Tag Archives: tech

Sensordrone

I’ve been reading some things about Sensordrone – the first commercially available functional Tricorder … sort of.

photo-full

It’s a multi-sensor device that communicates with your phone via bluetooth, providing a variety of environmental sensor information – temperature, humidity, lighting. presence of various gases, and so on.

It looks like the kind of thing that would be ideal for home automation or other “internet of things” automation.

Unfortunately, it’s at a price point – $200 – where I have to seriously consider what I’d actually do with it, which is, probably, not a whole lot.

What will be cool is when these kinds of sensors are so cheap to make that they’re in everything. Remember 10 years or so ago, GPS technology was still crazy expensive and now there’s a GPS chip in everything from your camera to your phone to your watch.

Conversation and Community, by Anne Gentle

I just started reading Conversation and Community by the amazing Anne Gentle. I’m a few dozen pages in, and already recognize that I’m sitting at the feet of a guru.

I’ve been doing documentation for 15 years, roughly, making it up as I go along. I’ve done pretty well, considering, with 8 or 12 books (depending on what you count), and large portions of the Apache httpd docs to my credit, but Anne has made a science of it, and I’ve been continually impressed with the way that she wrangles groups of people into producing great content in literally a few days.

I’ll have to write more, later, once I’ve finished the book. I find that books like this tend to clarify and focus things that I’ve observed, but never taken the time to really analyze, about documentation and “customer support”.

OpenStack User Survey (Juno Summit)

Last month at the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, the highly-anticipated OpenStack user survey results were released. For reasons of respondent anonymity, the raw data of the survey will not be released, but rather just a summary of the numbers. Even with that, the new numbers are very interesting.

It should be noted that the results of any survey like this have to be understood in the light of the respondent sample set. People answering this survey are those who are somewhat engaged with the OpenStack Foundation, and (obviously) aware that there even is a survey. When software is available freely, like OpenStack, there is simply no effective way to contact everyone that’s using it, so we’re necessarily seeing only a small percentage of the total population, and have to hope that it’s a representative percentage. There’s also a lot of marketing of the survey in the various “camps” in the OpenStack ecosystem, trying to get people to fill out the survey. Here, too, we have to hope that this is roughly fairly distributed, and does not itself skew the results.

That said …

The results of the survey are here: http://www.slideshare.net/ryan-lane/openstack-atlanta-user-survey

As the RDO community guy, of course my initial interest was in the distribution of deployment OS platform, as well as the deployment tools.

Let’s start with OS.

*Note: Graph corrected – I had the wrong numbers in this earlier*

Note that since the survey combines paid and non-paid Ubuntu, it seems reasonable to combine CentOS and RHEL deployments. I’m sure that there won’t be universal agreement that that’s the right thing to do. So be it.

Compare these to the numbers six months ago:

We’re not comparing apples to apples here, but here’s a graph of all the combined deployments across the categories, in the 2014 survey:

Several interesting conclusions that I draw from these numbers. Although, again, we’re not comparing apples to apples, so I’m sure that other folks will interpret differently.

Overall, the Ubuntu to RHEL/CentOS split moved from 55/34 to 47/39, indicating, overall, a movement away from Ubuntu towards CentOS and RHEL as the preferred platform for OpenStack deployments.

More interesting, looking at the breakdown into poc/dev/prod categories, there’s an even stronger motion towards CentOS (and RHEL) as a preferred platform for *new* deployments. Looking at the versions deployed in production, it’s clear that once folks have something deployed, they leave it alone, with a pretty high number of people running versions that are as far back as Essex, Diablo, or even earlier.

On the deployment tool side, I think that the question could stand to be clarified. I wonder, of the people who indicate that they are using Puppet or Chef to do their deployment, whether they’re using another tool such as crowbar or packstack to run those tools, for example, or if they’re actually writing their own Puppet/Chef scripts. I would also have expected, just anecdotaly based on various conversations, to see devstack much further out in front. Perhaps I’m just talking to a rather unrepresentative group – which is, of course, why surveys like this are so useful.

Also of great interest to me is the distribution of industries. I need to do more work on comparing the numbers side-by-side, but the academic sector (the #2 industry) has grown against the previous survey, from 11 to 13%, and some other industries have also grown a little. The fact that IT is still far and away the largest consumer of this stuff seems to confirm everyone’s impression that we’re still very early days in this stuff, and the more we see it grow in non-IT industries, the more we’ll know that it’s here to stay. (It also seems likely to me that people outside of the IT sector are unaware that there’s even a survey to fill out.) So that’s something to keep watching in the next time around.

