Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smart and Cheap and 135 Terabytes- BackBlaze

THIS is cool. 135T Raid-6, Http accessible storage for $7k+ - Phenomenally Disruptive price compared to standard storage practices (e.g. SAN).

135 Terabytes for $7384

Not only that but TCO is low:
One guy (Sean).. maintain[s] our fleet of 201 pods, which holds 9,045 drives.(16 petabytes!)
to plan for equipment failure and build a system that operates in spite of it. 
BackBlaze's Online "Cloud" system backup stack:
desktop computer -> client app ->HTTP -> custom tomcat app ->memory cache-> LVM -> ext4 -> (md?)raid 6->Linux -> Sata

I think Google was a frontrunner in the idea of reliable infrastructure on top of cheap commodity hardware and linux/opensource +test and  engineer improvements yourself (e.g. Paper  and Summary) with  principles like:

  •  Instead of a  3x +  premium for "Enterprise hardware" - design your system to expect failure and fail gracefully. 
  • Instead of a  premium for "Enterprise hardware"--  do your own engineering. (e.g. Backblaze uses Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 HDS5C3030ALA630 drives - Doesn't it make more sense to have someone test drives and find the best one, rather than pay a bunch of very high paid managers to sit through sales presentations for the privilege of paying a lot more for an "Enterprise" solution which is less reliable?)
  • Instead of heaping all of the redundancy requirements on your infrastructure (which costs bigtime because its those smaller .9's which cost the big bucks) : Tune your infrastructure to support your app and build your app for redundancy and  component failure.
Why does backblaze give away their trade secrets??? Well they don't really give it all away.  It's the freemium thing. 
If you need to build a reliable, redundant, monitored storage system, you’ve got more work ahead of you. At Backblaze we’ve developed software that manages and monitors the cloud service.
And that software stack is proprietary :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Android Dev links

Taking mobile development class. Working HARD,  but loving it. I haven't done much Java for almost two years AND it is an ECE class - much different type problem set than MIS. Bye bye pain points, COGS and Data mining. Hello state diagrams.

Fascinated by the idea of using ad-hoc wifi, or other p2p 802.11 wireless with android devices.  It looks like there is a new standard from  API for android

Some other interesting links:

LAN-Based peer to peer using Adobe Air
and this http://blog.immanuelnoel.com/2011/08/11/p2p-apps-for-mobile-devices/

Frostwire Peer-to-peer filesharing for android via WiFi https://github.com/frostwire/frostwire-android

This is not exactly in same class but awesome I want to explore more: http://wiki.daviddarts.com/PirateBox_DIY

And some EXTREMELY INTERESTING stuff - people I would really like to work with:
serval project - phone, sms, collaborative mapping over peer-to-peer ad-hoc wireless mesh network.

This is just the coolest thing ever. crowdsource your net -.  http://www.servalproject.org/

  I think the more narrow focus is more productive, in that serval has a target customer and thus easier to make design decisions, etc.

Open Technology Initiative is trying to do something similar, (commotion) without the more narrow product focus, + at an earlier stage.
The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative (OTI) an open source “device-as-infrastructure” distributed communications platform that integrates users’ existing cell phones, WiFi-enabled computers, and other WiFi-capable personal devices to create a metro-scale peer-to-peer (mesh) communications network. supports human rights advocates and civil society organizations around the globe since 1) a distributed infrastructure eliminates the ability of governments to completely disrupt communications by shutting down the commercial or state-owned communications infrastructure. 2) device-as- infrastructure networks enhance communications security among activists by eliminating points for centralized monitoring..

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

B2B social media - Communities in Medical Industry

I have been researching:
  • Should a B2B Medical diagnositics company start a professional community site for a group of users? Within this are questions:
    • ROI of social media, specifically
      • ROI of professional community sites
        • Direct Revenue from site
        • ROI from increased sales as a result
        • Other measures which influence sales
          • Increased Brand image, Trust -> customer retention
          • Increased Trust -> increased customer testimonials
        • Decreased Customer support calls, 
        • Increase in marketing data collection at decreased cost
        • Increase in ability to hold and record conversations with end users
      • ROI of other B2B social media (facebook, twitter)
      • Costs of implementing
        • Community site
        • Other social media program costs
    • Examples 
    • Concerns about regulated industry what can be done

B2B, Medical and Lifesciences diagnostics;  case studies and best practices examples

Compendium on ROI case studes http://barnraisersllc.com/?p=2504
Community sites: 
presentation on why brand communities? Benefits:

  • Vitabotics ROI from community site
    • The UK's leading health supplement manufacturer used social media to learn more about the health and beauty needs of their customers.  Created a community site with forums, blogs, beauty experts to answer questions. 13,000 community members, 1000 women apply for product trials which get a 95% completion rate.
      • learn more about customers
      • find customers to test and trial products and get feedback
      • Promote products to target audience
      • Responses from customers feed into new product development

