The Case for Learned Index Structures

The Case for Learned Index Structures is the title of a recent article on how using neural network it is possible to create a faster and more efficient way to store and retrieve data.

That’s a case where Neural Networks can improve and change the established field of Data Structures and Algorithms. A great step forward for computer science and machine learning.

More on the paper:
The Case for Learned Index StructuresTim Kraska, Alex Beutel, Ed H. Chi, Jeffrey Dean, Neoklis Polyzotis
(Submitted on 4 Dec 2017 (v1), last revised 11 Dec 2017 (this version, v2))

Online Deep learning courses

Some very good courses are online and many are free of charge.

Practical Deep Learning For Code Free by Andrew Ng on Coursera. You have to pay for this course. But you can access the videos by selecting Enrol and then Audit. Coursera has other Machine learning courses for free.

Deep Learning Nanodegree by Sebastian Thrun and others on Udacity. You have to pay for this course.  In Udacity you can find also free courses, such as  the Deep Learning course by Google.

Life can be much broader than you think

“When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

Steve Jobs

Building a Real-Time Object Recognition App

If you are interested in testing and trying object recognition with TensorFlow, I recommend this Medium post:

Building a Real-Time Object Recognition App with Tensorflow and OpenCV.

I tried it and it works quite well and the available source code allows you to learn how this all works.











You should also read Dat Tran follow up post, that shows how to train the NN with your own images, to identify new objects.

How to train your own Object Detector with TensorFlow’s Object Detector API



The Art of Invisibility – How To Protect Your Privacy

A new book by Kevin Mitnick is out, The Art of Invisibility. A good read on how to protect our information and privacy online.

I am going to list the tools and software mentioned on that the book:


Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker: is intended to enable law enforcement and government agencies to access iCloud accounts.

iBrute: a password-hacking mechanism specifically designed for acquiring iCloud credentials from just about anyone.

oclHashcat: a password cracking tool that leverages GPU for high speed cracking

John the Ripper: password cracker to see if your account has been compromised in the past

Password Safe: passwords manager

KeepPass: passwords manager





Orbot free Tor app from Google Play, iOS install the Onion browser

EFF HTTPS Everywhere

DuckDuckGo private search engine private search engine

Geo Location check:


Adblock Plus

https://panopticl check your browser signature

NoScript Firefox defense against third party tracking

ScriptBlock for Chrome

CanvasBlocker for Firefox

CanvasFingerPrintBlock for Chrome

Facebook Disconnect for Chrome

Facebook Privacy List for Adblock Plus for Firefox and Chrome CCleaner android/iOs/PC/Mac

Experian and Axiom: companies gathering info about us





Tor Messenger

Silent Phone



aircrack-ng: can reveal the authorized MAC address of currently connected users to a WiFi router.

Reaver: can crack a WPS-enabled router within several hours

Cryptowall: it encrypts your entire hard drive, locking you out of every file until you pay the attacker


Transmit app on Mac or Tunnelier on Windows




make sure the service includes PFS (perfect forward secrecy), that does not block Tor and does not log the connections




Tails and Tor

BitLocker Disk encryption in Windows

PGP Whole Disk Encryption Disk encryption

WinMagic disk encryption for Windows

FileVault 2 Apple disk encryption

VeryCrypt Disk encryption

SpiderOak encrypted cloud storage

Network monitoring: Pwn Pulse identifies femtocells and even IMSI catchers such as StingRay (TriggerFish, Wolfpack, Gossamer)


Keyboard Privacy Chrome browser plugin

KeySweeper Keylogger

Shodan IoT devices a USB condom which allows you to safely plug into any USB charger or computer

Tumblers services that take Bitcoin from a variety of sources and mix or tumble them together so that the resulting Bitcoin retains its value but carries traces of many owners.


Vanilla Visa and Vanilla MasterCard gift cards, in Europe bitcoin wallet site. Using Tor, you can setup an initial Bitcoin wallet. to create an email accout without any request to my verify the identity,  using Tor

Other links/apps not on the book but important to know

In Android I would recommend: Keeppass2Android (password manager), OpenKeyChain: Easy PGP (manage PGP keys), K-9 email (PGP encryption through OpenKeyChain), Orbot and Orfox (Tor tools).

VPN: Freedome by F-secure

Chrome Plugins: CryptUp (encrypt Gmail with PGP), Privacy Badger (to avoid tracking cookies)



You have been watched

Processing power has increased, data storage is increasingly cheap and algorithms to analyze that makes sense of all the data exist and are continuously refined.

Smartphones, camera and other devices are connected to the Internet (defined ioT Internet of Things) and continuously capture data. Websites track our interactions and preferences, what we like and do not like; who we interact with and who are our friends. Google, Facebook and other services know where we live, where we work, the road we take and many other things.

In most cases, aware or not, we give this information for free in return for the services. These service monetizes our personal information by showing us ads or selling our info to other third party that will aggregate it and make sure they can make money out of it.

Our info is analyzed not only for commercial reasons, but also by governments that intercept and analyze Internet traffic and more.

A couple of examples:

Get your loved ones off Facebook.

Facebook image recognition

Are you heading toward a big brother scenario? Is there a way to defend ourselves?

Some tools:

Privacy Badger

F-Secure Freedome

Tor Browser

Book: Weapon of Math Destruction

Do it yourself online safety

Machine learning as a service

Machine learning is the ability to learn and make predictions using data. Data are the input and the output. A diverse set of skills set are required for manipulating large amount of data, defining the problem and the outcome, an understanding of the algorithms and an understanding of a lot of maths and statistics. Overall, machine learning is a complex task that requires advanced knowledge of different and complex subjects.

Fortunately a set of services are available that abstract the level of competencies required and they support data scientists and analysts in their tasks. At the end, what we really want is to make sense of our data and be able to make predictions about them.

The level of abstraction is important and allows the creation of more advanced services on top of machine learning cloud platforms.

Below a list of some of the most well known services in this space:

Amazon: Amazon Machine Learning – Predictive Analytics with AWS

Google Cloud Machine Learning

Microsoft: Azure Machine Learning

Watson Analytics: Guided and automated analytics from the cloud.

BigML: BigML: Machine Learning made easy

Ersatz: Hosted deep learning with GPUs

ForecastThis: automated predictive modeling solution