Monday Jan 05, 2009

Has Digg jumped the shark?

The comments on the Digg post on "Shouting in the Data Centre" [ Youtube | this Blog ] disappointed me. I am not a great user of Digg and very few of my submissions have taken off. It is one of the feeds I subscribe to using Google Reader which is my first choice feed reader today. It seems that I am obviously not interested in the same stuff as most of its users, but to find the majority of comments about the provenance of the Digg takes self reference to the point of absurdity. It reminded me of a very recent a post 'openpeel', called '5 Ways to fix Digg', and it also reminds me of Simon Phipps' comment,

"When you invent a system, you invent the system that games it!".

Its a shame, but I suppose that the social software designers will have to become cleverer. It's clearly a fact that a 'karma' systems attracts people to contribute to the 'wisdom of crowds', but also trying to measure the influence, popularity or even innovativeness/leadership of contributors often leads to anti-social, even destructive behaviour.

I wonder if digg has jumped the shark as its user community has grown beyond an expertise focus and its designers loose the arms race with the gamers. Is there an alternative? I have considered for a while the use of 'clubs', where feed consumers, i.e. me and you, qualify the contributors to our feeds, or membership is gated. I use to keep my bookmarks and thus act as the original source of my contributions to finding interesting news. These thus become available through RSS, and then those I really think are interesting to others, I use Google Reader shares to share them. In the past I have used Slynkr, and have been using Digg to act as an entry point to my friend feed. The Google Share is a cute feature as the Google Reader makes my google friends' shares available to me. I use this to read other people's shared articles. The google shares I post may become my Digg replacement, but there's now no weighting or rating and my community is pretty small, since it is based on google talk/chat friends, which is not my first choice chat protocol.

The Google Share/Talk synergy is another interesting example of leveraging closed communities, and functional synergy by the software authors. Retaining the choice of internet participants against this new "lock in" could be open source's next big problem to solve.

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Sunday Jan 04, 2009

You can't do this without "amberroad"

Glenn Brunnette pointed this Youtube Video out to me

which struck me as rather cool in that it demonstrates the awesome advantage of the FISHworks analytics i.e. the management software that comes with Sun's Unified Storage systems. Its such a great way of seeing the power of the software I decided to bookmark it on and digg it, [here], I glad to see I am not the first. I was, however, sad to see that the digg conversation was so trivial, amusingly focused on the effects of shouting at computers, which we've all done, and less so about the track record of the person who submitted the story to digg. Has Digg jumped the shark?


Thursday Nov 13, 2008

The SuperNAP

I was invited to visit Switch Communication's Supernap facility. This must be the best datacentere in the world. It is purpose built, and designed to host new age high density computing. They set out to build a 35Kw/Rack data centre and every decision they took was to enable this goal. There is no compromise. For instance they have invented their air conditioning plant, since, so they claim, the industry leader wasn't interested in innovating for them, they pump cold air into the top, of the room, and suck the rising hot air out, leveraging the laws of physics. They have three power distribution systems, a fixed floor which supports the PDU system. If you require high density computing, these people are the people to go to.

The have a video on their home site that explains some more, and this video on Youtube, which explains even more.

I found this by querying youtube using the tag supernap.

They talk exclusively about cooling, power, and availability, and they summarise the offering this page. We i.e. Sun are quite good at fitting out data centres, but have rented space in their centre? If you can put up with US jurisdiction, its fantastic. It begs the question why anyone that's not a specialist would build another. Look at the videos.

This was posted in Jan 2008 and backdated to the time of occurrence.


Thursday Oct 30, 2008

my first impressions with the ipodtouch

I managed to spend a couple of hours on my new ipod touch today. I have loaded my music and selected a few applications. Scott Wilson showed me iPint on his iphone, so I had to go and get that.

Check it out, you can also watch this video which I found on You Tube. i.e. this neither me nor Scott, and it is fully accredited at its publication page on you tube.


Thursday Oct 09, 2008

Laptop Diaries, about video drivers

Recently I have written about problems I have had with pidgin xmpp chat rooms, however, I have also come across a problem where I can't switch between the Firefox 3 control panel and rendered page, so I looked to see if anyone else had a similar problem. I found this article, called Can't Click Inside Firefox 3 Window Without Losing Focus 1st at, where yesterday, someone posted that new nvidia drivers had helped him solve the problem. So a quick visit to Toshiba UK's support portal and I discover that the most recent driver is over 6 months old, so I grab that an install it. I suppose its one of the problems in taking someone else's build. I now obviously need to wait and see if the problem re-occurs but so far so good.

Given I have new display driver, I have decided to re-install Pidgin 2.5.1 and its associated GTK library. This also seems to be working OK and I have not yet had a problem with the XMPP rooms. I also documented the problems here..., on my Bliki.