Happy 15th, OSCon

15 years ago, I attended the first OSCon, in Santa Clara, I think. I was there for the Perl content, and managed to pay my way by giving a full day tutorial on the Apache web server. Amazingly, they kept asking me to come back and do it again, and I gave one talk or another every OSCon until 2006, after which I skipped a few years. Last year I made it back to OSCon again, and I’ll be going this year too.

This will be my first OSCon when I have no speaking responsibilities at all, although last year I only had a BOF, not an actual session.

This year, I’ll be working the Red Hat booth, and the OpenStack pavilion, as well as, hopefully, a little bit at the Apache Software foundation booth. Between that, and various evening events, and various meetings, I expect this to be another OSCon where I don’t actually sleep. I can’t quite manage that like I used to in 1998. But I’m really looking forward to the conference this year, and seeing the folks that I only see at OSCon.

Will I see you there?

MacBook Pro – Initial Impressions

I got a new MacBook Pro today. (Long story. I wasn’t supposed to get one for another year. Lucky me.)

The screen is, at least initially, the biggest disappointment. It’s very glossy, and at the office, under fluorescent light is extremely reflective. On the other hand, here at home, it’s not reflective at all, so I guess it has a lot to do with the light. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty good in outdoor sunlight, too, but today hasn’t been an outdoor kind of day.

The transition from my old laptop was, as always, painless. This time, I did the transfer from a Time Machine backup, which was even less painful than the FireWire cable transfer last time.

The click-anywhere trackpad took almost no time to get used to. I had heard and expected bad things about it, but it’s very nice, and matches the way that I think about a track pad anyways – click where your finger happens to be at that moment. The multi-finger shortcuts are also very cool. I think I’ll get used to that pretty quick.

The speakers are considerably louder than the ones on the previous generation. That’s nice for us, since our DVD player broke several months ago, and we watch all our movies on the laptop.

Unfortunately, the DVI connector is now a mini-DVI connector, so I need to go buy new widgets to connect to my other widgets. Fortunately, these widgets are all pretty cheap, but it’s still annoying. On the plus side, it means that all of the ports are on one side of the laptop, so I will no longer have cables sticking out of both sides when I’m docked at work.

On the whole, very pleased, and I think I’m going to enjoy it.

MacBook Pro

I received my new MacBook Pro at close of business on Tuesday. I didn’t take it home with me. I worked on it briefly yesterday, and am now all the way migrated. The migration was almost disappointingly easy. All my data migrated over firewire, and only stuff that I had installed from source was missing at the end of it – which amounts to Apache, and very little else. I imagine I’ll run across things that are missing as I go along, but so far that’s been the only one, and I didn’t have to turn on the old laptop once today.

Unread

I’ve been using Apple’s Mail.app as my primary mail client ever since Thunderbird gave up the ghost about 6 months ago. No, I don’t remember what the problem was with Thunderbird.

Lately, and with increasing regularity, messages which I have read get marked unread when I’m off looking in another folder. When this happens, I have to mark them as read multiple times before they stay marked that way.

I’m not sure if this is a problem with the client or with the server, but it happens on two different mail servers, one of which is running Exchange, and the other is running Cyrus imapd, so I tend to lean towards blaming the client.

I’ve been unable to find reference to anyone else having this problem, but it’s pretty hard to know what to search for.

Anyone else seen this?

Yeah, that’s what I said

Clay Shirky has an interesting article about Second Life, and it’s gratifying to know that I’m not the only one.

Yes, I tried Second Life. No, I didn’t get it. I mean, sure, I got it, but I didn’t see what the appeal was. It felt like a MUD, but a lot harder to use, and not nearly as gratifying.

I was a dedicated, perhaps even addicted, LambdaMOO user for a couple years. I spent *hours* there, when I was working at Lexmark. I’d start test scripts, and they’d take 30 minutes to run. While I was waiting, I was building stuff on LambdaMOO. And one or two other MUDs.

But after a while, the only point of it was the people that were there. That’s what it always comes down to. The Internet, for me, is about communication. Turning communication into an elaborate game doesn’t make communication less the goal. Particularly when the game has no point. MUDs were games, in one sense, but there wasn’t an objective, really, other than creating cool stuff. And I got pretty good at creating cool stuff and scripting it to do interesting things.

Second life was interesting while I had a handful of friends there. But now when I log in, there’s nobody there I know, and so therefore nothing interesting to do. And because I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to build anything, and I don’t have anywhere to build it, there’s absolutely nothing of interest to do.

If, as Second Life claims, there are 2 million people there, I have no idea where they are, since I can never find anybody.