Ken Novak's Weblog
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Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Thursday, February 22, 2007


The endowment effect, the 9X problem and collaboration:  Nice summary from HBS.  "the "endowment effect" [is when] we value items in our possession more than prospective items that could be in our possession, especially if the prospective item is a proposed substitute.  We mentally compare having the prospective item to giving up what we already have (our 'endowment'), but because we're loss averse giving up what we already have (our reference point) looms large. 

And Gourville points out three factors that make the situation worse for product developers who want their offerings to succeed.  First is timing:  adopters have to give up their endowment immediately, and only get benefits sometime in the future.  Second, these benefits are not certain; the new product might not work as promised.  Third, benefits are usually qualitative, making them difficult to enumerate and compare. ..

Because of all of the above, Gourville talks about the '9X problem' --  "a mismatch of 9 to 1 between what innovators think consumers want and what consumers actually want."1  The 9X problem goes a long way to explaining the tech industry folk wisdom that to spread like wildfire a new product has to offer a tenfold improvement over  what's currently out there...

Email is a channel technology.  It creates a private conduit between the sender and receiver.  Other parties don't know that the email was sent, and can't consult its contents.   Wikis, del.icio.us, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube, on the other hand, are all platform technologies.  They accumulate content over time and make it visible and accessible to all community members.  [They also foster emergence, where structure emerges rather than being imposed by "groupware" products.] ..  So the new tools are not direct substitutes for email; instead, they're intended to provide capabilities that email can't.  Will they succeed?  It depends  heavily, I believe, on whether companies and their managers want technology platforms for collaboration.  This desire will be an important factor in solving email's 9X problem. "
  1:44:26 PM  permalink  

How To Tell The Open Source Winners From The Losers: A 9-point checklist for evaluating open source solutions:
  1. "A thriving community: A handful of lead developers, a large body of contributors, and a substantial--or at least motivated--user group offering ideas.
  2. Disruptive goals:Does something notably better than commercial code. Free isn't enough.
  3. A benevolent dictator: Leader who can inspire and guide developers, asking the right questions and letting only the right code in.
  4. Transparency: Decisions are made openly, with threads of discussion, active mailing list, and negative and positive comments aired.
  5. Civility: Strong forums police against personal attacks or niggling issues, focus on big goals.
  6. Documentation: What good's a project that can't be implemented by those outside its development?
  7. Employed developers: The key developers need to work on it full time.
  8. A clear license: Some are very business friendly, others clear as mud.
  9. Commercial support: Companies need more than e-mail support from volunteers. Is there a solid company employing people you can call? "
  1:05:13 PM  permalink  

Australia wants (incandescent) lights out by 2010:  "Australia looks set to become the first country to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, as part of its drive to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.  The Australian federal environment minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said Tuesday that he would work with the states to get rid of incandescent bulbs by 2009 or 2010. .. "Electric lighting is a vital part of our lives; globally it generates emissions equal to 70 percent of those from all the world's passenger vehicles." ..

Australia already has minimum energy performance standards that apply to electrical appliances, and a similar system will be applied to light bulbs.  The standards would ultimately make it impossible to sell incandescent bulbs. Turnbull said the government would consider some exceptions to the restrictions for special applications like medical lighting and oven lights. Australia has used similar means to phase out water-thirsty lavatory cisterns and high-pressure shower heads.

Australia would be the first country to implement such a plan. The initiative appears likely to move ahead with little political conflict.  Environmental groups are also pleased, particularly as the center-right government of John Howard was, until recently, unwilling to accept climate change as a reality."
  12:48:36 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, February 19, 2007


IE6 on XP SP2: Nov 2006: Microsoft offers a free download of "a VPC virtual machine image containing a pre-activated Windows XP SP2, IE6 and the IE7 Readiness Toolkit to help facilitate your testing and development. The image is time bombed and will no longer function after April 1, 2007. We hope to continue to provide these images in the future as a service to web developers."  Even with only 6 weeks to go, it might be a useful device for testing.
  5:11:29 PM  permalink  

