Saturday, February 15, 2014

Learning Notes #1 - 15th Feb 2014

“I'm not a real programmer. I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say ‘yeah it works but you're leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that.’ I'll just restart Apache every 10 requests.” 

- Rasmus Lerdorf (creator of PHP) 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Launching "The Photon Effect"

Today I want to share one more investment under preparation with all of you - A story blog powered by photographs. Photography has been an enjoyable hobby for me, and I am now taking it to the next level. 

"The Photo Effect" is an attempt to tell stories. These stories are part of me when I travel, meet people and share experiences with the world. 

"The Photon Effect" is currently under preparation, and is going live the beginning of June 2013. 

Till then, keep reading !

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Deep Learning: The next paradigm for Machine Learning

2 posts that made me excited about Deep Learning, and how it is evolving the state of art in Machine Learning. 

For newbies, Deep Learning is a set of algorithms that emphasises on layered approach to learning. Each layer is a neural network corresponds to a concept, going all the way from high-order to a low-order. A high order concept is composed of low-order concept and multiple low-order concepts give way to a high-order concept. A concept could be a part of a feature - like learning to understand a language.


Post 1:- 

Andrew Ng, the celebrated Neural Network Researcher and the prestigious AI professor talks about his love for AI and Neural Networks. In The One Algorithm Brain - Andrew Ng discovers how the concept of "One Algorithm" could define how our brains perform complicated processing. And One day, we might finally built something near to it.


Post 2:- 

Rick Rashid, the Chief Research officer of Microsoft Research, wows audience with real-time translation of spoken words. The technology deep within this work is Deep Learning. 


The behind the scenes action of Post 1 and Post 2 lies in application of Deep Learning. Not only, it is creating a paradigm shift in creation of intelligent software, it also shows that key to such creation is learning how our own brain works. 


I am writing a blog post for allowing a layman understand about Deep Learning. Watch out for this in the next blog post.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

The world through the Glass

Google Glass is a phenomenal attempt to create a device that blurs the interface between a human and a machine. I believe this is a first step towards the complete integration, and a scary one too. The Glass as advertised by Google is an important step in the evolution of the human species, where the humans start accepting augmentation with machines as a natural progression. However, it brings out an important point on how Google as a company wants to invade in the private and personal space of each user. Google is primarily an Advertisement based company. It survives and thrives on people, you and me, using its powerful search engine, and other plethora of tools to play with information. This includes searching, recording, authoring, viewing and sharing. An important part of this engagement between the human and Google is the need for a consumption device. This engagement allows Google to profile the user, provide targeted advertisements and information. But a key problem with the engagement is that a user needs to be in interaction with the interface. A device fills the gap except places where the user does not intent to involve it. This may include the free time that we all have including interacting with our families, pursuing our hobbies, sharing love and experience for the first time etc. All this represent the pure human to human interaction. A machine in the form of a mobile phone, laptop, tablet is seen as an intrusion in these type of interactions, until Google Glass arrived.
The Glass opens up tremendous opportunity for Google to perceive the behaviour of each user in far detail than possible now.  This means, an unprecedented access to more of our human - to - human time. When the interface becomes invisible as in the Glass, there is very little a user can do to decide on the appropriateness of the content that gets communicated and shared. The interface is becoming a part of our real self. I will not be surprised if when using the Glass and playing a game of tennis, my Glass realises that I am poor in the sport, and superimpose training videos on my retina followed with advertisements of training institutes.
This is scary thought, but one whose time has come. I am all excited and scared at the same time :)

PLEASE NOTE:- The Image used here is a part of the published article "http://www.techradar.com/news/video/google-glass-what-you-need-to-know-1078114". The blog owner does not own any rights for the image.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why I can't replace paper ?

I read a lot. I try to find every ounce of time that I can squeeze from my schedule to read. Reading definitely does not mean, carrying a book everywhere, but finding every opportunity to go over a written piece of online and offline text. This means a greater challenge for me to find out the items worth spending time reading on. So I necessarily divide a part of my day into finding things to read and then going over it as I get time. 

Ever since I bought the Amazon Kindle, the graphite version of the stellar product back in mid-2010, its been a part of some of my reading time if not all. 6 months into Kindle, and I was still finding myself going over a shiny new printed paper. Find me in a bookstore, and I am hypnotized to get my hands on to the written text. Reading a PDF in the Kindle was always a pain. I still email most of the PDFs I wanted to read in my free time to my free kindle email address. Kindle has been a quite member of my reading journey since last 3 years. And I still see myself buying a lot of printed books, with some contribution of the easy-to-order online stores promising me 1 - 2 day delivery with good discounts. Then came the iPad, third of their iteration in the apple value chain. iPad with retina display promised me the world of color texts, something I missed in my graphite kindle but was not interested to move on to the Kindle HD. I again found myself syncing PDFs of text, book purchases through the Kindle app and DropBox account with the iPad. Yes, its a disruption. But do I still need Paper. Hell Yeah. 
I believe the advances in electronic displays and online publishing has definitely created a dent in the printed text industry. It mirrored the fine nuances of a printed paper, but the feel of holding a book, with the smell of the printed pages is a costly proposition for digital technology. If reading was all about going over a written text, the current state of the art would have been enough. 
I believe we need a hybrid shot at this. A system that allows us the impression of holding a book (and not a library of them) at one time. Similar to what we do now. We need the accessibility, Search and portability of electronic displays and online text, but with the ability of making a real world bookmark, highlighting and marking the written text for notes, and the feel of holding a paper. 
Is it merely a part of the old experience that we crave for or is this a marriage of the real with the virtual world ?
The onset of technologies like Microsoft Kinect with its multi-point Camera, Leap Motion device, feedback touch interaction that can be mashed up to create such an experience. And if this all can be packaged as one small device, well, not sure if it would create the same buzz the same as Google Glass these days.
Paper is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Interactions would evolve and create a hybrid form of human-machine contact. A contact which is human, and yet in its functionality transcends the current limitations of the earlier interaction.

PLEASE NOTE:- The Image used here is a part of the published article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amazon_Kindle_3.JPG". The blog owner does not own any rights for the image.

Monday, February 04, 2013

One Question to rule them all

Lately I have been interviewing, especially people with technical skills. One question that lingered in my mind for sometime is that of "the" question which would help me get the maximum out of an interview. How about one "big" question, that provides me all the layers of the candidate. It's like an elevator pitch version of interview question.

Out of all the questions I iterated through, I found one. One elegant question. One question to rule them all ;-)

Question - What are three things in your career till now you are proud of ?

Why I believe this is the elegant question :-

1. It proves that the candidate works for purpose

2. It proves the candidate is ambitious, risk taker and values his / her contribution

3. She / he cares for the work

4. Being proud of one's career highlights does not just translate to achievements or successes. It could manifest into learning points, experiences, impacts and influences.

5. The candidate thinks 

6. The candidate is upbeat, optimistic and reflects on the learnings of past.

I think this will be my question of choice in any interview - be it hiring for tech guys, managers, security guards, chefs etc.

What is your question of choice ?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Welcome CloudGeek.IN

Launching today, is my new blog "CloudGeek" @ cloudgeek.in

This aims to be a one stop for my thoughts, patterns, architectures and code for the next generation of Cloud Services.

This means, the current blog will be purely personal and will reflect my journey into the unknown. For all my geek readers interested in keeping up with the state-of-the-art in Cloud Computing, grab your seats at www.cloudgeek.in