Worst of 2015 : System Architect Un-Resources

Most tools in this list have been around for at least a few years. But it is during 2015, I either discovered them or discovered a new purpose for them. Unlike the Top Ten Essentials from 2015, this is the list of the top five I discontinued.

Top Five Disappointments

Amazon DynamoDB : An (expensive) fast and flexible NoSQL db service

Attaches directly to my web server running on EC2 and eliminates the need to run separate database instances. But data cannot be exported automatically nor accessed by third-party data query services easily. In operation, it costs 50–100x more than Cassandra per query I plan to make and it’s crazy restrictive rules for re-scaling throughput means you always pay for more than what you need. This service breaks AWS’s usual developer friendly philosophy in so many ways.

Trigger : The things you want (to give us your data) to read, first

Nice news aggregation for mobile until one day an upgrade required login through Facebook or Twitter. No email option. No anonymous browsing any more. So in order to read the news you need to allow a sketchy named company with multiple addresses the ability to access all your social information and post on your behalf. Represents precisely what’s wrong with identity and data management today.

Windows 10 : The “best” Windows ever

Upgraded from 8.1 to 10 when it first became available. At first, I was happy to be rid of the misguided metro design but slowly I began to see the problem with OS as a Service. My OEM touchpad driver refused to save configurations between restarts and my Oracle VirtualBox needed to be rebuilt after every update. Updates which I had to automatically accept. Finally, after one update got stuck in a ‘trying to fix NTFS index’ loop, I had to waste an entire day to reinstall 8 from scratch. Fortunately, I already store everything in the cloud. But I have no plan to return to Windows 10.

Let’s Encrypt : Free, automated certificate authority (from 2005)

Finally a free SSL certificate… but it only works for Apache, Python 2.7 and naked public webservers. Is this a product released in November 2015 or November 2005?! Who exactly is this for? … because cloud providers, load balancers and wildcards are now quite commonplace. So, to build anything even remotely relevant today, we will still have to deal with gouging CA services. And, it has already been exploited by malware makers to domain shadow compromised sites. Something which might have been averted with the ability to perform wildcard registration.

Twilio : APIs for (Insecure) Text Messaging, VoIP & Voice in the Cloud

Such an elegant service with great API support and a fraction of the cost of other drop phone alternatives… but even at $0.0075 per msg, it is an order of magnitude more expensive than the typical usage under a single user’s unlimited plan. On top of that, unlike iMessage, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc…, SMS and voice to a Twilio number has no encryption. Me: “what year is it?” Twilio: “2012”.