- Is PaaS dying? : CloudAve - The title is a bit link-baity but I don't necessarily disagree with the argument that there's convergence going on in different layers of the stack.
- The Design of Everyday Things - Udacity - RT @dalmaer: I have been curious about Don Normans design course and it just went live on @Udacity
- 5 Predictions for 2014 from Red Hat’s CTO - “@RedHatGov: 5 Predictions for 2014 from Red Hat’s CTO ” << Good list from @addvin
- Flooby Nooby: The Cinematography of "The Incredibles" Part 1
- Salmon Bites with Tomatillo Agar Fluid Gel Sauce Recipe - Modernist Cooking Made Easy
- Salesforce.com to Join OpenStack Cloud Project - The CIO Report - WSJ - There's a lot of confusion embedded in these sentences. "But Salesforce.com has been criticized for having developed its platform using a proprietary computer language that makes it difficult for customers to switch to another vendor. The move to OpenStack will help the company attract more developers to write applications for its services platform by giving them confidence that whatever applications they develop will also work on other cloud platforms. It will also give comfort to businesses concerned that they would be unable to transfer applications and data created with those applications, should they want to switch vendors and sever their relationship with Salesforce.com."
- Calibrated Background Noise Generators | Online & Free
- OpenStack Project Update Webinars » The OpenStack Blog - RT @OpenStack: Starting tomorrow, webinars on the status of all OpenStack Programs directly from the Tech Leads. Details on
- Why consider Red Hat Storage Server for your OpenStack deployments? - YouTube - RT @RedHatStorage: Learn the benefits of using #RedHat Storage for your @OpenStack deployments in this short video:
- AOL’s hyper-local hubris: Patch is dying because local journalism is artisanal, not industrial — Tech News and Analysis - "As I and a number of others have argued for some time, Armstrong’s solution to this hyper-local conundrum — and the related hyper-local advertising strategy he hoped would help pay for it — was fatally flawed because it is an inherently industrialized approach to what isn’t an industrial problem. In a nutshell, hyper-local news or journalism or content of any kind isn’t something that can scale to the point where a single massive entity like AOL can apply an assembly-line solution and profit."
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
“My prediction is that NoSQL will come to mean not yet SQL,” he said.”… “Cassandra and Mongo have both announced what looks like, unless you squint, a high-level language that’s basically SQL.”I suppose every new technology generation has to relearn the lessons of the prior one. I took a data science course earlier this year which, among other topics, spent some time going over NoSQL and "NewSQL" database technology. One of the clear trends was that a lot of the supposed baggage, such as ACID, that was ripped out of databases in service of performance and simplicity is now starting to get added back in many cases.
The perceived value of a purely low-level language all but gone, Stonebraker thinks NoSQL systems will also come to embrace ACID capabilities. It might already be happening.
“I think the biggest NoSQL proponent of non-ACID has been historically a guy named Jeff Dean at Google, who’s responsible for, essentially, most to all of their database offerings. And he recently … wrote a system called Spanner,” Stonebraker explained. “Spanner is a pure ACID system. So Google is moving to ACID and I think the NoSQL market will move away from eventual consistency and toward ACID.”
In Map-Reduce land, there are analogous trends. For example, Apache Pig "is a platform for analyzing large data sets that consists of a high-level language for expressing data analysis programs, coupled with infrastructure for evaluating these programs. The salient property of Pig programs is that their structure is amenable to substantial parallelization, which in turns enables them to handle very large data sets."
I guess it wasn't such a bad idea after all to build a lot of the optimization and parallelization in at the DBMS layer after all rather than forcing application programmers to handle it. On a side note, as someone who was following processor tech quite closely when multi-core hit the scene, I suspect that one of the reasons the "parallel programming problem" didn't develop into as big a problem as some thought it would be is that databases and other middleware (to use the term broadly) largely abstract parallelization.
I see this relearning of past lessons pervasively through cloud computing more broadly. Although, perhaps, reimagining is a better term. When we see the pervasive use of RESTful APIs, we're not really seeing SOA 2.0, although that makes a convenient shorthand. We are seeing a services-centric approach to delivering IT services. But it's a services-oriented approach that's much lighter weight and doesn't carry nearly the same amount of baggage as, say, a mid-nineties SOAP-based implementation. It's useful to understand why we did things or tried to do them in the past. It's also useful to understand why they might have been suboptimal or even ultimately failed--and why the environment (whether tech, ecosystem, or need) might be different now.
- Google’s Road Map to Global Domination - NYTimes.com
- A million first steps - Digital scholarship blog
- AWS re:Invent 2012 session index and links | Musings of Rodos
- Anna Hill's Photoshop Project Pokes Fun at Overly Manipulated Beauty Advertisements
- Learning Cursive Is a Basic Right - Abigail Walthausen - The Atlantic - RT @reason: Uintentionally saddest thing you'll read all day: Learning cursive is a "basic right"
- Dell Executing Cloud Flanking Move With Red Hat - Forbes - RT @karinbakis: Gr8 Forbes post by @PatrickMoorhead #Dell Executing Cloud Flanking Move With #RedHat
Friday, December 13, 2013
Red Hat's Steven Citron-Pousty is a fantastic presenter. Here's the talk he gave on OpenShift at AWS re:Invent in November which rated #1 for the whole conference. Strongly recommended!
