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The Technology Behind Apple Photos and the Future of Deep Learning and Privacy

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 16:56

There’s a war between two visions of how the ubiquitous AI assisted future will be rendered: on the cloud or on the device. And as with any great drama it helps the story along if we have two archetypal antagonists. On the cloud side we have Google. On the device side we have Apple. Who will win? Both? Neither? Or do we all win?

If you would have asked me a week ago I would have said the cloud would win. Definitely. If you read an article like Jeff Dean On Large-Scale Deep Learning At Google you can’t help but be amazed at what Google is accomplishing. Impressive. Wide ranging. Smart. Systematic. Dominant.

Apple has been largely absent from the trend of sprinkling deep learning fairy dust on their products. This should not be all that surprising. Apple moves at their own pace. Apple doesn’t reach for early adopters, they release a technology when it’s a win for the mass consumer market.

There’s an idea because Apple is so secretive they might have hidden away vast deep learning chops we don’t even know about yet. We, of course, have no way of knowing.

What may prove more true is that Apple is going about deep learning in a different way: differential privacy + powerful on device processors + offline training with downloadable models + a commitment to really really not knowing anything personal about you + the deep learning equivalent of perfect forward secrecy.

Photos vs Photos
Categories: Architecture

Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For June 17th, 2016

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 16:56

Hey, it's HighScalability time:

You've seen the Netflix Death Star microservices map. Here's a map of microbes conversing on your skin.


If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.
  • 4281: # of unread articles in my HackerNews feed; 23%: of all corporate cash is held by Microsoft, Apple, Google; 400 million: number of new servers needed by 2020; ~25,740TB: storage Backblaze adds per month; 3 bits: IBM stores per memory cell; 488 million: faked comments by China per year; 90%: revenue Spotify makes fron 30% of users; 780 million: miles of Tesla driving data; 4 days: median time to binge watch a season on Netlix; $33: cost of Nike Air Max; $50 billion: amount Apple has paid out to app developers; $270 million: amount Line makes from selling stickers; 4,600: # of trees Apple will plant aorund the Spaceship; 200 million: Google photos users; $1.8 billion: Series F round for Snapchat; 3x: capacity of the roadway with driverless cars; 138%: growth in Alibaba's cloud; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • @swardley: By this time next year, AMZN should be comfortably worth more than IBM + HPQ + HPE + CISCO + VMW + ORCL + NetApp + EMC combined.
    • @pcalcado: The #serverless revolution, or as we call it in my hometown: "JavaScript folks finally find out about CGI"
    • @kellan: Those patents you filed at Y! that would "only ever be used defensively"? Up for sale
    • @mipsytipsy: oooo, the term FaaS (Functions as a Service) is WAY better than #serverless.  Accurate, doesn't irritate me at all!
    • Ian Eyberg:  We need a new paradigm. We really need to be deploying software not the systems the software lives on. We need to be configuring software not the system that they are on. This is a new way of thinking.
    • @amernetflix: 2 Million #PacketsPerSecond on a #aws public #cloudinstance. 
    • @antirez: /me hopes that because at Redis Conf there were already folks telling me “don’t bother too much with Docker, we are moving away”.
    • @swardley: Asked "Do I not like Docker?" - I like Docker but I view containers as an important but for most, ultimately invisible subsystem ...
    • @jeffjarvis: Before AMP, 51% of WaPost users returned in 7 days; after AMP that's up to 63% says David Merrell at #io16
    • @HackerNewsOnion: How LinkedIn Scaled To Billions Of Unread Messages
    • @nzben: 90% Domain Driven Design 10% Switch Statements
    • @igrigorik: 0.3s latency improvement → £8M revenue gain for thetrainline(.com): http://bit.ly/1NiFzdP  - great case study.
    • @thegrugq: A monk asked Satoshi: “Why do you not sign a challenge msg?” Satoshi answered: “signing proves nothing!” The monk was englightened
    • #bitkoans
    • @johnrobb: Stanford:  Apple could manufacture its products in the US with robotic assembly at same price as China now
    • @Khanoisseur: Amazon changes prices 2.5 million times a day. Wal-Mart and Best Buy change prices 50,000 times over entire month.
    • @Khanoisseur: Amazon pushes code live every 12 seconds and can test a feature on 5000 users by turning it on for just 45 seconds
    • southpolesteve: I have one hard example I can share. We had a node service that was running on ec2 and cost ~$2500/mo. Moved the code directly over to lambda. Now ~$400/mo.
    • Keith Chen~ The behavioural economist at UCLA said users are willing to accept surge pricing increases as high as 9.9 times the normal price of a ride if their smartphone's battery is close to dying.
    • @Bill_Gross: With its always on cellular connection, every 10 hours Tesla gets a MILLION miles of additional data
    • @timallenwagner: Nice example of converting batch system to real-time serverless analytics!
    • @danielbryantuk: "In one study 35% of catastrophic failures were caused by what I call 'dev laziness' " @caitie #qconnewyork
    • @dechampsgu~ "Improving Anything but The Bottleneck is Close to Meaningless" @ziobrando  #dddx
    • @heinrichhartman: "We [#SQLite] don't compete against Oracle, we compete against fopen(3)" Richard Hipp on @changelog https://changelog.com/201/  (47:00)
    • @Pinboard: Any complex website is an interdependent ballet of dozens of mutually supporting services. You can’t reduce it to a word like “up” or “down”
    • @kevinmarks: “The web is already decentralized,” Mr. Berners-Lee said. “The problem is the dominance of one search engine…
    • CHARITY.WTF: I’ve seen what happens when application developers think they don’t have to care about the skills associated with operations engineering.  When they forget that no matter how pretty the abstractions are, you’re still dealing with dusty old concepts like “persistent state” and “queries” and “unavailability” and so forth, or when they literally just think they can throw money at a service to make it go faster because that’s totally how services work.
    • @beaucronin: A dollar-an-hour EC2 instance today would have been at or near the top of Top500 in the early/mid 90s
    • @cloud_opinion: Is this the real ops? / Is this just devops? / Caught in a deploy / No escape from techdebt / Open your eyes / Look up to the cloud and see #serverles
    • lostcolony: In context, I'm pretty sure it was just saying "Unlike computation, bandwidth, and memory size, we haven't seen much improvement in latency, and even if we focused on it, we have a very clear limit we can't get past".
    • People have said a lot more Stuff. Read the full article to see what've they said.

