Archive for the ‘Computer Programming’ category

Artificial Intelligence, Deep Neural Networks and Deep Learning: Oh My!!

May 26, 2015
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♥In Love with Technology♥

I can’t explain how much I love learning about technological breakthroughs. I’m not scared in the least bit by much when it comes to the forefront of intellectualism. I recently read a hard copy article in the May 2015 issue of The Economist titled Artificial intelligence:
Rise of the machines. The byline says… “artificial intelligence scares people—excessively so?” Really? What a bunch of wimps!! People continue to fight enlightenment, progression and change to stay in boxes they have built. Not me.

At a speech in October 2014 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a scholar said that artificial intelligence (AI) was “summoning the demon.” People are paranoid that machines will take over in employment’s race for productivity. With industry powerhouses like Google and Amazon buying AI start-up companies, maybe human worries are justified? We will just find other jobs right? It’s called perseverance.

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•Photo I snapped while reading the article in the library.•

Will computers continue to replace some of the things that people normally do? Probably. I loved this quote. “The torrent of data thrown off by the world’s internet-connected computers, tablets and smartphones, and the huge amounts of computing power now available for processing that torrent, means that their algorithms are more and more capable of understanding languages, recognizing images and the like.” Why didn’t I visit the San Diego Supercomputer Center many years ago when I had the chance? I also could have ditched my conference last October to go there! Now that would have been a real memory to cherish!

The article in The Economist said “signs of the AI boom are everywhere.” Google recently paid $400 million for DeepMind. Have you ever heard of DeepMind? If not, you should so check it out!! Pure awesomeness if you like video games. Just Google it and see. There is also a great article in The New Yorker which discusses how deep neural networks operate. Deep neural networks are used by companies like DeepMind. These artificial networks are much like the neural networks in the human brain. It is amazing to read about.

The newest form of AI tied to deep neural networks is now capable of “deep learning!” Computers can learn through the analysis of large amounts of data using algorithms. Freak out on the algorithm Facebook recently deployed. Did you think you were anonymous in that untagged photo? Think again… DeepFace “can recognise specific human faces in images around 97% of the time, even when those faces are partly hidden or poorly lit.” I want to be that smart and write programs like this. It’s not fair!! Male engineers created DeepFace and I give them tons of respect, but why are intelligent women often seen as  domineering? That’s not fair either.

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•Smart Woman Army•

Another thing I found interesting in the article was that since most data is labeled by humans, and algorithms need that data to learn better, another race is on. It is a race to develop “unsupervised-learning” algorithms. This way, the need for human labeling is basically eliminated. How accurate will it be? I guess we will see. Artificial neural networks were invented in the 1950s by people with big brains who wanted bigger, faster, more accurate brains! I lovvvvve brains!! I am so not turned off by them!! Haha… These smart people were simulating the neurons and electrochemicals in a human brain to create artificial intelligence. It worked!!

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♦"Just watch! Imma make my perfect woman!" (Dr.J before the chemical waste accident that birthed The Joker and this is not Harley Quinn)♦

If you are a brave fellow intellectual and enjoy all things mind blowing, you should read the article in The Economist. It so so worth the read. You can also learn about the interesting problem with AI. Do you know the one thing people can immediately identify that a computer simply can’t define? Porn… Yes… pornography. I guess machines provide plenty of access to porn, but don’t ask a damn machine to intelligently recognize porn lol. We can leave that type of analysis to the humans!

