TouchGrind is good game for anyone who likes skateboarding or fingerboarding, but it could use a little work to make it a great game. Pick a board and either practice your moves in your backyard (Warmup); practice tricks and attempt your single-trick high score at the main park (Jam Session); or go for the high score in a timed format at the main park (Competition). TouchGrind lets you use two fingers on your touch screen to control your board for turning and performing tricks. An easy-to-understand How To section helps you get used the controls. The physics are very good, … Read more
We finally get CNET photographer Sarah Tew into The 404 lair and I screw it all up in the preshow. 'Twas totally unintentional, Ms. Tew, I promise! Ahh, this big, dumb mouth of mine. Anyway, Sarah was dragged in by Corinne Shulze, another CNET shooter visiting from the City by the Bay. In nothing short of a miracle, they still agree to do the show and we get right into it.
Wait, not quite...we have to talk about medical ailments and weekend buffoonery, right? Corinne tells us about her fight with a MUNI rail (you should've seen the … Read more
Today has proved to be much busier than expected, but there were a few interesting articles worth exploring:First, 63 percent of IT departments surveyed by Forrester "expect social technologies to impact the business world." The other 37 percent apparently don't realize just how much time their employees are wasting each day on MySpace. :-) Ruby on Rails hosting and optimization company Engine Yard just nabbed a $15 million Series B round of financing from NEA, Amazon.com, and Benchmark. This makes a total of $18.5 million raised so far. Finally, Apple sold over 1 million 3G iPhones in the first weekend … Read more
Studyrails is a relatively new tool for students who want to get their class schedule and study time synced up. It's mainly a calendaring tool, but thrown in is a mobile reminder service, and a forceful lock-out system that will keep you from slacking off on your computer when you're supposed to be studying.
The core calendar product is one of the more interesting efforts I've seen. After you've plugged in your class schedule, you have the option to schedule in study time. You guesstimate how much time you'll need for each discipline or project … Read more
I have had it with this Twitter situation. I know it's a free service, and I know that a lot of you are frankly sick of hearing about it, but I cannot keep pretending that Twitter is the savior of the modern Internet, the message-bearing standard of Web 2.0, and the most important thing to happen to online communication since Gopher, when the site itself is only slightly more reliable than a late-model Saab. And I'm sorry, but being down all the time is not excused by the fact that people who think they're cool think Twitter is cool. … Read more
Twitter is still an early-adopter application, and if the system is running into scale issues already it's unlikely that it will be able to keep up when mainstream adoption occurs.
Twitter appears to have a fundamental design flaw that's not easily dealt with. It was designed to be a stand-alone system functioning in a multiparty/multiprotocol world. In the current architecture Twitter is an application, where it really needs to be a distributed system.
Maybe Twitter needs enterprise service bus (ESB) functionality that runs in enough distributed locations (Yahoo, Google, Amazon.com, desktop) to ensure that messages are reliably delivered. This could be achieved in a wide variety of ways without having to maintain a massive infrastructure like the carriers do for SMS. It would also enforce pervasiveness and adoption.
The fact that Twitter is based on Ruby on Rails is probably only part of the real issue, though Ruby does require a fair amount of tweaking to run reliably. Scale issues are less likely to happen with PHP or Java, but Ruby apps are generally easier to build.
I came up with a few analogous systems that might help to explain some of the technical ways Twitter-scale could be achieved: … Read more
TechCrunch is claiming that Twitter, that service that lets Twits tweet, is dumping Ruby on Rails after two years due to scalability problems. Twitter has responded by declaring its just as much a fan of Ruby on Rails as ever, and instead is limiting "tweets" to 139 characters (instead of the standard 140) because 140 is "taxing the system."
That one extra character must be one heck of a straw to break the Twitter back. (By the way, it seems like a rather odd way to deal with the problem. Imagine if email providers Microsoft or … Read more
Oddly enough, the answer to that question ("What's really going on with JBoss?") is probably best answered by someone outside Red Hat: Marc Fleury. Marc isn't shackled by the need to keep corporate secrets, though perhaps he's a little biased.
Marc offers several data points that suggest that JBoss adoption and monetization is "going through the roof." But he also takes on two potential aspirants to the JBoss throne: Ruby on Rails and SpringSource (I've sanitized Marc's comments to suit my Puritan sensibilities):… Read more
The U.S. Navy is installing an electro-magnetic laboratory rail gun at its Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., bringing it one step closer to developing a ship-mounted version of this futuristic cannon.
The 32-megajoule weapon appears to be the largest rail gun ever built, according to defense contractor BAE Systems. A joule is what's needed to produce one watt of energy for one second.
It uses a magnetic "rail" instead of a chemical propellant like gunpowder to heave projectiles at Mach 7 for what could be up to 220 miles down range--that's 10 times farther … Read more
Last week, Benchmark announced a $3.5 million investment in Engine Yard, which provides commercial support for Ruby on Rails applications. Engine Yard is doing $3 million in business and growing. It's also profitable. It didn't need the investment.
The investment, however, is very telling. When one of the top venture capital firms on the planet puts hard dollars behind a support model, it's significant. It becomes doubly so when the firm (or its investors) in question previously invested in JBoss, MySQL, SpringSource (Interface21), and other support-based open-source companies.
It may mean that Benchmark knows something that the rest of the industry seems determined to ignore: services-based businesses may well be the future of the software industry.… Read more