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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 #212

Friday, April 28, 2017
This Week I Learned -

With Azure Monitor Notifications you can receive alerts via SMS, email, or a WebHook when Azure is experiencing an incident or when something is logged to your Activity Logs.

* Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (DirSync) or Azure AD Sync are deprecated and reached end of support on April 13, 2017. Azure AD Connect can be used to integrate your on-premises directories with Azure Active Directory. This allows you to provide a common identity for your users for Office 365, Azure, and SaaS applications integrated with Azure AD.

* A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.”. The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content. The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the middle and is not just able to eavesdrop on the conversation taking place between two or more systems, but is also capable of altering the content or redirecting the users to a different property on the Internet without the user even realizing that he/she is not communicating with the intended machine. HTTPS, otherwise known as HTTP over TLS/SSL or HTTP Secure is vital in preventing MITM attacks - Royal Pingdom

* IIT-Delhi graduates Sachin Bansal (left) and Binny Bansal started Flipkart in 2007 with around Rs 4 lakh. It has a 8,000-plus team, 120,000 sellers, 26 or so warehouses, and around 160 mini warehouses - Forbes India

* Americans on an average eat 122 kg per year per person and Indians 3-5 kg per year per person. The average American consumption of meat is 1.5 times the average protein requirement.

* The bulk of the 95 million tonnes of beef produced in the world comes from cattle in Latin America, Europe and North America

* Cows and buffaloes give milk for seven-eight years of their 15-20 years of life. If the animals are fed properly and looked after well, it costs about Rs 70,000 per animal per year. Males of cows and buffaloes are now roughly 28 per cent of the total cattle population. Their main purpose is breeding - NDTV

* Health professionals recommend that adults receive tetanus boosters at least every ten years, as preventing tetanus is much easier than curing it once infected.  It isn’t the rust that causes the infection, rather it’s a type of bacteria, Clostridium tetani, that's on the rusty nail that causes the infection. This bacterium is ubiquitous in the natural environment — spores lurk in soil, dust, and in animal intestines and feces. Once the bacterium finds its way into the body, it may produce a toxin that spreads systemically. It also interferes with the central nervous system, producing muscle stiffness, rigidity, or spasms. For those that suspect they’ve been exposed to tetanus, there are a number of symptoms to watch out for — the most frequent symptom is a stiff jaw, followed by a stiff neck, and then muscular stiffness and spasms throughout the body. Tetanus symptoms appear anywhere from a few days to several weeks after the tetanus bacteria enters the body. The tetanus vaccination works by causing the body to respond to an inactivated form of the tetanus toxin, thereby developing antibodies. The vaccine is usually given to children as part of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) shot. - Go Ask Alice!

Each Fold-In of Al Jaffee is a reflection of the zeitgeist

Scott Adams praises Trump  - "You can tell that President Trump is a systems-thinker by looking at what I call his Talent Stack. He amassed an impressive set of complementary skills over his lifetime that would make him successful at almost anything he did, from hosting reality TV shows, to running for president. Notice that he is a good public speaker with a strong understanding of persuasion, politics, business strategy, and more. Add all of that to his sense of humor, his energy, his ability to endure brutal criticism, and his natural intelligence, and you have super-powerful person who can succeed in a lot of different ways."

* Microsoft India has introduced a new family caregiver leave benefit, which includes four weeks of paid leave to take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Definition of family in this case is spouse/domestic partner, parent/in-law, sibling, grandparent or child. - NDTV

* Lumen is a measure of brightness. Watts are a measure of how much electricity a bulb consumes. LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, compared to 1,000 for incandescent bulbs and 10,000 hours for fluorescent lights.

