Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

What if software was a physical object – NY Web 2.0 Third Keynote

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Some points of reference from the next Web 2.0 keynote by Jason Fried of 37 Signals

  • Software business is a great place to be.
  • You can build anything you want. All you really have to it type, it’s not easy to do, it’s just not that hard to do.
  • Change is easy, cost is cheap in relation to physical objects.
  • You can build it anywhere.
  • Software doesn’t have the same kind of feedback as physical objects.
  • Visually we can determine good verses poor design (e.g. a bottle of water or a remote control).
    It doesn’t have edges, size or weight. It just expands, continues to expand and this is bad.
  • What would your software be like if it was physical?
  • When you say yes to too many features you end up with Homer’s car.
  • The goal should be simple, clean, elegant and streamlined.
  • Once you hit bloat, it’s too hard to go back.
  • Listen to customers, but don’t do everything as they say. Think of yourself as a curator.
  • Make your software a collection, not a warehouse.
  • You don’t need to have everything in the world.
  • You need a few solid features.
  • Real work is hard, imaginary work is easy.
  • Tell the people that want to have new features, to build them. Attach real costs to any requests.

The DNA of your company has to able to say no.

Technology changes, humans don’t. – Web 2.0 NY Second keynote

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I needed a rest from my opening keynote review NY Tech 1995-2008. Opening Web 2.0 Expo NY Keynote but a few siginificant points from The Death of the Grand Gesture by Deb Schultz.

  • An interesting site is Visual Complexity showing graphical representations of many social networks.
  • All the binary communication becomes white noise — Information Overload.
  • “Technology changes, humans don’t” – Deb Schultz

NY Tech 1995-2008. Opening Web 2.0 Expo NY Keynote

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo NY keynotes are happening today. Technology in use included CrowdVine which I’d not heard of, and plenty of Twitter feeds such as w2e_NY08.

The opening keynote was Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures with his presentation New York’s Web Industry From 1995 to 2008: From Nascent to Ascendent .

Some stats, Seed and early stage deals.

  • 1995 230 SF Bay area, 30 in NY
  • 2008 360 SF Bay area, 116 in NY

Fred first asked “New York is not an alley. Call it Broadway, or just New York.”

Here is a summary of his history of New York Web Industry.

  • 1991 – ZDNet
  • 1993 – New York Online Dialup services
  • 1993 – Jupiter Communications online conference
  • 1993 – Prodigy
  • 1994 – Startups such as Pseudo, Total New york, Razorfish.
  • 1994 – Time Warner Pathfinder
  • 1995 -NYIC 55 Broad St. – Technology oriented building
  • 1995 – Seth Godin – Yoyodyne – Permission Marketing
  • 1995 – itraffic, agency.com, NY Times online
  • 1995 – Softbank, Double Click, 24×7, Real Media
  • 1996 – Silicon Alley Reporter
  • 1996 – ivillage, the knot
  • 1996 – Flatiron Partners – good sued for that
  • 1997 – The Silicon Alley Report Radio Show
  • 1997 – mining co.
  • 1997 – Total NY sold to AOL
  • 1997 – Agency rollups razorfish buying 4 companies
  • 1997 – DoubleClick IPO
  • 1998 – Seth Godin moves to Yahoo
  • 1998 – Burn Rate
  • 1998 – Kozmo – We’ll be right over
  • 1998 – was the last year of sanity in the Internet wave
  • 1999 – The start of the boom
  • 1999 the big players came online , all hell breaks loose. 200 startups were funded in 1999, 300 in 2000.
  • 2000 – The Crash & Burn
  • 2000 – f**kedcompany
  • 2000 – Google came to New York. – 86th St Starbucks
  • 2001 – Layoffs, Landlords and bankruptcies
  • 2002 – Rock bottom
  • 2003 – Renewal
  • 2003 – Blogging started gizmodo
  • 2003 – Web 2.0 coined
  • 2003 – del.icio.us was launched from a computer in an apartment
  • 2004 – NY Tech Meetup
  • 2004 – Union Square Ventures $120million raised
  • 2005 – about.com acquired by NY Times
  • 2005 – Etsy
  • 2006 – Google took over port authority building, now with 750 engineers in NY
  • 2008 – Web 2.0 comes to New York City

New York is now 1/3 of Silicon valley, compared to 1/8 of funded Internet companies.

One thing mentioned is a documentary called “We live in Public”. Some of the footage from 1999, is so early Big Brother.

Web 2.0 in NY

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

I will be attending next week’s Web 2.0 Expo 2008 in New York.

Garys Guide has a schedule of the key events and off site associated event parties.

It will be a bit of a change from the typical MySQL Conferences and recent OSCON Conference I have attended this year.

The Keynote titles gives you an indication of the variety of talks expected.

  • Organizing Chaos: The Growth of Collaborative Filters
  • (Re)making the Internet: Accounting for the Future of Information, Communication and Entertainment Technologies
  • Next Generation of Video Games
  • 10 Things We’ve Learned at 37signals
  • High Order Bit
  • What ManyEyes Knows
  • Arianna Huffington in Conversation with Tim O’Reilly
  • Because We Make You Happy
  • The Real Future of Technology
  • Enterprise Radar
  • The Death of the Grand Gesture
  • It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure.
  • Building Personal Brand Within the Social Media Landscape

Domain name trends

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

It started with del.icio.us/ (which now ironically redirects to http://delicious.com), and now it’s becoming more the trend to create a domain name with the extension included for effect.

