Friday, April 30, 2010

links for 2010-04-30: Response to Jobs missive against Flash; Another view on VMforce; Indians most hated team?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

links for 2010-04-29: AWS to be as big as Amazon retail?; Steve Jobs on Flash; Backlash against PowerPoint; Flash History

  • Amazon Looks to Widen Lead in Cloud Computing - Opens a new data center in Singapore, but also says "Amazon Web Services can be as big as our retail business, in the fullness of time".
  • Steve Jobs thoughts on Flash - He makes several good points, but calling Adobe closed and proprietary given Apple's tools target a single platform (vs many) and the closed nature of the App Store (vs anyone can create an app without approval) is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.  And if third party software not taking advantage of new APIs and features is really so terrible, let the market determine that and decide.
  • We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint - "Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs."
  • Flash History - A good reminder that Flash did fill a need, but he also had a zinger directly at Cupertino: "... a platform with a vendor who gets to decide what’s allowed to run is profoundly uninteresting to me anyhow."
  • News Analysis: and VMware Up The Ante In The Cloud Wars With VMforce - Good summary.  Pits the Java offerings vs Azure.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

links for 2010-04-28: Android momentum; Microsoft and Open Source; VMforce; Web vs Enterprise; AWS Presentations

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

links for 2010-04-27: Promising cancer research; VMware and Salesforce; Gizmodo iPhone raid

Sunday, April 25, 2010

links for 2010-04-25: Is Apple or Adobe or Google open?; iPhone crimes; Amazon building out capacity

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flash Performance Issues on Mac OS X

There has been a lot of debate about the lack of Flash support on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, and part of the larger debate is that Adobe hasn't invested in Flash support on OS X sufficiently leading to performance issues on that platform.  As I use a Mac, I've suffered from some of these issues including high CPU utilization when watching video using Flash to having the fan turn on when the system is seemingly idle because a Flash applet or two in a web-page is using excessive CPU.

So, I was pleased to hear the Adobe is promising to address these performance issues in the forthcoming Flash 10.1 release.  I was more pleased to see that release candidate 2 is available and downloaded it and installed it to try things out.

For my test, I elected to compare CPU utilization of the Flash plug-in while watching a Dodger game on  On a side note, this service which provides the ability to watch out of market games in HD on a computer or on  many mobile devices is an awesome service and I highly recommend it.

Using the latest Flash 10.0, I observed the CPU utilization of the process running the Flash player at around 90-95%.  Good thing I have a dual core machine (2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo), but it is still working pretty hard to play the streaming video.

With 10.1 RC2, I did observe a slight decrease in utilization to around 80-85%, so it has improved, and it may improve more before the final release.

But the performance is still well short of Flash on Windows it would seem as an old notebook I have with an AMD Turion 64 Mobile ML-34 at 1.8 GHz can watch the same HD stream using around 80% CPU and that is a single core machine.  For comparison, according to the old notebook has a 437 CPU rating and the Mac is around 1400 so even using 1 core at around 700, the Mac is "using" 560 while the old PC is "using" 350, so more efficient.

Let's hope the work Adobe is doing to improve the performance of Flash on the Mac continues.

links for 2010-04-23: Flash, Adobe, and Apple; What makes SaaS successful; Red Hat to follow VMware into cloud databases?; Letterman on iPhone prototype

Thursday, April 22, 2010

links for 2010-04-22: Oracle on OpenESB; Android on iPhone; Dell Android phone

track links for 2009-04-22: Tyson Gay breaks sprint barriers; Penn and Drake Relays

I'm a big track and field fan so with the start of the outdoor season, I'll start periodic "track links" entries, the first today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

links for 2010-04-21: VMware's "database" play; AT&T buoyed by iPhone; 2010 NFL projected records; Adobe giving up on iPhone

  • VMware’s SpringSource Redis and Rabbit acquisitions: A Database Play is Emerging - Just don't call it "database" apparently.  But as Paul Martiz said, "... we are adding to the repertoire of underlying middleware and technologies that we think are going to be needed to generate – to develop a new generation of applications." appears to be a strong plan.
  • AT&T earnings propelled by iPhone activations, connected devices like e-readers, GPS systems - If this causes them to continue to invest more in their network, all good.
  • 2010 NFL projected records - With the draft tomorrow, will your favorite team improve?  These projected records serve as a good baseline of what to expect next year and an interesting use of data from last years performance.
  • Adobe casts Flash lot with Android; Drops iPhone plans - Will this bite Apple in the future?  "The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms."  Note that I've increasingly seen Flash crashing or hogging CPU on a Mac, but that too could be part of the Apple/Adobe battle.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

links for 2010-04-20: E-commerce witch hunt; ODF plugin no longer free; Oracle Java virtualization on JRockit, not Sun JVM; NoSQL and Cloud; iPhone leak loses customer

Monday, April 19, 2010

links for 2010-04-19: Integrals explained; Gosling's departure; iPhone 4 sneak peek

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

links for 2010-04-17: iPhone users aren't sheep; MySQL threats; What is/isn't Cloud?; RAIC; Volcano impact to flights

