mPulse

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Origin v. CoralCDN: a GrabPERF test

I have set up a test to check the performance of the CoralCDN network against that of the origin server. You can view the comparative results here.

The tests used the base HTML document of this blog as the target.

The results so far indicate that there is a slight performance penalty when using CoralCDN in an ad hoc manner. They do offer continuous CDN services, and these likely provide better overall service under normal conditions.

However, it is likely that in situations where server load or traffic volumes increase substantially, the distributed performance system, even in an ad hoc manner, would save your bacon.

I will watch these tests over the next few days to see if any unique performance patterns appear.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Idiots, Explosions, and Falling Anvils

Have I told you why I love my wife?

For Christmas, she bought me The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.

Swooooonnn!

Oh, and there were some other presents as well.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Arnold breaks his leg

...at a ski resort in Idaho. [here]

Anyone else see this as ironic?

Maine Franchise Opportunity

Stephen O'Grady points out this fine Maine business, seeking franchisees.

Opportunities to get in on this are going fast!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

IFR

"Folks, Denver has cleared us for an IFR landing. Fasten your seat belts, and take another stiff drink."

Instrument Landing

I love Winter!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's snowing...in Colorado...

Apparently there's quite the blizzard pounding Colorado. [here and here]

And your point is...?

Remember:

  1. You live at 3,000 ft and above
  2. Those big rocky and pointy things in your backyard? They might have some effect on the weather
  3. It's Winter...well, officially tomorrow

I gew up in the Rocky Mountain Trench. After November 1st, it's not if, it's when the snow will come. And you can expect to be smacked hard at least once.

Get firewood. Get candles. Get books. Get pens and paper.

And be glad you don't live in the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Swamped...

Yes, I am still here.

Yes, I am swamped.

And yes, I haven't had a creative thought in a week

Gonna make something of it?!?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Least Flattering Picture Ever Taken Of Me

Least Flattering Picture of Me Ever Taken

I love the shirt.

It's the four chins and obviously thinning hair I could do without.

Who is that guy????

Hellish Profile

Skype: Monetization, or Escaping the trap of 1999

Around the blogs, there are a number of folks talking about Skype making people pay for SkypeOut calls.

Guess what? Everywhere else in the world, you have always had to do this. So I don't understand what the problem is.

I know that the QoS will improve on SkypeOut once the feeloaders are gone. Free is good, but you get what you pay for.

Those people who think free is a sustainable business model are either selling ads to pay the bills, or falling into the 1999 trap all over again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Skype Unlimited for US and Canada -- $14.95!

Ok Skype hounds, this is is. Skype, in a move to get us North Americans (sorry Mexico) to use more Skype, is offering us unlimited calling to Canadian and American numbers (landlines and mobile) for all of 2007 for the ridiculously low price of $14.95 (offer valid until January 31, 2007).

Get it! Like you need a reason to resist Skype?

Oh, and of course all Skype-to-Skype calls are still free.

So, the question begs to be asked: why? Well, it seems that us dense folks on the non-European side of the Atlantic and the non-Asian side of the Pacific haven't been adopting Skype fast enough.

A variety of theories abound about this. The one I have is that the US phone companies have priced long-distance so low that there is no motivator driving people away from their POTS connections.

The competition between the Telcos and the Cablecos over your phone service has been another factor in keeping long-distance costs so low.

It will be interesting to see which of the long-distance companies responds with a North American unlimited plan for a ridiculously low rate.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Performance Matters, and boy does it.

My Google Alerts today picked up a post from a former colleague of mine, commenting on another post from the Yahoo! Interface blog.

I had some problems following the stream in the Performance Matters post, so I thought I would this post to clear up my thoughts.

A technical note up front: Using a waterfall chart that only shows non-persistent connections gives a very skewed view on how a modern Web page page performs. Persistent connections and modern TCP/IP stacks with fast-retransmit algorithms and window-scaling have seend a trend away from network-related performance issues in the recent past.

After the dot-bomb crash, the overabundance of bandwidth (in the form of over-built fiber-optic networks) made backbone and end-to-end connectivity issues for business and most home broadband users almost completely disappear.

The wealth of bandwidth (ok, North America consumers arethe poor cousins compared to their European and Asian counterparts) removed the veil of "it's the network" which had been the crutch of performance engineers for many years, and exposed the effects of poor design and badly designed infrastructure.

