Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Those days...

You can see Microsoft pretty often displayed on ads nowadays.

However, not so often you can see the ad featuring MS-DOS. ;) And I remember it pretty well.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Freebies sometimes are useful

Thanks to Perkins Coie and their cheap speakers from the TechCrunch50 conference (yes, freebies!), I can have some music "in da house".

Now my iTunes is proudly streaming to this little monster which plays enough for me to hear something, but not hate it for this terrible sound (which more like a noise :) And yes, it can take power from Airport's USB as well. So no batteries waste.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Purple thin book

Finally I found some time to take care of my purple thin book (yep, the GMAT verbal one).

It barely has any good instructions at the beginning, but I didn't expect though. They basically copy all the facts and advices from the big book, the original review.

It's really interesting how scrupulously they categorize all questions and answers to them each belong to some specific group and problem. But I think I'd never make myself think about these problems the way they're described here. I think I should just keep reading more.

I tried to watch more TV in English, like movies, shows, etc, but it looks like it doesn't help. TV is pretty stupid anyways. :)

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Free PDUs

Upcoming Free PDU Webinars

If you're trying to keep your PMP in good standing, you might find this collection of upcoming events with free PDUs very useful.

Thanks to Andi Levin who put this all together.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Monday, September 28, 2009

Apple fights Hackintosh

Apple's motion to toss out a lawsuit filed by pesky Hackintosher Psystar was itself tossed out by a US District Court judge.

Well, while I am not completely agree with Psystar politics (I even thought they were smashed a while ago :), I should say, making Hackintosh legal could be beneficial for consumers.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost


Just finished the "Four Steps to Epiphany" book.  Well, not really finished.  It looks like this is kind of the book I'm going to get back many times in future.  Make sure not to miss Steven's bibliography starting page 207.   He has some very interesting books there, and I'd make sure to read them all (I did the most of them already though :).

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flickr's API Signature Forgery Vulnerability

This advisory describes a vulnerability in the signing process that allows an attacker to generate valid signatures without knowing the shared secret. By exploiting this vulnerability, an attacker can send valid arbitrary requests on behalf of any application using Flickr's API. When combined with other vulnerabilities and attacks, an attacker can gain access to accounts of users who have authorized any third party application.


# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Monitoring ActiveMQ with Monit on Debian

Monit is a nice tool for monitoring processes.  I know it's widely used in the RoR environment to monitor Mongrel's that goes nutz and eat too much memory.  It's really easy to setup and configure.  You don't need to be too much in systems administration to handle it, so it's a good tool.

ActiveMQ is something not that light.  But this is one of the most powerful and free messaging providers.

Debian is Linux. :)

Okay, so I'll tell you how you can monitor ActiveMQ with Monit.  It's pretty easy, but we should start with a few tweaks of run scripts for ActiveMQ first.  In my specific setup I have ActiveMQ based at /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0 and the platform is Debian Linux.  It's actually running a Xen-based server on Slicehost which I am very happy about, but that's a different story. 

What I am using to manage ActiveMQ is script /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/activemq.  

# /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/activemq 
Usage: /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/activemq { console | start | stop | restart | status | dump }

You probably mention that I'm using the ...-x86-64 one.  There is also a ...-x86-32 and macosx here, which you can use accordingly for your platform (run uname -a to figure this if you're not sure, although you might not be the right guy to set it up if it's so).

Whatever, first of all I had to modify the first lines of /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/wrapper.conf


There also many other things you can adjust there, but that's your own business.

After that, you can use /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/activemq to start and stop broker.  You might also want to run activemq console at the first time to see all the logs and messages that are coming to console, to confirm that everything works just fine.  If you're using a server with a limited amount of memory available, make sure to adjust -Xmx setting, it can be done at wrapper.conf:


Now time to modify Monit config file a little bit.  I'll edit /etc/monit/monitrc:

check process activemq
    with pidfile /usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/ActiveMQ.pid
    start program = "/usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/activemq start"
    stop program = "/usr/local/apache-activemq-5.2.0/bin/linux-x86-64/activemq stop"
    if failed host port 61616 then restart                    

The 61616 port is ActiveMQ default one.  It safe to monitor it, as if it doesn't work, something is wrong.  Basically that's it.  Make sure to reload Monit  to load new configuration file and that's it - you're not afraid of restarts anymore.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Market differentiation vs. segmentation

There are lot of concepts that rely on the grounds of choosing the right market as well as clearly describing your position there.   If you're making a mistake here, the whole strategy applied later can fail even if executed extremely well.

So what are the possible markets to address?

You can be either creating a new market or entering an existing one.  And while creating a new market is something sounding more straight (nonetheless, very hard and timing process), entering an existing market is not a one-way option, as it can be done in different ways.  So this is when the question of market differentiation and segmentation comes up.

So what is market segmentation?  This means choosing a very clear, unique, important spot in the existing market, when you product has a very clearly articulated value for customers as well as it really solves an important problem for them.  Market segmentation divides the market into distinct groups of people who have similar problems, while still residing within the same market.  Members of two different groups have different needs, clearly stated and important to them.  Imagine car dealership that sells SUVs and sedans.  Two different segments.  Two different needs.

And what does market differentiation do?  A lot of people mistakenly think it to have the same meaning with segmentation, and this is wrong.  Differentiation comes into play when you need it if you plan to sell something very much the same as other 1,000 of companies do, but you need to buy the interest of a customer with something.  Something, that makes a difference between you and all those 1,000.  Better service, better value, broader range of products, etc.  You're not hunting for the different group of people here.  Imagine grocery store, that have the same food as everywhere, but gives you a chance to try it before buy.  Same price, same clients.

P.S. Market segmentation and differentiation is something that is way more complex that what I described here.  I just tried to cover the difference of concepts between two terms.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Friday, September 25, 2009

Приближение к клиенту

На фоне того что я сам занимаюсь продвижением и развитием продуктов нескольких компаний, хотел бы поговорить о смысле и пользе раннего общения с клиентом.  

