Archive | February 2009

The Eagles Eyes of Cyber Shops – Recommender Systems

The Eagle’s Eye

How many times have you bought items that you really did not plan to by, on Amazon? How many times have you felt that a website knows a little too much about your hobbies, interests, likes etc.? It even gets creepier when you think the website is almost reading your mind. You feel as though some one is always watching you/your activity on-line all the time (Jeepers…that’s true). 

How  Do They Do It?

The technical name for the ‘Self Learning’ computer systems, used to enhance on-line shopping experience for the users and generate more business by making them buy more things,  in “Recommender Systems“.

It is an Information Filtering technique that uses the information you have provided in your profile (by filling in all those fields while registering or by just visiting the website frequently and clicking on stuff).  The system tries to map the characteristics of your profile with that of the Product or Service and uses a rating mechanism to present you the items that you are more likely to buy or browse.

Peek-a-booo…I Know You:

The information that makes up your profile is basically collected using two techniques, Implicit and Explicit.  Explicit method is where you answer questions or rate a product or service etc. Implicit is to turn on the Eagles Eyes on to your activity, what do do you browse, when do you browse etc.

So, next time you are visiting an on-line store, keep in mind, thousands of eagles eyes are watching you…

Cheers,

Venu.

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Who am I?

Being the most awaited one – to be born to the goddess I call my mother

Being the most loved one – by my loving parents I adore

Being the clever one – to be mentored by my masters I call the Gurus

Being the hard working one – and be the chosen one which I’m proud of

Being the lucky one – to win the fat rat race and stand tall

Being the fortunate one – to be loved by my darling wife

Being the blessed one – to be blessed with an angel I call my daughter

Being the sad one – to part with my angel to another man

Being the unfortunate one – to be failed by my tired soul

Being the scared one – to return back where I belong

Being the forgotten one – that I hope I will not be

What is a Life Worth?

One visible difference I have noticed, after living in US for over 7 years now, people in this country value life much more than any where else in the world. Being born and brought up in India, I was always amazed by the fact that we, as Indians, are so much more resilient to catastrophic events.

  • Does the value of life change with the economic status of a society?
  • Is a life worth less in a society with more people?
  • Why is a life in a third world country not even as worthy as a pet in developed countries?

Transition in Today’s Economy

Economic slowdown and layoffs:

This is the worst economic slowdown that the world has seen in the past 50 years.  The forecasts and predictions are all gloomy every where.  Guess how many people got laid off so far in the Top 500 American Public companies since November 01 2008?  As per Forbes magazine’s “Layoff Tracker“, it is exactly 480,674 as of February 19, 2009. I do not want to scare the @#$! out of you, but this is really depressing. The usage of the “D” word is increasing every day. I was not born to see the Great D. But, this probably and hopefully the only Great D that I would see in my life time.

NC PMI Session:

I have posted about a NC PMI session where a gentleman named Doug Johnson did a session on transitioning in today’s economy.  He was an amazing speaker and had a good sense of humor. For the first time in my life,  I have seen a lady choked up and teary eyed in a professional session like this, when she was explaining her layoff story and how her 4 and 6 year old kids tried to help her  by selling their toys to friends at school and bring that money back to her. It was a very touching moment.

Six Phases of Grief:

Experts and studies say that people go through the following phases during grief. I think getting laid off is one such situation.

  1. Shock
  2. Denial and/or Bargaining
  3. Guilt
  4. Anger
  5. Depression
  6. Acceptance and Determination

Believe in yourself and bounce back:

One thing you should realize is the fact that “It’s not you who is responsible for what just happened”. There are a thousand different things and a thousands of other people who caused this. Also, the fact that you have been employed until a few minutes is a testimonial to your ability, skill and hard work. The last thing that you want to do is blame yourself or lose your self confidence. 

Here’s a list of things that experts recommend you should do to get out of the setback, get up on your feet again and get going.

  • Let your emotions out
  • Share your grief with your loved ones, Spouse, Kids (yes kids, they’ll understand)
  • Assess your financial situation
  • Plan and prepare for medium to long-term, for life without a job
  • Keep faith in yourself and plan the next steps. Prepare your resume, network with people, call that old friend of your whom you always wanted to but never did for a long time
  • Do all the things that you always wanted to do, while you were busy burning out in your job, but never did. 
  • Do not lose focus and get discouraged, keep trying

More Help:

Mr. Ben Parr, has written an article on Mashable about 30+ Websites to Visit When Youre Laid Off. He has given a step by step approach with a list of 30 websites that can help. Wall Street Journal has another article in it’s February 03 2008 issue, titled “Coping With Aftermath of Layoffs at your Firm“.

I hope none of you get into this situation. But, when you do, you can always get back on track. It’s just a matter of time.

Cloud Computing – What a mess?

If you have not heard about “Cloud Computing”, you’re not hip anymore.  If you’re not confused and overwhelmed about it, then you must be insane. I did a quick trend analysis using Google Trends, a “kewl tewl” (I like this term…I should probably copy right/Trademark it :-)) if you’d like to find out and compare what people are searching for.

Cloud Computing - Google Search Trend

Cloud Computing - Google Search Trend

If you notice, Cloud Computing (Blue line) is fast catching up with ‘Virtualization’ (Green line) and probably will surpass that pretty soon.

 

“Cloud Computing” is the most happening thing in the IT world these days. Apple has gone a step further and even introduced the term to it’s consumers though“MobileMe”. I do not want to waste my time and more resources trying to redefine Cloud Computing in my own words and confuse you even more. I am posting a few Kewl Links that you can use to educate yourself . Hope you’ll be equipped better and might even appear HIP at your ‘Water Cooler Conversations’.

 

A dedicated website for all your Cloud Computing Learning Needs and More: Cloud Computing Journal

Happy Cloud Computing !!!

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