What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Thursday, September 20


XKCD Overload

The latest XKCD is a little larger than the usual three or four panels.

How large is it?  Click and drag.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:42 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, September 19


Three Little Maids

I have a new server up and running at new provider ReliableSite in New Jersey, but I've been looking for a second source because I don't want to have all my digital eggs in one basket.

Just got a too-good-to-turn-down offer at Incero in Dallas, and placed an order for three servers. They're smaller than the server I have at ReliableSite right now - 4 cores and 32GB vs. 16 cores and 64GB - but with the same disk space and less than half the price.

Two are general-purpose servers, with 2x2TB disks and 2x256GB SSDs in RAID-1; the third is a storage server with 4x2TB disks in RAID-5. These are just a 1ms ping away from the existing servers at SoftLayer in Dallas.

Oh, and each comes with 30TB of monthly bandwidth on a gigabit port, and a private back-end network.

The plan is to have two of these general-purpose servers in Dallas and two in New Jersey, replacing place of the current single larger server there.  The four of them combined will cost about the same as our current main server.  The new archive server costs about the same as our current archive server but has 50% more space, RAID-5, and eight times the RAM.

Resource Before After
Cores 12x2.93GHz 16x3.4GHz
Memory 24GB 128GB
Disk 4TB RAID-5 8TB RAID-1
Bandwidth 9TB 80TB

The new servers each have a four-core CPU, compared to our current dual-CPU 12-core system.  But the new quad-cores are as fast as the older six-core chips, and we have twice as many of them in total, so we're doing pretty well there too.

In New Jersey we'll have Aoi and Midori; in Dallas, Akane and Mikan.  Archive server will be Sakura.  Our current high-bandwidth server, Kurumi, will be cancelled, since we have plenty of bandwidth on the new main servers and won't need it.  

Once the migration is complete it will be cheaper than the existing servers and far more robust and flexible.  If one server goes offline I'll be able to bring things right back up on another one; even if one entire datacenter goes down I'll have backups at the other site, and be able to get things up and running again pretty quickly.

Now I just need to work out how I'm going to use all this capacity. But that's a good concern to have. smile

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Sunday, September 09


Unicode 1F4A9!!!

My new cuss word.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, September 07


iPad Pre-review

That screen is beautiful.  It's big enough for comfortable web browsing, when the Nexus 7 really isn't.  Though for an IPS screen the viewing angles aren't that great - it loses clarity quite noticeably at even modest angles.

So far, I still prefer the (much cheaper) Nexus 7.  It's much lighter (almost exactly half the weight), easier to navigate (physically, due to the smaller size), more comfortable to hold (the rubberised back makes a big difference), and much more responsive.  

In particular, Google Play kills the App Store dead when it comes to performance.  It can take several seconds for an app to start downloading on the iPad, and you just have to sit there and wait.  If you try to select another app to download, it cancels the first request.  The Nexus 7 lets you just go blip-blip-blip.

On the other hand, I have some much more featurey apps on the iPad, like GarageBand, ArtRage, and Pages.  And I've finished my big bulk app install and won't need to go through that again for a while.  We'll see how it holds up for doing actual work - I use the Nexus 7 for reading, playing games, and checking on things, but even answering email is a chore on a screen that small.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:19 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Kindle "Fire 2" launch, TL;DR edition:

Fire HD: 1280x800 7" IPS screen (matching the Nexus 7 and yesterday's Kobo announcement), microUSB and microHDMI.

16GB: $199
32GB: $249

Fire HD 8.9": 1920x1200 8.9" (surprise) IPS screen, microUSB and microHDMI.

16GB: $299
32GB: $369

Only dual-core CPUs instead of the Nexus 7's quad-core, but I don't know how much difference that will make for day-to-day use.

The Fire HD is 13.9 oz (394g) and the Fire HD 8.9" is 20 oz (567g).  The Nexus 7 is a svelte 340g, but I don't think the extra couple of ounces on the Fire HD will hurt too much.  The iPad is 662g, and let me tell you, it gets heavy after a while.  (Pretty screen, though.)