Наверняка многие из вас сталкивались с вопросом: "А кому это вообще все нужно?" на одном из первых этапов создания компании.  Вернее, компании еще нет.  Есть только идея.  Проблема.  Или ниша, которую вы пытаетесь занять, не совсем понимая всех "почему" процесса.

Во многих компаниях которые я начинал, я старался делать как минимум одно общее -- раннюю проверку (разработку, если хотите) рынка, потенциальных покупателей.  

Тут тоже есть несколько приложений:

  1. С  компанией работающей с реальными физическими людьми было проще.  Четко определил типового покупателя, кинул рекламу, собрал реакцию, решили продолжать или не стоит.    
  2. С Веб проектами все сложнее.  Выйти на типового покупателя сложнее, вычленить его еще сложнее.  Приходится "бросать камни об стену" (конечно немного прицеливаясь), с надеждой попасть все-таки куда нужно, или понять реакцию.

Сразу отступление: я говорю о Веб проекте, который как правило не пишется за неделю на коленке, который не "очередная социальная сеть", где важно нагнать народа на халяву, а там хоть трава не рости.  Типичный продукт о котором я говорю: что-то что продается за деньги, для чего важен хороший покупной вид (то-есть проблему с продажей мы не перекладываем на живого продавца который будет питчить другие компании), и как правило ориентированный на мелких потребителей.

В таком случае на помощь приходит тупая заглушка, страница.  Ибо если что-то и пишется в данный момент (не коммендую, ибо мы даже первого этапа не прошли), то еще не продаваемом виде, а пугать людея домашней поделкой не стоит, все-таки репутация играет важную роль, даже в Веб бизнесе.

Что нужно увидеть на этой странице?  Как правило немного:

  1. Кто вы?  Будь четок.  Отличись и запомнись.
  2. Зачем вы?  Четко, но кратко опиши свое предложение.  Но не забывай, что это не реклманый питч и прайс-лист выдумавать не стоит.  Пока что.  Ты покупаешь интерес покупателя, не спеши отталкивать его ощущением каких либо обязательств или необходимости купить что-то.  Большое количество потенциальных покупателей, даже понимая что за продукт ты предлагаешь, будут ассоциировать его с "пустотой", а никто не хочет платить деньги за ничто.
  3. Попроси емейл.   Просто емейл.  Уточни (констатируй) зачем он тебе нужен.  Но не усложняй.  "Мы пришлем вам приглашение в [продукт] как только выпустим первый релиз."

Постарайтесь быть четки в том, как вы представляете своего типового клиента, и не заставляйте человек думать: "А это для меня продукт, или нет?"  Проверьте ваш мини-питч среди друзей и знакомых и спросите их мнение, как они представляют себе вашего клиента.

Все ли это?  Нет.  Это только начало.  Однако к сожалению, очень многие считают что на этом этапе задача выполнена, и нужно срочно собирать емейл адреса у людей.  И (несмотря что с одной стороны это лучше чем ничего) на этом этапе не сделав следующий шаг, ты теряешь связь с покупателем, которую скорее всего так и не успел установить.

Именно сейчас нужно работать с материалом.  У тебя на руках так называемый "квалифицированный посетитель".  Человек пришел к тебе.  Потратил время.  И что самое важное -- обязал себя ознакомиться с твоим проектом, отдав свой емейл.

Время второй страницы:

  1. Кратко поблагодари и напомни о своем обязательстве сообщить человеку одним из первых.
  2. Попроси помочь тебе сделать что-то нужное твоем посетителю. "Помогите нам сделать то что вам подходит".
  3. На данном этапе у вас есть от двух до пяти вопросов которые стоит задать.  Я не смогу помочь вам их сформулировать.  Но тебе нужно изучить привычки пользователя, понять задачи которые он связывает с вашим продуктом, и понять куда вам стоит заглянуть чтобы купить интерес этого конкретного посетителя.  И никаких "посоветуйте нам что-то".  Это не работает.
  4. Вам нужно собирать данные с которыми можно работать далее.  Количество собранных емейлов может порадовать, если их много, однако сделать с ними ничего нельзя.  Вам нужно понять что привело человека сюда.  Что убедило оставить вам емейл.
  5. Обязательно спросите про цену.  Сколько человек готов платить за продукт который поможет ему в его задачах.  Никаких полей для текста.  Четко указанные лимиты. "До 5 долларов в месяц, до 15 долларов, до 50, больше 50,  рассмотрю только бесплатное". 

Постарайтесь пользоваться общими принципами работы с текстом на экране.  Например, спрашивая про цену, укажите сумму о которой вы думаете в первых рядах.  Чаще всего посетитель более внимательно думает о первом-втором предложение, далее с массивом цен человек работает по принципу очень экономной бережливости.   

Почему не стоит совмещать первым экран со вторым.  Это просто:

  1. Никто не любит заполнять опросы.  Тем более просто так.  Вписать свой емейл -- это непосредственное выражение своего интереса.  Не воспринимается как "а дайте нам ваш емейл", а скорее "если хотите, укажите емейл и мы вас проинформируем".
  2. Когда человек вписал емейл и перешел на другой экран, он уже а) высказал интерес и негласное обязательство и б) он почуствовал что он зашел в систему, в более узкий круг, и вопросы задаваемые ему,  это не просто набор текста, а продолжение разговора.

Надеюсь что объяснять зачем второй экран нужен для большинства из вас не стоит, но вкратце -- это ваша минута для того чтобы узнать побольше от того конкретного человека, который скорее всего и будет вашим клиентом.  Не просто Вася Пупкин из Интернета.  А Виктор Иванович, типовой [профессия] пользующийся [продуктом] и имеющий [проблему].  Только ни в коем случае не спрашивайте личных данных у человека.  Этого никто не любит, да и не нужно это вам.

