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Showing posts from 2008

Is Blue-Ray too expensive ? Answer: Maybe

A recent article at the Content Agenda Site makes the case that Blue-Ray optical storage technology is far too expensive given the market dynamics of an existing strong base of DVD based devices and media and the incrimental nature of the multimedia and quality capabilities provided by the new format.

There is some merit to the arguments of the article but it also misses some key points that require an understanding of how the semiconductor and electronics industries operate internally before any assessment of the pricing of Blue-Ray technology can be made.

First is the fact that unlike 1998 when DVD made its big debut and supplanted the old magnetic technology in VHS with the optical DVD (which is per unit cheaper to produce than VHS offering a compelling impetus to switching over) today, Blue-Ray has to be built on production lines that are already doling out the more profitable (per unit of production, since authorized supply is lower) DVD players and discs. In the two years or so th…

GoDaddy ... not exactly convenient service options...

So a few days ago I decided to do a little research and purchase an ssl certificate for use on my production servers. This certificate will allow those servers to encrypt data back and forth between clients ensuring that Users have secure channels of communication while using the sites services. GoDaddy has three options prominently displayed on their website. The first option provides a simple certificate for a single domain name. Like yoursite.com, another option allows you to buy a single certificate for a multiple set of domain names, for example "yoursite.com,yourbiz.com,yourhome.com" and another options allows you to buy certificates for a wildcard of subdomains under a desired domain. For example, "*.yoursite.com" where the "*" can be any subsite. The problem is they don't provide a combined option for multi domain and wild card, forcing you to purchase a separate certificate for each, even if you can easily use a single certificate on all of y…

the blog about nothing to blog about

I had nothing to blog about , so decided to blog about nothing. It is quite annoying wanting to blog about a topic that I find interesting but having nothing unique in my cadre of interests that I have anything insightful to offer today. Christmas day was great, I had more than my fair share of food and slept like a baby as a result. I am looking forward to getting back to work and have been focused on getting some much needed java script optimization done on some pages before the year ends but the post Christmas doldrums seem to have me in a grip, despite the fact that it is early in the day. Maybe after I've had my morning coffee I'll feel more enthusiastic about attacking those optimizations. As for now I have nothing left to say, so this blog post about nothing comes to an end. ;)

the illusion of a grand audience

Facebook has been rising in the ranks as one of the best known and used social networks in the world. One of the reasons that facebook is so successful has to do with how it allows you to think that you are broadcasting your life to the world. It enables you to add contacts to your list and broadcast your ideas, actions and events to them usign the various feeds of content and status that are available but this provides an illusion, namely the feeling that a larger audience is "listening" to your productions than just those people on your contact list. You may not think this at the moment that you are updating your profile with your latest status event but the fact that Facebook allows you to do this to your list, gives the illusion that you are broadcasting to the world...even if "world" is only a subset of those people on the Facebook site that can receive your feeds.

I think this is a powerful enticement for existing users to continue to post items to their profi…

Apple's long term memory loss...

In the last few months I've been testing the accessibility of my web site to wireless handheld devices. The latest crop of smart phones include countless useful functions, one phone that stands out is the IPhone which has been intelligently designed to allow third party applications to be easily purchased, downloaded and installed wirelessly. This software purchasing paradigm gives the IPhone a unique ability to satisfy the application needs of user that previous generations of wireless phones didn't have. The main reasons for the lack of this software variety had to do with the desire of the wireless providers to keep their customers locked into their own provided wireless device operating systems and applications. This "lock in" syndrome that many corporations love to place on their customers invariably is broken by a manufacturer who realizes there is profit in allowing the customer freedom to select the software they wish to run on their device.

This harkens back …

why you see what I see...for the most part....

I find that running is an excellent activity to be engaged in when I need my mind to wander, the mind walks I've taken while so engaged have revealed the solution to many difficult problems in my code and design of a distributed web application framework. The freedom of thought inspired by this part of my day often inspires entirely unrelated ideas to my current line of work. Case in point was an idea that I explored while running several months ago. As I concentrated on breathing and keeping my form optimal for my pace, I took a moment to fully experience the vivid colors of the city and of nature that passed me as I ran. I thought to myself of an idea that I'd come across much earlier in my life as a high school student but then had not the knowledge to answer the question.

The question is thus: Why do you and I experience color the same way?

Having gained knowledge on how the human visual system works, as well as how the brain-eye system processes visual stimulation the answe…

The buttons that lie.

Just a minute ago I was reading the digital pdf of the latest issue of eweek and a pop up window presented showing a "download" button to receive a white paper on application delivery. I had no particular desire to read the content of the pdf, I was more interested in answering if pressing download would indeed immediately download the pdf as indicated by the button. A pet peeve of mine is the disingenuous labeling of buttons that is rampant in online advertising. I guess the businesses that do this don't think it is a big deal, that the user will discover the deception and pass it off as "well they had to get our attention" but I think this is a false conclusion. I find such buttons extremely indicative of a potentially bad business partner, think about it, if a business can so easily tell a mis truth about something as insignificant as weather or not a "download" button, actually downloads when depressed, what does that say about the really importa…

wireless web devices facilitate opportunity

I recently attended a talk given by some advertising and marketing professionals in the IT community at NYIT in Manhattan. I was there to network and engage in discussions about the trends in the current web and the future movement of the technology. After some discussion on the place of marketing in the area of social networks the topic of the IPhone came up. The speaker was quick to express his disdain with the IPhone as a wireless device and felt it was flawed in many ways. I however was focused not on the flaws that the current early generations of this device has but rather on the potential for all classes of wireless devices that will share the same attributes. In fact as I write this, the Samsung Instinct, Google GPhone and the BlackBerry Storm have emerged as competitive products to the IPhone in the space of what I call opportunity facilitating devices.

These devices take the pc or wireless laptop to a new realm of enabling the users to be connected not only to others in real…

sell to needs , not to clients.

Often businesses focus on the bottom line when trying to gain leads that turn to active sales of products or services offered by the business. This is the wrong way of looking at gathering business, the best way is to take a customer focused approach which requires that we seek needs instead of seeking clients. When we seek clients we tend to impress upon a candidate a possibly false sense of need for our products or services, when this is done we are being disingenuous and are not customer focused but are self focused and this doesn't maximize long term returns. In the event that after the sale the client determines that our offering does not mesh with their processes as was promised they will keep this in mind and be sure to warn their friends who could be potential clients about your non customer focused tactics. The best way to ensure that right sale after the pitch is to be 100% honest about how our product or service can be useful to the prospective client by isolating if th…

live big in little places

Being able to dwell on a small kernel of in idea in order to flesh it out and determine the parameters of the idea is important as it allows us to extract new realizations from an exploration that few seldom do. It is by looking at the areas that might be overlooked that form the intersections of various concepts or needs that hold the potential for new revolutionary solutions. In my work as a software engineer and architect of Numeroom.com I encountered many areas in creating my service options that came to existence not from an active and conscious intention on my part to innovate them but rather by natural confluence of functionality provided by the services tying together with the potential for greater efficiency by slight modification of these existing functions or by radical modification through the use of a novel idea. One key insight has enabled the creation of 2 functions that would not exist had the infrastructure for their existence not been previously available in another …

Why businesses move their business....

In light of the nearing US election I thought I'd say something about a constantly stated misnomer regarding the reasons that American businesses are engaging in increasing levels of international business.

It has nothing to do with trying to avoid supposedly high tax rates levied against businesses in the U.S. The proponents of this idea miss a critical aspect of taxation of the goods and services provided by business when comparing business tax rates between companies in the U.S. and companies in other countries.


Businesses that produce products that are sold in countries with VAT (value added tax) are virtually being taxed since the product price that is paid by the consumer is significantly beyond the production + profit markup that the company itself places on its products. Thus businesses in these countries are subject to getting less sales on their products due to the true price that those products are sold for once they hit the consumer. Quantifying the exact impact of the V…

travel in a genetically enhanced future...

Read below or listen to the podcast:

Travel in a genetically enhanced future.

Future Fact? Present Fiction:

The year is 2417,

The starship "redvector" is in transit to the nearest Earth star system of Proxima Centauri, the first decel. stage has been invoked by the onboard computer as the ship reaches it's 80% way point along the trip to the "New Brooklyn" Colony located on the Southern continent of the fourth planet, named "Quat" which phonetically sounds like "4" when stated in French. When this planet was first discovered and landed on over 150 years previous by the French Centauri Pioneer Expedition, the hope was that the planet would have some vegetation. Earth scientists had long ago determined the precise amount of water on the surface and knew that there was oxygen in the atmosphere roughly approximating the percentages found in the Earth atmosphere but they didn't expect to find a well evolved ecosystem of native living organisms…

A diversion before the rollout...

My brother in law asked me to spec. out a multimedia pc for him, I sat down with him and we put together a relatively modern dual core machine, the last of the parts for the rig came in 2 days ago so I decided to build it as recreation before getting back to the business of installing my web framework on my production servers for my pending site launch. I had a late night doing just that on one of my servers and elated that I have the first production node of my cluster up and running decided to chronicle the media center build with some photos...because well, I like photos and some readers might be interested in building their own low cost machine. It is amazing how far pc's have come in the last 10 years let alone the last 20. I remember fondly thinking the 64kb of RAM that came with my Atari 800xl back in 1984 was an ocean of data, little did I know what the futuer lay in store. Later upon graduating from college I decided to purchase a computer to use for learning and also to …

Fallacies in the idea of a Cambrian Explosion.

A common mistake made by people describing the Cambrian era of 545 mya is to assume that the incredible diversity of forms found in the shale strata that dates to this period is some how unique to the period. This mistake falls from the assumption that because we don't see the same level of diversity in later rock strata that it means there was less diversity in general over all possible living environments, but this doesn't follow. In the roughly 540 million years since the Cambrian age , the Earth's geology has changed significantly along with the animal forms, they did this whileradiating into new habitats that were different from those in which the Cambrian creatures thrived. The homogeneity of the limited living environment of these early forms bares a contribution to the apparent diversity of animal forms found in the strata. We know that the early seas were incredibly homogeneous and it makes sense that as animal forms proliferated that they would team across this s…

more proof that Sarah Palin is a complete basketcase.

http://www.richarddawkins.net/articleComments,3121,YouTube-Removes-Viral-Video-on-Palins-Churches-For-Inappropriate-Content,Crooks-and-Liars,page1#comments

It is a shock to me as an American citizen that the country seems so close to having this woman a heart beat away from the highest office in the land. Those who support her do so at the peril of our countries secular foundations.


