Get your Java errors under control with error monitoring

Java errors

Java became a go-to language for Web-facing applications and Internet projects. However, the use of Java is not without its potential pitfalls, and that’s something that’s important for developers to keep in mind. In this article, AJ Philips teaches you how to get your Java errors under control with error monitoring.

The Java programming language is immensely popular with developers and has been for many years. It’s not just a case of having another object-oriented programming language to build applications with – Java’s rise coincided with the emergence of embedded web programming.

Java became a go-to language for Web-facing applications and Internet projects.
However, the use of Java is not without its potential pitfalls, and that’s something that’s important for developers to keep in mind.

The root of the problem(s)

Some of the common code problems in Java relate to the semantics that programmers use to build a code base. Without the right syntax, compiler errors and other errors can result.

Consider the omission of a closing bracket or parenthesis on a declaration or command. This type of mistake will generate an “expected” error and has to be fixed for proper execution. Another similar error is the “unclosed string error” where a string is not closed out with a quotation mark.

Another common error called “incompatible types” happens when integers or strings or other data types are used improperly, or combined in ways that don’t work for the program. Trying to assign one type of data type variable to another may create an “incompatible type” error. Other malformed syntax can produce an error called “invalid method declaration” or an “unreachable statement” error, or one stating an operator cannot be applied correctly.

What all of these mistakes have in common is that they arise from syntax that’s not properly and precisely controlled. It only takes one keystroke to make the errors, and they’re a minefield for programmers who may be meticulous in their writing, but still experience the occasional misplaced character while typing.

SEE ALSO: The error tracking tools Java developers should know

Automating the error correction

In the early days of object-oriented programming, there weren’t a lot of tools to catch the errors. Code base work could be tedious and labor-intensive – programmers had to catch the errors or fight them when trying to compile the program. This generated a lot of protocol in programming offices and oversight of individual programmers and their work.

Today’s developers have other options — the advance of digital analytics means programs can be created to automate some of the error correction that used to be done by hand.

These types of automation programs are immensely valuable in developer communities. Developers understand that they can bring products to market more quickly, fine-tune a codebase, and work more efficiently with tools that feature automated processes. Many of these tools also have combined features offering more research capability, so that developers can work better on the fly and do various kinds of required investigation while they are putting code together.

Improving the world of Java

The Stackify platform has a lot of this valuable functionality in place. Stackify looks at blogs, monitoring, metrics and available tools, and offers developers real assistance or getting where they need to go. The company calls the products “a magical developer map” in which professionals can find problems quickly and solve them actively and decisively.

When it comes to assisting developers, insight and transparency are key. Troubleshooting application problems can lead developers down some very dark paths — and without modern tools like Stackify, troubleshooting can take a lot of time. However, with these new tools and platforms, there is a way through these complicated processes. Stackify Retrace helps developers to effectively retrace what the code is doing so that bugs and glitches have nowhere to hide. Take a look at how Stackify can improve the world of Java.

[“Source-jaxenter”]

How Technology Can Help You Engage Your Audience the Right Way

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If you’re looking for a scapegoat for just about any of the world’s issues, you probably know technology makes a good choice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people talk about how technology and being “plugged in” is making relationships harder than ever.

For some, I’m sure that’s probably true. At the end of the day, though, technology is a tool, and your relationships with other people — including your audience — depend on how you use it.

For marketers, technology presents an opportunity for you to reach and connect with your audience. Content marketing tools, for example, help you plan and craft your brand’s most engaging messages. Social media tools help you get them into the hands of the right people. Marketing automation platforms help you streamline and automate your processes, among other things.

The only catch? You can’t entirely remove the human element from the equation and let technology do it all.

Learn the Golden Equation: Technology + authenticity = engagement

If you had your choice between an engaging, personalized message from an authentic thought leader at a company and boring, automated content coming from an impersonal corporate logo, which would you prefer? It’s no contest: We’d all choose personalized content from real humans.

Marketers can use technology to create that content, deliver it, measure their efforts — any number of things. But tech, as ever-present as it is, won’t magically result in audience engagement and stronger relationships. Like I said, it’s a tool that needs to be used to make your job of connecting with your audience easier than before.

Sadly, too many brands forget their role in building those relationships and overlook the human elements that are necessary to make their messages resonate. They then wonder why engagement is low, assuming technology has created this huge trust barrier and made it harder to connect instead of looking in the mirror to find the root of the problem: They haven’t humanized their brands or used the right content to communicate that.

Make the shift from me to you

Talking “at” versus talking “with”: It’s a big distinction. Too many companies are knee-deep in the former, pushing out information like that boorish uncle at your folks’ annual Fourth of July picnic who simultaneously says everything and nothing.

