Shared posts

04 Sep 04:00


We had gathered that raw information, but had yet to put it all together.
04 Sep 09:43

Small PEN curiosity…

by 43rumors


Bildschirmfoto 2015-08-31 um 10.46.41

As you know Olympus launched the new Global Open Photo Contest. A small tidbit is that the “Grand Prize” is the “Latest Olympus PEN Camera + Lens kit and 1 Million Japanese Yen“.
Just interesting to note they didn’t write E-PL7 but “latest PEN”. maybe this means there is a new PEN coming between now and early 2016?


01 Sep 04:00

xkcd Survey

The xkcd Survey: Big Data for a Big Planet
01 Sep 18:49

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, others, aim for royalty-free video codecs (Ars Technica)

by ris
Ars Technica reports that Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon have launched a new consortium, the Alliance for Open Media. "The Alliance for Open Media would put an end to this problem [of patent licenses and royalties]. The group's first aim is to produce a video codec that's a meaningful improvement on HEVC. Many of the members already have their own work on next-generation codecs; Cisco has Thor, Mozilla has been working on Daala, and Google on VP9 and VP10. Daala and Thor are both also under consideration by the IETF's netvc working group, which is similarly trying to assemble a royalty-free video codec."
01 Sep 11:37

Gripen Image Of The Month

by Saab AB


Fighter acquisitions are not just about the fighter itself  – major contracts involve extensive financial packages. Gripen, of course, comes in a package offering unrivalled industrial cooperation and technology transfer.

To download the calendar, click here​.

Published: 9/1/2015 1:34 PM
28 Aug 23:12

Eric Hanson: Introducing Aquameta

I'm happy to announce Aquameta, a web application development platform built entirely in PostgreSQL.

Why We Must Rethink Our Stack

1. Software Development Complexity Bottlenecks Human Progress

The complexity and inaccessibility of software development is inhibiting businesses, education and social progress.

In businesses, especially large ones, software has become the digital nervous system that allows them to operate at scale. But because only programmers can change the software, experimentation and evolution of business practices has actually become slower and more expensive. Most employees are powerless to make even simple software changes, and yet developers often don't have the domain expertise required to write good software for someone else's job.

Education is feeling it too. The demand for programmers is quickly outpacing supply, and for students, learning computer science is becoming more and more of an essential skill. Educators are well aware of this problem, but the complexity of programming makes it very challenging to teach.

Then there is social progress generally. End users have so many great ideas for software systems that could help us all collaborate with each other in deeper, richer ways. But to create them they either need the money or the skill to bring it into reality. Software complexity is a huge bottleneck for social innovation. Not every idea has a business model behind it, and there must be so many good ideas that could exist if programming was eaiser.

We believe that it is a social imperative, arguably one of the greatest demands of our time, to make software development more accessible to everyone.

2. Today's Web Is Better At Making Money Than Fun

Two-decades of profit-driven evolution have lead to the web we have today. But this outcome wasn't inevitable, and we can still change it. We have learned a lot since the inception of the web, and when we look at it knowing what we know now, we see some ways things could be a lot cooler. Here are a few.

Conflation of Data and Presentation

Today's web is made of "pages", which conflate the data layer with the presentation layer. When we want an article or video, rather than being able to download just that content, we have to download the entire "page" that the content is on, often times containing ads, cross-promotions, etc. A more advanced architecture would give the user the power to control what we downloaded selectively.

Trending Towards Centralization

The Internet was designed as a peer-to-peer network, where every computer could communicate directly with every other computer. Yet the way we use the web today is primarily through centralized silos of information. All our computers talk to a really big computer, say Facebook, who mediates the interaction. If I want to share a photo with my mom, there is no architectural reason why any central party needs to be the mediator.

But it's about more than just privacy or exploitation of the commons. Centralized systems are BORING. The early days of the web were honestly more exciting, more raw, more wild-wild-west. We need to get back to that vibe.

Complexity of Systems Invention

Once upon a time there were no end-user tools for contributing to the web. "Users" just wrote HTML by hand. We've come a long way since then with GUI editors, blogging platforms, social networks etc, but still today there is a wall between the technical haves and have-nots, and that's that it is very difficult for a "mere mortal" to build a data-driven web application. In the web we invision, building data-driven web apps is something accessible by everyone.

We need to rethink programming and the web, to fix some of the architectural short-comings and open up a new space full of new possibilities, and new problems to solve.


At the foundation of Aquameta's reimagining of programming and the web are two central ideas, datafication and visualization.

1. Datafication

The complexity of our stack is pretty daunting when you list it all out. Some of this complexity is unavoidable, computer science is just fairly complex; but there is another swath of knowledge and skills that has little to do with computer science and a lot more to do with just the diversity of our programing tools. Consider /etc, for example.

This diversity and complexity isn't a "problem". In fact, one could argue that it is an essential ingredient of the primordial soup from which so much innovation has emerged. However, when you take a step back and look at it, it seems pretty unnecessary, and it does make it harder for beginners to learn.

Our first step towards making programming easier is to use the database to model the development stack itself.

Typical Web Stack
HTML, CSS, Javascript
Client-side framework
Web Framework
Event Queue
Programming Language
Version Control System
Operating System
HTML, CSS, Javascript
Client-side framework
Web Framework
Event Queue
Programming Language
Version Control System
Operating System

In Aquameta, the entire stack is accessible as data, so diverse tools can share a common information model. It puts the database at the foundation of the developer experience. We use PostgreSQL as a kind of "infokernel".

It turns out PostgreSQL is really good at this. Between foreign data wrappers and the various procedural languages, there isn't much that PostgreSQL can't make look like data.

A datafied stack makes a common interface to all these different tools, which eliminates a ton of complexity.

2. Visualization

Visual interfaces are a lot easier for beginners to use, and writing visual interfaces against a datafied stack is ridiculously easy and fun. As web programmers, we have a ton of experience writing interfaces to databases, so when the whole dev stack is data, we can apply that skill towards experimenting with user interfaces that users can quickly understand.

