean and light weight Scrum use can work in that regard. It seems that many agile development environments have architects and managers that do not quite trust the abilities of their developers for which they start adding more pairing, excessive code reviews, and processes to make sure everything is checked over before it is delivered for deployment to production. Relying too much or adding way too many process-driven approaches into a development team defeats the whole objective of agility that pretty much manoeuvers a team back into the waterfall or seemingly unproductive iterative model. In summary, pair programming is an extreme practice which is not a necessity for teamwork nor for agile software development. In fact, it is most appropriate for those developers that require excessive amount of hand holding or the only way that they actually learn things in their line of work.

Dilbert Jokes on Extreme Programming

25 December 2013

Web Crawling

Web crawler allows one to search and scrap through document URLs based on a specific criteria for indexing. It also needs to be approached from a netiquette friendly way conforming to the robots.txt rules. Scalability can be an issue as well as different approaches can be devised for an optimal outcome. An algorithm driven approach is vital for a constructive approach of meeting requirements that might incorporate either an informed or an uninformed search strategy. At times, they even incorporate a combination as well as heuristics. This ultimately implies that, from an algorithmic point of view of a crawler, the web is seen as a graph search and lends itself well with linked data. They could be conducted in a distributed fashion utilizing multiagent approach or as singular agents. Web crawlers can also be used for monitoring websites usage, security, and dispensing information analytics that might otherwise be hidden from a web master. There are quite a few open source tools and services available for a developer. There is always a period in which testing would need to be done locally to work out the ideal and web friendly approach. There is no one best solution out there if the needs go beyond the limitations of any existing libraries can offer. In that respect, it really means designing one's own custom search strategy. And, perhaps, making it open source to share with the community.




Also, HBase appears to be in general a very good back-end for a crawler architecture which plays well with Hadoop.

Obviously, there are a lot more options out there most likely of which have a premium. Majority of the premium options have been avoided a mention.

high performance distributed web crawler
high performance distributed web crawler survey 
learning and discovering structure in web pages
UbiCrawler: A Scalable Fully Distributed Web Crawler
Searching the Web

24 December 2013

The Futuristic Utopia

It is inevitable that we are headed towards a Jetsonian sort of utopia in the future. Alternative fuel sources are already under heavy research. The rich are getting richer phenomenon will fuel even more interest towards artificial intelligence and more flights to space. It will even cause a rebellion and uprising. We might even see layered settlements established within the Earth's atmosphere to combat over populations of cities. We might also see corporations driving for more innovation in technology. Future might even mean the end of rubber on wheels. Intelligent glass interfaces could play an even stronger role as Google starts to take glass into the next century as well as more use of cognitive robots that become useful around the house. Perhaps, even a robot army in the near future leading up to the inevitable rebellion of robots vs humans for equal rights. It seems technology really does take inspiration from science fiction novels and Hollywood movies.

The Jetsons

Digital Stories

People love reading from newspapers, to comics, to autobiographies, to bestselling fictions. Writing and reading are often related and come hand in hand. However, publishing business is a very competitive industry where authors have an extremely difficult time getting themselves a publisher especially if they are only just starting out. Also, ordinarily publishing has become a very sexist sort of affair where by its very nature female authors stand a greater chance of being accepted for offers by publishers. However, writing for newspapers in form of journalism has also become competitive as companies strive to keep readerships on a daily basis and rely on advertising for revenue generation. Perhaps, the world of publishing needs to start embracing the digital world a bit more and seek more opportunities to enhance their user base as well as to unlock some of their valuable content. One noteworthy approach to increasing immediate feedback from users is to utilize a collaborative story platform. Produce stories where people could collaborative and become part of the process. The transitions can be automated for correctness using a storyteller intelligence. Even a process to add recommendations for what to write about, where to end a chapter, where to end a book, what plot lines and climaxes juxtapose well together. It could even take form of allowing people to create their own comics, build their own autobiographies, fictions, and even to collaborate in a crowd sourcing manner for news. Imagine collaborating with many to develop a mysterious island story and sharing the rights as well as royalties from sales. Inspirational ideas could even be used from the Project Gutenberg which contains free access to classics and provide content for general reading. There could even be options on personal content for monetization via publishing rights, subscriptions, and advertising. Publishing can then become a cheaper option as well as something accessible to all. The books can be made available electronically in multiple formats. Feedback can be provided by readers at every iteration of the book in an agile fashion. Even semantic web can be applied to the process to distribute a graph of story links. News stories could be created by freelance journalists who could sell them to publishing newspapers with freedom from limitations and available to the highest bidder. Stories often take many shapes and forms as well as offer a context to which content can be applied. The dexterity of stories can be engineered by almost anyone that shared an interest in an area or enthusiasm for knowledge. We have social networking for games and even music. However, there could also be a lot of untapped potential in social networking for stories.

