- Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Cloud - the Emergence of a New Model of Computing - "We should view computing models much more like forests than trees. These computing model forests have a variety of different trees, and the transition between them is gradual, not abrupt. With the passage of time, as you walk around them you begin to see new trees, but the old ones are still around. But one day you realize that the forest you are now walking through is markedely different from the one you were in twenty years ago. It is therefore now time to give this forest a new name, while you keep on walking and looking for new trees."
- Armed and Dangerous » Blog Archive » The Economic Case Against the GPL - I'm not sure I agree with all the details of the argument but the basic point makes sense to me--if open source fundamentally works, then copyleft isn't generally needed.
- Wolfram Blog : Droste Effect with Mathematica - This looks fun.
- Coding Horror: Has The Virtualization Future Arrived? - I'm guessing that this is something they're doing with the tech they acquired from Kidaro.
- Make: Online : Retro Photos in the Library of Congress - Color photos fropm a period normally seen in B&W.
- Heavy Boots - Amazing. Just amazing.
- newsmap - Interesting news visualization
- The Medium - Comment Is King - NYTimes.com - Especially (although certainly not exclusively) in the political sphere, comments have an almost ridiculously bad S/N ratio.
- Journalists: Where do you add value? « BuzzMachine - "Journalism can’t afford repetition and production anymore."
- Are record shops worth saving? (Part 1) | MP3 Insider - CNET Reviews - "For the devoted, stepping into a great music store is like stepping into a temple. For these people, downloading music is like worshiping at an online church--there's no ritual to it, no pageantry, no reason to dress up. In light of the inherently private experience of actually listening to music, there's something balancing about discovering and purchasing new music in a comfortable public space that reaffirms your identity as a music lover. " Most of all it's the mostly-used places like Amoeba that I'll miss.
- Reporter's notes: Cloud Computing conference | Webware - CNET - Writeup on Under the Radar: Cloud Computing event.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
- For many companies, client power management not yet a priority | GreenTech Pastures | ZDNet.com - "Forrester Researcher has released some new data from a first quarter survey of IT professionals about power management policies, and the big aha is that only about 15 percent of them have adopted any kind of strategy that addresses energy waste for their client desktops or notebooks."
- The Great Netflix-"Crash" Mystery - The Screengrab - " to make any broad assumptions about how many people have "seen" Crash based on how many people have rented Crash might be kind of a broad leap. Lots of people who had been barely cognizant of the movie's existence prior to the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony probably automatically stuck it in their queues as soon as it won the Oscar. And a lot of other people probably did the same thing at some point, not because they could barely contain their excitement at the prospect of having Thandie Newton and Don Cheadle demonstrate to them the folly of racism, but because they picked up some vague signs in the atmosphere that this was a worthy movie that they should see. It may be that one of the major advances in the culture for which Netflix can take a bow is that, rather than actually going to see such films, people can now stick them on their rental queues, and then, when the discs arrive, procrastinate for weeks and even months before returning them unseen."
- Whatever Happened to the Top 15 Web Properties of April, 1999? | Technologizer - Good recap of how the top Web sites have shifted position.
- When GeoCities Grabbed the Web’s Golden Ticket–A Trip Down Silicon-Valley-Has-No-Memory Lane | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD - "GeoCities was, in its way, the Facebook of its time. But, instead of “friends,” its users were “homesteaders,” since the Web then was a place to be pioneered and settled. As Cher so eloquently sings: Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end."
- Why Time and Newsweek Will Never Be The Economist: Matt Pressman | Vanity Fair - "The Economist is like that exotic coffee that comes from beans that have been eaten and shat out undigested by an Indonesian civet cat, and Time and Newsweek are like Starbucks—millions of people enjoy them, but it’s not a point of pride."
- Poynter Online - E-Media Tidbits - Sounds about right to me wrt the InDenver Times (attempted online newspaper).
Thursday, April 23, 2009
- Game Developers and Porn Stars | Kill Ten Rats - Funny but probably sadly true.
- So Why Not 29? | American Journalism Review - Theories about why -30- was typed at the end of news stories.
- Why is Matrix important? Innovation, integration and execution - Eye on Blades Blog: Trends in Infrastructure - HP blades blog and why HP is excited about Matrix.
- The Good and Bad Kinds of Crowds : Andrew McAfee’s Blog - McAfee's approach here is in the same vein to how I do my Oscar ballot every year. I mostly go with the consensus view of various Internet sites that roll up all the predictions out there--and then I look for one or two plausible upsets.
- The True Cost of Amazon's New Kindle - BusinessWeek - The e-ink display is the most costly component. But the wireless module is also about 20% of the total cost.
However, the MSM buzz has a variety of non-techie friends asking me about Twitter and why I find it useful. So here goes. This is not a generic "Why Twitter is God" but, rather, what I find particularly useful about it in my specific circumstances.
Thus, before getting into Twitter, what are those circumstances?
In a nutshell, I'm an IT industry analyst. This means that I write about and provide advice to companies that produce and consume enterprise technology such as servers, virtualization, cloud computing and so forth. Typical daily activities include researching the space, writing, doing advisory engagements, and attending conferences and the like. When I'm not traveling, I mostly work from home although my fairly small company does have an office about 45 minutes away.
With that as context, here's how I use Twitter:
- I use it mostly, although not exclusively, for professionally-related matters--or at least topics connected to technology in some way.
- I use it to monitor breaking news, links, opinion, and so forth in my professional areas of coverage.
- Given that I'm often working by myself at home, it offers me a sort of "virtual watercooler" with professional colleagues and others. It thus offers some of the casual interchange that one gets in an office.
- It helps me to maintain an ongoing relationship with and visibility to a variety of my clients.
- I can promote links to pieces that I have written or that I otherwise would like to gain broader attention.
- It offers a forum to do casual research.
- I am reasonably selective about who I follow. I like to keep my feed to a manageable volume on a typical in-office day although I don't hesitate to turn things off if I need to go heads down. I eagerly await applications that do a better job of managing groups and otherwise help me to prioritize reading (as I do with RSS).
- Of course, there's an element of fun as well and being exposed to serendipitous stuff that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with tech.
The following rant (in a source code comment block) tells of one programmer's frustration:
At this point, I'd like to take a moment to speak to you about the Adobe PSD format. PSD is not a good format. PSD is not even a bad format. Calling it such would be an insult to other bad formats, such as PCX or JPEG. No, PSD is an abysmal format. Having worked on this code for several weeks now, my hate for PSD has grown to a raging fire that burns with the fierce passion of a million suns.[via @Photocritic]
If there are two different ways of doing something, PSD will do both, in different places. It will then make up three more ways no sane human would think of, and do those too. PSD makes inconsistency an art form. Why, for instance, did it suddenly decide that *these* particular chunks should be aligned to four bytes, and that this alignement should *not* be included in the size? Other chunks in other places are either unaligned, or aligned with the alignment included in the size. Here, though, it is not included. Either one of these three behaviours would be fine. A sane format would pick one. PSD, of course, uses all three, and more.
Trying to get data out of a PSD file is like trying to find something in the attic of your eccentric old uncle who died in a freak freshwater shark attack on his 58th birthday. That last detail may not be important for the purposes of the simile, but at this point I am spending a lot of time imagining amusing fates for the people responsible for this Rube Goldberg of a file format.
Earlier, I tried to get a hold of the latest specs for the PSD file format. To do this, I had to apply to them for permission to apply to them to have them consider sending me this sacred tome. This would have involved faxing them a copy of some document or other, probably signed in blood. I can only imagine that they make this process so difficult because they are intensely ashamed of having created this abomination. I was naturally not gullible enough to go through with this procedure, but if I had done so, I would have printed out every single page of the spec, and set them all on fire. Were it within my power, I would gather every single copy of those specs, and launch them on a spaceship directly into the sun.
PSD is not my favourite file format.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
There's some good commentary in the comments section about some of the advantages and disadvantages to the speaker and audience of twittering. There's probably a distinction worth making between conference presentations and interactive discussions.
So I told them that class on the 20th would be an exception to HBS’s standard ’screens down’ policy (i.e. no use of digital devices during class), and that they could tweet using whatever device they preferred.
I’ll ask my students what they thought about the experience, but I thought it was miserable. Class discussion limped along at well below its normal levels of engagement, interest, and insight. I thought it was due to my bad class plan, a comparatively weak case, and/or the fact that the 20th was the last day before spring break.
Any or all of these could have been part of the explanation, but I’m quite sure that another part was the tweeting that went on. When I reviewed students’ tweets after class, I found that a lot of them remarked on how difficult it was to pay attention to what was going on in the room and on their screens. And it was very clear that the screens won.
Speaking to an audience that’s tweeting away is now a fact of life at most technology conferences (as clearly evidenced by this year’s South by Southwest). Laura says she likes it, and I’m eager to learn from her why this is and how I can turn live tweeting to my advantage when speaking. So far it feels to me like trying to talk to people who all have TVs in front of them. I realize that live tweeting might be beneficial to some constituencies (like the tweeters’ followers), but it feels to me like a pure negative for speakers. We’re now competing for attention with a very compelling interactive activity.
In the case of a typical presentation at a conference, I definitely get value out of the backchannel as a way to get the reaction of others in real-time. I find it often engages me more than merely being a passive observer.
And, if the speaker is really engaging with and connecting to me directly, I can just ignore the chatter. Of course, if the presentation is simply uninteresting, I can go off on the Web and do other things or simply snark on twitter.
On the other hand, in a participatory interactive discussion, I think it can indeed be a distraction--although to the degree I'm just using it to essentially record interesting snippets, it's really no different than taking notes. But, in general, if some number of a group is twittering or doing whatever on their laptops, it's pretty commonsensical that they're going to be distracted.
(I didn't know about HBS' 'screens down' policy though. Man, I can barely take usable notes by hand any longer.)
- The Free Music Archive « Music Machinery - "Yes, there are tons of sites on the web that offer new music for free, but the FMA is different. The music on the FMA is curated by music experts (radio programmers, webcasters, venues, labels, collectives and so on) - so that instead of a slush pile dominated by bad music typical of other free music sites, the music at the FMA is really good (or at least one human expert thinks it is good). "
- Thoughts From a Software IT Analyst: Sun Microsystems: In Memoriam - Nice piece on Sun's history from Wayne Kernochan.
- Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard » Blog Archive » Mark Penn’s fuzzy pro-blogging stats - More on the 453K using blogging as primary source of income.
- The Volokh Conspiracy - How Many Bloggers Use Blogging As Their Primary Source of Income?: - Seems like a pretty good deconstruction of the WSJ's "452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income." Orin kerr notes: "All we know is that Technorati received 1,290 responses from bloggers who responded to its query. Of the ones who responded from around the world, 2% — about 25 people — said that they relied on blogging as their primary source of income."
- tecosystems » The Oracle Predicts a Setting Sun - Agree with this very thorough analysis (as much as any analysis can be truly thorough given the information available) much more than not.
- Marginal Revolution: Why is Heinz Ketchup still so popular in Pittsburgh? - "Across 49 current leading national CPG brands, dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, we find that the current share in markets close to the city of origin, is, on average, 12 share (i.e., percentage) points higher than the national average of 22 percent."
- Novell, Inc. F1Q09 (Qtr End 01/31/09) Earnings Call Transcript -- Seeking Alpha - Interesting (because pretty baldly stated) about how Novell now sees Linux' role at company.
- Sun and Oracle: End of a beautiful dream • The Register - I'm less pessimistic overall but there are a lot of good points here.
- YouTube - Hitler's Angst EMC - This is a good one on this theme.
- Outside Innovation: Sun Cloud & Oracle Cloud to Combine - "There one main incompatibility that I see between the Sun and Oracle cultures and brand. It's not so much a hardware culture vs. a software culture. It's a predatory sales culture vs. a respectful sales culture."