If Aquameta is a success, we'll see an explosion of different visual programming tools, and a vast diversity of competing approaches to making programming easier.

The Architecture

Aquameta has eight core layers, each of which is a PostgreSQL schema:

  • meta - a writable system catalog for PostgreSQL
  • bundle - a snapshotted version control system for data
  • filesystem - models the filesystem as relational data, and in reverse, makes PostgreSQL visible as a filesystem
  • event - a pub/sub data change event system built atop PostgreSQL's NOTIFY system
  • www - a HTTP request handler that authenticates against the PostgreSQL user system and serves up arbitrary text/binary resource in the database, files from the file system, a REST interface to the database, and websocket events
  • p2p - Mechanisms for doing transmitting data between one end-user annd another across NATs
  • widget - modular web user interface components
  • semantics - a space to decorate the schema with "meaning", human identifiers, crud widgets, etc.

Project Status

Aquameta is the result of several years of work by Eric Hanson and the folks at Aquameta Labs. It's currently pre-alpha. We haven't even done what we would call a 0.1 release. We're releasing it primarily for architecture nerds to get some feedback and contributions.

Our plan is to publish a writeup of each module in the coming weeks, starting with meta and moving up. We'd love to hear what you think, and patches are welcome.

29 Aug 04:54

Eric Hanson: Aquameta Layer 0: meta - Writable System Catalog for PostgreSQL

Aquameta Layer 0:  meta - Writable System Catalog for PostgreSQL

In the introduction, we talked about Aquameta's first principle, datafication. We weild the broadsword of datafication as we charge the many-headed hydra that is unnecessary programming complexity. In this writeup, we describe our first, and in some ways most-challenging foe, datafication of the database itself.

Layer zero of Aquameta is called meta, a writable system catalog for PostgreSQL. It exposes PostgreSQL administration commands through data manipulation commands, enabling schema creation, table creation, column renaming, role dropping, and much more via INSERTs UPDATEs and DELETEs. In other words, it makes the DDL accessible via the DML.

Meta unifies "normal" data with schema, database configuration, everything that is PostgreSQL, into a coherent and synthesized information model. Everything is accessible as data. This adds the needed paths to make PostgreSQL truly homoiconic, which breaks down the wall between schema and data, and opens the doors for all manner of meta-programming.

PostgreSQL already has two system catalogs, INFORMATION_SCHEMA and pg_catalog. Meta is different because:

  • It's writable, and changes to the data take effect in the database
  • It has friendly names for relations and columns
  • It's normalized, the views are sensibly laid out in parallel with PostgreSQL's architecture
  • It has a type system of meta-identifiers for primary keys

Here's a simple example of how to use it. Instead of doing:

aquameta=# create schema test_schema;  

You can do:

aquameta=# insert into meta.schema (name) values ('test_schema');  
INSERT 0 1  

These two commands perform identical operations under the hood; meta just makes them accessibe through a different interface.

Here is an ER diagram of meta's schema:

Aquameta Layer 0:  meta - Writable System Catalog for PostgreSQL

aquameta=# set search_path=meta  
aquameta=# \d  
 Schema |         Name         | Type | Owner
 meta   | cast                 | view | eric
 meta   | column               | view | eric
 meta   | connection           | view | eric
 meta   | constraint_check     | view | eric
 meta   | constraint_unique    | view | eric
 meta   | extension            | view | eric
 meta   | foreign_column       | view | eric
 meta   | foreign_data_wrapper | view | eric
 meta   | foreign_key          | view | eric
 meta   | foreign_server       | view | eric
 meta   | foreign_table        | view | eric
 meta   | function             | view | eric
 meta   | operator             | view | eric
 meta   | relation             | view | eric
 meta   | role                 | view | eric
 meta   | schema               | view | eric
 meta   | sequence             | view | eric
 meta   | table                | view | eric
 meta   | trigger              | view | eric
 meta   | type                 | view | eric
 meta   | view                 | view | eric
(21 rows)

Each relation in meta is a VIEW that queries INFORMATION_SCHEMA, pg_catalog, or wherever else we had to dig to get the data. These views support INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE statements via TRIGGERs that translate the operation into a native PostgreSQL command.

We have a good start on PostgreSQL feature coverage. You can do most common operations through meta instead. We don't have 100% feature coverage yet, but that is the goal.

On the surface, these views expose a clean, consistent, writable interface for PostgreSQL administration via data manipulation.


Here are a few examples of how you might use meta:

/* drop all the schemas in the database.  Highly destructive! */
delete from meta.schema;  
/* create a table with no columns called `foo` in the `public` schema */
insert into meta.table (name, schema_name) values ('foo', 'public');  
/* rename all columns named `id` to `foo` */
update meta.column set name='foo' where name='id';  
/* list all columns in the beehive schema */
select,, c.type_name  
    from meta.column c
    join meta.relation r on c.relation_id = 
    join meta.schema s on r.schema_id =
    where = 'beehive'
    order by, c.position;
    relation_name     |            name             |      type_name
 brands               | name                        | pg_catalog.text
 brands_brand         | id                          | pg_catalog.int4
 brands_brand         | name                        | pg_catalog.text
 brands_brand         | show_on_website             | pg_catalog.bool
 brands_brandcategory | id                          | pg_catalog.int4
 brands_brandcategory | name                        | pg_catalog.text
 brands_brandcategory | brand_id                    | pg_catalog.int4
 brands_brandgroup    | id                          | pg_catalog.int4
 brands_brandgroup    | brand_id                    | pg_catalog.int4
 brands_brandgroup    | name                        | pg_catalog.text
 (462 rows)
/* list of all the relations in the `beehive` schema */
select name, type from meta.relation where schema_name='beehive';  
                  name                  |    type    
 vendor_paymentterm                     | BASE TABLE
 product_margin                         | BASE TABLE
 favorites                              | BASE TABLE
 countries_usstate                      | BASE TABLE
 product_cost                           | VIEW
 warehouse_pieces_piecebreakdown        | BASE TABLE
(144 rows)

Anatomy of a meta View

Let's take a look at one of these views in detail, meta.column:

aquameta=# \d meta.column  
                       View "meta.column"
    Column     |                Type                | Modifiers
 id            | meta.column_id                     |
 relation_id   | meta.relation_id                   |
 schema_name   | information_schema.sql_identifier  |
 relation_name | information_schema.sql_identifier  |
 name          | information_schema.sql_identifier  |
 position      | information_schema.cardinal_number |
 type_name     | text                               |
 type_id       | meta.type_id                       |
 nullable      | boolean                            |
 default       | information_schema.character_data  |
 primary_key   | boolean                            |
    meta_column_delete_trigger INSTEAD OF DELETE ON meta."column" FOR EACH ROW EXECUTE PROCEDURE meta.column_delete()
    meta_column_insert_trigger INSTEAD OF INSERT ON meta."column" FOR EACH ROW EXECUTE PROCEDURE meta.column_insert()
    meta_column_update_trigger INSTEAD OF UPDATE ON meta."column" FOR EACH ROW EXECUTE PROCEDURE meta.column_update()
  • The id field is a kind of "soft" primary key. It's of a special type, meta.column_id, which is one of the "meta-identifiers" in the system that uniquely identifies a column with a single value. More about meta-identifiers later.
  • The relation_id field is another meta-identifier, a kind of "soft foreign key" to the meta.relation view, which contains a row for the table or view that this column is a member of.
  • Then comes the human identifiers, schema_name, relation_name and name. These are what they sound like. When INSERTing into this view, you need to specify either the human identifiers, or the meta-identifiers above.
  • The position field tells where this column is in relation to the other columns. It is not currently updatable, as PostgreSQL does not support column reordering.
  • The type_name and type_id fields reference the data type of this column. type_id is another meta-relation, this one foreign-keying to the meta.type relation. You can UPDATE the type field either by updating type_name or type_id, and if PostgreSQL can cast from the original datatype to the new one, it will update the column's type. Otherwise the UPDATE will fail without changing anything.
  • The nullable field is a boolean that determines whether the column is nullable. It behaves as you would expect.
  • The default field contains the column's default value, represented as text. You can update this as well.
  • The primary_key boolean determins whether or not this key is a primary key. Aquameta assumes a single primary key on all tables.
  • Finally, the TRIGGERs listed handle INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE, passing off the operation to the functions meta.column_delete(), meta.column_insert() and meta.column_update().

All together, this view is a general purpose column administration interface. The rest of the meta views behave similarly.

The meta-identifier TYPE System

Besides just the views, meta also contains a system of meta-identifiers, a collection of PostgreSQL compositie types that encapsulate the unique identifier for a PostgreSQL component as a single value. You can think of them as the primary keys of the meta views.

PostgreSQL Entity PostgreSQL identifier(s) meta-identifier
schema name schema_id
cast name cast_id
relation schema_name, name relation_id
function schema_name, name function_id
type schema_name, name type_id
operator schema_name, name operator_id
sequence schema_name, name sequence_id
function schema_name, name function_id
trigger schema_name, relation_name, name trigger_id
foreign_key schema_name, relation_name, name foreign_key_id
column schema_name, relation_name, name column_id
constraint schema_name, relation_name, name constraint_id
row schema_name, relation_name, column_name, name, pk_name, pk_value row_id
field schema_name, relation_name, column_name, pk_name, pk_value field_id

When querying against the meta relations, instead of using the human names as identifiers, you can also use the meta-identifiers:

/* select the column */
select * from meta.column where id=meta.column_id('beehive','customers_customer','name');  

Meta-identifiers can be cast to other, less-specific identifiers. For example, to get the schema_id that a column_id contains, you can do:

select meta.column_id('beehive','customers_customer','name')::meta.schema_id;  

You can also use the meta-identifiers to do meta-programming in your own tables. For example, if you want to make a table that references a PostgreSQL view, it would look like this:

create table column_widget (  
    id serial primary key,
    name text,
    column_id meta.column_id


An all-data interface to PostgreSQL has a lot of benefits:

  • Consistency: Operations have a high degree of simplicity and consistency, namely that they all take the form of an INSERT, UPDATE or DELETE instead of PostgreSQL's extensive DDL grammar.
  • Programming Simplicity: From a developer's perspective, writing, say, a PostgreSQL administration GUI against meta instead of the DDL means that the app is "just another CRUD app".
  • Batch Operations: Since UPDATEs and DELETEs can affect multiple rows with a single query, you can easily do batch operations with a single statement, like deleting all roles that match a WHERE clause, or renaming columns en masse.
  • Meta-Programming: Developers can make "normal" tables that foreign-key to one of meta's views, for example a reporting app that has a foreign key to the VIEWs behind the reports.

But really, we don't think we've fully wrapped our head around everything you can do with meta. We're excited to see how people use it.


Meta is the foundational layer for the rest of Aquameta. It allows us to build a programming environment where under the hood, programming is always some form of data manipulation.

In the next chapter, we'll cover Aquameta Layer 1, bundle, a data version control system.

31 Aug 05:12

Monday, August 31, 2015

9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney for August 31, 2015
24 Aug 02:21

Two Cheers for the Neo-Conservatives

by David P. Goldman

Crossposted from Asia Times

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To the neo-conservatives, every country looks like Poland, whose democracy movement in the 1980s was the thin end of the wedge that ruptured the Iron Curtain. When the self-styled “realist” Stephen Walt taunts the neo-conservatives as “wrong for so long” about Iraq, he occults a more important piece of history: the neo-conservatives won the Cold War and rescued the world from a nightmarish half-century. They did this when Prof. Walt and the so-called realists had one foot nailed to the metaphorical floor and were turning tight little circles in pursuit of “balance of power.”The term “neo-con” in the parlance of the global left replaces more cumbersome epiphets such as “Running Dog of Imperialism,” but it has a specific meaning. The neo-conservatives were anti-Communist social democrats recruited by Washington to fight fire with fire, through such entitles as Encounter Magazine (edited during the 1950s by the neo-conservative “godfather” Irving Kristol) and the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom. Backed by the international department of the American trade union movement at the AFL-CIO, with aid from the Vatican, the democratic socialists helped the Polish Solidarnosc movement challenge the Soviet empire. President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Margeret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II were the godparents of Eastern European democracy, as Thatcher aide John O’Sullivan reported in a 2007 volume.

