CloudStack meetup in Pune

Friends:

I have been running CloudStack meetups for over a year now in Pune every month. As you know, Apache CloudStack is open source community developed cloud orchestration platform written in Java primarily. There are already many open source cloud development projects already going on such as OpenStack, Eucalyptus etc. The CloudStack community is not very large yet, but very vibrant and has been releasing quite regularly. For enthusiasts like you, it is good opportunity to start early on this and get opportunity to make impact on the community.

This meetup platform provides unique ways of sharing knowledge for all those Cloud enthusiast interested to learn and participate in CloudStack development. We host our meetings every month at SICSR in Model Colony in Pune every last Friday of the month. We are hosted online over here. We also welcome suggestions and volunteers for presenting their experience with CloudStack here.

The meetup for this month(Nov 2014) is on Fri Nov 28. Please feel free to register and participate. Looking forward to seeing you there. Just forgot to mention, the meetup is completely free 🙂

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Conference report: CSI Pune INCSIghts 2012

This was CSI Pune’s annual event organised at Hotel Pride in Pune. The theme of the conference was Big Data. The much hyped technology terminology since last 3-4 years. I attended this lot of curiosity and questions in my mind.

The conference began with keynote address and stock taking by Anand Deshpande of Persistent, elaborating historical perspective via his coined terminologies such as Data Stack 1.0(RDBMS), Data Stack 2.0(Data Warehousing) and he called Big Data as Data Stack 3.0. It was also unpleasant to see how simple things such as wireless microphone cannot be made to work prior to the conference, it was lot of embarrassment to presenter, audience and waste of precious time.

Then followed series of sessions by various speakers and practitioners in fields of Big Data. Most of the session, by and large, naturally, discussed Hadoop ecosystem. Some of the use cases presented were in the domain of retail(by Sears, to reduce price tagging), Ad Serving platform(Pubmatic, by Sayali Kulkarni, BTW, very crisp and nice presentation. Pubmatic happens to be in Yield Management in the Ad Serving platform landscape). There were couple of presentations on the current state of Big Data adoption across enterprises currently and also where does Data Warehousing go from here. Some aspects of Big Data on cloud also were covered by these presentations. The prediction of Big Data adoption is expected to grow to 44% from current 14% by 2013 across Fortune 1000 companies.

The presentation from Prashant Pansare of Intellimet on advanced visualization was electrifying. Visualization is one of final pieces of typical Big Data and Predictive Analytics implementation. Some of the use cases provided by him on how big Internet companies are keeping eye on machine generated data for their benefits.

The conference ended with a panel discussion on current state of Big Data and future trends. The panel discussion did not impress me much, but it was good to know that companies like Synechron are working on Big Data since last 7-8 years as it was mentioned, they are now looking beyond to provide probabilistic analytics.

All in all, it was good overall introduction to Big Data landscape, I would say, with some technical implementation details shared by Kalpak Shah of Clogeny. But I was expecting some of the related topics such Predictive Analytics, Event Stream Processing(ESP) and Complex Event Processing(CEP) to be covered.

In-flight entertainment systems

Recently, I got an opportunity to work on in-flight entertainment(IFE) system. This opportunity opened relatively unknown world in front of me. I thought of sharing this experience through a blog article.

Avionics industry is one of earliest pioneers of adoption of software into aspects of flying. IFE is a system inside a passenger class aircraft which provides FA(Flight Attendent) to setup, configure, manage IFE and also allows to control passenger service right from the time when the flight is about to take off till it lands on the ground. IFE also provides aircraft Maintenance Personnel(MP) to configure aircraft before it is ready to be commissioned.

The avionics industry also has evolved and matured. All avioncis systems and software are expected to follow and be certified for industry standard called DO178.

Let’s look into details of typical aspects of activities performed by these two types of users on IFE.

Flight Attendent:
Seat status checking and correcting
PA/VA system configuration and management.
Content checking, preview.
Setting flight details(source and destinations)
Configuring Airshow(moving map)

Maintenance Personnel:
Software and content loading
Configuring aircraft
System test
Controlling overhead(OH) monitors functionality
Offloading logs for troubleshooting
Conformity report verification
Seat control
Carrying out various operations based on zones(business class operations are different than that of economy class)

Now let’s turn our attention to typical components of IFE system.

