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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

Anonymize Your Web Traffic with JanusPA -
Topic: Technology 11:38 am EST, Jan  1, 2009

The in-the-works Janus Privacy Adapter is, hands down, the coolest piece of networking hardware I’ve seen (via hackaday) all year. The so-called Privacy Adapter has two RJ45 ethernet jacks and is intended to be placed in-line between your computer and Internet connection. After plugged in and given around 60 seconds to fire up, it anonymizes your web traffic through your choice of the Tor network or OpenVPN.

Anonymize Your Web Traffic with JanusPA -

'Santa' opens fire at Calif. party; 3 dead - Yahoo! News
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:56 am EST, Dec 25, 2008

COVINA, Calif. – A man dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a Christmas Eve party in a suburban Los Angeles home that subsequently caught fire, leaving three people dead, police said.

The man arrived at the party in Covina late Wednesday and immediately opened fire with a handgun, police Lt. Pat Buchanan said.

Buchanan says three bodies were found after the fire was put out. He could not say how the fire started or how the three people died.

'Santa' opens fire at Calif. party; 3 dead - Yahoo! News

Obama logo ideas that weren’t chosen | Logo Design Love
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:30 pm EST, Dec 12, 2008

Sol Sender, who led a design team for the Obama 08 logo, was recently interviewed about the project.

Here’s a walk through the various logo options, with some of Sol’s thoughts.

Really, 08ama?

I guess there are not a lot of political years where leet speak works, considering an even number. As far as I know, 2 or 6 don't really transcribe...

Obama logo ideas that weren’t chosen | Logo Design Love

Seattle Sketcher - Google Maps
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:33 pm EST, Dec 12, 2008

Sketches of places in Seattle, on a Google Map

Seattle Sketcher - Google Maps

Adactio: Journal—Iron Man and me
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:14 pm EST, Dec 12, 2008

I thought it was an odd picture to be asking about. Let’s face it; it’s not a very good photo. It’s blurry and washed out. I guess it’s somewhat unusual in that it was shot inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral. Usually members of the public aren’t allowed inside. Myself, Andy and Paul were lucky enough to be part of the first open day since 2001. It was all thanks to an invitation from Benny, a bona fide rocket scientist at NASA—thanks again, Benny!

I never got around to responding to the emails. I figured that, whoever it was, if they really wanted to use the picture, they would notice the licence and realise that they didn’t have to ask permission.

Iron Man borrowed a photo from flickr that was more appropriate than they had realized...

Adactio: Journal—Iron Man and me

EmacsWiki: Shell Mode
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:26 am EST, Dec 11, 2008

Here is a a way to define new shell buffers using the usual ‘shell’ command. The point is that I don’t want to bother of the buffer’s name. So one press f7 to go to a shell buffer (if needed the command will start a new process), further uses of f7 in this buffer will cycle through the existing shell buffers. If you want a new shell buffer press C-u f7.

EmacsWiki: Shell Mode News
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:56 pm EST, Dec  9, 2008

“It is remarkable that during the period that Fannie Mae substantially increased its exposure to credit risk its regulator made no visible effort to enforce any limits,” Raines, 59, who was ousted in 2004 and accused of accounting manipulation, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington today. News

Simplify, Simplify - Times Topics Blog -
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:48 pm EST, Dec  9, 2008

Clearly, to adhere to our style rules, F.D.R. should have said “that.” This is a restrictive clause defining the “date” we’re talking about. (In fact, the Columbia World of Quotations, among other sources, renders the quote incorrectly online, substituting “that.”)

Perhaps Roosevelt thought, as many writers and speakers seem to do, that “which” sounded more elevated or powerful. Or perhaps he was influenced by British usage, which often employs “which” in restrictive clauses. In any case, we’re prepared to allow an exception here.

Simplify, Simplify - Times Topics Blog -

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