Last Saturday, on the 24th of September, I was present at the first Portuguese WordCamp and this is a short review of the event. It was a blast. A success that must, and I believe will be, repeated. As it took place in Portugal, and the audience was mostly Portuguese, I decided to post this review in Portuguese. Please forgive me 🙂

WordCamp Lisboa 2011

Teve lugar no Sábado, o primeiro WordCamp que se realizou em Portugal, e eu estive lá. Há sempre pormenores a melhorar, mas de uma forma global, correu muitíssimo bem.
A organização esteve impecável, e penso que todos os participantes deram por bem empregue, quer o tempo, quer o custo da inscrição, que na minha opinião estava bastante acessível. A prova é que esgotou a 3 dias do início do evento.

O programa incluía 12 oradores em 11 apresentações, e como é natural, a maioria falou sobre temas directamente ligados com o WordPress, mas houve alguns que se desviaram um pouco e foram uma agradável surpresa.

O evento decorreu na Universidade Lusófona, que muito simpaticamente cedeu o Auditório Agostinho da Silva. Não sendo perfeito, pois tinha pouco espaço à entrada do auditório, tinha um palco muito bom, e excelentes condições no interior.

O início foi à hora marcada, com a acreditação dos participantes e a entrega dos habituais brindes.

Depois seguiram-se as apresentações, com pausas para café/lanche, e almoço, gentilmente oferecidas pela Origem – Cozinha biológica.
Aqui, e falo apenas em meu nome, não estiveram muito bem. Penso que a comida não era a mais indicada para um evento destes. Sei (imagino) que não é nada fácil fornecer comida a mais de 180 pessoas, mas penso que podiam melhorar.

E, para mim, estes foram os dois únicos pontos que me sinto à vontade para criticar, o espaço apertado à entrada do auditório, e a comida. Do resto, que era no fundo o que nos levava lá, só posso tecer elogios.

Em primeiro lugar temos de agradecer à organização, que conseguiu ter tudo a funcionar a tempo e horas, o que deve ter implicado muitas, muitas horas de preparação. Obrigado pelo esforço, a comunidade agradece.

Quanto às apresentações, vou aqui fazer um breve resumo, e arriscar-me a dar a minha ‘avaliação’. É, obviamente a minha opinião, totalmente subjectiva, e influenciada pelas áreas que me interessavam mais, e pelos meus (ainda) parcos conhecimentos de WordPress.

Paulo Faustino, Escolas+ – Mais do que um blog: diferentes formas de usar o WordPress comercialmente
Nota 5. Apresentou um vasto conjunto de temas e aplicações que permitem usar o WordPress como algo mais do que um blog, A lista de links que apresentou pode poupar muito tempo de pesquisa a muita gente. Também apresentou várias das formas de monetizar um site.

Drew Strojny, Theme Foundry – Como construir um negócio baseado no WordPress
Nota 5. Contou-nos a sua história pessoal, e de como chegou ao WordPress. Mostrou uma humildade proporcional à sua altura. Falou dos erros, dos receios, dos desafios que quem começa, e deixou algumas dicas que podem ajudar quem se queira aventurar num caminho semelhante.

Nuno Morgadinho, WidgiLabs  – De curioso a poeta – a comunidade e a cultura WordPress
Nota 4. Apresentou o seu percurso desde curioso até estar incluído na lista dos Code Poets, e desafiou a assistência a participar e contribuir para a comunidade. Deu-nos alguns conselhos que podem facilitar as nossas boas-vindas, tais como usar o logotipo correcto, e ter preferência por jazz…

Rui Santos e S̩rgio Carvalho, Blog.com РWordPress em larga escala
Nota 5. Gostei muito da apresentação do Rui Santos, que se focou nos desafios que todos esperamos vir a encontrar quando o nosso tráfego crescer. Conseguiu encontrar o equilíbrio perfeito para explicar questões técnicas sem aborrecer nem desmotivar a audiência. Gostava de ver esta apresentação mais aprofundada perante uma plateia mais técnica. A apresentação do Sérgio recaiu sobre as as alterações/simplificações que estão a fazer na interface de administração do WordPress. Não conhecia e fiquei agradavelmente surpreendido.

Scott Berkun, Automattic РComo ̩ feito o WordPress.com
Nota 5. Scott é um excelente orador, e explicou, de uma forma divertida e descontraída, como funciona o desenvolvimento dentro da empresa, como conseguem coordenar trabalho estando espalhados pelo mundo, e quais as ferramentas que utilizam para esse efeito. A destacar a informação de que 85% dos developers tem acesso de commit ao repositório, e do efeito “responsabilizador” que isso tem.

Isaac Keyet, Automattic – WordPress em dispositivos móveis
Nota 3. O Isaac não esteve muito bem. O tema era muito interessante e actual, mas o tom de voz e o volume da mesma não conseguiram cativar a audiência. Para piorar as coisas, teve o azar de falar a seguir ao almoço, o que dificultou ainda mais as coisas. Mesmo assim apresentou alguns dados interessantes, como a previsão de que por volta de 2016 hajam mais dispositivos móveis do que computadores a aceder à internet.

