31 January 2014

American Hustle

Another overhyped movie that lacked depth in the story. It was also bemusing in the manner and quality of acting on display. Jennifer Lawrence also had a lack of depth to her acting. In fact, she did not even fit the role. Why is this woman playing adult roles when she is yet to even mature? It almost borders on strangeness. What is this weird obsession that Hollywood has with young age? Fifty something year old directors dating almost teenage/barely matured actresses not to mention starring them in roles for which thirty something are most appropriate. It really makes one wonder how such actresses get the parts in such movies to begin with. Perhaps, the lucid reality of the casting couch still perpetuates the doors of Hollywood success or the measure of it.

The pseudo casting couch
Golden Touch
The lovely casting couch

The Return Of The Poop

The below video link illustrates the way councils waste resources on poop management. And, not only that, over enforce and often in the most exaggerated ways. It also illustrates the way some individuals display their sense of disregard for the law by not only assuming they are above it but also to be showing a sense of bigoted disrespect towards the enforcing officer. What is also funny is that the woman in question here also appears to be backed up by another questionable person behind the camera. I wonder what the individual means about getting a 'proper police officer'.  The video is not only hilarious but it certainly also displays the total lack of sanity shown between both parties.

The Mentalist

Somehow the discovery and annihilation of the Blake Association leader, Red John, has completely disfigured the premise of The Mentalist. The recent few episodes of season 6 could imply the sudden end to the series. It seems that the purpose and the evolving relationship between Lisbon and Jane has somehow been tarnished. What else is there in the making? There is no interesting story lines left apart from the frustrating chemistry between Jane and Lisbon.  Once, that is resolved, it will inevitably mean the end to the future of The Mentalist. The introduction of FBI team and the often lacking in story lines in the recent few episodes shows that the series has reached its pinnacle and the writers are struggling to find any further tangible climaxes. Also, they really should kill off the role of Kim Fisher. Not only, does the role look out of place but the person playing the role is quite inadequate. The chemistry between Lisbon and Jane is what makes the show work. It stands to reason that the show needs to get a grip on better story lines if they are to continue the interest of their audience and fan base.

22 January 2014

Online Data Science Programs

Online Learning is slowly but steadily becoming the norm for continued education past the standard undergraduate level. There are new opportunities that seem to spring up and newer options become globally available. It seems that online learning in not too distant future will likely become the way people become active in their learning and attain more educated while fitting in with their hectic work schedules and family commitments. There are many data science related options and initiatives that have started to take shape in past couple of years and are only likely to increase through institutional competitiveness for seeking opportunist candidates hungry for learning. These options are available in form of individual self-assessed courses, certification routes, or even full degrees. A few options are listed below which may be fairly new while others are more flexible and have been around for some time. Also, one of the best ways to extend learning is through open access journals that provide for reading material on current research in various areas to obtain direct insights into specific domains of interest. It is still the case that formal education at undergraduate is usually the best option after which further education becomes a lot more flexible. Obviously, there is no substitute with the flexibility of learning available for on-campus offerings.

University Programs:

Ecclestone Fight Over Lamborghini

What has this world come to when people give such huge gifts to each other and then take each other to court only to class material possessions as a reason for such 'difficult times'. I could not help but laugh when the article mentioned how they needed much support through this 'difficult time' which really meant they were bitter over the amount of money they had spent and lost. Giving someone a £380,000 car as gift is beyond stupidity.  A typical display of spoiled kids who class such trivial, narcissistic, and materialistic possessions as their most trying times of life. And, to top it off even to publish and class it as newsworthy.

