Message from Richard Stallman … not

I nearly had a heart attack … it took me a couple of seconds to realize that this was a prank…

Well played, well played …

P.S.: For those of you who don’t know who Richard Stallman is – shame on you. :)

P.P.S.: Easy for you to spot the “bot” part here, but I saw on this on the mobile app, which was more insisting on the name rather than the handle.

Do Not Use Amazon Linux

I came across “Do Not Use Amazon Linux” opinion on Ex Ratione.  I have to say that I mostly agree with it.  When I initially started using Amazon Web Services, I assumed (due to time constraints mostly) that Amazon Linux was a close derivative of CentOs and I opted for that.  For the majority of things that affect applications in my environment that holds true, however it’s not all as simple as it sounds.

There are in fact differences that have to be taken into account.  Some of the configuration issues can be abstracted with the tools like Puppet (which I do use).  But not all of it.   I’ve been bitten by package names and version differences (hello PHP 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5; and MySQL and MariaDB) between Amazon AMI and CentOS distribution.  It’s an absolute worst when trying to push an application from our testing and development environments into the client’s production environment.  Especially when tight deadlines are involved.

One of the best reasons for CentOS is that developers can easily have their local environments (Vagrant anyone?) setup in an exactly the same way as test and production servers.

Paphos court orders Facebook to remove offensive comments

facebook

Cyprus News reports that :

The Paphos District Court has issued an injunction against social media giant Facebook, ordering the company to remove a number of offensive comments posted on a local business profile, aimed at a local man.

The comments, posted on February 4, accuse the man of criminal activities. The original post was still on Facebook on Wednesday morning.  It has over 1,000 shares.

Charalambos Savvides of the Ch. P. Savvides & Associates LLC law firm, which handled the case, told the Cyprus Mail that Facebook was not only required to remove the comments but also take steps to ensure that future related comments were taken down immediately.

In-Cyprus has a few more details:

The case concerns comments on Facebook made against a bar owner from Paphos who became the target of a hate campaign which attracted thousands of users who shared and liked the page. The man in question was, according to those who had got the ball rolling on popular social media site, committing various crimes around the town and especially against competing bars.

He was also accused of being a police informant that was getting special protection in the town despite his ‘known illegal activities’.

The man has denied all the allegations against him.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

1994 web design from Apple, Microsoft

Jason Kottke links to some examples of the early (circa 1994) web design from both Apple

apple-early-homepage

and Microsoft (still online, by the way)

microsoft-early-homepage

Quite an evolution we went through!  Here are some interesting bits to notice:

  1. “If your browser doesn’t support images” on the Microsoft one.
  2. Painted grey background, even though that was a default browser background color back in a day.
  3. Microsoft server is NOT running on IIS. Yet. But HTTPS is mentioned already!
  4. I still, in 2015, know multiple so called “web developers” who wouldn’t be able to implement these designs in any sensible time frame (within a day). How rusty are you image maps?

The good old days…

It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop

Search Engine Land reports:

Last year we heard informal statements from several Google employees that mobile search queries would probably overtake desktop queries some time this year. Google just confirmed this has now happened.

The company says that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” The company declined to elaborate further on what the other countries were, how recently this change happened or what the relative volumes of PC and mobile search queries are now.

[…]

Google groups tablets with desktops. So this is just smartphones and does not include tablets.

There’s also an interesting misalignment of this report with some Comscore reports.

Amazon EFS preview

Amazon EFS

Amazon Elastic File System, or EFS for short, is the missing piece of the cloud puzzle.  With all those EC2 instances, elastic load balances and IAM roles, one would often need a shared file system.  Until now, you’d either be using either an S3-based solution, which scales well in terms of price and storage, but lacks in common tools support and sometimes in real-time synchronization; or an EBS-based solution, which performs way better (especially with SSD-backed storage) and works like a regular file system, but is a bit more pricey and lacking, being a block-level solution, the sharing option – so you’d have to build something like a GlusterFS solution or an NFS server, both of which have their own issues.

So, the arrival of the EFS, even as a preview for now, will bring joy to many.

Amazon EFS is a new fully-managed service that makes it easy to set up and scale shared file storage in the AWS Cloud. Amazon EFS supports NFSv4, and is designed to be highly available and durable. Amazon EFS can support thousands of concurrent EC2 client connections with consistent performance, making it ideal for a wide range of use cases, including content repositories, development environments, and home directories, as well as big data applications that require on-demand scaling of file system capacity and performance.

(Quote from the webinar pitch)

In terms of integration, it looks easy for the Linux crowd – NFSv4 option is there.  What’s happening in the Windows world, I’m not that aware though.  Gladly, that’s not my problem to worry.

In terms of pricing, this looks a bit expensive.  The calculations are in GB-Months, with the current price being $0.30 per GB-Month.  An example for 150 GB used over the first two weeks of the month and 250 GB sued over the second half of the month, yields a 177 GB-Month average at a cost of $53.10 USD.  Even knowing that EFS is riding on SSD-based hardware and should be quite fast, the price is high.  Amazon is known however for its regular price reductions.

So for now, I’d wait.  It’s good to know that the option is there (or almost there, preview still pending).  But for the masses to jump onto it, it’ll need to calm down its dollar hunger a bit.

A two-part (so far) series on what to expect from PHP 7: part 1, part 2.

As many of you are probably aware, the RFC I mentioned in my PHP 5.0.0 timeline passed with PHP 7 being the agreed upon name for the next major version of PHP.

Regardless of your feelings on this topic, PHP 7 is a thing, and it’s coming this year! With the RFC for the PHP 7.0 Timeline passing almost unanimously (32 to 2), we have now entered into feature freeze, and we’ll see the first release candidate (RC) appearing in mid June.