DevNation and Red Hat Summit 2016

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It’s that time of year again (OK Summit is actually fairly late this year) but you get my drift. DevNation / Summit alternates between Boston and San Francisco – this year we’re at Moscone North and West in San Francisco.

Two events for the price of one – can’t be bad. DevNation is by developers and for developers. Red Hat Summit is for our partners, customers and prospects and has technical, strategy and business tracks revolving around our commercial offerings.

Would love to catch up with friends, colleagues, customers and prospects.

Here’s where you can find me :

Sunday 26th, 5.30pm – 8.30pm PDT – DevNation Welcome Reception (travel gods willing)

Monday 27th, 9.30am – 11.45am PDT – DevNation General Session

Monday 27th,  8.30pm – 10.00pm PDT – Technical Leadership Meet and Greet, Thirsty Bear

Tuesday 28th, 10.15am – 11.15am PDT – Session –  “The current state of enterprise languages, frameworks, and platforms”, Room 2020

Tuesday 28th, 11.30am – 12.30pm PDT – Session – “Build your game plan for enterprise Java 2020”, Room 3005

Tuesday 28th, 3.30pm – 4.30pm PDT – Panel – “Red Hat containers roadmap”

Wednesday 29th, 6am – 7am PDT Red Hat Summit 5k Run / Walk. In customer, press and analyst meetings all day, then …

Wednesday 29th, 8pm – APBG party (aka the JBoss Party) – you’ll have to use your contacts to get an invite (eg. come to one or all of my sessions above) !

I’m actually around ’til Friday morning and have some spare time on Thursday if anyone wants to catch up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JBoss EAP 7 BETA Available !

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Today Red Hat released JBoss EAP 7.0 BETA.  This is the culmination of a couple of years of hard work by the JBoss EAP team at Red Hat and the broader WildFly community. I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work and offer congratulations on achieving another huge milestone and major step forward in establishing Open Source in the enterprise and JBoss EAP as the open source standard for Java EE.

JBoss EAP 7  is a significant release in every respect; the last major EAP release (EAP 6.0) was back in June, 2012 and after 4 minor feature releases and numerous patch releases, EAP 6 is now just 8 months away from entering its long-term maintenance phase. While EAP 6 will be fully supported for many years to come – all new development and new features will target EAP 7 and beyond.

While Java EE 7 brings a major set of new features to EAP 7 (see below) it’s only a small part of what defines JBoss EAP 7. There are many other major updates in the release to help us keep up with demands of our customers, industry trends and align with other Red Hat products and initiatives.

  • New high-performance web subsystem based on Undertow – supporting Servlet 3.1, WebSockets, HTTP Upgrade
  • Undertow can also be deployed standalone as a lightweight, scalable proxy / load-balancer.
  • Move from JacORB to the standard OpenJDK ORB
  • New high-performance messaging subsystem based on Apache ActiveMQ Artemis – same searing performance as HornetQ with expanded protocol support and Artemis is now the standard message broker for all JBoss products.
  • Support for Java EE 7 – full and web-profile and Java SE 8.
  • Enhanced (JSR-352) batch support – including cluster support, management (liste, start, stop, resume) of batch jobs and IDE (JBDS 9.0) integration
  • Improved upgrade experience from previous versions of EAP / WildFly and better support for competitive migrations using Windup.
  • Improved JNDI, EJB, JMS and WS interoperability between EAP 7 and older versions – useful for side-by-side upgrades.
  • Ability to manage EAP 6 domain hosts and servers
  • Improved management console; easier navigation, and much better support for large scale domain configurations.
  • Graceful shutdown – allows servers to quiesce without aborting in-flight requests or transactions

Also the following features are available as Technical Preview :

  • A new JGroups based DistributedWorkManager
  • Execute JavaScript (using JDK8’s Nashorn), access JNDI and invoke CDI and JPA EntityBeans from JavaScript
  • HTTP 2.0 – connection multiplexing, header compression and server push

Major enhancements to Java EE 7 include :

A more detailed refresher on  on Java EE 7 features here.

As always – you can download the BETA via the Red Hat Customer Portal or from JBossDeveloper if you don’t have access. Release notes are here. And you’ll need some developer tooling to go with that – JBDS 9.0 is available for download here.

Give the BETA a try and give the team some feedback.

