Archive for January, 2011

This looks really cool… I wish there was a way to easily keep track of all the OSS projects that larger companies throw over the fence.


This Java library provides some useful building blocks to build
high-performance multi-threaded asynchronous applications in Java.
Its implementation was inspired by Twisted’s asynchronous library

Deferred allows you to easily build asynchronous processing chains
that must trigger when an asynchronous event (I/O, RPC and whatnot)
completes. It can be used extensively to build an asynchronous API
in a multi-threaded server or client library.

[From stumbleupon/async – GitHub]


This is a great move by Verizon. AT&T has been going back and forth with unlimited data.

Combine this with their mobile hotspot and the Verizon iPhone looks sweet.

I might switch to be honest… I have NO service from AT&T at my house, and generally hate them as a company.


Mr. McAdam certainly doesn’t want to miss out on any sales now. Anticipation Verizon would soon offer the iPhone held back sales over the fourth quarter, he said. Analysts seemed happy with the subscriber growth, but McAdam wasn’t. “It wasn’t what I hoped it would be,” he said.

Update: But you’d better act fast. Speaking later Tuesday morning, Mr. McAdam said the iPhone unlimited plan will be a temporary offer and that the carrier will follow AT&T’s move to tiered pricing in the not too distant future.

[From Verizon iPhone: $30 Unlimited Data (for Now) – Digits – WSJ]


We’re hiring an API Software Engineer to join the team over at Spinn3r.

We’re probably going to be hiring 2-3 engineers in the next month or so but don’t grow too fast. We want to focus on one position at a time so we can bring in the best potential hires.

This is a fun time to work in a startup though!

Job Description

Interact with customers both in the early sales cycle and support role to answer technical questions about our technology (crawling, ranking, etc)
Work with our API to understand throughput issues, protocol challenges, and optimize it for new issues as they arise.
Develop new version of our API as it evolves (more throughput, additional features, etc).
Monitor our crawler stats to enable understanding of operation and detect operational anomalies, monitor statistics, implement new features, etc.
Work on Java implementation of various new Spinn3r features as well as fix bugs in our current product. You will also be working on infrastructure in this position and responsible for various backend Java components of our architecture.
General passion and interest in technology (distributed systems, open content,
Web 2.0, etc).
should stress that while you’ll be interacting with customers, and providing support, our customers are exceedingly brilliant and amazingly knowledgeable about our space. They’re a major asset and staying in sync with them is very important for the company.

[From API Software Engineer at Spinn3r in San Francisco | LinkedIn]

Fortune is saying that amateurs beat the professionals in forecasting Apple revenue numbers.

Here’s what is confusing. Aren’t they just cherry picking the data? There are WAY more bloggers than just the 41 on this list.

Do these count? Were there no other bloggers that predicted Apple numbers?

Surely there must be at least hundreds of people predicting Apple’s Q1 2011 in the public and on blogs.

Also, like 5-6 of the bloggers on their list were from Apple Finance Board which is actually a public forum. There MUST be more predictions here.

I suspect that Fortune is simply throwing out predictions they either didn’t see or don’t match their prediction which is contributing to a significant selection bias.


In our ranking of the best and worst Apple (AAPL) analysts for Q1 2011, which lists them based on how accurately they predicted seven key numbers — revenue, earnings, gross margins and unit sales — the unaffiliated analysts (blue in the chart at right) took 9 out of the 10 top spots.

[From Apple’s blow-out quarter: The bloggers called it, the Street blew it – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech]


This is interesting. Toyota and Tesla are routing around China’s rare-earth shortages and are shipping rare earth free engines in 2012. The all electric RAV4 also seems pretty cool.


Toyota’s move feels reminiscent of electric car makers saying “booyah” to oil. It also shows that at least one major automaker is bearish on the prospect of the rare earth shortages lessening any time soon. The article also notes that Toyota’s electric RAV4 (pictured), which it paid Tesla $60 million to help develop, will use a special Tesla induction motor that is rare earths-free. The motor is similar to the (also rare earths-free) technology in Tesla’s all-electric Roadster sports car and 2012 Model S sedan.

