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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


This Week I Learned - Week #207

Sunday, March 26, 2017
This Week I Learned -

* With the availability of Geographic Routing capability in Azure Traffic Manager, you can now direct user traffic to specific endpoints based on the geographic location from where the requests originate. As an example, an e-commerce site can localize the site content and merchandise items to users in a specific region. Knowing where the users are coming from makes it easier to implement mandates related to data sovereignty - Azure Blog

Kubernetes Pod is a group of one or more containers that are always co-located, co-scheduled, and run in a shared context

Gartner's Hype Cycle, attempts to capture the perceptions and reality of a given technology. Technologies typically undergo a period of inflated expectations, only to be followed by a downward slope into the trough of disillusionment, whereby the promises of the technology fall short of reality.
At some point, a realistic perception of the technology gains momentum and technologists become productive using it.

* Microsoft offers a comprehensive set of compliance offerings. Info on all current certifications are available at the Microsoft Trust Center

Last year, Alphabet made $19.5 billion in net profit, a 23 percent annual jump, almost all of which was generated from Google’s advertising business.

* Citrix offers XenApp on Azure Cost Calculator, a web service that provides a set of cost estimates for deploying Citrix XenApp on Microsoft Azure.

* The failover operation is the process of switching production to a backup facility (normally your recovery site). A failback operation is the process of returning production to its original location after a disaster or a scheduled maintenance period.

* Today, about 30 percent of Android users, or at least 420 million people, are on a variant of Android 4.0, according to Google.

* About 79 percent of Apple users are running iOS 10, the latest version of the system, and only 5 percent are running a version older than iOS 9, according to Apple. In raw numbers, with more than one billion iOS devices sold worldwide, that amounts to at least 50 million people running the outdated software. Not all Apple devices can get the latest operating system. Apple’s iOS 10 is compatible with iPhones as far back as the iPhone 5 released in 2012, and with iPads as old as the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 released in 2013. The one thing that people can and should be doing is keeping their apps and phones as up-to-date as possible,” said Kurt Opsahl, deputy executive director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit - NY Times

* A bug fix is as likely to introduce one or more new bugs since it is typically not a leisurely process, but "under the gun."

* Other than ensuring that you have the latest operating system, Google recommends that Android users protect their devices with lock screens and PIN codes, and to enable a setting called Verify Apps, which scans apps downloaded from outside of Google’s app store for malware.

* A tool called Weeping Angel puts the target TV in a “fake off” mode. Then, with the owner believing the TV is turned off, the set secretly records conversations in the room and sends them over the internet to a C.I.A. server computer.

* Nike’s new shoe designs have produced impressive results in international races.

* Legal history is replete with cases in which a comma made all the difference. I'm hungry. Let's eat grandpa.

Drinking water during (or after) a meal is not really bad...it can actually improve digestion.

* In 1986, a $285 million contract between the Government of India and Swedish arms company Bofors was signed for the supply of 410 155mm field howitzers. In 1987, Swedish Radio alleged that Bofors paid illegal commissions to top Indian politicians and key defence officials to seal the deal. The scandal contributed to the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi in elections three years later. Bofors' most famous owner was Alfred Nobel, who owned the company from 1894 until his death in December 1896 - Wikipedia

* In the 1960s and 1970s, "How to Lie with Statistics" [PDF] became a standard textbook introduction to the subject of statistics for many college students.

* "Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching"

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This Week I Learned - Week #206

Saturday, March 18, 2017
This Week I Learned -

* L-Series virtual machines are optimized for storage-intensive workloads. S series VMs (S192m offers 4.0 TB RAM & 16 TB storage) are optimized for SAP HANA

Pivotal Cloud Foundry is a cloud-native platform based on open source technology, for building and deploying applications. Pivotal Cloud Foundry can be run on Google Cloud Platform


Google follows the API Design Guide when designing Cloud APIs and other Google APIs. This guide is a living document.

Ionic & PhoneGap are cross-platform mobile frameworks built on top of Cordova

* Xamarin comes from Microsoft and takes a unique approach to cross-platform app development. Xamarin applications are written entirely in C#. Xamarin then compiles the C# code into native iOS and Android distributions. The underlying layer on which Xamarin is built on top of is Mono and this enables cross-platform development. The benefit of building applications with Xamarin compared to Cordova-based frameworks is that apps built with Xamarin make use each platform's native API's.

* React Native from Facebook allows developers to build native iOS and Android apps with React and JavaScript. Like Xamarin based apps, performance of React Native apps is comparable to true native apps.

* Progressive Web Apps from Google allows developers to add mobile features to existing web applications.

Tableau Public provides 10GB of space for free to save and store your visualizations or Vizzies. Datawrapper also helps create visualizations online. It allows up to 10,000 Chart views with its free version.

* As 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it is an advertising cash cow. Just last year, Google removed "nearly 2 billion bad ads from our systems, removed over 100,000 publishers from our AdSense program, and prevented ads from serving on over 300 million YouTube videos"

SIM Swap is a kind of scam where a fraudster manages to issue a new SIM card against your mobile number through your mobile service provider.

