Cloud Computing 101

Free Online Courses

Coursera is offering free online classes on a variety of topics this month. I selected “Cloud Computing Basics (Cloud 101”. This online course covers the basic terminology and tools implemented in a cloud computing environment. The class included online lecture and videos, discussion groups and quizzes to test your knowledge base.

I thought the course covered the material thoroughly and was easy to understand. I enjoyed reading the comments from other students. Some Coursera classes offer Certificates from a University or an organization. This class provided a Certificate of Acknowledgement from Coursera.

This is designed as a three week course. It is at your own pace and you receive a grade at completion.

Class Schedule

Week One – Course covered the Cloud and Levels of Managed Service: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, and Function as a Service

Week Two – Discussed deployment models of Cloud computing: private and public deployment models, hybrid cloud, HPC cloud, and big data cloud

Week Three – Lectures were on Comparing Cloud Platforms: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and SalesForce

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.’, ‘I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.’, and ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'”

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”

“The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929. He was a pivotal advocate for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

IRS Delays Filing Date to February 12, 2021

Years ago, I began this blog to relay IRS tax law changes. This past year has seen numerous tax law changes due to Covid-19. The most recent change is to begin processing tax returns on February, 12, 2021, for tax year 2020. This is due to the lack of staff, tax forms are changing, and processing stimulus checks.

Regarding stimulus payments. Here is the link to the Recovery Rebate Credit. The IRS is the best source for Tax Law changes. Plus, it is free. You can file your tax return for free, read this link for details. File Your Federal Taxes Online for Free

UX Mapping Tool Miro

Seattle Give Camp Project

This weekend at the Democracy Lab Hackathon, I learned how to use a new tool created by Miro, a template for a Customer Journey Map. User Experience (UX) mapping is the strategic process of creating a step-by-step roadmap which prioritizes, communicates multiple work flows and solves potential problems that users may have using a product. In our scenario, the product is a mobile app for nonprofit organizations.

Miro is an online whiteboard software that can be used for brainstorming sessions, product development, user-experience research and design. Our team found this online mapping tool easier to implement than a typical whiteboard at the office. The simple template structures are easy to customize for individual projects. The Customer Journey Map triggered ideas, concepts and design issues fluidly between team members. Saturdays online brain storming session accelerated this project forward. We were feeling stuck. The mobile app design process is now developing with improved insight on the challenges we face ahead.

Customer Journey Map Template

Identity Protection Pin

Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)

The IP PIN is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number. This service will be available mid-January 2021.

Anyone who has a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and can verify their identity is eligible to enroll in the IP PIN program.     

The Consumer Sentinel Network, that is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints that are filed with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private organizations. In 2019, 3.2 million identity theft and fraud reports were reported, 1.7 million were fraud related, approximately 651,000 were identity theft issues. In 2019, fraud cost consumers more than $1.9 billion. I listed a few links below from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security on how to protect yourself if you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. Best to be prepared, know your rights and to act quickly to limit the damage.

Facts from the Internal Revenue Service on the IP PIN:

Golden Crowned Kinglet

This discovery was a special treat on a winter blustery day in the Pacific Northwest. The usual January weather of rain, wind, and chill. I ventured outside for fresh air between large rain drops. I live on a green belt and it is typical to have birds flying and chirping. This time, I noticed a chubby bird with yellow coloring hopping around on the street side. Hopping around boulders and trees; it even tried to hide. Impressed how this tiny bird camouflaged between the grey boulders and ground cover. The golden-crowned kinglet is a songbird in the family Regulidae that lives throughout North America. I snapped a few photos despite them playing and seek. Here is the golden crowned kinglet’s photo shoot.

Driftwood and Odin Myth

I love to beachcomb the local beaches here the Pacific Northwest. Plus, the sound of waves hitting the sandy shoreline have a calming impact on my mood. It is a fantastic photo opportunity on any day, rain, wind or sunshine. This post is on driftwood, artistic designs from Mother Nature.

Citing Wikipedia… Norse mythology, the first humans, Ask and Embla, were formed out of two pieces of driftwood, an ash and an elm, by the god Odin and his brothers, Vili and Vé. The Vikings would cast wood into the sea before making landfall. The location of the wood would be an indication as to where to build their mead halls. The wood used would found the high-seat pillars of the new hall. Mead halls are large single rooms in a township of a tribe. They were usually built for the king and his courtiers. The word ‘mead’ is an old English Anglo Saxon word derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘madhushala’ which means tavern. 

Odin, the powerful Norse king of the Aesir, was the God of wisdom, healing, death, royalty, knowledge, war, sorcery, poetry. Odin is credited with creating the Universe after he slayed Yamir the Frost giant. Odin married the goddess Frigg and they had two sons. Rumour has it that Odin had numerous wives, plus had a tryst with the earth goddess Jord, resulting with the birth of Thor. Odin resided at Hlidskalf in Valhalla, sitting on his throne as he ruled the Nine Realms and created chaos. Odin loved to meddle in the affairs of the Gods and humans. He started battles by just throwing his spear. The Vikings designated Odin as their patron and sacrificed humans in his honor.

Odin had a soft skill set too. He created the runic alphabet, practiced magic and was a poet. Ravens flew to Odin relaying the events and gossip of the Nine Realms. There are many stories about Odin throughout the centuries. The stories and myths of the powerful Odin, still thrive today, from books to the movie screen.

Driftwood slideshow:

Odin: – Gods & Goddesses, December 21, 2020

Food Banks and Boxes

I am updating a prior post from this summer. It is about Food Banks who need boxes and bags for people to carry out food back to their families. With the ongoing pandemic the need is greater for food; we now need to fill those boxes. If you can donate food or even volunteer; Thank you for your kindness and generosity.

Original Post.…..During this pandemic I have collected cardboard boxes. My mail and food deliveries do not want boxes returned. So much for recycling and saving the environment. My home was looking like a staging room for a charity donation site. Boxes stacked in every room in my condo.

Recently, I learned from a neighbor that another neighbor was collecting egg carton boxes and delivery type boxes for the Edmonds Food Bank. I followed up on that lead. Alas! The rumor was true. My upstairs neighbor verified that Edmonds Food Bank needs boxes to pack groceries when providing food for people in need. They also use plastic bags for pet food and brown paper bags for groceries. Great, I have bags stuffed in my laundry room. I dashed down the stairs to my place and quickly returned with paper and plastic bags. This afternoon I gathered my stash of delivery boxes and dropped them off at my neighbor’s front door. Thank you to the volunteers who donate their time helping the community thrive during this difficult time.