Puakma: Under the hood

I'm Brendon Upson, jack-of-all-trades, master of one or two. I'm talking about life running a small ISV tackling business issues and leaping technology hurdles in a single bound.

webWise Network Consultants is based in Sydney, Australia and develops the groundbreaking Tornado Server technology.

ANZAC day and Tornado v4

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-04-25

Today we remember those brave souls who fought in foreign lands for the freedoms we take for granted today. Lest we forget .

As today was a public holiday I began work on what will (hopefully soon) become Tornado Server v4. Version 4 will be a huge leap forward, most notably will be the ability to embed a Tornado Server in almost any Java app. The main reason for this will be so that we can run Tornado as a servlet - this will allow companies to run Tornado on top of their existing J2EE stack and provide better integration with Apache (and PHP, webdav, and all that other good stuff). Fear not, you'll still be able to use Tornado in its current guise but the changes will make Tornado far more flexible and it will be able to be run anywhere.

The challenge for us is to rip out and refactor Tornado's heart while making every .pma application run as it does today. No mean feat! The reshuffle should also mean better caching of application elements and therefore even better performance!

If you have some wishes for v4, drop me a line ;-) 


Sollen wir zu schwimmen gehen?

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-04-19

Part of the move into the new house involved me agreeing that it must have a swimming pool. I really thought this would be easy, after all, it's a hole in the ground lined with concrete and filled with water....

Alas no. It seems getting a pool company to call you back is the most difficult part, then if you are lucky enough to get a quote that doesn't look like an international telephone number, trying to decipher exactly what you get for the money is nigh on impossible.

Truly - how hard can it be? 

A solution to kill spam

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-04-16

I don't know about you, but I seem to be getting more and more spam. Per day the ratio is probably somewhere around 120 spam messages for 10 work related ones. That ratio is far too high. I spend most of my time fishing out false positives and marking those messages as junk that were not picked up by Thunderbird's filter. This number of course ignores those messages that don't even get to me that the server's blacklists cull.

The basic issue is that email is free. The "value" of email to spammers is the fact that they can send millions of messages and if even one person responds, the campaign was successful. Now imagine if each email cost say $0.05 (half a cent) to send. For you and I, no problem, our monthly bill may be only a few dollars, but to a spammer email would suddenly become cost prohibitive.

So how would this work?

Think of our current postal system. When we want to send a letter we attach a stamp, which we get from a post office. So we build a special type of "post office" server (many of them) that issues "one use" stamps. When we go to send an email, our mail client contacts the post office and purchases a one use stamp and attaches it to the email. The receiving mail server checks the stamp with the post office that issued it. If the post office replies that the stamp is good, the mail is accepted. There would also be a blacklist of post offices to stop spammers creating their own post offices to circumvent the process.

Users could continue to send emails without stamps, but the receiving client would be able to deal with those differently. 

I know for me, email is beginning to get to the point where it is no longer useful due to the time I spend trying to find those emails that are actually for me.

Settling dust and where does the cash go?

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2007-04-05

The dust is beginning to settle on a few projects and the house move. Still have no "real" internet access at home :-( so that is impacting my productivity. Running a small business always seems to be a struggle for survival, even when things are going great I have one eye cast 12 months ahead and constantly ask "what if...". 

Our in-house project management system that I wrote about two years ago is now starting to come into its own as our pool of customers grows. All info about all projects is logged in there and it provides a great place for customers to contribute directly to a project (in terms of documents, approval and general feedback). The other advantage is transparency. I suppose this could work to our disadvantage as our customers know *exactly* what they are being billed for, if I do some time and materials work the level of detail is high. It means we have to work harder to justify the time spent on a task, but the benefits in customer trust are well worth it.

Today I bought some new bindings for my snowboard. In Australia to buy them in a shop (or online) will cost around $345AUD, or I can buy them on the Internet in the US for $178AUD. This is NUTS! How can the identical item cost DOUBLE?! On the back of this I decided to check what a new Lexus SC430 costs (recommended retail price) in both countries. In Australia we would pay $162,100AUD while our US cousins pay only $80,018AUD. THIS IS TOTALLY RIDICULOUS!!! A few dollars, or even a few thousand I can understand, but DOUBLE?!

My question: who gets the money? 

Enjoy your Easter break!