With unique .com domains harder to come by, and dropping vowels like flickr.com so last generation, some countries must be trying to cash in on the success such as Tuvalu which has something like 10% of GDP from domain name sales of .tv.

Some recent names I’ve noticed are http://identi.ca, http://chi.mp and http://cyclo.ps.

I have even considered some recent projects using this new trend, but the combination of either the 2 letter extension not existing (For example .ld) or it’s not possible to get domains from a registrar (For example .er) it will take some time.

What is Google’s direction?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Tonight over discussion was Android and what is Google’s ultimate direction. Have they lost their way, or are they just planning to explode with so many new things that will revolutionize what and how we do things. With $475,000 first price for Android, they certainly have the money available to invest in new directions.

I arrive home, and find email discussion on The Google Browser – Chrome.

Inquisitive, I take a look, to find the great teaser, nothing by a comic, come back tomorrow for the download link. Is that clever to leak information, have everybody write about it and check back tomorrow?

Websites in review – Week 1

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I often come across new websites, quite often by accident, or by indirection in links from looking at other details. The Internet is an amazing place, and one could spend all day reading such a variety information and only touch on just a few specific topics.

I think it’s important to share interesting and new sites, often it’s a referral from others that provide for enjoyable and useful reading. Here are mine in return. Sites which I bookmarked and intended to review again.

99 Designs — www.99designs.com

Need something designed? 99designs connects clients needing design work such as logo designs, business cards or web sites to a thriving community of 17,781 talented designers.

Wufoo — www.wufoo.com

Wufoo strives to be the easiest way to collect information over the Internet.

Our HTML form builder helps you create contact forms, online surveys, and invitations so you can collect the data, registrations and online payments you need without writing a single line of code.

Mako Templates — www.makotemplates.org

Mako is a template library written in Python. It provides a familiar, non-XML syntax which compiles into Python modules for maximum performance. Mako’s syntax and API borrows from the best ideas of many others, including Django templates, Cheetah, Myghty, and Genshi. Conceptually, Mako is an embedded Python (i.e. Python Server Page) language, which refines the familiar ideas of componentized layout and inheritance to produce one of the most straightforward and flexible models available, while also maintaining close ties to Python calling and scoping semantics.

Venture Beat — www.venturebeat.com

I came across this site when reading Developer Analytics: Facebook game Mob Wars making $22,000 a day.

VentureBeat’s mission is to provide news and information about private companies and the venture capital that fuels them. Founder Matt Marshall covered venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News until he left in Sept. 2006 to launch VentureBeat as an independent company. VentureBeat will focus initially on Silicon Valley, and gradually expand to cover innovation hubs around the globe. Its mission in each region will be the same: to provide insider news and data about the entrepreneurial and venture community that is useful to decision makers.

Developer Analytics — www.developeranalytics.com

The previous article referenced this site, with the tagline “the world’s first social media ratings and reporting services.” I like the categories used in reports.

  • Reach – Unique traffic.
  • Audience Profile – Demographics and sociographics breakdown. Interest clouds.
  • Engagement -Impressions. Average page views per user. Return users.
  • Growth -New Users. Churn Rates. Viral Factors.
  • Monetization – CPM and CPA revenue potential.

SXSW Interactive — www.sxsw.com/interactive

I’ve heard of South By South West Conference before, and this is it. SXSW Interactive: March 13-17, 2009 -The Brightest Minds in Emerging Technology

SXSW Interactive The SXSW Interactive Festival features five days of exciting panel content and amazing parties. Attracting digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs, the event celebrates the best minds and the brightest personalities of emerging technology. Whether you are a hard-core geek, a dedicated content creator, a new media entrepreneur, or just someone who likes being around an extremely creative community, SXSW Interactive is for you!

Actually sounds rather interesting, and different.

Pulse 2.0 — www.pulse2.com

Pulse 2.0 is a company that is driven by our passion of technology and entrepreneurship. We use Pulse 2.0 to share our thoughts on Web 2.0.

Monetization through Online Advertising

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Next week I will be the panel moderator for September 2008 Entrepreneurs Forum on “Monetization through Online Advertising” organized by Ultra Light Startups™. A slightly different approach to my regular speaking schedule, it will be good to observe and interact with our speakers.

The companies represented by the panelists for the evening include:

  • PerformLine – Alex Baydin, Founder and CEO
  • SocialDough – Derek Lee, Founder and CEO
  • Zanox Inc – Rani Nagpal, Vice President of Affiliate Management
  • Blinkx – Max Ramirez, Head of online ad sales

Event Details

Date: Thursday, September 4, 2008
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Rose Technology Ventures, LLC
Street: 30 East 23rd Street
City/Town: New York, NY

An intestesting approach to free hosting

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I came across the OStatic Free hosting service that provide Solaris + Glassfish (Java Container) + MySQL.

They offer “Now you can get free Web hosting on Cloud Computing environment free of charge for up to 12 months.

The catch “accumulate 400 Points for participating on the site“.

A rather novel approach, you get 100 points for registering, but then only 5-15 points per task. The equates to approximately at least 30 tasks you need to perform, such as answering a question, or reviewing somebodies application. That seems like a lot of work?

In this case, Free has definitely a cost and time factor to consider.

