• Pushing Buttons for the Blue Button

    03 December 2012
    By Egor Rubanskyi, Senior Project Manager

    Several years ago President Obama announced the Blue Button initiative for Veterans, in order that they could easily download their medical data and share it with doctors and hospitals. This initiative has now become more popular and it has expanded to become something that everyone can use to access their personal medical information. As a result over 1 million Americans have already downloaded their health records and the number is expected to increase dramatically in the near future.

    This seems like a great idea, but the U.S. government has not found a more developed technological solution and simply provides patients with their data in usual plain text format. It doesn’t allow export of more complex information which are still important parts of patient historical information such as X-Ray images, defibrillator data, or other medical sensor and devices output, that can be useful for export as well. Why not use all these years’ efforts and all these medical standards like EMR, HL7 etc.? What If the IT industry were to follow this route and all systems outputted plain text to the end user and let them decide what to do with it?

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  • Inspired by recent publication on a video processing algorithm, which is able to detect and magnify subtle periodic changes in color in the series of video frames, DataArt has started experiments on adding heartbeat measurement possibility to their Microsoft Kinect-based healthcare solution. The principle of detection is based on the fact that the human skin becomes more red when the blood pressure is at its maximum (systolic pressure), and less red when the pressure is at its minimum (diastolic pressure). For people not having arrhythmia, these changes are periodic, and therefore, its’ frequency can be caught and measured using spectrum analysis principles.

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  • Comparing Apple and Argos

    21 November 2012
    By Dmitry Bagrov, Senior Vice President of European Business, Head of London Office

    Two important things happened recently. Argos announced that they are likely to shut or relocate 75 of their stores in the UK, and Apple has announced the launch of the iPad mini.

    Both events are in fact similar in the way that they were predicted with a high degree of precision. The rumour machine has worked really well again, guessing most of the components of Apple’s new offering (screen size – 7,85 inches, a bit off; screen resolution – 768×1024, spot on; processor A5 – spot on; even the price, $329 was guessed by 9to5Mac).

    Furthermore, in the same way that Apple has battled with a continuing dispute with Samsung, Argos, once a high-street dear, is suffering from competition from the likes of Amazon and online parts of rivalling businesses. It is a wonder, quite honestly, that it survived unchanged until now.

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  • Hedge Fund Admin Duties

    21 November 2012
    By Andrey Ivanov, Project Manager

    The primary task of a fund administrator is to independently calculate the net asset value of a fund on a monthly basis. In order to do so confidently the Fund Administrator needs to be able to:

    • Verify that trades/subscriptions/redemptions took place in reality and were settled correctly
    • Verify that the investment manager used fair pricing while purchasing or selling the assets

    Verifying the trades is usually accomplished by comparing the books stored by the investment manager with that of a broker used by the investment manager. Subscriptions and redemptions are verified much the same but instead of broker books agent books are used. Among commonly used verifiers are CUSIP, ISIN, SEDOL and SYMBOL. One of the bigger challenges during this stage is to cross-reference securities reported by the investment manager against those reported by the broker. The financial industry still doesn’t have a common security identification code and investment managers trading through multiple brokers are likely to have a slightly different internal set of identifiers than the one in use by brokers. So in order to do reconciliation correctly, a fund administrator needs to be able to freely switch between CUSIP/ISIN/SEDOL or any other identifier and fill in the blank ones if needed.

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  • Microsoft’s Surface Tablet is Confused

    21 November 2012
    By Dmitry Bagrov, Senior Vice President of European Business, Head of London Office

    As Microsoft reveals prices for its Surface tablet, the concerns for the fate of the product grow bigger and bigger in the technical community. The product’s basic price is on the iPad’s level and to get the cover that serves as a keyboard a customer is expected to shell out even more.

    Thus, as long as the price would not be an advantage there should be something else Microsoft should offer to beat the competition. But what might it be? Surface runs Windows RT which is not compatible with the desktop version of Windows application-wise, so the iPad would even have a better ecosystem. Besides, using desktop applications in tablet format, while at a first glance sounding attractive always has been a nightmare. This was shown pretty well by Microsoft’s own early experiments in the tablet market with Tablet PC platform.

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  • Once again, opening my peers’ code I’ve terrified and decided to write this article. I hope for someone that would be useful at the same time and I find it easier to explain to newcomers that they have in the code is not just throwing a link to this article.

    Of course the number of these things are very, very large, so the article is limited to a few.

    Constants

    This problem concerns no only javascript but programming in general. Let’s consider an example:

    $elem.on('keydown', function(e) {
        if (e.keyCode == 27) {
            //...
        }
    });

    What is the magic number 27? People who are often faced with the codes immediately say – this is the key ESC. But most developers, especially beginners, do not remember the codes, and faced with the codes have to once again get into the search engine and wasting time.

    You can of course add a comment in the code that is handling pressing ESC, but much more effective it would be to introduce a constant, for example, KEY_ESC = 27.

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  • 10 Myths of Outsourcing

    21 November 2012
    By Dmitry Bagrov, Senior Vice President of European Business, Head of London Office

    Outsourcing in general, and software outsourcing in particular, has accumulated so many myths and legends in such a small time that I can only compare it with stories about UFO’s. Those myths mutate, and change colour, and sometimes even pass as best practices.

    I am not pretending to know all of them, however after working in the industry for many years I have come across dozens of them and even (and I’m not proud of this one) most likely did participate in creation of at least a couple.

    Here is a small and humble attempt at redemption; I hope you will read this with your sense of humour switched on.

    Myth 1. Offshore costs are so low you save 80%.

    If you look at pure cost per hour, then this is probably the number you will see on your calculator. However, you should be prepared to find out that when you add the cost of management, your time to monitor the process, and the fact that cheapest developers rarely are the best ones, you will save 25-45%. This is still a very good number, mind you.

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