Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: I Can See Patterns In The Cloud

    Well, we finally did it. After many months of redesign, reconsideration, rewrites, and recombination we've let loose on the web our first release of the Cloud Design Patterns guide. The guide is a combination of design patterns that are especially applicable to cloud-hosted applications and services...
  • Blog Post: How Much Computing Power Do You Need?

    I discovered this week that online shopping is not something new and exciting, but has been around here in England since 1984; five years before the World Wide Web saw the light of day at CERN, nine years before the first commercially available web browser hit the streets, and eleven years before Amazon...
  • Blog Post: Do Only Old People Buy Bicycles?

    Some years ago I was forcefully introduced to the concept of statistical quality control, where the overall quality of a batch of items could be determined from an examination of a small sample. This came to mind as I've been immersed in watching demos of the new "Big Data" techniques for analyzing data...
  • Blog Post: A Database By Any Other Name...

    Some friends have just adopted a rather cute ginger cat and decided to name it Juno, perhaps after the Queen of the Roman Gods. Though it regularly leads to the interesting conversation: "What's your cat's name?" - "Juno" - "No I don't, that's why I'm asking"... Meanwhile, here at p&p we're just...
  • Blog Post: What Color Is Your Field?

    So, at last, we're done. After fighting with multiple new versions of the Windows Azure SDK, updated features in the management portal, changes to the functionality of services, and the regular changes to the names of various parts of Windows Azure, we've shipped the third editions of two of our Windows...
  • Blog Post: Cloudy, But No Rain So Far...

    It's been a month or so since I swallowed the Azure blue pill and moved all my local and community websites to Windows Azure Web Sites and Windows Azure SQL Database. Into each life, they say, a little rain will fall (well, actually Longfellow said it) but so far it's been pretty much sunshine all the...
  • Blog Post: A Prolonged Burst of Frenetic Procrastination

    Following a discussion last week about how the most successful national clubs and societies have evolved, I was amused by a response from someone who professed to setting up the National Procrastination Society. He reckons that this is the most successful society ever because none of the members has...
  • Blog Post: You Don't Need Fourpence to Make the Internet Disappear

    So I just found out this week why Automobile Association patrolmen didn't need to carry four one-penny coins around at all times. According to an item on the program "QI", in the early days of Britain's acquisition of a nuclear attack capability they worried how they would contact the Prime Minister...
  • Blog Post: Fully Cloud-Enabled!

    Yes, another episode in my continuing onslaught on the cloud. But this week it's a heartwarming story of intrepid adventure and final success. At last I'm fully resident in the cloud - or, to be more precise, several clouds. And I might even have saved some money as well... Over the past couple of...
  • Blog Post: I Nearly Found Nirvana In The Cloud

    So it's been a week of semi-fruitful searching for lots of people. In China there's a team setting out on a million-pound expedition in the mountains and forests of Hubei province to find the Yeren or Yeti that's supposedly been sighted hundreds of times. In Geneva, scientists have revealed that they...
  • Blog Post: Can I Afford the Cloud?

    Like many people I'm trying to evaluate whether I can save money by moving my lightly-loaded, community-oriented websites to Windows Azure instead of running them all on my own hardware (a web server in my garage). With the advent of the low-priced Web Sites model in Windows Azure (which I rambled on...
  • Blog Post: Web Sites or Cloud Services?

    The latest update to the range of Windows Azure services includes a nifty feature called Web Sites that provides a really great way to deploy your own websites to the cloud. It's quick and easy, you can progressively update the site by uploading individual files, and it's cheap. In fact at the moment...
  • Blog Post: Does Online Shopping Deliver The Goods?

    It's fairly obvious that the Internet is changing everything. For those of us involved in the computing industry, that's no surprise - we're the people driving most of the changes. But it's recently become even more evident just how far-reaching the changes are; driven in part by the global financial...
  • Blog Post: Hybrigation Complete, Feedback Required...

    So at last we've finished the Windows Azure hybrid applications guide , and it's out there ready for anyone interested in integrating cloud-hosted applications with on-premises services and partner applications. OK, so it's taken a little longer than originally planned but it is more comprehensive than...
  • Blog Post: So Where Does Stuff Come From?

    You regularly hear about the disconnect between real life and people's perceptions of it. For example, it seems that two thirds of inner-city school kids don't realize that the contents of their beef burger comes from cows, or that they make bread out of the tall, pale brown, grass-like stuff growing...
  • Blog Post: How Much Is That Stamp On The Website?

    How about we start this week with a short quiz: What do you reckon is the most common thing that visitors to the Royal Mail website will be looking for? I'll give you a clue: Christmas is coming and it's likely that you'll be sending out lots of items using the old-fashioned "put it in an envelope and...
  • Blog Post: Hybrid Triangulation (with Cat Food and Bananas)

    Once again I'm at one of those gloriously satisfying stages in my p&p working life when I'm trying to define the structure for a new guide. We know what technologies we want to cover, how we will present the guidance, and the kind of sample that we'll provide to demonstrate the all-encompassing wonderfulness...
  • Blog Post: A Technological Rainbow Coalition

    One of the joys of being a documentation engineer is the variety of projects I tackle. At the moment I'm sharing my time between two projects at diametrically opposite ends of the complexity and target audience spectrums. It even seems as though it requires my brain to work on different wavelengths at...
  • Blog Post: Does WIF Have a Funny Smell?

    I've occasionally heard developers talk about a "code smell" - subtle indications that lead to the uneasy feeling all is not well with the source code for some application (as opposed, I guess, to the not unknown opinion that everybody else's code stinks). I wonder if there are similar easy-to-miss signs...
  • Blog Post: On Cloud Ten

    Two thousand and ten is, they say, the year of the Cloud. Yes, I know they've been saying that for a few years, but it really does seem to be a technology that is heading skywards (ouch, sorry) this year. And I'm about to climb on board. Though, hopefully, not equipped with pan pipes or tendering my...
  • Blog Post: In the Jungles of the Amazon

    I'm a great believer in the future of "cloud" computing. It seems to be the way forward for both large and small organizations to maximize return on investment and reduce the complexity of managing their own hardware. Not that I'm one to talk about simplifying technology requirements after the past three...
  • Blog Post: Gone Shopping...

    (OK, need a good, hard-hitting, gritty opening sentence this week to get people interested. Here we go...). Last week I went shopping. (Hmmm... not quite the impact I wanted, but press on regardless). I wanted a new battery for my camera, so I popped into a local specialist. "Hi," I said breezily, "I...
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