Vu Digital Translates Videos Into Structured Data

May 4, 2015

This is awesome! It basically extracts descriptive metadata!!! Nice!! Useful for sure!
~~~Felicia

Unique Identifiers: A Closer Look at Biometric Technology in New Mexico

December 3, 2014
Biometrics_by Felicia Lujan_December2014

|Biometrics~ A digital composite by Felicia Lujan. This composite is composed of 13 layers, 8 masks, 3 color overlays, and a Gaussian blur. The composite includes images of binary code and components of ocular, palm vein, and voice recognition scans.|


**NOTE: This research was
not intended to promote or
renounce the use of biometric
systems, though I do find the
technology extremely interesting
and useful in most cases. I
understand that the use
of this technology is considered
controversial by some. I intend
to continue my exploration into
how biometric technology is
being used around the world
for the greater good.

________________________________
I am an archivist with a deep love of technology, which is one reason I pursued a masters level certification in digital information management. A little over a week ago, I was in a meeting that reignited my interest in biometrics. I must admit that I was naïve in my assumption that my state was not a pioneer in this industry. First off, I didn’t know that the central nervous system of New Mexico state government (aka the State Data Center at the Department of Information Technology) utilizes biometric technology as a method of security. After that meeting I came home curious about how involved New Mexico is when it comes to biometric research and implementation. The writer, the researcher, the analyst, the special agent in me took over and that night I added biometric engineer to my list of dream jobs that I would love to have. So…what type of education does a biometric engineer need? Most commonly, a biometrics engineer has: a computer science degree; a computer language certification like Java or C++; and good problem-solving, people, and technical skills.

I found an informative link online titled “Become a Biometrics Engineer: Education and Career Roadmap.” Hum? Well, according to this plan, there are only 7 “popular schools” specializing in advancing a career in biometrics. The page said that “biometric technologies include complex equipment designed to analyze personal identification markers unique to each individual, such as fingerprints, ear lobes, vein patterns, voices, and iris shapes.” Through this research, I discovered that the technology is not limited to “individuals” or people here in New Mexico. I did know that biometric engineers were software developers, but there was a lot that I didn’t know before I embarked upon this research over the Thanksgiving break. Ear lobes? Veins? Hum? Didn’t know those were used as unique identifiers? We are all well aware of the TV shows touting the sexy use of biometrics, like CSI and most recently my beloved Scandal, but that’s just on TV right? A dead guy’s index finger couldn’t possibly be used to confirm his identity? Could it Shonda? Maybe I should ask Chien Le?

The most information dense white paper I discovered was written by Chien Le of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in November of 2011. Le wrote A Survey of Biometrics Security Systems and his research introduced biometric security systems. It also outlined application fields for biometric technologies, solutions, middle-ware and software, advantages and disadvantages, acronyms, and the future uses of biometrics. Damn! Chien Le beat me to the punch didn’t he?! Here it was…all laid out for my thirsty mind. Le’s paper says there are “seven basic criteria for biometric security systems.” These are “uniqueness, universality, permanence [hummm?? Do I hear digital preservation?], collectability, performance, accessibility and circumvention.” I don’t completely understand some of the criteria, but it was very useful to read over the types of biometric solutions outlined by Le. Current technologies include: facial recognition detectors, fingerprint readers, voice recognition, iris scanners, vein recognition, DNA biometric systems, and 2D barcode scanners, among others.

This technology can have good uses, but there are many privacy advocates who are against the use of any biometrics. In December of 2013, Scientific American published Biometric Security Poses Huge Privacy Risks by Oliver Munday with a byline which read “without explicit safeguards, your personal biometric data are destined for a government database.” The article starts with the sentence “security through biology is an enticing idea.” Yeah it is. Is that all it is though? An idea? I think not. Maybe I’m not worried about privacy as much as I should be? The article is basically a call to United States Congress for “lasting protections against the misuse of biometric data.” Munday quoted an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who seems to fear that biometric data will be used genetically to test for criminal predisposition. I’m actually not sure that’s a bad thing? I guess my only concerns at this point would be relative to health information and insurance coverage. When it comes to physical security and data security, personally, I think that biometric technology is necessary. It is a way to uniquely protect data, which in the end equals the preservation of knowledge and heightened security.