Ana Silva – A arte da vida em forma de blog
Nota 4. Surpreendeu pela originalidade, ao contar o seu percurso e a forma como utiliza o WordPress.
Acrescentou a perspectiva de utilizador, alguém que no fundo será um potencial “cliente” dos serviços da maioria da audiência. Foi uma apresentação bem-humorada, e que mostra que ‘com teimosia’ se conseguem atingir os nossos objectivos.

Hugo Baeta, Automattic – Como desenhar um site com WordPress
Nota 5. O Hugo apresentou-nos a perspectiva mais avançada do WordPress no wordpress.com. Como podemos ter algo mais do que um blog, como podemos usar plugins e outras funcionalidades no wordpress.com? Quais as vantagens de termos lá o nosso site, em oposição a um alojamento proprietário.
Gostei, embora continue a preferir manter o controlo que tenho nos meus sites 🙂

Tiago Noronha, WooThemes – WordPress hoje
Nota 4. Uma apresentação dos serviços da WooThemes, e de como a utilização de custom post types, lhes permite fazer coisas que vão muito para além do habitual quando pensamos no WordPress.

Pedro Dias, PTisp – WordPress por detrás das cortinas
Nota 3. A apresentação não foi muito conseguida. Foi demasiado técnica para a maioria da audiência e muito pouco detalhada para quem era técnico e realmente a poderia apreciar. Ficou num meio termo que não agradou nem a gregos nem a troianos. Focou-se muito na descrição da solução da PTisp, não extrapolando para além disso.

André Luís, SAPO – Dr. Copyright ou como eu deixei de me preocupar e passei a adorar licenças permissivas
Nota 5. O André fez mais uma excelente apresentação, sobre um assunto que muitos desconhecem ,e que assume cada vez mais importância. O tema dos direitos de autor. Não sendo jurista, revelou bons conhecimentos sobre o assunto e conseguiu, através de uma linguagem acessível a leigos, explicar o que são os direitos de autor e quais as várias formas que podemos usar para proteger os nossos direitos. Ou, prescindir de alguns desses direitos de uma forma controlada.

No final, durante a sessão de encerramento, foi notória a satisfação da maioria (de todos?) os participantes.

Houve ainda uma ‘after-party’ no Clube Ferroviário no qual não participei, mas que já me contaram ter sido bem animado. Por tudo o acima exposto, conclui-se que o evento foi um sucesso. Pela minha parte fiquei com ‘apetite’ para mais, e espero marcar presença em futuros eventos.

I’ve just re-read a post on Data Center Knowledge, on ‘who has the most web servers?‘. It’s originally from 2009, so the most actual part is the comment section, where lots of people have added their opinions and also some valuable updates..

One thing I have to bitch about is the title. It’s misleading. It mentions web servers but in fact it’s count all servers these companies have. They’re mixing web servers, per se, with database servers, and application servers, all in the same bundle. Mind you, I believe this is how it should be done, I just think the title should be changed to ‘who has the most servers’.

More than the raw numbers, what interests me is how these companies manage theses servers. It’s easy for a small team to manage several servers, but when you reach thousands of servers, across multiple locations you must have some system in place, or you’ll loose control. It’s the systems they have that would interest me most. How do they manage all they locations? Do they always replicate servers across all locations, or do they pair them up? How do they balance their power and cooling  requirements? How do they manage their address space? Those are the things I would pay to read about. But, usually this type of information is closely guarded, and hard to discover.

Anyway it’s still fun to read through the article and the comments with everyone throwing in a new company they believe should be part of the list.

 

Google plus or Google+ is still in it’s early days, yet the hype is there. Everyone wants in on it and some tempers can’t handle the lack of invitations.

This time I think Google has got a foot in the door when it comes to social networks, something it didn’t manage to do with it’s earlier attempts, like google buzz and google wave. Orkut also wasn’t very successful (it seems in Brazil it is still quite popular) and Google was eager to find a way to fight Facebook and regain some of the popularity Facebook was enjoying. In one swift action it managed to regain that popularity, and also deliver a hard blow to Facebook.

As for me, I’ve always favored twitter. I use it for personal and professional reasons. I find it easier to locate good sources of information on twitter than on Facebook. Not to say that there aren’t any. I just prefer twitter. It’s more immediate, and all in all, less intrusive.  My use of Facebook is more personal,  where I played a couple of games (yes even Farmville) and made some “friends” from all over the world just to get more contacts.

Now, with Google+ this picture may change. Just a few days since it’s launch it has already made a few points for itself. It has a tremendous potential, and I’m sure the people at Facebook are worried. Even before opening to the masses, Google+ is a worthy opponent.

Let’s take a look at some of the features that make Google+ a better, or ‘more complete’ service than Facebook. Obviously, this is my opinion based on my limited exposure to Google+.

