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Showing posts from August, 2015

Chromebox: Dell vs Asus

Both Dell and Asus sell a Chromebox. The Dell CB retails for $329 and while you cannot buy the MU075 from the Asus store it is available for $250 for the exact same 4GB i3 processor. In fact if you look at the boxes they have exactly the same ports in exactly the same places. Chances are pretty good that the MOBO is a reference and they are selling the same MOBO in similar boxes (just the power button is in a different configuration but the same place).

One interesting caveat is that the Asus product description is fairly generic in that is claims "Powered by up to 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor". None of the online stores that I checked offered an i7. It might be interesting to note that the processor speed is 1.7Ghz and that might have confused the copywriter... except that Amazon does list "CHROMEBOX-M020U SFF I7/2.1 4GB 16GB" but is not actually selling it themselves. (yet another confusing buying experience). Unfortunately for the $1348 price you get more f…

Amazon Instant Video or Netflix

I'm do not know the psychology of the blog title so I'll say it up front. Netflix is a better product.

First of all Netflix has a player for just about every device out there. That includes my Tivo brand DVR, Android phone, iOS devices, and probably every desktop browser out there. Compared to Amazon Prime Instant Video which does not seem to support my Android phone or Tivo. Clearly Amazon is trying to force their Fire players.

Secondly,  the video browse, search and player on Netflix is biased toward playing and streaming not upselling. I recently searched for a movie "Tim's Vermeer". When I searched for it on Netflix they politely told me it was on DVD only and suggested how I might get it. When I did the same search on Amazon I was presented with a whole host of videos for purchase obfuscating my search results. And quite frankly the user login state, at Amazon, makes just wanting to watch videos next to impossible. Amazon is not in the streaming business.


Turbo - Requirements

I think I can put the requirements into 3 categories. Not because any or all are less important than the others but that they can be accomplished in these groups rather than leaving parts dangling.

Getting Started
CRUD files using websocketsCRUD records from a SQLite DBbuild a completely self contained executable (execute from rootfs)are you sure you ant to leave the page if not savedremember cursor positionidentify the syntax highlighting to use based on file extension
Basic Integration
simple filemanagersplit columns and rowssave alltabschoose and save themeoverride themes with a PROD theme to prevent failuresexecute make commands; needs to decide on the standard subcommands
Advanced Integration
GITGozquerymobileauthenticationcollaborationzquery prompt the user for valueszquery graphing through D3js or GraphViz
Other things that need to be done add zquery from DB instead of shellzquery export to chromecast
This should complete version 1... and I know there are some advanced features that m…

Turbo - Introduction

I'm not sure how many parts this is going to take. I think most authors actually write the whole article and then find sensible places to split the article. Here's what I'm thinking about for the moment and the basic outline:

IntroductionRequirementsTools and librariesThe implementationThe final projectNext steps Over the last 8-10 weeks I have been writing reports using SQL. The database I've been connected to is SQL Server and I have had to export the reports in many different formats including: dot, csv, tsv, text, table, html, and even xlsx. I also needed to email the file to a distribution list and I needed to upload it to an s3 archive. One thing I was hoping to implement was that I was going to be able to produce the same export just in different format. That meant that I needed to store my SQL in glossary form and that I could be assured that the one SQL statement would produce exactly the same results regardless of he format.
I've been using .sh files (bash…

Kiosk Mode

I would really like to get my chromecast running in kiosk mode without having to cast my URL from my chrome instance on my desktop.  In fact I'd like to have multiple chromecast devices connected to multiple displays geographically distributed. The business use-case is having a dashboard in operations as well as the support departments... and in my home office too. But since I want to be able to hand these things out to managers and remote workers it needs to be a little more flexible. I originally thought to use a google for work account but the hidden costs rack up quickly and the concise documentation is non-existent. While I'm into sweat equity in my career this is not one of those projects with a high return on investment. Especially when there is an iPad app that makes more sense.

There are a number of Intel/Compute-sticks that might do the job, however, to paraphrase from the CEO at Meteor many times we just want to get the work done.

"88% agree that collaborative work environments have better morale"

Someone touched off a nerve in me this morning because this quote is total bullshit. Google For Work attributed the quote to Reconteur.
I did a search on the Reconteur site and found that the quote in question comes from the "special reports" section of the site. I'm not sure what this means but the article was behind closed doors and yet good was quoting it. Seems that this might have been an advert without stating it was an advert.

Without being able to read the original source material and accompanying research I cannot directly challenge the statement except that since this was an advert it is not likely real. Not to mention that the claim itself has many holes.

what is a collaborative work environmentwhat is the opposite environmentis software required for a collaborative work environmentwhich software, does it have to be Google for Work specifically It doesn't take an ivy league researcher to figure this out. The root cause of higher morale in the work place has…

Shutdown leads to 7 minute installation

I have no idea what just happened.  As I have maintained with the exception of Skype and some in-house file sharing I do very little with my MacBook Air. Point in fact I had a Skype call yesterday afternoon and when I stepped away from my desk my laptop was still running just fine.

