I am reviewing the album Songs Of Innocence by U2 which is a very good music album. This album famously was bought by Apple so their subscribers on iTunes in a certain promotion could download it free. This apparently makes it the biggest selling album. U2 have done better albums although I do really like this. It also available as a double album to buy. U2 started in Dublin, Ireland as a 6 piece band which was quickly whittled down to a 4 piece. An advert for band members was at a school by a 14 year old who would become known as The Edge. Bono quickly took the helm and despite limited musical ability initially got a record contract with in a few years. There first hit outside Ireland and Great Britain would be the classic New Years Day. Their songs are often related to politics lyrically. They have had an amazing career winning more Grammy’s than anyone else. I think this album is a good addition to their catalogue. One of the tracks was used on the Mandela biography film and nominated for an oscar for best original song. Apple did spend an estimated $100 million promoting the album worldwide. They also have given U2 a lump sum that is unknown but must be huge. Apparently Bono’s biggest influence is Radiohead which is interesting because U2 were successful long before anyone heard of Radiohead. This album is very much alternative music although not as heavy as some of their tunes. I do recommend it but perhaps try and get it free off iTunes although I think the promotion is over.

The book I read to research this post was Growth Hacking Techniques by Robert Peters which is a very good book that I bought from kindle. This book looks at the phenomenon of growth where many technology based companies have been able to make lots of money with various techniques. It looks at 49 companies many you are bound to have heard of like Ebay & Facebook. The most interesting thing about is reading about the niches the various companies that no one else appeared. There is one person who started a company called Square because he couldn’t take a credit card transaction at a craft fair and came up with the idea of being able to do these with mobiles and tablets. Another company called Github came up with the idea of having a website where programmers could upload their open source code but they greatly simplified the process. I think individuals could buy an account for $7 giving them access to this code. Teams could also collaborate online in writing programs. It has a huge repertoire of code free to download and with many other services you used to write a patch to upload the code which is a step they have done away with. Sometimes it only takes something simple to make a website grow exponentially. Hotmail which was later bought by Microsoft for $400 million came up with the idea of having footers on their e-mails with adverts for the company. Hotmail was a e-mail provider. Another very well known company called Facebook came up with the idea that people joined it automated the process of checking your e-mail contacts and sending out invitations to join the site. Twitter later also leveraged this although it did backfire a bit with some people not wanting them to have access to that information. Yet another website is Sidecar which encourages car pooling and charges 10 % less per trip than a taxi but gets people who travel a route regularly to do so together. They take comission and pay the rest to the driver. It is popular in quite a few American cities especially with 20 something professional women. Many see it as safer than a taxi or public transport. I did thoroughly enjoy this book and would recommend it. It is also around 130 pages so is a decent length.

The book I read to research this post was Big Data And Hadoop by WAGmob which is a very good book that I bought from kindle. This book is around 150 pages including the glossary in the back so is a fairly decent length. WAGmob hire writers to write their books and they often have upto 5 writers to a book from a technical background. This book is quite well written although the fonts are quite big and there isn’t that much text to a page although that may suit people reading on a small tablet. I read it on a laptop. Hadoop is a big emerging technology where prior to its introduction many companies threw away non-transactional data especially if it wasn’t structured. Up to 80 % of data in the world especially on the internet is of the non-structured variety. This poses a problem because RDBDB’s like structured data and they need NoSQL databases to give it structure and process it. One of the most popular programs to help make sense of this huge amount of data many companies and organizations must process is MapReduce on Amazon Web Services. They also have the different forms of databases. This huge amount of information is growing rapidly especially with the number of online companies that offer things like E-mail, social media interactions and the number of review sites where if companies want to keep competitive they must make sense of. There are alternatives to Hadoop which is used in particular with Amazon Web Services like Pig Latin which is more of a high level language developed by Yahoo. It has to be said some small companies might not have these huge amounts of data about there products and some may be quite happy to store it on an onsite server. Big amounts of the data are probably best kept on a cloud computing service where it is usually more competitively priced. There is also the problem of finding trained people to handle this data and in the future shortage is going to get worse. I enjoyed this book and do recommend it.

I am reviewing the pop album Big Fat Lie by Nicole Scherzinger which is an excellent album. Nicole used to be the lead singer in the Pussy Cat Dolls and before that another group which only had limited success though. She did do a previous solo album that was shelved due to the limited success of it’s singles in America. I think this album will be very successful. Nicole was born on Hawaii and her parents split up whilst she was still a baby. Her stepfather later adopted her and she changed her surname to his. Her family did also move to Kentucky. The Pussy Cat Dolls were a burlesque act that became a pop act when Nicole joined them. They are one of the most successful pop groups ever. Nicole did join the talent show The X Factor as a judge initially replacing Kelly Rowlands and later becoming officially in the job. The 3 acts she was mentoring all got into the top 5 and she got the 2 in the final.  In the latest series of The X Factor Nicole dropped out presumably to concentrate on her singing career. She was replaced by Mel B. She ran into trouble about her sexy performances breaking laws in Indonesia and was fined $3,000. I do recommend this album anyway.

 

I am reviewing the pop album Chapter One by Ella Henderson which is a very good album. Ella was in The X Factor in 2012 and was widely tipped to win but ended up the one week in the bottom 2 with James Macarthur who went on to win the competition. The voting between the judges was tied and it went on who had who had the most public votes so she went out in what was called one of the biggest upsets ever. She is only 18 and from near Grimsby in Northern England. She did win a scholarship to a talent school and taught herself to play piano. She is signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco Records. The model Bianca Gascoigne is a close family and featured her on a celebrity Come Dine With Me entertaining the guests with a song before she was famous. Ghost which must be the best song of the year not least because of her fantastic singing voice although it is a great song in its own right. It made number 1 for 2 weeks in Britain. She also had a single called Glow which got in the Top 10 and the album reached number 1 too. Apart from the 2 tracks the rest of the album isn’t all that great. Her vocal range is great though. I did quite enjoy the album and would recommend it though.

The book I read to research this post was Sex, Science & Profits by Terence Kealey which is a very good book that I bought from a local secondhand bookstore. The book is around 420 pages so is a decent length. The book is about how science has evolved since the stone age. One thing it does argue is there is more emphasis in research labs on reading research by other laboratories than on actually doing any research. This has resulted in many sectors of industry not living up to there potential. At one time it was mostly kings and governments that funded research and much of it was done on a whim with often lots of money being thrown at a project for poor returns. The idea that science is evolving can be traced back to the 17th century. That was when Henry the Navigator was king of Portugal and most of the advances were in discovering new lands. Things did happen like they improved the compass though. India and China had more advanced societies at the time but because the West were more warlike were quickly conquered. It’s interesting to note at the time of World War 2 Germany only had a GDP of 75% of Britains despite their advances under Hitler which goes a long way in explaining why they were beaten. Another interesting fact is when the Wright Brothers flew the first plane there was much snobbery in America because they were considered merely hobbyists who shouldn’t have made the discovery. They applied for a civil licence but they needed funding because in even those days anything that flew needed a licence. Anyway for years they couldn’t get funding which meant any further discoveries they could have made were limited. For years their plane was displayed in the Science Museum in London because no museum in America would display it. One institute in America even rather cheekily displayed a plane that was earlier and had been modified to fly and tried to make out it was the first aeroplane that flew. I must admit this is an interesting book that I think I would recommend.

The book I read to research this post was Drive: The Surprising Truth by Daniel H Pink which is a very good book that I read at kindle unlimited. This is one of the popular business books at the moment. The book is about what drives people to do a certain task and at one time it thought it was only towards a reward like money, food and shelter. There was a book published some years ago which is reviewed on this site called Flow by somebody with a very long name that I can’t remember, but that was about how people doing a task they like often become at one almost as if  they are in a trance. This book looks at something similar where people will often perform a task because they enjoy doing it. This has big implications for business. Workers ideally should be given autonomy of how they are going to achieve a task but given help when needed. This is why telephone call centers where workers often have to follow set scripts have very high personal turnover rates. Some of the highest in any industry. Call centers where workers are given trust to do things their way and also ones that let workers work from home find they can easily hang on to workers. There is a new type of company that is competing with big business and often coming out on top. If you look at Linux the operating systems in different variants it is normally open source with the work being done by volunteers who enjoy their work and give their time for free. These companies don’t need huge budgets and sometimes people new to a career like programming can get much needed experience to help them in their new career. This is an interesting book that I really enjoyed and do recommend. The book is around 250 pages so is a fairly decent length.