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Description: Xarg blog
Last Update: 10:13:52 02/15/2005
 

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First Fetched: 00:18:58 01/31/2004
Last Updated: 10:13:52 02/15/2005

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PostgreSQL 8.0 - it rocks.
I have been testing with PostgreSQL 8 for a month or so and I have to say it is most excellent. There is a long list of improvements in functionality but the things that I like are the little things they don't really mention like \d VIEW shows you the rule body if it exists and functions are parsed at the time they are created which catches lots of bugs and best of all is getting tracebacks from plpgsql errors.
03:08:13 February 7, 2005, Monday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Counting Queries: PostgreSQL SQL Analysis
An article on tuning queries by munging through the postgres server logs. veryone wants their database-backed web application to run faster on the same hardware - if a software tweak can postpone a hardware upgrade for a year, it's usually well worth it. One way to improve performance is to examine how the application is interacting with the database, and see if there is anything that we can do to speed things up. We will take a look at a handy script that can examine PostgreSQL logs and le...
12:31:07 June 29, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Debugging
I wanted to try to figure out why AOLServer gets so large when generating pages with a lot of data (when the CVS browser generates a large page the AOLServer binary can grow by 100MB or so -- not a great thing to have happen). Anyway, I fired up GDB and was trying to figure out what was going on and had no success at all. I could not even set a breakpoint... It turns out that on gentoo (and some others, like Mandrake 9), libpthread is stripped which means GDB can't do anything useful w...
08:53:28 June 27, 2004, Sunday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
ACM Queue - Articles on Open source
Interesting articles on open source in the ACM Queue magazine.... In our first open source theme issue last year (ACM Queue 1(5), July-August 2003), we focused on business issues such as using open source software as a basis for a commercial product. We knew that this was an important topic, but predicted that many of our readers might find it boring. We were wrong. That issue remains among the most responded-to issues of Queue to date. So with that response, we are revisiting the open sour...
04:16:15 June 24, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Windowmaker
After several years of running KDE I realized I don't actually use anything from KDE (besides konsole) and decided it was time to try some other window managers. I am using windowmaker now and I like it so far. I like workspaces and I like the dock but I can't figure out how to get click to raise working without doing alt-right click in the active window (I liked the kde behavior of simply clicking on the window to raise it). I had to unbind a bunch of things that conflicted w...
01:06:01 June 21, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Moved and upgraded the server...
I upgraded to OpenACS 5.1 and moved the server off of our overloaded shared machine (although it's still somewhere in Texas). Upgrading was not as bad as I thought it might be although there are a bunch of little things still broken. I changed my dns entry as well so that may take a day or two to propigate (which hopefully won't bork my email as well, since before I did not have an MX record for xarg.net).
05:42:56 June 8, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Spiel checking
I am always entertained when I find the consequence of spell checking without corresponding proofreading in books or in the newspaper. Today's online version of a Times Op-Ed piece was a pretty funny example: For some years now, the Energy Department has been hoping to separate its wastes into two streams, reserving deep burial for only the part with high radioactivity. In the case of the South Carolina site, the department is prepared to pump most of the waste out of the tanks for disp...
01:57:13 June 3, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Spiel checking
I am always entertained when I find the consequence of spell checking without corresponding proofreading in books or in the newspaper. Today's online version of a Times Op-Ed piece was a pretty funny example: For some years now, the Energy Department has been hoping to separate its wastes into two streams, reserving deep burial for only the part with high radioactivity. In the case of the South Carolina site, the department is prepared to pump most of the waste out of the tanks for disposal through deep burial. But it wants to leave a hard-to-remove residue of sludge in the tanks and bury it under grout. Maybe it's just me but I find it hard to imagine that grout is the ideal encasement material for high level nuclear waste...
17:57:00 June 2, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
New LCDs
I just got two 20" LCD monitors (eizo l885's) to replace my 19" CRTs. I thought they would be better but I am utterly astounded by how much better they are. Although I think switching to DVI made a big difference too. In any case, if you are thinking of spending 4x as much as your computer cost on monitors, I recommend the eizo LCDs. One nice touch is you can turn off the annoyingly bright blue power led from the on screen menu. One curiosity is that the monitor controls are black b...
14:07:05 May 11, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
New LCDs
I just got two 20" LCD monitors (eizo l885's) to replace my 19" CRTs. I thought they would be better but I am utterly astounded by how much better they are. Although I think switching to DVI made a big difference too. In any case, if you are thinking of spending 4x as much as your computer cost on monitors, I recommend the eizo LCDs. One nice touch is you can turn off the annoyingly bright blue power led from the on screen menu. One curiosity is that the monitor controls are black buttons with black writing on a black bezel. Sort of reminds me of that spaceship in Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy.
18:07:00 May 10, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Blogging KM/Community of Practice notes
I have been blogging my notes for KM and Community of Practice at sm.xarg.net...