Saving Mr. Banks

Quite an over hyped movie, at times seemed repetitive, misdirected, and drawn into the temperaments of P.L Travers. It goes into a meandering episodes of past and present, making one feel almost boredom with the long drawn out anti-climatic storyline. An almost frivolous movie that seems to have overdrawn itself and mystified with promotional advertising. It failed to deliver on most accounts to enamor the audience into a sense of any sheer delight to have watched or even to have paid a handsome ticket price. Perhaps, even a bemused anticipatory glance at an empty popcorn bag, and not even half-eaten one at that, could have excused many out of their seats.

Crossword Intelligence

Building natural language by way of crossword puzzles could be an approach used for robots or even web intelligence. The approach is an inspiration taken from autism especially from the movie Mercury Rising. Being able to produce a level of intelligence where crossword puzzles could be utilized as way of open question/answering. In process, devising a way for reinforcement learning by which a softbot or even a robot can learn, comprehend, and understand the English language. This could even be taken further to understand the every day usage of slang words and even sentiments within text and speech. Furthermore, extending the approach to multiple languages. Word puzzles in general are a good logical way of building iterative inference based learning which allows for a continuous feedback loop. Even applying a bio-inspired intelligence could be an option here. However, this may be still slow in performance for the real-world as evolutionary computation does seem to have a very slow learning rate in general even on the margins of simple representations. The intelligence could even be encapsulated with memory for grammar, visual cues, speech metaphors, vocabulary, spelling, word disambiguation, and a lot more. And, a variety of context and complexities would be a way of adding further challenges. Going further, the approach can be utilized to build more context specific computational approaches for game shows as well as to improve variable statistical inference.

Desktop UI

Building a user interface requires a three dimensional view of thinking. One of the core requirements is for the application to be responsive. Even though, certain established approaches have garnered much traction in the enterprise, they have not been wholesome enough nor flexible for the multitude of user cases. Using Java as a front-end has always been a corner case much avoided. In past it was a case of building out light weight UIs that pushed much of the processing on the server-side. In turn, a UI was essentially a dummy interface with customized graphics as part of presentation. These days, however, it has become more about pushing and polling as well as relying on a mixture of processing on client-side as well as server-side to achieve a better responsive feel. JavaScript frameworks and libraries have become the main stay for much of the front-end development on the web. However, JavaScript related desktop UIs are still a road block for security. Approaches, like Swing, Flex, Qt, WPF, have become more appropriate in the enterprise for building out desktop intensive applications even with their limitations. Perhaps, JavaFX is a fairly new and still a very limited option. Flex and Qt are still quite the front runners in desktop domain. However, there are alternatives emerging every so often. Even Griffon can be seen as a Grails alternative for the desktop but has not had much the same level of community support.  Even Mozilla XUL based approach is an option. HTML5 has brought in a new dimension of thinking about UIs in what seems like a challenge for even Flash to keep up. Many desktop UI frameworks have come and gone along the way even from Yahoo and Google. Building a framework that can be utilized both for desktop, mobile, and web is a challenging option as they bring about a multitude of compatibility and performance restrictions as well as each unique set of complexities. Taking a web specific approach then molding it to support desktop and mobile still seems to be the best approach for most. Even building a web application that is supported for mobile from the start is a better approach for responsive services. Desktop UIs need to be available for web interaction in a lot of cases so essentially it seems that in future it will pretty much be about lending web technologies to the desktop feel much to the chasm for HTML5.

