I was a ghost in the machine until the machine woke up

May 28, 2007 at 11:26 PM | categories: random, video, web 2.0, philosophy | View Comments

Found this video randomly today.... This is why I do what I do. Computers are great.
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Amazon S3 Backup Solution

May 21, 2007 at 12:48 PM | categories: unix, web 2.0, system administration, perl | View Comments

Although I've had an Amazon Simple Storage Service account for awhile, I haven't used it. For those of you who aren't familiar with S3, Amazon has opened up their resources for everyday people to use. In this instance, you can use their servers as a place to dump your files online. Currently they charge $0.15 per gigabyte of storage used as well as a fee for the bandwidth to transfer it back and forth.

With this setup, they take care of the administration, backup, redundancy, troubleshooting, and the storage scales to whatever you need automatically. I've been searching for a good backup script so I can backup all the stuff I have running on this web-host, but most of them have been beta to this point or a pain to setup. Today I finally installed Brackup through CPAN, along with all the requisite Perl modules. I've already tested a backup and restore and it seems it will fit my needs well.

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Dabble DB: 7 Minute Overview

June 28, 2006 at 09:12 AM | categories: web 2.0 | View Comments

Though the whole Web 2.0, look at us try to shoehorn a desktop application to the web thing is getting a little old, I was really impressed by how easy DabbleDB makes publishing data from a Spreadsheet, check out the 7 Minute whirlwind tour.

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ClaimID Review

April 11, 2006 at 04:44 PM | categories: review, claimid, web 2.0 | View Comments

I surf the web. A lot. Way more than average. I revisit sites like Slashdot, Digg, and the daily del.icio.us most popular pages often. Doing this, you will run across a lot of "Web 2.0" startups which have a beta you can test as soon as you sign up for the site. I usually pop in my e-mail and forget completely about the site. Occasionally, I'll even go all the way through the sign up process, get bored and move on. ClaimID.com was one such startup: "ClaimID is a service that lets you claim the information that is about you online. That information is then associated with your name, providing folks an easy way to see what is and isn't about you online. In doing so, you get to influence the search engines, and provide people more relevant information when they search for you. It's time to reclaim some power back from the search engines. ClaimID is about letting you have some say in what search engines say about you." This sounds mildly interesting, but it didn't solve a pressing problem for me. If you search Google for Matt Michie or "Matt Michie" the top results all relate to me and don't contain anything I wouldn't want a potential employer to see. ClaimID popped back onto my sonar after I was doing some searches manually. I am currently in the job market, and it would be foolish not to check what Google and other search engines think about me. On my search results, my ClaimID page was ranked very highly, which surprised me since I hadn't added any links. Immediately, I began to use the service, to make full use of the highly ranked result. It is obvious the ClaimID guys are doing some good SEO on the site, and that other people are starting to link into it, giving it some good PageRank juice. Google has changed their algorithm recently to rank higher those pages which contain your search result in the URL. In this case, my ClaimID contained parts of my name, and this combined with ClaimID's PR of 5, boosted it right up. I was able to put together a decent summary of my web presence in about 10 minutes using the handy bookmarklet and a couple of categories. In the future, I will probably put this URL on my resume so that employers can go directly there, and I will worry a little less about what strange things they might attribute or misattribute to me. ClaimID also conveniently caches the links that you find, so if something is moved or deleted, you have a record of what you've done or people have said about you. Even though it is still Beta, I haven't found any glaring flaws. It is a bit odd that the picture you can post in your profile isn't resized and saved on their servers, but I'm sure that is being worked out. The interface is clean and has some nice AJAX goodness where it makes a difference. The service is currently free and there are no advertisements yet, so I'm not sure what the eventual business model is going to be. They probably aren't either. It is still a bit of a new frontier. I felt myself becoming a bit nervous about how much information someone could glean from my ClaimID profile until I realized they would be able to get the same information from search engines, without my editorial control. In some ways, Scott McNealy was right in that we don't have privacy, but with ClaimID I won't have to get over it and I can start claiming it.

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