In the past, brands would develop an idea or a message and push it out for everyone and their mother to see, whether those recipients truly cared to see it or not. In my business and marketing book, “Top of Mind,” I call this “Me Marketing,” where marketers only push out what they want and focus on themselves in the process. (I’ve yet to meet one person who truly enjoys getting spammed with a ton of promotional emails that were clearly sent out en masse with no personalization at all.)

Today, effective brands and marketers are taking a different approach. They have shifted to what I call “You Marketing” and have begun creating content for the actual audience members receiving it.

There’s a much greater focus on what audiences want and how they like to receive information, engage with content, and work with brands. Marketers need to listen to and authentically engage with audiences, and they need to do it on that audience’s terms. Technology can help.

Pursue new technology for better relationships

One example of a tool that’s taking the modern customer experience and running with it is PingPilot. Launched by SCORCH, this software aims to change the conversation between businesses and individuals by allowing people to choose their preferred means of communication. The means of conversation can change depending on the client’s needs — live chat, voice, and SMS are all viable channels. Essentially, businesses move over and give consumers the keys to the car, as well as the wheel.

Over time, this allows brands and consumers to forge sincere bonds based on trust and live interactions, not chatbots or automated replies. Each touchpoint becomes an opportunity to build a better understanding of customers; data from these interactions can improve the company’s marketing stack and explode lead generation, not to mention conversions.

This is a prime example of how technology actually helps build stronger personal relationships and connections, not replace them.

Everyone loves to hate something, but it’s time to pull back from blaming technology left and right. Instead of cursing a technology-rich world that’s made Snapchat filters and hashtags so ubiquitous you hardly notice them anymore, it’s wiser to look deeper into what those selfies and hashtags mean to the people who make, view, and engage with them. Authenticity between brands and audiences has technology at its core, but it takes human hands, minds, and hearts to execute it.

John Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a keynote speaker, and the author of “Top of Mind.” You can book John to speak here.

[“Source-forbes”]

Google Play Music New Release Radio Will Suggest New Music Based on Your Tastes

Google Play Music New Release Radio Will Suggest New Music Based on Your Tastes

Google is rolling out a new feature to the Google Play Music service, called New Release Radio, that offers a personalised mix of newly released songs based on your taste. The feature was first discovered last month when some Samsung Galaxy S8 users reported seeing the new station, but Google has now confirmed that the feature is rolling out for all Google Play Music customers. You can find New Release Radio throughout Google Play Music or by typing “New Release Radio” in the search bar.

The New Release Radio station “uses machine learning to select singles and album releases from the past two weeks based on your listening history and musical preferences,” Google says in its blog post. This sounds similar to a feature recently launched for Apple Music, called My Chill Mix, which suggests a playlist of songs based on your listening habit, but is actually closer to Apple Music’s My New Music playlist.

Back in April, Google joined hands with Samsung that would make Google Play Music the default music player and streaming service on Samsung mobiles and tablets. As part of that partnership, the Internet search giant was able to get feedback on New Release Radio from Samsung users through an early access programme, and so far the responses have been positive, Google says.

In a bid to challenge rival Apple Music, Google in May extended its 90-day free trial of Google Play Music to 120 days, or four months, for new subscribers. It also launched Google Play Music All Accessback in April, that gives access to millions of songs similar to Spotify and Apple Music, at an introductory offer of Rs. 89 per month post a 30-day free trial.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Android stops glitchy apps by detecting your panicky presses

If you can’t dismiss an app by pressing the “back” button, it may just be a glitch or crappy app, but it could also be something much worse. That’s why Google has quietly slipped in a new Android feature called “panic detection” that can preemptively close an app if you stab at the back button multiple times. So far the feature, spotted by XDA Developers, has appeared in some, but not all devices with Android 7.1 Nougat.

Google hasn’t said anything about the feature– XDA just happened to discover the code in a recent build of Android 7.1. Essentially, it listens for back button presses, and if enough of them happen (four to be exact) in rapid succession (with less than a third of a second delay) then Android will override the app and bring back the home screen. This could apply to apps that just freeze, but also to rogue software that tries to intercept any and all actions, like malware or adware.

It’s a smart idea, because what’s the first thing you do when you can’t make an app go away? Frantically pressing the back key is probably the first thing, so that will kill the app and allow you to uninstall or disable it until you figure out the problem.

You’ll have to enable the feature to get it to work, apparently. Google seems to be rolling it out on a limited basis, and may in fact just be testing it, so it may be some time before it ends up on your device.

