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The Continuing Adventures of an Ohio Sysadmin in the Land of Twang
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So, The Dark Knight Rises happened.

Like its predecessors Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Rises is great cinema but a middling Batman adaptation. It's generally well written, well acted, and well made. It does a pretty good job of tying up pretty much all the loose ends from the previous films.

But, as I said, I found it to be a middling Batman adaptation, for a number of reasons.

Further thoughts on the film and the series. WARNING: Here there be spoilersCollapse )

Is it perfect? No. Is it worth seeing? Definitely.

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If you've talked to me about anything tech-related in the last few months, you've probably heard me rant about GNOME 3...Collapse )

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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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So, in case you hadn't guessed, I went to Dragon*Con last weekend. I figure I should do a braindump/lessons-learned about that while it's still relatively fresh in my mind. (If you're just looking for pictures, head over to Facebook.)

Read more...Collapse )

Oh, and the t-shirt I got? Was actually kind of awesome.

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Current Mood: reflective

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As you know, I have all three great virtues of a programmer (laziness, impatience, and hubris), but it's impatience I want to discuss today. You see, I've been cooking with slow-cooking methods (specifically slow cookers/crock pots and smoking on the grill) lately. Crock pots are particularly handy because you can set something up, go to work (or bed), and have something ready to eat when you come home (or wake up), which appeals to the whole laziness thing.

I've been trying out a few of my own ideas. (There's the hubris part.) One of them in particular takes a bit of patience but also rewards it. The weird part is, it's basically Thai food, and while it seems at least mildly heretical to make Thai food in a crock pot, it tastes good enough to share. So, in the apparent wake of "Good Eats" (my favorite cooking show), here it is:

Porco Rosso
(Yes, it's named for a Miyazaki film.)

1 lb. pork loin or chop, sliced into small chunks
1-2 bell peppers, sliced into small chunks
1 small onion, sliced into small chunks
0.25-0.5 lb. mushrooms, sliced into small chunks
1.5 cups of Thai red curry sauce (either home-made or from e.g. Trader Joe's or Kikkoman's -- this is basically one bottle of commercially made sauce BTW)
Thai-style rice noodles or brown rice

marinade:
1 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder

Two nights before: Combine the soy sauce, basil, coriander, and garlic powder in a covered container and let sit refrigerated for at least 24 hours.

The night before: Add the sake to the marinade and pour over the pork. Let sit refrigerated in a covered container for at least 8 hours (preferably 12).

The day of: Drain the marinade from the pork. Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 of the curry sauce into the bottom of the crock pot and spread evenly. Add half of the peppers and onions, then half of the mushrooms, then the pork, then the other half of the mushrooms, then the other half of the peppers and onions. Pour the rest of the curry sauce over the top evenly. Cover and set the crock pot to low. Let cook for 6-8 hours.

T minus five minutes to dinner: Serve over rice noodles or brown rice as preferred. (I prefer the noodles, but that's just me. Either will work.)

Serves 3-5.

For extra spce, add 1-2 dried Thai chilis to the crock pot at the start of cooking.

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Current Mood: accomplished

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You may recall from two earlier LJ posts that my desktop computer has an array of first two and now four 500GB SATA disks with two file systems on it, an XFS file system on an LVM volume and an ext3 file system on a RAID-10 volume.

I recently rebuilt my desktop computer, and pretty much the only thing left from the old system was the disk array. The new system is Atom-based rather than Athlon64-based, as my desktop is basically a file server at this point and there's no sense burning a huge amount of CPU power and electricity on that. However, I was curious if the new system would perform better/worse/the same as the old system. The new system also has an SSD as its system disk using ext4 as the file system, and I was curious how that would compare as well. Here are the results using bonnie++ -s 8g -f -n 0:
Version  1.96       ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
Concurrency   1     -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine        Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP  /sec %CP
lvm/xfs          8G           59075  45 34133  32          100597  34  338.8 23
raid10/ext3      8G           29760  38 21224  20           95460  26  471.3 47
raid10/ext4      8G           29851  26 21382  18           91630  25  615.2 38
ssd/ext4         8G          131859  96 87759  63          270494  61 2515  244
The results from the disk array are honestly a bit disappointing -- there seems to be a ~20% performance penalty going from the old machine to the new one. I suspect that's a limitation of the new machine's disk controller -- the new machine has a 4-port SATA-II RAID card in a PCI slot, while the old machine had that built right onto the mobo.

UPDATE: I converted the ext3 FS on the RAID10 to ext4 and reran the test. The effect was negligible.

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Current Mood: curious curious

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...or, "I have spent far too much time around taokodr."

These days, Hollywood mostly runs on high concept. However, every so often one comes up with a "high concept" so low that even Michael Bay and Uwe Boll would be appalled by them. So, I offer up the following in the hopes that, should anyone in Hollywood try to propose them, they'll be promptly mass-drivered out of existence.

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Current Mood: silly silly

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There's been some stuff in the news about Universal temporarily shelving Guillermo Del Toro's planned adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft novella At the Mountains of Madness (which has been Del Toro's pet project for ages). Apparently Universal choked on the idea of a R-rated horror movie that cost $150M and starred Tom Cruise, and some people (notably Harry Knowles) took them to task for it.