Over the weekend I started whittling through what I found. I read a great deal of articles and a few white papers before I started to look at projects going on closer to home. The more I researched this topic, the more information I found. I was most interested in how biometric systems actually work, so I focused my mind on the technical aspects. I had questions like…what are the major components of a biometric system? Who uses these systems? One of my questions was answered in Le’s paper. I have a sore throat now, so last night I wondered…what if a person needed to use voice recognition and something was wrong with their voice? How is that accounted for in designing a successful system? According to Le, there was no solution. A voice recognition system will not recognize a hoarse voice wave. So now that we have some background on the basics of biometrics, let’s take a look at what I found going on right here in my state. I was able to locate information on at least ten concrete areas where biometric technology is being used in New Mexico from at least 2003-2014. I’m sure there are many projects I missed, but frankly, this could be a thesis and maybe even a dissertation. This is just a quick look at highly visible projects I came across over the last week.

We will start with the New Mexico Department of Information Technology (DoIT) since it is a meeting with this office that rekindled my interest in this technology. DoIT is “responsible for infrastructure IT services provided 24x7x365 which includes: the State’s telecommunications system, two-way public safety radio, digital microwave, the State’s core data network and internet connectivity, and the State’s Data Center.” It is here, in the State Data Center where biometric technologies are being used for data security. I felt impressed with my state when I learned that and tomorrow I will get a tour of the center. “The State’s Data Center provides a secure facility with redundant power and cooling which houses many of the State’s critical IT systems including the State’s mainframe and agency servers. This division also provides enterprise system services which include the State’s consolidated email system…” It will be interesting to see what type of biometric security the agency is using as of late. I am guessing a finger or palm scanner?

The two strangest projects I found information on were tied to the use of biometrics on kids and animals in New Mexico. On April 3, 2013, there was a news release put out by KOAT (channel 7) titled Los Lunas School Offers Biometric Scans at Lunch. What? Seriously? Yes. Seriously. The school apparently tried to implement a palm vein scanner in the lunch room instead of good old meal tickets or cards. Parents were not happy about the suggestion of using infrared wavelengths (electromagnetic radiation) during the lunch hour to ID their children. The parents fought off the proposal which would have allowed scanners to recognize a unique vein pattern in the child’s palm and they won. I wasn’t sure which seemed stranger…scanning kids or scanning animals? I also read about how the New Mexico livestock industry is using Retinal Vascular Pattern (RVP) for livestock identification. RVP is the pattern of blood vessels at the back of the eye. It’s is being called the new way of branding animals. I wonder how ranchers feel about that since they must prefer the old burn and freeze methods? What’s a brand without cowboy symbology right?

I discovered that the national labs and the air force bases are also using biometrics. Of course, this was no surprise. I read a white paper Chris Aldridge prepared for Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in June of 2013. Sandia Report No. SAND2013-4922 is titled Mobile Biometric Device (MBD) Technology: Summary of Selected First Responder Experiences in Pilot Projects. This report was concentrated on the use of MBDs to enroll individuals in databases and perform “identification checks of subjects in the field area,” for “military, law enforcement, and homeland security operations.” The report was a multi-agency/multi-state project with 3M Cogent Systems and involved: Iowa, Colorado, California, D.C., Texas, Washington (Seattle), Arizona, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Idaho. I think the most interesting part of this study used a “mock prison riot” for first responders out of West Virginia. We all know how critical that information is given New Mexico’s prison riot history. Many of the agencies studied for this report are using “Fusion devices.” Fusion was developed by 3M Cogent Systems for the Department of Defense. A large part of studies in this field are tied to law enforcement, but currently the technology trend is leaning towards cyber security.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) says biometrics are important because they: secure facilities, protect access to computer networks, counter fraud, screen people at our borders, and fight crime. The NIST says this technology is used to manage identities for: first responders at the scene of a natural disaster, border patrol, soldiers in theater, and police officers on the street. It makes sense that the following projects are closely related to the projects cited in the Sandia report. In New Mexico, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to support criminal justice DNA databases. The National DNA Index System or NDIS is part of CODIS. The FBI uses biometrics to analyze data from DNA databases and for latent print analysis. Holloman Air Force Base is using the 49th Security Forces Defense Biometric Identification System which is comprised of hand-held scanners. The scanners are used to screen people entering the base to verify the access authorization. Identity is established using barcode technology and fingerprints. In February of 2011, it was announced that Santa Fe County was using biometrics to “remove aliens convicted of a crime.” It can also be noted that between 2003 and 2005, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) researched the use of biometrics in handgun grips while working with a New Mexico biometrics company. The NAE was interested in developing biometric grip sensors, but a 2005 report declared the tests a failure.