"Is Your Storage Vendor Heading Towards the Elephant Graveyard?" was the provocative title of a presentation given by research directors Gene Ruth and Arun Chandrasekaran at the recent Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas. I couldn't make it out to the show myself but one of my colleagues was sufficiently struck by this preso to share it with me.
So what struck us about the presentation?
Certainly not everything discussed was unexpected. Flash memory has finally emerged as an important component of the enterprise storage market. Full stop. Gartner noted that it can even lower storage costs by allowing IT shops to avoid array upgrades and by lowering spindle count. (I'd argue that new technologies coming down the road such as persistent memory are also going to have a big impact but the bottom line is that we're finally moving beyond using essentially one class of storage media for everything besides backup/archive.)
What was less expected was the emphasis on open source and software defined storage (SDS). Now, don't get me wrong. It should hopefully be obvious that I don't need any convincing about the importance of these trends. I do after all work for Red Hat and we bought Gluster, the developers of GlusterFS, a couple of years back. GlusterFS (Red Hat Storage Server is the name of the commercial product) is an open source, high-scale, distributed filesystem that runs on volume x86 hardware. In other words, software defined storage.
But Gartner is often seen as taking a wait-and-see approach to disruptive new technology approaches. Its clients after all tend towards the mainstream to late adopters of technology as another Gartner analyst, Lydia Leong, told me a while back. Therefore, that Gartner is advising clients to put plans in place around storage trends such as SDS, open source, and hybrid clouds is noteworthy.
To be sure, Gartner makes it clear that the full promise of SDS isn't here today. That's fair. SDS is still relatively new even though Red Hat Storage Server is in production use at companies such as Intuit and Pandora. At the same time, though, Gartner doesn't equivocate about SDS's future. It recommends: "Begin evaluating SDS — it's a nascent concept today, but its time is coming."
Among the advantages of SDS that Gartner recognizes are:
- Enables a vendor agnostic hardware infrastructure
- Moves operations toward an SLA delivery model
- Enables new hiring practices and skill profiles
- Challenges conventional data placement thinking
Gartner also recommends that IT shops "insist that incumbent storage vendors develop and enable storage technologies that support hybrid cloud infrastructures."
Venture capitalist and co-founder of Netscape Marc Andreessen famously wrote about how software is eating the world. Software defined storage (like software defined networking) is just another aspect of this trend. The hardware doesn't go away of course. The bits have to sit somewhere. But the intelligence that places, replicates, and mediates the access to those bits is increasingly in open source software rather than in custom circuitry and silicon or the microcode of a proprietary vendor's array controller.
- Can Containers and Configuration Management Co-exist? | Puppet Labs - "As a result of these diverse management needs, and combined with the need to manage Docker itself, I think we'll see both Docker and configuration management tools being deployed in the majority of organizations. Indeed I can see the potential for some incredibly powerful deployments tools that combine containers, configuration management, continuous integration, continuous delivery and service orchestration."
- FCC vote opens door to end ban on in-flight calls | Mobile - CNET News - "The FAA is the expert agency on determining which devices can be used on airplanes," he said at a congressional oversight hearing earlier on Thursday. "The FCC is the expert agency when it comes to technical communications issues. We are not the Federal Courtesy Commission. Our mandate from Congress is to oversee how networks function. Technology has produced a new network reality recognized by governments and airlines around the world. Our responsibility is to recognize that new reality's impact on our old rules."
- RESEARCH PAPER: Dell and Red Hat Collaborate to Deliver OpenStack for Enterprise | Moor Insights & Strategy - RT @PatrickMoorhead: Dell and Red Hat Collaborate to Deliver OpenStack for Enterprise : #DellWorld #RedHat #OpenStack
- Completion data for MOOCs - The Ed Techie - Interesting data. One tidbit is that the higher the enrollment, the lower the completion rate tends to be.
- How to Interpret a Satellite Image: Five Tips and Strategies : Feature Articles
- Dell and Red Hat to Co-Engineer Enterprise-Grade, OpenStack Private Cloud Solutions | Business Wire - Press release on Red Hat and Dell OpenStack announcement:
- The Vaccination Effect: 100 Million Cases of Contagious Disease Prevented - NYTimes.com - "The journal article is one example of the kind of analysis that can be done when enormous data sets are built and mined. The project, which started in 2009, required assembling 88 million reports of individual cases of disease, much of it from the weekly morbidity reports in the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "
- Jimmy Kimmel Reminds Viewers Just How Sensitive Los Angeles Reporters Are To 'Cold' Weather (Video) - TheWrap - RT @valleyhack: This is pretty good. The horrors of Southern Californians trying to come to grips with a cool breeze
- Twitter / ghaff: Having a post hit HN sort of ... - Having a post hit HN sort of blows out one's average blog readership numbers (even though they're not bad) :-)
- openshift-pep/openshift-pep-010-docker-cartridges.md at master · openshift/openshift-pep · GitHub - RT @gshipley: True opensource PaaS.Contributors welcome w/out having to sign a release.Help design future cartridges using docker!
