Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How not to make money online ....

Wow cool .... what a great article. I truely agree with what was written and actually im sorry that i never really explained the whole idea behind what we did. I just didnt think anyone really cared but i guess now is a good opportunity to do so. Let me explain all the logic and the response to http://www.howtonotmakemoneyonline.com/2009/03/how-to-not-start-start-up.html.

I did a quick look on eBay for some of the computers they are using. Between everything including the server cabinets, servers, desktops, switches, router, drives, cables, accessories, we're probably talking $2,500-$3,000 easy

Out of all the comments, this is probably the only comment i dont agree on specially if its USD. Let me elaborate on the prices and see if i can find the reciepts (Note All in AUD):

Racks: $89 for the first and $180 for the second. They are the same type of rack but some people *really* want to get rid of their racks faster then others :)

DL580's (old white servers): $20-50 dollars each, all with atleast more then 2 gigs of ecc sdram
DELL 150GX's: $15 dollars each
GT2 ML's: $30-40 dollars each all with 18 gig hard disk and 1gig + of memory
DELL 2550's : $50 each

So lets do the sums

$15x10 for the dell gx150's: 150 dollars
$20x4 for the DL580's: 80 dollars
$40x4 for the ML's G2 servers: $160
$89 for one of the compaq racks (this included the monitor as well)
$180 for the other

Lets get out the calculator: hmmm .. thats $659 lets add another $100 AUD give or take. Alot of the network equipment are old nortel switches at throw away prices and i have a friend who is a cabler who has so much cable he doesnt know what to do with it .... and yes, he did all the crimping .... in an update i will post these pictures just to show im not BS'ing ;)

Let me add the other stuff that you didnt see: extra power into the garage: 2700watts (so it doesnt short the building) $250 for installation and parts so all up: $659 + $250 = $909.

All up AUD$ 909 dollars, tax deductable also at the end of financial year ... so lets say expenditure is about $800. Alot less then $2000 - $3000. If you knew me also you would know that i am frugal because these days money isnt in abundance and even though im not married or have kids i have alot of responsibilities to take care of :)

Power is another issue. Electricity isn't free and if they're planning on running the data center in their garage, like they said, then they have to power the servers 24/7/365. Even at idle, a typical computer can draw 60W of power.

100% spot-on. I did my calculations and electricity + internet costs would be ridiculous! Also remember we are in australia and here there is no such thing as gigbit bandwidth or even 100mbit bandwidth at a reasonable price. The only way to get the bandwidth that we require is to bond 100 tpg connections with 100 phone lines to get the 100megbits we need to match what could be provided at a datacenter ... does not make any sense right.


From what I could figure out, it's been over 8 months since he started and it doesn't look like the project went live. There's no mention of it in the blog anyway. The last entry was over a month ago.

Its actually been a year and a bit not 8 months. The build of the hardware took about 4 months or there abouts (later i will explain why i did it) but that isnt because we took that long to build, thats because we were waiting on the cheapest parts (that worked and required the least amount of fiddling around) to use. Hence the price of the equipment i listed above. If i didnt have a 9-5 that i have to go to for 4 days of the week and i didnt have to shop for the parts it would have taken one week at maximum to put this together.

Time is money ... agreed. But take a closer look at this scenario:

I work in a 9-5 4 days aweek. (negotiated 4 days instead of 5 because of this startup)
I have 4 hours after work everyday to work on the startup
I have 8-9 hours (there abouts) on the weekends from say 7 in the morning to 3-4 to work on the startup - (in which after that i usually go out :D)
I have 2 other co-founders working with me who are in a similar position.
I need to support my family (parents, sister etc)
I have a mortgage to help pay + alot of other responsibilities

When looking at that scenario it seems that i have more time then money meaning i can extend the period of time it takes me to do the project and spend less of what i dont have (money). So yes in a scenario where you have VC money and everyday is a *burn* day that is true, but in my situation it isnt the case. In my case i can exchange TIME for MONEY.

So .... time is money and i am spending time but not necessarily money (how can i, i dont have any :D) ... which leads me to my next point. The reason why i dont mention anything about my project or its status (in major details) or even what its about online is because i already predicted how long it would take considering all my responsibilities. As a result of the predicted time, i have to keep what im doing quiet until im just about to launch otherwise it would not be beneficial to me or my team.

And now why do i have this hardware setup ? .... drumrolll .... ITS TO TEST :)

This all looks like a lot of fun, but in the end they probably delayed the launch of their product and spent more money than if they bought one new, powerful server or got a dedicated server or VPS to start out.

