Friday, August 29, 2008

What kind of Cloud is your solution?

Cirus - What IBM is building.

Cumulonimbus - Amazon

Stratus - Mosso

Cumulus - Google App Engine

Fog - we've seen a few of these crop up. they're generally random, small, traditional managed hosting providers jumping into the game with 25% baked APIs to run on their virtual slices.

Friday, August 22, 2008

iPhone 3G/2.x firmware disappointment

I had two concerns just over a year ago with leaving my Palm Treo 680 for the iPhone. One, how was I going to do going from a physical keyboard with plenty of tactile feedback, to a touch screen with none? Two, how was UI responsiveness going to be?

Physical, tactile, UIs are generally a requirement for me. "Touch screens" usually suck, but, I've gotten over that hurdle with the iPhone. The benefits (and new UI gestures) outweigh the issues; I've adapted.

iPhone firmware 1.x releases abated my fear around UI responsiveness. Contact lists loaded fast enough, and text input fields acquired cursor focus fast enough. My fear w/ the initial iPhone rev was unfounded.

I've been using the iPhone 3G with the 2.x (yes, the latest update as of this writing) for awhile now, and I'm utterly disappointed with the UI responsiveness at the OS/UI framework level. The waiting I have to do at text entry fields (iTunes password prompts, contact search entry fields) has negated the speed increases that the 3G network provides for data transmission. Net-net, I'm still wasting the same amount of my life waiting on the device to do something, that I was on the old first gen network and 1.x firmware.

The only reason I bought the new 3G device was for increased network data transmission, because I wasted too much of my time waiting for email to download, and web pages to load. While that issue has been resolved, I'm now wasting all my time waiting for client-side UI elements (namely entry fields) to accept input. Sad.

I suspect many/most Blackberry users will avoid the iPhone based on this issue alone.

Please fix it Apple.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Joyous Milestones & Unfortunate Circumstances

The family went by my son's kindergarten classroom this evening to check things out (which desk is his, meet other families, etc); it was adorable. All these little kids jumping into the big education pool. I can't wait until Wednesday; his first day of school.

We opted for public schooling in the Boulder Valley School District for our son (and daughter by extension over time). Overall we're very pleased with the schools and teachers in BVSD (the district administration/body itself is another story, and another blog post). We noticed something odd at the school tonight however. At least half of our neighborhood families/friends who have kids in public school weren't there. They'd opted to Open Enroll in other BVSD schools. Open Enrollment boils down to your child[ren] being able to attend the school of your choice (e.g. not your neighborhood school) if said school isn't full. Several of those families were fighting hard to keep our previous neighborhood school open just before BVSD shuddered it a few years ago (yet another, separate, blog post topic), generally on the grounds of it being a "neighborhood" school. So, it's feeling hypocritical to now not be attending the new "neighborhood" school.

We knew some of our friends were not going to be attending their neighborhood school for awhile now, but it really sunk in this evening now that school is actually starting. The closure of our previous neighborhood school literally tore the neighborhood apart in the end. Families are scattered all over town now. Walking, biking, driving, busing their kids all over. Close friends that we'd anticipated walking/biking to school with, over the course of the next several years, will not be part of that experience now. Sad.

My reasons for being upset over our initial neighborhood school being closed in the first place, are further solidified now. I'm a proponent of choice in systems, and Open Enrollment is something I still believe in, though I'm questioning it for the first time. I would have appreciated those families that were standing side-by-side with us on the "neighborhood schools are what matter" platform, to have stayed true to their colors. In the end however, we, as parents, all make choices we believe are best for our children, and I can't blame anyone for those decisions if they differ from mine (we all have our own criteria). I do continue to blame BVSD for continuously making bad choices. The district is simply too diverse and large for one body (the puppet Board which simply ratifies a bloated administration/staff/consultant agenda) to effectively manage. I'm a supporter of a Boulder group seeking to split the district into more localized, attentive, districts, and I'd encourage you to get involved as well; http://www.bvsdcape.org/.

All that aside, and back to where I started on this post, we are overjoyed about our neighborhood school. Our interaction with its staff has been positive thus far. We love the facility itself. The teachers, at least those we've interacted with, are great. It's part of the International Baccalaureate program which takes a global view on education (e.g. "civil war" occurs all over the world, and has many flavors/outcomes), as opposed to the fiercely U.S. centric view that pervades public education in general. We look forward to being a part of our neighborhood school, and welcome everyone else in our neighborhood to join us. We are ecstatic to be with the neighborhood families attending as well.