2012 Second Presidential Debate WordCloud

We like to do some ad-hoc text analysis from time to time to break things up a bit and work with new tools and software. We’ve done some similar things with Twitter #hashtag text analysis titled Michigan Lean Startup Conf. Twitter Visualizations.

In the spirit of the upcoming election and debates, I thought it would be interesting to put out some something to summarize the words used by both of the candidates in the 2012 Second Presidential Debate on October 16, 2012. We grabbed the text from here. We’re not diving into anything overly complex here but it does put last night’s debate in a different context that we found interesting.

The way the graphic turned out is interesting: president, governor, jobs, thats people. 

Link to the WordCloud: http://www.solidlogic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/wordcloud_debate_transcript.png

2012 Second Presidential Debate Word Cloud

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How to build a word cloud

The easiest way to build a word cloud is to use one of the great free online tools like Wordle to build the graphic. If you need a more customized approach or need to create something like this in software, you can use several software tools to make it a lot easier. More details to come on the methods and code behind this later on but its based on Python and R, both of which we use quite a bit for data analysis and development projects.   The code for this was created by myself and our CIO, Michael Bommarito. Its based on some of the work he’s previously made available here: Wordcloud of the Arizona et al. v. United States opinion and Archiving Tweets with Python.

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To get customized analysis like this, or to ask us anything else please use the contact us.

 

Website Security – Interesting 65Gbps DDos Case Study

The web can be a scary place with all sorts of website and internet security issues that may arise when you’re running a public facing site. Issues like cross site scripting, SQL injection, email harvesting, comment spam, DDos attacks and others, occur on a daily basis.

There are many different ways to combat these problems with varying levels of success. The is a huge industry of web security software and tools out there. The industry is changing rapidly due to changes in infrastructure because of cloud computing. The one approach that does not work well (and never has) is the set it and forget approach that many people use when they create a new site. Since website security is an on-going challenge, it’s best to use professional level services and stay up to date with everything. Unfortunately, some of these services can be quite pricey.

We take website security and performance very seriously and offer a range of services in these areas. We use multiple services and techniques to protect all of the public (and private) sites we create. One of the methods is a security service called CloudFlare which we will describe below and walk through a case study they published over the weekend.  Here is a quick overview of the service: CloudFlare is a quickly growing, venture capital backed web security and performance start-up.

CloudFlare presently serves over 65 BILLION (yes Billion, not Million) pageviews a month across their network of sites they support.

Here is some perspective on their size from a VentureBeat article: “We do more traffic than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined,” chief executive Matthew Prince told VentureBeat. “We’re about half of a Facebook, and this month we’ll surpass Yahoo in terms of pageviews and unique visitors.”

They have a great list of features:

  • Managed Security-As-A-Service
  • Completely configurable web firewall
  • Collaborative security and threat identification – Hacker identification
  • Visitor reputation security checks
  • Block list, trust list
  • Advanced security – cross site scripting, SQL injection, comment spam, excessive bot crawling, email harvesters, denial of service
  • 20+ data centers across globe
  • First-level cache to reduce server load and bandwidth
  • Site-level optimizations to improve performance

Over the weekend they had some interesting events happen in their European data centers and wrote a couple blog posts about it. Linked here and summarized below:

What Constitutes a Big DDoS?

A 65Gbps DDoS is a big attack, easily in the top 5% of the biggest attacks we see. The graph below shows the volume of the attack hitting our EU data centers (the green line represents inbound traffic). When an attack is 65Gbps that means every second 65 Gigabits of data is sent to our network. That’s the equivalent data volume of watching 3,400 HD TV channels all at the same time. It’s a ton of data. Most network connections are measured in 100Mbps, 1Gbps or 10Gbps so attacks like this would quickly saturate even a large Internet connection.

 

To launch a 65Gbps attack, you’d need a botnet with at least 65,000 compromised machines each capable of sending 1Mbps of upstream data. Given that many of these compromised computers are in the developing world where connections are slower, and many of the machines that make up part of a botnet may not be online at any given time, the actual size of the botnet necessary to launch that attack would likely need to be at least 10x that size.

 

In terms of stopping these attacks, CloudFlare uses a number of techniques. It starts with our network architecture. We use Anycast which means the response from a resolver, while targeting one particular IP address, will hit whatever data center is closest. This inherently dilutes the impact of an attack, distributing its effects across all 23 of our data centers. Given the hundreds of gigs of capacity we have across our network, even a big attack rarely saturates a connection.

