Posts Tagged Technology
The click and hold Preview action as shown above, makes easy to sample a recommendation and discover more artists and their music, with the slick UI and making it simple and straight forward to move through the recommendations.
Behind the scenes it shows that Spotify are paying attention to the usage profile of their users, and displaying recommendations and suggestions based on tunes played and playlist content. While an individual users’ play history and playlist settings may be quite small digitally. As Spotify has millions of subscribers to the service, cumulatively this must equate to a significant data-set and require Big Data hosting and analytics services behind that to drive recommendations and observe other trends within their user base.
Some quotes from that post:
At the heart of Spotify lives a massive and growing data-set. Most data is user-centric and allows us to provide music recommendations, choose the next song you hear on radio and many other things. We do our best to base every decision, programmatic and managerial, on data and this extends into the culture.
Most of our recurring data is added to our analytics pipeline by a set of daemons that constantly parse the syslog on production machines looking for messages we have defined along with the associated data for each message. Matching data is compressed and periodically synced to HDFS. Typically data is available in our Data Warehouse and Dashboards within 24 hours, but in some cases data is available within a few hours or even instantly through tools like Storm.
Do you use Spotify, what do you like about it?
This means Google search responds to an audio search request with an audible answer.
Voice search starts with a click on the microphone icon in the search bar.
giving the “Speak now” prompt
and then the “Listening…” prompt
it captures into text the voice request spoken…
The search result returned show all the usual feature giving and provides an audible voiceover of the summary text from Wikipedia (where possible).
It also often says “Here is some information about [request]”.
Often the request is not picked up or understood correctly and the following appears:
Interestingly, the voice accent and gender are different for different Google domains.
At the moment I find it a little flaky and error prone but I presume it will continue to improve as more people engage verbally with Google.
Have you started making use of this service?
I had intended to post this a long time ago, closer to this generation of devices launches, but the opportunity passed.
However, I still thinking it is fascinating to watch the portfolio of devices these internet and manufacturing giants are assembling. Much of the commentary and opinion has been developed much further elsewhere, however, even collecting images these device suites together on the same page and admiring the aesthetics is reason enough to post.
By announcing the arrival of the Nexus 4, and Nexus 10 to complement the existing Nexus 7. Google have intimated that the application and content state within a mobile user experience across a related set of devices, is as a complete and integrated experience possible to date. Of course this is not the 1st time it is has been brought together, but Google’s Nexus | Android is certainly aesthetically and technologically appealing.
Apart from the mass of OEM hardware manufacturing specialists bringing products to the market place, Amazon and Microsoft are the notable service companies making a inroads into the mobile device market.
Almost standing apart Samsung has that oft commented upon position of being a hardware partner with any of these key internet giants, as well as offering a portfolio of devices of its own. Very much making the market work for it in more than one way.
Certainly I see the consumer having benefitted from the general evolution of touch based mobile devices, initially championed and established by Apple , and brought to extensive commoditisation and choice through the market entry of Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Of course there are other players now making moves Ubuntu and Mozilla, as well as Blackberry still trying to retain a market position and relevance.
If nothing else this post will represent a moment in technology evolution, capturing the phase of the commoditisation and proliferation of these touch based mobile devices.
Do you have a favourite device or vendor?
I’ve recently added a Google Nexus 7 to the set of devices I use. As a home based worker, I’m used to many aspects of remote working, and optimising the my use of the laptop and mobile phone (e.g. 2nd monitor, blue tooth headset). However, this month my working location will be office based but away from home, which I thought was enough of a watershed moment to see how a Smart tablet format device would fit into my device mix.
- Blackberry Curve 9300 (Blackberry OS 6)
- Google Nexus 7 (Android Jellybean 4.2) (16GB)
- Lenovo Thinkpad X61 (Tablet) (Windows 7 x64)
Interface & UX:
All the devices have an touch enabled capability of some level.
The Blackberry has a touchpad control, but not a touch sensitive screen. This is an improvement on the physical trackball device, and not an hindrance on the device of this size, and physical keyboard is a more than adequate input option. The only occasional inconvenience I experience on the blackberry is that the screen is now pretty small compared to many smart phones in the market, so coupled with many mobile enabled websites having been optimised for touch based navigation, the speed and mobility around some web sites can be a little cumbersome.
The Nexus 7 was a refreshing surprise to how easy and simple a completely touch and screen based device can be. Also with Android Jelly bean 4.2, the touch screen keyboard is gesture | swipe enabled so that with a little practice I am get fairly adept at completely spelling a word with 1 touch and motion of the finger across the keyboard. The swipe | gesture feature really is great, and with combination of the well designed device hardware and evolution of the Android OS, I don’t have any regrets about waiting until now before purchasing such a device.
