Thursday, February 28, 2013

a separate mail client, task management tool and load tester.

http://peternixey.com/post/44136634965/engineering-is-not-the-bottleneck
yes. it takes minutes, maybe hours,ok maybe days, for us to do some of the stuff we do. it takes months for projects to complete. ahahaha..

http://www.gander.io/about-gander/
a mail client

https://www.droptask.com/signup
visual task management


http://loader.io/
load testing by sendgrid..

beware of client

http://smashinghub.com/beware-of-the-tricks-used-by-clients-to-manipulate-freelancers.htm
tricks used by clients to manupulate freelancers..

http://robertheaton.com/2013/02/24/featurewhack/
feature whack-a-mole

totally unrelated; linus clarifies what he thinks of uefi:http://www.zdnet.com/torvalds-clarifies-linuxs-windows-8-secure-boot-position-7000011918/

what is Steam?

I constantly hear stories about how a game from a small indie studio wasn't selling very well, and then it launched on Steam and suddenly saw a huge rise in sales, simply for being on the popular and, more importantly, trusted platform. Getting on Steam is a *huge* deal to indies, and a lot of people feel like they've "made it" if they're accepted onto the platform. Now imagine that suddenly everyone and anyone can be on Steam - it simply wouldn't be that special anymore, and I can imagine that rather quickly, launching on Steam would no longer do anything that special for your sales figures.

It could also have a negative effect on consumers. Right now, there's this really strange situation where some PC gamers absolutely hate DRM, and will consistently rail against it - yet at the same time, they'll refuse to buy a game outside of Steam, even though Steam is technically a DRM machine (although it is relatively light on the M). This is one of the main reasons that developers want to get on Steam - this perception by many that if a game isn't on Steam, it isn't worth playing.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/187374/Lets_talk_about_Steam_opening_up.php#.US9gkzAxE-1

Mr. Trololo original upload by RealPapaPit



Monday, February 25, 2013

asperger's has been deprecated but...

TL;DR: Here's the thing: All engineering is "working remotely" because being "remote" is simply a matter of isolation. This is why even people in the same room use headphones, IM, etc. Everything that's not working remotely (eg: isolation) is "meetings" and the overhead of distractions. The only advantage of having engineers in the same office is a lower cost of meetings. The disadvantage is it makes engineering harder.
--
This decision shows me that Meyer doesn't respect or understand engineering culture. She's bought into the management BS "accidental collaboration" rationalization for industrial age butts-in-seats ideology.
Engineering culture comes, to a great degree, from the way you treat engineers and the process of engineering.
Treating engineers like cubicle bunnies who just can't wait to get interrupted by their Pointy Haired Boss is not conducive to building a good engineering culture.
In fact, requiring people to be in the office shows an anti-engineering mentality, because engineering, an effort of the mind, requires situations that are best for the mind.
Two key things enable good engineering: Collaboration (which requires communication) and coherent thought (which requires silence or peace or the isolation from interruption necessary to do it.)
This means that even if every engineer is in the same room, they're going to start "working remotely" by isolating each other via the use of headphones, and a preference for non-interruptive working (Eg: send email, or an IM rather than walk over and tap the engineer on the shoulder.)
It's true that in an office getting together in a conference room to has something out is easier and more convenient, but the tradeoff is that even with all the isolation people try to put into effect interruption creep is a real thing- eg: meetings, etc.
Working remotely prevents these interruptions at the slight cost of a higher level of effort needed to have a "meeting" (using a virtual whiteboard or just a phone call or whatever.)
So, if you spend most of your time in meetings, then you need everyone together.
If you value engineering and spend most of your time engineering, then whether people are together or apart physically, they are all isolating each other and effectively "Working remotely".
IM, Email and other collaboration tools that allow engineer isolation work as well whether the engineer is in the office or across the country.
Plus, lets not forget the minimum 2 hours of lost productivity that comes form requiring people to go to an office- either the commute (and the resulting need to get into work)-or the long lunches at those free cafeterias, and the endless cycle of distractions that are accepted non-work in offices. A "15 minute coffee break" at the office really has a 20-40 minute work interruption, because it often involves other people, while that same break working remotely can easily be exactly 15 minutes, and likely will be shorter because 10 minutes is enough to get the same level of relaxation from the day.
Almost everything in an office is designed to distract you from engineering, and the cost of this overhead is significant.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5278949

i want my cheese and other stories

dilbert wants his cheese
http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/i_want_my_cheese/

ceph is nice..juju is nice..now combine that...
http://ceph.com/dev-notes/deploying-ceph-with-juju/

apparently there's this dude who's now at npr, but was at chicago tribune..
http://blog.apps.npr.org/2013/02/14/app-template-redux.html?
tribune newsapps..
https://github.com/newsapps

paid run-your-own-twitter service, app.net, is now freemium...
http://blog.app.net/2013/02/25/introducing-a-free-tier/

why cisco/hp/ibm/microsoft happens, sometimes

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/why-a-one-room-west-virginia-library-runs-a-20000-cisco-router/

and the first comment on https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5283160 ,

I have first hand experience with this, although in Australia. My first job was working for a IT development and solutions shop (this is over 17 years ago) where they won the bid to rollout the internet and network gateways across a large number of Australian government schools.We were doing similar work for private school at the same time, and the process for the public and private school could not be more different.
For eg. in the tender process, which I was part of, for private school we would use cheaper Taiwanese routers. For the public schools it 'had to be Cisco'. The only time we ever used Cisco, outside of large enterprise clients with 1000+ seats, was with public school tenders. The private school would get a $500 white-label router, the public school s would get a $6-15k Cisco router with additional VPN module costs.
We would charge a higher consultant rate on the Cisco jobs, and would bill 3 days instead of 1. We won the contract because we were 50% cheaper than the other tenders who all wanted to install 3 and 5-series routers. How we got to the point of being able to even tender is another story that involves somebody in our organization sleeping with somebody at the government organization. The other tenderers were accustomed to dividing the work up amongst themselves at inflated prices, they didn't even know who we were and we received a lot of abuse for breaking up their little scheme.
(Edit: a further idea of how this worked, the 3 people in the gov office responsible for tenders all had very nice cars and holiday homes while the rest of the office was working away on below-average wages. You could see what was going on just by looking at the car park)
So a dozen of us roll out hundreds of these routers in public schools and after a month we find that we rolled out the wrong version of IOS, one that was vulnerable to a simple security attack. Instead of forcing us to upgrade all the routers remotely, or out of our own pocket, we instead won another few-million-dollars worth of work to send a person out and apply the upgrade to each router (which took 5 minutes, we charged a full day plus travel).
The routers weren't even being used properly - the topography was net connection -> cisco router -> internal server -> switches. The internal server would do all the DHCP and everything else. These expensive routers were being used as bridges, although they were pitched as having 'forward compatibility' incase the school wanted to implement features such as user accounts (they did, although again they used a custom server, not the router).
When these projects are audited there is nobody who is technically competent enough to make an argument against who would be on the side of ditching or shrinking the projects. Some of the smarter teachers knew what was going on but didn't mind since they got access to fancy equipment (we would create user accounts for them).
My first, and not my last, experience with government bureaucracy and budgets. I would estimate that the private schools got more out of us at a tenth of the cost. Since then I had an even worse experience with the government health department, where 6-figure invoices were written and paid for goods that didn't exist (that department has since been broken up and the subject of a large corruption enquire). No surprise that I became very anti-government size and spending.
Edit: to add, we were so 'disruptive' to the backdoor deals that we were uninvited from conferences, kicked off panels, not invited to the mixer events where gov buyers met providers, a couple of years later we lost our accreditation[0] temporarily until we appealed to the Government Minister. On site we would be locked out of network cabinets, not given IP information for the net connections, etc. Our jobs were made difficult by competitors and others because of our pricing and methods. They couldn't figure out how they didn't get rid of us, because they didn't know that one of our guys had a solid relationship with somebody at the government (that person wanted to clean things up). Usually we wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near these projects and if we did win one we wouldn't be allowed back in for not playing with the system.
[0] 'accreditation' for government tenders needs to die, it is a formal method used to keep honest operators out of what is essentially a cartel. The Australian government is getting better in this regard[1], they now have an open tender website but I believe it still requires some form of accreditation that has a person in a department standing between application and approval.



so stuff like http://www.ubnt.com/edgemax or (http://www.draytek.com.tw?)will never see the light of day...

