2016-04-23

The Backup

The Switch

Last week the remote satellite of the Data Warehouse in Japan crashed as I wrote about in the previous post.. It stubbornly refused to start up again. It was dead, it was no more, it had expired and gone to meet his maker, end of story.
What do you do when a server crash?  When it is beyond any hope for a quick resurrection. Either you buy a new server and do a bare-metal-restore which is almost always an agonising business.If you never done a bare metal restore, believe me you do not want to do that. Or you switch to the failover backup if you have one. 
The satellite in Japan was a partial replica of the central Data Warehouse, identified by it's DNS address, all reports, processes etc. picked up the data from the Data Warehouse via the DNS address, so it was just a matter of changing the DNS address and the Data Warehouse was back in business again, everything worked flawlessly a seamless transition.

The Concept

Today failover is common but very expensive. The Data Warehouse failover solution costed about 1000$. Take any of the big guys Business Intelligence solutions, you will spend way more than 10 times that amount and you will probably not get a thenth of the performance improvements of a DW satellite. The very reason for a DW satellite is performance, LAN response times even for a faraway workshop and more secure connections, if there are WAN disruptions the local Satellite BI data is still there. The BI satellite concept is nothing less than brilliant.

The Question

When you evaluate BI solutions you should ask ‘How do I set up a satellite and what does it cost?’ And then you can compare with the original from yours truly.

2016-04-21

The Japanese Satellite

The Data Warehouse Japanese satellite (2012 - 2016-04-18)

The DW satellite a tiny  Dell Optiplex 790.
We installed the satellite as temporary cache 2012 to overcome the slow communication line between the HQ and the Osaka plant.
The satellite was in continuous operation and did more than you can expect. It passed away last weekend, and refused to come up again. The satellite is now walking greener pastures no longer confined to a dark server room.
RIP
 

2016-04-10

The Speech

This week I attended a software event, a one day inspiration event promoting the software.
One of the talks was yet another of those irritating pretended humble “I know nothing about…” talks. You probably heard a number of them. The presenter is always extremely good at deliver the speech, more of an actor than an IT guy.

The introduction

And IT guy they are not, oh no “I was given the task to lead this project despite the fact I know nothing about IT”. It is very important to emphasize they have been given the task directly by the CEO. “I who know nothing was given the task”, the CEO have taken the presenter aside and told him “I believe in you, you are the only one who can implement the new software in our company”.

The swap

After this introduction comes the swap. it is mandatory for this type of inspiring talk.It is a retorical figure that goes like this:
“I who know nothing of IT, was given the trust from the CEO, to implement X software and lead the project” and now comes the swap, This is not about IT, it is about PEOPLE. Actually it can be anything but IT. BUSINESS or ORGANIZATION are very common to use in the swap, but this time it was PEOPLE.

The praise

Now when the swap is done, there is a humble description of the project done under the presenters leadership always reported directly to the CEO. And now the praise of all the fantastic project members, the fantastic company and all it’s fantastic employees and the best CEO in the world. And lastly but not least all the fantastic IT consultants who made it possible for the presenter to carry the CHANGE through with the help of the super duper SOFTWARE. The praise cannot be overdone, most of all the project members are ascended up to the heaven some of them named despite the audience have no clue on who they are. All and everyone is praised except the naysayers.    

The naysayers

The naysayers are all those who have opinions about the project. The naysayers are not praised. The presenter tells us the naysayers spread negative energy, they are no team players, petty minded incapable to grasp the TRANSFORMATION and to rigid to follow the CHANGE, cemented in the past.The naysayers must be removed, no mercy on them. The naysayers are not 100% loyal to the project leader so they risk the project and must be removed. Once the naysayers are removed comes the finale.

The finale

The finale starts with a summary of the project and a low keyed recap of the praise. Then the result which is always above expectations and a long story on how hard the transformation was and doubts if the project would ever succeed. But lo and behold in the end the project was a great success. And yes it was worth all the hard work.

My comment

It’s not that dislike these speeches, I just heard them and seen them be performed one time too many.
And I have figured in such speeches as named project member, IT consultant and naysayer (once).

2016-04-08

Thank you Amazon

for the appreciation of my language skills.



Based on my recent visit Amazon recommends me to buy Complicated Stuff in Simple English.