I was also waiting for tablet OS which was able to support multiple user profiles, as my family will also have access to this device, so being able to separate use profiles for different individuals is very useful. It’s often been said that Google Play doesn’t have app ecosystem or content breadth to compete with Apple or Amazon, having had the device for a little over a week I don’t find either to hold any substance any longer. Google Play is a well integrated content and application store and I have not been stuck in finding the applications to access my content – in fact these 1st few days have been a little mind blowing as the sheer amount of content available through applications like Google Currents, Feedly, Flipboard and Pocket have given me a quandary about which application to use for what content or content category.
You will notice that there is also a Physical Keyboard dock (blue tooth connectivity) for Nexus 7 which also acts a hard case cover, and stand. I thought that this would be a useful addition in case I needed to do a lot content creation on the device. Combined with the Kingsoft Office suite, I can use the Nexus 7 as a netbook format device as well.
The Lenovo Thinkpad has a resistive touch screen which responds to a stylus and has a flip and rotate function on the screen. But I have never found that much more than a novel feature, though the flip and rotate screen feature is useful in small face to face group meetings.
It is my workhorse content input and creation device, and I need both a physical keyboard and mouse, as well as a large additional monitor to optimise my productivity on this device. My activities in content creation and communication often requires the need for multiple applications and windows to be in operation. The main laptop screen of 12.1 inches is too small to make multi window navigation and application use convenient. I frequently find the text size or content needs to be reduced in dimension to make that application window fit correctly to fit into the screen.
Integration of Content and Services:
Cloud and Mobile enabled applications are so well established that this has been fairly straight forward. Obviously the Blackberry has full enterprise service integration, and can also support a multitude of consumer email services etc. In terms of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) Evernote has been my application of choice for a long time, and that is always been a leading light in multi-platform support so it was simple to extend Evernote from the Laptop and Blackberry onto the Nexus 7.
I’ve also been a reasonably long time user of Synology NAS devices at home for home digital content (photos, movies, music etc.) The Audio and Photo playback application work without hitch, and I think it won’t be long until the video playback application is out of beta. Certainly the download | file moving application made it easier to move content (music and movies) onto the Google Nexus. I was also able to populate Google Play with my music library too. So that means with Google Play Music, Synology Audio App, Spotify and Tunein Radio there is no shortage of music content on my mobile devices. The Nexus 7 will come into its own as a content device when I purchase a good blue tooth speaker and use it to entertain the children when the family travels together. Though, I must add as an aside – well done to United Airlines, who I flew with recently, for having a great on-demand music library – listened to Alison Strauss, Bon Iver, Robert Plant and The Black Keys – many more were available too.
I will be giving this combination of devices a good run in while working away so I will probably posting a lot more to the blog in the coming weeks.
While I reflected on some Enterprise based use and benefits. However, my personal interest lies in using AWS Glacier for providing long archival storage for personal data (photos, videos, and music).
Notes from AWS S3 documentation:
- Amazon S3 will archive objects for you and associate those objects with the Glacier storage class according to rules that you define.
- When you transition objects to the Glacier storage class, AWS S3 internally uses AWS Glacier for durable storage at lower cost.
I’ve used the following transition rule:
I’ve been able to confirm the following events work seamlessly:
- Items with ‘Storage Class – Glacier’ are not overwritten | re-copied by the scheduled back up process to the S3 bucket.
- Deleting items – delete in the S3 bucket and the Glacier vault.
- Overwriting a file (same filename), re-creates it in the S3 bucket, and then it is transitioned to Glacier as per the rule sets.
- The Prefix setting needs to use the full directory | folder structure in the target S3 bucket to the location of the target files.
I will now start transitioning my other S3 bucket stores from AWS S3 – RRS to AWS Glacier. I will track the charges and costs of storage and data transfer as this process goes forward, I do anticipate a spike in data transfer costs for the bulk migration of content from AWS S3 – RRS to AWS Glacier.
Are you thinking of using the AWS Glacier service?
It’s worth a look :
A survey of more than 700 IT managers and administrators from public and private sector businesses in Europe, representing more than 1.2 million end users…
A view of SharePoint usage by version taken from the report:
This is post is purely for informative purposes, and is not placing comment, opinion or promotion of AvePoint products or services.
Again, while I don’t claim expertise on the “cloud computing” phenomena let alone storage, it is an area that fascinates me for delivering technology and service based innovation. Especially considering all the data proliferation era that is often spoken about in statistical superlatives (e.g. article from Forbes).
Now the concepts around Information Lifecycle Management, and Digital Asset Management and the use of Hierarchical storage management or the related Automated Tiered Storage are not new, and there is a lot of traditional technology around to deliver or cover some of those aspects.
