<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\758211560\46blogName\75Tech+Tips,+Tricks+%26+Trivia\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75BLUE\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75//mvark.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://mvark.blogspot.com/\46vt\75-4353428196867372024', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

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

Free ebook: “Myths About Moving to the Cloud” busts some fears

Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The promotional PDF ebook from Microsoft “Myths About Moving to the Cloud” dispels the following myths with insightful explanations:
  • Office 365 is just Office tools in the cloud, and I can only use it online
  • If our data moves to the cloud, our business will no longer have control over our technology
  • Keeping data on-premises is safer than in the cloud
  • I have to move everything to the cloud; it is an all-or-nothing scenario.
  • Cloud migration is too much for my business to handle.
  • Corporate spies, cyberthieves, and governments will have access to my data if it is in the cloud.
  • Skype and Skype for Business are one and the same.
  • Email isn’t any simpler in the Cloud.
  • Continuously updating Office 365 will break my critical business applications.
Some facts like the info about Microsoft being the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy, ISO/IEC 27018 and Skype for Business feature to add up to 250 people to online meetings, were interesting to know.


Azure services that don't require region to be specified

Sunday, October 04, 2015
Following is the current list of Azure services that operate globally and do not require customers to specify a particular region when using the service:
  • Service Fabric
  • SQL Data Warehouse
  • Traffic Manager
  • DNS
  • CDN
  • BizTalk Services
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Visual Studio Application Insights
  • Azure Resource Manager
Some points to note about Azure services:
  • Not all services may be available in a particular region or data center (for example, the G-series VMs are only available from 3 data centers)
  • Data centers in a region (currently, Australia & India) may not be available to businesses not directly operating in the country where that Azure Region is.
  • The cost of Azure services may vary significantly for some services across data centers (Thought: if just an internet presence for an entity's website is required without up-time or latency concerns, what would be the cheapest DC to host it from?)


This Week I Learned - Week #130

Saturday, October 03, 2015
This Week I Learned -

When creating a new Linux VM, Azure will provide you an OS disk (/dev/sda) and a temporary disk(/dev/sdb), subsequently added disks will show as /dev/sdc, /dev/sdd and so on. Be aware that content on this disk may be lost in case of specific events like VM resizing or Azure Host OS failure. Even if content will survive VM reboots, should be considered a temporary storage

Jet.com which competes with Amazon, built its entire e-commerce platform, including development and delivery infrastructure, on Microsoft Azure, using both .NET and open-source technologies. It uses Visual F# and a microservices architecture. Node is used on the front end. To get its code through development and into production as fast as possible, Jet uses a mix of Azure App Service, Azure Web Roles and custom servers, with deployment happening from Jenkins. To make it easier for merchant partners to integrate with the platform, it has created a developer portal for its APIs using Azure API Management. It uses Azure Key Vault to store encryption keys as well as Azure Application Insights, which will provide real-time alerts to its developers to help them identify and triage problems as they occur. Application Insights also enables Jet to learn, in real time, how customers are using their application, so they can implement an agile build-measure-learn cycle. Office 365 and Azure Active Directory are used for IAM. Jet's data warehouse sits in a SQL Server instance and it will be augmented using HD Insight to handle any amount of data, scaling from terabytes to petabytes on demand. Jet also has many open-source middleware components, which it runs on Azure Virtual Machines, including Elasticsearch, RedisLabs, Hadoop, and Event Store—an open-source event-sourcing data store.

* The Autocomplete feature of the Places library in the Google Maps JavaScript API lets you use autocomplete to give your applications the type-ahead-search behavior of the Google Maps search field. When a user starts typing an address, autocomplete will fill in the rest. Tom Elliott has a nice example with minimal code.

