Got about sixty miles out of Melbourne when I realised that I'd forgotten to re-pack my toiletries bag. I'd checked and double-checked the important stuff: wallet, keys, iPod, phone, camera. The laptop is a too big and heavy to easily forget.
So I stopped at the supermarket on the way home and got a hairbrush and a razor; everything else I have spares of.
And then I finally got home and dumped out my backpack and there it was. Okay, I forgot the washcloth, so I'm not totally bewildered, but I somehow remembered everything else despite the best efforts of my two older nephews (three and five; the youngest was blissfully asleep with mummy.)
I'm heading down to Melbourne for the Australia Day long weekend to visit my family. As usual, I have about three days worth of stuff I need to do before I leave, and I have to catch a train in, oh, five hours.
I've been on more or less pure ice before, and it was difficult, but not THIS bad. I managed to navigate around without ramming into every damn thing. My only guess is that this happened somewhere where they don't usually get this sort of weather, and so nobody had proper tires. (A good set of all-weather tires can get you over the ice as long as you take it slow and don't do anything stupid.)
Other than that, I can't imagine why it would be this bad.
Posted by: Shamus at Wednesday, January 24 2007 02:13 AM (GDT1x)
There's a comment on Ace's site about the location (in Portland):
I recognize that as the intersection of SW 20th Ave. and Salmon St. It doesn't come across well in the video, but both of those streets have very steep grades. Steep enough, actually, that one would have to be a real dope to try and drive down either of them under those conditions.
I know those streets well. That's right next to the Multnomah Athletic Club. Portland gets really wicked ice storms sometimes, and those street always rack up a big score when it's icy out.
The Columbia River Gorge cuts a hole right through the middle of the Cascade Mountain range. It's colder east of the Cascades in winter, and sometimes a cold east wind down the gorge meets a warm front right there. The cold air goes under, on the surface, and the warm air goes over, and starts to rain. One time it put two inches of ice on top of everything in the city. It's just about the most slippery surface you can imagine, because it's ice covered with water.
That slope next to the Mac club is rather steep.
Long time residents know better than to attempt it after an ice storm.
The person driving the minivan was not actually a SoCal immigrant ... he was a retired Pendleton Woolen Mills CEO. But he was also 86 years old, and it looks like he has about a one second reaction time. By the time he hit either the gas, it was time to stop. By the time he hit the brakes, it was a bad idea ...
Posted by: kristopher at Wednesday, January 24 2007 12:48 PM (jcvPd)
OMG! Someone did it! My friends and I were emailing the same thing to each other when we saw it "it should be set to music - the Blue Danube works".
Posted by: Teresa at Wednesday, January 24 2007 09:08 PM (gsbs5)
Okay, water on ice - that would explain it. In the video it looks like snow on ice, which isn't too bad. Water on ice is something that I've seen, but never tried to DRIVE OVER the stuff. Yikes already.
Posted by: Shamus at Wednesday, January 24 2007 10:19 PM (GDT1x)
Mr. Pixy, are you in control of Ace's blog? If so, would you consider making his RSS feed open pages with 'new comment thingy' instead of the old-style comments? New comment thingy recognizes me correctly, but the other one seems unwilling to do so, hence my comments go uncredited because I'm too lazy to fill in the name every time.
This is particularly annoying because on two separate occasions I said something funny, but now I have no proof. Life is unfair without new comment thingy.
Posted by: Kevin at Thursday, January 25 2007 12:21 AM (H826O)
Actually, that particular video was probably of snow on ice. But the camera angle doesn't really make clear that the street there is tilted about 20 degrees. Once you lose control and start sliding, you won't stop until you reach the bottom or you hit something.
Not exactly. I host it, and do any technical support needed, but I don't control the content or design. So I could suggest to Ace that he change his feed, and I could make the change if he asked me to do it, but I can't just go and change stuff.
But there is a solution on the horizon: New Comments Thingy is part of the new blogging system I'll be installing at mu.nu next month. Once Ace switches to the new system, everything will work perfectly.
Trust me. ;)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, January 25 2007 02:23 AM (GaSFI)
12Once you lose control and start sliding, you won't stop until you reach the bottom or you hit something.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, January 25 2007 02:24 AM (GaSFI)
Processing 0.05, elapsed 0.0557 seconds.
42 queries taking 0.0192 seconds, 138 records returned.
