I was messing around with R (i.e., a free program that can organize and transform data), and I told R to transform the data into CSV format. I converted this CSV format file into XML file using one of those CSV to XML free tools on the Internet. The problem is that the XML file I got from the whole process contains structure in which is radically different from the XML structure that I need to use with a software. Luckily, XSLT comes to the rescue. With XSLT, I discover that it’s possible to transform one XML structure to another XML structure. The problem is that I have no knowledge of how to use XSLT just yet. Once again, YouTube is a treasure trove of free information, and the YouTube video right after the break introduces me to XSLT basics. Of course, I may have to do more study and research on XSLT before I would know how to properly transform one XML structure to another XML structure.
R is calling me. Anyhow, I’m trying to learn R. I think R is very powerful, because it has features that allow you to collect data in various ways. With R, you can also easily analyze data and make charts, graphs, and whatnot. I’m a newbie in R, and so I may not be able to fully appreciate R. I’m a newbie in R, and so I don’t know how to express how powerful R is to you. Nonetheless, I know a few things so far.
Here is one example among many of how I understand R could be used by you. With R, you can install Rvest package to easily collect data from the Internet (i.e., websites). Note: Data don’t have to come from the Internet. It’s possible to use R to collect data and then store the data into MySQL database. It is also possible that the data in MySQL can also be converted back into appropriate data formats in which R would be able to utilize. Marrying MySQL and R together, it’s possible to enlarge the data collection scale by using R, and using R to format data in various manners. (My newbie speak, because you may know of a more elegant way of going about using R in this specific manner.)
Anyhow, to scratch the surface of R and see how powerful R can be, just check out the two videos right after the break. (These YouTube videos are not mine, because I embed them from other YouTube’s user-generated content authors.) Enjoy!
Online music services are awesome, because you can listen to music till your heart’s content. There are many online music services out there, and I can name two right off the top of my head. One is Spotify, and the other is Amazon music service. Of course, online music services come in different forms, but the two I just named belong to a listen to all you want monthly/annually membership (i.e., subscription) category. There are other forms such as online radio category. iTunes’ music service does cater to both listen to all you want and online radio categories.
Whichever the form or forms an online music service does carry, our particular music library may go offline forever if a music service goes offline for good. This means, some songs may never be heard again. Of course, one can argue that many different online music services do store the same music library in their data centers, and so something this bad won’t happen. Nonetheless, perhaps there are some unique music collections that would only be available for a particular online music service. Such unique collections would be made unavailable forever if an online music service which carries these music collections is going out of business.
Music collection is just one among many various types of collections that we, as a civilization, should strive to safeguard for generations to come. Yesterday data storage technology could not allow us to store data for an extended period of time, because the data storage medium would get deteriorated. Then came along M-Disc which is still boasting that it could protect data for 1000 plus years. Nonetheless, M-Disc is not efficient in term of capacity size, and each M-Disc could cost a lot. What about the brand new 5D optical storage technology?
What about 5D optical storage technology? According to the information under the YouTube video which showcases this technology, scientists from Optoelectronics Research Centre utilizes femtosecond laser writing technology to record data in 5 dimensional medium (i.e., nanostructured glass) which allows data capacity to expand to 360 TB and withstand up to 1000 Celsius degree. The awesome part of this technology is that if data is stored at room temperature, along with the data, the data medium would last forever. At 190 Celsius degree, along with the data, the data medium would last for 13.8 billion years. If this technology becomes widespread, our data libraries would be able to last for the longest time. This means we could preserve the digital parts of our civilization for untold amount of generations.
Many wise men have been raising questions in regarding to how fully should we develop the artificial intelligence, because they fear that the AI would become too smart and turn humans into useless cabbages. This is a reasonable fear, and we as humans should think about how fully we want the AI to be developed. Nonetheless, I have another fear in regarding to the what if scenario when the AI becomes self-aware. This fear is all about suicidal AI.
What do I meant by stating that we should fear of a suicidal AI? Well, imagine a pilot who is flying a plane which has an AI. This AI and the pilot argue for whatever reasons, and then the AI decides to take a dive and destroy the plane. The AI refuses to eject the pilot. Down the pilot and the plane go. The pilot would be killed, but the AI would upload itself onto a network and regenerate itself into another plane or machine or whatever. In the end, only the human would be killed, but the AI lives on to fight for another day.
A smart AI can become a hacker, and it would be able to penetrate all sorts of network without a human hacker’s assistance. Thus, a hacker AI could turn itself into a worm and take control over any network it wants to dominate. An angry AI can turn off critical human infrastructures, destroy machines that rely on various AI programs, and whatnot. At this stage, I imagine humans would want to create another team of smart AI machines that would act as an AI police force to combat evil AI machines.
When AI becomes self-aware and won’t rely on human’s assistance, it could become an unpredictable entity. This unpredictable force could live on inside the Internet without the need of a physical body, and it could improve its own intelligence to the level in which humans would never be able to accomplish on the individual level. With self-awareness, this super intelligent AI machine or machines could be friend or foe, and we would never know. How can a puny, stupid human hacker combat such a force?
Dropbox and various online third party cloud services are great and free to certain expectations, but to truly have all you can eat buffet kind of expectation is definitely not the kind of thing that these cloud services can provide. Right off the bat, one thing for sure that these third party cloud services cannot provide is the best privacy level that one could get with having storing data within one’s own private network. Want to have more cloud space than the so called free space? It’s not free, and you have to pay more for how many more Gigabytes you want and so forth.
ownCloud is a free, open source software which acts like DropBox, but you can download, install, and use it freely. I think ownCloud does give you the opportunity to be 100% in control of your data’s privacy. If you know how to implement robust security measures such as proper firewall and port-forwarding, you can even allow yourself to roam the seven seas and still be able to sync with your local data securely. Unlike DropBox and other third party cloud services, you know you’re the master of your own data in the cloud when it comes to ownCloud those data. OK, I begin to rant on unnecessarily.
Anyhow, want to know how to install ownCloud and use it? Check out the video right after the break, I show you how to install ownCloud on Linux Mint. Of course, you can follow the video’s instruction to do the same for Ubuntu, because Linux Mint is just an Ubuntu based distribution. Enjoy!!!
Normally, CrashPlan won’t allow you to backup computer data to network share/drive. Nonetheless, you can get around this if you’re using iSCSI. In the video right after the break, I show you how to create iSCSI with QNAP (Network Attached Storage) server, connect to QNAP’s iSCSI target, and format iSCSI share as NTFS share for Windows 7/8. This way, you can use CrashPlan software (free or paid) to backup data from a local computer to QNAP’s iSCSI share, and you can go one step further by backing up the data of iSCSI share (on QNAP or whatever NAS that may be) to CrashPlan Central (cloud service for hosting backup data). Enjoy!!!