Amazon: from cloud computing to cloud forest

Cloud computing. A great idea, unlocking new markets, new opportunities for internet startups to have access to computing scale and power. Head in the clouds? Like clean electric cars, the electricity still comes from somewhere. Maybe the cloud isn’t puffy and white – it might just be black.

At a recent O’Reilly Ignite Boston, Tim O’Reilly gave the company spiel, mixed with a little extra enthusiasm and praise for technologists – a population thought of as family at O’Reilly, if not flock. The latter half of the talk uncovered the motivation for the emotion. Reminding me of Dennis Hopper Californian dramatics, he pleaded to do something that mattered. What mattered? The environment and education. Work on that, do something that matters.

Mr Big O. recounted ( or perhaps therapeutically re-lived what could be interpreted as post traumatic stress disorder) a meeting with the chief researcher for still partly secret International Report on Climate Change of a UN agency. Tim’s question was on humanity’s chances of surviving. The answer given: “we’re fucked”. Don’t trust the UN? So thinks the pentagon too.

Even if climate change isn’t “real” – the game still has to be played out because just maybe we are heading to the land of FAIL. Yes, Fuckdom. Not fuckdom like, “hey, I like to scare people”, but fuckdom like inheriting the worst code you’ve ever seen which depends on closed source. There’s a better chance of climate change being a big problem than you’ll ever succeed significantly in a start up. Personally, I want to maintain the legacy app called Earth….

Well, so speaking of startups, try out CO2 Stats. Simply place a widget like Google’s analytics on your site. measure C02 emissions based on available data about the servers and the clients (that’s you). Optionally you can have them automatically purchase carbon offsets for you, or, as in the case of this site – advertisers pay for your … gasses. ¬†

And if you don’t like C02stats – do you have a better idea?

Review of Clayton Christensen’s book Disrupting Class

Disrupting Class was an excellent resource in providing a technology and business vocabulary which is applicable to the deep challenges facing public education today.

To be honest, my view of education is emotive as it ¬†represents so many formative years of my life. I can not claim to bring objectivity to the dialogue. A relative writing¬†“Freedom to Learn”, as well as my mother being a retired special education teacher … I’m biased.

But it is as a technologist, sitting on the cusp of big change, that I can read with sense of calling – knowing that as a CTO of Better Lesson I’m privileged to be in the kind of position coveted by catalysts of renaissance, and admirers of diversity – where once there was only one word – philosophy. Besides the need to avenge my childhood (where I was to have skipped two grades, but also had the diplomacy of a Tasmanian Devil combined with winning the award for “Teachers Pest”, an award created just for me if I remember), maybe now I can make a lot of folks happy.

This is the kind of book that makes me happy. Happy to me is a wholestic thing. I want to make a lot of money without others suffering. I want to pursue knowledge that sustainably changes the world.