Как вы бы я не старался, я никогда еще не мог подготовить всего лишь один вариант двух страниц.  И если с первой страницей легче разобраться, поработав на своим питчем, то со второй страницей гораздо сложнее.  Чаще всего я выводил два варианта страниц -- более насыщенных текстом, и менее -- и запускал в ротацию оба варианта.  Под присмотром.  Через несколько дней (если вы получаете достаточно трафика, конечно), можно взглянуть на результаты и понять, над какими легче работать, какие дают больше информации к размышлению.  И уже сократить выбор до одного варианта.  

Ну и напоследок: принцип работы с клиентом который я описал здесь, во время Интернет, может использоваться для чего угодно.  Продавать онлайн услуги, книги, виртуальные или вполне обычные товары.  В данном случае не так важен контент, как ваше желание научиться чему-то.  Но и не стоит забывать -- спрашивать совета для инновации у вас не получится. (По расхожему мнению, если бы Генри Форд спрашивал, что хотят люди он бы услышал: быструю лощадь.)  Однако, определить наличие проблем у человека и желание их решать -- вполне.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Delirium Nocturnum

Теперь о самом пиве. Тёмно коричневое с крепкой пенной шапкой. Аромат яркий. Яблоко, изюм, сухофрукты. Вкус тоже очень многогранный, острый. Основным выступает шоколад. Жена дала очень ёмкую характеристику – «изюм в шоколаде». Да, есть такое. Кроме этого я нашёл здесь орех и спелую вишню. Послевкусие долгое, горькое. В нём так же преобладают шоколадно-кофейные тона и горечь скорей дикого яблока.

Соблазнил таки. Буквально неделю сидел и выбирал между двумя сортами пива Delirium Nocturnum и Tremens. Но случайно найденный отзыв по Npocturnum'у таки подкупил меня. В ближайшем BevMo! 7 бутылок (750 мл) еще есть в наличии. Наверное стоит собираться...

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Safe-rm to fight with your bad habits

Safe-rm is a safety tool intended to prevent the accidental deletion of important files by replacing /bin/rm with a wrapper, which checks the given arguments against a configurable blacklist of files and directories that should never be removed.


While I absolutely agree that the idea is really nice and would safe a lot of asses from big pain, personally, I would never use it.

You know, there are some things in this world that cannot be taught. They need either to be fully understood and burned deeply or learned by your own pain. Sometimes a lot of pain.

Whenever I'm typing rm -r I'm already nervous. Whenever I see rm -f I'm freaking scared. This is just my gut feeling, I can't do much with it and I don't need to. I had a few painful lessons in the beginning and now I'm so thankful for that.

You know what, try rm -rf / yourself. It's not just one lesson. It's a set of lessons about working as root instead of regular user, keeping regular and proper backups, thinking before act and whatever not. You'll not forget that and you wouldn't need safe-rm anymore. :)

The same with molly-guard that prevents accidental reboots. Come on, this one is really fun. Why do you need that at all? If you server reboot is painful, you're already in danger. If your services doesn't boot well, doh, go fix it. If you don't have any load balancing and fault tolerance policy, go implement one. But don't go for the hack to save your ass from not doing anything else.

P.S. Don't get offended, just my 5 cents. :) Have fun.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Buying a scooter

A List of Costs and Benefits

  • Scooter purchase.
  • Possibly looking foolish.
  • Potential for injury.
  • Maintenance costs.


  • Decreased travel time

This guy goes way too far in questioning himself for reason for scooter purchase.

While I also got excited about Razor A5 while shopping yesterday for gift for my son's birthday, however, I don't see myself spending even half of the time the guy spent thinking about it. You simply don't want your life to become a business plan. :)

More than that, his reasons are pretty silly, and benefits are also products of an illusion. The only good reason is that scooter is fun, and he missed it since the beginning. I probably wrong, but I believe I was reading about such a "calculated" behavior and that it can be a sign of the mental illness. But I hope he'll do fine. ;)

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Time for GMAT verbal (tag: gmat, review, verbal)

Finally I'm done with GMAT quantitative "green thin" book and it's time for "purple thin" one. The GMAT verbal review.

Speaking about completing the GMAT's quantitative review book, I actually did pretty bad with the last set of questions. I scored so low that it's even embarrassing to share.

The worst thing of it was that I really have some gaps in the theory. I even found a few formula's that I almost completed wiped out of my brain since school days. But I'm putting everything into my tiny flash cards. When I'll finish with GMAT, I'll probably scan them and share with you. Not a fancy computer typed ones, simple hand written ones, but I hope they will be helpful.

Verbal. It's boring and takes a lot of time. Keeping reading something else at the same time can also be challenging, but that's what I'll be trying to do.

P.S. But it doesn't mean I'm done with the quantitative part of GMAT yet. I do have two more books from EZ Solutions to work on my math. Stay tuned. :)

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

GMAT Data Sufficiency

Terrible statistics coming up.  I have scored about 70% only of the next block of Data Sufficiency questions.  Disgusting, isn't it?  

But I was really concerned about a lot of those questions.  I just might not be getting something.  

I solved correctly about 35% of the questions that I was pretty unsure about, and scored wrong the rest.  But I was really concerned about a lot of questions.  

I decided not to spend the night going through them, but will do this in the early morning tomorrow.  It looks like I need to go over the whole block (answers) to see what's wrong in my approach.  

It looks like dropping out days from my study schedule is not good for my concentration at all.  However, sometimes it just goes beyond my control and priority  is taken by other things.

Will try to do better tomorrow.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

The Entrepreneurship Myth

People who run their own businesses have greater job satisfaction than people who don't.

I believe the best point in this article was that getting more startups will not help the country. Getting more quality startups will. Don't idolize entrepreneurship "as is", but educate entrepreneurs about what makes a successful company.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost


So I have officially been diagnosed, by a real doctor, with THE SWINE FLU. I know everyone will suggest that fucking a pig is how this disease was obtained. However, the doctor said, my past choices in women have, in "no way" contributed to... me acquiring this mysterious sickness. Unfortunately, I am going to survive.

