iTunes finally gets some competition ?- Amazon Cloud Player


An interesting development is Amazon’s Cloud Player (though Cannonical may be credited for thinking of the idea first for Ubuntu One). Since Ubuntu One is dependent on the OS (and not the browser) this makes Amazon \s version more of a  mobile Cloud Player (as it seems to be an Android app and not an app that is independent of any platform, os or browser.

Since Android and Ubuntu are both Linux flavors, I am not sure if Cannonical has an exiting mobile app for Ubuntu One. Apple’s cloud plans also seems kind of ambiguous compared to Microsoft (Azure et al)

I guess we will have to wait for a true Cloud player.

How to Get Started with Cloud Drive and Cloud Player


Step 1. Add music to Cloud Drive

Purchase a song or album from the Amazon MP3 Store and click the Save to Amazon Cloud Drive button when your purchase is complete. Your purchase will be saved for free.


Step 2. Play your music in Cloud Player for Web

Click the Launch Amazon Cloud Player button to start listening to your purchase. Add more music from your library by clicking theUpload to Cloud Drive button from the Cloud Player screen. Start with 5 GB of free Cloud Drive storage. Upgrade to 20 GB with an MP3 album purchase (see details). Use Cloud Player to browse and search your library, create playlists, and download to your computer.


Step 3. Enjoy your music on the go with Cloud Player for Android

Install the Amazon MP3 for Android app to use Cloud Player on your Android device. Shop the full Amazon MP3 store, save your purchases to Cloud Drive, stream your Cloud Player library, and download to your device right from your Android phone or tablet.

compare this with

A cloud-enabled music store

The Ubuntu One Music Store is integrated with the Ubuntu One service making it a cloud-enabled digital music store. All purchases are transferred to your Ubuntu One personal cloud for safe storage and then conveniently downloaded to your synchronizing computers. And don’t worry aboutgoing over your storage quota with music purchases. You won’t need to pay more for personal cloud storage of music purchased from the Ubuntu One Music Store.

An Ubuntu One subscription is required to purchase music from the Ubuntu One Music Store. Choose from either the free 2 GB option or the 50 GB plan for $10 (USD) per month to synchronize more of your digital life.

5 regional stores and more in the works

  • The Ubuntu One Music requires Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and offers digital music through five regional stores.
  • The US, UK, and Germany stores offer music from all major and independent labels.
  • The EU store serves most of the EU member countries (2) and offers music from fewer major label artists.
  • The World store offers only independent label music and serves the countries not covered by the other regional stores.



Top Ten Graphs for Business Analytics -Pie Charts (1/10)

I have not been really posting or writing worthwhile on the website for some time, as I am still busy writing ” R for Business Analytics” which I hope to get out before year end. However while doing research for that, I came across many types of graphs and what struck me is the actual usage of some kinds of graphs is very different in business analytics as compared to statistical computing.

The criterion of top ten graphs is as follows-

1) Usage-The order in which they appear is not strictly in terms of desirability but actual frequency of usage. So a frequently used graph like box plot would be recommended above say a violin plot.

2) Adequacy- Data Visualization paradigms change over time- but the need for accurate conveying of maximum information in a minium space without overwhelming reader or misleading data perceptions.

3) Ease of creation- A simpler graph created by a single function is more preferrable to writing 4-5 lines of code to create an elaborate graph.

4) Aesthetics– Aesthetics is relative and  in addition studies have shown visual perception varies across cultures and geographies. However , beauty is universally appreciated and a pretty graph is sometimes and often preferred over a not so pretty graph. Here being pretty is in both visual appeal without compromising perceptual inference from graphical analysis.


so When do we use a bar chart versus a line graph versus a pie chart? When is a mosaic plot more handy and when should histograms be used with density plots? The list tries to capture most of these practicalities.

Let me elaborate on some specific graphs-

1) Pie Chart- While Pie Chart is not really used much in stats computing, and indeed it is considered a misleading example of data visualization especially the skewed or two dimensional charts. However when it comes to evaluating market share at a particular instance, a pie chart is simple to understand. At the most two pie charts are needed for comparing two different snapshots, but three or more pie charts on same data at different points of time is definitely a bad case.

In R you can create piechart, by just using pie(dataset$variable)

As per official documentation, pie charts are not  recommended at all.

Pie charts are a very bad way of displaying information. The eye is good at judging linear measures and bad at judging relative areas. A bar chart or dot chart is a preferable way of displaying this type of data.

Cleveland (1985), page 264: “Data that can be shown by pie charts always can be shown by a dot chart. This means that judgements of position along a common scale can be made instead of the less accurate angle judgements.” This statement is based on the empirical investigations of Cleveland and McGill as well as investigations by perceptual psychologists.


Despite this, pie charts are frequently used as an important metric they inevitably convey is market share. Market share remains an important analytical metric for business.

The pie3D( ) function in the plotrix package provides 3D exploded pie charts.An exploded pie chart remains a very commonly used (or misused) chart.


we see some rules for using Pie charts.


  1. Avoid using pie charts.
  2. Use pie charts only for data that add up to some meaningful total.
  3. Never ever use three-dimensional pie charts; they are even worse than two-dimensional pies.
  4. Avoid forcing comparisons across more than one pie chart


From the R Graph Gallery (a slightly outdated but still very comprehensive graphical repository)

pie(rep(1,24), col=rainbow(24), radius=0.9)
title(main="Color Wheel", cex.main=1.4, font.main=3)
title(xlab="(test)", cex.lab=0.8, font.lab=3)
(Note adding a grey background is quite easy in the basic graphics device as well without using an advanced graphical package)


The impact of currency fluctuations on outsourcing businesses globally


The impact of currency fluctuations on outsourcing businesses globally.

If you have a current offshore team in a different country/currency zone then you may find that the significant cost savings from outsourcing have vanished due to currency fluctuations that occur for reasons like earthquakes, war or oil- something which is outside the core competency of your business corporation. As off shoring companies incur cost in local currencies but gain revenue in American Dollars and Euro (mostly), they pass on these fluctuating costs to their customers but rarely pass along discounts on existing contracts. Sometimes the offshoring contract actually gains from currency fluctuations.The Indian rupee has fluctuated from  43.62 Rupees per USD (04-01-2005) to 48.58 (12-31-2008) to the current value of 44.65.This makes for a volatility component of almost 10 percentage points to the revenue and profit margins of an off shoring vendor. Inflation in India has been growing at 8.5 % and the annual increase in salaries has been around 10-15 % for the past few years. Offshoring vendors have been known to cut back on quality in recruitment when costs have risen historically, and the current attrition rate in Indian ITES is almost 17%.
This raises important questions for companies going for global bids for the offshoring contracts. Should macroeconomic indicators like currency fluctuations, wage-inflation be part of the request for proposal process (RFP). Would vendors be comfortable in disclosing the ratio of salary costs to billing revenue. Should dips in service quality be penalized by customer. Most importantly, while going in for a multi year contract, the projection of fore-casted savings may vary greatly due to extraneous factors.
(this article was originally written for and published by in their daily newsletter and their socail media channel- see