00:18:23 April 24, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Blogging KM/Community of Practice notes
I have been blogging my notes for KM and Community of Practice at <a href="http://sm.xarg.net/cop/blog">sm.xarg.net</a>...
16:18:00 April 23, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
Article on OSS SCM systems
I saw a mention of a really nice article by David Wheeler titled Comments on Software Configuration Management (SCM) Systems. We have talked about switching to something better than CVS for OpenACS development but I don't think collectively we have the will to do it yet. I played with arch some and I certainly found it difficult to get used to the naming conventions it requires and the fiddly nature of setting up an archive but I agree with David Wheelers conclusion: Personally, a...
01:40:47 March 25, 2004, Thursday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Article on OSS SCM systems
I saw a mention of a really nice article by David Wheeler titled Comments on Software Configuration Management (SCM) Systems. We have talked about switching to something better than CVS for OpenACS development but I don't think collectively we have the will to do it yet. I played with arch some and I certainly found it difficult to get used to the naming conventions it requires and the fiddly nature of setting up an archive but I agree with David Wheelers conclusion: Personally, although I'd be happy to use subversion on others' projects, I personally plan to use GNU Arch; its warts are numerous, but I think they'll be rapidly fixed and GNU Arch has a tremendous amount of promise.
16:40:00 March 24, 2004, Wednesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Visualizing change
There is a beautiful presentation on “visualizing dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors” from the Collaborative User Experience Research group at IBM (via Object Learning). I think the diagrams have a particular Tufteian beauty. I would love to have a tool like this for the OpenACS source. Sort of like colored diff in cvsweb but extended over all versions. Of course in CVS you have the added complication of branching an merging...
00:59:05 March 17, 2004, Wednesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Visualizing change
There is a beautiful presentation on “visualizing dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors” from the Collaborative User Experience Research group at IBM (via Object Learning). I think the diagrams have a particular Tufteian beauty. I would love to have a tool like this for the OpenACS source. Sort of like colored diff in cvsweb but extended over all versions. Of course in CVS you have the added complication of branching an merging but even so it would be cool. I love things that expose the history of documents and foster that sense of shared ownership and collaboration and it's hard to imagine something more effective than this tool.
15:59:00 March 16, 2004, Tuesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Professionalism
I found the article about the Win2K source at Kuro5hin.org pretty entertaining. The funny thing is the whole issue of innappropriate comments in code has come up a number of times with ACS and later OpenACS. It even inspired Philip to write an article about it and it came up more than once from clients who looked at the source. I am not at all surprised to find that comments like this exist in Microsoft's code since they are not at all visible to the end user, well not usually anyway...
09:51:37 February 19, 2004, Thursday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Professionalism
I found the article about the Win2K source at Kuro5hin.org pretty entertaining. The funny thing is the whole issue of innappropriate comments in code has come up a number of times with ACS and later OpenACS. It even inspired Philip to write an article about it and it came up more than once from clients who looked at the source. I am not at all surprised to find that comments like this exist in Microsoft's code since they are not at all visible to the end user, well not usually anyway :) There are still a lot of "Hack" type comments in OpenACS but since the code is visible and people have complained, we have thought of the children and removed the "f word". I really like the pithy comments though, it does a far better job of conveying the history of the code and the personalities of the people who have worked on it that a grey uniform "professional" expunging of anything even remotely offensive ever could. Code needs to work and be correct but the comments should convey the intent ...
00:51:00 February 19, 2004, Thursday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Bugs!
I finally made it to Shine Gallery to pick out my christmas present. A picture of a bug! But not just any picture, these are amazingly detailed photos constructed from a mosiac of hundreds of scans from an electron microscope. They capture the essence of bugness and are astonishingly detailed. The artist who makes them is Giles Revell and there are a couple nice articles at scicult and The Manchester Museum about his work. I have always been fascinated by electron microscopy...
03:39:26 February 11, 2004, Wednesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Bugs!
I finally made it to Shine Gallery to pick out my christmas present. A picture of a bug! But not just any picture, these are amazingly detailed photos constructed from a mosiac of hundreds of scans from an electron microscope. They capture the essence of bugness and are astonishingly detailed. The artist who makes them is Giles Revell and there are a couple nice articles at scicult and The Manchester Museum about his work. I have always been fascinated by electron microscopy ever since I saw a real electron microscope at the exploratorium in San Francisco when I was a kid and it always seemed strange to me that you could not get more images like this. Going to Shine gallery, they showed me the works in progress and artists proofs and I now realize why there are not more images like this around. It's an incredible amount of work to create one. One thing they have is all the individual scans on one page as thumbnails and when you realize each one takes a while to do properly and the ...
18:39:00 February 10, 2004, Tuesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Ongoing On Search
Tim Bray has written a nice collection of documents on searching at his blog. It covers a lot of background and highlights the multitude of hard (and largely unsolved) problems that still exist.
