Meet you back here in half an hour.
What are you going to do?
What I always do - stay out of trouble... Badly.

Friday, March 25


Going, Going, Gone!

It took nearly 24 hours all told - not including the backups, which took 48 hours themselves - but I'm on Windows 7 now, and it's working fine.

One critical point: If you have a Realtek network controller (either a card or built in to your motherboard), download the Windows 7 driver for it from the manufacturer's site before upgrading, because your network will be seriously disfunctional afterwards.  The driver that ships with Windows 7 delivers only slightly better average speeds than dial-up - even on your local network - and frequently stops working entirely for several seconds at a time.

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It Keeps Going, And Going, And Going

Thirteen hours into my Windows 7 upgrade now.

Still going.

The progress indicator has, thankfully, moved from where it was six hours ago, and is now at 2,099,020 of 2,777,119.

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Thursday, March 24


My Theory

Is that Microsoft outsourced the job of writing progress indicators to a trained hamster.

Which died in 1982.

And has yet to be replaced.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:49 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Please Wait...

Transferring files, settings, and programs (608,859 of 2,777,119 transferred)

This is the first time I've ever upgraded a Windows system.  Usually I'll hang onto them until they're old enough to need replacing or the operating system gets corrupted and dies.*

Nagi is a quad-core machine with 8GB of RAM, and until AMD's new Bulldozer chips arrive later this year there's no upgrade that's worth bothering with.  Not that I can reasonably afford, anyway.

So after carefully backing up 2.2TB of miscellaneous stuffs, I kicked off the upgrade at about 2 o'clock this afternoon.  It's just gone 9 o'clock now, and the status is exactly as I gave above.

It's not a quick process, not when you start with a 2.5 year old Vista system with 748 applications installed.

And it's telling me that The Sims 2 may not work afterwards. sad

Also my IDE controller, but I don't think that's even in use.

* Which has happened to me twice, both times due to memory problems of one sort or another.

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Tuesday, March 22


Dear User Interface (And Other) Developers

When you change the user interface, unless it was obviously broken before, 90% of the time 90% of your users will hate the new version.  It doesn't matter if you think the new way is right.  Your users will hate it.

Since you collectively seem to have all the user experience intuition of a dead possum, you should always always always provide an option to revert to the previous behaviour, even if - no, especially if - you think the previous behaviour was buggy, broken, politically incorrect and caused rats in laboratory cancer.*

Since the Minx user interface is entirely driven by the Minx templates, and completely user-configurable, I can't break it without breaking Minx itself, so I'm relatively safe from this disease.  But only relatively safe.

* Today I'm ranting about the "switch to tab" idiocy in Firefox 4, but it's always the same:

Devs: Look at our great new feature!
Users: We looked at it and we don't like it.  How do we turn it off?
Devs: You can't.  You should love this feature.  All of us love this feature.  What's wrong with you that you don't love this feature?
Users: You suck. 
User X: Here's a patch that turns it off!
Users: Thank you user X!
Devs: Why would anyone want to turn this feature off?  It's a great feature.  We all love this feature.  Oh, and anyone know why our market share is in free fall?

This problem is hardly limited to the Firefox developers, of course, or even UI developers, as witness the great swappiness=0 debate. Though I guess that was an inversion of the trope, with the users jumping with glee on a feature the developer thought was a bad idea.

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Monday, March 21



Running my little Python benchmark again:

   AMD 3.0GHzIntel 2.93GHz   AMD 2.6GHZ   Intel 3.3GHzPsyco

After a little work to eliminate as many of the variables as possible, this is what I get. These scores are from my little Python benchmark, run on Fedora 13 under OpenVZ on my development machine, a 3GHz AMD Phenom II, and the main production server, a 2.93GHz dual Xeon 5670.

One tricky factor is that the Xeon 5670 can actually run at up to 3.33GHz when lightly loaded. I can't see directly what clock speed each core is running at, but by comparing results between busy and quiet times, and taking the best of ten scores for each test when the CPU was lightly loaded, I'm pretty sure I got a snapshot of it running at top speed, and the difference is about 7%. Intel's newer Xeons also have turbo boost, so I've left the numbers unchanged as averages measured on a moderately busy system.

When it comes to new server hardware, I'm projecting these scores to the Opteron 4180, a 2.6GHz $200 chip, and the Xeon E3-1245, a $280 3.3GHz chip. The Opteron clock speed is slower and the Xeon E3 somewhat faster than my test systems, making the difference much more significant. On the other hand, the Opteron has six cores vs. the Xeon E3's four. On the third hand, the Xeon has hyperthreading, which gives a small but measurable boost as well. All that means that the throughput is likely to be pretty much the same between the two chips.

And the Xeon E3 has a downside in that you can't put more than 16GB of RAM on it: It only supports unbuffered memory, and only four modules. Operon 4180 supports both unbuffered and registered memory, and up to six modules of the latter, so it can easily take 48GB. (More is possible, but requires more expensive high-density DIMMs.)

Also, the Xeon E3 got side-swiped by the Great Sandy Bridge Chipset Disaster, and isn't actually available.

So the new low-end Intel chips will be measurably faster than the current low-end AMD server chips, about 45%, in response times if not overall throughput.

On the other hand, there's that 16GB limit. Memory is dirt cheap and you want to put as much of it in a server as you can, and being able to put three times as much in the AMD system is pretty significant. (Oh, and the Opteron is a dual-socket CPU, so you can easily scale to 96GB and a dozen cores if you want.)

The Psyco numbers are from my dev environment, and point out once again what a nifty bit of work Psyco is, and that it should have been rolled into the Python core years ago.

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Curse You Daylight Savings Time!

I missed my daily Billy action. sad

On my alt, anyway.

My other alt.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:14 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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And What's More

A little box from Sony just arrived at my door.  That was quick.

It turns out that the regular (as opposed to budget Classic) loops come in rather nice jewel cases.  It actually makes me miss physical packaging for music.  And games.  And stuff.  Not DVDs so much; DVD cases aren't pretty or well-designed, and I have twenty of them on my desk as it is.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:11 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Electronic Arts Tech Support

Is actually pretty darn good.

I was expecting to post a mild rant (mild because I got into the problem myself, rant because they set things up so it was impossible to get myself out of it).*

But instead they gave me a freebie that solves the problem.  Not quite 100% the way I'd like it solved, but that's just my OCD; it solves the problem.

So, well done Electronic Arts.

* Relating to one-use untransferable DLC codes, saved games that lock unless you have all the necessary DLC activated, the fact that you can't buy the same game on Steam twice even if you wanted to, and that with their purchase of Bioware I now have multiple EA accounts.

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Sunday, March 20


As Seen On That Site

It's possibly the least safe-for-work (safe-for-anywhere) site that anyone sane would have any reason to visit, but this was too cute not to repost.


Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:39 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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