Friday, February 26, 2016

Ericsson, AWS and digital industrialization

Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

I read the news, the presentations 100% focused on Ericsson and biased towards cloud computing and digital industrialization. These are my personal impressions

Summary in a tweet

Ericsson torrential rain of products, services and alliances announcements at MWC16 need some time to process. This tweet is a concise summary

The ideas of cloud before Ericsson at MWC16

Hans Vestberg, Ericsson CEO wrote in a recent blog
When we say cloud, we don’t just mean business documents accessible at work and at home.Cloud is unprecedented, secure collaboration regardless of physical borders. 

The MWC 2016 made visible to the world the idea of Ericsson Cloud, as created by a couple of visionaries, among them Jason Hoffman,  head of products in Ericsson Cloud.

Most people confused cloud with accessing an on-demand public service like AWS , Microsoft,  IBM and so on.

Jason wrote in a landmark article from 2014:
Talking to people from every part of the business, you’d almost believe that there aren’t any fundamental questions to be answered or significant problems to be fixed. You’d more or less accept that today’s most visible cloud players already have the entire market sewn up. And you’d just about be convinced that we’re not, in fact, at the very beginning of the cloud age, with all the uncertainties, complications and opportunities that would entail.
If we agree that cloud is the ultimate convergence of three pillars: Network, Compute and Data, we realize where we were two years ago was not sufficient. Jason says a cloud should be like a mobile network
So look at mobile networks and learn – because that’s exactly what the cloud should be. A really good policy-based, governance-focused, highly secure platform-as-a-service that runs on anything can just be rolled out. Fundamental object storage systems that are aware of the countries in which they are located, that automatically adjust to different legal and compliance requirements, and that don’t let you break the law by mistake – those are rollouts. Systems that stay resistant even when insiders try to access confidential data – a definite rollout too.
None of these things exist yet, but this is where the industry should be aiming. I’ll say it once more – we need a cloud equivalent to a mobile network.
Ericsson replaced the word "cloud" with  "digital industrialization" . In Europe, the term ICT (Information and  Communication Technologies) replaced the IT (Information Technology) used in US.

What about Amazon model?
If we accept this view of what the cloud should be, we also undercut the argument that Amazon, Google and Microsoft have already got the entire cloud market in the bag. Because for all their resources and visibility, none of these companies can realistically claim that their cloud offerings are anywhere close to meeting the standards set by a proper telco-grade cloud. Of course, their ambitions might well lie elsewhere, and they may see sufficient growth potential in addressing the small and medium-sized enterprise market. But that’s a very small part of a much bigger opportunity.
On the other hand, Amazon has some extraordinary technology in place  S3, EMR (Elastic Map Reduce), Redshift ,  DynamoDB, Amazon Kinesis, and so on linked on a data pipeline.

The two big add-on opportunities for AWS and Ericsson are:
The first is clouds for mission-critical infrastructure – defined as infrastructure that if it fails, so does a company’s core business. The second is clouds that drive top-line revenue, often for companies that are in regulated environments, such as banks or utilities.

Hyperscale Now

All the terminology is described on Ericsson Hyperscale pages . Ericson's  HDS 8000 software-defined infrastructure is core in datacenter industrialization. It has Intel rack architecture and it will compliant with OCP (Open Compute Project, originally started by Facebook). The key software component is  Apcera's container-based, policy-driven PaaS environment that is fully integrated with OpenStack. The configuration is flexible.

Ericsson and AWS agreement  "accelerates cloud transformation for telecoms service providers. Ericsson empowers   them as gatekeeper of accessing AWS." This is an explored territory to create new services and generate new profits
The Ericsson teams will consist of program directors, solutions architects and system engineers who are trained on AWS and Ericsson technologies. AWS will support Ericsson in this effort with a broad range of resources that may include solutions architects, professional services and training.
Australian operator Telstra has selected Ericsson to deploy a full stack telecom cloud platform. A couple of hour later Axiata makes a similar choice.  Swisscom announced Ericsson cloud solution  two days before. Ericsson has joined Open Data Center Committee (ODCC) in China to speed up adoption of next generation data center solutions, with Quanta as partner
Driven by requirements and specifications from main data center technology and solution users in China, such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, and other data center solution users, ODCC promotes open data center solutions with significant visibility in the industry.

Vision comes true

Yahoo Answers  contains this question: 
Is the word "visionary" complimentary or derogatory...?
I'm not a native English speaker...
I'm looking in the online Merriam-Webster's dictionary and a couple of the definitions offered are a bit confusing. Does it mean one who has unachievable goals or one who has great foresight?
The best answer selected reads
The key to the definition is whether or not they were just dreamers or ones who put action to those visions.
Ericsson has 140 years to prove they are not only dreamers, as they delivered their visions.

