Saturday, January 27, 2007

Genius is 1% inspiration & 99% perspiration- Edison

The other night I was reading about the Wright brothers and I came upon this statement:
Wilbur and Orville were sons of a church Bishop and a mother who viewed her fulltime duty as raising her children into healthy, strong adults with moral fiber and model Christian citizens. The brothers didn't smoke, drink liquor or use swear words and never worked or flew their airplane on Sundays. Moral ambiguity was not a characteristic of their behavior.

Times have certainly changed since the early 1900's . NetApp's software is a play on words and called "OnTap" and in a recent patent they use the term "swizzling" in reference to writing blocks and pointers in Patent # 7,130,873. I understand that great men like General U.S. Grant & Winston Churchill enjoyed a cocktail now and then, so why not the folks at NetApp? just for fun , count how many swizzles are in the next paragraphs.

One skilled in the art will understand that the first block-list and the second block-list can be combined to be a mapping between the storage blocks in the source file system and the storage blocks in the destination file system. Such a one will also understand that this is equivalent to the previously described embodiment where the first block-list describes where storage blocks are stored in the source file system and the second block-list describes where the storage blocks are stored on the destination file system. Both of these approaches (and other equivalent approaches) provide enough information for the invention to swizzle the storage blocks on the destination file system.

FIG. 5 illustrates an on-the-fly swizzling process, indicated by general reference numeral 500, that implements "on-the-fly swizzling". In on-the-fly swizzling, the BN pointers are swizzled while the image stream is being written to the destination file system. This type of swizzling updates the BN pointers as the storage blocks are written to the destination file system instead of performing the BN pointer update after all the storage blocks have been written. Thus, each block is only written once and often storage blocks can be arranged to be written in full RAID stripes. The on-the-fly swizzling process 500 initiates at a `start` terminal 501 and continues to an `iterate each block` procedure 503. The `iterate each block` procedure 503 initially reads and stores any provided information that can be used to map the storage blocks between file systems (such as the first block-list portion 405 and the second block-list portion 407) and then reads each block from the image stream. When all storage blocks are read from the image stream, the on-the-fly swizzling process 500 completes through an `end` terminal 505. A `BN block` decision procedure 507 checks each storage block against the block information in the first block-list (or equivalent) to determine whether the storage block contains a BN pointer. If the storage block does not contain a BN pointer, the on-the-fly swizzling process 500 continues to a `write block` procedure 509 that writes the block to the destination file system and the process continues to the `iterate each block` procedure 503 to process additional storage blocks or to complete.

I guess all this talk of swizzling means they like their drinks stirred at NetApp, and not shaken? Sometimes it takes me a few beers or cocktails to work my way through NetApp's USPTO documents, how about you? On the other hand, the Wright brothers documents are easy to understand.

Check out the Wright brother's patent of 1906
To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that we, ORVILLE WRIGHT
and WILBUR WRIGHT, citizens of the United
States, residing in the city of Dayton, county
of Montgomery, and State of Ohio, have in-
vented certain new and useful Improvements
in Flying-Machines, of which the following is
a specification.
Our invention relates to that class of fly-
ing machines in which the weight is sustained
by the reactions resulting when one or more
aeroplanes are moved through the air edge-
wise at a small angle of incidence, either by
the application of mechanical power or by
the utilization of the force of gravity.

The Wright brothers certainly were clear, concise and easy to understand.

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