Happy New Year : 2009 Predictions and 2008 Recap

Here are some economic predictions I made at the start of 2008 –

http://www.decisionstats.com/?p=80

1) Recessions -especially recessions that are anticipated and planned for always look worst at the beginning.

2) While some can cut spending the usual way for Govts is supply side (fed  rate cuts) for more money  , and demand side(Keynes) stimulus spending

3) Political costs is always a key policy decider in economic slow downs. We may see more bi partisan ship as parties work together for welfare projects in an election year

Basically the only prediction that I got correct was Number 9 –

9) We will have more interesting 2008 than 2007. That’s the economist in me speaking. As Alan Greenspan wrote we will live in the age of turbulence.

In fact that was the only thing Alan and I got correct the whole year , though I did switch to Keynesian spending in June , that’s before Ben Bernanke did but about 15 years after Paul Krugman did.

Anyway here are some economic predictions for 2009 ( economists , even pretend ones like me are rather stubborn)

 

)0( Price of Oil and Commodities will rebound by end of quarter 1. This would also be impacted by the auto industry in 2 months time and any consolidation there.

1) Entertaintment business will continue to grow. It may thrive as people have more time and more reason to get cheered up.Expect more shift to the web though not in the degree expected.Online entertainment will  further evolve. Expect more profitable online communities.

2) War focuses will shift from Iraq to Afghan-Pakistan ( it already has).Expect some more rumbles and surprises there.

Continue reading “Happy New Year : 2009 Predictions and 2008 Recap”

Virtual Softwares :Telecommuting 2

Here is a list of resources I got from a blog site called www.remotedesktop.com

with a wiki here http://wiki.remotedesktop.com/

It is quite a nice simple site, with a great domain name, and is dedicated to virtualization softwares, especially for dummy terminal use and my favourite topic- telecommuting.(which I wrote earlier in the month)

Some of the sites highlighted are –I am adding two remote meeting softwares ( SharedView from MS and GotoMeeting besides the Google Docs site)

SharedView-

http://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=94

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and Go To Meeting from

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/?Portal=www.gotomeeting.com

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Besides the inevitable Google Docs

from www.docs.google.com which are quite good for collobrative work but can be used for remote working as well.

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Unlimited Managed Systems edition: $499/administrator (MB423Z/A)

10 Managed Systems edition: $299/administrator (MB422Z/A)

Also includes an automator –

Continue reading “Virtual Softwares :Telecommuting 2”

R –Refcards and Basic I/O Operations

While working with a large number of files for data processing, I used the following R commands for data processing. Given that everyone needs to split as well merge and append data – I am just giving some code on splitting data based on parameters , and appending data as well as merging data.

Splitting Data Based on a Parameter.

The following divides the data into subsets which contain either Male or anything else in different datasets.

Input and Subset

Note the read.table command assigns the dataset name X in R environment from the file reference (path denoted by ….)

x <- read.table(....)
rowIndx <- grep("Male", x$col)
write.table(x[rowIndx,], file="match")
write.table(x[-rowIndx,], file="nomatch")


Suppose we need to divide the dataset into multiple data sets.

X17 <- subset(X, REGION == 17)

This is prefered to the technique -

attach(X)
X17 = X[REGION == 17,]

Output

For putting the files back to the Windows environment you can use-

write.table(x,file="",row.names=TRUE,col.names=TRUE,sep=" ")

Append

Lets say you have a large number of data files ( say csv files )

that you need to append (assuming the files are in same structure)

after performing basic operations on them.

>setwd("C:\\Documents and Settings\\admin\\My Documents\\Data")

Note this changes the working folder to folder you want it to be,

note the double slashes which are needed to define the path

>list.files(path = ".", pattern = NULL, all.files = FALSE, full.names = FALSE,recursive = FALSE, ignore.case = FALSE)

The R output would be something like below

[1] "calk.csv"                                            "call.csv"                                           
[2]"calm.csv"                                            "caln.csv"                                           
[3]"calo.csv"                                            "calp.csv"                                           

For appending one file repeatedly (like ten times) you can use the command

file.append("A", rep("B", 10))

For Refcards on learning R , the best ones are –

http://cran.r-project.org/doc/contrib/Shortrefcard.pdf

and

http://disinterested.googlepages.com/RQuickReference.pdf

A Software called Splunk

Splunk from www.splunk.com is a software that helps

* Index and search all of your IT data generated by your Windows
desktops, servers and applications.
* See all data – registry, event logs, network and security device
logs, system performance – in a single, related view.
* Track down who installed what, when and where. Save and schedule
searches as proactive alerts to improve monitoring coverage over time.
* Speed up root-cause analysis and pinpoint which system is the
problem. Reports and dashboards let you keep watch across the servers
you manage.

