GigaOM: Another Half-Dozen Half-Truths of the Cloud

April 19, 2009

Joe Weinman at GigaOM posts Another Half-Dozen Half-Truths of the Cloud.  I like the first one (Clouds are less secure) — but the real question is, how do we as service providers get the consumer to trust us?

The third item (If cloud services cost more, they shouldn’t be used) refers to this McKinsey study; I debated posting that study here last week because I want more to communicate that picking up and moving some or all of your “shop” to “the cloud” isn’t nearly as easy as some business leaders are inclined to believe.  At first I thought this study would help make my case but it goes on to say that it is more cost-effective for smaller enterprises.  Perhaps it is, but there’s a lot of hidden cost in moving towards it and supporting the processes behind it.

Eclipse IDE Tips and Tricks

April 19, 2009

I don’t use Eclipse myself but a number of my colleagues do so I thought I’d share this blog.

Fearless Bytes IV

April 19, 2009
  • Why the CAPTCHA Approach Is Doomed
    CAPTCHA doesn’t work.  Don’t waste your time on it.  I’ve seen first-hand that humans are often behind the keyboard abusing your system and I’m pretty sure they can get through CAPTCHA.
  • The Big List of Agile Practices
    A well-organized list of Agile practices.  Now that this list has been solidified, they’re now running a survey (which I encourage you to participate in) along with immediate survey results.
  • Buy vs. Build
    More “please stop re-inventing the wheel” content.  Sometimes its done out of fear of losing control because you’ve been burned by bad libraries in the past but think about it — the time spent on creating your own library and maintaining it over time far outweighs debugging a few bugs here and there with a vendor-provided library or working with the open source community.  You are 1 person with a side-focus of creating this library to enable your product.  They are (usually) multiple people focused on the library you could be using.
  • “I don’t have time to test!”
    Don’t ever repeat this phrase with a straight face in front of me 🙂  The fourth comment in the article has a nice reference as well.
    I always love lists of favorite developer tools so I can check out what others are using!
  • Free Illustrated C# 2008 Ebook
    I haven’t checked this out yet but really wanted to pass this along ASAP!
  • 10 Way to Improve Your Code
    Neal Ford presents for an hour at QCon.  It started off a little shaky for me but I watched the whole thing — it’s worth the watch.  Topics include: composed methods, the problem with singletons (and how to solve it) — mixing “static” with “state”, YAGNI, TDD, pair programming, polyglot programming, parallelism, and a good top-10 signs you’ve got a problem.

HP to announce “Matrix” — Next-Gen Blade Servers

April 15, 2009

Picked up this article from Between the Lines today.  I like HP’s servers but recently they seem to be late to the game.

The real question (for me) is: where is the server technology going and is the business I support aligned with this direction?  I don’t see that there is alignment there but fortunately virtualization means lots of memory and the software I support loves memory so HP’s recent upgrade to their DL360 line which maxes out at 144 GB of memory is a welcome one!

Intel Releases Firmware Update for X25-M SSD

April 13, 2009

In my previous SSD post, I mentioned that the write performance of MLC drives can slow down with use.  It appears that Intel’s latest firmware update for their X25-M series of SSDs has solved this problem and the drive maintains incredible peformance.  PC Perspective reviews the new update with some impressive results.

GigaOM: 6 Half-Truths About the Cloud

April 13, 2009

Some interesting thoughts on what cloud computing means to the enterprise.  The second item in the article makes me wonder whether cloud-computing-specific servers and server-side software will be coming.

Shell Commands: Sweet Shortcuts!

April 7, 2009

I just found this list of shell commands.  Because I’m a command-line and shortcut kinda guy, I immediately felt like celebrating!  I used to type %userprofile%\desktop in the Run dialog box but now I can type shell:desktop.  I can also type shell:MyComputerFolder to bring up My Computer.  Now that‘s cool.  No, seriously.

SSD Update

April 5, 2009

I’ve been running on the SSD I purchased (see I Hate Waiting Ten Milliseconds) for a month now.  You might be wondering what I think and whether anything has changed in the market since I made the jump.  Amazingly, I’ll cover both topics now!