马好被人骑,人好被人欺

"Hardware donations do not come from vendors who use OpenSSH on parts of their stuff. They come from individuals. The hardware vendors who use OpenSSH on all of their products have given us a total of one laptop since we developed OpenSSH five years ago. And asking them for that laptop took a year. That was IBM. It took a year of negotiation and I had to talk to 15 people and I had the right person from the beginning but she had to get okays from other people and I had to write letters to say why. It was astounding."

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/10/07/1097089476287.html

"So the HP guy comes up to me (at the Melbourne conference) and he says, 'If you say nasty things like that to vendors you're not going to get anything'. I said 'no, in eight years of saying nothing, we've got nothing, and I'm going to start saying nasty things, in the hope that some of these vendors will start giving me money so I'll shut up'. And I said that's the way it's going to be. And wait till I give my next talk. And I said 'what are you going to do when I end up doing a talk in front of 4000 people, and finish by inserting into my slide an Itanium sales chart, and basically tell the entire audience 'do not buy an Itanium and if you're going to buy it, don't buy it from HP'? And here's why, I can explain why."

and linus is starting to get theo de raadt...http://www.muktware.com/5276/linus-torvalds-secure-boot-supporters-not-dick-sucking-contest

Linux, the dot in the dot com

notable quote:
Since ownCloud is intended to run on any major platform, he said that they ran into a particularly surprising problem when running an ownCloud server on a Windows host. It turned out that PHP was “interesting” with UTF8 filenames on Windows systems, and a large number of bugs were reported which all boiled down to this issue. Several days of troubleshooting led them to the root cause. The solution was to write a filesystem abstraction layer specifically for Windows. 
http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/24/meet-owncloud-5-the-open-source-dropbox/

ok, maybe LAMP, the dot in the dot com.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

other people's work..

they do it here: https://c9.io/
or here: https://www.action.io/pricing
then test it here: http://www.scirocco-cloud.com/en/price/
maybe theres really not need to work..https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/opinion/sunday/douthat-a-world-without-work.html
or maybe we can all do it with higher goals than just cots/efficiency in mind..http://www.wired.com/design/2013/01/japan-building-demolition/

i think i'll have a look see if there's a android port of it during lunch..




its the only game with its own o'reilly manual! http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920022565.do

this guy has made something of a khan academy of video guides for it..https://www.youtube.com/user/captnduck

the tale of the dwarf fortress Boatmurdered, http://lparchive.org/Dwarf-Fortress-Boatmurdered/Introduction/

and the tale of the dwarf fortress Bronze murder, http://www.nzfortress.co.nz/forum/showthread.php?t=20768

i hope the android port,if it exists, comes with such conveniences as http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/Lazy_Newb_Pack

technology that changed the world

i'm waiting for the americans to give
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Parker
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Fanning
the
http://www.uspto.gov/about/nmti/Nomination_Guidelines_page.jsp
or perhaps these guys instead
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bram_Cohen
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Len_Sassaman

the problem is when websites are compromised its the users not the site-owner, that're at risk

that responsibility seems to be be the working philisophy here: 
HTC America Settles FTC Charges It Failed to Secure Millions of Mobile Devices Shipped to Consumers

but not here...


I have my house locked up tight. My neighbor says that I have cruddy, worthless locks on my door. He proceeds to show me how easy it is to break into my own house. He suggests that I invest in the same type of locks that he uses.
So, what should I do? Call the law, and have the neighbor locked up for showing me that my security is shit?
Or, should I purchase and install the locks that he has shown me to be effective? 
The Incredible Rise and Fall of a Hacker Who Found the Secrets of the Next Xbox and PlayStation


and we don't know how this will pan out yet...

This is more like going to a public parking lot and testing to find out whether the security cameras are real and working, not working, or fakes, and then telling people they shouldn't park their cars there if they want to park where there are security cameras.
http://www.hyperiongray.com/index.php/punk-topmenu/about-punkspider

Friday, February 22, 2013

is it really such a hard problem?

http://paceable.com/
Paceable helps teams collaborate over support email straight from within their inbox! When multiple team members are CC'ed on the same email, they can share notes on that thread, assign that thread to other team members, and view real-time activities of other team members.

http://www.userlike.com/pricing
Userlike offers features that guarantee an optimal service experience for your visitors and operators. Automatically invite your visitors for a chat, use canned messages to deliver quick answers. When no operator is online your visitors can still leave their questions via an offline form.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class by UCtelevision



a keeper, from /.

Occasionally, one of my banks or health care orgs calls me on some (legitimate) business.
The first thing they do is ask me for my identifying info (SSN, birthdate, etc).
See, their security and privacy regs require them to verify my identity.
I always refuse, and try to explain the problem to them.
In the early days (going back maybe 5 years),
they had no idea what I was talking about,
and I could not get them to understand the problem.
Eventually, some of them understood that they had a problem.
But their understanding of the problem was that some of their customers wouldn't talk to them,
which meant that they couldn't complete the business at hand,
which mattered to them (or else they wouldn't have initiated the call in the first place).
Their solution?
Offer me a call-back number, so that I can call them instead.
Because, see, if I initiate the call, then they must be who they say they are, right? Right?
Just once in the last year, I had a bank that really understood the problem.
When I balked, they allowed that I could call back in on the customer service number *on my credit card*.
So I did.
From the reactions of the people who answered,
I got the impression that few of their customers do this.


- http://it.slashdot.org/story/13/02/21/0152245/notification-of-server-breach-mistaken-for-phishing-email

as a herbivore treats plants

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/13/02/21/1519235/white-house-petition-to-make-unlocking-phones-legal-passes-100000-signatures, we should recall that corporations are not free enterprise by definition - they are given special government dispensations to protect their owner(s) against liability. We (people) ultimately pay this price - a hidden tax. Corporations must be held to a particularly high level of good citizenship or their grants of liability immunity should be revoked. Else they will treat us (people) as objects that provide money to them, as a herbivore treats plants.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

why are they 'too big to fail'? let them fail and others will enter the market if there's demand.

see what people who are not aig/hsbc/citi are doing.
https://squareup.com/
https://stripe.com/
https://simple.com/

we the people just need banking services. we don't do credit default swaps or whatever it is that the big banks nowadays are doing. while the big banks are doing credit default swaps and neglecting to improve their basic banking services, others have innovated. when there's easy money to be made elsewhere,the banks no longer pool our deposits and make loans to businesses and earn the differences in interest rates, they don't care about us , the ordinary users of banking services, since they can make far more money by helping mexican drug cartels launder money or by betting on fixed libor markets.

joel on micro economics!

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CamelsandRubberDuckies.html

excerpt from a long article full of econs graphs..hur hur...