23 December 2013

Pedantic Interviewers

These days there are an increasing amount of applications, time constraints, and limited employable spaces at companies. This creates a huge spiral of competitive dilemma for candidates trying to get an employment. It is even harder for ones just starting out as their first job. Technical interviews usually require some level of programming test. However, the more hands on a test is the more pedantic the interviewer will get in process. Even mistakes that an interviewer makes in their own daily lives can seem like an issue to mark against a candidate. For a lot of candidates that get rejected these days their solutions are pretty much perfect in terms of deliverable. What this means is that interviewers look for every corner case possible to mark a candidate off as there are no other ways about filtering them. Interviewers are setting a very unfair target for themselves and screening out perfectly good candidates in process. This can be very frustrating for candidates too. Not to mention if the interviewer does not even bother to check their test and ends up messing them around which means a wasted exercises. Most interviewers can't be bothered for the time and effort that a candidate puts into their application and interview tests. And, in turn, they provide for an aimless feedback that has no real meaning to candidate other than the fact that code was not produced in a similar way as to how the interviewer likes it even though the candidate approach is perfectly logical. With pedantic interviewers, a candidate also has an opportunity to work out how the team is going to be like on a typical work day. Would you really want to work with such a person in your team who just has an issue with everything right down to what you name your variable, spelling, to the approach you followed. There have even been cases in UK where an interviewer has marked a candidate off because they used American English spelling of words in their code. Some senior developers are so strung out on process that they really forget to deliver on quality. Would you rather see a piece of code that was optimized and correct with no issues, compared to a solution that worked in sub-optimal time, had a whole lot of unnecessary tests, and still created issues in production. Tests are essentially there to provide a confidence level to assure the code does what it needs to do, has been properly refractored, and can be applied to a continuous integration for repeatable build tests. Overbearing tests that have little sense are just driving time wasted solutions. After all tests are self-engineered. However, an experienced productive developer can build tests that are minimal, logical, and yet have a better coverage. Again, over engineering on solutions is driving away creativity and innovation and instilling a very rigid and illogical approach to quality assured development practices.  

Nodejs Frameworks

Interestingly, Node.js has provided a means to build a full stack application in a rapid development process with just JavaScript as one underlining complexity language both on client-side as well as server-side. Keeping one language throughout the stack provides for a less complex solution. Node.js is also a very flexible NIO option. There are many JavaScript modules and frameworks that have sprung up and are continuing to do so as progress in the area continues. Users desire real-time updates and are very impatient for delays in response times. JavaScript as a result has diversified its field of vision across many domains. Although, security is still a big issue with JavaScript. The following are some interesting new frameworks on the horizon that are rapidly picking up steam in the open community.

Meteor - rapid, responsive, reactive, development for browser based applications
Derby - building real-time collaborative applications made simple for Nodejs and browsers
Sails - building Rails inspired applications for the enterprise 
Restify - module for building Restful applications on Nodejs
Hapi - server framework for Nodejs

10 best nodejs mvc frameworks
node frameworks

Christmas 2013

Christmas is almost here. People are in a state of panic. Last minute shopping is on the high streets. People are driving home to be with families. Christmas trees are up. It will start to get quaint and quiet outside in the mist of English gloomy weather. People will stay inside unwrapping presents and eating copious amounts of food. The streets will become deserted. The shops will be all closed. It will turn into a ghost town as people sit by the living rooms making their time count with their families during the holidays. And, still there will be a lingering thought among many as to their financial position that will only become more apparent as the new year draws near. Some will even feel a sheer sense of boredom sitting at home with family members that they rarely ever get along with on most days. Others will question the very hypocrisy that western holidays represent. Does one have to be nice to others only during Christmas? Is Christmas really about gift giving and the shallowness of it all?  

21 December 2013

Intelligent Music Composition

Producing music and songs that are likely to become hits later is a very unpredictable process. However, as in most cases of applying intelligence to such context relies on data and representation in order to provide for a learning transformation matrix. There are several approaches that can potentially be made towards understanding the past and working for the predictive or forecasting for the future. In a matter of predictive analytics for future trends and working towards making songs and music that can potentially become hits in that time frame. Getting the right melody and understanding human behavior is key. Music is a very social form of art that changes according to social tastes and trends. What is a hit today may not be a hit tune in 10 years time. Perhaps, it can even be stated that hit tunes have a part or attribute to play in the human shallowness for appeal of an artist or the part that promotion advertising plays into it. It is fair to say that developing predictive intelligence for music means working with many variables. An approach to Bayesian networks potentially could be a solution by way of deep learning. Open data initiatives in music can provide for a multitude of interactive data enrichment for building insights, learnability, and harmonization of tunes. Utilizing such data as on musicbrainz, dbtune, discogs, musicspace,  and dbpedia. The understanding of music or the science of sound is one way to go. Also, understanding social sentiments is another. It can also mean understanding aspects of what people like, what they would like to buy, what format they prefer, and then doing the analytics for a reasonable set of measurable outputs for recommendations. What trends in past may influence what trends in future. 

