- Curveship — a new interactive fiction system that can tell the same story in many different ways. Check out the examples on the home page. Important because interactive fiction and the command-lines of our lives are inextricably intertwined.
- Egypt’s Revolution: Coming to an Economy Near You (Umair Haque) — more dystopic prediction, but this phrase rings true: The lesson: You can’t steal the future forever — and, in a hyperconnected world, you probably can’t steal as much of it for as long.
- Why Startups Fail — failure is a more instructive teacher than success, so simply studying successful startups isn’t enough. (via Hacker News)
- Computer Science and Philosophy — Oxford is offering a program studying CS and Philosophy together. the two disciplines share a broad focus on the representation of information and rational inference, embracing common interests in algorithms, cognition, intelligence, language, models, proof, and verification. Computer Scientists need to be able to reflect critically and philosophically about these, as they push forward into novel domains. Philosophers need to understand them within a world increasingly shaped by computer technology, in which a whole new range of enquiry has opened up, from the philosophy of AI, artificial life and computation, to the ethics of privacy and intellectual property, to the epistemology of computer models (e.g. of global warming). I wish every CS student had taken a course in ethics.
Resilience engineering and data's role in performance are key trends in web ops.
A number of emerging themes are defining the web operations world, including: resilience engineering, new approaches to failure, and the role data plays in boosting performance.
Commandline for Story, Dystopic Predictions, Studying Failures, and Two Great Tastes
Reverse Search, PDF Stripping, Flash Visualization, Failure
- Tineye — reverse search engine; you upload an image and they find you similar images so you know where else it’s used. Check out their cool searches.
- PDF Pirate — upload a PDF and this web site will give it back to you minus the restrictions on copying/printing/etc.
- Flare — an ActionScript library for creating visualizations that run in the Adobe Flash Player. BSD-licensed, modelled on Prefuse. When there’s a visualisation library for every platform, will we start to get people who know how to make them?
- The Importance of Failure (Marco Tabini) — This is a point that I don’t often hear made when people talk about failure; the moral behind a failure-related story is usually about preventing it, or dealing with the aftermath, but not about the fact that sometimes things go bad despite your best efforts, and all the careful risk management and contingency planning won’t keep you from going down in flames. This is important, because it forces every person to establish a risk threshold that they are willing to accept in every one of their life efforts.
The fiber cuts affecting much of the San Francisco Bay Area this week are similar to the outages in the Middle East last year (radar post), although far more limited in scope and impact. What I said last year still holds true and is repeated below: From an operations perspective these kinds of outages are nothing new, and underscore why…
Datacenter provider 365 Main released their initial report from Tuesday's power failure which affected Craigslist, Technorati, Yelp, TypePad, LiveJournal, Vox, and others. This outage is an excellent example of complex systems failure, and so I'll be using it as the basis for my next few posts on Operations. This is my own analysis using publicly available data. The 365main site…