In many cases, poor page design could be overcome. However, issues with core infrastructure and application design were (and are) notoriously difficult to resolve without spending a lot of money and investing a large amount of time and manpower.

So, when these issues were combined with the shrinking budgets and constricted IT staffing in the post-boom era, application performance issues became (and still are) the root-cause of most Web performance issues.

In recent months, as the use of Internet telephony, rich-media streaming, file-sharing, RSS, and SOA products rise nearly exponentially, the bandwidth crunch is starting to re-appear. This is something I first speculated about in October 2005 [here].

In one area, I do agree with the Performance Matters post: the larger the page, the slower download. However, the ongoing debate is one that pits the "more smaller" crown against the "fewer larger" crowd. The "fewer larger" crowd appears to be losing, given the design of most modern Web pages.

The only other comment I can fairly make here is that the majority of the sources cited in the Performance Matters post are 5-6 years old. In that time, I have learned a lot about Web performance, and that the post is more relevant to to the state of the Internet at that time, and not now.

Paul Fisher dies at 93

Over the last two years, Fisher Space Pans have taken on near iconic status with the leaders (and followers) in the trendy nouveau geek crowd.

Paul Fisher died recently at 93. [via Notebookism]

Having "donated" four space pens to the cosmos through my own absent-minded behaviour, I can say that I have done my bit to help spread the meme.

Paul Fisher, write when you get there.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

My California Vanity Plate

When we lived in California (1999 - 2003), the CrazyCanuck-mobile had the following vanity plate.

Brain Drain -- 1999 - 2003

Likely only Canadians will get it.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Most days....

Once again, thanks Hugh.

FeedBurner Feeds Back

After a couple of days vacation, the FeedBurner feeds are back.

I bought the domain forwarding option from Wordpress.com (http://crazycanuck.org/), and then waited. I reactivated the feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/crazycanuck this morning, and you can start using that again.

Rick Klau from FeedBurner left a comment last night, which prompted me to try again.

Hopefully things will remain stable now.


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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Wordpress.com: BUILD A SKYPE WIDGET!

I do not want to host my own blog.

Even if I wanted to, Wordpress.com does not make it easy to export content. This, however, is a separate discussion.

Skype and Web 2.0 (I hate the term, but I am using it) are inextricably linked.

Wordpress and Web 2.0 are inextricably linked.

Wordpress.com hates Skype. It's that simple.

According to a Wordpress.com forum post:

Actually in this case it's because skype and callme are being stripped. They're not XML recognized tags and staff has stated that they won't be supported.


And

Fraid not. Javascripts are still removed from input for security concerns. If you really need Skype, I would suggest getting a paid host.


See here.

Wordpress.com: BUILD A SKYPE WIDGET!

Thank you.




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New header image

This is a shot I took at Sweetgrass Farm Winery in November 2005.

One of my favourite places in the world.

PS: Keith Bodine, vintner and distiller at Sweetgrass Farm Winery got the last of his necessary permits and licenses this week. Wine and spirits shall start flowing from Maine soon! Well, as soon as one can expect fine wine and spirits to flow.


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Back to Performancing

After a few months using the Microsoft Live Writer, I am giving the Performancing Blogging Extension for Firefox another try. Just seems more natural that since I use Firefox as my daily work platform, I should use it for everything.


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The Joy and Stigma of Burnout

Today, the sun is shining and I am working from home, so things don't seems as bad.

The last few days have been interesting, as I have become more aware that the my work-related anger and dissatisfaction does not originate with the people at work, or the place I work, or the work itself, but from that beast that so many white-collar professionals suffer from: burnout.

Burnout is not sexy. In the US and Canada, it is seen as a sign of weakness, a lack of the American Work Ethic. NPR had a great discussion of burnout this week, and New York Magazine published a cover article on it this week.

Listening to NPR on Monday, there was a story of how the US armed forces are punishing soldiers who return from Iraq and are diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) [here]. The successful soldiers see the soldiers (what defines success for a soldier?) with PTSD as weaklings, people who should be punished, pushed out onto the streets, stripped of their American citizenship as cowards and traitors.

I do not claim that PTSD and work-related burnout are equal; my focus here is on the stigma that the US culture places on doing the job, regardless of what the job does to you.

You can do the job. Good. What kind of person are you?

I am a rebel. I do not fit the US success criteria. I don't want a title. I don't want a box on an org chart. I don't want to have the biggest bank account. And I have no respect for people who worship at the temple of US success until they show me that they can do something that I respect.

