Weekly Review, March 14

By Saturday, March 14, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Today was Pi day, and this year was “super Pi day”. I already mentioned it this morning. I also mentioned Pi day is celebrated as “Aba day” in my family, thanks to my perfect wife. She’s not into the geekiness, but she’s into making it an awesome day! Today included lemon meringue pie for breakfast, Pi-decor and balloons with a bunch of Pi digits floating around the house, pizza-pie for lunch, and some Pi-centric fashion statements 🙂

The Weekly Review is a recurring (sort-of-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, March 7

By Sunday, March 8, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Earlier this week, I finished listening to the audio book version of “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas”, by Warren Berger.

In this book, Warren Berger explores the power of questions and the questioning mindset, and how it is used to ignite change in business and in our daily lives. Warren finds that although children start out asking hundreds of questions a day, questioning decreases dramatically as children enter school. He discusses the effect of the education and business culture that rewards answers, and barely tolerates questions. Warren analyzes numerous examples of successful startups (e.g. Google, Airbnb, Netflix, and more), and reveals how questioning is key in their culture, and the driver for innovation. Throughout the book, the author outlines a practical Why-What If-How framework of inquiry to facilitate the process of innovation.

I enjoyed the book very much, and recommend it whole heartedly! It resonated with my own lingering thoughts and concerns about the western education system, that keep growing as my own kids approach entering this broken and outdated system. When the day arrives, I hope I will be able to enroll my kids to a school that embraces and encourages the questioning mindset, instead of demanding canned answers and emphasizing compliance – a culture that served the industrial age, but is harmful at the information age. Are you familiar with such school? In Israel? Around the world? Please let me know!

I also completed today the Cloud Compute Concepts (1) Coursera course. This course was a 5-week MOOC from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, covering some basic technical concepts in cloud computing. The syllabus includes MapReduce, grids, peer-to-peer systems, failure detection and membership protocols, key/value stores (e.g. Cassandra), multicast, time ordering in distributed systems, snapshots, the consensus problem and the Paxos protocol.

I’m not seeking any “formal” qualifications on this subject. When I started my current job at Yowza](http://www.yowza3d.com/), it was the first time I worked with cloud technology at depth. I picked up lots and lots of practical stuff, but I felt I’m missing the background and underlying theory. To compensate for this, I decided to take a series of Coursera courses, whose syllabi looked comprehensive enough. This course was the first in the series, and I think I already produced value from it. For instance, we’re considering using Cassandra, and thanks to the course, I now know more about Cassandra then I knew before.

The Weekly Review is a recurring (sort-of-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, February 21

By Saturday, February 21, 2015 0 Permalink 0

In case you missed it, Lenovo preinstalled an adware called Superfish on Windows laptops. Not only that this adware obnoxiously injects ads to your search results, turns out that the Superfish adware implements man-in-the-middle to do its thing!

If you think that’s bad enough, the certificate they use to do this was easy to crack… This means that anyone can use this to implement man-in-the-middle attacks against machines with the Superfish certificate installed… 🙁 In case you’re curious, the password is “komodia”.

Scared? Rightly so! Go ahead and check yourself, and clean it up if you’ve got it!

Interesting to see claims that the adware poses no risk… O_o

The Weekly Review is a recurring (sort-of-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, February 7

By Saturday, February 7, 2015 0 Permalink 1

The twins had their first birthday yesterday! I’m glad to let you know that we all survived their first year of existence! I wonder if this surviving thing was harder for them or for us. ^_^

I finished “audio-reading” I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi last week. I realize that the title sounds like crappy self-help, but I thought I’d give this book a chance. I got several positive recommendations, and Ramit’s personal finance blog is pretty good.

Unfortunately, after reading it, I can’t recommend it to any non-US readers…

I agree with the principles that are at the essence of the book:

  1. Invest aggressively, invest early.
  2. Spend responsibly on what brings you the most value.
  3. Be as frugal as possible with everything else.
  4. Automate financial processes whenever you can.
  5. Don’t be stupid with debt, fees, tax advantage opportunities, etc.

These are great messages, worth passing on. My problem with the book is that 95% of the content delves into how these principles apply to the average 20-something american – which I’m not. Three examples from the top of my mind:

  • Going into the details of credit score at length.
  • Detailing the different types of US bank accounts.
  • Reading out phone numbers of US banks?! Seriously?!

Bottom line, if you live in the US, this book may be valuable to you. Otherwise, save your time.

The Weekly Review is a recurring (sort-of-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last weeks.

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Weekly Review, January 10

By Saturday, January 10, 2015 0 Permalink 0

I thought I’d skip this weekly review too, but if I can get away with a minimalistic one, it will save me from a single-post week!

The reason for the relative silence is a rare combination of approaching DayJob milestone, and being sick for the entire week… Be warned that these conditions are expected to exist during the next week as well!

So I will leave you with the Google Analytics stats of this site from September 1st through December 31st 2014, while I go tend to my Sinusitis. Maybe next week I’ll try to analyze it a little.