[“Source-engadget”]

When your best Android apps come from Microsoft

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Google may strike me down, but I’m going to say it anyway: Some of the best Android apps I’ve used come from Microsoft. I’d even go so far as to say that as an Android developer, Microsoft has done what it couldn’t with its own mobile platform—actually make you a Microsoft phone. (Microsoft has in fact given up on making phones, shuttering the Nokia division and dialing back the announcements on Windows 10 Mobile.)

If you use a Windows PC, there’s ample reason to explore the company’s suite of apps and services, as it can streamline the work you do between the desktop and your mobile device. It’s not yet nearly as smooth as what Apple offers between the Mac and iOS, but Cortana and some other Windows 10 tools can make the experience pretty seamless.

Goodbye Google, hello Cortana

The most critical piece of the link between the desktop and mobile is Cortana. Like the Google Assistant, Microsoft envisions Cortana as your intelligent digital assistant who answers questions and guides you through your day.

To get started, grab the Cortana app from the Play Store. It’ll walk you through the process of replacing the Google Assistant when you long-press the home button on your Android device.

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Cortana will be your constant companion, replacing the Google Assistant.

Then, head to Settings > Assist & Voice Input. Next, touch Assist app and select Cortana. Now you can launch Cortana with a long-press on the home button.

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Make Cortana your default voice app on Android.

Cortana is built to be conversational, much the same way you’d interact on Windows 10 with ”Hey Cortana” functionality. Cortana’s helpfulness mirrors much of what Google’s Assistant provides. You can monitor your sports teams, make shopping lists, get commute updates, schedule alerts, and glean important tidbits about the weather.

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Cortana will jump into action with a long press of the home button.

Microsoft has done everything it can to make its digital assistant readily available, granting Cortana access to the lock screen so you can start the conversation without unlocking your phone. Head to Cortana’s settings to enable this feature.

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Microsoft’s Cortana can be accessed right from the lock screen.

Cortana can also sync your phone’s notifications and SMS messages to the desktop. When you get a text, you can write a response from your Windows 10 PC. In the Cortana Android app go to Settings > Sync notifications to enable this feature.

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You’re able to view and reply to SMS messages directly from the Windows 10 notification center.

In my experience, I’ve found this last feature is still a work in progress. Sometimes the messages arrive several minutes after they hit your phone. Additionally, getting all the notifications from other apps have been a little hit-and-miss.

But if your computing life is Windows and Android, it’s worth the effort to embrace what Cortana can do. Microsoft may have missed the mobile wave, but the company is in a strong position to serve as the AI companion for the future.

Swift as an arrow

The next big piece in a Microsoft-friendly overhaul of your phone is Arrow Launcher.

It’s a solid lock screen in its own right, and worth exploring regardless of whether you embrace more Microsoft services. It tries to rein in the sometimes unruly mashup of apps and widgets with quick access to contacts, a calendar, Office files, and of course, a Bing search bar.

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Arrow Launcher tries to put the most essential information just a couple of swipes away.

Still, it has a lot of the Android-y tweaks that you get with other third-party launchers and lock screens, like the ability to change the icon sizes and design. You’ll have to slap on your own Google search bar, but the Microsoft-supplied alternative does a good job of scouring your contacts, apps, and recent Office files. If you’re a heavy user of Office 365 for personal or company use, that alone might make it worthwhile.

Change up the lock screen

Microsoft makes not one, but two different lockscreens for Android. My preferred choice is Next Lock Screen, as it combines Bing’s visual delight with several smart features.

Customizations abound, from the app drawer to an iOS-type menu with access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a flashlight, and other features.

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The Next Lock Screen not only looks nice, but gives you quick access to apps, contacts, and notifications.

 Microsoft’s Picturesque Lock Screen is also a good choice. As the name implies, it decorates your lock screen with images drawn from Bing’s impressive trove.It also does a better job of bundling together notifications compared to Next, and you get a nice little news summary for each day. Both of these apps are less about a tight connection to Microsoft, and more about the flexibility that Android gives you for changing how your phone works.

Embracing Bing

While I’m big fan of what Microsoft’s productivity apps, I still struggle with Bing. It does a competent job, but Google is still just too good, especially with the amount of information I’ve given it (a move I don’t regret just yet).

You can embrace the best parts of Bing via the Android app. Remember to use the freebie that comes with it, Bing wallpapers, to get an appealing collection of images on your home screen. It gives Google’s own Wallpapers app a serious run for the money.

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Google may still be tops in search, but Bing will bring some serenity to your home screen.

Bing’s prediction engine is fun to play with, especially during sports playoff seasons. But to be honest, you’ll probably still end up back on Google for core search needs.