Page size 98 kb.
Powered by Minx 0.81.19a.
Processing 0.09, elapsed 0.1028 seconds.
42 queries taking 0.0383 seconds, 138 records returned.
Page size 98 kb.
Powered by Minx 0.81.19a.
So, not quite twice as fast, and hence not quite back to the speeds of Old Minx on Nabiki.
I do have a solution for this: Replace the template interpreter with a compiler that custom-builds all the database queries. And I might even do that at some point, but not today. 55 milliseconds is something I can live with.
Oh, and the perennial favourite:
Retrieved from cache, processing 0.0, elapsed 0.0019 seconds.
Page size 98 kb.
Powered by Minx 0.81.19a.
This is updated from my previous post. I now have three new servers to play with, so let's see how they go.
Kasumi, Ukyo and Shampoo are Xeon 3060s: dual-core 64-bit 2.4GHz
Akane and Nabiki are Opteron 170s: dual-core 64-bit 2.0GHz.
Ranma is an Athlon XP 3000+: single-core 32-bit 2.16GHz.
Martina is an Athlon XP 2800+: single-core 32-bit 2.08GHz.
Naga is an Athlon 64 3200+: single-core 64-bit 2.0GHz.
Namo was a P4 Celeron: single-core 32-bit 1.7GHz
Lina: Pentium 4 2.6GHz
Amelia: Core Duo 1.66GHz
Haruhi: Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
Core 2 Duo
I'm not sure where the difference between the Linux and Windows versions comes from; I'm guessing that Psyco would still be using Python's string libraries, and they're compiled using a different (better) compiler on Windows, perhaps Intel's. I'm still using GCC 3.4.6 (which is what CentOS installs); I might be able to do better with GCC 4.1, and I'll probably try that at some point.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, January 23 2007 02:16 AM (GaSFI)
One thing I noticed - the string optimisations that make Python so effective for this sort of thing only appeared in 2.4. 2.3 exhibits the same sort of behaviour as IronPython - the "String" benchmark is about 600 times slower.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, January 23 2007 02:23 AM (GaSFI)
Well now I'm curious to see what the guts inside look like. It screams "manga" right there on the back, but is it the anime adapted to a manga, or the translation of the original novels being printed under TokyoPop's manga label?
Posted by: Will at Monday, January 22 2007 02:21 AM (olS40)
They do realize, don't they that Grand Duchess Spoor is the most powerful noble in the empire who isn't an Abriel?
...who's also ssssssssmokin'!
Posted by: Wonderduck at Monday, January 22 2007 10:28 AM (CJ5+Y)
The art inside is similar to the cover, though Lafiel isn't as kawaii as on the cover of Banner.
You have to understand that I haven't watched the anime. Only Crest has been released in Australia, and I don't have it. (I think it was out of stock when I did my big order in November, when it would only have cost $20.)
So... do I watch the anime first, which might take a while (possibly forever if I wait for the rest of it to be released here) or do I go ahead with the manga?
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, January 22 2007 12:44 PM (GaSFI)
I'd read the novels, if they're available in Australia.
Posted by: Don at Monday, January 22 2007 02:23 PM (Xbxzv)
Why not grab the torrents now then buy them when they're available? If that's not an option, go with what you've got -- no sense in letting them just sit there ^_^
Posted by: bkw at Monday, January 22 2007 05:47 PM (KhFAm)
Well, I've been wrong (frequently) before. I'll be wrong again.
Being one of the few cases where the anime pre-dates the manga, I know my preference is usually to see the earliest material possible. Now I'm curious if the manga is a straight adaptation of the anime, or makes any attempt to include some of the material cut from the novels to create the anime. Until you see the anime, you won't be able to tell us *hint* ;)
Posted by: Will at Monday, January 22 2007 10:48 PM (olS40)
The most obvious thing to look for is Sobaash's sex. In the original books, Sobaash was a man. In the anime Sobaash is a woman. (Sobaash is the executive officer under Lafiel in Basroil.)
Apparently, TOKYOPOP released the same manga design in both the U.S. and Australia, as the copy of Crest of the Stars that I have has the exact same cover.
The story in the manga pretty much follows the anime, from what I can remember.