Experimental telephone manufactured by LM Ericsson in the 1920s.
Handset is made of hard rubber.

When Jason Hoffman, the Silicon Valley American industrialist  joined the small and select group of Swedish telco cloud dreamers, he wrote in Ericsson Business Review issue 4, 2014 the article "Head in the Clouds: is the ICT industry fooling itself?". Then the skeptics out-numbered the supporters.

Not today. The alliance with AWS, the clarity of the digital industrialization is undeniable. AWS has one of the most successful digital industrialization in place. We read Seattle local press, What Amazon's deal with Ericsson means for Seattle
Amazon has been seeing widespread adoption of its AWS cloud services and has been realizing a much thicker profit margin from its cloud offerings than from its online retail segments. For 2015, its profit for AWS was $1.9 billion on $7.9 billion in revenue — the latter figure is a staggering 70 percent more than the prior year.
In comparison, Amazon made just a $2.8 billion profit on $63.7 billion in revenue for its North America online retail segment.
Cloud growth is helping drive Amazon's rapid expansion in the Seattle area. The company just announced last year that it plans to build a third skyscraper in downtown Seattle.
 Soon, the telco operators will see similar results.

Disclosure

I don’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say in person.  What I say are exclusively my thoughts, views, opinions or understanding of a topic or issue, and not my employers'. I can be wrong even though I try hard not to be. I will admit to mistakes, correct them promptly and even apologize where it is appropriate.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

5 reasons why corporate HFA's job seeking does not work

Updated March 4, 2016. See video-resume added.


There are many ways to be different. People who are Highly Functional Autistic (HFA) are just one kind that captured my attention for obvious reasons. The name of David, my HFA son, appears in 24 articles in this blog. The term "HFA  employment" appears in 20 entries.

We never believed David will graduate from high school. He did. We never believed David will be able to study a technical skill at college level. He did.

In September 2013, I presented the second draft of a plan  to create in a very short term quality employment for Highly Functioning Autistic (HFA) young people. Please read it. I estimated 300,000 of HFA persons in US alone and we must do something.

I wrote
We incorporated the deaf mute in US productive society  starting from 1885. This is the stage we are now with HFA. We discovered they can be productive, in many cases, more productive than mainstream employees like me.
 Who supports HFA employment? Absolutely everybody who is a mensch. Just read at any time Autism Speaks. The lobby for HFA employment has the intelligence, know-how and creativity and includes business leaders, movie stars, academia and top politicians.

But there is no efficient plan of action yet. I describe below my experience so far, trying to get David the first job after graduating last summer from Sierra College, in Rocklin, California

Employment is a social pretense

David Brooks in New York Times writes
Job seeking is the second greatest arena of social pretense in modern life — after dating.
 Yesterday I watched the Town Hall meeting with the republican candidate  billionaire Donald Trump on MSNBC. Mr. Trump says the employment is so bad - in his opinion - that his friends can't get jobs.

If the friends of Donald Trump can't get a job, what about the others mainstream people? Then what about an HFA job seeker, like David?

David repairs laptops,  He can build devices, like a text to speech machine. He uses PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) coding stored in his laptop to do simple and medium designs in mechatronics. He is competent and organized . He does things, rather than talking about things.

He needs a facilitator nearby and then he works independently. He is not a genius, as many people believe the cliche of famous autistic personalities (Beethoven, Newton, Bill Gates, etc) . We are all autistic, at the end, on less pronounced characteristics. Therefore David is a "normal" person. He needs some facilitating to be as productive as all of us. or maybe more.

Five reasons why HFA's job seeking does not work

1. Job descriptions are written for mainstream candidates only

Working in a team with Progressive Employment Solutions we prepared a short list of what David can do. Out of 500 job openings, there is not even one that they can identify as suitable. All jobs are created for mainstream people. Moreover, many jobs describe nonexistent people, a sort of Superman from the best schools and best marks, to be paid a beginner salary.

2. The resume system is not usable for HFAs

Human Relations used The Resume for decades to identify candidates for an interview. The resumes, in the age of social media and humongous databases (Big Data) are meaningless. They are rarely seen by human eyes. They are sorted by crawlers based on keywords, using algorithms destined to get superstars, or trickster candidates who may cheat the system.

In the case of David, he and his facilitators prepared a multi-media presentation  with all he can do. He presented it to some HR organizations, but they have a challenge to match these skills to any of hiring managers specs. All devices shown are built and programmed by him. The narration is from a text-to-speech device also built by David

We hope to match the skills above with a real job in a real company.