A few extras

Just like Google, Microsoft likes to experiment with apps that may never make it to prime time. Try them out while they last.

One of the most promising developments is the advent of Cortana Skills. It’ll allow you to connect with third-party services through Cortana, much like with Alexa or Google Assistant.

Integration hadn’t yet arrived when I tested this on the Cortana Android app, as a command like, “Ask Dark Sky for today’s weather forecast” will only yield you a prompt to download the mobile app. However, keep an eye on this feature, as it gives Cortana yet another way to be the go-to app on your Android device.

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Dark Sky is one of many services that will support Cortana’s Skills.

Other evolving tools include News Pro, which taps into your social networks to give you a more rounded take on the news. Microsoft Send is a rethink of workday communications. That one’s been put out to pasture, but it illustrates how Microsoft is willing to use Android as an experimental playground.

Finally, remember the basics. Both Dropbox and OneDrive integrate well with Office, so you can make edits to your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the fly.

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Make your Android phone an Office workstation.

On Android it’s easy to be all about Google, but Microsoft has done an excellent job of crafting its Office apps to keep the work flowing. Windows Mobile may be dead, but Microsoft’s work with Cortana and its entire application suite means that it doesn’t really matter. Now, it just might be time to pick a new phone.

[“Source-greenbot”]

Petya ransomware cyberattack: What it does, how to protect your PC and more

Petya, Petya cyberattack, Global Cyberattack, Ransomware, Global Ransomware, Petya global ransomware, Petya ransomware attack, Petya attack, What is Petya, How to protect against Petya, Petya cyberattack, technology, technology news

Petya ransomware is part of a new wave of cyberattacks that has hit computer servers all across Europe, locking up computer data and crippling enterprise services. (Representational Image. AP)

Petya ransomware is part of a new wave of cyberattacks that has hit computer servers all across Europe, locking up computer data and crippling enterprise services in the corporate sector. Ukraine and Russia are the worst affected, though the attack has also impacted some companies in the US and other Western European countries.  So what exactly is the Petya ransomware attack, and how does it affect a PC? Also what exactly can one do to protect themselves against the ransomware? We explain everything you need to know.

What is Petya ransomware? What vulnerability is it exploiting it in the Windows system?

Petya is a ransomware, similar to the Wannacry attack. According to Security Research firm Kasperksy, Petya could be a variant of Petya.A, Petya.D, or PetrWrap. However, the firm doesn’t think this is a variation of the WannaCry cyberattack.

The post from Kaspersky also notes Petya is exploiting the same EternalBlue exploit that was used by Wannacry attack. The blogpost notes, “This appears to be a complex attack which involves several attack vectors. We can confirm that a modified EternalBlue exploit is used for propagation at least within corporate networks.

For those who don’t remember, WannaCry attack affected over 300,000 computers globally, and this one also exploited this particular security vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows systems. Microsoft had issued a security patch to fix the ‘EternalBlue’ exploit in Windows 10, Windows 8,7 and even Windows XP PCs. The problem like with many of the Windows updates: people might not have applied the security patch or downloaded the update.

How exactly does Petya spread? What does it do to an infected computer?

Petya is a ransomware, and it follows WannaCry’s pattern. The ransomware locks up a computer’s files and demands $300 Bitcoins as ransom to unlock the data. All data on a computer, network gets encrypted.

This message is flashed on a computer, “If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible, because they are encrypted. Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.

Petya, Petya cyberattack, Global Cyberattack, Ransomware, Global Ransomware, Petya global ransomware, Petya ransomware attack, Petya attack, What is Petya, How to protect against Petya, Petya cyberattack, technology, technology newsPetya is a ransomware, which is similar to the Wannacry ransomware and demands $300 in Bitcoins from users.

According to Kaspersky security team, in order get the credentials to spread, the ransomware relies on a custom tool called “a la Mimikatz.” This extracts credentials from the lsass.exe process, which is one of the crucial files in the Windows system. This stands for Local Security Authority Subsystem Service.

The attack is believed to have started against an update used on a third-party Ukrainian software called MeDoc, which is used by many government organisations in the country. According to reports, this is also the reason why Ukraine was the worst affect in the lot. Kaspersky says over 60 per cent of attacks took place in Ukraine, and Russia is second on the list with 30 per cent. But these are just the initial findings from Kaspersky.

Once the malware infects the computer, it will wait for an hour or so minutes, and then reboots the system. After the rebooting, the files are encrypted and a user get a ransom note on their PC asking them to pay up. Users are also warned against switching off their PC during the rebooting process, because it could make them lose their files.

As the Kaspersky blog points out, attackers want the Bitcoins to be paid and victims are asked to send the ransom to a particular address, and then the Bitcoin wallet id and personal number via e-mail to an address “wowsmith123456@posteo.net”, confirming the transaction has been made.

So how can the ransomware attack be stopped?

The malware seems to infect the entire network, and known server names. According to Kasperky, “Each and every IP on the local network and each server found is checked for open TCP ports 445 and 139. Those machines that have these ports open are then attacked with one of the methods described above.” So yes, this is a fairly comprehensive cyberattack.

When it comes to decrypting files, currently there is no solution. According to the security researchers at Kaspersky, “the ransomware uses a standard, solid encryption scheme.” The firm notes that unless the hackers made a mistake, the data can’t be accessed.

Petya, Petya cyberattack, Global Cyberattack, Ransomware, Global Ransomware, Petya global ransomware, Petya ransomware attack, Petya attack, What is Petya, How to protect against Petya, Petya cyberattack, technology, technology newsWhen it comes to decrypting files, currently there is no solution. (Image source: AP)

So who is behind the Petya cyberattack? What all companies, countries have been impacted?

Researchers are still looking for who is responsible for this attack. But the impact of this is serious. In Ukraine, government offices, energy companies, banks, cash machines, gas stations, and supermarkets, have all been impacted, reports Associated Press. The Ukrainian Railways, Ukrtelecom, and the Chernobyl power plant was also affected by the attack.

Multinational companies like law firm DLA Piper, shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk, drugmaker Merck as well as Mondelez International, which is the owner of food brands such as Oreo, Cadbury, was also impacted. In the US, some hospitals have also been impacted by this cyberattack. Poland, Italy and Germany are other countries affected by the cyberattack. In India, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port has been impacted given Moller-Maersk operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT. This has capacity for over 1.8 million standard container units.

So what happens now?

For starters, it seems the email address, which was being used by the hackers, has been suspended by the service provider. In a blogpost Posteo wrote, “We became aware that ransomware blackmailers are currently using a Posteo address as a means of contact. Our anti-abuse team checked this immediately – and blocked the account straight away.” Posteo also confirmed that it was no longer possible for the attackers to access the email, send mails, or access the account.

For now, users who have lost their data can’t really recover it unless they have a backup. There’s no way of getting the decryption key from the hackers, since the email account has been shut down. However, according to a tweet from HackerFantastic, when the system goes in for a reboot, the user should power off the PC. His tweet reads, “If machine reboots and you see this message, power off immediately! This is the encryption process. If you do not power on, files are fine.”

The problem with Petya is that right now researchers have no solution for decrypting these files. There’s also no way of stopping the attack from the spreading, given it exploits vulnerabilities in the network.

For users, it is best to keep a back up of all their data. Preferably this data should not be online, and it should be encrypted. Users should also not click on email links from suspicious ids or click on links asking for access to personal information. Also keep your Windows PC updated with the latest software.

[“Source-indianexpress”]

Take a closer look at your Spark implementation

Take a closer look at your Spark implementation

Apache Spark, the extremely popular data analytics execution engine, was initially released in 2012. It wasn’t until 2015 that Spark really saw an uptick in support, but by November 2015, Spark saw 50 percent more activity than the core Apache Hadoop project itself, with more than 750 contributors from hundreds of companies participating in its development in one form or another.

Spark is a hot new commodity for a reason. Its performance, general-purpose applicability, and programming flexibility combine to make it a versatile execution engine. Yet that variety also leads to varying levels of support for the product and different ways solutions are delivered.

While evaluating analytic software products that support Spark, customers should look closely under the hood and examine four key facets of how the support for Spark is implemented:

  • How Spark is utilized inside the platform
  • What you get in a packaged product that includes Spark
  • How Spark is exposed to you and your team
  • How you perform analytics with the different Spark libraries

Spark can be used as a developer tool via its APIs, or it can be used by BI tools via its SQL interface. Or Spark can be embedded in an application, providing access to business users without requiring programming skills and without limiting Spark’s utility through a SQL interface. I examine each of these options below and explain why all Spark support is not the same.

Programming on Spark

If you want the full power of Spark, you can program directly to its processing engine. There are APIs that are exposed through Java, Python, Scala, and R. In addition to stream and graph processing components, Spark offers a machine-learning library (MLlib) as well as Spark SQL, which allows data tools to connect to a Spark engine and query structured data, or programmers to access data via SQL queries they write themselves.

A number of vendors offer standalone Spark implementations; the major Hadoop distribution suppliers also offer Spark within their platforms. Access is exposed either through a command line or Notebook interface.

