Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trouble with OAuth 2.0

RT @newsycombinator

Eran Hammer writes about resigning from the OAuth working group as the lead author and editor of the standard.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ubuntu Releases, Versions, and Names

I suppose it's time to post an update on the current Ubuntu zoo.  Apparently it was 2008 when I last did this.

  • 8.04.4 LTS (Hardy Heron)
  • 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
  • 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
  • 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
  • 10.04.4 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
  • 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)
  • 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)
  • 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)
  • 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)

Previous Post

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Google Colossus File System

via Wired.

But Google no longer uses GFS. Two years ago, the company moved its search to a new software foundation based on a revamped file system known as Colossus, and Urs H√∂lzle — the man who oversees Google’s worldwide network of data centers — tells Wired that Colossus now underpins virtually all of Google’s web services, from Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube to the Google Cloud Storage service the company offers to third-party developers.

Google Compute Engine

via Wired.

Gigaom's Four Part Series on North Carolina Data Centers

RT @gigaom

Article by Katie Fehrenbacher.

 Apple, Google, Facebook and other Internet giants have chosen a several hundred-mile stretch of land north of Charlotte, North Carolina to build their mega east coast data centers. These are some of the largest data centers in the world for some of the most powerful Internet and tech companies on the planet. Why here? Will this continue in the future? And what’s been the affect on the local communities? Check out the 4-part series I published this week on North Carolina’s mega data center cluster, the resources that go into these things, and why one, in particular, is betting on clean power.

Yahoo Passwords Leak

I've found it really difficult to find good, responsible news reports on this event.  I'm sure Steve Gibson ( will report on it on this week's upcoming Security Now.

Here's a pretty good article on this event at Cnet.

In this case, you're password would only have been compromised if you'd logged into the Yahoo Contributor Network, apparently also known as Yahoo Voices, and previous to Yahoo,  Associated Content which Yahoo acquired.

Here's the main, important advice which has been true for a long time, maybe always.  Please don't use the same password for more than one site.  I like the recommendation to use LastPass at  It gives you a secure way to keep up with and use your passwords.

The only reason you need to change your password on other sites than Yahoo is if you (ever) used the same passwords on them.

Pournelle Quote

From Jerry Pournelle's new site (via

“I have always been a generalist meaning I know less and less about more and more until eventually at the limit I know nothing at all about everything.”

What Is SPDY?

RT @hackernewsbot

from Lincoln Loop posted by Graham King.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The 50 Greatest Matte Drawings of all Time

RT @ebertchicago: … And glory be! *Not* a slide show!

Beyond The Rule of Thirds: Advanced Composition With David Brommer

In this B&H Event Space seminar, David Brommer takes you “Beyond The Rule of Thirds” by discussing many different aspects of photographic composition. The entire seminar will take about two hours to watch from start to finish, but the information Brommer covers — from positive and negative space,...

via Flipboard

The Lost Beatles Photos

Rare Shots From 1964-1966

Photos of the Fab Four by photographer Bob Bonis from Rolling Stone.

10 reasons Apple, Facebook & Google chose North Carolina for their mega data centers

RT @gigaom  by Katie Fehrenbacher

Facebook isn’t the only Internet giant that chose the so-called North Carolina data center corridor as home for one of its most important server farms. Within a couple-hundred-mile radius, Google and Apple have also built mega data centers, as have Wipro, Disney, AT&T and others.

Image credit:   kubais/


FlipBoard is beautiful.  I've been using it since about the first day it became available on Android for general users.  Maybe three weeks?

However, in the past couple of days I've gone back to reading Twitter, meaning news in general, on Seesmic on my phone.  It's just faster to read down through the tweets without having to flip over the images.

Again, the experience of using FlipBoard, the fonts and the look are a joy to use.  I'll probably use FlipBoard when I want to be entertained a bit more by my news reading experience than simply getting the information.

I do have one complaint.  Some web sites rendered on FlipBoard are a little hard to use.  I find myself fighting with the (already annoying) Android pinch-zoom-scroll feature to get the text zoomed and placed in the FlipBoard version.  I finally adopted the practice of just tapping the drop down and selecting View On Web to go to Chrome.  Note this is on web sites that FlipBoard renders in their usual web view and not in a FlipBoard-optimized version.  I think.

Why is Clojure so slow?

RT @newsycombinator

From Martin's Computer Programming Blog.

What we can see it that Java itself accounts for 0.35s of the startup time, but unfortunately Clojure adds another second(!) on top of that. This 1.3s pause before main gets called is why Clojure is unsuitable for "terminal scripts". The running time of any scripts (like lein or starting the REPL) will be totally dominated by the startup time. Most Clojure developers will not notice this too much to, since they spend almost all their time in the REPL itself, but users of those Clojure programs will!

My summary is that it spends 95% of the startup-time loading the clojure.core namespace (the clojure.lang.RT class in particular) and filling out all the metadata/docstrings etc for the methods. This process stresses the GC quite a bit, some 130k objects are allocated and 90k free-d during multiple invokes of the GC (3-6 times), the building up of meta data is one big source of this massive object churn.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Amazing Star Trails

RT @matthiasrascher

Star trails over the Australian Outback by photographer Lincoln Harrison. #photography #space

10 Very Sensible Commandments of Grilling

RT @bonappetit from @GrillGirl and @HillCountryNY chef Elizabeth Karmel.

Why Did Borland Fail?

I loved Turbo Pascal.  Here's one person's explanation of what happened at Borland.

via Flipboard on Android.

Leap Second Problems

RT @arstechnica

“Almost exactly 24 hours ago, the Internet faced the most recent one. It didn't go so well. Headlines have varied—calling the incident "Y2K 2.0," declaring that the "Internet died," or simply saying it, "Gave the Internet a Really Bad Headache." Hyperbolic? Sure, but the following sites did confirm leap second-related outages…”

Google and the Leap Second

Soon after the advent of ticking clocks, scientists observed that the time told by them (and now, much more accurate clocks), and the time told by the Earth's position were rarely exactly the same. It turns out that being on a revolving imperfect sphere floating in space, being reshaped by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and being dragged around by gravitational forces makes your rotation somewhat irregular. Who knew?

These fluctuations in Earth’s rotational speed mean that even very accurate clocks, like the atomic clocks used by global timekeeping services, occasionally have to be adjusted slightly to bring them in line with “solar time.” There have been 24 such adjustments, called “leap seconds,” since they were introduced in 1972. Their effect on technology has become more and more profound as people come to rely on fast, accurate and reliable technology.

Image credit: gunnar3000/

Caffeine How-To

RT @lifehacker

Caffeine can be tasty, but how can you use it to boost your brain? Easy question for a neuroscientist.

Image: from Life Hacker