[From Toyota, Tesla give China’s rare earths the electric car snub | VentureBeat]


This is getting really interesting. Mobile devices were the last devices to remain single core (for the most part) but the world moves forward and in 2 years this will no longer be the case.

It means that computational frameworks like map reduce are going to be needed more and more even on mobile devices.

Apple says that they’ve made this transparent but it violates a number of the distributed computing fallacies.


A source familiar with Apple’s graphics strategy says the company will not only be upgrading its video core, but also going to multiple cores, a feature that is designed into the SGX543 design. The most likely configuration of Apple’s next custom chip is reportedly the SGX543MP2, which pairs two SGX543 cores to work as one, offering around four times the capability of the previous A4 in graphics and video tasks.

The SGX543 core is designed to parallel as many as 16 cores together, in a way that is transparent to higher level software, meaning that apps don’t have to be rewritten specifically to benefit from the new speed boost. Imagination supplies intelligent core management that automatically determines the number of cores available and accelerates the graphic tasks by distributing them across the available cores.

[From AppleInsider | Apple expected to pack ultrafast, dual core SGX543 graphics into iPad 2, iPhone 5]


The SoftLayer API

SoftLayer posted a blog entry on their API , how their entire portal is implemented on their API, etc.

We use their API extensively at Spinn3r. Most of our automation is implemented on top of their API.

I’m surprised that other providers like Rackspace haven’t implemented a similar API (or flat out cloned it) for their customers.


Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces. An API allows a developer to create software that directly interfaces with another system. A simple example would be an online retail site that drop ships products from a distributor. Without an API, the retail site administrator might have to manually update stock availability and product information, but with an API, the retail site administrator can link directly to the distributor’s database to display real-time stock and product changes.

SoftLayer has taken this concept to a whole new level. Most APIs are added to an existing system allowing the developer to interact with a small part of the overall architecture. SoftLayer took a different approach. We built our entire system on the API. This means anything you can do from our Portal, you can do via the API.

[From API Basics: What is the API? – The InnerLayer – SoftLayer Blog]


Nice to see that Strava raised some money. Their app looks pretty cool but I do have to admit that I have not yet appreciated the Zen of their approach.

Perhaps because their iPhone application doesn’t yet work and they prefer Garmin GPS devices.

I don’t see the need and probably will NOT buy a Garmin GPS device. The problem is that between backpacking and camping, and mountain climbing, that I would need to buy like 3 Garmin devices and I’d have to shell out more than $1500. I don’t see the point especially when I already have hardware (the iPhone) that is capable of working with this data.


The service itself is device agnostic — users download data from any application that tracks movement through a GPS function and upload it to the site. That information can come from actual GPS devices, like Garmin, or from any of the applications for the iPhone and phones running on Google’s Android mobile operating system. Strava also expects to release an iPhone application that will streamline the uploading process soon.

[From Strava raises $3.5M to track cycling data for hardcore performers | VentureBeat]


Nice. This is awesome. Gag orders are horrible and have no place in our democracy. These subpoenas must be visible for the government to be held accountable.


To Twitter’s credit, the company didn’t just open up its database, find the information the feds were seeking (such as the IP and e-mail addresses used by the targets) and quietly continue on with building new features. Instead the company successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets that their data was being requested, giving them time to try and quash the order themselves.

Twitter and other companies, notably Google, have a policy of notifying a user before responding to a subpoena, or a similar request for records. That gives the user a fair chance to go to court and try and quash the subpoena. That’s a great policy. But it has one fatal flaw. If the records request comes with a gag order, the company can’t notify anyone. And it’s quite routine for law enforcement to staple a gag order to a records request.

[From Twitter’s Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard | Threat Level |]


Someone needs to do the same thing for VLC in the Mac App Store.


At last, Apple has removed VLC media player from its application store. Thus the incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved – the hard way. I am not going to pity the owners of iDevices, and not even the MobileVLC developers who doubtless wasted a lot of their time. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone.

