The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.

Wednesday, October 27

Geek

Drowning In Dragons

Since GOG pulled their little stunt a month ago, they've released Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, and as of fifteen minutes ago, Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition (the original game, both expansion packs, and the Kingmaker DLC).  Oh, and Temple of Elemental Evil too, but I'm not so excited about that.

I wonder how Neverwinter Nights will run on a modern PC.  The last time I played it was on a Pentium 4 2.6 with a GeForce 6600GT, and the Aurora toolkit (that you use for building your own dungeons) was pretty sluggish, though the game ran quite well.  My current system is a Phenom 9750 with a Radeon 4850, which makes it about eight times faster.  Should be interesting!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:38 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, October 25

Geek

Gigabit? Pfui!

As mentioned earlier, I needed to back up 9TB of data over the weekend.

Gigabit ethernet is really, really slow. sad

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:41 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, October 23

Geek

Radeyawn

So AMD has released the first of the Radeon 6000 cards, and they're, how shall I put this, underwhelming.

The previous high-end cards were the 5850 and 5870; we now have the 6850 and 6870, which are actually slower than their counterparts from last year.  What AMD appear to have done is bump the numbers up a notch, so that the new midrange cards - what would have been the 6750 and 6770 - are now sold in the high-end number range, where they fail to impress.

The real high-end cards will now be the 6950 and 6970, due to launch next month.  For now, we have a 6870 with about the same price and performance and power consumption of the old 5850.

I had a very different article drafted based on the leaked specs from last weak.  Unfortunately it turned out that the leak was a lie, and the truth was much less interesting.

This isn't all AMD's fault, though: The new chips were originally designed to be built on TSMC's 32nm process.  Since TSMC doesn't have a 32nm process, AMD was forced to change its plans, which ended up making the chips slower and hotter and more expensive.  The real next-gen cards should land next year, assuming TSMC pull their finger out.

Pricing in Oz is varied to say the least, ranging from a quite reasonable A$288 for the 6870, including 10% sales tax (for a US$240 card, about A$245) to a frankly delusional A$500.  Ignoring the crazy prices at the high end, the new cards are at least decent value for money.

All in all, though, I think I'll stick with my 4850 for a while longer.

Detailed poop for the OCD at Tom's Hardware and AnandTech.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:09 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, October 18

Geek

Mongo Smash!

Anyways, there's this site called Foursquare, and apparently it fall down go boom just recently.  Possibly more than once.

They're running MongoDB, a database I tested and rejected earlier this year when looking for more elegant substitutes for MySQL.  I don't like SQL - never have - but it works, and MongoDB...  Doesn't.

Foursquare had two database servers with their database split ("sharded") across them.  The servers are Amazon EC2 instances, with 66GB of RAM each, fairly large by most people's standards.  The problem arose when one of the database shards got bigger than the available RAM.

...

If you had any experience with databases before, say, 2007, you'll be shaking your head in disbelief at this point.  If you had any experience before, say, 1997, you'll be dumbfounded.  Yes, the site fell over because the database didn't fit in RAM.

The total database size at the time of the outage was around 120GB.  At my day job - and though Foursquare is a small startup, my day job is at an even smaller startup - we add 400GB of data to our databases every single day.  Mind you, we do things to MySQL that would make the average DBA give up and go into volcanology as a safer bet, but it works.

Now, when I was considering MongoDB, the first thing I did was test its performance.  The second thing I did was test how it behaved in out-of-memory conditions.  (It crashed.)  Seems that Foursquare forgot to ask the second question.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:54 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Preach It, Light Brown Bear-Dog Critter

Embed not working.  Foo.

Here's a link instead: A discussion of the relative benefits of MongoDB vs. MySQL for building scalable internet applications.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:22 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, October 05

Geek

Pixy's Laws Of Not Making A Fool Of Yourself On The Internet

1. Anyone who styles himself the "Grand ArchDruid" or suchlike is not to be considered a reliable source of information on any subject. Except maybe roleplaying games. No, on second thought, not even that.

2. If you are predicting that an event will happen next year, that other people have been predicting will happen within the next n years for the past 2n years - whether it be artificial intelligence, sustained fusion reactions, the collapse of civilisation or the second coming of Joseph Smith - you might want to reconsider your assumptions.

3. Look it up on Wikipedia first, then post. Or, if you are extremely lazy, post first, then edit the outraged corrections from your readers back into the original article and delete their comments. Beware of archive.org and feed readers.

4. When all else fails, post Youtube videos of baby monkeys riding baby pigs or cute girls dancing in unusual locations and pretend the argument never happened.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:57 PM | Comments (34) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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