Topic internet

Use of NGINX Increases

in internet on (#3JA)
story imageOnce upon a time, Apache was the undisputed king of webserver software. Over the last few years a relative newcomer, NGINX , has slowly gained ground . Netcraft's monthly Web Server Survey clearly shows a healthy upward usage curve for the software.

Other recent notable events:

Linode Invests $45M In Slower Hosting

in internet on (#3J6)
I've been a Linode customer since they launched their User-Mode-Linux offering in 2003. With decreasing component prices and a little help from Moore's Law, they have repeatedly increased the resources available on their VPS instances. Most upgrades take the form of "Double the RAM" or "Double the disk space" and have allowed the company to stay competitive over the years.

However, their latest "upgrade" reduces the CPU core count from 8 to 2 on the most popular plan, drastically reducing the performance of most webserver workloads. Some users have posted degraded benchmark numbers on the Linode blog that announced the upgrade. They have also removed the discounts on yearly plans, thereby increasing the cost of the hosting plans.

Other aspects of the upgrade are more welcome:
  • Doubled RAM
  • Same Cost (Unless paying yearly [Grandfathering available if you forgo upgrades])
  • Same Storage Space (But now using SSD)
  • Same Transfer (Except the lowest plan [Which gets a 50% bump])
  • Increased Outgoing Bandwidth (Unless using a Node Balancer or the lowest plan [Which stay the same speeds])
Disclaimer: Both Pipedot and SoylentNews are hosted at Linode.

ISC Ends BIND Development and Renames it Bundy

in internet on (#3J2)
Today, ISC released the last version of BIND 10 , ending the organization's development work and signalling that no further updates will be made to the source pool.

The Bundy Project is currently working with the ISC to move the code to GitHub to continue the program's development.

BIND 9 is the most popular DNS server in use today.

Bitcoin Explained in Five Minutes

in internet on (#3HB)
David Andolfatto, VP of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis offers a slide deck providing an easy-to-read overview of what Bitcoin is, how it works, and how it compares to old-fashioned currency [PDF] (from a central banker's perspective, remember) in terms of intrinsic value, security, and price stability. Andolfatto includes references to the Mt. Gox meltdown and to the recent IRS ruling that Bitcoin is property rather than currency; also, he's got jokes on the second slide (for the benefit of techies) and second-to-last slide (for the benefit of bankers). I think he's wrong about the size of the Bitcoin source code, though - he says it's 17 MB, but from a quick google search it doesn't look all that big .

[Ed. note: This is timely given how much Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and similar have been in the news recently. What does Pipedot think? Is cryptocurrency a passing fad, or the first chink in the armor of government regulated currencies?]

Teen Girls Face Charges After Beating Video Shared Online

in internet on (#3H6)
story imageThe Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has reported on a potential case of cyber-bullying in Beloiel, Quebec . In a modern twist on high-school interactions, two girls took turns beating and mauling a boy in their school parking lot while the other videotaped the confrontation on a cellphone. The boy chose not to fight back. When posted to Facebook, the video got thousands of views.

Sgt. Harry Wadup of the Richelieu-St-Laurent municipal police force said the girls are facing charges relating to issuing threats, assault and inciting violence.

While bullying does happen in many settings, and bullying in school is something we have all likely witnessed or experienced, what is the motivation for sharing bullying videos on the internet? What can an understanding of the problem do to help potential bullies not go down the "bullying" road?

The Fallacies of Big Data

in internet on (#3H5)
It's been almost ten years since two Google engineers published a paper describing the architecture of Map Reduce , a framework for simplifying the development and deployment of algorithms that process terabytes or petabytes of data across a cluster of commodity servers. The Open Source community soon responded with Hadoop , a Map Reduce work-alike, and in the following years it seems that most large IT organizations, and many startups, have jumped on the bandwagon pitching the virtues of Big Data, Hadoop and/or NoSQL as a revolutionary set of techniques for capturing actionable trends and correlations from the firehose of real-time data (clickstream, Twitter feeds, Facebook likes, server logs, sensor and surveillance data, mobile call events, and of course, all the stuff the NSA looks at).

