RedHat’s CoreOS launches a new toolkit for managing Kubernetes applications

CoreOS, the Linux distribution and container management startup Red Hat acquired for $250 million earlier this year, today announced the Operator Framework, a new open source toolkit for managing Kubernetes clusters.

CoreOS first talked about operators in 2016. The general idea here is to encode the best practices for deploying and managing container-based applications as code. “The way we like to think of this is that the operators are basically a picture of the best employee you have,” Red Hat OpenShift product manager Rob Szumski told me. Ideally, the Operator Framework frees up the operations team from doing all the grunt work of managing applications and allows them to focus on higher-level tasks. And at the same time, it also removes the error-prone humans from the process since the operator will always follow the company rulebook.

“To make the most of Kubernetes, you need a set of cohesive APIs to extend in order to service and manage your applications that run on Kubernetes,” CoreOS CTO Brandon Philips explains in today’s announcement. “We consider Operators to be the runtime that manages this type of application on Kubernetes.”

As Szumski told me, the CoreOS team developed many of these best practices in building and managing its own Tectonic container platform (and from the community that uses it). Once written, the operators watch over the Kubernetes cluster and can handle upgrades, for example, and when things go awry, the can react to failures within milliseconds.

The overall Operator Framework consists of three pieces: an SDK for building, testing and packaging the actual operator, the Operator Lifecycle Manager for deploying the operator to a Kubernetes cluster and managing them, and the Operator Metering tool for metering Kubernetes users for enterprises that need to do chargebacks or that want to charge their customers based on usage.

The metering tool doesn’t quite seem to fit into the overall goal here, but as Szumski told me, it’s something a lot of businesses have been looking for and CoreOS actually argues that this is a first for Kubernetes.

Today’s CoreOS/Red Hat announcement only marks the start of a week that’ll likely see numerous other Kubernetes-related announcements. That’s because the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is its KubeCon developer conference in the next few days and virtually every company in the container ecosystem will attend the event and have some kind of announcements.

Suki raises $20M to create a voice assistant for doctors

When trying to figure out what to do after an extensive career at Google, Motorola, and Flipkart, Punit Soni decided to spend a lot of time sitting in doctors’ offices to figure out what to do next.

It was there that Soni said he figured out one of the most annoying pain points for doctors in any office: writing down notes and documentation. That’s why he decided to start Suki — previously Robin AI — to create a way for doctors to simply start talking aloud to take notes when working with patients, rather than having to put everything into a medical record system, or even writing those notes down by hand. That seemed like the lowest hanging fruit, offering an opportunity to make it easier for doctors that see dozens of patients to make their lives significantly easier, he said.

“We decided we had found a powerful constituency who were burning out because of just documentation,” Soni said. “They have underlying EMR systems that are much older in design. The solution aligns with the commoditization of voice and machine learning. If you put it all together, if we can build a system for doctors and allow doctors to use it in a relatively easy way, they’ll use it to document all the interactions they do with patients. If you have access to all data right from a horse’s mouth, you can use that to solve all the other problems on the health stack.”

The company said it has raised a $15 million funding round led by Venrock, with First Round, Social+Capital, Nat Turner of Flatiron Health, Marc Benioff, and other individual Googlers and angels. Venrock also previously led a $5 million seed financing round, bringing the company’s total funding to around $20 million. It’s also changing its name from Robin AI to Suki, though the reason is actually a pretty simple one: “Suki” is a better wake word for a voice assistant than “Robin” because odds are there’s someone named Robin in the office.

The challenge for a company like Suki is not actually the voice recognition part. Indeed, that’s why Soni said they are actually starting a company like this today: voice recognition is commoditized. Trying to start a company like Suki four years ago would have meant having to build that kind of technology from scratch, but thanks to incredible advances in machine learning over just the past few years, startups can quickly move on to the core business problems they hope to solve rather than focusing on early technical challenges.

Instead, Suki’s problem is one of understanding language. It has to ingest everything that a doctor is saying, parse it, and figure out what goes where in a patient’s documentation. That problem is even more complex because each doctor has a different way of documenting their work with a patient, meaning it has to take extra care in building a system that can scale to any number of doctors. As with any company, the more data it collects over time, the better those results get — and the more defensible the business becomes, because it can be the best product.

“Whether you bring up the iOS app or want to bring it in a website, doctors have it in the exam room,” Soni said. “You can say, ‘Suki, make sure you document this, prescribe this drug, and make sure this person comes back to me for a follow-up visit.’ It takes all that, it captures it into a clinically comprehensive note and then pushes it to the underlying electronic medical record. [Those EMRs] are the system of record, it is not our job to day-one replace these guys. Our job is to make sure doctors and the burnout they are having is relieved.”

Given that voice recognition is commoditized, there will likely be others looking to build a scribe for doctors as well. There are startups like Saykara looking to do something similar, and in these situations it often seems like the companies that are able to capture the most data first are able to become the market leaders. And there’s also a chance that a larger company — like Amazon, which has made its interest in healthcare already known — may step in with its comprehensive understanding of language and find its way into the doctors’ office. Over time, Soni hopes that as it gets more and more data, Suki can become more intelligent and more than just a simple transcription service.

“You can see this arc where you’re going from an Alexa, to a smarter form of a digital assistant, to a device that’s a little bit like a chief resident of a doctor,” Soni said. “You’ll be able to say things like, ‘Suki, pay attention,’ and all it needs to do is listen to your conversation with the patient. I’m, not building a medical transcription company. I’m basically trying to build a digital assistant for doctors.”

UK ‘Deep State’ Panics: Turns Russia-Narrative On Political Left

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Steemit.com,

“Fuck You, Actually!”

For months leftist analysts have been warning that the increasingly hysterical anti-Russia narratives being aggressively promoted by the western media would eventually be used to target the political left. Those warnings went largely unheeded in the United States where the Russiagate narrative was being ostensibly used to undermine the Trump administration, and the McCarthyite feeding frenzies which have become normalized for American audiences have now metastasized across the pond to the UK.

As a result, the Poms have now quickly found themselves in a political environment where anyone who remembers the Blair government’s lies about Iraq is smeared as a “useful idiot”, a private British citizen can be falsely labeled a Kremlin bot by a mainstream publication without retraction or apology, and a BBC reporter can admonish a veteran military analyst for giving a truthful analysis about the alleged Douma chemical attacks on the grounds that it could hurt the “information war” against Russia.

And now, in what is undeniably a whole new level of Russophobic shrillness, Russia is being blamed for the gains made last year by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

According to a tweet, The Sunday Times‘ headline read, in all seriousness, “Exposed: Russians tried to swing election for Corbyn”. According to the text in the tweet, the Times has allegedly found evidence that Russian bots have been retweeting publicly available posts supporting Labour and criticizing the Tories. Not creating fake news, not even circulating articles from RT or Sputnik, but retweeting conventional, publicly available political commentary.

This would be the same publisher, by the way, whose expertise on Russian Twitter “disinformation” recently led to a false allegation against an antiwar Finnish grandmother in an article about Kremlin trolls.

The Sunday Times front page featured Corbyn against a red background in very much the same way the BBC superimposed his image in Soviet-looking garb against a red-colored Kremlin skyline last month, with a red Twitter logo plainly intended to evoke Cold War memories of the USSR flag. They’re intentionally calling up old, generational fears of communists to smear a leftist politician as a Kremlin tool. It’s about as subtle as a kick in the throat.

Hey, Sunday Times? How about fuck you, actually? Fuck your brazen attempt to keep the British people from reclaiming what is being stolen from them by an increasingly corporatist neoliberal government. Fuck your shameless “information war” which places the agendas of plutocrats and intelligence agencies above truth and honest discourse. Fuck your relentless propaganda campaign which smears anyone who remembers the lies they were told about Vietnam, Iraq and Libya as a “useful idiot” and arbitrarily labels any discussion of the very real phenomenon of false flag attacks as a “Kremlin talking point”.

This is as fascinating as it is infuriating.

By attacking literally anything which poses an obstacle to the loose alliance of western plutocrats and secretive government agencies, the social engineers who are fueling this Russia hysteria are actually closer than ever before to openly admitting that the west is truly ruled by those plutocrats and agencies.

They are now this close to saying “Russia is our enemy because it stands in opposition to the corporatist Orwellian oligarchy which is your real government.”

This is a really extraordinary time to be alive. The nationless power establishment which looked completely unshakeable a matter of months ago is now flipping out like a meth addict whose stash just got stolen and publicly overextending itself in an amazingly conspicuous way. The mechanics of western imperialism and the deceitful nature of the mass media propaganda machine which holds it all together have never been as exposed as they are today.

Keep pushing against the machine, clear-eyed rebels. Truth is winning. Truth will prevail. The bastards are about to fall.

*  *  *

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalor buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2