Dec 312014

This post was originally going to be something marveling at how StackExchange only has 25 servers, but could probably run on 5 as well as wondering why nobody else seems to be able to do that, but the more I thought about that, the less convinced I was in that premise. With all the advances in cloud-provided servers, I’m less and less convinced about the need for people to run their own servers exclusively in a physical datacenter.

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 Posted by at 8:00 AM
Nov 072014

1 of the last projects I worked on at my previous job involved aggregating, storing, and querying log data into and from Elasticsearch (yes, I know that Logstash does that – and in reality I should have gone that route). That, along with some lookups on the data outside of the code, gave me a chance to start playing with Elasticsearch. After my brief experience with it, I can tell you there’s a lot of power in Elasticsesarch, but it’s going to take you a surprisingly longer to figure out how to tap it than you would expect. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:28 PM
Oct 162014

I was listening to an old Java Posse episode, when the topic of a 5-year plan came up, only to be immediately be met with disdain and contempt. In fact, nobody took the idea of long-term planning seriously. What I don’t understand is, why? What’s wrong with having a plan beyond the next iteration or 2? Personally, I think with agile development we’ve gotten so used to short development cycles and rapid release and pivots that we’ve completely lost any and all sense of the point of having a long-term plan. The fact is, if you don’t have any type of long-term plan, then your entire business strategy can be summed up as “we’re putting out this fire and hoping for the best.”

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 Posted by at 11:35 AM
Sep 302014

On August 1, 2014, Facebook went down. It came back after a few hours or less, but it was a visible reminder of their (now-former) motto of “Move fast and break things.” I made a joke about the issue, but I appreciate the philosophy, even if Facebook’s since tried to move away from it. I think it has a lot to do with their new model of “Move fast with stable infrastructure.” In fact, I think moving fast and breaking things is how they got their stable infrastructure. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:30 PM
Aug 262014

For the first half of the summer, I took the online Functional Programming Principles in Scala course on Coursera. I should probably point out that I didn’t take the $50 official I’d heard good things about the language, mostly from Dick Wall on Java Posse podcasts, and it seemed like a good way to try functional programming again after a brief, rather unpleasant, introduction to Lisp in college. Overall, my main goals were to a) re-acquaint myself with functional programming and b) get a basic, can-start-on-some-code-now understanding of Scala.

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 Posted by at 11:19 PM
Aug 092014

A couple of months ago, launched a big crowdfunding push to raise a crapton of money to form their own Super PAC, meant to fund and support candidates who would run on campaign platforms of reducing the influence of Super PAC money in elections. The overall goal, reduce corruption in federal politics, is a great agenda, but a SuperPAC built around limiting how much money people can spend in elections isn’t actually solving problems with American democracy. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:04 AM
Jul 162014

After a lot of thinking a blogging aloud about what I think social networks are and what I think a social network (and social applications) should be, it’s time to revisit my original thoughts about a next-generation social network and see how well they stand up, as well as flesh out just what features a social network should support. After trying to get myself to separate the social network itself from the application people may be using to tap into their particular social networks, I wanted to re-visit how my original app idea and see what features should be moved to the actual network itself.

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 Posted by at 4:28 PM
Jul 012014

I wasn’t very happy with where my last post ended. It all boiled down to “I wish Facebook was open source” or “I wish had worked out better”. Part of that was that I spent the whole post operating on the assumption that underneath any application  using this social network would be, well, 1 central model that everything would use. I think that assumption may be flawed. What if there wasn’t a central model behind all of these applications, but rather just a single protocol creating multiple models of people we connect to and how.

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 Posted by at 10:14 PM
Jun 182014

When my friend Warren posted his issues with commenting on posts shared across social networks, it got me wondering how commenting would work in my hypothetical “next-gen” social network. My initial write-up on the idea focused mainly on the idea of the main content itself, so it got me wondering how to integrate things like comments into a feed-based social network. As I thought about how comments might fit into this new concept, I also started wondering about just what purpose comments served in a social network. I don’t mean in a “don’t read the comments” sense, but rather what role are comments serving in a social network? Continue reading »

 Posted by at 5:30 PM