Thursday, December 12, 2013
- Why Do Kids Spend All Day on Social Media? Because They’re Not Allowed Out of the House | MIT Technology Review - "In a book coming out this winter, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, Boyd argues that teenagers aren’t doing much online that’s very different from what kids did at the sock hop, the roller rink, or the mall. They do so much socializing online mostly because they have little choice, Boyd says: parents now generally consider it unsafe to let kids roam their neighborhoods unsupervised."
- After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought - NYTimes.com
- Get Started Building Custom Docker Images | OpenShift by Red Hat - RT @pythondj: New blog post: HOW TO Get Started Building Custom #Docker Images (in honor of #Fedora base image availability #F19
- What are Linux containers and how did they come about? | Hacker News - My Linux containers piece from a while back with comments on HN
- Red Hat Announces Availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta - RT @RedHatNews: In case you missed it earlier... Red Hat Announces Availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta
- Tools for Contributing to the OpenStreetMap Project | Sparks' Open Source and Security Journal - RT @redhatopen: Tools for Contributing to the OpenStreetMap Project | Sparks' Linux and Security Journal
- Nantucket charm is making room for high-tech makeovers - Business - The Boston Globe
- Второй день рождения - YouTube - @j0el More Russian driving for your amusement
- Opening Act | Red Hat Enterprise Linux Blog - New RHEL blog stating up. I'll likely be posting to it from time to time.
- Twitter / rogerwhite86: Those two don't hang around, ... - RT @MattGertz: THIS IS WHY WE NEED IT RT @PootBlog: The Oxford Comma is your friend [via @rogerwhite86 ]:
- Oracle becomes sponsor of OpenStack Foundation | ITworld - RT @joeljack: Oracle: Customers need common interfaces rather than being locked into proprietary ones. What planet am I on. #cloud
- Red Hat IT Begins Its DevOps Journey | Red Hat Developer Blog - "So, if we accept DevOps is a culture, and your CIO gives you a mandate to transform his or her organization to a DevOps organization, you’re now effectively responsible for an organizational culture change initiative. That’s the situation I found myself in recently, when Red Hat CIO Lee Congdon asked me to lead a DevOps enablement team in his IT organization."
- » Wanted: Great writer who can type fast JIMROMENESKO.COM - This is depressing.
- Red Hat | Build the cloud your developers want and your business needs - Red Hat own IT transformation story is great. Did webinar with our CIO @lcongdon a few weeks back @AndiMann
- OpenShift Origin Community Hangout: A Conversation with the OpenShift UX Design team - YouTube - RT @dmueller: OpenShift Origin Community Hangout: A Conversation with the OpenShift UX Design team: via @YouTube
- Infusion Profusion: Game-Changing Fast ‘N Cheap Technique
- The Holiday Gift Guide, Kitchen Edition - Bloomberg
- The Food Lab: Hasselback Potato Gratin (These Might be the Best Potatoes Ever) | Serious Eats
- Equipment: We Test the $199 Sous-Vide Circulator From Anova | Serious Eats
- NBC's The Sound of Music Live: What Went Wrong and What Went Right | TIME.com - "When Carrie Underwood stepped out on the (wooded, not grassy) hills and started singing, I wished the hills were alive with the sound of hungry mountain lions. "
- The ‘Myth’ of the Mainframe Cloud | Andi Mann – Ubergeek - RT @AndiMann: The 'Myth' of #Mainframe #Cloud < My new post on @qhardy's article in @nytimes.
- Twitter / isaach: stunning image showing 19th ... - RT @isaach: stunning image showing 19th century naval voyages, making visible trade winds and the outlines of continents
Thursday, December 05, 2013
- For Nearly Two Decades the Nuclear Launch Code at all Minuteman Silos in the United States Was 00000000
- How Intel TV failed -- pay attention, Google and Apple | Internet & Media - CNET News - How many times around was this?
- The Pitfalls of Techno-optimism (and the Ambition of Amazon) | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis - "In fact, the Bezos announcement belongs to the same absurd-but-taken-seriously genre as Udacity founder Sebastian Thurn’s proclamation that the success of massive open online courses would eliminate the need for all but 10 universities in the world, and the reporting of it mostly without a bit of critical analysis reveals a major failing of tech journalism."