It was the tragedy (and sometimes tragicomedy) of a lesser, second generation of neo-conservatives to imagine that the colonial construct that called itself Iraq, beset by ancient ethnic and sectarian hatred, and wallowing in backwardness and ignorance, could reproduce what the profoundly Catholic, formerly democratic, and modern nation of Poland had done. But that does not obviate the neo-conservatives’ accomplishments.

The neo-conservatives were responsible for the Reagan economic reforms that launched the longest economic expansion in US history. Irving Kristol’s small but influental magazine The Public Interest first brought the work of future Nobel Laureate Prof. Robert Mundell to broader public attention in 1974, and it was Kristol, then head of the American Enterprise Institute, who gave my future business partner Jude Wanniski a grant to write his book The Way the World Works. Mundell was not a conservative of any recognizeable ilk. On the contrary: He was trained by the arch-Keynesian and liberal economist Paul Samuelson at MIT. Mundell took the one-period, closed economy Keynesian model and turned it into a multi-period, global model, and reached radically different conclusions.

The conservatives of the 1970s (like today’s Tea Party) were small-government libertarians who wanted to cut taxes in order to “starve the beast,” that is, force cuts in government spending. Milton Friedman, their standard-bearer, was obsessed with now-discredited monetary rules and odd schemes like allowing each bank to issue its own currency after the fashion of wildcat banking in the 1940s. Ronald Reagan like to quote their anti-government rhetoric, but followed Mundell.

As Reuven Brenner and I summarized the issue some years ago:

Robert Mundell showed that an increase in government debt may sometimes represent wealth. It happens when a well-funded public debt (to borrow Hamilton’s term) is supported by future prosperity, which implies both more creation of assets and more tax revenues. Tax cuts stimulate growth and produce an increase in wealth when the rise in tax revenues exceeds the interest that the government pays on the bonds it issued to cover the initial loss in revenue. This insight underlay the “supply-side economics” of the Reagan administration, unfortunately reduced even by some of its backers into simplistic caricature.

Yet, as Mundell observed, curing the stagflation of the 1970s required fighting inflation with tight monetary policy while promoting creation of assets through tax incentives. That is just what Paul Volcker’s Federal Reserve and the Reagan administration did during the early 1980s, launching a quarter century of noninflationary prosperity.

Reagan’s tax cuts led to a substantial increase in government debt, and the government debt represented an addition to wealth, just as Mundell said it would–the opposite of the mainstream conservative agenda. The National Review never would have proposed this (and didn’t). What is more, Reagan launched a massive military buildup, including an enormous increase in government funding for basic R&D in the context of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

To be sure, the Reagan tax cuts opened wide the gates of entrepreneurship, and helped new industries and new companies overturn the stagnant corporate giants of the 1970s. Reagan unleashed the forces of the private market, but he did so by using fiscal and monetary tools in a way that the traditional conservative movement abhored on ideological grounds.

The neo-conservatives didn’t invent Reaganomics, but they adopted it and sold it to the body politic, through Jude Wanniski’s bully pulpit at the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. It helped that unlike the traditional conservatives, they bore no ideological prejudice against using the mechanisms of government where those mechanisms were helpful.

In the heady days after the fall of Communism, we all believed that we had discovered the key to everything, what Wanniski called “the way the world works.” A few trips to Russia in 1992 and 1993 as one of many neo-conservative missionaries for free-market capitalism cured me of that. In a fatherly way, Irving Kristol would admonish us that we had to pay more attention to cultural differences. He did so at a panel discussion that Wanniski’s consulting firm Polyconomics held for its clients in 1992 where I was his warm-up act. Wanniski stood up and remonstrated, “But Godfather, you told us to concentrate on the economics!” Kristol laughed and agreed. Despite Kristol’s admonition, the neo-conservatives remained social engineers, and what Charles Krauthammer in 2003 dubbed “democratic globalism” was the worst idea in American foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson.

I have spent the past fifteen years excoriating my neo-conservative friends for their obtuseness, deriding the premises of their thinking as well as its consequences.  I have proposed that parts of the world dominated by religious fanaticism must be understood through the lens of religious existentialism rather than classical political philosophy. But the likes of Stephen Walt, whose contribution to America’s Cold War triumph was on par with a root vegetable, have no right to speak of how wrong the neo-conservatives have been. Without them there would have been no Reagan administration, no Cold War victory, no great economic expansion. One shudders to contemplate what the world would have come to without Irving Kristol. They deserve two cheers for their contributions of 1949-1989, and a catcall for the follies of democratic globalism.

22 Jul 10:05

Top Stories So Far: Brazil Gripen Deal Is A Game Changer For Saab

by Saab AB

gripenng40stefankalm.jpg"Before Brazil, Gripen was an aircraft looking for a market. Now it is a market looking for Gripen. And we can see that in many ways — it has really changed with Brazil. It is more global. It has changed the way we communicate," says Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab aeronautics, at a recent Press Tour.

According to a Defense News report, the FX2 programme reached a new level after Saab’s announcement of jointly producing most of Gripen NG parts in Brazil with the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer under a technology transfer agreement.

Mr. Nilsson mentions that Saab’s order backlog is at an all-time high. Starting this year, Saab will also offer the MS20 upgrade to Gripen C/D operators, which includes capabilities like MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile.

"The addition of Meteor air-to-air capability makes Gripen the most formidable counter-air platform in service," says Jerker Ahlqvist, Saab Gripen's vice president for business area aeronautics. The missile will become operational with Swedish Air Force Gripens in 2016.

Last month, Saab came up with MK4, a technologically advanced version of the renowned PS-05/A radar which gives Gripen C/D an improved performance and operating range.

Saab is also developing the naval version of Gripen NG: Sea Gripen. 

"Sea Gripen is part of the technology transfer agreement with Brazil," Nilsson said, and a study will be done. "We're in early discussions for Sea Gripen, but we'll have to see where it goes. It will probably be about 2025 before the Brazilians decide what to do."

Read the full story here.

Photo: Stefen Kalm

Published: 8/6/2015 1:12 PM
06 Aug 18:13

Federated Cloud Sharing in ownCloud 8.1 (ownCloud blog)

by jake
The ownCloud blog has a post about federated file sharing between ownCloud instances in ownCloud 8.1, but it also looks at the wider view of federation between various kinds of cloud servers. ownCloud founder Frank Karlitschek has a series of posts (It is Time to Federate Our Clouds, The Next Generation File Sync and Share Technology, and The Federated Architecture of Next Generation File Sync and Share) on federation technology and has also proposed a cross-cloud-platform federation API: "In addition, today Frank proposed a draft of a Federated Cloud Sharing API to the Open Cloud Mesh working group with the goal of jump-starting a discussion about what is needed to enable federation between different file sharing implementations. Sharing among ownClouds is great, but the true power of a federated file cloud is available when you can share among different implementations seamlessly, because you all speak the same common language. This is the goal of the Open Cloud Mesh working group (of which ownCloud is a member as well), and outside of that, drafts have been shared with a number of well known standards organizations around web technologies and fellow open source file share and sync projects to get the work started."
05 Aug 18:16

[$] "Big data" features coming in PostgreSQL 9.5

by jake
PostgreSQL 9.5 Alpha 2 is due to be released on August 6. Not only does the new version support UPSERT, more JSON functionality, and other new features we looked at back in July, it also has some major enhancements for "big data" workloads. Among these are faster sorts, TABLESAMPLE, GROUPING SETS and CUBE, BRIN indexes, and Foreign Data Wrapper improvements. Taken together, these features strengthen arguments for using PostgreSQL for data warehouses, and enable users to continue using it with bigger databases.
05 Aug 13:47

To Defeat Iran Deal, Republicans Must Admit to Mistakes in Iraq

by David P. Goldman

Donald Trump is a baleful influence on American politics in my view, but he’s not wrong about everything. Part of the reason for his popularity is that he refuses to carry Republican baggage from the Iraq war.

Last May he mocked Sen. Marco Rubio, telling a Fox News interviewer:

These characters, like Rubio, made a total fool of himself on Chris Wallace’s program, talking about “We’re better off without Saddam Hussein.” Give me a break. Right now we have ISIS, which is worse than Saddam Hussein.

Sadly, he’s right about Rubio, and about the Republican mainstream in general. Listening to Rubio twist and turn on Iraq was excruciating. As for Iraq, Daniel Pipes had a better take in 2003: get rid of Saddam, install a strongman we like, and then leave. But that’s beside the point.

Despite strong public opposition to the Iran nuclear non-deal, President Obama wields an enormous advantage: he can tar his opponents with the mistakes of the early 2000s, as Eli Lake complained at Bloomberg News. Obama said:

The same columnists and former elected, former administration officials that were responsible for us getting into the Iraq war and were making these exact same claims back in 2002, 2003, with respect to Iraq.

That’s a wilful misrepresentation on many levels, most of all because none of the neo-conservatives who promoted “democratic globalism” (Charles Krauthammer’s phrase) propose to occupy Iran and build a democracy as they attempted to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one is talking about boots on the ground in Iran (except, perhaps, for small special forces teams), but about surgical strikes against nuclear facilities.

Republicans, though, are terrified to use the “W” word (and I don’t mean Bush 43′s middle initial). My neo-con friends gave war a bad name. Norman Podhoretz, who fears nothing and nobody, wrote last week in the Wall Street Journal that “there was no ‘better deal’ with Iran to be had”:

Unfortunately, however, I am unable to escape the conclusion that Mr. Obama is right when he dismisses as a nonstarter the kind of “better deal” his critics propose. Nor, given that the six other parties to the negotiations are eager to do business with Iran, could these stringent conditions be imposed if the U.S. were to walk away without a deal. The upshot is that if the objective remains preventing Iran from getting the bomb, the only way to do so is to bomb Iran.

But it’s hard to find a single elected Republican who is willing to state the obvious in in public. The Republicans are pushing a mirage of a “better deal” instead of proposing the use of limited military force. That gives the advantage to Obama in one of the decisive political contests of our time.

02 Aug 19:30

Greeks, Economists Part Ways On Benefits of Eurozone

This article explains the craziness of Greece's handling of the Euro crisis better than anything else I have read. It is a bad sign when a country trusts outsiders more than their own leaders, but to some level it is realistic:

But there is a broader fear among many Greeks about how well they would be governed without the anchor and the discipline of the euro.

It isn't just that people don't trust Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to govern well without external constraints; it is that they are doubtful of any Greek government having the wherewithal to manage their affairs competently.

Continue Reading »

03 Aug 04:00


Sadly, it probably won't even have enough gas to make it to the first border crossing.
03 Aug 07:01

Leo Hsu and Regina Obe: PostgreSQL 9.5 Grouping Sets with PostGIS spatial aggregates

One of the features coming in PostgreSQL 9.5 is the triumvirate GROUPING SETS, CUBE, and ROLLUP nicely covered in Bruce's recent slide deck. The neatest thing about PostgreSQL development is that when improvements happen, they don't just affect the core, but can be taken advantage of by extensions, without even lifting a finger. Such is the case with these features.

One of the things I was curious about with these new set of predicates is Would they work with any aggregate function?. I assumed they would, so decided to put it to the test, by using it with PostGIS ST_Union function (using PostGIS 2.2.0 development). This feature was not something the PostGIS Development group planned on supporting, but by the magic of PostgreSQL, PostGIS accidentally supports it. The grouping sets feature is particularly useful if you want to aggregate data multiple times, perhaps for display using the same dataset. It allows you to do it with a single query that in other PostgreSQL versions would require a UNION query. This is a rather boring example but hopefully you get the idea.

