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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


Public Cloud Map - January 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018
Compared to Public Cloud Map in December 2017, the count of datacenters only for GCP has changed from 13 to 15.

GCP now has 15 regions &  44 zones, AWS Cloud spans 50 Availability Zones within 18 geographic Regions while Azure is generally available in 36 regions around the world.

Zoom in & out of the map to view details as required

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This Week I Learned - Week #250

Friday, January 19, 2018
This Week I Learned -

Even though Azure takes three copies of your virtual machines and stores them in Azure Storage, you still need to protect your data against ransomware, corruption, or accidental deletion. Azure Backup provides built-in security features that can protect your backup data from ransomware, and makes it easy to restore your data from Azure.

Starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor on Google for mobile searches.

Instead of including the API key (or placeholder) in the code that you might be sharing through CodePen, prompt the end-user of the pen for their API key at runtime. Then, store whatever key they supply into local HTML5 storage so they don’t have to enter it over and over again.

Google rewards volunteers to its User Experience Research with a small thank-you gift like a gift card or a donation to their favorite charity.

New channels on YouTube will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads.

NetGalley & Edelweiss are sites where book industry professionals and critics can get digital copies of books before they’re published.

"30% of work time for self development" is a perk offered at WiproDigital

* Digital payments account for over 60 percent of total transactions on Amazon India. Amazon Pay wallet accounted for 48 percent of all digital transactions - Economic Times

* Third party vendors building Android apps for official bodies have access to private data of citizens. m-Wallet is an Android mobile app developed for the Transport Department of the Govt. of Telangana by Radikal TribeTelangana Traffic Police & Telangana E-Challan Android apps have been developed by Mother Technologies Project Ventures which currently doesn't have a website of its own!

* "Losing doesn't hurt as much as the fear of losing" - P Gopichand

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Microsoft Cognitive Services - Key Links

Sunday, January 14, 2018
To better track the resources available for Microsoft Cognitive Services, I'm compiling a list of key
links for easy reference

Cognitive Services Directory 

API Reference

Microsoft Virtual Academy video courses

* List of all Microsoft Cognitive Services

Vision Speech Language Knowledge Search
Computer Vision API Translator Speech API Language Understanding (LUIS) Recommendations API Bing Autosuggest API
Face API - API Bing Speech API Text Analytics API Academic Knowledge API Bing Image Search API
Content Moderator Speaker Recognition API Bing Spell Check API Knowledge Exploration Service Bing News Search API
Emotion API Custom Speech Service Translator Text API QnA Maker API Bing Video Search API
Custom Vision Service Web Language Model API Entity Linking Intelligence Service API Bing Web Search API
Video Indexer Linguistic Analysis API Custom Decision Service Bing Custom Search API
Bing Entity Search API 

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This Week I Learned - Week #249

Friday, January 12, 2018
This Week I Learned -

Microsoft Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a feature of Azure Application Gateway (layer 7 load balancer) that protects web applications against common web exploits using OWASP core rule sets. Azure Security Center scans Azure resources for vulnerabilities and recommends mitigation steps for those issues.

* Where there is sufficient will and resources, any information system can be compromised.

* UIDAI is the Unique IDentification Authority of India and they run the Aadhaar project. Anyone can access the Aaadhaar services from anywhere so long as they can get themselves an Indian IP address. VPN based IP addresses are blacklisted. However, geo-blocking is a really weak, easily circumvented control that often does more harm than good - Is India's Aadhaar System Really "Hack-Proof"? Assessing a Publicly Observable Security Posture

About two thirds of all browser traffic is now encrypted

There's a lot more to HTTPS than simply redirecting all the traffic

* The JavaScript KeyboardEvent can be used to detect numerous keys including the Caps Lock on key.

* The Social-Engineer Toolkit (SET) is specifically designed to perform advanced attacks against the human element. The attacks built into the toolkit are designed to be targeted and focused attacks against a person or organization used during a penetration test. Kali Linux, an OS favored by penetration testers, has this tool installed by default

* The size of a developer community certainly counts; it contributes to a thriving open source environment, and makes it easier to find help on Stack Overflow.

Every religion is an insult to somebody

* If someone with leadership ambition can count on the recommendations of key, highly placed connections, visibility becomes credibility, and the chance to progress into leadership increases - HBR

If an applicant for an Indian passport has stayed at three different addresses during last one year, the police verification will be done at all the three addresses where the applicant has resided in the last one year.

* A double negative is a grammatical construction occurring when two forms of negation are used in the same sentence. Multiple negation is the more general term referring to the occurrence of more than one negative in a clause. In some languages, double negatives cancel one another and produce an affirmative; in other languages, doubled negatives intensify the negation.

* Most citizens who are not in the working age or are not illiterate, or are well qualified educationally will fall in the Non Emigration Check Required (Non-ECR) category. Indian citizens categorized as ECR, are required to get a clearance from the office of Protector of Emigrants, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs before leaving the country for employment purpose. Emigration clearance is required for employment in the following countries (18 in total): United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Brunei, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand, and Iraq.

* The unfinished books of Sir Terry Pratchett have been destroyed by a steamroller, following the late fantasy novelist’s wishes. Pratchett, famous for his colourful and satirical Discworld series, died in March 2015 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The author of over 70 novels, Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 - The Guardian

* UIDAI, the authority that issues Aadhaar, allows people to check online if their bank account has been linked to Aadhaar with its Bank Mapper website. It does not seem to work for all banks though. Moreover, if your Aadhaar is linked to multiple bank accounts, it returns the name of only one bank.