So it's official. Marilyn Manson has got the swine flu. Who's next?

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cheating on watches crown positions

Thanks to power of WUS community, I can keep contributing to my collection of unusual crown positions on watches.  The original post is here and here.

This one is actually not a real crown position, but sorta of a cheat.  It was submitted by fellow WUS member harrchen and original post is here

The watch is Glycine Airman 7 and few of its modifications. 

They do have an actual crowns there and technically their positions read as following:

  1. Glycine Airman 7 Crosswise 3841.19-LB9: crown is on 1.5 & 4.5 o'clock
  2. Glycine Airman 3829.19-LB9: crown is on 10.5 & 7.5 o'clock

However, as you can see, from the design standpoint not much really changes.  They still are 2 & 4 and 7 & 10 ones.  It's a cheat, but a nice one. :)

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

How Ravelry scales...

  • Lessons Learned

  • Let your users create the site for you. Iterate and evolve. Start with something that works, get people in it, and build it together. Have a slow beta. Invite new people on slowly. Talk to the users about what they want every single day. Let your users help build your site. The result will be more reassuring, comforting, intuitive, and effective.
  • Let your users fund you. Ravelry was funded in part from users who donated $71K. That's a gift. Not stock. Don't give up equity in your company. It took 6 months of working full time and bandwidth/server costs before they started making a profit and this money helped bridge that gap. They key is having a product users feel passionate about and being the kind of people users feel good about supporting. That requires love and authenticity.
  • Become the farmer's market of your niche. Find an under serviced niche. Be anti-mass market. You don't always have to create something for the millions. The millions will likely yawn. Create something and do a good job for a smaller passionate group and that passion will transfer over to you.
  • Success is not about scale, it’s about sustainable execution. This lovely quote is from Jeff Putz.
  • The database is the problem. Nearly all of the scaling/tuning/performance related work is database related. For example, MySQL schema changes on large tables are painful if you don’t want any downtime. One of the arguments for schemaless databases.
  • Keep it fun. Casey switched to Ruby on Rails because he was looking to make programming fun again. That reenchantment helped make the site possible.
  • Invent new things that delight your users. Go for magic. Users like that. This is one of Costco's principles too. This link, for example, describes some very innovative approaches to forum management.
  • Ruby rocks. It's a fun language and allowed them to develop quickly and release the site twice a day during beta.
  • Capture more profit using low margin services. Ravelry has their own merchandise store, wholesale accounts, printers, and fulfillment company. This allows them to keep all their costs lower so their profits aren't going third party services like CafePress.
  • You can do a lot with a little in today's ecosystem. It doesn't take many people or much money anymore to build a complex site like Ravelry. Take a look at all the different programs Ravelry uses to build there site and how few people are needed to run the site.
  • This story is not bad the RoR site with daily 3.6M pageviews. However, I'm wondering how it compares to the similar site running plain old PHP.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Going through the E.phiphany

    I'm reading Steven Blanks' "The Four Steps to Epiphany" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976470705/prokhorenkous-20 book right now. Well, it's not an easy one, and it reads more like complete study book. It's even accompanied with worksheets. But it's a very good resource. As for now it feels for me a lot like a "table book", which will stay with me for much longer the actual reading process.

    I'm also thinking about re-reading Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060517123/prokhorenkous-20 and reading William Davidow's "Marketing High Technology" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/002907990X/prokhorenkous-20 I'm a little bit worried about last one being dated 1986 though. ;)

    I really excited about how I'm shaping my professional life right now. Four years ago I was so much into software development and Unix internals with only a portion of business side, and after those years, I feel that I extended my skills significantly. More to go and sky is the limit. :)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Rails Performance comes to LA

    Los Angeles is home to countless Rails development shops, major technology companies using Rails, and freelance engineers. In addition, it’s the largest city in the state of California. A definite must for the Rails Performance Roadshow!

    If you're RoR dude and based in LA, go for it on October 30. (And it's also free.)

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    What they don't teach you at B-schools

    So if you accomplish something great, don't be afraid to tell the world - they want to know!

    Well, they might not teach you this in business school, but the most of the points described there are pretty straightforward.

    Instead, I would call it "go for your passion and sell it to everybody." Great product, first impression, feedback, risks & self-promotion are all derivatives from this mantra.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Russian Billionaire Installs Anti-Photo Shield on Giant Yacht | Gadget Lab | Wired.com


    Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has a rather curious new addition built in to his latest oversized yacht. The 557-foot boat Eclipse, the price tag of which has almost doubled since original plans were drawn to almost $1.2 billion, set sail this week with a slew of show-off features, from two helipads, two swimming pools and six-foot movie screens in all guest cabins, to a mini-submarine and missile-proof windows to combat piracy.

    It might not seem like somebody with such ostentatious tastes would crave privacy, but along with these expensive toys, Ambramovich has installed an anti-paparazzi “shield”. Lasers sweep the surroundings and when they detect a CCD, they fire a bolt of light right at the camera to obliterate any photograph. According to the Times, these don’t run all the time, so friends and guests should still be able to grab snaps. Instead, they will be activated when guards spot the scourge of professional photography, paparazzi, loitering nearby.

    1. This is freaking expensive.

    2. One I saw "laser" at first glance, I thought it's shooting back to the camera-man and burns him immediately. But even if it doesn't, those anti-paparazzi shields are still cool. Wondering how they really work though. Interesting to see photos from anyone who've ever experienced that. :)

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Ruby on Hadoop

    If you are dealing with truly large amounts of data, in the multiple terabyte range or larger, there really are only a few options available to efficiently store and process that data. If you are a company with money to burn, you can talk to Oracle. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can do what many companies are doing - using Hadoop to store and process their data.

