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Clouds and scene

Since we’re being dragged kicking and screaming into the great scam that is “cloud computing”, I decided to go try it out sight unseen. I’ve wanted a VPS in Singapore with IPv6 for a while, and somebody pointed out that Voxel has a dual-stack cloud offering in Singapore.  I punched in my info, hit order, and my new VM was up in a few minutes, and the billing clock started running.

After this, it became a learning experience.  What I wasn’t expecting is that I’d still be billed for CPU usage even if my VM was off. (If I had read the FAQ I would’ve known.) I guess there’s two ways to look at “on-demand” computing, one being that you can provision/destroy a VM on demand, or you can use it whenever you want and put it on the shelf. I’m told that Voxel is going to offer a hibernate option soon, which will ease my concern. Even though it’s not a great deal of money, it’s still a new experience (and slightly disconcerting) to look at the service page and see the bill increasing every time. I can’t irc from my VM, which makes me sad that I can’t pop up and say “oh hai from Singapore”.

Also, completely not familiar with service APIs. I wanted to cancel an unused VM, they were all “oh well why don’t you use our desktop app or API?”  How uncivilized of me to involve humans! This further lead me to discover Adobe AIR, which is apparently the new Java Flash. Because Flash is so awesome, let’s make standalone desktop applications made of Flash+HTML+Ajax!

I’m looking for the tech social scene in Austin.  Surely we have one.  The SF kids have their tech parties and token coffee shops where people sit around inventing protocols (see: pseudowire).  We’ve enough California people here that they had to imported it.  I’m aware of Dorkbot and the occasional BarCamp. I’ve certainly heard lots of people talking about silicon, memory management and VMware while sitting at Kerbey Lane and Spiderhouse.

Somewhat related, I finally joined Gowalla.  Eric has been bugging me about it for a while, because it was made by a group of Ruby kids in Austin.  For the longest time I didn’t know exactly what it did, I gave up trying to figure it out from the website after 10 seconds.  After joining it and using it a couple of times, I finally realized what it is: virtual geocaching using a smart phone. Go to places with your phone, “check in” and occasionally there’s things to take or leave behind.  Or, there’s tours, to drag you out to a series of interesting places around town.

It’s midnight, I’m 31.

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