snydeq writes: InfoWorld's Paul Venezia provides an in-depth review of Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Salt — four leading configuration management and orchestration tools, each of which takes a different path to server automation. 'Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Salt were all built with that very goal in mind: to make it much easier to configure and maintain dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers. That's not to say that smaller shops won't benefit from these tools, as automation and orchestration generally make life easier in an infrastructure of any size. I looked at each of these four tools in depth, explored their design and function, and determined that, while some scored higher than others, there's a place for each to fit in, depending on the goals of the deployment. Here, I summarize my findings.'
snydeq writes: Extensible, mutable, and rapidly evolving thanks to open source roots, the Web browser reigns as a platform for users and developers alike, making it as near a universal operating system as you can get, InfoWorld's Peter Wayner argues. 'Despite these very legitimate plaints from OS geniuses, the browser is the dominant layer, the one nexus for software, the one switchboard where all power lies. It needs from the operating system a rectangle to draw the Web page, a bit of storage space, and a TCP/IP feed. It does everything else in a cross-platform way that is, when all is considered, relatively free of bugs and other issues.... Here are 10 reasons why the browser is now king.'
snydeq writes: IT pros blow the whistle on the less-than-white lies and dark sides of the tech business, in Dan Tynan's 'Dirty Secrets of the IT Industry': 'Do sys admins wield power far beyond the CIO's worst nightmares? Are IT employees routinely walking off with company equipment? Can the data you store in the cloud really disappear in an instant? Are you paying far too much for tech support?... IT pros usually know where the bodies are buried. Sometimes that's because they're the ones holding the shovel.'
snydeq writes: CNET's Daniel Terdiman investigates an oversize secret project Google is constructing on San Francisco's Treasure Island, which according to one expert may be a sea-faring data center. 'Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google's fingerprints are all over it,' Terdiman writes. 'Whether the structure is in fact a floating data center is hard to say for sure, of course, since Google's not talking. But Google, understandably, has a history of putting data centers in places with cheap cooling, as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.'
snydeq writes: Haters and hipsters beware: Java — that cross-platform curly-bracket relic — never lost its app-dev mojo, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner. 'The book sales are a distant memory. And Java's middle-age utility is no longer sexy enough for the magazine cover spreads. Nearly 19 years since Java's launch, the application development cognoscenti are wandering around the luring bazaar of Node.js, Objective-C, Dart, Go, and the like, wondering, "Java? Is that Web 1.0 era artifact still here?"... Before we forget Java's many vital contributions to computing and its role today, here are 12 definitive reasons why Java is not only surviving but actively thriving in its post-buzz existence.'
snydeq writes: Thanks to state-sponsored cable/phone duopolies, U.S. broadband stays slow and expensive — and will probably impede cloud adoption, writes Andrew C. Oliver. 'As a patriotic American, I find the current political atmosphere where telecom lobbyists set the agenda to be a nightmare. All over the world, high-end fiber is being deployed while powerful monopolies in the United States work to prevent it from coming here,' Oliver writes. 'I expect that cloud adoption will closely match broadband speed, cost, and availability curves. Those companies living in countries where the broadband monopoly is protected will adopt the cloud at a slower rate than those with competitive markets and municipal fiber. There's a good chance U.S. firms will fall into that group.'
snydeq writes: InfoWorld has announced the winners of its annual Bossie Awards, recognizing 120 of the best open source software for data centers and clouds, desktops and mobile devices, developers and IT pros. 'What do a McLaren Supercar, a refrigerator, a camera, a washing machine, and a cellphone have to do with open source? They're all examples of how a good pile of code can take on a new life when it's set free with an open source license.'
snydeq writes: Erlang, Node.js, Go — InfoWorld's Peter Wayner offers an overview of how enterprise developers might get started with the latest programming trends without getting burned. 'The trick to making the most of the cutting edge is to experiment, not to jump in with both feet. Try your code where it can be most effective and see whether the cutting-edge tool offers the performance and features you need. Then check to see whether you're trading off anything essential. Experiments don't always reveal the hidden weaknesses or trade-offs immediately. So work in increments, and when your experiment is fully vetted, move to a more serious implementation.'
