The peering story

At my first startup, I had a CTO, who was a year younger than me, used to tell me stories of his time at UUNET and what whiney little cheap turds most of the first generation dotCom billionaires were before their tiny little ISP’s sold for hundreds of millions.

This story isn’t about that.

As a Korean, he was asked to set up the asian version of UUnet. Back then Korea’s networking should have been trivial as its a peninsula and most of the population lives in or around a single city, Seoul. Instead it was terrible because none of the Korean networking companies would set up peering points with each other. “See,” he told me, “When you need to connect two networks to each other, you have to set these up, and while they’re free to run, they’re costly to build. How do you decide who pays for the point?”

You might think 50-50 is fair and propose that. If you’re a new player in this space, since you’re the one asking to set up these points, you probably benefit more than network you are trying to pair up with so they expect you to pay all or most of it. You get nowhere with this offer. This is what happened to him.

Korea wasn’t the powerhouse Internet trendsetter they are today. I remember, back then it was often faster to connect to a US site then to another Korean one because your packets to the latter would have to go through peering in the US since there wasn’t any in Korea. In other words, to talk to your neighbor, your message would be sent from Korea, across the Pacific to the US, and then back across the Pacific to Korea. This was the Korean Internet in the early-mid 90’s, all because of a lack of peering there.

On a lark, a friend of his wanted to set up a BBS or something and he dropped a server on his network for his friend to use for free.

Then one day, months later, companies that had previously refused to peer up were contacting him to peer up. As I’ve outlined just now, being the asker is a huge concession in the negotiation. He wondered what changed and looked at his traffic. It turned out that his friend’s BBS or something had become hugely popular in Korea and a lot of that network’s customers were demanding better service to it.

The lesson here is if you have what the other party wants, you hold the cards and the other side has to make the concession.

I bring this story up when I have to explain a basic business principle to others to understand what is going on.

Want to understand why Office is finally out on iOS? Look no further than the peering story.

The new MagSafe

In nearly every review of the new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro Retina, a big list on the minus column has been the new [MagSafe][] 2 connector.

Mostly because this necessitates the purchase of a $10 part for all ones other’s adapters that is (admittedly) easy to lose.

But overall, I feel this deserves a big plus. Since I’ve had my MacBook Air, I have not once put my USB cable into my MagSafe outlet. This was an almost daily occurrence, so much so that I noticed I unconsciously nurtured a habit of using the right USB port first.

Now if they can only bring back the low profile connector and license MagSafe to third parties. Well that, and create a FindMyMagSafe2Adapter app. Because I seemed to have lost one of mine already.

[MagSafe]: “MagSafe—Wikipedia”

Office Porn

A few weeks ago, there was a thread on on of our internal blogs at workconcerning our home office setup for productivity and comfort. One of them mentioned an old blog post of mine, and it occurred to me that it’s been five years since I’ve shared my office.

Here is what it looks like today:

My home office (HDR)

My home office (HDR)
The Richmond, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G
36 exposures (0+/-3ev), 1/15sec @ ƒ8, ISO200, 14mm

Continue reading about my office and HDR panoramic photography after the jump

How Apple rolls (for newbies)

I read this old comment about recently-released Mac OS X Lion:

…but really it’s the lack of Rosetta that has me most annoyed. I admin 120 users who still use Office 2004 on G5s. This just pushed up the cost of upgrading them by $200 each.

Actually, no. The cost of that particular upgrade is zero because you can’t. Apple dropped operating support on the G5 in Snow Leopard. So you can’t even install Lion on this computer, you must leave the computer on Leopard. He would have an issue if he has Intel-based Macintoshes that are still using Office 2004 (or earlier-Office 2008 introduced in 2008) or Adobe Creative Suite 2 (or earlier—Adobe CS3 introduced in 2007). But he should leave those people with Snow Leopard, just as he left the G5’ers a few years back with Leopard.

This is just another indicator of how Apple rolls when they want to introduce something new:

Apple and the Motorola 68000 processor:

  1. 1984 68k Macs introduced with 68k processor
  2. 1994 first PowerPC Macintosh introduced with “System 7” (specifically 7.1). Applications fork into three categories: 68k applications, PowerPC-only, or “Fat binaries” (which run on but 68k and PowerPC Macs). PowerPC Macs can run 68k-only applications via emulation.
  3. 1998 MacOS 8.5 drops support of 68k computers.
  4. 2006 Intel-computers cannot run 68k applications.
  5. 2007 Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) drops Classic-mode, and with it, all support for 68k applications.

Continue reading about Apple and backward compatibility after the jump (or just to watch their Infomercial)


Well the Kindle 2 came out today so I preordered it.

This morning two people IM’d me about it so I decided to give the first my Amazon referral bucks. I give Amazon bucks semi-randomly to various friends and he asked me how I do it.

I use a “Buy from Amazon” bookmarklet I wrote to make life easier.

You can drag that into your toolbar if you like. One nice thing is to remove the second prompt and just replace the href with the tag to yourself. I keep it this way so that I remember to put the associate ID of one of my friends since I put them on rotation. Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Store

Anyone else wonder why Amazon decided to call it the Kindle? Shouldn’t it be something more akin to Treehugger? I thought Green was in.

Continue reading about My take on the K2 after the jump

Slick ad

Very impressive flash Ad from Apple.

The ad is just a regular until you click for sound and then the ad really starts up. The reason: Two independent SWF files that sync actions across themselves. Both ads have to be delivered at the same time. Clever use of shape and placement of those ads to tell a funny story.