 

UP3 take 3

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 Jawbone UP3 Band
 I pre-paid for the much anticipated UP3 band in December 2014, was dissapointed with the release delay and the downgrade from waterproof to splashproof but opted for the discount vs get my money back because I thought it was worth waiting for and worth waiting for Jawbone to get it right. I was dissapointed when my first band failed after just 6 weeks, more so  when the second band failed for exactly the same reason after just 3 months; as did my Wife’s first band after 3 months. After all this I decided enough was enough – I gave Jawbone a chance to explain how they have addressed the expanding case design issue. They didn’t even accept that it was a known issue so I demanded my money back – afer explaing the design flaw to a couple of tech support assistants and one manager I was told they wouldn’t be able to  give me a refund as my original purchase was beyond the 60 day limit and all they could do was send me a replacement. I couldn’t find that time limit easily in their returns policy.

So here I am after 6 months with my 3rd band and my wife with her 2nd band expecting both to fail before Ground Hog Day – essentially a reluctant customer. As most marketers know – if there’s one thing worse than a non customer  – it’s a reluctant customer.

Here’s the thing – the band (aside from previously mentioned design flaw) is very good – it does everything I want in the right form-factor. I think the iOS software is the best on the market in my opinion and they’ve done a decent job of iterating the band software to extend batery life and make sleep tracking easier. Their customer service rocks – they’ve never hesitated to process a return and done it very quickly each time – I suspect practice has made them good at this.

My message to  Jawbone – you can do better than this; you have to do beter than this – it’s a very competitive market. Redesign the band casing / battery, make it waterproof as you orginally claimed and give your loyal but possible reluctant customers and free / cheap upgrade path. 

Micro services – the new architecture for digital engagement ?

Disclaimers and excuses.

I’d like to think I know as much or more than the average tech. pundit when it comes to building large-scale, resilient systems. In a previous life I spent the best part of a decade building large complex distributed systems for space, transport, telco. and utilities using CORBA, DCE, COM, WS*, REST, etc. So for what it’s worth here are my views on the latest architectural buzz-word du-jour – microservices. I’ve also heard numerous terms to describe the ideas behind microservices :

  • μservices (this one is bankrupt)
  • hipster-SOA (I like that one)
  • MSA (why does everything have to be a TLA in this industry ?)
  • agile SOA (this one has some merit)
  • SOA-2.0 (Just. No.).

I think I’m going to stick with microservices until someone proposes a better alternative.  But Agile SOA – yeh – I like that.

There are lots of articles on the web about microservices, and I’ve included links to what I believe are the better ones below. I’ve also seen quite a few conference presentations (some good, some bad) and they all fall into one of two categories :

  • In the trenches, doing it today, at scale for real customers.
  • Higher-level description and fundamental principles

There really aren’t many of the former and this post falls into the latter category. I haven’t been a “real” developer for at least 15 years  and I won’t show any detailed blueprints or code in this post. But I do intend to share some of my experiences, research and what I’m hearing from customers, analysts and other tech. pundits. I’ll also answer some questions I’m already being asked; a small sample here :

  • Isn’t a microservice architecture just SOA ?
  • Is this just the next software vendor buzz-word du-jour ?
  • How many LOC (Lines Of Code) is a microservice ?
  • Are there any applicable standards ?
  • Is an architecture build on APIs microservices ?
  • How do microservices relate to agile and DevOps ?
  • Where can I buy a microservice product ?

At this point I should add – these are my words and my opinion but they are heavily influenced by my role here at Red Hat where I run Product Management and where I have responsibility for a bunch of Red Hat’s Middleware products. I’d like to think I’m generally fairly impartial but I can’t promise not to be a little biased here and there. Finally – I’m learning here as well – I welcome challenges, questions, feedback and discussion. Comments are open.

New challenges.

So what has changed that has people across the industry questioning the architectural approaches and design decisions they’ve made in the past; or more importantly looking at alternatives to those architectures and practices for developing the next generation of applications ? A number of things :

Technical / architectural debt

When we talk about Applications in the Enterprises – we’re more often than not talking about complex compositions of intercommunicating systems – often developed over many decades using an array of technology. Individual elements of the “system” have their own release cadence, dependencies and often different owners with different goals. An increasing amount of energy is required to merely keep things running and avoiding outages that impact the business. Less and less energy is available to create competitive services and applications to serve the business.

The rise of DevOps

There is a strong headwind from the DevOps movement to radically change the way software is delivered and maintained. An essential element of DevOps is the notion of Continuous Delivery – a continuous stream of small, incremental chances to production applications instead of large disruptive upgrades. This requires an agile process and solid automated build and test using modern software development tools and practices.

Greenfield Opportunity – Digital Engagement

A shift towards developing net new systems that are focussed externally vs internally – if you follow Gartner – that’s the shift towards Systems of Engagement (or Innovation) or mode 2 applications using their Bi-modal IT vernacular. Or IDC’s third platform. Or Forrester’s “The Age of the Customer”.

Open Choice

During the last decade and a half – when building an application for the enterprise – there were two dominant choices – Java EE or .NET. More recently developer’s choices have expanded and IT has been willing to support a broader range of technologies. Especially for the kinds of green-field systems described above, developers are much more likely to make choices beyond the mainstream IT approved stacks and pick fit-for-purpose technology (eg. node.js for mobile, PHP for web, Java for middle-tier logic and back-end integration) Open source has made the technology that supports building resilient, distributed, web-scale applications far more accessible to far more developers. As with many other areas of technology – the innovation is happening in open collaborative communities and not in the ivory towers of traditional software vendors. Some notable examples are vert.xReactiveXNetflix OSS.

Anatomy of a Micro-service

    Microservices build on the same solid principles of good software design long espoused by practitioners of Object Oriented Systems and Service Oriented Architectures. Namely :
  • Loose coupling in all dimensions – time, lifecycle, type, location, interface, version.
  • Clearly defined purpose.
  • Autonomous – eg. taking responsibility for failure, resilience, security, etc.
  • Explicit Boundaries – self contained implementation; dependable public APIs.
  • Standards-based wire protocols, not language-specific APIs for interoperability (assuming heterogeneous technology)
  • Policy & Meta-data driven – favoring configuration changes over code changes

Microservices can only be useful in an underlying environment or with a platform that provides a means for :

  • service discovery
  • service replication (for availability and scaling)
  • dependency resolution and management
  • service failure detection and recovery
  • reliable and flexible build, package and deploy toolchain
  • service monitoring, alerting, eventing and introspection

Many of these technologies and solutions exist today and have been used successfully with monolithic and SOAs for many years but microservices deployments may push existing tools to the limit for a number of reasons – scale and heterogeneity. So this begs the question – “How is microservices different from SOA ?” Well, firstly – it’s not about size. We shouldn’t get too hung up on the “micro” prefix – services (micro or otherwise) should have a well-defined single purpose and a stable API – it shouldn’t matter if the implementation is 100 lines of COBOL or 900 lines of Scala. Some would argue it’s about the underlying technology – some pundits claim microservices is a movement against and away from traditional SOA and integration technology and vendors. I’m not convinced this is a major differentiator or driver for microservices – there are many ways to implement micro services and few people will be willing to completely burn their IT portfolio to the ground and start again. Well, I’m not completely convinced – I do think the whole integration space has become associated with large proprietary software vendor stacks and overly complex standards – I can understand why people are looking for a more agile, lightweight alternative. For me – the major change in thinking is something that we haven’t been talking about in the SOA world much in the last decade and that is operational agility and flexibility. Essentially, I believe microservices is good SOA principles married with modern DevOps practices – it’s an architecture that supports a fast cadence of continuous change in an operational environment vs big-bang upgrades with long release cycles. That’s an architectural approach married with an agile process for delivering the new breed of customer engagement applications I discussed previously.

Some Cautionary Notes

Building reliable, maintainable distributed systems is hard and many of our previous assumptions about software development no longer apply. As we learnt with CORBA and COM – moving objects / services out of process adds latency, performance and code overhead. It introduces failure scenarios and potential security exploits that didn’t previously exist – eg. well constructed in-memory function calls rarely if ever fail; add an air gap and everything changes – the code overhead to handle failures, retries, security, etc. likely eclipses the application complexity (and cost) itself. This was also true moving from non-SOA to SOAs. Managing service dependencies is also a challenge – we faced similar challenges building distributed systems with DCE, DCOM and CORBA and more recently SOAs and that underlined the importance of governance and API management tools, but microservices architectures will exacerbate the issue as we increase the number of services. Decomposing applications into fine-grained services each with their own process-space and possibly their own container / virtual-machine introduces additional resource utilization and process management overhead. Finally and as I mentioned above – micro services architectures build on solid SOA principles to solve some very real operational bottlenecks – I strongly suspect that successful microservices practitioners are also successful agile and DevOps practitioners.

