Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to choose between a Mac and a PC?

Simple. Is price the major factor in your purchase decision?
YES -> buy a PC
NO-> buy a Mac
Apologies to anyone who was expecting more. FYI, six months ago I purchased a MacBookPro, it had been 20 years since I my last Mac.

UPDATE 3/23/2013 - Never looked back from this decision, and have become a 100% Mac household. For startups in NYC, almost all are going with Macs. For developers, a non-brainer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is cloud computing ready?

I recently read Infoworld's coverage of Cloud Computing (link here). I think the description is overly complex, futuristic and not clear. The cloud is too new to bed considered as a stack. Let me try to simplify the cloud.

IMO, there are 3 types of cloud services:-
1) SaaS (i.e., email outsourced, etc.)
2) Web services (i.e. google maps, facebook connect, XML APIs, ProgrammableWeb, etc.)
3) Infrastructure (i.e. Amazon EC2). This is what I think of when I say "the cloud"

SaaS is relatively easy, either do it or don't, depending on whether SaaS product provides the features you need. Web services is also easy, really just a web API. (NOTE: I am making the assumption that security issues in the cloud meet appropriate standards for you applications. This is different in different industries and applications).

Infrastructure is hard. The main barrier is with existing applications that are two or more years old, and not cloud compatible. I've not seen nor heard of any CTOs moving an existing application to the cloud. I've only seen it done for new application frameworks which are cloud-friendly, typically PHP, Ruby-On-Rails and other open source frameworks. Many startups are using these open source frameworks and the cloud for infrastructure, and having great success.

The other "unspoken" barrier is that deploying in the cloud invalidates existing corporate data center investments. Oops! You would think a private cloud would solve this investment dilemma, but I have not seen large corporations move this way. I was completely surprised when I discovered that most very large corporations have no intentions of building a private cloud.

Question: how is a CTO to move to the cloud?
Answer: by replacing existing application with a brand-new application which is cloud-friendly

This is tough, who has time, budget or inclination to completely replace existing applications? This is way harder than internet-enabling applications, which CTOs have been doing or completed in the last 5+ years. How long will it take for us to completely replace all our application frameworks?

In the meantime, we'll continue to watch with envy as startups make full use of the cloud.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kindle 2 Review

I acquired a Kindle 2 a few months ago, and had been using it on my daily train commute. I spend 1st hour reading NY Times, and 2nd hour reading blogs and book samples. Having fun with it, and I am almost ready to cancel my NY times print subscription.

What I like:-
- It’s .3 inches thin, and very style-ly. Has that iPod/iPhone/Palm coolness feel to hold and touch
- Screen is easy to read in all but low light, no eye strain
- All buttons and controls are excellent from physical/mechanical perspective (see "don’t like" below on navigation)
- Power lasts a week, whereas iPod doesn't, although I find myself turning off wireless after daily NY times download, which triples battery time
- Wireless connectivity always works. Full books download in 60 seconds after purchase
- Daily subscription downloads (NY Times, Newsweek, Blogs) happens automatically
- Pictures in articles make NY Times feel like the NY Times. Has a Table of Contents (TOC) for NY Times, easy to browse around
- 14 day free trials of periodicals and first chapter free samples of books. Love this!
- Saving my place in what I read
- Looking up words in dictionary automatically (using this when reading bed-time stories to my son)
- Shopping for books on Amazon store works very well. Auto connected to my Amazon account
- Emailing documents to myself my 10 cents is good (they will be very long documents), although this can be done for free using USB cable to PC
- Seems to bounce well when dropped occasionally

What I don’t like
- Navigation is ok, but not intuitive like the iPod. Needs learning (i.e. difference between back and previous buttons)
- Almost every person in the office whom I demoed to thought it was touch screen for navigation
- Comes with no physical cover, what about just a cheap one?
- $15 for NY times monthly subscription? What about ½ price for existing print subscribers
- Paying monthly fee for blog subscriptions (basically subsidizing free wireless, which Amazon pays)
- Can't have automatic search against NY times (i.e. basketball, Australia, Drupal), has to be manual
- Can't tell which sections of NY times I’ve read, and which I haven’t
- No NY times crossword or KenKen (plus side is I spend more time reading)
- Article clippings lose all formatting, its like Unix (i.e. it just copied text appended to one long file of clippings)
- I don’t like the text-to-speech in general, but that’s just me.
- Cant read reviews of books in store, only overall rating
- I have been unsure about using it on subway.

UPDATE: Went to buy Harry Potter, Book 7 for recent overseas trip and was not available. And I thought initially that search was broken. Same experience as searching for Beatles in iTunes store. Had to carry heavy Harry Potter book 7 on plane, so that soured me a bit on Kindle, but guessing I will get over it.