I also located evidence of the health care systems in New Mexico using biometric technology. The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) offers Biometrics Screening Services as part of Employee Health Plans. These screenings are said to align with recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Ommmm…Maybe this is where my privacy fears rest? In 2013, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine released a Joint Consensus Statement on Biometric Health Screening for Employers. According to the “statement,” the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines biometric screenings as “the measurement of physical characteristics such as height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and aerobic fitness that can be taken at the worksite and used as part of a workplace health assessment to benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health status over time.” I am a fitness freak, but that seems crazy? What if something is wrong with me and I don’t know? The statement outlines the “purpose of screenings” and I found it kind of scary. What if they find out I experience shortness of breath or I’m genetically predisposed to cancer? Will they drop me from my insurance plan?

In New Mexico health circles, I also located a “Fingerprint Techniques Manual,” which was prepared by the New Mexico Department of Health. The manual had very interesting graphic illustrations on the fundamentals of fingerprints. This training tool covered from patterns to arches to loops to lines to deltas to cores to whorls to scars of the fingerprints. The machines can read all these intricate things. The Division of Health Improvement uses this technology as part of the Caregivers Criminal History Screening Program. Makes more sense than the biometric screenings. I feel comfortable with this use. This type of use can protect people from abuse or other forms of criminal activity. I was rather impressed with the 36 page manual. It reminded me that about 15 years ago I applied for a finger print technician position with the Department of Public Safety. I was crushed to learn that these people don’t make very much. I don’t know…I guess you have to be a biometrics engineer to make it out there!? What I do know is that I found a great deal of information about how New Mexico is actively participating in the biometric industry.

I gained useful knowledge through this research into biometrics and then regurgitating what I learned. My son just asked me what I was writing about and when I told him he looked at me with the curiosity that I love and see in myself. I told him “I’m writing about biometrics. Do you know what that is?” I explained with words and then decided it was easier to show a nine year old a catchy tech video with visual candy. Together we learned about the future of biometric systems. Between October and November of this year there were several videos on the use biometric technology. The National Science Foundation released information on a project by a young man studying the use of ocular biometrics in the video game industry for disabled people. In October the Telegraph out of the United Kingdom released a video declaring that we would simply kill passwords with biometrics and CBS news declared that biometric palm scans will help keep hospitals secure.

The future of biometrics is here. It is everywhere and happening all around us. Biometrics is about identifying who we are and not who we say we are. Tonight I learned that the most accurate method for a biometric reading is the heartbeat or an electrocardiogram (ECG). Makes sense ha? It’s symbolic actually. Symbolic because the heart is at our biometric core. It is the giver of life. The heart represents how we feel and who we are. That beat is indeed is a unique identifier.


Sources:

News release, Santa Fe County and All New Mexico Now Benefit from ICE Strategy to Use Biometrics to Identify and Remove Aliens Convicted of a Crime, released on ice.gov, February 15, 2011

White paper, A Survey of Biometrics Security Systems by Chien Le, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Washington University, November 28, 2011

News release, Los Lunas School Offers Biometric Scans at Lunch, released on koat.com, April 3, 2013

White paper, Mobile Biometric Device (MBD) Technology: Summary of Selected First Responder Experiences in Pilot Projects by Chris Aldridge, Sandia Report No. SAND2013-4922, prepared by Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, June 2013

Article, Biometric Security Poses Huge Privacy Risks by Oliver Munday, released on scientificamerican.com, December 17, 2013

Publication, Fingerprint Techniques Manual, prepared by New Mexico Department of Health, Division of Health Improvement, Caregivers Criminal History Screening Program, no date

Various internet searches for basic information in articles and videos

IO launches an OpenStack cloud running on open source servers

February 1, 2014