Yes that is true, it was a lot of FUN ! you should see the pictures i didnt post :D, but on a serious note, WHY DID I SET ALL THIS UP? i did this because i need it for testing. When you write an application its behaviour when it runs on one machine may be totally different to when you load balance it over 2 machines or have databases on seperate machines and it clearly show'd during our testing. There could have been a mistake in the coding and if a user is balanced to the application server which they didnt connect initially they may get faults, we want to try as best to allieviate this as soon as possible cause when you have high traffic, the last thing you want to deal with core fundamental coding issues.

If we decide to scale horizontally with more hardware we can see how the *behaviour* of the application is. Note the word behaviour ... we dont care about the performance of the servers we care about the behaviour and whether scaling and running components of the application on different machines will introduce problems. I wanted to ensure that if we do get the really great problem of requireing to scale we do minimal code changes and just configure the application to run on different servers instead of having to rework code. I think that makes sense :) Oh and the 24/7/365 days a year of running this hardware ?

NO WAY .... i only turn it on when im testing, once testing is done it all gets powered off ... why, because its burning money ... i even take the cord out the powerpoint cause a server plugged into the power socket on standby takes about 20watts of power .... money i dont have :D

We also required multiple CPU machines because we want to employ the use of taskset and cpu affinity. This allows us to run certain processes on different cpu's. It doesnt matter if the cpu's are 550mhz or 900mhz or even 3.2ghz, main thing is we see the behaviour and we can always extrapolate after what the performance maybe when we deploy on better machines.

And again ... if you refer to the price i got all the equipment for im pretty sure if i were to EBAY them again i would MAKE money :) not loose it ... $89 AUD for a rack, im sure i could fetch $150, what you say ? $20 dollars for a server, im sure i could fetch $25 ? $15 for the old gx150's ok i would probably put them up for $10 :) bit of money lost there ...

Thanks for the article though, it prompted me to get abit more honest as to why i did the things that i did. A few days ago (funnily enough the same day that http://www.howtonotmakemoneyonline.com/ posted their blog entry) i actually contacted theplanet for server prices for our production system and it is suprisingly cheap. Rackspace was to expensive for now, there was a provider in brisbane that was ok but i wanted US based to cut down on latency.

Here is a screenshot of what theplanet quoted :) .... It seems very reasonable and i think this is the way ahead.

if you cant see it its USD$222

I guess all i can say is, if your interested watch this space to see what we have come up with. Its definetly going to happen and we are really close. Its been a hard road but its worth it and alot of lessons have been learnt along the way :)

Its been a while ...

Its been a while since i have posted a message. The reason for this is i have been extremely busy with work as we have a tough implementation period which required a few late nights and some weekends. I dont mind this though, as we recieve time in LIU and 2 days for a weekend. This allows me to take this time of in a straight 1 week or 2 week stint and get alot of work done.
Aside from this the startup is heading towards completion, we have done it cheaply, we have made small steps over a period of about a year and i am pretty pleased with what we have now. I have said this for a while (i know) but things get in the way sometimes such as family (ie helping, parents and siblings etc) and other responsibilities that seem to creep up, but thats life and as paul graham has said, be relentlessly resourceful and dont let the situation get the better.
The application is about 90% completed, with this in mind what we will be doing is executing our own unit and performance testing with our hardware. Once we are happy we have a single server (not so powerful) quad 900mhz CPU 8 gig of ram to allow friends overseas and around town to test the application.
Our principle is, if we do it cheaply and with lower grade equipment once we place it on our managed server in the USA (looking at theplanet at the moment) we should be alright.
Thats about it for now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Three requirements to starting a business - (my take)

I think at a very high-level there are 3 things of which you need atleast 2, lets look at them below:
  • Skill - Skill in whatever field your business is in, an understanding of the caveats, technologies or intricacies that allow you to stand above the others
  • Money - To pay for resources
  • Time - To spend on the business in its early days when baby sitting is required
Obviously having all three is ideal but in most cases we have 2 but not all three otherwise everyone would be successful business men. So lets see what you can do with the different combinations:

Skill + Money: Great combination, you know the business intimatly and have a sound understanding of how things should work whether its technology skills, people skills, marketing skills whatever. With skills and money to spend for resources you dont need (as much) time as you can buy time through resouces.

