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This week, memcached, a piece of software that prevents much of the Internet from melting down, turns 10 years old. Despite its age, memcached is still the go-to solution for many programmers and sysadmins managing heavy workloads. Without memcached, Ars Technica would likely be unable to serve this article to you at all.
Brad Fitzpatrick wrote memcached for LiveJournal way back in 2003 (check out the initial CVS commit here). While waiting for new hardware to help save the site from being overloaded, Fitzpatrick realized that he had plenty of unused RAM spread across LiveJournal's existing servers. He wrote memcached to take advantage of this spare memory and lighten the load on the site.
memcached is a distributed in-memory key-value store that uses a very simple protocol for storing and retrieving arbitrary data from memory instead of from a filesystem. To store a value, a program connects to the memcached server on the default port of 11211 and issues a series of basic commands. (Note: a binary protocol is also supported.)
I study a theory called N=4 super Yang-Mills.
When I say this to someone, I have a pretty good idea of how the conversation will go. First, the person will spend a few moments trying to pronounce the theory’s name. Giving up, they'll then try to bring things back to something they’ve heard of.
“N=4 super… umm… so, is that something they’re testing at the Large Hadron Collider?”
Buying Tumblr isn't the only big thing that Yahoo has done today. Flickr, the photo storage and sharing site bought by Yahoo way back in 2005, has been brought into the 21st century with a new look, new pricing, and a new Android app.
Gone is the old Flickr interface of small thumbnails, gobs of whitespace, and lots of metadata. In its place is a site with big thumbnails, full-screen pictures by default, and metadata for each image tucked below the fold. Flickr's Lightbox view, that removes the clutter around the page and shows pictures on their own, remains available.
The home page now shows photos of everyone you subscribe to with the most recent handful of pictures that your contacts have uploaded. Each user's photostream displays a big tiled view of their pictures. This isn't entirely new to Flickr—it was a feature of the site's Explore page—but it's new to individual user pages.
A new Senate report (PDF from The New York Times) shows that Apple has employed potentially sketchy business methods to avoid heavier tax burdens. According to the investigation, the company dodged billions in potential taxes on $44 billion in foreign income during the past four years.
Some of the interesting bits from the Senate's report: three Apple subsidiaries in Ireland claim no responsibility to pay income taxes to any country. Apple Operations International, one of the Ireland three, reported $30 billion in income during 2009 to 2012 despite having no employees and not filing income taxes anywhere within the last five years. Apple did not violate any laws during this time according to the Senate investigation.
As The Chicago Tribune notes, many of the tactics Apple employed are common for multinational corporations (see cost-sharing arrangements). Google and Amazon were slammed by British parliament last year for their own tax-tiptoeing practices abroad. Nevertheless, the information released today cannot be welcomed by Cupertino with its CEO set to speak in front of Congress tomorrow. The Tribune quoted written testimony for that hearing which addresses this new tax spotlight. According to those statements, Apple does not use "tax gimmicks" and "has substantial foreign cash because it sells the majority of its products outside the US.” The company also reiterates that it pays plenty of US taxes, a defense it used in the face of tax accusations last year.