OK, a couple things:
  1. Let's be honest here, a $150M R-rated horror movie is unlikely to make enough money to turn a profit, no matter how good it is. Universal has made a fair number of genre films over the last few years, and they've often lost money in the deal, even when the movies in question were good (e.g. Serenity and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). So I can understand them being skittish about this.
  2. Does this really need to be a $150M movie? I mean, most of the second half of it is two guys talking while walking down dimly lit hallways. There's really only maybe half a dozen scenes' worth of serious effects shots needed IMHO. Maybe the budget is for doing location shooting... actually in Antarctica
  3. Even getting past the budget thing, does anybody really want to see Tom Cruise in this? I haven't forgiven him for his various crimes against cinema (e.g. the "I know kung fu Niten Ichi Ryu kenjitsu" scene in The Last Samurai, Interview with a Vampire, playing the idiot who buggers everything up in Taps, etc.), and honestly I have to wonder if his name was attached to the project mainly to justify the outrageous budget.
Apparently Del Toro's going to try again in a couple years. However, I have to think he'd be better served by going with a smaller budget and a cast of mostly unknowns (aside from of course his perrenial good-luck charm, Ron Perlman). That seemed to work out well for a couple of other little movies I can think of... namely, Star Wars and Alien.

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Current Mood: indifferent indifferent

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After the passing of Dwayne McDuffie yesterday, journalist Jill Pantozzi (a.k.a. the Nerdy Bird) posted an article about showing some appreciation for our favorite creators while we're still able to do so. I rather like that idea, so here's my list:
  • Team Timm: Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, Andrea Romano, and of course the late Dwayne McDuffie have been knocking them out of the park since, what, 1993? Starting from Batman: the Animated Series and on through to today's DC animated DTV movies, these folks pretty much set the bar for consistent quality in western animation. I can think of no higher recommendation than this: their adaptation of "For the Man Who Has Everything" for Justice League Unlimited is the only adaptation of an Alan Moore comic that Alan Moore actually likes.
  • Team Mutant Enemy: Um, duh. Buffy, Firefly/Serenity, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog... Do I really have to explain this?
  • Team Weta: And again I say: Duh. OK, King Kong was a bit of a misstep (as was that little diversion through Osgilliath), but it's hard to imagine anybody doing a significantly better job filming The Lord of the Rings than PJ did.
  • Studio Ghibli: Miyazaki keeps saying he's going to retire, but as long as he and his keep turning out stuff like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, and Princess Mononoke every couple years, I'll keep hoping he's wrong.
  • Jim Lee: He's some high muckity-muck at DC now, but he's been my favorite superhero comics artist since the late '80s. (It's a shame about him now being paired with the now-apparently-crazy Frank Miller on ASBAR, though...)

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Current Mood: sad sad

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Oracle has sued Google over using Java in Android. Awfully nice of them to wait till Android became successful to notice it, given that Android's been around for 3-4 years...

Congratulations, Oracle. You just made my "corporations more evil than Microsoft" list, right next to Halliburton.

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Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

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For the last few months, I've been working on testing and deploying a new 1024-core SGI UV-1000 system for the RDAV project. That's been going... well, not entirely well, but I'm muddling through. Last week we got the final system configuration squared away to the point where I felt comfortable letting some users on the machine for a tutorial this past Monday afternoon at TG '10.

So, of course, the machine decided to have a blade fail at 2pm the day before the tutorial and refuse to boot.

After much groaning and gnashing of teeth, I got the machine back up sans that broken blade a few hours before the tutorial, albeit without cpusets. So far as I could tell, the machine was working well enough. Then one of the tutorial presenters frantically emailed me says that a Java workflow app called Kepler was broken on the machine.

Now here's where things get weird, even by my standards.

Kepler was crashing while using Ant to rebuild some JAR files. (I've ranted about Ant and its brain damage in the past.) However, it had worked before the reboot, and nothing software-wise had changed on the system. The only thing that had changed were how the cpusets were configured. The other thing I noticed was the the load average on the machine would skyrocket just before Kepler would crash.

On a whim, I manually created the 512-core /user cpuset that user login sessions would normally land in, put the sshd daemon in it, logged out, and logged back in, and tried to start Kepler. Sure enough, now it worked.

It looks like the Ant module that Kepler uses tries to start a thread on every core available to it. When unbound by a cpuset, it would gleefully try to start over a thousand threads, trip over itself, and die. When put in a cpuset where it could get signficantly fewer cores than that, it would run like a champ.

Now I'm sure this Ant behavior makes perfect sense on a workstation with one or two multi-core processors, but it's kind of nuts on a 1024-core UV. I need to write up some sort of formal bug report about this and send it off to the Kepler devs...

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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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Put a fork in 'em, the SCO Group is done.

Gee, that only took ~7 years and several million dollars...

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Assuming no volcano related stupidity, I'm leaving this Saturday for three weeks of mostly-work-related craziness in Europe and the UK:
  • a meeting in Jülich, Germany.
  • two days of vacation in Amsterdam.
  • another meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • a week of vacation in Scotland.
  • a brief stop at the British Museum in London before flying home.
I'll have Internet connectivity in my hotels and I'm going to try to pick up a pay-as-you-go cellphone in Germany for emergencies, but as you might expect, I may be a little hard to get a hold of over the next few weeks...

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Current Music: Metallica, "Wherever I May Roam"

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We got a new machine at work last week.

How new, you ask? It's a prototype. It's so new that the manufacturer doesn't even make rack skins for it yet, let alone minor little things like documentation. Just getting the darned thing to boot was an adventure.

On the other hand, this is a fun machine. I mean, really, how many computers have enough bandwidth to drive two 10-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and two QDR Infiniband interfaces at the same time? And this is just the baby version -- the final machine is going to have levels of I/O best described as hilarious. :)

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Troy Baer
Name: Troy Baer
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