But performing analytics on core Spark with its APIs is a time-consuming, programming-intensive process. While Spark offers an easier programming model than, say, native Hadoop, it still requires developers. Even for organizations with developer resources, deploying them to work on lengthy data analytics projects may amount to an intolerable hidden cost. With many organizations, programming on Spark is not an actionable course for this reason.

BI on Spark

Spark SQL is a standards-based way to access data in Spark. It has been relatively easy for BI products to add support for Spark SQL to query tabular data in Spark. The dialect of SQL used by Spark is similar to that of Apache Hive, making Spark SQL akin to earlier SQL-on-Hadoop technologies.

Although Spark SQL uses the Spark engine behind the scenes, it suffers from the same disadvantages as Hive and Impala: Data must be in a structured, tabular format to be queried. This forces Spark to be treated as if it were a relational database, which cripples many of the advantages of a big data engine. Simply put, putting BI on top of Spark requires the transformation of the data into a reasonable tabular format that can be consumed by the BI tools.

Embedding Spark

Another way to leverage Spark is to abstract away its complexity by embedding it deep into a product and taking full advantage of its power behind the scenes. This allows users to leverage the speed and power of Spark without needing developers.

This architecture brings up three key questions. First, does the platform truly hide all of the technical complexities of Spark? As a customer, one needs to examine all aspects of how you would create each step of the analytic cycle — integration, preparation, analysis, visualization, and operationalization. A number of products offer self-service capabilities that abstract away Spark’s complexities, but others force the analyst to dig down and code — for example, in performing integration and preparation. These products may also require you to first ingest all your data into the Hadoop file system for processing. This adds extra length to your analytic cycles, creates fragile and fragmented analytic processes, and requires specialized skills.

Second, how does the platform take advantage of Spark? It’s critical to understand how Spark is used in the execution framework. Spark is sometimes embedded in a fashion that does not have the full scalability of a true cluster. This can limit overall performance as the volume of analytic jobs increases.

Third, how are you protected for the future? The strength of being tightly coupled with the Spark engine is also a weakness. The big data industry moves quickly. MapReduce was the predominant engine in Hadoop for six years. Apache Tez became mainstream in 2013, and now Spark has become a major engine. Assuming the technology curve continues to produce new engines at the same rate, Spark will almost certainly be supplanted by a new engine within 18 months, forcing products tightly coupled to Spark to be reengineered — a far from trivial undertaking. Even with that effort put aside, you must consider whether the redesigned product will be fully compatible with what you’ve built in the older version.

The first step to uncovering the full power of Spark is to understand that not all Spark support is created equal. It’s crucial that organizations grasp the differences in Spark implementations and what each approach means for their overall analytic workflow. Only then can they make a strategic buying decision that will meet their needs over the long haul.

Andrew Brust is senior director of market strategy and intelligence at Datameer.

 

 

[Source:- IW]

What’s on your Start Screen, Zac Bowden?

Image result for What's on your Start Screen, Zac Bowden?

It’s been a little while since we last did a “What’s on your Start Screen?”, and that’s because so much has been changing within the world of Windows phone over the last couple of years. With the introduction of Windows 10 Mobile, the redesign of several Windows phone apps, and the slow transition from several different versions of Windows to one single Windows that works across every device, we just haven’t found the time!

A lot of Windows Phone users have since left the platform since our last Start Screen article, and that’s unfortunate. However, there’s still a few of us left using Windows phones as our daily drivers, and I thought it’d be a good idea to share some of the apps I’m using on the lead up to 2017.

I don’t have many apps pinned, and that’s simply because I don’t like scrolling on my Start Screen. I’m a huge user of live tiles, and I think live tiles should be on screen at all times so I can see what information they have to offer. Still, I try to make good use of my screen real estate.

