Photon Processors already?

Along with other accelerating aspects of technology, of course
processors have to keep in step. There has been a recent trend
towards “mulcoth” architectures … multi-core, multi-threaded.
This is where a single “chip” that is placed in your computer might
actually contain “multiple cores” (multiple processors) and that these
processors would then provide “multi-threading” or “hyperthreading”
within them. What this give you is the equivalent of a
multi-processor machine inside of that single chip.

Much of the progress towards “mulcoth” processors was due to heat
issues as we continue to push up the speed of processors. So
instead of one giant “even faster” processor, you’ll be using machines that have
multiple cores … or multiple processors … running at current speeds in that one chip in your

I caught this article that shows where we are going to begin to track
the progress of newer approaches to breaking the speed limit on
processors. Photon Processors.

Look out … the future is coming quickly …

Production of Photon Processors Expected in 2006 [Slashdot:]

Towards the 1TB (Terabyte) disk drive

Wow … the doubling continues. There are two key points that I
like about this article. The first is that 500GB PC disk drives
will be on the market this year. That is now 100,000 times the
capacity of my first hard disk drive that I ever had! The 100,000 times growth in capacity has occurred in less than 30 years.

The second key point is that it shows no sign of stopping. From this article:

Desktop drive capacity will top out at around 1 terabyte by late 2006,
before running into technological problems in maintaining data

We are on track to again double by the end of next year! It is
difficult to image that common, and eventually commodity, hard disk
drives will reach these sizes. That is a huge amount of
data. In addition, as humans we will simply solve the tough
problems and continue the growth rates with newer technologies.

A last point is that there are currently numerous solutions – the most
popular referred to as RAID – that allow you to aggregate multiple disk
drives into a redundant array that appears as one, even larger, disk
drive. I have been tracking solutions like this over the years to
mentally track the cost of a terabyte of storage. I am now
stunned that in the next year, I might be buying one terabyte of hard
disk storge in a single PC disk drive.

PC World: PC Drive Reaches 500GB.
Demand for greater capacity continues to rise due in large part to a
growing need for music and video storage on PCs and consumer
electronics devices. To meet that need, storage vendors are turning to
new recording technologies. The first of these, perpendicular
recording, will debut from Toshiba this year. [Tomalak’s Realm]

More and more language …

Lately, Sam’s vocabulary has increased, and the complexity of the
things he says are really cool to hear.  We have been watching a
lotof the Baby Einstein DVDs, and adding adjectives and adverbs to all
sorts of nouns.  He also recognizes so many things …

We went to the park in Midway the other day and had a blast. 
Running around and around … up the mini rock wall, down the
slide.  The slide was generating a lot of static, and so we were
also shocking each other and the metal parts of the playset.

I realized how out of shape I have become … he just about wore me out!

In and Out of Bed

It’s been fun.  For the last month, Sam has been getting out of bed by himself … and back in! 
The getting out actually started a while back, however it has been
amazing that he will now sometimes get some toys, put them in his bed,
and then crawl back in with them.

The other day Tracy came in to tell me that he had got out, put his
large toy garbage truck in the crib, and then crawled back in to take a
nap.  Very cool.

EnOcean … impressive combination of technologies …

A friend of mine Dave Cline just sent me a link to EnOcean
This is a very impressive company that is leading the wave of the
future when it come to distributed sensor networks.  They have
addressed some of the key elements of a successful solution:

  • No Batteries – the sensors create energy from their environment
  • Wireless Communications – they sense and send their data
  • Mesh Networking – they use a hierarchical mesh networking system

This is some very impressive work, and ought to get people thinking about what is going to be possible soon.

Anti-Spam and what to do today

It seems that anti-spam is, of course, all about verified
identity.  I really liked this article, and it got me looking into
what I can do on my mail servers today.  I realized that there are
things I can do when I read this quote:

Reports indicate that as much as 50 percent of sending domains are
authenticating their outbound e-mail using SIDF and signatures.

Wow … am I behind the times!  I went to Google and did some searching.  I found a great blog talking about SIDF where there are the following links describing where to read more and what to do.

The first link is the Microsoft SenderID page that has a lot of information.  It also has a link to this SenderID Overview Presentation that gives a great overview of the concepts and how it works.  The last link is to the Microsoft Sender ID SPF Record Wizard … which will assist in creating the actual DNS records that you have to configure.

All of this is oriented towards telling the world that your mail server
is the legitimate source of mail for your domains.  Time to add
more identity information about my mail server into DNS … I’m
creating my SPF Records right now …

E-mail authentication. Then what?. Sendmail CEO Dave Anderson explains why we’re approaching the end of e-mail as we know it. [CNET]

Up2date e-mail notifications

A while back I had started to experiment with a way to get e-mail
notifications from my servers when up2date detected that new packages
were available. I am running a series of Fedora Core 1,2, and 3
boxes and it seems that the updates come quite frequently.

