Four short links: 29 May 2009

Meatware Hacks, iPhone Web Stats, Distributed Hash Tables, Richard Feynman Fun

  1. Freedom for OS X — Mac app that disables networking for up to eight hours so you can get work done without Internet distractions. Technology workarounds for meatware bugs. (via Joshua-Michèle Ross).
  2. iPhone Casts a Giant Shadow on the Web — 43% of mobile web traffic is from iPhone users, as measured by “the world’s largest purveyor of ads on mobile apps and websites”. As I was told today, “more people are spending more time looking at the web through one of these. For how much longer can you afford to ignore it?” (via timoreilly on Twitter)
  3. Why you won’t be building your killer app on a distributed hash table (Jonathan Ellis) — locking and sophisticated queries. I’m still trying to figure out where we’ll end up with these “let’s do something simple in a way that lets us scale horizontally, and then build on top of that” approaches to solving the big data/graph theory problems behind many modern apps.
  4. Richard Feynman Interviews at Microsoft — a bit of fun to start the weekend on. (new URL 20090601)
tags: , , , , ,
  • http://basiscraft.com Thomas Lord

    “I’m still trying to figure out where we’ll end up with these “let’s do something simple in a way that lets us scale horizontally, and then build on top of that” approaches to solving the big data/graph theory problems behind many modern apps.”

    1) Strong consistency; 2) distributed, decentralized; 3) fast.

    To a first approximation, pick any two.

    It’s really a continuum, though. E.g., you could have strong consistency, decentralized distribution, and “somewhat fast” for certain kinds of data, query, and update patterns. Similarly for other “in between” combinations.

    For the time being, because we’ve gutted the field of systems software research, you’ll get a lot of separate systems that hit a point in that triangle of features that is a “sweet spot” for some applications and not others.

    Perhaps over time, integrated frameworks will appear that allow the choices and trade-offs to be mixed and matched and instantiated declaratively (like configuring a database, today).

    Query languages and query optimization across a heterogenous continuum of available consistency/dist.+decent./speed options is an interesting problem where a lot of good work remains to be done. There is a chicken-and-egg problem in that to do that work on queries you actually need an integrated physical layer that covers a lot of points in the triangle and some idea of how to drive it. It’s going to take more than a decade, at least, imo.

    The implication is that its going to continue to be an ad hoc mix of solutions for the forseeable future.

    Probably there are some good O’Reilly titles possible in the next few years that survey the options and that give, roughly, a “worksheet” based guide to picking the solution you want for your app. (Or, “spreadsheet” guide for exploring the space of possible apps with feedback that helps you anticipate performance characteristics, semantics, robustness, operating costs, political structure of administration, etc.).

    -t

  • http://akvo.org Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson

    Feynman link is a 404.

  • Falafulu Fisi

    The videos for late Richard Feynman’s series of lectures on QED (Quantum Electro-Dynamic) theory which was held at University of Auckland, New Zealand during his scholarly visit in 1979 are available from the link below:


    Richard Feynman – The Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures

    I have watched this lecture series at the Physics Department when I was a student at Auckland but I wished I had been there at the time Feynman was presenting his lectures, because he is my intellectual hero.

    I have a large framed photo of Mr. Feynman in front of a blackboard during a physics lecture held at CalTech which I hang it up on the wall in my study room. I ordered this photo thru the APS (American Physical Society).

  • Falafulu Fisi

    The videos of Richard Feynman’s lecture series on QED (Quantum Electro-Dynamic) theory which was held at University of Auckland, New Zealand during his scholarly visit in 1979 are available from the link below:


    Richard Feynman – The Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures

  • Falafulu Fisi

    One of the hottest topic in today’s computation researches is Quantum Computing. It was Richard Feynman who first proposed the idea of computation via quantum phenomena at a symposium at MIT in the 1980s. A good overview on Feynman & computation is shown in the link below (PDF):

    Richard Feynman and computation

  • Nick

    Freedom for OS X is really cool, but if you’re a PC user you might wanna try iFocus. You can track how you spend your computer time, and set goals for how much you can use certain things (email, chat, games etc.). You can also make it force you to work on a specific application for a fixed period of time. Basically a tool for procrastinators or people who are mindful of how they spend their computer time.

  • Nick

    Something happened to the link in the previous post. It’s http://www.ifocusonwork.com ifocusonwork.com