OpenFlow is a protocol which network administrators would use to gain access to a software defined network. OpenFlow is the brainchild of the Open Networking Foundation. https://www.opennetworking.org/ This new protocol fits nicely into the open source world and aims to make the job of the network administrator much easier. OpenFlow is said to have the potential to revolutionize networking. Software Defined Networking (SDN) will replace much of the equipment with an API for controlling the network. This will save corporations by eliminating the hardware investment previously required to run a reliable network. Dr. Stuart Elby, chief technologist at Verizon Digital Media Services, says that “SDN could provide an alternative that makes the service provider’s current cost structure which has served it well for the past 50 years not so attractive anymore.”
Social media continues to penetrate all avenues of our lives and play an permeating role in the way people think. Social media is no longer for letting friends know that you’re heading to McDonalds for breakfast or uploading pictures of every mammal along the route to school. Social media is now playing a meaningful role in helping people respond to emergencies and disaster. Agencies like Red Cross, International Airports and other organizational bodies have been using social media for disaster response. The 2 categories of social media use, according to a 2011 report of the Congressional Research Service, are 1-“somewhat passively disseminate information and receive user feedback and 2-use social media more systematically as an emergency management tool.”
Disaster response organizations make use of Twitter to keep residents constantly updated on weather conditions in certain areas. Airports and airlines have found that they can use social media to keep their customers updated on flight statuses. Though this may seem like an effective way of getting to the masses, utilizing this medium is still in its infancy and not everyone is making full use of it. Examples where agencies have used social media to disseminate information include the reports on the recent shootout at Oikos University in Oakland where the Police Department used its Twitter account. It must be clearly stated though that the tweets were only for information dissemination and not for emergency management.
For disaster response organizations to use social media as platforms for emergency management requires first of understanding the social media and this requires time. Time is a very valuable resource when it comes to disaster response.
The Red Cross and Dell have jointly launched social media monitoring platform, the first of its kind, dedicated to humanitarian relief. The objective of this Digital Operations Center is to “better share safety and preparedness tips during natural disasters.” (mashable.com)
I was introduced to Pandora radio in my first semester here at IIT. My humanities professor had us sign up for this marvelous service that would allow you to choose a song, artist or genre and the geniuses behind the website would come up with varying playlists with songs, artists or genres that are similar to what you chose and give you a great listening experience.
The Music Genome Project states that “each song is analyzed using up to 400 musical characteristics by a trained musical analyst.” In this technological advanced age, I was happy to read that “Pandora does not use machine -listening or other forms of automated data extraction.” http://www.pandora.com/corporate/mgp
How does make anything easier? A user no longer has to go out and buy….excuse me….sign into iTunes, search for their favorite songs and buy them to make up a playlist. They now simply pull up their iTunes, pick a station, depending on the day or their mood and let Pandora do the rest. If they’re not sure what mood they’re in, Pandora has a Quickmix option where it will randomly select tunes it thinks you’d want to hear. Pandora will pull up tunes that were released last Tuesday to tracks that were written back in the day when “music was music” as some would say. It will play some songs that you may have completely forgot about or that song where you only remember one line or the rhythm of the chorus.
I have 34 stations saved on Pandora. Stations range from David Bowie and Neutral Milk to Jackson 5 and Motown to Machel Montano and Busy Signal. (David Bowie and the like are from the aforementioned humanities class). I am a lover of soca music. It’s a genre of music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. It entails the use of heavy drum with an evident rhythmic section. I usually end up switching stations frequently because somehow the music analysts believes that Freddy McGregor, Louie Culture and Gyptian fall under the category of soca. What I have noticed since I’ve been in the US is that everyone who is from the Caribbean is from Jamaica and we all live on beaches drinking from coconuts. Apparently our accent is very difficult to understand so it seems that we are speaking another language so I’ve drawn the conclusion that once an artist originates anywhere south of Cuba, then they all fall into the same category purely because no one can understand what they’re singing (Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are excused).
I’m not bashing Pandora…no music analyst is perfect. Pandora is actually running as I letter this blog. I wonder what sort of matching a machine listener would execute though.
I am currently working on a project with 2 other group members for Open Source Operating Systems class. The project, well what we envision it to be, involves many UNIX flavors. (both client and servers). The objective of the project is to setup a small local area network of maybe 8 machines running different services and a few servers. The servers would include web server, file server, print server and maybe running a proxy. We will then install Nagios which is a monitoring system. “Nagios monitors IT infrastructure to ensure systems, applications, services and business processes are functioning properly.” If any component fails to work how it is supposed to, technical staff are notified so that steps can be taken swiftly to avoid full outages of the network and thus reducing downtime. Essentially, with Nagios running on a network, the end user should never see any downtime and the boss stays happy.