Notice the gap? There's no software priced between $1000 and $75,000. I'll tell you why. The minute you charge more than $1000 you need to get serious corporate signoffs. You need a line item in their budget. You need purchasing managers and CEO approval and competitive bids and paperwork. So you need to send a salesperson out to the customer to do PowerPoint, with his airfare, golf course memberships, and $19.95 porn movies at the Ritz Carlton. And with all this, the cost of making one successful sale is going to average about $50,000. If you're sending salespeople out to customers and charging less than $75,000, you're losing money.
The joke of it is, big companies protect themselves so well against the risk of buying something expensive that they actually drive up the cost of the expensive stuff, from $1000 to $75000, which mostly goes towards the cost of jumping all the hurdles that they set up to insure that no purchase can possibly go wrong.
Now, a quick glance around the Fog Creek website reveals that I'm firmly in camp #2. Why? Selling software at a low price means that I can get thousands of customers right away, some small, some large. And all those customers are going to be out there using my software and recommending it to their friends. When those customers grow, they'll buy more licenses. When people working at those customers move to new companies, they'll recommend my software to those new companies. Effectively I am willing to accept a lower price now in exchange for creating grassroots support. I see the low price of FogBugz as being an investment in advertising that I expect will pay off many times over in the long run. So far, it's working very well: FogBugz sales have grown more than 100% for three years without marketing, solely based on word-of-mouth and existing customers buying additional licenses.
By comparison, look at BEA. Big company. Big price tag. The price alone means almost nobody has experience with their product. Nobody comes out of college and starts a dotcom using BEA technology, because they couldn't afford BEA technology in college. A lot of other good technologies have doomed themselves with high prices: Apple WebObjects was irrelevant as an application server because it started at $50,000. Who cared how good it was? Nobody ever used it! Anything made by Rational. The only way these products get into the hands of users is with an expensive full-frontal sales pitch. At these prices, the sales pitch is made to the executive, not the techie. The techies may well actively resist bad technology with good sales that the executives force down their throats. We have lots of FogBugz customers who have high-priced Remedy, Rational, or Mercury products sitting on the shelves after investments of well over $100,000, because that software isn't good enough to actually use. Then they buy a couple of thousand dollars worth of FogBugz and that's the product they really use. The Rational salesperson is laughing at me, because I have $2000 in the bank and he has $100,000. But I have far more customers than he does, and they're all using my product, and evangelizing it, and spreading it, while Rational customers either (a) don't use it or (b) use it and can't stand it. But he's still laughing at me from his 40 foot yacht while I play with rubber duckies in the bathtub. Like I said, all three methods work fine. But cheaper prices is like buying advertising and as such is an investment in the future.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

erlang! zerg! ahhhh!

see the DEMO!
i hear the bottleneck is libvirt.
what is it? http://erlangonxen.org/
something similiar is https://github.com/GaloisInc/HaLVM
why are people trying to do this? http://zerovm.org/motivation/ 

its really not like http://www.vagrantup.com/ at all...

text processing. not as i know it.

stuff like..http://www.textrazor.com/ , http://www.alchemyapi.com/ , http://kbsportal.com/pricing , http://nlp.stanford.edu:8080/parser/ , does one perhaps store stuff on something like https://aws.amazon.com/redshift/ first then later use those things to parse thru what has been stored?

a good read

http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/getting-started-salt-stack-other-configuration-management-system-built-python

btw, theres also ansible, cdist, slaughter , fabric+cuisine, rexify, sprinkle, rundeck, func, among others..

NYT , CNN, CNBC, Consumer Reports, test drive Tesla S

CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/15/autos/tesla-model-s/

CNBC
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100464893

Consumer Reports
http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2013/02/tesla-model-s-winter-chills-limit-the-electric-cars-range.html

Elon Musk says, hey NYT, thanks for acknowledging that your test drive was less than honest!

my take on the matter is, in this day and age of accurate GPS trip logs and whatnot, what the hell is the NYT journo doing? could he not have filmed his entire trip down as well? at this rate i'd rather read a blogger review the car or watch a youtube video of a test drive. whats the point of paying journalists and buying newspapers if they're gonna do a sloppy job like this?

Harlem Shake v3 (office edition) by hiimrawn



DO THE HARLEM SHAKE (ORIGINAL) by DizastaMusic



recently there was much noise made about Heroku's resource routing..

https://blog.heroku.com/archives/2013/2/16/routing_performance_update/
is what heroku are saying.

essentially this little exchange is why people are using heroku:

> Also people that want to start a business, there is a huge opportunity here, create software that makes managing Apache, Redis, PostgreSQL, ..., in dedicated servers very easy and robust. Traget a popular and robust non-commercial distribution like Ubuntu LTE, and provide all is needed to deploy web nodes, database nodes, with backups, monitoring, and everything else trivial.
So the pitch is: clone Heroku, which has taken dozens of very smart engineer man-years to build and refine, then charge 5% of what the market will bear?
> "I can only write my Ruby code but can't handle operations" is not the right attitude, grow up.
I handled ops for 120+ Rails apps while managing a team of juniors and making time to write code. What a stupid waste of my time: ops is forever & never-ending, while implementing & delivering a new feature to 100K customers can bump sales' conversions permanently.
If I can outsource relatively-linearly-increasing Ops costs and instead focus on delivering value that multiplies compounding-interest style, that's not childish.
It's great business.

but i wonder if ubuntu has done exactly that already...http://jujucharms.com/charms/precise....

in other news, You Can Chef+AWS...

and i think this is a startup thats doing well and are doing well because of the tech they have...http://blog.iron.io/2013/02/using-ironmq-as-celery-broker.html

Monday, February 18, 2013

but pc is always faster?

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/df-hardware-spec-analysis-durango-vs-orbis
why don't they just give up and turn themselves into something like steam? or something like that android play store? essentially pc games are so much more advanced now its not even funny.

whats fairly interesting tho, is that both are amd..

block: experimental threaded backend for virtio-blk-pci achieving up to a 900% increase in IOP rate on very large storage devices.

http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.emulators.qemu/194776
QEMU 1.4.0 release

Sauce labs uses qemu/kvm, apparently. but the problem is, i dont quite see any link between qemu and kvm..i thought they're distinct, disparate and different stuff altogether.

more about kvm, qemu and...smartos(solaris).....
https://lwn.net/Articles/459754/
i'm totally curious why that..'cos doesn't solaris already have shit tons of containers and zones() already? why go thru the trouble of porting kvm onto solaris?

ok..i think its vaguely answered here: http://www.slideshare.net/bcantrill/experiences-porting-kvm-to-smartos

simple game servers and cms

https://minefold.com/
minecraft and tf2 servers on demand

http://getkirby.com/
hmm.. a file based cms?

keeping this in case it gets taken down

 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/afbddb44-7640-11e2-8eb6-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2KzVJrFJo

 

 

Death in Singapore

On June 24 last year, the body of a young US electronics engineer, Shane Todd, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment. Police said it was suicide, but the Todd family believe he was murdered. Shane had feared that a project he was working on was compromising US national security. His parents want to know if that project sent him to his grave
Shane Todd on a dragon boat in Singapore during an outing with friends and colleagues in 2011
Shane Todd on a dragon boat in Singapore during an outing with friends and colleagues in 2011. This is one of a number of images featured on Shane’s Facebook page. The photographs of Shane Todd have been provided by the Todd family
Mary and Rick Todd were anxious about entering the apartment where their oldest son had lived and died. Late last June the couple had flown from Montana to Denver to Los Angeles to a colonial-era house in the Chinatown district of Singapore to try to make sense of an unthinkable loss: Shane Todd, a young engineer who had just wrapped up an 18-month stint with a government research institute known as IME, was dead – an apparent suicide, according to the Singapore police. Mrs Todd felt her heart pounding as she climbed the narrow staircase to his apartment and thought about what the police had told her two days earlier.
Shane had died a week before he was to return to the US. The police said he had drilled holes into his bathroom wall, bolted in a pulley, then slipped a black strap through the pulley and wrapped it around the toilet several times. He then tethered the strap to his neck and jumped from a chair. Shane, 6ft 1in and nearly 200lb, hanged himself from the bathroom door, the autopsy report said.

