Friday Jan 15, 2010

The Sun'll Come Out Toworrow

I've always had a tendency to say "tomorrow," when I really mean "next working day." Most of the time there's no difference, but Fridays and the day before a holiday, people look at me funny. I find it silly that I have to figure out the next day I'll be at work so I can reference it by name. Instead, I'm now coining a new word:

to⋅wor⋅row [tuh-wawr-oh, -wor-oh]
–noun

  1. the working day following today: Toworrow I have a big meeting.

Your homework is to use "toworrow" in a sentence at least three times this weekend. We'll compare results toworrow.

Friday Jul 17, 2009

Shameless

So, you may have noticed that I haven't been blogging much lately. That's partially because I'm completely swamped and partially because I've started tweeting a lot of the things that I would have normally blogged. I'm finding that for posting links or sending out tips and tricks, Twitter is lower overhead than blogging.

One of the things I've been doing on Twitter is a Grid Engine Tip of the Day. Most of the time it's something that I just answered on the mailing list. In general, though, it's intended to be little things that you might not have realized or known about.

Something I really like about Twitter is that it's more conversational. Yes, you can leave comments on my blog posts, and yes it technically fills the same purpose, but it just seems so much more natural to just ask a question on Twitter. Of course, before asking a question is helpful, I have to build a following. To that end, I've started doing something else on Twitter. When people respond to the questions I ask, I've been sending the first ones "thank-you gifts", which thus far has been 4GB USB memory sticks with the OpenSolaris logo. Think of it as positive reinforcement\*.

I would love to hear your opinions here or on Twitter about the use of Twitter for conveying the kind of information that I'm prone to try to covey

\*: I reserve the right to be completely arbitrarily about when and to whom I send something and what I send them, if I send them anything. Proper positive reinforcement demands randomness.

Tuesday Mar 31, 2009

Strange Times

I just saw the news that Rackable Systems just bought sgi. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Reminds me of when Wizards of the Coast bought TSR. I hope that's the last acquisition news we here for a while...

By the way, I've started tweeting links like this one, rather than blogging them. If you don't want to miss out on any of the fun, follow me there. (I've also started tweeting a Grid Engine tip of the day.)

Thursday Mar 19, 2009

Rube Goldberg Gone Wild

I just can't not post this. Assuming they're not cheating by editing the film, this is easily the largest Rube Goldberg machine I've ever seen, and they're really creative about the elements they used. They do lose points for not using live animals, though.

(Anyone have a better link for this video? I'm sure it's on YouTube or Google Video somewhere, but at the moment, I can't get it to play again, so I don't have details with which to search for it.)

Sunday Feb 22, 2009

I Like This Guy

At the Omniture Summit '09 last week I listened to a keynote presentation by George Colony, head honcho over at Forrester. I found his style very entertaining and his points mostly on target. I recently took a look at his blog, and I think I really like this guy. His blog is definitely worth a read. (I also love the irony that in the brave new world of social media, I, Joe Nobody, can announce with a straight face to my faceless readership that I approve of the founder of Forrester. I also approve of Peter Gabriel and Scott McNealy, by the way.)

Saturday Feb 21, 2009

The Future Is Now

Friday I heard about the Esquire cover for the first time. Wow. It is apparently the most expensive cover spread in history. It was only a matter of time. It's scary to think where this is going. Someday your cereal box will talk to you, even without the help of hallucinogens.

Thursday Feb 19, 2009

Omniture Summit '09

I'm out at the Ominture Summit '09 in Salt Lake City this week, and I'm very pleased to report that it doesn't suck. I was very worried that I was paying three grand for a two-day sales pitch, but I took a leap of faith and registered anyway. Turns out that feedback from previous years' conferences have inspired Omniture to dial back the product pitches and user-oriented content. This year, there has been a wealth of useful information on Internet marketing in general and very few product sales pitches.

And as an added bonus, as I'm writing this post, I just won a Corsair vintage radio from Vintage Tub & Bath for being quick to raise my hand.

The big take-aways for me have been:

  • I think I finally get Twitter. I singed up for a Twitter account, just to play with it, but I hadn't quite comprehended how Twitter is useful for a company or organization. Twitter has been a big theme at this conference. Everyone is trying to figure out what to do with this untested new marketing channel. Look for more from me there in the near future.
  • An important point that I missed before is that to be successful in the brave new world of social networking, you have to be a full participant. It's not enough to just broadcast. The communication has to be 2-way.
  • Building a community is a lot like creating viral media. There's no formula. You can't just create a community. All you can do is seed the ground and hope something grows. You can, however, do a lot to encourage the right things to grow and to help things along. In the end, it really does still come down to content.
  • Brand has to be pervasive. Martin Lindstrom calls it "smashable brand," meaning that the brand should be recognizable by even the smallest fragment. Is your website obviously your if you take away the logos and products? His new book, Buy-ology, looks pretty interesting. We all got free copies, so I'll let you know if it was after I've had a chance to read it.
  • Mobile is the next marketing frontier. Makes me glad I don't have a data plan.

Wednesday Jan 28, 2009

skiing = Math.min(ability, skill)

Some friends and I went skiing this weekend. It was the second ski trip of the season for us. On the first trip, we were all so out of shape that we ended up skiing a difficulty level below what we normally ski. I was so embarrassed by our full-on patheticism, that I went home and started working out in preparation for the next trip.

