Everything that I’ve read so far about the Oregon state health exchange web site has been bad news. Oregonlive.com has a lengthy article spelling out the mismanagement details.
Don’t worry though, the state of Oregon has done a good job taking care of Oracle:
Nevertheless, Oregon has been good for Oracle. Between the OHA and Cover Oregon, the state has paid Oracle more than $90 million over the last two years and could pay the company another $30 million or more. Overall, the project has cost more than $160 million so far.
For the $90 million that Oracle has received over the last two years it has provided an unusable web site.
What to do now that the deadlines have hit and there is no way to provide online enrollment? Go back to the old methods of course:
Cover Oregon leaders, meanwhile, have swung their attention away from the website to processing paper applications by hand, hiring more than 400 reinforcements.
Oracle is a huge company, in their last fiscal year ( ending 31 May 2013 ) it had a net income of $10.9 billion on $37.1 billion in revenue. Making the $90 million that Oregon has paid them a small drop in their very large bucket. That doesn’t excuse their failure to deliver though.
At this point Oracle should stop making this about money and Larry Ellison should step up and make it about pride and honor. Do what ever it takes to make things right for the state of Oregon, and do it without taking another dime.
Ilya Grigorik on optimizing NGINX TLS time to first byte (TTTFB):
let’s now turn to the practical matter of picking and tuning the server to deliver the best results. One would hope that the default “out of the box” experience for most servers would do a good job… unfortunately, that is not the case. Let’s take a closer look nginx
In the simplest terms, TLS involves more work. The current realities of securing communications means we don’t have a good way to avoid doing that additional work, indeed we will be doing it more often than we ever have before. The end result is that we need to spend more time thinking about how to optimize the HTTPS experience for all users.
And I wonder if it’s possible to say that two things can be true simultaneously, Governor Richardson. It may well be that Snowden was wrong, that he should be prosecuted, and that, at the same time, he did a necessary thing because this is the only way that we find out. Even though members of Congress do have information, they respond to public pressure. Public pressure only comes from public debates, and you only have a debate when you have someone who does something that is wrong, like Edward Snowden.
This may end up being the most useful and accurate way to describe Snowden and what he has done.
This description is all the more powerful since it came on the same day that 60 Minutes aired their NSA/Snowden piece. I was very disappointed in 60 Minutes on their NSA segment. They had an opportunity to ask some tough questions that deserve answers, and they blew it.
We aim to evaluate further improving the efficiency of our web tier by porting HipHopVM to new server hardware platforms based on power-efficient ARM.
It isn’t clear if they’ll end up deploying a large number of ARM servers to production, but they are definitely looking to take them out for a test drive.
The latest update from Facebook about the HHVM JIT ended with this interesting note, emphasis mine:
It’s also been crucial in our efforts to get hhvm running on ARM processors by isolating and reducing the amount of architecture-specific code we need to reimplement. Watch for an upcoming post devoted to our ARM port for more details!
Why the big push to get HHVM ( the PHP Hip Hop Virtual Machine ) running on ARM CPUs? That seems to imply at least a desire to test out ARM based servers in Facebook data centers.
I went through two posts from James Hamilton – ARM V8 Architecture and AMD Announces Server Targeted ARM, to catch up on ARM server expectations. Using ARM CPUs in data center servers may very well be the future. The AMD ARM server announced in October 2012 was expected to be:
This will be 4-core, 64 bit, more than 2Ghz part that is expected to sample in 2013 and ship in volume in early 2014.
The latest news from AMD I could find on this was from a September 2013 press release:
“Hierofalcon” is the first 64-bit ARM-based platform from AMD targeting embedded data center applications, communications infrastructure and industrial solutions. It will include up to eight ARM Cortex™-A57 CPUs expected to run up to 2.0 GHz, and provides high-performance memory with two 64-bit DDR3/4 channels with error correction code (ECC) for high reliability applications. The highly integrated SoC includes 10 Gb KR Ethernet and PCI-Express Gen 3 for high-speed network connectivity, making it ideal for control plane applications. The “Hierofalcon” series also provides enhanced security with support for ARM TrustZone® technology and a dedicated cryptographic security co-processor, aligning to the increased need for networked, secure systems. “Hierofalcon” is expected to be sampling in the second quarter of 2014 with production in the second half of the year.
Instead of “more than 2Ghz” we are looking at “up to 2Ghz” and the schedule has been pushed back. That said the over all trajectory appears to be the same. Enough of the right features will be in place for an ARM server to be a potentially viable option.
If Facebook isn’t already testing ARM servers I expect that they will be during 2014.
Last month 10up announced they were sponsoring Helen Hou-Sandi to work on core WordPress full time. This has been a very positive trend, with Bluehost and DreamHost also dedicating full time positions to core WordPress development. At Automattic we have entire team of people working on the WordPress.org project.
Not everyone is in a position to have a full time developer or designer dedicated just to the WordPress project. There are other ways of helping though. A good example is WP Site Care, who is dedicating time each week for employees to help in the WordPress support forums. Ryan Sullivan summed it up nicely at the end of his announcement:
I also realized that everyone has a place. We don’t employ anyone with core contributor skills here (yet), but we’re damn good at support, and that’s something we can give back in a very meaningful and effective way.
So I’m proud to announce that all WP Site Care team members will be contributing time weekly to the WordPress Support Forums and Docs.
I like the idea of building off of your existing strengths to help out the rest of the WordPress community. If you are looking for ways to help the WordPress project or other WordPress users check out the contributing to WordPress page in the WordPress Codex and your local WordPress meetup.
The video on mobile phone 3D scanning is clearly just the beginning. It isn’t hard to imagine that 3D scanning via a mobile device will continue to get better. For that matter how long until even more hardware constrained devices like Google Glass are able to do decent 3D scanning?
The obvious tie to 3D scanning is then being able to reproduce that thing with 3D printing. At the low end there are a number of 3D printers available that people will use at home, but right now I don’t find that super compelling at scale. A higher end consumer service that would be able to keep up with the type of demand generated by every mobile phone being able to 3D scan an object is much more interesting.
A higher quality large scale 3D printing operation could bring in additional capabilities, like a broader range of materials and a faster turn around time.
All of this gets me wondering what companies are in a good position to take advantage of this. Amazon feels like a natural fit, a company that isn’t shy about tech and already ships packages all over. What Amazon lacks is the immediate satisfaction vector. Ideally I’d like to send off my 3D print request then go pick it up later the same day, perhaps even paying more for a faster turn around time. That leads me to companies with a decent number of existing stores. Walmart is the giant there, and certainly has the reach to pull something like that off. But it doesn’t match well with their generally low end price range.
The company I find most interesting to pull off a large scale high quality 3D printing service is Home Depot. They don’t have the delivery capabilities of Amazon or the massive store count of Walmart, but they strike the right balance with existing customers. There are enough Home Depot locations to have a decent reach and people already come into their stores often looking for odds and ends, while at the same time having no problem spending money on bigger ticket items.
One area that I think a 3D printing service at Home Depot could really shine is the in between part level. It isn’t uncommon to need a small replacement part for something that is only sold as part of a much larger thing. But you don’t want to buy the larger component, just the small piece that is broken. At that point Home Depot could just print one for you.
Then there is the whole world of custom designed one off parts that Home Depot would then be able to attract. Printing things that haven’t existed before, or at least not in large numbers.
Executing on this idea wouldn’t be easy, that is also exactly why Home Depot should do it. The economics will be against you at first, but by getting in sooner rather than later Home Depot would gain the experience necessary to figure out how to make the economics work.