Thursday, August 30, 2007

Samsung releases an Embedded Skype enabled Monitor

via Engadget - Samsung has released the 220TN LCD monitor with Skype capability. The monitor comes network enabled and has a 500MHz Geode LX800 processor running WinXP embedded inside the LCD housing.

Using interactive buttons on the LCD you can literally hang this monitor (comes equipped with a webcam, speakers and microphone) on the wall anywhere you have a spare Ethernet port and make Skype calls in full video.

Is the era of the video phone finally here? This is so Logan's Run'ish I am tingling.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Coming Leopard Letdown? Hardly.

Hadley Stern over at Apple Matters (good blog, but come on guys full feed please) has an interesting post today entitled "The Coming Leopard Letdown" which boiled down is a bitter Apple Fanboy's diatribe on how he would fix the upcoming Leopard OS by focusing more on innovations rather than refinements. He goes on to critique John Gruber's post that the iPhone is the next generation for Apple, and OSX is so good it simply doesn't need any wondrous UI re-invent. Naturally Apple Matters (whom recently lost media invite status with Apple, gee I wonder why?) says this just ain't so - and Apple needs to champion new innovations daily or; and I quote

All I know is that if all we can expect from Apple right now is John’s visions of refinements for OS X the company, in the long-term, will be in trouble.

I found this rather ironic, as today two of the top stories on Techmeme are about Apple. The first is how 1 in 6 computers shipping in North America are Apple, and the other on how the stock gained about 4.00$ on above average growth. Another post that really grabbed my attention was from Microsoft uber Fanboy Alec Saunders, whom is so frustrated with his Vista experience (I share your pain Alec) - actually wrote to Microsoft senior management expressing basically a WTF guys? letter. To which they promptly responded - 'yeah we know, sorry - we are working on it'.

So to the good folk at Apple Matters, whom think a dark cloud is descending over Cupertino - I offer the following reality. Apple has an OS in Tiger that is already light years ahead of its closest competition in Vista. They are shipping 1 in 6 computers in North America, and M$'s biggest proponents are jumping ship, cause' they are sick of the hellish experience they are having with Vista. Apple has NO where to go but up, as they are not going to lose a single user to Vista - so if I were them I would leave well enough alone and concentrate on getting to 2 in 6 computers sold. Their continued growth is in converting PC users, not keeping their existing customers and they know this too well.

The experience you get when you first use a Mac is much like the feeling you get the first time you make an overseas calls on Skype. You are just blown away - it is so good. Leopard won't be a letdown in any way shape or form, the purists will love it, the newbies will drool - one thing is for certain however; it will get guys like me and Alec to make the jump. Oh yeah, btw - I don't even own a Mac yet.

How do you like d'em Apples.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Julian Cain's explanation on the Skype Outage (from GigaOm)

This is a great explanation of the Skype Out(age) by someone named Julian Cain (no idea who he is, but obviously has experience with Distributed Hash Tables (DHT) and p2p programming) - he posted this explanation in the comments in this thread @ GigaOm.

Number of Skype Authentication servers:

Count == 50; // Clustered

Number of potential Skype clients:

Count = 220,000,000 // Mostly decentralized

Number of SuperNode clients to maintain network connectivity:

Count = N / 300 at any one time.

•   If there are 3.0 million users online then the ratio is
3,000,000 / 300 = 10,000 == Supernodes available
• Supernodes are bootstraps into the network for normal first run clients
("and handle routing of children calls").
• Supernodes maintain the network overlay via a DHT("Distributed Has Table")
"type" method. // This is normally very slow and done over UDP
• If a client cannot find a Supernode, regardless of authentication
via central server then is NOT allowed on the Skype network.

Lack of Supernodes mean lack of network connectivity regardless of successful login via “central server”.

You CAN be a Supernode but not have full network connectivity because you have only a portion of the “Distributed Index Data aka DHT”.

