Moving into the cloud

thumbnailI decided it was time to take the plunge into the cloud and at the same time reshuffle a few things in my connected world.

The Windows Home Server now turns on at 5am, and all PCs (plus my laptop if it’s plugged in) turn on and back themselves up over the network.  The home-server turns off at 7am until 7pm – saving a good deal of power consumption, the planet and my energy bill.  I used to use the WHS add-in PowerSwitch, but that only gives you one set of times, and I wanted two.  I looked into creating my own extension for WHS, but solved the problem with two scheduled tasks and the useful “Wake the machine up for this task” checkbox setting.

I’ve been experimenting with Live Mesh for the past couple of weeks and I’m pretty happy with it so going all in.  Adding most of my personal documents to my mesh and then syncing with the main PCs that need them.  For shared documents across my home network I’m syncing them on the local PC drive that is mapped to the home-server.

Multiple users?  I can shared mesh folders with anyone.

If Live Mesh dies or goes offline (or I lose connectivity) I’ve got the latest sync of all my files on 2-3 different machines.

If my PC dies I can bring it back to life from the home-server.  If the home-server drive fails the backups SHOULD be mirrored across on the external USB drive.

What I’m not moving to the cloud

Media mainly, just because it’s so big and I have little need to access it everywhere.  Recorded TV from the media centre lives locally, music lives on the home-server (apart from iTunes – yet to solve that problem).  Photos currently reside on the home-server too, but I’m going to start syncing them.  The only bummer is that I’d like to use Flickr, but then some of them I want on Facebook, and then I want to look at them on the media centre.

Bring on OpenPhoto…

Future of Web Apps 2008 – Day 1 in review

Docklands02I’m spending two days in Docklands attending the Future of Web Apps 2008.  Here are my thoughts on the first day…


Ryan Carson – very good
Two Simon’s – pretty poor

The Future of News

Kevin Rose, Digg

Future of web apps

Edwin Aoki, AOL
Short but OK

Languages Don’t Scale

Blaine Cook & Joe Stump
Very good technical presentation.  Scaling up and scaling out, the latter being the only effective way to scale. Thinking carefully about where the data & services are in relation to the client. memcached used heavily.

The future of web apps

Kevin Marks, Google
Pretty dull

Mobile Future

Stefan Fountain, Soocial
Very interesting presentation.  Future is mobile, not necessarily “mobile phone”.  Current web topics will go further and further down the stack until they become invisible, like electricity, TCP/IP, HTTP, the Internet and even services like Twitter.

Colliding Worlds, Jabber

Blaine Cook
Didn’t listen to a huge amount of this one, catching up on email.

How to take your community to the next level

Strange site idea, but some good ideas to build community on the net. Was half listening and half reading my new book The Productive Programmer from O’Reilly.

Final sessions – skipped these, cold kicking in and wanted a shower and some down-time before heading out for dinner


Conference is well run, lots of nice detail, forenames are the most prominent item on the badges, so easy to introduce.  Lack of chairs/tables means you have to sit next to people you don’t know and get chatting (met two people over breakfast this morning).

You get 2 free coffees, 2 free meals and 2 free beers. They track this by punching holes in your badge.

Each badge has a barcode which stalls scan to track who visited them.

There’s free stuff if you’re cheeky and get in their early.

What’s hot

Twitter, almost every presentation referred to it, and everyone was using it on their laptops
Google Mail – again, visible on laptops
Anything made by Apple, particularly Macbooks and iPhones

Being mentioned

Cloud computing, the buzz phrase, but I don’t think the industry can define it yet
Software as a service

Amusing Points

The Microsoft Lounge is in one corner of the expo floor, and diagonally opposite it (the furthest away) is the Sun lounge.
Microsoft have brought Microsoft Surface.  Incredibly cool, but I don’t see how it has a direct link to “The Future of Web Apps”.  But it is cool.