VirtualBox, compiling Part 2

Monday, August 18th, 2008

So I managed to find all dependencies after some trial and error for compiling VirtualBox 1.6.4 under Ubuntu 8.0.4, then finding the Linux build instructions to confirm.

It was not successful however in building, throwing the following error:

kBuild: Compiling dyngen - dyngen.c
kBuild: Linking dyngen
kmk[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/VirtualBox-1.6.4/src/recompiler'
kmk[2]: Entering directory `/usr/local/VirtualBox-1.6.4/src/apps'
kmk[2]: pass_bldprogs: No such file or directory
kmk[2]: *** No rule to make target `pass_bldprogs'. Stop.
kmk[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/VirtualBox-1.6.4/src/apps'
kmk[1]: *** [pass_bldprogs_before] Error 2
kmk[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/Virtu

More searching, I needed to add two more files manually. Read More Here.

A long wait, compiling for 20+ minutes, and a necessary reboot as upgraded images threw another error, I got 1.6.4 running, and able to boot Fedora Core 9 image created under 1.5.6

But the real test, and the need for this version was to install Intrepid.

This also failed with a Kernel panic during boot. More info to see this reported as a Ubuntu Bug and Virtual Box Bug.

More work still needed.

Project Darkstar

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

It may sound like either a astronomical research project or a Star Wars spin- off, but Project Darkstar is an open source infrastructure from Sun Microsystems that states “simplify the development and operation of massively scalable online games, virtual worlds, and social networking applications.”

The advertising sounds promising like many sites, the emphasis seems to be on gaming throughout the material, interesting they threw in the term “social networking applications” specifically in opening descriptions.

I believe worthy of investigation, if only to see how that solve some classic problems. So, Learn some more, Start your rockets and Participate.

Interesting site of the day

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

TwitHire – For those employers that both have Twitter accounts and time to advertise a job in 140 characters or less.

There should be a website that is devoted to everything based on Twitter.

Finding, exposing and referencing good material

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

I came across www.problogger.net by accident. Like many sites and information these days, you simply don’t find via search engines because your normally searching for something specific. I did find it via several levels of hyperlinks. I really wish there was firefox plugin that would track every site you visited, often I’d like to plot how I got to where I am, but that’s another story.

Considering the author is Australian, a top Plurker and Photographer got me intrigued enough to delve for a few moments. What I found is some good information, such as 10 Ways to Optimize a Popular Post on Your Blog and Is Your Blog a Networking Tool?.

Some more reading, Five Ways That Strategic Bullet Points Make You a Stronger Blogger, which leads to a site that includes articles such as Seal the Deal: 10 Tips for Writing the Ultimate Landing Page, which is exactly what I’m looking for with an upcoming Ad Words campaign, but wasn’t searching at the time.

You never know sometimes where good information comes from.

Ultra light startups NY meeting

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

I attended the Ultra light startup’s meeting last night for the first time. I found it most productive for the 2 hours of time to see a different approach talking about startups, to see a variety of approaches, concepts, ideas, ventures all at various stages and generally people with different and interesting ideas and goal.

The start included a 1-2 min elevator pitch by every person with a few questions of feedback. Some interesting projects included, Rose Tech Ventures Incubator, Home Shop Technologies, New York City Co-working, Wiki Streets, Robots for Planet Earth, Festival Travel Channel, Sunshine Suites, Peek You and Wiki Pages. Two presenters put forth their ideas,concepts, and intentions with domains registered within the last 2 days.

The main discussion was on Co-Working, a concept I’ve not heard of before. It’s a different approach to the Telecommuting approach, companies moving from attendance based to performance based. Another term mentioned as ROW – Results Only Work environment.

I think some improvements in the “elevator pitch” would be.

  • egg timer for 90 seconds
  • Recommend people have 3 slides, and example layout would be “How I am”, “What we do”, and “What we want”
  • Some tips of not what to put on slides, like for example, more then 5 lines and less then 30 point for example.

References
Facebook Group
Subscribe to mailing list

Extending application data to the cloud

Friday, August 1st, 2008

I was one of the invited panel speakers to A panel on Cloud Computing this week in New York. As one of 2 non vendor presenters, it was a great experience to be invited and be involved with vendors.

While I never got to use my slides available here, I did get to both present certain content, and indeed questions and discussions on the night were on other points of my content.

Cloud computing is here, it’s early days and new players will continue to emerge. For example, from the panel there was AppNexus, reviewed favorably at Info World in comparison with EC2 and Google App Engine, 10gen, an open source stack solution and Kaavo which from an initial 60 seconds of playing provide a management service on top of AWS similar to what ElasticFox provides. I need to investigate further how much the feature set extends and would compete with others like RightScale for example.

The greatest mystery came from Hank Williams and his stealth Kloudshare. He did elaborate more on where they aim to provide services. A new term discussed was “Tools as a service”, akin to moving use metaphorically from writing in Assembly language to the advanced frameworks of today’s generation of languages such as Java and Ruby.

Thanks to Murat Aktihanoglu of Unype who chaired the event.

Installing Buildbot

Monday, July 28th, 2008

BuildBot is a system to automate the compile/test cycle required by most software projects to validate code changes.

Here is my environment.

$ uname -a
Linux app.example.com 2.6.18-53.el5 #1 SMP Mon Nov 12 02:14:55 EST 2007 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
$ python
Python 2.4.3 (#1, May 24 2008, 13:57:05)

Here is what I did to get it installed successfully.

CentOS

$ yum install python-devel
$ yum install zope

Ubuntu

$ apt-get install python-dev
$ apt-get install python-zopeinterface
$ cd /tmp
# installation of Twisted
$ wget http://tmrc.mit.edu/mirror/twisted/Twisted/8.1/Twisted-8.1.0.tar.bz2
$ bunzip2 Twisted-8.1.0.tar.bz2
$ tar xvf Twisted-8.1.0.tar
$ cd Twisted-8.1.0
$ sudo python setup.py install
# installation of BuildBot
$ cd /tmp
$ wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/buildbot/buildbot-0.7.8.tar.gz
$ tar xvfz buildbot-0.7.8.tar.gz
$ cd buildbot-0.7.8
$ sudo python setup.py install

And a confirmation.
$ buildbot --version
Buildbot version: 0.7.8
Twisted version: 8.1.0

You will notice a few dependencies. I found these out from the following errors.

Error causing needing python-devel

$ python setup.py install
....
gcc -pthread -fno-strict-aliasing -DNDEBUG -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m64 -mtun
e=generic -D_GNU_SOURCE -fPIC -fPIC -I/usr/include/python2.4 -c conftest.c -o conftest.o
building 'twisted.runner.portmap' extension
creating build/temp.linux-x86_64-2.4
creating build/temp.linux-x86_64-2.4/twisted
creating build/temp.linux-x86_64-2.4/twisted/runner
gcc -pthread -fno-strict-aliasing -DNDEBUG -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m64 -mtun
e=generic -D_GNU_SOURCE -fPIC -fPIC -I/usr/include/python2.4 -c twisted/runner/portmap.c -o build/temp.linux-x86_64-2.4/twisted/runner/portmap.o
twisted/runner/portmap.c:10:20: error: Python.h: No such file or directory
twisted/runner/portmap.c:14: error: expected ‘=’, ‘,’, ‘;’, ‘asm’ or ‘__attribute__’ before ‘*’ token
twisted/runner/portmap.c:31: error: expected ‘=’, ‘,’, ‘;’, ‘asm’ or ‘__attribute__’ before ‘*’ token
twisted/runner/portmap.c:45: error: expected ‘=’, ‘,’, ‘;’, ‘asm’ or ‘__attribute__’ before ‘PortmapMethods’

Error causing zope to be installed

$ buildbot start /home/buildbot/master/
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/bin/buildbot", line 4, in ?
    runner.run()
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/buildbot/scripts/runner.py", line 939, in run
    start(so)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/buildbot/scripts/startup.py", line 85, in start
    rc = Follower().follow()
  File "/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/buildbot/scripts/startup.py", line 6, in follow
    from twisted.internet import reactor
  File "/usr/lib64/python2.4/site-packages/twisted/internet/reactor.py", line 11, in ?
    from twisted.internet import selectreactor
  File "/usr/lib64/python2.4/site-packages/twisted/internet/selectreactor.py", line 17, in ?
    from zope.interface import implements
ImportError: No module named zope.interface

Installation was the easy part, configuration a little more complex.

Your data and the cloud

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

I will be speaking on July 29th in New York at an Entrepreneurs Forum on A Free Panel on Cloud Computing. With a number of experts including Hank Williams of KloudShare, Mike Nolet of AppNexus, and Hans Zaunere of New York PHP fame is should be a great event.

The focus of my presentation will be on “Extending existing applications to leverage the cloud” where I will be discussing both the advantages of the cloud, and the complexities and issues that you will encounter such as data management, data consistency, loss of control, security and latency for example.

Using traditional MySQL based applications I’ll be providing an approach that can lead to your application gaining greater power of cloud computing.


About the Author

Ronald Bradford provides Consulting and Advisory Services in Data Architecture, Performance and Scalability for MySQL Solutions. An IT industry professional for two decades with extensive database experience in MySQL, Oracle and Ingres his expertise covers data architecture, software development, migration, performance analysis and production system implementations. His knowledge from 10 years of consulting across many industry sectors, technologies and countries has provided unique insight into being able to provide solutions to problems. For more information Contact Ronald.

Getting Started with Simple DB

Monday, July 14th, 2008

With my continued investigation of evaluating alternative data management with cloud computing options, I’m now evaluating Amazon Simple DB. Still in restricted beta, it helps to have a friend on the inside.

Working through the Getting Started Guide (API Version 2007-11-07) was ok, annoying in parts. Here are some issues I found. I was working with Java as the programming language.

  • The Docs enable you to view the language syntax in Java, C#, Perl, PHP, VB.NET, ScratchPad. You can also restrict the view to a specific language. A rather cool feature. One observation is there is no Python, which is rather ironic as my first investigation was Google App Engine (GAE), and the only language here is Python. Something I had to learn first.
  • Preparing the Samples asks you download the Amazon SimpleDB Sample code, but this is not actually a link to the sample code but an index to Community Code. I used Java Library for Amazon SimpleDB which wasn’t even on the first page of results.
  • The supplied docs for specifying the Classpath was rather wrong, helps to simply find all .jar files and included these. Mine looks like:
    • #!/bin/sh
      #  http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AmazonSimpleDB/2007-11-07/GettingStartedGuide/?ref=get-started
      
      SDB_HOME="/put/directory/to/unzip/here"
      export CLASSPATH=$CLASSPATH:\
      $SDB_HOME/src/com/amazonaws/sdb/samples/\
      $SDB_HOME/lib/amazon-simpledb-2007-11-07-java-library.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/log4j-1.2.14/log4j-1.2.14.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/commons-codec-1.3/commons-codec-1.3.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/commons-logging-1.1/commons-logging-1.1.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/jaxb-ri-2.1/jaxb-xjc.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/jaxb-ri-2.1/activation.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/jaxb-ri-2.1/jaxb-impl.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/jaxb-ri-2.1/jaxb-api.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/jaxb-ri-2.1/jsr173_1.0_api.jar:\
      $SDB_HOME/third-party/commons-httpclient-3.0.1/commons-httpclient-3.0.1.jar
      
  • All examples in the docs then refer to making changes such as “invokeCreateDomain(service, action); line and add the following lines after // @TODO: set action parameters here:”, problem is all the samples don’t have the action variable, but rather a variable called request. The comment in the code ” // @TODO: set request parameters here” is at least accurate.
  • The docs contain a lot of Java syntax that is would not for example compile correctly. Plenty of occurances of a missing semicolon ‘;’
  • Each example defines
    String accessKeyId = ““;
    String secretAccessKey = “
    “;
    Ok for the first example, but as soon as I moved to the second, I re-factored these into a Interface called Constants.
  • In all the examples, they never provide any sample output, this would help just to confirm stuff. In Java Library for Amazon SimpleDB download link, there is an example output, but it’s outdated, with new data attribute called BoxUsage. My output is:
    • CreateDomain Action Response
      =============================================================================
      
          CreateDomainResponse
              ResponseMetadata
                  RequestId
                      f04df8eb-71fa-4d4e-9bd5-cc98e853a2e4
                  BoxUsage
                      0.0055590278
      
  • And now some specifics. In a Relational database such as MySQL, you have Instance/Schema/Table/Column. Within SimpleDB it would indicate that you need a separate AWS account for Instance management. That’s probably a good thing as it will enable tracking of costs. There appears to be no concept of a Schema. Data is stored in Domains, this is the equivalent to a Table. Within each Domain, you specific Attributes, a correlation with Columns. One key difference is the ability to define a set of Attributes with the same identity (much like a list that is supported via Python/GAE). For any row of data, you must specify an itemName, this being equivalent to a Primary Key.These names table me back to old days (20 years ago) of Logical Data Models that used entities,attributes and relationships.
  • The term Replace is used when updating data for a given row.
  • When retrieving data, you first return a list of itemNames, then you can via Attributes for that given item.
  • You can perform a simple where qualification using a Query Expression, including against multiple Attributes via intersection syntax
  • A observation that is of significant concern is the lack of security against any type of operation. The Getting Started guide ends with Deleting the Domain. Is there no means to define permissions against type of users, such as an Application User, and a Database Administrator for managing the objects.

Well it took me longer to write this post, then to run through the example, but at least on a lazy Sunday afternoon, a first look at SimpleDB was quite simple.

I did also run into an error initially. I first started just via CLI under Linux (CentOS 5), but switched back to installing Eclipse on Mac OS/X for better error management, and of course this error didn’t occur.

Facebook performance woes today

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

It seems that of late a number of successful community web sites have been experiencing problems in scalability and performance. Today it’s Facebook.

Initially I got a “Problem loading page” browser message. No big deal, you get those. A few refreshes and I’m in. I was trying to send a message, I got the following popup error message.

No Network
Transport error (#1001) while retrieving data from endpoint `/inbox/ajax/ajax.php’: A network error occurred. Check that you are connected to the internet.

Well yes, I’m connected to the Internet, every other site is fine. A more technical look gives the lovely connection aborted message.

lynx http://facebook.com

Looking up facebook.com
Making HTTP connection to facebook.com
Sending HTTP request.
HTTP request sent; waiting for response.
HTTP/1.1 302 Found
Data transfer complete
HTTP/1.1 302 Found
Using http://www.facebook.com/common/browser.php
Looking up www.facebook.com
Making HTTP connection to www.facebook.com
Sending HTTP request.
HTTP request sent; waiting for response.
Retrying as HTTP0 request.
Looking up www.facebook.com
Making HTTP connection to www.facebook.com
Sending HTTP request.
HTTP request sent; waiting for response.
Alert!: Unexpected network read error; connection aborted.
Can't Access `http://www.facebook.com/common/browser.php'
Alert!: Unable to access document.

lynx: Can't access startfile

Check your spelling

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

I’ve been Plurking more lately rather then Twittering. I’d like to offer to help out at Twitter if I could find the right person to talk to.

I’m no English major, but I do like to ensure my spelling is correct (at least for the bulk of the audience). You see grammar problems on sites, due to the nature of English not being the first language of many people, but one should always check your spelling as per this popup message I got today.

Today’s wicked cool site – ping.fm

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

I posted on my Plurk I wished for an easier way to update my status on social sites such as Facebook , Twitter and Plurk . The answer I got was Ping.fm. It is a closed beta, but the code is pingyoulater to get it.

It’s wicked cool, easy and just works. It also interfaces to 17 different sites, I only use 4 of them.

Generating Word Clouds

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

I came across a wicked cool tool at wondle.net. I wanted to create a word cloud for the back of a business card, now I know how.

Setting up on EC2

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Thanks to my friend Dustin, and his EC2 demo using Elasticfox Firefox Extension for Amazon EC2 I got an EC2 image setup. With other references Link 1,Link 2,Link 3 I was also able to create my own AMI.

Some notes specific for my configuration.

Pre-config ElasticFox key for launching directly from ElasticFox SSH connections.

mkdir ~/ec2-keys
mv ~/Downloads/elasticfox.pem ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox
chmod 600 ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox
chmod 700 ~/ec2-keys/
ssh -i /Users/rbradfor/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox root@ec2-99-999-999-999.compute-1.amazonaws.com

Installed Software.

apt-get update
apt-get -y autoremove
apt-get -y install apache2
apt-get -y install mysql-server
# Prompts for password (very annoying)
apt-get -y install php5
apache2ctl graceful
echo "Hello World" > /var/www/index.html
echo "< ? phpinfo() ?>" > /var/www/phpinfo.php

Configuration to save AMI.

scp -i ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox ~/ec2-keys/id_elasticfox pk-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem cert-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem root@ec2-99-999-999-999.compute-1.amazonaws.com:/mnt
ec2-bundle-vol -d /mnt -c cert-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem -k pk-CHK7DP4475BWUKIUF4WFDIW3VMYDYOHQ.pem -u AccountNumber -r i386 -p ubuntu804_lamp
ec2-upload-bundle -b rbradford_804_lamp_ami -m /mnt/ubuntu804_lamp.manifest.xml -a AccessID -s SecretKey

Your site unavailable page

Friday, June 20th, 2008

When your site is down what do people see? If overloaded to you respond well or not?

For much larger organizations with the infrastructure and DNS management this should be part of your DR strategy. Yesterday was FireFox Download Day. Mozilla I don’t think coped as well as they could have and were not prepared. Looking at the two screens below you can see examples of error pages I got.

In this case it was a planned event, the increase in traffic was predicable ahead of time. Surely they could have had a static pages with something about the event, the high load and even then a static page of links if your goal was to download FireFox 3.

My site certainly doesn’t support the automated failover, I have to make a DNS change at my domain register Go Daddy to a different host that is already ready and wait for delegation, but I’m prepared for a significant outage like previously.

What determines authoritative information

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

I had need to visit a particular store in New York on Sunday on referral by a friend. I knew they had two locations. Like all tech savvy people I googled sports authority new york. I even visited the website from the link of the top result (with map). I typed in the address into my iPhone as listed by the map, why somebody hasn’t invented a means to point and click that I don’t know (it probably does exist, but finding it and knowing about it is a completely more complex problem). I even clicked on the map and zoomed in for nearest subway stop.

I got on the NY subway and headed into Manhattan. What resulted was me scratching my head when I could not find the intended store. In fact, the store never existed at 57 W 57th St. Even trying the phone number as per Google resulted in a no answer. Fortunately the trusty iPhone with Internet access and viewing the store locator on the official Sports Authority website enabled me to find the closest store, over a mile away.

I have often joked about the reliance on online information and the assumption of accurate information from even trusted sites. I’ve used this example previously, I know 1 mile is approximately 1.6 kilometers, and if you put in “convert 1 mile to kilometer” Google gives you an answer of “1 mile = 1.609344 kilometer”. What if that was indeed wrong, and it was 1.659344 for example.

Where are the safeguards for verifying information? Could it even be possible?
The benefit of information available readily does not equate to good information, indeed today searching for something can provide too much information and not exactly what you are seeking.

One wonders!

Working with Google App Engine

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Yesterday I took a more serious look at Google App Engine, I got a developer account some weeks ago.

After going though the getting started demo some time ago, I chose an idea for a FaceBook Application and started in true eXtreme Programming (XP) style (i.e. What’s the bare minimum required for first iteration). I taught myself some Python and within just a few minutes had some working data being randomly generated totally within the development SDK environment On my MacBook. I was not able to deploy initially via the big blue deploy button, the catch is you have to register the application manually online.

Then it all worked, and hey presto I’ve got my application up at provided domain hosting at appspot.com

Having coming from a truly relational environment, most notably MySQL of recent years I found the Datastore API different in a number of ways.

  • There is no means of Sequences/Auto Increment. There is an internal Unique Key, but it’s a String, not an integer, not enabling me to re-use it.
  • The ListProperty enables the use of Lists in Python (like Arrays) to be easily stored.
  • The ReferenceProperty is used as a foreign key relationship, and then can be more reference within an object hierarchy
  • I really missed an interactive interface. You have no abililty to look at your data, specifically for me I wanted to seek some data, then I wanted to delete some data, but I had to do all this via code.

Having developed a skelaton FaceBook application before in PHP, I figured a Python version would not be that much more work, but here is where I good stumped Information at Hosting a Facebook Application on Google AppEngine leveraging the PyFacebook project didn’t enable me to integrate Google App Engine with FaceBook just yet.

This had me thinking I need to resort to a standalone simply Python Facebook application to confirm the PyFacebook usage. Now my problems started. Under Mac it’s a lot more complex to install and configure Python/Django etc then under Linux. I tried to do it on my dedicated server, but drat Python is at 2.3.4, and it seems 2.5.x is needed.

Still it was a valuable exercise, I dropped the FaceBook goal and just worked on more Google App Engine stuff. Still early days, but it was productive to try out this new technology.

What I need to work on now is how to hold state within Python infrastructure so I can manage a user login and storing and retrieving user data for my sample app.

Screen recorder software for Mac

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I’ve been researching what software exists for a Mac to produce video like screen recording and audio. Multiple people have recommended Camtasia however this is Windows only.

I today with some research came across Jing Project which at first test seems perfect, easy to install, use and even deploy to an integrated Screencast. And it’s free.

What’s perplexing is it’s a product from the same company, techsmith yet it’s not listed as a product?

Beyond Blogs

Monday, May 26th, 2008

I was reading today in a printed magazine Business Week the article Beyond Blogs. It’s unusual these days to actually read on paper what we can find on our online world.

What’s interesting is the printed article did actually contain content I didn’t find online. There was a section called “We Didn’t See ‘em coming”, and it’s finally important site mentioned was iTunes. I found the following comment extremely relevant. “…. But we didn’t guess it would become the leading destination for podcast downloads. Contrary to our expectations, podcasts have evolved into a feature of traditional radio, not a rival to it.”

It’s important that with any business model you know, understand and review consistently your competitors. I find many organizations that don’t do this. You need to know your competitor. But as mentioned with iTunes, the designers of podcasts could have easily considered radio to be a competitor initially. One must always evaluate the changing times regularly.

The following are three more quotes of interest.

But in the helter-skelter of the blogosphere, we wrote, something important was taking place: In the 10 minutes it took to set up a blogging account, anyone with an Internet connection could become a global publisher. Some could become stars and gain power.

Like the LAMP stack has done for websites, the cost to entry now to get exposure is very low. The problem is now too much content exists to review, compare and evaluate effectively.

Turned out it wasn’t quite that simple. The magazine article, archived on our Web site, kept attracting readers and blog links. A few professors worked it into their curricula, sending class after class of students to the story. With all this activity, the piece gained high-octane Google juice.“.

I’d not heard of Google juice before.

In relation to Linked In, FaceBook and MySpace, “While only a small slice of the population wants to blog, a far larger swath of humanity is eager to make friends and contacts, to exchange pictures and music, to share activities and ideas. These social connectors are changing the dynamics of companies around the world. Millions of us are now hanging out on the Internet with customers, befriending rivals,…“.

Migrating my blog & updating WordPress

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I’m migrating my existing WordPress run blog site at blog.arabx.com.au to a my new site ronaldbradford.com (which is not yet publically available)

As part of this process I’ll be doing a number of upgrades/changes including:

  1. Update blog software to 2.5.1 from 2.0.2 (I’d previously done a 2.0.2 upgrade to 2.3.2, but not deployed)
  2. Migrate to new domain
  3. Upgrade existing MySQL 5.1 version from 5.1.11 to 5.1.24
  4. Migrate database to using MySQL 5.1.24, from 5.0.22 (my server runs 5.0 and 5.1 instances)
  5. Split my blog into Professional & Personal

Upgrading
The upgrade is straightforward, backup database, download latest wordpress software. I run full revision to older versions via directories + symlinks so my installation is more complicated, but fully recoverable. Install, and run upgrade script. That all works, but my site breaks. Suspecting is my heavily customized them, by disabling that my site is up. One to add to the TODO list.

Migrate to new domain
Dump + Reload data into new schema. Copy WordPress install. I had to make two data changes to correctly use the new domain.


update wp_options set option_value='http://ronaldbradford.com/blog' where option_name='siteurl';
update wp_options set option_value='http://ronaldbradford.com/blog' where option_name='home';

Upgrade MySQL 5.1 version
That was also relatively straightforward. I was surprised I was running such an old 5.1.11, but I remember originally using 5.1.6 in production use before that.

Migrate database to 5.1 from 5.0
This is where my problems have begun. WordPress does not appear to like host+port stuff. I can confirm access via MySQL client. At 9:30pm Sunday night, this may have to remain in the unresolved bin for a few days.

Log Buffer #94: a Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

April 25th, 2008 – by Ronald Bradford

Welcome to the 94th edition of Log Buffer, the weekly review of the database blogsphere. Adding to the list of usual database suspects, I have some more alternative considerations for our readers this week.

We start with Conferences

Still some discussion from last weeks’ 2008 MySQL Conference & Expo.

Baron “xarpb” Schwartz calls it correct in Like it or not, it is the MySQL Conference and Expo. Matt Assay of c|net gives us some of his opinions in three posts Two great posts on MySQL, Back to the future for MySQL and Between two consenting corporations… in followup to last week’s active slashdot discussion. Many others have also commented if you have not been following the news released before opening keynotes.

If you didn’t get a hard copy, Sheeri Kritzer Cabral has published the Pythian EXPLAIN Cheatsheet many attendees received.

Also last week was Collaborate 08 – Technology and Applications IOUG forum for the Oracle Community.

This week we also see the Web 2.0 San Francisco in action, and excitement is also brewing for the PGCon – PostgreSQL Conference for Users and Developers happening in under a month as Robert Treat has Plane tickets booked for PGCon. Postgres was also visible at the MySQL Conference & Expo if you were looking with a prominent consulting team downing the blue elephant during the event. Wish I’d taken a photo now!

Still more news from Adam Machanic of the Pythian group with SQLTeach Toronto: Almost Here.