Tiered storage is a data storage environment consisting of two or more kinds of storage delineated by differences in at least one of these four attributes: price, performance, capacity and function.
Any significant difference in one or more of the four defining attributes can be sufficient to justify a separate storage tier.
Automated Tiered Storage is the automated progression or demotion of data across different tiers (types) of storage devices and media. This movement of data is automatic to the different types of disk according to performance and capacity requirements.
So where does AWS come into this? Here’s how I see it:
same with recently updated iconography from: AWS Simple Icons
I think with the combination of AWS Storage Gateway, AWS S3 and AWS Glacier Amazon has pretty much got a wrap on this. This storage service combo gives cloud based hierarchical storage management, that has a gateway entry point into the traditional enterprise data center, rule based storage policies, an api as well as market leading price point. I think the CIO will soon find this an appealing combination, easing his/her cost concerns around storage of data and record archives necessary for compliance to various financial and legal stipulations.
Is that not an awesome combination!
Do you think they’re on to something?
This blog post is a reflection and summary about a product I’ve known and used for a long time, it may be slightly out of place with the current mobile and socially enabled products. However, for all pros and cons, evangelists and detractors, it has note worthy place in history and evolution of productivity software.
While this has improved the capability and feature set of the Lotus Notes client, and made it capable integrating many modern collaboration services into the client.
e.g. Lotus Notes Sidebar plug-ins | integrations:
multiple Lotus collaboration plug-ins:
multiple 3rd party plug-ins:
Check out these Widget recommendation posts:
The Complexity Factor:
Unfortunately, for all this connectivity and integration goodness, the incorporation of the Eclipse framework it has definitely brought a factor fold increasing the complexity of supporting the client. I recently experienced a laptop crash which rendered my Notes client unusable – it shut itself down as soon as I logged in. Only through an operational understanding of the product (from prior year’s experience), and through reading up across many pages of support information, and then not inconsiderably time to recreate lost settings, was I able to restore the client to settings I use everyday. Without those personalisation settings, I would class the product as a hindrance and not a help.
Things of note:
The Client directory structure is now definitely more complex, in fact this is now a combination client – Traditional | basic client executables and configuration data + Eclipse framework executables and configuration data.
<PROGDIR> / (location of core Notes Client and Java executables and base configuration data)
<DATADIR> / (location of core Notes Client and Eclipse personalisation and user specific content and configuration data)
<DATADIR>\Workspace/.metadata (location of Eclipse | RCP Instance Data Area)
Important Documents to read:
- Understanding the IBM Lotus Notes 8.5x client directory structure
- Notes 8 Preferences settings storage
Benefitting from Widget Goodness:
However, there are several good articles on how to create useful widgets or to exploit the Live Text recognition available in Lotus Notes.
Documents worth reading:
- Building composite applications with Notes widgets in IBM Lotus Notes 8.0.1
- Creating Google Gadgets with IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.1
- IBM Composite Applications in Lotus Notes technical education roadmap
- Increase productivity with widgets add-ons
- Using Live Text and Widgets to improve productivity of daily work
I’ve also got Live Text working for UK Postcodes and Telephone numbers, as well as having configured service look ups on names, email and postal addresses.
These list the widgets I’ve added:
Balancing the Benefits:
While the widget plugin interface and customisations delivers the potential to empower and enable a user to increase their productivity via adding varying degrees of personalisation to the client. In reality the use of these widgets aren’t really that accessible and meaningful to a regular information or knowledge worker. These customisations really required too much configuration activity and a reasonable degree of competency and familiarity with client’s inner working and technological terminology.
This is in stark contrast to the modern mobile and browser “apps|extensions” available for almost instant delivery of application or service functions. This renders some of these plugin functions rather aged, as well as appearing very convoluted, but it is in some way exactly that. It shows, that even back then the acknowledgement that these plugin | widget applications did have beneficial function to play, however, achieving the ease and simplicity of app deliver was clearly some way off.
We should perhaps acknowledge the pioneering features or functions that Lotus Notes attempted to bring into the end user experience. Though I think the opinion of whether these were well received, is already known.
Amazon Glacier is described as:
- Low cost- Amazon Glacieris an extremely low-cost, pay-as-you-go storage service that can cost as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, irrespective of how much data you store.
- Secure – Amazon Glaciersupports secure transfer of your data over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and automatically stores data encrypted at rest using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256, a secure symmetric-key encryption standard using 256-bit encryption keys.
- Durable- Amazon Glacieris designed to provide average annual durability of 99.999999999% for each item stored.
- Flexible –Amazon Glacierscales to meet your growing and often unpredictable storage requirements. There is no limit to the amount of data you can store in the service.
