Uncategorized

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.

 

And once again codebits is being prepared. For those that don’t know it, codebits is an event my company has organized for 3 years. It’s a very special event. It’s main feature is a 24 hr programming contest. It’s not meant for marketing or people in management, although they are also welcome, but it’s main target are the young developers, the hackers, the one’s that are innovating and pushing the technological envelope 🙂

It will be held in Lisbon, on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of November, and it’s a non-stop event. The organization provides food, and drink, and lot’s of activities to keep you busy.

During the first afternoon and the morning of the second day we will have workshops, and talks, and then at noon on the 12th the programming contest will start. It’s a team effort, you are supposed to team up with 1 or more elements and come up with something. Then you have to implement it during the next 24 hrs 🙂

Sounds fun? Yes it does, and I can tell you, on my own personal experience that it is fun!

The call for presentations was published a few days ago and the community is already buzzing with enthusiasm.

There are already 29 talks proposed, and I expect more to be submitted…

Hey, even if you’re not Portuguese, you can still attend. We have some guest speakers that will be presenting in English, and most attendees  have at least a reasonable grasp on the language.

In the past we’ve had talks on many topics, from the very technical, like specific languages, or methodologies to more common stuff like sessions on usability, or on best-practices. We’ve had sessions on databases, traditional sql and also non sql ones, and on becoming an entrepreneur. We’ve even had a workshop on lockpicking 🙂

Has all this caught your attention? I hope so…

So head on over to codebits and check the site. All this information and much more, is there for you to read, and perhaps we’ll get a chance to meet at codebits.

If you’d like to make a presentation, you’d be welcome to. Please read the guidlines presente on the site, and submit your draft.

Cheers.

As per my previous entry, I decided to clean up my PC and removed a ton of dust. I also removed the CPU cooler in order to clean it. After I put it back together, I started thinking about the thermal compound that was on the CPU. It looked good, but since I’ve had the PC for 2 years and never changed it, even if I removed the cooler a couple of times. I thought it might be a good idea to get some new compound, and see what effect it had.

So today I bought a syringe with 2.5 g of Artic Silver Céramique. I got home (through the hottest day of the year) and opened up the box again and replaced the thermal compound.

There was a slight improvement. Honestly i was expecting a little more, but that’s what the values read.
The system was left to run in idle in both measurements, just as I had done yesterday.

So repeat after me: A little maintenance can help your system. Clean those dustbunnies, and renew the thermal compound while you’re at it 🙂

Actually I’m a bit embarrassed by this article. I live in Portugal, and we are now experiencing summer in all it’s glory. Meaning long days and high temperatures everywhere. It’s quite normal to exceed 35°C, or 95 °F, for you yanks 🙂

I’ve been postponing cleaning my CPU Box for some time now. Today, after lunch, I decided I’d get the job done. And I was in for quite a surprise.

My home system is a Quad Core Q6600 running at 2.40GHz, and I thought it would be interesting to measure the idle temps before and after the operation:

before after
temps before cleaning temps after cleaning

The thing is, I found out my system was actually full of dust. And I mean full of it. Every single fan had dust on it, every surface had dust on it. The CPU’s cooler had dust on it. The CPU cooler’s fan had dust on it… I mean lot’s of dust, and dust everywhere, which is not a good thing, when you want to run a healthy system.

So I took apart some of the major components and cleaned them as best I could short of rinsing them under a running tap 🙂

Here are some pictures I took with my cellphone showing the dust, and also how the system looked when I managed to remove the dust:

Finally here’s a picture of the pile of dust I collected:

So, the bottom line is, clean your systems if you want them to run smoothly. As you can see my temperatures have lowered on average 7 degrees (Celsius) just by cleaning away the dust.

I didn’t disassemble the whole rig. If I had done so, I would have been able to clean it much better, but would also have taken much, much longer.