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Friday

To cloud or not to cloud my albums?

I am taking this question at personal level. Where do i put my photos? Where do i put my music?

Now even if we are talking only about premium (subscription based) services - that's not enough. We all saw GoDaddy going down.

Surprise at the GoDaddy outage? Vulnerable networks are ticking bombs | TechRepublic

Who's next?

Even by ignoring privacy concerns - isn't poor performance and downtime enough?

Monday

Why cloud services shouldn't be cheap

1. GoDaddy's Online File Folder solution www.onlinefilefolder.com

YES it gives you 100 gigs for cloud storage space! YES you have FTP, web interface, WebDAV access. YES it costs only a few buck a year. But wait, there is more.


NO, it won't work as expected. After using it for about 6 months I can see why this is so cheap...
- agent service for sync`ing files doesn't always works
- if you upload something on FTP you can later download it correctly only by FTP
- if you upload something on FTP don't ever try to delete it, you'll end up at customer support for synchronizing folders by hand
- if you unzip something using built-in zip function maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. usually it doesn't and only fills your root directory with crap
-  upload in web interface only works without proxy (or so it seems in my case)
- download of large files crashes all the time in the middle of the transfer; no resume operation ever works


The list can go on. To fix all these I recommend buy your own server and implement RAID or buy a decent service that is more that 20 bucks/year. It should be at least 100 probably..


2. Microsoft Live Mail mail.live.com - I tried this as an alternative to Google Mail. Tried it first without my domain, then I found that (as Google's Gmail) I can migrate my own domain for free. All lovely until...


The unlimited storage part just became limited:
Essentially: Your account is growing too fast for our unlimited storage, delete some e-mail.

 Yes this was a time when I tried to import by POP3 my gmail account (which is working fine btw). After resolving this issue I changed my Live ID from my gmail.com to registering a new @live.com address. This worked fine until I couldn't login anymore for a week - the message was "We are updating (bla bla ) Pleas try again in a few minutes". Retried every a few minutes until I contacted support and they somehow fixed it...

Now I managed to import the email, managed to login (major breakthrough). But search doesn't work (apparently there are too many messages?!), sending with another e-mail doesn't work without the "on behalf" thing. ( blabla@domain.com on behalf of random-text@live.com?).

Finally if you ignore that you can also rely on:
- junk filters (Smart Screen or something) that puts lots of good emails into Junk
- the fact that it asks me daily if i want to pin hotmail to IE9 in order to launch more quickly, even though I don't use IE9..
- the fact that even if search doesn't usually works, it is fun that you have to manually delete the "Search mail" grayed text in the box, or else you will search for something else


Note: i think search works only after server indexes the messages.

Best tip for the large variety of bugs is that they registered and built "http://windowslivehelp.com" under the umbrella of  "Microsft Answers" (sound familiar?)


Now I do not expect flawless free services. But after using Gmail for many years, I would pay for the services to have a SLA and better support.

After using Live mail for a few weeks, I am afraid that if I pay for the "pro" services it would be the same, but with telephone support...


 /MD


Reverse Tic Tac Toe

While searching for a good Taxman game I found another nice game algorithm developed by David Bau (http://davidbau.com).

He developed a game that applies a reverse engineering to the classic Tic Tac Toe.

The goal is to achieve a game with no winner (tie). This seems easy but is in fact much more difficult than the standard game. I'm still not sure you can apply a specific recipe for achieving a tie.







Second implementation is completely the reverse of classic Tic Tac Toe - so your goal is to loose, not to win. Curiously it's hard when the computer algorithm is trying to loose too.





Credits for both algorithms and implementations go to David Bau, http://davidbau.com.

Friday

Taxman

I recently found a very simple, yet challenging game called Taxman. The principle is pretty simple:

- you get a grid of numbers from 1 to X (min. 20 usually)
- when you take a number, the taxman gets all the remaining factors of that number
- the picked number must give the taxman at least one new number.
- when you can't move any more, the taxman gets all the remaining numbers
- the goal is to collect more then Taxman (the sum of picked numbers)

Here is the original link as an example: http://davidbau.com/taxman/ in <iframe> bellow.
Credits for the code goes to David Bau, http://davidbau.com/



If you get frustrated go for the explanations here: http://mathdl.maa.org/images/upload_library/22/Evans/Horizons-Feb07-p18-20.pdf


Enjoy :)