Links for 2013-12-07

  • Same Old Stories From Sean Sherlock

    Sherlock’s record is spotty at best when it comes to engagement. Setting aside the 80,680 people who were ignored by the minister, he was hostile and counter productive to debate from the beginning, going so far as to threaten to pull out of a public debate because a campaigner against the [‘Irish SOPA’] SI would be in attendance. His habit of blocking people online who publicly ask him tough yet legitimate questions has earned him the nickname “Sherblock”.

    (tags: sean-sherlock sherblock labour ireland politics blocking filtering internet freedom copyright emi music law piracy debate twitter)

  • Smart Metering in the UK is FCUKED

    Most utilities don’t want smart metering.  In fact they seem to have used the wrong dictionary.  It is difficult to find anything smart about the UK deployment, until you realise that the utilities use smart in the sense of “it hurts”.  They consider they have a perfectly adequate business model which has no need for new technology.  In many Government meetings, their reluctant support seems to be a veneer for the hope that it will all end in disaster, letting them go back to the world they know, of inflated bills and demands for money with menaces. […] Even when smart meters are deployed, there is no evidence that any utility will use the resulting data to transform their business, rather than persecute the consumer.  At a recent US conference a senior executive for a US utility which had deployed smart meters, stated that their main benefit was “to give them more evidence to blame the customer”.  That’s a good description of the attitude displayed by our utilities.

    (tags: smart-metering energy utilities uk services metering consumer)

  • Kelly “kellabyte” Sommers on Redis’ “relaxed CP” approach to the CAP theorem

    Similar to ACID properties, if you partially provide properties it means the user has to _still_ consider in their application that the property doesn’t exist, because sometimes it doesn’t. In you’re fsync example, if fsync is relaxed and there are no replicas, you cannot consider the database durable, just like you can’t consider Redis a CP system. It can’t be counted on for guarantees to be delivered. This is why I say these systems are hard for users to reason about. Systems that partially offer guarantees require in-depth knowledge of the nuances to properly use the tool. Systems that explicitly make the trade-offs in the designs are easier to reason about because it is more obvious and _predictable_.

    (tags: kellabyte redis cp ap cap-theorem consistency outages reliability ops database storage distcomp)

  • Building a Balanced Universe – EVE Community

    Good blog post about EVE’s algorithm to load-balance a 3D map of star systems

    (tags: eve eve-online algorithms 3d space load-balancing sharding games)

  • Virtual Clock – Testing Patterns Encyclopedia

    a nice pattern for unit tests which need deterministic time behaviour. Trying to think up a really nice API for this….

    (tags: testing unit-tests time virtual-clock real-time coding)

  • We’re sending out the wrong signals in bid to lure the big data bucks – Independent.ie

    Simon McGarr on Ireland’s looming data-protection train-crash.

    Last week, during the debate of his proposals to increase fees for making a Freedom of Information request, Brendan Howlin was asked how one of his amendments would affect citizens looking for data from the State’s electronic databases. His reply was to cheerfully admit he didn’t even understand the question. “I have no idea what an SQL code is. Does anyone know what an SQL code is?” Unlike the minister, it probably isn’t your job to know that SQL is the computer language that underpins the data industry. The amendment he had originally proposed would have effectively allowed civil servants to pretend that their computer files were made of paper when deciding whether a request was reasonable. His answer showed how the Government could have proposed such an absurd idea in the first place. Like it or not – fair or not – these are not the signals a country that wanted to build a long-term data industry would choose to send out. They are the sort of signals that Ireland used to send out about Financial Regulation. I think it’s agreed, that approach didn’t work out so well.

    (tags: foi ireland brendan-howlin technology illiteracy sql civil-service government data-protection privacy regulation dpa)

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