Monday, 24 December 2012

Buzzword Bazinga: What is Big Data? featuring MapReduce and NoSQL

The term 'Big Data' describes a vast amount of data, or chat, generated from two main sources: people and computers. People spend a lot of time talking on social networks like Twitter and Facebook and producing on-line content about their companies, affiliated organisations and themselves. Computers and devices, now IP enabled and connected to the internet, now have the ability to send their instrumentation information into internet. The latter phenomenon is known as 'the internet of things': a description of how connected devices and sensors, from shoes to thermostats to cloud server farms, now have a voice and can make information about how they are used and what they experience accessible to data crunching algorithms. These algorithms would then produce insights that can be feed back into the real world and affect everything ranging from peoples behaviour to how corporations are run.

Handling all this data is a massive computational challenge. Compounding the challenge is that data is  growing exponentially, may be stored over the place and even kept in different formats. To address these challenges two key technologies have evolved to help us along: MapReduce and NoSQL.

But before we delve into these let's break down the attributes of Big Data into a bit more detail.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Cloud Recipes: Build and Deploy an Azure Web Role with and GitHub

In this recipe we will create an Azure Web Role (Cloud Service Project), add the solution to a Git Repository, Download CruiseControl.Net server and set-up a build and deployment script to build from the Git Repository and deploy to the Azure Web Role.

To complete this recipe you need the following:
  • The latest release of Cruise Control.NET ( - Download and install here 
  • A Microsoft Azure Subscription - sign up for a three month free trial here.
  • A Git Account - sign up for a free account here.
  • Putty Gen and Putty Agent can be downloaded here.
  • Git  
  • The .Net framework 4 or above
  • The Azure SDK 1.8 and all the goodies
  • Windows Azure Authoring Tools  
  • Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 
  • Visual Studio IDE 2012
I created this recipe on one machine with everything installed in one place. In the real world you would have a dedicated build server.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Digital Trends in 2013

Every year, around this time, there are a lot predictions on what the digital trends for the next year will be. They are often produced by Marketeers and therefore have pithy names which are a clever amalgamation of two words which never before have co-existed. In a lot of cases, that is for a very good reason. Some examples from 2012 include: "Idlesourcing", "Eco-cycology", "Flawsome", "Recommerce", "More-ism" sourced from here. ...

This year I decided Tech-Rash needed its own list so I tried to come up with my own trends backed by catchy names. I attacked the problem by coming up with a catchy name first and then thinking how/if it could become a trend. I came up a few but then decided to cast the net out and 'crowd-source' the rest of the content for this post. I got back a range of responses ranging from silly (like mine) to silly, but could catch on, to serious. Thanks to @davidknipeTA, @michael_hook, @jgbibby, @cs_andrews and @ev2000  for their contributions.

As an aside, the idea of silly things turning into something serious and useful has already been coined by Seth Godin (Marketeer Extraordinaire) in his article Ridiculous is the new Remarkable.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Cloud Recipes: Building a Facebook Canvas App using Azure and BitBucket

Welcome to the first official entry into Tech-Rash's Cloud Recipes. Cloud Recipes, I hope, will became a useful reference for cool things you can do on the Cloud in thirty minutes our under.

This Cloud Recipe has been shamelessly ripped off a talk given by Richard Conway from ElastaCloud who runs the UK Windows Azure User Group. In the talk he demonstrated setting up a Facebook application in 15 minutes based on a new .Net 4 MVC Facebook Template provided in the ASP.Net Fall 2012 Update. He used BitBucket as a Source Repository and rigged up an Azure Website to Auto-publish from the BitBucket Repo. I gave it a go and to see if I could achieve in 15 minutes and I failed but did learn a valuable lesson that churning out Facebook Apps can be a very quick process.

Monday, 10 December 2012

UKWAUG Talk: RavenDb on Azure in 15 minutes

On Friday 30th of December I attended the UK Windows Azure User Group and spoke about about running RavenDB - a great NoSQL technology - on an Azure VM. Thanks to the UKWAUG for hosting the event and the other speakers for some really interesting and inspiring content. The pizza and beer went down very well too.

The other talks included:

  • Cost saving Azure Solution Architecture
  • Creating a Facebook Application in 15 Minutes on an Azure Web Site with BitBucket as source control
  • Robot Ball Wars - A tech showdown using Sphero controlled from Smart Devices and a NetDuino with various inputs such as a Wii Remote. The showdown culminated in two Sphero balls dancing in tandem to Gangnam style which was bizzare but lots of fun.

Useful Links: