Switching to Hugo

With the demise of Google+, I’ve decided to try to resurrect my blog. Previously, I was using Wordpress, but I’ve decided that it’s just too risky from a security perspective. So I’ve decided my blog over to Hugo.

A consequence of this switch is that all of the Wordpress comments have been dropped, at least for now.

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Is Nokia Doomed?

There’s been a lot of discussion regarding whether or not Nokia is Doomed or not.   The people who say Nokia are doomed basically point out that Nokia doesn’t have any attractive products at the high end, and at the low end the margins are extremely thin.  The high end products suffer from the Symbian being essentially dead (even Nokia is recommending that developers not develop native applications for Symbian, but to use Qt instead), and Nokia doesn’t have much of a development community following it, and it certainly does have much in the way of 3rd party applications, either targetting Symbian or Qt at the moment.

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Android will be using ext4 starting with Gingerbread

I received a trackback from Tim Bray’s Saving Data Safely post on the Android Developer’s blog to my Don’t fear the fsync! blog entry, so I guess the cat’s out of the bag.  Starting with Gingerbread, newer Android phones (starting with the Nexus S) will be using the ext4 file system.  Very cool!  So just as IBM used to promote Linux by saying that it was scalable enough to run on everything between watches and mainframes, I can now talk about ext4 as running in production on cell phones to Google data centers.

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Working on Technology at Startups

Richard Tibbetts has called me out for conflating Web 2.0 startups with all startups in my recent blog posting, “Google has a problem retaining great engineers? Bullcrap”. His complaint was that I was over generalizing from Web 2.0 startups to all startups.

He’s right, of course. The traditional “technology startup” by definition does have a large amount technology work that needs to be done, in addition to the business development work. However, things have changed a lot even for technology startups. Consider a company like Sequent Computer Systems, which started in 1983. At the time the founders had a key idea, which was to use multiple commodity intel CPU’s to create first SMP, and then later, NUMA minicomputers. But in order to do that, they had to design, build and manufacture a huge mount of hardware, as well as develop a whole new Unix-derived operating system, just to bring that core idea to market.

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Close the Washington Monument

Bruce Schneier has written an absolutely powerful essay in his blog, with the modest proposal that in response to the security worries at the Washington Monument, we should close it. If you haven’t read it yet, run, don’t walk, to his blog and read it. Then if you live in the States, write to your congresscritters, and ask them to reinsert the backbone which they have placed in a blind trust when they got elected, and tell the TSA that they have a new mandate; to provide as much security as possible without compromising our freedom, privacy, and American Ideals.
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Google has a problem retaining great engineers? Bullcrap.

Once again, there’s been another story about how Google is having trouble retaining talent.   Despite all Eric Schmidt’s attempts to tell folks that Google’s regretted attrition rate has not changed in seven years, this story just doesn’t want to seem to die.   (And those stories about Google paying $3.5 million and $7 million to keep an engineer from defecting to Facebook?   As far as I know, total bull.  I bet it’s something made up by some Facebook recruiter who needed to explain how she let a live prospect get away.  🙂

At least for me, the complete opposite is true.   There are very few companies where I can do the work that I want to do, and Google is one of them.   A startup is totally the wrong place for me.   Why?  Because if you talk to any venture capitalist, a startup has one and only one reason to exist: to prove that it has a scalable, viable business model.   Take diapers.com for example.   As Business Week described, while they were proving that they had a business model that worked, they purchased their diapers at the local BJ’s and shipped them via Fedex.   Another startup, Chegg, proved its business model by using Amazon.com to drop ship text books to their first customers.  (The venture capitalist Mark Maples talked about this in a brilliant talk at the Founders Showcase; the Chegg example starts around 20:50 minutes in, but I’d recommend listening to the whole thing, since it’s such a great talk.)   You don’t negotiate volume discounts with textbook publishers, or build huge warehouses to hold all of the diapers that you’re going to buy until you prove that you have a business model that works.

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I have the money shot for my LCA presentation

Thanks to Eric Whitney’s benchmarking results, I have my money shot for my upcoming 2011 LCA talk in Brisbane, which will be about how to improve scalability in the Linux kernel, using the case study of the work that I did to improve scalability via a series of scalability patches that were developed during 2.6.34, 2.6.35, and 2.6.36 (and went into the kernel during subsequent merge window). These benchmarks were done on a 48-core AMD system (8 sockets, 6 cores/socket) using a 24 SAS-disk hardware RAID array.
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sshkeygen.com: A web-based ssh key generator

This is so very, very, wrong — enough so that my first thought was, “this web site brought to you by China and the letters ‘M’, ‘S’, and ‘S’”.

I’m curious how many people were stupid enough to use this to generate keys that they actually use in production, but I’m afraid the answer would seriously depress me.

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The history of General Tso’s Chicken

I just came across this story (http://goo.gl/EbqP) today, and given my name, and given that I fancy myself a bit of a foodie, who could resist? (Not that I considered the deep-fried, dunked-in-sugar-syrup mess that passes for General Tso’s chicken in most fast food Chinese restaurants to be gourmet food, mind you!) Here’s the first thing you should know: The general had nothing to do with his chicken. You can banish any stories of him stir-frying over the flames of the cities he burned, or heartbreaking tales of a last supper, prepared with blind courage, under attack from overwhelming hordes.
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The Transitive Grace Period Public Licence: good ideas come around…

I recently came across the Transitive Grace Period Public License (alternate link) by Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn. I fonud it interesting because it’s very similar — almost identical — to something I had first starting floating about ten years ago. I called it the (TPL). I’m sure this is a case of “great minds think alike”. One things that I like about my write up is that I gave some of the rationale behind why this approach is a fruitful one:
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