A new year reflection

Welcome to 2009. A year's just started! Time to renew the blog habit, and do some new year reflection.

This blog was most active in the beginning of 2006. At that time, I was working for a mid-size software company on their Eclipse IDE product in Fremont Seattle. (I missed the day I walk to work, and the coffee shops around.) While I loved the tools, working in UI wasn't exactly what I wanted to build my career long term at the time.

I liked to drive deep and interested in Transaction, Caching, O/R kind of stuff, which was what I learned from my first paying jobs.

I wanted to continue on that, so I registered http://cacheca.com (it is like my 8th idea) and worked a bit on my own on distributed cache. Read and think a lot on the topic and that was why I have much to write on that.

I joined a large software company, a clustering project, on the manageability team. I was hoping my knowledge on the my previous work will be useful. In the beginning, I was really wishing to join for the engine side of the team. (I am still on manageability but no longer under the stealth project. The org structure makes sense, manageability at scale has much border application than scaled up or scaled out server. Manageability at scale is the manageability problem.) It is only natural for a critical server product to work on scalability, but it was a stealth project so I didn't try blog about work. Sometimes, a lot of the inspiration is coming from work. Without blogging those, I simply blogged much less.

After joining the company, on my own time, I shifted a little bit and develop a hobby project which was related to social network. I thought an open-platform can be game changing even against fierce competitors. I was looking at the online-identity (eg, openid.net) stuffs for that idea. On a thick stack of loose-leaf papers I drawn the idea, algorithm, and page flow, etc. In code, I didn't go too much beyond coding the login authentication logic (separate login server, passing obfuscated token with page redirection etc. It was interesting to understand what all these HTTP 3xx code about.) Well, I have witnesses on open-platform social-network idea. When facebook came out with their own, and I looked at their initial API, I knew they got it. (I only have the idea. I am not even close enough to any result to feel sour about. Result is everything.) Online-Identity actually become less relevant because of it, imo. Shall the killer app at the time uses online-identity, the landscape might look quite different today. Success is path dependent. It is also the network effect.

Busy at times for different reasons, and phew! 3 years have passed.

Looking forward, there are a lot more interesting problems calling (and even screaming) for solutions.

1) Phone hardware (and even OS) is certainly coming to the rip time. Time has comes for a computer on everyone's hand.

2) As more interesting web apps emerge independently, there is also data scatter problems.

3) We are also tearing ourselves by letting too many irrelevant notifications interrupted us for the fear of missing some important one.

4) Alright, this is the last one, I need to throw some food for those curious minds:
I start to think that the last piece of puzzle of Turning Test is not AI (Artificial Intelligence). It is not a problem about intelligence. (Intelligence is like a cocky joke at the right moment that makes everyone laugh.) The last piece of puzzle is something much more predictable and readily extract from the memory we have. Someone can be very human even when he don't do any cocky joke, but share some common memory with you. You will feel closer (and more human), if someone reminds you that you two shared the feeling on an anecdote.

This year, I am working on the solutions on these problem. They are not as complicated to solve as it appears, and they overlap a lot. Those are going to be blog topics this year. Stay tuned!