Bitcoin, and the Blockchain technology it is based, upon has seen a huge boost in popularity the last couple of months, due mainly to the fact that it's price has almost doubled in the last 30 days of this writing. This can be attributed to three factors as I see it.
- The Japanese government has officially recognized it as a currency, 40% of the Bitcoin market is Japanese. Additionally, Japanese and Chinese currencies are on a downward price spiral.
- Fears of its Blockchain technology being limited to a certain number of transactions has been overcome by a successful split thereby increasing its transaction size, by a sister Blockchain product known as Litecoin.
- Impressive predictions of the Bitcoin price going up by proven visionaries, like the Snapchat initial investor, Jeremy Liew, predicting a price of $500,000 by 2030 http://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-price-could-be-500000-by-2030-first-snapchat-investor-says-2017-3
I first got into Bitcoin back in 2014 when it was first rising in popularity, showing impressive gains in price. I bought some mining machines and generated a few Bitcoins, however, due to the Mt Gox Bitcoin Exchange scandal where a billion dollars of Bitcoin was lost, the price dropped to a point it didn't make sense to mine anymore.
What really caught my geek interest with Bitcoin is the Blockchain technology it is based upon. Being both a CPA and computer geek, this technology fascinates me. Simply put a Blockchain is a series of unique data transactions (or blocks) secured from tampering and revision that are tied together across distributed systems. Blockchains are suitable for the recording of events securely, like medical records, currencies, voting and really any type of secure transactions.
The Microsoft Cloud Azure now offers Blockchain as a Service, that I am currently investigating https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/blockchain/. A new Blockchain called Ethereum is being hosted there and it appears to be a more generic implementation, taking into account more varied transaction types than the financially focused Bitcoin implementation.
It certainly appears that Bitcoin and Blockchain are here to stay and become even a more major player in our day to day life,
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For our 23rd annual Holiday Party, we couldn't think of a better Geek holiday to celebrate than National Pi Day, even if it will be on the 15th and not the 14th. Pi Day was recognized as a National Holiday due to the work of long time GCUG enthusiast, Jonathon Zuck, now President of ACT The App Association back in 2009.
Back for some killer User Interface presentations are our usual suspects of speakers Tim Huckaby (12th appearance) and Billy Hollis (4th appearance).
A Developers Introduction to HoloLens by Billy Hollis
Windows Holographic and the HoloLens device promises to open new doors for developers and customers. This session will introduce you to the world of Windows Holographic and HoloLens. You'll learn what you need to get started, what programming skills you can already leverage and what you need to learn. Just as the web and WPF changed how applications were designed and built, Windows Holographic introduces additional design and development constraints. You'll see how you can develop for HoloLens even if you don't have a device. You'll see HoloLens in action and have a chance to try HoloLens out yourself.
The Future in UX and Cortana Cognitive APIs by Tim Huckaby
Timmy takes you into future of User Interface design by enabling natural and contextual interaction with tools that augment users' experiences using the power of machine-based intelligence. He shows how to tap into an ever-growing collection of powerful artificial intelligence algorithms for vision, speech, language, and knowledge.
One of the hottest IT terms for a work definition being bandied around currently is that of Data Scientist. A somewhat new workplace title that takes in a lot of technical abilities. A nice succinct definition of Data Scientist is "a person that analyzes digital data to assist in making business decisions". This definition has evolved from a Data Analyst or Business Intelligence(BI) Analyst due to applying technologies like Machine Learning, Big Data and statistics. But what does it take to become a Microsoft Data Scientist (MDS)? This post looks at the differing technologies and tools that define the position MDS and gives you links to a couple of free courses to get you started as a MDS.
Core Fundamentals for a MDS include querying relational data with SQL, analyzing and presenting data using Excel and/or Power BI (specializing in at least one) and a basic understanding of statistics. If you took statistics in college, this is the level we are talking about.
Core Data Science skills include the ability to take that understanding of statistics and data and be able to manipulate it in a statistical scripting language to analyze the data. The two most popular scripting languages for this purpose are R and Python. The MDS should have a proficiency in one of these. A basic understanding of Machine Learning (ML) is a core skill. ML is basically the capability of computers to learn with explicit programming with the main uses of predictive analysis, identification of outliers (threats/malfunctions) and pattern recognition such as speech, text and facial. Microsoft tooling around ML is Azure ML Studio, which allows you build ML experiments with supporting datasets, integration with R/Python/SQL and turn your ML models into Web Services.
