A soothing meme

Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain, quatrain poem a...

Image via Wikipedia

Via matociquala, via slash_girl:

Put your music player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first song is the title.

Give your body to me

It’s been a long time but I just can’t wake up
Once I had my heroes
You tell me I can’t slow down
Wake me up

For you I’m a good for nothing woman
When I think of heaven
I put a spell on you

She’s quiet when shes down
It isn’t very difficult to see why
Something about silence makes me sick
I ain’t got nothing to be scared of
Kids with guns

A fire burns
Van Tango had a mean old scene, Van Tango!
What were you doing in my dream last night
I try to think about rainbows

Laughing so hard
I don’t want to move too fast, but
Brothers and sisters

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Google Chrome Extension Design Document

Google Chrome

Image via Wikipedia

Google have published a design document for adding extensions to Google Chrome.

It’s pretty comprehensive, and even exceeds Firefox‘s extension system in a few areas:

We should not need to disable deployed extensions when we release new versions of Chromium.

Unfortunately it’s fairly obvious that the extension feature is at a very early stage, so we probably won’t see it for a long time – at least months away.

EDIT: Google have published a new Extension Process Model document with some more details about how it’s going to work – interesting reading

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Use Google Libraries plugin for WordPress

I just found a cool WordPress plugin to help improve the performance of WordPress blogs – Use Google Libraries.

WordPress uses some JavaScript libraries, like jQuery and script.aculo.us.  Google hosts copies of some JavaScript libraries on their AJAX Libraries API.  What the plugin does is make WordPress use the copies of the libraries hosted by Google instead of the ones bundled with WordPress.  The advantage of this is that it:

  • increases the chance that a user already has these files cached
  • takes load off your server
  • uses compressed versions of the libraries (where available)
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Typealyzer ISTJ

Typealyzer ISTJ

From Jure Cuhalev’s blog I found out about Typealayzer.  It analyzes the writing style of your blog and gives you a personality score.

Like Jure’s blog, Typealayzer says my writing style is ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging).

ISTJ – The Duty Fulfillers

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever. 

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work int heir own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.

Although that’s exactly the same as my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I was a bit surprised because recently I’ve been posting a haiku every day and I thought it would have influenced my score away from introversion/thinking.

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Wordle of my blog posts

Wordle of my blog posts

I think I’m coming a bit late to this party, but I found a web app called Wordle.

You give it some text or a link to an RSS feed and it makes a tag cloud out of it.  A tag cloud is a way of displaying a bunch of words where the words that appear more frequently are larger.

Wordle has a lot of options for how to color the words, the font and whether to arrange them vertically, horizontally or both.

A word cloud for the RSS feed of my website is attached to this post.  I don’t think that’s a true representation of the text of my blog – it only seems to include the most recent posts, possibly because of limitations of FeedBurner.

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Zemanta default picture suggestion haiku 2008-11-26

À la recherche de Neptune...!!!

Image by denis collette via Flickr

Ghosts in the darkness
Lying in wait for swimmers
Drowning in shadows

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Amazon EC2

Amazon AWS logo

Amazon AWS logo

As part of my job I was asked to take a look at Cloud Computing.

There were several obvious options – Amazon Web ServicesGoogle App Engine and Windows Azure. Google App Engine was out of the running because it would require our app to be rewritten in Python.  Windows Azure was out of the running because it would require our app to be rewritten in a .NET language. This left Amazon AWS.

The main part of AWS that we’re using is EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) which provides virtual servers.  Fortunately Amazon recently added Windows support to EC2 – before it was Linux-only.  Although our platform (Jade) can run on Linux, we don’t have a lot of in-house Linux experience.

You start with a machine image that just has Windows 2003 server installed (they take care of licensing), install your software and save that as a new image.  You can then start multiple instances of this to provide your services.  You can start different kinds of instances that have differing numbers of cores and amounts of memory.  Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Storage) provides storage as a mounted drive for your application data (in our case a Jade database).  Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is used for cheaper, larger storage, for example backups.  They have nice support for static IP’s and DNS so that you can add/remove/swap instances behind the scenes without negatively affecting your customers.

You pay a certain amount per hour for each instance, depending on what kind of instance it is (the cheapest is around $0.10 per hour), then you pay a few cents per Gb of storage and cents per Gb for network traffic.

All of the management of instances etc. is done using an API, so you can write management apps to monitor your instances and start new ones when need arises or if one crashes.  One wierd thing about this is that applications need to be written to use the API’s to do all of the management stuff, so it relies a bit on the community to build what you need.  Oddly, the best software I found to manage EC2 with is a Firefox extension called Elasticfox.

So far my experience with Amazon EC2 has been fantastic. We haven’t started using it in a live environment yet, but everything I’ve seen has sold me on it.  Basically you have access to an enormous resource of processing, storage and bandwidth so you can start your business off small and cheap and grow it without messing with hosting companies and hardware.

I wondered about moving my website onto EC2, but while the pricing of the service makes sense versus buying a server and paying to have it in a co-lo somewhere, $876 a year ($0.10 x 24 x 365) is a lot more than I’m currently paying.

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Zemanta default picture suggestion haiku 2008-11-25

Description unavailable

Image by rougerouge via Flickr

Wow, someone really hates my haiku – they rated my posts from the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th one star using Outbrain.

How about leaving a comment to let me know what you don’t like about them?

Armada returns
Fish won from the ocean’s jaws
What’s for supper, mom?

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Google SearchWiki in use

google searchwiki

Image by pollyalida via Flickr

So Google SearchWiki has been out for a few days now, and I’ve finally had cause to use it.

In my job I use a programming language called Jade.  It was developed in New Zealand, and they haven’t put much of a push on selling it in the US, so it’s not very well known here.  It’s actually a very good language – strongly Object Oriented, powerful, easy to learn and free to develop in.

Anyway, if you do a Google search for “jade”, you get everything from the type of stone to the Mortal Kombat character.  Even narrowing it to programming related results just gives various Java based toolkits – the Jade I’m looking for is several pages down.

So – perfect opportunity to hit the little up arrow and put the result I want to the top of the list.  It’s not a change many people would want, so in this case limiting my changes to only affecting myself is the right thing to do.  I still haven’t felt the need to write a comment on a search result yet.

I haven’t gotten over my surprise that Google would make a change like this.  Their interface was so simple and clean, and they’ve added a lot of extra stuff to it.  They’re winning the search engine war, so why mess with what works?  There’s even been a pretty strong backlash against SearchWiki in the blogosphere.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the feature, but having it switched on all the time for everyone seems odd.  It only makes sense if they’re planning on collecting a lot of information that’s useful to them.  They’ve already said that they constantly check their results to see whether they are accurate, so I guess this feature gives them even more input on when they need to tweak their algorithm.

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Zemanta default picture suggestion haiku 2008-11-24

mshta8 lk moot yali 6wal e'3yabik .. thb7ni el...

Image by Μя.Ćăv㣣ǐ ™ via Flickr

Written in the sand
My heart will always be yours
Love is washed away

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