28 July 2014

PaaS 2014

Cloud services are becoming a competitive landscape both for developers and businesses. Each solution has its own advantages, unique stickiness factor, and drawbacks. The variety of services and providers on offer in the market makes the decision all the more difficult. One obviously has to weigh out the pros and cons of each unique set of requirements. The following links may help in deciding on which way to lean for either the business, the individual developer, and even a newcomer to the cloud way of doing things.

27 July 2014


Lemonade is the ultimate thirst quencher for humid and hot weather. Not only is it a delight on the taste buds but it also has many medicinal benefits. In the times that we live in, lemonade can be the natural drink of choice to cleanse the body of toxins. There are just so many amazingly good recipes around for making lemonade and the many ways in which one can embellish on the flavor. There really should be more open lemonade stands scattered around big cities to cool people of their busy lives in the hot weather. For many it also brings nostalgic memories of childhood of the time when lemonade stands provided the first passage into experiencing the cycle of sales and business during the holiday season. While for others, it may mean the time of family gatherings. A few drink ideas and recipe links are included below.

20 July 2014

Linked Data For Organizations

Often organizations have many business units or functional departments. At times, such departments are working in effect separate from one another without little to no sharing of knowledge. Interdepartmental interaction is vital in todays business organizations not only for efficiencies but also for controlling risk. As we move into the Web 3.0 era and into more use of HTML5, we are gradually going to witness an emergence of semantic web on the internet. It is only plausible to assume that while many organizations run their own intranets that such internal systems will also be interlinked in a semantic web, adding much value to the business and providing a means for better engagements as well as insight into business productivity. In a lot of organizations service-oriented architecture is already the main stay of how applications and services are designed. By extending this model into a more resource friendly approach, one can easily move towards a more linked data based enterprise. Once enterprises have their interdepartments interlinked semantically, they could look to harnessing better business partnerships in a web of data. Thus, such interlinked business partnerships can allow for better synergy and cost effective means for all businesses involved. Security could also be managed internally as to what types of information is exposed. Object orientation already provides options for information hiding and encapsulation. Such approaches can be taken further to represent the encapsulation of data sharing. One could then query interdepartmental and even in B2B/B2C contexts using a SPARQL endpoint to facilitate flexibility of access to information. Although, compliance and governance may still be a requirement for many organizations which may already be met through their existing SOA implementations. Linked data can prove useful for organizations as many look to cost cutting measures, outsourcing, increasing customer engagement, improving business partnerships, attaining better business performance, as well as gaining insights into their market position. Linked data all in all would extend towards a smarter connected organization and a smarter place to work.

Semantic Nature

Understanding our Earth is important as it provides for valuable answers. Nature provides us a means of developing cures as well as a way of understanding our place on Earth. As humans we want to be able to track all the living things on Earth and develop a connection with them. Nature also provides a huge amount of data on human life and the transitive effects overtime. Taking inspiration from Noah could be one form of improving on the Linnaeus taxonomy schema and providing a universal Semantic Web of Nature. This would allow for a linked data for scientists and the development of connected services for much needed research. One could then also utilize the open community on modifications to a type as new species and sub-species are discovered, similar in approach to Freebase and Wikipedia. Knowledge discovery in such a connected manner would allow for a multitude of research options for collaboration and interconnected sharing of both interests and findings. Often having two of each is enough to build a taxonomy similar to the Noah's Ark. Also, linked data on nature and wildlife would enable more applications in tracking animal behavior patterns as well as when they become at risk of extinction. Even total population counts through animal tagging can be semantically enabled. Perhaps, even the approach to Internet of Things would take ubiquity of applications to new heights. One could even build a taxonomy of animal communication and provide for natural language parsers in this domain. Semantic Web holds the key to unlocking a lot of the untapped potential of machines of today in providing for much needed intelligence for smart applications, especially for the real-world, where problems not only have complexities in uncertainty but also in multiple dimensions. There is much that we still do not know about the world we live in. The more we are able to contextualize and utilize machines for reasoning, the more we become productive and efficient in discovering knowledge.

