Saturday, March 21, 2009

Local Search and Rescue probably saved my life last Thursday


Here are some pictures of the local Fire Department, DPS, and Sheriffs department getting me out of a bad situation. I had been hiking with friends in a very remote area when my back went out (compressed disk and muscle spasms). I was unable to move without blacking out from pain, so my friends contacted Search and Rescue. I was "short hauled" out. A short haul is a ride in either a stretcher or a chair on a long rope - as you can see in the pictures, I was about a hundred feet below the helicopter.

I am very grateful to both Search and Rescue and my friends for taking such good care of me last Thursday.

I am recovering. I was able to get out of bed this morning and walk around for a few minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sun, Amazon, and cloud computing

Wow - I see that Sun's stock price is up 58% this morning because of an announcement that they are going to compete with Amazon in the cloud computing business. I have used Amazon's EC2 service on a customer project, I am creating a custom AMI (Amazon Machine Image) with all of the examples for my book project for APress, and I have a future business idea that I expect to use Amazon's cloud services to implement.

Anyway, I have always appreciated Sun (especially when they sent me a free black leather jacket with the Java logo embossed on the back after the publication of one of my early Java books) and as a company I wish them well. That said, Amazon's cloud services come close to perfection, so Sun has real implementation and business challenges. Sun does have a plan for security (compliance to data safe guard requirements, etc.) which is one area the the cloud providers need to get right if more companies can (legally) use cloud services. I expect that this is an area that Amazon is also working on.

Update: I just heard that IBM is considering buying Sun, so that is likely the reason for their stock price bump, and not their cloud services initiatives.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happenings at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: this is what we need to see more of!

This article describes something that we need more of: people and businesses realizing that our society, with the current economic correction, is going through historic changes and people need to pull together. In this case, pulling together means higher paid workers agreeing to take pay and benefits cuts (and perhaps shortened work weeks) to help protect people at their hospital in the lower pay grades.

This is exactly what we need: less greed and avarice, and more working together as a community.

BTW, I have not been doing much tech blogging: I am immensely enjoying work on my new book for APress "Intelligent Scripting for Web 3.0" and after writing 20+ pages a week, it is more fun to write about the economy :-) My work on the book should mostly be done in about 4 weeks, and then things will get back to normal.

BTW, part 2: I have a good idea for a short tech book that I am thinking of publishing on this blog, one chapter at a time. I can take advantage of people's useful blog comments to edit older chapters "in place." I will need a break from serious writing, so it may be several months before I try this.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Very nice: new Rails Magazine

I downloaded the free PDF (hopefully the magazine will do well with advertisements) for the first issue. In general, the quality of writing looks good, and the production quality is very nice. Recommended!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Very cool: compiling JRuby classes to Java classes

Charles Nutter is working on compiling Ruby types to Java types. The latest change is support for a new syntax for defining the Java argument and return types for methods. This will make it much easier reuse JRuby code in Java applications.

I have been using JRuby a lot lately because I am working on a book "Intelligent Scripting for Web 3.0" for APress and most of the examples are done in Ruby. Furthermore, a large part of what I consider "Web 3.0" to be is the Semantic Web and Linked Data. There are many fine tools for this written in Java but I find it easier to wrap Java libraries and then code applications in JRuby.

The JRuby team is now adding another tool to the toolbox: the ability to more easily reuse Ruby code in Java applications. Good stuff!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Big Agriculture Business and Congress up to no good: criminalizing home and community gardens

This could almost be funny if it were not such a serious matter: House and Senate bills HR 875 and S 425 are a "dream come true" for the big agro-corporations: force people to buy industrially grown food.

History teaches us that "victory gardens", home vegetable gardens, and community gardens are both a first line of defense during national emergencies and help make our economy and society more resilient. If you have any Russian friends, ask them about how local farming was literally a life saver for some people when the Soviet Union collapsed. The value of local food production is self evident, but very much against big business interests.

I contacted my representative and senators and politely asked them to vote against HR 875 and S 425. Please consider doing the same - thank you.