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Comment Re:hmm (Score 1) 381

I have a feeling that this part hype, part inept programmers who don't actually understand SQL, or database optimization.

This is part of the problem... similar to PHP, most people learn some examples that teach some bad habits right off the bat (sticking SQL in your view, etc) because it's so easy to get started, but you've gotta get a grasp on the tech before you can do anything big.

Also, I feel that one of the root causes of the hype is that SQL and RDBMSs in general don't solve all your problems and sometimes get in the way of your application design. Between rigid schema definitions and the SQL language that has a bit of a learning curve when you start dealing with nested queries and handling shards/partitions/etc, I think that's the reason we're starting to see more non-RDBMS databases.

At work, we had a project that we started building on MySQL, but was falling short because we were constantly making schema changes. We begun to build a system where we could have arbitrary attributes attached to arbitrary objects, but then our queries were getting REALLY nasty. We discovered MarkLogic which is an XML database server and uses XQuery to query the data. We were ingesting around 100MB of XML a day, and we needed to be able to handle just about any XML that went into the system. MarkLogic was a natural fit since we needed to put XML in and we wanted XML out most of the time.

We're still using MySQL for tracking the ingestions and managing the frontend to the system (which is built on Rails), but having XQuery at our fingertips has been a godsend.

There's a lot to be said about new technologies that solve needs and get around shortcomings of the more ubiquitous technologies, but, as with anything that people see as a solution, it's not a silver bullet. You've gotta be careful not to get trapped in "everything looks like a nail" syndrome.

Comment Re:Warning Bell (Score 1) 173

It really depends what kind of service(s) you're launching on the cloud. If you're building generic infrastructure to cover some area of the market that AWS doesn't cover well or at all, then you may be in for a rude awakening in the future. This doesn't mean that such a service should not be built, it's just that one should realize what kind of risks are involved when developing something like that.

There are plenty of services that build on top of AWS that will probably be safe from competition well into the future. Those include services that are very specific such as Heroku's Rails app hosting, which will actually benefit from additions such as this MySQL instance type and the price cuts of EC2.

Also, when building apps that essentially turn you into a reseller of AWS services, although there may come a time when amazon starts competing directly with you, you've got your app built. If you built it properly, it should not be difficult to re-wire your backend to utilize some other service or build your own cloud infrastructure. If you're big enough and have the necessary capital, it may actually be a cost savings to do such a thing.

Comment Re:First pirate! (Score 1) 762

The "try before you buy" excuse ... Pure bullshit. Honestly, it's difficult to take people that say these things seriously.

Being someone who has done his fair share of pirating, I have another theory about this.

I, and other people I know who pirate games (Xbox360, wii, etc) will actually download and install/burn EVERY piece of software that comes out. I have friends who have binders and binders of games that they never play. Frequently, we play even less of the game than would be available on the demo.

Now, this correlates with the article in that it's only been a week since they released the title and they're having an 80% piracy rate. This is because these people are downloading and installing every single game that's coming out, playing it a bit, then moving on to the next game. Assuming that piracy was unavailable, I doubt that they'd have even tried this game.

I think the guy is jumping the gun on his conclusions and should wait a month or two and post and update on his piracy findings. I'm certain that the numbers piracy rate will drop.

Comment Re:Isn't that a highly regulated industry? (Score 1) 467

If anything, it shows that you can work in a highly regulated field that moves a LOT of money around at a LOT of locations with HIGH security.

I agree 100%.

Much like working in the porn industry (on the tech side, I mean), they [generally] use the latest and greatest of technologies and practices for security. The gambling industry was one of the first to utilize large deployments of quantum random number generators among other, similar technologies.

Personally, I think that when it comes to quality of experience, I think banks, porn and gambling companies are at the bleeding edge of tech and the exposure to their technologies will make you a better developer.

Comment Re:overly paranoid (Score 1) 391

I'll take "when hell freezes over" in place of "once in a blue moon" any day of the week.

I agree completely, although I have seen systems breached because of mismanaged keypairs, misconfigured applications, and mismanaged permissions. Even without password logins, an insecure PHP script could potentially obliterate that layer of security.

I've gotten into the habit of chmod'ing my keypairs to 600 (and chmod'ing the .ssh directory they live in as 700) ever since a php script was exploited to fetch the keys on a friend's server. I know Redhat/CentOS is smart enough to not allow that, but it's still a real threat especially on shared boxes. You've also got to be careful about the authorized_keys2 file.

I'm a huge fan of SELinux although I find that it requires the sysadmin to be SERIOUSLY on his toes when configuring everything. You really need to know what you're doing or things will randomly break and you'll be left scratching your head.

Comment Stock Exchange (Score 2, Interesting) 122

I went to an Amazon's AWS talk in NYC a couple months ago where they brought some start-ups in to talk about their projects, the cloud and how the cloud helped them build their applications faster and better. During the opening talk, the speaker showed some use-cases, one including the New York Stock Exchange and how, at the closing bell, they provision over 3000 EC2 instances to crunch numbers overnight to be ready for the next morning.

A guy from a startup that I was talking to before we were seated was talking about how his company keeps between 5 and 10 instances up all the time for their application (dynamically bringing them up and down to scale with demand) and how they frequently had 4 and 5 sets of these servers running on the side for testing (20-40 instances at a time). He was talking about the metrics they were using to keep track of their use and how it was flawed due to the fact that they had hundreds of instances a day going up and down all the time.

Just because 50,000 instances are started per day doesn't mean that those 50,000 instances are running for any period of time. I frequently bring up an instance, tweak some things, create an image, then bring it down... or bring up an instance to test something for 20 minutes, then bring it down. EC2 has really benefitted my QA/Testing/Experimentation in that I really have an unlimited pool of resources to play with. It's a much more robust system than I have at home with VMWare... vmware was a gamechanger for me since before that, I had 2 physical servers at home and stacks of 40GB and 60GB HDs with multliple versions of OSs on them.