19 July 2014

Open Source ETL

ETL Tools are fundamental these days to an enterprise data workflow process especially as part of data integration. Firstly, data is extracted from external sources. The data is then transformed through a quality assurance process to meet specific needs. The data is then loaded to the target database. With extensive and diverse big data needs, the role of ETL tools has become ever more important for data processing requirements. There are plenty of commercial and open source tools in the market. Sometimes designing one's own solution suffices over a third party option. The below is a list of tools and libraries that may be available open source alternatives with their own unique approaches and limitations. One can also always utilize the cloud especially AWS EMR for same purpose of ETL.

16 July 2014

Metadata And Catalogs

Book publishing is a big business. However, overtime it has become more and more competitive both because of Amazon but also because of more people looking to use eBooks. Cataloging is often also a major focal aspect to libraries. Therefore, there is an aspect of downstream as well as upstream of workflow. Metadata is critical to most such publishing and cataloging endeavors. There have been many evolving metadata initiatives on the horizon both in past, current, and for the future. Also, many community works, especially in research, are also incorporating open metadata aspects with annotations. In long run, linked data will prove to be quite useful for connecting publishers and various libraries in a web of interconnected data for access. There may even be a synergy between publishers, libraries, educators, and learners as each plays a role in the various workflow process. Such aspects will also bring with them many challenges of data integration. The below links provide for much fuel for thought in the area as well as the way things in the area are moving towards.

15 July 2014

Germany vs Argentina

The pinnacle game to the World Cup 2014 made its way last Sunday to millions of viewers. Both Germany and Argentina displayed superb football skills and embraced their passion for the football game as well as for the pride of their nations as they went on the field. The game intensified towards the end of first half as both sides let of steam to score goals towards the second half. During the game one could wonder that it might have just led up to penalties in end. However, in an unexpected score from Gotze it brought the end to the Argentina dreams of World Cup glory in just a matter of seconds. Lionel Messi for whatever reason did not have what it takes to clinch a victory for Argentina and throughout the game he was relatively unimpressive as almost on the sidelines. Even his last free kick could not hold any surprise hope at the last remaining minutes of the game. As Germany celebrated their victory, the Argentina team could be seen utterly distraught. However, both sides played an impressive game. Argentina throughout the game had many chances of scoring and yet they kept missing to the surprise of the Argentina fans. The celebrations in Germany will mark the well deserved performance of their national team and provide for much shared learning of their efficient game plays during the whole World Cup. It seems the World Cup came and swiftly left us. For some it was filled with surprises while for others it was the real passion for the game. One must wonder what will Brazil do now after the event. Will they attempt to resolve the real issues of their nation or continue to spend on such events while their people struggle through economic hardship on the streets. It seems as many watched the World Cup, the reality often is left bare towards the end. All things come to an end as we look back to the games, and then look to the future.

13 July 2014

Big City Parking

In big cities parking can be a real struggle especially during rush hour or at times when there are specific holiday events on the go. Driving around to look for a parking space is a waste of time. One wants to be able to track parking and for private lots to be able to book in advance. Or, at least utilize geo-location to track an empty spot within an urban grid. Linked Data could play a part in this as well. Firstly, to build an ontology of public and private parking. Then to utilize linked data to build resource query through the web of interlinked data. Other resources like geonames could come in handy. One could then build a mobile application to consume the services and that looks up nearest empty parking spot in the vicinity of a particular location as well as to find out parking spaces within private lots for where advanced booking options may be available. In certain areas, there may even be schemes where private residences offer their parking spaces for rent which could also provide an additional point of lookup. These services become handy for the traveller who needs to get a parking space in a densely populated city area and avoid much frustration. They also help in reducing double parking as well as traffic when movement of vehicles is slowed down by the lack of parking availability. Even the idea of monitoring congestion and events in area could enlighten most during their travel and to inform as to whether parking spaces might be challenging at a particular time of day or season. Linking such methods to Sat-Navs would be quite useful too.