I decided that this weekend I would sit down and write a new bash
script that could be run daily by cron. Here’s what I wrote:

# First lets check with up2date …

# have up2date list the available packages …
up2dateOutput=`up2date –nox -l`

# now check to see if packages are listed …
firstUpdatePackage=`echo “$up2dateOutput” | grep -A1
“\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-” | awk ‘{if (NR==2) print $1}’`
# take the
# grep for the long hyphen divider
# grabbing that line and the
next line,
# awk the second line to see if there
# is a package name at the

#echo “First package: |$firstUpdatePackage|”

if [ ! -z “$firstUpdatePackage” ]
# there is a package name
  #echo “Sending e-mail …”
  nodeName=`uname -n` # get the host name
  mailSubject=”Up2date – “$nodeName
  # create the e-mail subject line
  `echo “$up2dateOutput” | mail -s “$mailSubject” root`
  # send the e-mail to root
exit 0

So far, it appears to do exactly what I had hoped … an e-mail notice
when there are packages that can be updated on my servers!

AJAX and Smart Clients

I always think that it’s funny how people want to say that it’s
either/or. As someone who has been working with AJAX application
development for years, I’ll say that AJAX has it’s share of
issues. At the same time I’ll say that I can’t understand why
more web sites are not using AJAX!

AJAX provides a very rich and usable interface for web-based
applications. As both Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox both
now support extremely rich DOM interfaces, and lots of support of lots
of standards, most web sites could be offering a lot more functionality
to their visitors. Another huge advantage of AJAX is impact on
servers. A good developer can take lot of load off their servers,
and improve response time, by pushing more computing down to the client

Smart Clients, however, are the future for many applications.
This is most evident with e-mail … probably the most ubiquitous
“Smart Client” application on the planet. We run our e-mail
application, and bring all of the mail down to a cache on our local
hard disk. We can read and write e-mail any time and any place
… connected or disconnected … and later synchronize to the servers.

In any case … it’s not about either/or … instead both of these
models are simply enhancements of what we are already using. Both
AJAX and Smart Clients are going to be with us for a while!

Mary Jo Foley reports on AJAX vs. SmartClient debate.

Mary Jo Foley: Could AJAX Wash Away ‘Smart Clients?’

[Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger]

Why using Identity is losing Identity

There are many things that computerized digital identity management
systems are going to be able to do … and many things they will
not. When I read this article about Amazon, I again thought about those who
believe that “I can control my identity” … I am not a strong believer
of this. Per my Second Axiom I believe that identity is given
to us by communities that we belong to. In addition, per this
article, I believe that the more that we use our identity, the more that we contribute to losing control of it!

What this article refers to is how Amazon is not only collecting information about its customers, but also the friends and family
of their customers. It appears that if I am an Amazon customer
and choose to have Amazon send a gift to someone, Amazon will begin to aggregate
information about them also! This also means that if my friends
or family choose to give me a gift via Amazon … people who I have
shared my identity information with … Amazon is beginning to
aggregate my identity! What is interesting is the depth of information
that Amazon is able to gather about me, or the friends and family of
its customers. It’s almost a form of “consensual phishing”!
Amazon simply asks its customers “Please provide us with a lot of
details about your friends and family!” … and we go ahead and enter
addresses, birthday information, etc. We sell out the identity of our own friends and family!

While I was at Novell working on digitalMe, I used to give a
variety of presentations where I would talk about the grocery store
cards that are given away to customers. I would ask the audience
how many people use these cards, and then follow up with a series of

What phase of the moon do you buy the most groceries? The grocery store knows. What foods do you buy the most during a full moon? They know that also. What month do you use the most toilet paper? Yep … they know that. What do you feed your family? Of course they know that. When did you have your first child? They know when the first diapers and baby food are purchased. How quickly are your children growing? Diapers come in easily tracked sizes. What color wrappers are you mostly likely to purchase? Ever thought about that? What shelf do you purchase the most from? Hmmm … think about that one!  What in-store advertising do you respond to?  Did you even consciously notice it?

People get the idea very quickly … the amount of information being
harvested about you is huge. If we take this in the Amazon
direction, there are all of the same questions that I could ask about
our behavior … what you are likely to click, what kinds of referrals convince you to purchase, etc.

The more that any of us interact with the world around us, we leave
behind a trail of identity information that not only identifies our
behaviors, it begins the process of spreading our identity over a
larger landscape … more and more places where we have little control
over it.

Amazon Knows Who You Are.
Many companies have systems for tracking customer habits, but Amazon
has collected info longer and used it more proactively. It now has
technology that tracks data on those you buy gifts for, and it reserves
the right to sell it all. [Wired News]