The 1 Month Milestone

Short version: I’m very pleased.  By making this one change, it feels like a decade of technology improvements has gone by.  Imagine booting Windows 95 on today’s hardware.  It almost feels like I’m booting Windows 7 on hardware from 2019.  The delays that I see now are very clearly waiting for the CPU.  I’m now itching to upgrade my laptop to the latest and greatest CPU.  I’ll (try to) wait for the Core i7 mobile version.  It’s not due out until 2H 2009.

When I pulled the trigger, I knew the price tag would hurt.  I tempered that with how much faster I knew my system would be.  I’ve virtually forgotten the pain of the purchase price because I’ve been so happy with it.  It’s always odd, however, to hold such a small yet expensive item in the palm of your hand.  It reminds me of the $600 I spent on the 16 MB of RAM I got for OS/2 Warp 3.

Today’s SSD Market

If you want to get your hands dirty and read a 30-page article on SSD, I recommend reading AnandTech’s article.  You’ll get a feel for the progress the market is making as well as the struggle the consumers and the vendors are having.  There’s also an update.  Here’s what I’ve taken away from those articles:

  • The X25-M would probably have been just fine.  While writes are slower on the X25-M than the writes on the X25-E that I purchased, it’s still far better than a hard drive
  • MLC drives lose some percentage of their write performance after use.  The X25-M drops to 60% of it’s original write performance (which is comparitively very good).
  • JMicron-based (JMF602A and JMF602B) drives still suffer horribly
  • The difference between latency and bandwidth: think speed limit (latency) versus number of lanes (bandwidth).  For a typical desktop, latency is far more important than bandwidth
  • Enter the OCZ Vertex — a different controller (Indilinx) and some back-n-forth between OCZ and Anandtech  resulted in a viable drive.  Why?  Anandtech pushed for better latency rather than bandwidth.  The new firmware resulted in a drive with lower bandwidth (MB/s) specs, but a much more consistent stutter-free experience
  • Most recently, Vertex published a new firmware revision (1275) that resulted in a 3x improvement on random write performance (both bandwidth and latency).  Sequential writes also enjoyed a huge performance boost.

While the Vertex is new and Indilinx is new, it’s looking pretty good so far.  The 250 GB version is available on Newegg for $725.  A properly performing SSD has broken through the ~200 GB barrier and as such, two of my good friends made the jump.  They’ll be receiving theirs this coming week.  I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂

Fearless Bytes 3

April 3, 2009

I finally caught up with my RSS feeds.  Here’s what I found useful:

  • 10 skills developers will need in the next five years
    • Of the 10, the one that most resonated was that the author believes that most developers will need to at least one of the following three development systems (note: not language): ASP.NET, PHP, and Java
  • Unit Testing: Can You Afford Not To?
    • Need help making a case for Unit Testing?  This is a good metaphysical-level argument for it.  I’m coming to understand that the only way to effect this kind of adoption within an organization is to take it upon yourself to use the technology/methodology yourself such that you become the person who has the least buggy code and develops faster; then people will ask how you did it, and you can tell them how.  It also helps to have the framework and examples in place for others to build on.
  • How I Learned to Program Manage an Agile Team after 6 years of Waterfall
    • I’m not a program manager but I find this story based on the author’s personal experience fascinating.  I found the moments of clarity and the examples of what’s being used at CodePlex very useful.
  • Effective Windows PowerShell: The Free eBook
    • I recently got interested in PowerShell.  I wish I’d done it earlier.  This is a great Cliff’s Notes for PowerShell.
  • The C# Programming Language Version 4.0
    • I’m always looking forward to the next C#/.NET evolution.  Here’s a good overview of what’s coming up.

Structure 09

April 1, 2009

I attended Structure 08 last year.  Structure 09 has been announced for June 25th (San Francisco).  Based on my experiences of attending last year’s conference, I do recommend that those involved in “cloud computing” (including general SaaS operations) attend at least once.  It’s good to hear varying points of view, learn about what’s new, hear some arguments, Q&A, and validate (or unvalidate) what you’re currently thinking.

There are some big people/companies on the keynote list, including Amazon, HP, Yahoo, Savvis, Ebay, Facebook, Level3, and LinkedIn.  It’s worth it just to hear what they have to say.