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Chris Evans
Works at Langton Blue Ltd
Attended University of Leeds
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Chris Evans

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So Google are buying Nest, makers of the "intelligent" thermostat for the home.  I have to say I never really saw the point of the product, certainly for modern UK houses.

In the UK, it's typical to have a master thermostat and thermostatic radiators in each room.  In general the master thermostat doesn't control much other than a general heating level.  I've found that each room can vary significantly depending on the quality of your house build.  We had friends who had a cold bedroom that they believe hadn't been fully lagged by the builder.

Before deploying something like an intelligent thermostat, I think we can made significant savings elsewhere.  First, if air was moved between rooms to rebalance heat, we'd save significantly (easier done in non-UK homes like US/AUS where air ducting is installed).  Second, there's a huge amount of heat hanging at the top of rooms.  Just stand on a chair in any room and feel the heat near the ceiling.  If we blew the heat down (or the cold up), not with a big fan but with air column devices in the corner of rooms, then we'd save significantly on heating bills.  These could be built with paper lantern type tubes and silent PC fans and so be really cheap, plus made decorative, by making them into lamps.

Google would have been better to buy a company that could deploy cheap room telemetry first; collect the data then fix the problem.  That's probably where my Raspberry PIs will be deployed - as room sensors before I think about more home automation.
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UK systems are all timer based - set the time you want the heating to come on/off with 3 windows per day.  So we have an early one, plus an afternoon one.  The heating doesn't need to be on all day except when the temp drops below about 2-3 centigrade.  Even then, the thermostat regulates it well.  
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Chris Evans

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You would have thought he could have tried to at least say something interesting about the technology he's been paid to promote - surely???

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/07/samsung_snafu_at_ces_causes_michael_bay_meltdown/
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Chris Evans

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We only use the idea of a virtual machine as it's a convenient wrapper for physical servers, which as we convert physical workload helps us manage the concept.  However we don't need a virtual machine.  Perhaps we should get over it and start thinking more about removing this physical construct in our virtual world.

http://www.zdnet.com/rackspace-picks-up-zerovms-built-for-cloud-hypervisor-7000022399/
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I'm all for style in computing, after all those beige computers we used to have, my MacBook certainly has a better look and feel to it.  However it also has a practicality too; elegance, simplicity and practicality perhaps being Apple buzzwords.  

However the Sphere from LaCie seems like a poor attempt to cash in on Applesque cool design but misses on 2/3 of the point above.  To a certain degree it is elegant; but it's not practical and doesn't offer much simplicity.  

I am sure they will sell thousands of them.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/lacie-sphere-hdd-pictures-preview,25647.html
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Great article from The Register on old calculators.  I didn't own the Commodore one in the post, but I owned a later model, the P50, which our maths teacher "acquired" from somewhere.  As many sites now show, this was a Hong Kong model (1978) so presumably he had a grey import source.  I also had a Casio FX-550 (1981), which seems massively advanced for the time!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/03/ten_classic_calcutors/
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The details in this post show some of the amazing issues Facebook have to deal with in terms of scale of their environment.  Thankfully for them the data isn't real-time enough to care, otherwise it's pretty obvious the task would be impossible to achieve.  

The other interesting scenario is that they must be using the (only) live copy of data for a lot of this analysis; this is that move to DevOps that many companies will find hard to take, after having spent years wrestling access away and locking it in the hands of a few behind the change control firewall.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/under-the-hood-building-posts-search/10151755593228920
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Really interesting article. They honestly call their index builder "unicorn"? And what +really+ is interesting to me is that all of this is done via text matching. A human has to build the text matching (right?...even if its to kick off the process..). 

For example, one of the ways they do query ranking:
Query rewriting happens before the execution of the query, and involves tacking on optional clauses to search queries that bias the posts we retrieve towards results that we think will be more valuable to the user. 

Who is we in this "we think"? And is "we" influenced by advertisers, their own filters (library science/ethnography 101)? 

The other way is result scoring:
In total, we currently calculate well over a hundred distinct ranking features that are combined with a ranking model to find the best results. 

Same questions. To me its scary when we're not allowed to directly query data, we are forced to accept results based on what "they" think we should want.

That's how +Christina Weil ends up with such ....er... interesting Facebook ads ;)
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Work
Occupation
IT Consultant, blogger and Subject Matter Expert
Employment
  • Langton Blue Ltd
    Consultant and co-founder, 2009 - present
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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Introduction
Chris M Evans has worked in the IT industry for over 23 years.  After receiving a BSc (Hons) in Computational Science and Mathematics from the University of Leeds, his early IT career started in mainframe and followed both Systems Programming and Storage paths. 

During the dot.com boom he also co-founded and successfully floated a company selling music and digital downloads. 

For most of the last 20 years, Chris has worked as an independent consultant, focusing on open systems storage and more recently virtualisation and cloud.  He has worked in industry verticals including Financials, Transport, Utilities and Retail, designing, deploying and managing storage infrastructures from all the major vendors.  Chris has strong interpersonal skills and is comfortable in conversations with all layers of an organisation, from technical to C-level executives. 

In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd, an IT consultancy focused specifically on solving business related IT issues.

In his little spare time, Chris enjoys cooking, music, travelling, photography, cricket and tennis.
Bragging rights
Fortunate to be married with two wonderful boys. Used to be able to speak French well enough to be called Belgian.
Education
  • University of Leeds
    Computational Science and Mathematics, 1984 - 1987