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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

Nothing is original
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:47 pm EST, Jan 18, 2009

Nothing is original

Why I Hate Frameworks - The Joel on Software Discussion Group
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:54 pm EST, Jan 13, 2009

So I go to the hardware store to buy the tools, and I ask the sales clerk where I can find a hammer.

"A hammer?" he asks. "Nobody really buys hammers anymore. They're kind of old fashioned."

Why I Hate Frameworks - The Joel on Software Discussion Group

America's Strongest Housing Market
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:54 pm EST, Jan  9, 2009

It's the same story for McAllen, Texas, Syracuse, N.Y., Pittsburgh, Buffalo, N.Y., and El Paso, Texas. They top the list of the country's strongest real estate markets, in part because, like Little Rock, "none ... participated in the housing boom," says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's

Pittsburgh, Pa.
Population: 2,346,800
Bottom expected: end 2009
Forecast price change to bottom: -0.3%

I can handle a -0.3% loss on my (mostly profitable) duplex's valuation.

America's Strongest Housing Market

Pittsburgh Thrives After Casting Steel Aside -
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:19 am EST, Jan  9, 2009

Yet the semisweet spot that Pittsburgh finds itself in was never inevitable. As recently as 2000, it had a higher unemployment rate than Detroit or Cleveland. Just as Michigan has traditionally put all its chips on the auto industry, it took Pittsburgh a long time to come to terms with the end of the steel era.

“The emphasis was on fighting the presumed causes of the decline by getting rid of low-cost foreign imports or providing more subsidies,” said Harold D. Miller, president of Future Strategies, a consultancy. “The assumption was that steel will come back and we’ll go back to the way we were.”

Pittsburgh Thrives After Casting Steel Aside -

Ariane Sherine: We did it! The atheist bus campaign is bigger and better then ever | Comment is free |
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:20 pm EST, Jan  6, 2009

Given this unexpected amount, I'm very excited to tell you that 800 buses – instead of the 30 we were initially aiming for – are now rolling out across the UK with the slogan, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life", in locations all over England, Scotland and Wales

Ariane Sherine: We did it! The atheist bus campaign is bigger and better then ever | Comment is free |

Apple - MacBook Pro - 17-inch Features - 8-hour battery, high-resolution LED-backlit display, aluminum unibody, NVIDIA graphics
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:17 pm EST, Jan  6, 2009

To do this, Apple engineers custom-designed lithium-polymer cells to create the largest possible battery, then they went even further: They built the battery right into the computer, eliminating the space-consuming mechanisms and housings that standard removable batteries require. The result is a battery that’s 40 percent bigger than the previous generation and offers up to 8 hours of wireless productivity on a single charge.

Hurray! First the iPod, then the iPhone... now in laptops too! Now, when your battery wears out, you can just get a new computer.

(Yes, I actually do own more than one battery (only $5!) for my blackberry, and replace batteries for laptops to give them new life).

Apple - MacBook Pro - 17-inch Features - 8-hour battery, high-resolution LED-backlit display, aluminum unibody, NVIDIA graphics

Robots, Not Road - Eliot Spitzer - Slate
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:40 am EST, Jan  6, 2009

The Obama stimulus package should be spent on transformative investments, not bridges and roads. - By Eliot Spitzer - Slate Magazine

Here is where the New Deal analogies are instructive. The New Deal probably didn't pull us out of the Depression; World War II did that. What the New Deal did was redefine the social contract—perhaps just as important an outcome. The ultimate significance of the Obama package may be not its short-term demand-side impact but rather its capacity to transform our economy and, in turn, some of the fundamental underpinnings of our society. This introduces the second major problem: The "off the shelf" infrastructure projects that can be funded immediately and provide immediate demand-side stimulus are almost by definition not the transformative investments we really need. Paving roads, repairing bridges that need refurbishing, and accelerating existing projects are all good and necessary, but not transformative. These projects by and large are building or patching the same economy with the same flaws that got us where we are. Our concern should be that as we look for the next great infrastructure project to transform our economy, we might rebuild the Erie Canal and find ourselves a century behind technologically.

Robots, Not Road - Eliot Spitzer - Slate

Resume with horizontal timeline and world map
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:21 pm EST, Jan  3, 2009

Resume with horizontal timeline and world map

How do we adapt the resume to the modern economy? I've made a "first attempt" to get discussion going, but I'm interested in feedback and new ideas. I expect the best solutions to be anticlimactic: simple designs that attract as little attention as possible.

Resume with horizontal timeline and world map

Perspectives - The Cost of Bulk Cold Storage
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:20 pm EST, Jan  3, 2009

When Amazon released Amazon S3, I argued that it was priced below cost at $1.80/GB/year. At that time, my estimate of their cost was $2.50/GB/year. The Amazon charge of $1.80/GB/year for data to be stored twice in each of two data centers is impressive. It was amazing when it was released and it remains an impressive value today.

Even though the storage price was originally below cost by my measure, Amazon could still make money if they were running a super-efficient operation (likely the case). How could they make money charging less than cost for storage? Customers are charged for ingress/egress on all data entering or leaving the AWS cloud. The network ingress/egress charged by AWS are reasonable, but telecom pricing strongly rewards volume purchases, so what Amazon pays is likely much less than the AWS ingress/egress charges. This potentially allows the storage business to be profitable even when operating at a storage cost loss.

One concern I’ve often heard is the need to model the networking costs between the data centers since there are actually two redundant copies stored in two independent data centers. Networking, like power, is usually billed at the 95 percentile over a given period. The period is usually a month but more complex billing systems exist. The constant across most of these high-scale billing systems is that the charge is based upon peaks. What that means is adding ingress or egress at an off peak time is essentially free. Assuming peaks are short-lived, the sync to the other data center can be delayed until the peak has passed. If the SLA doesn’t have a hard deadline on when the sync will complete (it doesn’t), then the inter-DC bandwidth is effectively without cost. I call this technique Resource Consumption Shaping and it’s one of my favorite high-scale service cost savers.

What is the cost of storage today in an efficient, commodity bulk-storage service? Building upon the models in the cost of power in large-scale data centers and the annual fully burdened cost of power, here’s the model I use for cold storage with current data points

Neat model.

Perspectives - The Cost of Bulk Cold Storage

BBC - Britain From Above - Stories - Visualisations - Taxis in London
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:50 am EST, Jan  2, 2009

Satellite technology reveals how the network of city streets is being pushed to the edge of capacity. Watch the GPS traces of 380 London taxis over the course of a single day.

BBC - Britain From Above - Stories - Visualisations - Taxis in London

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