Skill + Time: Another good combination however not as good as Skill + Money. Again with skill you have a sound understanding of how things should work, but without money then you must use time. In most cases it usually means you use your skills to do most of the work in order to save the small amount of money that you have. This works fine bit it generates a bi-product called 'not enough sleep :P)

Money + Time: Another good combination but again not as good as Skill + Money. You can have alot of time and throw alot of money at a project/business and if you have enough of both eventually your business/project will come out alive but i think we have all seen alot of examples of individuals who have alot of money and time but no skills. Sometimes it makes me cringe at the amount of wastage of both those resources when we know with alittle skill it could be done with alot less waste of time and money.

I think i dont have to state what the outcome would be if we only had one of the three pillars listed above but i will do it quickly.

  • Money only - Paris hilton
  • Time only - Couch potato - TV All day, internet all day, x-box all day
  • Skills only - This is actually one of the sadest things, someone with alot of skill but not enough time to put their skills into action and not enough money to buy time through resources. What comes to mind here is most company employees and subject matter experts in a specific highly skilled area such as engineering, marketing etc etc

When we started our startup these things were considered, skill + time is all we had (and time not in that much abundance either, but we make do). So before doing a business or startup, take a look at what you have, if you really want to start a business and only have one of those skills try to somehow make up for the other ....

My 2 cents on the matter :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great Article ...

Not a long post .. was reading the Ycombinator website and came across this link .... great read .... check it out :)


Thats about it, im pretty tired 3-5 hours of sleep every night for the last 3 months ... time to hit the sack :) Nites ...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Something just isnt right .....

One of the best movies i think i ever watched was The Matrix (part one). It started out dark and lonely with Neo doing hacks for various different individuals in order to make money. When i look back at the movie i think now i like it even more. The reason is i can relate, its almost like a metaphore for what life is like for alot of guys like us who loved computers and technology, had alot to give and willing to learn but ended up doing things in the corporate world that was just plain boring, unfulfilling, full of beaurocracy and people that (outside of work) would never even make the far outer reaches of the circle of friends you have.

There was one thing that i clearly remember from the movie, its when morpheous talks to Neo and says, Neo do you feel that something just isnt right ... that something is missing ... that there is more to the world then you see .. (or something along those lines) and Neo replies with .. YES ...

Sometimes i feel the same way, that things just arnt right, that the work i do and the way i do things just doesnt seem to fit in. That even though i earn alright money it just all seems to suck ... Dont get me wrong, i love my life and most of the things in it, i just hate my work, not any job specifically but just all of it.

This morning i wanted to go to the gym but my clock said 7:30 (which was wrong, it was fast it was only 7:10 grrr) which is abit to late. So instead i started watching youtube videos to start my morning and i came across a great video ... The realization that the speaker talks about is the EXACT same sort of feelings that i have had for a while. If i reflect back to first day at work when i was enthusiastic to even now, nothing i did ever made sense and everything felt DRONE like and uncreative ...

Anyway, watch the video above, i loved it and i thought it was great, it took me about 5 years to make the realization and another 2 years to do something about it. On my defense i must admit, the 5 years to get to the realization, nothing you can do, sometimes it takes time to process all the things you have seen and interprate them in a useful manner but the 2 years of doing nothing (slap on the wrist, thats unacceptable) .. so here it is, a great video (above) ...

EDIT: Even though im still working 4 days a week, doing the startup for the rest of the three days is one of the most exciting things (yes even though sleep is optional), its because everything is new, and very very creative, when your an engineer it doesnt matter if your a manager/director in the corporate world and how much you say you want to work up the ladder, the taste of creativity, vibrante energy, creating and working in a good team just cant be beat .....

Ciao ... and have a great day at work today :(

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Updated ... Random Pictures from NYE

Singing our way through to the new year, great night great people.
When the group is into it, its always fun :P

Cheerssss !!

The beautiful view of sydney darling harbour on a clear

sydney night. This is why i love sydney so much. Even up close

Sydney is great ...

The Boys all singing ...

Taking a chicking break between between songs

What a view for new years :P

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How to start a startup ...

The title is stolen from paul grahams article -> (http://www.paulgraham.com/start.html). I live in Australia and like earlier mentioned we do have some startup talks that i have been introduced to but not as much as there would be in the US. This is why i rely alot on youtube videos, articles and friends that do have their ears constantly to the floor when it comes to the latest information regarding different talks.

This information from paul graham is old, published 2005 to be precise, its long but i still enjoyed reading the article. It provides the tiny bit if information you need to know so that you know how to progress and what to ask/do next. You dont know what you dont know and atleast the article fixes this problem to some extent by providing a high level overview of startup architecture.