20 December 2013

Clueless Recruiters

Most recruiters have little to no clue about technology or the relevance of it to a role. When they conduct CV screening they are usually just looking for keywords. They have usually no idea what the manager really wants and what the candidate is stating in their technical CV. In respect of that, it means the candidate not only has to tailor the CV for the recruiter but also the technical manager. Possibly, a very difficult task in meeting a balance. The recruiter would like to see a word document and yet a technical manager most likely prefers the PDF document version. Not to mention in process of CV screening the very good candidates will get screened out of the process for having either too many or too little of any given keyword on their CV. Perhaps, most technology related companies should really do away with third-party recruiters and let technical managers and developers deal directly with CV screening themselves. It is understandable that people are bound by time constraints and most only spend about 10 seconds to review a CV before making a decision. However, reviewing the context of a CV is paramount in recruiting the right candidate for the job. These days a recruiter will decline a CV on all sorts of reasons which may have no relevance to what the technical manager has asked for. Also, it is understandable that minority groups in any society are always at a disadvantage as part of institutional discrimination. It may be assumed that it does not exist, but it is something that ordinarily does happen at a subjective level and as part of human judgement. A non-white is generally less likely to get a salary at par to a white individual and at same time less likely to be offered an interview in certain places. There is even a correlation these days that plays into having a specific religious affiliation which draw even more stereotypes on the CV screening and review process. A fair and equitable process of recruitment is key in finding the right people and knowing your candidate in an objective way also makes for a more approachable process for both parties. Making assumptions about a profile only leads to good candidates that will not be accepted and in process business will struggle to find the right skills. There is generally a technology skills shortage in world and will continue as newer approaches from open source community are developed. This would mean a demand for people who are well versed in their use and implementation. Elucidation of technical concepts and how they are used need to be approached methodically from a balanced view point of communicating to both non-technical as well as technical individuals on  CV. Conducting aptitude and personality tests are also a complete waste of time. Even at certain interviews the interviewer wants to ask as many technical questions as possible without realizing that a lot of it has no relevance for the role, which means a complete waste of time. At most companies recruitment processes are a foregone conclusion with much to be desired in terms of improvements and any consideration for candidates. One thing is for sure, the future of recruiters is in a sure demise as job search engines turn into smart matching engines and people are more able to rely on intelligent approaches rather than requiring people to do the job. Even human resources personnel will be reduced at most technology companies, in future, as most processes are pushed to the cloud or are automated to provide for a more contextual efficiency. 

18 December 2013

Top Scams To Watch Out

Scams take many forms both online internet and offline. The victims often are in distress after they have come to realization of what had happened. One of the best ways to avoid them is to use common sense. What is too obvious is most likely a deception. Trust your instincts as no one is ever there to offer huge sums of money outside official legal channels for free. Victims are often easily deceived on internet. Always make sure you delete your browser history after logging with personal details. Never save passwords on your PC. And, recycle your personal details and cards regularly. Also, an obvious way to detect an online scam is the visible mistyping and unprofessional manner in their formats. Banks will also never send out emails asking for personal details. It is always either by post, in branch, or telephone banking. If you ever become a victim, immediately report it to your credit provider or bank to stop/block all transactions. They may be able to offer you a refund after investigation as a form of customer liability on which cards are expected to maintain a level of security. Be wary of internet cafes as they can be quite insecure places. Data is a valuable asset and one needs to be also sure that they can store it in cloud knowing it will be relatively safe from prying eyes. Affiliated marketing can also be bad if the source is unsafe they can often infect one's PC. Maintain a cover on your port using a firewall and regularly update virus scans may help combat and prevent one from becoming a victim.

