Skip to main content

The Challenge of the Computer Utility


When I started this blog my intent was to stay clear of work related subjects, but it is not easy considering that computers and technology in general are all around us. Plus, work is something I spend a lion share of my time on (as do many people). So, I decided to declare it to be unavoidable!
When doing research for the Cloud Computing whitepaper, I came across a reference to the following book - "The Challenge of the Computer Utility" by Douglas F. Parkhill (ISBN-10: 0201057204). "Could this really be?" I thought. A book on computer utility published in 1966? This definitely sparked my interest and through the power of cloud services at Amazon.com I was able, within minutes, to find and procure the book at a great price of only $7.70! It arrived a few days later and I got right to it. The book certainly exceeded my expectations as the author projects a great clarity of thought. Two main reasons I liked the book:
  • It provides a good historical overview of where computer science, computing methods and machines came from (and since I have worked with mainframes, punch cards, reel tapes, etc. - I could really relate to that). It has great logical diagrams as well as pictures of "systems of the old" (IBM System 360-67, UNIVAC 492, CDC 6600). When you look at them, you can't help but think of how far we have come in the last 45 years or so. 
  • It is amazing how well the author covers the grand vision of computer utility and how similar, at times, this vision is to the Cloud Computing (Grid/Super/Utility Computing) hype of today. It is also interesting to see that even though we made a giant technological leap, the basic challenges are still there and remain pretty much the same - economic considerations, legal factors, security concerns, and issues around social transformation.
Let me reiterate, this book was written in 1966, we are talking about 45 years ago! In mid-80 and early-90 I have seen and worked with “room-size computers” (mainframes, punch cards, reel tapes, memory modules the size of the file cabinet, and hard drives that one person could not lift). And I must admit, my limited knowledge and dull imagination did not allow me to envision anything like this:
"As time goes on we can expect that the local financial utilities will be interconnected to create a nationwide and eventually worldwide network that will permit a customer to make money-key transactions no matter where he travels. The range of services offered by the utility will also grow. Terminals, perhaps based on the expanded touch-tone scheme, will be made available to private homes, and these will be used not only for paying bills but also for preparing income-tax statements, making purchases, checking bank balances, maintaining up-to-the-second files on all household financial obligations and assets, and even consummating loans, buying insurance, and making stock-market investments."
"As the utility networks grow and the cost of quires become trivially small, it is likely that consumers will come to depend more and more on the computer utility for information concerning products and services of all kinds. Promotional and advertising material will probably represent part of the information, and as low-cost visual displays become generally available, very elaborate product presentations will become practical. These presentations could well combine the best features of television and catalog advertising and provide consumers with a sort of animated Sears Roebuck catalog in which pictures would spring into vivid life as the remote customers turned the electronic pages."
All in all, this is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to learn more about Cloud Computing roots.

Comments

  1. When you combine the power and security of on-premise software and efficiency and scalability of the cloud in a hybrid system you end up with the best of both worlds and can greatly reduce the security risk associated with cloud computing and often times have a more cost effective solution to boot.
    best virtual data room

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sam is right, y must think about cyber security and keep your documentation in safe place, at least vdr.
    security online

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Skype for Business and VTC Interoperability

Skype for Business (SfB) has a very, very strong potential, I have written about it in my previous post. I can't think of any other platform that shows as much promise in terms of bridging personal and business communications as well as unifying different modes and mediums. And all of this may have started with a strategic acquisition of Skype by Microsoft in 2011.

That said, the road ahead is not without challenges. For example, interoperability with other platforms. Making SfB work with existing Video TeleConferencing (VTC) systems, many of which represent significant capital investments in organizations' infrastructure, could be of a particular importance.

After reading statements like Skype for Business is based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standards and supports H.264 (MPEG-4 video coding standard) one can come to a quick conclusion that integration and/or interoperability with other VTC solutions is easy or nearly automatic. Unfortunately, the industry is not qui…

PoSh Disable and Move AD Users

A quick and easy way to disable user accounts and move them into designated OU:

Import-Csv "C:\TEMP\users.csv" | ForEach-Object { `      $u=$_."sAMAccountName"; $l="Disabling and moving: " +$u; write-output $l; `      Get-ADUser -Identity $u | `      Disable-ADAccount -PassThru | `      Move-ADObject -TargetPath "OU=Disabled Users,OU=Organization,DC=domain,DC=local"
Input is provided via a CSV file:
users.csv (username) sAMAccountName  jdoe1  jdoe2  jdoe3  jdoe4  jdoe5  

To generate input file run something like this, review and edit as necessary:
Search-ADAccount –UsersOnly –AccountInactive –TimeSpan 180.00:00:00 | `      where {$_.enabled} | `      Get-ADUser | `      select sAMAccountName | `      Export-Csv -Path "C:\TEMP\users.csv"

WordPress displays weird characters

Sometimes after a database conversion (e.g. from MySQL to MariaDB) or due to encoding issues a situation might arise when WordPress is showing weird characters. A quick way of remedying the situation would involve examining the pages to discover a pattern (what characters are being substituted, in the example below the apostrophe was replaced by â€™) then running an queries against the database to reverse the effect. Here's a quick example (common tables that store content):



UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, 'Â', '')     UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, '’', "'")     UPDATE wp_postmeta SET meta_value = REPLACE(meta_value, 'Â', '')     UPDATE wp_postmeta SET meta_value = REPLACE(meta_value, '’', "'")     
Please, keep in mind that to permanently resolve the issue you would need to get to the root of the problem and may need to adjust encoding, run a databas…