- On Smarm
- Twitter / Beaker: California - the land of ... - RT @Beaker: California - the land of sunshi... Oh, crud. 27 degrees and my car is iced over
- SC13 Rocked as My Last Industry Conference This Year | Moor Insights & Strategy - "OpenStack has a completely different kind of energy. If standing up web services is your business or you supply infrastructure to those who do, you should be there."
- Google Geo Developers Blog: Jazz up your site or blog with the new Google Maps embed
- 2014: Cloud joins the formal IT portfolio | ZDNet - "In 2013 enterprises got real about cloud computing. In 2014 we will integrate it into our existing IT portfolios - whether IT likes it or not."
Some relevant links:
Red Hat Storage Data Protection Workshops (tickets still available for Toronto and San Diego)
Listen to MP3 (0:12:33)
Listen to OGG (0:12:33)
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
- MeriTalk: PaaS Can Cut Federal Spending by $20.5B Annually | Cloud Computing Research content from Talkin' Cloud - "A study conducted by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership that focuses on serving the government IT sector, and underwritten by Red Hat (RHT), indicates that the federal government could save upwards of $20.5 billion by using PaaS. According to MeriTalk, that's equivalent to 25 percent of the feds' current IT budget."
- Demand Media: Rise and Fall o f a Content Farm | Variety - I tagged this with journalism when I saved it to my saved links. But that would really be "journalism"
- Twitter / benkepes: Now this is very interesting. ... - RT @benkepes: Now this is very interesting. #CloudFoundry vs #OpenShift in Google trends
- Big data reconsidered: it's the economics, stupid
- 5 Pillars Of Enterprise PaaS Strategy - InformationWeek - RT @annaucbo: 5 Pillars Of Enterprise PaaS Strategy by@krishnan - InformationWeek via @InformationWeek
- Red Hat Advances OpenShift Enterprise Platform-as-a-Service - RT @TechJournalist: Red Hat Advances OpenShift Enterprise Platform-as-a-Service
- PaaS and DevOps: A Marriage of Seamless Collaboration | OpenShift by Red Hat - RT @krishnan: OpenShift helps us segregate the developer from the infrastructure says Cisco IT. A point I highlighted in this post
- Don’t Cry for New York Magazine and Journalism (Yet, Anyway) | TIME.com - "So the problems of print are related to the problems of professional journalism. But it’s important to remember that the two are not the same. Information is a social need. Paper is an aesthetic preference."
- Google Cloud Platform Blog: Red Hat and Google Compute Engine – Extending the Datacenter - RT @mikeferris: Google Cloud Platform Blog: Red Hat and Google Compute Engine – Extending the Datacenter
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Google Compute Engine, essentially an AWS competitor, is out of beta.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be available on GCE--as it is on AWS and other clouds. This post by Red Hat's Jim Totton has the details on this collaboration.
Through this collaboration, we deliver:
- Extended Choice: As a member of the Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider program, Google Compute Engine is a trusted and supported destination for developers, application owners, and administrators looking to benefit from the value of Red Hat. Additionally, as part of Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud ecosystem, Google Compute Engine provides the added choice of an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform for customers looking to extend their environment in conjunction with a service provider.
- Consistency: Red Hat Enterprise Linux instances on Google Compute Engine deliver the same features (e.g., performance and security), and lifecycle (release and update cycles) as on-premise environments. If an application needs the latest development and run-time packages provided by Red Hat Software Collections, or security provided by SELinux, Google Compute Engine provides the consistent features and capabilities for robust application deployments.
- Certification and Support: A core value of Red Hat offerings is the assurance of support and certification for the platforms on which they are deployed. This promise spans from hardware platforms to virtual and cloud environments, providing customers with support at all levels of the stack and across all deployment models. Red Hat and Google have worked together to ensure that the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) platform that Google Compute Engine is built upon, is powerful, capable, and supported when running application workloads on Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the guest operating system.
Monday, December 02, 2013
I wasn't going to hop on as it's already all over the place, but a few quick thoughts so I can call it a day.
You may or may not buy the claim that this was orchestrated to distract from a recent unflattering book and other, albeit rather minor, PR hits. I'm not sure I do. What I do know was that this was pretty much a puff piece airing the night before the biggest online shopping day of the year. That makes it a huge PR coup in any case and one which 60 Minutes--which at least purports to be a serious journalistic institution should have taken no part in. For appearances sake if nothing else.
Amazon, like others, is seriously interested in same day delivery. As such, it only makes sense that they would be experimenting with and investing in various delivery channels and logistics approaches in support of that goal. In that vein, prototyping a delivery drone makes perfect sense. So would putting out feelers and even doing a little lobbying around the concept to feel out what's possible and what isn't--and maybe influencing regulations a bit even if, realistically, delivery drone-friendly regulation is years or decades away. Amazon has a history of taking the long view.
But, make no mistake about it, this is a long and speculative play--for innumerable reasons that many others have articulated. Fundamentally, I'm not sure when or if we as a society will happily countenance swarms of small drones (excuse me, UAVs) swarming through the skies. And it's hard to imagine them functioning in cities at all--in there words, precisely where population is densest.