IBM Global Parking Survey
Ordinance Survey

Data Serialization

Serialization is an important step in converting objects or data states into particular storage formats and then reconstructed for further processing. The process of serialization of objects is called marshalling and the process of extracting data from deserialization of bytes is called unmarshalling. The benefits of data serialization involve: method for persisting objects for storage, a method for remote procedure calls, a method for distributing objects, and a method for detecting changes in data. Object serialization is supported by many languages. However, different data serialization formats provide for different efficiencies in performance or flexibility over domain contexts. Big data requirements often rely on efficient data serialization formats for processing that are not only compact but also provide native support for partitioning as well as schema evolution features. However, in other cases it may be more appropriate to rely on text formats of XML and JSON which provide for more sophisticated data structures with composite fields as well as hierarchical data.

List of Data Serialization Formats
Comparison of Thrift vs ProtoBuff vs Avro
Comparison of Data Serialization Formats
Understanding RDF Serialization Formats
RDF And Serialization Formats
Protocol Buffers

List of Useful Python Libraries

There are an ever increasing amount of third-party libraries available in Python especially for it being open source and accessible to all. The below link provides for an aggregated list, organized by category, of some useful libraries that are available in the open community.

awesome python

12 July 2014

Brazil vs Netherlands

Brazil were at a loss from the start. Their hopes and dreams had already vanished from the previous game with Germany, having horribly beaten on their own turf. As the game turned a few Brazilian fans could be heard in distance cheering for the team amid the disappointment of the majority. To add further dismay, a penalty was given which put Netherlands in the lead. Further reducing Brazil to an even darker hole of gloom. Their weaknesses in defense outshined throughout the game as evidence in the goals that Netherlands further mounting at them. The more goals that were scored, the less Brazil was seen to fight back. Perhaps, they just did not have the muscle left or the reason to fight. Was third place not good enough to fight for? It seems Brazil were still in the shadows of dealing with what they lost to even find reason in their game play with Netherlands as they had nothing left to lose. Netherlands dismounted their prowess and brought on the mighty goals to further clinch their win to the end. It was a one sided game from start to finish. Not a thing left to be shocked as so many anticipated Netherlands position against Brazil. 

List of Useful Scala Libraries

Scala is evolving in a fast way with many third-party libraries erupting on the scene. It is gaining in traction in a multitude of domain areas especially for data processing. The below link provides details to some aggregated list of useful project libraries that can be found on the web.

Build Your Own Robot

Almost everyone has played with legos in their childhood. They have become a nostalgic episode in lives of most adults especially laying the foundations of spatial abstractions to engineering. As the use of robots evolve commercially so will the demand for consumers wanting to develop and design their own. Gradually, they may become the next trend of ubiquitous gadgets for the new generation of households. What we really need is an evolutionary change and serious inspiration from legos towards building viable robots. Although, such robots do exist in the market they rarely if ever provide for a real-world solution other than as toy prototypes for playing and research. We need more evolvable and programmable hardware that can be constructed in whatever creative form to build a sense of individualism. Although, tools like Rasberry Pi and Arduino are making some strides in making such flexibility in hardware possible. However, what people really desire are robots as inspirational from movies like Real Steel and I,Robot that could eventually become part of our home experience and aspect of our everyday lives. A robot with a near enough cognitive ability to walk around in our local streets that perhaps a human had created. Robots can play a variety of roles to benefit humans and not just as toys. Humans often find having pets in the house a valuable experience as part of nurture and nature. However, robots could provide for even more multitude of experiences around the house. Currently, creating your own robot is not just for the lighthearted though. It requires the ability to understand artificial intelligence as well as engineering of hardware circuitry and sensors. Perhaps, what we lack here is a level of abstraction similar to a PC or a mobile which allows people to build their own and yet not have a need to build a CPU, a memory chip, and at such a low level of abstraction. What most people desire is robotics that can be built like a metaphor of infrastructure or even platform as services in a blackbox manner. Not every one needs to know hardware. But, providing them the versatility of lego-like pieces allows them to not only build robots of their own but also to design their own programmable software. Even connecting them to internet of things approach for the cloud could be an option. Such approaches are still very bare bones in the market, very much research oriented, or for industrial scale use. In time, we as consumers are likely to see robots becoming an every day item of gadget that could be transposed through a transformer like set of pieces, in large scale, and powered up through downloadable programs in a USB or bluetooth plug and play fashion. 