Continue reading "PostgreSQL 9.5 Grouping Sets with PostGIS spatial aggregates"
30 Jul 15:45

Trump Deserves a Darwin Award

by David P. Goldman

My inbox is full of emails touting Donald Trump’s “Time to Get Tough” book, now with Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement. He blames most of America’s problems on a “tidal wave” of illegal Hispanic immigrants and unfair Chinese trade practices. He reminds me of H.L. Mencken’s classic one-liner: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.” One might add, “dangerous,” because Trump appeals to our desire to blame someone else for problems we created. If you want something to worry about, have a look at the math questions that Chinese high school students have to answer to qualify for college admission.

Let’s review the facts.

Immigration from Mexico actually fell after the 2008 crash, mainly because construction jobs disappeared.

Source: Pew Institute

The best data we have suggest that net immigration from Mexico was negative between 2005 and 2010–that is, more Mexicans left the U.S. than arrived. Hispanics, to be sure, are more visible in the workforce–their share of total employment has risen from about 14% 10 years ago to to 17% today–but that is due to the natural increase in the Hispanic population. In 1990, non-Hispanic whites had a fertility rate of 1.7 children per female, vs. 2.9 children for Hispanics. This bumper crop of Hispanic children has been entering the workforce for the past several years. But that has nothing to do with recent trends in immigration.

As for China: During the early 2000s, U.S. imports from China were growing at 20%-30% a year. Since 2011, imports from China have hardly grown. That’s because China’s currency has appreciated by one-third since 2005 (from 12 cents to the dollar to 16 cents), making Chinese goods pricier in the American market.



That’s not what we ought to be worrying about.

22 Jul 08:44

Top Stories So Far: Saab-Brazil Industrial Cooperation To Kick Off In 2015 Autumn

by Saab AB

lennart1.jpg"We are looking forward to welcoming Brazilian engineers to Sweden," says Lennart Sindahl, Deputy CEO, Saab at the recently held LAAD 2015. 

The Brazil Gripen deal includes extensive industrial cooperation, particularly when it comes to technology transfer, and autumn 2015 marks the beginning of this cooperation when approximately 350 Brazilians will be coming to Saab’s facility in Linköping, Sweden for an on-the-job training.

The training includes practical experience in Gripen development, training and production, and will continue for a number of years, after which the Brazilian experts will return to their homeland gradually. During this phase, Saab employees will accompany them to build up operations in Brazil.

Throwing some light on the technology transfer commitment, Göran Almquist, deputy programme manager for Gripen in Brazil says that it includes development, production and maintenance.

“The main aim is to train up Brazil’s own industry so that it will eventually be able to maintain its own fleet of Gripen aircraft and also develop its own future technology,” Almquist says.

Published: 7/29/2015 2:48 PM
24 Jul 16:45

by Eduardo Maçan

Na mitologia grega Sísifo era o mestre da malícia. Enganou o mais esperto dos ladrões, usou de informação privilegiada para obter favores de um deus e ofendeu a Zeus, que enviou a morte para dar um jeito no incômodo.

Sísifo Enganou a morte com seu jeitinho, malemolência e samba nos podos. Quando finalmente morreu, Zeus o mandou direto pro "inferno", onde recebeu o castigo de rolar montanha acima uma enorme pedra de mármore. Quando estivesse quase chegando ao topo, a pedra rolaria novamente até o pé da montanha e assim sucessivamente, por toda a eternidade.

Enough said.

Nova meta sugere crise mais dura e longa na economia |

A mudança na meta fiscal mostra o governo reconhecendo que a crise e seu impacto na arrecadação é mais grave do que o imaginado inicialmente

15 Jul 12:24

Top Stories So Far: Saab Sees An Increased Interest From Cost Conscious Buyers

by Saab AB

5144895_2161652.jpegAt a time when some of the biggest names in the global defence industry have decided to end production of their well known fighter planes, Sweden’s Defense and Security company, Saab, gets going, says The Wall Street Journal.

With little in the way of a global marketing machine, Sweden has had outsize success in winning export orders. That is thanks to Saab AB’s Gripen combat jet, it adds.

WSJ interviews Saab’s Chief Executive Håkan Buskhe who points out, that unlike before, weapon buyers are becoming more cost-conscious now.

“Seven to eight years ago, no one discussed affordability when it comes to arms equipment. There was a paradigm, when I started, that if it is not expensive, it is not good. The cost component—that was not really the big deal in the past—has really caught up with each and every economy around the world. That does not mean you can sell an aircraft that is not good enough. There is no point in sitting in an aircraft that gets shot down and saying ‘at least it’s affordable’. So I think that is the key part of our success, and I believe we have a window going forward,” Buskhe says.

Read the original story here

Please note that one may need a WSJ subscription to read the full story.

Published: 7/23/2015 2:55 PM
24 Jul 08:31

First full Panasonic GX8 review from ePhotozine: “We’ve been impressed”.

by 43rumors


Image courtesy: ePhotozine

ePhotozine is the first site publishing a full review of the new Panasonic GX8. They write:

The Panasonic Lumix GX8 improves on the GX7 noticeably, with the inclusion of 4K video recording and 4K photo features, as well as a larger electronic viewfinder, improved vari-angle touch-screen, plus more. The GX8 features weather-sealing which makes it more competitive with alternatives on the market, and the camera offers additional shooting controls and options, along with RAW processing in-camera. The Dual Image Stabilisation system along with the new 20.3 megapixel sensor is an interesting development, as the GX8 now offers the highest resolution sensor available in a Micro Four Thirds camera. The camera is introduced at a relatively high price, and is noticeably larger than the predecessor, the GX7, along with other Micro Four Thirds cameras, but offers one of the best electronic viewfinders available.
We’ve been impressed with what the GX8 has to offer, with some of the best image quality possible from a Panasonic camera, with competitive noise performance and an abundance of features including 4K video / photo modes, improved 4-axis sensor shift image stabilisation, built in Wi-Fi, NFC, and fast continuous shooting. The camera feels good to hold, with a solid body and good external controls. The weather-sealing along with the large high resolution electronic viewfinder makes it a joy to use the camera, and the Panasonic Lumix GX8 would make an excellent upgrade path for anyone with an earlier Panasonic Lumix camera.

