Today I will not complain about anybody in public.
However, while yesterday's (unfortunately somewhat harsh) entry had some technical content and probably belongs on advogato, today's is less interesting. Blame it on the joblessness.
First, I downloaded AbiWord. I haven't used it since LinuxPPC in 2000. It was kind of a novelty to me back then, and honestly struck me as something of a mess. I haven't ever used the Mac port, nor did I know it existed. I will report back what I can, when I get time to put it through its paces. I'm a programmer and a sysadmin, not a typesetting, layout kinda guy. So doing a resume is a hard thing for me to do. Which is too bad, given it is crucial to putting food on the table. But I digress. Will keep you informed, robsta.
titus, insom: I personally found Altered Carbon somewhat disturbing. I think perhaps the Sharya torture scene (or indeed the very opening scene of the book!) was what most bothered me, which is odd, given the sheer volume of violence in the book. However, upon reflection, I don't find it any less disturbing than I found Against a Dark Background or perhaps even Look to Windward.
I've noticed that I have sort of picked up a predilection for SF authors from the UK. Stross, Banks, Morgan (new), Hamilton (we shall see if he can make up for his last book with his next one), etc. This is maddening for me, as somebody from the US, as if I want to read their books when they come out, I have to damn import them. I'd really like to read The Algebraist, but I'm going to have to buy it in hardback, pay in pounds sterling, and then pay to ship it across the atlantic. That really irritates me. I don't understand how it's even legal, frankly, except that it is vaguely reminiscent of all the fuckery with zones on DVD's and the way the recording and movie industries behave.
At any rate, I am moving from Morgan onto Vinge (The Peace War), and then I will probably read Iron Sunrise, and then probably it's time to read some more Umberto Eco. Been putting that one off. Unemployment is great for providing reading time. Maybe somewhere along the line I'll get a job.
I'm still waiting for somebody to tell me that MySQL is ready for prime time.
24 February, 2005
23 February, 2005
So it could be said that I've done some research on scaling PostgreSQL. So when I see quotes like this:
- We did have one fun and exciting moment due to a MySQL bug that's bitten us before. Because the site is so large, we can't serve it from a single database server. So, we use one master server, which holds the definitive copy of the database, and several slave servers which can be used for read-only queries, like article views (most of you will be familiar with this, it's what causes the replication lag issues like new articles not showing up. But that's another story).
What does surprise me is that we're still "recovering" from the great crash. The fact that functionality is still offline (!). I could give a list of stuff that's broken, but those of us who currently contribute to the wikipedia know what is still broken, and are aware of these issues. I'm sure that people are working on them. But we've also still got hositude:
16:03 <> Warning: mysql_query(): Unable to save result set in /usr/local/apache/common-local/php-1.4/includes/Database.php on line 324For almost an entire day, we had lost a day's worth of edits! I mean, what the hell kind of database loses power and in so doing loses data?
[ ... ]
16:06 <> re-edited, it went through this time.
16:06 <> so it looks like one of the db servers then is hosed?
16:06 <> keats: dunno
16:06 <> well, has a partial state of hosation :)
16:07 <> I thought that was supposed to be "hositude".
16:07 <> when served by freidrich, it worked.
16:07 * keats sighs
16:07 <> It's hositudinally inclined.
And while I really hate to chew new assholes on people, it seems to me that there was no recovery plan. This is a basic, fundamental kind of thing you need to have when you run a website... no, manage a community resource, as important and useful as the wikipedia.
I don't understand how the simple losing of power (how the colo managed to lose power with diesel backups is ALSO a mystery to me) resulted in such catastrophic failure.
- Is MySQL such a bad product that it is incapable of ACID?
- If so, why is it still being used?
- How is it that no disaster recovery plan was in place?
- If it's a simple matter of "because nobody had written it", can we please get around to writing it? I (or any of the other people here who work daily with databases and recovery) can help if it's needed.
- How in the hell did a colo manage to have such a spectacular power failure?
I understand that it's difficult to run something as complex as the wikipedia, or its database, or its entire network. However, it can be done, and it is being done by organizations both commercial and non, every day. I don't think we need to hang anyone from the rafters, because, well, shit happens. But it really shouldn't happen so badly, and when it does happen, it really shouldn't take so long to unhappen.
I think the wikimedia folks should think long and hard about (Who am I kidding, right? They've already thought long and hard about it, and their current situation reflects what they feel is the best solution) perhaps switching RDBMS's. Personally, I think Postgres might finally be up to the task, but maybe it's time to consider something commercial. Losing data is embarassing.
I can't put up more money and buy wikimedia SSD arrays so that when the pipeline is bounced, they don't have to worry about their memcached caches being empty. I do, however, think this crash showed that there are serious problems with using it as a method of improving the speed of a site. (note to self, add [[Solid State Disk]] and put it on the [[SSD]] disambiguation page).
I'd also like to point out that I hope this doesn't change anyone's mind about whether Google should buy, host, invest in, or otherwise involve themselves with the wikipedia.
Lastly, I want to quote from Bryan Derkson's user page:
- David Gerard wrote:
> Wikipedia is not primarily an experiment in Internet democracy. It's a
> project to write an encyclopedia.
This should be printed out and handed to every single person on the planet. I think I'll start a new nonprofit organzation to do that. Wikimedia will give everyone an encyclopedia. The new organization will give everyone a piece of paper explaining: it's an encyclopedia, not an experiment in democracy.
We *are* a grand social experiment of course. But not _primarily_.
I believe in the wikipedia. I really think it is an important resource, on a scale that is perhaps unprecedented. Let there be no confusion about my support of the project. If anyone can answer these questions, I'd like to hear them. If you've got a suggestion, or can donate money, please do so. At the risk of sounding sappy and/or trite, wikimedia needs us right now, in addition to our needing it.
