Sunday, 22 March 2015

[] Introduction to BIG DATA



What is Big Data:

"Extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions"

Industry analyst Doug Laney (currently with Gartner) articulated the now mainstream definition of big data as the three Vs of big data: volume, velocity and variety1.

  • Volume. Many factors contribute to the increase in data volume. Transaction-based data stored through the years. Unstructured data streaming in from social media. Increasing amounts of sensor and machine-to-machine data being collected. In the past, excessive data volume was a storage issue. But with decreasing storage costs, other issues emerge, including how to determine relevance within large data volumes and how to use analytics to create value from relevant data.
  • Velocity. Data is streaming in at unprecedented speed and must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors and smart metering are driving the need to deal with torrents of data in near-real time. Reacting quickly enough to deal with data velocity is a challenge for most organizations.
  • Variety. Data today comes in all types of formats. Structured, numeric data in traditional databases. Information created from line-of-business applications. Unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions. Managing, merging and governing different varieties of data is something many organizations still grapple with.

At SAS, we consider two additional dimensions when thinking about big data:

  • Variability. In addition to the increasing velocities and varieties of data, data flows can be highly inconsistent with periodic peaks. Is something trending in social media? Daily, seasonal and event-triggered peak data loads can be challenging to manage. Even more so with unstructured data involved.
  • Complexity. Today's data comes from multiple sources. And it is still an undertaking to link, match, cleanse and transform data across systems. However, it is necessary to connect and correlate relationships, hierarchies and multiple data linkages or your data can quickly spiral out of control.

Source: SAS


Examples of Big Data Projects

Here's another way to capture what a Big Data project could mean for your company or project: study how others have applied the idea.

Here are some real-world examples of Big Data in action:

  • Consumer product companies and retail organizations are monitoring social media like Facebook and Twitter to get an unprecedented view into customer behavior, preferences, and product perception.
  • Manufacturers are monitoring minute vibration data from their equipment, which changes slightly as it wears down, to predict the optimal time to replace or maintain. Replacing it too soon wastes money; replacing it too late triggers an expensive work stoppage
  • Manufacturers are also monitoring social networks, but with a different goal than marketers: They are using it to detect aftermarket support issues before a warranty failure becomes publicly detrimental.
  • Financial Services organizations are using data mined from customer interactions to slice and dice their users into finely tuned segments. This enables these financial institutions to create increasingly relevant and sophisticated offers.
  • Advertising and marketing agencies are tracking social media to understand responsiveness to campaigns, promotions, and other advertising mediums.
  • Insurance companies are using Big Data analysis to see which home insurance applications can be immediately processed, and which ones need a validating in-person visit from an agent.
  • By embracing social media, retail organizations are engaging brand advocates, changing the perception of brand antagonists, and even enabling enthusiastic customers to sell their products.
  • Hospitals are analyzing medical data and patient records to predict those patients that are likely to seek readmission within a few months of discharge. The hospital can then intervene in hopes of preventing another costly hospital stay.
  • Web-based businesses are developing information products that combine data gathered from customers to offer more appealing recommendations and more successful coupon programs.
  • The government is making data public at both the national, state, and city level for users to develop new applications that can generate public good.
  • Sports teams are using data for tracking ticket sales and even for tracking team strategies.

Source: Acquia


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[] Simplify Your Life in 20 Easy Steps!


20 Ways to Simplify Your Life...

Let's face it, life has become way too compilated. Between spending huge parts of our time at work, paying our taxes, making sure everything in the house is in order, fixing our cars, making sure our kids are ok, working for their future and dealing with the ever increasing demands of technology from us, sometimes we just feel screaming: "Enough! Leave me alone!".
But life doesn't uncomplicate itself, we have to do that, and so, with the goal in mind of having a simpler life, you can have it without moving to some remote countryside and milking cows. Here's how:

1. Get up 20 minutes earlier:
If you find your morning tight on time, try to go to bed a littler earlier and get up 20-30 minutes before your usual time. You'll be surprised how this little addition of time can start your whole day better.