* Around 90% of the world’s rice is consumed in Asia—60% of it in China, India and Indonesia alone. In every large country except Pakistan, Asians eat more rice than the global average - Economist

* The Nordic countries include Norway, Sweden, Denmark (including the Faroe Islands), Finland and Iceland. These five countries coordinate political and cultural activities through the Nordic Council. Denmark, Sweden and Finland are also members of the European Union, but only Finland uses the euro. The other Nordic countries still use their own currency, called krone or krona ("crowns"). Norway and Iceland, which are not members of the EU, are members of NATO. Only Denmark is a member of both the EU and NATO - Wikipedia

* A 2013 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, based on a survey of 43,000 workers, concluded that the disadvantages of noise and distraction associated with open office plans outweighed anticipated, but still unproven, benefits like increasing morale and productivity boosts from unplanned interactions - HBR

Russell Peters voiced the part of Rocky the Rhino in The Jungle Book (2016). Peters' stand-up performances feature observational comedy, using humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. Russell Peters is of Anglo-Indian descent.

Ben Kingsley is Eurasian, since his father's Indian and his mom is English

* Engelbert Humperdinck, Cliff Richard and Merle Oberon ('30s movie star) are noted Anglo-Indians (AI's)

IndiaSpend is a non-profit & a Charitable Trust that utilities open data to analyse a range of issues with the broader objective of fostering better governance, transparency and accountability in the Indian government. It launched Factchecker.in, a dedicated fact checking initiative to examine statements and assertions made by those in public life for both accuracy and context.

* Indian banks were estimated to have received 14.97 trillion rupees (around $220 billion) by the December 30 deadline to return 500- and 1,000-rupee notes to banks, or 97% of the 15.4 trillion rupees’ worth of currency demonetized. In an analysis of income-tax probes, the highest level of illegal money detection in India was found to be in 2015–2016, and the cash component was only about 6%. The remaining was invested in business, stocks, real estate, jewelry, or “benami” assets, which are bought in someone else’s name. The victory of narrative over data may be the takeaway from India’s demonetization saga - HBR

* Al Jaffee is far from a one-trick pony. Besides the Fold-In, he’s given the world “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” and “Mad Inventions,” in which he’s predicted future innovations like smokeless ashtrays, the computer spell-check (or as he called it, “idiot-proof typewriters”), telephone redial, snowboarding, and the TV-remote mute button - Vanity Fair

* Salvador Dali & Andy Warhol have illustrated children's books too.

Stress is caused not by other people or external events, but by our reactions to them.

* "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes" - Mark Twain

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This Week I Learned - Week #205

Sunday, March 12, 2017
This Week I Learned -

Azure SQL Database can now support up to 4TB of storage

Blobxfer is an AzCopy-like OS independent Azure storage blob and file share transfer tool

Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise (GA) is now available on Google Compute Engine, with support for Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) and SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability (GA).

* Google's Cloud Spanner beta is the first and only relational database service that is both strongly consistent and horizontally scalable. With automatic scaling, synchronous data replication, and node redundancy, Cloud Spanner delivers up to 99.999% (five 9s) of availability

* The Docker API and container format is now supported on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, every Linux distro, and Windows.

SQL Server containers are named instances, complete with data and configuration, delivered in seconds.  A mounted 1 TB database is delivered in a container instance in less than one minute.

* Google has released a new API for the mobile-friendly testing tool named the mobile-friendly test API.

* Images in a Blogger hosted blog are stored in a Google Album Archive.  Blogger feeds can be accessed by specifying the actual “blogname” in either of the 2 URL RSS feed formats -
Atom 1.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RSS 2.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

* Google Maps is one of the most popular apps in the world, with well over a billion users. Google collects its mapping data from a wide variety of sources including road sensors, user contributions via Map Maker, and local transport departments, private data providers as well as users of Waze app (which Google acquired in 2013 for $1 billion) & Google Maps (without even knowing they are doing so). Google Maps users can opt out of it by turning off Location Services for Google Maps in Privacy on your iPhone or turning off Google Location History under Location in the Google Settings option. But that would also leave your Google Maps app useless!

* Swiggy, a local food delivery service & Bigbasket, India’s largest online food and grocery store use the Google Maps Javascript API, Google Maps Directions API and the Google Distance Matrix API for their delivery logistics & commitments

* HDFC Bank has announced the launch of an electronic virtual assistant (EVA), an artificial intelligence—driven chatbot, for customer services. Eva is India’s first AI-based banking chatbot and can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly

Raise your hand if you're a security expert! Most would not raise their hands, even if they were a "security expert". Today's online world is extremely hostile.