    A little bit too AWS-oriented, but is a great quickstart guide.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Hadoop gets closer to real-time processing

    And if the recent growth in usage of Twitter, Friendfeed/Facebook, and mobile applications are any indication, there will be increasing pressure to accelerate the analysis and pattern-matching now carried out by Hadoop to deliver more enriching web user experiences. It will take time, as even the Hadoop experts are honing their skills on predictive models, including figuring out how long each process takes, and how many hardware/software resources will be needed. In the meantime, column-oriented stores like HBase and Hypertable provide a practical mechanism to get one step closer to real time using Hadoop.

    Oh yeah, real-time is really everybody-is-what-about thing nowadays. :)

    I don't think though that you can say that [something] is real-time thingy and [other thing] is not. It's all situational.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Referral programs

    Hmm...  Since I joined the [the name of the program, not disclosed] program, people purchased goods through my reference for almost $1,500 and I barely made $50 on that.  Doesn't sound fair.  However, I never invested any time in promoting my reference links, but still it's too little.  What about you?

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost


    I've finished the Blue Blood & Mutiny one. That was tough. Too much names, dates, history of the corporate world (which I am so far away from). But it was great for reading skills (remember, I still need to improve my GMAT verbal).

     My next one is Steven Blank's "The Four Steps to the Epiphany" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976470705/prokhorenkous-20. This one was highly recommended to me by one of my Founder Institute's peers, besides that, I really enjoy Steven's Blank blog http://www.steveblank.com. By the way, did you know that Steve teaches Stanford class now? The "Spirit of Entrepreneurship" for the current quarter. I'm not a Stanford student, otherwise, I'd be very happy to attend it. (If you are -- go for it!)

     One more book I've got in my reading list is Steven Haines' "The Product Manager's Desk Reference" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0071591346/prokhorenkous-20. I am spending a lot of time on developing products and environments around them. And while I never took a dedicated title as a "Product Manager", I often shared the similar responsibilities. During the last several years, I have built different products within my company. Literally, took them from nothing to something. Besides, as it was well said "the Product Manager is CEO of his product" and this is so right to me.

     Hopefully, Steven Haines' book is interesting. I had a chance to read Linda Gorshels' "The Product Managers Handbook" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0071459383/prokhorenkous-20 about a year ago or so, and never really liked it. It's a solid one, but would not be my choice.

     And one more book I'm going to spend some time for would be Glyn Davies' "A History of Money" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0708317170/prokhorenkous-20. I don't know when I'll find time for it, though. ;) By the time I'll finish with the top ones, I probably will have something else on the table.

     Have fun.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Jason vs. Mint acquisition

    Jason, the founders at Mint are likely making the right decision.  These are the worst of times for the economy and consumers are get squeezed left and right - from tariffs on tires, to taxes on health benefits to lower wages and unemployment - maybe combining forces with Intuit was the BEST decision.  Maybe Mint can help make Intuit better.  Maybe this acquisition will equate to a ‘periodic revolution, a necessary medicine for the sound health of an ‘old world’ company like Intuit’.

    Lets make it dead simple.

    Look at the Jason's point http://37signals.com/svn/posts/1927-the-next-generation-bends-over

    And then revert to Alexander's one http://www.texasstartupblog.com/2009/09/18/jason-time-to-get-out-of-the-tub/

    I'm not going to take any side here. My hat's off to Jason for building such great company as 37signals. I truthfully believe this is really something that would leave mark in IT space.

    However, Alexander's point is hugely supported by respectable investors, like Jeff Clavier and Dave McClure.

    So who do you think is right? Lets vote!!


    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Entrepreneurs and Risk

    A few weeks ago I spoke with Jason Fried, the 35-year-old co-founder of 37 Signals, who had this advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Start a business on the side. Keep your day job.” Fried sounded frustrated with the caricature of entrepreneurs as big risk takers who throw caution to the wind to pursue business ideas. “I think great entrepreneurs don’t really take much risk,” he says. Instead, he advocates thinking long-term, developing a business gradually, and only quitting to do it full-time when it seems like a safe bet — i.e., customers are paying for your product or service.

    Interesting article at Business Week.

    On the same note, I can remember the talk given during the Founders Institute program (created by Adeo Ressi). I can't quote it exactly, but the similar question was raised:

    "Do you think entrepreneurs love risk? Wrong! Everybody hates risk. Nobody likes being under pressure 24x7 and risk everything for something illusory. But entrepreneurs are those who are willing to take the risk for the sake of something more important in their lives. And successful ones learn how to manage the risks wisely."

    I can't agree more on that. I would hate to put my family and my own security on my startup, but I'm willing to do this taking a number of precautionary steps that can save me if something goes way wrong. By the way, it's also important to understand when the things are too wrong to continue.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    I need your feedback!


    I need just a few seconds from you. Thanks!

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Internet connection

    I've got a pretty decent cable Internet speed... finally.


     Can't imagine getting back to DSL already, but I think I'm not using even half of that on the most sites.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    GMAT reading

    I'm with Blue Blood & Mutiny (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060881925/prokhorenkous-20) now.


     I just got over the half of the book. Not the smoothest reading you will ever get, but feels pretty business-ish and I think it's quite a good training for my English reading skills. And it's also sorta interesting. Sometimes. However, the major feeling is that you are reading about the number of fates of people who built and still building the Morgan Stanley family. Like a biography of many people in chronological order. Sometimes crappy, sometimes funny, sometimes exciting, sometimes boring. Like the real life, don't ya think?