Typical Components of IFE
Passenger display units(on-seat touch screen devices) with control software
Flight Attendent’s system with control software
Aircraft interface unit which interfaces various hardware modules and also acts as network hub for the entire system
High-speed network
Analog and digital monitors which are retractable. The OH monitors can have any combination of analog and digital. The digital monitors would have system software which would need to be uploaded once a while when updates are available.
Media server delivering full HD quality video
IFE system content generator, loader, configurator and the content itself
Moving map system(ex. Airshow, which is one of the oldest and popular. In fact, Airshow was launched 30 years ago)
Infrastructure and framework for supporting third-party games to be run on passenger display units.
PA/VA system which can cut through existing sessions on passenger units anytime

Typical Characteristics of IFE
Fault-tolerent
Easy to replace hardware modules(also called LRUs)
Highly secure, following different Avionics industry standards(such as DO178)
Scalable to ever increasing demand on media, and ability to easily add support for new technologies in entertainment domain.
Powerful and multi-level logging subsytem
Features to carry out built-in self-test(BIT) and also entire system tests.
Ability to view at glance all passenger seat unit status

QNX CAR System
It is appropriate to note few things about typical RTOS specialized in platforms such as automobile and avionics industries.
With the advent of QNX CAR system, and similar in-car systems, it has not only created huge potential in car industry, but also created exciting ways to apply in avionics industry. This not only provides time-to-market advantage to IFE vendors but also provides a ready-made and proven platform to build on(rather than investing huge into R&D to re-invent similar platforms)

QNX CAR provides complete embedded platform with QNX(a variant of Unix operating system) on variety of processors with QNX CAR framework which is supporting touch screen, HTML5, RDBMS for specially optimized for devices(QDB), IPC mechanism called PPS(persistent publish subscribe).

QNX CAR development environment also is pretty sophisticated supporting all major development environment related features. It provides IDE for C/C++ based development called Momentics, which is Eclipse derived. For HTML application development, it does not provide any out of the box support for server-side frameworks such PHP or Apache Tomcat. The primary reason for this QNX assumes that HTML apps developed and deployed on this device will run standalone, thought also they may interact with other systems over the Internet. Though for anyone wanting to explore server side web application development, one can explore ports of Apache and go from there.

The HTML5 applications tend to be standalone in nature, and run web engine derived from open source web engine project WebKit. Many times, these HTML5/JavaScript apps need to access local resources, which is provided via JNEXT API which itself is an derivative of ExtJS framework.

Anyone wanting to know more about QNX CAR, please go here

Hope you enjoy this blog!

Nurturing entrepreneurship

This is an account of event organized by TIE(The Indus Entrepreneurs) which I attended recently in Pune. I thought of sharing it here on the blog.

This event, conducted in MCCIA Tower(ICC Tower), was a graduating program of first batch of entrepreneurs participating in first ever Nurture program. TIE Nurture program started in Feb 2012. This is first of its kind started by Pune chapter for nurturing and mentoring entrepreneurs. For the first batch, it received about 50 applications from different companies, and they shortlisted 8 companies. As it was pointed out the selection criteria was such that only those companies who knew where they were and where they want to go in next 1-2 years, to be selected for mentoring.

During past six months, mentors from TIE and mentee companies had formal, informal interactions, on specific problems, revenue and operations problems, problems which might occur in future, etc. Also their presentation skills were also worked upon.

There were seven presentations from companies such as Bizproto, Crucible Labs, ePravesh, Mapyn, RushHrs, neural space, Intouchid etc. Most of them did talk about their offering, competition, growth plans etc. But very few talked about real revenues, projected revenues, what is in there for investors, entry and exist routes for investors etc.

This gave a window to kind of problems entrepreneurs are trying to solve through entrepreneurship. ePravesh is trying to simplifying school/colleges admission process, crucible labs is trying to exploit the power of social media marketing and create value for media industry by providing valuable insights into viewer’s preferences, which media companies can use along side TRP. Company like Intouchid has created “Dropbox” like solution for contact management problem. Company like Bizproto were trying to create another Alibaba(online traders exchange, B2B) solution.