I know how to develop and have some understanding of technology, but as someone who enjoys technology my business skills are mainly around common sense and basic rules (and what i read in articles etc), nothing concrete or solid. I do plan to attend a school that could teach me about business in detail and to experience this whole new area (hopefully somewhere in the us) if all goes to plan and that is why when i read a specific passage from paul grahams article i thought it was quite true and i firmly agree :

The rulers of the technology business tend to come from technology, not business. So if you want to invest two years in something that will help you succeed in business, the evidence suggests you'd do better to learn how to hack than get an MBA.

Thats about it, started first day of new job yesterday, what can i say, yeh its work, whatever ... my mother told me not to say anything if there was nothing nice to say ... :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Years Party '09 GaRaGE StYle ...

So we had it, the new years party at good ol darling harbour ... how was it ?!? ... it was totally awesome and im pretty sure everyone that came had a good time.

Pretty much all my close mates came and we had a great time singing, playing poker, drinking and eventually passing out on the couchs and various other random places ... Its good starting the new year having some fun with people that you know and trust. We did the usual things you do at a new years party. We also ended up singing and making up lyrics as we went along (cause we had forgotten the real lyrics) making it alot more fun :)

Our good friends jageermiester, good old jack, mr crowny and a few tall long red's kept the night happening, (blurry, happy whatever ...) Eventually though, after all the singing, i did run out of songs to play so to continue the night and keep it exciting we pulled out garage datacenter hitmans poker set which kept everyone entertained until the wee hours of the morning ... it was a great game, i tried to bluff my way right at the end with an all in and got called ... was a good thing cause i was able to sleep then ....

As of now, there is 2 more days to go till i have to head back to work, totally blows, however our startup is going to launch real soon (hopefully within the next 2-3 months). This is mainly thanks to the efforts of garage datacenter artist who has been going hard cooking up the templates and making corrections lighting fast to ensure there are no delays. Hopefully when this is launched it will mean a bigger, brighter and more exciting '09 for the whole team.

So, with all parties behind us, a fresh new year and ideas bubbling, I hope everyone has their plan ready for '09, has learnt from all the mistakes of past years and is ready to attack this new year with guns blazing ... me personally ... im ready for the new year ahead and god willing (as always) hopefully it all plays out as expected.

OK so with no further adue, here are *some* of the pictures from '09 new years party !! ...

Fireworks at darling harbour 9 oclock

Fireworks at 12:00 darling harbour

Dancing partners thanks to the motivation given by mr crownies

Mate we are watching ok ... mens toilets are downstairs ... !

Gay behaviour, dry humped by your good mate (what a way to start of 09)

There you have it ... So to all, lets begin this new year making the best of all the opportunities that will come during 2009 !

Monday, December 29, 2008

HI '09 .... see you soon ...

Its coming close to the end of the year ... '08 has been a great year all around and i came to alot of realizations that have been building up from the begining of 2006 all the way through to 2007. When i look back at the past years i think i have been very lucky, alot of things could have gone south and life could have been very very different. Eventually things all work out and you become wiser.

Now things are exciting cause career wise things are great, there are 2 exciting personal projects being worked on that hopefully bear some fruit in mid to late '09 and life in general is pretty much care free .... just the way i like it ...

I think about alot of weird and wacky things sometimes (on the train, in the car different random places when im not doing anything) but lets for instance say that there are alternate universes where every possibly path of life is played out (similar to the movie sliding doors with gwenth paltrow where the movie shows 2 possible realities as a result of a single point in her life) ... i am greatful that i am in this universe where things are as they should be and where i and the people i care about are happy ...

I really wanted to posted this on the 31st but im thinking that its better i do it now so that i dont forget as im having abit of a shindig on the 31st and i might forget. I wanted to atleast talk about the new year and the past year of '08 before '09 came along ....
So '08 has been one of those years were alot of things have happened ...
  • I have changed jobs 4 times and all with different (and great) perks
  • I have settled back in after a long stint overseas and working interstate or pretty great though interesting projects
  • I am well into the process of development and hopefully soon launch for both projects
  • There is a great team working on the projects, guys i can really trust and work with well
  • The family is happy
  • I have reliquished myself from stresses that shouldnt be there and that everyone can do without

All i can say is that '09 will be an exciting year, and like all the previous years prior, entry into the new year with guns blazing and excitment of whats to come is the way all new years should be started ...

