Archive For The “Ramblings” Category

Perspectives on the Costa Concordia Incident

Last week I wrote up Studying the Costa Concordia Grounding. Many folks sent me mail with interesting perspectives. Two were sufficiently interesting that I wanted to repeat them here. The first was from someone who was actually on the ship on that final cruise. The latter is from a professional captain with over 35 years’…

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Studying the Costa Concordia Grounding

Studying the Costa Concordia Grounding

Don’t be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots. I first heard the latter part of this famous quote made by US Airmail Pilot E. Hamilton Lee back when I raced cars. At that time, one of the better drivers in…

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Socrata Chief Technical Officer

Ordinarily I focus this blog on areas of computing where I spend most of my time from high performance computing to database internals and cloud computing. An area that interests me greatly but I’ve seldom written about is entrepreneurship and startups. One of the Seattle areas startups with which I stay in touch is Socrata….

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AWS Startup Challenge 2011

AWS Startup Challenge 2011

Last week I got to participate in one of my favorite days each year, serving on the judging panel for the AWS Startup Challenge. The event is a fairly intense day where our first meeting starts at 6:45am and the event closes at 9pm that evening. But it is an easy day to love in…

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Presenting Tomorrow at University of Washington

I’m not sure why it all happens at once but it often does. Last Monday I kicked off HPTS 2011 in Asilomar California and then flew to New York City to present at the Open Compute Summit. I love HPTS. It’s a once every 2 year invitational workshop that I’ve been attending since 1989. The…

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Sprint is Giving Free Customer Service Lessons

Sprint is Giving Free Customer Service Lessons

Sometimes the most educational lessons are on what not to do rather than what to do. Failure and disaster can be extraordinarily educational as long as the reason behind the failure is well understood. I study large system outages, infrastructure failures, love reading post mortems (when they actually have content), and always watch carefully how…

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We lost a Giant

Earlier today we lost one of the giants of technology. Steve Jobs was one of most creative, demanding, brilliant, hard-driving, and innovative leaders in the entire industry. He has created new business areas, introduced new business models, brought companies back from the dead, and fundamentally changed how the world as a whole interacts with computers….

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Amazon Technology Open House

The Amazon Technology Open House was held Tuesday night at the Amazon South Lake Union Campus. I did a short presentation on the following: • Quickening pace of infrastructure innovation • Where does the money go? • Power distribution infrastructure • Mechanical systems • Modular & Advanced Building Designs • Sea Change in Networking Slides…

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Atul Gawande on Performance

Earlier today Alex Mallet reminded me of the excellent writing of Atul Gawnade by sending me a pointer to the New Yorker coverage of Gawande’s commencement address at the Harvard Medical School: Cowboys and Pit Crews. Four years ago I wrote a couple of blog entries on Gawande’s work but, at the time, my blog…

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What Went Wrong at Fukushima Dai-1

What Went Wrong at Fukushima Dai-1

As a boater, there are times when I know our survival is 100% dependent upon the weather conditions, the boat, and the state of its equipment. As a consequence, I think hard about human or equipment failure modes and how to mitigate them. I love reading the excellent reporting by the UK Marine Accident Investigation…

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DataCloud 2010: Workshop on Data Intensive Computing in the Clouds Call for Papers

For those of you writing about your work on high scale cloud computing (and for those interested in a great excuse to visit Anchorage Alaska), consider submitting a paper to the Workshop on Data Intensive Cloud Computing in the Clouds (DataCloud 2011). The call for papers is below. –jrh ——————————————————————————————- *** Call for Papers ***…

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Web-Scale Database

I’m dragging myself off the floor as I write this having watched this short video: MongoDB is Web Scale. It won’t improve your datacenter PUE, your servers won’t get more efficient, and it won’t help you scale your databases but, still, you just have to check out that video. Thanks to Andrew Certain of Amazon…

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Gone Boating

I’m taking some time off and probably won’t blog again until the first week of September. Jennifer and I are taking the boat north to Alaska. Most summers we spend a bit of time between the northern tip of Vancouver island and the Alaska border. This year is a little different for 2 reasons. First,…

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The Drive-by Download Problem

A couple of days ago I came across an interesting article by Microsoft Fellow Mark Russinovich. In this article, Mark hunts a random Internet Explorer crash with his usual tools: The Case of the Random IE Crash. He chases down the IE issue to a Yahoo! Toolbar. This caught my interest for two reasons: 1)…

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PUE is Still Broken and I still use it

PUE is still broken and I still use it. For more on why PUE has definite flaws, see: PUE and Total Power Usage Efficiency. However, I still use it because it’s an easy to compute summary of data center efficiency. It can be gamed endlessly but it’s easy to compute and it does provide some…

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State of Public Sector Cloud Computing

Federal and state governments are prodigious information technology users. Federal Chief Information Security Office Vivek Kundra reports that the United States government is spending $76B annually on 10,000 different systems. In a recently released report, State of Public Sector Cloud Computing, Vivek Kundra summarizes the benefits of cloud computing: There was a time when every…

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