Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cloud Computing - is it Rainy Today?..

The term basically refers to performing computing activities online instead of offline (using the computer's hardware).  it means that individuals  or organizations lease remote  memory space and software , that are stored away from their physical location, and use them through the internet. 

The basic advantage of this model is that the customer doesn't have to purchase in advance software or memory space, but purchases them on demand only and for the extent he/she may need.   This feature often saves a significant portion of the computing costs of an organization.

The basic types of service available on Cloud Computing:

First, Sotfware-as-Service (SAAS), which refers to the use of computer programs installed on the supplier's servers, and the user makes use of them through the internet.  Prominent SAAS software examples: Gmail, online gaming.

Second, Infrastructure-as-service (IAAS), which refers to use of memory space of the supplier by the user.  Prominent examples: site hosting, backup storage.

Third, Platform-as-Service (PAAS), which refers to the use of developing platforms by the user in the process  of writing and testing software, such as: Linux emulators, online compilers.

The financial cost reduction using Cloud Computing derives from several factors:

First, no need of purchasing expensive hardware devices, such as: servers.

Second, no need of purchasing in advance expensive software products, such as: operating systems, Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Third, no need of hiring local maintenance experts for the software and hardware.

Fourth, no need to deal with disaster relief procedures, as the supplier deals with it.

Fifth,  no limit of resources availability.  for example. if there's a shortage of memory space, there's a possibility of purchasing additional small size memory.

Sixth, no dependency on a specific location where software products are installed.

The shortcomings of Cloud Computing can be roughly divided into the following:

First, dependency on the supplier.  The latter may run bankrupt or have many operational failures. In such a case, the user can't do anything to prevent his own setback.

Second, possible security holes regarding the employees of the supplier, who may cause damage to the user's data.

Third, difficulty in communication between software products which are located on  many different servers.  For instance, SQL database that has to communicate with a web script held on another server.

Fourth, difficulty in managing software platform without the ability to access the hardware (because it belongs to the supplier).  For example, running a disk compression may be necessary for a software running but the user isn't permitted to do that.

Prominent Cloud Computing suppliers include:

1. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) of Amazon - The most well-known service, which allows memory space & infrastructure software  leasing.

2. App Engine of Google, which allows development & testing of Java/pythons application on remote servers.

3. Azure of Microsoft - which allows mainly platforms for online development of software.

Summary, Cloud Computing is here to stay, but due to its vulnerability concerning security, I believe that the move of organization to work with this model is going to take more than a few years.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Computer Geeks Become Such?..

This morning, while still half-asleep, I was wondering - how do geeks become programmers, you know - those pale people who lean on their monitors and make the computer (and the smart phone) work.

So I browsed the web and collected some prevalent reasons.  If one of you knows of another good reason to become a coder,  this is the place  to share:

First, many programmers start their practice while being teenage computer freaks. They start somehow reading some basic  programming books  and start creating codes, and oops.. get hooked and enslaved for good.

Second, some programmers like the idea that what they create may be relevant to almost every aspect of life: technology, media,art,sports,social life,politics, finance and many more.  It's the only technical field which deals with people in depth and not superficially.

Third, many software developers switch their occupation from another engineering field (especially Electronics), due to employment constraints or natural advancement.   Those professionals are trained to other engineering/scientific fields, work for several years in the mentioned occupation, and 'cross the road'  to software development.

Fourth, undergraduates in many countries are drawn to this field because it allows them a higher living standard than most other occupation in those places.  This is especially relevant to countries in Eastern-Europe and Latin-America, where the job market prospects are relatively limited so programming may be very attractive to people with high technological abilities.

Friday, April 17, 2015

News about the Web Browsers Market

The web browsers world has introduced us with some new key players during recent years: till about 2005, we were used almost completely to Internet Explorer, without being even aware to other options.

 But then, the Mozilla association woke up to offer us Firefox and then Sergei Brin's crew also did the same. In parallel, an emerging smart phone browsers market introduced us to new players like: Opera & Android browser. Let's have a look at the share each main browser holds in the browser market:

 1. Internet Explorer - 45%. This means that this portion of users uses primarily (even if not solely) one of IE versions.

2. Mozilla Firefox - 30%. This figure surely reflects a vast expansion of what used to be a marginal browser some 5 year ago. It happened much because of the vast add-on gallery the browser offers, which makes the browsing experience much more entertaining.

3. Google Chrome - 20%. Frankly speaking, it's not very surprising that a brand new browser (issued in 2009) has already gained a respectable proportion of the market, taking into account that its producer is the world's main searching tool, making it visible to almost every web user.

The figures mentioned above depict a simple picture: we have a tough competition between 3 main browser that probably will fascinate us in the coming years. In the mobile phone browser market, the figures are such:

 1. Opera - 22%. This browser is primarily structured for mobile phones, and its development platform (the environment where developers code the applications for the browser) simulates the functioning on mobile phones.

 2. Android browser - 17%. as Android is Google's merchandise, it has a significant "push forward" from its owner. so no wonder why it has gain territory recently.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office

Ladies & gentlemen, my dear readers!

Today I'm going to talk a beat about the new born baby - Apple's iPad. Who really needs this toy and what can it really do?

1. Reading articles or books - iPad's screen is large and clear enough to let you read web articles, e-books or PDF/Word documents. You'll not have to ruin your eyes or suffer in any other way.

2. Games - There's a reasonably wide variety of games for iPad and it can be a substitute to game consoles (like Nintendo) for light-gamers. However, it's early to relate to iPad as a substitute to the desktop PC.

3. TV & movies - you can watch TV or videos in a reasonable quality. I wouldn't bet on it replacing your 50 inch plasma TV, but as a little TV it can do great.

4. Presenting presentations - if you need to present Powerpoint presentations outside your office or something similar, the iPad can replace a laptop and make it easier for you.

5. Basic web usage - it can replace a laptop in basic web functions, like: email, Facebook and more. It doesn't suffer from special communication troubles that may harass the web usage, and the screen is large enough not to cause you much misery.

6. Long usage without battery charging - iPad can reach 10 hours of active usage without charging, which is much longer than an average laptop.
The downsides of iPad must be taken into account:

1. iPad's screen isn't successfully suitable for usage outdoors, and you may suffer from using it at the beach or at a picnic.

2. iPad was created by nerds and it's itself a nerd: smart,skinny and fragile. Daily usage by young kids or messing otherwise with it should make its days shorter & shorter.

3. iPad isn't widely perceived as an attractive instrument, and its functionality is much better than its looks. So it might not be the ultimate purchase for making you cool.

4. iPad (as an Apple product) doesn't support Flash, which may be a nuisance for some users.

5. Above all - iPad isn't a PC: which means that you shouldn't expect it to be more than it's meant to be: a partial substitute to a laptop.