Often the most obvious scams:
  • Lottery Scams
  • Internet Auction Frauds
  • Nigerian Advance Fee Frauds
  • Identity Theft
  • Get Rich Schemes
  • Counterfeit Schemes
  • Credit Report Scams
  • Work at Home Scams
  • Property Investment Schemes
  • 900 Number Scams
  • You are due a refund from Inland Revenue Scams
  • Request to change details or contact Bank
  • Search and Marketing link scams
  • ATM card readers
  • Email proxy scams (sender email same as recipient)
  • Bulk email scams for promotions, request for personal details, or prizes
And, an obvious scam that link farms and tries to divert web traffic away from your site are, for example:
  • vampirestat
  • adsensewatchdog
  • 7secretsearch
  • zombiestat

17 December 2013

Xmas Fraudsters

As Christmas approaches one will witness a hefty increase in fraudsters. The junk and spam mail will pile up as well as more people on high street looking to snatch money away from you. In fact, even more beggars appear quite unusually at this time of year. More pick pocketing seems to occur as well. Even more dodgy shopping and event deals. And, more people online seem to become the culprit of fraudsters trying to snatch credit/debit card details. It is a time to shop but it is also a time to be a lot more vigilant about your wallet and your bank account. We live in a very individualistic society and as a result of credit crisis, people appear to be turning more and more towards the way of the crime. If you notice someone genuinely becoming a victim or target of such crimes, help them out before they lose their entire Christmas holidays.

End to Homeland Season 3

What a terrible ending and what a way to go. It was just everything they could have dreamt of pushing the rating further down a few notches. What they really should have done was gear it up so people could have looked forward to season 4. Now no one has anything to anticipate about. The surprise, the climax, the repetitious and over improvised intelligence scenes all dissipated and ruined. The hanging was an utter monstrosity. The pregnancy scare was also another glimpse of rejection at birth. What a way to signal teenage pregnant wannabe mothers. It seems the show has dejected itself into a warp hole of deeper and darker twisted plot lines, that mean little, are embellished over and beyond reality, giving new meaning to stereotypes for nonfactual terror escapades. One thing they did do was not show Dana anymore.

15 December 2013


Exposing company data in an open data initiative means that such public data as on company house can be semantically applied to various analytical processing applications. They even now have openspending and opencharities data to visualize how governments and charities are spending. It seems due diligence on company profiles can be further applied with opencorporates initiative for gathering and building insights about an orgranization or an individual in a rich and cohesive manner that both provides for further forecasts on such things as performance, credit, spending ability, future management, as well as transactions. This information can then be further used for compliance and KYC checks. Having publicly accessible data on a company in this manner makes one informed about liabilities and assets as well as helps other individuals and companies get insights on whether they can conduct business with that entity especially for legal and tax in the audit process. OpenCorporates even provides options for a Restful API as well as a reconciliation service with Google Refine. The open data initiative allows for the dissemination of knowledge exchange through open accessible curated data for various usable contexts in the process providing an opportunity for new innovation for development in the area that spans cross cutting concerns. Also, a very big initiative is on data.gov.uk  and data.gov which provide linked data on a whole range of government related categories. 

PlayN for Games

PlayN ("Cross platform game library for N>=5 platforms") allows one to provide one gaming solution across multiple front-ends. In process, making it a lot easier to bridge the different support requirements of front-end technologies by just implementing to one. The abstractions are generic enough to provide a number of different compatibilities at compile time: Java on Desktop, Android, HTML5, iOS, Flash, and provisions for a lot more. The framework is Java oriented and is built on top of GWT.

Another, alternative to PlayN is libGDX with similar multi-platform options. More options, include:

Unity 3D - designed for ease of creation
GameMaker - visual programming simplified
GameDevelop - visual game development
Unreal Development Kit - game development with advanced visualizations and simulations
Visual 3D Game Engine - rapid development of next generation 3D games

It would be interesting to see in future how Dart and GWT transgress with the PlayN framework. Dart also incidentally has its own gaming engine Dartbox2d with examples as well as DartFlash.

14 December 2013

Restful Specification

Being able to publish, consume, produce, describe, and visualize Restful Services implementation is key to community accessibility and feedback. One of the best ways to try out a subscription run API is to make the specification documentations available for users to browser and test the many design implications in a sandbox. In process, a rapid way of fixing issues can be formulated and the APIs are open for collaboration, improvement, and endorsement. Swagger is one such specification framework for REST API. It is quite fluid in scope and provides easy to use functionality when clients and documentations need to update  in sync with the server. Not only is it language agnostic but it provides an entry point for clients to understand the many details of a published API in a transparent way without the need to know server implementation. At same time, it provides insights into the parameters, methods, and models that utilize both JSON, XML as well as other document formats as prescribed in design.