Common threads

The 2008 Google Summer of Code announced this week showcases the Open Source databases MySQL (14 projects) and PostgreSQL (6 projects). Kaj Arnö talks more in Fourteen Summer of Code projects accepted 2008. The company PrimeBase Technologies also features strongly with two projects for the Blob Streaming storage engine for MySQL as I detail in Media Blob Streaming getting a Google boost.

MySQL

DTrace Integration with MySQL 5.0 – Chime demo in MySQL Users Conference 2008 by Jenny Chen is an example of Sun’s Open Source contribution to MySQL which I saw as a physical demo last week. Unfortunately, due to the imbalance in actually getting new functionality into Community contributions (actually non existence in current or next mysql version :-( ), this functionality is only really for show. Dtrace with MySQL 6.0.5 – on a Mac describes some of this work actually making it into the next, next version. It seems this next Falcon Preview is available but not announced by MySQL generally as I note in Continued confusion in MySQL/Sun release policy.

MySQL Gurus Mark Callaghan and Brian Aker comment respectively here and here on MySQL Heap (Memory) Engine – Dynamic Row Format Support. Work submitted by Igor Chernyshev of eBay Kernel Team (whom I’ve met previously and was most impressed with his ability to submit MySQL patch work, with little previous MySQL kernel knowledge, but extensive C++ knowledge). This work also contributed to eBay Wins Application of the Year at MySQL Conference & Expo.

Mark also mentions in his post “How do users get it? There is no community branch into which people can submit changes with a GPL license.“. A topic your’s truly has also mentioned regarding the Community contributions, development and release. Perhaps a sign of more benefit to the community soon as Monty mentions.

Baron Schwartz comments on Keith “a.k.a Kevin” Murphy’s work in Spring 2008 issue of MySQL Magazine. With a quick plug also for his upcoming book “High Performance MySQL – Version 2″ (me giving it a plug also now), Baron also has the best published anti-spam sniffer email I’ve seen, and recently updated to his new employer. Check his blog and let me know.

Postgres

Joshus Drake of Command Prompt Inc. The Postgres Company gets excited in Is that performance I smell? Ext2 vs Ext3 on 50 spindles, testing for PostgreSQL and gives us some insight into different settings of two popular file system types. It would be great to see a follow up with a few more different filesystems types.

Pabloj “so many trails … so little time” extends his MySQL example to Postgres in Loading data from files. And on Postgres Online Journal, we get An Almost Idiot’s Guide to PostgreSQL YUM giving you a step by step guide of PostgreSQL setup, including the all important “Backing up Old Version”.

Oracle

We get a detailed book chapter from Keith Lake of Oracle OLAP The most powerful, open Analytic Engine in his extensive post on Tuning Guidance for OLAP 10g. David Litchfield brings attention in A New Class of Vulnerability in Oracle: Lateral SQL Injection. The title is sufficient for all Oracle DBA’s to review.

Don Seiler gives his experience in Bind Variables and Parallel Queries Do Not Mix when an Oracle Bug is discovered the database to 64-bit H/W..
Matching LOB Indexes and Segments by Michael McLaughlin gives us a good CASE/REGEX SQL example exam question, and simple output to monitor the growth of LOBs in your Oracle database.
Additional readings for Oracle folks can be found with Kenneth Downs writing Advanced Table Design: Resolutions and Dan Norris’ Collaborate 08 thoughts gives a concise review of a largely attended Oracle event.

SQL Server

B Esakkiappan’s SQL Thoughts gives us a throughout lesson on SQL Server 2005 Database Transaction logs with Know the Transaction LOG – Part – 1, Part – 2, Part – 3 and Part -4 Restoring Data.

Paul S. Randal of SQL Skills adds Conference Questions Pot-Pourri: How to create Agent alerts to his writings following many requests after a recent workshop.

In Scalability features I would like to have in SQL Server Michael Zilberstein lists 3 key features including “Active-Active cluster”, “Indexes per partition” and “Bitmap indexes and function based indexes”.

Ingres, Times Ten, Google App Engine and more

Some movement in the Ingres world with Deb Woods of Ingres Technology Blog discussing in Inside the Community – Ingres style…. the Ingres Engineering Summit occurring this week. Attendees included newbies to a 24 year Ingres veteran. That beats my experience in Ingres which now extends 19 years.

We get another very detailed installation description, this time for Times Ten in Install Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database 7.0.4 on Linux.

Just a few weeks ago, a new database offering hit the market with the Google App Engine. News this week includes
Google App Engine Hack-a-thons! being announced with events in New York on May 7th and San Francisco on May 16th. As a developer with an account and an excuse to use it more, I can’t win, being in the right towns on the wrong dates.

OakLeaf Systems this week writes Comparing Google App Engine, Amazon SimpleDB and Microsoft SQL Server Data Services. Another good read just for comparison.

Not in a blog, but in discussion in at the recent MySQL, was msql. It was interesting to find out that PHP was originally developed for msql first, and only used MySQL as the preferred database after some functionality requirement. Interesting what could have been?

In Conclusion

Thanks Dave for the opportunity to contribute to the week in review. Until my chance to charm the readers next time.

I leave you with a photo, and challenge our readers to find another person who would be capable of wearing a t-shirt that states “My free software runs your company”. Michael Widenius- Founder and original developer of MySQL can, and my thanks to you for MySQL, and the Vodka shots at the Conference last week.

Happy Earth Day 2008!