[From VLC for iOS removed from the App Store | 9 to 5 Mac VLC for iOS removed from the App Store | Apple Intelligence]


I think there’s a clear argument to be made that RSS is not as important as it once was if you compare it to Facebook and Twitter but I think this can also be said of the web as blogs are fading and being slowly replaced by Facebook and Twitter. Just like usenet and mailing lists were replaced by blogs back in the day.

I think the thing that worries me is that Facebook is far more centralized than weblogs are/were.


In a similar vein, Wired magazine recently advanced the argument that the web is dead, based largely on some faulty data and a perception that apps for devices like the iPhone and iPad are taking over from the regular web. While there is some reason for concern about walled gardens such as Facebook and the control that Apple continues to exert over its ecosystem — as both the web’s inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and law professor Tim Wu have argued in separate opinion pieces — the reality is that the web is continuing to evolve, and apps could well be just an interim step in that evolution.

[From Sure, RSS Is Dead — Just Like the Web Is Dead: Tech News and Analysis «]


This is pretty awesome. RunKeeper has finally added heart rate monitoring!

This is JUST in time for me as I was getting REALLY tired of having to lug around my FR60 on my rides. It also helps RunKeeper screw over some of their major competitors (Garmin) as I’m no longer uploading my data to Garmin anymore.

It WOULD be nice of they added support for other ANT+ devices like cadence sensors.

I wonder if the numbers are too small though. I really wish I could configure RunKeeper to omit the graph (it’s useless) and just show the numbers that I care about (speed, distance, heart rate, elapsed time, calories, etc).

Also, does this mean that RunKeeper is only showing heart rate or are they using this as input for their calorie prediction?


Heart Rate Monitoring. RunKeeper now supports the Wahoo heart rate monitor for the iPhone and the Polar WearLink®+ transmitter with Bluetooth® for Android to provide real-time heart rate data straight to the RunKeeper app on your mobile device.

[From Introducing heart rate monitoring and more! | RunKeeper]




As part of the deal, Goldman will reportedly invest $450 million in Facebook and Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian investment firm which already has a substantial stake in the social network platform, will invest another $50 million, but that is only stage one. In stage two, according to Dealbook, “Goldman is expected to raise as much as $1.5 billion from investors for Facebook at the $50 billion valuation, people involved in the discussions said.” The story goes on: “While the S.E.C. requires companies with more than 499 investors to disclose their financial results to the public, Goldman’s proposed special purpose vehicle may be able get around such a rule because it would be managed by Goldman and considered just one investor, even though it could conceivably be pooling investments from thousands of clients.”

[From Rational Irrationality: Facebook-Goldman: Where Is the S.E.C.? : The New Yorker]


I love this loophole. I hope Goldman has success with it (even though I hate Goldman).

The biggest issue here is that the rules around IPOs are prohibitive. Sarbanes-Oxley and the rules regarding IPO are amazingly complex and clearly larger companies want to avoid them if at all possible.

Even if you agree that Sarbanes-Oxley and these rules need to stay in place, the fact that they can be so easily avoided really makes the SEC look bad.

I’m all in favor of criminalizing corruption but if the rules can be easily bypassed what’s the point?


Business Insider has more on this specifically regarding the risk and ability for smaller companies to IPO:

Does this new system–private IPOs only for Goldman clients–improve our financial markets? Are we–and you–better off now than when more companies wanted to go public and public-market investors were free to make their own decisions about what firms they wanted to invest in?

Specifically, is the economy better now that you are prevented from considering investments in small, speculative companies–and smaller companies have fewer and more-expensive ways to raise capital?

I’m a fan of small companies. Large companies crush innovation and remove individual liberty since they tend to prevent you and I from starting our own companies and compete (since the rules favor larger established players).

If the rules are relaxed, smaller companies can IPO sooner to get access to additional capital to grow their businesses faster.


