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  • This approach may not fit all but it provides those users who use legacy applications that cannot be modified to run on the web with a way to do what they need to. The use of VDI combined with the mobility aspect of BYOD is proving a winning combination for people on the move.BYOD brings an advantage to businesses and their employees when correctly thought out, planned and executed. Using centralised MDM tools with good security choices, it enables businesses to provide their employees with the right information on the devices they want.There is a lot to be said for being able in effect to carry two devices in one, eliminating the hassle of carrying two devices, checking that you have them both and charging them both.The eXpat files In this week's eXpat files, we're speaking to … well, actually we're not going to use this person's real name, because they may work in Thailand without all the necessary paperwork. Our expat has therefore suggested we use the name “David Green”. So without any further ado, tells us what life's like over there, “David”.

    David Green: I found out recently that I'm a full-stack developer. I started out with HTML/CSS and that extended into PHP/MySQL. Then the server admin in the start-up I was working with resigned, so I suddenly inherited a load of Amazon AWS instances which included PostgreSQL and Apache SOLR, and backend code using JavaBeans. The Java led into some dabbling with Android apps, and nowadays one of the websites I work with is based on Python Django. The Register: Why did you decide to move to Thailand? Where do you live there?David Green: My standard answer to this one is “because I could”, which is a good enough reason for anything sometimes. But I was at a crossroads in my life and realised that I was living to work and working to pay the bills, and if I stopped and cashed it all in, I could raise enough to live on a beach and not have to do a stroke of work for a few years. I moved around the country a bit at first, but have settled in a very small town on the mainland just south of Koh Samui, and have been there for eight years now. The Register: How did you arrange your new gig?David Green: When I needed to start earning again, I picked up very low paid jobs from sites like Scriptlance and oDesk, mostly because that was all I could do with my limited experience. I got a couple of longer-term jobs, including a US-based start-up for a year or so and built up my reputation. Then I was approached by a potential client to debug a rush-job website she had commissioned, and I've been working for her and her associate since then, which is nearly four years. The Register: Pay: up or down?

    David Green: In retail banking I was taking home about £1,700 each month and spending most of that. I now take home about £4,500 and spend about a third of it. It's taken a while to get there though. The Register: How do workplaces differ between the UK and Thailand?David Green: I used to wear a suit and tie and worked mostly as a manager in a high-street branch, so lots of contact with people and customers. Now I work from home and my uniform is fisherman's pants or a sarong, and I speak with my clients on Skype and email when we need to. So very, very different. David Green: I've got a good portable skill now, which, for me, is more important than being on a career ladder to a top job. I know I just need a laptop and an internet connection and I can make enough money to live pretty much anywhere. And I could probably get by working about 10 hours a week if I really wanted to. The Register: What's cheaper in the UK? What's more expensive?

    David Green: It's a bit difficult because I've not been back for 10 years, but pretty much everything produced in-country is cheaper. So imported electrical goods are maybe similar in price, and some foods from back home are difficult to get hold of. The overall cost of living just doesn't compare though. I pay £125 UK per month for a three bedroom detached house with office, £18 for electricity and £5 for water. The average meal out is about £8 for three people. Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels today revealed a Container Service for AWS's EC2 cloud.Speaking at the web bazaar's Reinvent conference in Las Vegas, Vogels was joined on stage by Ben Golub, CEO of Docker – which is supported by the new container service.“Developers are largely stuck in the dark ages,” said Golub, arguing that programmers too often tie their applications too closely to infrastructure.Think of Docker as diet virtualization: it lets developers package up software environments into boxes and deploy them on Linux. Picture a web app developer knocking out code on his or her laptop and then testing that code in a container that matches the containers running in production.

    The ability to run Docker on Linux virtual machines on AWS EC2 is not new. However, the EC2 Container Service makes Docker boxes, which are the only supported container, first-class cloud citizens: customers can purchase a cluster of EC2 Container Instances and manage them using the Container Service API.That means you can control which virtual machine instances should run particular containers, or let AWS optimize that for you. There is also a scheduler that lets you add and remove containers according to predicted demands.You do not have to use an Amazon-provided virtual machine: if you prefer, you can use any Linux VM with the EC2 Container Service provided it meets Amazon’s specification. A cluster using the new service can scale from a single VM to thousands of instances across multiple Amazon availability zones for resilience.Amazon's new Docker support fits nicely in with another software development trend. Called micro-services, the idea is to break up applications into many loosely coupled services, each of which has a narrow focus. Each of these services can be Dockerized and, depending on a particular task, bunched together for deployment.The EC2 Container Service is free, which makes sense since it encourages EC2 use.

    What about Docker and Microsoft’s recent announcement of Windows support for Docker containers? Although the Docker Engine has been ported to Windows, this runs software built for Windows rather Linux, and Amazon’s new service does not support them.Microsoft's Azure cloud can run Linux Docker containers, and Google has also announced Docker integration, so in one sense Amazon is late to the party, but at least it has a comprehensive service.There is more to come. According to a Docker blog post, “Amazon and Docker have a longer-term plan to provide close integration between the Amazon EC2 Container Service and the growing ecosystem of Docker-based services.”The EC2 Container Service is available now in preview mode, with a sign-up list for those who wanting to try it. A friend recently emailed me at the end of a journey to New York City. “I was lamenting the weight of my company-issued Lenovo,” he wrote, “when I saw the machine carried by the passenger in front of me.” He enclosed a photo showing that poor unfortunate, who’d somehow managed to string a shoulder strap around an old Dell desktop - a real boat anchor, one that must have weight at least 10 kg.

    The material culture of computing moves so rapidly - and so disposably - we very rarely glimpse such side-by-side comparisons of past to present. In IT, the past is junk: too slow, too big, and too hard.But past is prologue. It tells us everything about where we’re headed.A few weeks ago, I gave one of my occasional lectures at the University of Sydney, a class on the history of virtual reality and art. (Postmodern theories about disembodiment and self-representation from the 90s have found a new lease on life, thanks to Oculus and Google Cardboard.)Almost my entire presentation consisted of video clips - thirty seconds from Blade Runner, a minute from The Wizard (featuring the Nintendo Power Glove!), old footage of military simulators, plus documentation of two decades-ahead-of-their-time artworks, Brenda Laurel’s PLACEHOLDER, and Char Davies’ OSMOSE.The whole slide deck, with over an hour of video, consumed well over a gigabyte of space - a new personal best in presentation size.In the classroom, I took my brand new iPhone 6, plugged it into the lecture theatre’s HDMI port, and ran the whole presentation - in high definition, complete with nicely animated transitions - off my phone.