My Apps

  • Messaging: I’m super big on SMS. I know that’s kind of odd leading into 2017, but I much prefer it over any form of instant messenger such as WhatsApp or Skype. If I can, I’ll always opt to send an SMS if trying to contact someone. Everybody has SMS.
  • Phone: The standard built-in Phone app. I don’t make calls all that often, but I feel like I need to have this app pinned on my Start Screen just in case I am in a situation in which I do need to make a call.
  • Outlook Calendar: I like being able to see the date and upcoming appointments on my Start Screen, and the Calendar app does just that. Rarely do I open the Calendar app, this is definitely one of those situations in which the live tile does everything I need it to do.
  • Microsoft Edge: Edge is the best way to browse the web on a Windows 10 Mobile device, so I’m constantly using it to view websites, read news, watch videos and more. It syncs favorites across Windows 10 devices, and is lightweight and easy to use.
  • Windows Store: The Windows Store is home to all purchasable Content in the Windows ecosystem. Whether it be apps, games, music or movies/TV, I’m always in the Store looking for something new to spend my money on. I often find a movie, or a game that catches my interest.
  • Twitter: When it comes to Twitter, I opt for the official Twitter app from Twitter themselves. Yes, I know there are far better Twitter clients out there built by third parties, but I like the simplicity of the official app. It’s universal and works across PC and Phone, and what’s more, even though there are a plethora of bugs and missing features, it gets the job done.
  • Cortana: I don’t actually use Cortana all that much, but I have it pinned just in case I want to mess with a setting or two with syncing notifications and whatnot. I like the news ticker that pops up on the live tile, and will sometimes open it up to check on reminders and adjust things.
  • Outlook Mail: The built-in Mail app is my choice of email client on Windows 10 Mobile. It does everything I need, from a reliable live tile all the way down to the simplicity of the app. I can add my Outlook, Google, Yahoo and other email accounts with ease, and configure notification popups from specific accounts if needed.
  • GroupMe: GroupMe is one of the best group messaging apps available on Windows 10 Mobile, and I use it frequently with some of the Windows Central team. It’s great for team collaboration, goofing around, and just sharing things for later.
  • WhatsApp Beta: Although I’m big on SMS, I do have a need for WhatsApp too. A lot of my personal friends would rather be contacted through WhatsApp, so that’s what I use when contacting them. The WhatsApp Beta app, although still a Windows Phone 8.1 app, is coming along quite nicely being updated constantly with new features and changes.
  • Slack: Slack is the main communication platform we use here at Mobile Nations. It’s how I message the team, and how the team message me. It’s still in beta, but the app is feature-filled enough to be usable as one of my “must-have” apps on my phone.
  • Groove Music: Groove is the best music streaming service available on Windows 10 Mobile. Sure, there’s Pandora and Spotify, but those apps aren’t all that great compared to Groove, which is arguable the best app available on Windows 10 right now. I’m a subscriber to Groove music, and most of the music I’d want to listen to is ready to stream from the service.
  • Windows Central: Of course, how could I not have this one pinned to my Start Screen? I love the Windows Central app, it’s easy to use and is always updated with the latest articles direct from our feed. The live tile is super customizable too!
  • Weather: I live in the United Kingdom, so I need to know whether the weather outside is grey and raining. It usually is, but sometimes that live tile shows a bit of sunshine, and that makes me smile.
  • Instagram: Not a huge user of Instagram, I generally only use it when procrastinating. Maybe one day I’ll be Instagram-famous.
  • Trello Central: We use Trello for article planning and scheduling here at Mobile Nations, so it makes sense for me to have an app on my phone that allows me to jump in there and check on things. It’s not super feature-filled, being a 3rd-party app, but it gets the job done.
  • Uber: As a kid, I always wanted own my own car so I could drive wherever I needed, whenever I needed to. In 2016 however, all I need is Uber. Who needs to drive these days when you can get someone else to drive for you?!

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

Take a closer look at your Spark implementation

Take a closer look at your Spark implementation

Apache Spark, the extremely popular data analytics execution engine, was initially released in 2012. It wasn’t until 2015 that Spark really saw an uptick in support, but by November 2015, Spark saw 50 percent more activity than the core Apache Hadoop project itself, with more than 750 contributors from hundreds of companies participating in its development in one form or another.

Spark is a hot new commodity for a reason. Its performance, general-purpose applicability, and programming flexibility combine to make it a versatile execution engine. Yet that variety also leads to varying levels of support for the product and different ways solutions are delivered.

While evaluating analytic software products that support Spark, customers should look closely under the hood and examine four key facets of how the support for Spark is implemented:

  • How Spark is utilized inside the platform
  • What you get in a packaged product that includes Spark
  • How Spark is exposed to you and your team
  • How you perform analytics with the different Spark libraries

Spark can be used as a developer tool via its APIs, or it can be used by BI tools via its SQL interface. Or Spark can be embedded in an application, providing access to business users without requiring programming skills and without limiting Spark’s utility through a SQL interface. I examine each of these options below and explain why all Spark support is not the same.

Programming on Spark

If you want the full power of Spark, you can program directly to its processing engine. There are APIs that are exposed through Java, Python, Scala, and R. In addition to stream and graph processing components, Spark offers a machine-learning library (MLlib) as well as Spark SQL, which allows data tools to connect to a Spark engine and query structured data, or programmers to access data via SQL queries they write themselves.

A number of vendors offer standalone Spark implementations; the major Hadoop distribution suppliers also offer Spark within their platforms. Access is exposed either through a command line or Notebook interface.

