YouTube Features: Audio Swap, Mobile posts and Themes

Here are great features from the now formidable and always delightful Youtube, especially the Audio Swap feature.

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YOU TUBE*

(*BECAUSE GOOGLE IS NOT A  MONOPOLY )

Basically it allows you to use a background song over your home videos.

If you have ever shot a baby video, or a pet video, or just a random nature is beautiful video- here is an example

The Heavy Rock ( California) vs The Country Song ( Tennessee) versions.

versus

They were both sent from my Iphone, and the audio added later. The Audio swap function is at-

My Videos >

http://www.youtube.com/my_videos#

Click on the Audio Swap Button below each video.

You can see the screenshot below for the functionality offered by Audio Swap.

The YouTube feature also has considerable refinements ( after 5 yrs of hard thinking by the most famous Standford alumni to drop out). An example is customizable skins and themes- see here a screenshot ( note the background color, font etc)-

You can also see it here at http://youtube.com/Decisionstats or just click the screenshot below.

Speaking of Stanford- I called up home in India to tell them how I am doing in San Fran. There was considerable confusion after I told them that I got admitted to Stanford. My father said- ” Just how did you get admitted to Stanford? ” Me- I just took the Caltrain to the station- I meant admitted to the campus not the college 😉

Fighting Back -The Net, Social Media, Spam, Identity Theft, Terrorism

Recently some influential bloggers got nailed by TSA for leaking security directives of Airlines that were issued post the failed Christmas Day attack. While the first Amendment is a much admired piece of legislation, a blogger’s right to blog cannot be greater than his desire to see his fellow citizens safe.

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As someone who is brown , male, single ( and thus automatically a TSA curiousity) I travel to places like New York, San Fransisco, Austin, Atlanta, Ohio, Las Vegas for both personal and professional work- some of the following may be purely personal experiences.

1) Some of the biggest drawbacks that Airlines have had in the past were- Airport checks Susceptibility to social engineering. – They would rarely glance at a photo id if it is an American driver license but would do a proper job if it is a external passport. Unfortunately the second generation of Arab/ Asian exiles that are prone to internet based clerics have American issued passports as well as licenses. In addition they go to colleges and play soccer with actual citizens of foreign countries who can motivate or guide them. A look at the number of Arabic- Asian students in the University system who are not vetted by the TSA would reveal the magnitude of the problem.

I flew from Knoxville Tennessee to Las Vegas some months back on college I card, en route on my way back, I went through Washington, and was also hospitalized. Thus using a Vol Card, an Indian driving license and an American social security card – I managed to travel almost all the landscape. In addition I passed through enough transit airports to switch my destination. Sometimes I am so good I scare myself..

In order to catch a thief, the TSA needs to think like a thief rather than waste time and precious agents on just another liberal blogger. Have a contest open to all members of the public, and especially hackers, social media spammers, identity thieves- most of whom are starving people who need money AND respect. Say here is our system- and our processes. Break it to win a million dollars but share the solution with us in private.

2) Some elements of social media should be reviewed for a secure online identity. Twitter has a system for authenticating prominent people, that should be rolled out for all users of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. The costs should be subsidized by the airlines given the bail outs they received in 2004. or the Airlines should simply give an equity stake as the banks and the car companies did- to ensure  there is no cutting of corners to make profits

3) Analyzing chatter While the NSA and the TSA and CIA and the AAA etc monitor the internet for data and specifically terror linked chatter- these cases point to the fact that they need to adopt faster ways of crunching data ( MapReduce for fighting Terror- maybe is not a bad idea after all). Companies like SAS, SPSS, Revolution Computing can then collaborate with the data gathering companies by embedded analytical solutions.

What is more important? Catching people who are defaulting on their mortgages ( that can wait for a quarter and you can still catch them with more penal interest)

or Catching people who are defaulting on their conscience ( within 2 days of writing that email, tweet, facebook). Think of it as creating a big new system of online parking tickets, you can even create a lucrative online health insurance market by asking people to seek compulsory identity theft protection and insurance.

4) Spam and Identity Theft go hand in hand and so far as now have been dismissed by financial authorities as just another operating loss that shaves a few basis points. But when terrorists who are trained to blow up people get a sweet fake identity they can use to cause catastrophic losses in terms of market capitalization. If all onus on fraudulent transactions is placed firmly on the financial organizations including hefty fines they will be move much faster at eliminating these thefts.

