Monday, July 4, 2011

Stuff I'm reading this weekend

Here's a collection of random stuff; the only unifying aspect of any of it is that I found it interesting, and you might, too:

  • Some interesting news in the category of "hot Silicon Valley companies and their office space issues":

    • Facebook is starting to move into their new Menlo Park office space (the former "Sun Quentin" campus), and you can follow the action at this Facebook site. There's an interesting article about the new campus at the San Jose Mercury News. The pictures of the new campus are quite interesting; I don't think I'd enjoy working in an office space like this one, trendy though it may be: "everybody works at 30x60-foot tables without cubicles." (I suspect the Merc writer meant "3x6 foot tables".)

    • The Sunday New York Times includes a short article about office space activity in San Francisco proper, where both Twitter and, each recently wooed aggressively by the city, are readying their new offices. Twitter is renovating and occupying the space once known as the Furniture Mart, "on a particularly desolate section of Market Street". is building an eight building campus in the Mission Bay neighborhood, which has been moving upscale dramatically since the University of California San Francisco built their medical center there. The article asks the question: "what happens ... when the culture of the suburban campus drops into an urban center?" and worries, based on some evidence, that "the area remained sterile and empty. Employees drive in ... then drive out. The public stays away."

  • Dropbox have clarified their licensing terms, attracting a lot of attention from users, some of whom are very concerned. The Dropbox blog post notes that this issue is both important, and hard: "We think it’s really important that you understand the license ... but copyright law is complicated". The question of interest is: does it matter, or does it not matter, that they say "to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service"?

  • The Mt. Gox support blog issued a fairly detailed description of the Bitcoin "flash crash" and how it happened. Fake coins were issued to (briefly) drive down the price, allowing the attacker to make a purchase of some number of real coins. Thank you Mt. Gox for being open with the information, it was interesting to read. Meanwhile, Ben Laurie, who knows a lot about security, has published a paper about some of his thoughts about Bitcoin.

  • The folks at Kaspersky Labs have published a thorough and detailed examination of what is currently known about TDL-4, the extremely sophisticated malware that appears to be spreading rapidly and creating a massive new botnet.

  • Lastly on my random weekend list, here's an interesting short article about using git as a database. I'm a database guy at heart, and of course at my day job my work involves extending and enhancing our version control software, so I'm quite aware of the overlap and similarity between database systems, document storage software, and version control systems. They're all interesting and powerful types of systems software, and it's always interesting to consider the interactions and overlaps and comparisons between them.

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