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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

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

This Week I Learned - Week #201

This Week I Learned -

HockeyApp is Microsoft's mobile DevOps solution. With it, you can distribute builds to beta testers, collect crash data, and get user feedback. It also integrates with Visual Studio Team Services enabling easy build deployments and work item integration.

Microsoft and Cisco have had a partnership since 2014 to develop products and services designed to “modernize data centers.” Cisco will expand its hybrid cloud offerings by integrating Microsoft Azure Stack into its Unified Computing System.

* Hans Rosling's son, Ola Rosling, built the Trendalyzer software to animate data compiled by the UN and the World Bank that helped him explain the world with graphics. Rosling co-founded the Gapminder Foundation together with his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund to develop Trendalyzer to convert international statistics into moving, interactive graphics. The provocative presentations that have resulted have made him famous and his lectures using Gapminder graphics to visualize world development have won awards. In March 2007 Google acquired the Trendalyzer software with the intention to scale it up and make it freely available for public statistics. In 2008 Google made available a Motion Chart Google Gadget and in 2009 the Public Data Explorer.

Some have rebranded AI as “cognitive computing” or “machine intelligence”, while others incorrectly interchange AI with “machine learning”. Reinforcement learning (RL) is a paradigm for learning by trial-and-error inspired by the way humans learn new tasks. An example of RL area of AI working in the real world is the task of optimizing energy efficiency for cooling Google data centers. Here, an RL system achieved a 40% reduction in cooling costs.

* If you have been seeing emoji characters in the subject of emails and wondered how images can show up there, that is because those emoji characters are actually Unicode characters (a very big list of Unicode emoji characters). The latest version of Unicode contains a repertoire of more than 128,000 characters covering 135 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets. Unicode does not exactly specify how the symbol should look like. Thus, all operating systems have their own sets of symbol graphics to look different.

* When Facebook bought WhatsApp for more than $19 billion in 2014, Jan Koum, a founder of the messaging company, arranged to sign a part of the deal outside the suburban social services center where he had once waited in line to collect food stamps. Mr. Koum, like many in the tech industry, is an immigrant. He was a teenager when he and his mother moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1990s, in part to escape the anti-Semitic tide then sweeping his native Ukraine. The app is particularly popular in India, where it has more than 160 million users - NY Times

* Many of the hackers who carry out ransomware attacks operate in Russia and Eastern Europe, according to the police, and often demand a ransom in Bitcoin, a digital currency that is hard to trace. According to the United States Justice Department, ransomware attacks quadrupled in 2016 to an average of 4,000 a day - NY Times

* The website Scamicide provides the latest info on scams & identity theft

* In 2009, President Barack Obama fought to become the first president with a smartphone; though he won, the use of a White House-issued secure device came with many rules. Trump uses his old, unsecured Android phone to post on Twitter. The president’s use of the personal device is particularly notable given his criticism of Hillary Clinton for using a personal email address and server when she was secretary of state - NY Times

* Stingray devices, a type of surveillance tool often used by law enforcement, can track a device’s location and other information.

News on Maps from Rediff Labs lets you watch a real-time map of news as it breaks all over India.

* Email hack: Sending a short message? Put the whole thing in the subject and add “/EOM” (end of message) to the end. /EOM

* Tai Chi  is an ancient Chinese form of co-ordinated body movements focusing on the cultivation of internal energy 'Chi' or 'Qi'.

* George Orwell wrote the book 1984 [PDF] in the year 1948

For the upcoming fiscal year, overall defence budget of India amounts to Rs3.59 trillion, or 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP)The military expenditure of Saudi Arabia was 13.7% of its GDP in 2016.  defence budget drops to a meagre 1.6% of GDP, a drop from last year's low of 1.74%.

The total national health expenditure of the USA’s Gross Domestic Product stands at 17.5 percent. The U.S., however, consistently ranks the lowest among the top 11 developed economies on measures of health outcomes, quality, and efficiency.

* Chinese New Year is China's biggest holiday.

The life expectancy of the world population is 70 years.

* There are more than 100 types of cancer and any part of the body can be affected. According to the WHO, the number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades

In 400 BCE, Hippocrates noted that cervical cancer was incurable. HPV vaccines protect against between two and seven high-risk strains of this family of viruses and may prevent up to 90% of cervical cancers. The Pap smear can be used as a screening test, but is false negative in up to 50% of cases of cervical cancer. Dr Papanicolaou first reported that uterine cancer could be diagnosed by means of a vaginal smear in 1928, but the importance of his work was not recognized until 1943. 

* Attrition at HDFC Bank is at 18-20% compared to industry average of 16-22%. India's most valuable lender, HDFC Bank has rationalised its staff by 4,581 employees in a single quarter courtesy efficiencies in the system and lower hiring. Accounts are being opened over the counter courtesy Aadhaar, loans are getting cleared in minutes and technologies like blockchain are reducing human intervention in operations. Employee count fell to 90,421 on December 31, 2016 from 95K in Sept.30

* The Swachh Bharat Cess has become effective from November 15, 2015 at the rate of 0.5 per cent on all taxable services. Swachh Bharat Cess is not levied on services that are fully exempt from service tax or those covered under the negative list of services.

* 91-year-old Dr Bhakti Yadav, the first woman MBBS degree holder from Indore who works for the poor, 76-year old exponent of Kalaripayattu, Menakshi Amma, Sukri Bommagowda hailed as the nightingale of Hallakki Vokkaliga, an indigenous tribe in Karnataka, 81-year-old writer activist from Assam. Eli Ahmad are all recepients of this year's Padma Shri – the fourth highest civilian award in India - NDTV

Harvey Kurtzman created "Mad" as a comic book and later converted it to a magazine, saving EC Publications from oblivion. In 1955, with issue # 24, MAD made its magazine debut with a larger page size and virtual doubling of the earlier page count.

Even the hard-core in the green movement use a washing machine

Hans Rosling predicts that India and China will have the same income per person as the US in 2048

* Reasons for skewed info & what we are ignorant about the world
- Personal bias
- Outdated world views/facts
- News bias

* "If you have a fact-based world-view of today, you might have a chance to understand what's coming in the future" - Ola Rosling

* “I produce a road map for the modern world. Where people want to drive is up to them. But I have the idea that if they have a proper road map and know what the global realities are, they’ll make better decisions.” - Dr Hans Rosling, doctor, “edutainer”, pop-star statistician,  funky philosopher, sword swallower

* "Reality is what you make out of it" - Bender, Futurama

* "Never waste a crisis" - Mark Rutte

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