This is a great survey of independent film shorts -well worth watching

By Dean Treadway In this. the first Allan Fish Online Film Festival, constructed by the site’s co-founder Sam Juliano after the untimely death of his British co-hort Allan Fish, Sam has asked many of the site’s contributors to throw in on a film festival designed to highlight Fish’s obviously consuming love of cinema. Many of […]

via Allan Fish Online Film Festival, Day 3: A Sidebar of Experimental Short Films — Wonders in the Dark

You have everything from Norman McLaren to Stan Brackhage and everything in between. Watch all the films it will make you want to see more, I guarantee.

It’s a bargain, I tell ya’!

The FBI paid approximately $900,000 to a third party to help break into the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said recently when questioning FBI director James Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.

via Sen. Feinstein claims FBI paid $900K to crack San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone — AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Given the fact that cracking “could” be done when it needed to be done, law enforcement did it’s job. But to say that it shouldn’t be so hard or cost so much? I’m not on board with that. Cracking a phone should be expensive, and hard to do, especially for the pursuit of justice. This may be a case of false equivalency, but compare the cost of a Hellfire II missile and a drone mission in Yemen or Afghanistan to the cost of cracking 1-encryped iPhone. No comparison cost-wise. The phone crack is much cheaper. And in light of what it costs to maintain the security of the President of the United States on every weekend trip he makes to Florida? (a bargain by any measure) So carry on DOJ, carry on US Congress/Senate. Nothing to see here, just move along now and let the market dictate what level of security the consumer requires, THANK YOU!

The Elephant Bone Yard of popular electronics past

The Raiders of the Lost Walmart is a recurring series here at Consumerist, where the brave explorers who read this site excavate their local discount stores, finding ancient treasures along the way. What we mean is that readers send us pictures of overpriced electronics that are obsolete or even unusable, and that will probably never…

via The Most Precious Treasures Of The Raiders Of The Lost Walmart — Consumerist

The best part of this whole collection is that the Electronics managers of the respective Walmart facilities keep these things on the shelves for people to see. They may never buy them, but they can pick them up and hold them and read the packaging just like it was some kind of hands-on exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. And those security tags! The best, truly the best.

Sadly, my hometown supermarket is caught in the recall

Golf balls and potatoes are both round, dimpled, and typically found on the ground. That’s about all they have in common, though, so the recall of hash browns produced by McCain Foods and sold under supermarkets’ private labels that may contain diced golf balls is still an interesting agricultural mystery. Now another retailer, northeastern chain…

via Wegmans Hash Browns Also Recalled For Possible Golf Ball Bits — Consumerist

All the brands mentioned in the  original recall on the Consumerist.com website made me feel a little happy. None of them were brands or regional brands that I recognized. That is, until today. Wegmans is headquartered here in my small town and is a big hero locally. Nationally it is rising with a bullet. So a bit of a setback and  hopefully they will be extra cautious with their contracting and branding of 3rd party food product, like frozen hash browns and such.

JAL the friendly, competent skies

Besides being beat up by staff, there are other things United has missed, but Japan Airlines got very right…

via United vs Japan Airlines — Gaijinass

JAL is a phenomenon everyone should treat themselves to at least once in their lifetimes. I’ve flown JAL on one trip to Japan and it was fantastic. Prior to that my wife and I were loyal to NorthWest out of Detroit. Loved McNamara airport after the new terminal went in. It was beautiful clean and a joy after trying to traverse the mess of the old terminals A/B/C/D. I was so sad when Delta shut that down and threw everything to Atlanta, GA Hartsfield airport. Let’s mention that too BTW, Atlanta. Airlines all over the world have willingly bought into the sales pitch that Atlanta is 3 hours from 90% of all the people flying within the US by air. But does that justify forcing all your Japan flights to originate there? Can you imagine this for instance. Flying 4 hours south to Atlanta to then and ONLY then begin the 12 hour journey across Canada/Alaska/Japan? It’s nuts. Detroit alone took 3 hours off the first leg of our flights to Japan. Enough said about that, let’s get back to Japan Airlines (JAL).

Our closest airport with JAL flights was Toronto, so we took a puddle jumper across Lake Ontario, 45 minutes tops. Then embarking on the 12 flight in coach on the world’s best airline, JAL on the best airplane the Boeing 777. Yes, I said 777, not 787. I’ve been on both, still like the 777, the size, layout and the entertainment center options at each seat. And the staff! OMG, as Gaijinass says in his blog entry, they are cut above. Not just safety staff, but experts in the cabin morale business. They keep everything under control and moving along. No excuses, no apologies, just professionalism and honesty from sea to shining sea. The flight IS part of the vacation as far as I’m concerned when you fly on JAL.

The use of 9s to measure data center things

UPDATE: Shortly after 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Amazon said that the affected services were fully recovered and operational. =====Original Story ==== Sure, Amazon is a huge retailer and a giant media company, but its biggest presence is hidden from a lot of folks: It’s a massive internet host. Thousands of sites and companies rely…

via No, It’s Not Just You: Lots Of The Internet Is Down, Thanks To A Problem At Amazon — Consumerist

In the tweet storm that followed the outage of Amazon’s S3 service at US-EAST-1, I learned a few things.

  1. Amazon claims 9-9s of “Durability” which by most accounts means loss of data. So a very low chance Amazon S3 will lose your data in any incident.
  2. Depending on your level of buy-in, your SLA agreement level you may get anywhere as high as 4-9s of “Availability”, which is 52 minutes of downtime per year.
  3. Amazon S3 users may get less than 4-9s of availability with the lowest availability being one 9, or 90% reliability. Which would be 36days of downtime.
  4. 52 minutes vs. 36days of downtime on Amazon S3, that is one hell of a range. Hopefully paying Amazon “some” amount of money would hopefully boost you into something higher than 90% availability.
  5. Failover is something you as the app developer and Devops crew need to do in your app/testing environment. You then choose what level of failover/spare infrastructure you want to pay Amazon, then YOU failover the application. You can failover using Zones (Auto Zones) or Regions (Multi-regions) paying more as you go up the ladder of diverse routes and geographic dispersion of regions. That’s on you.

So learning this as I go along I realize I’m very much at the mercy of my upstream “provider” in this case it’s a packaged web app that the provider has hosted on Amazon S3. The people I work for sign a contract with the web app provider. But I am never privy to the details on the contract (Service Level Agreement) the provider has with Amazon S3. I know nothing about their architecture/design/disaster recover plan. But at a certain level of paying that provider and knowing they have many other accounts they handle in addition to mine, I’m thinking they are making a wise choice hosting on Amazon S3. They must know something I don’t and they MUST have architected their web app to work gracefully within the Amazon Devops platform, design to fail-over with no boost/assist from Amazon S3 other than to keep their Zones and Regions running as much as possible.

All that would be naïve magical thinking in the Universe we inhabit now I fear. Our web app was out from 12:45P EST to 5:00P. I worked another 2 hours after that to ensure all the queues and work that got submitted completed out and that the service is ready for tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9am when it is going to start the day doing work again. I’m so much more thankful for the last 3.5 years where this web app has had little to no outages. I guess we got lucky. That’s something at least. Whatever the root cause, I hope Amazon comes clean and lets the cat out of the bag and really begs everyone’s forgiveness. The trust in not just the service, but the expertise, all the articles written about Amazon’s engineers, patents, research, papers on Data Center design/ops/architecture is now flushed down the toilet. I don’t care now how much bigger Amazon is than Google/Facebook/MS Azure. There is a golden opportunity now for any entrepreneur out there to make web apps that can turn on a dime and move effortlessly between Google’s data centers, Microsoft’s and yes Amazon’s data centers. Or provide the glue, and expertise to make that happen. And then make the big 3 bid on hosting your damned service on their infrastructure. Then outages like today’s Amazon S3 downtime would mean something,… It would mean breach of contract, and you would pick up your toys, your DNS entries, your databases, your whole stack and move it to a competitor in a blink of an eye. That’s what I want, a cell phone service-like compute/storage infrastructure I can turn-over/cut-over when I get dissed, upset or disappointed by the performance of the hosting provider. No Vendor Lock-in, Free as in Freedom.