Tim Harford of the Financial Times points out that this methodology is subject to various types of sampling bias , even in cases where the more enthusiastic proponents claim to be 'observing the entire population, not just a statistical sample'. First, data collected from social media or smart phone apps is heavily biased by the user profile of those technologies, whch is disproportionately young, affluent, and urban or suburban. Harford mentions the famous case of the Literary Digest, a well-established magazine that forecasted a landslide victory for Alf Landon in the 1936 US Presidential election, based on a massive poll of one out of five eligible voters - whose contact information was pulled from telephone subscriber lists (Landon lost the election to Franklin Roosevelt, who carried all but two of the 48 states; Literary Digest ceased publication soon afterwards).

Second, people adjust their behavior over time with respects to various topics in the news. The sudden increases in flu-related searches that made Google Flu Trends look very prescient five winters ago, turned into a debacle when Google used similar data to warn of a severe flu outbreak four years later; but the flu season turned out to be average when the curated data from the CDC finally came in.

What about the famous anecdote about Target finding out that a teenage customer was pregnant before her dad did? Maybe so, says a researcher quoted in Harford's article, but there's an issue with false positives. The world likely didn't hear about other Target customers who got pregnancy-related marketing materials they wouldn't have any use for.

IBM Scrambles To Stay In XaaS Race

in internet on (#3GF)
story imageCEO Ginny Rometty is finishing off another round of divesting commodity product lines, along with associated headcount, as IBM tries to remain in the forefront of high-margin IT product and service businesses. At or near the top of Rometty's forward agenda is cloud computing, starting with the expansion of the SoftLayer business IBM bought last year.

Some investors like the story. But, as the folks at (a very underrated news site focusing on IBM and its competitors) point out, cloud computing might not turn into the sort of high margin business IBM is accustomed to, even with the enticement of Big Data analytics that IBM and others have been pushing.

Meanwhile, in contrast with generations past, many of the biggest consumers of IT are also among the biggest and innovative producers of platform technology: Google, Amazon, Facebook.

MA Fires CGI for Health Connector Site Failures

in internet on (#3G9)
"CGI Group, the Montreal-based IT consulting company behind the botched rollout of the Federal site, has been removed from the Massachusetts Health Connector project. This comes about two months after being removed from, and a few weeks after CGI admitted the MA site 'may not be fully functioning by the end of June, and that one option under consideration is to scrap the multi-million-dollar site and start over.'

Like Oregon's similar troubles , Massachusetts uses paper submissions as a workaround to meet Federal sign-up requirements. 'The paper backlog fell to 21,000 pending applications, from 54,000 two weeks ago.'

If you are in the US, have you used or a State equivalent? If you are not in the US, do you use similar online systems in your nation?" Temporarily Offline?

in internet on (#3FK) (including is offline at the moment. The site currently returns the following:
Error 503 Service Unavailable
Service Unavailable
Guru Meditation:
XID: 1060599780
Varnish cache server
There has been a lot of drama going on with SoylentNews lately. The nominal founder, Barrabas, wanted to create a for-profit business, but the majority of volunteers wanted to avoid the potential for another sell-out which lead to the Slashcott in the first place. Due to conflicts with those volunteers, Barrabas has sold the domain to a new and unknown owner. If a deal between the mystery domain owner and NCommander and his volunteer 'Overlords' cannot be reached, the Site Formerly Known as SoylentNews can be found on the default Linode address.

Corporate World excited about desktops in the cloud

in internet on (#3F2)
The folks at "Talking Cloud" (who are coming at the subject from an obvious bias) point out that corporations are looking more and more at a corporate desktop environment where desktops are in the Cloud.

With more and more users needing access to traditional Windows applications inside the corporate firewall, the rise of Desktop-as-a-Service may be the future for your average worker bee.