Overheard: Word of the Day


December 18, 2007  12:14 PM

Overheard: The web is one big fuzz test

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
matt-cutts.jpg I can tell you that the web is a fuzz test. If you write a program to process web pages, there are few better workouts for your program than to pipe a huge number of web pages into your program.

Matt Cutts, The web is a fuzz test: patch your browser and your web server

Matt writes: One of my favorite computer science papers is a 1990 paper titled “An Empirical Study of the Reliability of UNIX Utilities”. The authors discovered that if they piped random junk into UNIX command-line programs, a remarkable number of them crashed. Why? The random input triggered bugs, some of which had probably hidden for years. Up to a third of the programs that they tried crashed.

That paper helped popularize fuzz testing, which tests programs by giving random gibberish as input. Some people call this a monkey test, as in “Pound on the keyboard like a caffeine-crazed monkey for a few minutes and see if the program crashes.”

December 17, 2007  4:24 PM

Overheard: Facebook as an intranet CMS

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
bill-ives.jpg “They established a private Facebook group for Serena employees and they built a few simple custom Facebook apps to better enable intranet functions. Now they provide links through Facebook to documents stored securely behind the firewall. Access is just as secure as any other method.”

Bill Ives, Serena has Adopted Facebook as Their Intranet


December 17, 2007  4:14 PM

Video: Web 2.0 Bubble

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/I6IQ_FOCE6I" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
“Here Comes Another Bubble” Credits (Versions 1.0 and 1.1)
Performed by The Richter Scales Music


December 17, 2007  3:53 PM

Overheard: Googlepedia

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
michael_arrington.jpg “Anyone writing for Knol is likely to at least peruse Wikipedia content before publishing. And if they see anything good, they are at liberty to simply lift and copy it over to Knol, and get a adsense check for their time.So, in a way, Google has found a way to monetize Wikipedia content after all.”

Michael Arrington, A Few Thoughts On Google Knol

It’s been interesting to watch Google and Wikipedia battle it out. Wikia is supposed to announce their new search engine soon, meanwhile Google stays one jump ahead by announcing “Knol.” According to Udi Manber (Google official blog), a knol is short for a unit of knowledge.

Google  says “A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read.”

Other points of interest: “The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors’ names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors — but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted.”


December 17, 2007  3:34 PM

Overheard: Merriam-Webster picks “w00t” as Word of the Year 2007

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to their Web site:

1. w00t (interjection)

expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word “yay”


December 17, 2007  2:41 PM

Overheard: Amazon will put your database in a cloud

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
stephen_shankland.gif “Amazon.com has begun publicly testing a third element to its online computing services: a database capability called SimpleDB.

The new Web service joins two others the online retailer launched in 2006 that anyone can pay to use: computing horsepower called the Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) and data storage called Simple Storage Service (S3). SimpleDB works in conjunction with those services, letting customers store, modify, and query data.”

Stephen Shankland, Amazon opens testing for in-cloud database

Erick Schonfeld caused a bit of a buzzfire by starting out his blog entry on SimpleDB by saying:

“Companies can now go ahead and fire their expensive database administrators—those engineers who keep the Oracle or IBM databases humming.”


December 14, 2007  1:00 PM

Overheard: How the US Army uses video games

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
americas-army.jpg “Gaming visualization may also unlock the key to the elusive holy grail of military simulation: designs that are accurate and accessible enough to be used for mission-planning rehearsal. Most important is the ability to rapidly import geospecific terrain.”

Michael Peck, U.S. Army embraces games — sort of

The US Army made tech news this week when it opened the Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Project Office for Gaming. The Army got into the game business back in 2002, when it released America’s Army as a recruiting tool. The goal of TRADOC is to create an Army simulation tool kit that allows users to build and customize their own training scenarios without needing a third-party contractor to do it for them.


December 13, 2007  1:36 PM

Overheard: Hardware virtualization could make virtualization software obsolete

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
jeff_gould2.gif “Think of it: a piece of server hardware that carries its own hypervisor embedded directly in the machine’s firmware, obviating the need to buy costly ESX or fool around with not-quite-fully-mature Xen.”

Jeff Gould, Can new server hardware make virtualization software obsolete?

A couple of years ago, the message was “Why buy fourteen servers when you can use virtualization software and run everything on just one server?”

America listened. They bought just one server. And VMware became the hot stock to watch.

Now hardware vendors like Hitachi are hopping on the virtualization bandwagon — “WE can give you virtualization too,” they say. “We’ll embed hypervisors in our shiny new blade servers and let you get rid of that extra layer of software.” (Actually, that was me speaking, not Hitachi.)

So now the software and hardware vendors are fighting over which way offers the best performance. Hypervisor in the software or hypervisor in the firmware? Duke ‘em out boys. We’ll be the winners no matter which way it goes.


December 12, 2007  4:25 AM

Overheard: Ask.com will trade you privacy for a cookie

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ask.gif “Now for the funny part. AskEraser will remain on until you click the AskEraser button again to turn it off, no matter how many times you visit the web site. How does the search engine remember your preferences? By placing a cookie on your computer that lasts for two years.”

Brad Linder, Ask.com launches anonymizer tool

Ask.com is set to differentiate itself from the other major search engines by offering AskEraser, an anonymizer that lets the user decide whether or not the engine is allowed to keep records of the user’s queries. Mark O’Neill was quick to point out that Ask.com has an advertising deal with Google and that AskEraser is not quite as private as it seems.


December 11, 2007  7:31 PM

Overheard: FCoE vs. iSCI — the final battle

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
fibre-channel-labeled.jpg “Fibre Channel is to iSCSI what Beta is to BlueRay.

FCoE is Fibre Channel’s only hope of survival as iSCSI continues to take market share. There may not be any share left to take by the time the Fibre Channel guys get done re-inventing TCP/IP and FCoE finally hits the market.”

John Spiers, The Beginning of a New Era in Storage


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