More

IN FT Magazine

So the Todds, along with two of Shane’s younger brothers, John and Dylan, were unnerved by what they didn’t see as they crossed the threshold. The front door was unlocked and there was no sign of an investigation – no crime-scene tape, no smudges from fingerprint searches. “The first thing I did was make a beeline for the bathroom,” Mrs Todd recalled. She wanted to see exactly how Shane had died – and she saw nothing that fitted the police description. The marble bathroom walls had no holes in them. Nor were there any bolts or screws. The toilet was not where the police had said.
Beyond the bathroom, Shane’s home looked like a snapshot of a man in the middle of a move. There was laundry in the dryer and dirty washing on the floor. Clean clothes were folded on the couch. Boxes were packed. Shane, in his last hours, had been trying to sell his furniture. He had written out price tags. The Todds found Shane’s airline ticket on the dining table. His laptops and mobile phone were gone – taken and kept by the Singapore police.

Police defend probe into Singapore death

Singapore police released a statement on Sunday defending their investigation into the death of Shane Todd, an American engineer who had been employed by IME, a government research agency, found hanged in his Singapore apartment in June
As the Todds looked around the apartment, some of Shane’s friends and co-workers stopped by. The Todds were eager to meet them. No one could quite grasp Shane’s death: his girlfriend said he had been stressed about work, which his parents knew; but some work colleagues said Shane had been particularly upbeat on his last day at IME. A group had met at a steak restaurant and Shane said he had a job lined up in the States. One friend turned on a laptop to show the Todds a video of Shane at a karaoke bar. He was wearing Bermuda shorts and belting out “Susie Q”, “his go-to song”, his brother John said. “Everyone laughed so hard, because it was so Shane,” Mrs Todd said.
Before leaving, Mrs Todd noticed what looked like a small speaker. “Do you think the boys could use this?” she asked her husband. “Put it in the bag,” he said.
That last-minute find has altered the story of Shane Todd’s death. The card-sized plastic case was not a speaker but an external hard drive with a back-up of his computer files, including his work at IME, and a timetable and plan for a project that apparently involved IME and Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant.
The plan lays out how, from 2012 to the end of 2014, IME and Huawei would “co-develop” an amplifier device powered by gallium nitride (GaN), a semiconductor material able to withstand extreme heat and power levels well beyond silicon. GaN devices have commercial use in lighting as well as high-powered transistors for mobile phone base stations. They also have tremendous military potential, and major US defence contractors – including Northrup-Grumman and Raytheon – have pursued significant research and development in GaN for use in radar and satellite communications.
<!--.--> Security and technology experts consulted by the FT reviewed the project plan and all noted its civilian and potential military applications. Robert York, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara – a world leader in GaN research and where Shane earned a doctorate in silicon devices – said it would be “unnerving but not surprising” if Huawei were to be trying to advance its GaN technology. The high-powered amplifier has civilian use but “could be used for a number of military applications: high-powered radar, electronic warfare including signal jamming and even potentially some weapons”, Professor York added.
The colonial-era corner house in Singapore where Shane Todd lived on the first floor and where his body was found
The colonial-era corner house in Singapore where Shane Todd lived on the first floor and where his body was found
Shane, it turns out, had deep misgivings about the project he was working on and feared he was compromising US national security. His family wants to know whether that project sent him to his grave.
. . .
Shane Todd was an all-American boy raised in a middle-class family who lived in California and Florida before settling in Montana. His dad was a US Navy pilot based in San Diego when Shane was born. His mother grew up in southern California and graduated from a Christian evangelical university there. Her husband, agnostic in his youth, said he “adopted Christ” early in their relationship.
Mr Todd left the Navy when Shane was three. He eventually became a commercial airline pilot. The Todds moved to Boca Raton, Florida, when Shane was 13 and the youngster – by then the oldest of four boys – acclimatised well. He was athletic – a successful wrestler – and won honours in science.
He went on to the University of Florida and developed a close group of friends. One roommate described him as “brilliant” and “highly competitive”; a rugby teammate called him a “tough son of a bitch. Not only physically … but mentally”. Shane excelled at his studies and loved a good party. “Wherever HE was, the PARTY was,” a friend wrote in a memorial. Shane also fell in love and began to question his religious upbringing. Mrs Todd said he disagreed with the idea that sex before marriage was wrong and broke from regular churchgoing.
Shane at his PhD graduation in 2010 from the University of California, Santa Barbara©courtesy of the Todd family
Shane at his PhD graduation in 2010 from the University of California, Santa Barbara
In 2002, Shane began having trouble sleeping. Mrs Todd said they found a psychiatrist who diagnosed Shane as working too hard, trying to do too much. Shane was prescribed an antidepressant. He took the medication for three months, his mother said, and then he felt better.
In 2003, Shane graduated with honours in electrical engineering and then worked on a master’s degree. He graduated from Florida in 2005 and headed to the University of California, Santa Barbara, for his doctorate. His adviser John Bowers said Shane did groundbreaking work on high-frequency, silicon-based transmission lines. “He was very smart, motivated, determined,” Bowers said.
Shane had several job offers after graduation in 2010. He told his parents that he chose to go to Singapore because he was looking for adventure.
. . .
The Institute of Microelectronics is Singapore’s high-profile high-tech calling card. The institute is a well-regarded division within the government’s Agency for Science, Technology and Advance Research, designed to foster “world-class scientific research”. In the fast-growing city-state studded with skyscrapers, IME sits amid tree-lined streets in an area near Singapore National University.
Shane joined IME in December 2010 and was soon promoted to direct a five-man team focused on GaN devices. Sometime in 2011, according to files found on Shane’s hard drive, he began to work on what was apparently a joint project between IME and Huawei to develop a GaN amplifier.
Shane created a folder in September that year that he labelled “Huawei”. Within that was a file entitled “Schedule 1 Huawei GaN Spec 01” and this contained a “Project Plan” that outlined objectives, scope and a timetable for the proposed collaboration between IME and Huawei.
Shane was tasked with finding equipment pivotal to GaN research. He determined that Veeco, a publicly traded company in New York, manufactured the equipment they needed. Shane left the warmth of Singapore for winter in the US and was trained at the Veeco offices from January 2 to 13, 2012.
Before Shane left Singapore, IME put together a “proposal” document in November 2011 about what was expected. Shane was to “visit the Veeco facility” to train with engineers on equipment used in GaN development. Equipment purchased from Veeco as well as the technology needed by IME were mentioned. “Veeco has also stated that they will not directly transfer the best known method recipes to our tool, rather we will copy the recipe first hand during our visit.” In a tender for the equipment, also found in Shane’s files, the GaN recipe is referenced: “Can share during training but not available for technology transfer.”
Shane Todd relaxing in Singapore, where he went to work for IME after graduating©courtesy of the Todd family
Relaxing in Singapore, where he went to work for IME after graduating
The Veeco tool sought by IME is known, in the parlance of international safeguards, as “dual-use”. It can be used in commercial and in military applications. To sell this to IME, Veeco needed an export licence from the US Commerce Department, company spokeswoman Debra Wasser confirmed. Veeco would not release a copy of the licence – and the document is not a public record – but Shane had retained a file labelled “Export License – IME – Completed” on his hard drive.
In that file, IME states that the “end use will be developing recipes for growing [gallium nitride on silicon] for power electronic devices that support industrial partners in Singapore”. On the same form, IME defines the nature of the research as “commercial applications”.
Veeco declined to answer questions about its dealings with IME. “We do not have permission from IME to disclose anything,” said Wasser, vice-president for investor relations and corporate communications. In an email, she likened Veeco’s equipment to an oven used to bake a cake; the customer buys the oven and decides the recipe for its technology. Veeco provides “basic process recipes in training, not the cutting-edge recipes that our customers develop for their specific needs”, she said. The customers’ technology determines the ultimate end use, she added.
As for the IME proposal that it would be possible to “copy the recipe first hand” during the training at Veeco, Wasser said the “author of the document was confused”. “Veeco does not itself have ‘best known recipes’” for the machinery purchased by IME, she said. Customers who visit the site are not given access to any “unique recipes or formulas”, she added.
Wasser pointed out, in response to questions about Huawei, that Veeco’s equipment is already used by qualified customers in China; GaN tech­nology is found in many consumer devices. “Veeco strives to maintain absolute compliance with all US export controls,” she said.
