Archive | April, 2012

After Cheating Scandal, SAT and ACT Will Tighten Security – NYT

Kathleen Steinberg, executive director for communications at the College Board, said roughly two million tests were taken last year, of which 3,000 scores were questioned and 1,000 canceled. An additional 750 students were dismissed from taking the test for various infractions, like having cellphones in the test center.

Ms. Steinberg said Educational Testing Service, which administers the SAT, spent $21 million on security in 2010-11. She said she did not know how much the additional measures would cost the company. She and Mr. Gomer of ACT Inc. said there would be no impact on the cost to students. The ACT now costs $34, or $49.50 with the writing component; the SAT costs $49.

(Full Story: After Cheating Scandal, SAT and ACT Will Tighten Security – NYT)


Who Wrote OpenStack Essex? A Deep Dive Into Contributions

This means that more than a fifth of the contributors to OpenStack are on Rackspace’s payroll. HP has 19 people identified as contributors to OpenStack Essex.

We told you that Red Hat was contributing heavily to OpenStack in February. But at that time it wasn’t entirely clear where Red Hat fell. Turns out, its third in developers, with 12 developers contributing.

After Red Hat, there is Citrix (9), Nebula (8), Cisco Systems (6), Canonical (6), Piston Cloud (6), Dreamhost (4) and SUSE (4) in the top 10.

(Full Story: Who Wrote OpenStack Essex? A Deep Dive Into Contributions)

Red Hat and 10Gen partner up to power development of open source Big Data platforms | VentureBeat

Red Hat and 10Gen, the company behind the increasingly popular NoSQL database MongoDB, are partnering to help developers deliver on the promise of big data and the cloud.

(Full Story: Red Hat and 10Gen partner up to power development of open source Big Data platforms | VentureBeat)

A Programming Model for Personal Clouds

The event-based programming model for the Cloud is called a personal event network (PEN). Personal because each person—entity, really—has their own. A network because there is an interconnected collection of programs interacting in the PEN via event-based protocols.

The basic unit of execution in the PEN is a rule. Rules connect events to actions. Applications in the PEN are collections of rules, or rulesets.

(Full Story: A Programming Model for Personal Clouds)

Keynote User Interface Design Libraries

Dozens of presentation templates with thousands of vector UI components and royalty-free icons, meticulously hand-crafted in Apple Keynote, Microsoft PowerPoint and OpenOffice Impress, and fully customizable without needing any design tool.

(Full Story: Keynote User Interface Design Libraries)

Tuning JVM for a VM – Lessons Learned, Directly from VMware – Marakana

This talk will present a lot of the innovation, practical insight, and lessons learned gained from the last year by a senior engineer from VMware who recently developed a Java ballooning solution called Elastic Memory for Java (EM4J)

(Full Story: Tuning JVM for a VM – Lessons Learned, Directly from VMware – Marakana)

How Windows FreeCell Gave Rise To Online Crowdsourcing

The idea to beat FreeCell sprang from a message posted by sci.math regular Russell Turpin on July 24, 1994, with the definitive title “FreeCell is NOT always winnable.” In his message, Turpin provided an example of an unwinnable FreeCell deal and asked fellow group members to help prove or disprove his gripe.

(Full Story: How Windows FreeCell Gave Rise To Online Crowdsourcing)

A Year with MongoDB

Over the past 6 months, we’ve scaled MongoDB by moving data off of it. This process is an entire blog post itself, but the gist of the matter is that we looked at our data access patterns and chose the right tool for the job. For key-value data, we switched to Riak, which provides predictable read/write latencies and is completely horizontally scalable. For smaller sets of relational data where we wanted a rich query layer, we moved to PostgreSQL. A small fraction of our data has been moved to non-durable purely in-memory solutions if it wasn’t important for us to persist or be able to query later.

In retrospect, MongoDB was not the right solution for Kiip. Although it may be a bit more upfront effort, we recommend using PostgreSQL (or some traditional RDBMS) first, then investigating other solutions if and when you find them necessary. In future blog posts, we’ll talk about how we chose our data stores and the steps we took to migrate data while minimizing downtime.

(Full Story: A Year with MongoDB)

Is Your Product Ready for Its Close-up? |

In general, here’s how software firms test for doneness. At the outset of a project, the company drafts something called a functional specifications document, or spec. The spec clearly documents what the product requires in order to be considered shippable. Once the items on the spec have been checked off, the product is ready to go.

This method works. But I’ve never much liked it, mostly because it requires you to define the finished product months or even years in advance. So we’ve always taken a different approach. We define, in general terms, the problems we’re trying to solve and begin by designing around those. We don’t try to predict the product’s final form, or even its full feature set. The only thing we know is where to begin.

(Full Story: Is Your Product Ready for Its Close-up? |