* Koduri Marakathamani Keeravaani, better known as M. M. Keeravani, is an Indian film music composer and playback singer, who works in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi cinema. He is also known by his aliases Marakathamani, Vedanarayana and M. M. Kreem.

Minmini (who shot to fame singing "Chinna Chinna Aasai" for the film Roja in 1992) lost her voice in 1993 on a stage show in London. She was unable to even speak for some years.

* Passports currently are issued in three colours. Government officers have a white passport, diplomats have issued red passports and all others are blue. Passport holders with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status would be issued a passport with orange passport jacket as per a new change.

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This Week I Learned - Week #248

Friday, January 05, 2018
This Week I Learned -

* Computer security experts have discovered two major security flaws in the microprocessors inside nearly all of the world’s computers. The two problems, called Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, including mobile devices, personal computers, servers running in so-called cloud computer networks. By exploiting the Meltdown flaw, a hacker can just load some software onto a cloud service and then grab data from anyone else who has loaded software onto the same server. Phones and PCs are more difficult targets. Before they can exploit the chip flaws, hackers must find a way of getting their software onto your device. They could fool you into downloading an app from a smartphone app store. Or they could trick you into visiting a website that moves code onto your machine. The onus is now on consumers and businesses to install the fix on their machines. A popular ad blocker among security researchers is uBlock Origin.

* Azure provides fully managed services for running MySQL and PostgreSQL databases on the cloud. And you can use the Azure CLI 2.0 to configure and manage these as well.

* Android & iOS versions of Azure mobile app can be used to run commands to manage your Azure resources

Azure Cost Management service (by Cloudyn) is a free service which updates daily with reports detailing the breakdown of your assets and costs in Azure.

Cloud Shell also securely authenticates automatically for instant access to your resources through the Azure CLI 2.0 or Azure PowerShell cmdlets. Persist your files across sessions in attached Azure Files. Cloud Shell is assigned one machine per user account. It runs on a temporary host provided on a per-session, per-user basis. Since Cloud Shell is built for interactive sessions, shells automatically terminate after 20 minutes of shell inactivity.

Cost of Azure Archive Storage is 90% less than Hot Blob Storage

As per the official Google Blog - GCP has already been updated to prevent all known vulnerabilities related to microprocessors. Google Cloud is architected in a manner that enables us to update the environment while providing operational continuity for our customers. We used our VM Live Migration technology to perform the updates with no user impact, no forced maintenance windows and no required restarts.

Adding a site to the compatibility sites list in Internet Explorer disables HTML5 on that site. This can be a way to block html5 videos system wide

* When you visit a website, online trackers and the site itself may be able to identify you. Panopticlick from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) can detect such browser fingerprinting and analyze how well your browser and add-ons protect you against online tracking techniques.

* The objectives of Google exam certifications are different from Microsoft exam certifications. As per the Google exam certification FAQ - "Our exams are designed to determine only whether or not an individual meets a minimum passing standard. They are not designed to be diagnostic or spread people out on a scale of ability. For this reason numerical scores are not meaningful for the examinee and can be misinterpreted. We recognize that some other exam providers provide section feedback on their exams. We do not because it is not meaningful and could be misleading. Our exams are not designed to diagnose strengths and weaknesses. Our exam sections are very broad topic categories, and the range of specific questions you may receive for each section in a single exam sitting is extremely narrow by comparison. Based on such a small amount of data, there is no meaningful feedback at the section level that we can responsibly provide."

* Misery loves company - Yahoo reporting about an Aadhaar breach
 An epic and historic data breach at Yahoo in August 2013 affected every single customer account that existed at the time, Yahoo parent company Verizon said on Tuesday. That's three billion accounts -- including email, Tumblr, Fantasy and Flickr

* The 'Aadhaar Authentication History' option on the UIDAI website allows you to check where your Aadhaar number was used for authentication. You can also register a complaint with the authority if you find some suspicious activity involving your details - Business Today

How did The Hulk end up in India? A large part of Bruce Banner's self control is based on distracting himself and thus mentally distancing himself from being The Hulk. He thus lands up in Calcutta(India) where he is just another foreigner, far far away from the United States and is practically unrecognizable. In the end of The Incredible Hulk we see Banner meditating and gaining some control over his transformation. Whether it is true or not but the stereotype is that India is a good place if one wants to engage in spiritual studies, meditation or yoga type activities.

*  In the first decade of independence, the main political parties aimed to attract voters across all divides—Congress, the Socialist Parties, the Communist parties, and the Swatantra Party. But these could not paper over the immense number of social divisions, which gradually created parties based on caste (RJD, SP, the two anti-Brahmin DMKs), region (TDP, BJD, TRS, Trinamool Congress, AGP, INLD, PDP et al), and religion (Akali Dal, Shiv Sena). Many parties span more than one divide - Swaminomics

Ola Auto is currently functional across 73 cities with over 1.2 lakh autos.

*  It is widely believed that there are 79 organs; however, there is no universally standard definition of what constitutes an organ, and some tissue groups' status as one is debated.

* New movies are released on Friday in India & US. In France, movies open on Wednesday & in Germany, it's Thursday

* Checking your smartphone while you're working is normal -  a scene from Men, Women & Children

* War is an economy

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