The situation is complicated. Any potential connection with Huawei would be problematic for Veeco and for IME because Huawei has been deemed a security risk by powerful US lawmakers. The House of Representatives intelligence committee last year warned, after an 11-month investigation, that it suspected communications equipment made by Huawei could be used for spying. It recommended the US government not use components made by Huawei, or its rival ZTE, because neither could be “trusted to be free of foreign state influence”. Huawei, in turn, denied the suspicions and decried “China bashing”. Other western countries are not so sure. Australia has banned Huawei from participating in its national broadband network. In the UK, the Intelligence and Security Committee has just finished a review of “the whole presence of Huawei” in the national infrastructure and a report is expected shortly.
Regarding the case involving Shane Todd, Huawei’s representatives declined to answer detailed questions from the FT about any project with IME or Shane Todd. In December, Scott Sykes, Huawei’s vice-president and head of international media, said: “We are not aware of any of this.” In recent weeks, Sykes responded to additional questions with the comment: “We have not had any co-operation with IME with respect to GaN so there is nothing more to add.”
The hard drive retrieved by the Todds from their son’s apartment in Singapore, containing a backup of his files from IME©Ian van Coller
The hard drive retrieved by the Todds from their son’s apartment in Singapore, containing a backup of his files from IME
Professor Sir Colin Humphreys is the director of research at the Cambridge University Centre for Gallium Nitride, one of the most renowned in the world for the cutting-edge technology. In October he was invited to Singapore to review some of IME’s GaN efforts and noted that IME “had a good team”.
Sir Colin reviewed the “Huawei” project on Shane’s hard drive for the FT and said it was a plan for a GaN-based high-electron mobility transistor – an amplifier with commercial and military applications. He said: “You can’t say it is 100 per cent for military use. There are many civilian uses.” He added: “You would be foolish not to think of military uses because there is a huge market for it.”
Sir Colin pointed out, however, that the Chinese government has a substantial interest in commercial use of GaN. China has subsidised the purchase of GaN-growth systems – from Veeco and other companies – for the production of LEDs, part of an effort to reduce China’s electricity usage, he said.
The IME trip proposal was also reviewed by Sir Colin and he told the FT that he found some of the phrasing “unusual” with regard to the suggestion that Veeco might be willing to share a technology recipe. “Normally you’d expect the recipe to be put on the machine. What the proposal says is: they won’t put it on the equipment but they will make it available.” It could then be stored on a USB or other portable drives.
Steven Huettner, who has worked on defence projects for more than 30 years in the US, much of that at Raytheon Missile Systems, also reviewed the “Huawei” project plan, and described it as ­“disturbing”. The project could be aimed at producing high-powered transmitters for mobile phone towers, he acknowledged, but the specifications “jump out at you”. The project “absolutely has military potential”. Huettner said, in his opinion, “an obvious use would be for high-powered radar that could enhance … military capability”.
. . .
Within weeks of returning from Veeco, Shane Todd seemed increasingly stressed. Until then, Shane “was a typical Californian. He loved life,” said one friend. But in February 2012, friends and Shane’s parents heard that he was uneasy about a work project. In his long, weekly calls through Skype to his parents, Shane said he was collaborating with a Chinese company at IME and felt that representatives asked technical questions and then spoke in Mandarin to exclude him. “I am being asked to do things with a Chinese company that make me uncomfortable,” Mrs Todd recalled him saying. “He said he felt he was being asked to compromise American security.”
Among her sons, Shane was the most private, Mrs Todd said, so she tried not to pry. But Shane complained frequently about IME, sometimes adding that he was stressed about the Chinese project. “Mom, I’m going to call you every week, and if you don’t hear from me for a week, call the American embassy,” Mrs Todd recalled him as saying. She worried that Shane was depressed – much as he had been during university – and she offered to fly to Singapore. He responded: “Mom, I’m not depressed. I’m anxious.” He said she needn’t come, she recalled.
Several times, he told his parents that he felt he was under threat because of his work with the Chinese. Mr Todd tried to talk Shane into coming home. Shane said no, he had an obligation to IME. “I remember, vividly, him saying to me, ‘I am so naive,’” Mr Todd said. “He thought he had been trained for one purpose that was above board. Then he realised he was being asked to do stuff that could harm his country’s national security.”
Mrs Todd said she didn’t ask specifics about Shane’s work. She didn’t even know the name of the Chinese company until after his death. But the stress made him come back to God, she said. “Mom, can we pray?” Shane asked in April. “If I survive this, Father, I want to live my life to serve you.”
Shane with his girlfriend on an outing to Singapore Zoo in May 2012©courtesy of the Todd family
Shane with his girlfriend on an outing to Singapore Zoo in May 2012
Shane’s girlfriend, Shirley Sarmiento, said Shane began attending church that spring because of the stress. “He said there were things he had done that could get him in trouble with the US government,” Shirley said over a coffee. He said it had “something to do with defence” and involved a Chinese company and that it left him “uncomfortable”.
Still, Shirley said Shane was coping. “I’m a nurse,” she said. “I should know if somebody is suicidal.”
In late February, Shane told his parents and his girlfriend that he was quitting IME and had given 60 days’ notice. He then agreed to stay another 30 days because he was the only person trained on the Veeco equipment, his parents said.
In early April, Shane consulted Singapore psychiatrist Nelson Lee. According to a report Dr Lee wrote for the police, which was given to the Todds, Shane was referred by his doctor who noted an “increase in work stress with progressive difficulty coping”. Shane told Dr Lee that he had suffered depression years previously but that this time he was suffering more from anxiety. He told the doctor that he had experienced a loss of appetite and concentration and his sleep was disturbed. Dr Lee wrote that Shane’s “mood was generally low” and he was tearful at times. He also noted that Shane was neatly dressed, coherent and had good eye contact. He added that Shane “did not feel that life had no meaning nor were there any suicidal ideations expressed”. The psychiatrist prescribed an antidepressant. He suggested Shane come back in three weeks, which he did not do.
Shane’s time in Singapore wound down unremarkably except for some late-breaking good news. A few days before his death, Shane was offered a job by Nuvotronics, a US research firm that works with the US defence department and Nasa. David Sherrer, the company president, said Shane stood out among a dozen applicants and was offered a $105,000 pay package.
Shane was busy in his final week at IME. On Wednesday, he sent an email, inviting colleagues to “an American-style last lunch for this American guy”. He also sent an email to his mother, saying he would call soon. On Thursday he had lunch with a colleague who remembered he took three phone calls that seemed to upset him. Shane also emailed Nuvotronics with queries – could he publish research papers and file for patents, and how much holiday leave would he receive?
On Friday Shane and about three-dozen colleagues had lunch. At 5.16pm, he signed off with this email: “Thanks for helping make my time at IME a memorable experience. I wish you all the best of luck in the future. Please keep in touch.”
Shirley Sarmiento expected to hear from Shane on Friday and Saturday. When he didn’t answer her texts on Sunday, she went to his apartment. She found the door unlocked and walked into a room dark but for a light under his bedroom door.
Shirley opened the door and “got the shock of my life”. Shane was hanging from an adjoining bathroom door. His face was white, his arms dangling. He was wearing a grey T-shirt and black shorts. She pushed the body; it didn’t move. A chair, upright, stood about 5ft away. Shirley screamed and a neighbour came to her aid. The police were called and Shirley recovered enough to type a message into Shane’s Facebook page to alert his family: “This is Shane’s girlfriend. Please give me your number. I really need to call you.”
Mrs Todd awoke to see the message at 7.30 Sunday morning, at her home in Montana. “I knew instantly something was wrong,” she said. When Shirley rang, Mrs Todd heard her screaming something about a hanging. “I kept trying to figure out what the heck she was talking about,” Mrs Todd said. Then she understood. “My beloved firstborn son was dead. How could this be?”
. . .
Forty-eight sleepless hours later, the Todds walked into the Singapore police headquarters. They were met by a consular officer from the US embassy. Mr Todd asked if they should tell the police about Shane’s work, his fears for his personal safety and concerns that he had compromised US national security. The embassy officer advised the Todds to tell the police everything.
US officials would not discuss the Todd case with the FT. Instead, the embassy issued a short statement that offered “heartfelt sympathy” and referred all questions to the Singapore police. The latter did not respond to repeated questions from the FT. What follows is the Todds’ recollection of meetings with embassy and police officials. All emails referred to in this story were provided by the Todds.
Mary and Rick Todd, at their home in Marion, Montana, with Shane’s brothers (from left), Chet, Dylan and John©Ian van Coller
Mary and Rick Todd, at their home in Marion, Montana, with Shane’s brothers (from left), Chet, Dylan and John
The Todds and the consular officer were ushered into an office where they met Detective Muhammad Khaldun. He read aloud a police description of how Shane had hanged himself then handed over two printouts of suicide notes, which the detective said were found on Shane’s computer. One was addressed “Dear everyone”, another “Dear Mom and Dad”, and there were three brief ones to his girlfriend, his brothers, and “friends”. The police told the Todds that they had Shane’s computer, mobile phone and appointment book, all found in the apartment.
Mrs Todd read the notes and handed them back to the detective. “My son might have killed himself, but he did not write this,” she said with some calm.
