Is Online Data Private?


Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 20 Apr 2010 at 20:06

I was rather surprised today to read that data stored on "cloud" services might not have the same legal privacy protections in the US that data has when stored inside your home (or business). This came to my attention after a Wired Magazine article (April 20, 2010) about Google's recent openness about government worldwide requests for information.

A broad consortium of tech companies and privacy groups recently announced a push to modernize the nation’s privacy laws so that data stored by third parties, especially by so-called cloud computing services like Gmail, are treated just like data stored on citizens’ home computers. Currently, e-mails stored online lose much of their legal protection after 6 months, and the Justice Department recently tried to get at unopened mail online...

Scrappy Hosting for OS X


Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 17 Apr 2010 at 11:15

I rather like the idea of co-location for mac minis. It seems like a really cost-effective choice for a lot of applications. Essentially, if you want a lot of memory, and disk and cpu, and don't need vast bandwidth, then Mac Mini co-location could be a really low cost option.

Good applications for this sort of hosting would be departmental applications, websites like, or even advanced analytic and data applications that are stable in terms of size. We do not use Mac Mini hosting, but the idea is intriguing for such applications.

This is not for everyone. If you need massive bandwidth and a highly flexible infrastructure, with lesser needs for cpu and disk then Joyent, Engine Yard or Amazon EC2 are better options. And Joyent and Engine Yard have impressive expertise...

Using DNS for low cost Failover


Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 16 Apr 2010 at 16:31

It could make exceptional sense to make use of yourdns host for load balancing and failure toleranceby usinground robin and DNS Failover. This could save the substantial expense of dedicated load balancing hardware or machines to run load balancing software or scripts. And of course, the load balancer itself is an extra point of failure that could be avoided by having this logic handled by your DNS provider.
For one domain, just list a set of IP addresses in the DNS records, each for different redundant machines. Traffic is spread across this list of servers using a round robin approach. Combine this with DNS Failover which checks to see if the machines at each IP are working and redirects if necessary. Essentially, if a machine goes down, it can just get dropped from the round...