A cricket bat!
Twelve years, and four psychiatrists!
I kept biting them!
They said you weren't real.

Tuesday, January 23


Goddam Docking Computer!

Saw this over at Ace's, and thought That needs to be set to The Blue Danube. Ask, and apparently you will receive:


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More Fastnessess

Got New Minx up and running on Kasumi:
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.
Cf. Martina:
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.
I always like seeing that one. smile

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Monday, January 22



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

KasumiCore 22.4GHz2.50.7431.4430.4672.653
NagaAthlon 642.0GHz2.5/64-bit1.7372.0301.3375.103
MartinaAthlon XP2.08GHz2.51.8172.7930.8675.447
RanmaAthlon XP2.16GHz2.51.7602.6970.8405.297
LinaPentium 42.6GHz2.5 (Win)2.0385.0580.8757.971
HaruhiCore 2 Duo2.4GHz2.5 (Win)0.6441.9330.4773.053
AmeliaCore Duo1.66GHz2.5 (Win)1.2433.1581.0335.434


KasumiCore 22.4GHz2.5+Psyco0.0130.3530.5030.870
HaruhiCore 22.4GHz2.5 (Win)+Psyco0.0120.2730.5540.839

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.

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Sunday, January 21


More Fast!

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.

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Saturday, January 20


Need More Fast!

I've been running some more benchmarks on Minx.

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.

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Sunday, January 14


Jessica Alba Ate My Server

I have 120 Apache threads running non-stop and bandwidth up 100% over normal, and who do I have to thank for it?

Idiots searching for pictures of Jessica Alba and Elisha Cuthbert and ending up at the Jawas.


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Saturday, January 13


Ha Ha!

It's just a phone.

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Thursday, January 11


On BitTorrent

Just to comment on what Steven has written about P2P:

First, I'll be getting my anime OP/ED site back up shortly, but initially it will be direct download. I have the bandwidth to spare, and I can manage the interface nicely with the current version of Minx, but I don't have BT support working yet.

Second, on BitTorrent itself. BT is different from most P2P applications (or at least the older ones) in that it's a file-swarming protocol rather than a file-sharing system. If you look at the standard BT client (which is open-source, and written in Python), it downloads one file at a time, and shares only that file with others, and only while you leave the program running. You can certainly end up uploading more than you download, particularly with the way I had the site set up before. With 50 or so torrents active, I could only allocate a limited amount of bandwidth to each, so downloaders would preferentially get data from other users (if there were any).

If you use a program like Azureus or μTorrent, it looks more like a traditional P2P app, but still has a difference: Only the torrents you specifically have active are shared. You can't share your whole anime directory; the programs just don't support doing that.

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Wednesday, January 10



A phone. And a set-top box.

That's it?

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Saturday, January 06



Hitachi announces 1TB drives.

Suggested retail price of $399; the Seagate 750GB drive sells for around $340, so that's a pretty good deal. Seagate launched the 750GB back in April at a price of $559.

This is good news, because I need a bunch of these. And SoftLayer do use Hitachi drives. (I just checked: Akane has Hitachi drives; Nabiki has Western Digital. Ranma, which is hosted at LayeredTech, also has Western Digital.)

The new drives are 5-platter models, so they don't actually represent an advance in areal density, but they do represent an advance in the amount of storage you can jam into a 1U server.

(Via The Inquirer)

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82kb generated in CPU 0.0323, elapsed 0.1599 seconds.
56 queries taking 0.1421 seconds, 395 records returned.
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