05:01:50 December 3, 2003, Wednesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Ongoing On Search
Tim Bray has written a nice collection of documents on searching at his blog. It covers a lot of background and highlights the multitude of hard (and largely unsolved) problems that still exist.
20:01:00 December 2, 2003, Tuesday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Clay Shirky
I think Clay Shirky rocks and if you don't read him now you should. His most recent article is about the semantic web and the promise it really holds. It joins Cory Doctorow's article as one of my favorite articles on metadata. Much of the proposed value of the Semantic Web is coming, but it is not coming because of the Semantic Web. The amount of meta-data we generate is increasingly dramatically, and it is being exposed for consumption by machines as well as, or instead of, peo...
03:26:33 November 8, 2003, Saturday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Clay Shirky
I think Clay Shirky rocks and if you don't read him now you should. His most recent article is about the semantic web and the promise it really holds. It joins Cory Doctorow's article as one of my favorite articles on metadata. Much of the proposed value of the Semantic Web is coming, but it is not coming because of the Semantic Web. The amount of meta-data we generate is increasingly dramatically, and it is being exposed for consumption by machines as well as, or instead of, people. But it is being designed a bit at a time, out of self-interest and without regard for global ontology. It is also being adopted piecemeal, and it will bring with it with all the incompatibilities and complexities that implies. There are significant disadvantages to this process relative to the shining vision of the Semantic Web, but the big advantage of this bottom-up design and adoption is that it is actually working now. Cory Doctorow is more succinct: A world of exhaustive, reliable metadata would ...
18:26:00 November 7, 2003, Friday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Gentoo
I bought a little Shuttle XPC box and installed gentoo linux on it. Gentoo is cool, it's sort of like debian but it's all compiled from source so you can compile everything optimized for your particular box. I would not say it's for the faint of heart and the install summary has about 35 steps but it all worked for me in the end. The package install tool is nice and it's pretty easy to install dev packages (like gimp 1.3.21). It took a few days to compile everything and it's astonishing to consider how complex the full build was but I do feel like I got my money's worth out of the cpu. As soon as I get dual screens working on the shuttle box I am going to switch to using it as my desktop box and stick my current (very noisy) tower in the garage as my db/dev/fileserver box.
00:17:00 October 27, 2003, Monday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
My gold box...
I clicked on my amazon gold box offer for the first time and found the Nesco American Harvest, BJW-1, Beef Jerky Works Kit was my personal treasure. It looks like a beef jerky caulk gun to me; I am now a true believer in Amazon's ability to see through to our darkest desires.
16:47:00 October 26, 2003, Sunday (PST) Source: Xarg blog
Submarines
There is a story on CNN about a company selling personal submarines for $845k. I would like one but what I really really want is the Deep Rover which is amazing, it's two hemispheres of acrylic, has pretty much 360 degree visibility, and can dive to 1000m. No price on the website for that one though. (here's another page with some more photos).
18:26:00 October 24, 2003, Friday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
User friendly
I recently did to installs here, Windows XP (since bit rot had afflicted the windows ME install on the kids machine and it would not stay up for more than a few hours at a time), and Debian + Oracle since the hard drive on my db machine died. I expected Windows to install smoothly and I expected oracle + debian to be the usual eyeball stabbing fun (especially since I had not installed either debian or 9i before). In a shocking turn of events the Debian install was easy, Oracle was the same as it always is, and the XP install was a hellish nightmare with me having to update the BIOS, pull out all the cards but the video card, and fiddle with memory before it would allow itself to install on the box (and I still am not sure what the problem was). I think Windows ultimate downfall will be it's increasingly annoying attempts to control the platform (with registration, DRM, hardware requirements, etc) while open source platforms like Debian will continue to get easier to use and more ...
17:49:00 October 16, 2003, Thursday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
The joys of DSLR ownership...
I spent the afternoon preparing myself psychically to stick my clumsy fingers into my digital camera. I bought the eclipse solution (pure methanol I think), the pec-pads, the spatula (no Wendy's here in london) and finally worked up the nerve to risk destroying my favorite toy. All in the interest of getting rid of a little dust. In the process of figuring out how to clean the camera myself I ran across the best article summing up the joys of owning a DSLR camera. On the plus side, the Boots down the street has a Fuji Frontier 370 now and can make reasonable prints for 15p (about $.22) each, with a second set half price. I am actually finally getting some of the photos I never took the time print and am finding I like having them on paper rather than just in the computer.
17:53:00 September 26, 2003, Friday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog
10 Years of Linux For Me
I realized while cleaning out my office that as best I can tell it has been 10 years since I first installed linux. I found my slackware 1.0.2 boot floppy (the other 40 floppies got tossed some time ago), which was released in Septemeber 1993. I think it was installed on a box with a 20MHz 386 and a 80MB seagate st296n. I had used SCO Unix before that (Oh, the shame) and still remember being amazed at how much easier it was to install than SCO and that all the things I remember from BSD were there and just worked.
21:12:00 September 22, 2003, Monday (PDT) Source: Xarg blog