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Cloud Machine Learning Use Cases by Vertical

Sunday, April 23, 2017
Example use cases by Vertical:

* Manufacturing
• Predictive maintenance or condition monitoring
• Warranty reserve estimation
• Propensity to buy
• Demand forecasting
• Process optimization
• Telematics

* Travel & Hospitality
• Aircraft scheduling
• Dynamic pricing
• Social media—consumer feedback and interaction analysis
• Customer complaint resolution
• Traffic patterns and congestion management

* Retail
• Predictive inventory planning
• Recommendation engines
• Upsell and cross-channel marketing
• Market segmentation and targeting
• Customer ROI and lifetime value
Demand forecasting
• Marketing mix optimization
• Personalized offers

* Financial Services
• Risk analytics and regulation
• Customer segmentation
• Cross-selling and upselling
• Sales and marketing campaign management
• Creditworthiness evaluation
Portfolio optimization
• Investment modelling
• Fraud detection

* Healthcare & Life Sciences
• Alerts and diagnostics from real-time patient data
• Disease identification and risk satisfaction
• Patient triage optimization
• Proactive health management
• Healthcare provider sentiment analysis

* Energy, Feedstock and Utilities
• Power usage analytics
• Seismic data processing
• Carbon emissions and trading
• Customer-specific pricing
• Smart grid management
• Energy demand and supply optimization

Source: Ebook on Insights and Resources from Google Cloud Next 2017 [PDF] & other online resources

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This Week I Learned - Week #211

Saturday, April 22, 2017
This Week I Learned -

* Azure HDInsight is the only fully-managed cloud Hadoop offering that provides optimized open source analytical clusters for Spark, Hive, MapReduce, HBase, Storm, Kafka, and R Server backed by a 99.9% SLA.

Users can now use H2O.ai’s open source solutions on Azure HDInsight, which allows reliable open source analytics with an industry-leading SLA.

Azure Site Recovery now supports creating failed over virtual machines in an availability set.

All of AWS Whitepapers

The architecture of the internet has tremendous influence over what is made, and what is seen; algorithms influence what content spreads further on Facebook and turns up on top of Google searches. YouTube’s most serious ad change yet came in the wake of reports from The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal that ads were appearing on YouTube videos that espoused extremism and hate speech. according to YouTube creators, that shift has also punished video makers who bear no resemblance to terrorist sympathizers and racists. On the site, it’s known as “the adpocalypse.” To rein in its sprawling video empire — 400 hours of video are uploaded to the platform every minute — YouTube uses machine learning systems that can’t always discern context, or distinguish commentary or humor from hate speech. That limitation means that YouTube routinely pulls ads from content deemed “not advertiser-friendly.” 

Media power has consolidated in the past several decades, with a smaller crew of billionaires controlling journalism and entertainment. The internet was supposed to offer an opportunity for a diverse group of upstarts to challenge the corporate structure. But the same consolidation of power has happened online.

Google and Facebook are now so dominant that they form a practical duopoly over digital advertising  - NY Times

* The average Chinese person today pigs out on 40kg (88lbs) of pork a year, up from 12kg in 1980. Although China constitutes just one-fifth of the world’s population, it consumes 50% of the pork - Economist

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present.

* Steven Ballmer's USAFacts.org website is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments. Altogether, he has spent more than $10 million between direct funding and grants.

* Robert Vadra bought a 3.5-acre plot in Gurgaon in 2008 for 7.5 crores and sold just three months later for 58 crores to India's largest real estate developer, DLF - NDTV

* About 4 crore subscribers of EPFO will get 8.65 per cent interest on provident fund deposits for 2016-17, as decided by the organisation's trustees in December - NDTV

* The website of Doordarshan News is designed and maintained by National Informatics Centre (NIC). The site has URLs like these with commas & spaces -

* "We will move from mobile first to an AI first world" - Sundar Pichai

* "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved." - Jane Goodall

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This Week I Learned - Week #210

Saturday, April 15, 2017
This Week I Learned -

Q: What is the maximum number of virtual machines I can have in an Azure Availability Set?
A: 50

Q. Can I use the same storage account for all the VMs in an availability set?
A. Yes but it is better to use different storage accounts for each VM in the Availability Set.

Q. Can I create more than 100 NSGs per region per subscription?
A. Yes. 100 is the default limit but can be increased to 400 for ARM (200 for ASM).