  • You know all those elaborate A/B testing and new feature testing systems built into websites so companies can gather data and learn more about how their product works in the real world? It's not just for websites. Tesla Tests Self-Driving Functions with Secret Updates to Its Customers’ Cars. It appears by deploying actual cars with real drivers Tesla has the Big Data advantage when it comes to creating self-driving cars. Though like much of the modern world it's damn spooky: Tesla can pull down data from the sensors inside its customers’ vehicles to see how people are driving and the road and traffic conditions they experience. It uses that data to test the effectiveness of new self-driving features. The company even secretly tests new autonomous software by remotely installing it on customer vehicles so it can react to real road and traffic conditions, without controlling the vehicle.

  • Can you be a Libertarian and use the government as an amplification attack on an enemy? The Stunning and Expected End of Gawker.

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

Categories: Architecture

The Image Optimization Technology that Serves Millions of Requests Per Day

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 16:56

This article will touch upon how Kraken.io built and scaled an image optimization platform which serves millions of requests per day, with the goal of maintaining high performance at all times while keeping costs as low as possible. We present our infrastructure as it is in its current state at the time of writing, and touch upon some of the interesting things we learned in order to get it here.

Let’s make an image optimizer

You want to start saving money on your CDN bills and generally speed up your websites by pushing less bytes over the wire to your user’s browser. Chances are that over 60% of your traffic are images alone.

Using ImageMagick (you did read ImageTragick, right?) you can slash down the quality of a JPEG file with a simple command:

$ convert -quality 70 original.jpg optimized.jpg

$ ls -la

-rw-r--r--  1 matylla  staff  5897 May 16 14:24 original.jpg

-rw-r--r--  1 matylla  staff  2995 May 16 14:25 optimized.jpg

Congratulations. You’ve just brought down the size of that JPEG by ~50% by butchering it’s quality. The image now looks like Minecraft. It can’t look like that - it sells your products and services. Ideally, images on the Web should have outstanding quality and carry no unnecessary bloat in the form of excessively high quality or EXIF metadata.

You now open your favourite image-editing software and start playing with Q levels while saving a JPEG for the Web. It turns out that this particular image you test looks great at Q76. You start saving all your JPEGs with quality set to 76. But hold on a second… Some images look terrible even with Q80 while some would look just fine even at Q60.

Ok. You decide to automate it somehow - who wants to manually test the quality of millions of images you have the “privilege” of maintaining. So you create a script that generates dozens of copies of an input image at different Q levels. Now you need a metric that will tell you which Q level is perfect for a particular image. MSE? SSIM? MS-SSIM? PSNR? You’re so desperate that you even start calculating and comparing perceptual hashes of different versions of your input image.

