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Married to Chocolate

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What’s your story? If you are a company leader or owner, your story should roll right off your tongue. But for many leaders, it doesn’t. It can sound something like this: “Our story? Um, well, our mission is to make the best cookies in the Mid-Atlantic.” Dude, I didn’t ask about your mission. Don’t feed me that canned elevator pitch crap. Your company’s story is not the mission, or the vision, or the core values. Your story is about where you have been, how your company got to where it is today, why you are doing what you’re doing, and how it’s different from all those other cookie makers. And it includes the scars that came along with it, if you’re really going to be authentic. Maybe you started in a bar with an idea on a cocktail napkin. You celebrated your idea with a few too many, accidentally washed it in your jeans, and had to piece it together the next day. B... (more)

Stepping Up to the Plate: A Story About Being On-Call

The Alert A few weeks ago, I went to my first baseball game. The San Francisco Giants were playing the San Diego Padres at the AT&T park, and my relatives had an extra ticket for me. I met my relatives at the front entrance of the park, and when we entered I took the whole spectacle in: the big LED lights, the endless rows, the infinite hallway of food stalls. After gathering the necessary garlic fries and chicken tenders, we made our way to our seats. The Giants make three runs in the first inning, and the whole stadium was electric with excitement. But the sixth inning, the lead had flipped, and the Padres were beating the Giants by three runs. Tensions were high in the ballpark, with the few fans clad in blue getting louder and louder, while those sporting orange grew silent. The Ghirardelli man was making his rounds, and my cousin flagged him down to grab us som... (more)

Behind the Scenes, SANta Claus Global Cloud Story

Cloud Expo New York There is a ton of discussion, stories, articles, videos, conferences and blogs about the benefits and value proposition of cloud computing. Not to mention, discussion or debates about what is or what is not a cloud or cloud product, service or architecture including some perspectives and polls from me. [Santa Photo Via ABC news] Now SANta does not really care about these and other similar debates I have learned. However he is concerned with who has been naughty and nice as well watching out for impersonators or members of his crew who misbehave. In the spirit of the holidays, how about a quick look at how SANta leverages cloud technologies to support his global operations. Many in IT think that SANta bases his operations out of the North Pole as it is convenient for him to cool all of his servers, storage, networks and telecom equipment (which ... (more)

Organic Caramel Truffles, You Sexy Thing

Organic Caramel Truffles. I adore thee. I met someone! See, I never liked caramel--to me it was always a chocolate wannabe that just wasn't cool enough to have cocoa in it. And then two days ago, at a little paradise called the Whole Foods chocolate aisle, I finally met a caramel I kind of like. Really, really like. I bought a box of Organic Caramel Truffles for $6.99 and I'm a happy camper. It was the "truffle" part that called out to me. Let it be known, I am head over heels in love with chocolate truffles. I think they make one of, if not the most, pleasurable experiences known in the chocolate world. I've had my share of good ones (Royce, I miss you) and bad ones, (Choxie, never call me again), but for the most part, truffles have been these sensual beings that never fail to excite me before, during, and after I eat them. So I ripped the box open in the car and imm... (more)

Three Ways to Use BIG-IP ASM to Mitigate Shellshock

UPDATE (9/28/2014): Our security team indicates that we're now seeing the majority of attempted exploits of Shellshock coming in through input parameters. They've provided ASM signatures to mitigate and recommend customers use these signatures to protect their applications. You can find these signatures and more information in this post: https://devcentral.f5.com/articles/bash-shellshock-mitigation-using-asm-signatures I had a great conversation this morning with Tom Spector, Enterprise Network Engineering Lead for Security here at F5, about the ways in which customers can use BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) to mitigate Shellshock. As you're no doubt aware, the potential exploits of Shellshock continue to evolve and we're seeing both HTTP header and input fields used as a transport mechanism for this Bash vulnerability. Web application firewalls (WAF) are a ... (more)

Testing the Limits with Jack Margo SVP of Developer Shed, (part 1)