Summary

Microservices is an architectural style that builds on solid principles of good software design – when used in a mature DevOps environment it can increase the cadence of change without increasing the risk and cost of maintaining large, complex systems. It delivers operational flexibility and agility but it comes at a cost. It requires developers to understand distributed systems development and requires sophisticated systems and application management tools. Ultimately people will have to make the tradeoff between operational agility and development complexity Microservices represents an evolution not a revolution and IT practitioners should avoid micro service envy and rush to re-architect perfectly serviceable applications without discrete problems in mind than can be solved with a move to microservices. Oh, and if someone tries to sell you a microservice product – run away as fast and far as you can.

Further Reading 

“What is so Special about Microservices? An Interview with Mark Little” , InfoQ, February 2015 “Micro services : Decomposing Applications for Deployability and Scalability”, Chris Richardson, InfoQ, May 2014 “Micro services” by Martin Fowler, ThoughWorks, March 2014 “Micro-Services – Java, the UNIX way” by James Lewis, ThoughWorks, Sept. 2013

The Best and Worst of 2010

On the first couple of days of 2011 I’m sitting down to continue a tradition I started in 2005 (2006, 2008, 2009) I find this a nice way to review the year before its committed to the cobwebs of my long-term memory. So, here’s a quick review of the best and worst of 2010 :

Best Moments

The U7 Soccer team I coach has really come together this year – I’ve coached many of these kids for the last couple of years and this year was the first time I’ve seen teamwork and tactics emerge. They’re also super-competitive which I think is a “skill” that’s being eroded – there are valuable lessons in winning and losing. Making everyone a winner creates kids who are ill-prepared for the ups and downs of real-life.   

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We visited Washington, DC over the Thanksgiving break – not the first time I’ve visited but it was the first time I’ve had the time to look around. Reading the inscriptions on the Lincoln Memorial reminds you of how far the United States has come in such a short time and of how great the United States has been through it’s short history – hopefully we now have a leader in office who can restore that greatness. I’m hopeful but only time will tell.

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I work for Red Hat and through 2010 we continued to turn in good results; after my final few years at Sun staring into gloomy uncertainty – it’s nice to be on a wining team and looking ahead with optimism. It’s also nice to be in a smaller company where the impact of ones efforts on the company’s growth and success (or otherwise) are much more apparent.

Biggest Disappointment

Last year the TSA just edged out the Right-wingnuts but this year the axis of stupid take the prize. Every time I hear Sarah Palin or Glen Beck talk – I’m stunned at the breadth and depth of idiocy it takes for them to be considered leaders. Their followers are making the rest of America look stupid to the rest of the world.

Best Technology

This is a tough one. I held off buying an iPad for while but finally succumbed in August. Soon after – it replaced the “smart-phone” as the tech. toy I use the most. Apple have done it again and defined a new category – I’m excited about the future of tablets with many competing devices emerging – there are many tasks for which a touch screen presents a far more natural user experience. I still haven’t found the killer app. for the iPad but iCal, Things, Kindle Reader and Flipboard are some of my favorites that have embraced the new form factor.

On the other hand is the Garmin Edge 800 GPS-Enabled Cycling Computer – while it has a few kinks that need to be ironed out (I’m downloading the latest firmware update as we speak) – it generally rocks and Garmin have a pretty nice web service for collecting all the data from your runs, rides and workouts – Garmin Connect. I like Garmin products, like Apple – they generally “just work” and don’t get in the way too much – that, in my mind, is success in consumer technology – “get out of the way and become invisible”. I do need spend some more time playing with routes and maps and workouts on the Garmin – there’s a wealth of functionality that I haven’t tapped into yet.

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So in the interests of continued health and well-being – I’ll go with the Garmin Edge 800.

Best Book

I’m still working through Neal Stephenson’s – The Baroque Cycle – a mid numbingly long and complex story of truly epic proportions and as with all Neal Stephenson – impeccably well presented. I’m mid way through book seven of eight so it will be another month or so before I’m finished. For that reason – I’ll go with “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” (Bill Bryson) – a fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon at the pool.