Finally, we actually know how to do a pretty good job of same day, even 30 minute, delivery given sufficiently close "distribution centers." It's called Dominos. In all fairness, pizza shops can operate at a lot smaller scale than warehouses. But same day delivery doesn't have to mean 30 minute delivery and it's not hard to imagine some sort of multi-tier distribution system from a warehouse outside an urban core to local delivery people in the city or around a set of suburbs. To be sure:
Those with memories that stretch back a dozen or so years (or who have watched the documentary “E-Dreams”) will remember Kozmo.com. The start-up offered free delivery of videos, toiletries, and snack foods in about an hour, thanks to a fleet of drivers and bike messengers. The company raised $250 million — including $60 million from Amazon — but couldn’t make the economics of same-day delivery work. Kozmo was out of business by 2001.
Amazon is at a different scale point today and is probably much closer to making the model work--even without drones. Which brings us to the fundamental point. This isn't really about drones.
There's no problem getting stuff from point A to B--assuming the stuff is in stock at point A and assuming a route that can be traversed at some speed between the two points. A are called warehouses. The route is called a road. The "only" challenge is doing so in a way which is economically feasible--which is to say it doesn't lose the retailer money because the buyer is willing to pay the retailer's average costs of delivery, perhaps subsidized in part by the profit margin on the purchase.
That's one of the big lessons of the dot-com crash. It's great that people want things. I want things. But to get them, I need to pay for them.
- First Victim of Amazon Drones: The Credibility of CBS and 60 Minutes - Whatever the circumstances of getting this interview, how could CBS in good conscience schedule an interview with the CEO of the largest online retailer the night before the biggest online shopping day of the year.
- Shady Characters » Irony & Sarcasm marks, part 1 of 3
- Using Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS to Develop Scalable Applications on AWS (DMG211) | AWS re:Invent 2013 - YouTube
- Webcam Displace
- Why Not Black Wednesday Instead? - Bloomberg - "But seldom in the history of human experience has there been a critical emergency purchase of a game console."
- Myth: The astronauts didn’t float away because they had heavy boots
- Looking for the original source for the quote: "the plural of anecdote is not data".
- How fair use was born | Scholarly Communications @ Duke - "Throughout the middle of the nineteenth century, the scope of copyright was dramatically expanding from a limited “printers” right to prevent near-verbatim reproductions to a full-blown notion of ownership over an “abstract intellectual essence” that could find express in a myriad of forms, all of which were under the control of the author. Fair use, created by the same judges who were overseeing this expansion, became a substitute for all of the socially beneficial uses that were previously outside the scope of copyright."
- Dark Roasted Blend: Darien Gap: The Most Dangerous (Absence of a) Road
- OpenShift Origin Hangouts - RT @pythondj: Check out new home page for @openshift origin G+ community hangout videos! on our @github! previously aired episodes!
- GoldieBlox, fair use, and the cult of disruption | Felix Salmon - "Under what Paul Carr has diagnosed as the rules of the Cult of Disruption, GoldieBlox neither sought nor received permission to create these videos: it never licensed the music it used from the artists who wrote it. That wouldn’t be the Silicon Valley way. First you make your own rules — and then, if anybody tries to slap you down, you don’t apologize, you fight. For your right. To parody."
- This Tech Bubble Is Different - Businessweek
- Goldieblox and the Three MCs - Waxy.org - "And no area of copyright law is more confusing than fair use, deliberately designed to be judged in court on a case-by-case basis without any "bright line" tests to guide the way."
- Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 948 F. Supp. 1214 - Dist. Court, SD New York 1996 - Google Scholar - A lot of history about parody and fair use.
- Will Python Kill R? – tecosystems - Good analysis.
- What if dictators had Instagram?
- Backblaze Blog » Farming hard drives: 2 years and $1M later - Another really interesting data-loaded post from @backblaze. This time on drive costs and "farming".
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
- Honor Thy Tux: Linux Foundation Membership Drive Is Also for the Birds: Associations Now - RT @jennifercloer: Honor Thy Tux: Linux Foundation Membership Drive Is Also for the Birds via @sharethis
- Albany Dish-HarvardX: SPU27x
- Obamacare Is No Starship Enterprise - Bloomberg - "But at the end of the day, when people are demanding that you do the impossible, your job is to explain why you can’t. The ability to manage the expectations of nontechnical users is actually an important piece of domain knowledge for technical people; if you flub that, you’ll fail just as surely as if you get the hardware or software wrong. And, of course, on the other side, nontechnical stakeholders should make it their business to find out what is possible before, not after, they commit to designs and deadlines."
