There is a great article done by a member of the team that did the New York Times Netflix infographic. I especially love the fact that they wrote a scraper in ruby to pull in some of the data they needed off of google search results.
Favorite thing heard at the Winter Sun CSA pickup yesterday:
We’ll send out an email once the website goes live. We were hoping it would be up by now, but we’ve been having problems. I never thought that one of the skills I’d need to have as a farmer is PHP.
This out of a conversation with the Hudson Valley Seed Library project. I’ll post a link to their website once it’s live.
Having been at a Web 2.0 conference for a chunk of the week, I figured I’d finally download an try Adobe AIR, as they announced a Linux version last week at the Linux Collaboration Summit. I am massively underwhelmed.
First off, only 1 of the top 6 air apps on their site actually run on the Linux build of AIR. That app, an rss reader, which is basically a clone of Liferea, but not noticeably better in any way.
Secondly, transparency doesn’t work. I installed the Screenboard app and the Ruler app, both of which we useless as they didn’t do alpha channel.
Thirdly, their AIR app installer makes a new Gnome application menu for Air Examples each time it installs an application. So I now have 3 Air Examples folders in my application menu, each with 1 application in them.
Finally, air fonts seem to be hard coded to something smaller than my desktop settings, with no clear way to scale them up. Any application framework that doesn’t respect my system font settings is pretty useless to me.
Hopefully a lot of these get fixed in the near future. The only thing that AIR seemed to do was a lot of animated menus, which are pretty, but not actually useful. Perhaps if the alpha layer stuff had worked, I’d be a bit more impressed, but without that all the demo apps seem pretty pointless right now. And the one app that I might actually care about, TwittAir, uses functions the Linux AIR runtime doesn’t have yet.
I just did the upgrade of my linode (which hosts mhvlug.org, planet opensim, dague.org, and a few other sites) to Xen. I had put in the request to join the beta for Xen a couple weeks ago, got in, and was slow on my side to actually kick off the migration (which was painless, but required about an hour of down time). It turns out that all of linode is now going to Xen. Based on very simple latecy tests, the box feels much snappier on serving up wiki pages.
I finally got around to using my Amazon Web Services account this weekend and push the entirety of my digital photos into S3 (it’s in progress right now, doing a nice job of exercising my fios connetion). I thank Sean O’Conner for pushing me over the edge here, as he brought his use of S3 up at dinner after the last MHVLUG meeting.
As I’ve been working on wedding photo book, I started to realize it would be good if these photos existed somewhere besides my raid server at home, in the event of catastrophe (man made or otherwise). Wedding photos can’t be replaced. At the current bill rates, it will cost me $1.50 to upload my 15 GB of photos, and $2.25 / month to keep them hanging out in S3. For less than $30 a year to eliminate a single point of failure, I’m all for it.
Amazon did something incredible with S3. They decided that they weren’t providing an end service, but a component to build end services. As such, they created an incredibly simple programming interface (via a REST web service), seeded the community with sample code in a slew of languages, and said “have at!”. The results are somewhat impressive. There is a firefox plugin which provides a reasonable browsing front end so you can understand what your bucket / bin structure looks like. What sold me over is s3sync, which looks and acts like rsync, but has S3 as either the target or source. A single command, and all my content is being pushed into S3.
S3 also has a rich access list and meta-data interface, which has me pondering a photo album creation application using S3 on the back end. That will wait until the new year at least, but the possibilities seem interesting to me. The fact that there is a bittorent creation interface for S3 is also quite interesting, and would make for very reasonable distribution of things like ISO images.
While there are other applications more specialized for photo sharing, like Flickr, the general purpose nature of Hardware as a Service that Amazon provides intrigues me. The programmatic interface on it is also something that I’d like to get a bit of experience with, as I think this model for service delivery is going to become far more prevalent over the next few years. S3 is a pretty easy start point for that, though I’m still thinking of interesting projects for EC2 and the Mechanical Turk as well.
Not all that exciting, but I did do a wordpress update today. Everything looks good to me, but if anyone sees something off, a comment would be appreciated.
I was really hoping to avoid the whole facebook thing, but today someone that I haven’t seen or heard from in 7 or 8 years found me on facebook… and I gave up resisting. The value of these networks for me is giving me a handle to go catch up with people (mostly from high school), that I’ve lost touch with in the intervening decade and a half.
Off to make sure my facebook profile is even vaguely accurate from the account I made a while ago.