There's no doubt that the recent "partial failure" of the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform is giving enterprises, service providers, and developers pause--and will continue to do so for months to come. Amazon called the outage "partial" and a "degradation," but it was a very big deal. A significant part of Amazon's flagship EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) was offline for a day, as were the related EBS (Elastic Block Store) and RDS (Relational Database Service) offerings. The failure affected only the northern Virginia data center ("US-East"), and the majority … Read more
Today, April 29, 2011, Amazon Web Services released a "summary" of its EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and RDS (Relational Database Service) disruption in its U.S. East Region. This came approximately one week after what appears to be a classic example of a rolling disaster that occurred after someone incorrectly executed a communications network traffic shift as part of "normal AWS scaling activities." I read human error here--long known as the leading cause of large system failures.
The rolling disaster is a well understood phenomenon in IT and can be hard to foresee with a complex system. The way to discover and fix potential failure points is to test on a regular basis then build around them. But periodic testing can become difficult for a system of this magnitude.
What I find positive about the Amazon summary is a set of disaster recovery recommendations for users and an admission that AWS customer support during the outage was less than stellar. The disaster recovery recommendations should now be required reading for every AWS customer. In fact, I think that all cloud services users should read this statement with an eye to discovering potential holes in their own disaster recovery strategies. … Read more
I test a lot of earphones and headphones here at CNET, and often what I'll do is try out a review sample for a while and then pass the product on to get a second or third opinion from other editors or our resident audio guru, Steve Guttenberg. I don't tell the person I'm passing the headphones on to how much they cost. In that sense, the editor's judgment isn't colored at all by pricing.
In the case of TDK's EB900 in-ear headphones, I thought they sounded good. They had a nice clean sound … Read more
We usually don't do this, but we're in the process of testing a pair of EB900 in-ear headphones and noticed they were on sale for $34.95 at J&R Music World and appear to include free shipping. The TDK900s have a list price of $122.85 but they really sell for around $70 at other online stores (see link below).
What makes them a good deal? Well, both Steve Guttenberg, our resident audio guru, and I felt they sounded as good or better than many $100 earphones. While the bass is a little boomy (too much), … Read more
The first thing you're likely to do upon obtaining a new MP3 player is load it up with all your favorite music. Once that's done, the next best step is to replace the shoddy earbuds that came packaged with it. Of course, not everyone wants to drop a wad of cash on a new pair of headphones, which is where sets like the Kicker EB51 Stereo Earbuds come in.
The colorful earphones have an MSRP of just $19.95, but they can be found for a bit more than $10. These standard plastic 'buds aren't as comfortable … Read more
The Gateway notebook roll-out is official. Sony's is not. Gateway Computer announced three lines of notebook PCs on Monday with 64-bit Windows, while Circuit City prematurely posted images of upcoming Sony notebooks.
Gateway rolled out three notebooks targeted at students. The P series desktop replacement comes with a 17-inch widescreen, the M series with a 15.4-inch screen, and the T series uses a 14.1-inch screen.
All systems come with 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium and pack 4GB of memory--the minimum for acceptable performance in 64-bit Windows.
The 15-inch "… Read more
It seems as if the hype over the "Kindle" has barely subsided, and already we're getting a glimpse into the next generation of e-book readers from overseas.
The EB-100 from Taiwan-based Netronix is an e-ink reader that features a touch screen and Wi-Fi networking, according to Gizmodo. Other specs seem fairly standard, including a 6-inch display that's the same size as Amazon's version, though GizmoWatch and some other blogs have mentioned a model with a 9.7-inch screen.