Today. I wrote an email to my manager and VP stating that during my Christmas break this year, I will be completely unreachable for  anything work-related. Unreachable for EVERYTHING work-related. It is likely that I will be seen as "letting the team down", as it is not only end-of-quarter, but end-of-year.

You know what? I don't care. I am more important than my job. If the company I work for now doesn't recognize that, I will find a new company.

You know who the most successful people I know are? My friends who "dropped out" of the corporate world, moved to Maine, and are slaving, day and night, to get their under-funded winery project off the ground. While raising three kids. While renovating and repairing 200-year old farm buildings.

Success does not come from money, power, or a title. I comes from having the respect of the people around you. I comes from a desire to get up in the morning and do something that completes you, fills a void inside you.

Right now, when I get up, I step into a void.

Burnout. It's here to stay.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Changes at work -- your thoughts?

Yesterday, I read Anne Zelenka's post on ROWE at Best Buy. I was heartened to see that this idea was getting mentioned again, and that it was getting front-page interest from Big Media.

On a lark, I forwarded the post to my director and VP. Their responses frightened me. They were written in management-ese, and indicated that timesheets are soon to be added to my daily routine.

Hugh Mcleod -- Sheep/Wolf

I can help cure the first, starting with Why Business People Speak Like Idiots, and George Orwell's Politics and the English Language.

The second plague, timesheets, I see as more odious. It goes along with the new measurement-focused management culture in our company. Sometimes, I wonder what's more important to the managers and executives: measurements or results.

As a person who is difficult enough to manage due to my bipolar, and my deep-rooted desire to do things that have meaning, timesheets are a problem for me. I don't work to timesheets; I work to goals.

Structured environments have always been a serious problem for me. They trigger a deep resentment, some deep rooted need in my soul not to conform. I know that they serve a purpose, and that some people take a great deal of comfort in the process of knowing how they spent their day. My comfort comes from delivering meaningful results, not in worshipping the almighty bureaucracy.

I suppose that as the company I work for grows and has more people to manage, timesheets are inevitable. However, it's about the time that timesheets appear that I feel the need to find more results-oriented, dynamic organizations.

Timesheets are a sign of corporate doublespeak, freeing people from the need to excel.

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Monday, December 4, 2006

Skype: FIX THE VOICEMAIL PROBLEM!

Dear Skype:

I love the software. I am using it more for personal and work calls.

But I need to know when I have a voicemail. Now, not 24 hours from now.

I know you know about the problem. But it's been over a month. I assume the voicemail notification wasn't a problem before. So you know how to fix the problem, right?

Are you working on it?

Is anyone out there?

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

What American Accent do I have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
Boston
North Central
Philadelphia
The Northeast
The Inland North
The South
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

This is good to know. I have been spending years trying to make my speech sound as non-descript as possible. It was interesting this summer to go home and talk to my family. They have a uniquely Southeastern BC/Southwestern Alberta accent. Hey, even Canada has unique accents.

You don't think so? Well, the stereotypical "Canadian" accent that is portrayed in the US popular media is actually a Southern Ontario / Toronto Area accent. It is easily recognizable and immediately pegs you in the rest of Canada as someone who should be distrusted as a likely carpetbagger. ;-)

The only spoken/written giveaways I have retained are:

-- "a- bowt" and "owt"
-- "prawcess"
-- "sheduel", although I do alternate this with "skeduel"
-- I spell "theatre", "centre", "colour", etc. correctly

However, if you call me American, I will be very quick to correct you.

Friday, December 1, 2006

FeedBurner Feeds Removed

Well, for some reason that I can't determine, FeedBurner and my Wordpress.com feed stopped playing nicely this afternoon. And they won't reload, because Wordpress.com wants to send all 1400+ articles in the database back to FeedBurner.

Sorry to do this to you all, but the FeedBurner feed is removed. Deleted.

Hope y'all switch to the Wordpress.com feed.

UPDATE: The FeedBurner Feed is back.

FeedBurner can't find Crazy Canuck Feeds

Joe Kottke of FeedBurner sent me an e-mail to tell me that the measurement of my feed was throwing off their GrabPERF Stats.

Guess what? FeedBurner can't find the Wordpress feeds at http://crazycanuck.wordpress.com/feed/, hence the disruption.

Likely you won't read this until it's fixed, if it's fixed.

I love Fridays.