The event was sponsored by British govt trade and industries dept who has offices in India to facilitate business in and out of UK. Their deputy director was present for the event. During his speech he appealed Indian entrepreneurs to setup businesses in UK. It was really amazing and different feeling to hear such a thing from British, who rules India for more than 150 years. It was one more testimonial of the fact that world order has changed. He also sighted examples of companies who have setup companies in UK such as Tata, also UK companies setup in India such as JCB. He also gave comparison of various countries from the investor friendly aspects, where he mentioned Singapore is the first on the list, with distinction of being the most investor friendly nation.

The star attraction of the event was speech of Ashok Rao, current chairman of TIE Global. He provided valuable insights on entrepreneurship and innovation and his own one liner tid-bits called “Ashokism’. His thoughts on venture capital were also interesting.

Function concluded after his speech ended and everyone proceeded towards party room on the top floor with their favorite “Ashokism”. Here is my favorite which I picked up: Don’t delegate success.

Bike and car pooling: Need of the hour

As cities expand, distance between workplaces and residences are widening, commuting to work is often nightmare. Various measures to ease traffic situations are undertaken at different levels in our society. Corporates are also providing work-from-home or telecommute options which is helping to ease traffic.

Car pooling is a very well-known and proven mechanism to beat traffic woes and also help save our planet from pollution. We taken the same idea further to make it general service riding on the advantages of technologies have brought in.

We, at QuinarySoft, are pleased to announce Bike and Car Pooling service in Pune. Currently it is restricted to IT Professionals only. We will be conducting employment verification to ensure passenger’s/driver’s security. Visit http://bikeandcarpool.in/ and register to help save pollution, reduce your fuel expenses and why drive alone when you can get good company.

We will be carrying out employment and driving license verification before providing membership. You must be thinking why is this required? The reason is simple – its all about your SECURITY. We want your travel to be safe, enjoyable and should have a good company.

Looking forward for your support. Please share this with your friends, colleagues and family.

Let’s help those unfortunate ones

I wanted to write on this topic for quite some time…but I decided to sit and finish this today…after I came back from a function(organised as part of World Mental Health Day) I attended at NGO called SAA where I am associated with as volunteer.

SAA is for Schizophrenia Awareness Association, NGO based out of Pune. They run day-care center for helping mentally challenged persons to get rehabilitated since last ten years.

They need your help. And it can be in following forms:

1. Donate to the NGO
2. Help to spread the word about the NGO.
3. Help to refer anyone whom you know suffering and undergoing medical
treatment, to consult them to take their expert help, and be part of rehab
process.

About 1% of the population is affected by schizophrenia, a major mental illness and 4 – 5% with other mental illnesses. Of this only about 25% seem to have access to medical care. Which means, the vast afflicted majority suffers owing to just lack of medical facilities, ignorance, superstition or fear of stigma. Besides, in India there is an awesome dearth of mental health professionals. As for infrastructural facilities for mental health care in our country, much more needs to be done as yet, on priority.

SAA is organization which works on many platforms.

Self-Help Support Group Activities

Meetings for Shubharthis
Many shubharthis have benefitted by participating in our SHG weekly meetings, conducted on the lines of Dr. Abraham Low’s Recovery method. This is a seventy-year old self-help technique based on cognitive behaviour therapy. Four years’ of our consistent efforts have made Recovery Inc., U.S.A., to enlist on their website Ekalavya as a recognised Recovery SHSG available in India.

Playground activity & variety entertainment for Shubharthis
To help shubharthis reintegrate back into the society, an experiment was started with the guidance of mental health professionals and generous gesture of Deccan Gymkhana, one of Pune’s oldest and prestigious physical health & sports promoter. By doing physical exercises, playing games, doing yoga & pranayama, they have been able to recoup much of their alertness and agility, besides socialization. Variety entertainment programme, titled ‘Antaranga’, performed and presented by shubharthis along with volunteers has further boosted their confidence and creativity. Notable among the other programmes are Mrs. Dabke and Mrs. Shinai’s awareness programme “Mana Kalol Kalol.”

Meetings for Shubhankars
Discussion on the topics of interest to caregivers are initiated at the Saturday meetings. Occasionally, outside experts are also invited to speak to them with a view to empower them with knowledge and skills.

Training for Caregivers
Empowering caregivers has been systematically started by holding training programmes for them in places like Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Dhule, Ahmedabad, etc. In addition, we have also satisfactorily completed a higher level training for a team of volunteers. Many of such resource persons will assist SAA in fulfilling it’s mission of spreading mental health care services. Towards this objective we had planned a three-day residential workshop for prospective support group leaders from different parts of Maharashtra.

