Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015-02-24 Tuesday - Seattle AWS Architects and Engineers meetup

Tonight I attended a presentation organized by the Seattle AWS Architects and Engineers meetup group:

Rob Cummings (Operations Group Manager, with Nordstrom) discussed the AWS adoption within the Nordstrom enterprise - and the organizational change management and cultural shifts involved.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

2015-02-15 Sunday - Sony VAIO VPCF23BFX/B SSD Upgrade

Last night I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my Sony VAIO VPCF23BFX/B laptop with an SSD.  The Sony support site was less than useless...

As part of my research, I relied on the SSD section of Tom's Guide - and in particular, the recent article: Best SSDs for the Money, January 2015

My existing OEM HDD was a 640GB, 7200 RPM, Toshiba HDD2E81 MK6461GSY

I decided to go with a Patriot Ignite 480GB SATA 3 2.5 (7mm height) Solid State Drive-With Transfer Speeds of Up-To 560 MB/s read, 545 MB/s write. For simple convenience, I decided to get my unit at a local Fry's Electronics...although Amazon's price today would have been a bit better ($199.99).

The Patriot 960GB SSD was also a consideration ($547.99) - but as this laptop may become a secondary machine later this year - I'm looking at this as an interim experiment.

For cloning the original HDD, I decided to go with the Corsair SSD Hard Drive Cloning Kit (listed for $22.69 on Amazon today)

Removing the HDD was a simple process of removing the 8 screws:

  • [2] screws securing the HDD drive bay plate (on the bottom of the laptop)
  • [2] securing the HDD caddy
  • [4] securing the HDD to the caddy

For those unsure of just how to replace the HDD in their laptop, these two articles [link #1, link #2] may be of interest.

During the cloning process, I selected the advanced option to perform verification - which may have significantly increased the time it took to clone the HDD drive (~2.5 hours).

Overall, this was a painless exercise, and I am very pleased with the speed improvements. Booting Windows now seems to take about 25 seconds, and after login - my system is ready for work within 3-5 seconds (previously, with the HDD, this start-up phase... might take several minutes).

Another option I may consider in the future - a 2nd HDD SSD caddy using the laptop's optical drive bay

Sunday, February 01, 2015

2015-02-01 Sunday - Microservices

The Seattle Java Users Group (Seajug) mailing list recently included a link that may be of interest to folks who wish to learn more about microservices...

And, you may be interested in reading the article by Martin Fowler and James Lewis (from March 25, 2014)

While attending QCon and Strange Loop conferences last year, I noted microservices were certainly garnering a large percentage of mind-share in the various scheduled sessions...

In my own consulting work, I have recently started working with a new client that uses RESTful services exclusively in their architecture (no classical Service Bus) - and most of which I would certainly consider classifying as microservices. This is quite a change from my last two client engagements (over the last 5 years) - who were strong adopters of the classical Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) - with heavyweight canonical message models.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015-01-25 Sunday - Digital Media, Internet TV, Internet Broadcasting

Preparation is a core tenet of my consulting / professional services business...it is my hope that the effort I put into preparation provides a significant differentiation in the quality of service I am able to render to my clients...

A new client engagement is in a business domain with which I have little experience to-date: Digital Media, Internet TV, and Internet Broadcasting.

To help myself quickly develop a broad and deep understanding of not only the technical aspects of the new role - and the technical standards that it encompasses (e.g.. HEVC, H.264, etc.) - I also am interested in developing a deep understanding of the business models and the various business constraints and concerns that may come into play in shaping a solution for a given client.

To that end, I have ordered the following books this weekend on Amazon:

Connected Viewing: Selling, Streaming, & Sharing Media in the Digital Age
As patterns of media use become more integrated with mobile technologies and multiple screens, a new mode of viewer engagement has emerged in the form of connected viewing, which allows for an array of new relationships between audiences and media texts in the digital space. This exciting new collection brings together twelve original essays that critically engage with the socially-networked, multi-platform, and cloud-based world of today, examining the connected viewing phenomenon across television, film, video games, and social media.The result is a wide-ranging analysis of shifting business models, policy matters, technological infrastructure, new forms of user engagement, and other key trends affecting screen media in the digital era. Connected Viewing contextualizes the dramatic transformations taking place across both media industries and national contexts, and offers students and scholars alike a diverse set of methods and perspectives for studying this critical moment in media culture.
Distribution Revolution: Conversations about the Digital Future of Film and Television
Distribution Revolution is a collection of interviews with leading film and TV professionals concerning the many ways that digital delivery systems are transforming the entertainment business. These interviews provide lively insider accounts from studio executives, distribution professionals, and creative talent of the tumultuous transformation of film and TV in the digital era. The first section features interviews with top executives at major Hollywood studios, providing a window into the big-picture concerns of media conglomerates with respect to changing business models, revenue streams, and audience behaviors. The second focuses on innovative enterprises that are providing path-breaking models for new modes of content creation, curation, and distribution—creatively meshing the strategies and practices of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. And the final section offers insights from creative talent whose professional practices, compensation, and everyday working conditions have been transformed over the past ten years. Taken together, these interviews demonstrate that virtually every aspect of the film and television businesses is being affected by the digital distribution revolution, a revolution that has likely just begun

Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery

Published in 2013, Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery the only compression-related textbook released after 2010, and it incorporates the latest technologies, including DASH and HTML5 and new devices such as 4G transmitters for mobile delivery. This book is written for producers seeking to distribute streaming video to the widest possible audience, including computers, smartphones and tablets, and Over the Top (OTT) devices. Written by Jan Ozer, this book delivers the lessons learned from years of producing and consulting on streaming, and serving as a contributing editor to the industry bible, Streaming Media Magazine
The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World
Learn how an idea moves from concept to profits and how distribution dominates the bottom line of an industry otherwise grounded in high profile elements (production, creative, law, finance, and marketing).In this updated edition of a bestselling industry staple, experienced media executive Jeff Ulin relates business theory and practice across key global market segments—film, television, video, and online/digital—providing you with an insider’s perspective that can't be found anywhere else. This new edition:
  • Includes perspectives from key industry executives at studios, networks and online leaders, including Fox, Paramount, Lucasfilm, USA Network, BSkyB, YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft and many more
  • Analyzes online influences throughout the distribution chain and explains the impact made by the growth of apps, tablets, smart-phones, social media, social gaming, and over-the-top delivery
  • Discusses the growth of Digital Cinema and the related distribution of 3D movies.
  • Explores changes in the home video business and growth of on-demand (VOD) and on-the-go access to content
  • Illustrates how online services like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Hulu are changing the way TV content is distributed and consumed, and why they are producing their own original series
  • Breaks down historical film windows, the economic drivers behind them, and how online and digital delivery applications are changing the landscape.
  • Features a companion website (www.focalpress.com/9780240824239), which includes additional material demystifying how projects are developed and profits calculated

Digital Video and HD, Second Edition: Algorithms and Interfaces (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics)
Digital Video and HD: Algorithms and Interfaces provides a one-stop shop for the theory and engineering of digital video systems. Equally accessible to video engineers and those working in computer graphics, Charles Poynton's revision to his classic text covers emergent compression systems, including H.264 and VP8/WebM, and augments detailed information on JPEG, DVC, and MPEG-2 systems. This edition also introduces the technical aspects of file-based workflows and outlines the emerging domain of metadata, placing it in the context of digital video processing.

Once I have digested this first lot of books, I have identified the following for a possible follow-up order:

High Efficiency Video Coding: Coding Tools and Specification
The video coding standard High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) targets at improved compression performance for video resolutions of HD and beyond, providing Ultra HD video at similar compressed bit rates as for HD video encoded with the well-established video coding standard H.264/AVC. Based on known concepts, new coding structures and improved coding tools have been developed and specified in HEVC. The standard is expected to be taken up easily by established industry as well as new endeavors, answering the needs of todays connected and ever-evolving online world.This book presents the High Efficiency Video Coding standard and explains it in a clear and coherent language. It provides a comprehensive and consistently written description, all of a piece. The book targets at both, newbies to video coding as well as experts in the field. While providing sections with introductory text for the beginner, it suits as a well-arranged reference book for the expert. The book provides a comprehensive reference for the technical details of the employed coding tools; it further outlines the algorithmic advances compared to H.264/AVC. In addition to the technical aspects, the book provides insight to the general concepts of standardization, how specification text is written, and how these concepts apply to the HEVC specification.
Video coding standards: AVS China, H.264/MPEG-4 PART 10, HEVC, VP6, DIRAC and VC-1
The requirements for multimedia (especially video and audio) communications increase rapidly in the last two decades in broad areas such as television, entertainment, interactive services, telecommunications, conference, medicine, security, business, traffic, defense and banking. Video and audio coding standards play most important roles in multimedia communications. In order to meet these requirements, series of video and audio coding standards have been developed such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-21 for audio and video by ISO/IEC, H.26x for video and G.72x for audio by ITU-T, Video Coder 1 (VC-1) for video by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and RealVideo (RV) 9 for video by Real Networks.AVS China is the abbreviation for Audio Video Coding Standard of China. This new standard includes four main technical areas, which are systems, video, audio and digital copyright management (DRM), and some supporting documents such as consistency verification. The second part of the standard known as AVS1-P2 (Video - Jizhun) was approved as the national standard of China in 2006, and several final drafts of the standard have been completed, including AVS1-P1 (System - Broadcast), AVS1-P2 (Video - Zengqiang), AVS1-P3 (Audio - Double track), AVS1-P3 (Audio - 5.1), AVS1-P7 (Mobile Video), AVS-S-P2 (Video) and AVS-S-P3 (Audio). AVS China provides a technical solution for many applications such as digital broadcasting (SDTV and HDTV), high-density storage media, Internet streaming media, and will be used in the domestic IPTV, satellite and possibly the cable TV market. Comparing with other coding standards such as H.264 AVC, the advantages of AVS video standard include similar performance, lower complexity, lower implementation cost and licensing fees. This standard has attracted great deal of attention from industries related to television, multimedia communications and even chip manufacturing from around the world. Also many well known companies have joined the AVS Group to be Full Members or Observing Members. The 163 members of AVS Group include Texas Instruments (TI) Co., Agilent Technologies Co. Ltd., Envivio Inc., NDS, Philips Research East Asia, Aisino Corporation, LG, Alcatel Shanghai Bell Co. Ltd., Nokia (China) Investment (NCIC) Co. Ltd., Sony (China) Ltd., and Toshiba (China) Co. Ltd. as well as some high level universities in China. Thus there is a pressing need from the instructors, students, and engineers for a book dealing with the topic of AVS China and its performance comparisons with similar standards such as H.264, VC-1 and RV-9.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC): Algorithms and Architectures (Integrated Circuits and Systems)
This book provides developers, engineers, researchers and students with detailed knowledge about the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. HEVC is the successor to the widely successful H.264/AVC video compression standard, and it provides around twice as much compression as H.264/AVC for the same level of quality. The applications for HEVC will not only cover the space of the well-known current uses and capabilities of digital video – they will also include the deployment of new services and the delivery of enhanced video quality, such as ultra-high-definition television (UHDTV) and video with higher dynamic range, wider range of representable color, and greater representation precision than what is typically found today. HEVC is the next major generation of video coding design – a flexible, reliable and robust solution that will support the next decade of video applications and ease the burden of video on world-wide network traffic. This book provides a detailed explanation of the various parts of the standard, insight into how it was developed, and in-depth discussion of algorithms and architectures for its implementation.
Entertainment Industry Economics: A Guide for Financial Analysis
The entertainment and media industries, already important sectors of the U.S. economy, continue to grow rapidly in other countries around the world. This ninth edition of Entertainment Industry Economics continues to be the definitive source on the economics of film, music, television, advertising, broadcasting, cable, casino and online wagering, publishing, performing arts and culture, toys and games, sports, and theme parks. It synthesizes a vast amount of data to provide a clear, comprehensive, and up-to-date reference guide on the economics, financing, accounting, production, and marketing of entertainment in the United States and overseas. Completely updated, it includes new sections on price effects, art markets, and Asian gaming. Financial analysts and investors, economists, industry executives, accountants, lawyers, regulators and legislators, and journalists, as well as students preparing to join these professionals, will benefit from this invaluable guide on how the entertainment and media industries operate.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015-01-12 Monday - Brother MFC-L2700DW Compact Laser All-In One with Wireless Networking and Duplex Printing

Very pleased with a new bit of equipment I've added for my mobile office kit, a Brother MFC-L2700DW Compact Laser All-In One with Wireless Networking and Duplex Printing 

(although, it might be worth paying a bit more for the additional duplex capabilities of the MFC-L2740DW)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The 24th International World Wide Web Conference (May 18-22, 2015)

The 24th International World Wide Web Conference will be held May 18-22, 2015 - in Florence, Italy - with a chosen venue of the Fortezza de Basso



In recent years, the 2014 conference was held in South Korea:


...presentation slides

...and the 2013 conference was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


videos of the keynotes speeches...


tutorial materials...


Some recent threads of discussion related to this InfoQ article series has raised my interest in possibly attending the 2015 conference...