Monday, September 27, 2010

Foxmarks closing its doors

Update: Foxmarks was bought by LastPass, which is also a great company, so it's great to hear they'll stick around! We'll see how LastPass monetizes this; it's a great service!


I love the Foxmarks service. But it appears they couldn't come up with a business model.
For four years we have offered the synchronization service for no charge, predicated on the hypothesis that a business model would emerge to support the free service.

I am amazed people are still finding investors for a business plan like this. Oy vei..

Remind me, when and if I ever join a startup, to make sure there is money coming in from day one.

I guess I'll need to move to sync for Firefox and Chrome. Sorry to see a cross-browser solution go...

BigCouch: HA, clustered, scalable CouchDB

Not sure how I missed this one, this is awesome news. 

“BigCouch is a highly available, fault-tolerant, clustered, mostly api-compliant version of Apache CouchDB. While it appears to the end-user as one CouchDB instance, it is in fact one or more nodes in an elastic cluster, acting in concert to store and retrieve documents, index and serve views, and serve CouchApps. BigCouch has been developed and is continually maintained by Cloudant who offer hosted CouchDB as a service.
Clusters behave according to concepts outlined in Amazon's Dynamo paper, namely that each node can accept requests, data is placed on partitions based on a consistent hashing algorithm, and quorum protocols are for read/write operations”

I worked with the Cloudant team, the folks who created BigCouch, when I was doing some CouchDB work on the side, and they seemed like a smart, fun, dedicated team.

This puts CouchDB on my short list of technologies to consider when looking for a scalable data storage solution.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Republicans promise to abolish all government

I love this line from Krugman's editorial about the Republican budget proposals (where they propose to continue the Bush tax cuts, while the only cut they propose is TARP, and that they will keep their hands off Social Security, Medicare, and the defense budget).
Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”
Of course what is obviously really going on is that the Republicans are using the populist fiscal responsibility tune as a Trojan horse for handing money to the people who are funding their elections.  It's basically a smoke-and-mirrors approach to looting the treasury and handing out gifties to their buddies.  They don't really care about balancing the budget, they're just using that as a cover.

So what should we do about it?  I don't know.  It seems that the only time people are really ready for change is when the truth can no longer be denied.  It's true for addiction, and I suspect it's true for governance and economic policy as well...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Personal favorites for upcoming Java 7 features

Through the power of a Twitter search column in Tweetdeck, I found a great InfoQ article which did a quick summary with lots of links to what's new for Java 7.

After reading through this, here are some of my favorites:

Automatic Resource Management
Tired of closing input streams, SQL connections, sockets, and so on?  You will no longer need to in Java 7.  Sweet!

Generic Type Inference
Allows you to leave off specifying generic types if they can be easily inferred.

I'd show you an example but this stupid Blogger editor gets completely confused with all the less-than and greater-than symbols, and I simply don't have the time to futz with it.

Closures through Lambda Expressions
This looks like a very promising implementation of closures in Java.  Of course the devil is in the details, but I look forward to making use of this - personally I'm quite tired of anonymous inner classes.

Modules (Project Jigsaw)
I have worked with NetBeans modules and played around with OSGi, and I have seen the power of a well-defined module framework.  I look forward to seeing this as part of the language (again, hoping it is implemented well.  We'll see of course).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Calvin demonstrates socialism for the rich

I've always loved this particular Calvin and Hobbes strip. It's still as appropriate today as when it was written, if not more so...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My visit to Ground Zero

I had the honor and fortune to pay my respects at Ground Zero today, coming back from a business meeting. It really is quite awesome to place yourself there where it all happened. I also feel I got a chance to pay my respects to all those who lost their lives here, whose lives were affected, and who gave (and continue to give) their hearts and bodies to saving lives, digging through the rubble, cleaning it up, and now building new buildings and memorials that honor the power and sacredness of this place.

I watched the construction workers working on the new memorials, and I thought, whereas most construction is "just a job", those working here are truly blessed and are doing a labor of love.

I also went to the small little museum in honor of 9/11. What an incredible, moving exhibit. It was all so personal, with simple artifacts and quotes and stories from those who lived through it. Each artifact had meaning and impact - the melted, destroyed window from a plane, a half-burnt menu from Windows on the World, a fireman's helmet and torn jacket, and a wall covered with copies of all the "missing person" leaflets that were placed out by desperate families looking for their loved ones. I am not one to cry easily, but I was in tears many times as my heart leaped to my throat.

Then, downstairs, was a place you could leave a note for everyone, and many of these were placed lovingly on a wall for all to read. People from around the world expressed their love, their sadness, and their hope. This place is impactful, important, and very moving. I highly recommend everyone try to make it here at least once.

I also saw the plans for the new memorial. Truly beautiful - two square waterfalls going into the ground in the place of the original towers, with the names of all who perished around the walls of the waterfall, inset in a beautiful contemplative garden of oak trees.

Today was a crisp, clear blue September day here in New York, much like the day 9 years ago when this happened. What happened here was so horrific, but now it feels like there is a power here that holds it with great care, with gentle, loving hands. You feel yourself bow inwardly in prayer and respect, and offer your love and blessings.

So, in honor of the memories of all who lost their lives and their loved ones here, I offer my blessing:

May we all experience and offer love and protection, and may we always remember that each and every life in this world is supremely precious and sacred.

Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi (OM peace, peace, peace).