22 February, 2005
Pardon me as I quote liberally from Altered Carbon.
The personal, as everyone's so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here -- it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference -- the only difference in their eyes -- between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people, they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it's just business, it's politics, it's the way of the world, it's a tough life, and that it's nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.Attributed to fictional character Quellcrist Falconer, in Things I Should Have Learned By Now, Volume II.
So it's a little over dramatic. We're talking about jobs, not revolutions. But, NASA is a no-go. I was a fuckup, showed up for a job interview 40 minutes late. So maybe we're feeling a little hostile and angry today.
I've also got a real case of insomnia. Ambien and I, it seems, do not agree, and I have managed to injure the holy hell out of myself stumbling and bumping into things -- and I never remember in the morning. That's a drug that scares me. And I fucking hate it when I wake up having dislocated my shoulder and covered in bruises. Ambien, no more. I may try Sonata, or maybe I can just wait out the insomnia and hope my doc will give me Provigil. Or something. Being up all night, though, I got to talk to my pal David Fetter who it turns out I sort of quasi-know from Burning Man. Small fucking planet. He's wayyyyy out on the political left, and I'm a fascist right-winger gun nut. So it was a spirited conversation with lots of cursing. Good fun when you can't sleep.
Other tasks accomplished while not sleeping, worked with Net::Amazon some. That's pretty cool. I wish they made it possible to get at things like my reviews. Then I'd be a real cool dude and I'd make an rss and everything and I'd write my advogato-to-blogger scraper and toss them reviews right in there too. But by the time I finally get all that motivation in place, and started writing code, somebody's going to give me a job. Or tell me to move. Or something.
Sandy quits her job tomorrow, and starts a new one next week. It will be pleasant having her for four days. And the new job rocks. Maybe then Fujitsu will call and tell me I need to move to Hawaii and her new job will be moot.
RIP, Hunter S. Thompson. No shame in suicide. I hope he got what he wanted.
20 February, 2005
Getting a lotta shit done on the wikipedia, and I've even started working on the wiktionary (not really my bag, but there are a lot of articles in the wikipedia which should really be moved over; I've been doing that).
Would like to transition blog from advogato to Blogger so that I can integrate my flickr feed with it, but the guy who wrote the Net::Blogger interface didn't deign to add "date" fields to newPost(), even though Blogger supports it. And, naturally, like all of the goddamn cpan (besides me!) he doesn't answer his fucking email.
So maybe I write a scrape-and-post script myself. It'd be useless because of course it would be me-tailored, and I'd only use it once, and it would only be because that guy didn't write very good software. That would suck. And I'd rather read about fucking catamarans anyways.
I guess it's evident I'm in a foul mood. Fujitsu hasn't called, so we're still on hold on the whole moving to hawaii thing. I interviewed at NASA the other day, but managed, like a complete asshole, to be almost an hour late for the interview. I did pretty well on the technical part of it, but everyone was late and running around irritated that I had put my interview into the middle of their day. So I'm not crossing my fingers.
Somebody also recently asked me for my opinion on company blogging policy. I'd just like to point out this link, which I think zhaoway found first:
And then my friend Colin had to come along and point me at this. Ugh. I'm not the blogging posterboy. And again, I hate that word. But I do want to repeat here, what I said to him, because I do believe it is important.
it's entirely moot. think about it. regardless of whether it's free speech, or whether it's libel against the company, or divulging secrets, companies need to have policies on the subject because people are going to continue to do it. and they need to have policies that make their employees feel like they're part of a company that cares about them or they will FORCE their employees to blog negatively about them. oroboros, my friend.
And so here ends another useless rant about joblessness and weblogging and all that other drivel. I wish I had some better news to report, but I don't. Rest assured, if I hear good news from anyone, advogato will be somewhere in line to hear it.
I fucking hate software.
Let me start with memory usage. To round out the top ten, on my powerbook, with a gig of ram (which has allocated 8.9gb (!!!) of swap to defend itself):
- Finder 1.2gb
- firefox 678mb
- Photoshop CS 380mb
- "WindowServer" 332mb
- Word 2004 314mb
- Keynote 308mb
- iPhoto 295mb
- Pages 264mb
- "ATSServer" 234mb
- iTunes 230mb
Now, Photoshop, I expect that from. And even iPhoto -- it's got a lot of stuff to keep track of. And iTunes is playing some music (Jah Wobble incidentally), and keeping track of 11,000 tracks. But what the fuck is the finder's problem? Or firefox's? What bugs me is I could buy another gig of ram for my powerbook and I'd still be equally fucked.
Now, I'm gonna rant a little different. I got iWork 05 recently, and was thrilled to death to have Pages so I no longer have to use Word, which is slow, and hideous. I decided, being prudent and jobless, it might be a good time to update my resume. My resume has gotten kind of cluttered over the years. It's gotten me a few jobs, but it is really time to make a resume that I like. So I made one. In pages. And yay, it turned out okay in PDF too. But every fucking recruiter and HR droid on the planet wants MS Word. So, I export from Pages to Word, and get this garbage. It's totally goddamn fubar. And if I sent that to a catbert, I'd get laughed at. I certainly wouldn't get the job. And that same catbert wouldn't take a pdf. So I wasted my damn time making a resume I liked, and I suppose I'll just have to go with the resume that "seems to work" and hate it.
Some bitches better start calling me about some jobs. Real damn soon.
Ah. After Jah Wobble came Underworld. Cups is good. Will have some more of my Aberlour and perhaps drown my misery in progressive house and scotch. I'd say "fuck all y'all", but it isn't really your fault. We're all here because we like software, and want to see it suck less. I just wish we were there NOW.