Monday, April 18, 2011

HCL - Ozone HRMS - Cloud Computing in Action

In my earlier posts I had discussed about the various Cloud computing applications put forward by various vendors like Google and Amazon. In this post I am going to discuss a new initiative that has been launched by HCL in the Cloud Computing domain. It is the HCL Ozone HRMS (Human Resource Management System). It is a SaaS and is a complete package suiting needs of HR management for any organization of any size.

The HCL O’zone HRMS offering is a comprehensive 360 degree HR management suite that includes several modules to help manage important organizational needs such as payroll management, appraisals, HR information and other essentials – a total of 18 comprehensive modules integrated into one system.

It has more than 18 different modules that fit into the HR operations for any organization:

HCL O’zone brings to you comprehensive human resource management solutions, implemented for your whole organization and available anytime, anywhere on the cloud. With the growth of services, human resource management has become a primary concern for almost every organization, be it an SME or a large enterprise. Easy access to information, clear policies and guidelines and efficient systems are just some of the things every employee expects these days.

To know more visit the official site of HCL Ozone.

Intel - Sandy Bridge -Changing the future

In coming months of 2011, Intel is going to launch a new series of processors that are going to spice up the computing world.

Intel has in the past month unveiled “the next evolution of the PC” featuring Sandy Bridge, its highly anticipated microprocessor. The processor takes advantage of the latest graphic technology and 32 nanometer silicon technology. In fact, Sandy Bridge is the first 32 nanometer based graphics engine in the industry.

Sandy Bridge is also the first microprocessor that integrates HD processor graphics, a shared L3 cache that is both part of the graphics card and the low power, high performance core side. It features 1.16 billion transistors on one chip. Which is impressive, considering the human brain has anywhere between 20-25 billion “transistors,” or synapses (artificial brains here we come!). Sandy Bridge’s advanced architecture gives users the ability to transcode (moving video from one format to another seamlessly) in record breaking time. For example, the processor can convert an HD formatted video into an iPad or iPhone format in under 16 seconds. The new processor also allows users to edit and watch 3D Blu-ray videos, and then send them wirelessly from a laptop to a large-screen digital TV.

Sandy Bridge is Intel’s best integration with Microsoft to date. As per estimates it will represent over 1/3 of Intel’s corporation’s revenue and a total of $125 billion dollars of revenue for the PC Industry. Watch the following video for more :

Sandy Bridge is a 32nm CPU with an on-die GPU. While Clarkdale/Arrandale have a 45nm GPU on package, Sandy Bridge moves the GPU transistors on die. Not only is the GPU on die but it shares the L3 cache of the CPU.

There are two different GPU configurations, referred to internally as 1 core or 2 cores. A single GPU core in this case refers to 6 EUs, Intel’s graphics processor equivalent (NVIDIA would call them CUDA cores). Sandy Bridge will be offered in configurations with 6 or 12 EUs.

While the numbers may not sound like much, the Sandy Bridge GPU is significantly redesigned compared to what’s out currently. Intel already announced a ~2x performance improvement compared to Clarkdale/Arrandale, and I can say that after testing Sandy Bridge Intel has been able to achieve at least that.

Both the CPU and GPU on SB will be able to turbo independently of one another. If you’re playing a game that uses more GPU than CPU, the CPU may run at stock speed (or lower) and the GPU can use the additional thermal headroom to clock up. The same applies in reverse if you’re running something computationally intensive.

On the CPU side little is known about the execution pipeline. Sandy Bridge enables support for AVX instructions, just like Bulldozer. The CPU will also have dedicated hardware video transcoding hardware to fend off advances by GPUs in the transcoding space.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cloud Computing and Open Source

Cloud Computing is also bringing about vast changes of how the Open Source market work out in the future. Below is the video where Red Hat’s CTO Brian Stevens sits down with Kym McNicholas of the Forbes Network and discusses the current and future potential impact of open source on cloud computing.  Brian paints a realistic and pragmatic picture of where cloud is today and where it is going.

A very good presentation in which the Open Source in Cloud Computing era is discussed is as follows:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Named Arguments in .Net 4.0

Named Arguments in .Net 4.0

A new feature has been introduced in .Net 4.0 which is of immense use for coders. The feature is Named Arguments. To understand what does it do first I would create a scenario which would help better understand the need of Named Arguments.

Often when we write methods implementing a logic we require some input parameters. These parameters are passed to the method. Now the problem is that the sequence in which the parameters are to be passed to the method should be same as the sequence in which the arguments are defined in the method signature.

Class MyClass
    public void MyMethod(int id, string name, double salary, string department)

So if I want to call this method I have to pass the arguments in the same sequence as defined in the method signature.

MyClass obj = new MyClass();

obj.MyMethod(100, "Jai", 7500, "Software");

If I would pass the arguments to the method in some other sequence it would give error.

obj.MyMethod(100, "Jai", "Software", 7500); //compiler error as parameters are in wrong sequence

Further many a times we make methods that have many arguments and it is difficult to remember their sequence. This often leads to compile time errors and a headache for the developer !