Friday, April 16, 2010

links for 2010-04-16: McNealy Speaks; Microsoft and Google on collision course; Cloud printing

Thursday, April 15, 2010

links for 2010-04-15: Google and Sun vision and results; Free meals for biking; Opera on iPhone

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

links for 2010-04-14: Twitter ads; VMware/SS acquires RabbitMQ; Apps=Fish, Data=Wine

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

links for 2010-04-13: New Google Docs; Adobe and Apple; Abandoning iPhone Development; iPad Review; Twitter news; Stats and views on taxes

Monday, April 12, 2010

links for 2010-04-12: What Microsoft and Apple can learn from Ubuntu; Who will buy Palm?; Greenplum moves data to Cloud; Calculus explained

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Are the Red Sox and Yankees Slow? Let's look at the data

There has been a bit of hubbub about the pace of play in Yankees and Red Sox games after umpire Joe West call their slow play embarrassing.  Their first 3 games of the year were longish at 3:46, 3:48, and 3:21 but justifications for it include lots of hitting to the importance of the games to being national TV games with longer commercial breaks.

Rather than just throw various arguments around, lets go to the data to take a look at what it tells us.  The length of a game should be roughly determined by the number of innings, number of pitches, number of in inning pitching changes, and duration of the commercial breaks.  With that in mind, I looked at the three Yankess vs Red Sox games and then all the American League games played on 4/9 to compare them.

All the data is in a Google Docs spreadsheet, and includes the game time, innings, pitches, in inning pitching changes, and commercial length based on if it is a national TV game or not.  Using these stats I calculate the average time per pitch, which all things being equal should be pretty consistent from game to game.

DateGameTime per Pitch
4/6Yankees / Red Sox0:35
4/9Yankees / Rays0:33
4/4Yankees / Red Sox0:32
4/9Red Sox / Royals0:31
4/7Yankees / Red Sox0:31
4/9Blue Jays / Orioles0:30
4/9Twins / White Sox0:28
4/9Athletics / Angels0:28
4/9Indians / Tigers0:27
4/9Mariners / Rangers0:26

Now, admittedly it is a small sample size, but it seems pretty clear that there is something common about the 5 slowest games from the selected games.  Given that I've factored in a bunch of stuff, why is this?  It is likely caused by visits to the mound by the manager (which are limited) or fellow players (which aren't) and batters stepping out between pitches, and that is what Joe West was complaining about.

Is it the end of the world if some games are a few seconds per pitch slower than others?  In the grand scheme of things, probably not, but MLB has decided to try to speed things up and from the data above, it appears Joe West singling out the Yankees and Red Sox as the biggest offenders could very well be true.

links for 2010-04-10: Corporations that don't pay taxes; Site speed affect search results; Microsoft and Cloud apps

Friday, April 9, 2010

Further Analysis of Java Platform Survey Results

I wrote about some initial observations and issues with a recent Java platform survey earlier today, but couldn't help myself and downloaded the raw data and did some further analysis myself and came across some additional interesting observations.

First, I dug into the Java EE app server data and like Rich fixed some of the grouping, specifically trying to get proper JBoss and Tomcat numbers.  Our numbers differ a bit as I think he may be double counting a bit for Tomcat and JBoss which I made sure not to do.

I've ignored Jonas/JRun/Jetty/Orion so the other likely represents GlassFish and Geronimo.  My chart shows JBoss behind WebSphere but ahead of WebLogic.

Since multiple answers were allowed though, it is interesting to see which combinations are most common.

Here, Tomcat is clearly the preferred second app server in a dual strategy, but perhaps surprisingly, there is a fair number that have both WebSphere and WebLogic.

Last, I took a closer look at the operating system data.  I first combined the different Linux responses into a single one.

As I mentioned in my earlier entry, Linux usage is nearly surpassing Windows and Solaris is well behind those two.

Next I looked at what operating systems were commonly included in the same response.

Not surprisingly Windows and Linux are the most common combination and the combinations with Solaris fall behind with Linux and Solaris slightly behind.

These results may match what you'd intuitively expect, but it is always good when the data backs up your intuition.

Java Platform Survey Results - Flaws and Observations

I love surveys and analyzing the resulting data from them, so was interested to take a look at Replay Solutions write up from their 2010 Java Platform Survey.  Unfortunately, as is the case with many survey's, the way the data is presented has some issues that could result in folks making the wrong conclusions.

Rich correctly pokes holes in the report pointing out the strange grouping of results, the significant "other", and the egregious omission of GlassFish from the survey (quite possibly the bulk of the 18% "other").  If GlassFish was even only half of the "other" it would be 9% and equal to Jetty and way ahead of Jonas/JRun/Orion (which were grouped together for some reason) and Resin, each at only 2%, which would seem to clearly justify GlassFish being called out on its own.  They do provide the raw data which is fantastic, but re-analyzing the data can't fix not asking the right questions.

But there were a few other items in the report that I found interesting.

