What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

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20040609 Wednesday June 09, 2004

Better to burn out than fade away? Metallica's Lars Ulrich apparently had an inexplicable spell.

There were recent reports of medical emergencies on New Music Express' website. But it doesn't sound like an organic problem. Lars explains, "I had to chill out... I had an episode on the airplane going to Donington the other day... The last 6 months caught up with me..." (from a video posted on the Metallica website). Wow! The foibles of the rich and decadent can really catch up with ya, aye buddy?

Indeed, what a drag it is getting old; I hope the dork feels better. Thanks to Umlaut for the heads up.

( Jun 09 2004, 11:35:33 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040608 Tuesday June 08, 2004

Lots of traffic and cops, but no protesters There was a big hubbub downtown this morning. The SFPD was out in force directing traffic every which way -- was there an absence of protesters because the cops were so darn effective or did they totally over do it?

They were diverting traffic and congregating on the freeways (which looked surreal... the cops appearing pretty bored, "Here I am, guarding this stooopid freeway ramp..."), lots of pissed off drivers but I didn't see a single protester.

Maybe the cops were the protesters.

( Jun 08 2004, 09:21:39 PM PDT ) Permalink

Setting up Movable Type Earlier today, someone was asking me "How hard is it to setup Movable Type?" I don't know, I haven't set one up but I bet it's not hard.

Indeed, builder.com has confirmed my hunch, setting up Movable Type with a vanilla configuration looks pretty ding dang easy.

( Jun 08 2004, 09:09:14 PM PDT ) Permalink

The Index Macarena is Done It's been previously reported, Google has in the past has had an episodic updating cycle. Apparently, they've retooled for small incremental cycles.

The Google Dance has had it's last hurrah. The Google search machine is now updated piecemeal. ( Jun 08 2004, 10:17:19 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040606 Sunday June 06, 2004

Google's Transparency The beautiful thing about the google model is that when you read through the docs published about how they do things and couple that with their S-1 filings, it makes their IT infrastructure so transparent.

"How many google machines" makes a plausible estimate of the range. More of the technical nitty gritty of google is published but whether it's enough to really infer an accurate picture isn't clear. But I bet the avid google-watchers are pretty close. ( Jun 06 2004, 09:00:32 PM PDT ) Permalink

20040605 Saturday June 05, 2004

Managing Terabytes How does google do it? Indexing <sagan>billions and billions</sagan> of documents everyday isn't easy.

Apparently, one component of the Secret Sauce is the Google File System. Some have even gone on to extrapolate some projections of how they do what they do from the SEC filings. The challenges of managing gigabytes terabytes are impressive, indeed. ( Jun 05 2004, 11:58:01 PM PDT ) Permalink

20040604 Friday June 04, 2004

Database Replication and the old Beta versus VHS thing I've been plugging up holes in some application problems relating to MySQL. It's not my favorite database but then life is full of compromises. I really like FreeBSD better but the sheer momentum around Linux development is impossible to ignore. So I use it and make the best of it. However, if there was a native JVM for FreeBSD that was as upto date as Linux' I'd consider switching back.

But seriously folks, there are a lot of things that are just toyish about MySQL. In the same way that programming language features like Object Oriented Programming shouldn't be sad after thoughts as it is in Perl and PHP, basic database functionality (foreign keys, transactions and subqueries) shouldn't be the "new features" for a database. I've always liked PostgreSQL for its more complete SQL implementation but it just doesn't seem to have the momentum behind it that MySQL does.

Anyway, my favorite MySQL bug (this is on MySQL 4.0.18) has got to be the silent failure of replication. There are slave database instances whose replication status I assumed were monitorable by doing "SHOW SLAVE STATUS" and observing "Slave_IO_Running" and "Slave_SQL_Running" (each attribute represents a thread that manages the binlog IO and SQL execution on replicated units, respectively) on each of them. Well guess what? That's not sufficient. Both threads can claim to be running and you might even observe the execution positions changing in sync between master and slave. But lo and behold, the real measure of whether or not the MySQL replication is working correctly is to query your application data! For instance, if the timestamps and/or sequences for some key tables are advancing in the master but not the slave, you're hosed. You might need to myisamchk the slave's tables. You might need to simply restart the database slave instance. You might need to ceremonially sacrifice a chicken. Perhaps a little bitch slappin' and sweet whispers will get it going. I dunno. The bottom line is: MySQL might report that it's replication threads are running and its positions are changing but *SURPRISE* your data isn't really updating on the slave! I need replication support for high availability and read concurrency but bugs like that just suck the big one.

So what is to be done? Does MySQL 4.1 fix this crap? Do InnoDB tables replicate more reliably than MyISAM? Is PostgreSQL even an option here? I don't know anybody using PostgreSQL replication. Sometimes when I read the comparisons between MySQL and PostgreSQL, it just makes me wanna throw my hands up in the air and move over to the The Dark Side (AKA Oracle).

Here are some links:

Perhaps citing these out of date sources amounts to FUD. But I don't think so. For me it indicates how much momentum MySQL has... it's not a better technology but the MySQL peoples have managed to leave old critiques behind them and press ahead with after-thought-ish feature additions. VHS won the videotape format wars because it had momentum, not 'cause it's better. I'd be happy to see newer comparisons, contrasts and benchmarks but this is all I've got handy.

( Jun 04 2004, 01:54:11 AM PDT ) Permalink
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20040603 Thursday June 03, 2004

Umlaut emerges in the blogspace After a long publishing hiatus ('cept for the periodic email dispatches with tidbits o' fun), Umlaut is broadcasting again!

Back in those days that I cared a lot about metal, Herr Umlaut and myself were making a lot of it happen. These days, I'm not really in the loop anymore (damn, I don't even know who the hell these people are) but it's still plenty fun to hear the echoing reverberations of all that crap that's irrevocably changed pop-culture.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Umlaut!

( Jun 03 2004, 01:29:49 AM PDT ) Permalink