Aah you were there!

Monday, December 15

Geek

Because, That's Why

Which is reason enough.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:36 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, December 06

Geek

Dang

So, I'm moving my web development (both here at mee.nu and at my day job) over to uWSGI.  I've been using Green Unicorn, which is quite good, and CherryPy load-balanced by Nginx or Pound, which also works fine, but uWSGI has a lot of neat features, some of which I need, and doesn't work with Node.js, which is always a bonus.

uWSGI doesn't install on Windows, though really just due to some minor differences in the Python standard library, which could be fixed if someone cared enough to do so.  But no-one wants to actually run uWSGI on Windows, so no-one cares.

If you install Cygwin on Windows, which provides something very like a Linux environment, uWSGI does work.  Installation is really slow for no obvious reason, but it works.

But...  The reason I needed it installed locally is that I use PyCharm as my IDE, and PyCharm needs all the libraries installed so that it can check your code.  Turns out that PyCharm can't make head nor tail of Cygwin, so the entire exercise was pointless.

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PyCharm can use a remote environment to check your code - you can point it at a Linux box with everything installed to your specification and it will run the tests there.  This works, but is fiddly.

The other alternative is to just get a Mac.  I'm sure something I need doesn't work on Mac, but I don't know what it is yet, so right now that looks like a good idea.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:08 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Also Also With

The other toy I want - the Philips BDM4065UC 40" 4K monitor - has now also shown up in online stores, at a price of AU$1049.

The advantage of this model is that it's so big that the pixel density is relatively normal, so it will work fine with Windows without fiddling with scaling settings.

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It's not a professional quality monitor, but it's not rubbish either; it's a VA panel, so closer in quality to IPS than to cheap TN.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:26 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, December 03

Geek

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.
/images/HidamariComputers.jpg?size=720x&q=95

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:47 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, December 01

Geek

That Spam Filter Works A Lot Better Than You Might Think

Recent stats:
Allowed: 2,366
Blocked: 11,881,940
Whitelisted: 41
/images/Hidamaripillar.jpg?size=720x&q=95

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:23 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, November 26

Geek

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.
/images/HidamariBoing.jpg?size=720x&q=95

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.  

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:38 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

La Jolla

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

/images/JollaTablet.jpg  

Pros:
  • 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.
Cons:
  • 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.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:42 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Disclaimer

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.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:31 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, November 18

Geek

4K@0.6K

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...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:17 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, November 16

Geek

LG 13Z940 - The Great, The Good, The Meh, The Bad, And The Ugly

Great
  • Amazingly light without sacrificing build quality.
Good
  • The Core i5-4200U together with the SSD deliver zippy performance.  Not the right system for gaming or video editing, but for general computing tasks it's a very capable combination.
  • The 1920x1080 IPS display is bright, sharp, clear, and colourful, and fills the lid almost edge-to-edge.
  • The keyboard and trackpad both do their jobs well.  The only minor issues are that the power button is where the Delete key should be (the Delete key squeezes in to its left) and there are no dedicated Page Up/Down/Home/End keys.
  • The retail price, 35% off LG's RRP on this model, undercutting all the competition.  In Australia, November 2014 anyway, YMMV.
  • Sleek and stylish design.
  • No fripperies - no fancy four-dimensional hinges, no detachable touchscreen, no 48-hour battery.  Just a notebook.
  • As far as I can tell, it's completely silent.
  • Free of third-party crapware.
/images/Chika13.jpg?size=720x&q=95

Meh
  • The complement of ports is adequate, but not outstanding.  Two USB 3, one micro USB 2, one micro SD, one HDMI, and a headphone socket.  The notebook comes with a micro USB to ethernet adaptor, but it only does 10/100 speeds.  I'd love to see Dockport implemented on next year's model.  Last year's model had dual micro SD slots, and it would be nice if that returned too.
  • Reportedly, battery life is only middling, but I haven't tested that myself yet.
  • Speakers are about what you'd expect from a compact notebook PC, not awful, but not great.
Bad
  • Only 4GB of RAM, supposedly non-upgradeable, though I'm not sure of that, because -
  • The manual is remarkably non-specific about the hardware.  It could be powered by magic smoke for all it tells you.
Ugly
  • Taking that literally, Windows 8.  It works just fine, once you banish the Start Screen and Modern UI to the Howling Wastes, but compared to Aero Glass it is ugly.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:36 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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