To overcome this .Net 4.0 has come up with a new feature viz. Named Arguments. They enable you to call the method and pass the parameters in any order. All we need to do is to specify the parameter name for each argument. The following example will make it clear:

obj.MyMethod(name: "Jai", department: "Software", salary: 7500, id: 100);

Here I have given the argument name along with its value. This is the way to implement Named Arguments. The sequence of the arguments as defined in the method signature does not matter any more. Another advantage is that is improve the readability of the code by identifying what each argument represents.

There is a constraint in Named Arguments also. A named argument can follow positional argument, as shown below:

obj.MyMethod(100, "Jai", department: "Software", salary: 7500);

Here first two parameters as passed in exact position (i.e. positional argument), but the other two are passed as Named Argument.

But a positional argument cannot follow a named argument, as shown below:

obj.MyMethod(name: "Jai", salary: 7500, id: 100, "Software");

Here the last parameter is in exact position (i.e. positional parameter) but the other three are passed as Named Argument. This is not allowed and the compiler will show an error.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Google Cloud Connect - Cloud Computing in Action

In my last two posts I had discussed Google Cloud Print and Amazon Cloud Drive and Player. Both are the example of Cloud Computing in Action. After launching Google Cloud Print, Google has come up with another innovative idea for implementation of Cloud Computing. It is Google Cloud Connect. This is a service by which one can save his office documents on the cloud and sync them at anytime with your system documents. The documents can be Word, Excel or PowerPoint. This really spice up the Cloud Computing Applications and has broken the boundaries between the products of rivals ! Google Cloud Computing is a perfect example for this as Google has build a service over its cloud which is supporting Microsoft Office product documents !!! Lets see what the other competitors respond to it - especially Microsoft. :)  And as always this feature from Google is FREE of cost. Looking carefully one would find that this is a step ahead of the previous Google offering: Google Docs.

Available for free download, the toolbar enables users to directly save their MS Office work into Google's server farms located all over the world, from any device. Google's strategy to embed its apps inside MS Office suite, which forms almost a third of its $62 billion annual sales will be a direct hit into Microsoft's prime bread source after Windows, if successful. Once logged in to a Google account, the toolbar automatically keeps saving any document being currently worked upon on to a Google server farm. The catch is that your PC should once in a while be connected to the internet, to get it synced with the cloud.

Now let us see how to install Google Cloud Connect. What we need to do is to download the installer of Google Cloud Connect on our system.

Once installed it will give a new toolbox in the Office application. Whenever we want to sync to the cloud our document just click on the toolbox Sync option and the document will be updated. Also we get the feature in which we can update our document in the offline edit mode, and whenever we get online the document will be updated on the cloud. So we can also work in offline edit mode.

Let us understand how Google Cloud Connect works. Google cloud Connect tracks, manages and syncs all changes on your Microsoft Office documents into one updated version for each document. Each document that you sync through Google Cloud Connect gets a unique URL, or web address, that you can share with collaborators through IM or email. Depending on the privacy setting you’ve selected for the document, other people will be able to click this link and view the document in the browser. Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office lets you easily share documents with other people. When you add someone as an editor in a document, they receive an e-mail letting them know that a document has been shared with them. From there, they can open a link to view the document in the browser, or if they want to make edits, they can download the document and open it in Microsoft Office. When another editor edits a document in Microsoft Office, all changes get synced to and will be reflected on your screen.

The following video explains how the Google Cloud Connect works:

Google Cloud Connect works for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files for users of Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. It supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. It is currently not available for Macs. Also only Microsoft Office has been targeted as it has around 90% of the market. In future OpenOffice will also be included in the Google Cloud Connect. Also a version for Macs is expected to be out by the year 2011 end.

System requirements and supported file types

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office works on the following operating systems. It is not available for Macs. Following are the version of Windows supported:

  •     Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)
  •     Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit)
  •     Windows XP with .NET Framework 2.0

Google Cloud Connect works with Microsoft® Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. It supports syncing with the following Microsoft Office file types:

   Word file types:
  •         .DOC - Word 97-2003 document
  •         .DOCX - Word 2007 or 2010 document
  •         .DOTX - Word 2007 or 2010 template
  •         .DOCM - Word 2007 or 2010 macro-enabled document

    Excel® file types:
  •         .XLS - Excel 97-2003 spreadsheet
  •         .XLT - Excel 97-2003 template
  •         .XLSX - Excel 2007 or 2010 workbook
  •         .XLSM - Excel 2007 or 2010 macro-enabled workbook

    PowerPoint® file types:
  •         .PPT - PowerPoint 97-2003 presentation
  •         .POT - PowerPoint 97-2003 template
  •         .PPS - PowerPoint 97-2003 show
  •         .PPTX - PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 presentation
  •         .POTX - PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 template
  •         .PPSX - PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 show
  •         .PPTM - PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 macro-enabled presentation
  •         .POTM - PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 macro-enabled template

Some of these file types are not supported by the Google Docs Viewer, so you might not be able to preview the doc. If you try to do so, you'll see a message that no preview is available. Even if a document can't be previewed, it will still sync as expected. Also note that the above file types are supported for files up to 50MB. Larger files are not currently supported.

Following video explains how to sync the document from the Cloud using Google Cloud Connect:

Further Readings

Download the Google Cloud Connect Microsoft Plugin here.
For more on the Google Cloud Connect read this article.
For more on Google Cloud Connect, Google Docs and related FAQ refer the Google Help.


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