An aggregation of our Blog Roll, made up of acmqueue authors.   more

Postings for October 2016:  (23 posts)
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:00:00 UTC

Welcoming Adrian Cockcroft to the AWS Team.

Posted By Werner Vogels

I am excited that Adrian Cockcroft will be joining AWS as VP of Cloud Architecture. Adrian has played a crucial role in developing the cloud ecosystem as Cloud Architect at Netflix and later as a Technology Fellow at Battery Ventures. Prior to this, he held positions as Distinguished Engineer at eBay and Sun Microsystems. One theme that has been consistent throughout his career is that Adrian has a gift for seeing the bigger engineering picture. At Netflix, Adrian played a key role in the company's much-discussed migration to a "cloud native" architecture, and the open sourcing of the widely used (and award-winning) NetflixOSS platform.

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:00:00 UTC

Message Processing Styles

Posted By Tim Bray

Recently Im thinking about how we process messages in networked software. Consider this Java snippet, for example. < !-- HTML generated using -->boolean isPassNode(final JsonNode node) { if (node.isObject()) { final JsonNode child = node.get(Constants.TYPE_FIELD); if (child != null) { if (child.isTextual()) { return Constants.PASS_TYPE.equals(child.asText()); } } } return false; } Which asks: Is this a JSON object with a top-level Type field whose value is the string Pass? Is this a sane thing to want to do? And if so, whats a good way to do it?

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:10:00 UTC

Watch my Punk Rock DevOps talk live on Friday at 2:30pm PT

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

My talk "DevOps Where You Wouldn't Have Expected" will be live-streamed from PuppetConf on Friday, Oct 21 at 2:30pm PT / 5:30 ET. The talk happens to summarize the major points of Chapter 1-4 of the new edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration, which is due out on November 4, 2016. You need to pre-register, which takes time. Please preregister early. A full description of the talk is at To register and watch the live-steam visit P.S. The unofficial title of the talk is "Punk Rock DevOps".

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:59:53 UTC

Interview with IEEE-USA Insight Podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I was interviewed for the IEEE-USA Insight Podcast last summer in New Orleans, during their Future Leaders Summit, where I was privileged to give the keynote (MP3)

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 16:00:00 UTC

Expanding the AWS Cloud: Introducing the AWS US East (Ohio) Region

Posted By Werner Vogels

Today I am very happy to announce the opening of the new US East (Ohio) Region. The Ohio Region is the fifth AWS region in the US. It brings the worldwide total of AWS Availability Zones (AZs) to 38, and the number of regions globally to 14. The pace of expansion at AWS is accelerating, and Ohio is our third region launch this year. In the remainder of 2016 and inq 2017, we will launch another four AWS regions in Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and France, adding another nine AZs to our global infrastructure footprint. We strive to place customer feedback first in our considerations for where to open new regions.

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 14:12:57 UTC

Talking about Allan Sherman on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Jason Klamm stopped my office to interview me for his Comedy on Vinyl podcast, where I talked about the first comedy album I ever loved: Allan Sherman’s My Son, the Nut. I inherited my mom’s copy of the album when I was six years old, and listened to it over and over until I discovered... more

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 11:10:16 UTC

Debugging a File Synchronization Problem

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

In Effective Debugging I write that if a web search doesn't return you any useful results, then maybe you're barking at the wrong tree. Here's an example.

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 05:00:00 UTC

Accelerating Data: Faster and More Scalable ElastiCache for Redis

Posted By Werner Vogels

Fast Data is an emerging industry term for information that is arriving at high volume and incredible rates, faster than traditional databases can manage. Three years ago, as part of our AWS Fast Data journey we introduced Amazon ElastiCache for Redis, a fully managed in-memory data store that operates at sub-millisecond latency. Since then weve introduced Amazon Kinesis for real-time streaming data, AWS Lambda for serverless processing, Apache Spark analytics on EMR, and Amazon QuickSight for high performance Business Intelligence. While caching continues to be a dominant use of ElastiCache for Redis, we see customers increasingly use it as an in-memory NoSQL database.

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:00:00 UTC

Fall Dark

Posted By Tim Bray

Most years I hate this season; less light every day, and with every gust a whirl of summer leaves torn from winter branches. Maybe I dislike the resonance with my lifes own greybeard season. Maybe its the trio of huge Pacific storms were dealing with. Lets be honest: Mostly, its shitty US politics. Some of the colors are beautiful though. These days, it needs an effort of will to look away from Americas slow titanic electoral trainwreck. We should make that effort. All it takes is going for a walk and leaving your mobile in your pocket. At least for a few minutes.

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 00:40:28 UTC

Still more MythTV agony

Posted By Greg Lehey

What happened to this mornings Deutsche Welle news? For some reason, it didn't get recorded. Usually that's an indication that something much more important has come up, like a football game in Uraguay. But no, today it was broadcast, it just didn't get recorded. And when I tried to schedule another recording, the system just hung. OK, rebootafter all, Ubuntu emulates Microsoftand then the recordings were already scheduled. But what went wrong? That's a problem I've never had before. But that reminded me that I was still planning to retry a Mythbuntu installation on /dev/sda1. The intention was to set the IP address and system name as it was supposed to remain.

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:13:56 UTC

Apply for a Shuttleworth Fellowship!

Posted By Cory Doctorow I’m the “Honourary Steward” for this year’s Shuttleworth Fellowship, this being a valuable and prestigious prize given to people who are undertaking to make the world a better, more open place (“social innovators who are helping to change the world for the better and could benefit from a social investment model with a difference”).... more

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 22:49:48 UTC

Next day of MythTV pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

My current status is that MythTV is running on a machine called greg-GA-MA785GT-UD3H, and I can record up to four programmes at a time. Done? Hardly: Clearly the system name (and DHCP served IP address) is Just Plain Stupid. It should be called, which has a public IP address. To use NFS, my personal user ID should be the same as the IDs on other systems in the network.