As for the art-style, I have a feeling that Steven would not want to see Banner of the Stars III, the 2-episode OVA that features even more rounder characters than ever before. And a disappointing story and very little advancement between Jinto and Lafiel to boot (though it deals with a very important part of Jinto's life, though).
Well, I guess the artstyle is to be expected. You can see the evolution of the character-design style as you go through Crest of the Stars -> Banner of the Stars -> Banner of the Stars II.
At least I have the novels to look forward to.
Posted by: Nick at Tuesday, January 23 2007 04:22 AM (Q0Emr)
14Apparently, TOKYOPOP released the same manga design in both the U.S. and Australia, as the copy of Crest of the Stars that I have has the exact same cover.
That would be because it's the exact same edition.
We have a very good anime publisher in Australia, Madman Entertainment, but I don't think any manga is published here at all. We import everything. :(
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, January 23 2007 07:11 AM (GaSFI)
The difference in style is quote jarring if you jump straight from Crest to Banner 3. I think part of the reason Lafiel is drawn with such a unique style early on is to enhance the "alien" aspect. She's very gaunt, and between the paleness of her skin and the shape of her head, they give her head an almost Grey-like look. The more they flesh her out (both figuratively and literally (not much has been said about how and when the Abh experience puberty)), the less foreign they make her features.
That doesn't excuse the treatment the Abh have been given on these manga covers.
Posted by: Will at Tuesday, January 23 2007 12:41 PM (SOx9v)
I don't think any changes in art style can be rationalized as being the result of physical maturation. Sobaash in the anime is older than Samson -- she's probably about 50. Like all Abh she doesn't show any sign of aging, and like all Abh women she's gorgeous. But she sure isn't round and cuddly.
I know about the story in Banner III. As mentioned, it's important mainly in terms of a major continuity change, but it doesn't really seem like it's a story I'd be very interested in watching. Probably the coolest thing in it would be seeing Atosuryua's new squadron training. Watching Jinto start crying doesn't sound like a good time.
I won't disagree that the characters as shown in the manga are a bastardized version of what appears in the anime. I'm sure they didn't want to spend the time or money to have the manga artists study the anime in detail and duplicate the style.
I'm trying to remember the details of how Lafiel described the Abh aging process. Didn't she say they mature to something resembling a human in their late 20's to early 30's, then freeze? From that point they live a large number of years basically unchanged until they start sleeping longer and longer each night until one day they don't wake up. I'll have to go back and see if I can find that scene.
Posted by: Will at Tuesday, January 23 2007 06:21 PM (SOx9v)
Aww crud... two "untils" in one sentence... My freshman English teacher would flay me alive...
Posted by: Will at Tuesday, January 23 2007 06:23 PM (SOx9v)
BTW, The manga has a glaring error right at the first page. The computer in the anime says "the ship has been destroyed", and in the manga it says "the enemy ship has been destroyed" (which makes no sense in terms of the simulation).
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Tuesday, January 23 2007 07:47 PM (9imyF)
Had lunch today with Pete Zaitcev, who's been in Sydney the past few days for Linux Conference Australia. (And who I see made it to a computer before I did. I went grocery shopping on the way home, then my Coca-Cola exploded*, so I was distracted for a bit.)
Pete very generously presented me with a DVD set of Serial Experiments Lain, which I have had on VHS tape since it first came out, but have never watched. Thanks Pete!
Then we hit Kinokuniya, where we wandered over to the Japanese language section. Usually I don't go past the art books, because I can't read a word of Japanese, but since Pete can, over we wandered.
And it's a good thing for my wallet that I can't read Japanese, because they had all 40 volumes of 3x3 Eyes.**
I picked up a couple of things: the latest volume of Battle Club, from the creator of Ikki Tousen, and the Crest/Banner of the Stars manga Pete mentions.
Which look like this:
Is that not how Lafiel normally looks, then?
* It was supercooled - I guess my fridge is turned down a bit too low - so when I opened it about a quarter of it froze instantly and another quarter squirted out all over the kitchen.
There's a naked naugty admiral chick (Bejii Spoor, IIRC) right under the cover of the 2nd volume (the Banner). She only has her sword and the uniform boots. However, she's lying on her belly.
BTW, Internet cafes are amazing. It's the first time I used one.
The airport kiosk sucks though. They use Opera, and it crashes when accessing gmail. I tried to send Pixy a thank-you e-mail. I crashed it 5 or 6 times before I realized that it's not a glitch. Minx seems to work. I'll bitch about it blog later...