You can use Splunk  in the following ( from the website)

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Operations.

Improve service levels and recover from problems faster.


Security.

Thwart attacks with quick, in-depth incident response.


Compliance.

E-Discovery, FFIEC, FISMA, HIPAA, PCI, SOX without disrupting operations.


Business Intelligence.

See your transactions as they happen.

 

Its quite nice and should be tried by IT administrators and server managers for analysis of logs. It is also now available in all Windows editions -Downloadable here

http://cts.vresp.com/c/?SplunkInc./17589c269e/2ba88cef29/54cbdb46ca

And it is free 🙂

Automating Regression Models :KXEN

Note : I have used KXEN both for modeling internet leads in 2008 as well as for consumer finance propensity models in 2006.These  are my personal views.

An extremely useful software and to my surprise very much under used in Industry is KXEN. It can be used for building regression models, time series models as well clustering models as well. I have used it primarily for regression models and clustering though. What KXEN does is it uses all the rules that modelers make for adding, dropping , and manipulating variables and automates them . It then produces the exported model code into PMML, SAS, SPSS and even SQL code for direct model execution. The validity of the model is tested by the modeler using a nice variety of graphs.The software uses a properietary algorithm called SRM.

The latest version is version 5 and it is available here http://www.kxen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=166

 

 

It is one of the best automated modelings I have used and been trained in, so if you are interested you can try an evaluation version here. The support team is excellent , and so are the sales chap ( they neither oversell nor undermine the competition) .It can cut down on both modeling time as well training time for learning the model. If combined with WPS or R to clean data in the initial stage it is good solution for renting or buying especially for cost savvy businesses.

  The only caveat if at all is it needs data to be cleaned  for formatting and variable type issues before entering for modeling, but that can be easily done.

Softwares for creating a Virtual Office

Would you like to work from home and see your kid when they are actually kids. Or would you rather commute to office, wasting some carbon fueled oil, and time in traffic.

 

Here are some softwares for creating a virtual office from home. if your organization does not have a work from home policy you can refer to the advantages section

 

Advantages of A Virtual Office

1) Zero company overheads – Especially leased rent space that sells by the foot.Save building costs rather than retrench employees.

2) Greater happiness for employees – Most employees prefer it. It also acts as a retention barrier.

3) Lower Energy costs – Employees are more energy conscious while working from home computers rather than offices with bright lighting.

4) Lower Transportation costs for employee

5) Lower Communication costs for employer ( see below).

6) Much lower IT costs

Disadvantages of A Virtual Office

1) Zero company oversight or supervision- When is the employee slacking off. Solution -End of Week Reports.

2) Greater risks if data breaches – Not if you use the softwares below.

3) Loss of Face to Face feeling – Not if you video conference. And you can always have meetings once a week or a month .

Infrastructure for a Virtual Office.

1) Broadband internet

2) VPN for secure connectivity and daily logs of data in and data out on the computer used. ( A good example of a VPN client I have used is

SafeNet SoftRemoteLT Version 10.7.5 (04/2006) ©2006 SafeNet, Inc.

3) VOIP communication -Like www.skype.com

4) Collobrative Software

Google Sites for documentation . http://sites.google.com

Google Docs http://docs.google.com/ Open Office (www.openoffice.org)  for Office Productivity software (if you want lower software costs as well)

www.gotomeeting.com or Citrix (www.citrix.com) for demonstrations or virtual meeting

Open Source Solutions Like R ( www.r-project.org) with GUI Rattle (www.togaware.com for analytical solutions.

 

5) Employee Owned PC ( remember Activity Log is enabled) with Speakers, Headphones and a Webcam.

6) All computation can be done on remote servers (Microsoft Windows Terminal Server or Better Still X Windows Server ) connected with VPN and Remote Desktop (embedded in Windows). This is thus even safer data security than data on emploee’s PC in office.The remote servers are managed by virtual teams of vendors. For huge data requirements try Amazon and www.rightscale.com

Cost of a Virtual Office is virtual ( or zero). There are obvious benefits for both cost cutting employers and employees.

So what’s stopping you from asking your HR manager and your CEO for a Virtual Office Today.

ps- I dont know how to create a Virtual Office with a Mac.yet.Watch this space.

Happy Holidays and a Bonus Tech Cartoon