Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Thrift for serializing/deserializing objects in Membase

First off, if you haven't heard of Membase, you should check it out. It's an evolution of sorts from memcached.

Typically when you use memcache or membase to store/retrieve key-value data, the value part is not a simple datatype. Instead, it would most likely be a serialized representation of some complex application specific data-structure. It's great to set/get complex datastructure with a single remote call like this. But what could become a problem very soon is the performance of the serialize/deserialize operations that needs to happen with set/get operations.

With php, the obvious way to do this is to use the language's builtin serialization facility. Since the serialized format is a ASCII based format, I would guess that it's performance is not optimal (especially for deserialization). Also, one would want to do compression to reduce the data transfer and storage costs. This again adds to the set/get operation costs.

I'm looking at one such application w…

Need for service with guarantee of security and privacy

Current Situation
With all of the online communication services like e-mail, social media sites we use today, pretty much all of them are "free" services in the sense that we don't pay them any subscription fee for using the service. And as such the "Terms of Service" are heavily tilted towards the service provider.

In most cases, the only way such free service provider makes money is by mining the data they collect when we use the service. Every time we use such service we are inputting some data for query, transmission or storage. Most of the time this data is sensitive, confidential, private data like your contacts, personal messages that reveal who you are, what you like or don't like, what, when and where you do things etc.

By mining this information for profiling the user and using it to show targeted ads or to do market demographics research and sell that information to marketers are most common ways of making money. In such cases, no particular user…

Flash video sucks!

Summer is almost here. With the rising ambient temperature, my macbook gets hot sooner.
Especially when my browser is open it gets hotter sooner. The reason is the all pervading Adobe Flash player based ads or video players on web pages.

This has made the experience of watching videos on youtube or ted.com an unpleasant experience. If I watch the video in full-screen, I notice both cores on this macbook doing full 100%. That's horribly wrong when it only needs less than 1% when I play the same video via a standalone video player like VLC.

This really needs to be fixed. Something is horribly broken here. Is this just me or everyone else simply putting up with this problem?

Google finally getting into data backup!?!

With their latest announcement to host any type of files on Google Docs, Google is foraying into the arena of "your data in the cloud, access, organize, share - anytime from anywhere" business that we have been envisioning from a long time (over 4 years now!).

What's interesting is the approach that google has taken. Instead of traditional approach of building all the features that are geared towards providing this product vision from ground up and releasing the end product, Google has built seemingly independent product and tested the waters first. And once the users have accepted each of those individual pieces reasonably well, they are integrating them all to provide a powerful experience. (Privacy conspiracy theorist may say this is much like boiling a frog in the water slowly!).

Interestingly enough, Google's price of storage per GB seems to be the cheapest at the moment at $0.25/GB/year. But their initial free offering is just 1 GB with 250MB file size limit. A…

Macbook Pro Battery

One thing I realized with my last Macbook (White) is that putting your macbook to sleep all the time and never shutting it down (especially overnight) is not good for your battery. By doing that I've had consumed more battery cycles and now the battery discharge time has come down to just over 2 hours. Last week I got a new macbook pro. And this time I figured out how to make it hibernate (not sleep) upon closing the lid. With that, I've managed to do only 3 cycles of battery recharge in last one week.

Here's how to put your macbook to deep-sleep (hibernate):
Put these two lines in your ~/.bash_profile:

alias hibernateoff='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0' alias hibernateon='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 5'
And whenever you are about to close your lid (like before you go to bed), just turn hibernate on by invoking hibernateon in terminal. At other times, when you don't want it to go to deep-sleep, just turn hibernate off. This is useful when you close your l…

Thunderbird 3: Better search user-experience, not there yet.

For my work e-mail, I've used Microsoft Outlook with Exchange server for 2 years and I liked it a lot. Especially the global address book integration, expanding distribution lists, calendar/meeting scheduling features are awesome. In my current workplace, we don't have Exchange. And I'm on a macbook. So I've a choice of Apple Mail or Thunderbird or Microsoft Entourage.
Tried Microsoft Entourage - didn't like it - it's nothing like outlook and it's UI is as if it's been resurrected from 1970s. And without exchange server to connect with, it doesn't have much advantage compared to others.

I tried Apple mail also for a couple of months. Didn't like it either. Although it looks great compared to entourage or thunderbird, it isn't great for handling lots of e-mails in lots of IMAP folders. It's search is also lacking in speed.

Then I tried Thunderbird. I've been a big fan of Mozilla for a long time. And being a supporter of open-source (w…