Tale of Two Apps

Whom to follow on Twitter- Google Follow Finder vs Twitter’s own Twitter Suggests

http://followfinder.googlelabs.com/search?user=decisionstats

vs

http://twitter.com/invitations/twitter_suggests

(Twitter Suggests thinks I like following celebrities- Cricketers and Bollywood Stars- while Google Friend Follow (a Google Labs App- thinks I like to follow Data Techies)

Google Wins!

MapReduce Analytics Apps- AsterData's Developer Express Plugin

AsterData continues to wow with it’s efforts on bridging MapReduce and Analytics, with it’s new Developer Express plug-in for Eclipse. As any Eclipse user knows, that greatly improves ability to write code or develop ( similar to creating Android apps if you have tried to). I did my winter internship at AsterData last December last year in San Carlos, and its an amazing place with giga-level bright people.

Here are some details ( Note I plan to play a bit more on the plugin on my currently downUbuntu on this and let you know)

http://marketplace.eclipse.org/content/aster-data-developer-express-plug-eclipse

Aster Data Developer Express provides an integrated set of tools for development of SQL and MapReduce analytics for Aster Data nCluster, a massively parallel database with an integrated analytics engine.

The Aster Data Developer Express plug-in for Eclipse enables developers to easily create new analytic application projects with the help of an intuitive set of wizards, immediately test their applications on their desktop, and push down their applications into the nCluster database with a single click.

Using Developer Express, analysts can significantly reduce the complexity and time needed to create advanced analytic applications so that they can more rapidly deliver deeper and richer analytic insights from their data.

and from the Press Release

Now, any developer or analyst that is familiar with the Java programming language can complete a rich analytic application in under an hour using the simple yet powerful Aster Data Developer Express environment in Eclipse. Aster Data Developer Express delivers both rapid development and local testing of advanced analytic applications for any project, regardless of size.

The free, downloadable Aster Data Developer Express IDE now brings the power of SQL-MapReduce to any organization that is looking to build richer analytic applications that can leverage massive data volumes. Much of the MapReduce coding, including programming concepts like parallelization and distributed data analysis, is addressed by the IDE without the developer or analyst needing to have expertise in these areas. This simplification makes it much easier for developers to be successful quickly and eliminates the need for them to have any deep knowledge of the MapReduce parallel processing framework. Google first published MapReduce in 2004 for parallel processing of big data sets. Aster Data has coupled SQL with MapReduce and brought SQL-MapReduce to market, making it significantly easier for any organization to leverage the power of MapReduce. The Aster Developer Express IDE simplifies application development even further with an intuitive point-and-click development environment that speeds development of rich analytic applications. Applications can be validated locally on the desktop or ultimately within Aster Data nCluster, a massive parallel processing (MPP) database with a fully integrated analytics engine that is powered by MapReduce—known as a data-analytics server.

Rich analytic applications that can be easily built with Aster Data’s downloadable IDE include:

Iterative Analytics: Uncovering critical business patterns in your data requires hypothesis-driven, iterative analysis.  This class of applications is defined by the exploratory navigation of massive volumes of data in a top-down, deductive manner.  Aster Data’s IDE makes this easy to develop and to validate the algorithms and functions required to deliver these advanced analytic applications.

Prediction and Optimization: For this class of applications, the process is inductive. Rather than starting with a hypothesis, developers and analysts can easily build analytic applications that discover the trends, patterns, and outliers in data sets.  Examples include propensity to churn in telecommunications, proactive product and service recommendations in retail, and pricing and retention strategies in financial services.

Ad Hoc Analysis: Examples of ad hoc analysis that can be performed includes social network analysis, advanced click stream analysis, graph analysis, cluster analysis, and a wide variety of mathematical, trigonometry, and statistical functions.

“Aster Data’s IDE and SQL-MapReduce significantly eases development of advanced analytic applications on big data. We have now built over 350 analytic functions in SQL-MapReduce on Aster Data nCluster that are available for customers to purchase,” said Partha Sen, CEO and Founder of Fuzzy Logix. “Aster Data’s implementation of MapReduce with SQL-MapReduce goes beyond the capabilities of general analytic development APIs and provides us with the excellent control and flexibility needed to implement even the most complex analytic algorithms.”