Virtualization: Xen vs. Microsoft vs. VMware:  Nice short comparison chart of the three platforms in their free and paid flavors.
  5:05:30 PM  permalink  

Automatically download VMware images:  Thoughtpolice.co.uk offers VMware images ready-to-use for Fedora, Ubuntu, and FreeBSD.  When they issue a new one, they place a torrent link in a file you can download via rsync to torrent the image, all automatically.  Subscribing to virtual appliances is an idea that's been much talked about, and there may finally be a sufficient audience for it.
  12:53:29 AM  permalink  

Running Windows on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud with Qemu and Linux:  At first this seems like a kludge, but it has some other benefits:

  • "Significantly lower per/hour costs by running several additional Virtual Machines per AMI. This would require a Qemu abstraction / accelerator. You could foresee up to 15+ addition concurrent operation systems.
  • Able to more effectively simulate varied operating/hardware environments for easy migration from legacy systems.
  • Backups to S3 - Using the Qemu-img tool, instant snapshots can be saved to S3. Used with a versioning system, this could provide for unlimited roll backs.
  • VMware compatible - Qemu-img supports vmdk conversion as well as several other formats enabling easy migration from existing virtualized server environments"

Use of QEMU's virtual disk differencing system has appeal.  The big question is the speed of the resulting systems, and any possible limitations from the size of the EC2 virtual machines.
  12:44:01 AM  permalink  



daily link  Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Dell is posting VMmark results:  "Dell has recently measured various configurations of two- and four-socket PowerEdge servers running VMware ESX Server 3 using a beta version of the VMmark benchmark. The graphs shows a 4-socket PowerEdge 6950 with dual-core AMD Opteron processors has 57% higher virtualization performance than a 2-socket PowerEdge 2950 with dual-core Intel Xeon series 5100 processors. The 2-socket PowerEdge 2900 with new quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors shows 51% better performance. Equally impressive, all three 8-core servers were able to support the same number of heavily-loaded virtual machines."
  10:47:41 AM  permalink  

On the Reliability of Hard Disks:  Summarizing research papers: "there was no correlation between disk failure rates and utilization, environmental conditions such as temperature, or age. This means that high disk utilization or age of the disk have no significant impact on the probability that it will fail.  .. the expected remaining time until the next disk failure grows with the time it has been since the last failure...

They did find a strong correlation between manufacturer/model and failure rates. They observed that older disks had a much lower failure rates then newer disks, where the newer disks in general were less expensive. Basically you get what you pay when you talk about disk reliability. ..

The only exception to the lack of correlation was that infant mortality rate for disks showed a correlation with high utilization: if a new disk is really crappy you can detect this by putting a high load on it. ..

Both papers report disk failure rates in the 6%-10% range: in a datacenter with about 100,000 disks you will need to replace up to between 6,000 and 10,000 disks per year. "
  10:44:53 AM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, February 12, 2007


EPEAT: "EPEAT is a system to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products.. On January 24, President Bush signed Executive Order 13423 that mandates federal agencies to buy EPEAT registered products."  8:49:16 AM  permalink  

Energy Subsidy list:  "There are thousands of government policies in place around the world that act counter to stated objectives with regard to energy security, diversification, and environmental protection.  This ten distortionary energy subsidies discussed below represent policies that, if corrected, would materially realign price signals to more effectively achieve energy market end goals. "
  8:43:42 AM  permalink  

Eleven Emerging Ideas for SOA Architects in 2007:  Good listing of how web services are actually succeeding today.  "This is where the World Wide Web continues to teach us effective techniques for service consumption and adoption. .. This is using the basic Web formats and protocols such as HTTP, XML, REST, and JSON as the "Unix Pipe of the Web" -- to quote a colorful phrase of Ray Ozzie's -- as the fundamental glue between systems. This allows widgets, Ajax applications, and mashups to be wired together so quickly it can almost be done in real-time with the latest tools."
  8:36:07 AM  permalink  

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Last update: 2/22/2007; 1:46:22 PM.
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