Of course AWS isn't for everyone. EC2 can be expensive for what they offer and the biggest advantage to AWS's services are that they are on-demand and work really well with applications that need to scale up AND down in real-time. If you've got an application that doesn't require to-the-minute scaling responses, it's less expensive to get a physical dedicated server with Xen on it and create your own virtual infrastructure... although if you don't have the skills or time to learn the tools, then AWS offers a much better learning curve.

Comment Re:Unclear (Score 1) 759

My first reaction to this news is that MS is using this as a tactic to get people to upgrade to Win7. From what I understand, Win7 runs pretty well on netbooks; or maybe that's just what MS wants us to think. heh.

I'm incredibly curious, but I don't think I'm about to replace my S10's (Lenovo Netbook) Ubuntu OS with Win7.

Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 503

I agree about the contrast ratio of lettering to background. My solution has been to enlarge the type slightly and I can read just as fast as a regular book.

My biggest complaint lately has been that the 'matte' screen still gets glare from my ceiling light when I'm in my livingroom, so when I'm copying code off the screen, I have to keep tilting it to read that portion of the page.

I have a kindle DX and I totally love it... I just wish it switched pages faster. it's too hard to flip through looking for something. I have to have the foresight to make bookmarks as I read. Maybe in a year or two, they'll have e-ink screens that can refresh faster than half a second. I need to be able to do like 5 refreshes a second when flipping through pages. Casual book reading is awesome on it, but reference material books (O'Reilly books, for instance) are a little tedious to use:

The search kinda sucks. PDF support is good enough, but could be significantly improved by enabling zoom (there's too much whitespace on the edges of many of my PDFs) and annotations for bookmarks.

Touchscreen would be nice, too.

But I do have to say, it's very nice to be able to carry like 20,000 pages worth of books with me in such a small formfactor that doesn't require charging quite so much and works well for reading on the subway.

Comment Re:Who cares!?! (Score 1) 230

you shouldn't need to type the http://./ that should be assumed. You don't type 'ftp://' in front of your ftp addresses in an FTP client, you shouldn't need to actually type it for a webbrowser. I can understand why it's displayed since the browser supports multiple protocols (http/https/rss)

I got annoyed at IE because it always used to redirect to livesearch when I typed in an IP (for my router) unless I put the http:/// in the front.

I'm annoyed at browser behavior far too often.

Comment Re:Who cares!?! (Score 3, Interesting) 230

Domain hijacking is a huge deal for me. Primarily, when I'm on an internet connection that's hijacking the domain, if I type 'amazon', firefox first checks if I have an amazon in my searchdomain (ie:, and if not, it tries adding a .com, then a www. and a .com... if the ISP is hijacking it, I get an answer to 'amazon' with the hijacked page. This means that I have to type the .com every time.

with a browser doing the same thing, I could be trying to connect to my primary server (wolverine) and if I mistype the webaddress, it redirects me to bing, changing my URL bar to the bing URL which means that when I've typed 'wolverine/some/really/long/path?with=variables' I have to go type that whole thing over again to correct it rather than just fixing it in the addressbar.

so, hijacking the DNS is a BITCH and is totally annoying all the time.

Comment Re:Why not a laptop? (Score 1) 263

Ok, you're the next level up from me, then. I've got about 100 books, about 10-20 of which I use for reference regularly and about 50 that I haven't touched in 5+ years.

I feel that this problem is the same that plagues the music industry. My best example is the fact that I've got MP3s that I encoded from my own CDs back around 1999/2000. the CDs are now lost or damaged beyond repair (cannot be reliably ripped), the mp3s have missing tags, are encoded low quality and/or have become damaged themselves. I really wish record companies would give special deals on back-catalog content. Shit that's old enough that everyone who would buy it has bought it at least once already. The best example of that is Metallica. Even though I've purchased all their old stuff at least once in the past (tape, CD, vinyl), I'd buy the back catalog in a heartbeat if it was offered for cheap (say, $40 for everything up to the Black Album).

Same goes for O'Reilly. I would drop $50 to get PDF versions of all the books I already own (I dunno if I'd pay much more than that). Either that or make the Kindle compatible with Safari.

I think most problems have been solved when it comes to ebooks/ereaders... the last big one is for people with enormous libraries that they'd like to replace on the cheap.

Just think of how much easier it'll be if you have to move if you didn't have 2000+ books? I had a hell of a time with my small collection as it was, I don't even wanna picture your troubles.

Comment Re:Why not a laptop? (Score 1) 263

erm, oh yeah... the internet has dark corners. dark corners indeed.

All future book purchases, I'm buying the PDF if it's available. I do occasionally re-buy older books when new editions come out.

I've purchased at least 2 versions of the O'Reilly MySQL, Javascript, and Python books. I've purchased 2 versions of the Pragmatic Agile Development with Rails book, too. So now, no more taking up extra space, no more waiting for books to ship and no more wishing I took the book(s) with me.

Comment Re:Kindle DX and PDFs (Score 2, Interesting) 263

It cannot zoom, except to turn the device into landscape mode, which provides a small magnification. Fortunately, the software does automatically eliminate margins, making the screen about the right size for most documents. What's worse is that all of the annotation features available for ebooks and other documents do not work with PDFs; no highlighting, no note-taking, etc. I think it supports bookmarking, but that's it.

Yeah, those are my only issues with it so far (I've had it for almost 3 weeks).

I haven't had a need to zoom on any PDF yet, but the feature would be welcome. It supports bookmarks, but all you can do is 'dog-ear' the page. You can't leave a note about the bookmark.

hopefully they'll remedy this with an update in the near future.

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