Sunday, August 28

pi is NOT 3.14

According to Indiana, US state law the value of pi is 4, not 3.1415 :)

Check out more funny american laws here

Saturday, August 27

Fake Ralphies

Just spotted a fake Ralph Lauren Classic polo shirt on a guy on the street. Funny thing is that the color combo doesn't even exist in the real collection. Fake fakes :-)
Bogus! Watch out.

The real thing:

Friday, August 26

Why Starbucks

-Why do I like Starbucks?

  • Good coffee! First and most importantly, the coffee is the best around when it comes to common chains.
  • Nice stores. The stores always look clean and fresh, not old and scruffy as many others. Often nice sofas soft chairs
  • Atmosphere. It's always a nice relaxing feeling to step in to a Starbucks store (well almost, rush hour can be mayhem (that's why I don't work regular hours)).
  • Good staff. Most of their staff is extremely friendly and very nice, they seem to hire people with a good attitude and at least some experience in the area. And without sounding to sexist, they do hire "more beautiful people". In my local Starbucks (Cowcross St, Farringdon) there is an extremely cute blonde with freckles working. Oh yes!)
  • Fun drinks. Ok, I'm not a huge fan of the exotic drinks, 99 times out of 100 I will order a Grante Late, however, it is nice to have the option to order a nice strawberry frappochino on a hot summer day.
  • Cool music. Perhaps a big part of the atmosphere. Starbucks always play smooth relaxing music. Jazz, blues, soft soul, folk etc.

  • Backup alternative? Caffee Nero

    Wednesday, August 24

    XFCE - And things just get faster!

    Time to take back the desktop. I'm sick and tired of people complaining about GNOME, KDE, CDE and JDS all the time ranting about how slow it makes their systems.
    Stop complaining and install XFCE!

    XFCE provides a clean and fast desktop without clutter or overgrown widgets that you never use. On my Centrino laptop screenshot [1600x1200]) it starts in about 3 seconds.

    Fresh screenshot of my desktop:

    Official snaps:

    Guys, we all like breasts yes?
    Please donate to the Breast Cancer Research campaign over at to save as many breasts as possible!
    You can pop in to any Ann-Summers and donate or use the web site. They give you a cool pink wristband if you do!

    Tuesday, August 23

    The x64 Factor

    Sun is continuing to kick x64 ass. First the quite decent OEM v20z and v40z (from Sanmina) then the awesome Ultra 20 and now it's time to slay the x86 market with their own line of opteron servers (codename becky). Most likely three models 2 socket, 4 socket and the 8 socket monster.
    Read the article on The Register

    Click to sign up [] to the Network Computing 05Q3 Web event on the 12th of September.

    And now a music recommendation.
    New cool electronica album from Goldfrapp. Very modern and smooth with classic samplings with the SID feeling. Simply good. Go buy it (or take a peak listen here).

    Goldfrapp - Supernatural

    Wednesday, August 17

    IRC is for you!

    Time to get some more people to use IRC.

    Firstly, I'm now a permanent "op" (moderator/operator) in the #oracle channel on FreeNode.

    Secondly, there must be at least a few hundred channels that will catch your interest. More or less every single known community open-source project has got an IRC channel. You have #kde, #postgres, #mplayer. There are also channels for probably all programming and scripting languages such as #python, #perl, #java and #sql and of course #solaris and #opensolaris. Sun even keep a few real Sun support techies in the Solaris channels. Cool.

    So just yum/pkg-get/apt-get an IRC client if you don't already have one (good changes are that you already have one).
    I personally use IRSSI which is a shell based client that works great to run in a screen so I can attach/detach wherever I am.
    Other GUI based options are XChat for any operating system (Linux, Solaris, AIX, Windows, *BSD etc) or the old classic mIRC client for Windows.

    See you on IRC!

    Monday, August 15

    Database/schema duplication in Postgres

    In Oracle it is extremely simply to replicate a schema to another. Using an export and doing the import using the fromuser/touser options it is done within minutes without hassle with permissions or other issues.
    So how do I do that in Postgres?
    Here is the method I currently use, way to many steps IMO.
    postgres@server77[~]$ pg_dump -O database > database_dump.sql
    postgres@server77[~]$ psql template1 postgres
    Welcome to psql 8.0.3, the PostgreSQL interactive terminal. [...]
    template1=> create user bob password 'bobby123';
    template1=> grant all on tablespace data1 to bob;
    template1=> alter user bob set default_tablespace to 'data1';
    template1=> alter user bob set search_path to schema1,
    schema2, public;

    NOTICE: schema "schema1" does not exist
    NOTICE: schema "schema2" does not exist
    template1=> create database newdb owner=bob tablespace=data1
    template1-> encoding='unicode' template=template1;
    template1=> \connect newdb bob
    You are now connected to database 'newdb' as user 'bob'.
    newdb=> \i database_dump.sql
    [ lots of output from data execution ]
    newdb=> \d
    [ list of relations, make sure all your
    objects are present ]

    newdb=> ^D

    I'm welcome to suggestions on how to do this easier and faster. Our developers love to have test database to break and play with.