We are currently working with Ubuntu 11.10, CentOS Server 5.8 and Fedora 16. The project will have 4 physical machines running virtual machines of different flavors of UNIX. We will network the boxes and the VMs (and if time allows we may incorporate remote machines in a different location)
The reason for this project and how it humanizes technology: If you are a windows user, you may not appreciate the open source nature that is the foundation of UNIX and allows programmers of every walk of life to have input and put their own twist on the OS. Unlike Windows, UNIX is first command line and with options to enable a graphical user face on some flavors. A network administrator would have to monitor each individual service and each server separately to ensure everything is running properly. Depending on his methods and the components of his network, this may prove to be time consuming. Also, if one service or component fails, it may take an undetermined amount of time to source the problem and rectify it. Also, after the problem is rectified, the admin would (should) search to find the cause of the problem so that it will no repeat.
With Nagios, all this monitoring is made easier. Nagios is set when all services are in proper working condition. Triggers are set as to when Nagios will notify the responsible technicians with certain parameters (timestamp, error-code …) This aims to reduce and maybe eliminate downtime of services visible to end-user.
What would make Nagios the perfect monitoring tool is a feature that would be able to take corrective procedures and fix the problem on its own and then send notification of the whole process to the technician i.e, what problems occurred, what caused the problem, the corrective measures taken, what components were affected if any, how long the entire process lasted..
Thinking about it, if Nagios was this efficient, it would make the technician obsolete.
I think Nagios is perfect as it is now.
The top 10 social networking sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Bebo, Twitter, Orkut, Friendster, Ning, Meetup and Plaxo. Some of these networks I have never even heard of myself. They all have their audience or so they claim because there is an ever present overlap. Some aim to attract musical artists while some cater to connecting professionals, employers and potential employees. The combination of the overwhelming number of these social networking sites and the ease with which they are accessed by mobile devices is enough to keep almost anyone busy quite a number of hours. Some say it is distracting while others say it is informative. Whichever way you decide to look at these networking sites, they have become a force to be dealt with.
Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools to businesses. Universities are upgrading their curricula to include social media and social media marketing. It is said that facebook is worth in the region of $50 billion.
As a side effect increased interaction with these networks seem to have replaced some people’s physical conversations. Right now, we don’t have to navigate to the website to access the networks because they’re all developing apps for download for the various platforms. People can be seen on their mobile devices updating their status, uploading pictures or commenting on someone else’s pictures. It seems that they all have so much to say on these networks but when it comes time to catch up with friends face to face, it seems like a whole different ball game.
Professor Sherry Turkle, who leads MITs Initiative on Technology & Self, offered some insight during her TedTalk in February. She mentioned that these networks do indeed keep people more connected but “it’s coming at the sacrifice of real conversation. These networks are a safe haven. When we post something, we can always decide to edit, retouch or delete what we post for the world to see but when we participate in face to face conversations there is no editing.
Maybe we’re scared to talk to people face to face. We send megabytes of texts instead of making a short call. We carry out full conversations by commenting on one’s status or posted picture. We tweet our every meal, but we pass our “friends” straight on the sidewalk. Social media is even changing the english vocabulary. I am sure if you are on Facebook, you have seen/heard someone say “..Facebook me” or “..inbox me.”
As Professor Sherry advises, we should have sacred places especially in our homes where the mobile devices stay away.
Now Facebook seems to be the medium that confirms and validates everything. A friend once told me “if it isn’t on facebook then it isn’t official!”
On Feb 21 Ubuntu announced it is releasing Oneiric Ocelot for Android. Ubuntu 11.10 is now on mobile phones. It’s not going to replace the Android operating system on the phone but is going to coexist with Android. Normally, Android will be the dominant operating system when the phone is being used regularly. The real fun comes when the phone is docked with a keyboard and monitor. This is when Ubuntu comes out from under the covers. all services are shared between the two, meaning SMS, data and the like can be used on the Ubuntu interface as well. Personal data like photos and video are also available from both sides. This strategic move is directed to the business man. The laptop made travelling easy. Then along came the netbook then the tablet. Now is the mobile phone going to send them all packing? This is going to make it a whole lot easier to travel. Ubuntu brings the desktop to the mobile platform with this release. No there is no need to shift from your desktop in the office to your mobile phone on the aircraft to your laptop in the coffee shop. The OS will come preloaded on smartphones but to date we are yet to know who Canonical is siding with. We’ll just have to wait and see. There’s also word that Canonical has plans to release Ubuntu for tablets and the tv. Stay tuned.
