Docker and the search for the Holy Grail

December 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Ben Thompson has an interesting article about the open source project Docker.

The implications of this are far-reaching: not only do containers make it easier to manage the lifecycle of an application, they also (theoretically) commoditize cloud services through the age-old hope of “write once run anywhere.” More importantly, at least for now, docker containers offer the potential of being far more efficient than virtual machines.

I’ve always considered “write once run anywhere” to be the holy grail of software development. Yeah, it would be pretty awesome to live forever, the only problem is that it’s a myth. There is something different about Docker though that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s the use of one my favorite inventions of the 20th century, the shipping container.

It doesn’t matter what is inside of a shipping container; the container itself will fit on any ship, truck, or crane in the world. Similarly, it doesn’t matter what app (and associated files, frameworks, dependencies, etc.) is inside of a docker container; the container will run on any Linux distribution and, more importantly, just about every cloud provider including AWS, Azure, Google Apps, Rackspace, etc.

I also like the logo.

But perhaps it’s the business model that intrigues me the most .

Docker takes the GitHub model a step further: the company controls everything from the open source project itself to the value-added software (DockerHub) built on top of that, and, just last week, announced a monetization model that is very similar to GitHub’s enterprise offering. Presuming Docker continues its present momentum and finds success with this enterprise offering, they have the potential to be a fully integrated open source software company: project, value-added software, and monetization all rolled into one.

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Cymatics: Science vs Music

December 8th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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The Next Space Race

December 2nd, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

I have very high hopes for humanity and look forward to witnessing the steady march of progress on everything from racism and gender equality to health care and economic opportunities. While these advances are of the utmost importance to our individual day-to-day lives the call of the stars holds a special place in my heart. I’ve long been a sucker for Science Fiction and the nerd in me really hopes that I will bear witness to the next space race.

This is why I’m so bullish on private companies like SpaceX and Planetary Resources taking up the mantel of near earth exploration. If we can find direct ways to profit from traveling outside of our atmosphere not only will the rate of innovation be vastly as increased, but so to will the imagination of those still bound to this pale blue dot.

Do not expect organizations like NASA and the ESA to be marginalized however. Unshackled from the burden of launching satellites and supplying the space station I expect those organizations to continue to take humanity to places that private companies can only dream. Space Agencies are able to look beyond a fiduciary responsibility to stockholders and focus on exploration and the advancement of science for the betterment of humanity. A race to the stars fueled by a symbiotic relationship between private and public entities sounds like a pretty potent cocktail.

After all if the history of human civilization is to span more than a few millennia surely it must take root beyond this precious and fragile world that gave us life. I just hope I live to see it.

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Will Marshall: Tiny satellites that photograph the entire planet, every day

November 19th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

As private industry moves into low earth orbit we are starting to see some really innovative ideas being executed that are outside the wheelhouse of large government organization like NASA and the ESA.

Of course there is still a lot of space exploration to be done that private industry is not ready to handle. It’s going to be an incredibly interesting couple of decades for those looking beyond spaceship earth.

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Graphene-Based Supercapacitors Could Lead To Battery-Free Electric Cars Within 5 Years

November 13th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

While the timetable seems a little unrealistic I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of supercapacitor is going to kill the battery. Not only does it charge and release energy in almost no time at all, but this particular supercapacitor is far more environmentally friendly than Li-Ion batteries.

Because the supercapacitors are made out of graphene, a layer of carbon only one atom thick, the film is a more ecological choice. Additionally, because carbon can be sourced more easily than the lithium found in conventional batteries, it could end up being fairly economical as time goes on and production becomes more widespread.

“The price of Li-Ion batteries cannot decrease a lot because the price of Lithium remains high. This technique does not rely on metals and other toxic materials either, so it is environmentally friendly if it needs to be disposed of,” explained lead researcher Nunzio Motta.

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All Dressed Up For Mars and Nowhere to Go

November 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

By taking a hard look at the Mars One project as well as the many challenges involved in sending humans to Mars, Elmo Keep leaves the 3 man project with a very large plausibility hill to climb. Mars One is not only wildly optimistic about the cost in sending 4 people to mars ($6 billion) but their model of using a reality TV show to pay for the project leaves one to wonder how they will be able to raise the money before any rockets leave the ground.

Even setting the funding issues aside we quickly run into technological, scientific and even moral issues with attempting to carry out this mission within a decade. I’m a huge supporter of manned space exploration but I worry that whether this project succeeds or not it may poison the well of public option on the subject.

Eventually the four Mars One colonists will arrive on an inhospitable alien world, with only themselves for company for two years, until another flight with four colonists is hoped to arrive if they, too, survive the perilous trip through the vacuum of space. They will never speak to anyone but one another in real time ever again; the delay in relaying communications between Mars and Earth is 20 minutes, minimum.
They would be the most isolated human beings in history.

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A bowling ball and feather fall in world’s biggest vacuum chamber

November 5th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

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The 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years

October 31st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The Guardian’s list of the 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years has an interesting, if European centric, set of advancements. From castles to The Plague they make some very compelling arguments. The one that really hit home for me, however, was the invention of the future.

There can be no doubt that technology hugely changed the ways in which we lived and died in the 20th century. However, it also masks changes that are arguably even more profound. In 1900 few people seriously considered the future. William Morris and a few socialists wrote utopian visions of the world they wanted to see, but there was little serious consideration of where we were going as a society.

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The man behind the smallest V-12 engine in the world

September 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

30 Hours on the Cam Shaft alone.

(via Kickstarter Newsletter … weird right? but they have some good links)

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Oculus Rift + Roller Coaster

September 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

As with all Virtual Reality demos it’s impossible to get the full effect without actually being in a, you know, virtual world but the idea seems pretty cool. Head over to Vimeo for the HD version.

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