In recent months, we’ve ‘tested the limits’ with QA notables like  James Whittaker, Rosie Sherry and Andrew Muns.  This month, we’re jumping over to the dev side of the aisle by sitting down with Jack Margo, SVP of Internet Operations at Developer Shed . Developer Shed is owned by Ziff-Davis and manages a bunch of tech sites — many devoted to open source technologies and communities.  They serve millions of visitors per month, for every breed of developer. Topics range from troubleshooting an Apache web server to programming a complicated Java application to successfully marketing a website.  Their tagline says it all: “Tools for Geeks!” Today, we talk about what developers really think about testers, Jack’s take on Microsoft vs. open source, the reason he’s mad at Java, why net books are a fad, and which programming language has the biggest upside.  Check back to... (more)

Amazon Elastic Load Balancing Only Simple On the Outside

The notion of Elastic Load Balancing, as recently brought to public attention by Amazon’s offering of the capability, is nothing new. The basic concept is pure Infrastructure 2.0 and the functionality offered via the API has long been available on several application delivery controllers for many years. In fact, looking through the options for Amazon’s offering leaves me feeling a bit, oh, 1999. As if load balancing hasn’t evolved far beyond the very limited subset of capabilities exposed by Amazon’s API. That said, that’s just the view from the outside. Though Amazon’s ELB might be rudimentary in what it exposes to the public it is certainly anything but primitive in its use of SOA and as a prime example of the power of Infrastructure 2.0. In fact, with the exception of GoGrid’s integrated load balancing capabilities, provisioned and managed via a web-based interfa... (more)

Create SEO Plan

Learn How To Create SEO Plan: Following are the steps that I think are crucial in any SEO plan or strategy. The article will a little longer than usual, but I believe it will be noteworthy and helpful to most of the people. Let's start the SEO plan. Competitive Analysis: Competitive analysis is one such step you should take in the very beginning of your SEO efforts. It should be right at the top of your to-do list, along with keyword analysis and tagging your web site. In fact, you should probably do a competitive analysis even before you begin tagging your site. Get a list of 3 of your major competitors and note the following points: Site rankings: Page saturation: How many of the competition's pages are indexed? Page titles Meta data Site design A robots.txt file Content quality and quantity Link quality and quantity Prioritizing pages: You should realize that n... (more)

Amazon Makes the Cloud Sticky

Stateless applications may be the long term answer to scalability of applications in the cloud, but until then, we need a solution like sticky sessions (persistence) Amazon recently introduced “stickiness” to its ELB (Elastic Load Balancing) offering. I’ve written a bit about “stickiness”, a.k.a. what we’ve called persistence for oh, nearly ten years now, before so I won’t reiterate again but to say, “it’s about time.” A description of why sticky sessions is necessary was offered in the AWS blog announcing the new feature: Up until now each Load balancer had the freedom to forward each incoming HTTP or TCP request to any of the EC2 instances under its purview. This resulted in a reasonably even load on each instance, but it also meant that each instance would have to retrieve, manipulate, and store session data for each request without any possible benefit from lo... (more)

Tip Of The Week ABC’s – A is for Automating HTTPWatch With PowerShell

For the last few months I’ve been negligent on my regular blogging.  I can come up with a bunch of excuses but it all boils down to feeling that I’ve got something meaningful to say.  I’m not the type to just blog for the sake of blogging but I’ve begun to miss the great feedback I receive when I put something out there that helps folks.  What has worked for me in the past is to come up with the concept of an ABC’s series where I put sequential posts out with each post having a topic based on the letters in the alphabet.  I started with The Networking ABC’s, followed that up with Social Media ABC’s and most recently finished up the PowerShell ABC’s.  I’ve been trying to figure out a new series that could be interesting to folks and I think I’ve found my next one. I tend to tinker around with lots of tools and utilities with regards to development and website and s... (more)

Didn’t We Resolve This One 10 Years Ago?

There’s always been a bit of a disconnect between traditional network-focused ops and more modern, application-focused ops when it comes to infrastructure architecture. The arguments for an against layer 7 (application) load balancing first appeared nearly a decade ago when the concept was introduced. These arguments were being tossed around at the same time we were all arguing for or against various QoS (Quality of Service) technologies, namely the now infamous “rate shaping” versus “queuing” debate. If you missed that one, well, imagine an argument similar to that today of “public” versus “private” clouds. Same goals, different focus on how to get there. Seeing this one crop up again is not really any more surprising than seeing some of the other old debates bubbling to the surface. cloud computing and virtualization have brought network infrastructure and its ca... (more)