Read this piece by Mcullough, from “Abstracting Craft”. The piece breaks down what medium actually is. Different types of media and their respective ‘artists.’ He notes that “medium may be material, a means, an agency, instrumentality, a person, a thing, a carrier or a pervasive environment.” In essence, a medium, could be, and most certainly is everything around us. And even we human beings are a medium. But what makes a medium.
“A medium receives the work of tools and the type of medium distinguishes a particular class of tools.” So if we are to refer to person or a thing, the tools which are used are what defines the medium. A messenger would use a carrying bag to store all the packages and letters that need to be delivered. He would use some sort of transportation to get him from point A to point B. Whether he walks, he uses a bicycle or in an extreme case he has a Cessna 162. In the same light, the mailing system itself as an agency could be considered the medium, say for example, a secret admirer wants to transmit a hallmark card with a verse/poem he spent weeks writing to perfection(do we even do these nowadays) for valentines day. Would the tools then be the messenger who ensures the letter gets to its destination?
If the medium is some sort of material, as we manipulate the material, we encounter structure. The oxford dictionary defines structure as “the quality of being organized.” Structure, in the context of dealing with medium, may be defined as constraints. Due to a medium’s structure, there is only so much manipulation that can be practiced. Structure may seem to bring limits to imagination. The structure of a medium does not always reveal itself by simply knowing or assuming the capabilities of the medium but through working with the medium. It is then that you know the true limits of the medium.
One thing that seems interesting is that the less information a medium gives off, the richer it seems. I believe that translates into, the less we know about something, the more interesting it is. This is probably what painters thrive off of. We have no idea what is going on in a painter’s head when the put brush to canvas but it always seems so deep and intense. Whether it be a plethora of colors or what seems to be an absence of creativity, a painter’s work is always subject to imagination. (I’m not bashing any painters here).
The iPad is the most popular tablet because it is versatile and it simply looks cool. It can be customized to seem at home in any career.
The iPad was introduced to the world in January 2010. As with every new piece of technology there were skeptics that thought the iPad would turn out to be a sinker. The iPad was initially referred to as “a content consumption device, a pointless plaything for rich yuppies.” There were those who saw that the iPad opened the doors to a whole new market.
At the time the iPad was introduced, the laptop had picked up in sales and was selling more than the more common more bulky desktop.
The computing capabilities of laptops were increasing and the portable computers had started holding their own. This caused businessmen and homeowners to become more interested in laptops and thus increasing sales.
With its 9.7” screen, it is much bigger than the regular smartphone but much smaller than a laptop. I heard one time,” it was referred to as a collection of iPhones on a coaster. There aren’t many buttons on it either. One wakes it or puts it sleep. One adjusts the volume and the other brings you to the home screen. Then there is a little switch that allows you to lock the screen orientation.
The iPad is a very customizable device. Customization is the meaning of its existence. There are currently over 140,000 iPad apps available. I have seen djs use iPads in clubs for queuing and mixing. The app syncs the iPad with the console and seems to work seamlessly.
Apps are penetrating the educational system. Some schools are adjusting their curricula to include e-learning. Right here at IIT, the lucky freshmen of fall 2010 each received a brand new iPad. Whether it was an incentive to enroll at IIT or a genuine act to give students an educational tool, the world will never know. Surveys have shown that technical directors are deploying iPads and soon there may be more students per iPad than student per computer.
Apple has set their eyes on the e-book arena. The e-book is set to replace textbooks very soon. There are many advantages of e-books over paperbacks and hardcovers. E-books are less expensive to produce and less expensive for schools to acquire. Saving money is always a good thing and finance departments will always smile when they know they are saving money.
The time it takes to put a book together, from the writing to the printing and publishing is sometimes too long. Sometimes a book is already outdated by the time it reaches the desks of the school. With e-books, this time lapse is eliminated. Everything is done digitally so as soon as new information is available, it can be updated magically.
Students have less weight to lug around campus. All the textbooks that a student would need for a class and the rest of the semester can be loaded onto the device. Since the books are cheaper than regular paperbacks, and less bulky, students probably won’t even worry about getting rid of them to make space for the books they’re going to use the following semester.
E-books are also more exciting than regular paperbacks because authors can make images interactive. Students will be able to enlarge, twist and rotate images because they are digital. Also authors are now not limited to static images but can have digital galleries that students can scroll through.
iPads are not only taking over the classroom but are becoming more and more popular in the office also. Bosses and decision makers are realizing that it is no longer economical to get equipment/systems/mobile devices that are designed to suit the problem. Brandon Edling of NBC Universal says “We can’t tell people not to use this technology at work,“if we did, they would continue to use it and we would be in the dark about what they do.”
