An Open Letter To Comcast
Oct 7, 2015
Foreword: On the morning of Monday, September 28th, I noticed that my Skype connection was hanging intermittently. When GoToMeeting exhibited the same behavior, some basic diagnostics betrayed cyclical latency spikes at the two IP addresses directly upstream from my house in the Comcast network. That was a week and a half ago. Dear Comcast,1. You’ve failed technically TL;DR - the problem went unnoticed Your first failure is that the problem went entirely unnoticed.
Do you even compress.bro?
Sep 23, 2015
Google announced yesterday a new compression algorithm they call “Brotli.” They bill it as … a combination of a modern variant of the LZ77 algorithm, Huffman coding and 2nd order context modeling… I’m no compression expert but I do know that the Lempel-Ziv algirothm offers one of the best speed:compression ratios for practical use, and Google claims that Brotli operates approximately as fast as zlib while achieving compression ratios 25% better than their previous algorithm, Zopfli.
Extending Windows C: Drive using VirtualBox and iSCSI with FreeNAS
Aug 28, 2015
Previously I described how to [use VirtualBox to set up a Windows VM with storage on a FreeNAS (courtesy iSCSI)][previous post]. To rehash very briefly, it’s straightforward: from FreeNAS, create a zvol and export it via iSCSI. On your virtual machine host, drop to the command line to create a virtual hard drive based on that iSCSI target. This post assumes you’re familiar with that process. I did just that earlier this year, and the results - even without intense performance tuning - were impressive on my Gbps LAN.
More granular console SQL coloration
Aug 3, 2015
Thanks to having spent far too much time admiring Nyan Cat derivatives, the Rails 5.0 console will include a new SQL logging coloration scheme. In a [previous post], I explained the code responsible for the cyan/magenta striping of SQL statement prefixes in the rails console. I reviewed the Rails log/blame to watch the evolution of the code over time - having spend more than 10 years in the same VCS, Rails is positively fascinating as the subject of retrospective code reviews.
[SOLVED] What do the colors mean in the rails console?
Jun 17, 2015
TL;DR — Nothing. Ever notice that database log entry prefixes are colored in the rails console? Ever wonder just what the cyan and magenta represent? There didn’t seem to be an identifiable pattern, so I went fishing in the rails source. It was a deep rabbit hole (because RoR is such a sprawling beast of indirection), but eventually I wound up staring at ActiveRecord::LogSubscriber#sql which is defined in log_subscriber.rb around line 33:
Configuring VirtualBox for iSCSI with FreeNAS
Jun 4, 2015
I recently brought a shiny new FreeNAS server online. One of the objectives for the new network storage device was to offload my VirtualBox virtual machine storage from my workstation. Managing as many VMs as I do can take a lot of space, and running them simultaneously while trying to get real work done will eat through whatever headroom a top-end PC has in short order, particularly if any of those guests are Windows.
Rust, Part 1: Welcome to the 21st Century
Apr 15, 2015
Rust, from Mozilla Research, has shipped a 1.0 beta. Image Credit: NylithiusWelcome to the 21st century. To celebrate this great milestone — the advent of modern, civilized society — this is the first in a series of articles looking at Rust from various theoretical and practical perspectives. What is Rust? Straight from the horses mouth: Rust is a systems programming language that runs blazingly fast, prevents almost all crashes*, and eliminates data races.
Apr 3, 2015
The NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein is probably the most fascinating interactive map I’ve seen in years, and certainly the coolest thing I’ve discovered in 2015. Curious what would happen if the weapon used against Nagasaki (the 21kt Fat Man) were instead deployed on downtown Pittsburgh? How about the largest nuclear device ever exploded (the 50Mt Tsar Bomba) being detonated in London instead of the Arctic Circle? The big limitation to the NUKEMAP is terrain awareness.
Occasional HTML emails in Thunderbird
Apr 1, 2015
Vertical Cursor Rulers for Atom
Mar 31, 2015
When Github announced the Atom text editor in early 2014, I investigated, but only briefly. Most notably at the time, the early builds were OS X only, and I use Arch Linux on my primary workstation. Performance was abysmal. Features were laughably limited. Atom was just an initial beta, and it sure felt like one. But it had massive potential, and even I as a curmudgeon (my native tongue is C) saw the beauty in the Ouroboros.