- Simple– Amazon Glacier allows you to offload the administrative burdens of operating and scaling archival storage to AWS, and makes long term data archiving especially simple. You no longer need to worry about capacity planning, hardware provisioning, data replication, hardware failure detection and repair, or time-consuming hardware migrations.
- Designed for use with other Amazon Web Services – You can use AWS Import/Export to accelerate moving large amounts of data into Amazon Glacier using portable storage devices for transport. In the coming months, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) plans to introduce an option that will allow you to seamlessly move data between Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier using data lifecycle policies.
I’m particularly interested in the domestic consumer potential, though obvious Enterprise application potential is huge too.
As a domestic consumer, I already use Synology NAS products, which integrate with Amazon S3 for schedule backup to a secure, cost efficient, off-site storage location. But as the Amazon Glacier FAQ points out :
Q: How should I choose between Amazon Glacier and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)? A:Amazon S3 is a durable, secure, simple, and fast storage service designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
- Use Amazon S3 if you need low latency or frequent access to your data.
- Use Amazon Glacier if low storage cost is paramount, your data is rarely retrieved, and data retrieval times of several hours are acceptable.
(high lighting by myself)In the coming months, Amazon S3 will introduce an option that will allow customers to seamlessly move data between Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier based on data lifecycle policies.
So as a domestic consumer – my local NAS device provides all the rapid access to content I require. What I need from offsite storage, is to be stable secure and cost effective, so I am hoping Amazon Glacier can provide exactly that. Particularly, it will be the right place to store, photos, videos, and music content that once created and transfer to the appropriate folder can be kept on low cost storage like Amazon Glacier.
I certainly think Amazon Glacier is a step ahead of the rest of market, and set a very high barrier to market entry, with the delivery of such a low price point.
What do you think of Amazon Glacier – do you think you’ll end up as a user of the service?
I don’t choose to write often about “Cloud Computing”, as there’s already plenty of more knowledgeable folks writing articles, giving opinions on this maturing technology delivery models particularly (IaaS), (PaaS) and (Saas).
But I’ve noticed a marked change in the approach key Cloud providers (Amazon, Google, Microsoft) are taking to help major businesses (enterprises) embrace or on-board to their cloud services. This is the rise of the Enterprise | Premium level service support area. OK, this may not be new, but to me this now definitely more prominent and comprehensive part of the service portfolio on offer.
Whilst the traditional stance has been to expect the customer to self-service | self-support themselves to a greater or majority case. I think this trend towards to more comprehensive Enterprise (IT) Service Management is a recognition of the need by service providers to be much more responsive, not solely rely on technological automation and scale to deliver the level of quality and relationship expected. Instead of the customer gearing up and extending their skill and ability to be able consume “cloud services” effectively and with less risk. The service providers are now reaching out with more services to reduce this risk and skills gaps from their customers to feel more confident about consuming these services.
Of course, there is also the business partner | service integrator middleman approach, which is very common and frequently the method used by a cloud pure play to add the “service management wrap around” for their “raw” service capability. So the build of service management capability into the service provider is going to be an interesting playing field for incumbents and new arrivals to that market space.
This is most noticeable cloud provider to go with Enterprise-scale service support is Amazon – Premium Support :
The fact that Architecture Support for Enterprise level is defined as:
Demonstrates the acknowledgement of the level of enterprise architecture and system integration required by Enterprise scale customers.
Of course the usage scale needs to be there:
- Greater of $15,000
- or -
- 10% of monthly AWS usage for the first $0-$150K
- 7% of monthly AWS usage from $150K-$500K
- 5% of monthly AWS usage from $500K-$1M
- 3% of monthly AWS usage from $1M+
On 14th of June 2012 AWS announced:
We are excited to announce a number of improvements to AWS Support that we believe will deliver more value than ever to our customers. The changes include:
- An expanded free Support tier
- Lower prices on Premium tiers
- Launch of the AWS Trusted Advisor Dashboard which provides customers self-service access to proactive alerts that identify opportunities to save money, improve system performance, or close security gaps
- Launch of Chat for Business and Enterprise Customers
- Expansion of Customer Service phone and email availability to anytime hours
- Technical Support for Health Checks starting with Amazon EC2
- Expansion of 3rd Party Software Support to include Support for Databases (MySQL, SQL Server), Disk Management tools (LVM, RAID), and VPN solutions (OpenVPN, RRAS) running on AWS
- Increased Named Contacts from 3 to 5 for Business Customers
Google encourages contact of their sales team for enterprise support:
and wish to collect some pertinent enterprise infrastructure details:
Details on Microsoft are harder to find, but stem from their WindowsAzure Support Page. Also what is not surprising is the expectation for existing support contracts and agreements to play their part.
So, have you noticed this change too? Or am I just playing catch up, on a set of services I’m not watching closely?
Do you think this is a significant shift in the market?