Q. Can an Azure resource be in more than one Resource Group?
A. No

Q. Can an Azure VM have more than one public IP?
A. No. While an Azure VM can have multiple vmNICs, only the primary adapter can be assigned a public IP.

Q. How many virtual networks can be peered in Azure?
A. Each virtual network can be peered to up to 10 virtual networks.

Q. If I have an IaaS VM talking to a PaaS SQL database does the traffic flow through the Microsoft network?
A. Yes.

The goal of the Availability Set is to split your VMs in the Availability Set over 2 (ASM) or 3 (ARM) fault domains

* The higher the number of update domains the smaller the number of instances that are unavailable during each planned maintenance cycle.

* A Resource Group can span locations, and it can be either heterogeneous, i.e. containing different types of resource (such as a database, a VM, a website and so on) or it can be homogeneous.

* SQL Database provides up to 200% of your maximum provisioned database storage as backup storage at no additional cost. For example, if you have a Standard DB instance with a provisioned DB size of 250 GB, you have 500 GB of backup storage at no additional charge.

* The Long-Term Backup Retention feature enables you to store your Azure SQL Database backups in an Azure Recovery Services vault for up to 10 years. Long-term backup retention of an Azure SQL database is charged according to the Azure backup services pricing rates.

* You can save up to 40 percent on Windows Server virtual machines running in Azure by using your existing Windows Server licenses with Software Assurance

* Hybrid cloud use cases [PDF]

* Azure Storage accounts by default are set up to be geographically redundant

Azure Master Program offers Hands-on Labs that let you try some activities without requiring to sign-up for a Subscription

The release of Sitecore 8.2 update 1 included full Sitecore Azure Web Apps support. It takes 15-20 minutes to provision a vanilla Sitecore environment. Azure Marketplace provides Point and Click setup of Sitecore-approved topology and provisions a vanilla  Sitecore deployment to the selected datacentre. Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates are more customizable

Amazon AI services offer natural language understanding (NLU), automatic speech recognition (ASR), visual search and image recognition, text-to-speech (TTS), and machine learning (ML) technologies

Apache MXNet is a fully-featured, flexibly-programmable and ultra-scalable deep learning framework supporting state-of-the-art deep models including convolutional neural networks (CNNs), and long short-term memory networks (LSTMs).

* Amazon Go convenience store uses machine vision to eliminate checkout lines. Machine learning drives Amazon's algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more. Amazon Lex (what's inside Alexa), Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition remove the heavy lifting from natural language understanding, speech generation, and image analysis. They can be accessed with simple API calls — no machine learning expertise required - Business Insider

* AI has helped Bing more than double its share of the search engine market (to 20%); as of 2015, Bing generated more than a $1 billion in revenue every quarter - HBR

* A  2016 survey from Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their phones 8 billion times per day. The average for individual Americans was 46 checks per day, including during leisure time—watching TV, spending time with friends, eating dinner. - HBR

* According to Facebook, the average Facebook user spends almost an hour on the site every day. The more you use Facebook, the worse you feel

* The Government has blacklisted 34,000 Aadhaar agencies for polluting UIDAI. 34,000!

* Big Blue allowed employees to work from home way back in the ’80s, when the technology to telecommute was not so great. The three biggest reasons for companies to introduce WFH are to do with work-life integration, attracting key talent, and driving cost efficiencies. Over 66 per cent of remote workers in IT/ITES companies (according to a 2008 TCS study) are women. Four years ago Marissa Meyer decreed Yahoo employees could no longer work from home. This year, it is IBM CMO Michelle Peluso’s turn to tell her 2,600-people-strong marketing department that there will be no more telecommuting. Other adopters of this hardline approach include one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success story – Google. - Hindu Business Line

* Nearly all public companies in the US have clawback (or forced return of pay and stock grants) provisions, but boards are typically loath to invoke them - NY Times

Google's music streaming service in India is priced a third lower than iTunes.

Pakistan's liabilities, both private and public, are already a staggering 75 per cent of GDP, or Rs 22.5 trillion

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Thursday, April 13, 2017
Some of these trackers even come with APIs that can be customized for your own use -

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