This morning I noticed that my MacBook was powered off. My machine was not doing anything in particular but I was concerned that it might be DEAD. I finally got around to powering it up. After the file vault startup finished the screen went black. I clicked a few keys. I got to a login screen. I entered my credentials. and it went back to a black screen. After a few more attempts I was presented with a "installation complete in 7 minutes" splash screen. All I could say to myself was WTF!

First of all Apple had clearly taken control of my machine and initiated a shutdown. Maybe they did or did not expect me to have the auto-start feature enabled or not. Who knows. And then it was the 7 minutes that…

Google cannot define SOHO

Actually Google can define SOHO but it has no meaning to Google.  Many years ago I registered a vanity domain for my family. Unfortunately I was not fast enough to get a .com domain as a squatter got there first. Shortly there after Google started offering Google Apps for domain users (100 users for free). I got one of those. Fast forward to the present and Google has discontinued the free Google Apps and replaced it with the not so free Google for Work.

Sadly there is nothing concrete about the pricing except the per user ($5 or %10 per month)... and that there is a per device license for Chrome devices... and that there is a device console management software app that I also have to pay for; except that a Google Partner said there was a free version without being specific about the features.

Originally I thought "chrome devices" meant ChromeOS in the form of Chromebox and Chromebook. Maybe a Chromebit and Chromebase too. There was also an inkling that Chromecast required a…

Recursive Select - tree traversal

Walking a tree is not that big of a challenge. There are a few different variations in the SQL language but they are similar enough.

Given a schema that looks like:
create table tree( id int, parentid int, type int); SQLite:
;with recursive    tree_cte (id, parentid, type) as (       select 1,0,0       union all       select, t.parentid, t.type         from tree t         inner join tree_cte tc on     )     select * from tree_cte tc     ; SQL Server:
;with     tree_cte (id, parentid, type) as (       select id, parentid, type from (values(1,0,0) X(id, parentid, type, path))       union all       select, t.parentid, t.type         from tree t         inner join tree_cte tc on     )     select * from tree_cte tc     ;The differences are '+' instead of '||' and "recursive" and a little of the initiator SQL in the SQL Server version.

In a project I'm working on I need to create a graph of the entire tree, however, the…

Open Letter to Google - Chromecast Kiosk Mode

Dear Googlers,

In my day to day life I develop software for my employer, customers, myself and my family. In my business and personal life I have fully adopted the Google lifestyle and ecosystem. I have 3 Chromeboxes, 4 Chromebooks, 1 Chromecast and a Nexus 6. I've also registered a few domains with the FREE Google Apps product. And finally I have a few Google Compute Engine and App Engine instances.

I'm about to embark on an experiment to develop some Kiosk apps for my clients operations staff. There will be some sales charting, call queue, as well as messages for the CSRs.

My challenge is that the Chromecast Kiosk-mode information is strictly limited. Many links are dead. And then there is the constant reminder that everything is "Google for Work". I thought I had a FREE GFW account but maybe I don't. I thought to create a one-off GFW account so that I could experiment because $5/mo is cheaper than $25/mo. And I could always cancel the account where my primary …

individual employee costs - and then there are software services

We don't talk about our failures very often.
A few years ago I tried to start my own software consulting company. That business was wildly successful for my father 30 years ago... but as they say "it's not your father's Oldsmobile". The market had changed and every potential client wanted everything for free (including my advice) or they had a kid at home that was a programming savant.
This is an exploration into the cost of an individual contributor at a technology startup. Keep in mind that in broad strokes there are many more expense areas than just tech. For example:customer acquisitionadministrationsupplieshardware infrastructure for everything from development to productionstraight employee coststools and skills acquisitionsustainabilitytaxesproduct R&Dconferences and related networking I want to focus on "tools and skills acquisition".
The easiest is "skills acquisition". The internet is full of information and there are plenty of …

quibids or ebay

I would like to say that the jury is out, however, they're back and quibids is a NO-GO.

At least with ebay you're not spending money until you actually buy the thing you want to buy. Therefore it's a known cost to you and your making bidding decisions based on what you know. Quibids is a little more slight of hand than that.

First of all there is no point in going into business unless you are intending to make some money, pay some employees, and maybe a little social and community wellness. So I know they have this motive before I even start. If course I have no idea what the rules are... just that they are getting some traction on the local news all over the US.

Here is my issue:

for example: TV retails for $1000for example: Quibids buys it in bulk for $250 per TVIn order to bid you need to buy bids... at $60 per 100 or 0.60 per bidEvery time you big (a) the bid amount goes up $0.01 and the house gets $0.60And if someone bids with less than 10 seconds left the clock  reset…

Open letter to Mickey Mouse

This is an email I sent to Guest Relations at Walt Disney World. WDW does a lot of good things, this, unfortunately is not one of them:

Let me state that we are satisfied but disappointed on how we got there. My wife and I have been visiting Disney World, twice a year, for nearly 40 years and once we are on property it truly is the happiest pace on earth. And now we bring our kids and we have a great time, every time. It is our preferred [vacation] destination.
We have a vacation planned for [redacted]. And this year we are planning to visit "be our guest" for breakfast on the [redacted]. The path to our reservation was very bumpy. Let me explain.
- we made our resort reservation at about 150 days - [reservations for] lunch and dinner at "be our guest" is 180 days, however, breakfast is 90days - when we tried to make our reservation at 90days from or arrival date there were no reservations available
** If you've ever tried to buy premium ticket from TicketMaster you …


I had been trying to get go-metrics to work for a few hours. Ultimately I posted an issue only to be told that they are forking the exporters. And as I read and reread the OpenTSDB code I realized that to did not support Bosun and the current OpenTSDB was socketed and not http+JSON. It seeme obvious to me that Bosun and go-metrics should work out of the box but I do not run that project.

