Thursday Threads: Free Music Scores, Hiring for Attitude, National Broadband Map

Hickory, with true-to-life parting attitude (left) and Mittens

This week’s Thursday Threads is delayed, but for good reason. If you will indulge me with a personal note, this week saw the passing of our 20-year-old cat, Hickory, and the addition of a 6-month-old kitten, Mittens, to our family. Needless to say, when I would normally be putting together a post on Wednesday evening, I was otherwise distracted. The delay certainly wasn’t because there were not interesting bits to post in the past seven days.

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My O’Reilly Wish List

O’Reilly Media — my favorite technology publisher — is offering a contest in which they are giving away $500 worth of books from their catalog. To enter, one must post a public wish list to books, e-books, and videos from the O’Reilly catalog and send the URL to O’Reilly using a web form. As long as the total of all the items on your wish list is less that $500, you’re entered. The deadline is 11:59pm PST on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, and the sweepstakes is limited to U.S. residents only.

Thursday Threads: Estimating and Understanding Big Data, Key Loggers Steal Patron Keystrokes

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Two entries on big data lead this week’s edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads. The first is at the grandest scale possible: a calculation of the amount of information in the world. Add up all the digital memory (in cell phones, computers, and other devices) and analog media (for instance, paper) and it goes to a very big number. The authors try to put it in perspective, which for me brought home how insignificant my line of work can be. (All of our information is still less than 1% of what is encoded in the human DNA?) The second “big data” entry describes an effort to make sense of huge amounts of data in the National Archives through the use of visualization tools. Rounding out this week is a warning to those who run public computers — be on the look-out for key loggers that can be used to steal information from users.

IPv4 Address Space Disappearing, Here Comes IPv6

Last week in DLTJ Thursday Threads I posted an entry about running out of IP addresses. Since I posted that, I’ve run across a couple of other stories and websites that bring a little more context to the consequences of last week’s distribution of the last blocks of IP addresses from the world-wide pool of available addresses. The short version: channel any panic you might be feeling into making sure your systems are ready to communicate using both the existing network standard (IPv4) and the new network standard (IPv6).

Thursday Threads: Website Accessibility Reporting Service and Remixes in Film

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This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads has just two pointers. First, a new volunteer web service to report problems with websites, which may be useful for not only our own sites but for the sites our patrons visit. Second, a nine-minute video that illustrates the reuse of themes and ideas in motion pictures across time.

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 FriendFeed stream (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

First Bill for DLTJ Hosting on Amazon Web Services

I just got the bill for the first month of hosting this blog on Amazon Web Services. The total for the month was $23.60, and includes:

  • data transfer charges for all in-bound and out-bound content;
  • a full-time use of a LINUX micro-sized Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance (with backup to the Elastic Block Store (EBS));
  • a Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket for static files (Cascading Style Sheet and JavaScript files, images, and other media); and
  • use of the Amazon CloudFront content distribution network.

All told, I’m pretty pleased with the costs — particularly as I was considering the amortized cost of buying a new server to replace the one I had been using for the past five years. The itemized bill is included below.

Thursday Threads: So-called “Internet Kill-switch”, IP address exhaustion, demographics of P2P piracy

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This week of DLTJ Thursday Threads covers a wide range of topics. First, from a public policy perspective, is news that the U.S. Senate has a bill proposing the study of an internet “kill-switch” that some are speculating could behave like what happened in Egypt last week. Next, from a technical perspective, is the fact that we’re running out of IP addresses, which is going to make some engineers’ lives pretty messy before it is ultimately fixed. Lastly, from a research perspective, is a paper that characterizes the demographics of users using peer-to-peer for piracy.