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Rob Pike on the state of Unix March 5, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Google, Technology.
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Rob Pike is a Google Research Scientist. He was on the team that built the original Unix OS in the 1970’s. Now he works on their server operating system, which serve the fastest pages in the world. I just read through the presentation (pdf) that he gave in celebration of the 1 billionth second on the Unix clock. These two parts of the presentation really stood out to me:

The success of PCs is in large part due to the fact that, by making all hardware equivalent, good software enabled bad hardware.

and

1. What is the best thing about Unix?
A: The community.

2. What is the worst thing about Unix?
A: That there are so many communities.

I loved reading through that presentation, because Rob was able to identify and admit that they made mistakes in building Unix. Most people are unable to come to terms with their mistakes, especially in such a large project as this one. People are always shifting the blame to other people who weren’t “as smart” as them. Even though I am a hardcore Capitalist, I really like the personalities of these Open Source guys. Not only are they open with their code, but they are open about their mistakes. A company like Microsoft or Apple would try to brush these mistakes under the table as fast as someone could identify them (and for MS, that happens… daily…).

He even states in the presentation that the reason Microsoft beat them was because there is only one Microsoft. There is a ridiculous amount of Unix variants available these days, and 37signals is so right:

Less is more.

And I am officially SWITCHING TO MAC!! I will be getting my MB Pro within the next 2 months. I am fed up with Windows, but that will be another very long blog post.

Google! February 16, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Google.
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Dreams do come true…

I went to Google today and ate lunch. It was fun. On the way out, we saw Tim O’Reilly in the lobby — I have about 20 O’Reilly books to the right of me right now ūüôā

I took a couple pictures and put them on Facebook (easier than Flickr).


Check out more pictures

My View on Software and the Google PC February 14, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Business, Google, Technology.
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There are a few things that nobody will change my mind on. And how I see software is one of them. When I say software, I am talking about desktop software and online “software” (web applications).

  1. All software should be free
    • In some situations this is not possible for big companies like Sun, Microsoft, and Oracle to sustain their profitibility if this rule was standard. The only thing I have to say to companies with these models: the Future is coming, and it’s not going to be nice to you.
  2. I believe in open systems, especially when the user is generating the content. Data is data, and shouldn’t be bound by any program, operating system, or website.
    • When there is private information that is stored, that data should be handled diferrently. SSN and Credit Card #’s are not included in my definition of free data — it is too easy for someone to hack that and do something malicious.
  3. Business models should look like this:
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  4. Security, security, security. This is an engineer’s #1 responsibility, everything else in an application falls below that as far as importance.
  5. In education, ALL SOFTWARE SHOULD BE FREE. No questions asked.

Those is one more thing that I have been thinking a lot about lately… Here is my prediction:

In the future, nobody is going to need to have hard drives inside their laptops/desktops. Everyone is going to have access to their own computer using Remote Desktop. Google is going to be the first company to test this out, since they are probably in the best position to try something like this. This is what computing will look like:

First off, nobody will have or need a Microsoft operating system. All the operating system on “home” computers will simply be modems that handle speeds of 100mbps, or whatever speed you want. So you will turn on your computer, and about 5 seconds after startup you will sign into your Google PC. You can access your Google PC from anywhere in the world; the only thing you will need is an internet connection, and in 15 years [insert time prediction], the entire world will be one big wireless network. Once you’ve signed into Google PC, it will load up your personal desktop. It will look exactly like your current computer does, except that it will be running on the Google OS (which will just be the current OS on their servers, but customized for useability and mass adoption). On the Google OS, you can do everything you currently do on Windows XP or a Mac (or even Linux). You can install new applications, and everything is, YOU GUESSED IT, 100% free and supported by advertisers. Speaking of great free applications, the MS Office killer, OpenOffice.org, is amazing. I already am highly recommending this application suite to everyone after using it for 3 days.

Why is this going to happen ? Because it needs to happen if everyone is going to be able to have a computer in their hands. With this new way of life, “desktop” computers, and “laptops” (all they would be is modems with a graphics card and a display) would be dirt cheap so that everyone could afford one. This, IMO, is the only way that Bill Gate’s dream of getting a PC to every person in the world, will be achieved. It’s the most cost effective way, and it makes the most sense once we have the infrastructure to support it (i.e., faster connections). And who wins out of all of this ?

