Monday, May 12, 2008

A Few Things...

First off, I've been using Firefox 3 Beta 5 full time for the past several days and holy crap, they fixed everything. It's super fast and memory footprint appears stable, even with Gmail, Google Calendar and Reader running the whole time. I take back all the mean things I said before. It's true, the rest are but followers...

I finally got my Live Mesh invitation on Friday but had not had a chance to play with it until yesterday. It seems to work pretty well, and actually solves a problem for me keeping multiple copies of my photos directory on multiple computers, (which are both imported to from different cameras+phones), in sync without hairy rsync scripts and order-of-operations nightmares. According to the site you get 5GB of online storage. There is an option to not sync to the "Live Desktop" though, so I wonder if that just uses the central servers as a pass-through? Anyway, am interested to see how this platform evolves, when non-MS OSes and devices become supported, etc. I haven't tried Dropbox, but so far this service seems better since you can have multiple directories synced up in arbitrary locations, and even have the directories in different locations on the filesystems of the participating hosts. Neat.

Felix has an interesting take on recent PaaS developments. I commented there about the possibility of merging the AWS and App Engine approaches into a killer-PaaS-app. You could have an offering built on top of AWS, but offering a higher level of abstraction. This thing would still be lower-level than App Engine, in that you could do whatever you wanted to with your images, but would provide hooks into the "container" or whatever for persistence, messaging, etc. I think if you merged this idea of a super AWS-powered virtualization web framework with something like RightScale then you would really have something. Imagine a web app that was instrumented in such a way so that it could autonomously scale itself up and down in terms of number of instances it was running on, etc. The administration utilities would allow you to configure arbitrary rules for how large you would want to let the app grow, what metrics would be used, etc. I think building the hooks for this kind of instrumentation is key though since I don't think load average or something like it is enough in all cases. It would be sweet if there was an API allowing arbitrary exposure of app-specific measurements to factor into this scaling algorithm.

Don't know if RightScale has anything in there like this already. If it doesn't let's start a company and make millions...

3 comments:

felix said...

FF3b5 saved my life! FF2 was crashing constantly (not entirely its fault, I'm brutal with my browsers, but still). FF3b5 is solid, fast and doesn't crash for weeks on end with dozens of windows open with dozens of tabs in each. So great. :)

I'm really interested to see if MS can actually pull of Mesh. If I had to lay a wager, I'd bet no, but damn if I don't need a universal sync'ing service already! Does it to fancy slow drip sync'ing - like if you were going to sync a huge photo/music library would it just suck down all your bandwidth for the duration? Or would it do it more neighborlylike?

rock said...

RE: FF3, I know, right?! Life is now worth living again...

RE: Mesh, it does seem to be throttling the bandwidth consumed. Not sure if this is by design, (I suspect so), or if it's just that my upload speed from home is just that sucky, (although it is quite sucky).

One problem I did notice relates to Mesh+FF3b5. Mesh has this concept of the "Live Desktop" which is a browser-based Ajaxy desktop UI, (double-clickable window icons, etc.) Anyway, when you try to open an image file in this interface it gets mad at you for not having Silverlight installed, although I do. Not sure if this is a problem with Live Desktop or with FF3 not reporting or running Silverlight plugin correctly.

Tim O'Brien said...

rock, I believe Cohesive FT is the company positioned to do the whole RightScale + AWS combo. From what I know of the company, I really do think they have the technology to become the enabler here.