Why would such an otherwise nondescript town be a place to see how the country is doing? The answer lies in Union Pacific's 2,850-acre, eight-mile-wide Bailey Yard, the world's largest rail yard, where around 139 separate trains carrying 14,000 rail cars roll through every day. In a strong economy, the number of trains coming through rises. As the economy flattens … Read more
We have lift-off! It's a new era for social media, space exploration and... shoes?
Update: The SpaceX rocket launch was aborted at the last minute and rescheduled for Tuesday, May 22 at 3:44 a.m. Eastern.
Facebook ended its first publicly traded day right where it began: at $38 a share. CEO Mark Zuckerberg rang in the Nasdaq opening bell virtually from the Silicon Valley campus, and later, shares began trading at around $42 each. Facebook's bankers saved the IPO, keeping shares barely above $38. From this IPO, Facebook raised $16 billion. That's almost 10 times … Read more
Philadelphia's revitalization project of its Navy Yard and surrounding waterfront property will also include solar storage, according to International Battery.
The Allentown, Penn.-based battery manufacturer says its large format lithium ion energy storage system (ESS) will be used on a 2,700 square-foot building as part of the Philadelphia Energy Innovation Hub.
"The Energy Innovation Hub will include a live demonstration of a microgrid with a 2,700 square foot net-zero energy home. International Battery will provide Sunverge with an 8.2 kilowatt-hour Lithium Iron Phosphate battery pack for use in the residential SIS [Solar Integration System],&… Read more
Sunday Lawn is the iPhone and iPod Touch adaptation of another successful 2D Flash game from developer Donut Games, in which you must mow a labyrinthine lawn as efficiently as possible while avoiding hazards like hedgehogs and "dog poop."
The simple but winning gameplay of the Flash-based Sunday Lawn has remained intact, but unfortunately, the controls are disappointing. To score well in this game, you need to mow long, contiguous sections of lawn without backtracking (while picking up occasional power-ups and avoiding both stationary and moving obstacles), and that requires quick, precise movements from your mower (a comically … Read more
As much as Twitter is a powerful communication and social application, it's a relatively simple Web app. As part of a new contest sponsored by Engine Yard, Ruby on Rails developers are going to turn Twitter into their own application server.
The contest asks developers to program the "Worst App Server Technology Ever" (Waste) using Twitter as the message bus. While much of the contest is being done tongue-in-cheek, it's actually an interesting use case to see if a service like Twitter can take the place of a more traditional message bus like IBM MQ series … Read more
For all the value that open-source development provides, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst recently reminded the industry that open source may be more potent as a business model than as a development model:
Open-source development is great and all that, but I think more of the value of Red Hat comes from our open-source business model than from the development model.The truth of this statement came home clearly to me in a conversation with Michael Mullany, vice president of marketing at Engine Yard, a cool company that provides on-demand deployment and management solutions for Ruby on Rails applications. Mullany … Read more
Google's Chrome operating system isn't the only thing threatening Windows these days. In a recent New York Times story, VMware CEO Paul Maritz highlighted how dynamic Web frameworks and languages are fundamentally shifting our understanding of the operating system. He said, "If you are in Ruby on Rails, you have to work really hard to tell what the operating system is, it is so far removed."
I spoke with Engine Yard's Yehuda Katz, a member of the Ruby on Rails core team, who said that open-source platforms like Ruby on Rails are changing the game by giving power to the developer to make decisions. "The freedom that comes with open standards and open-source software like Rails will ultimately make software applications better. We believe the replacement of the traditional desktop with application-centric development will benefit everyone."
These comments bring to light the changing nature of application development. A decade ago, if you were writing an application, chances were you were writing it for Windows. Today, there's a good chance you're writing it for the Web as a platform. A new generation of applications are both Web-centric and OS neutral thanks to open-source development platforms.
Importantly, the language and underpinning architecture for Web applications doesn't matter to the end-user (though it has serious impact on the development and operations teams). What matters is the ability to add new features quickly and affordably. … Read more
Today has proved to be much busier than expected, but there were a few interesting articles worth exploring:First, 63 percent of IT departments surveyed by Forrester "expect social technologies to impact the business world." The other 37 percent apparently don't realize just how much time their employees are wasting each day on MySpace. :-) Ruby on Rails hosting and optimization company Engine Yard just nabbed a $15 million Series B round of financing from NEA, Amazon.com, and Benchmark. This makes a total of $18.5 million raised so far. Finally, Apple sold over 1 million 3G iPhones in the first weekend … Read more
Last week, Benchmark announced a $3.5 million investment in Engine Yard, which provides commercial support for Ruby on Rails applications. Engine Yard is doing $3 million in business and growing. It's also profitable. It didn't need the investment.
The investment, however, is very telling. When one of the top venture capital firms on the planet puts hard dollars behind a support model, it's significant. It becomes doubly so when the firm (or its investors) in question previously invested in JBoss, MySQL, SpringSource (Interface21), and other support-based open-source companies.
It may mean that Benchmark knows something that the rest of the industry seems determined to ignore: services-based businesses may well be the future of the software industry.… Read more