 “I know words, I have the best words. I have the best, but there is no better word than stupid.”
Lasse Trump



2016-03-20

Cogito, ergo sum

Some days ago I wrote a post on AlphaGo, DeepMind and the GO competition. In the post I urged DeepMind to go for something much harder StarCraft. This was not a random selection, my youngest son happened to be one of Europe's best StarCraft player some years ago. First I dismissed his obsession with the game as just unhealthy waste of time. But after watching him play a few times I changed my mind. I realised StarCraft is an extremely complex game. I still remember the son preparing for a game. ‘I must be in a good mood and have slept well, otherwise I will loose”, “I need to be alert”, he warmed up as a top athlete, with finger practices for the dexterity. StarCraft openings are slow you don’t see much activity it’s more strategy you position for the final kill in the end play where the speed of keystrokes and mouse moves often are insane. “One erroneous move and you’re lost”.
“The best players are not particularly fast, it’s a strategy game much more complex than Chess” my son said. He spend more time studying other players and reading game theory. He tried to study old games of upcoming opponents to understand how they play and finding ways to outsmart them.


I think StarCraft will be a hard nut to crack for DeepMind. They or some other will finally defeat humans in a fair game of StarCraft of that I’m am sure. But will that program contain true intelligence I’m not so sure. It will definitely not be ‘human intelligent’, we may eventually construct ‘human intelligence’ or even ‘super human intelligence’ but that will be 20 years from now for a long time to come, of that I’m pretty certain.
Lately I seen people claiming the Turing test is wrong, since a program can pass the test without having all human characteristics of intelligence. Turing himself was open to ‘alien’ artificial intelligence. One day in a distant future we may see AI smarter than human. But then I’m gone and you too. Actually all of mankind will be annihilated.  

Starting with D again

I started for the X time to study the D language, for some reason I like the language but cannot muster enough energy to do more than a few HW programs. This time I will devote some of the Easter to the language and see if I can connect to SAP just for the hell of it. But just install D caused me some problems Symantec does not like D, first installing the langauage gave me a severe warning:
  


Then installing the project build tool DUB made Symantec annoyed:
 


Symantec simply removed the DUB installer to protect me. However after some fiddling around with a zipped version and installed openRAR via Windows app store I finally got DUB installed.

Now I can start creating the HW program D version for the zillionth time, it remains to be seen if I can make it further this time.

2016-03-13

DeepMind GO for StarCraft.

I just watched a fascinating game of GO where the world champion Lee Sedol defeated the Google DeepMind program for the first time.
DeepMind admitting the defeat.


After losing three games the self learning human Lee Sedol finally beaten the DeepMind machine. It is really fascinating to see humans with self learning capabilities can by themselves learn to outsmart machines.
Not knowing the  game of GO, it seems to me it is an ideal board game for computers to play, the basic rules seems simple to turn into algorithms, it is the humongous possible moves that seems to be the challenge. To store data and calculate next move it should just be a matter of capacity. But it is probably trickier than I think. The DeepMind seems to be faster than Lee Sedol who needed one minute slots extra time for the entire end game. I like to see statistics on think time for the players as the game progressed. Actually I like to see stats on everything from these games. And it would be really interesting if DeepMind could explain the reasoning behind every move.
I have written some posts on my thoughts of AI. I do not believe much on the imminent machine takeover, the so called singularity. We have not figured out what human intelligence is, we have come a long way but we are nowhere near of a full description of our intelligence. It may not be necessary to understand our own brain to create a smarter machine brain, but I think it would help if we know ourselves first. The singularity is still 20 years in future, and I predict it will be so for a while.
Nevertheless it is not a small feat for a machine playing GO 3-1 against human. Now I like to see a machine take on something considerable harder, beat human in a game of StarCraft.

Update:
Oh fuck! DeepMind's AlphaGo program won the last match so 4-1 to the machine against the self learning human brain. I had hoped for a second human victory. Still AI is in it's infancy machines are still far from human intellectual capacity. GO is just a deterministic board game, with simple rules. It is the multitude of possible moves that makes it hard for human. And that also makes it hard for human to study and learn from AlphaGo how to beat the program. Which by the way is an interesting idea, self learning humans learn by study machines how to outsmart them. I still put my two cents on humans.