3. Equal opportunity employment is hard to implement

Large companies like Intel have splendid Equal Employment Opportunity policies . We can read that 
Disability discrimination includes not making reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, barring undue hardship.
Intel is the best example of company where women, Hispanic, African- American and Native-American are growing segments of the work force. Here is the sample of the Intel Diversity and Inclusion Annual report 2015, very impressive indeed.

But there is no mention about disability facilitation for people with mental limitations. I was impressed by the good-will of the HR department to make David job a reality, but there are no procedures, and no precedents in hiring HFA candidates.

Ideally, David and his facilitators wanted to ask a hiring manager  questions  about a potential position like 
  • Does it fit David's technical skills he learned in college?
  • Does it require above average attention to details?
  • Can we estimate the time required to be fully productive (3 months)?
  • Can David learn new skills as he did successfully in college?
  • How much David likes the job?
  • ....
They did not know who were the people to ask, because they didn't know of any jobs where David might apply.

4. The missing function of  Director of Special Employment in corporations

Every school in US has a Director in Special (Needs) Education. I simply ask a rhetorical question:

If every college in US has a department of Special Education, why can't every company have  Human Relations Director of Special (Needs) Employment?

5. The lack of  entrepreneurial initiatives to employ HFA

I asked David to make a list of equipment he would need to start an independent Mechatronix lab offering services to consumers (laptop repairs) and  programming and building small prototypes for business customers. Here is sample from his list.


This is work in progress, but my idea is to establish a non-profit that employs one HFA Mechatronix technician  and one mainstream top notch Mechatronix specialist / leader. The lab will grow maintaining the mainstream to HFA ratio of 1:1  with the goal of decreasing this to 1:2  in three years.

The bootstrap of such a non-profit is not simple, takes time, and like any startup, is more risky. Yet we are considering all alternatives

But the solution that scales best is to employ most HFA professionals in existing corporations and be part of the workforce society in a beneficial way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to defend IoT from malware

Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Derek Collison,  predicted  for 2016 "Machine Learning (ML) Will Transform How Enterprises View and Utilize Data"

Arielle Zuckerberg, the sister of the Facebook founder,  who now works in Venture Capital  at the prestigious KPCB, believes "AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be embedded into all products."

The difference between ML and AI is best described in layman words on Quora:
"machine learning is one of many areas in artificial intelligence. It deals with designing and developing algorithms to evolve behaviors based on empirical data. Artificial intelligence encompasses other areas apart from machine learning, including knowledge representation, natural language processing/understanding, planning, robotics"

I just discovered that ML already revolutionized my desktop Windows 10.

Are ML methods suitable building intelligent antivirus?

The answer is Yes, as we see from this 2012 thread on Research Gate
Abdessamad Mouzoune answers:
While “traditional” solutions rely mainly on well defined “signatures” which is less evident, machine learning techniques can be of great interest for their suitability to detect abnormal “behaviors”. 
Abdessamad references the 2009 Bristol University master degree dissertation Virus detection with machine learning by Christopher Richardson.

From pure blogger curiosity I look at that paper - I am not an AI insider. Not easy to understand all math.

Sample text Virus Detection using ML, by C.  Richardson
But here is the conclusion
The OneClassClassifier was able to dramatically outperform our novelty classifier when its densityOnly option was enabled. Given more time, we would investigate ways in which our classifier could be improved.
The fact that the OneClassClassifier was able to obtain an accuracy of 90.02% whilst using simulated real-world activity shows good promise for the use of novelty detection in detecting unknown viruses.

Bitdefender 

After years of annoying messy classical anti-virus programs we can not live without though, I started using Bitdefender Internet Security. Here is 2016 edition


It is one of the highest rated antivirus. Quoting from PC magazine review:
If you suspect your computer was infected with something nasty, not just the typical malware, but something which is making your computer freeze and not allowing you to even run antivirus scans, try everything you can to get BitDefender running on your computer. It is the best one by FAR!
Bidefender runs in Autopilot on my desktop and I don't even know its there. After using AVG for a few years, which drove me mad "optimizing" without even asking all my startup applications and sending every few hours messages that made me scream, like "Did you notice your computer runs faster?" - the life with Bitdefender  is like having the spouse of your dreams after a nightmarish divorce.

Protecting IoT from malicious attacks

Yes. You read well. Bitdefender is a leader in ML techniques for antivirus , yet they have their eyes on IoT. 

Liviu Arsene is a senior e-threat analyst for Bitdefender and he writes in Information Week Dark Reading 
Machine-learning algorithms can solve problems that we currently cannot address using conventional methods. Chances are that 99.97% of the time these algorithms can identify threats that were missed by traditional security mechanisms. Because they exhibit some form of engineered statistical intelligence, it’s safe to assume that such algorithms, in conjunction with other technologies, could be used to explore advances in artificial intelligence.