When a new device is brought into the company’s fold the users have to undergo training. The IT department have to spend hours and weekends testing and rolling out. Sometimes the user encounters some problems and has to call tech support. With the iPad, training time is cut down because most likely all your employees own or have used and iPad before.
Delta and United Airlines have replaced their pilot’s flight manuals with iPads. Pilots no longer have to tug around these heavy bags filled with manuals because everything they need is loaded onto the iPad. British Airways have implemented iPads to access their passenger’s details. This is much quicker than fiddling through reams of paper. And updates are impossibly simple. Sometimes they even take care of themselves.
The members of parliament in the UK are using iPads for official business. This is resulting in savings of thousands of pounds on printing paper. The decision now is whether all 650 member of parliament be provided with an iPad.
All in all, the iPad is a nifty little mobile device that has a lot going for it. It is more portable than a laptop. It has forced the education sector to include e-learning in its syllabus. The medical field is slowly incorporating new mobile devices into its daily routine. Software developers are coding particularly interesting apps to run on the iOS platform. The device seems to fit in just about anywhere. And it bears the Apple brand. What more could you want?
It may not support Adobe Flash player which was the most popular platform to support media on websites, but that does not matter because flash is being booted out the door by HTML5 anyway.
It seems every new language is more problematic. But I’ll spare you the
trivialities. I’m running Scala version 188.8.131.52 on Ubuntu 11.10
Scala is a strongly typed language, meaning, simply that you cannot perform
an arithmetic operation on an integer and a string value. Loads of errors
will spring up. Scala will detect when two types are compatible and will
throw errors if they are not.
Also in scala, there is no need to declare variables as in java, but it can
be done if that is the programmer’s preference. Scala binds types at
In the interview with scala’s creator, Dr. Martin Odersky mentioned that
the reason he wrote scala is “*he was convinced that unifying functional
and object-oriented programming would have great practical value.” *So
scala was born. A hyrbid language whose intention it was to bridge the gap
between the object-oriented paradigm and the functional paradigm.
It’s interesting to note that the popular social networking and
micro-blogging service, twitter, switched its core processing from Ruby to
Scala. Although Ruby does have its strong points, running long, memory
intensive processes, was not one of them and that was the foundation of
Twitter. A developer at Twitter ported the code to scala “in his spare
time” and realized that it could process the same message backlog that
caused ruby to crash in a minimal amount of time. Ruby is still being used
on the front end, where the user navigate around the interface but scala
handles the “heavy lifting.
While using scala, one will notice the uses of the “val” and “var”
keywords. Values assigned to val cannot be redefined, unless you are
working in a console. Scala will throw an error if you attempt this. Var on
the other hand can be redefined at will. In programmer’s language, var
values are mutable, and val values are immutable. As Bruce Tate states in
his book, Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, “*this basic design philosophy is
the key elemen that differentiates functional programming from
object-oriented programming: mutable state limits concurrency.”*
Another one of Scala’s strong points (on the functional side) is the ease
of building and dealing list structures. Lists, sets and maps are the
primary collections in scala.
Seems with each new language the installation gets more and more tricky.
Bruce Tate installed the GNU Prolog version 1.3.1 For some unknown reason I
could not get this version installed onto Fedora 16. Or any other version
for that matter. It’s probably a good thing I have SOME characteristics of
a hoarder so I had not uninstalled Ubuntu. I got SWI Prolog 5.10.4
installed on Ubuntu and was on my way. After a bit of tweaking, I realized
that I had inadvertently installed two versions of Prolog. I had the SWI
Prolog 5.10.4 and the same version Bruce was using, GNU Prolog 1.3.1 This
‘mistake’ could actually work to my advantage because I am now able to
compare the different versions.
Alain Colmerauer and Phillipe Roussel developed the declarative language of
Prolog in 1972. About.com defines a declarative language as “* a language
that describes what it wants to accomplish rather than focusing on how to
achieve its goal. There is no need to specify a sequence of statements, but
only write declarative statements that show a relationship between each
The first noticeable different between GNU and SWI is that GNU responds
with “yes” and “no” whereas ” SWI responds with “true” and false”.
I coded up the ‘*map.pl*’ example
where GNU gave:
Alabama = blue
Florida = green
Georgia = red
Mississppi = red
Tennessee = green ?
and SWI responded with:
Alabama = blue,
Mississippi = Georgia, Georgia = red,
Tennessee = Florida, Florida = green
You will notice that SWI had Tennessee equal to Florida because they both
were set to the color green.
Prolog’s syntax reminds me of conversations Master Yoda from Star Wars, his
language prescriptivism, errr, well maybe not prescriptivism because he
doesn’t prescribe it on anyone else, colloquial might be a more fitting
word; the way finishes his sentences the way english speaking people would
begin theirs. TBC