Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly riddle for the children

What generated the following phrase "entrepreneurs rope team on time"?

One of our solvers will win a rope that is rope on time by itself.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google index and me

I have been googling my name a few times in the last days. What I have discovered is that the google index can tell much about me, and yet tell nothing.

First item on the agenda is the fluctuations, every day the results are quite different, one day my linkedin profile was on top, another day it was a post I once made on the Zebra mailing lists and another day it was some site called marketvisual (more on that later).

Second item is the totally useless stuff, although its quite cheering to know that there are a few hattrick players named after me (virtual soccer players , not real people) I doubt that those results really deserve their location, I guess hattrick should have probably prevented spiders on those pages. There are also some name poachers on the list, I already mentioned marketvisual and would gladly add lookupanyone which believes there's a me in NJ. Any other auto generated database which contains my name is probably useless, as they normally add very little information and sometimes even wrong information with regards to who I am, what I do and who I know.

Third item is the freshness issue, it is quite difficult to know who I really am when my past and present are tightly mixed. You'll find my software contributions of the long past interlaced with my recent activities and events I have been through. It would have been really cool if there was a way to create a timeline and put the search results on it, so one will know that I wrote the renegade utils about 10 years before writing the google toolbar button or filing some gentoo bugs.

Last item on the agenda is the black hole, many items of my activities were logged to the net on the past, however - those are unavailable today (probably just removed) which actually creates a preference to some sort of activities, many other things will never be seen (for example surfree and kerenix times pages).

However, googling yourself or beloved ones is a fun activity, you can do this and compare the results with yourself and see if the picture stands true. Atleast in my case the picture is mostly true, although shot from a unique angle...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"The Cloud"

There are times when one looks at technology and see dramatic innovations. Some other times it is just marketing over existing features.

I am not talking about web 2.0 and ajax which really predated their names. This time I'll discuss the cloud or "elastic computing".

I will start by saying that the technology has some potential for some problems, if you need 1,000 computers for a few hours - the cloud can't be beat. Unfortunately - this is not what most problems are made of and not what most companies need. The cloud is actually not a very sophisticated virtual servers hosting service, with steep prices starting at ~$100 monthly with no persistent storage. The simple fact is that most startups can use a good hosting provider and get more bang for their buck. If a reader will try arguing scalability - I would simply say that he can get more machines at any provider, or just host his own machines and scale them as needed without facing virtualization issues. A good example today would be that one may want to use a server with SSD for a high intensity I/O machine, the cloud simply won't give him that - and will charge those I/Os at a hefty premium.

A small exception is the google app engine, which is actually a very different cloud which actually bills for CPU resources used and not simply allocated, which in turn leads to better programs. However - for the time being it is python bound and limited.

So - if I'll sum it up, the way I see it - if you are a startup and not afraid of hosting, just host and skip the cloud for now - although it would sound sexier - it is not worth it - yet.