Saturday 18 March 2017

Time is Money!

Time is limited (only 24 hours in a day) but money is NOT?! Trading money for time is not a bad idea if invested in something more meaningful, such as automating the damn chore that eats your time in the first place.

One example of this is using Walmart Grocery Pickup. Select and pay for the items from home, and pick up at the scheduled time. Walmart remembers your past purchases, so future purchases can bank on past further relieving you from making a laundry list. Better than home delivery as you are NOT home bound at the time of delivery.

Another example is buying lottery online instead of buying it at a store possibly waiting in line...and then later checking if won anything. Why not buy online using PlayOLG, and it emails you if you win anything.

Credits: Imran Bashir

Sunday 12 March 2017

9 + 1m HIIT is similar to 50m of moderate exercise!!!

Scientifically, 1m of high intensity interval training (HIIT) + 9m padding produces similar results of 50m moderate exercise. This includes treatment of free radicals, cleaning up of rusty protein and increased energy generation at microcondia of a cell. Hear the entire program at CBC (15m). 
The exercise routine:

  • warm up
  • 20s extensive climbing, running or biking
  • break
  • another 20s
  • break
  • another 20s
  • cool down
10m, you are done! Saved you 40m + gym fees :-)

Saturday 11 March 2017

Near-clouds: Bringing Public Clouds to Users’ Doorsteps

The rate of data growth in many domains is straining our ability to manage and analyze it. Cloud computing appears as a promising platform for data-intensive computing because it offers “infinite” resources on demand, and on a pay-as-you-go basis. Surprisingly, we observe that public clouds are not being used for “serious” data-processing on a continuous basis except by the cloud vendors. We primarily attribute this observation to the long data transfer times over wide-area networks between the clients and the centralized public clouds. We introduce the idea of a near-cloud that brings a public cloud in the close proximity of a user to overcome the data transfer bottlenecks. The near-clouds also provide a unique opportunity to localize the privacy and security policies to boost confidence of a user in using shared resources for data processing. To the cloud providers, near-cloud ensures a minimum constant stream of revenue from dedicated clients.
[1]        R. Mian, et al., "Near-Clouds: Bringing Public Clouds to Users' Doorsteps", in The 9th IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications (ISCC), Madeira, Portugal, 2014, p. (accepted).

Estimating Resource Costs of Executing Data-Intensive Workloads in Public Clouds

The promise of “infinite” resources given by the cloud computing paradigm has led to recent interest in exploiting clouds for large-scale data-intensive computing. In this paper, we present an analytical model to estimate the resource costs for executing data-intensive workloads in a public cloud. The cost model quantifies the cost-effectiveness of a resource configuration for a given workload with consumer performance requirements expressed as Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and is a key component of a larger framework for resource provisioning in clouds. We instantiate the cost model for the Amazon cloud, and experimentally evaluate the impact of key factors on the accuracy of the model.
We formulate the constructs for modeling the cost of workload execution in a public cloud. We present a cost model for workload execution, and evaluate it in the Amazon cloud. Our cost model is workload aware and provides cost at the granularity of an hour. More importantly, we explore methods for building and instantiating a cost model for workload execution in IaaS-based clouds. These methods are relevant for other IaaS GoGrid or RackSpace. We believe that our cost model provides a basis for modeling dollar-cost for executing any workload type in the Amazon cloud. We anticipate that the users considering clouds for executing their application would find the cost model useful.
Our cost model provides an hourly cost of workload execution, and assumes that the data already exists in the cloud. The experimental evaluation shows that our cost model is a suitable tool for estimating the cost of workload execution for the pay-as-go-scheme in the Amazon clouds.
We vary the use-cases in the user-controllable variables: (a) workloads, (b) VM types and the (c) SLOs’ specifications. Our evaluation workloads consist of analytical, transactional and mixed types. We consider different workload combinations on different VM types. We also specify SLOs on the transactions and the queries belonging to different tenants. The SLOs vary in their threshold and penalty values. The absoluteaverage error in estimating configuration costs across all experiments is 6.28%, which is about $0.02 of the total measured cost of the configurations on average. With the scarcity of training samples, we are unable to verify the distribution of results and resort to using average as the aggregation method. Therefore, these results must be taken with caution.
The current cost model, while adequate for workload execution in a single zone, needs to be expanded in order to deal with any inter-zone and inter-region communication costs. Also we do not address the cost of maintaining consistency between replicas, leaving it as future work.
R. Mian, et al., "Estimating Resource Costs of Executing Data-Intensive Workloads in Public Clouds," School of Computing, Queen's University Technical Report#: 2013-613, 2013.

