There better not be anything scary cryptic written in here—I will scream... so... loud.

Thursday, December 04


Just Pointing It Out

For a company whose primary retail presence is an online store, Dell's online store is bloody awful.


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Wednesday, December 03


I'm Not A Hard-Core Database Guy

Hard-core database guys post things like this:
Next step was to read the fork() implementation of the Linux kernel.

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The Difference Between Node.js And Ebola

There's a promising vaccine for Ebola.


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Monday, December 01


That Spam Filter Works A Lot Better Than You Might Think

Recent stats:
Allowed: 2,366
Blocked: 11,881,940
Whitelisted: 41

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:23 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, November 30


No Australia Tax

Funny thing about the computer goodies I most want this Christmas: Adjusted for the current exchange rate and Australia's federal sales tax (which is included in list price) as opposed to American state and local sales taxes (which aren't), Apple's Retina iMac and Dell's P2715Q 4K monitor are actually slightly cheaper in Australia than the US.


Given how some manufacturers treat us downunder (coughLenovocough) this is refreshing.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:39 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, November 26


So, How's MongoDB 2.8 Coming Along?

Is there a beta available yet?

There's a release candidate already?  (Actually, a second release candidate now.)

So, what do we get?
  • Pluggable storage engines.
  • Collection-level locking on the traditional MMap storage engine.
  • Document-level locking in the new storage engine, WiredTiger.
  • Compression, transactions, and MVCC in WiredTiger too.
  • Some management stuff.

That's not a lot, but since the number one weakness of MongoDB has always been its storage engine* so if WiredTiger lives up to its claims, this could be right up there with TokuMX.  And TokuMX is my pick for the best general-purpose database in existence, so that is actually saying something.

* Though that's improved a lot since 2010, when I was able to crash it and destroy my database in 15 minutes of testing.  

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La Jolla

Uh-oh.  They're now shipping the Jolla Tablet to Australia.


  • 4:3 2048x1536 screen ~8" screen, like the iPad Mini.  Much better for reading web sites or documents than the Nexus 7's 16:10 screen.
  • 32GB storage and a micro SD slot.
  • $209 on Indiegogo.
  • Runs Android apps.
  • Not actually Android, but Sailfish OS.  Still, Sailfish is Linux with a UI based on Qt, which is exactly the right way to build something like this if you don't have a billion dollars to spend.  You can install Amazon's Android app store on it, and some people have apparently got Google Play to work.
  • $209 on Indiegogo.
  • Heavier than the iPad Mini despite a smaller battery.  Not a lot heavier, but the battery is only 2/3 the size of the iPad's.
  • Intel Atom CPU.  These have improved a lot recently, but still give worse MIPS/W than recent Arm chips.  On the other hand, Intel are promoting them heavily and subsidising developers, which probably contributed to the low price of the tablet.
I'm unlikely to get the Nexus 9; it's just not interesting at the price Google have set.  This might be an interesting alternative, if it actually ships.  I did get my Ouya and my MiiPC, so I've actually done pretty well backing crowdfunded hardware projects.

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Leif Walsh from Tokutek talking about the forthcoming pluggable storage engine for MongoDB.
I'm thrilled to see all your enthusiasm, but for the record this is *super experimental* and very well may fill your house with cats if you look at it wrong.

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Sunday, November 23


Slow On The Uptake

Just realised today that the 11th Doctor is Peter Pan and Amy Pond is Wendy.

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Tuesday, November 18



Dell's new 4K monitors are out.  24" for $600 and 27" for $700.

They already had a $600 28" 4K monitor, but it uses a cheap TN panel (the type where the display colours shift when you look at it from an angle) and is limited to 30Hz refresh.  And they have a 24" 4K model, but it's a professional version and costs $1000 even after a year of price cuts.

These new models are IPS and support 60Hz refresh from DisplayPort signals; they also have HDMI input but I think it's only version 1.4, which would limit it to 30Hz.  They're not wide-gamut and don't support colour calibration hardware (as far as I can tell), so they're not intended for professional video editing or design work, but for the typical web developer they're absolutely perfect.  They completely remove the year-long tradeoff between the beautiful but super-expensive 4K IGZO monitors and the cheap but colour-shifting 4K TN models.

So the plan for the new year at PixyLabs is to clear off my desk (who needs a printer any more?) and install a new Retina iMac and two of these 27" 4K monitors.  Each monitor has three inputs - two DisplayPort and one HDMI - so I can plug them into the Mac and my Windows PC and my Linux box.  The Mac will thus have three screens and Windows and Linux two each.  I can either switch screens or run Synergy and have a multi-OS multi-monitor desktop.

And when my credit card recovers from that surprise, I'm hoping to get that Philips 4K 40" monitor to use as a TV, and run HDMI from my PC to it.  (Or maybe DisplayPort, but that would require a new graphics card.)

Oh, and of course my brand new notebook has neither DisplayPort nor HDMI 2.0, and can't drive one of these displays without reducing either the refresh rate or colour depth.  (Or a little of each.)  But then, to make the most of a 4K external display, you really want a laptop with a good mid-range or better dedicated graphics chip and an operating system and software that handles retina resolutions well.  Currently, the number of laptops that fit all those requirements is zero.

Edit: Hmm, HDMI 1.3/1.4 has a usable bandwidth of just over 8Gb/second.  You could do 18-bit colour at 50Hz, or 24-bit at 40Hz.  Or use YCrCb 4:2:0 sub-sampling, which will give you 24-bit colour at 60Hz, just not for every pixel...

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