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

Postings for May 2021:  (13 posts)
Mon, 10 May 2021 19:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

I was standing on a floating dock on a Pacific-ocean inlet, a place where it?s obvious why motorboats are such an environmental disaster. Fortunately lots of other people have noticed too and it looks increasingly that more people will be able to enjoy Messing About In Boats without feeling like they?re making Greta Thunberg justifiably angry at them. Hm, this piece got kind of long. Spoiler: I?m here mostly to talk about electric hydrofoil boats from Candela, in Sweden, which look like a genuinely new thing in the world.

Mon, 10 May 2021 13:12:05 UTC

How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (Part 06)

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week on my podcast, part six of a serialized reading of my 2020 Onezero/Medium book How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, now available in paperback (you can also order signed and personalized copies from Dark Delicacies, my local bookstore). MP3

Fri, 07 May 2021 04:23:07 UTC

Compression, for real

Posted By Greg Lehey

Daniel Nebdal read my articles about compressing dumps. It seems that I'm a rank amateur: he has tried many others with better results than the ones I had: xz has been in base for mumble years, and often gives a better compression/time tradeoff than the bzip family. The default settings are single threaded and slow, but try xz -T4 -1 (four threads, +level 1) - at least for me, it's both faster and smaller than bzip. The speed depends on how many cores you can give it, of course.

Fri, 07 May 2021 04:05:00 UTC

Navigating without GPS

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into town this morning for a blood test. For once I didn't take my GPS navigator: after all, I know my way round Ballarat. Turn right on Leith St?don't I? Yes, of course I do. Down Barkly St and turn left towards Bakery Hill, and then I'm there. But where do I turn left? Main Road? Or at the roundabout before. Chose before. Then another 3-way roundabout. Where now? Chose left again and didn't recognize anything until I was at the police station: Eastwood Street, going in exactly the wrong direction. I was able to find my way back, of course, but the real issue is that I relied too much on the navigator.

Thu, 06 May 2021 04:52:35 UTC

The daily dump compression

Posted By Greg Lehey

So today my pbzip2 finished: === root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD/0 30 -> time pbzip2 home3 real    309m3.275s user    1771m35.488s sys     28m39.588s As expected, at only 5 hours it was the fastest. But look at that user time: not quite 30 hours! That's far longer than bzip (1576 minutes/26.3 hours) or bzip2 (804 minutes/13.4 hours). I hadn't expected that.

Wed, 05 May 2021 19:00:00 UTC


Posted By Tim Bray

My Wednesday consisted mostly of running around and moving things. I used five transport modes and now I can?t not think about environmental impact and practicality and urban futures. Hop on board the car-share, boat, electric car, bus, and bike, and come along for the ride. Background What happened was, on Wednesday morning our boat was at the boatyard for a minor repair. They?d squeezed me in on the condition that I show up at 8AM to sail it away???they?re pretty well maxed out this time of year when everyone wants to get back on the water.

Wed, 05 May 2021 02:14:03 UTC

Compressing dumps, try 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's attempts at compressing backups were suboptimal because I used the old, worn-out bzip instead of the new, better bzip2. So I tried again: === root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD/0 17 -> time bzip2 home real    815m16.263s user    804m19.745s sys     3m54.405s === root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD/0 18 -> l ... -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  273,486,479,360  2 May 13:06 home -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  222,389,811,395  2 May 13:06 home.bz2 -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  223,600,494,258  2 May 13:06 How about that. Still no ball of fire, but it's much faster, 13.6 hours instead 26.5 hours, almost exactly half the time.

Tue, 04 May 2021 03:23:48 UTC

Backup pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

The beginning of the month is the day when I do my level 0 dumps. There's a lot of data to transfer, and they run for up to 15 hours. But yesterday things didn't end quite the way I had hoped: dump -0uf - /home | bzip2 > /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD/0/home.bz2   DUMP: WARNING: should use -L when dumping live read-write filesystems!   DUMP: Date of this level 0 dump: Sat May  1 22:05:27 2021   DUMP: Date of last level 0 dump: the epoch   DUMP: Dumping /dev/ada0p5 (/home) to standard output ...   DUMP: dumping (Pass IV) [regular files]   DUMP: 0.59% done, finished in 14:04 at Sun May  2 12:15:09 2021   DUMP: 1.25% done, finished in 13:10 at Sun May  2 11:26:44 2021 ...

Tue, 04 May 2021 02:29:53 UTC


Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

In exciting professional news, it was recently announced that I got an National Science Foundation CAREER award! The CAREER is the US NSF’s most prestigious award for early-career faculty. In addition to the recognition, the award involves a bunch of money for me to put toward my research over the next 5 years. The Department … Continue reading "NSF CAREER Award"

Mon, 03 May 2021 02:54:36 UTC

How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (Part 05)

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week on my podcast, part five of a serialized reading of my 2020 Onezero/Medium book How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, now available in paperback (you can also order signed and personalized copies from Dark Delicacies, my local bookstore). MP3

Sun, 02 May 2021 19:00:00 UTC

Amazon Q1 2021

Posted By Tim Bray

Amazon announced their financial results for the January to March quarter last Thursday. I was reading them when an email popped up asking if I wanted to talk about them on CNBC Squawk, which I did. In preparation, I re-read the report and pulled together a few talking points; here they are. Top line Amazon?s gross revenue increased 41% year-over-year, to $108.5B. To use a technical term: HOLY SHIT! This sort of growth on that sort of base is mind-boggling. Granted, shoppers suffering from Covid coop-up played a substantial role.

Sat, 01 May 2021 19:00:00 UTC

Long Links

Posted By Tim Bray

Welcome once again to Long Links, a monthly curation of long-form pieces that pleased and educated me and that being semi-retired gives me time to enjoy; offered in the hope that one or two might enrich the lives of busier people. It?s simple (and accurate) to say that Xi Jinping?s regime is barbaric, obscurantist, and brutal, and that the people of China are badly mis-governed. That given, the place is interesting; I for one am continuously astonished that they manage to hold it all together. Maria Repnikova on How China Tells its Story dives deep on this; on the very-grey line between what can and can?t be said, what Chinese propagandists think it is they?re trying to do, and (especially) the differences between the Chinese and Russian approaches to storytelling.

Sat, 01 May 2021 04:27:14 UTC

Firefox: Yet Another Restriction

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Wikipedia page for Pentacon Six contains a number of errors. OK, I can fix that... Oh. How do I invoke Emacs? I use It's All Text!. Or at any rate, that's what I used to do. Since a recent firefox update, it has disabled it. The link is dead-on as well: ?More Information? tells me that it's not signed and thus may steal my personal information. OK, fine, so why not supply such basic functionality in the browser? You could hide the whole Emacs distribution in firefox without anybody noticing.