Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's this month's most common question?

What the hell is the cloud?  Well, it's not those white puffy things in the sky.  Wait, maybe it is.  The cloud, in it's simplest form is a repository of computer stuff that is not sitting at your business or house.  Let me expand - iCloud for example, is Apple's cloud offering and it allows users of Apple products to backup and synchronize their songs, pictures, apps, games to all devices, wirelessly.  Every time you turn on your iPhone, Mac or iPad it send your latest purchases, songs, videos and/or pictures to an Apple datacenter.  So if you turn on your iPhone and buy a new app, the next time you fire up your iPad it will magically be there.  This is all protected in Apple's cloud with your Apple ID for your security.  If you lose your iPhone at least you won't lose that cool video of your dog you took and your custom ring tones and your 10 GB of songs.  They will magically be synchronized back to your new iPhone when you can actually afford to buy one.  As an aside to that - if your Apple ID password is insertpetnamehere1 then CHANGE IT.  It is not secure.  Anyone can figure that out.

Cloud in relation to business is essentially the same concept as Apple's iCloud except with additional options.  Instead of synchronizing my songs in the cloud, as a business, I'm storing my data there.  This is called Cloud Storage or Cloud Backup.  All kinds of companies sell online backup solutions; Jungle Disk, Mozy, and Carbonite just to name a few.  These online backup companies can be used to backup the server of a small business or your home PC.  Doesn't matter.  You pay by the Gigabyte.  That's the beauty of cloud services.  They are mostly a sort of pay-as-you-go or pay by use model.

As we go higher up in business size we get in to even more types of cloud offerings.  There is SaaS, PaaS, IaaS just to name a few.  The acronym is blank as a service, where I is Software, P is platform and I is infrastructure.  You can probably come up with many more blanks but these are the big 3.  The best example of Software as a Service is Microsoft Office 365.  It's all of Microsoft office offerings, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Email but not living on your computer that you or your company loaded on your desktop with a CD, it lives in the cloud.  When you launch a Word document, it's launched from one of Microsoft's humongous datacenters.

Platform as a Service is the ability of a software developer or company to "spin" up a server in minutes in the cloud, test their software over a course of time, then turn it off.  They pay for only that time the server was in use.  Amazon's EC2 is an example of this.  (EC2 = Elastic Compute Cloud)

Infrastructure as a Service is for an IT department of a company to deploy servers (normally virtualized), business applications and other resources to it's users but the actual equipment isn't in a server room in the office, it's in the cloud.  This hot new IT offering is supposed to save money and save on personnel costs.  Just think if companies didn't have server rooms with equipment in them and everything was in the cloud.  You could fire all your IT people and they would be replaced by one bill from the cloud provider where one guy walks around a huge datacenter managing 100's of companies servers.  Concerned about security?  You should be.  Concerned for your job?  You should be.

My favorite cloud computing term - Cloud Washing -- Where a company re-brands their old application or product offering as Cloud something, making it look like its a cloud offering to capitalize on the buzz.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Remodel - the Tile Incident

My contractor had made some deal with the granite fabricator to do the kitchen backsplash tile in the guest house.  I received a call asking about our tile for the backsplash and it came out that the tile guy was only going to put one row of tile up.  Backsplashes don't have one 4" row of tile - they usually go up 1/2 to the cabinets or all the way up.  I raced home from work as Dena was out and laid out a pattern for the guy.  He seemed dazed and confused but I went to lunch with full knowledge that I would be back to check on the guy.  While at lunch I received a call from my contractor telling me that he fired the tile guy and not to go in the back house.  He said that his tile guy was going to re-do the backsplash.  How could I not go into the back house now?

Here is a picture of the shitty ass job that was done first - notice how he's using cardboard for spacers and how the space between the tiles is all over the place.  Also, it's hard to see in the picture but he was putting thinset on just the middle of the tile instead of all over the entire field.  This caused the tiles to bow inward at the corners since there was no thinset there as there was an uneven field.  Good thing the idiot wasn't there when I got back as I would have ripped his face off.  The 2nd picture is Dena and I standing in the completed kitchen with a nice, professionally done backsplash.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guest House Remodel - Home Stretch

We're so close I can feel it.  I think all in all this has gone off pretty well.  No real snafu's on the cabinets or tile and just a redo of water/gas line to main house, which was partially expected.  So all in all we are lucky.  Here is a picture of the kitchen - just waiting for granite.