Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fun with friends

Had a great meeting with a guy from Microsoft yesterday. It's always informative to talk with them.

We talked a lot of bioinformatics, and he had some interesting things to say.

Most importantly, he confirmed what we already knew: they're thinking much more at the operating system level than we are; we're thinking much more at the application level than they are.

Of course, the world needs people doing both. That's why we like them, and why we think they're really going to like us!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Taking the plunge

Well, we've decided to take the plunge and make the video for Show Off at PDC.

I've decided on some software and some other software that's going to help us out.

We've tossed around some ideas for what to do, and we have a general idea (I guess in Hollywood terms it's a treatment).

In other PDC related work, we hammered out a bunch of the details for the collateral we'll need for the show. It's really late (especially given the lead times for printing, well, anything), but I think we've got a good, cohesive set of signage (I hate that word) and handouts.

We're trying to come up with the right set of words to use to draw people into the booth. Grid Computing for Windows? Real World Grid? Grid Enable Your App? Any other ideas?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

To Show Off or Not to Show Off?

So it seems that Microsoft is having a contest at the PDC--make a video that shows off your stuff. The videos should be shorter than 5 minutes; they're going to have a 2 hour event and show the best of them (and they'll also post them on Channel 9.

I've made a bunch of videos in my life (mostly when I was in a band, and I was even on MTV a bunch in a video for another band).

But I've never made any videos quite like this one. It'd have to show our product off, but it would definitely have to be entertaining, too. Nothing too dry, or I'd just bore myself to tears.

The question I keep asking myself is: "Could we make an interesting/funny video where someone actually grid enables something, and make the whole thing 5 minutes long?"

John and I did a six-minute demo this winter; it's tough to pack a lot in so short a time. And this is a minute shorter.

Still, I've seen some companies out there with some pretty cool video editing tools. It'd be fun to use them.

So I'm kicking it around...we'll see what ideas we come up with in the next few days.

Monday, August 22, 2005

What Is West Coast Grid?

At a recent GridToday event, the group spent a lot of time discussing the definition of Grid Computing. For some reason, the different definitions seem to be regionally based.

When Europeans talk about grids, they tend to mean thousands of computers across many organizations (and countries). It's a daunting task, requiring amazing amounts of coordination to get working. And, of course, you need to find compute needs that start at the thousands of computers.

The North Americans (especially those on the East Coast) have been building grids for a few years, too, but they're not doing it like the Europeans. They're concentrating on building grids within an enterprise, using mostly *NIX operating systems. They scale down to the hundreds.

My company, Digipede Technologies, is doing something entirely different. We're building a grid computing product that aims at a much larger audience: people with Windows computers, and people with problems that might benefit from scaling out to as few as 10 or 20 machines. It's a new paradigm in distributed computing: kind of "Grid computing for the rest of us." Don't get me wrong--our solution will scale up to hundreds (and thousands) of nodes--but we think it's important to have a solution that's simple enough to implement that it also makes sense to apply it to problems that need "only" a one-order-of-magnitude increase in performance.

Since we're using an operating system written in Redmond, and we're located in Oakland, we decided it would be appropriate to nickname our particular brand of distributed computing: West Coast Grid.

This blog will follow Digipede as we turn the grid computing market on it's ear.

We've already had a launch announcement, a beta program, a public release, and gotten some great reviews. What's next?

To promote the Digipede Framework SDK, we're heading off to Microsoft's PDC 05 conference in Los Angeles, September 13-16th. We'll be demonstrating our SDK, showing the world how easy it is to grid-enable their .NET applications.

The next 4 weeks should be an adventure.