The Creation of Missile Command and the Haunting of its Creator

“During initial development, for instance, the cities were listed as Eureka, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. Six major cities in California, where the Atari offices were located.” Wow.

The creation of Missile Command and the haunting of its creator, Dave Theurer

Another great video game history:

Rejection, tragedy and billions of dollars – The story of FIFA

Netflix OSS Meetup: Season 1, Volume 3

Netflix hosted their Open Source Software (OSS) Meetup “Season 1, Volume 3″ meeting tonite in Los Gatos.

Several lightning talks were presented, followed by exhibit booths and a nice spread from Opa! Authentic Greek Restaurant (Lincoln St., Willow Glen.)


- visualization tool built on top of existing Open Source tools like D3

Conformity Monkey

- part of the Simian Army
- mark resources based on policy rules, but don’t kill them like Chaos Monkey, etc.


- like apache traffic server
- dynamic scripting
- request processing
- routing

ICE: AWS Usage Tool

- billing reporting by region, project, engineer, etc.


- scheduler for Pig jobs


- visualization of Pig workflows

Netflix OSS Prize

- multiple $10,000 prizes with free trip to Las Vegas
- 700 Github forks
- 120 signups, but want more
- trophy is an electronic monkey touching a cloud from

Ubuntu Juju

- also offering some Championship prizes. Judging on Oct. 22, 2013, but entries must be reviewed beforehand.

Citrix Apache Cloudstack

- offering 1 prize

Asgard Booth

- available as an AMI now
- likely will be available as a 1-click install

Eucalyptus Booth

- Asgard connects to Eucalyptus, since Eucalyptus copied the AWS API
- the native web client is simple, but a more advanced one is coming in August
- also AWS Wolf and others.

IBM Travel Agent Demo Booth

- sample app with heavy load testing

Riot Games Booth

- game demo

Thanks again for hosting this meetup, and showing off the future!

NetflixOSS Meetup Series 1 Episode 3 – Featured Contributions
How to submit to the Juju Charm Championship

RackMonkey Notes

RackMonkey is a GPL2-licensed web program to manage the inventory of racks of machines in a data center.

RackMonkey is nifty, useful and small enough to be easily modified. It can be installed and configured in about a day if you only have a few racks.

It requires Linux, Apache and Perl as well as a database (it supports three databases: SQLite, MySQL/InnoDB and Postgres.) User authentication is handled by the webserver. Database replication can be used for HA.

Screenshot: RackMonkey devices list
Screenshot: RackMonkey devices list

The current stable release, RackMonkey 1.2.5-1, works for my purposes, but it would be even nicer if:

  • it tracked power availability by rack and consumption by device
  • it tracked IP addresses per device
  • it used fractional U dimensions, instead of just whole numbers
  • it did more with the hardware photo than just make it viewable on the hardware details page
  • had 10 user-customizable fields with customizable-labels per device.

The only bug I found was that if two devices collide at the same rack position, then a Perl reference number like 0xABCD1000 is displayed instead of the U measurement offset.

A UI design issue is that the New button is only displayed if there is an existing object. That means you have to import the sample database to make RackMonkey work at all initially, and there’s no way to do a cleanup later.

RackMonkey is no longer maintained by the original author, who is now working on Dentros.

RackMonkey FAQ
Alternative Software Projects

Heathkit’s Hero Educational Robot (1982)

Willow Garage, a Menlo Park-based company, is ex-Googler Scott Hassan’s pet robotics research lab.

They claim to be transitioning to more commercial products, but built a $440,000.00 robot, called the Personal Robot 2 (PR2), with machine vision. Very expensive, but the robot worked, and almost 50 are at universities. They also developed the Robot Operating System (ROS.)

The PR2 was nice if you had a half-million dollar grant laying around, or needed a robot in a hurry that could do machine vision, but otherwise was cost-prohibitive.

Forgotten by most people is a previous educational robot, the Heathkit Hero series.

There were 4 models that sold over 21,000 units during a period of 8 years. It was designed in 1979, started selling in 1982, and supported through 1995.

The Hero1 (looks like R2D2) brochure says that it was priced at $2,499.95, and the IEEE-approved Educational Lab option was $99.95.

So for each school getting a PR2, 75 could get a Hero1 (adjusted for inflation.)

Heathkit Hero Robots
UPDATED: Willow Garage to Shut Down? Company Says ‘No, Just Changing’