snydeq writes: If you're stuck with Windows 8, the Windows 8.1 upgrade is a no-brainer, but the fundamental flaws remain, writes Woody Leonhard in his in-depth review of the latest version of Windows 8. 'Windows 8.1 follows Windows 8 in typical Microsoft "version 2.0" fashion, changing a bit of eye candy and dangling several worthwhile improvements — but hardly solving the underlying problem. Touch-loving tablet users are still saddled with a touch-hostile Windows desktop, while point-and-clickers who live and breathe the Windows desktop still can't make Metro go away,' Leonhard writes. 'Windows 8.1 also installs the worst privacy-busting feature Windows has ever seen, and it nukes several key Windows 7 features in its headlong pursuit of SkyDrive profits.'
snydeq writes: Dan Tynan offers seven true tales of IT pros who screwed up big and got fired quick. 'There are lots of reasons for instant termination. Failure to fulfill your obligation to protect your employer's digital assets or abusing your vast powers for your own nefarious ends are two sure ways to end up on the unemployment line. You could be fired for opening your mouth at the wrong time or not opening your mouth at the right one. Spying on the boss, lying to your superiors, or being directly responsible for the loss of millions of dollars in downtime through your own negligence are all excellent ways to end up on the chopping block.' Got any you would like to share?
snydeq writes: Complaints of stricture over structure, signs of technical prowess on the wane — the best days of the Apache Software Foundation may be behind, writes InfoWorld's Serdar Yegalulp. 'Since its inception, the Apache Software Foundation has had a profound impact in shaping the open source movement and the tech industry at large.... But tensions within the ASF and grumbling throughout the open source community have called into question whether the Apache Way is well suited to sponsoring the development of open source projects in today's software world. Changing attitudes toward open source licensing, conflicts with the GPL, concerns about technical innovation under the Way, fallout from the foundation's handling of specific projects in recent years — the ASF may soon find itself passed over by the kinds of projects that have helped make it such a central fixture in open source, thanks in some measure to the way the new wave of bootstrapped, decentralized projects on GitHub don't require a foundationlike atmosphere to keep them vibrant or relevant.' Meanwhile, Andrew C. Oliver offers a personal perspective on his work with Apache, why he left, and how the foundation can revamp itself in the coming years: 'I could never regret my time at Apache. I owe it my career to some degree. It isn't how I would choose to develop software again, because my interests and my role in the world have changed. That said, I think the long-term health of the organization requires it get back to its ideals, open up its private lists, and let sunshine disinfect the interests. My poorly articulated reasons for leaving a long time ago stemmed from my inability to effect that change.'
snydeq writes: While it does well in portraying the founding of Apple, the development of the Mac, and the return of Steve Jobs to a struggling Apple, 'Jobs' the movie falls short of telling the story that should have been made into a movie about Jobs the man. 'The movie portrays the man as a brilliant but difficult visionary who had the cunning and force of will to get what he wanted and to inspire people to deliver beyond their own expectations — which is true, as far as it goes,' writes Galen Gruman. 'Missing are the explosions of abuse he would hurl on friends and coworkers, as well as the utter ruthlessness he would use to hurt his enemies. Instead, the mean scenes in the movie are ultimately used to set up a "why Jobs was ultimately right" segment.... The most interesting part of the Steve Jobs story occurs after Jobs was fired from Apple, and that's where I wish the movie had focused its attention. It would have provided rich material for a more compelling drama.'
snydeq writes: Tech Watch's Woody Leonhard offers insights on Windows 8.1 X 64 Pro Build 9471, which was apparently leaked yesterday, and is very close to final. 'I've been playing with the leaked Windows 8.1 Build 9471 for several hours now and come away both relieved and upset. I say "relieved" because there aren't any huge changes from the Preview version that you've no doubt come to know, admire, and/or loathe. I say "upset" because Microsoft hasn't changed a couple of the new features that are decidedly anti-consumer' — including Smart Search, the black underbelly of Windows 8.1.