Best Film

The only time I go to the Cinema is when I take my kids – so generally catch-up with grown-up movies via Apple TV – a few weeks back I saw Inception – very cool visually with a good story line – good enough to watch again at some point. So I think Inception wins it this year.

JBoss World Red Hat Summit 2010

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I’ll be speaking at JBoss World / Red Hat Summit again this year. I’m part of 3 sessions focussed on JBoss :

JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Roadmap, Wednesday 2pm

I’ll be sharing our 3-year roadmap and will touch on Java EE 6, HornetQ, Infinispan, support next-Gen (aka Cloud) infrastructure. I’ll also go through some of the changes we’ve recently made to our “release taxonomy”. What I expect you to get from the session is a clear understanding of our major areas of focus and the direction that JBoss EAP is heading in so you can better plan your own deployments. I looked at the feedback forms from last year and the only 2 negative comments were “more chairs please” – hopefully we’ll have a bigger room this year but come early.

Andiamo – Towards Operational Excellence with JBoss, Wednesday 5.30pm

Myself, Andy Miller, Brian Stansberry, Jason Greene and Charles Crouch will be holding this BOF session to discuss some of the changes we’re considering for JBoss EAP 6. Generally the discussion will be around operational ease of use, management, monitoring, tuning, diagnostics, deployment. Getting community input at this stage is super important so come along and tell us what you’d like to see. There’s a good chance of beers afterwards 😉

Java 2020

I’ll be sharing the stage with fellow Brit. and JBoss CTO – Mark Little to discuss Java past, present and future and give a Red Hat perspective of some of the challenges and opportunities ahead. We’ll be covering Next Gen. Infrastructure (aka cloud), Multi-language VMs, virtualization, SOA and many other subjects. We may have time towards the end to discuss England’s performance in the World Cup.

If there are questions or areas you’d like to see us specifically cover in these sessions – either leave me a comment or drop me an email (rich dot sharples at my employer dot com) or message (@richsharples).

JBoss World and Summit represents a great opportunity for me to meet some of my colleagues, learn about other technology areas at Red Hat and spend time with customers. As with all tech. conferences – the real value is in the contacts you make and the hall-way conversations you have. I’ll be around all week – if you want to chat – get in touch.

See you in Boston !

The Evolution of Enterprise Java

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Zallinger’s “March of Progress” from wikipedia.

I’ve been part of the Java ecosystem for long enough to see and be part of every Java EE / J2EE release to date. I still have a Forte SynerJ box-set somewhere – we claimed it as the first fully integrated J2EE 1.2 App Server and IDE – that was around 1999 and I was part of Sun for every subsequent release up to Java EE 5.

With the final votes in for Java EE 6 and with the year and decade coming to an end – it seems a fitting time to look back and see how far the Java EE platform has evolved :

  • J2EE 1.2 (1999) – announced just short of 10 years ago was the first attempt to create an umberalla specification to cover some existing web-tier, messaging and data access technologies (JDBC, Servlets, JTA, etc.) as well as the new middle tier technology – EJBs.
  • J2EE 1.3 (2001) – was from my recollection the first broadly adopted and deployed version, it added Connectors (a standard way to connect to back-end ‘legacy’ systems), some rudimentary support for XML Web Services and a pluggable security layer. EJBs got a major overhaul.
  • J2EE 1.4 (2003) – added JMX, a gaggle of specs. to support Web Services (JAXR, JAX-RPC). I think around this time – everyone had written their first App. using EJB’s and had learned that combined with CMP (Container Managed Persistence) they weren’t exactly getting the productivity boost they were hoping for. I think J2EE 1.4 was the “Vista” of Enterprise Java – over-engineered and ultimately underwhelming.
  • Java EE 5 (2006) – A name change and some new hope – mandatory XML deployment descriptors gave way to annotations, persistence took a lesson from the de-facto ORM solution – Hibernate. There was an alternative to, ahem, RPC-style Web Services with the inclusion of JAX-WS.
  • Java EE 6 (2009) – It’s been a while in the making and had a bad start but after ten years I think we now really see the start of a cohesive platform with a common programming model via CDI (JSR-299) and many of the criticisms leveled at the platform have been answered.