How To Train Your Dragon 2

A long awaited sequel to the successful story of a boy and his dragon. The new story revolves around the boy evolving into a dragon master almost depicting richer themes around his life story. The story also has a deeper meaning than before and a more intermingle of action. How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a powerhouse of animation built to tantalize and titillate our minds of our own dragon. The animation sequences display a 3D awe inspiring delivery for thrills and audience imagination. But, also to involve us in the death-defying battles that erupt and swoop through at dizzying heights. Perhaps, such movies might even trigger interest for more remote control or even robotic dragons.  


Some shows have such meaningless story lines that it becomes so obvious as to why they continue to be successful. Take for example the relatively new show 'Bitten' which is about werewolves and their internal struggle as well as the background lives of the individuals. However, what the show ultimately brings forward is one character at center of it which is Elena who continues to battle between her obligations to her werewolf pack but also her desire for a normal life. The show displays clearly no primary villain but a few sidekicks to the show. It also displays the protagonist not completely heroic either. The show primarily attempts to lure audiences by way of sexual scenes. One cannot but wonder that the reason why so many watch the show is to see Laura Vandervoort in the flesh. Such shows also epitomize the lack of audience tastes for shows and their relative success. Good stories often seem to take a back seat while sexually gratifying character sequences are used to exploit audiences.

10 July 2014

Netherlands vs Argentina

One very intense game with no goals scored on either end even with overtime. Both sides were relentless and working as a team. However, by the second half one could witness that the pressure and frustration was catching up with the Netherlands team as they were falling and pushing all over the place. Netherlands team does seem to have tendency of falling over very easily to grab a free kick or a penalty. Other times, they were literally pulling and tugging the Argentinian players. One could tell they were losing steam and getting desperate. However, going into penalties is a dangerous endeavor for any World Cup team, if it means going against Argentina, who have one of the best forward players. Ultimately, it was the penalties that provided a clear break for Argentina right from the first shoot out. Overall Argentina proved to be a far better team to qualify into the finals. Germany vs Argentina will be the pinnacle of World Cup 2014 in a very intense match. On one side we have the well oiled machine of Germany and on other hand we have the artful attacking plays by Argentina. Both, solid in their team spirit and working together to clinch the goals.

9 July 2014

Germany vs Brazil

The world cup game between Germany vs Brazil was clearly very astonishing. Not so much in the way Germany beat Brazil. But, more in the manner with which so many weaknesses emerged in the Brazilian team. It appears Brazil have a very weak defense line. Most of them just appeared to stand there motionless as Germany bombarded their attack for the goal. Germany were relentless through very early on in game. And, it seemed that the first goal from Germany really shocked Brazil. The Brazil team also rely way too much on one man to bring them to a victory. However, for Germany, it is a clearly different story throughout the game. Germany have for so long played as a team. And, it was their lack of arrogance and great set of passes that clinched them the victory. Germany are very solid team where almost every player in set pieces is doing their bit. Perhaps, it was an understatement of anyone to assume Brazil had any chance without Neymar. Even with him on it would have made no difference. One man against an entire team would be unbeatable especially when it comes to the talents of Germany. It would be one amazing final when it turns out to be Germany vs Argentina.

