Archive for Jan 2009

                          Kynetx Demo Day

                          I've had a handful of people ask if they could stop by Kynetx and see what we do. Steve has had similar requests. In an effort to not miss anyone who would like to visit Kynetx and get a demo of our fledgling product, we're hosting a Kynetx Demo Lunch on Friday, Feb 6th at 11:30 at Kynetx World Headquarters in Thanksgiving Point. This map will give you directions and we're in Suite 275 (metal doors). We'll supply the pizza, you bring your curiosity. Please RSVP so we know how much pizza to buy.
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                          CTO Breakfast this Friday

                          Image by windley via Flickr We'll be holding January's CTO Breakfast this Friday in the Novell cafeteria in Provo (Building G). Come prepared for an awesome discussion of technology and companies--especially startups. Feel free to bring topics for discussion. Anyone interested in building high-tech products and services is welcome to attend--not just CTOs. Please put future CTO breakfasts on your calendar so you can be sure and be there. Here are the scheduled dates so far: Jan 30, 2009 (Friday) Feb 26, 2009 (Thursday) Mar 27, 2009 (Friday) Apr 24, 2009 (Friday) I have created a Google Calendar with
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                          Interactive Map of Utah Legislators

                          Back in 2003, I lamented the fact that there was no interactive map to finding your legislator in Utah. Indeed, the process involved a lot of steps that introduced considerable friction. Now, thanks to the power of mash-ups and open data, Scott Riding has created an interactive map of Utah legislative districts and the legislators representing them. I typed in my address and was presented with pictures and contact information of my legislators along with a pin in the map showing my house so I could verify everything was right. Thanks Scott!
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                          Real-Time Regular Expressions

                          Grant Skinner has a nifty little regular expression tool, written in Flex, that let's you put text in one window and type regular expressions in the other and show the match. There's a "replace" tab as well for seeing how a regular expression replace would modify the text. The right side shows regexp components and describes what they do. I love it.
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                          I'm Going to Gluecon

                          I'm going to be speaking at GlueCon in Denver on May 12-13. The overall theme of the conference is that there is a lot of interesting stuff happening in what we might have thought of as "glue" before--all the code that holds things together. Turns out that there's plenty of value you can add in the glue that makes the resulting mash-up better. Glue is a new conference (the best kind) and is being organized by Eric Norlin, Seth Levine, and Phil Becker. These guys do good conferences. Eric and Phil were the founders of DIDW. More recently Eric's
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                          Mounting Remote Filesystems Using SSH and Fuse

                          Paul Figgiani, the Senior Audio Engineer at IT Conversations, sent me a link to a program called ExpanDrive, that allows you to mount any remote directory to which you have SSH access on your Mac. The cost: $39. ExpanDrive is based on MacFUSE, an extension which extends OS X's native file handling capabilities to programs in user space (that is, outside of the kernel). I first heard about this when Scott and I interviewed Amit Singh on IT Conversations. Amit is probably the world's leading expert on OS X internals and the creator of MacFUSE. Because
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                          Seeing the Dynamic in the Static

                          Jeff Atwood opines on why many programmers are also musicians of some kind--or at least appreciate music. I've heard this said of mathematicians as well. I have long held that all of these disciplines hold in common the ability to relate the dynamic and the static. Good programmers can see how the program will operate by looking at a lexically scoped program listings. Musicians do the same thing with music (I'm not just talking about music notation, but that's part of it).
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                          A Retweeting Twitterbot in Perl

                          Image via CrunchBase I'm trying an experiment with this year's Utah legislative session, I've created a Twitter account (@utahpolitics) and set up an autofollower on it (hat tip to @jesse). I wanted to also set up a retweeting twitterbot so that people following the account would see what anyone else following the account said when it contained certain keywords. The world probably doesn't need yet another retweeter, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for and decided to build one for a few reasons: I like to program I want to understand the Twitter API more deeply
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                          Technometria Podcast: A New Year and New Projects

                          In this week's Technometria podcast, we talk about the new year and some new projects. With the beginning of a new year, it's always a good time to look ahead to upcoming activities and products. In this podcast Dion, Ben, Scott, and I talk about what we're are expecting in 2009. We also discuss the problems with having to raise funds for a business startup, a necessary but often difficult process. We also talk about some of the new products announced at CES and Macworld. Scott also talks about his download of the Windows 7 Beta. The discussion ends
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                          jQuery, Monads, and Functional Programming

