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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
A seasoned developer's little discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

The dark side of Artificial Intelligence

Monday, October 24, 2016
Interesting points from John Markoff's article As Artificial Intelligence Evolves, So Does Its Criminal Potential:

DeepMind, the Alphabet subsidiary has announced that it had designed a program that “mimics any human voice and which sounds more natural than the best existing text-to-speech systems, reducing the gap with human performance by over 50 percent.”

Cybercrime is becoming automated and it is scaling exponentially

While A.I. systems would make some things easier, they would also expand the vulnerabilities of the online world.

If you don’t change your Captcha for two years, you will be owned by some machine vision algorithm

Companies that offer customer support via chatbots are unwittingly making themselves liable to social engineering.

Cybercriminals already exploit the best qualities in humans — trust and willingness to help others — to steal and spy. The ability to create artificial intelligence avatars that can fool people online will only make the problem worse.

Researchers have coined the term “computational propaganda” to describe the explosion of deceptive social media campaigns on services like Facebook and Twitter.

A malicious program known as Blackshades which was sold widely in the computer underground, functioned as a “criminal franchise in a box. It allowed users without technical skills to deploy computer ransomware or perform video or audio eavesdropping with a mouse click.. The author of the program, a Swedish national, was convicted last year in the United States.

AI-first World
Beware of Bots


This Week I Learned - Week #185

Friday, October 21, 2016
This Week I Learned -

A reference architecture is a set of standards, best practices and guidelines for a given architecture that architects, consultants, administrators or managers refer to when making decisions on future implementations in that environment. Don't jump into Azure without a reference architecture.

* Cloud is now the default standard for infrastructure

* The idea of AWS, the cloud Infrastructure as a Service arm of Amazon.com, grew from a need to optimize the infrastructure of their e-commerce applications.

If adaptive bots learn from every meaningful human interaction they have, then mistreatment and abuse become technological toxins. Bad behavior can poison bot behavior. 

Azure Reference Architectures - "content is really more of the building blocks for constructing an RA rather than a full RA"

The pattern & practices team, a part of the Azure Customer Advisory Team (!, wasn't it an independent entity earlier), is chartered with discovering, communicating, and promoting techniques that lead to success when engineering for the cloud.

* The Indian software export industry is about $110 billion. It employs around 4.25 million people. It has a 60 per cent market share of global outsourcing and is globally dominant. Of the 10 top software service companies globally ranked by market cap, five are Indian. Of the top five, three are Indian. All of them have a massive presence in India. Of the total number of employees, amounting to nearly 2 million, in these top 10 companies, about 70 per cent are based in India or travel out of India - NDTV

Tech employees have to navigate unclear, overlapping and shared accountabilities that can create confusion, misalignment and competition. In addition, these priorities, projects and assignments constantly shift - Consistent ambiguity

* Telecom regulator TRAI will examine concerns over unsolicited online video ads that download automatically without consumers’ knowledge, pushing up their data costs inadvertently. At about 20-30 paise per MB, data is expensive.

Vikas Swarup, the current official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India is the author of the novel Q&A, adapted in film as Slumdog Millionaire, the winner of Best Film for the year 2009 at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards. Vikas Swarup started writing his debut novel in 2003. It tells the life story of the protagonist - an orphan & waiter, in each chapter and at the end comes the question. There are 12 chapters in the novel and the last chapter is named the thirteenth question, when he wins the jackpot.

* The frail civic infrastructure of Hyderabad crumbled completely during the continuous rainfall in mid-September and it is still yet to recover completely. The rainfall wasn't even as acute the highest of 24 cm rainfall recorded in August 2000 & nowhere near the highest that Chennai (104.9 cm) & Mumbai (108.8 cm) experienced in recent times. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation is still grappling to correct the issues that caused flooding. The GHMC has identified 3,370 encroachments on major "nalas" flowing through 80 km length in greater Hyderabad region. 3,370 encroachments that missed their eye till there was a calamity!

"Knowledge Brings Fear"

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HOW TO find peak and off-peak traffic timings between locations

Thursday, October 20, 2016
To know peak and off-peak traffic timings between locations, use the "Depart at" feature to know typical traffic patterns at different timings possibly based on historical data
One scenario where this feature can be useful is when you're looking at new places to live & want to find the commute time for different options

Bing Maps has this feature too...

but Google Maps is one up with its "Arrive by" feature which will do the math to tell you what time you have to start if you have to reach a destination by a defined time.

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Change Requests in 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Today's Dilbert strip reminded me of the current state of web development described in How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016

Related: Software industry related comics

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Guidelines, Recommendations, Best Practices for Azure Services

Sunday, October 16, 2016
Guidelines, Recommendations, Best Practices from the official documentation:

Also see:
FAQs on Azure Services from the official docs
Azure Guidance by the Microsoft patterns & practices team
Azure Solution Architectures
Pragmatic Approach to Describing Solution Architectures
"My tip for azure is LIMITS. Learn them all, very well"