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Peter E. Murray

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Assistant Director, Technology Services Development
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Recent Posts

Thursday Threads: Web Time Travel, Fake Engine Noise, The Tech Behind Delivering Pictures of Behinds

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In this week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads: the introduction of a web service that points you to old copies of web pages, dispelling illusions of engine noise, and admiring the technical architecture of Amazon Web Services that gives us the power to witness Kim Kardashian’s back side.

Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

Introducing the Memento Web Time Travel Service

The Time Travel service helps you find versions of a page that existed at some time in the past. These prior versions of web pages are named Mementos. Mementos can be found in web archives or in systems that support versioning such as wikis and revision control systems.

When you enter the web address of a page and a time in the past, the Time Travel service tries to find a Memento for that page as it existed around the time of your choice. This will work for addresses of pages that currently exist on the web but also for those that have meanwhile vanished.

- About the Time Travel Service, Last updated: 19-Jan-2015

The folks at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been working on web-time-travel for years. What started with browser plugins has now become a web service that can be used to find old copies of web pages found in caches throughout the world. Thought the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine was the only game in town? Check out the Memento Time Travel service.

America’s best-selling cars and trucks are built on lies: The rise of fake engine noise

Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you’ll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style of roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades.

It’s a sham. The engine growl in some of America’s best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. And it’s driving car enthusiasts insane.

I knew they were adding “engine noise” to the all-electric Prius car because it was so quiet that it could startle people, but I didn’t know it was happening to so-called “muscle cars”.

A look at Amazon’s world-class data-center ecosystem

Amazon VP and Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton shares what makes the company’s armada of data centers run smoothly.

- A look at Amazon’s world-class data-center ecosystem, by Michael Kassner, TechRepublic, 8-Dec-2014

Among the geek community, there must be some awe at how Amazon seems to create infinitely big data centers that can be used for everything from powering Netflix to this humble blog. Amazon is also notoriously secret about how it does things. This article provides a glimpse into how Amazon Web Services achieves the scale that it does.

How PAPER Magazine’s web engineers scaled their back-end for Kim Kardashian

On November 11th 2014, the art-and-nightlife magazine PAPER “broke the Internet” when it put a Jean-Paul Goude photograph of a well-oiled, mostly-nude Kim Kardashian on its cover and posted the same nude photos of Kim Kardashian to its website (NSFW). It linked together all of these things—and other articles, too—under the “#breaktheinternet” hashtag. There was one part of the Internet that PAPER didn’t want to break: The part that was serving up millions of copies of Kardashian’s nudes over the web.

Hosting that butt is an impressive feat. You can’t just put Kim Kardashian nudes on the Internet and walk away —that would be like putting up a tent in the middle of a hurricane. Your web server would melt. You need to plan.

Speaking of how Amazon can seemingly scale to infinite levels, this article tells the story of how one online publisher ramped up their server capacity to meet the demands of users flocking to see Kim Kardashian’s rear end. (And who said the internet wasn’t a valuable tool…)

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