Removing the residue left behind by stickers on a laptop

Yesterday, I was at an event where, during a discussion on developers becoming evangelistic on their various technology choices, another delegate referred to the “stickers and t-shirt” brigade. That made me laugh (and he was joking) as my Surface Pro wears quite a few stickers (though I struggle to find good ones for Microsoft products…) and only the night before I’d been removing one that was dragging down the overall tone.

After removing a large sticker that was starting to look a bit scruffy (using a plastic spatula to try and prise it away in pieces), I was left with a lot of sticky mess. Inspired by a WikiHow article on removing stickers from a laptop, I first used some cooking oil, then some window-cleaning fluid and finally a baby wipe to remove the glue, leaving the surface clean.

These may sound like strange materials for removing stickers but I didn’t want to risk anything stronger as it might damage the paint on the device (which isn’t actually mine – it’s my work PC). The end result is some pristine new real estate for a new batch of stickers (maybe there will be some at the Azure Red Shirt Developer event tomorrow…).

Facebook’s Restricted list

Imagine the situation, a family member befriends you on Facebook and you foolishly accept, then find their replies on your posts to be inappropriate or annoying… after all, you can choose your friends but not your family, right?Well, it turns out that

Well, it turns out that Facebook has a feature for situations like this – the Restricted list.

“Putting someone on the Restricted list means that you’re still friends, but that you only share your posts with them when you choose Public as the audience, or when you tag them in the post.

For example, if you’re friends with your boss and you put them on your Restricted list, then post a photo and choose Friends as the audience, you aren’t sharing that photo with your boss, or anyone else on your Restricted list. However, if you tag your boss in the photo, or chose Public as the audience, they’ll be able to see the photo.”

May be useful to know…

The Windows Network Connection Status Icon (NCSI)

Last night, whilst working in the Premier Inn close to the office, I noticed the browser going to an interesting URI after I connected to the hotel Wi-Fi.  That URI was and a little more research tells me it’s used by Windows 10 to detect whether the PC has an Internet connection or not.

The feature is actually the Network Connection Status Icon (NCSI) and, more accurately, the URIs used are:

The URI I saw actually redirects to MSN whereas the ones above return static text to indicate a successful connection.

For those who want to know more, there’s a detailed technical reference on TechNet, which dates back to Windows Vista and an extensive blog post on the Network Connection Status Icon.

Do we need another as-a-service to describe functions?

Last week saw quarterly earnings reports for major cloud vendors and this tweet caught my eye:

You see, despite Azure growing by 93%, this suggests that Amazon has the cloud market sewn up. Except I’m not sure they do…

I think it would be interesting to see this separated into infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-a-service (IaaS/PaaS/SaaS). I suggest that would present three very different stories. And I’d expect that Amazon would only really be way out front for IaaS.

My friend and former colleague, Garry Martin (@GarryMartin) questioned the relevance of those “legacy” distinctions but I think they still have value today.

In the early days of what we now recognise as cloud computing, every vendor was applying their own brand of cloud-washing. It still happens today, with vendors claiming to offer IaaS when really they have a hosted service and a traditional delivery model.

Back in 2011, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defined cloud computing, including the service models of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Those service models, along with the (also abused) deployment models (public cloud, private cloud, etc.) have served us well but are they really legacy?

I don’t think they are. Six years is a long time in IT, let alone the cloud but I think IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are as relevant today as they were when NIST wrote their definition.

When asked how “serverless” technologies like AWS Lambda, Azure Functions or Google Cloud Functions fit in, I say they’re just PaaS. Done right.

Some people want to add another service model/definition for Function-as-a-Service (FaaS). But why? What value does it add? Functions are just PaaS but we’ve finally evolved to a place where we are moving past the point of caring about what the code runs on and letting the cloud manage that for us. That’s what PaaS has supposed to have been doing for years (after all, should I really need to define a number of instances to run my web application – that all sounds a bit like virtual machines to me…)

To my mind, “serverless” is just the ultimate platform as a service and we really don’t need another service model to describe it.

To quote a haiku from Onsi Fakhouri (@onsijoe):

“Here is my code
Run it in the cloud for me
I don’t care how”

Or, as Simon Wardley (@swardley) “fixed” this Cloud Foundry diagram: