Archive for December, 2012

Gangnam (and YouTube) Top One Billion Views

Posted December 31, 2012 By Dan

There’s been alot of discussion about the meteoric rise of the hit song Gangnam Style, as its video surpassed one billion views on December 21st.  This is clearly a tribute to the singer, called PSY, who came up with a catchy beat and a comical video, but also PSY needs to share the credit with his silent partner, YouTube.

YouTube was outputting this video an average of 4,000 views per minute by some estimates.  That takes an incredibly efficient IT infrastructure to efficiently handle those requests.  Also, as of writing of this article, there are over 4.6 million comments and 6.4 million thumbs up on the video!  That many messages alone could take down lesser systems.  And keep in mind this song was only released in July!

It shouldn’t surprise me that YouTube could handle such a sudden surge on its servers.  And honestly, it doesn’t surprise me.  But I think it’s worthwhile to point out the incredible IT systems developed in part by programmers.

Of course….  Here is the video!

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HTML5 Specifications Are Finalized

Posted December 28, 2012 By Dan

The W3C has completed its specifications for HTML5.  Though it won’t be “recommended” until 2014, developers can start reviewing the specs and preparing for its inevitable release.

From the press release:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published today the complete definition of the HTML5 and Canvas 2D specifications. Though not yet W3C standards, these specifications are now feature complete, meaning businesses and developers have a stable target for implementation and planning. HTML5 is the cornerstone of the Open Web Platform, a full programming environment for cross-platform applications with access to device capabilities; video and animations; graphics; style, typography, and other tools for digital publishing; extensive network capabilities; and more.

Many articles are hyping up HTML5 to be an inevitable replacement to app stores and the “closed” systems like Apple, Nook, etc with the W3C pushing an “Open Web Platform.” I just don’t see that.

Although overall I am NOT a fan of Apple’s walled environment, it does offer stability (though my iPad’s Safari crashes alot lately).  It is far more stable and frankly more user-friendly than the hodgepodge web experience.  For example, users must be completely confused when they see “Windows needs to update”, “There’s a new version of Java”, “Install Adobe”, “Firefox has to restart to upgrade”, etc etc etc.

The other problem of having HTML5 replace app stores is time.  HTML5, which is now finalized, won’t be recommended for another 21 months.  During those 21 months, Apple (or a competitor) could/will come out with something new that revolutionizes the industry.  And 3 years later the W3C will respond.

I think the web is still a vital part of today’s technology.  By all means, enhance it, grow it.  HTML5 is a great improvement to the Web, especially as a Flash substitute.  But Google’s business model with Android still seems best.  Privately managed, but available for all.  I think Amazon Kindle, how it took Android as a base and completely reworked the UI, is a perfect example of Android’s openness.

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Google Illustrates Recursion

Posted December 24, 2012 By Dan

Something only a true geek will find humorous.

Type “recursion” into Google…  Notice what the “Did you mean” is?  Click it!

Other cool Google hidden search terms include “do a barrel roll”, “tilt” or “askew”

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Hurricane Sandy Proves Internet Resilience

Posted December 20, 2012 By Dan

The internet is very resilient in America, according to researchers in an article on

Scientists at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering regularly study Internet “uptime” in America by pinging servers.  They say that on average 99.7% of the internet is up at any given time, and .3% is down for various reasons.  During landfall of “Superstorm Sandy”, aimed at New York City, which is a major hub of the internet backbone in the U.S., 99.57% of the U.S. internet remained fully operational.

That is pretty shocking, especially considering 8.5 million Americans (greater than 2% of the country) lost power (according to this Huffington Post article).

I think the main takeaway from an IT perspective is that the backbone of the U.S. internet is well built.  There were not dramatic internet outages from the powerful storm that devastated thousands of lives.

However, there is some cause for alarm that there were outages at all, which shows that the system is not perfect.

“On a national scale, the amount of outage is small, showing how robust the Internet is. However, this significant increase in outages shows the large impact Sandy had on our national infrastructure,” said John Heidemann, who led the team that tracked an analyzed the data. Heidemann is a research professor of computer science and project leader in the Computer Networks Division of ISI.

So, while I believe the article shows the strength of the internet, you could also argues it shows its flaws.  I do remember getting several “server not found” errors in the days after Sandy, but I viewed them as expected problems after such a powerful storm.

I guess I’m just a “glass half full” kind of guy.

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