This time, it was completely different. This weekend, I couldn't find a black run that was challenging enough. (The resort doesn't have double-blacks.) I found myself skiing black runs like I would normally ski an easy blue. I had no idea being in shape could have such a profound effect on my skiing. I always knew I was getting worn out, and that it was affecting my ability to maintain control, but I never realized that I had so much more headroom in my skill if I could just get my out-of-shapeness out of the way. Wow! What a difference.

So, the moral of this story is that fat and lazy make poor partners for athletic activities. Go figure.

Tuesday Jan 13, 2009

FPS the New RPG?

This article makes me very sad. First, it makes me sad because of the complete madness of it all. I'm really getting tired of reading about stupid people shooting each other for dumb reasons, especially when it's a kid behind the trigger. I would say that it's time to move back to Europe, but the nonsense is starting to propagate over there, too.

The other reason the article makes me sad is the self-serving, ultimately destructive plea from the defense team. Back when I was in junior high and high school, it was all the rage for the media to claim that role-playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons, made children worship Satan and kill themselves and their parents. Which is, of course, complete nonsense. I spent my entire youth playing every RPG I could get a group to play, and I've never been convicted of any serious crime. Now that RPGs have largely been replaced with MMORPGs (Massively Multi-Player Online RPGs) and other online FPSes (First Person Shooters), the media has turned its attention to video games. Am I honestly to believe that a perfectly normal, sane youth can spend enough hours making his/her thumbs sore that he/she will turn into a raving psychopathic killer? The thing the article leaves out is that this kid would have tried to kill his parents even if he'd spent all those Halo 3 hours watching Barney instead. (Actually, he might have tried sooner!) Unbalanced people do unbalanced things, with or without a video game to blame.

Sunday Nov 09, 2008

Inside the C64

Like millions of other people out there, my first computer was a Commodore 64. (A C64c to be specific.) Apparently like millions of other people out there, I still think it was a great computer, and I still have one stuffed in the shed that I keep promising I'll pull out one day and use again. (It's actually one I picked up on eBay a while back. My original one exploded.) Back in college, I had replaced the bootup logo for my copy of Windows 95 with the Commodore startup screen.


   \*\*\*\* COMMODORE 64 BASIC V2 \*\*\*\*
64K RAM SYSTEM  38911 BASIC BYTES FREE
READY.

PC World just posted a nice article that gives a tour of the Commodore internals. Check it out if you're feeling nostalgic.

Thursday Nov 06, 2008

My Own Personal Easter Egg

There was a semi-recent post to TechCrunchIT by Steve Gilmore about how software companies are transitioning from big bang product releases to a rolling thunder model. In that post, Steve includes a video interview with Jonathan Schwartz. OK, it's really a puppet of Jonathan, and it's highly entertaining. I don't want to spoil the video for you, so I'll avoid details, but in the video Jonathan tells people to go to sun.com/ponytail. Well, I did, and all I got was a 404. Pretty lame. So, I contacted the web team that manages sun.com and suggested that they put something at that address. Lowe and behold, they did. It's a redirect to sun.com/software/opensource. It's really encouraging to me to see that Sun still has a sense of humor. Sometimes I wonder...

Sunday Jun 29, 2008

I Love German Metal

There is something I just love about German heavy metal. American heavy metal tends to be a little much for me. It just comes off overwrought and corny. Metallica's Black Album is my favorite of the lot. But there's just something hopelessly charming about German metal. Rammstein is a good example. You may remember them, as they caught some airtime in the US around 2000 with Du Hast. (It was the only song on alternative radio in German, so it was kinda hard to miss.) There's just something about the tone of the music that makes it so much more palatable to me than the American equivalent. It probably also help that I speak German.

Last time I was in Regensburg, my colleagues took me out to a metal bar, and I found a new favorite song: Wir Werden Alle Sterben by Knorkator. If you love heavy metal, it's definitely worth the $0.99 to download. The gist of the lyrics is that the singer had a conversation with his manager, in which his manager suggested that he needed to write a song to uplift the spirits of his fans. This song is the result of that conversation. The title and first line of the chorus translates to "We're all going to die." Quaint, eh? The juxtaposition of song's super heavy metal riffs with an upbeat, bouncy chorus singing that we're all going to die is just too much to resist. Go check it out!

Tuesday May 27, 2008

ZFS/USB Magic

Even if you can't speak German, this is a really cool video:

The basic gist is that Constantin and crew think the Thumper is a really cool machine, but that at $50k, it's a bit expensive for a developer to have under his desk. As an alternative, they propose a stack of inexpensive storage, in this case, a jumble of USB sticks. Using ZFS, Constantin pools together the sticks in RAID groups of three as one big storage pool. To demonstrate ZFS's recovery features, he copies a video onto the storage pool, starts the video playing, and then disconnects one of the USB hubs. Even though the storage pool looses 1/4 of its devices, the video continues playing without interruption. He then plugs the missing hub back in and shows that ZFS automatically reconstructs the pool, reintegrating the missing USB sticks. Constantin then does a ZFS export, removes all the sticks, shuffles them thoroughly, sticks them all back in in an unknown order, and then does a ZFS import. ZFS then sorts out which sticks are which and rebuilds the pool.

You can find more background information in Constantin's blog.

Monday May 26, 2008

Death By Powerpoint

If you haven't seen this presentation yet, it's worth a look. It's a really nice overview of how to create an interesting and compelling presentation. Of course, having something useful to say also helps.

Friday Nov 16, 2007

Thinking Inside the Box

One of our awesome Grid Engine community members, Rayson Ho, just sent me a link to a great article from SLAC about planning for and installing their Sun Project Blackbox system. (Thanks, Rayson!) If you're interested in what it's like to install a half-million-dollar data center in a box, definitely check it out!

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