The camera earned a “hIghly recommended” mark with 4,5 out of 5 points.

Black GX8 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto and Panasonic. In Eu at WexUK.
Silver GX8 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto and Panasonic. In Eu at WexUK.
FZ300 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto and Panasonic.


15 Jul 12:34

Top Stories So Far: Gripen C Will Play An Important Role For Years To Come

by Saab AB

gp5.jpg"Saab will continue to work on improvements and upgradation of Gripen C, even after the launch of Gripen E," says Ulf Nilsson, the new head of the company's aeronautics division.

According to a report in, while the first Gripen E is still in the development phase at the Saab plant at Linköping, the Swedish Defence and Security Company continues to develop systems for Gripen C, providing upgrade options to existing operators to enhance the fighter’s capabilities. 

“The development (of Gripen E) is proceeding according to plan. We are flying at full speed right now and are testing the radar system and the new avionics. Everything indicates that we can handle the deliveries on time,” says Ulf Nilsson.

Development of the C/D platform will continue along side that of the Gripen E. In practice, one can say that there will be two Gripen models. Although they have much in common, yet they are two different planes, the report adds.

Read the full story: Saabs flygchef byter strategi

Published: 7/24/2015 6:37 AM
15 Jul 12:02

Top Stories So Far: Some Things You Ought To Know About Gripen NG

by Saab AB

gripen ng18.jpgThreat scenarios are changing everyday, giving ample reason for the operational requirements to change as well. Users no longer want a specific aircraft for each operational role. They look for a system that can undertake all roles. 

Gripen NG is among the first aircraft to focus on more than air-to-air combat. This means  that it can cover a full range of mission requirements, saving customers the cost of  owning separate bombers and fighters. The fighter aircraft can seamlessly change between roles within a single sortie if needed. Gripen NG can perform a wide range of missions, from offensive and defensive counter strikes to air policing and tactical air reconnaissance.

Here are some of the important things you ought to know about Gripen.

Information Support

During a live mission, knowledge means everything to a fighter aircraft pilot. It is very important for the pilot to identify enemy assets and share intelligence with wingmen. What is equally important is that all the information should be available in a clear, clutter free way; only the required information should be visible on the screen.

Gripen NG is equipped with MFS-EW (Electronic Warfare system), which is a complete, highly integrated suite that includes radar warning receiver, missile approach warning, electronic support measures and countermeasures. 

The next generation fighter aircraft also has features like IRST which provides passive situation awareness at long range against air and ground targets and ES-05 Raven AESA radar which tracks air-to-air and air-to-surface targets, simultaneously and independently.


The aircraft is interoperable with army, navy and C2 organisations, and is also fully NATO-compatible. Gripen’s Data Link System (TIDLS), along with a Link 16 or National Data Link provide capabilities like Data link within the Tactical Air Unit and  Data link between Gripen, AEW&C and C2 centres, on ground or at sea.

Weapon System

Gripen NG has weapons for all types of mission, from guided bombs for precision engagement with low collateral damage, to long-range and agile air-to-air missiles and heavy anti-ship armaments. The single-seat Gripen NG is equipped with a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun which can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets and is suitable for air policing missions.

Two-seater Gripen NG

A two-seater version of Gripen NG is in development and will be used for both pilot training and combat missions. For the combat role, this version will be optimised to enable air battle management from the back seat, including jamming, information warfare and network attack capabilities. Weapon System Officer (WSO) and EW roles can also be facilitated from this position.

Read more about Gripen NG here​​.

Published: 7/16/2015 10:57 AM
13 Jul 13:40

Hans-Juergen Schoenig: Transactional DDLs

When checking out those new features of Sybase 15.7 (yes, from time to time I got to see what commercial databases are up to),  I stumbled over an interesting and yet amusing line: “Fully Recoverable DDL”. The details seem to indicate that not just Sybase is still having a hard time to handle transactional and […]
13 Jul 12:02

Top Stories So Far: Sea Gripen Concept Gets New Momentum

by Saab AB

SeaGripen_032_landb copy (1).jpgSaab's naval version of Gripen E for the Brazilian Navy might be a step closer now, reports Airheads Fly​.

According to the report, the Aviação Naval Brasileira (AvN) may opt to initiate dialogues regarding the development of the naval version of Gripen E, also known as Sea Gripen.

The Sea Gripen is intended for both CATOBAR as well as STOBAR operations. All the sensors, avionics and weapons and the GE 414G of the Gripen NG will be offered in the Sea Gripen. The small logistic footprint, high availability and a smaller, lighter airframe results in significant gains from a maintainability point of view. The Gripen spares inventory is therefore lighter, smaller and adds less to the load of the carrier and it takes fewer personnel to maintain the aircraft.

The Sea Gripen will also have superior sensor fusion abilities, the Selex Raven AESA radar, Infra-Red Search and Track, plus a revolutionary avionics architecture including ultra-fast databuses and Ethernet.  The system can be easily integrated with advanced weapon systems

Read the full story here.​​

Published: 7/13/2015 1:57 PM
09 Jul 18:36

The First Half of Database Science for Analysts

by (Fabian Pascal)
 My July blog @All Analytics:

Database Fundamentals: The First Half of Database Science for Analysts

One would expect “data scientists” to be keen on the dual scientific foundation of database management -- the relational data model (RDM) -- but they know little beyond “related tables” and, in fact, complain that more often than not data “do not fit” into them. Much of that is the result of poor education and an almost exclusive focus on software tool training. Even the analyst intent on acquiring foundation knowledge is more likely to be misled than enlightened by published information.

Please comment there, not here!