~~~Awesome. •••Felicia

Gigaom

Modular data center expert IO is getting into the cloud provider business, launching a new service called IO.Cloud that’s built using Open Compute server designs and runs the OpenStack cloud computing operating system.

That’s a lot of open source, but the company seems to think it’s necessary. According to the IO.Cloud website: “IO.Cloud is built on Open Compute because it provides our engineers with the flexibility to configure and optimize the hardware specifically for scale cloud deployments … IO.Cloud uses OpenStack Cloud components that are interoperable and designed to support standardized hardware implementations.”

IO is pitching IO.Cloud as an enterprise cloud offering, and if it plans to legitimately compete against larger cloud providers for those workloads, the company and its cloud can use any advantages they can get. IO.Cloud is available in hosted and on-premises versions, and the Open Compute hardware almost certainly will let IO operate its public cloud infrastructure more efficiently, as well…

View original post 421 more words

Death of the Algorithm

July 2, 2013

It is so strange and other~ish that it
becomes a stream~of~consciousness
algorithm unto itself~
something almost inhuman.”

~ Jerry Saltz ~
(American Art Critic)


An algorithm is used in mathematics as a detailed procedure for calculations. Algorithms are used for processing data, as well as for automating reasoning. The Scarf Algorithm has been used by researchers for stable matching and the balance of core elements. Herbert Scarf is a Sterling Professor Emeritus of Economics at Yale University. In 1981, he produced this algorithm for integer programming and the calculation of nonlinear complementarity problems. He has also used his model in the Mathematics Genealogy Project with North Dakota State University. He has identified 138 descendants.

Death of the Algorithm by Felicia Lujan

……….~~…Death of the Algorithm…~~……….
Digital composite by Felicia Lujan
Includes five layers: my photograph; an image of a skull; an image of the Scarf Algorithm; and two color layers.

Open Source Blogging Platform WordPress Turns Ten, And Its Community Gets To Blow The Candles Out

May 27, 2013

I Open Source!!!

~~~~Felicia

The Knowledge Martyr~ Aaron Swartz

January 12, 2013
~RIP Aaron Swartz~ May you reach binary heaven.

~RIP Aaron Swartz~
May you reach binary heaven.

 

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.”

~~~Aaron Swartz
Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto (2008)

Frank Kingdom once said that “questions are the creative acts of intelligence.” His words are so powerful. Tonight I was going to post about something else, but when I signed on to the internet, I learned about a tragedy. I am saddened to learn that one of the greatest pioneers of the open movement has paid the ultimate price in his quest for knowledge.

Aaron Swartz the founder of Demand Progress, paid with his life on Friday. The 26 year old was just a baby in the world of technology. He was facing federal charges, close to 40 years in prison, and at least a million dollars in fines for his part in a political movement demanding the freedom of information. In the words of Herodotus,”this is the bitterest pain among men, to have much knowledge but no power.”

The young genius is said to have killed himself, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s true. If information and knowledge is power, how much can you demand before the powers that be make sure you disappear? I used the digital library JSTOR (Journal Storage) just yesterday to write my last post Seduce the Moon. Swartz has hacked that library and some close to him say he was depressed about the decisions he made.

As a hero, Swartz authored the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto. He didn’t sign the manifesto because he did not believe in the ownership of information. Swartz called it “outrageous” and “unacceptable” that scientific articles are provided “to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South.” If you have never read or do not know of this manifesto, I would encourage you to read it.

The dark haired champion said “we need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.”

He has been called a political martyr, a hacktivist, a web genius, a felon, a committed liberator of information, a hero, a distinguished hacker, a pioneer, and an open access guerrilla. Swartz was all of those things~ though I think he was indeed a felon with good intentions. He was more brave than I. May he rest in peace among the 1z and 0z. May his soul reach binary heaven where knowledge is freely available.

October 5, 2012

This is absolutely amazing!!!!
I love this… ~F

Press On With Imagination

August 12, 2012

Cali DVD Screen Shot_8.12.2012

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is
limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
~~~Albert Einstein

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.”
~~~John F. Kennedy

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Well after two days— it is done. Late last night, I finished my Cali DVD project. I have completed a haphazard masterpiece which could have been better! Like a virtual Jacobus de Varagine, I compiled my Golden Legend, a personal collection of California memories. To complete this project, I used: two computers (cross platform); five software programs (2 of them open source); an iPod Touch; and a microphone (digital audio input). These tools were used to sort through, organize, and edit over 200 photographs and several GB of video footage. One of the programs was used to complete the voice overs (audio) that I put into the movie. I selected those things I felt were the best of the best. Hey- it was like the digital Olympics up in this house- haha- only the best made the final cut! The DVD was screened today to a few different family members- and it was fun. I have to say that Daryn and I had a blast recording the voice overs. We laughed and laughed. By all means, the project isn’t perfect, but I wanted to have it ready to show today. My next step will be to track down a video host which will allow me to upload the entire movie (close to 20 minutes) into the cloud. If I am not happy with anything I find, I will break down the movie into four segments and upload it to YouTube. This way- I can share my trip with everyone. I really want my friend Elaine to see it. She lives in Corona (CA) and I saw her on my last day of the trip. Hopefully- I can get that done within the week. I am such a lover of technology. What can I say? I am in awe by the things we can do as humans with our minds. I really think that the two quotes above sum that up. Computers are nothing without the people who create them- the engineer, the coder, the script writer, the mad brainiac. These are the real computers behind the computers right? Each and every one of these masterminds has one thing in common- they understand that they are only limited by the power of their imaginations.