The Weekly Review is a recurring (sort-of-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, January 3

By Saturday, January 3, 2015 0 Permalink 1

For the first time since starting this weekly review, I skipped a week! Did you notice? 😉

Anyway, I just finished “audio-reading” The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. It was a long one! At 17:30 hours net play time, it took me about 4 weeks to finish it at 1.25x rate, but it was worth it! I followed a recommendation by Jamie Todd Rubin, and enjoyed the excellent stories laying out the evolution of the digital age. I always thought that “historical subjects” can become interesting easily if told through stories of actual people involved, as opposed to dry facts and numbers. This book proved that point for me. As a common geek, I admit that it isn’t hard for me to find interest in stories about people ranging from Ada Lovelace through Sergey Brin, but I really think also non-geeks will find this book interesting.

The Weekly Review is a recurring (sort-of-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week(s).

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Weekly Review, December 20

By Saturday, December 20, 2014 0 Permalink 0

Another week, another batch of assorted sick kids… I wonder, how do humans survive, as a specie??

Anyway, isn’t this Rubik’s cube solving robot super cool?! It’s trying to get funded now on Kickstarter. It’s not the final assembled robot that I found so cool, but the idea of building one! As far as I understand, this is what the Kickstarter project is about. Coming up with a kit that individuals (or schools) can buy and build and program themselves – that’s really cool!

You probably heard about the crazy Sony hack. I don’t intend to dig into the technicalities of this hack, or the political and business ramifications of it. Others are covering it more than enough. What I found interesting here is how this breach affects regular employees and their families. These employees didn’t expect all of their work and personal email (and more) to be released like that. I believe many of them, like lots of other “regular people” (myself included), “has nothing to hide”. When I use the Internet (in whatever form), I usually don’t worry too much about “privacy” – as I have nothing to hide. This breach makes me think – even though I don’t have anything to hide, how would I feel if my entire online activity is published like that? My personal information? Personal information of unsuspecting friends and family that happened to interact with me online? That’s unsettling…

Speaking of hacks, have you heard of the RevSlider vulnerability that made lots of WordPress sites exposed to attacks (AKA SoakSoak)? Luckily, I don’t use the vulnerable plugin on this site, so I’m good. Do you have a WordPress site? Are you vulnerable?

The Weekly Review is a recurring (so-far-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, December 13

By Saturday, December 13, 2014 0 Permalink 1

Look! My Day Job startup launched a public website! You can now read some more about how we at Yowza are trying to make computers understand the world in 3D.

We believe 3D data will become ubiquitous, and revolutionize the world. Just like cameras in every pocket made images so important, the day that everyone will always carry a tiny high-resolution 3D scanner is not far. To take advantage of the imminent explosion of 3D data, we’re working today on giving technology the ability to make sense of the world around it in 3D.

Naturally, this is a huge undertaking. As a small startup (13 at the moment), we have to start with something and focus on it. For us, that first something is yowza-search. Our approach to search is shape-based, driven by the underlying geometry of indexed objects. This involves pretty high-level math, so we’re always on the lookout for bright people with strong background in math or physics. This also involves some serious compute-fu, scaling up the algorithmic shit to handle volumes of 3D data (did I say “cloud” and “big data”? 😉 ).

If any of it sounds interesting to you, consider joining us! 🙂

btw, the post image is a screenshot of a 3D model of myself (produced with a 3D scanner).

The Weekly Review is a recurring (so-far-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, December 6

By Saturday, December 6, 2014 0 Permalink 1

Oogis dad will turn 60 next week. Her mom decided to surprise him with a family weekend retreat. We rented a beautiful Villa on the beach and spent our time eating and resting, just like god intended. All in all, everybody had a great time. The kids got to see some sea, and the only thing missing was hot water in the shower. That, and Noona.

I always had a hard time understanding the gap between the culture of (some) companies, and the harshness of (most) standard employment agreements. A company with an open culture, that may even encourage side projects and open source contribution, still has legalese about all inventions being the sole property of the company… Once again, Joel Gascoigne from Buffer stands behind their transparent culture, and tackles the issue of the employment agreement with a pledge to employees. To my understanding, the pledge Joel presents contradicts the employment agreement (at least in spirit), and the employment agreement takes precedence. Despite that, I think it’s good to convey the spirit of the employer-employee relation in plain language, as the employer sees it.

What do you think? As an employer? Employee?

The Weekly Review is a recurring (so-far-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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Weekly Review, November 29

By Saturday, November 29, 2014 0 Permalink 1

There, I’m done with my Nexus 5 Lollipop upgrade mini-project. You’ll stop hearing about it all the time now! 😉

On a similar fun note, the entire family was sick a significant part of this week… You should have been here to see the fun! The twins started pretty much at the same time with some generic stomach bug. Oogi joined shorty after, taking it even harder. The grandparents also got it after being with the twins for some time. I joined the party, fortunately lightly and briefly. Definitely much fun! Allow me to skip the graphics…

We got some winter in Israel at last, with cooler air and some rain, hurray! The rain prevents me from bicycling to work, and also reminds everybody how bad the Israeli infrastructure is if it gets a little wet. That aside, being able to walk outside without sweating, and breathing a lungful of cool air is priceless for me! Definitely worths the price of needing to put on shoes and long jeans (T-shirts are still enough for me though).

The Weekly Review is a recurring (so-far-)weekly summary, reviewing highlights from the last week.

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