Looks like a great launch: The $199 Fire HD provides twice the storage of the entry Nexus 7 but otherwise comparable specs (and HDMI output as a bonus).   The Fire HD 8.9" is smaller and lighter than an iPad - and a lot cheaper at $299 vs. $499 for the entry model.  You can get a 7" and an 8.9" and still have a dollar left over compared with the iPad.

Of course, Amazon is being Amazon, and we antipodeans aren't allowed to actually buy the damn things, but apart from that, it looks like a great launch.  My best hope is that this will prod some of the other tablet companies into motion.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:59 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, September 05


Apple vs. Samsung - Wait A Minute. Strike That. Reverse It.

Previously in As the Worm Turns, we discussed how the jury in the case had ignored instructions from the judge and assessed damages to punish Samsung rather than to reflect actual financial harm upon Apple.

Now the jurors have opened their mouths again and demonstrated that they also ignored the judge's instructions on prior art, the key to Samsung's entire defence.  That is, they made an error of law, rather than of fact.

The jury concluded that the prior art did not invalidate Apple's patents because the code would not run on an iPhone.  Of course, the same argument would show that Samsung did not infringe on Apple's patents because their code won't run on an iPhone either.

And the judge specifically instructed the jury that this is not how prior art is evaluated.  (Groklaw cite the relevant sections at the page linked above.)

Best quote:
I think he may have a valid point. Perhaps apple have invented some new numbers, like eleventy-four, that don't fit into the old computers properly due to magic and stuff.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:16 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Potential For Non-Suckiness

Delphi XE3 provides native support for Windows 7 & 8 (including what they're calling "Metropolis" this week), MacOS X, Android, and iOS.

Prism XE3 is ObjectPascal (the Delphi language) for .Net (Windows) and Mono (Linux and Mac).  The language is largely the same, but the UI class library is different.

RemObjects Oxygene is Prism for .Net/Mono and WinRT (that is, Prism is Oxygene for .Net), Java (including Android, which runs almost-but-not-quite Java), and coming up to a beta release for "Nougat".

Only problem is, they hint but never explicitly say what "Nougat" is a code-word for.  Apparently either MacOS X, iOS, or (most likely) both.

Update: Details are up, and Nougat is indeed both MacOS X and iOS.  Sold!

It's still messy, but probably the least messy solution for cross-platform native apps available today.  And it's not horribly expensive.  The Oxygene .Net/Java/Nougat bundle is $499; Delphi XE3 Professional is A$1169.

Assuming that Nougat covers all Cocoa platforms, that Oxygene bundle is perfect for me.  One language lets me target the desktop on Windows 7 & 8 and Mac OS X, tablets and smartphones running iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 & 8 and Windows RT, and servers running Java, .Net, or Mono.  And I can easily embed Python and Ruby on the .Net/Mono and Java platforms (using IronPython, IronRuby, Jython, and JRuby respectively) to bring my existing code across.  (Not sure about doing that with Nougat, though.)

One other interesting thing: With XE3 Embarcadero introduced a new EULA that forbade third-party (or indeed hand-rolled) client-server extensions for Delphi and C++ Builder Professional - you had to buy the 2x more expensive Enterprise or 4x more expensive Architect packages to do any client-server work at all.  Since client-server architecture is universal these days - everything is client-server - this was unenforceable and frankly stupid.

The user forums erupted in protest....  And the offending EULA clause was pulled.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:52 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, September 03


New Server Dance

Python, MySQL, Java, Erlang, MongoDB, Redis, RabbitMQ, CouchDB, Riak, ElasticSearch, Xapian.

Once upon a time I programmed in Progress.  It was my database, my programming language, my query language, my display language, my database design tool, my search engine, and my text editor.

Not every change is for the better.

Case in point: Progress is now called Progress® OpenEdge® Advanced Business Language.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:33 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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