 

At each of our facilities we take additional steps to protect ourselves. We know, for example, that we haven’t sent any DNS inquiries out from our network. We can therefore safely filter the responses from DNS resolvers. We can therefore drop the response packets at our routers or, in some cases, even upstream at one of our bandwidth providers. The result is that these types of attacks are relatively easily mitigated.

 

What was fun to watch was that while the customer under attack was being targeted by 65Gbps of traffic, not a single packet from that attack made it to their network or affected their operations. In fact, CloudFlare stopped the entire attack without the customer even knowing there was a problem. From the network graph you can see after about 30 minutes the attacker gave up. We think that’s pretty cool and, as we continue to expand our network, we’ll get even more resilient to attacks like this one.

Link to original post: http://blog.cloudflare.com/65gbps-ddos-no-problem

The big takeaway for us is that we’re in a better spot by using CloudFlare. There are very few security software tools or services out there that would be able to handle this sort of attack, mitigate it and then describe it in such a short period of time.

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Michigan Lean Startup Conf. Twitter Visualizations

Today I am out at the Michigan Lean Startup Conference in Grand Rapids, MI. The conference is put on by Momentum…catch us on Twitter @solidlogictech

Our new CIO, Michael Bommarito, created a couple quick visualizations of the activity of the Twitter hashtag for the conference #leanstartupmi. We used a combination of Python and R code to do this. We’ll update the charts after the conference concludes.

Here they are:



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Big Data: Wall Street & Technology Article

Summary:

‘Big Data’ holds big promise for Wall Street (and everyone else), but also comes with some complications and steep learning curve and a very tight labor market for people with these skills.

SLTI Commentary:

There are a lot of lessons that can be transferred from Wall Street firms into other industries. Of course the subject matter is going to be different, but the methods used to pull actionable outcomes or architect a technology solution are not all that different.  The challenge we see a lot of companies facing is how to get started down an analytical path. This is a daunting task since all of the talk in the industry is around functionality and feature sets. The tools available are very capable, but are generally racing ahead of the buyer’s ability to internalize the changes the tools and metrics recommend.

Source:

http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/articles/232901529

Freelance Designer Job Opportunity

We’re looking for freelance Graphics Designers!!!!!

Solid Logic Technology Inc. (SLTI) is a ‘virtual’ web and mobile application development company founded in early 2011. We’re based in Birmingham, MI but work out of remote offices across the globe. Our projects are cloud-based and ‘social’ in some way and integrate with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, 500px, Instagram, Flickr or other Web 2.0 sites. We’re growing and want to expand our artistic and graphics design team. We’re currently looking for freelance designers with experience in web graphical design, mobile app graphical design & print design.

Benefits for you:

  • Very competitive pay rates
  • Flexible work hours & times
  • Relaxed work environment – Work from your home office/coffee shop/wherever – no office to drive to
  • Use new/emerging technologies and techniques
  • Minimal bureaucracy, red tape or busywork

Requirements of you:

  • Undergraduate degree in Graphics Design, Web Design, Art, or similar experience
  • Experience and knowledge in various platforms of design including web, mobile and print
  • Be current and up to date with web & mobile UI/UX design trends, techniques, etc.
  • A current copy of your portfolio available online or in PDF form
  • Must be an effective communicator. Must be able to communicate design concepts, ideas and reasons for choices to SLTI management and clients
  • Ability and means to effectively present work in person or remotely (i.e. TeamViewer6, Webex, Skype, etc.)
  • Self-Motivated and able to meet deadlines
  • Personal laptop computer (current Mac or PC) and high-speed internet connection
  • Adobe Creative Suite CS4 or higher (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc.)

How to Apply:

Solid Logic Technology Inc. Company Overview & Background:

  • Solid Logic Technology Inc. (SLTI) is a ‘virtual’ web and mobile application development company founded in early 2011 by two experienced IT professionals.
  • SLTI partners have a combined 25+ years of software development experience across numerous industries
  • We use a distributed development model – We have no physical offices. All employees work remotely
  • We embrace lean start-up concepts and focus on constant learning and improvement.
  • Most of our employees (outside of managing partners) are freelance contractors
  • We develop both client projects (contract development) and internal properties that we then launch and manage
  • Our clients include established names and brands as well as new start-ups
  • We are very selective in the clients and client projects we take on – we don’t need to take a project in order to ‘pay the bills’
  • We love to build applications using emerging technology, design methods and functionality
  • Our value to clients is that we can provide enterprise-level software design and development skills, lean IT & startup expertise with unmatched flexibility and expertise
  • All of our IT infrastructure is in the cloud – SLTI has no physical data center to manage. All client and internal projects and information is securely stored in the cloud