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Comment: Stuart is a good writer and speaker (Score 1) 2

by MarkWatson (#32236858) Attached to: Programming Clojure by Stuart Halloway

I found this book to be useful. I usually use Common Lisp, Ruby and Java for my work but I have had a long term interest in Clojure. Recently I have seen an uptick in customer demand for Clojure development so I have revisited Stuart's book and two MEAP work in progress Clojure books.

One issue that I am having with Clojure is the relatively poor stack trace information, even with the clojure-contrib ST utility. That said, I bet improvement comes quickly.

BTW, Stuart's Clojure in the Wild web cast is pretty good.

Comment: Re:Public vs private (Score 4, Interesting) 310

by MarkWatson (#31081876) Attached to: Google Buzz — First Reactions

I have to disagree with you:

Google performs statistical NLP on your data, and automatically finds good ads, etc.

As per Google turning over your data to the government: we are probably close to total government access to everything we do, so I would chill out about stuff that we are helpless to do anything about (unless you are going to stop using the Internet).

Comment: Good article, and IMHO good predictions (Score 1) 264

by MarkWatson (#30848010) Attached to: Asus Says Netbook Is Dead, Hello Wearable Computers

I think that the prediction that there needs to be more content before mass market success of tablets is right on.

At breakfast this morning, one of my non-tech friends was talking about the TED talk on wearable computers where spacial glasses would create virtual keyboards and displays on walls, tables, etc. That is what I would to see available soon :-)

For now, the Android platform is looking good: easy to develop apps for, mobile devices support voice commands, etc.

Comment: I am a happy customer (Score 1) 93

by MarkWatson (#30780068) Attached to: Amazon EC2 May Be Experiencing Growing Pains

I keep a small reserve instance running 24x7 and the cost is very low. I also have a EBS bootable large instance that I run for a few hours at a time as needed. It has been a while since I used it, but Elastic MapReduce also works well and is fairly inexpensive for what you get.

About half of my customers also use EC2s.

(Note: Amazon gave me a large grant to use EC2 for free for work on my last book, but my comments are my honest opinions.)

Comment: Re:Missed Opportunity (Score 1) 93

by MarkWatson (#30779916) Attached to: Amazon EC2 May Be Experiencing Growing Pains

I think that what you are seeing with AppEngine (and same effect with Heroku, which is EC2 based) is this: if your web application has not processed any requests for several seconds (or longer?), then it needs to be rolled back online.

Try an experiment: assuming that you have a private (non-advertised) AppEngine app, time the first request with ab (Apache benchmark tool). Then time requests that are sent every second. I bet that you see the 20 second page load time vanish if you are making frequent requests.

Comment: I'm mostly using it to learn from (Score 1) 126

by MarkWatson (#30498308) Attached to: Google Open Sources Etherpad, Piratepad Launches

After building and running it locally yesterday morning, I started studying the code. I am not to interested in deploying it right now, but I might set it up in the future for use by family, friends, and customers.

I've had a Wave account for about 6 months (sandbox and beta) and I am more interested in building applications on top of Wave rather than hacking on the EtherPad code base. I am interested in learnng from the codebase however :-)

Comment: Re:Not being snarky, genuinely curious (Score 1) 496

by MarkWatson (#30436556) Attached to: Is Console Gaming Dying?

I thought the same thing. Nintendo products have long lasting value.

I still on occasion use my U64 and I bet I am still playing at least a few Wii games 5 or 10 years from now. The US market is saturated with Wii consoles but I expect Nintendo still gets fairly good revenue from new game sales.

Gaming is about having *fun*, not technology. Nintendo's chief game designer came to Angel Studios (where I worked) and I think that I can paraphrase his philosophy as fun first, technology second.

Comment: Re:Not for me (Score 1, Funny) 496

by MarkWatson (#30436416) Attached to: Is Console Gaming Dying?

I used to be a Nintendo U64 developer (mostly game AI, a bit of graphics). The U64 was a good platform, but I stand by my statement: the Wii is awesome because the games are *fun*.

BTW, even the Wii Fit "games" are cool: Yoga, balance exercises, etc. Lots of fun, and it is a good break during the day (I work at home as a software developer and author). I live 150 feet from a National Park trail head, but going on a hike takes hours, and the Wii games provide some fun and gets me away from my laptop - good for 10 minute breaks.

On the other hand, some of the games I have seen on (for example) the XBox are fairly much psychotic. What kind of people like to play games here they shoot people. If I want to shoot a gun I go my local the shooting range (I only shoot aluminum cans that don't have mothers :-)

Seriously, I don't intend to insult anyone, but I look at some of the violent video games and it makes me think of the fall of western civilization.

Comment: Re:Use multiple browsers (Score 1) 533

by MarkWatson (#30425312) Attached to: How Do I Keep My Privacy While Using Google?

BTW, the "if you do nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide" argument is very bogus:

Personal information is valuable!

My wife and I use supermarket discount cards, allowing our supermarket chain to sell information. In return, we save quite a bit of money.

If Google and other web tracking companies offered a little "cash back" on using my private information, then I would be more agreeable with making it easy for them to collect data on me.

Comment: Use multiple browsers (Score 2, Insightful) 533

by MarkWatson (#30425256) Attached to: How Do I Keep My Privacy While Using Google?

For years, I have used one browser (Safari) for nothing but online banking. I now use Chrome for all google related browsing (GMail+Google Apps, Blogger, Reader).

I do all other browsing on Firefox, blocking Google and most other cookies.

This is slightly inconvenient because if someone emails me a link, I need to copy and paste it into Firefox - probably copy/paste links between Chrome and Firefox about 5 to 10 times a day so this is a small overhead.

I usually use Google Search (on Firefox), but I also use Clusty and Bing.

Comment: Privacy and Security in the Internet Age (Score 2, Informative) 206

by MarkWatson (#30348162) Attached to: Personalized Search From Google Now Opt-Out

Just some advice that I give friends and family:

        * Delete all cookies in your browser every week - it is easy enough to sign in again to web sites that require authentication. People who do not delete their cookies never see what sites are tracking them. It is easiest to do a 'delete all cookies' operation and not to try to save the 5 or 10 cookies out of thousands that are stored in your local browser data.
        * Keep a text file with all passwords in encrypted form - and, do not use the same password for different purposes.
        * Every time you use your super market's discount card (or possibly pay with a credit card), your purchases are permanently associated with you - do you care? maybe or maybe not.

I do use a lot of web services that track what I do (GMail, for example) but I make the decision to give up privacy vs. benefits on a service by service basis.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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