Thundr Web Framework

Thundr is a relatively new lightweight web framework for Java, adaptable for google app engine based applications development. It provides for a rich amount of services for working within the local platform as a service cloud environment especially in aspects of virtualized instances. There is aspects of easily modularizing components as well as a seamless approach towards API integration. One other interesting fact is that it does not utilize excessive levels of magic that are synonymous in many larger frameworks like SpringMVC or Grails. Such a framework would come in handy when applications are being deployed to the cloud, require good points of integration, are relatively lightweight, and do not get in way of one's desire for rapid application development.

7 July 2014

Pest Control In Big Cities

One is never too far from a colony of rats and mice in big cities that are so densely populated. London and New York City being prime examples where they are even more in population than humans. Some can be docile and distant. Others, will not care and will gleefully play around with humans in background, as if to tease our intense dislike for the creatures. Still there are others, that will jump on top of a human's back and even bite viciously in defense. There are also some that will just open their gaping mouths to a human as if to exchange the intense fear and dislike both parties have for each other. Rats and mice will always dwell in company of humans. Perhaps, this is a natural part of their scavenging existence to come after all our rubbish that we so profusely throw away on a regular basis. Rubbish is plentiful in big cities. They also are a very disruptive creatures that will destroy everything in their way and spread disease in process. Some humans have even developed a strange fondness for them. One can emphatically agree that rats and mice can be a nightmare for a homeowner. In the time that rats and mice have been around, humans have yet to create an effective strategy of tackling them especially during a domestic infestation. We have so called commercial recipes and options. Some are not very long lasting or just ineffective. Others work well if used with traps. Traps are nasty business for most people. As they are nocturnal animals, one never knows what they are up to once they get access to our homes, while we are away or even asleep. Another, annoying experience for homeowners is the droppings which are highly toxic and hoovering only seems to spread the effects. They make cleaning around the house an utter nightmare as they spread their droppings on everything and can even at times shoot urine at person if they are in the vicinity. It is even worse for those individuals that have an allergic reaction. We as humans find ourselves at a quandary. Wherever humans go, the rats and mice sure to follow. It is almost like they are our savage night stalkers. But, surely our lives would be a lot easier if we just got rid of them, at least in a way that they do not invade our homes. A generally accepted way is to have a predatory animal, plug any open holes, keep the house clean, and poison bait as a long lasting remedy on rats or mice. But, even such methods can allow rats and mice to adapt to their surroundings. They have even adapted well to sonar repellers in cities which in fact attract them to homes. It can also be argued that homes that provide for an intense amount of repellers, poison, traps, and minty smells may actually be doing themselves a disservice. Rats and mice can probably learn to adapt to such risks and in fact realize that homes with so many preventative measures could only mean one thing - such homes have a lot of food at their disposal. The iRobot created a very successful way of cleaning the floor. Perhaps, we can extend the idea of a robot to act as a predator or communicator to the mice or rats in a continuously adaptive way. The robot should be able to learn from a rat or mouse behavior and take that into a feedback loop to ward them away. So, overtime a robot should always be looking for inputs from rat or mouse, to stay ahead of the game. Not all preventative methods work for pest control as such animals have adaptive practices and their own unique ways of handling human fear. And, though they are animals, they are curiously smart ones too. A robot is a smart beast as well that is engineered to do one thing and one thing only at its optimum potential. To eradicate rats and mice completely we would need to understand their nest sources, their local forging behavior, the patterns of behavior they display with humans as well as among themselves, and what types of preventative measures make them fear. There is even an approach to understanding degrees of fear in a fuzzy way to tabulate what is intense enough for one may not be intense enough for another. One could even adapt the robot using genetic algorithms and through reinforcement learning. Perhaps, the ideas of using autonomous robots could also work here as a way of pest control and eradication. Could one create a robot in form of a cat, rat, mouse, or even a snake? Unfortunately, pests in big cities are not just limited to rats and mice either. They can even be foxes, squirrels, insects, and the list could go on based on the city in question. In end, the humans take a backseat as they turn a war on pests, at least to the anticipation of striking a peace deal.

10 worst rat cites in the world