The "most important Java IDE in 2010" is, no surprise, Eclipse, but NetBeans is a pretty solid #2 at 17% ahead of JDeveloper at 12%.  This would seem to support Oracle's decision to not kill NetBeans, but it is still unfortunate that it appears to be being relegated to a minor role.

And given all the noise about the Cloud, only 14% of the respondents indicate they will be deploying to the Cloud in 2010 with an astounding 67% having no plans.  Now I'm sure the adoption is still way up from 2009 and 14% is still significant, but the IT industry still appears to be cautious about going hole hog into the Cloud.  For those looking to use the Cloud, Amazon EC2 is still dominant at 13% but with "other" at 14% there seems to again be a missing option in the questions.

As far as operating systems for deployment go, Windows is no surprise leading at 57% but with Red Hat Linux at 35% well ahead of Solaris (18%) and other Linux variants close behind Solaris (SUSE 12%, other Linux 16%), Linux is arguably threatening Windows for the #1 spot.

Last, it is a bit of an odd question on frameworks and services as options to answer included everything from Spring to JMS to ESBs, but it is interesting to see that messaging/integration technologies like JMS and ESB at 29% and 24% are well ahead of Swing and JPA (21% and 15%) and not that far behind Spring and Hibernate (36% and 37%).

As always, data is fun to look at.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

links for 2010-04-09: iPad review; Google Trips/Tricks/Hacks; iPhone Dev Agreement bans code gen; GrandCentral to Google Voice; ELB Sticky Sessions; iPhone OS 4.0 "me too"

First impressions of Amazon Simple Notification Service

Amazon introduced their new Simple Notification Service (SNS) earlier this week and with a background and interest in integration and messaging I had to take a look.

The sign-up process is simple enough and I added access to it from my existing Amazon Web Services account and was pleased to see that current pricing includes a Free Tier that provides 100K requests and notifications (1K e-mail notifications) for free.  With that, I launched into the getting started guide.

I downloaded the CLI (minor nit, the guide gave the wrong pointer to where to download it, but was easily found), already had Java installed, so I set the required environment variables and was off an running.  There was a mention that the CLI was for Windows and Linux, but I forged ahead on my Mac figuring it would just work, and thankfully it did.

I followed the guide to create a topic, subscribe to it using e-mail, publish a message, and get the notification.  It all worked very nicely and as one would expect.  So, it works, but using a command line tool to send myself an e-mail isn't terribly useful or interesting and if that is all I did, this would be a pretty boring blog entry!  How about something more interesting then?

I have a weather station set up at home along with a web-site for viewing the current weather and uploading historical data to the Weather Underground.  I find myself checking the current conditions periodically, but polling for that kind of thing is a bit cumbersome.  It seems like having a notification pushed to me when certain conditions occur might be more useful and enter SNS to help solve that for me.

So, I wrote a script that I have cron run every 10 minutes that checks the temperature and pressure and if the change is greater than a certain threshold, publishes a notification to my "Weather" topic.  I'm then able to subscribe to the topic so that I'm sent an SMS when a weather notification is published.  Using SNS, I was able to set this up in a matter of minutes and now have something that will just run for me from now on.  Note that I did this on Linux as that is what is running on the machine my weather station is connected to so indeed it does work on both OS X and Linux.

One might ask, why use SNS to do the notification when I could have just had my script do it?  Great question, and if my only goal was to do just this notification for just myself, just hardcoding it in the script would be fine.  But using SNS decouples the components of the application that gives more flexibility and allows the consuming services to be independent of the producer.  It enables new styles of programming centered around asynchronous messaging.

For example, what if others want to also get the notification?  Or if rather than just sending an e-mail I'd like to have a consuming service log the notifications or perform some other processing on the data?  By using SNS to decouple the services, this is easily possible by simply adding subscriptions for each new consumer and I can avoid having to modify or maintain my script with details it really shouldn't be concerned with.

With SNS Amazon has a nice complement to the Simple Queue Service (SQS) that has been around for a little while.  Interested in learning more about asynchronous messaging?  Give one or both a try.

links for 2010-04-08: C overtakes Java; Amazon SNS; Statistics and Data; Oracle and MySQL; iPhone OS 4

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

links for 2010-04-06: Amazing photos; GlassFish Roadmap; Germany anti Google; No Flash on iPad, no problem; BPM about to explode

Monday, April 5, 2010

links for 2010-04-05: Limits and π; Everything a game?; Rimini vs Oracle

Friday, April 2, 2010

links for 2010-04-02: Integration is the new Innovation; Danger of Freemium; Should you buy an iPad?

  • Integration is the new innovation - It is true.  Name an application that is written from scratch.  The majority are an assembly that use a web/app server, some middleware, frameworks, libraries, etc. along with some new code to deliver an integrated solution.
  • A case study: The danger of freemium - Letting people use your service for free does introduce a different dynamic that must be addressed.
  • Should you buy an iPad? - Your answer in a tidy flowchart.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

links for 2010-04-01: NoSQL = Manual vs Auto; Automated Journalism; Scatterplots with R; Will the cloud rain cash?; Bing killing OpenOffice?; Logarithms