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2. Be 10 minutes early for meetings:
It's hard to be late when you're planning to get there early, and it'll some of the pressure off. You'll also have time to smooth out your thoughts and think about what you'd to say.

3. One thing at a time:
Don't be fooled by those around you who brag they can do it all. Everyone has a problem concentrating on several tasks at once or even pay attention to one while thinking of another. Try to put your entire focus on the most urgent issue. Finish it and then move on to the next. You'll be surprised how much faster and more efficient you are at problem solving when you're solving one problem at a time.

4. Ask yourselves some questions:
Stop yourselves from time to time and ask: "Am I making things more complicated?" and "how can I simplify the problem?". Sometimes we miss simple solutions because we don't stop to look around us.

5. Ask yourselves:
"Will this still matter in five years?" Most of the time, it won't even matter in 5 months or even 5 weeks. If you find yourselves facing a mountain, maybe check it's not a molehill.

6. Write down everything:
There is no memory that doesn't 'leak' from time to time. The few minutes you spend writing things down will be worth having those things out of your head and memory, resulting in less pressure.

7. Remember that there is something greater than yourselves:
We don't know everything, nor are we always right. There are always going to be causes bigger than ourselves.

8. Enjoy the simple things:
Sometimes we need to stop, shut our eyes tightly, and then open them again and truly FEEL the moment we're in, the way it looks, the way it sounds, feels, smells and tastes. This is the meaning of living in the moment and enjoying things that are so basic we hardly really pay them attention anymore.

9. Drink a glass of water:
Water is the essence of life, and sometimes we might be better off drinking than binging on junk food that will just increase our anxious feelings.

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10. Kindness is a blessing returned:
Be kind to others. One day you may be old, sick and in need of kindness yourselves, knowing that you were kind to others and that they want what's best for you is a load off, and will reduce the fear you feel about the future.

11. Simplify your life by simplifying your home:
A cluttered house is a cluttered mind, some say. Try and keep a place for everything in your house, keep it clean and tidy. It may seem unrelated, but a clean house makes us feel good about ourselves and helps us concentrate on what's important.

12. Stop and find the roses:
Instead of jumping from thing to thing, try taking some extra time with certain tasks, relationships, work and personal projects. That extra time will give you confidence and help you discover things you may miss when you're rushing about.

13. Spend some time with simpler folk:
Spending time with those that lead a simple life will help you simplify your own. Their slower pace and calm will leak into your own life, and you'll learn some of their tricks for simpler living.

14. Ask advice from those who have been there:
When you encounter a problem, remember that most of them are not new, they have been challenging others as well. Turn to those who have been there, and ask for their advice. Sometimes it takes a village to get through life.

15. Forget about perfection:
Don't try to do everything perfectly, you'll probably not succeed. Let go of the illusion of perfection and focus on what you have that is good and true.

16. Take a breath of fresh air a few times a day:
a smoker on smoke breaks, take breaks to go out and get some fresh air. You'll be surprised how quickly those anxious thoughts can die down while you take a minute to disconnect from anxiety and reconnect with the world around you.

17. Take 30 minutes on the weekend to plan your week:
Weekends are a great time to relax and take a little time to plan out what you are going to do this week. Make a list. It will help you remember and you'll feel more calm dealing with the coming week's challenges.

18. Ask people around you more questions:
Sometimes, the things that make us anxious could be solved with a simple question. Don't be afraid to get answers you may not want to hear - in the long run, it'll help to know.

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19. Take some time to be lazy:
If you can simplify your lives a bit, you may find out you have some spare time. Take some of it to relax, you deserve a little laziness.

20. Remember life is longer than you think:
You may change your mind a couple of times throughout, you may grow as a person and want different things, love different people. Accept this fact, and you'll see how things won't bother you as much. We promise.



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