Want Fast Internet? Try Chattanooga!

Posted July 4, 2013 By Dan

CBS reports that Chattanooga, Tennessee has the fastest internet connection in America!  The reason is because everyone is able to get a gigabyte download speed in the City.

The reason for that is fiber optic lines that can provide anyone in a 600-square-mile area that gig of online speed. To put the gig in perspective, the average American home gets about five megabits of Internet speed. Chattanooga’s speed is 200 times faster.

So…  If you’re a gamer…  Consider moving!

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Happy International Programmers’ Day, 2013!

Posted January 6, 2013 By Dan

Happy International Programmers’ Day – TODAY – January 7th, 2013!

Thank the geeks who made our world cool by inventing eBay & Amazon, iPhones & Androids, your laptop’s cool software, your GPS, Google, Netflix, PayPal, credit card processing, 911 emergency databases, parts of cars/trains/planes/ships and pretty much everything that has a power button!

You can send an e-card to someone here.

You can tell us how you’re spending your day on our Facebook page here.  Don’t forget to “like” us!


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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 ScienceDaily.com.

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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Computers Take Over Wall Street

Posted November 19, 2012 By Dan

Computer programs that cost a few hundred thousand dollars are replacing million-dollar traders in the credit derivatives markets.


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Oracle: 25 Years of SPARC

Posted November 18, 2012 By Dan

Oracle published (click here) a very interesting timeline featuring their products, but also major milestones in the last 30 years of computing history, such as first domain name purchased (1985), WWW created (1994), Java developed (1995), Y2K, Facebook launched (2004), etc.


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Tasty Keyboard

Posted November 13, 2012 By Dan

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Tablet Wars Heat Up

Posted November 11, 2012 By Dan

Everywhere you look you see tablets or tablet advertisements.  Tablets are commonplace at work, school, on the bus, doctor offices, etc., and tablet makers are betting you’ll see more.

Microsoft officially jumped into the Tablet War on October 26th by releasing the brand new Surface at a retail cost starting at $499.  Surface, which features the Windows 8 operating system, is marketted as a tablet with a “snap-in” keyboard.  Microsoft announced that their preorders for Surface sold out in less than a week.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft isn’t the only company seeing green with the holiday season approaching.

According to component suppliers in Asia,  Microsoft has placed orders to produce 3 million to 5 million of these tablets in the fourth quarter. That is similar to the orders that were placed for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and Google’s Nexus 7 tablets, these suppliers say.  Some component suppliers to Apple in Asia say they have received orders to make more than 10 million units of a smaller tablet for the Cupertino, Calif. company in the fourth quarter.

With millions of tablets being sold each month, what does this mean for programmers?

First, it’s important to note that there are several major operating systems with “app stores” – iOS, Android, and now Windows 8.  Note that BlackBerry’s also are around, but it’s a rather limited market share.

With so many different IDE’s for developers to learn, it makes it much more difficult for small developers to be able to develop cross-platform (stable!) versions of an app and push their product.   Additionally, the Kindle Fire and Nook have markets to develop for, too.  Personally, I just don’t think that’s sustainable.  However, if you’re a risk-taker, developing for the virgin Microsoft app store may pay off big dividends as Surface sales grow.

As far as market share, Apple has a huge advantage.  It has already sold over 100 million iPads and was really the creator of the modern tablet industry.  Google has made huge advances cutting into Apple’s market share with its Android OS.  Then when Google released its Nexus tablet for $199, it entered the tablet hardware business with a low cost alternative.

The tablet industry is a fast changing arena with new players continuously entering.  How will the industry look in 5 years?  10 years?  Who knows.  But if I had to guess, I don’t see the Android OS going away, nor iOS.  But which will dominate?  I’m thinking Android due to the developer-friendly environment.

Your thoughts?

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