- Please Don't Let Me Make Calls on the Plane | MIT Technology Review - “@techreview: FCC Tries to Walk Back Airline Calls ” << This--however much libertarian in me sez it's not FCCs biz
- Marginally Interesting: How Python became the language of choice for data science - RT @AbeGong: Two good posts on why python is becoming the lingua franca for a lot of #dataScience
- » Blog Archive » The homogenization of scientific computing, or why Python is steadily eating other languages’ lunch - RT @AbeGong: Two good posts on why python is becoming the lingua franca for a lot of #dataScience
- Storage and the 'big data' opportunity: what went wrong? - "Note EMC has moved most of its big data initiatives into its notably non-storage carve-off Pivotal, and is now toning down the big-data message in its overall marketing."
- Red Hat, Rackspace defend OpenStack against analyst's barbs | Openstack - InfoWorld
- 25 PR Habits That Drive Reporters Nuts | Digiday - “@TechJournalist: RT @gigabarb: 25 PR Habits That Drive Reporters Nuts - Digiday ” Fully agree w most of this.
- Scientists banish NAS sprawl with Red Hat scale-out NAS software - TechTarget - RT @RedHatNews: Scientists banish NAS sprawl with Red Hat scale-out #NAS software #Storage
- How to Sell When 97 Percent of Your Calls Now Go to Voicemail - Business 2 Community
- Whither OpenStack? | Speaking of Clouds - Distributed applications and virtual infrastructures - "tl;dr OpenStack’s sweet spots seem to be SaaS providers and carriers. Public deployments will struggle; private clouds are difficult and may be ephemeral." -- Without getting into all the details, a lot of this post is premised on a belief that public clouds conquer all. A point with which I disagree, for significant use cases.
- Google Plus Hangout Mastery - Helping you Master the Art of Google Hangouts and Hangouts on Air
Around the beginning of the year, Matt Maroon wrote a piece called The Minimum Viable Kitchen. The title was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference to the minimum-viable-product startup idea even though the kitchen, as described, wasn't really minimal. Don't think of Asian street food vendors sweating over charcoal grills. Rather, as Matthew describes it:
This post lays out the Minimum Viable Kitchen (MVK) for creating gourmet food. It’s aimed at the person that wants to make truly great food, but isn’t quite sure where to get started or how expensive the commitment will be. As it turns out, you can assemble all the kitchen equipment you need to become a great chef for under $1000. This post isn't trying to convince you to become a great chef or a foodie, but if you are already so inclined, it will help you get started.
It's a good post and I recommend it. Here's my take which I've been meaning to write for a while. Some context and a few caveats first though.
I'm assuming that you have a kitchen--which is to say an oven, stovetop, dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave. (A microwave is more a handy tool for warming than cooking but it's so universal that it factors into some recipe prep too.) I have some opinions about those if you're starting afresh but I'm not going to get into those here. I'm likewise going to aim this post at the hypothetical reader going from $0 to about $1K--although I probably wouldn't actually recommend even the Twitter IPO winner just running out and buying everything. I'm giving a lot of opinions about what works for me but especially pots and pans and utensils and knives are best built out incrementally based on preferences and cooking habits.
In the same vein, I'll be leaving out a lot of little things that may be useful based on your particular cooking preferences; I'm trying to keep things general purpose. So I won't include a lobster pot or accessories even though these are things that I personally use on a regular basis. I'll also be doing a follow-on post on some bigger "add-ons" that I personally find useful but are probably too specialized for the general case.
Also, a bit of context. I do a lot of cooking but not a huge amount of baking so this list is probably a bit light on baking pans and other accessories which could be a whole separate post. I'm also leaving out various small appliances that aren't really related to cooking. So no coffee machines or toasters. Nor do I go the modernist route in this post although I do have a DIY sous vide setup as well as a copy of Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine at Home. Finally, this post is about gear but putting together spices and other staples will be an equal part of building your NMVK.
Here's where I'm probably most going to disagree with Matt. I really can't imagine trying to start someone out with Thomas Keller, even if it is his "simplified" Ad Hoc at Home. Modernist cuisine (i.e. using water baths, whipping siphons, and the like) may well be all very cool and so forth but--call me old-fashioned--I have trouble imagining all but the most uber-geek entering into cooking that way. (And you still need the traditional stuff anyway.)
If I had to pick one, it would be Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition.
The Cook's Illustrated crew, headed by Chris Kimball, is something of a mini-industry. They have shows on public TV, magazines, a Website that they actually succeed in getting folks like myself to subscribe to (something many newspapers would sincerely love to accomplish), and a passel of cookbooks that profitably rework and repurpose large swaths of content.
The central conceit of Cook's Illustrated is that everything from recipes to techniques is tested, tested, tested. They're also probably the best-known example of the modern "cooking geek" approach in that they investigate and explain why particular techniques work or don't work. (Alton Brown is another author who focuses on the science of cooking but without the obsessiveness of Cook's Illustrated.)
The Best Recipes is an encyclopedic work and it does a great job of breaking down and illustrating how to do things in the kitchen with something over 1,000 recipes in all. Because it does so much more than just present a bunch of recipes, this has become my go to reference for how to do things in the kitchen and a starting point for how to handle a cut of meat or other ingredient. If there's a knock on Cook's Illustrated it's that the whole "we tried 50 different ways of boiling an egg" shtick can get a bit old after a while. More to the point, I find it can result in recipes that are a bit fussy with three types of cheeses grated three different ways and the like. Also be forewarned that large quantities of cream, butter, and the like often seem to play heavily into getting the best tasting result. Still, overall, a great reference and a good bargain given its size.
A few other possibilities.
Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen capped a long string of cookbooks from the late, lamented Gourmet magazine. It reimagines recipes for the ingredients now available (in moderately cosmopolitan urban settings).
Amanda Hesser similarly reimagined the long line of cookbooks from The New York Times with The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century while very much maintaining a link to Times recipes of year past.
Of course the Internet has tons of recipes. And, for my readers, learning about the underlying science in books like Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and Jeff Potter's Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food may be more interesting and useful than recipe books. (Though I still have large shelves of those--albeit with older books generally rotating into newer ones.)
Knives are key. In fact, I've found that since spending the money on some decent knives and learning how to keep them sharp I don't use a lot of my electric chopping gear nearly as much. It's still good stuff to have, especially for larger quantities. But, by the time you factor in cleanup, it's really faster and easier just to chop up the onion--and more consistent besides.
The following is my idiosyncratic list of the four knives that I use most frequently. There are cheaper knives out there; Victorinox gets good reviews. There are also much more expensive knives out there. The Wusthof Classic line just feels good in my hand. Others I know swear by Shun. This is one area in particular where I would recommend starting out small and building incrementally rather than buying one of those knife sets. (I'd also mention that I seem to be a knife rather than a cleaver person for whatever reason.)
Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Cook's Knife ($119--I know, I know sticker shock but I use this daily)
Paring knife. Here's an example Victorinox Swiss Army 3-1/4-Inch Fibrox Straight Edge Paring Knife. I use this type of knife a lot but I can't say I care a lot about the details because I'm mostly cutting soft fruits and vegetables.
At this point I would recommend a top-notch big chef's knife like Wusthof Classic Ikon 10-Inch Cook's Knife but I'd totally blow our budget just as we were getting started so you might try something like the Victorinox 47521 10-Inch Chef's Knife, Black Fibrox Handle or just go down to a local Chinatown if you have one and pick up a big cleaver. (I prefer the 8" for daily use but you need something bigger for tasks like cutting chickens apart.)
Beyond the basics, I use a relative of the Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Inch Fillet (which is also useful for cutting very thin slices of smoked ham for instance) and a smaller chef's knife like the WUSTHOF Classic 6-Inch Cook's Knife.
Once you have this expensive metal, you'll want to keep it sharp. Without going into the details of edge straightening and edge sharpening here, I use a combination of the DMT DS2E 12-Inch Diamond Steel Sharpening Rod, Extra Fine Grit and the Fiskars 7861 Axe and Knife Sharpener.
Pots and Pans
Again, this is a collection that you'll probably want to build up over time based on your needs. But here are a few suggestions to get you started. A few of these recommendations are stovetop dependent. You won't want an aluminum pot if you have an induction burner and you probably won't want uncoated cast iron if you have a smoothtop. I personally have gas and these, or pots like them, are things I use on a regular basis. I also mention a couple of things that I don't use regularly but are essential from time to time.
Circulon Contempo Hard Anodized Nonstick 3-Quart Covered Saucepot I don't have this particular pot but the Calphalon I have doesn't seem to be made any longer. I find a 3-4 quart heavy pot the perfect size for lots of things and having two short handles is ideal for deep frying and other tasks where you really don't want to spill something. Note that you don't want to cook acidic foods in aluminum.
Lodge L10SK3ASHH41B Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-Inch Real traditional I know. But I still find a well-seasoned cast iron skillet to be versatile for a lot of things and inexpensive besides.
T-fal E9380884 Professional Total Nonstick Oven Safe Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 12.5-Inch Fry Pan / Saute Pan Dishwasher Safe Cookware, Black Nonstick gets a lot of disdain, in part because you can't brown food in it as well. But it's also great--even compared to well-seasoned cast iron--with sticky foods and delicate coatings. The T-fal line works well, while being inexpensive, which is important given that non-stick will lose its non-stick no matter how much you pay.
Lodge Color EC6D33 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Blue, 6-Quart Dutch ovens are incredibly versatile and, while Le Crueset is great, you really don't need to pay those prices. You can use this pot for all sorts of soups and stews. I find the enameled version is better for most things than the plain cast iron. You wouldn't go wrong bumping yourself up a size either although the pot will start to get heavy at that point.
A few other things that you may want:
Small (1 quart or so) saucepan. I use this all the time for melting butter and for heating small amounts of sauces.
Another pot in the 3-4 quart range.