Some metrics perform better than others. Some work well for specific types of images. Some are blazingly fast while the others take a long time to complete. You can get away by reducing the number of loops in which you process each image but then chances are that you miss your perfect Q level and the image will either be heavier than it could be or quality degradation will be too high.

And what about product images against white backgrounds? You really want to reduce ringing/haloing artifacts around the subject. What about custom chroma-subsampling settings on per-image basis? That red dress against white background looks all washed-out now. You’ve learned that stripping EXIF metadata will bring the file size down a bit but you’ve also removed Orientation tag and now your images are all rotated incorrectly.

And that’s only the JPEG format. For your PNGs probably you’d want to re-compress your 7-Zip or Deflate compressed images with something more cutting-edge like Google’s Zopfli. You spin up your script and watch the fan on your CPU start to melt...

Categories: Architecture

Sponsored Post: Gusto, Awake Networks, Spotify, Telenor Digital, Kinsta, Aerospike, InMemory.Net, VividCortex, MemSQL, Scalyr, AiScaler, AppDynamics, ManageEngine, Site24x7

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 17:10

Who's Hiring?
  • IT Security Engineering. At Gusto we are on a mission to create a world where work empowers a better life. As Gusto's IT Security Engineer you'll shape the future of IT security and compliance. We're looking for a strong IT technical lead to manage security audits and write and implement controls. You'll also focus on our employee, network, and endpoint posture. As Gusto's first IT Security Engineer, you will be able to build the security organization with direct impact to protecting PII and ePHI. Read more and apply here.

  • Awake Networks is an early stage network security and analytics startup that processes, analyzes, and stores billions of events at network speed. We help security teams respond to intrusions with super-human  efficiency and provide macroscopic and microscopic insight into the networks they defend. We're looking for folks that are excited about building systems that handle scale in a constrained environment. We have many open-ended problems to solve around stream-processing, distributed systems, machine learning, query processing, data modeling, and much more! Please check out our jobs page to learn more.

  • Site Reliability Engineer Manager. We at Spotify are looking for an engineering leader (Chapter Lead) to manage the NYC part of the Site Reliability Engineering team. This team works with the infrastructure that powers the music service used by millions of users, built by hundreds of engineers. We create tools, develop infrastructure, and teach good practices to help Spotify engineers move faster. As a Chapter Lead your primary responsibility is to the people on your team: ensuring that the members are growing as engineers, doing valuable work, performing well, and generally having a great time at Spotify. Read more and apply here

  • Site Reliability Engineer. Spotify SREs design, code, and operate tools and systems to reduce the amount of time and effort necessary for our engineers to scale the world’s best music streaming product to 40 million users. We are strong believers in engineering teams taking operational responsibility for their products and work hard to support them in this. We work closely with engineers to advocate sensible, scalable, systems design and share responsibility with them in diagnosing, resolving, and preventing production issues. Read more and apply here

  • Backend Engineer. We at Spotify are looking for senior backend engineers to join our team of talented engineers that share a common interest in distributed backend systems, their scalability and continued development.  You will build the backend systems that power our application, scale highly distributed systems, and continuously improve our engineering practices. Read more and apply here

  • Security Engineer. The security team at Spotify is a distributed team supporting autonomous development teams with a focus on raising security awareness, sharing responsibility, and building tools. We aim to constantly improve the security posture for our fast-paced, rapidly-changing environment in a manner that will keep up with our scale. We’re knowledgeable in many domains of security and are willing to teach (and learn) from anyone at the company. Read more and apply here

  • Data Architect. You will be a key figure in a rapidly growing team, where the role will highly depend on you. You must have extensive experience in Cloud Computing and AWS and deeply understand databases and/or Information Architecture (PostgreSQL, Cassandra, MongoDB, Redis, etc.). And if you also know your way in the Hadoop ecosystem (including Spark and HDFS), Kafka, Cassandra and other big data technologies, this will be more than enough. You have an understanding of how to structure the data sources and data feeds of the Data Insights big data solution, plan for integration and maintenance of the data as well as have an eye on the logical design and on how the data flows through the different stages. Please apply here at Telenor Digital.

  • Data Engineers. You know Java, and possibly Clojure or Scala, are effective in a Linux terminal (shell scripting, configuration files, etc.), have experience with some SQL database, preferably PostgreSQL, have experience with Apache Kafka, Apache Spark, Elasticsearch. You enjoy automating things and building systems. Machine learning experience is considered a plus, and Continuous Integration + delivery is important to you, and writing tests a given. You are humble and passionate; you like to listen and can understand the viewpoints of others and strive to be a good dialog partner, but you can focus on delivery once a direction is decided. Please apply here at Telenor Digital.