Integration with all the other Google services

Google already has a large group of services that Google+ can rely on.  Google profiles, Google Docs, and Picasa are just some examples, probably the most obvious ones. I believe Google will integrate more and more of their services so that Google+ will actually be the reinvention of Google. This isn’t all good. There is a huge potential for mischief. Despite some minor problems Google, has been quite good in keeping our information safe, even if they crawl through it as much as they like.

Better control

Facebook has redefined it’s security and privacy features, so many times, I think even they lost count. And a lot of those times, they managed to fumble their settings, resetting users to an unprotected, or at least less protected, state, provoking some angered reactions.

Twitter, on the other hand has always been much easier to understand. From day one it was clear that anyone could read your tweets, save for DMs.

Despite this fact, they also had some issues, but to a much lesser extent than Facebook.

Google+ is, profiting on that experience, and has provided users with much finer control over what they share, and with whom they share it. This is just common sense. It would be silly not to learn from the others mistakes. Google+ seems to have things under control. Even then hay had a minor issue with people re-sharing stuff that had been shared with them, that was soon fixed.

Google+’s circles is a clever way to organize your contacts, and mimics the way we organize our real life friends. It is very extensible and lets you organize things any way you want.

More targeted information

Because of google’s search related work, and of course all the data mining it has done on our data, it is very good at presenting us with relevant information targeted to our interests. Something FB can’t do at the same level. In FB, most information comes from the outside, posted in FB and then shared by people. In Google+, it can be suggested to you.

Security

This is a complicated issue. FB has been around for some time, and it’s security track record isn’t the best. I’m specifically referring to protection of user data, which has been FB’s weak spot since I can remember. They’ve also made it hard for people to quit FB, even hiding the cancellation links deep inside some half buried pages.

Google+ is new to the game, but it can leverage on the company’s experience and background. It reacted pretty quickly to the first incident, when it was found that people could re-share information, in fact sharing it beyond your contacts They fixed it, and got a lot of positive feedback for doing it quickly and in coming forward and explaining what had happened and how they had fixed it. Sharing feels much safer in google+ than in FB.

As to the cancellation button, it’s quite easy to find 🙂

Mobile support.

I installed the google + android app and it seems simple enough. I never installed the FB one, so I can’t really compare.

 

All things considered, google+ has a pretty good product. Still in limited access mode, it’s already showing a lot of potential. I’m eagerly waiting for an API to see what people will come up with.

 

Some time ago system administrators bragged about how much uptime their systems had. It was seen by many as a reflection of their skills in keeping their systems up and running without needing a reboot.

There even were some web sites dedicated to displaying such information. People do like to brag 🙂

Then one day someone realized that having uptime that covered multiple years was probably not such a good thing after all… People started worrying what would happen if the system actually needed to be shut down. Would it come up again on it’s own? And if it didn’t, where were the people that had installed it and were familiar with it’s particular quirks? Most had probably moved on to other positions or had even left the company.

And what about security? How many kernel exploits have been fixed since that particular version that is 4 or 5 years old? Long uptimes became increasingly unpopular.

In today’s world a long uptime is usually only found in very special installations, and not frequently in systems that are connected to the internet, the potentially lethal realm where hackers (or even script kiddies) can wreak havoc of an unpatched system in a matter of minutes (or is it seconds?).

Yes, maybe there are firewalls and IDS’ between the system and the internet, but hey, if your systems are unpatched, how up to date are your security systems?

I bet there are two kinds of people reading this. The first is the one that smiles and nods agreeingly, and the other has already stopped reading and is busy checking uptimes 🙂

On November 2, 1988 Robert Morris, a student at Cornell University, unleashed the first internet worm. At least it was the very first computer worm to get mainstream attention. It also got it’s author convicted to serve 3 years probation and paying a heavy fine. The exact economic damage the worm inflicted will never be known, but estimates range from $100.000 to $10.000.00 and correspond to the estimated costs of removing the worm from all the infected systems.

According to Morris, the worm wasn’t meant to inflict any damage, but to gauge the size (number of systems) of the internet. The worm didn’t actually destroy anything, but a flaw in the way it replicated itself from system to system led it to infect the same host multiple times, and eventually take over all it’s processing power, rendering the system useless for it’s intended use.

The fact that Morris unleashed his worm, not from his own university at Cornell, but from MIT, where he is currently a professor, might suggest an attempt to hide his tracks, contradicting his clains that the worm was harmless, but 22 years later such details loose part of their relevance.

It is assumed that 10% of the estimated 60.000 internet connected systems (mostly DEC VAXen and SUN-3 systems) were infected.

22 years later, we have a lot more defenses, but we still get things like Conficker, which according to some sources infected over 11 million hosts just in the first 3 months of 2009, and Stuxnet which surfaced this very year, and has been specifically designed to attack critical industrial infrastructures, in what is possibly the first publicly known form of cyber-weapon. Some sources say it was aimed at Iran’s nuclear infrastructures, something that has of course been publicly denied…

 

Sources: Wikipedia 🙂