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:00:00 UTC

Wrong About Cameras

Posted By Tim Bray

Todays Wrongness Exhibit is iPhone 7 vs Leica M9-P: A Side-by-Side Photo Comparison by Michael Zhang, which demonstrates  any fool can plainly see, look at the photos  that an iPhone 7 takes pictures just as well as a $9K Leica setup. The wrongness here is extreme and, I think, instructive. Lets start with the picture in Zhangs piece, of a Japanese shrine in the rain. Lets see; it is medium-distance, even-depth-of-field, well-lit, and low-dynamic-range. Which is to say, about as easy to get right as a photograph can be. The kind of scenario where you dont need a Leica; in fact, maybe you dont even need a recent iPhone.

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:00:00 UTC

DevOps Handbook hitting stores Oct 6!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

One of the most anticipated DevOps books in years is about to start shipping! DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, & Security in Technology Organizations by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis is the practical guide to doing all the wonderful things that The Phoenix Project talks about. I've received an early copy of the book and it is excellent. It is very down-to-earth, practical, advice. I'll write more next week when I've had time to read the entire thing. You can pre-order it directly from IT Revolution or via Amazon. Check it out!

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 23:03:22 UTC

MythTV: First success

Posted By Greg Lehey

So yesterday's issue with MythTV was a MySQL configuration issue? Dug through the bug report, which offered at least two alternative solutions, and chose the correct one: --- /etc/mysql/conf.d/mythtv.cnf~       2016-10-03 16:56:56.682980378 +1100 +++ /etc/mysql/conf.d/mythtv.cnf        2016-10-04 13:49:21.424379549 +1100 @@ -1,3 +1,4 @@  [mysqld]  #bind-address=::  max_connections=100 +sql_mode=NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION After that, oh wonder, MythWeb worked! Done! After only 9 days! Well, not quite. I still need: Finish configuring the system, including system name, IP address, file systems and my user ID.

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 01:17:17 UTC

Lost: Emacs bindings

Posted By Greg Lehey

Decades ago, my first experience with firefox was anything but positive. Since then I've learnt to live with it, but it seems to continually try to annoy me. On the very first occasion, I discovered that it had replaced the standard X key bindings with, as I said at the time, something Microsoft-like. At the time I found a way round the problem, but after today's upgrade it stopped working. What's wrong this time? Sometimes I despair. Twenty years of web browsers, twelve years of multimedia software, and they continually conspire to make life hard. But this time I found a firefox addon to do the job for me, firemacs.

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 23:45:00 UTC

MythTV pain, the fourth

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been trying for a week to install a new version of MythTV, so far without success: On 26 September I installed LinHES. It proved difficult to find a version of shepherd to match, the machine seemed to be continually accessing the disk, and I had difficulties with MythWeb that seemed to depend on how I accessed it.

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 01:40:19 UTC

Package upgrade: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So I am finally forced to upgrade firefox on eureka. I've been reluctant; the package system is much better now, but there seems to be a maze of twisty little interdependencies, all different. Every time I have tried to upgrade firefox, it has tried to remove Emacs. Not an option. So how about rebuilding from source? Started thatnot for the first timeand not for the first time and into endless pain: all the packages that needed removal before I could build the new version. The worst seems to be rust, which bills itself as an open-source systems programming language that runs blazingly fast....

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 01:38:22 UTC

External editor for firefox

Posted By Greg Lehey

A week or so ago the It's All Text addon to firefox stopped working. Why? It seems that the developer uploaded a corrupt version to the web site. Why should that stop the locally installed version working? Because. My best guess is that automatic updates are so clever that they first remove the old version, then check if the new one works.. I waited a while, sent a message to the developer, which remains unanswered, and went out looking for an alternative. What I want is a way to get a sane editor (Emacs) to edit text fields in firefox. Surprisingly, there are very few.

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 01:16:55 UTC

Identifying motherboards

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I commented on the strange system name that Ubuntu thought out for my new ceeveear system, apparently the model number of the motherboard. Peter Jeremy also came out with an explanation of how to find the number: it seems that the BIOS provides it. With FreeBSD I can get it with: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/8) ~ 44 -> kenv | grep smbios.planar smbios.planar.maker="ASRock" smbios.planar.product="Z87 Pro4" smbios.planar.serial="E80-37011700126" smbios.planar.version="                      " That was on eureka, and it looks like some kind of sysctl, but it isn't.

Sun, 02 Oct 2016 14:27:00 UTC

Early Experiments in Visualizing Pattern-Development for Viking-age Blades

Posted By Niels Provos

Sat, 01 Oct 2016 23:05:59 UTC

Ubuntu system names

Posted By Greg Lehey

I had puzzled over the strange default system name that Ubuntu gave to my computer: greg-GA-MA785GT-UD. Peter Jeremy came out with an explanation: it appears to include the model number of the motherboard! Apart from the question about how it found the name, what earthly use is that? It would make (marginally) more sense to describe the appearance of the box. I never cease to be amazed. ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 01 Oct 2016 02:55:34 UTC

Next day of MythTV pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

On rather half-heartedly with my Ubuntu installation today. Over the course of time I discovered that the base Ubuntu installation is missing a lot more than just MythTV. Here's a first cut at what needs to be done to get the thing working: apt install emacs nfs-server rwho rwhod openssh-server mailutils mutt On the positive side, Emacs on Mythbuntu used the clipboard for the top of the kill ring, which greatly irritated me.