We just launched the new website for Twisted Bliss Studio, a local hot yoga studio in Snoqualmie, Washington. The site features a responsive design that works well on regular browsers and mobile devices. Its based on a custom wordpress theme developed specifically for the client.
Today Apple introduced iCloud and their Scan and Match music syncing system. It’s a mechanism for multiple devices to synchronize file contents by transmitting all files to cloud based storage. Then when a new iPhone/iPad/Macbook Pro/iEtc is added to the account it downloads the files from the cloud. Apple makes the process considerably more efficient with Scan and Match, which will take locally created songs (ripped from CD, downloads off the internet, etc) and credits the users account with an equivalent iTunes song. This limits the amount of data the user has to upload, and since modern high-speed internet connections are unidirectional (upload bandwidth is much lower than download bandwidth in most cases), it makes the initial sync considerably more efficient. It also minimizes the amount of storage infrastructure Apple had to invest in to get this system operational, as duplicate content storage is eliminated.
It does bring up some interesting questions though. If I download a crappy 64 Kbps copy of Britney Spears’ latest album, Apple will automatically match my iCloud account with a 256 kbps AAC copy of the album. In effect Apple is laundering pirated music (though I fully expect they’ll be keeping tabs on the source of the original file through checksums or some other means). It will be interesting to see if Apple makes any efforts to ensure the scanned music was legally obtained.
This brings me to my one gripe with Scan and Match, the download requirement. The design does imply that all music on secondary devices will be downloaded via an internet connection. So for example, if a user had say 40 GB of music on his primary iTunes computer and he had two MacBook Pros, two iPhones, and one iPad (six devices total), the music would have be downloaded five times (200 GB of download). This seems pretty reckless considering all six devices are connected to the same WiFi network. Why can’t the music get synchronized between devices on a peer-to-peer basis?
For a long time I’ve wanted to create a section on my blog related to web application usability. This morning I was pushed over the edge. So here it begins.
While trying to sign up for a business credit card on American Expresses website I encountered a complete show-stopper. The street address field only allows 20 characters. But what if my address is longer than 20 characters? According to their help text I’m supposed to use abbreviations to make it less than 20 characters. But wait, I haven’t even gotten to the part of my address where I can use abbreviations.
Usability recommendation: Allow your users adequate field lengths to collect the type of data you intend to collect. Be generous with this. It’s inexpensive to store a few extra characters in a database, but it’s very costly to turn users away from your product/service.
I upgraded my storage machine to Open Indiana. Then after doing a zpool upgrade and a scrub I noticed a drive is marked as faulted. So far my data is still safe on three drives, but it makes me nervous to be running without a fourth drive. Will have to swap it out and resilver ASAP.
NAME STATE READ WRITE CKSUM
tank DEGRADED 0 0 0
raidz1-0 DEGRADED 0 0 0
c7d1 ONLINE 0 0 0
c8d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
c8d1 FAULTED 0 0 0 too many errors
c10d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
Last week my new Behmor coffee roaster arrived along with 10 pounds of green beans from Sweet Marias. Ideally you’re supposed to let the beans rest for about 48 hours before brewing them, so I had to time my first roasting cycle with my existing roasted bean supply. Today was the day to fire it up, so my son and I set about getting the first couple batches roasted. Overall it was really easy. With the Behmor the whole process is just a push button digital experience. There was a faint smell that came out of the machine, but sitting under the vent hood in the kitchen with a window cracked the house didn’t turn into too much of a coffee roastery.
For the first 1/2 pound run I added a bit too much “extra” time and 2nd crack snuck up on me awfully quick. Still they came out pretty good looking, probably great for espresso.
Then I took the remaining 1/2 pound and made another batch, this time going with the 12 minute P1 profile. These came out a nice FC+. I expect the lighter batch will be a bit brighter in the cup. Will be interesting to try the same bean roasted differently and taste the differences.
Thunderbolt is the new I/O technology that Apple released in the latest revision of the MacBook Pro. It’s basically PCI Express over a mini display port connector. It will replace FireWire in the future as it’s about 12 times as fast. I also believe it will completely change the type of Mac that many semi-professional/professional users will purchase. Consider a photographer, in the past they might have gone with a Mac Pro for it’s storage options. But a iMac connected to a RAID array via Thunderbolt would make a very competitive machine. First a little more on Thunderbolt.
Here is a video showing a small RAID array hitting 800 MB/sec running on a MacBook Pro. That is extreme speed for a laptop device. Previously there wasn’t a way to exceed about 180 MB/sec on a MacBook Pro, and that required using the ExpressCard/34 adapter (17″ model only) connected to an SSD array.
Inevitably Apple will be incorporating Thunderbolt into all their products in the future (since they’ve already standardized on Mini Display Port). Consider the following possibilities:
The Mac Mini is already offered in a server version. It’s fairly likely that Apple will offer a 4-core Sandy Bridge in the next version of the Mac Mini. With Thunderbolt this makes for a very fast, sub-$1000 machine.
The quad core i7 iMac has a very powerful CPU today, but it’s external storage options are limited. Thunderbolt changes everything is this regard. Imagine an iMac tethered to a 4 or 5 drive external array.
Wow, the first time we’ve ever seen a quad core processor in a MacBook Pro. The processor speeds are lower than in previous generations but they all have the turbo feature to speed up individual cores to 3.4 GHz. The only question remaining is 15″ or 17″?
Nice work Adobe on releasing a faster, less battery sucking version of Flash. Now we can watch more YouTube without worrying about draining our MacBook Pros. I still don’t think Steve is going to let you run your code on any iOS devices though. Sorry
Today we launched GetHotYogaMV.com. It’s a website for a new hot yoga studio in Maple Valley, Washington. The owners are really hip ladies and did a great job designing the yoga studio and building their business. My wife has been in for yoga a few times and just raves about the studio.
Brent Ozar asked the question as part of his iPad contest, “where would you go if you didn’t have to worry about your servers?”
I’d take my 3 year old hiking in the Issaquah Alps. More than a few times I’ve taken my pager hiking, and it’s difficult to enjoy the outdoors when you’re constantly worrying about getting a call. Having the ability to check the vitals on SQL at the trailhead and maybe again on the trail would let me relax a little more and enjoy the time together. Here are a few pictures from one of our past trips up Poo Poo Point in Issaquah, WA. Also, my company recently bought me a Redgate SQL Refactor license and I have to say they make great software. That tool alone has saved me huge amounts of time.