But performing analytics on core Spark with its APIs is a time-consuming, programming-intensive process. While Spark offers an easier programming model than, say, native Hadoop, it still requires developers. Even for organizations with developer resources, deploying them to work on lengthy data analytics projects may amount to an intolerable hidden cost. With many organizations, programming on Spark is not an actionable course for this reason.

BI on Spark

Spark SQL is a standards-based way to access data in Spark. It has been relatively easy for BI products to add support for Spark SQL to query tabular data in Spark. The dialect of SQL used by Spark is similar to that of Apache Hive, making Spark SQL akin to earlier SQL-on-Hadoop technologies.

Although Spark SQL uses the Spark engine behind the scenes, it suffers from the same disadvantages as Hive and Impala: Data must be in a structured, tabular format to be queried. This forces Spark to be treated as if it were a relational database, which cripples many of the advantages of a big data engine. Simply put, putting BI on top of Spark requires the transformation of the data into a reasonable tabular format that can be consumed by the BI tools.

Embedding Spark

Another way to leverage Spark is to abstract away its complexity by embedding it deep into a product and taking full advantage of its power behind the scenes. This allows users to leverage the speed and power of Spark without needing developers.

This architecture brings up three key questions. First, does the platform truly hide all of the technical complexities of Spark? As a customer, one needs to examine all aspects of how you would create each step of the analytic cycle — integration, preparation, analysis, visualization, and operationalization. A number of products offer self-service capabilities that abstract away Spark’s complexities, but others force the analyst to dig down and code — for example, in performing integration and preparation. These products may also require you to first ingest all your data into the Hadoop file system for processing. This adds extra length to your analytic cycles, creates fragile and fragmented analytic processes, and requires specialized skills.

Second, how does the platform take advantage of Spark? It’s critical to understand how Spark is used in the execution framework. Spark is sometimes embedded in a fashion that does not have the full scalability of a true cluster. This can limit overall performance as the volume of analytic jobs increases.

Third, how are you protected for the future? The strength of being tightly coupled with the Spark engine is also a weakness. The big data industry moves quickly. MapReduce was the predominant engine in Hadoop for six years. Apache Tez became mainstream in 2013, and now Spark has become a major engine. Assuming the technology curve continues to produce new engines at the same rate, Spark will almost certainly be supplanted by a new engine within 18 months, forcing products tightly coupled to Spark to be reengineered — a far from trivial undertaking. Even with that effort put aside, you must consider whether the redesigned product will be fully compatible with what you’ve built in the older version.

The first step to uncovering the full power of Spark is to understand that not all Spark support is created equal. It’s crucial that organizations grasp the differences in Spark implementations and what each approach means for their overall analytic workflow. Only then can they make a strategic buying decision that will meet their needs over the long haul.

 

[Source:- Infoworld]

 

How Spotify chooses what makes it onto your Discover Weekly playlist

Software engineer Edward Newett created Spotify's Discover Weekly algorithm

Edward Newett is the man behind one of the most influential innovations in music: the Spotify Discover Weekly algorithm. WIRED talks to the 36-year-old New Yorker about moulding the tastes of a generation.

How can an algorithm determine what tens of millions of people want to listen to every week?

Edward Newett: There are two parts to how the algorithm works: on one side, every week we’re modelling the relationship of everything we know about Spotify through our users’ playlist data.

On the other, we’re trying to model the behaviour of every single user on Spotify – their tastes, based primarily on their listening habits, what features they use on Spotify and also what artists they follow. So we take these two things and every Monday we recommend what we think you would like, but might not have heard about.

How does the algorithm determine what to serve up?

By trying to mimic the behaviour of all of our users when trying to put together their perfect mix, we can leverage Spotify’s two billion playlists, target individual tastes and come up with playlists that will be interesting.

What’s the origin of the algorithm?

When I joined in June 2013, I was on a team that was building the initial discovery product for Spotify – it was content in an almost Pinterest-style layout. At some point, a colleague and I decided that it would be a lot easier if we had it as a playlist. Then, around that time, a new product person joined our team and really loved what we were working on and helped us take it to market and make it a formal product.

Spotify announced in May 2016 that more than 40 million people had used its Discover Weekly service, streaming just under five billion tracks in under a year. How do you account for its popularity?

The biggest part is that it is deeply personalised to you. We’re finding ways, through personalised cover art and also by adding a track that we think would be familiar to you – based on artists you’ve listened to – to draw you in initially. Also, the more you listen to music, the better the recommendations for Discover Weekly become. And I think the playlist’s popularity also has something to do with this habit people got into: we were seeing tweets pretty early on that people were really looking forward to their new Discover Weekly and, by extension, Monday morning.

 

 
[Source:- Wired]