Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Giving developers operational responsibilities has greatly enhanced the quality of the services, both from a customer and a technology point of view. The traditional model is that you take your software to the wall that separates development and operations, and throw it over and then forget about it. Not at Amazon. You build it, you run it. This brings developers into contact with the day-to-day operation of their software. It also brings them into day-to-day contact with the customer. This customer feedback loop is essential for improving the quality of the service.
The idea is intriguing. The wall Vogel mentions is high, and expensive - layers of project management, ops teams, etc all abstract developers away from truly understanding what needs to be done to enhance the end consumer experience. One problem though: how do you get great developers if you tell them they need to be on a 24/7 pager.
Another interesting angle is the freedom Amazon gives their developers. Here's a snippet:
I think part of the chaotic nature—the emerging nature—of Amazon's platform is that there are many tools available, and we try not to impose too many constraints on our engineers. We provide incentives for some things, such as integration with the monitoring system and other infrastructure tools. But for the rest, we allow teams to function as independently as possible. Developers are like artists; they produce their best work if they have the freedom to do so, but they need good tools. As a result of this principle, we have many support tools that are of a self-help nature. The support environment around the service development should never get in the way of the development itself.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
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Thursday, June 15, 2006
Politics: An interesting document was found on one of Zarkawi's computers. Some interesting points to keep in mind as we will innevitably hear more about the US / Iranian tension. Here are some snippets from the Christian Science Monitor in the article Picture of a weakened Iraqi Insurgency:
The Al Qaeda document gives a broad assessment, from apparent ordnance shortages to stoking a clash between the US and Iran. It also includes a lengthy list of potential "delegated wars" that would ease pressure on the resistance.
"The best of these wars to be ignited is the one between the Americans and Iran, because it will have many benefits in favor of the Sunni and the resistance," the document reads. Among those benefits are the "possibility of acquiring new weapons from the Iranian side, either after the fall of Iran or during the battles."
Its six suggested methods that read like a how-to guide for creating friction. They include sending out "threatening messages against American interests" and blaming Iran; "executing operations of kidnapping hostages" and blaming Iran; "advertising" that Iran has chemical and nuclear weapons "and is threatening the West."
Bomb attacks against the West would be blamed on Iran "by planting Iranian Shiite fingerprints and evidence"; declaring ties between Iran and "terrorist groups (as termed by the Americans)"; and "disseminating bogus messages" that Iran has weapons of mass destruction and "there are attempts by the Iranian intelligence to undertake terrorist operations in America."
Struggling British filmmaker Sue (Alice Patten) comes to India after she reads the diary of her grandfather, who served in the British Force during India's struggle for Independence. She comes to India in order to make a short film about some of the heroes of the Indian Independence Movement, men such as Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad. With the help of her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), she sets out to find actors suitable for the roles. Sonia introduces Sue to some of her male friends [...]
Don't get too disappointed - for me, a typical clue that a Bollywood film is going to be terrible: when they start hauling out the whole east meets west theme (think Bride and Prejudice) - the Brit actually speaks Hindi with a not too annoying accent. The shooting is so well done - I especially loved the really grainy scenes shot in dumpy dhabas - all the friends inhaling food, laughing, and most typically Punjabi - picking on each other. There's also not a single motorcycle muscle flexing scene. Here's some more plot-y stuff from Wikipedia:
Sue convinces them to act in her film. Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni), a political party activist, later joins the group though he is initially disliked by the other boys on account of his Hindutva beliefs and contempt of Aslam, who is a Muslim.
As the young men learn their lines and learn more about the history of the Independence movement, they realize that, unlike the men they are playing, they have lived completely for their own pleasures and have ignored India's pressing problems. They lack the spirit of patriotic self-sacrifice.
Strong film. I give it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
On the banks of the windswept Columbia River, Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a secret when it is a computing center as big as two football fields, with twin cooling plants protruding four stories into the sky.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
On a projection screen at Stanford Law School, an auditorium full of nerds stared at a picture of a guy who'd done himself up like a cat—not with makeup, but with tattoos and surgery. The guy's whiskers were implanted. His nose had been converted to a cat nose. His teeth had been filed into the shape of cat teeth. His head has been flattened, and he was looking for a doctor to implant a tail. And that's just the tip of the freakberg.
Not sure what to make of this article, or for that matter, this collection of nut burgers. A colleague of mine was going on a few days ago about how humans will ultimately achieve immortality by being able to digitize their life experience, modelling their thought processes, and dumping it into a gigantic hard drive in, I guess, a hosted server farm in Renton with, I presume, a good emergency preparedness plan. Anyway, perhaps that conversation's why this article is showing up here on CB. Here's another snippet from Saletan's joyous communion with the transhumanists:
The sessions were ... interesting. A panel on religious views consisted of a transhumanist Zen Buddhist priest, an advocate of human enhancement as divine healing, and a pro-cryonics "Christian immortalist." Another panel addressed "the self-demand amputation community." You've heard of a woman trapped in a man's body? Imagine being a one-legged person trapped in a two-legged body, said the speakers. A third panel brought up the "cyborg dialectic": thesis, antithesis, synthesis, prothesis. I have no idea what a prothesis is. I assumed the cyborg dialectic would culminate in a prosthesis.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The media seems obsessed w/ creating a new Google verse Microsoft CNN-inspired war zone. Yahoo seems a much more natural enemy of Google, why not cover that? But alas, its less newsworthy. Until Google is a real platform threat, and the two are duking it out over the desktop, which I'm sorry, but a cute little tool bar is not, I'm not buying into this mother-of-all-tech-wars thing. Serious competitors though? Certainly.