* Want to try writing using only simple words? Here’s a writing checker you can use: xkcd.com/simplewriter

Dictionary of Numbers is a Chrome extension that tries to make sense of numbers you encounter on the web by giving you a description of that number in human terms. Like a dictionary describes words you don't know in terms you do, Dictionary of Numbers puts quantities you're unfamiliar with in terms you can understand. Because "8 million people" means nothing, but "population of New York City" means everything - via Randall Munroe

Steve Souders likes The Art of Capacity Planning 

Algorithmic trading/High Frequency Trading (HFT)/High Speed Trading (HST) are said to be gaining market share and are already said to occupy around 46% of the total trade volume at NSE and over 30% of the total trade volume at BSE. In the USA and Europe, while they occupy very significant amounts of trade by volume (between 75% - 80% of total trade volume in USA and around 60% of total trade volume in Europe respectively), it is widely expected that Asian markets like India[ii] will offer greater avenues for the growth of Algorithmic trading/HFT/HFS in the future

* Algorithmic trading or ‘algo’ in market parlance refers to orders generated at a super-fast speed by use of advanced mathematical models that involve automated execution of trade. It is mostly used by large institutional investors. It has raised concerns that algo exposes small investors, and the market itself, to possible systemic risks - The Hindu

* Mobile phones now enable people to remain in contact with their social and professional network continuously. This may result in compulsive checking for status updates and messages, for fear of missing an opportunity - FOMO, Fear of missing out

Android powers 9 out 10 smartphones in India

* Some modern Routers come with Parental Controls built in, where you can set a Time Schedule per device

Sony Xperia Z  is covered on the front and back by tempered glass, where the front is Dragontrail Glass from Asahi Glass Company resin-bonded to the LCD, and the back is Corning Gorilla Glass.

* Competition between Indian banks is helping customers experience better online services. Check the services offered by popular banks - HDFC, ICICISBI

E-mail in 1989 - "Another key component of Microsoft's informality is its seductive E-mail (electronic messaging) system, which Shirley says epitomizes the corporate culture at Microsoft. Workers can message each other - even Gates and Shirley - day and night, to and from home or office computers, in an instant communications network that, Shirley notes, "flattens the corporate hierarchy considerably.'' The sophisticated system displays a queue showing the time and date and sender's "log-on,'' or nickname, for each message and a brief description of its contents."

* Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, profiled her own bipolar disorder in her memoir An Unquiet Mind

Nice insight from the StackExchange Music forum's top rated question - Why do minor keys sound “sad”?
The major key is present by nature in every note that is played. Therefore, it is interpreted as normal behavior, a happy day in our lives, 'cause that's what we expect to happen. The minor key is opposed to the major key and it's perceived by us (without being aware) as if there was something wrong, hence sadness or restlessness. Unconformity is related to sadness and restlessness

Labels: , ,

This Week I Learned - Week #129

Saturday, September 26, 2015
This Week I Learned -

SAP HANA has been certified by SAP to run on both Amazon EC2 cr1 and r3.8xlarge instance types with support for production, a feature currently missing in Azure

* Eighty-seven percent of Fortune 500 customers are on the Microsoft cloud

From a presentation by Bill Wilder:
- There is no “best” architecture – it is situational, a Technical Business Decision

- Performance is what an individual user experiences; scalability is how many users get to experience it

- Sticky Load Balancer (on Azure) has problems of its own when we get to auto-scaling

- Sharding - Horizontal scaling approach for data stores

- SLA penalties are limited to the service costs. Service costs != your business losses

* a9t9 offers free online OCR & OCR API services

youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and a few more sites.

When Microsoft releases a product, it often provides information about that product’s supported lifespan. The final stage of a product’s lifecycle is “end of extended support”. All Microsoft products eventually reach this stage of life. For example, Microsoft has posted end of extended support dates for even relatively new products like Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. In the case of Windows Server 2012 R2, end of extended support is 10th January 2023. When a product reaches end of extended support, Microsoft will no longer publicly release software updates, patches, hotfixes, technical advice, service packs, or documentation related to that product. 

Highlights of the United Nations Broadband Commission’s most-recent findings -
- “half the world’s population—some 57 percent, or more than 4 billion people—still do not use the Internet regularly or actively
- Only five percent of the world’s 7,100 languages are represented on the Internet.
- 15 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet.

India has the third largest Internet user base in the world and is also third largest smartphone market in the world.

India boasts the world’s second largest developer population with 3 million software developers. 

