Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Post on The Live Mesh Blog, PDC 2008

I wrote a post on the Live Mesh Blog earlier today that talks about what I primarily work on - the Pub-Sub backend of Live Mesh. I briefly referenced that I worked in this space in a previous post where I commented on Apple's Push Notification announcements.

I've written tons of design documents, specs and tech summaries on the job but writing this post was an interesting exercise - I tried to make it readable for both the geeks and the regular folks in the audience (hence the references to the postal system). I'm not sure how well this will work... I guess feedback from the blog comments will be a good indicator of how effective the attempt was.

In addition to my awesomely smart teammates on the Live Mesh team, who I enjoy working with greatly, I wanted to send a shoutout to Tom who originally helped design a lot of the stuff described in the blog post.

For those who want more details about how stuff works behind the scenes, there are some Live Mesh related deep-dive sessions scheduled at PDC 2008. Sessions related to the Live Mesh backend architecture ("Live Services: Mesh Services Architecture and Concepts" by Abolade Gbadegesin) and backend communications services ("Live Services: Notifications, Awareness, and Communications" by John Macintyre) might be most interesting to those who were intrigued by my post on the Live Mesh Blog and are curious to know more. 

Unfortunately, I won't be attending PDC - I'll probably be busy chugging caffeine and fanning servers while thousands of new users give our new Live Mesh offerings a spin. :)

More Food For Thought About Google And Exit Polls

A couple of months ago I conjectured that Google might be able to produce a very accurate exit poll for the '08 Election. Today's post on the Official Google Blog shows some information that's very close to what I suspected they could generate - very cool. Particularly interesting is analysis of traffic from swing states. I'm sure they could do much more here - trending by counties, for instance.

In that previous post of mine, I guessed that they won't publicly release a prediction, but bits and pieces of information and trends like these are a good stand-in for a full blown exit poll.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Regret - Not Reading Enough Books!

A very regretful personal trend I've noticed over the last few years is that I've been reading a lot fewer books than I used to, and I didn't used to read too many earlier either. This applies to works of fiction, self-help books, biographies, etc - the more 'traditional' books. I'm often reminded of this personal shortcoming of mine when I'm around friends and family who read a lot - I usually have much to contribute to conversations, until the topic turns to recent/popular books and I just draw blanks.

This regret hits home even more on the rare occasions that I do pick up a book recommended by my wife or my friends (on average, once in 2 months) - I tend to enjoy these books more often than not. The last works of fiction I read were Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash - both recommendations which I enjoyed, and took about 1+ months each to read. I read much slower than most 'good' readers (my wife, who can chow down books orders of magnitude faster than I can), which means I have more breaks and more opportunities for distractions.

When it comes to non-book reading though, it's a whole different story. I'm a voracious reader of blogs, news, current events, technology, opinions and trivia. I can read a newspaper cover-to-cover as fast as anyone I know, browse through several blogs a day without realizing it and read editorials/articles online pretty regularly. Maybe reality is just more entertaining than stories, or lessons from current events are more exciting than lessons in self-help books, or maybe I just do well with 'shorter' reading.

Or maybe I'm just not comfortable with the form factor of traditional books, which is why I've been eyeing Amazon's phenomenally successful Kindle - I wonder if that's my panacea. It's not cheap though. It would be super-awesome to be able to rent a Kindle at local libraries to check it out. I would totally buy one if it let's me get back into reading more 'traditional' books.

Hmm, I'm really tempted now. Maybe I'll just cough up the dough and give this a shot. Anyone have good/bad experiences to share about their Kindle?