Archive for February, 2009

Cloud Automation

Image representing Mechanical Turk as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

Couple article with interest methods for leveraging cloud computing.  Both of these talk to my concept of disposable computing.

Do the maths correctly for cloud computing.

Look for applications that leverage Amazon’s ease of use: EC2 instances can easily be brought up and quiesced; it’s not necessary to keep an instance up and running 24/7. Unlike a data center, where once a server is installed it’s easier to keep it running than to power it up and down, Amazon is ideally suited for applications that are used in a transient fashion, or even a temporary fashion. For example, one company I worked with had an application where it needed to test a system with 100 simultaneous browser instances. The company fired up 100 Amazon EC2 instances, ran a browser script on each one overnight, and completed the test the following day, whereupon it shut down the instances and discarded the systems. It accomplished all of this over a period of three days. Imagine how long it would take to do this in a traditional IT environment. Even better: the total cost for the simulation: $100.

Virtual Stress-free Testing in the Cloud.

Throw-away boxes
It was funny when I was talking to some developers about testing. One of the developer jumped and said “If you mess up the configuration, simply dump the instance and start a new one. Time is precious, dude!”  I knew developers from server-less start-up companies in our ecosystem, who start their dev boxes every morning and run it for 12 hours (the average developer uptime) per day and shut down every night before they go home. But I never thought that one can actually use Amazon EC2 to create thousands of Test environments in the Cloud – all fresh and new – and dump them, if they mess up and/or recreate it in the next test/sprint cycle. When you are testing your mobile application on different device platforms or testing your database-agnostic and app server-agnostic middleware app on different deployment configurations, the Cloud becomes an ideal platform to create-dump-recreate environments as you need.

Mechanical Turk for Innovative Testing
Using the on-demand workforce to help you in testing your app:

  1. Workers create actual test scenarios (Selenium)
  2. Workers enable Usability testing
  3. Worker help analyze results from Cross-browser testing (present a screenshot and ask a turker to compare the pages)
  4. Worker analyzes your test results/log files
  5. Worker tests for broken links on your website
  6. Workers participate in surveys that rate look-and-feel, navigation, search features of your website

You will find variety of customer stories and actual HITs on Last year’s Start-Up Challenge Contest nominee uses Amazon Mechanical Turk to create real videos to capture user behavior.

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SSD and Fragmentation

An SSD in standard  -inch (  mm  )  form-factor.
Image via Wikipedia

Long-term performance analysis of Intel Mainstream SSDs has a detailed analysis of SSD fragmentation and it’s effect on performance

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Fences from Stardock

Very useful Windows desktop icon organiser by Stardock. Review from Lifehacker.

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Reset Password for a LAMP webapp

Assuming the webapp uses the standard php functions and without a salt, an example like the following for weberp will work:

nic@www:/export/apps/weberp$ echo "<?php print sha1('password') . \"\n\";?>" | php;

From the mysql command line:

UPDATE www_users SET password = '5baa61e4c9b93f3f0682250b6cf8331b7ee68fd8' WHERE userid = 'nlee';
Note this changes the password to “password”.

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