    Another thing is that I've seen some problems with schema entities from Java, even tho the user search_path is set correctly it's not possible to reference a table.
    This is even more likely to happened when a schema has been renamed. Our Java guru Andres (hey dude!) have informed me about this a few times. I'll see if I can find something in PG bugzilla or I'll submit a new report to the development team.

    Over and out.

    Friday, August 5

    Server shopping

    So yesterday was Dell bashing day. Today is Dell praising day.
    I need to get a few new server for an upcoming project with a quite strict budget. After shopping around for a few hours the options where quite clear, we only had one option. Dell.
    The price for one PE2850 with two 3.2GHz procs, 2Gb RAM, 6x 36Gb 15krpm disks and two PESC1425 single 3.2GHz proc, 2Gb RAM, 2x 80Gb disks is just over £4000. I could hardly believe it, really good price. I hope the SC1425 budget boxes perform as well as their big brother the 1850 tho. The only real down buy is the lack of a RAC controller and that they are single PSU (not counting the fact I went for the SATA model instead of SCSI). We will load balance the pair anyway so redundancy for the machines themselves isn't that important.
    There not v40z's but hey, good bang for buck ratio. :)

    Now the question is regarding partitioning on the Postgres server.
    6 drives with two viable options.
  • All six drives in a RAID5 volume.
  • Three RAID1 volumes.

    In my past experience the best option for off-the-shelf RAID controllers with less than 10 drives is just to make one single RAID5 volume. Probably what I'll end up doing this time as well. IBM has got a quite nice RAID level called 5E, sort of like RAID5 but you loose a bit more space but gain a lot in write performance, to bad Dell/LSI can't adopt something similar.

    Another question, is EM64T Linux mature enough for a production environment?
    I doubt it, but will probably test it before we go live on 32-bits.

    Ok, back to writing anaconda kickstart scripts for Centos.
  • Thursday, August 4

    Dell vs. Home built x86 PC

    Ok, I've had this annoyance for a while now. My desktop at work is a Dell Dimension with a 3.0GHz proc and a SATA drive, but it still gets completely bogged down when I write a DVD disc, the same thing happens when someone copies like a large ISO-file from my PC over the LAN. Initially I thought it was just the way it was when writing DVD's or other heavy I/O.
    However, when I tried burning a DVD on my friends home built 3.0GHz box with a similar SATA drive and spec., it was hardly noticeable. The only real difference in hardware is the he's got a better motherboard (Asus or Abit I think) and thus probably a better IDE chipset. My guess is that the cheap bastards at Dell chose the cheapest possible junk chips they could find and hence leaving more load on the CPU when I/O comes in to play, more DMA load or something.

    Conclusion; -Dell suck when it comes to raw-power!
    Sounds like I need that dual-core machine sort of ASAP. :D

    Cool flash aninmation about switching to Linux (like RPM and shit):

    Tuesday, August 2

    Intel as the low cost budget alternative?

    5 years ago when the AMD Athlon first came to the market it was the "bang for buck" leader on the market with a quite low price. With its fair share of problems, overheating, a bit unstable etc. Now when AMD have sorted out those problems and even got the technology advantage on the market it seems like Intel is trying to take that spot. Don't get me wrong, I've been a AMD users since the Athlon XP was released, except for the last year when I've only had my Pentium M laptop.
    The "new" dual-core Pentium processor are cheap, fast, lots of cache. But hot and their power consumption is totally out the window, some sources say 70W at idle, just insane, the equivalent AMD64 idles at less than 15W.

    Ok, but that aside. The pros of the d800 series chips are quite nice, you get DDR2, the i955 chipset and most i955 motherboards support 8Gb RAM instead of the usual 4Gb you get on normal AMD boards. The prices of RAM is starting to become quite acceptable, a 2Gb branded DDR2 kit (2x1Gb) is around £150GBP Inc. VAT here in the UK. Add a decent motherboard at say 120 and you get a good system upgrade for around £450 GBP. Of course this is not the best option for a gamer, but for me as a boring data crunching / data shuffeling guy it's damn good value for money. A perfect database test pc.
    The equivalent AMD X2 system is probably another hundred or so.

    SMP systems are still quite costly, I do miss the old classic concept of the Abit BP6 motherboard, capable of running dual Celerons without any adapters.
    I do miss my old Bp6 machine (some of my old friends probably remember the blue sprayed mega-tower machine nick named "KES" (from StarTrek yes)) :).
    The only good alternative these days is to try to pick up a SMP box on Ebay. It's easy to find a good spec. Sparc or PA-RISC box. But I do probably need to boot Windows once in a blue moon to test something (Ok, to play games).