Scott Burkett’s Pothole on the Infobahn » Wifi Cat: The Backstory
8:40 pm EST, Feb 26, 2009
The following is my account of the Wifi Cat ruse we pulled off last week at Startup Riot 2009 in Atlanta. This is from memory, so the timeline may be a bit off here or there - but it will give you the gist.
MBARI News Release - Researchers solve mystery of deep-sea fish with tubular eyes and transparent head
7:28 pm EST, Feb 26, 2009
Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently solved the half-century-old mystery of a fish with tubular eyes and a transparent head. Ever since the "barreleye" fish Macropinna microstoma was first described in 1939, marine biologists have known that its tubular eyes are very good at collecting light. However, the eyes were believed to be fixed in place and seemed to provide only a "tunnel-vision" view of whatever was directly above the fish's head. A new paper by Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler shows that these unusual eyes can rotate within a transparent shield that covers the fish's head. This allows the barreleye to peer up at potential prey or focus forward to see what it is eating.
One of the things I always tell startups is a principle I learned from Paul Buchheit: it's better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy. I was saying recently to a reporter that if I could only tell startups 10 things, this would be one of them. Then I thought: what would the other 9 be?
SQL is dead: MySQL Conference & Expo 2009 - O'Reilly Conferences, April 20 - 23, 2009, Santa Clara, CA
7:03 pm EST, Feb 26, 2009
We all know that no one really spends much time hand-writing SQL anymore. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not (and we might just get in to that, too) the majority of people out there who aren’t using PHP are writing applications using ORMs. Hibernate, JDO, JPA, SQLAlchemy, ActiveRecord. It’s what people are doing, and it allows them to focus on writing the objects their application needs.
But there is an efficiency problem, and many of the real performance nuts get hot and bothered when confronted with ORM’s generating SQL Queries. SQL isn’t exactly the best medium for serialization of data, and trying to generate optimal sequences isn’t always successful.
What happens when we take the abstraction of ORMs, and match it with databases exposing lower-level interfaces to send queries?
With the NDB API in MySQL Cluster, you get storage engine level calls like “fetch tuple” or “scan index”.
In Drizzle we’re talking about the possibility to pushing parsing to the client and sending serialized parse trees or maybe even query plans to the server directly.null
Nowadays, Leonardo might have been hired by a top research university, but it seems likely that he would have been denied tenure. He had lots of notes but relatively little to put in his portfolio.
Leonardo was the kind of person we have come to call a "genius." But he had trouble focusing for long periods on a single project. After he solved its conceptual problems, Leonardo lost interest until someone forced his hand. Even then, Leonardo often became a perfectionist about details that no one else could see, and the job just didn't get done.
Of course, the therapeutic interpretation of Leonardo — and, perhaps, of many of us in academe who emulate his pattern of seemingly nonproductive creativity — has a long history. Leonardo's reputation spread at exactly the right time for someone to become a symbol of this newly invented moral and psychological disorder: procrastination, a word that sounds just a little too much like what Victorian moralists used to call "self-abuse."
The unambiguously negative idea of procrastination seems unique to the Western world; that is, to Europeans and the places they have colonized in the last 500 years or so. It is a reflection of several historical processes in the years after the discovery of the New World: the Protestant Reformation, the spread of capitalist economics, the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the middle classes, and the growth of the nation-state. As any etymologist will tell you, words are battlegrounds for contending historical processes, and dictionaries are among the best chronicles of those struggles.
If Leonardo seemed endlessly distracted by his notebooks and experiments — instead of finishing the details of a painting he had already conceptualized — it was because he understood the fleeting quality of imagination: If you do not get an insight down on paper, and possibly develop it while your excitement lasts, then you are squandering the rarest and most unpredictable of your human capabilities, the very moments when one seems touched by the hand of God.
Leonardo's studies of how light strikes a sphere, for example, enable the continuous modeling of the "Mona Lisa" and "St. John the Baptist." His work in optics might have delayed a project, but his final achievements in painting depended on the experiments — physical and intellectual — that he documented in the notebooks. Far from being a distraction — like many of his contemporaries thought — they represent a lifetime of productive brainstorming, a private working out of the ideas on which his more public work depended. To criticize this work is to believe that what we call genius somehow emerges from the mind fully formed — like Athena from the head of Zeus — without considerable advance preparation. Vasari's quotation of Pope Leo X has rung down through the centuries as a classic indictment of Leonardo's procrastinatory behavior: "Alas! This ma... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]
Run the Spotlight indexer at a lower priority - Lost in Technopolis
2:51 pm EST, Feb 23, 2009
I realized the other day that on OS X, the Spotlight indexing process is started using launchd. This makes it very easy to modify the launchd configuration script to insure that background indexing uses the least amount of CPU and I/O bandwidth possible.
Edit the configuration script by running this command as root:
# open /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
You should find yourself in the Property List Editor application. Now add two keys at the top-level, one named LowPriorityIO, which is a boolean set to true, and another named Nice which should be an integer set to 20.
Now whenever the mds spawns mdworker processes to index recent changes to the file system, it won’t get in your way quite as much as before. (Without this change, mdworker processes run at the same priority as user processes, according to output from the ps axl command).
Hoping this helps, because mdworker OWNS my macbook pro.
Which plants are best to fertilize with coffee grounds.? - Yahoo! Answers
Topic: Home and Garden
8:25 pm EST, Feb 21, 2009
A lab test analysis showed that: the grounds provide generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. "Use of coffee grounds in amending mineral soils up to 35 percent by volume coffee grounds will improve soil structure... Use of the coffee grounds at the specified incorporation rates (rototilled into a 6- to 8-inch depth) will substantially improve availabilities of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper and will probably negate the need for chemical sources of these plant essential elements." They also release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade. Nitrogen: 2.28 percent Phosphorus: 0.06 percent Potassium: 0.6 percent
Starbucks will give you like 50-100lbs of coffee grounds at a time to fertilize your garden with, with or without composting.
When I moved to Atlanta a few years back to start Jungle Disk, more than one person thought I was crazy for leaving California. However in addition to the personal reasons I had for moving, I really felt that Atlanta had all the raw ingredients needed to build a great Internet business. It has been amazing to see how much the startup community here has grown and come together in just the past few years. Through blogs, twitter, and local events like Open Coffee and Startup Riot local entrepreneurs have more opportunity than ever to network, share and work together.
Since Jungle Disk was acquired last year I’ve been looking for opportunties to give back to the community and help other local startups. One way that I’m planning on doing that is through Shotput Ventures, a startup accelerator fund modeled after Y Combinator.
Along with eight other local entreprenuers I’ll be helping guide a select group of web service companies from idea to launch in a three month program in Atlanta this summer. With my own success bootstrapping Jungle Disk, I know how far a great team with a small amount of capital can go in a short period of time with the right experience and resources available to them.
Applications for this summer’s program open up on March 6th. If you’ve got a great idea for a web company and a few friends to help I’d encourage you to apply. While the program will be held in Atlanta, teams from anywhere are welcome to apply.