     P.S. You can get it super-cheap on Amazon is it worth it. It's also available on Kindle.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Quicken for Mac OL-249

    Unfortunately, I'm one of those "not-so-lucky" guys, who're using Quicken for Mac.  Because we need something and it's not here, yet (not really the truth, it's almost here http://www.budgetler.com).  Whatever, I've started to face pretty permanent error # OL-249 on my screen.  At some point of time I've got bored so much that I start to dig around to find solution for this problem.  I still don't know which one worked (if worked at all), but that's what I did:

    1. Run Quicken.  Choose Online (from top bar), One Step Update... and click Update Now...  In my case it proposed me to download the new R2 or whatever version which I did.  I did, and it didn't help.  At least, it didn't seem to help.
    2. Moving forward, I found this article https://quicken.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/quicken.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=7368.  As you can see it's pretty fresh, dated only 9/14/09.  So it looks like Quicken recently changed something and screwed up everything else. 
    3. I've used the first option described there, but it still didn't work.   So I tried the manual one, and while everything looked like okay even before applying the new certificate, I reapplied it once again.  

    Well, so as for now Online - Download Transactions... does work.  I don't know how much time will it take Intuit to break it again, though.  Happy accounting.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Doing my best to kickass GMAT Data Sufficiency questions

    Okay.  I've lost few days due to the TechCrunch50 2009 conference and a set of things to be completed that got paused during the demo days.  Back to the green thin book of GMAT review for quantitative part, and now Data Sufficiency questions.  

    The information block before those questions in the books was extremely short.  They just repeated themselves (from the original review book), with the classic AD-BCE schema and the typical algorithm for solving such questions.  They made a stress once again that you're not required to solve the questions as well as when you're asked about "can you say is it more then ...", you don't only need to choose sufficient answer that gives you "more", but the one that can be used to make a good judgement "is it more or less".

    Okay, moving forward, they have 118 questions in this section.  I'll do my best to complete them in the shortest period that possible, but it can probably can take me two more days.  I don't want to sacrifice my reading, and I might not be able to spend more time on that over the next several days.

    So far, the first block of questions gave me high 80% percentage, which I'm sorta unhappy with.  Only one of them was due to conceptual misunderstanding of what is asked (dumbo I am), but everything else was typos, shortcuts and all other careless things.  You know, the ones that you answer wrong, but when you read the answer you say: "WTF, of course my answer is wrong.  It doesn't have ... or it says ... or whatever".  Hopefully I can overcome this stupid and useless habit.

    On the other note, I was happy to see Posterous is adding Feedburner support to the blogs, as well as themes.  I've changed the theme already, but it looks everyone else also did, so I'm thinking to change it back to original one.  I didn't read Posterous blog before and got to know this from my friend's Andrew Warner tweet http://twitter.com/AndrewWarner/status/4061189852 about this.  What a pleasant surprise was it.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Substitution in GMAT questions

    While I'm going over some GMAT questions (sometimes called "700-score questions"), some of them looks like really hardcore ones, which require long equations to be solved, etc. However, it turns out that the most of them can be solved with straight number substitution and iterating over set to discover a good answer. That's an interesting remark to myself, and I'm going to spend some time on not solving complex "universal" equations, but get a little bit down to earth and solve what's needed only right here and only right now.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009


    Провел два дня на TechTrunch50 2009.

    Сложилась отличная компания с Денисом Довгополым. Кроме этого было большое количество знакомых лиц из TheFunded Founder Institute.

    В общем зачете время провел хорошо, "твитил в живую" с конференции, около 200 твитов за второй день, и думаю раза в полтора больше с первого дня так как его я застал больше. Подумываю о целесообразности это все объединить в небольшой отчет, хотя два дня и так выбили из рук кучу дел которыми нужно заняться.

    Jason Calacanis молодец, мне он искренне симпатичен, Michael Arrington поведение в отношении публики меня смутило. Если это было шоу, то я не любитель такого. Ну это их подробности. Я бы это назвал спецификой Silicon Valley.

    Не понял появления на сцене хип хопера Chamillionaire в качестве судейского состава. Какой-то специфики компаний тоже не было, уклона на развлекательный бизнес, медиа или "звездность" из LA тоже, поэтому я сначала был в полном недоумении. Многие решили что будет концерт, но нет. Хотя он не потерялся и четко ограничил свою точку зрения только как конечный пользователь. Довольно продвинутый в плане Интернета, твиттил и обновлял свой MySpace во время презентаций. :)

    Собственно, вкратце это все, более подробно можно читать на у меня на Twitter https://twitter.com/iwhite и смотреть немного фото на Flickr http://flickr.com/photos/iwhite/

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    My new DVD player

    Well, I know everybody is about BDs right now, but my video needs are pretty limited, and I'm fine with DVD (and DivX). My old player Philips recently stopped working well (I just can't keep knocking it that much anymore to make it read the disc http://live.prokhorenko.us/2009/09/dvd-players-suck.html). So I decided to acquire a new one. And while normally nobody uses it but my little son, I wanted to have it as fancy as possible. (Well, you know -- sometimes the appliances are just part of interior and nobody cares about what they do and how they do it. :)

     And here it is Samsung DVD-H1080R.

    See and download the full gallery on posterous

    While this one was rather expensive for its feature-set (normally, it's about $90+ in the Internet), I got it for a little bit over $60 (new one, not refurbished/reconditioned/...), and I think this is a fair price paid. Form factor is also important, by the way. ;) And it fits well with Samsung TV that my son has.
    I'll keep an eye how this one works. I saw a number of complains that it doesn't work well with Samsung TVs through HDMI. Not in my case. It was flawless, just plug it out and in, and it just works. By the way, I never managed to run Philips through HDMI, as it had no sound whatever I'd do.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    PlayStation 2

    I've got PlayStation 2 for sale.

     Here it is:

    See and download the full gallery on posterous

    The set includes:
    Sony PlayStation2 SCPH-39001
    Sony analog controller SCPH-10010
    Psyclone PS2 Tiltsense controller PSE93, wireless!
    Sony memory card 8 MB SCPH-10020
    Sony AV cord
    Ping me back if you want it. Bay area only, please. :)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Great weather for a pool

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Congrats Skimble!