I’m a big fan of NoSQL when it comes to remove useless work put on some over loaded SQL box , for solving  write scalability issues but i will try to demonstrate that in most case you can push a MySQL and MariaDB server at the same level in vertical scalability compare to NoSQL solution. 

I found some of the benchmarks not always taking into account the best practice of RDBMS usage,  no persistante connections  (shorten authentification , socket and thread stack allocation), not using prepared statement to cache plans and  limit network usage, using bad primary keys like varchar or big numeric data type.

[From varokism: Using MySQL as a NoSQL: a story for exceeding 450000 qps with MariaDB]


I think the biggest issue so far with HandlerSocket is that most of the features present in Redis are not yet implemented in HandlerSocket so we can’t be sure of the performance numbers after these are implemented.

Some of these require row level locks which I don’t think the Handler interface in MySQL provides.

incr() for example requires a read, then a write of a value on a row. You need to hold a row level lock or two incrs can collide and you can lose one of the values. IE on the same row they need to be serialized.

HandlerSocket has some benefit if you don’t run into this requirement in your application though and Redis is limited in feature set when compared to the robust (and proven) InnoDB.

Google Scribe


Google launched a very interesting tool that offers suggestions as you type: Google Scribe. It’s not exactly the service I anticipated 3 years ago, but Google Scribe works surprisingly well. For example, I started to type “This works sur” and Google suggested “This works surprisingly well”, which is exactly what I wanted to type. Instead of typing 14 characters, I could only type “1” or press Enter to select the first suggestion

[From Google Scribe]


Why am I just finding out about this? How in the world did I miss this.

I assume it uses their ngram database for quad and 5 grams.


A simple service created by Kevin Morrill, textWeight holds you to your New Year’s weight loss vows by sending you a reminder text at 8am every morning, to which you reply (on the honor system) with your weight. textWeight then creates a graph of your weight loss progress, so you can measure every pound lost towards your goal over time.

[From TextWeight Tracks Your Weight Loss Progress, Bugs You Through SMS]


I’m going to start using this. I actually use MyNetDiary to track my diet. And I use Google Docs / Excel to track my weight.

Perhaps TextWeight will help make it easier to track my weight.

Having the data in Excel is valuable though because I can do secondary number crunching.

RSS Is NOT Dying


Google Chrome has no RSS reader. It doesn’t even try to render RSS, or even help the user with it in any way. It gives less of a crap than a French man smoking a cigarette in public.

Mozilla will deal the final blow that kills RSS off. In Firefox 4.0, there will be no RSS button on the toolbar by default. Mozilla outright refuse to listen (33 bloody votes!) to their users on this matter.

The reason for this is that statistically, only 3%–7% of users use the RSS button on the toolbar. If not enough people use it already, then how many less people are going to use it if it’s not there by default? How many regular users customise their toolbar to add a button they barely use?

[From blog · RSS Is Dying, and You Should Be Very Worried]


Chrome has a RSS Reader – it’s called Google Reader. Same thing for Firefox. They have an integrated RSS client. It’s called Google Reader.

Also, you’re assuming that the only use of RSS is to give headlines to users. This is NOT the case. The typical Spinn3r client is NOT your normal Google Reader style end-user application. We have a few of course. But they’re not the majority use case.

Most of our customers are social medial monitoring applications (in fact most of the industry has standardized on us).

RSS and Atom will be around for a long time to come. They’re a major component of web infrastructure.


ere’s a good example of how going free can boost a mobile startup’s profile. RunKeeper Pro, a popular fitness app that normally costs $9.99, announced its first free promotion yesterday and saw a huge spike in downloads — this morning it climbed to number six on the Apple App Store charts, passing the “lite” version of iPhone game sensation Angry Birds.

[From RunKeeper sprints to the top of the charts with fitness free promotion | VentureBeat]


If you’re a fitness nut you need to be using Runkeeper. It’s a great app. I use it on all my rides and runs.

Here’s my profile. Here’s my most recent activity.

So far I’ve put 903 miles on my bike and 46k calories burned. :)