Virtually Pop Your Top

July 24, 2012

A virtual collection of electronic records which can be sorted using your fingers and a touch screen the size of a movie screen. The data can also be manipulated in various ways to improve collection control. This image was taken at the 2012 E-Records Forum in Austin, Texas. An Open House at the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Visualization Lab was apparently a “highlight” of the forum.


As promised, it is time to mention the most interesting person I had the chance to talk with at the NAGARA/CoSA Conference in Santa Fe last week. I guess when you ask the right questions “they” will come! By they I mean the smart people… 🙂 After one of the sessions, Mark Conrad an Archives Specialist working with the Applied Research Division (Office of Information Services) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approached me. He said “aren’t you the one asking about open source solutions?” But of course I was the one! I was so excited to here that NARA is going there!!! I also had the chance to attend a session titled ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. The session was delivered by Mark and Technology Specialists from Kentucky. This “Archives Specialist” slash technical guru immediately started rattling off a list of tools and projects that I should take a closer look at. Using his tricked out iPad he started prompting his screen to pop my top. Mark works in the Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST). In his position with NARA, he works with computer scientists and engineers from all over the world “to leverage new theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques to advance the lifecycle of electronic records.” Part of the mission of his division includes looking into “emerging technologies.” I must say I about did a back flip when Mark pulled up images of a Visualization Lab in the works. Simply mind blowing! There it was— a virtual filing cabinet. As an archivist, I would be able to process or arrange and describe electronic records by using my fingers and a touch screen. Yes- a touch screen- a virtual system used to arrange collections and sort data- with color codes and all. The volume of records in a particular series is proportional to the amount of data within a particular sector of the collection. In January of 2011, the web administrator of NARAtions: The Blog of the United States National Archives interviewed Mark Conrad. She asked him what he was working on and he said “with the assistance of 17 student interns, I am collaborating on a number of projects. For example, many of the students are currently loading large numbers of files into a testbed that is being used by the computer scientists working on the CI-BER project. The purpose of the project is to provide insights into the management of very large data collections. As the number of files and bytes in a collection goes up some of the systems used to manage the collection break down. This project will help us to identify some of the bottlenecks and look for better ways to build systems that don’t break down as the volume picks up.” He also said he was working with the “Department of Energy, NIST, Naval Sea Systems Command, Army Research Lab, and other Federal Agencies on ways to share information about current and emerging practices for managing and preserving engineering data for as long as it is needed.” Sometimes I am glad that I ask a grippa questions— if I didn’t care about open source solutions, I would have never met one of the most interesting archivists with a technical background ever.

Knowledge Eater

July 22, 2012

**************************************************************

The NAGARA/CoSA Conference is over. It was a great conference. I met some wonderful people, visited with some old friends, and brushed up on digital initiatives/standards. As always, I am saving the best for last. Sometime this week I will post about the most interesting person I met. I spent some time talking with him about digital initiatives at the National Archives which will blow your mind! For tonight, here is an “in a nutshell” look at where my hours and thoughts were over the last few days.