     Jive is used by Cerner (ucern), Netapp, Charles Schwabb
    see book
    The 2020 Workplace - in depth discussion -
    Company Goals, commmunity, transparency, collaboration -"bottom up" culture
    "community gardners" - from corp learn ing who moderate. Internal launch 2009 - point systems. helpful employees get points from participating online which leads to + performance reviews. system is integrated into workflow not separate.
    Netapp community http://communities.netapp.com/index.jspa

    Charles Schwabb http://activetrader.schwab.com/research/TradingCommunity.aspx
    trading community. "Share ideas, ask questions, and find ways to improve your trading - plus network, socialize, and learn from other Active Trader clients, Schwab and third-party experts. "

      Customer Development for Startups

      What is it?  It's a way to develop a new product/startup through frequent interaction with your likeliest early customers.

      Bottom line, it's based on the radical idea that you can find out more about "the market" for your "product" by getting out and talking to customers than from complex market research. And it gives hints and structure for these conversations.

      It focuses on the "pain" the product meets (the use) - And on narrowly targeting the "earlyvangelists" (people dying to use your product) for these conversations.

      Some concepts:
      • Lean Startup

      Some people:

      Some links 

      Unrelated, but since this post is on startups - On 5 slide venture pitch

      Wednesday, September 8, 2010

      Google apps marketplace - Security, Privacy

      I like http://insight.ly - it seems like a sweet app, a simple but good CRM/ Project Management application, and amazingly its FREE!
      But is there always a catch?
      Think about it.

      It's a Customer Relationship Management application. That means you give it all kinds of private information, your contacts, your documents, your plans and the vendor doesn't even provide YOU with a mailing address and phone number on the insight.ly website.  Hmmmm. But surely they are ok?

      I mean... this is a Google Marketplace App... So the great and powerful Google must vet these folks, right?
      Let us consult the oracle.
      Sayeth Google:  " NO! "
      You are solely responsible for any compromise or loss of data that may result from using a Marketplace app....you should be cautious and install applications only from vendors that you trust.
      Caveat Emptor! Sez the great and powerful Google!

      Think about it.
      If someone walked up to you on the street and asked for all of your email contacts, and the contents of all of your documents, and the phone numbers off of your cell phone, would you do it?

      Tuesday, August 17, 2010

      Higher Edu Ch ch ch changes - Anya Kamenetz

      "There are people out there who are extremely talented and valuable, who don't have the resources to succeed in the current system. In a crass sense, they are undervalued talent. They're non-credentialed talent. Is there a way for them to prove their talent in order to succeed? ...  they're going to get hired by forward-looking companies who are going to underpay them because they don't have a credential, and then those companies are going to succeed wildly. So that's the opportunity that the Silicon Valley group sees. And I think that's going to be a growing opportunity until it evens out. "

      The foundation of the value of higher education is institutional trust -- The institution prints paper we call "degrees." Just as paper money is backed by "the full faith and trust of the US government," degrees are backed by the full faith and trust of the institution.  A degree costs more than a piece of paper because of the public trust of the institution - its reputation. We trust that the institution has made sure that  students know enough before they graduate so that they won't go out and be an embarrassment to the institution -- Accrediting bodies police schools as well.  The system is necessary cause a lone individual has no way to show the world what they know or  have done. Oh, wait - what about the internet? What about blogs, videos, websites, etc...?

      This is what I was talking about. A school certifies two things:
      1.  What knowledge, skills, abilities and accomplishments are "good" - i.e. important, useful, relevant, necessary
        1. In a particular field
        2. In general
      2. Who knows that stuff - or is smart/dedicated enough to learn that stuff.
      Higher Ed is pretty close to losing its monopoly on 2) - I am not sure about 1).   

        Article about Anya Kamenetz here.
        Read a chapter of her book here http://diyubook.com/read-the-book/

        Wednesday, April 21, 2010

        Just Ship It

        For fun I've been reading  interviews with Ward Cunningham.  (Inventor of Wikis, and a big influence on modern software development) He says:
          [so] much time is spent worrying about decisions that don't matter. To just be able to make a decision and see what happens is tremendously empowering... "
        He explains that it is easier and works better to have a plan for recovering from mistakes than to prevent them.

        Seth Godin talks about bypassing the lizard brain (deep seated fear of failure) through Just Shipping It.  (Whatever IT is)

        7 steps:

        1. Connect
        2. Be generous
        3. Make art
        4. Acknowledge the lizard
        5. Ship
        6. Fail
        7. Learn

        Now I guess I better get to work.