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I ran across this error message when I made a slight mistake when booting an OpenSolaris image on EC2:

Client.InvalidParameterValue: Invalid value 'solaris.indiana' for kernel profile. Supported values are [default, solaris, freebsd].

I’ve been waiting for this since EC2 was announced. Anyone have more information on the status of FreeBSD on EC2?

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Interesting news this week — along with the release of Project Indiana, Sun is also providing limited access to OpenSolaris images running on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. I’m keen to try it out, but at the same time I’m a little skeptical about the whole thing.

I have high hopes for Project Indiana. After working with Joyent Accelerators, there are a lot of things I like about Solaris (the service manager, ZFS, DTrace, etc.) and a lot of things I don’t like (awkward package management, very DIY for relatively simple things).

Indiana running on EC2 instances is a good way to introduce people to the platform, but it’s a bummer you have to register with Sun and get their permission before jumping in the pool. I hope the waiting list isn’t too long. I’m itching to play.

Hopefully Indiana on EC2 is lean, mean, and easy to get started with … but I have my doubts that it will be a replacement for my current Ubuntu AMIs. I don’t have any super custom configurations, I just don’t think EC2 isn’t the kind of environment where Solaris really shines — EC2 is lots of little servers, not a big box with a bunch of cores and spindles. Regardless, I’m an optimist, and I look forward to being proven wrong.

I’m waiting on access to the Project Indiana AMIs. I’ll report back as soon as I get my feet wet.

Update: I’ve been accepted to the beta program, but I don’t think I can do a test drive until this weekend. More information then!

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My first instinct was to keep this review short and sweet, but I realized that “holy shit” wasn’t going to be a particularly useful take on the situation. So, I’ll elaborate.

I’ve never been in a good position to build a solid home stereo setup. On one hand it’s a bit of an investment, and to make it worth while I needed to spend more time in an environment where I can listen to my music without bothering other people. On the other hand, soliciting information from the “audiophile” crowd is akin to drinking from a fire hose of terrible lies and fairy tales.

Never the less, I like music that sounds good (who doesn’t?). One of my first jobs was working as an assistant A/V engineer, and I have friends and family members who are professional musicians, engineers, and aficionados. I’ve been around and flirted with high quality audio most of my life, so it’s inevitable that I’d finally break down and put something together a system for myself.

Every now and then, serendipity strikes. I first heard of Aperion a couple of years ago, when one of my friends mentioned he’d gone to work for a speaker company here in town. I started pestering him about the job and the gear, and he had nothing but good things to say about the people and product. There seemed to be a lot of other people out there who agreed with him — and did so without pretentious trimmings.

A couple months ago I moved out of a shared office space and into my own home office. For the first time in a long time, I had a private space and a bit of a budget. Around the same time, Aperion released a new product line. Today I went to their office, had a listen, and walked out with a couple of fair sized boxes: a pair of Intimus 5B bookshelf speakers, and a Bravus 8D sub.

I’ve run through a pretty good cross section of my music today — Hifana, The Flaming Lips, Elliott Smith, Radiohead, Pixies, NoFX, Muse, Bruce Springsteen, Beck, Arctic Monkeys, Autechre, The Shins, Soul Coughing, Thelonious Monk, and even a little Beethoven and Prokofiev for good measure.

Back to my original review: Holy shit, my face hurts from smiling. I’m not going pile on the flowery language and esoteric metaphors about how it sounds, and I’m certainly not going to take advantage of Aperion’s 30 day return policy. The 5Bs are a pleasure to listen to, and the 8D fills out the bottom octaves wonderfully.

My only advice to people considering Aperion speakers? Ask them about getting a deal on returned or refurbished items, and spend the money you save on more good music!

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I received a friendly e-mail this morning from Amazon, announcing persistent storage for EC2 instances. From the looks of it, the storage behaves like NAS — it exists independent of the instances you’re using, and can be mounted whenever you like. Not bad. I’m interested to see what the IO performance is like.

Other features include:

* Snapshots, to back up the storage to S3.
* Multiple volumes per instance.
* Shows up as a block device on the instance, so any filesystem can be used.

Persistent storage is in limited private beta right now, but according to the announcement it should be publicly available “later this year.”

Catching The Next Wave

April 8, 2008

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Every now and then a set of technologies gets twisted together by a small group of dedicated people, and a new industry is born — a watershed event that demonstrates a new way of thinking about things, and throws out a lot of old rules.

There are a three that are coming together to trigger another watershed.

The first is open, popular, mobile Internet devices.  Think Blackberry, iPhone, or the slew of new MIDs that Intel showed off a few days ago in Shanghai.   These are built around the assumption of ubiquitous access to the Internet, high resolution displays, multimedia capabilities, and a bit of horsepower under the hood.  Any college student can get their hands on the Android or iPhone or Windows Mobile SDKs and build a hot little application in their spare time.

The second is web services.  It doesn’t matter if it’s WS* or REST or XML or JSON — the point is being able to query and manipulate data at a distance, with open protocols across public and private networks.  Pick your web framework of choice … building a web service is almost a drag and drop process today.

The third and final piece is cheap and scalable cloud computing.  The physical infrastructure capable of serving billions of transactions is available to anyone with a credit card and a little spare time on the weekend.  Amazon’s Web Services, Google’s App Engine, and a slew of smaller providers sell scalable computing and bandwidth by the hour and gigabyte.

These three fit together to form a fundamentally different picture of mobile computing:  light weight applications that fit in your pocket that take advantage of the local hardware, but seamlessly tap into “Internet scale” computing power and storage.

I’ve talked with a dozen entrepreneurs in as many months who are exploring these waters.  Streaming media (push and pull), information discovery and analysis, mobile social interactions, and location aware applications all depend on this trinity of capabilities.  I’m just one guy in a groundswell of people who are looking at the landscape and thinking “hot damn!”

What makes this so exciting is how easy it is to do today.  You don’t need a dozen engineers and a multi-million dollar budget.  You don’t need to negotiate with a corporate gatekeeper.  You don’t need to pitch to VCs.  You don’t need to wait.

2009 is going to bring a wave of media rich, location aware, always connected mobile applications to hundreds of millions of people.  I’m confident we’ll see a real forehead slapper by the end of 2008 — a tool or service that is painfully obvious, but fundamentally changes how we think about a day to day task.  It’ll make a millionaire or two, at the very least.

This will be fun.  🙂

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Note: This is a little out of date, since the Beta 3 build automatically generates an empty XIB and the code for including it in new projects. If you’re looking for Apple’s introductory tutorial on how to build applications with Interface Builder, click here.

So, the trick to using Interface Builder is figuring out where to put the files, and plugging the XIB interface into the app.

The file question is easily answered:  File > Write Class Files to the directory in your project where the rest of your classes live.  For really simple apps with a single view, select your existing AppDelegate class and IB will merge the changes for you. You’ll also see a new .xib file in your classes directory, containing your interface.

Connecting the XIB interface is also relatively straight forward.  In your AppDelegate file, change what self.contentView points at:

self.contentView = [[[NSBundle mainBundle] loadNibNamed:@"XIBFileName" owner:self options:nil] objectAtIndex:0];

Where XIBFileName is the name of the generated XIB file without the .xib extension.

Anyhow. I’m still learning, and this is with a beta release of the iPhone SDK, so you’re welcome to leave comments if you have better ideas or tips on working with IB for the iPhone. Thanks!