jump to navigation

Rob Pike on the state of Unix March 5, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Google, Technology.

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.


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.


DHH is a great leader February 26, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Ayn Rand, Rails, Technology.

If you don’t know who David Heinemeier Hansson is then stop reading this post right now. He’s the mastermind behind Rails, the most popular Web 2.0 framework in the world. I came across this picture whiel reading some blogs tonight: http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetargon/127984254/

This slide was for all of the people that wanted to add certain features to Rails that he didn’t want. This also was a message to all the people that didn’t agree with Rapid Development, Web 2.0, and, in a broader sense, the future. This is what makes David a great leader. I have a cousin that likes to say “better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you’re not”, and DHH understands this.

A great leader is a person that can stand alone and say “f*** you” to all the people that don’t agree with him. I don’t think you have to use an explicitive, but it definitely helps convey a powerful message to everyone. Here is a quote from, you guessed it, Ayn Rand

Β Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.

DHH embodies this “creator” persona, and I love him for that. I hope one day to follow suit…

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

Posted by sdpurtill in Business, Google, Technology.

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:
    • Advertisements
    • Advertisements
    • Advertisements
    • πŸ˜‰
  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 πŸ˜‰

Great video explanation of Web 2.0 February 4, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Technology, Web 2.0.
add a comment

This video is amazing; it takes gives people that don’t know what Web 2.0 a better understanding of the revolution that is going on right now. (Yes, I found this on Digg)

CSS makes me happy January 27, 2007

Posted by sdpurtill in Design, Technology.
add a comment

Probably one of the funnest languages on earth… I would put ActionScript, JavaScript and Rails a bit higher though. But anyways, here’s a little alert that I got from the IE Developer Toolbar

No Tables!

Yeah, how great is that? I’ve built an entire web application with only <div> and <span> elements.

CSS rules.

I am speechless December 29, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Google, Technology.
add a comment

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.

Living the Dream: Chinese Gold Farmers November 27, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Gaming, Technology.
add a comment

Check out this video — people in China are now playing video games for a living. It’s actually kind of sad…

I wish I could go to Web 2.0 Con this year! November 2, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Technology, Web 2.0.
add a comment

For the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to all of the conversations from Web 2.0 con in SF from 2005. I registered for the conference this year, starting a week from today. EVERYONE is going to be there…

Marissa Mayer
Mark Zuckerberg
Niklas Zennstrom
Kevin Rose
Jeffrey Bezos

And the list goes ON AND ON… And the two people that are probably going that I want to meet the most: Robert Scoble and Joanne Colan. Ahhh!

So this is what I just decided: I’m going to the hotel the morning of Nov 9th to see if I can meet Robert or Joanne. I’ll bring a camera and see if I can meet anyone cool…

I love this business.

Bits are bits… Unless they’re wireless ? October 13, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Technology.
add a comment

Ok, I’m not understanding this… Are you still transferring “bits” when sending data over a wireless network ? If so, then why would Verizon and the big telcos need to lay down a whole new set of pipes for a faster internet ? Why can’t they just build some gingantic wireless data centers that can send requested data to a large satellite that can wirelessly send the data back to the end user. Not only would this be much faster for the telcos to do, but it would be soo much smarter for our future. In the future, we’re going to have to have like T5000 lines in our homes, with transfer rates of at least 8mbps. Hopefully 16mbps. If the telcos set up a wireless infrastructure, wouldn’t upgrading technology on top of that be easier ?

My advice for the day: avoid physical infrastructure at all cost.

Firefox 2 crashing ! October 9, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Technology.

Shoot, it’s starting to remind me of… IE !!! It’s crashed 4 times today since I installed it. The problem appears to be when I hit ctrl+t to open up a new tab; it just freezes and I have to end the process. Bleh ! I’ll just wait for the real FF2 release comes out and keep using this… er… Microsofty version of it lol