New years resolutions ??? None ... i never make them, why wait for a new year to resolve anything, there is plenty of time *During* the year to resolve any issues you may have with personal life, career choices, love choice and life issues in general, there is no need to do those things in the new year ... though if something hits me on new years eve, an idea a resolution of some sort then i will say from this point on i will execute the idea in '09 (which i guess kind of means its a new years resolution)

I guess thats about all, will be having abit of a shindig in darling harbour with a few close mates maybe, enjoy the fireworks, toast the arrival of '09 and hopefully the successes that will come with the new year ...

So in closing .. if i dont write again till after the new year ... HAVE a HAPPY and SAFE NEW YEAR TO ALL ...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Project Status Report 2 - (Amber)

Core Application Code Development

The development of the code is going well. The core application code has been completed. All database inserts and updates have been tested and done. There are still alot of boundry condition tests that need to be completed they will be taken care of at a later state.

The delete and edit components of the code still need to be done but should be a much easier task as now the information can be refreshed and inserted and displayed on the html interface.

Alot of code cleanup needs to take place because certain shortcuts where taken when doing the first cut of the code, mainly to ensure that each of the concepts that were discussed worked

Looks like final V1.0 version of the code will not be ready until atleast the end of february or march depending on how things progress

Template Development

Templates are coming along good. There have been 4 base templates designed in photoshope but not yet translated into HTML. That is currently being completed.

This along with all the javascript code that comes with each of the templates also is in the process of being completed. Currently the code all works but is not in a state that would be good for future maintenance and a v1.0 release.

Some javascript needs to be cleaned up and various blocks of code rearranged to ensure that future maintenance is manageable. All in all however the code all works and all POC's (proof of concepts) have been completed.

Mobile Device Webapp

We are still in the processes of setting up the environment for the mobile device webapp. There are still documents to read and understand, however this is not a major concern as yet as the mobile device webapp will be in version 2.0 of the software.


At the moment thats our status. Things progressing well but we have the issue with only having 24 hours in the day and a team of 3 who are also holding full time jobs. Its not easy but it sure is fun and exciting ... So why are we amber, because we had an initial launch date for end of january but that doesnt seem like it will be the case at the moment ...


Till the next entry ... Garage Datacenter CEO signing off the status report ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Patterns & Pattern Matching ...

This is kind of a random entry but I thought it would be fun as bit of a thought experiment ...

Our brain looks at patterns to help us solve problems (how many times have we had to solve those phsycology questions (for jobs etc) through understanding the pattern and finding out what the next pattern should be).

When we look at a foreign language we try to see if there are repeating characters and from the pattern of repeating characters we can take a guess at what the english equivilant of that set of characters may mean.

For particular types of AI algorithms we look at patterns and reoccurances and based on those patterns we can allow a program to classify and take an educated guess at what a particular value should be or may mean.

Even in music, under all the guitar, the piano and the drums there is a pattern which is follow'd. Thats why good musicans can *jam* with each other even though they havnt ever played with each other before, cause they understand the underly pattern and the way the music works and repeats.

Now lets take this one step further, have we ever looked at our lives and tried to determine if there was a pattern in the way *things* happens to us. Do certain things more often than not always happen in a certain way. Do we always experience bad luck before good luck, do we always experience success/failure if we surround ourselves with certain people. If we look at the major events of our life i think the lead up to the event is the most important aspect to look at. How did the major event start (what was the seed). I think if you take that approach and take it all the way to the actual occurance of the event (if there is a pattern) you will be able to notice it.

The question i guess is ... can we see through all those patterns and decipher if there is a hidden message, a hidden way in how we should do things to ensure that more often then not we succeed ?!?!

Just something fun to think about .... Anyway for everyones fun .... a pattern below ... can you see the hidden image :) Enjoy ..

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My work week starting in '09

'09 will be great, prepration in lucky '08 went well and alot of things that were out of order have now been rectified. Also in '09 I'll be doing 4 days a week instead of 5, yes there will be a pay cut ;) but thats alright. I need this extra day off to complete the startup ... it getting close and every hour counts to ensuring what we release is as stable as possible .... I got the idea to attempt to do a 4 day week from the timothy ferris book called the 4 hour work week, great book though i still havnt finished the whole thing ...

Thanks to my mate for lending this book to me (if you read this blog entry, i still got your book and im 3/4 through it) if you want it back though just let me know :)

BTW, im posting this at christmas day and things are nice and quite on christmas day .... I dont celebrate christmas but i want to wish everyone who does to have a merry christmas and a happy new year !