BBC news article

10 January 2014

Linked Data for Discussions

Disqus is an interesting platform for the web communities of discussions. They can be used in fundamentally three different ways: using the Disqus API as a point of integration, via a JavaScript code, or direct integration into the supported blog platforms. It is a nice enough feature getting traffic to a site as well as to collaborate on discussion flows. However, this does not lend itself to all. Disqus requires you to host your comments as a third-party which might be risky for some as they lose control over when as well as how their comments data will be used and made accessible. Also, it has the potential of slowing down a site considerably.  One can also lose their comments once removed from the site. It also relies on JavaScript quite extensively which can add to much security risks. An alternative option is to use IntenseDebate which has a nice integration to Blogger and even Wordpress. However, a lot of these discussion platforms are diverting data away from the hands of the user in a centralized way and making it less connected. What would be a better option is towards a decentralized control of comments and discussions in a distributed fashion towards a linked data approach. That way each site controls its own data on comments as to what to expose and what not to. But, also it allows for comments to be linked with other sites in a web of data. Perhaps, even utilizing an extensible generic comments API. One can then query for comments and find open answers and even develop sentiment analysis. Connecting linked data as a discussion forum means a vast social network of comments, that are annotated, which can be harnessed, and that allow people to globally connect based on interests, influence, and other contexts. It also means people maintain a sense of security and control of their own data. Information is a valuable commodity. But, information is even more valuable when it is contextually enriched with other data sources semantically. Even social networks should really be interconnected. We do have such options as OAuth which allow for socially connected authentication. Even such options as linked data profile. Web of communities essentially means linked data of communities and that essentially means a social web of data at the hands of anyone that wants to query. The load of that query can then be distributed via the decentralized sources and control of data. This also means websites can be even more search engine optimized and accessible for social content. It also means a better semantically available social graph for navigation and analysis to all without losing or compromising on security at the hands of a few.

Other Alternatives:
Facebook Comment Box
Google Plus Comments
Comments Plus
SO: Unobtrusive Self-Hosted Comments
and more...

6 January 2014

Self-Logo Designs

Logo designs should really be all done in house. There is no reason to get a third-party to do it. Also, in process one saves on a considerable cost. There are plenty of tools around and also self-help tips to allow one to create a logo for themselves. Also, one fundamental aspect of logo design is that it should really be kept simple in line with affordance. The logo in some way offering insight as to the object or services offered for a particular environment. It seems many get carried away with color and styling losing track of simple ideas often work best. Simple also arises in the golden rule. Often times working with third-party means not getting what one really wants and their push for more work and time. There are tools like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop available for one. There are also many open source tools available for download which means a quite a lot of choice in taking control of what it is really one wants out of a logo.

  • Research the respective audience
  • Immersive brand design
  • Sketch and brainstorm ideas
  • Conduct online research
  • Avoid imitation but maintain uniqueness
  • Applying theme boards to set the scene
  • Sketch, Sketch, and Sketch out ideas
  • Use vectors prodigiously
  • Use objects appropriately
  • Choose appropriate typefaces
  • Use existing typefaces
  • Avoid unclear fonts
  • Use types that work well with the brand
  • Could use type as part of the brand logo
  • Apply space for logo perspective but don't over do
Graphic Design:
  • Make designs that stand out and are active
  • Be sympathetic to cultural differences
  • Use balanced colors and tones
  • Experiment profusely
Keep It Clean and Modern:
  • Limit designs to maximum of two fonts
  • Check that designs work on different backgrounds
  • Be aware of trends
  • Reduce design scope where necessary
  • If doubts arise, leave them out - simplification is key
  • Keep designs within brand aware guidelines
  • Lock-up various versions harmonically
  • Make designs responsive to the audience
  • Apply different sides to logos for various situations
  • Make it readable
  • Create variants of the designs
  • Make it future ready
Considerations for Business:
  • Logo vs Brand
  • The right tone for the business
  • Share the design with the audience for review
  • Don't let other opinions cloud judgement
  • Test that it works internationally
  • Test for indiscriminate words
  • Be aware that design often get re-worked
Style Guides:
  • Provide flexibility for options

Some open source tools for designs:

1 January 2014

London NYE 2014 Fireworks

The fireworks display for 2014 was even more spectacular in London compared to last year and even more smokey. Although, not sure what spectacular really means here and why every year the smoke seems to overrule the fireworks display for London with the amount of smoke that develops in the sky. There was also no pyrotechnic contrast or coordination in the display. The effect did start out nicely but then gradually reduced into an awful lot of smoke. It almost seemed like someone used a bit of everything and scattered it everywhere around the London Eye. Even the music seemed out of sync. It is strange that fireworks displays that happen around the world at various time zones seem to be clearer and more organized every year. Perhaps, in London they take the approach of quantity is better than quality as well as the wider and noisier the effect the better.

It is also interesting to note the various different types of firework effects that can be produced:

Pyrotechnics can also be categorized into numerous different types.

What is the real difference between fireworks and pyrotechnics? A lot of it has to do with their use and associated regulatory difference. Also, the positioning and intended markets can vary as well as the purpose of the device in which each requiring a different skill set and training. However, fireworks can be classified as a subgroup of pyrotechnics.  Pyrotechnics mean more than just fireworks but also the various components and safety equipment required to produce the effects which provide for the varying user cases.

Perhaps, one could devise a semantic ontology for fireworks one day for linked data.