I am running a Toshiba Tecra M5 with Windows XP as the OS. I have Sun xVM Virtual Box to let me run Open Solaris and Ubuntu Linux. I take the windows build from our IT department.

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Friday Jun 06, 2008

Video Conferencing for free

I was introduced to last year by colleagues in the US, and its a quite cool video conferencing feature. The lag in Europe is appalling, so I use the phone to host the voice channel. You can use whatever string you want to act as the meeting name, which you can enter on the home page, [ hover or click on the link above] or in your browser's URL entry box.

So I use IM and the phone to support the video channel. I was having some problems connecting up with some Mac using colleagues, so connected to Hans Joerg who is a bit of wiz with the Mac. I am on the left, and you can see the IM dialogue box.


a mebeam conference

and he explained that the configuration needs to be changed using the panel that is opened by pressing the 'settings' button on the bottom right hand side of one's own picture. Mac Users may default to 'DVD Video Class' and they require 'USB Video Class'. (The picture below was scrapped from my screen, and I am using a windows XP machine, which is why the text says something else.)


mebeam devices configuration


Sunday Apr 22, 2007

Improving my mind

I'm have returned to California to attend Sun's top technology conference, and I shall be travelling on to Menlo Park and visit Sun's campus for the Sun Labs Open House. Once again, I have failed to improve my mind on the plane and instead of watching Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", I watched "Shut up & Sing", a documentary about the Dixie Chicks. They are not a band I'd listened to before, but I did read about the furore created when they stated on stage that they didn't approve of all the policies being pursued by a certain American politician.

Sadly for them, the politician was George Bush and he was preparing to go to war in Iraq (in 2003); doubly sadly for them, they were a country band and the radio stations decided to drop them under right wing and fan pressure. One thing that came from my watching the documentary is that Natalie Maines who stated she was ashamed the President came from Texas is either brave or stubborn; despite being quoted as saying she's sorry, she isn't. The film is about what happened to the band and their management as a result of the boycott. However, in 2007, much of the world has caught up with her,  even in America.

I experienced a slight post modern moment, where they are discussing how to replace the radio as a form of popularising their new work, since the film made me want to listen to more of their music. I have no  doubt that their sound is based on all three of them and they're the second band I have come across recently with less common instruments. The violin is seeming to become an increasingly popular instrument in non classical music.

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Monday Nov 20, 2006

Interviewing Brendan O'Neill

At CEC last month, Brendan O'Neill (BO'N) submitted his video record [.mov]of the conference and was one of the two prize winners. I (DL) have recently interviewed him about his time at CEC 2006 and how he produced the video.

DL: What do you do and where do you work live? BO'N: I am a Partner SSE with General Dymamics IT in the Northern Virginia area. I am currently assigned to the Sprint/Nextel account in Reston/Herndon, Va. I live in Reston, Va and have since Aug 2005. I relocated from Central New Jersey after GDIT found me and offered me the job.

DL: What got you into making videos, or was it the prize? BO'N: This is my first ever attempt at making a video. I headed out to CEC 2006, as a first timer, and got the bug after hearing about the prize and after hearing that the conference was "interactive". I am a Mac user and Mac's just make everything easy, so I thought "what the heck". The video "we" made was a last minute decision @ CEC. A co-worker from GDIT, Dave Moseke had the idea and pitched it to me, asked if I would use my Mac to help make a video. We exchanged some quick ideas and off we went...

DFL: What technology do you use? (Camera, Editing Software ,Platform?) BO'N: Like I said before I am a long time Mac user. I currently travel with a 14" iBookG4 running OS X (10.4.8) with a 1.2GHz PowerPC proc and 768MB DDR SDRAM. This is a great little set up, but maby not enough for video rendering if yer in a hurry. My background is in audio engineering. After college I ended up working with a few touring rock and roll bands doing production managing and live audio engineering all over the US, blending my love for audio manipulation and my ever growing love for computers and like technology I ended up getting my MCSE and jumping around a few jobs with small IT companies in the NY/NJ area. Retired form the audio world to pursue a newfound love for Unix. The video is honestly my first ever attempt at video editing, but with ProTools and Digital Performer (audio editing software) experience it was an easy go at it. The mini dv camera used was a JVC GRD271. Software used was iMovie HD 6.0.3 and the platform was Apple Macintosh OS X/iBook G4.

DFL: Have you tried using Solaris? BO'N For video editing? NO. I do use a Dell Latitude D610 for business/email use and dual boot that laptop with Windows XP Pro and Solaris 10. The Dell, running Solaris 10 is my main/daily device for interfacing with servers while working at Sprint/Nextel, and I do run an FTP server with music and videos for a bunch of friends on a Sun Blade 100 running Solaris 8 (may upgrade to 10 soon). I also have some older hardware (ultra 5 and sparc station) running Solaris 6 and 8 more for playing around with than anything else.





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