5) Modifying customer facing interfaces- All American financial institutions have to abide by Fair Credit Lending Act and the USury act and the PAtriot Act ( ?). Since what they report is more or less the same- the interfaces of forms can be re designed or guideliness issued so that they are easy to read. A lot of fraud is caused because of the fine print phenomenon. Fine print can be fine in quality not just the font size. Design on the web needs to be monitored so that operations and risks forms have the same importance as marketing brochures. ( A sarcastic example below on Image Credits using just color and font size)

6) Kill all the terrorists.

That;s how they did in my native state of Punjab in India.

7) Point 6 may be an analytical over reaction. With social media tools that the new Govt is rolling out- citizens can play more prominent roles in suspicious activities tracking. Use your Android or I Phone to tweet to a secure govt website on anything suspicious. The techies there would have installed Map Reduce and a Data Miner solution to cut the signal and noise chatter and get to the point of impact faster. Rather than wait for Daddy to call.

Disclaimer- The author knows no government sources and no terrorists. Some of his insights are personal given his father helped fight terrorists trained in Pakistan for 2 decades while in India. These are purely personal views only and all trademarks are acknowledged etc etc.

( and yes United Airlines kept me for 4 hours on an airport, that has no co relation to this story)

Image credit ( or how credit card companies charge fees)-

Moving Music from Ipod

Using the Rhythmbox utility- you can move your music from your Ipod to your computer and also transfer to some other device using USB. The Method is simple-

Use your Linux Operating System ( if you have a Windows PC- you can create a dual booting application using the USB Flash Drive Netbook Remix from http://www.ubuntu.com )

Use Rhythmbox to open your IPod.

Drag and Drop the song from the Rhythmbox playlist to your device/ computer or other device after it is copied.

Note- It is not really advised to illegeally transfer music, as there are better options like streaming music already available. Try http://www.playlist.com and see right margin of the other blog I have for building the playlist using online means- www.dudeofdata.com

New Year Resolution Presentation

Here is a short clip I made using two softwares-

1) Prezi Desktop

This is an innovative single slide way of creating macromedia presentations. Recommended for offbeat new look presentations.

2) Xvidcap screencapture- For capturing and creating a video based on screen capture. This is the Linux Version of Camtasia- there is only one drawback the default rate is a bit fast- so audio and frame capture settings in a multi frame need to be tweaked.

3) I Phone- For Photography- It’s still the handiest camera around.

(Note- The Collage and Presentation are works of fiction)

WHAT I DID IN 2009 THAT I DONT WANT TO DO IN 2010

and here is a more offbeat version

Partly Cloudy: Hale

Video Citation-Mason Hale

Poem Lyrics-Mason Hale

http://flowdelic.org/archives/2009/04/partly-cloudy/

Partly Cloudy

We have a dream
A vision
An aspiration
To compute in the cloud
To pay as we go
To drink by the sip
To add cores at our whim
To write to disks with no end
To scale up with demand
And scale down when it ends
Elasticity
Scalability
Redundancy
Computing as a utility
This is our dream
Becoming reality

But…
There’s a hitch.
There’s a bump in the road
There’s a twist in the path
There’s a detour ahead on the way to achieving our goal

It’s the Database
Our old friend
He is set in his ways
He deals in transactions to keeps things consistent
He maintains the integrity of all his relations
He eats disks for breakfast
He hungers for RAM
He loves queries and joins, and gives each one a plan
He likes his schemas normal and strict
His changes are atomic
That is his schtick

He’s an old friend as I said
We all know him well
So it pains me to say that in this new-fangled cloud
He doesn’t quite fit

Image Courtesy: James C Pitt of NYT

Don’t get me wrong, our friend can scale as high as you want
But there’s a price to be paid
That expands as you grow
The cost is complexity
It’s more things to maintain
More things that can go wrong
More ways to inflict pain
On the poor DBA who cares for our friend
The one who backs him up and, if he dies, restores him again

I love our old friend
I know you do too
But it is time for us all to own up to the fact
That putting him into the cloud
Taking him out of the rack
Just causes us both more pain and more woe
So…
It’s time to move on
Time to learn some new tricks
Time to explore a new world that is less ACIDic

It’s time to meet some new friends
Those who were born in the cloud
Who are still growing up
Still figuring things out
There’s Google’s BigTable
and Werner’s SimpleDB
There’s Hive and HBase and Mongo and Couch
There’s Cassandra and Drizzle
And not to be left out
There’s Vertica and Aster if you want to spend for support
There’s a Tokyo Cabinet and something called Redis I’m told

It’s a party, a playgroup of newborn DB’s
They scale and expand, they re-partition with ease
They are new and exciting
And still flawed to be sure
But they’ll learn and improve, grow and mature

They are our future
We developers should take heed
If our databases can change, then maybe
Just maybe
So can we

( Ajay- Because Cloud Computing is really really 60’s time sharing , Dr G 🙂