The notes were surprising, she said later. One praised IME and its management. Another apologised for being a burden to his family. Neither sounded like Shane. One, Shane had never been a burden – “he had excelled at everything he put his mind to,” Mrs Todd said. Two, “he hated the way IME was run and the way top management treated people.” Shane’s girlfriend later said she was sure Shane’s last moments were not spent lauding IME. “He hated his job,” she said.
IME’s director, Dim-Lee Kwong, is an American who was recently awarded Singapore’s highest honour for contributions to the country’s research and development. Kwong declined to be interviewed about Shane Todd but sent this statement: “As the matter pertaining to Shane’s demise is still under police investigation, IME is unable to comment on the queries that you have raised.”
A family photo including Shane (top right) on the mantelpiece©Ian van Coller
A family photo including Shane (top right) on the mantelpiece
Before the Todds buried Shane in Pomona, California, where his grandfather and grandparents are buried, they looked hard at his body – at a small bump on his forehead, bruises on his hands, and the trauma around his neck. They read the official autopsy report supplied by the Singapore police. No drugs or alcohol in Shane’s blood. Cause of death: “Asphyxia due to hanging”. Still, the Todds simply couldn’t believe that Shane took his own life.
The Todds therefore asked the mortuary to photo­graph Shane’s body, in the coffin, and they sent those snapshots to a pathologist recommended by a family member. Dr Edward H. Adelstein, chief of pathology at the Harry S. Truman Veterans Hospital in Missouri, examined the photos and autopsy report and wrote a review that stoked the Todds’ suspicions. Adelstein said Shane’s deeply bruised knuckles and hands should have been listed in the original autopsy. He also said the neck wounds did not look like injuries from a suicide but indicated a rapid death. He suggested a scenario far different to that outlined by the Singapore authorities: Shane fought an attacker and died by a garrotting.
The Todds sent the assessment to Detective Khaldun, who consulted the Singapore pathologist. The latter sent back a detailed dismissal of Adelstein’s review. The hands bore evidence of post-mortem pooling of blood, he wrote. Dr Adelstein had not seen the body and he did not know the difference between “findings of hanging as opposed to … garrotting”.
The Todds were left unconvinced. Then Shane’s father made an unexpected discovery. Two weeks after Shane’s funeral, he looked at the small “speaker” taken from Shane’s home and realised it was an external hard drive. He sent it to a computer analyst recommended by Mrs Todd’s brother. Ashraf Massoud works at Datachasers, a data recovery firm in Riverside, California, and he made several discoveries, which he explained to the FT.
Massoud said he could determine that on June 22 – Shane’s last day at IME – thousands of work files were transferred to the hard drive between 11am and 5.09pm. It was reasonable to think that Shane was creating a back-up from his computer, he said.
Hours later, in the middle of the night, someone went into Shane’s hard drive and accessed five folders, all labelled IME. That happened quickly, between 3.40am and 3.42am on Saturday, June 23. Since the time of Shane’s death is uncertain, Massoud could not say who looked at the IME files.
But Massoud found activity, again, on several more IME files on the night of June 27, three days after Shane’s body was found. He said someone looked at IME folders – including one labelled “Supervisor” and one labelled “Goal Setting” – between 8.38pm and 8.40pm that Wednesday. One file in particular was opened and closed but closed improperly so that a “shadow” file was created. That shadow file was then deleted by the same person. Massoud located the original file on the drive – it was a PowerPoint presentation of the “Layer structure and summary of Veeco grown HEMT wafer”. This contains the scientific formula – a specific recipe – for enhancing a GaN chip.
Massoud said his forensic findings “cannot be 100 per cent conclusive” without reviewing Shane’s computer – which the police retain. But he told the FT: “In that two-minute window, someone is perusing. Something is happening. And it’s not automated, it’s a person.”
. . .
The Todds had been sending emails to the Singapore police and the US embassy for months. Both police and embassy officials responded that the investigation was ongoing and embassy officials made clear that there had been “no determination as to whether the death of your son was a suicide or homicide”. Still, the Todds felt the police were not fully considering foul play. So, in December, the Todds flew to Singapore to make the case that their son was murdered. What follows is their version of events. Embassy officials, police and IME would not discuss the Todds’ visit with the FT.
The Todds first met embassy consul Craig Bryant, and raised their suspicions about police handling of the case. “Are you saying the Singapore police are corrupt?” Bryant asked. “That’s a serious charge.”
“Well, my son’s death is serious,” Mrs Todd replied, surprised by his tone. Mr Todd said he wasn’t accusing the police of corruption; he was accusing them of mishandling the investigation.
Two days later, the Todds had a one-and-a-half-hour meeting with US ambassador David Adelman – at one point, Mr Todd broke down in tears. Adelman, a lawyer, said he had trouble believing the police were at fault but expressed surprise when told that they had not searched for fingerprints nor taken photographs of Shane’s apartment that night.
Shane at Singapore Zoo in May 2012©courtesy of the Todd family
Shane at Singapore Zoo in May 2012
The ambassador offered some information that, in turn, surprised the Todds. He said the FBI in Singapore had pushed hard to investigate. He said the FBI offered its assistance, notably in forensics, twice but the Singapore police refused it. The FBI in Washington confirmed that the agency had tried to help. “The United States has offered FBI assistance to the Government of Singapore on the Shane Todd case and has engaged in frequent discussions with the Government of Singapore regarding Shane’s death,” read a statement sent to the FT.
An FBI spokesperson in Washington, who declined to be identified, added that the bureau cannot investigate in another country without a request from that government. “The FBI continues to follow the case of Shane Todd closely,” the spokesperson said in an email. The State Department confirmed that the Todds met with the ambassador but declined to elaborate.
The Todds’ last meeting was at the IME headquarters, and they laid out what happened in an interview with the FT immediately after. No one else involved would comment. The Todds said IME deputy director Guo-Qiang Lo was present. So was Detective Kahldun. Another police officer was there plus a lawyer, a public relations representative and a human resources liaison from IME.
“We think our son was murdered,” Mr Todd began. No one responded. He then read prepared questions from his laptop and typed in the answers.
“When did Shane first meet with Huawei?” Mr Todd asked. “When was his last meeting? Do you know the names of the attendees?”
“I can’t comment at this time,” the institute’s lawyer said. “Because of the police investigation.”
“Have the FBI contacted you about the transfer of sensitive technology to China?” “I have no information,” the lawyer said.
“Did anybody from IME forbid employees to talk about Shane?” Mr Todd asked. “You can’t police these things,” the lawyer said.
The meeting was over. The IME lawyer made a final comment that stunned the Todds. “You are not to contact IME again,” Mrs Todd recalls the lawyer saying. “There will be no further contact, no more meetings, no more emails.”
. . .
IME won’t answer questions about Shane Todd. IME has been vigilant, though, about keeping tabs on the story. A request from the FT to interview director Dim-Lee Kwong was refused in December. At the same time, IME sent an email to employees stating that an FT reporter might contact them, and that they were forbidden to talk to the media. (A recipient sent a copy to the FT.) The next day, Dr Kwong called some of Shane’s co-workers into his office and said, again, that they were not to speak to reporters, according to one employee at the meeting.
Despite the warnings, an IME employee contacted Shane’s parents. That person wrote that Shane’s death was “a tragedy” and hard to figure out. “After collecting all information available, I cannot believe it is a suicide case. Actually, no one believes it.” The person ended, saying: “I truly hope that [the] FBI can be involved and perform further investigation.”
The Todds received an email from Detective Khaldun in January. He told them that a coroner’s inquest into Shane’s death would be held in March and asked if they wanted to provide any witnesses. He also asked them for the names of Shane’s neighbours – seven months after his death, police wanted to interview them – and he requested a piece of evidence. He wanted them to hand over the hard drive they had found.
The Todds wrote back with the names of neighbours they knew. But they believe the loss of their son has national security implications and want it treated as such by Singapore and US authorities. They see Shane’s death as a warning to others – young, smart and ambitious – working in the global marketplace of commercial and defence research.
The Todds agree that Shane’s hard drive may be a critical piece of evidence in how he died and could shed fresh light on the vulnerabilities of technology safeguards. But they question how the Singapore police have so far investigated Shane’s death, so they won’t hand over the drive. They are offering, instead, to send a copy of the contents of the drive. In return, they want the Singapore police to send them a copy of all files on Shane’s laptops, which are still in police custody. And again, they are asking the Singapore authorities to invite the FBI to help investigate how their son died.
Raymond Bonner, a former correspondent for The New York Times, is the author of ‘Anatomy of Injustice’; Christine Spolar is FT Investigations Editor. Additional research by FT reporter Sally Gainsbury.
The photographs of Shane Todd published here have been provided by the Todd family.
This article was amended on February 18 2013 to reflect the fact that the police spoke to the Todds two days prior to their arrival at Shane’s apartment in Singapore, rather than one, as originally published. 