Protecting the abundance of Internet-connected devices has become a daunting task -- one that can be overcome by using self-learning algorithms and technologies that can hammer even previously unknown threats.
 Liviu Arsene opened my eyes widely:
...  current statistics show that more than 12 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by the end of 2014, according to Strategy Analytics. Imagine a world where any device may become a target, where your microwave will suddenly start sending spam or your refrigerator will place bogus food orders. Now imagine having systems that understand how threats behave when attacking any type of device or operating system
 We dream of the IoT world, when in reality, we can open the gate for attacks that will not only cripple your laptop, but the entire world.

And it is not only viruses. What about Samsung new voice recognition from their smart TV's recording your private conversation and sending it to 3rd party for further analysis?

Bitdefender named a "Visionary" by  Gartner

Bitdefender has substantial revenues from Enterprises and SMB, in addition to consumer sales.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms report published two weeks ago on February 1, 2016 places Bitdefender  as a visionary
  • Bitdefender provides very good malware detection capabilities, including a sandboxed application emulation environment, automatic unknown file analysis and continuous behavior monitoring, resulting in very good public test scores. The agent performance is very good, too, with low overhead.
  • Enhancements to the GravityZone management interface provide enterprise clients with better insights into the state of malware, applications and advanced threats for physical, virtual and mobile endpoints.
  • Good support is provided for public and private hybrid cloud-based management of endpoints, virtualized endpoints, AWS security as a service and Exchange.
  • Device control and Exchange security module have been added to the Management Console, and improvements to the remediation process can be triggered via a single-click action.
  • The company received high marks from reference customers for support and service.
  • The company provides OEM solutions to many vendors included in this analysis.

Bitdefender is a company based in Romania, Bucharest,  the town where I grew up.
We outsmart the industry not only by maintaining the clearest view, the sharpest mind and the deepest insight, but by staying one step ahead of everybody else – be they black hats or fellow security experts

The Dacian half-wolf half-dragon avatar of Bitdefender brand
One of my mentors said, when we buy a software license, we really buy the talents and the brains of the people who created it.

Derek and Arielle are right: AI and ML are already here. The big surprise is the new technology does not come from San Francisco only

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mr. Madoff and how a Ponzi scheme works

I published my thoughts on Bernard Madoff in July 2013. I recommend reading that blog first.

Now, two years later after my original  I see Madoff as the center of attention. The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth book by ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross, is the basis of two day TV series Madoff .

How the Ponzi scheme works

But I still ask myself, What Madoff did wrong? We call him a Ponzi schemer.
This how it works, in a an excellent video lesson from Khan Academy

Ponzi schemes: Ponzi Schemes


If you have 11 minutes time to watch this lesson, you will probably ask: "So what? Every financial institution appears to have more money than they really have in deposits. This is how a bank makes money:

From "How Things Work"

The difference between a legitimate bank and a Ponzi schemer - both appear to have more money than they really do - is in the ability of banks to pay all customer deposits in case of panic or rumor. The banking system is regulated and has various layers of protection to deliver quickly the money back to customers

Here is a list


The 11 Largest Bankruptcies In American History

PGandE, Chrysler, Lehman Bros., Enron. General Motors, PanAm, TWA and so on.

Could anyone have the ability to predict who will go bankrupt? We can try, use some logic, but no human beings can predict the exact future. No big data and no AI , which are mere tools, can do this.

And this is why we are furious at Mr. Madoff. We had faith in him, we forgot that he is human. He defrauded some maybe one thousand very rich investors, most of them - with the exception of a few tragedies -  recovered partially and continue to have substantial net worth. He did not steal the plane. He drove it to the ground, with his whole family and employees as passengers. He blew it. He was not God, as some people believed.

We should be also furious at ourselves.

The whistle blower

Almost 16 years after Harry Markopolos initially warned the SEC in vain that Bernie Madoff was operating a massive Ponzi scheme, Markopolos says he has found three more schemes that are multi-billion dollar pyramids of fraud.
One of them, he told ABC News, is even bigger than Madoff's epic scam, estimated at fraud in the neighborhood of $65 billion.
For now, Markopolos is declining to name names, because he wants the regulatory and enforcement agencies to get the information first.
That means many billions will be lost, in other, yet undetected schemes. We did not learn much from Bernie Madoff story. It also means, if the economy would have had been booming, Mr Madoff would have been undetected and make all his investors happy.

In other recession, as severe as 1933 one, almost all financial institutions who always have - by definition - less money than they appear to have - will go belly up.

Disclosure

I don’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say in person.  What I say are exclusively my thoughts, views, opinions or understanding of a topic or issue, and not my employers'. I can be wrong even though I try hard not to be. I will admit to mistakes, correct them promptly and even apologize where it is appropriate.

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AI and ML for Conversational Economy