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Sunday, January 21 2007 10:00 PM (UdlSM)
SoftLayer are running a sale this weekend, and it looks like I'll be picking up three Xeon 3060 servers, with a total of 10GB of memory and 2.5TB of disk.
That's a whole lot of fast. It's equivalent in terms of CPU, memory and disk alike to five more of the Opteron servers we have right now.
I'll be bringing forward the commissioning of Kasumi by two months, but the deal I'm getting works out equal to two months free over the first year, so effectively I get a development and beta-test box for two months at no extra charge.
The page you see here takes around 40ms to produce.
The same page on my test server, on essentially the same version of Minx, takes around 60ms.
The same page on the new version of Minx takes around 95ms.
One interesting point there is that although Nabiki (the server) and Martina (my test box) deliver the same results in trivial Python benchmarks, the actual application runs significantly faster on Nabiki. Those same trivial benchmarks indicate that the Xeon 3060 servers I'm planning to deploy on will be 60% faster than Nabiki. I'm very curious now to see how that translates to the real application.
On a more depressing note, jumping from 23 fields per entry to 118 (I think those counts are correct) has a real and noticeable impact on performance. And I still have five tables to add to that join...
The performance hit doesn't seem to be on the MySQL side. At least, once something is in the query cache, it coughs up the data more or less instantly. Rather, it's the Python DB library handling all the fields. It takes time. On my test box, Python can retrieve from MySQL and stash into native data structures about 300,000 fields per second. That puts a hard limit on how fast Minx can run; the time taken to run the queries on New Minx on Martina is about 85% of the total time taken to generate the page on Old Minx on Nabiki. I'm going to keep on working to improve performance, but it looks like I'm fighting Amdahl's Law here.
My goal was to deliver complex pages in under 100ms and simple ones in 10; that's still achievable unless I really break something, but I'm going to have to borrow some of that performance from the new hardware.
Posted by: Andrew at Monday, January 22 2007 10:26 PM (7Q1Mu)
Yeah, it started fine with Minx and then dropped dead on the first page request.
It's almost certainly because I'm running with Psyco, which is a JIT compiler. But if I turn Psyco off, all the timings change. Psyco speeds up loops and numeric processing by as much as 100x, and string processing only about 2x, so it makes a huge difference when you're working out what to optimise.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, January 22 2007 10:39 PM (GaSFI)
Processing 0.02 seconds.
7 queries taking 0.0122 seconds, 29 records returned.
Page size 22 kb.
Powered by Minx 0.80 alpha.
(Does happy dance.)
The production version of Minx is up and running.
As I was slogging through it, and through the enormous lists of fields that the new version provides, I was thinking this is not going to be fast.
Well, a page of 1000 posts comes up in 220 milliseconds (with Psyco; 300ms without). That doesn't have inline comments, because I've broken the comment handler, but I would hope you aren't using inline comments if you have 1000 posts per page...
That's not slow.
Update: Except it didn't actually include 1000 posts. Bleh. Bug hunt time.
Update: Ah, it's a not-a-bug. It's returning 255 posts. Hint hint. Okay, I'll just tweak that...
Processing 0.71, elapsed 0.8462 seconds.
7 queries taking 0.4891 seconds, 1004 records returned.
Page size 1452 kb.
Powered by Minx 0.81.18 alpha.
Approximately 20ms for a normal page of 25 posts. You can see that this blog takes rather longer than that; that's the effect of the inline comments, which are dynamically sanitised in the old version. The new version does static sanitisation, which should eliminate much of that performance penalty. (Also, I'm not using Psyco on the server, because I ran into a memory leak when I tried it; that's since resolved.)
So I'm through restructuring the code and data.* Now the fun begins!
* Mostly. Still lots of tweaking to do, but the heavy lifting is done.
In the Steven Seagal thread on Ace, I noticed that as the comments began to pile up, text entry in the comment started to lag pretty heavily. I've noticed this in both IE 6 and 7. I'm not sure if this happened in his Dick Cheney thread (was the New Comments Thingy even active then?), because I never commented in that post, but you might check it out.
Posted by: Will at Saturday, January 20 2007 01:07 AM (olS40)
Huh. My comment won't post. I think somethings amiss.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, January 20 2007 06:16 AM (GaSFI)