Google and the Customer.

Sidenote: I’m going to Google on Thursday! I’m so excited, I would have never dreamt that this would happen a year ago… Ah, nothing as rewarding as the benefits of hard work ūüėČ

Internet Privacy January 1, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Google, Rants.
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I am sick and tired of listening to people that know nothing about technology talk about how scared they are of their privacy being intruded upon by the internet. Most of this fear comes from the lack of knowledge about the threat that the majority of these companies pose to them.

¬†The¬†two companies that I would like to talk about in this post are Google and Facebook. Both companies track almost everything that user’s do on their sites: the search queries, the time a person logs in, the computers he logs in from (from IP addresses), the “status updates” on Facebook, etc… Just about everything that could be tracked is tracked on these two sites. Just as a side note, there is a new Flash analytics tool (I¬†forget the name right now)¬†that creates and saves arrays of the mouse movements, so [Flash] websites can be optimized for better navigations and content. Anyways, back to the subject. I stopped caring about my online privacy a long time ago… A long time ago being defined as the moment I realized the threat these companies posed to my life. Google and Facebook are viable companies; I mean come on, Google’s motto is “do no evil.”

Facebook tracks¬†everything that you do on their site, but it just creates an interesting experience for me¬†every time I login. I can see every single little thing that my friends have done since I last signed in. Technology is leading to a world where everyone can know everything about everybody. Sound scary? If you’re a bad person. I could care less — I’ll do everything I do in private in public. It’s not like I have anything to hide. So why do you even care if Google is storing all of your search queries? Do you have something to hide?

Another thing I would say is put it in perspective. How many searches are done on Google every day? Nearly 100 million. And out of the 100 million, what are they going to do with the 20 searches that you did? Exactly. Nothing.

So whatever. Who cares about your online privacy.

I am speechless December 29, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Google, Technology.
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Technology doesn’t surprise me anymore. I’m not wowed by all the new advances we have made in robotics in the last 10 years, I’m not wowed by the Nintendo Wii’s motion sensing technology, quite simply, technology has become too norm for me to think much of it. But five minutes ago, something just happened… That wowed the hell out of me.

Go to google.com/maps. Do a Find Business search for say, Borders near Mountain View, CA (I’m at Monvia right now). So all the results come up with a little link “call” next to the business telephone numbers. At first I was like, Yeah Right, Google can’t make my phone call a business. So I tried it out. This is where the crazy part comes in:

My phone gets called by a 650 number (local), so I answer it. On my computer screen, it says “Connected, now calling the business”. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, all in real time. I connected to the Borders in Palo Alto, asked them how long they’d be open, and hung up. Now that is what I call convenience.

I am speechless.

Google: if you were a girl, I would marry you.

An idea for Google, what do you think ? September 20, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Google.
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Google should come out with an application that is basically a repository of Calendars that are organized by interests and location. So people in San Francisco that are interested in volleyball would always know where the next local grass doubles tourney would be… People in Sacramento interested in skiing would always know when special days are for resorts, deadlines for season passes, etc… Do you think this would work out ? Ever since I made the UCD Aggies Football calendar, I’ve been wanting something like this.

It would be a big hit for teens I think, so we’d know what’s going on around the area on weekends. Everyone is always complaining “there’s nothing to do.” Log into your Google account and load up all your local events calendars; you are bound to find something to do.

And for anyone that has built/is building this application, let me know. It’s a great idea… Hard to monetize it though.

Eric Schmidt… Google + Apple soon ? August 29, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Apple, Google.
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Eric Schmidt join’s Apple’s iPod board of directors. Not only does this bring ties between Google and Apple much closer, but it’s also a great move benefitting Apple customers. Right now, there are quite a few Google desktop applications that are made solely for Windows and Linux (Google Talk being the big one). With Google’s CEO inside at Apple now, there will be even more thought given to developing apps for OSX.

Yet another genius move by Google.