* AT&T’s phone records database is thought to be the world’s largest unique database, at 312 terabytes

* Over 90% of all data in existence today was created in the last 2 years

* Between 2012 and 2014, the amount of data transferred over mobile networks increased by 81% per month

* The global volume of industry data nearly doubles each year. Full utilization of available data could increase retail profits alone by as much as 60% - Coursera

Mutual funds in India can be purchased through a mobile text message & Interbank Mobile Payments Service (IMPS) facility. IMPS is a platform provided by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

* The money you get from life insurance companies on maturity, claim or surrender is 100% tax-free provided, the premium paid did not exceed 20% of the sum assured. The insurer needs to deduct tax at source at 2% for proceeds of all taxable policies. However, to reduce the compliance burden on small taxpayers, no TDS is applicable for maturity value of less than Rs 1,00,000 - Financial Express

* Hyderabad’s IT workforce is 3.20 lakh.  Hyderabad contributes to 13 per cent of the country’s IT exports against 31 per cent from Bangalore.

Times Group’s journalists’ tweets linked to salaries in new social media policy

typically only one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg is above water

..the average American had only one real friend

* “The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness, it’s intimacy.” - Richard Bach

* "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” - Gordon B. Hinckley

* “Nowadays, people are sitting 9.3 hours a day… Sitting has become the smoking of our generation.” - Nilofer Merchant

* The word "pocket dial" is officially recognized in the Oxford English Dictionary since August 2015. Pocket dialing (also known as pocket calling or butt dialing) refers to the accidental placement of a phone call while a person's mobile phone or cordless phone is in the owner's pocket or handbag.

Labels: ,

What is Cloud Governance?

Friday, September 25, 2015
A compilation of important points from the Cloud Governance articles I read:

Cloud services governance involves applying specific policies or principles to the use of cloud services.

It can be useful to think of cloud governance by examining its opposite: the free-for-all chaos in which cloud services are used by an organization without any oversight in place. To avoid this chaos, put polices in place for cloud service use to control the leakage of private information to the cloud and to control the  excessive use of cloud services (which must be paid for, after all). With governance and security in place, cloud computing can be used in safety and confidence.

The idea of Cloud governance is to monitor cloud resource usage, such as servers and services, and to limit what systems and users can do with those resources.

Cloud governance comes in many flavors, including service level, data level and platform level

Service­ level or API governance installs policies around access to services exposed by public or private clouds. Users who request access to cloud services have to go through a centralized mechanism that checks the requester's authorization. This mechanism also forces compliance with predefined policies that dictate when and how to access the cloud services 

Data ­level governance, much like service ­level governance, focuses on both storage and data management. Once again, policies are placed around data and data storage systems to define and control access. 

Platform­ level governance, sometimes called a cloud management platform, is related to platform management itself. This means placing automation services around cloud platform governance and management, including provisioning and de-provisioning cloud resources as needed by applications or data. 

The objective of platform ­level governance is to provide a single point of control for complex, distributed, and heterogeneous public and private cloud­ based resources. This allows policies to define when and where resources are put to work and to ensure users use only what's necessary. The end result is not overpaying for subscription ­based services, and the system works around issues like outages. 

Public cloud removes some of the infrastructure and administrative overhead of the traditional data center, but the onus of meeting cloud governance requirements still  falls squarely on IT's shoulders. In the ever-shifting cloud landscape, it's important to create a governance model that resembles an ongoing process -- not a product

To illustrate Cloud governance with an example, consider the case of Amazon Machine Instances (AMIs or Azure VMs). The ability to enforce rules such that certain users can deploy certain AMIs is important. At a finer level, the ability to control who can reboot a VM, who can add capacity to an existing VM environment, and who can delete existing virtual machine instances is important. 
Without a Cloud governance system in place, unwanted running AMI machine instances can proliferate and cause unnecessary cost. However, the opposite is also true:  without a Cloud governance solution in place, it is possible that useful AMI instances might be mistakenly deleted. 

Lifecycle management of AMI instances avoids the problems of rogue instances, just as SOA Governance tackled the issue of rogue services which tend to proliferate in organizations without a governance framework in  place. 

Labels: , ,