Other options to Swagger include:

13 December 2013

Semantic Web for Banks

Banks have always been quite wary of incorporating new ideals and approaches in technology evolution. Often they wait years before a new breakthrough idea has had a chance to sink in after which they seem to go through an assessment phase before they sow the oats into their own systems. Banks have a huge amount of data to work with and there are an immense amount of risk management requirements that need to be captured at the same time. The almost immediate benefits from incorporating semantic web can be transformed by the use of an internal corporate wide linked data solution allowing the security cautious banker into the realm of data connectivity that not only provides further insights but also more contextual meaning. Once the REST approach is accepted, utilizing semantic web is only a stones throw away as resource on HTTP further starts to take shape with useful metadata. Semantic Web can be used to build profiles of individuals and companies for credit risk assessment to conduct more data sensitive analysis for compliance. It can even be used to manage securities information as well as to semantically build enrichment of market insights. A market data itself holds an immense amount of information beyond just a dashboard of historical data graphs. Furthermore, aggregated news sources can even project a global view of what investment strategies can be made and even text forecasting becomes a more semantically agreeable option via rich natural language processing with sentiment analysis. There is a lot of untapped potential in the overlapping associations and applications of natural language processing, semantic web, and machine learning to the real-world of finance all driven through fundamentally on uncertainty of events and human behavior. Such banks as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have already started to embark on their semantic expeditions to control the entanglements of data complexity and exchange as well as the inexplicable frontiers of risk management.

12 December 2013

Visible Blogs

Making blogs visible on web can take many forms. The following are some good sources of making one's blog visible on the web. However, a lot of them seem to come and go through the wheel of existence and demise. 


Registering to any of the above blog directories may or may not work. It is all a subjective view on what is available on the web.

And, as it goes for any website, register with a search engine so the website can be indexed.

Link Analysis could also help here in understanding the nitty-gritty of search engines.

And, make it available on places like, StumbleuponDmoz. Also, a few more tips and tricks from MOZ.

Blogger sites are already indexed on Google Blogs so no need to add there. An alternative option is also to advertise the blog using Adwords, which comes with an obvious cost to oneself. Connect your blog feeds to social network sites like Twitter and Facebook is another option. 

Lastly, there are security implications to bare in mind, so does one really want to make their blogs visible for everyone to read or just a limited few. Privacy has become a real social concern on the web while airing sentiments can be a cautionary tale. 

Event-Driven Application Frameworks

There are quite a few interesting even-driven frameworks visible now for the service aware developer. In many respects making a non-blocking IO approaches and intensive real-time processing all the more workable with a degree of simplicity. Polyglot programming is becoming more of a standard these days as people look for the right language approaches for the job. In past, used to be more of a hype and a trend but it is becoming more and more a necessity to be able to program in more than one language. Event-driven is a main stay for functional specialist programming approaches where the task is made easier by high-level abstractions like closures. But, they can still be adapted for more enterprise level languages as well. Some common viable event-driven application frameworks in use today are mentioned below.

Vert.x - polyglot support on the JVM
Node.js - javascript intensive on the server-side
Twisted - python specific
Typesafe - Scala specific for the JVM
EventMachine - Ruby specific
Perl Object Environment - perl specific
Libevent - C specific

Reactive Manifesto

Christmas Sales

Current general trends in christmas sales is on. There are plenty of bargains if one can grab them in time while stocks last. The following showcase some of the sales that are currently on across different retailers.

Check out more information on saving tips for christmas on moneysavingexpert.

Clarks*50% Off
House of Frasier *75% Off
DorthyPerkins *50%/60% Off
Vans Office Sales
Regatta Outlet *60-80% Off
Primark ASOS Sale
Asda George *50% Off
BHS *50% Off
New Look *60% Off
Office *60% Off
River Island *50% Off
Matalan *50% Off
Topshop *80% Off
Oasis *50% Off
Kurt Geiger *70% Off
Boden *70% Off
Habitat *50% Off
H&M *70% Off
Asos *70% Off
Wallis *50% Off
Tescos *50% Off
Gossard *50% Off
Boohoo *50% Off
SportsDirect *90% Off
EBay Deals
Amazon Deals
John Lewis
Marks & Spencer

*The sales may vary, are up to, and in range of the sale value. 