Can the republicans pick another vp candidate or is this choice set in stone? They are asking to lose once all this information comes out.

the rebuild is going....

I anticipated before starting the new development box build that I would run into driver issues with the current installation of windows 2003. The radical change of motherboard, video card , memory and processor underneath the existing system was sure to make the OS go nuts upon the first boot up. I have done hundreds of pc builds and the process proceeded with clock work regularity, I got everything looking nice and tidy and ready to go, set the pc open boxed on top of one of its twins and plugged it in and pushed the power button and it hummed silently to life with the one single beep that is the motherboard call for "ok". Within seconds though the screen flashed a BSOD indicating a stop error, the worst kind that windows throws about...not so surprising...but this is when the fun starts...


SATA and IDE drives, the newer mother boards are being shipped with the serial ATA port specification taking over the older PATA IDE spec. The difference in size of the connectors allows…

will the internet make more languages obsolete?

A parallel to human evolution exists in the social activities that our species has evolved in order to ensure our robust ability to survive under rapidly changing and adverse environmental conditions. A key such evolved trait is our singular ability to communicate using complex languages. The human vocal tract under went changes that allowed our vocal apparatus to simulate a much larger range of tones than any other animal, as a result we can combine and modulate these tones with clever use of our lips, tongues and teeth to produce the amazing variety of languages that exist in the world today.

However, though paleontological theory has given us good evidence to explain the how behind our ability to develop and use language it doesn't tell us why distinct languages have formed or how those languages evolved over time. For these answers we must enter other areas of scientific endeavor, components of applied linguistics. We must also step outside the box of linguistics entirely in or…

MTBF..so much for that theory...

Turns out my development box had a deeper affliction than the feared power supply fault. I received the new PS and installed it and the computer whimpered in the same way mentioned in the previous post *sigh*. After a longer session of investigation trying to trouble shoot the actual source I've come to the conclusion that it is the worst possible component failure next to the crash of an un backed up hard drive, namely a mobo meltdown. This is second to a hdd failure because at least it can be recovered from, but it requires lots of hardware replacement (essentially a rebuild of the computer).....argh! I am now investigating the parts needed from newegg.com to rebuild the box. Amazing how this happens NOW just when I am days away from deploying my code (now silent on the hdd of this box) to the production servers! Murphy's Law is supreme! The bright side is that I will get to build the more modern box that I was hoping to after the site launch early, this current machine is …

HDTV without the HDTV

About 5 years ago, I recall noticing the difference in quality between the signals that I received on non cable based tv from say 10 years ago and today's digital cable signals. The main difference lay in the fact that digital tv replaces ghost and snow artifacts for digital pixelization. In the early days I noticed a marked difference in quality as when both signals were at their best , the local cable provider applied enough compression to a signal that various scenes would clearly show the artifacts. The compression used on the digital signals is mostly mpeg format compression which uses a discrete cosine based method to compress luminance but mostly chrominance information to reduce the bandwidth requirements of the signal for transmission. However, cosine based compression is subject to quantization errors and artifacts having to do with the selection of a specific sized quantization kernel for the compression algorithm, for scene data that moves faster than the algorithm can…

MTBF catches up to development.

Intent on finishing the implementation of the new permission token feature into the framework code I was fully engaged yesterday in getting it done hopefully by the middle of this week. That is until a strange occurrence yesterday. As I was at the computer the mouse became unresponsive, I have a periodically flaky KVM switch that some times does this so I switched to one of my other development pc's to see if the KVM was frozen, it was not. I switched back to the main development server and after a few silent expletives , hit the power button as I had no choice. The computer immediaetly began a reboot but at the point of reaching the BIOS screen simply went dead. I was curious but already had a feeling that my computers power supply was in trouble. I rebooted again after first unplugging the power cable from the pc for a few seconds, the machine indicated it was getting power by blinking the power and hdd light, but the hdd light was solid and the screen didn't receive a signa…

one last feature before push to production...

In the previous post I detailed the roller coaster ride of implementing e commerce enablement to the consumer site that I'll be launching in a few weeks. The service plan options that I provide allow users to manage their own private conference room in the basic "free" configuration, additional plans that require payments allow a user to manage or create multiple rooms. The problem I ran into revolved around how to provide the users the ability to create new rooms in a limited fashion. Originally I thought that the uniqueness of the problem constrained the generality of the solution so that all I needed to do was upgrade the User class to add a new "create room token" which was simply an integer indicating the number of available requests to create a room that the associated user could invoke. This solution however broke the symmetry of the permissions system in that it granted a right that the permissions granted outside of the ken of the permissions system s…