* Adrak Ke Punjey is an Indian satirical play promoting family planning, written by Babban Khan in a mix of Urdu and Dakhni. The play ran from 1965 to 2001. Guinness Book of World Records in 1984 has mentioned it as the world's longest-running one man show. On 22 September 1965, Adrak Ke Panje was staged for the first time. It was a massive flop,but a good samaritan came backstage later and gave him Rs 500 to continue with the show. The play was a resounding success and won accolades from all. The story of Adrak is borne out of the story of Babban. His parents were unaware of family planning. The result was that three brothers and four sisters died due to malnutrition and lack of proper medical care. In fact, Babban’s parents refused to name him till he was 10 just in case he died too! Adrak means Ginger and Panje means its offshoot. As ginger has many irregular offshoots, so does Rumsu's (Babban Khan) children in the drama—without any family planning - Wikpedia

* Both vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients — meaning they’re needed by the body only in small amounts (think milligrams or micrograms per day). Vitamins are organic and all are essential to the body, whereas minerals are inorganic elements and only some are essential for key body processes. There are nine different water-soluble vitamins that require water for absorption: vitamin C and the eight B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid). On the other hand, the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K require fat for absorption and are stored in the adipose tissue. There are 16 minerals that the body needs, with seven that are major (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur) and the remaining nine that are trace (iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese) - Go Ask Alice!

* Stress makes you social. Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone that the pituitary gland pumps out as part of the stress response. It's as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound.  It fine-tunes your brain's social instincts. It primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships. Oxytocin doesn't only act on your brain. It also acts on your body, and one of its main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress. It's a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress. But my favorite effect on the body is actually on the heart. Your heart has receptors for this hormone, and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress-induced damage. This stress hormone strengthens your heart - Kelly McGonigal on Ted Talks

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Azure PowerShell Playlist

Saturday, March 11, 2017
Books can't keep pace with the constantly evolving Azure landscape so the best way to learn is through video tutorials.Here's my compilation of Azure PowerShell & related videos -

Getting Started with Microsoft PowerShell (featuring Jeffrey Snover, the inventor of PowerShell) - 30 July 2013 : 6 hours 9 modules

PowerShell for Beginners - Nov 15, 2016 : 28 mins

* What's New in PowerShell v5 - 25 May 2016 : 6 hours 7 modules

Install PowerShell for Azure - Oct 12, 2016 : 18 mins

PowerShell and Azure Automation  - Nov 01, 2016 : 24 mins

work in progress....


Compared: Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Blob Storage

Wednesday, March 08, 2017
As part of my learning, I keep looking out for info presented through tables & comparison charts as they summarize lengthy topics & are useful to review what I learn. I post them with the tag ComparisonChart to revisit occasionally.

The similarities between Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Blob Storage are as interesting as the differences

Azure Data Lake Store Azure Blob Storage
Purpose Optimized storage for big data analytics workloads General purpose object store for a wide variety of storage scenarios
Use Cases Batch, interactive, streaming analytics and machine learning data such as log files, IoT data, click streams, large datasets Any type of text or binary data, such as application back end, backup data, media storage for streaming and general purpose data
Key Concepts Data Lake Store account contains folders, which in turn contains data stored as files Storage account has containers, which in turn has data in the form of blobs
Structure Hierarchical file system Object store with flat namespace
API REST API over HTTPS REST API over HTTP/HTTPS
Server-side API WebHDFS-compatible REST API Azure Blob Storage REST API
Hadoop File System Client Yes Yes
Data Operations - Authentication Based on Azure Active Directory Identities Based on shared secrets - Account Access Keys and Shared Access Signature Keys.
Data Operations - Authentication Protocol OAuth 2.0. Calls must contain a valid JWT (JSON Web Token) issued by Azure Active Directory Hash-based Message Authentication Code (HMAC) . Calls must contain a Base64-encoded SHA-256 hash over a part of the HTTP request.
Data Operations - Authorization POSIX Access Control Lists (ACLs). ACLs based on Azure Active Directory Identities can be set file and folder level. For account-level authorization – Use Account Access Keys
For account, container, or blob authorization - Use Shared Access Signature Keys
Data Operations - Auditing Available. See here for information. Available
Encryption data at rest Transparent, Server side
  • With service-managed keys
  • With customer-managed keys in Azure KeyVault
  • Transparent, Server side
    • With service-managed keys
    • With customer-managed keys in Azure KeyVault (coming soon)
  • Client-side encryption
Management operations (e.g. Account Create) Role-based access control (RBAC) provided by Azure for account management Role-based access control (RBAC) provided by Azure for account management
Developer SDKs .NET, Java, Python, Node.js .Net, Java, Python, Node.js, C++, Ruby
Analytics Workload Performance Optimized performance for parallel analytics workloads. High Throughput and IOPS. Not optimized for analytics workloads
Size limits No limits on account sizes, file sizes or number of files Specific limits documented here
Geo-redundancy Locally-redundant (multiple copies of data in one Azure region) Locally redundant (LRS), globally redundant (GRS), read-access globally redundant (RA-GRS). See here for more information
Service state Generally available Generally available
Regional availability See here See here
Price See Pricing See Pricing

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