                          I tweeted this over the weekend, but it deserves a bigger mention than that. Patrick Thomson has written a wonderful description of why jQuery is a monad including a discussion of cautious computation and state transformations. No need to know monads or jQuery (although an interest in one will help you appreciate the other). As Patrick explains nicely, jQuery is monadic in that is meets all three requirements of a monad. A monad is a concept from category theory. A type is a monad if it meets three requirements Monads wrap themselves around other data types
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                          The Netherlands Song

                          Scott Dastrup and his brother Jordan put this video together for their sister's school project on the Netherlands. Scott was one of my scouts many years ago. I still remember a song he taught me about peanut butter. The melody in this song is catchy and Scott and Jordan are good performers.
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                          Consolidating State Data Centers

                          Word going around is that the State of Utah is looking at possibly consolidating some data centers. In government, over the years, state agencies built data centers and ran them independently. A lot of these were really just machine rooms with not much in the way of power and air conditioning. Some were full-on Class A data centers. As State CIOs have looked for ways to save money, data center consolidation was a favorite example of how more interagency cooperation could result in tax payer saving. After all, the DNS server for Tax doesn't really care
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                          The Kynetx Move to CloudFront

                          Image by chascar via Flickr One of the components of Kynetx Network Service (KNS) is a 30K (compressed) static Javascript library. This is mostly a slightly modified jQuery along with some other components. We set the Expires header so that it is cached in the browser for 24 hours. Even still, it's a significant load on our network bandwidth and, consequently, our budget. When Amazon's CloudFront (CF) was announced, we realized that we could move these kinds of static files to CF as a way to reduce our bandwidth and maybe get a performance improvement. If you aren't familiar
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                          Delay Digital TV Transition? NOT!

                          John Podesta, the Obama transition team co-chairman, has sent a letter to lawmakers urging Congress to postpone the Feb. 17 switch from analog to digital television (DTV) broadcasting. Really. This kind of things was inevitable, of course. We've been warned about this for years and now that it's finally here, people are crying because they're not ready. The real problem, of course, is that the coupon program needs a bailout. I'm not sure why we would bail it out. There was a budget ($1.3 billion) allocated to ease the pain and it's done that. I don't
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                          Good Advice for Switchers

                          Image by windley via Flickr Todd Ogasawara has some good advice for Mac Switchers that might keep you from lamenting your move. I switched in 2002 but had never really been a Windows user (Sun mostly) and I knew Unix cold, so switching wasn't such a big deal for me. But if you've been a long time Windows user and think a Mac might be fun, read Todd's advice first. I love number two: 2. If you do go cold turkey, don't drag your wife, girlfriend, significant other, parents, child, best friend along for the ride until you begin
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                          IT Conversations Needs Web Editors

                          As you're probably aware, IT Conversations, and other Conversations Network Channels, are made possible through the efforts of a small army of Web site editors and audio engineers. We have a terrific team of people who help out and Doug's put together a great system for managing the workfow of producing shows Now, with a bit of attrition in the ranks of both our website editors and series producers and a new channel on the way, it's time to add to the team once again. If you'd like to help us write descriptions for our programs, track down and
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                          Pricing Bulk Cold Storage and Real Engineering

                          Image by penguincakes via Flickr James Hamilton has put together an analysis of the cost of bulk cold storage. That is, the cost of storing data, including the fully burdened cost of power in a data center, without the associated transport fees. The answer: $0.80/GB/year. Wow--that's cheap. And of course it's getting cheaper. When James did a similar analysis using numbers from two years ago, the cost was $2.50/GB/year. One thought I had as I looked at James' analysis is that we don't teach enough people to do these kinds of calculations. Not that there's anything particularly difficult about
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                          Installing IE6 and IE7 Side by Side

                          If you do Web design, and who doesn't these days, then you might be interested in seeing how your site operates in multiple browsers. You could, of course, create a virtual machine for each version of Internet Explorer that you want to test against. But there's a better way. There is a repository of standalone IE versions all the way back to 3.0. Tredsoft has an installer that will install any or all of these in one convenient package. A few minutes after starting the download, I had IE6 up and running in all it's, ahem,
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