05 Jul 18:48

The SQL and NoSQL Effects: Will They Ever Learn? UPDATED

by (Fabian Pascal)
UPDATE: I refer readers to Apache Cassandra … What Happened Next. Note that this was an optimal use case for NoSQL. Read it focused on the simplicity of the data model and particularly physical data independence relative to RDM. 

In Oracle and the NoSQL Effect, Robin Schumacher (RS), a former "data god" DBA and MySQL executive now working for a NoSQL vendor claims that Oracle’s recent fiscal Q4 miss--a fraction of what's to come--is due to its failure to recognize that
"... web apps ushered in a new model for development and distributed systems that ... [r]elational databases are fundamentally ill suited to handle ... Their master-slave architectures, methods for writing and reading data, and data distribution mechanisms simply cannot meet the key requirements of modern web, mobile and IoT applications. I tell you that not as an employee of a NoSQL company, but as a guy who has worked with RDBMS’s for over twenty-five years. In short, you simply can’t get there from here where relational technology is concerned, and that’s why NoSQL must be used for the applications we’re talking about.

Read more »
03 Jul 11:33

by Eduardo Maçan

É uma piada. A "Convenção da Apostila" foi assinada em Haia em 1961, entrou em vigor em 1965 e só 50 anos depois o Brasil resolve olhar para a matéria. Essa convenção simplifica MUITO a burocracia para quem precisa validar documentos em outro país ou de outro país. Hoje, por não fazer parte da convenção da apostila o brasileiro precisa de "carimbos" de dois países para legalizar um diploma, ou certidão estrangeira.

A participação na convenção irá simplificar a burocracia para brasileiros que queiram abrir empresas no exterior ou estrangeiros que queiram abrir empresas no Brasil também.

A graça da coisa toda está na seguinte informação do site do relator da matéria: o Brasil foi signatário do acordo em 1961, mas ele não entrou em vigor porque o congresso nunca o tinha referendado. Ou seja: Um tratado internacional de REDUÇÃO DE BUROCRACIA levou 53 ANOS para ser analisado pela nossa burocracia.

E digo que só foi (e em apenas uma semaninha) porque a coisa começou a apertar muito pro nosso lado graças à "crise internacional pela qual o Brasil está passando".

Aqui a notícia na página do Senador Anastasia, (é diferente da que está compartilhada no post)

Ah, essa mania de só agir quando a água bate no "derrière"...

Legalização simplificada de documentos públicos estrangeiros vai à promulgação

O Senado aprovou nesta quinta-feira (2) o Projeto de Decreto Legislativo 208/2015, que trata da convenção sobre a eliminação da exigência de legalização dos documentos públicos estrangeiros, celebrada em Haia em outubro de 1961. A matéria, que foi aprovada pela manhã na Comissão de Relações Exterior…

01 Jul 19:37

Comemorar por quê?

by Norma
Eu não sou exatamente a favor da redução da maioridade penal em casos de estupro, latrocínio e homicídio qualificado, como propôs a PEC 171/93 que foi rejeitada hoje, mas sim da retribuição adequada do Estado aos crimes graves cometidos por menores de qualquer idade. Mesmo assim, fiquei triste com a decisão final - e sobretudo fiquei sem entender o porquê da comemoração toda. Como a situação está agora, parece que tudo pende em favor do menor infrator (considerado vítima do sistema) e contra as vítimas (e seus parentes que clamam por justiça). Mas não é bem assim. A ausência de retribuição adequada faz com que os menores sejam presas fáceis dos criminosos adultos, que os usam sem escrúpulo nenhum para fazer o trabalho sujo. Os menores também acabam se tornando vítimas - não do "sistema", mas do mundo do crime. Por que esse fato não é levado em conta? Será que é porque os políticos mais famosos anti-redução estão muito ocupados em chamar gente como eu de "fascista", "racista" e "homofóbica" (??? - um ponto de interrogação para cada xingamento).

A matéria diz que a discussão continua. Vamos aguardar.
30 Jun 17:22

The Olympus AIR MFT camera gets announced in USA! Preorders for $299 at Amazon/BHphoto.

by 43rumors


Bildschirmfoto 2015-06-30 um 19.20.08

Olympus US just announced that it will ship the AIR MFT camera in USA too. First preorders are available at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), GetOlympus (Click here) and BHphoto for $299 (Click here).

Here is the full press text:

Bildschirmfoto 2015-06-30 um 20.52.31

Olympus has announced the US release of the Air A01, a smartphone-controlled camera with a 16.05MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. The Air A01 is shaped like a lens and connects directly to your smartphone so that your phone’s screen effectively becomes the camera’s live view display. While the Air A01 looks like a lens, it is really a camera that is designed to combine the quality of a larger image sensor and versatility of an interchangeable-lens system with the ease and convenience of a smartphone.

Once attached to your smartphone, the Air A01 connects to it wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and uses the OA Central App to control the camera’s settings. The app provides a means of image composition and review, direct-to-cloud uploads, and six shooting functions to help edit your photos and full HD 1080p videos. The app also facilitates working with the camera in a remote manner to better suit working from high or low angles, uncoupled to your smartphone.

The 16.05MP Digital Live MOS Sensor pairs with Olympus’s TruePic VII image processing engine for enhanced image quality, especially in low-light situations, with a sensitivity range of up to ISO 12800. This processor and sensor combination also affords a top shooting rate of 10 fps for up to 23 frames, full HD 1080p/30 video recording, a top shutter speed of 1/16000-second, and the ability to record both raw and JPG files.

The Air A01 uses a FAST 81-area contrast-detection AF system, which quickly locks on focus and can be configured with Face Detection AF or Eye Detection AF settings for more critical control. Images and movies can be stored internally on a microSD memory card, directly on your smart phone, or uploaded to cloud-based storage sites using the built-in Wi-Fi and your smartphone.

Utilizing a Micro Four Thirds mount, the camera accepts a wide variety of lenses, including the use of third-party lenses via optional lens mount adapters. It is available in a body-only option in black or white, or in a kit with ablack 14-42mm EZ Lens or a white 14-42mm EZ Lens.