Don’t forget how to be a user

##┬áDon’t forget how to be a user

I work for a large technology company that provides many product offerings. I live in a world that is at the forefront of the network industry that delivers a leading edge technology. There are so many parts of my companies offerings that I have nothing more than a users view of the world. You know what? That is absolutely fine.

I look at end-user computing with absolute marvel. I do not know how to administer it. I do not know how to optimise and scale the environment. I do not know why certain applications are published in a certain way. What I do know is I can use any application published to my app catalogue on my iPad, hand over to my laptop and continue working seamlessly. Where application publishing is not enough I can gain access to a floating Windows desktop and perform more intensive tasks. I know if I lose my iPad that the content on there is secure inside the provided containers and I can initiate a remote wipe.

As a consumer this experience is conducive to my on the road lifestyle. It suits my workflow and I have tightly integrated a work anywhere mentality irrespective of my device I use. Being close to my product that I work with in a technical capacity I realised it is important not to forget something. Don’t forget to look on it as a user. How does the user actually deploy said technology. How does a user work with technology to solve a problem? Am I actually solving problems or creating more? Is the interface intuitive or convoluted?

This is user experience. Think about the word consuming without the context of an API for once. Think of it as a user trying to get their job done. It is sometimes important to put the hat of a user on and see it from their eyes. In certain roles the lines between administrator and user blur and I think it is important to step back and look at what you’re doing.

What is CloudFlare?

A new appraoch

Established with the notion of being the ‘digital bouncer’ for the internet, CloudFlares beginnings are quite interesting. Stemming from Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway’s Honeypot project and combined with a business plan competition that Matthew entered in with Michelle Zatlyn CloudFlare was born.

Honeypot didn’t actually do anything other than provide information about who and what was attacking web pages and infrastructure. It just allowed administrators to use the information it provided then to react to attackers and the attack vectors they use. The business plan took this model and looked to automate some fucntions and provide web security for customers of CloudFlare.

What does it do?

CloudFlare protects and speeds up websites. CloudFlare have their own network which web traffic is routed through. It allows the optimized deliverey of web pages through filtering and blocking threats and attackers. Vistors and guests see faster results and you see better uptimes.

What do they protect against?

They are well known at taking down and absorbing some of the biggest denial of services in the world. There isn’t an attack that is too large for them allegedly. Recently with the NTP amplificiation attacks[^1] there were denial of services against a variety of targets reaching anywhere from a couple of hundred gigs per second and higher!

Who do they protect?

They’ve protected web assets Turkish escort agengies (where prostitution is frowned upon), polictal parties and even the notorious Lulzsec. Eurovision suffered a variety of outages where it was expected to receive 150 million views during 2012 (Loreen’s winning year!) and when they went down they contacted CloudFlare. Within 15 minutes they were back online. CloudFlare server 30 billion page views per month across 1.5 million customers.

Something of note is Project Galileo. CloudFlare protect political sensitve targets, support LBGT groups (especially in countries where the penality is death for such lifestyles) and do everything in their power to ensure a message is crushed by a DDOS attack. In the cases of sites protected under Project Galileo a DDOS attack more often is state sponsed to crush or silence the message being sent.

I want some flared clouds

There is a freemium model. You can have site(s) protected by CloudFlare for free. Then they move into $20-$200 plans or very large Enterprise plans. They are company dedicated to internet proliferation and sharing the internet for all.

  • Free – protection, speed tweaks, analytics
  • Paid – increased security, crypto, application protection

The team is awesome. You’ve got nothing to loose

I know a few of the team out there and namely one very smart Kiwi (Hi Tim) and it sounds like it is a very cool place to work. Smart people, reliable team members and potential to grow! The CEO is on Twitter and enjoys a chat too. He also links to some great content. The joys of a startup. This technology in the free verison is great for your blog. NetworkInferno has used CloudFlare for a while and its predecessor CiscoInferno did too! You can power your domain or website in no time with CloudFlare’s free plan. Go sign up. It takes 10 minutes for it to be set up and you can be protected. Come and join the others!