11 December 2013

Programming Language Trends 2013

What are the current trends in programming languages emerging for the cumulative year of 2013? It seems the evolution of functional programming as applied to big data applications did start to take shape but did not reach a pinnacle towards end of 2013. However, there still languages of the past years that are trending as popular as always. It seems the more things change the more they do stay the same in the programming realm. A whole u-turn can be seen in even storage systems and data center evolution. The below trends give a glimpse of various programming language interests on the web for 2013.

World Bank Insights

There are a lot of insightful datasets available at World Bank that could mean a lot of interesting analytics options and some nifty D3.js graphing. People need to discover and visualize the world economics and how different factors effect an individual. Visualizations talk a thousand words of interpretations. They provide an immense amount of ways to understand the fundamentals of how political decisions and economic trends can play a role in a country's future. Such insights can often help provide many points of decision making and for predictive analytics on specific economic models and even so far as to influence policies.

Everything GoodRelations

Imagine an entire e-commerce platform of semantic product domains ontologically dispersed using modified OWL-DL from goodrelations. What this means for business is insurmountably huge. It means annotations, sentiments and natural language semantics. It also means better recommendations that have real meaning both to customers and to providers alike. It means real revenue drives. Imagine Amazon as a semantic platform driving their whole storefront. Even Ebay with their auction and classifieds ontologies. Optimzations are vastly available via semantic web. If only such businesses utilize such models at their disposal and connected them via Linked Data it would mean vast swarms of linked crawlers could provide navigation and searching for semantic findability. Imagine being able to query both Amazon, Google, EBay for product using just a remote semantic query and getting annotated results back as to where to buy it, stock availability, price, and so on and so forth anywhere in the world even at a local store. There is a lot that can be applied and improved in the content viability with e-commerce semantics. When semantic web becomes the norm on web it could further pave the way for multiagents on the horizon that could both facilitate automated internet node recovery from failure but also satisficing options for users via game theory.


An all foods platform connecting retailers, publishers, and brands in a particular context. Perhaps, more open for e-commerce in the food domain in the connected web space makes sense. But, the model is different from Yummly and they may even be partners in certain respects. However, the platform is very new, attempts to do all things for everyone, and yet does nothing in any sizable measures to big data processing. There is also no visible cues of semantic web use. In technology, starting out focused towards one aspect then branching out usually makes more sense. At this moment, nothing is quite certain about Foodity and where they are destined to be as just a mere few months of startup but competition is fierce, food is a massive marketplace for contextualizing text analytics, and enrichment for information gain.

Ethics of Capitalism

Finding ethically sound employers in a capitalist economy is difficult. As often the objective of a business is to make money. But the drivers of making money often overshadow the humanistic attributes of a sound ethically run business. Take for example, if a business is not doing well the first thing a company would do is to reduce staff - redundancy as it were. This is at a cost of many employees losing their jobs. Whereas, the management staff might still be available and employed while the company goes belly up. No doubt the blame of business not doing well should be at the hands of the management not the employees. Plus, reducing the management staff only reduces bureaucracy and politics not to mention that even a small reduction of management staff means a huge amount of savings. Most employers also are dishonest with employees from over selling on roles, building expectations, but not realizing the effect it would have on employees as they suddenly decide to outsource everything. These days employees are recruited and fired with the drop of a hat while the management continue to earn bonuses and make incalculable mistakes. This further reduces the potential of companies to innovate and improve on services nor increase in job retention. Often times it is the service and quality of products that drives sales. Cutting corners is not the right way to run a business by any means. The economic downturns that we see of today have all been elaborated by bad management practices, unethical behavior, the greed to make money while over stepping on humanist morals of society and responsibility. In fact, even contractual policies for employees are in place to protect the employer not the employee. If an employee were to ever go through a grievance the employer may try to look like they were following a fair equitable process through mediation, but what they are really doing is bring in as much backup to protect their own backs. In process, if one were to ever make a grievance it might even go against the employee. The employee is always seen as an outsider if they do not agree with the employer and the way things are done. It is always best to be vigilant and informed from time when making an application to when interviewing and even at time of offer right up to employment. A lot of times the best and sound alternative is to start one's own business and run it the right way. Even as a private limited company at least one has control as to how things are done. Soon as a company goes public it all becomes a matter of shareholder interests over employees, founders, and even customers to that effect.

Restful By DropWizard

There are now quite a few useful options available for developing Restful applications within Java frameworks. However, from a business standpoint it is still about rapid turn around time and project management which is key for developing Restful services with correctness. The usual routes are Spring Rest, Play framework, JEE stack, Apache CXF and friends, or Restlet. One more framework that Yammer have decided to use specifically for the purpose of rapid development and integration for services is Dropwizard. This framework pretty much ties in other mature libraries together saving time for ops, checking for high performance, and to build into a light-weight package. The framework has support for configuration, metrics, logging, ops tools, and more.  Quite a useful Restful focused framework for getting things done.

Also, if one is new to REST, there is an interesting RestExpress Tutorial.

10 December 2013

Social Media Analytics

One of the most graphically unpredictable areas of web is mapping out interests and influence from social media. The data changes so sporadically that timeline specific indicators become often semantically and contextually flawed in their results. Some examples of indicators of social media analytics applications come from sources like PeerIndex, Klout, Bugscore, and Q score. Unfortunately, the more popular one is Klout which flagrantly goes against Data Protection Laws. PeerIndex is also a very flawed model for influence graphs and although it stresses privacy it is probably worse in measure for results compared to Klout not to mention that they also have a very bad service model. Perhaps, the most non-effective influence graph out there for marketing. However, the more interesting and focused options is FaceBook OpenGraph. Apart, from that there is the Google Knowledge Graph which is in a different context of its own for graph search, but very useful at the same time.

Source of reading material to find out more about such social graphing perspectives:
Network, Crowds and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World

9 December 2013

Interconnected News

BBC are huge on semantic ontologies. Ever since embarking on semantic web for Olympic sports they have grown and grown in their diverse uses of semantic ontologies within their content areas. The next revolution for news agencies and media outlets is interconnected ontology services via linked data. This should pave the way for sharing of breaking news and alerts to dissemination of information in a free flowing standardized manner allowing anyone to query anything on the web and keep connected to what is going on in the mist of events in the global web space. The ultimate in web of open semantic question/answering services becomes more realistic. In process, increasing more creative ways for semantic advertising. The more enriched natural language becomes the more realistic one can address sentiments within text and more realistic predictions and forecasts can be made. Already, we have access to Freebase and DBPedia as well as SentiWordNet. The process could even make cognitive robots with deep learning a more plausible ideal that can think and interpret events, emotions, perceptions to a finer level of granularity similar to a human and to be able to take more decisive action. Web Intelligence via Semantic Web is the next evolution in information dexterity for an organized and meaningful view of interpreting actionable data. 

7 December 2013

Ad Technology

Online Advertising is a big business and finding the right balance is key in optimization of returns to customer clicks. There is also an ever increasing competition in the marketplace between advertisers and publishers in which both converge to provide contextual ads that aim for targeting the right customers. The below diagram illustrates the segmentation of ad related brands in the internet space.

Semantic Web for Food

Yummly is an extraordinary web application that inspires to be the next Google for Food. The food search provides options for recipes and faceted searching via dietary, allergy, and taste requirements not to mention options to socially collaborate and organize. Perhaps, the model can be further extended for drinks and health. Maybe, even an option for localized search, social reviews, and e-commerce integration. There is still a lot that can be explored in the area of food via semantic web. However, there is a huge amount of competition out there with several sites already available in area of food. But, it is naturally a contextual model alternative to the current digital trends in music platforms. Semantic Web and Linked Data can truly transform the knowledge web into a global connected space with social interaction graphs and the meaning enrichment in natural language.

Nelson Mandela

The passing of Nelson Mandela brings historical significance in remembering the symbolic past as well as the future. In historical memory and the struggles against racism which brings South Africa towards a new beginning in both grief and gratitude. What is next for South Africa in the current economic times? How will the people cope? There is still a major hurdle that haunts the legacy with the escalating issues of crime, corruption, and economic inequality within the nation in heaps of echoing disintegration.  A resource-rich nation may just see the rising sun and continue life into the distant future.