  • Software Engineers, Analytics. You've got strong front-end developer skills: HTML, CSS, and Javascript, with knowledge of D3.js or other charting libraries - Clojurescript is a plus; have worked with various programming languages, like Java, Clojure, or Python; have experience with SQL (PostgreSQL). You have experience with Cloud Computing, especially with AWS, a deep foundation in computer science; data structures, algorithms and programming languages, as well as networking and concurrency; exposure to architectural patterns of a large, high-scale web applications; experience with shell scripting, configuration files, etc. and enjoy automating things and building systems. Please apply here at Telenor Digital.

  • Software Engineer (DevOps). You are one of those rare engineers who loves to tinker with distributed systems at high scale. You know how to build these from scratch, and how to take a system that has reached a scalability limit and break through that barrier to new heights. You are a hands on doer, a code doctor, who loves to get something done the right way. You love designing clean APIs, data models, code structures and system architectures, but retain the humility to learn from others who see things differently. Apply to AppDynamics

  • Software Engineer (C++). You will be responsible for building everything from proof-of-concepts and usability prototypes to deployment- quality code. You should have at least 1+ years of experience developing C++ libraries and APIs, and be comfortable with daily code submissions, delivering projects in short time frames, multi-tasking, handling interrupts, and collaborating with team members. Apply to AppDynamics
Fun and Informative Events
  • NoSQL Databases & Docker Containers: From Development to Deployment. What is Docker and why is it important to Developers, Admins and DevOps when they are using a NoSQL database? Find out in this on-demand webinar by Alvin Richards, VP of Product at Aerospike, the enterprise-grade NoSQL database. The video includes a demo showcasing the core Docker components (Machine, Engine, Swarm and Compose) and integration with Aerospike. See how much simpler Docker can make building and deploying multi-node, Aerospike-based applications!  

  • Discover the secrets of scalability in IT. The cream of the Amsterdam and Berlin tech scene are coming together during TechSummit, hosted by LeaseWeb for a great day of tech talk. Find out how to build systems that will cope with constant change and create agile, successful businesses. Speakers from SoundCloud, Fugue, Google, Docker and other leading tech companies will share tips, techniques and the latest trends in a day of interactive presentations. But hurry. Tickets are limited and going fast! No wonder, since they are only €25 including lunch and beer.
Cool Products and Services
  • Kinsta provides high speed, automatically scalable managed WordPress hosting services for businesses large and small. All servers run on Google Cloud and all individual sites are completely compartmentalized using the latest LXD technology. All sites include powerful SSH access and tools like Git and WP-CLI are available out-of-the-box.

  • Turn chaotic logs and metrics into actionable data. Scalyr is a tool your entire team will love. Get visibility into your production issues without juggling multiple tools and tabs. Loved and used by teams at Codecademy, ReturnPath, and InsideSales. Learn more today or see why Scalyr is a great alternative to Splunk.

  • InMemory.Net provides a Dot Net native in memory database for analysing large amounts of data. It runs natively on .Net, and provides a native .Net, COM & ODBC apis for integration. It also has an easy to use language for importing data, and supports standard SQL for querying data. http://InMemory.Net

  • VividCortex measures your database servers’ work (queries), not just global counters. If you’re not monitoring query performance at a deep level, you’re missing opportunities to boost availability, turbocharge performance, ship better code faster, and ultimately delight more customers. VividCortex is a next-generation SaaS platform that helps you find and eliminate database performance problems at scale.

  • MemSQL provides a distributed in-memory database for high value data. It's designed to handle extreme data ingest and store the data for real-time, streaming and historical analysis using SQL. MemSQL also cost effectively supports both application and ad-hoc queries concurrently across all data. Start a free 30 day trial here: http://www.memsql.com/

  • aiScaler, aiProtect, aiMobile Application Delivery Controller with integrated Dynamic Site Acceleration, Denial of Service Protection and Mobile Content Management. Also available on Amazon Web Services. Free instant trial, 2 hours of FREE deployment support, no sign-up required. http://aiscaler.com

  • ManageEngine Applications Manager : Monitor physical, virtual and Cloud Applications.

  • www.site24x7.com : Monitor End User Experience from a global monitoring network.

If any of these items interest you there's a full description of each sponsor below...

Categories: Architecture