  • The President’s Directive on Managing Government Records with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Hiring Electronic Records Archivists- What Expertise is Required with Professors and Archivists from Kansas and North Carolina
  • Electronic Records Roundtable
  • ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories with Mark Conrad, Archives Specialist, National Archives and Records Administration and Archivists and Technology Specialists from Kentucky
  • Use of Public Records Laws to Bypass Discovery Rules with Records Managers from Ohio and Nevada and two Attorneys from New Mexico
  • Electronic Records Archives (ERA): Accomplishments and Lessons Learned with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
  • 1940 Census: The Next Generation with Training Officers and Archivists from National Archives and Records Administration
  • Who Controls Where the Governors’ Papers Go with Archivists from Texas, Nevada and South Dakota
  • Redaction, Expungement and Sealing of Electronic Records with Attorneys, Administrators, and Records Managers from New Mexico, Tennessee, and Arizona

  • …………..NARA holds Congressional Records as a courtesy, but they do not have legal custody. I didn’t know that!
  • …………..At this time, ERA holds about 18TB of electronic Congressional Records that are not accessible to the public through NARA.
  • …………..At this time, ERA holds 246+TB of 2010 Census data, 34TB of Federal Records, and 80TB of Presidential Records.
  • …………..There were 550 Hard Drives from the George W. Bush Administration.
  • …………..George W. Bush changed the law to have his records sent to College Station instead of the State Archives.
  • …………..Georgia Tech developed sophisticated software to mull through data on hard drives allowing a 10% drop down to what actually needs to be addressed as a record.
  • …………..NARA is using open source solutions to manage digital information. Nice… Wooohooo!
  • …………..The Open Archives Information System (OAIS) Reference Model (Magenta Book– June 2012) is available at http://public.ccsds.org/publications/archive/650x0m2.pdf.
  • …………..Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist (TRAC) is available at http://www.crl.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/pages/trac_0.pdf.
  • …………..ISO 16363 self assessment template is available at www.iso16363.org.
  • …………..ISO 16363 is still the standard and defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories.
  • …………..Web ARChive file format (WARC) is still being used for web harvesting and digital preservation (ISO Standard).
  • …………..DuraCloud (with a combination of DSpace and Fedora) an open source platform and managed service that provides on-demand storage and services for digital content in the cloud.
  • …………..ACE (Auditing Control Environment) is being used for digital preservation.
  • …………..Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe System (LOCKSS) is still being used. The system is open source and allows development and support for the preservation of and access to web based collections.
  • …………..Archivematica (open source) is a digital preservation system designed to maintain standards-based, long-term access to digital content.
  • …………..Commercial products being used included Tessella SDB, Preservica, and OCLC Digital Archive.
  • …………..Some states are restricting access to blue prints and building plans for security reasons.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine

July 14, 2012

Screen shots of the Wayback Machine statistics for
My Voyage Through Time and The Drawings of Leonardo.

Did you really think that web site was gone?? One of my all time favorite tools in my digital arsenal includes the Wayback Machine. If you have never heard of it, be prepared to blow your mind. Most of you know that I like things that creep and crawl, but this web crawler absolutely rocks. The Wayback Machine is basically a digital time portal. The portal is a repository for snapshots of the living internet. With the machine, you can “browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available.” At some point this site is sure to be full text searchable, but unfortunately it is not there yet. In the mid 90s, Bruce Gilliat and Brewster Kahle (of Internet Archive- a California based non-profit organization) created a web crawler capable of capturing publicly accessible digital information. Someone had to do it! 🙂 Gilliat, Kahle, and their team collaborated with the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress on this mind bending project. Because of obvious changes in browsers and such, the pages don’t always look perfect, but the data is there. I searched for my web site just out of curiosity. What?? I got a big red exclamation point with a corresponding note reading “The Wayback Machine hasn’t archived a capture for that URL. Here’s a capture taken 0 minutes ago from the live web that will become part of the permanent archive in a few months.” Well at least my data will be archived now! If my web site gets taken out by a hacker “boooyeahhh!” Haha… It’s kinda like a site backup people… I ran another check of one of my favorite sites The Drawings of Leonardo, and found that the site has been archived 194 times since 2001. There is a timeline and you can click away to see what the site looked like at any of those 194 points in time. Of course since these captures are live snapshots of the internet, they are indeed records. The records have been used as legal evidence in court cases. There have also been many challenges for this team of technologically savvy archive geniuses. Some people don’t like for data and history to live on, but I am an archivist, so I gotta luv it! Check out the Wayback Machine if you haven’t. It is sure to pop your top!

The Loudest Silence

July 7, 2012

**********~The Loudest Silence~**********
~Digital composite by Felicia Lujan~
Created using three images including
an image of white noise, an image
of binary code, and an image symbolic
of communication.