    My former Founder Insitute' team mate, Maria Ly, has her startup Skimble featured in TechCrunch. Skimble was a part of The Funded’s Founder Institute and "already attracted over 1,000 outdoor enthusiasts that have praised the ability to track and compare their accomplishments". Congrats, Maria. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of Maria doing crazy things during one of the founders' sessions at the Founder Institute program.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Just some numbers

    I've seriously started do blogging in August 2004 with LiveJournal http://whiteprohorenko.livejournal.com/458.html.  Before that, I was writing professional articles which unfortunately didn't make it to these days, except the ones that were published elsewhere.

    I am looking forward when Posterous finally will enable imports from LiveJournal, so I can put everything in one place.  As for now, the most recent one is dated May 2005 http://iwhite.posterous.com/how-to-write-your-own-book and it's already in my Posterous.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    GMAT questions are becoming interesting...

    Finally, I've completed the Problem Solving part of GMAT's thin green book. Over the time, the questions did become more interesting and challenging. The last set was really something to thank for practice on. However, my score went dramatically down.

     First of all, it was the smallest chunk of questions I was doing. Second, careless errors -- they are still here with me, no matter how hard I'm trying to get rid of them. ;) Third, I did really miss some part of the questions. I call it concept errors and these are bad. I've devoted an extra time to going over them in solutions and trying to understand. And finally, wow, the book typo is here.

     Here it is in question #168.

    See and download the full gallery on posterous

    Original questions states 1 and 1/2 hour for Airport C, while the solution states 1 and 1/6 hour for it. Oops! (Not my fault anymore! :)
    You know, I was constantly looking for a typo, like Will Smith in I, Robot movie was looking for a bad robot. And when I almost gave up -- here it is!
    I'm getting ready to Data Sufficiency section now. But I probably will not be doing it tonight, but get some reading instead.
    On the other note, I miss my set of teas that I ordered from Adagio last week. That's a first time they are sending it not from Fresno, CA, but from Saddle Brook, NJ, and it's a long way to California. By the way, if you haven't tried Adagio, yet, you've got to do this https://www.adagio.com They've got a great choice of teas and they're pretty good in delivering it. Drop me a line, and I can send you $5 bucks certificate free.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Belkin Wireless G+ for $17.99

    This is cheap. I've used Belkin routers for several years and they always were good. And now you can get this one for $22.99 already shipped. This rocks! I would say - go for it. (But I already have one Belkin and one Airport so I'm out of the run. ;)

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    How to import your Jroller posts into Posterous?

    Well, I think I'm going to talk from the side of minority of users here, but I'm still sure that this would be interesting for somebody.

    No long words for Posterous.  It's cool, it's great, it's life streaming.  As a professional bloggers you probably would not find it as a best fit, but it doesn't mean anything actually.  

    Whatever, back to our problem.  I used to have an old blog running at Jroller (http://jroller.com/whiteprohorenko).  Jroller http://jroller.com is a traditional hosting site which runs Roller Weblogger http://rollerweblogger.org/project  and has a great Java developers community in and around it.

    It does support MetaWeblog API, however, Posterous import was failing trying to authenticate it and never started the process.

    I got back to Sachin Agarwal and was pleasantly surprised with prompt response from him (I'm getting used to that already ;).  He told me that Posterous needs RSD (Really Simple Discovery) to be there to let the process start.  

    While I am not sure about how things are supposed to run on Roller Weblogger platform and on Jroller, I decided to take a simple workaround here.  

    First, I create a simple rsd.xml in one of the public folders (you can choose any one, but make sure you have a direct and publicly available URL to it):

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><rsd version="1.0" xmlns="http://archipelago.phrasewise.com/rsd">
          <api name="MetaWeblog" blogID="whiteprohorenko" preferred="true" apiLink="http://www.jroller.com/roller-services/xmlrpc" />


    whiteprohorenko here is the name of my Jroller blog.  You need to modify it to fit yours, if you don't want to import mine. ;)  However, you will also need to authenticate against it later (as far as I know).

    Second, you need to tweak your Jroller blog template to include a correct meta data to point to this "fake" RSD.  You can do this from your Jroller settings.  Here how should it look like:

    <link rel="EditURI" type="application/rsd+xml" title="RSD" href="http://prokhorenko.us/white/tmp/rsd.xml" />

    Once again, you need to put your own link here.  Basically, that's it.  Go ahead to Posterous import page, put a link to your blog here (http://jroller.com/whiteprohorenko in my case), your username and password and go for it.

    Boom!  Here it is.  You can merge your posts (as I did), and you can see old ones here at http://iwhite.posterous.com/?page=24

    Have fun and enjoy Posterous.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Oops, bunch of old crap!

    Sorry for several auto posted posts from my archives. They're actually dated 2005-2006 and I didn't realize that Posterous didn't preserve the actual dates when auto posting them. But it's okay. Shit happens.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    New project: BossTalks.com

    We have started a new project devoted to starting up an IT company, entrepreneurship, software project management and many other interesting things for bosses. Welcome to BossTalks.com. And it's free.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Me & my son (early days)

    Couldn't stand from reposting this one, too. Here is me and my son.

    This photo was made when my son just turned 1 month (11/5/2005). It was still in Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Amazing how fast time runs away...

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost


    Browsing my old archives, I found an old photo (well, not really old old :). It's dated 26th of January 2006. It's a shot from our apartment in Ukraine.

    Original comment to it ..."the temperature is below 24 Celsius, there is a lot of slow and it feels like city will disappear shortly". (I guess this is about minus 12 degrees in Fahrenheit.)
    This is something I both miss and happy not see that often.
    However, damn, that was a part of my life for 25 years. So I think I miss it more than I hate it. ;) Unfortunately, I can't enjoy it as much as I want nowadays.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Simple (and inexpensive) CDNs

    For those who're considering doing some CDN, SimpleCDN sounds like an interesting option. 10 gigs of storage and 100 gigs of transfer will barely hit $10 a month.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Ukraine's got talent

    The country is fucked up, but people are not.



