Thursday Nov 06, 2008

What will the Cloud do?

I was pointed at the Eucalyptus project, an open-source software infrastructure for implementing "cloud computing" on clusters, by a colleague and decided I needed to check out Amazon first. Several colleagues have given me this advice but have the University really written an open source grid platform conforming to Amazon's EC2 APIs.

If so its a fascinating example of the speed of commoditisation. It raises the question of where's the value in building clouds? If you can't innovate above the system components where can you innovate? Its obviously pointless to copy what Google did 10 years ago and if the assembly is available in Open Source you should probably use it. The space left by Amazon for a competitive threat is that they major on Infrastructure as a Service, although of ocurse given the operating systems available you can quickly turn it into a platform. I have just checked Amazon's EC2 Page, and they now offer a database query interface to their storage solution. The space left is to offer higher levels of abstraction, specifically by offering Java, Python or Ruby space to customers, and this is what Sun's Project Caroline does. Sun also innovates at the system, silicon and software layers. IT Systems are not really commodities and sedimentation means they will continue to change, the industry still needs innovators. IT isn't done yet.


Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

ezweb, fast new dynamic mashups

The real reason for meeting with the Telefonica reresentative was to gain some familairity with the NESSI project they lead, called EZWeb. This is hosted on the Morfeo Project site, and these projects have significant support from the Spanish Government. EZ Web has an english language installation & documentation page and for Ubuntu there is an apt script, documented on the web. I am just booting my Virtual Box Ubuntu VM to see if it works.

It requires Postgres or MySQL, Python and Django, documented on itsother operating systems page, I'll may check this out and see how hard it is to install on my Open Solaris VM, or I may bring up another Nevada VM.

Juan Jose demonstrated the ease of use of the mashup tool, and it'd be cool to have a go. This may even by the tipping point/use case that gets me to move off the Qube onto something better.


Wednesday Aug 20, 2008

Get Satisfaction

I have written elsewhere about some colleagues have been experimenting with Plazes. This led me to raise bugs/rfes. So I bugged these using the plazes web form; they're usually really proactive and they replied but pointed me at their getsatisfaction site. I have raised the new items as topics but have discovered they have a web widget and so have used a personal tag and placed the widget on my snipsnap plazes page, which displays the last five topics tagged as mine. I thought you'd like to see the widget, I have decorated it with a <DIV style="..." statement and added a BORDER=0 attribute to the <IMG> tag.

<script SRC="" TYPE="text/javascript"></script> <script SRC="" TYPE="text/javascript"></script>

I'm really impressed with 'Get Satisfaction', its some great rating and scoring tools.


Thursday Aug 07, 2008

Help with making a personal feed using SaaS

I have for a while tried to create a personal feed of stuff I put on the internet, in the hope that someone might be interested. Historically this has been a planet but I now have a FriendFeed account. I am considering aggregating my bookmarks from into the feed and wonder what my correspondents, that's you that is, think. The reason I worry is that I issue a lot of bookmarks.

The current feed is at My Planet, (hover over the link for a preview). It has been implemented using an old version of planet planet, and so is available in RSS, ATOM and HTML (?). However it has a couple of problems (see below). One of my facebook correspondents pointed me at FriendFeed. Prior to finding this, Richard Morgan pointed me at, (see below). One of the things that makes friendfeed so useful is that it has a generic feed service, so if their specific services, and they have a lot, don't suit then you can use the generic service, which is how I subscribe this blog, and my bliki to the friendfeed.

One neat gadget they offer is a weblog widget, which looks like this...

<script TYPE="text/javascript" SRC=""> </script>

I am currently post into the feed from my blog, my bliki blog, my google reader shares, my flickr and my twitter. The Flickr subscription consumes both my photostream and favourites.

The ones I have syndicated at planet/davelevy and not yet syndicated on friend feed include my bookmarks at, which is the nearest thing I have to a microblog. You have to work at it and it tells you what I'm reading on the internet i.e. what I am thinking about not what I am doing. I also syndicate my digg posts at my planet and I have displayed the digg stories on the full article page.

The final feed consumed at my planet is my slynkr posts. I have decided to stop using this. See Au revoir Slynkr, below.

This leaves my plazes feed as unforwarded. Since I use the plazer, each time I move computer or network, it generates a new plaze. This can lead to many entries for the same place on a single day. I expect that people want to track location, and most importantly timezone, not my connections. The plazes feed needs a filter to restrict the feed to first of day and change of location and I have considered using planet or venus to do this.

The one feed that I think would add to the Friendfeed is my bookmarks. On some days, when researching something I may write number of bookmarks in quite short periods. Is this a burden to my correspondents?

When done, I can pump friend feed back through planet for any legacy users. Perhaps I should check its actually used by anyone other than me.

Use the [Read More] button for more on my usage of Twitter, Digg and Planet.


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