 http://sgforums.com/forums/3317/topics/363855

The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Wed, 06/10/2009 1:02 PM  |  National
The family of David Hartanto Widjaja, an Indonesian student who died at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on March 2, and a local verification team doubt the Singaporean court process of his death.
The coroner court under the subordinate court in Singapore has been processing the case to decide whether David's death was a suicide. If it not, then the case will be forwarded to the criminal court.
However, it appeared the court process was intentionally directed to a conclusion of suicide despite evidence showing a strong possibility of murder, according to David's family and the verification team.
"We have strong evidence that he was murdered but that fact was not brought up in the court," David's father, Hartono Wijaya, told a press conference Tuesday at the National Commission on Human Rights.
"Testimonies from witnesses presented by the NTU were fictitious and none of our witnesses was brought to the court."
Djaja Surya Atmadja, a forensic expert from the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Indonesia, said any forensic doctor could see from the forensic report that David's body had defense wounds, and that there were no wounds of suicide.
Djaya and another forensic doctor, Evi Untoro, analyzed the case based on the forensic report. Using a mannequin, they visually demonstrated the locations and forms of wounds that David had.
Hartono also showed pictures of David's corpse. A deep cut at the neck, splintered legs and defense wounds all over his arms and hands all showed that he did not commit suicide. All these facts were never mentioned in the Singaporean court.
Iwan Piliang, a blogger who formed and led the public verification team with other bloggers, said the court process was like a play, where everything had to go according to a script.
"It is about nationalism. A citizen died in another country, with strong evidence it was murder, and then he was condemned to be a suicide."
He added there was a suspicion David's death was related to his research: "Multiview Acquisition from Multi-camera Configuration for Person Adaptive 3D Display".
"His friends said his three-dimensional study could be used for various purposes, either for entertainment or even for military needs."
"And we must not forget that after David's death, there were two unusual deaths at NTU - his professor's assistant *committed suicide' four days later and another researcher was hit by a car 25 days later."
Nurkholis, member of the National Commission of Human Rights, said that the commission would keep monitoring the next court process between June 17 and 25.
"We will also approach international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch." (iwp)
 

tech people vs journalists and other members of the media

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/that-tesla-data-what-it-says-and-what-it-doesnt/
journalist says..

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/most-peculiar-test-drive
tech people say.

http://adamsblog.aperturelabs.com/2013/02/hdcp-is-dead-long-live-hdcp-peek-into.html
why is hdcp still around?


Sunday, February 10, 2013

If men were angels,

no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm

Rather than disclosing the full extent of problems like fraudulent home appraisals and overextended borrowers, the bank adjusted the critical reviews, according to documents filed early Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan. As a result, the mortgages, which JPMorgan bundled into complex securities, appeared healthier, making the deals more appealing to investors
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/e-mails-imply-jpmorgan-knew-some-mortgage-deals-were-bad/


The government complaint says that in the spring of 2007, as the C.D.O. market was starting to collapse, S.& P. worked with banks to let them issue C.D.O.’s with ratings that the agency knew were not deserved. But by July of that year, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, S.& P. had announced new rating procedures that would have kept Mizuho from getting the desired ratings on a C.D.O. it was about to issue. Mizuho, the S.E.C. charged last year, lied to S.& P. about what was in the C.D.O., and got the desired AAA rating. Within six months, the C.D.O. was in default.

The fact that S.& P. was fooled may not speak well for its procedures and competence, but it does seem to indicate that in 2007 at least one of the banks pushing bad C.D.O.’s out the door thought S.& P. could not be relied upon to help it deceive investors.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/business/sp-may-have-tempted-arthur-andersens-fate.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

and of course, remember Libor rate fixing and HSBC admitting to helping mexican drug cartels and terrorists.
none of these things have landed people in jail yet.   
nor "people"..companies have been saying they are "people" who get to enjoy "free speech" and who knows what else...but how about jail terms and corporal punishments too? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

wtf is wrong with 'consultants'?

even inforworld felt it this time! 
https://www.infoworld.com/t/desktop-computers/apple-now-the-pc-leader-depends-your-definition-of-pc-212447

not so long ago Goldman Sachs was trying to say windows' 'true' market share is under 20%..

but what da fuck are all of them counting???


"Canalys didn't explicitly define PC in its announcement, but the company clearly is lumping in tablets large and small alongside desktops, laptops, and notebooks. By contrast, IDC defines PC as "desktops, portables, mini notebooks, and workstations" but not "handhelds, x86 servers, and tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based tablets)." Gartner includes "desk-based PCs and mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablets such as the iPad" in its PC categorization."

why are  "handhelds, x86 servers, and tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based tablets)." not personal computers?
and if they are, why are game consoles, programmable calculators, routers, android media players, NAS boxes not personal computers?
why specifically x86 servers? do they then count ARM or sparc servers?
in fact, how the hell they decide which x86 machine is a server or a PC? does ecc ram and 2 power supplies make a server? or does running win2008r2 make it a server?
if running 2008r2 makes a server, is a 2008r2 vm a server?
how many servers is a esxi host with 20 guests? how many servers is a sun m9000? how about a ibm z10?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

RFC 5321

"In other words, message transfer can occur in a single connection between the original SMTP-sender and the final SMTP-recipient, or can occur in a series of hops through intermediary systems. In either case, once the server has issued a success response at the end of the mail data, a formal handoff of responsibility for the message occurs: the protocol requires that a server MUST accept responsibility for either delivering the message or properly reporting the failure to do so (see Sections 6.1, 6.2, and 7.8, below)."

- https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5321

one of the things i'd like to see our goverment try to do before the next election

http://www.givewell.org/about/shortcomings#overaggressiveandinappropriatemarketing

oh yea, what on earth is givewell?

http://www.givewell.org/about
http://www.givewell.org/about/givewell-overview


on copyright infringement

“The fruits of an infringement of copyright cannot, as it seems to me, be equated with the stolen coins. While the owner of the coins will have lost title to the coins at law, the copyright owner will have retained title throughout both in equity and at law,” the Judge wrote.
“A copyright infringer is more akin to a trespasser rather than to the thief of the coins. That leads to the next point: that a landowner has no proprietary claim to the fruits of a trespass,” he added.
Justice Newey then put forward a scenario in which a market trader was selling DVDs from a stall (some infringing, others not) on land he was trespassing on.
“The owner of the land could not, as I see it, make any proprietary claim to the proceeds of the trading or even the profit from it. There is no evident reason why the owner of the copyright in the DVDs should be in a better position in this respect,” he wrote.

- https://torrentfreak.com/hollywood-wont-get-piracy-profits-from-usenet-site-high-court-rules-130206/

arXiv vs. snarXiv

Sug­gested Uses for the snarXiv:
  • If you’re a grad­u­ate stu­dent, gloomily read through the abstracts, think­ing to your­self that you don’t under­stand papers on the real arXiv any better.
  • If you’re a post-doc, reload until you find some­thing to work on.
  • If you’re a pro­fes­sor, get really excited when a paper claims to solve the hier­ar­chy prob­lem, the lit­tle hier­ar­chy prob­lem, the mu prob­lem, and the con­fine­ment prob­lem. Then expe­ri­ence pro­found disappointment.
  • If you’re a famous physi­cist, keep reload­ing until you see your name on some­thing, then claim credit for it.
  • Every­one else should play arXiv vs. snarXiv.

Diggers + Dealers

http://www.diggersndealers.com.au/
This leading annual mining conference combines presentations by listed mining and exploration companies with a large exhibition area housing exhibitors from the mining, exploration and service sectors.
A world class entertainment program ensures that delegates experience the very best of the style and hospitality of Kalgoorlie, the unofficial gold mining capital of Australia.
The Forum, the most important event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, was the brainchild of the late Geoffrey J. Stokes. A delegation of 150 back in 1992 has now reached a record high of 2400 for the three-day and three-night event. The Forum has developed into an enduring mining industry event, thanks in no small part to the support of industry leaders worldwide.
The delegation is made up of mining and exploration companies, brokers, bankers, investors, financiers and mining service industries. A 70 strong media contingent ensures that the proceedings of the Forum are widely reported.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/12/12/gold-miners-can-do-much-better-than-price-of-gold/

A model of capital expenditure for gold-mine planning

100 innovations of the mining industry

what your setup should be: a reference

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5134677


Ask HN: Startups on EC2, what does your setup look like?

19 points by rpwilcox 8 days ago | 9 comments

EC2 is every startup's favorite web host: pretty much the default place to go.My question is what does your EC2 setup look like? Just one instance and an AMI to spin up new instances when required? Use RightScale or Scalaium? Use a PaaS (Heroku, Nodejisu?
How is your database set up? Mysql/Postgress on the instance or another instance? Is it replicated (and if so, how?) SimpleDB? DynamoDB? Other NoSQL store?
How do you deploy? Capistrano? Git style push deploy?
Do you use anything for devops (Chef/Puppet) or just set up and update the AMI when you need new things?
Have you had any pain points with your current setup? (reliability with Amazon EC2-East for example?)
How hard was it to setup? How did you learn all these things? Or would you like to jump from your current hosting options to Amazon EC2 but don't really know how?





mryan 8 days ago | link

Conveniently, AWS has just made a case study on Fashiolista's setup, which will save me a bit of typing: http://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/fashiolista/We run PostgreSQL and use its built in streaming replication.
Deploys are handled with Fabric - this includes AWS API actions (e.g. removing instances from the ELB while updating them) as well as pushing code.
We use Puppet as our config management tool, in combination with AMIs. If you just use a vanilla AMI and do all of your configuration on boot, autoscaling takes a long time, so we use Puppet to configure instances, then make AMIs of those. We also run Puppet on boot to do some runtime configuration.
This is automated, I'm planning to put the code on github once I have cleaned it up a bit.
We operate in eu-west-1, so have thankfully been relatively unaffected by the problems in us-east. Typical pain points are lack of flexibility in ELBs and variable performance on EBS - nothing that can't be worked around.
Setting up was relatively straightforward - AWS is well-documented and easy to experiment with. We did not have Puppet in place before moving to AWS - that is one thing that would have streamlined the process greatly.
I'm currently working on a book about AWS sysadmin/devops topics - some parts of the Fashiolista infrastructure will be used to demonstrate concepts in the book, but I'm always on the lookout for interesting architectures to write about. If you are doing something interesting on AWS and think it would make a good case study, I would love to hear about it.
ETA: Oh, and CloudFormation. Lots and lots of CloudFormation. I can't stress how useful it is. Our infrastructure configuration lives in the same github repo as our code and Puppet config, and is deployed using the same Fabric process. This makes the sysadmin in me very, very happy.
reply
joshstrange 8 days ago | link

Currently I am using Elastic Beanstalk because it means I don't have to worry about machines or scaling. Using the configuration (http://docs.aws.amazon.com/elasticbeanstalk/latest/dg/custom...) files I am able to install any extra packages I need or run commands. After I am more confident that out EC2 config will not change I will create an AMI to launch new instances from so that I don't have to wait for the server to install the packages I need.I run 2 environments in my app (develop and production) my production branch is master and I work on a "develop" branch and push those changes to EB to test before merging and committing them in the master branch.
reply
13rules 23 hours ago | link

How are you updating your master branch? Are you just doing a 'git aws.push'?I'm reading that causes a little bit of downtime and AWS' recommendation for zero downtime is to create a new environment and then switch the CNAME to point to the new environment once it is ready... Seems like a little bit of an ordeal for pushing out changes.Thoughts?
reply
jbobes 13 hours ago | link

Like this http://cloudiff.com/demo :)reply
jbobes 13 hours ago | link

So can be yours..reply
ryanfitz 8 days ago | link

Recently, I switched to pre-baking AMIs and then launching those images with auto scaling groups. This has simplified and sped up our deploys substantially (and reduced our costs), we can go from code commit to deployed on production in about 90 seconds.Netflix has talked about a similar approach. The basic process is to have volumes from existing AMIs already mounted to your buildbox. Then when you kick off a build it checks out your code, compiles and installs it on one of those volumes, runs puppet in a chroot on the volume to do any needed configuration. Finally you unmount the volume and create a fully bootable AMI. I scripted this up in python and the baking process takes around 60 seconds.
reply
dinkumthinkum 8 days ago | link

Careful, EC2 is not all chocolates and strawberries. It depends on what you are doing. If you are not using the micro-instances and you are not really using "elastic" capabilities, you could spend much, much more on Amazon than you would anywhere else. Also, if you love I/O performance ... well ... Amazon may not be right for your projects. :)reply
citizenkeys 7 days ago | link

Storing static files on a micro ec2 instance saves me money versus storing the images using s3. s3 charges by the GET requests and PUT requests. So if you're storing a lot of static files, like images, then you'll go through that free tier very quickly and start racking up the charges. But if you store those images on your ec2 instance and serve them with apache/http/whatever, then you don't pay for any of the requests, just the bandwidth. and if you have low traffic and optimize your images, its easy to stay within that free tier and pay absolutely nothing.reply
tim800 8 days ago | link

I'm just getting started also. I really like the spot pricing. Most sizes have never even come close to what you'd normally pay.reply