Applying your Data Science skills requires a proficiency in R or Python. It also takes the capability of building complex Azure ML Experiments in Azure ML Studio which gives you a process design surface to integrate data, the scripting languages referred to earlier and many different statistical algorithms to create sophisticated ML models. Azure ML also gives you the elastic scaling power that the ML models require. Other areas of specialization in applying Data Science with Microsoft tooling are Predictive Models with Spark in Azure HDInsight and developing Intelligent Applications including use of the Microsoft Cognitive APIs.
If you want to get started with the Microsoft tooling around Data Science here are a couple of free EDX courses for you to get started. There will be a complete Microsoft Certified Data Scientist Curriculum in the future.
DAT204x: Introduction to R for Data Science
DAT203.1x: Data Science Essentials
By Joe Homnick, CPA and Microsoft Regional Director
August 11th at 6PM NSU in Davie
Joe gives an introduction to working with Machine Learning with both Azure ML Studio and the R Language that is now integrated into SQL Server 2016. Azure ML Studio incorporates a visual method to generate ML model integration into apps such as Power BI, while R is a statistical programming language that can call ML Models and is integrated into SQL Server 2016 TSQL. Joe will compare and contrast the two approaches to ML integration and also show how they can be complimentary.
Join Joe to get an overview of the new capabilities and innovations specific to Business Intelligence in the upcoming release of SQL Server 2016. He will cover details of the new features added in SQL Server Analysis Services and SQL Server Reporting Services. Joe will also provide a look ahead outlining Microsoft's future plans for BI capabilities beyond SQL Server 2016.
Organization scenarios where SharePoint and Homnick Systems (HSI)
Have you ever found yourself sending the same email attachment
over and over again?
Have you dug through your emails laboriously, trying to pick up a
conversation where you left off?
What about tracking changes you made to documents with versions?
Would you like to setup approval and/or collect signatures
workflows on document creation and changes?
Do you have a requirement to control how a document is disposed
How do we setup a centralized Calendar and Meeting system?
It sure would be nice to have a controlled and secure system to
deliver Intranet information by our Department without the need for developers
or IT workers!
Could I be alerted when documents, tasks, calendars, contacts,
These are the kinds of problems that SharePoint is designed to
minimize. It’s meant to transform intranet communications into a seamless and
comprehensive experience. It automates all the redundancy out of your
organization’s workflow, so that you can focus on your core organization’s
operations. In other words, it’s a way to transform technology from a
distraction into a catalyst.
SharePoint’s core functions are to:
1. Collaborate – Easily create teams
that communicate effectively
2. Organize – Simplify the process
of finding information in documents and conversations
3. Share – Make sure everybody who
needs to be up to date on something easily is
4. Manage – Easily track and manage
Finally, one of the primary benefits of SharePoint over the
alternatives is the fact that it’s powered by Microsoft, so it works together
seamlessly with Office and Outlook.
Systems helped us to setup an Intranet Portal with SharePoint that replaced
our outdated Portal solution. We can disseminate information in a secure and
controlled fashion that is driven from data posted from the different
departments. This is all accomplished without IT Developers being involved.”
Miami International Airport Director
By Joe Homnick, CPA and Microsoft Regional Director
Florida.Net @ Cendyn Spaces in Boca Raton Jan 19 6:30pm RSVP
SoFla CodeCamp at Nova University Feb 20 RSVP
Joe is doing a Hands-on session showing how to
setup a Raspberry Pi with Windows 10 and then capture sensor data to Cortana
Analytics and Power BI. He will walk you
through deploying a Universal Windows App to the Raspberry Pi that will capture
sensor data and send that data to a Cortana Analytics Event Hub. Cortana Stream
Analytics then picks up that sensor data from the Event Hub and delivers it to
a real time Power BI Dashboard. Come join Joe for an informative and fun
Homnick Systems can help you setup your Cortana Analytics Suite and Power BI system
Contact me about Cortana Analytics and Power BI
If you are
asking these types of questions when doing strategic planning in your business,
then Cortana Analytics and Power BI can help.
will our profit go up if we merge with company XYZ?
the best ways to take advantage of cross-selling to our customers?
What is the
Social Media impact to our product strategy?
How can we
detect fraud before it happens?
How can we
gain operational efficiency in powering our buildings?
Is everyone in your supply chain pulling in the same
Power BI and Cortana Analytics Suite is a fully managed
big data and advanced analytics suite that transforms your data into intelligent
Power BI and Cortana Analytics,
implements years of Microsoft research and innovation – spanning technology
& infrastructure for advanced analytics. Capabilities include
machine learning, big data storage and processing in the cloud and Dashboards
and Visualization with Power BI. This results in helping enterprise customers
make better, faster decisions to accelerate their speed of business.