Standing up to a bully boss -- are you kidding me?

Well, if you don't it gets worse -- research shows!!!
Handle a fired up boss calmly and assertively, CBC states -- easier said than done..right??? I had better luck keeping the conversation focused on work, and seeking his/her advice because s/he ain't listening. I would try to avoid the situation in the first place by keeping things transparent and informed. Also, surprise your boss with "above and beyond" bits here and there. But why not work for a smaller company where you are really needed!!!

Selling Yourself: The Art of Personal Branding

Gone are the days when being uni-dimensional tech guru gave you the highest growth. We now need a multi-facet profile or a "personal brand" to sell our offerings to top employers or angel investors -- the latter I am increasingly interested in. Towards this, I share a very relevant and fun radio program [1]:
"This week, we take marketing lessons from big brands and apply them…to you. This episode explores how to manage your social media, pick the best profile pic and avoid cliches in your resume."

Thursday 9 March 2017

"Don't take it personally: Growing a thicker skin at work" and life :-)

We all feel we have a thick skin but answer this -- do you "replay" somebody's comments in your mind?
If the answer is yes, well... CBC says grow a thicker skin, I say be more bubbly.

Workplace -- Not delivering enough?!

With so many "miscellaneous" things at work, is it fair to feel guilty for doing enough?
CBC(6 minutes) talks about "time wasters" that includes too many meetings, notifications, emails, chats, phones that distracts us from "thinking". It is hard to deny importance for some of these. But I actually feel guilty for not doing enough productive work.
"50/50" is something I came across in Manhattan where 50% time is allocated to "actual" work, and "50%" to everything else without feeling guilty.

How an algorithm can help you make decisions?

"Well you might already be turning to algorithms more often than you think, according Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.They're the authors of a new book called Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions. It's all about how some of our everyday human problems can be untangled through algorithms." CBC radio (15m)

Saturday 4 March 2017

5-hour work day -- is it coming?!!

Imagine starting at 8 and finishing at 1. Working well at a Shart Tank company. And I have increasingly started hearing/reading about this on CBC and Harvard Business Review (HBR).
Productive hours in a day are around 5 anyways, the sources claim. Rest is filled with chatter, eating, face-book, youtube etc. I have even seen people playing video games in the afternoon, OPENLY! :-)
So, how this works is if the work done is measured by goals not time. If you slack, you go!!! Not for everyone. What are you going to do with rest of the time. Whatever you like. Spending time with kids in a park or doing creative work, which happen to be entrepreneurial interests in my case.

Bad news is also bad news for your mental health!!!

Cut down on your bad news intake, please...It has a toll on your mental health, experts say (CBC). Worse yet, it is addictive. We do want to stay connected. Instead, solution-oriented bad news is more helpful. Why not be selective on what you hear on radio. CBC has a mobile app that allow you to select the programs you want to hear from a featured list. This week I really enjoyed listening to another example of goal-oriented flex employer in Newfoundland. Check it out!!!
Interestingly, bad news is highly regulated in the state-controlled media in the middle-east. Yes, you guessed it right. The kings don't want to look bad. On a side note, I am working on a conjecture that "good news" would actually make us more productive and happy citizens.