Small is Big and Big is Fast
turbotodd 100000388Y Visits (1977)
It's been many moons since I flew in a Beechcraft, and yet words can hardly describe the feeling of the wind dropping out from under those wings and, subsequently, feeling the plane, and one's stomach, drop with it. Calgon, take me away.
But thus far, the busy week of busy beaver business travel has been worth the hassle. Let me start at the end and work my way back to the beginning.
If you read this blog back in March, you remember that I spoke highly of my experiences at SXSW Interactive in my hometown of Austin, where I had the opportunity to hear from the founders of 37signals. This morning, the Chicago Web 2.0 "skinny software" stalwarts make news with an apparent private equity investment by Jeff "Amazon" Bezos in the company.
While this may seem contrary to the formerly stated 37Signals' approach to business -- at SXSW they explained "Why take money if you don't have to?...Get a server and some friends and go to town" -- apparently Bezos was too good a friend to pass up.
I suppose this deal makes big the new small...just as 40 is the new 20. (Jason and team, I'll be happy to turn you guys on to one of our server salespeople to spend some of that cash infusion from Mr. Bezos).
Could Somebody Please Pass the Water?
Meanwhile, back in Boston, I had the occasion to visit some old and good friends from our Cambridge-based Internet Technology team (Sean and Chet, muchas gracias for last night's Net Client assist -- I'll never quite look at IP trace routing the same again), and even took in a few pints of...really good water. I highly recommend the water at the Cambridge Brewing Company.
Now that we've solved the intricacies of collaborative filtering as it relates to social tagging intersecting with the power of ranking personal referrals, I think we need to package up our new team and sell ourselves to Bezos as well. With IBM earning a patent commission, of course. Who knows, we might even end up inside the "Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher"!
Now, despite the wonderful meetings I had with my team, most of whom work remotely, the technological highlight of the journey was the opportunity I had to meet Blue Gene.
Actually, Blue Gene is more of a concept and research project than a single computer, but like DNA, the concept -- and hence, the computers -- have replicated and recombined to form numerous instantiations. With a peak speed of 360 Teraflops (as in trillions of calculations per second), Blue Gene systems occupy the #1 and #2 positions in the TOP500 (a list of the sites operating the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world.)
While in Cambridge, one of my colleagues had occasion to power up the Blue Gene ...and, well, speaking of 500s, the rush of air was like sticking one's head over the finish line at Indy -- I could sure use one of those back in Austin to speed up my PowerPointiness!
If you'd like to learn more about Blue Gene, feel free to cruise on over and read the detailed entry in Wikipedia. Just please be careful to keep your head inside the browser at all times....Oh, and if you don't blink, you just might catch a glimpse of the blue checkered flag.
As for me, seeing as I couldn't socially engineer my way into Fenway, I'm off to a communications love-in here in Somers before taking in the Astros and Mets at Shea in celebration of my turning the new 20 tomorrow.
The way I figure it, being a native Texan and a onetime New Yorker, I simply can't lose.