    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    New iPod nano

    New iPod nano is kinda cool. Video shooting plus FM radio. Not mentioning pedometer and whatever else they put it. However, $149 for 8GB one is on expensive side.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Temporary phone numbers

    inumbr is a free online service that gives US users the ability to set up a unique phone number, have it forwarded to any number within the US and then have it set to expire without a trace when finished with it. The unique inumbr’s are never reused, and can be extended if longer terms are required. Users choose from a list of 22 area codes from major US cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, select an expiry date and set a number that it should be forwarded to. When the term is up, the number is expired from the system, and never used again for any other user. If you wish to use the number at a later date, you can log into the inumbr system and reactivate it.

    Interesting, how soon are they going to face the first legal issues because of "miss-use" of their service? Other then that, a good service to bookmark.

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Founder Insitute 2009

    Final (graduation) class was yesterday and it was so great.

    I'm going to miss it a lot. But it's just the beginning, right?

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    My birthday present

    My son wrote me a letter on my birthday.

    See and download the full gallery on posterous

    It's in Russian and his mom was helping him but still it's so great!

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    GMAT challenge

    One more set of questions from the thin green book (GMAT quantitative review).

    Finally, I came to the feeling that questions are getting somewhat more challenging, although, still no brain cracking ones.  I have scored only 80% on this block though.  Almost equal part of concept errors and careless errors.  The good thing is I'm tending to get less careless errors, the bad thing is that I started to make concept errors. 

    I'm trying to devote a pretty quality time on going through the answers on questions that made me a little bit confused (even if answered correctly) and definitely on the questions that I did wrong.  I like official's GMAT book answers given there.  They are pretty much everything that you need to get the insight to solution.

    I've got few questions about what kind of grid am I using.  I borrowed the template on one of the forums.  (I don't have any links anymore though.) Actually, I do have several of such templates, but I'm using only one.

    Download now or preview on posterous
    TestGrid4GMAT.xls (37 KB)

    It's good to be used on computer, but I prefer (an old school) pencil and paper.   I also don't make notes on timing actually.  I think I'll start doing that when getting closer to the test time.

    Here is one more template GMAT-Practice-Grid.xls (the previous one but adjusted for printing -- that's the one that I'm using most):

    Here how it looks like printed:

    That OG11 - Qtype grid.xls that I never managed to understand.

    Overall, by the date, I've solved about 1,300 questions (not counting questions from one of the books that I used as a scratch pad itself, and didn't use my prepared pages).  I don't know how impressive (or not) is that, but I have plans to practice more.  It looks like I need this badly.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Сан Хосе под властью марсиан

    Сан Хосе под властью марсиан
    Жителям Сан Хосе
    что там происходило сегодня два часа назад?

    Joseph - Mon Sep 7 21:33:14 2009
    Location: Sunnyvale, CA 94086
    I saw the red light as well. I first noticed it in the west-north-west portion of the sky at about 50 degrees above the horizon, as viewed from Almaden. It took about 30 minutes to move to 80 degrees due south. It did appear to fade a bit, but could not see any obscuring clouds to account for that. I got a pair of binoculars on it for about a minute before it disapeared from my sight. It was hard to judge the altitude but I did see a couple of planes pass in what my perception to be, below it. They too were going from west to east. - They had, what appeared to me, the normal flashing navigation beacons (red/green).

    Spartan3 - Mon Sep 7 22:08:30 2009
    My wife, kids and I saw the red light at 9:02PM to the southwest of our home near Santa Teresa/Snell. It seemed to drift southeast with the wind while slowly pulsing brighter and dimmer. The rate of pulsing was irregular. At it's brightest it looked like the red brake light of a car. It was definitely not an airplane, helicopter, satellite or meteor or flare. I got the impression it was a light hanging from a balloon, but I could not see the balloon in my binoculars. It dimmed and winked out at about 9:20PM.

    nvrijn - Mon Sep 7 23:13:04 2009
    Also saw it at around 9:30 in Almenden - among a lot of other witnesses in the street, all staring up and pointing.

    Creepy feeling. Not a star (unless there was an unreported super nova), not a plane (didn't move), almost certainly not a stationary helicopter. After about 15 minutes of looking at what was to all appearances a bright red eye in the sky, I slowly became convinced there was a growing possibility I would be beamed up, and went indoors.

    When I came out 30 minutes later the light was gone ... and so were the neighbors!

    Make of that what you will.

    На фоне вышесказанного...

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    Golden Gate Heights

    # Posted via web from opportunity__cost

    One more GMAT quantitative set

    I've just completed one more Problem Solving set of questions from the thin green book of GMAT review for quantitative questions.

     Well, while I still can't get rid of the feeling that the questions are damn easy, I tend to make a lot of errors and stay in the middle of eighty percentage.

     One of the errors was really because of misunderstanding the solution. I went through the answers and acknowledge that I wasn't understanding the question quite well. However, the rest of errors I had, were mostly careless ones. I was taking shortcuts, didn't do well on reading and interpreting the conditions of the question, didn't do a good job on checking myself with the answer I choose.

     As you probably already mentioned, I tend to do a lot of careless errors. This keeps me quite frustrating, and I'm wondering is there any better approach to avoid them. ;)

     I'm also going to spend some time reading the Blue Blood & Mutiny book today. While it's not that exciting as I supposed it to be, it's a nice one and I feel that it helps my vocabulary and overall strengthen my Reading Comprehension part skills. However, the best answer to this would be received when I'll get to the thin purple book of GMAT review (for verbal part). ;)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Saturday, September 5, 2009

    The Mystery Spot @ Santa Cruz

    Few shots from The Mystery Spot @ Santa Cruz.  Quality sucks big times because of an old iPhone, my camera's battery died right before the tour started (weird, but true).

    See and download the full gallery on posterous

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost