14/09/2012

MakeDirect cuts out the middleman

MakeDirect is a new company offering factory products direct to the public. In the UK Made has been doing this for a while, but specialising in home furnishing while MakerDirect does this for varying products including Decor, Electronics, Fashion, Furniture, Kids, Kitchen, Lighting, Patio Furniture, Shoes, Sports.

The products can often be purchased at 90% off retail pricing for similar products.

The company is based out of New York and has seen 300% revenue growth month by month and the company has achieved $500,000 in the first 3 months after receiving $2m funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ).

A new range includes wood iPhone covers.

Unfortunately they only ship to the US or Canada.

RIPE NCC on last IPv4 /8

RIPE NCC the European IP registry has today reached the last /8 of IPv4 address (a /8 block means x.255.255.255 so there are 16.8m usable addresses). Local registries will now only be able to apply for single /22 blocks (i.e. 1024 addresses).

Though the use of IPv4 addresses has been reduced by utilising methods such as dynamic IPs and network address translation (NAT), the explosion of connected devices means that IPv4 space is now close to being used up. Registries will only be able to get these last be blocks if they already have and are using IPv6 blocks.

The only rational way forward is for more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to support the new IPv6 protocol and roll IPv6 services to consumers. Most current operating support IPv6 natively, though not all consumer routers/etc do.

The death bell for IPv4 is now ringing.

Sony rebuilds distribution centre

In the London riots of 2011 Sony's Enfield distribution centre was burnt down, but now after a year Sony have rebuilt the centre and enlarged it. The centre is operated by Sony DADC (a wholly owned subsidiary) and can hold 1.2m items and send out 55,000 items per day (which ship to 20,000 retail outlets).

Though the centre opened on Sept 14th, it will be completely working in time for Christmas which is Sony's peak time and accounts for 50% of annual revenues.

25% of all Sony's UK stock (of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays) were destroyed in the fire last summer which was devastating to the local community. All the jobs were maintained.

The new centre is over 326,00 feet and 6ft taller than the old building.

Sony have also opened a new distribution centre in Rathbone Place (central London) on the 12th of September to cope with increased demand.

10/09/2012

Street Cabinets, a fuss about nothing

There's been a lot of noise recently about the Government passing a new law that will speed-up street cabinet installs as Telecoms companies no longer need to go through the process of applying for planning permission (recently the London Borough of Chelsea and Kensington refused planning permission for around 96 or 108 application from BT to install new cabinets that would support its high speed fibre Infinity service).

Though planning was refused, BT do have a process whereby they can over-ride planning permission as they have what's know as 'code powers' (this name derives from when the UK had a Telecoms Act and having code powers granted the right to have telephone numbers as well as build street works, much of the old Telecoms Act regulatory environment has been surpassed by the Communications Act, but code powers has retained its name).

Any Communications Provider (as defined by the Communications Act) can apply to Ofcom for code powers which then gives them the right to dig roads, build street furniture etc.

So though the framework already exists, this just allows things to move slightly faster as BT and others can now just install standard sized street cabinets.

Node: Up and Running

Node (or Node.js) is a system using Javascript and the V8 Javascript engine that can be used to easily build fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices. Building servers in Javascript may not seem to be an optimal way of doing things, but as the V8 engine is highly optimised (it's the same engine used in Google Chrome browser) meaning things can run quickly (as node itself is event driven so it almost performs as a procedural server process).

The main advantage though is that code written for the front-end can be duplicated for the back-end and data passed between the two without having to do any form of processing.

Node: Up and Running starts form the beginning (i.e. how to install Node) and then how to master its capabilities and interface it to various services like databases and of could build (web) servers.

Node is also highly extensible and comes with a package manager than can both build packages and get packages locally or from the central Node package system.

The book is laid out as follows: -

Chapter 1 A Very Brief Introduction to Node.js Installing Node.js First Steps in Code Why Node?

Chapter 2 Doing Interesting Things Building a Chat Server Let’s Build Twitter

Chapter 3 Building Robust Node Applications The Event Loop Patterns Writing Code for Production Deep Dive and API Reference

Chapter 4 Core APIs Events HTTP I/O

Chapter 5 Helper APIs DNS Crypto Processes Testing Through assert VM

Chapter 6 Data Access NoSQL and Document Stores Relational Databases Connection Pooling MQ Protocols

Chapter 7 Important External Modules Express Socket.IO

Chapter 8 Extending Node Modules Package Manager Add-ons

Anyone thinking of having a go with Node should definitely have a read of this book, it may save hours of time in looking up stuff on the Internet (though Node does have a very comprehensive documentation site).

A new service Valobox allows users to read books on-line (paying for the whole book or only the bits they need), they support the O'Reilly catalog and here's the link to Node: Up and Running.