Java EE 6 also defines the new Web Profile – this is essentially a slimmed-down EE focussed on web applications. I think it’s much more than that – I think it’s an opportunity to really redefine the Enterprise Java platform and shed some of the legacy APIs. While the backward compatibility that EE dictates has been good – it’s also contributed to some bloat in the platform.

It’s interesting to see how the size of the Java EE spec. has changed over the years (assuming size of the spec. is a reasonable indicator of complexity)

  • J2EE 1.2 weighed in at just 140 pages;
  • J2EE 1.3 added about another 25% (174 pages);
  • J2EE 1.4 increased it by almost 40% (246 pages)
  • Java EE 5 actually bought the page count down by 10%;
  • and the last draft of the Java EE 6 spec. I read only added about 6% (236 pages) – despite some pretty major enhancements.

Despite several rounds of consolidation and various acquisitions – vendor support has remained impressive. There were 18 J2EE 1.2 certified servers, and even seven years later there were still 13 (for Java EE 5). I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least 10 vendors supporting Java EE 6 at some point – even after Oracle has assimilated BEA and Sun.

Despite its huge adoption, Java EE and the process by which it is defined (the JCP) has drawn a lot of criticism. Releases have often fallen short of expectations, been perceived as overly complex or taken too long to deliver; but despite the criticisms nobody can deny that Java EE has been a huge success. Java EE is not just a specification – its grown into an entire category of the software industry. I can think of no other technology that has bought so many competing vendors together to define such a broad and widely use platform.

I’m sure the JCP isn’t perfect and I’m sure vendor politics gets in the way of progress from time to time and Sun’s stewardship of Java hasn’t been flawless but step back and try to imagine what our industry would be like without an open and collaborative Java ecosystem. It will be interesting to see whether Oracle take a different approach (as they’ve suggested in the past) when they become the new stewards of Java. Let’s hope hey continue to encourage collaboration and diversity.

The various expert groups that define the Java platform is not, as many suggest, completely controlled by big vendors. My own company Red Hat is not an industry behemoth, there are divisions and offices within companies like IBM and Oracle that are bigger than Red Hat and JBoss, the middleware business unit of Red Hat is only a part of the entire company. Despite that – Red Hat has demonstrated yet again it’s willingness to punch way above it’s weight and has had an influence on Java EE disproportionate to it’s size. Congratulations to Gavin King, Pete Muir, Sacha Labourey. Emmanuel Bernard, etc for tirelessly pushing for simplicity in the EE platform.

JBoss AS 6 Milestone 1 is out and includes some of the key Java EE 6 features. Releases seem to be coming pretty frequently so you’ll see more EE 6 feature appearing over time.

Microsoft and Metcalfe’s Law

Microsoft have finally figured out that Metcalfe’s Law applies to them as much as the next software company – despite their huge footprint. To quote Microsoft’s CEO and CMM (Chief Mad-Monkey) Steve Balmer :

“In a more connected, services-oriented world…one of the greatest value-adds in some sense is what people do on the other end of the wire”

Bang-on Steve – couldn’t have put it better myself. Let’s see how wide the Kimono opens before Balmer get’s shy. Ick – that’s a poor choice of metaphor – sorry if I’ve spoiled your lunch.

Hacking FileVault (and BitLocker and TrueCrypt)

I have FileVault enabled on my MBP thinking it was a responsible way to protect work-related proprietary information from falling into the wrong hands; turns out it’s actually quite easy (for a dedicated hacker) to crack the password / key according the this CNET article. Some pretty interesting ideas about salvaging information from memory. Hopefuly this work will help Apple improve FileVault.

Desktop Virtualization Tinkering

Over the last day or so, I’ve been playing with VirtualBox – a type-2 desktop-oriented hypervizor; I managed to get my two favourite Linux flavours up and running pretty quickly now I’m contemplating mucking about with the networking so I can get the images talking over a virtual network.

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Once I have that – I have a pretty decent developer sandbox – something I wish I had 7 or 8 years ago when I was still a developer. Still – should be a pretty useful setup for tinkering on home projects.

VirtualBox is pretty slick – so far – no issues – I just works – which is the way software should be. One thing I’m still looking for is a way to run windows (small W) outside the visual sandbox; I find having a bunch of windows; running in windows a bit limiting and doesn’t allow me to use my (multi)-screen real estate effectively.

Next (assuming I find the time) is to try VirtualBox on my MBP – I’m missing Ubuntu.