A tall six quart or so stock pot in addition to the dutch oven (but probably don't need this to start)
A roasting pan such as Calphalon Classic Hard Anodized 16-Inch Roaster with Nonstick Rack but only if you (well) roast--although it's useful for other things as well.
A smaller skillet
(Unlike with knives, it may make sense to buy a pot set to get at least partially started although it won't cover everything.)
(Mostly) Rectangular stuff
Which, is to say, mostly stuff to bake in.
A couple baking sheets (to put under things even if you don't bake cookies or all the other things you crisp in an oven)
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9-by-5-Inch Loaf Pan. These gets used for all manner of quick breads. (Substitute or add muffin pans.)
If you're interested in doing casserole-type stuff, you can probably get started with the above but may want to augment it with a basic set of Corningware such as CorningWare 1083955 French 14-Piece Bakeware Set, White. For quiches, you'll want something like BIA Cordon Bleu 1-Quart Round Quiche, White. And I'm leaving out relatively specialty baking gear such as springform pans--used for cheesecake although not exclusively so.
Utensils and related
I'm mostly not going to go into specifics here, especially given that most people have at least some of these basics and can generally muddle along in many cases without upgrading everything. But here are some of the things you'll want. (See the photo for some of the favorites sitting in my drawer.)
Spatulas. I like metal for my uncoated skillets and something less destructive to use with non-stick.
Silicone scrapers. Silicon eis the bestest invention for lots of--though not all--kitchen uses. (Generally avoid it for pans.) Furthermore, I find myself now using silicone scrapers in place of spatulas when I'm primarily pushing things around (e.g. scrambled eggs) rather than flipping them.
The best ladle (according to Cook's Illustrated--and I agree).
Microplanes, e.g. Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater. For zesting citrus fruits and parmesan, for example.
Slotted and unslotted spoons of various sizes and materials.
Whisks. I'd probably start with something like OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Whisk.
Sieve(s). A basic fine wire mesh sieve (e.g. OXO Good Grips 8-Inch Double Rod Strainer) will be fine for many purposes although when we get into things like advanced soup making, the options explode (see e.g. chinois.)
Mixing bowls. Depending upon what I'm using them for I prefer either Pyrex or stainless.
Scoop. The example in the photo is from Chinatown.
One and two cup Pyrex measuring cups
Thermometers. Data is our friend. Instant read thermometers are especially useful when cooking meat. (Cook's Illustrated favors the ~$100 Thermapen but I've been happy with the ~$20 Polder.) Other types of thermometers are useful for deep frying, making candy, and checking that your oven is at the correct temperature. (You can also use sugar sorta phase change for this purpose.)
Major small appliances
This may be the most fraught area of these recommendations because the items in question are relatively expensive and how useful you find them is going to be dependent on what sort of cooking you want to do. That said, the items I'm going to mention here are fairly universal. As I mentioned earlier, I'll save more specialized gear for a later post.
Food processor. I have an ancient Cuisinart but, based on reviews at Cooks Illustrated and others, this model Cuisinart DFP-14BCN 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel seems to be a good choice. As I alluded to earlier, a good sharp knife is still a pretty efficient way to cut up a single vegetable. But a food processor can make quick work of lots of vegetables. When it comes to thin and precise slicing, it's hard to beat a good processor other than using a Mandoline. And you'll need an immersion blender and/or a high-speed blender to better a food processor at pureeing. The bottom line is that, while a food processor may not be the vey best tool for every task, it does well at a lot of them compared to both other machines and manual approaches. And even with a fairly fully-stocked equipment cupboard, I still keep my venerable old Cuisinart on the counter because it's just very convenient for doing many routine things.
Stand mixer. Perhaps you don't see yourself baking in your NMVK. In which case I might concede you could get by shiningly with a cheap hand mixer for those times when you need to make some whipped cream or whatever. (And a hand mixer can be handy now and then regardless so it's not a waste to pick one up.) But, assuming all this cooking stuff is just not a passing fad, you'll probably end up with something like one of these regardless: KitchenAid K45SS Classic 250-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White. (KitchenAid makes bigger and more powerful models as well and most still regard them as the stand mixer standard.) Stand mixers are really useful for anything that involves beating lots of air into a mix, creaming butter, or kneading a dough. As a bonus, the KitchenAids also can be equipped with attachments for grinding meat and processing fruit or vegetables like apples through a mill for jam-making and other purposes. This may seem fairly exotic but it's nice add-on to a tool that you'll likely use for more mundane purposes on at least a semi-regular basis.
There are some small appliances that may or may not be useful to you depending upon your interests but I'm going to save those for a future post in the interests of keeping this post to a sane length and our budget within shouting distance of $1K.
Which is probably a good note on which to end. Again, the intention here is not to seriously argue that you NEED ALL OF THIS STUFF. But, rather, if someone were hypothetically going from zero to $1K kitchen, this is--for my tastes and my interests--what that kitchen might look like.