- MassBike Bikeways and Trails - Seemingly about the most complete resource for bike trails in Massachusetts.
- Twitter Gets the Oprah Treatment - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com - From the comments. Hee. "Must we continually be subjected to this woman’s whims? I still fail to see why she has been made the arbiter of Midwestern hausfrau culture"
- Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Hashmobs - "A hashmob is a purely avatarian mob, though it is every bit as prone to the rapid cultivation of mass hysteria as a nonavatarian mob."
- Can Creativity Be Crowdsourced? - Advertising Age - DigitalNext - My observation with crowdsourced logos and the like is that it's generally a pretty terrible deal for the creators (modulo possibly being a learning experience for designers starting out). Lots of people submit on spec and even the winner doesn't get paid much.
- FBI seizures highlight law as cloud impediment | The Wisdom of Clouds - CNET News - Fully agree.
Monday, April 20, 2009
2 cups finely diced cooked chicken (This is about half a roast chicken's worth)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup minced celery
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup minced onion
1 TBS minced parsley
1 cup thick Bechamel (follows)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (optional)
Mix the chicken, salt, celery, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, onion, parsley, cand bechamel sauce until wee blended. Cover, refrigerate until chilled, then form into balls or small cones, about 2 inches in diameter. Dip in beaten eggs and then roll in the crumbs. Set them to dry on a piece of wax paper.
Deep fry at about 360 degrees until brown. Drain. You can also do these in a skillet with a couple of inches of oil and turn them when one side is brown.
I serve these with a brown sauce. You can prepare from scratch or use a packaged sauce such as McCormick Hunter Sauce mix.
They freeze well; separate using wax paper.
Thick Bechamel (White) Sauce
2 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 cup milk, heated
Freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown—about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
Thursday, April 16, 2009
- ING examines cloud computing, but finds licensing a problem - Network World - "I haven’t seen any vendor with flexibility in software licensing to match the flexibility of cloud providers," says Boehme, who is based in Windsor, Conn. "This is a tough one because it’s a business model change. … It could take quite some time."
- tecosystems » AGPL: Open Source Licensing in a Networked Age - As with most things open source (modulo commercial CC licenses), I agree with Stephen here.
- Marginal Revolution: Why do people like streetcars so much? - Interesting post. I know I definitely take streetcars/light transit/subways regularly but rarely buses. Less confusing in unfamiliar cities/areas but I suspect it's more than that.
- Tax-free Internet shopping may be at an end | Politics and Law - CNET News - One word: ugh. But I fear, ultimately inevitable. (Of course, none of this should be taken to imply that I don't currently pay all required use taxes.)
- A Local Revolution? - Where can startups start?
- Who Are You Calling a Software Pirate? - Faster Forward - Whee. I'm in the Washington Post.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
- HipMojo.com » Newspapers: Only Thing Worse Than Fate is Hindsight - "Anyway, for what it’s worth, I think it’s absurd to blame newspapers for not “doing more sooner”. The more they would have done, the sooner they would have shrunk their businesses and gone out of business. Seriously, would the train companies really fared better had they dived into the airline business? Probably not. Would record labels really be bigger companies generating more revenues if they dove into digital music? Nope."
- The Long Now Blog » Blog Archive » All you need to jump start civilization… - Start civilization with this T-shirt.
- 376 - Pipe Dreams, or the Rochester Ghost Subway « Strange Maps - Fun historical trivia about Rochester, NY.
- $80m in US funds for bike projects unspent in Mass. - The Boston Globe - "Despite a recent declaration by Governor Deval Patrick that encouraging bicycling is a priority for his administration, Massachusetts ranks last in the nation among all states in requesting federal funds for bike lanes, rail-trails, and similar improvements and has failed to use more than $80 million set aside for the state." How embarrassing.
- A reusable way to tie up your turkey | Appliances & Kitchen Gadgets - CNET Blogs - Looks like another interesting use of silicone.
Monday, April 13, 2009
- How to make the Greenway work - The Boston Globe - The problems of making open space actually *work* in a city.
- Flashonomics: Buying Flash Memory - James Duncan Davidson - James Duncan Davidson - Some detailed discussion about buying flash memory cards. Unfortunately the reliability part of the discussion is pretty much purely anecdotal.
- 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice - ChronicleReview.com - "The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it."
- 6 Half-Truths About the Cloud - Many good points that I mostly agree with here. Also think it remains to be seen how important the statistics of scale turn out to be.
- Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Google in the middle - "We were misinformed. The Web didn't kill mediators. It made them stronger. The way a company makes big money on the Web is by skimming little bits of money off a huge number of transactions, with each click counting as a transaction. (Think trillions of transactions.) The reality of the web is hypermediation, and Google, with its search and search-ad monopolies, is the hypermediator."
Friday, April 10, 2009
- We Live in Public (and the end of empathy) « The Jason Calacanis Weblog - Thought-provoking piece.
- tecosystems » Do Operating Systems Matter? Part 3: The Cloud Question - Stephen's thinking is very much in line with mine on this topic.
- Little Red Riding Hood - Tomas Nilsson - Very Short List - This is very cool. [via VSL]
- Straight Dope Chicago: How can I find out what neighborhoods are safe? - Some interesting discussion of hyperlocal news at the end.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
- GPL's cloudy future | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com - Jeremy Allison thinks the AGPL is needed to preserve freedom in cloud computing. By current thinking is not.
- The Birth of Book Pirates? - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com - I've written about this previously and I tend to agree. Ebook readers just aren't widespread enough yet. (Also, people consume fewer books than songs.)
- Tips From a Road Warrior - Some of these I do as well, some I don't, and some are 180 degrees from my preference but good list.
- Tilt Shift Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make Fake Miniature Scenes » Visual Photo Guide - Faking tilt-shift miniature faking using Photoshop.
- The A.P.’s Real Enemies Are Its Customers - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com - "Of course, news executives are well aware that their electronic pennies don’t come close to replacing their lost paper dollars. That’s why so many are hoping that consumers can be persuaded to pay for news online. " It's a numbers game and just because you see the steamroller coming at you doesn't mean you can avoid it.
- Technology Review: The Best Computer Interfaces: Past, Present, and Future
- eBay power sellers: Amazon is kicking eBay's tail | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com - "Meanwhile, Saxton noted that eBay buyers can be high maintenance. Simply put, haggling is out. Automation is in. "
- 'Guiding Light' leaves a lasting glow despite CBS cancellation - What I found fascinating about this is that this soap was actually older than television. (It began on radio.)
- Content Log: Building a stronger open source product - John Newton walks through Alfresco's thinking and principles around proprietary extensions to software with an open source core.
- IT 2.0 Main Blog : Cisco UCS: there is something I am still missing - Good deep-dive into UCS.
- How Google Shot Microsoft After It Took A Knife To A Gunfight - "With this latest round, I kind of feel sorry for Microsoft. It poked at Google with a stick, and in short order, Google took a baseball bat to Microsoft’s head."
- GDC 2009: Iwata keynote--LIVE! - News at GameSpot - Nintendo's Iwata "then shows a bar which touts the Wii Balance board as the fourth console on the market. The peripheral has now nearly sold as many units as the PS3 in the US."
- On the ideal of real names on story comments | STL Social Media Guy - Personally, I think quantity of comments is overrated. I have no problem with a site using a system that makes at least a modicum of effort to validate against "real names" (or at least stable, online identities.
- How the Kindle will change the world. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine - I agree (at least up to a point) with much of this. There's less bundling and cross-subsidies with books than with newspapers. What Jacob doesn't mention but will become a significant topic if e-books become widespread is that of unauthorized copying.
- BSG Watch: A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away :: Tuned In - TIME.com - This comes pretty close to summing up my mixed feelings about the BSG finale.