Exploring creativity at Semi Permanent 2018

Semi Permanent May 24-26, 2018 

Held in Carriageworks in Sydney this design conference has been going since 2003. It covers new design ideas, presentations of great media and advertising agency work and artists recalling their own journeys developing their work and careers. The presenters include directors, photographers, typographers and illustrators. It includes big names in the design industry – past conferences have hosted Pixar, Banksy, Weta digital, Oliver Stone and VICE media.

TEL Newsletter – June 2018

Shine’s TEL group was established in 2011, initially as a money-laundering operation. We publicise the great technical work that Shine does, and raise the company’s profile as a technical thought-leader in the community through blogs, local meetup talks, and conference presentations. We curate all the noteworthy things that Shiners have been up to and publish a newsletter, in accordance with a mystical schedule that you wouldn’t understand. Read on for this edition.

Implementing A/B Tests with Adobe Target & AngularJS Decorators

Web analytics tools are used to understand the behaviour of website visitors, and A/B testing is a technique that uses such tools to optimise a site. The tools facilitate this by giving you a means to measure and analyse site traffic and conversion.

Adobe Target is a real-time metrics-collection and reporting tool that is one of the most widely-used client-side analytics platforms available. In this blog, I’m going to talk about how to create an A/B test using Adobe Target and AngularJS, where the  ‘B’ version is swapped-in using Angular decorators.

Getting ya music recommendation groove on, this time on Amazon Web Services

In this blog series so far, I have presented the concepts behind a music recommendation engine, a music recommendation model for TensorFlow, and a GCP architecture to make it accessible via the web. The end result has been an ML model wrapped in a stand-alone service to give you predictions on-demand.

Before diving further into implementing more complicated ML models, I thought it would first be worth looking into how we could deploy our TensorFlow model into AWS. After some investigation, I’ve concluded that the better way is to use Lambda functions. In this post, I’ll explain why that’s the case, how you can do it, and an interesting pain point you have to keep in mind.

Let’s break the new ground!


Introducing column based partitioning in BigQuery

Some background

When we started using Google BigQuery – almost five years ago now – it didn’t have any partitioning functionality built into it.  Heck, queries cost $20 p/TB back then too for goodness’ sake!  To compensate for this lack of functionality and to save costs, we had to manually shard our tables using the well known _YYYYMMDD suffix pattern just like everyone else.  This works fine, but it’s quite cumbersome, has some hard limits, and your SQL can quickly becomes unruly.

Then about a year ago, the BigQuery team released ingestion time partitioning.  This allowed users to partition tables based on the load/arrival time of the data, or by explicitly stating the partition to load the data into (using the $ syntax).  By using the _PARTITIONTIME pseudo-column, users were more easily able to craft their SQL, and save costs by only addressing the necessary partition(s).  It was a major milestone for the BigQuery engineering team, and we were quick to adopt it into our data pipelines.  We rejoiced and gave each other a lot of high-fives.

Google Cloud Community Conference 2018

As a co-organizer for GDG Cloud Melbourne, I was recently invited to the Google Cloud Developer Community conference in Sunnyvale, California. It covered meetup organization strategies and product roadmaps, and was also a great opportunity to network with fellow organizers and Google Developer Experts (GDEs) from around the world.  Attending were 68 community organizers, 50 GDEs and 9 open source contributors from a total of 37 countries.

I would have to say it was the most social conference I have ever attended. There were a lot of opportunities to meet with people from a wide range of backgrounds. I also got many valuable insights into how I could better run our meetup and better make use of Google products. In this post I’ll talk about what we got up to over the two days.

Thoughts on the ‘AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate’ exam

A couple of weeks ago was a significant milestone in my 14-year IT career: I actually sat a certification exam. In this case, it was the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate Exam.

Despite some trepidation during my preparation for the exam, on the day I found it quite straightforward and came out with a pass mark. In this post I’m going to share some of my thoughts and notes in the hope that it will help others preparing to sit this exam.

Using Google Cloud AutoML to classify poisonous Australian spiders

Warning: This post contains pictures of spiders (and Spiderman)!

Google’s new Cloud AutoML Vision is a new machine learning service from Google Cloud that aims to make state of the art machine learning techniques accessible to non-machine learning experts. In this post I will show you how I was able, in just a few hours, to create a custom image classifier that is able to distinguish between different types of poisonous Australian spiders. I didn’t have any data when I started and it only required a very basic understanding of machine learning related concepts. I could probably show my Mum how to do it!

Getting ya music recommendation groove on with Google Cloud Platform! Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 of this blog series, we’ve seen how to implement an item-similarity model in TensorFlow, and the intuition behind various recommender models. It’s now time to have a high-level view of a recommendation project in the Google Cloud Platform. This will encompass all of our plumbing for the web service, so that it can be up and available on the web. I will outline two possible architectures – one where we deploy and manage TensorFlow ourselves using the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) , and the other using the fully-managed Cloud Machine Learning Engine (MLE).  You’ll also find how to communicate with the ML engine modules, and how to configure your computational clusters.

TEL Newsletter – February 2018

Shine’s TEL group was established in 2011 with the aim of publicising the great technical work that Shine does, and to raise the company’s profile as a technical thought-leader in the community through blogs, local meet up talks, and conference presentations. Every now and then (it started off as being monthly, but that was too much work), we curate all the noteworthy things that Shiners have been up to, and publish a newsletter. Read on for this month’s edition.