House Work
Posted in Hobbies
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:31 pm)

I've been working on my downstairs project for most of the day. I figure I put in about seven hours today, mostly installing insulation between the upper and lower floors to keep noise from traveling between the rooms. My kitchen is over the downstairs bedroom, and the family room is above the library. I also finished some electrical wiring (a project I was putting off because it was so nasty difficult to get 12/3 around a 90° corner boxed in by 2x4s on every side. All that work just to have a light in the bedroom closet…

I also nailed in some 2x6s along the bottom plate in the bathroom around the shower so I have a place against which to put the concrete for the custom shower pan, one of the next projects on the list.

Finally, at this point, I can start installing drywall. Or plywood—in the library ceiling—because I'm putting brass tiles on the library ceiling. I have quite a few things to work around, but as I start putting drywall up I'll be clearing space out of my garage, so it works out perfectly. Right now, though, I'm sore, hungry, and thirsty.

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Starcraft 2
Posted in Hobbies, Reviews
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:46 pm)

I started downloading Starcraft 2 yesterday morning around 7am. Given that it was 6.99Gb, I figured it would take most of the day. I was wrong.

The ETA bounced around 30 to 120+ hours. After I got home, I started digging in to the download client settings, and found the peer-to-peer info page, which showed me that I was getting a whopping 6Kb/s from three different peers, each at 2.0Kb/s.

So I figure the Mac version wouldn't be as popular as the Windows version, but seriously—this was horrible! So I shut down the peer-to-peer functionality (not recommended by Blizzard), and immediately jumped to around 600Kb/s download rate. It finished in two hours.

Starcraft 2 is, however, gorgeous.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-25
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Asinine Apple
Posted in General
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:17 pm)

Dear Apple,

YOU SUCK. My office's brand new $3200 Mac Pro has to have a specific keyboard because you didn't put an eject button for the DVD drive on the machine! You, sirs, are complete asses.

Plus, your top-of-the-line machines don't work with KVMs. I don't know how business-people use your hardware…

No syslog-ng?
Posted in Strangeness, Tech
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:29 pm)

One of my servers went down today. It runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. I don't know what happened, none of the partitions filled up or anything, it just "freaked out." Perhaps something went bad somewhere, and in its defense, it'd been running for 352 straight days.

In any case, after triage I was doing some system checks and I found I'm missing the /var/log/messages file. Weird. So I send a SIGHUP to the syslog daemon and it does nothing.

So I check the /sbin directory and the klogd binary was there, but the syslogd binary wasn't! I had to reinstall syslog-ng. It's hard to track down a problem like this when your logfiles aren't there…

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Corner Gas
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:32 am)

I heard a review of the Canadian show Corner Gas on the Firefly podcast The Signal quite a while ago, and added it to my Netflix queue. It showed up last week. I finally got around to watching it last Friday night, and it was pretty funny. There were some hit-or-miss episodes on the first disk, but overall it was pretty good stuff. I love how the first episode started, even before the credits.


So check it out, you might like it. Eh.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-18
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Carbon Leaf!
Posted in General
Forenoon watch, 3 bells (9:36 am)

Tomorrow Carbon Leaf plays in Moscow, Idaho. I've had tickets since the day I found out a couple of weeks ago. I'm very excited to see them live again!

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Hardware: The Drobo FS
Posted in Reviews, Tech
Afternoon watch, 1 bell (12:41 pm)

Today I received the Drobo FS I ordered last Friday, along with three 2Tb drives to make it happy.

First off, can I say that in my years of IT work, this is by far the easiest installation I've ever had. All I did was slide the drives in and plug in the network and power and turned it on. Then I walked away. Sheer brilliance.

I installed their software, the Drobo Dashboard, so I could configure the device (from a Windows machine). A few minutes after power-up, there it was in the window showing drives ready to go:

Drobo Dashboard

The only complaint I have is interoperability with backup software (I use Symantec's BackupExec), which appears to be available only with the Drobo Pro and Drobo Elite models. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I can pull data off via the share, but a backup client does a better job of streaming data out than Windows SMB.

Overall, I'm excited to have an appliance to store our data without having to maintain an operating system and all its related hardware. Depending on how things go, we may be switching more of our storage over to Drobo later.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-11
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Posted in Hobbies
First watch, 7 bells (11:41 pm)

Today I had a lot of things going on, and I did some baking, too. I made two sourdough baguettes, mixed up a loaf of sourdough that's in the refrigerator, and also mixed 4 pounds of Boule, a round white bread we use for sandwiches throughout the week. The sourdough loaf will be cooked tomorrow, perhaps with one of the Boule loaves too (it makes 4 one-pound loaves).

I seem to do a lot of baking on Saturday now, so I think I'm going to rename it Breadurday.

I haven't done much on the MUD in the last few days, my Kindle showed up the other day, and I've been busy sucking up public domain content with which to fill its little static-RAM guts. I have to say, as much as I love books (and I love books!), a Kindle is a nice device to have! I won't be buying lots of books electronically anytime, but there is a lot of free content available that I want to read.

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Where Does the Time Go?
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:19 pm)

Now that my MUD (which I've recently settled on the name ForeverMUD) is getting more stable, I thought I'd run some profiling tools on it. Valgrind is a very cool utility made to do this very thing.

When I first started developing, I wrote in a loop timer that keeps track of the longest processing time as well as the average loop time. After the introduction of a large (16,200 room) world map, the loop times jumped from 10-30 µsec to over 190,000 µsec—no bueno.

So last night I ran Valgrind and used kcachegrind to view the results, which showed me this:

Valgrind and kcachegrind results

Put simply, most of my time is spent manipulating mutexes. I'm going to have to rethink my design, because that's way too much time…

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The War Was In Color
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Forenoon watch, 7 bells (11:59 am)


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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-04
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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