Overheard: Word of the Day


November 17, 2007  1:36 AM

Overheard: Rackspace chiller must have given him nightmares

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
lanham_napier.gif Since the recent Dallas/Fort Worth data center downtime event, we have been doing a lot of communicating with our customers.

Lanham Napier, CEO The Cause, The Response and The Timeline

Without notifying us the utility providers cut power, and at that exact moment we were 15 minutes into cycling up the data center’s chillers. Our back up generators kicked in instantaneously, but the transfer to backup power triggered the chillers to stop cycling and then to begin cycling back up again—a process that would take on average 30 minutes. Those additional 30 minutes without chillers meant temperatures would rise to levels that could irreparably damage customers’ servers and devices. We made the decision to gradually pull servers offline before that would happen. And I know we made the right decision, even if it was a hard one to make.

A chiller is a cooling system that removes heat from one element and deposits into another element. For instance it could remove heat from water and disperse it into the air. A chiller is also a very scary story that can give you nightmares and keep you up at night.

 Rackspace delivers enterprise-class web infrastructure and managed hosting services. They have six data centers and manage more than 22,000 servers.

November 17, 2007  1:27 AM

Quiz: Overheard in the blogosphere (November 16, 2007)

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
DIRECTIONS: These are real statements from real people discussing real technology. We’ve removed one word from each quote. Can you still figure out what they’re talking about? Click on the link to see if you’re right!

1. Google’s announcement of the new __________ smartphone platform had less substance than a fashion show at a nudist colony.  What is Mitch Wagner talking about?

2. Well, this is one of the great blessings of the modern age, being always __________. Or maybe it’s not. I’m not sure. What is Rudy Guilani talking about?

3. If iRobot had made a 4-foot-tall __________ with a face and a hand to hold a vacuum hose, the company wouldn’t have sold more than ten units. What is Lance Ulanoff talking about?

4. __________ is currently defending itself in federal court from allegations that it installed, on behalf of the National Security Agency, secret internet spying rooms in its domestic internet switching facilities. What is Ryan Singel talking about?

5. This morning I received a message from TechTarget telling me that SearchWebServices.com is renaming itself to Search_________.com. What is Frank Cohen talking about?

6. Netscape abandoning the _______ news model could be looked at as 1) the first signs of the format’s demise, or more likely 2) a return to less risk-taking at AOL as it struggles to define itself under new management. What is Adario Strange talking about?

7. Among a fringe community of paranoids, __________ serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. What is Ali Rahimi talking about?

8. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, the next 5 years will hold more change for the __________ industry than the previous 50 did. What is the IBM report talking about?

9. Vilfredo Pareto was an economist who is widely credited for coming up with the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the __________ rule. What are we talking about?

10. Police will be able to use a __________ system to disable a criminal’s vehicle, just like the tripods used in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. What is Margaret Rouse talking about?


November 16, 2007  12:48 PM

Overheard: ERP software is a serious relationship

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
rebecca-gill.jpg “For almost twenty years we have had people ask for demonstration copies of our ERP software, so they may play with it at their leisure. For years we have said no and we’ve done so with good reason. An ERP package is an advanced system. It isn’t Microsoft Office and it isn’t an iPhone. You can’t simply turn it on and expect it to run without training.”

Rebecca Gill, Why Doesn’t This ERP System Work?


November 16, 2007  1:58 AM

Overheard: Steampunk gets some mainstream press

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
steampunk.jpg “And while I hesitated to tear open a $300 monitor that was still under warranty, art must be served.”

Jake von Slatt, Steampunk Monitor Mod

Both Newsweek and the New York Times covered steampunk this week. What is steampunk? It’s a genre of art where the artist takes something modern and alters it so it looks like it came from the Victorian Age.  Jake von Slatt is the master craftsman for steampunk. 


November 15, 2007  12:06 AM

Overheard: Tech support in the middle ages

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

In a recent interview with BBC news, Gordon Moore said “Forty years ago, computers were in glass rooms tended to by a core of monks that knew how to do the proper incantations.”