Anyway, by way of announcement here is my code for exporting from go-metrics to bosun. go-metrics-bosun

Getting a GUI stack together

I'm trying to put together a GUI stack for my IDE and a few other related tools. And I found myself looking at HHVM, Hack, React, and Flux. I'm sure they are all fine technologies and they play for large enterprises. It's the one reason that most large corporations pick some tech, or build their own, and try to stick with it.

I'm not a PHP fan and hack, as a derivative does not take me to a happy place. I suppose if I wanted a job at Facebook I would get as deep as I could. I was surprised, however, while FB is in business to make money, it is still a toy, and yet smart people work there. I wonder if they are on-par with Google and Amazon? I also wonder if they are worried about the fate of their business based on tech decisions?

Golang vendoring to the rescue

Vendoring is turning out to be a pain in the ass and it is getting worse as there are all sorts of forking both in code and mindshare. Let's review:

makefiles (this is a nice model; mine are usually very manual)Dockerfile (my new favorite because I get CI and a dev environment; problem is I'm using the one container for multiple projects which defeats the purpose)batch filesidiomatic GOPATHgodeps (there are many similar projects)my golo project (forked several times)and now gb And then there is nice list here.
Of all of these I wish I could get gb and docker to cooperate. My experience has been painful so far. The biggest challenge is integrating many 3rd party packages with their different approaches to vendoring on top of my vendoring strategy simply breaks everything. The lowest common denominator is the idiomatic GOPATH method which I combine with docker (note my comment above)
All this vendoring could seriously undermine the language. I hope someone gets this right soon!

The smallest things

In 1986 the Challenger exploded and this year SpaceX CSR7 also failed. While the first was a human tragedy and the second an economic and scientific failure there is a lot to be learned.

There are certain things we take for granted in system design; whether it's o-rings or tank struts. We have an obligation to test and monitor all the things we depend on when designing any type of system.

if you're laying concrete then the mixture is importantbuilding a roof then wood rot might be importantwhen composing an application with 3rd party libraries it's important to know if there are any bugsif a subcontractor says a strut is supposed to support 10K and only supports 2Kor if you have no idea what the operating environment for an o-ring might be There is no doubt that verifying everything you depend on is costly and so that's where the cost benefit analysis needs to be done. If the cost is too high then maybe it's the wrong design, wrong tools, or the business is not wort…

Tectonic and OpenStack

The CoreOS team has announced that Tectonic and OpenStack are working together. When I initially misread the headline I had the opinion that CoreOS was, somehow, in the mix and was now polluting itself. As I read the headline now I understand it to be Mantis + Tectonic + OpenStack.

I'm not sure what the play is here. Tectonic is a commercial venture and presumably Mantis it too. My confusion is trying to figure out how all of this plugs in together. If you look at the CoreOS solution...

deploy a PXE server, DHCP, DNS and docker registrydeploy and etcd clusterdeploy some workersand then launch kubernetes where ever they need to be And from this point on kubernetes is going to orchestrate it's containers and this will be as they should.
In this illustration OpenStack might exist just below the CoreOS solution but why when this is already addressed? Kubernetes might run in a dedicated container like Rancher and so OpenStack's Docker shim might be used and so the orchestration …

True Private Cloud

While I do not have personal experience with WD My Cloud I have heard that it's pretty awesome. Essentially all your data can be backed up or mirrored with the drive so that all of your devices can share the data. While My Cloud supports Windows and OSX out of the box they tend to support Windows first and they clearly do not have Linux support. But wouldn't it be great if I could store my ChromeOS data on this device? I think there is an opportunity for Google to work with WD or someone else and develop an application chain that lets my data be mine.

The pleasure of a Chromebox

I have always wanted a laptop. Back in the 80s when Radio Shack TRS-80 and Apple ][ were all the rage, I wanted a model 100.
Since it was only a BASIC interpreter with some limited real world applications like a terminal program... but I still wanted one. The idea of a battery powered device that I could take with me made be very happy.

My next target was the Sinclair. They distributed a number of models. Some required assembly and others were pre-assembled. There were also some other variations.
Later on I fell in deep love with the Osborne. The first and second models were my favorite.  I'm not sure why I liked it. It was big and heavy and the screen was small and text only(if I remember correctly).
The one luggable that I actually own was an IBM that I bought from my father when I moved from Florida to Chicago in the late 80s.
Later I had some luggable envy when my boss came into the office with his P70. It was nice because it had a decent hard drive and it ran OS/2. We used it…