MOST people that become Supernodes will bail out if they cannot keep a clear route (”aka calls bail out, client restarts and aborts Supernode status, thus booting it’s 300 - 500 Children and putting them into a “Connecting mode”.

Children that are trying to “Connect” are unable to do anything unless they have a “Supernode” as a parent. // No calls, No IM….

The overview of this is as follows:

Skype introduced a flaw into the network that dealt with “routing” and “fucked” the “decentralized data store aka DHT” this in turn ran clients on a RANDOM search of Supernodes which at this point were well booted off of the network.

In the End:
It is a huge cycle, no matter how many bugs they “fix” in the “central servers” it will take many days for N nodes to become Supernodes so they can route X data from peer A to peer B. This is NOT minor, a fix to the centralized server code base to relay data to N Supernodes there is lack there of, resulting of a very segregate network. Right now there are approximatly 10,000 sub Skype networks instead of 1 Single “in sync” network. When this “data store(see DHT) is in sync globally then the Skype network will be again STABLE.

I know this is very broad but, unless magically all of said nodes can recreate the “single overlay (DHT)” then nothing will be in sync. You will see delayed messaged, delayed or incorrect profiles and presence.

My take, in the end is give it 48 more hours and it may be semi-stable, but hey this is what you get with using end users as your own redundancy…


Updated** - had a quick chat with Julian Cain, he was a core programmer at Kazaa - and knows his stuff. He is working on some very interesting stuff, which I will post about at a later date.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Skype suffers Worldwide outage - the silence is deafening.

Things are a bit quiet in the office this AM, as no one can log into Skype - According to the official Skype Blog:

Some of you may be having problems logging in to Skype. Our engineering team has determined that it’s a software issue. We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologise for the inconvenience.

12-24 Hours?? Wow, this is a major gaffe/bug/DDOS attack?, in a supposedly non-server reliant p2p network. Of course speculation will be rampant as to the cause of the outage - due to the ridiculous explanation by Skype. This is a PR nightmare for eBay, and the silence is deafening.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Facebook Effect - bigger than getting Digg'd

If you design the right application Facebook is a tremendous opportunity. Scrabulous (by far my fav. application thus far) is down right now for upgrading, apparently their servers are just getting hammered. This is great news as it has been very slow the last few days. The site got a huge shot in the arm after a posting on the corporate FB blog about how it has taken over the office.

I btw, am undefeated thus far - my first match was a rout, so if you think you have the verbage challenge me from my profile on FB.

The official FB app. page is here.

Buy an iPhone, kill a forest

Justine buys and iPhone, and is singlehandedly responsible for Global Warming - AT&T, what are you thinking??

Cruchgear turns 1 - and gives me a present.

First off, congrats to the Crunchgear Staff on turing 1 yrs. old. It is the best gadget blog on the net, and a daily read for myself.

You can join the Facebook Group here.

To celebrate their 1st Bday, they have been running the 10 days of Crunchgear contest, and giving away some really slick schwag.

I am tickled to report I won a Nokia BH-800! which is just awesome.. Thanks gents.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Office 2008 for Mac is the only thing holding me back before I make the switch.

For the last 5 months (I make slow computing decision) I have been contemplating the switch to Mac, I have used one periodically and just love the thing - but the only piece of the puzzle holding me back is the availability of an updated Outlook client for the platform. I have tinkered with other email/calendaring applications, but I like Outlook, and I have zero interest in moving off of it.

I know I can run parallels or VM ware, and accomplish much of what I am after; but that just doesn't appeal to me, it seems like a bit of a hack just to run an application that I live in, natively.

Granted the first thing I will install will be Boot Camp/Parallels on my new Mac, I just really want a seamless Outlook environment that is Mac centric.

I am pretty excited for this version of Office, not only should it provide a more user friendly Office environment - but it allows me to finally get off the Windows platform, that causes me nothing but headaches day in and day out..

Please Office for Mac team - you're my only hope.

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