For your entertainment, the proper incantations:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/qMPcsDQPAHo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


November 14, 2007  9:38 PM

Overheard: Application developers are voting SOA with their feet

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
frank_cohen.jpg “This morning I received a message from TechTarget telling me that SearchWebServices.com is renaming itself to SearchSOA.com. According to TechTarget the move is in line with a shift of attitudes and efforts within the application development community. As I’ve written many times, SOA is not Web Services. This move is a signal that application developers are voting with their feet. I wish TechTarget well.”

Frank Cohen, SOA and Web Services In The Development Community


November 14, 2007  9:13 PM

Overheard: Social news model not for everyone

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
1.jpg “Netscape abandoning the social news model could be looked at as 1) the first signs of the format’s demise, or more likely 2) a return to less risk-taking at AOL as it struggles to define itself under new management.”

Adario Strange, Netscape Ends Digg-Clone Social News Experiment


November 14, 2007  8:34 PM

Overheard: Maybe I don’t want to hear you now

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

 [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/9eFOotpUjqk" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

“Well, this is one of the great blessings of the modern age – being always available. Or maybe it’s not. I’m not sure.”

Rudy Guilani, speaking to the National Rifle Association


November 14, 2007  12:55 PM

Overheard: Your big brother’s name is Hancock

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ryan-singel.jpg “AT&T is currently defending itself in federal court from allegations that it installed, on behalf of the National Security Agency, secret internet spying rooms in its domestic internet switching facilities.”

Ryan Singel, AT&T Invents Programming Language for Mass Surveillance 

Ryan says:

Programs written in Hancock work by analyzing data as it flows into a data warehouse. That differentiates the language from traditional data-mining applications which tend to look for patterns in static databases.  A 2004 paper published in ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems shows how Hancock code can sift calling card records, long distance calls, IP addresses and internet traffic dumps, and even track the physical movements of mobile phone customers as their signal moves from cell site to cell site. 

Anyone read Tryrannosaur Canyon by Doublas Preston? This is the second day I’ve had to say truth is stranger than fiction.


November 13, 2007  3:15 PM

Overheard: Stop in the name of the law or I’ll HPEMS disable you!

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

war_of_the_worlds1.jpg

Flashback: December 12, 2004

“War of the Worlds is in it’s second day of shooting in Athens NY. It snowed there last night but filming proceeded. The set was under lockdown in the tiny village.”  (Garth Franklin, War of the Worlds Set Reports)

About this time three years ago, we were all excited about being picked to be in a little Steven Spielberg movie called War of the Worlds. The entire village of Athens, New York (town where I live) was transformed to a bustling Hollywood set for about two weeks as crews built a ferry slip, put in fake railroad tracks and brought in lights and generators.

To give you an idea of the scale of this transformation, Athens doesn’t have a single traffic light. In fact you have to drive twenty minutes in either direction to find a traffic light.

The scene they were shooting was the fire train / ferry scene. For five nights from 5pm to 5am we ran down the street towards the ferry, stopped as an imaginary train wizzed by, expressed horror and screamed at the imaginary tripod that rose out of the imaginary mountain behind us.  We were pushed and shoved before being killed by an imaginary tripod as it rose out of the Hudson river and tipped over the ferry. It rained and snowed the entire five nights. I can’t say it was fun.

When I finally saw the movie I was disappointed, but the first half of the movie — right up through the ferry scene —  was truly Speilberg-worthy. The lightening strikes and the fog horn sound of the tripod as it rose out of the street was scary stuff. In true science-fiction style, the tripods used a  known technology — high-power electromagnetic system (HPEMS) — to damage electrical devices and stop traffic.

The reason I’m taking this stroll down memory lane today is that Eureka Aarospace plans to offer police the ability to use HPEMS to disable or damage a criminal’s vehicle. The sticking point? Narrowing the beam so that only the vehicle in question is disabled.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.


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