Archive for July, 2013

Battlestar Galactica is Great SciFi – “So say we all!”

I just finished watching Battlestar Galactica Season 2 on Amazon Prime. I have been enjoying this re-imagined series while exercising, propping the iPad on the elliptical machine’s media shelf. It’s an entertaining way to sweat for 45 minutes. Battlestar Galactica aired on the SciFi channel from 2004 thru 2009. Total 4 seasons and the show’s wiki page helped guide which episodes to watch in the correct order to avoid spoilers. There are a few mini-series compilations and spinoffs as well. Eventually I’ll get through all the content in the original airing order.

I remember the original late 1970′s Battlestar Galactica starring Lorne Greene but didn’t pay much attention to the “new” 2004 era series except that it starred well know actors, including Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos. My re-introduction happened literally by stumbling across the 2003 pilot on Amazon Prime. The quality special effects, great writing, and intricate parallel plots hooked me. The references to topic-du-jour themes of intersection between science, religion & race are very entertaining and thoughtful. The acting across the board is fantastic. It’s amazing what the producers created even though not financed by a major TV network or movie production house.

If, like me, you originally scoffed at this show’s premise, now almost 10 years old since the first season, take another look.

Please post a comment if you know of other military-style SciFi video programs. I would like to find more of this genre.



Abundant Innovation @Sonian: June 2013

Abundant Innovation, Sonian Style – June 2013

I was honored to witness the creativity of the @sonian product development team at our June 2013 All-Team Meet-up. Our tradition the past five years is to hold a 24-hour Codefest where teams self-organize to work on a project they feel passionate about. Nearly all of these passion pursuits benefit Sonian in some way. I’m a lucky CTO / Founder!

For this meet-up 31 people across 9 teams created projects that will help Sonian save money or wow customers with new features. Awards were issued in two categories; Sizzle and Steak. Sizzle for a new customer-facing feature and Steak for an improvement in the behind-the-scenes platform. Each project is highlighted below in their presentation order.


Team: Big Brother (Winner: Sizzle Category)
Project: All your IM are Belongs to us

Vikram, Joel and Arnaud teamed up on a project demonstrating the capability to capture IM conversations using a proxy between the IM client and the server. Their implementation captures all conversations, encrypted or not, for compliance and data mining purposes. This is an important requirement for organizations subjected to regulatory information retention obligations.

The data collection is invisible to the end user because there is no software to install. A few issues still need to be resolved such as SSL certificate management and how to capture mobile device IM conversations. Archiving and analyzing IM data is especially important for the financial sector and other regulated industries.


Team: House of Targaryen
Project: Making Developers Happy

Alan, Josh, Scott and Ubiratan worked on a project to show how Continuous Integration (CI) techniques can improve quality by finding defects faster. This project demonstrated running tests as code is checked into source control. CI automated processes identify problems before the QA team begins their work, alerting the developer quickly before too much time passes.

This project can be rolled into production with just a few more days of work.


Team: Facts and Fun,
Project: Data Analysis for Fun and Profit (and Fun)

David, Raj, Steve and Robert demonstrated a new data management technology with a specialty to manage information that slowly changes over time. This is especially important for new features Sonian plans to roll out later this year.

The practical application is useful for snapshotting corporate directory, email folder coordination and many other use cases. This is also a general support system for data visualizations, meta data, etc. and compliments the use of ElasticSearch. An added bonus is lower operating costs for cloud infrastructure expenses.

Read more…