Richer analytics on big data volumes is the new competitive frontier. Organizations have always generated reports to guide their decision-making. Although reports are important, they are historical sets of information generally arranged around predefined metrics and generated on a periodic basis.

Advanced analytics begins where reporting leaves off. Reporting often answers historical questions such as “what happened?” However, analytics addresses “why it happened” and, increasingly, “what will happen next?” To that end, solutions like Aster Data Developer Express ease the development of powerful ad hoc, predictive analytics and enables analysts to quickly and deeply explore terabytes to petabytes of data.
“We are in the midst of a new age in analytics. Organizations today can harness the power of big data regardless of scale or complexity”, said Don Watters, Chief Data Architect for MySpace. “Solutions like the Aster Data Developer Express visual development environment make it even easier by enabling us to automate aspects of development that currently take days, allowing us to build rich analytic applications significantly faster. Making Developer Express openly available for download opens the power of MapReduce to a broader audience, making big data analytics much faster and easier than ever before.”

“Our delivery of SQL coupled with MapReduce has clearly made it easier for customers to build highly advanced analytic applications that leverage the power of MapReduce. The visual IDE, Aster Data Developer Express, introduced earlier this year, made application development even easier and the great response we have had to it has driven us to make this open and freely available to any organization looking to build rich analytic applications,” said Tasso Argyros, Founder and CTO, Aster Data. “We are excited about today’s announcement as it allows companies of all sizes who need richer analytics to easily build powerful analytic applications and experience the power of MapReduce without having to learn any new skills.”

You can have a look here at http://www.asterdata.com/download_developer_express/

Open Source and Software Strategy

Curt Monash at Monash Research pointed out some ongoing open source GPL issues for WordPress and the Thesis issue (Also see http://ma.tt/2009/04/oracle-and-open-source/ and  http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/switching-things-around/).

As a user of both going upwards of 2 years- I believe open source and GPL license enforcement are general parts of software strategy of most software companies nowadays. Some thoughts on  open source and software strategy-Thesis remains a very very popular theme and has earned upwards of 100,000 $ for its creator (estimate based on 20k plus installs and 60$ avg price)

  • Little guys like to give away code to get some satisfaction/ recognition, big guys give away free code only when its necessary or when they are not making money in that product segment anyway.
  • As Ethan Hunt said, ” Every Hero needs a Villian”. Every software (market share) war between players needs One Big Company Holding more market share and Open Source Strategy between other player who is not able to create in house code, so effectively out sources by creating open source project. But same open source propent rarely gives away the secret to its own money making project.
    • Examples- Google creates open source Android, but wont reveal its secret algorithm for search which drives its main profits,
    • Google again puts a paper for MapReduce but it’s Yahoo that champions Hadoop,
    • Apple creates open source projects (http://www.apple.com/opensource/) but wont give away its Operating Source codes (why?) which help people buys its more expensive hardware,
    • IBM who helped kickstart the whole proprietary code thing (remember MS DOS) is the new champion of open source (http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/) and
    • Microsoft continues to spark open source debate but read http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2010/07/02/a-perspective-on-openness.aspx and  also http://www.microsoft.com/opensource/
    • SAS gives away a lot of open source code (Read Jim Davis , CMO SAS here , but will stick to Base SAS code (even though it seems to be making more money by verticals focus and data mining).
    • SPSS was the first big analytics company that helps supports R (open source stats software) but will cling to its own code on its softwares.
    • WordPress.org gives away its software (and I like Akismet just as well as blogging) for open source, but hey as anyone who is on WordPress.com knows how locked in you can get by its (pricy) platform.
    • Vendor Lock-in (wink wink price escalation) is the elephant in the room for Big Software Proprietary Companies.
    • SLA Quality, Maintenance and IP safety is the uh-oh for going in for open source software mostly.
  • Lack of IP protection for revenue models for open source code is the big bottleneck  for a lot of companies- as very few software users know what to do with source code if you give it to them anyways.
    • If companies were confident that they would still be earning same revenue and there would be less leakage or theft, they would gladly give away the source code.
    • Derivative softwares or extensions help popularize the original softwares.
      • Half Way Steps like Facebook Applications  the original big company to create a platform for third party creators),
      • IPhone Apps and Android Applications show success of creating APIs to help protect IP and software control while still giving some freedom to developers or alternate
      • User Interfaces to R in both SAS/IML and JMP is a similar example
  • Basically open source is mostly done by under dog while top dog mostly rakes in money ( and envy)
  • There is yet to a big commercial success in open source software, though they are very good open source softwares. Just as Google’s success helped establish advertising as an alternate ( and now dominant) revenue source for online companies , Open Source needs a big example of a company that made billions while giving source code away and still retaining control and direction of software strategy.
  • Open source people love to hate proprietary packages, yet there are more shades of grey (than black and white) and hypocrisy (read lies) within  the open source software movement than the regulated world of big software. People will be still people. Software is just a piece of code.  😉

