If you're just looking to manage your personal environment, probably Vagrant + Chef. If we're talking about for a team or organization, a former co-worker of mine wrote a nifty tool called Boxen [http://boxen.github.com] that's definitely worth checking out.
I'm not a miner, so correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems like a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Tesla cards (and the servers designed around them) are intended for specific use cases: mission-critical enterprise solutions and scientific HPC. As a result, they run slower processor and memory speeds in comparison to nVidia's own consumer products, use ECC memory, and are optimized for double-precision over single-precision performance. Mining with a Tesla is like gaming with a Quadro card.
There is nothing mission critical or 'enterprise' about Tesla/Fermi cards. You can crash them and lock up your whole machine. Even if you can reboot the OS the card may not respond and the rebooted OS won't see it, we sometimes have to physically shut the machine down to reset the Nvidia card. Nvidia is still a gaming company at heart and it's going to take a while for them to adjust to providing equipment that is meant to be reliable and not just fast.
I first learned about bit-shifting when I took DIP / Computer Vision as an undergrad. All the assignments were done as plugins for ImageJ, which is apparently widely used in the scientific community (or so the course claimed). ImageJ stores the pixel values for images as bytes, ints, or longs (depending on the color-depth), so to get the individual component values from a 32-bit RGBA image (8 bits per channel), you would do something like this:
int pixel = image.get(x, y);
int alphaVal (pixel & 0xFF000000) >> 24;
int redVal = (pixel & 0x00FF0000) >> 16;
int greenVal = (pixel & 0x0000FF00) >> 8;
int blueVal = (pixel & 0x000000FF);
That's just one example w/ one piece of software, but I know similar approaches are often used within the world of imaging / graphics. Maybe networking? Seem like it would correlate well to IP address operations.
I'm guessing that that's the reporter's fault. The quote seems to referring to AWS, which they've probably never heard of, leading them to make a uninformed guess as to its meaning. Just another case of general media reporters covering stories they're not qualified for.
One thing I love about Lin's story is that it's making people realize that today's "industry experts" still don't perfectly place talent where it needs to be, even in an industry as heavily scouted and recruited as pro sports.
focusing more on design choices and principles rather than on CSS technicalities
I'd suggest using it specifically for this reason - that is, unless there is another framework that does an equally good job of getting out of one's way as Bootstrap. That said, it definitely makes sense to try to limit its use to a small subset for your tutorials.
Xen is still widely used. IIRC Xen provides the virtualization layer for AWS, and it is used by some pretty large hosting providers (Linode comes to mind). It also is packaged into a number of commercial commercial offerings. Oracle's VM solution is really just Xen running on Red Hat with some optimizations for their platform stack, same with Citrix. Clearly those two implementations alone is going to be a decently-sized install base.
I don't know how much KVM is used in the wild, but it has been crowned the "official" hypervisor for RHEL and Ubuntu, so I would guess that it it's been steadily gaining steam w/ the OSS crowd.
Indeed -- and stuck with it for quite some time. They were trialling Xen for some time, but I don't think they ever deployed it on a terribly large scale. Certainly, my VM went straight from UML to KVM.
The funny thing is that, while my first reaction was "that's really cool", my immediate next thought was that it would have been much cooler using augmented reality instead of figurines and models. I wonder how much longer there is going to be demand for physical proofs of concept like these.