…………………………………………………

A deafening stillness- static- feels
like one thousand needles in my ears.

…………………………………………………

Thunderous- the white noise is thick-
the deaf could hear a tongueless cry.

…………………………………………………

Blasting soundless waves- my senses
burning to hear through this silence.

…………………………………………………

The atrocious- a quiet roar builds,
then claps, then shrivels away.

…………………………………………………

Excommunicate- hear the loudest
noise blaring while binary disappears.

…………………………………………………

by Felicia Lujan_7.7.2012

Pint-Sized Hotness: Coffee with My Friend Becky

July 1, 2012

About a month ago, I received an email from my old best friend Becky. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and we have been attempting to meet up for a bit. She was here about a month ago and we didn’t get it together at that time, so we decided to meet up this afternoon. Before I hit the gym, I visited with my friend for coffee at the Green Owl, a new coffee shop here in Santa Fe. The baristas make a killer caramel breve there, and I was able to convince Becky to try one. I joked that she would be addicted now because that’s what happened to me. I have cut them out during the week, but it was still Sunday for God’s sake!

~A New Sign at the Green Owl~
Nice… Bad Coffee Sucks!!!


It has been close to 15 years since I have seen the pint-sized beauty with a heart of gold. We do send each other Christmas cards and we talk through email, but it was the first time we have seen each other face to face in many, many years. We had a great visit- ripping through over a decade of history in a couple of hours. We laughed and we cried. It was hard for me to realize that I failed to be there for her during what was probably one of the most difficult times in her life- the death of her father. I have always had a very hard time dealing with death. It has never been easy for me, so I can only imagine how hard it was for her. I missed her father’s funeral, I left early from my friend Kim’s funeral, and I never went to my friend Aundria’s funeral (among others). I really need to learn to deal with loss and pain. I apologized to her when I came to the realization (right then and there) that I had failed as a friend. I felt emotionally drained after thinking about it all afternoon. If there was anybody I should have been there for, it was Becky. She and I went through the wringer together. She was right there with me the day I found out my uncle Julian died. She hugged me and told me it would be ok. There are so many stories, so much heartbreak, so much fun, so many laughs. I miss her.

~Becky Carrillo and the Pink Taco Crew~
Hard Rock Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada


Last time we talked she was laughing about how much I loved Color Me Badd when we were young. Yes- yes- yes people, I have always loved music! We went to their concert in Albuquerque together in the 90s and had a blast. She said she thought of me because they played a concert in Las Vegas not long ago. You know I just had to download me some throw back Color Me Badd tonight right Beck? Haha 🙂 … Becky is a bartender at the Hard Rock Hotel. She has worked at the “mega-hip Mexican cantina,” Pink Taco for 13 years. She is good at what she does, and I am sure she gets “mega” tips with her outstanding personality, infectious smile, and hot looks! Now she can track all those tips with a special mobile app called Tip Bucket that her man Tracy “the boy” wrote for her. It is available on iTunes for $0.99. Yes!! He is a Las Vegas code genius- I told Becky to tell him that I LOVED him and I don’t even know him! She said Tracy could sit and write code for hours and hours and hours!! Dream job (no really see for yourself and click here)…. I absolutely loved it when she said “some girls get flowers, and some girls get apps.” Loved it!!! Tracy wrote the code for a special app to track Becky’s tips and her statistics ‘n’ such. How cool is that? Nice…

~Becky and Felicia~
July 1, 2012 in Santa Fe, New Mexico
(yes— my eyes are sooo closed! The
best photo I had taken of us today was
taken by my son Daryn- who really liked Mz. Becky by the way!)


I will have to set aside some space here on my site to write about the misadventures of Becky and I. We have some good stories we shared together— like one of the MANY times we passed my curfew and I rolled around in the rain water to say her car broke down (sorry mom 😦 – haha). Or how about all the times I got to drive her and Denise to school in her sweet little
Chevy Cavalier? Someone had to drive while they put on their make-up! There are many stories to tell, but for tonight, I will turn in and listen to some Color Me Badd with the headphones and my lonely iPod. It was so nice to have coffee with pint-sized hotness herself!

Mass study aims to change the world’s dreams

April 11, 2012

Super cool!!! Wonder if it will work?


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