(Art citation-http://gapingvoid.com/about/ and http://gapingvoidgallery.com/

10 iPhone Apps you can actually use ( and dont have to pay for)

Having come lately to the Apple party, here is my contribution. Click the images to see the download links-

You can view the whole Iphone Apps at Apple as well here-

Navigating lots of iPhone apps can give you lots of fun sometimes wasting time but that’s the way it is.

http://www.apple.com/iphone/apps-for-iphone/

Screenshot-15

10 iPhone Apps I actually use ( and dont pay for)

1) Skype

The cheapest ( almost) VoIp to call India using my iPhone ( note most university campuses have extensive Wi Fi)

Download the iPhone App and then sign into Skype from any WiFi zone and reach friends and family free with Skype-to-Skype calls.

2) Yahoo Messenger – Almost the same as Skype but better in messaging and not so great in Voice.

Alerts you when a new IM arrives, even if you’re not in the app.
http://messenger.yahoo.com/platform/iphone/
http://messenger.yahoo.com/platform/iphone/

3) NY Times – For News reading

Good Nifty features, is faster than the Web Site ( loading on ATT 3g sigh!)

  • Offline reading – access The Times’ sections and articles to read on and offline
  • Simple navigation – view pictures and articles quickly
  • Photo view – browse the news in pictures and link to the related articles
  • Customize your display by selecting your four favorite news categories
http://www.nytimes.com/services/mobile/iphone.html
http://www.nytimes.com/services/mobile/iphone.html

4) Tweet Deck on iPhone

If you thought tweeting wastes too much time, here is the app for you

  • Tweet directly from your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Manage multiple Twitter accounts.
  • View notifications for new tweets received.
  • Use columns to create your personal dashboard.
  • Simply sync to set-up
  • Continuously updates between your desktop and iPhone.
  • Create Groups to easily follow all your friends.
  • Follow topics in real-time with saved searches.
  • Reply to tweets and send direct messages.
  • Easily re-tweet messages.
  • Share photos with Twitpic and YFrog.
  • Shorten links with your favourite URL shortener.
  • Follow and un-follow people.
  • Shake your iPhone to refresh columns.

5) Pandora- Music for Nothing that means free music streaming on 3G.

Pandora Radio is your own FREE personalized radio now available to stream music on your iPhone. Just start with the name of one of your favorite artists, songs or classical composers and Pandora will create a “station” that plays their music and more music like it

http://www.pandora.com/on-the-iphone
http://www.pandora.com/on-the-iphone

6) TextPlus – for free SMS

See it in action!

Group text conversations

Text with several friends, all at once. Everyone in the group gets every message. It’s like an instant chatroom in text!

http://textplus.gogii.com/
http://textplus.gogii.com/

7) Battery Magic- helps you take notes on when to charge the Iphone ( an inevitabl and alas necessary function)

8) Alarm Clock Free- Much better free alarm clock

http://www.apptism.com/apps/alarm-clock-free
http://www.apptism.com/apps/alarm-clock-free

9) Maps + Compass

Very very useful when travelling to a new city. Effectively a GPS for your car as well.

http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-3gs/maps-compass.html
http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-3gs/maps-compass.html

Note –

10) Facebook for iPhone- It is the best way to share photos actually with your friends

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=6628568379
http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=6628568379

10 +

A website called Apptism currently tracks 94,000 IPhone apps in case you want to explore more.

You can see it here it is quite nice and nifty-

http://www.apptism.com/

Screenshot-14

Hope that helps-

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