Thursday, October 18, 2007

I've Started Writing a New Blog

I have a new blog over at the CNET Blog Network, The Pervasive Datacenter. It will feature a combination of posts from Illuminata Perspectives and pieces written specifically for the blog. To quote my introductory post:

This blog will have its home base in the datacenter itself and will cover topics from servers big and small, to multi-core processors, to operating systems, to virtualization, to power and cooling concerns. However, it will also look at the software and the services out in the network cloud that are consuming datacenter computing cycles and storage and thereby determining the future of the back-end. I'll also spend some time on the bigger questions: Is Software as a Service the next big thing or merely Application Service Providers warmed over? What's the future of Open Source in a Web-delivered software model? Do operating systems even matter any longer?

And, because my premise is that the pervasive datacenter touches everything, I'll feel free to, now and then, head out to the very edge of the network. I'll try to stay clear of overly trendy and self-referential debates, but will write about important trends in client devices from UltraMobile PCs to cameras and the services that run on them.

I'll also keep this blog active at some level. However, I expect that musings and discussions that relate to computing in most forms will tend to migrate over to The Pervasive Datacenter. What remains here will be more along the lines of personal interests and links to material that others may find interesting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

TiVo Series3 and HD Get eSATA

eSATA (external SATA) lets you connect low-cost external drives to a computer with much higher performance than USB and Firewire. Frankly, it's a standard that has taken way too long to be broadly adopted. Whenever I open up a computer case--often to add or swap out storage--something often goes wrong and things end up broken. Much better to keep most of your PC's storage in an external array. Thus, I note approvingly that TiVo Sewries3 and HD models are reportedly getting their eSATA ports enabled with the latest TiVo software.

I guess it's time to make the high-def TiVo jump. I'd been holding off mostly because I had made some unofficial upgrades to my Series2 to add capacity. However, TiVo has a deal going that would let me transfer my lifetime subscription to a new HD model. Now that I know the upgrade won't result in diminished disk capacity, I guess I should make the plunge. The only other downside is that it will mean dealing with Comcast at some point to get a CableCARD when I upgrade my cable service to take advantage of the high-def capabilities.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Twittering Away

I haven't exactly become a full convert to the "micro-blogging" Twitter service. But, as I've become more serious about using Facebook--and have become exposed to Twitter through its Facebook app in the process--I'm starting to understand the attraction. Why haven't I been intrigued before now? Well, Adam Engst captures it perfectly in Confessions of a Twitter Convert.

Frankly, I put much of the blame on Twitter itself, asking as it does, "What are you doing?" as a way of prompting people to post 140-character messages. For the most part, as I acerbically noted before, no one cares what you're doing. However, that's not entirely true, and what I missed in my quick and disdainful overview is that a certain number of people do care what you're doing, as long as it's interesting, funny, or relevant in some other way. And here's the other thing - they, not you, get to decide if you're interesting, funny, or relevant.

Adam goes on to say

To help you think about what to twitter about, let me suggest some alternatives to Twitter's "What are you doing?" question:

  • What do you think about some current event?
  • Tell us about something funny you just saw.
  • What neat thing have you learned recently?
  • What have you done lately that was particularly cool?
  • What question would you like to ask your followers?
  • Give us a link to the last great article you read.
  • What was your last blog post/Flickr photo/YouTube video?

Now this makes sense. Assuming that you're not one of the self-proclaimed Silicon Valley cognoscenti with thousands of "friends," I'd actually like to hear interesting suggestions and recommendations from a modest list of people with whom I share common interests. In fact, this starts to look a lot like email distribution lists--but both more regularized and less obtrusive.

In short, Twitter's marketing is really bad. Good thing that (conventional) marketing seems not to matter in a Web 2.0 world.