Creating awareness

Publishing
To spread right information to more families about schizophrenia and allied mental disorders and their management, a book in Marathi has been published by us. This book, entitled “Schizophrenia, Ek Navi Janeev”(Please click here to post your order), received very encouraging response from cities like, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Nagpur etc. The same book is also available in Hindi titled “schizophrenia, Ek Naya Ehsaas”. A reference handbook for GPs, under the title “Divided Mind” (Please click here to post your order) has been published in English, containing articles by experts on various aspects of schizophrenia and its management. It is edited by Dr.Ulhas Luktuke, a leading practising psychiatrist of Pune. Many articles were also published in newspapers and magazines of Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur, besides Pune, resulting in more families coming forward for availing of the services of SAA Ekalavya. Apart from this there are other publications like translated version of the book “Beautiful Mind” that are in process of completion.

sensitizing media persons
None can deny the impact media make on the society today. So to sensitize them to mental health care issues a pilot survey was commissioned by SAA. We plan to inform them suitably so as to enable them project the affected persons more objectively and factually through their work. On the other hand, media support by way of informative articles has already enabled hundreds of shubharthis and shubhankars from all over Maharashtra to know and avail of SAA’s services.

Awareness through films
SAA, along with it’s senior partner, K. S. Wani Memorial Trust, Dhule, produced first-ever feature film, Devrai (Sacred Grove), by a charitable organization on mental health. This movie, which won 17 regional/national/international awards in different categories, proved very appealing both to the professionals and affected families alike. The subsequent one, entitled, Majhi Goshta (My Story), also in Marathi, is a docu-drama in tele-cinematic format. “Very informative, realistic and touching” is the response of most of the viewers. Devrai is already available in vcd/dvd format.
Our latest Marathi feature film, EK CUP CHYA, is on how an ordinary citizen can use the power of RTI to deal with bureaucratic indifference while finding solutions to various challenges in his life. This movie, screened at various international film festivals, recently won the Zee Critics’ Award for best regional feature film of 2009.

Rehab cum Vocational Centre
It is every caregiver’s dream to once again make his shubharthi a self-reliant and confident individual. Therefore towards this objective we had already started this facility at the Kamala Nehru Hospital four years’ ago. About ten had enrolled there. Later on when Kamalini KritiBhavan, our own centre, was ready the rehabilitation activity was offered from Dhayari. This bright and beautiful Swanand Punarvasan Kendra, which has a capacity of 50 shubharthis, has twenty on role and are doing well.

Reaching the vulnerable
Our programmes aimed at youth, the most vulnerable age-group to be affected by Mental Illness, in schools and colleges have had desired impact. This is evident from their willing involvement in such seminars and subsequent voluntary services in SAA-Ekalavya’s activities. Timely and right awareness leads to earlier detection of symptoms, prompt medical intervention and quicker relief.

Other Activities
Growing beyond borders
SAA-Ekalavya is a founder member of India’s apex body of caregivers, the National Federation for Mentally Ill (NFMI) with HO at Chennai. Our delegates were also invited to speak at the international convention hosted by WFSAD at Kyoto-Japan in 2002 and at the Chennai national convention in 2003, again at the international convention at Chennai in November 2004 and at Recovery Inc.’s Leaders’ Training & Annual Meeting at Chicago in May 2005. Based on referrals by WFSAD we have also been encouraging caregivers of neighbouring countries by sharing our experience in SHG formation. Our website also has aroused and satisfied curiosity of netizens.

Save water

Last month got a message from my Architect friend, Dinesh Gapchoop, about his son’s, Viraj’s, participation in Vasundhara International Film Festival(VIFF), where his short film was selected for screening.

I have been knowing Dinesh, as campaigner of sustainable living & life style, since last 5-6 years. I also kept on hearing about his and his son’s extracurricular activities in dramas, photography, etc. When I heard that his film was selected for screening, I was not too surprised.

I always wanted to attend VIFF since it started, 4 years ago, a novel initiative on educating general public about environmental and allied issues. This time I had additional motivation to attend and I did. I plan to write about general experience about VIFF at some other point…but this one is for Viraj’s film. It is about simple tips and techniques about saving water by tweaking your life style.

For anyone interested, take a quick peek here and here..it is 7-8 min film.

PPK