Archive for March, 2006

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*sigh*

Friday, March 31st, 2006

I hate having the “let’s just be friends” talk after 3 years. I guess it’s for the best long term. I feel crushed and elated all at the same time.

ClustrMaps

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Neat! A new startup (must be web2.0 – they are in beta) called ClustrMaps is offering these nifty maps showing your users. As of the time of this posting it’s going to be blank because I don’t have any new users, but over time this will show where people visit Futurist Now from.

Locations of visitors to this page

Massive suckage

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

This week started off badly, and is ending worse. Saturday morning brought a terrible tragedy to the Seattle area. There was a shooting a Blue House and sadly more than 7 people were gunned down in a senseless act of violence. I was friends with several of the victims, and knew a number of the people that lived in the house.

My heart has gone out to all the people affected by this tragedy and I’m glad to know that the person responsible took his own life thus ending any further threat to society. I’m still rather numb from the whole thing and don’t quite know how to react to any of it.

I spent most of the weekend relaxing and trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. Sunday brought some great distractions in the form of hanging out with friends, and watching movies.

I was just starting to get things back on track for my week when while driving in to work this morning I was rear ended, thus ending my nearly 2 year streak of accident free driving.

I was just clearing the 520 bridge eastbound, and was rear-ended by a guy driving a Nissan. Luckily nobody was hurt seriously (I’m a little sore, but ambulance was needed), but it certainly shook me up and got my day off to a horrible start. The strange thing was that both of his airbags deployed even though there was minimal other damage to our cars. In fact aside from the airbags busting up his dash there was really no damage to his car.

Unfortunately the accident creased both my rear bumper and my trunk. This coupled with some minor damage to my front bumper will put the damages to my car in the $1000′s of dollars. I’m following up with the drivers insurance company at the moment to see how quickly I can get the damages fixed.

Luckily after a quick call to my mom it sounds like I won’t have to pay any money on this and I should be able to force the other drivers insurance company to get me a rental car while they fix my precious.

Of HFS+ and optimization

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Recently at work we had a project come through that dealt with writing device drivers for flash memory devices. I had a chance to review some of the design documents and learned a great deal about some of the differences between NAND flash and traditional disk magnetic disk drives in both the way they store and retrieve data.

This and the recent /. linked article on OS X’s system optimization techniques has spurred me into learning more and more about HFS+ and the way that it stores and optimizes data on the hard drive in my powerbook. Of particular note is some of the new technologies that have been included to reduce the number of extents that files operate, and the way that it automatically de-fragments files that meet certain requirements on the fly.

While most magnetic disk drives employ a similar hierarchical file system and try to preserve a file as a contiguous block on the hard drive, flash memory (such as NAND flash) does not need to do this. Flash memory is able to look at a drive as a circular device and loop data around on it due to the fact that accessing any one part of the volume in particular does not require moving a physical head.

While this does provide certain performance advantages during normal operation most flash based file systems such as JFFS and JFFS2 do take a significant performance hit when mounted because they lack a true file descriptor table so the entire volume must be scanned for information pertaining to the files it contains. While this is a quick process for a 128MB flash drive in the future as portable computers become more and more likely to include a flash drive rather than a hard disk drive we are likely to see problems with this as a computer tries to boot and has to scan through a multi-gigabyte or terabyte volume before mounting it.

Happy Birthday OS X

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Today mark’s the fifth birthday of my beloved OS X. Happy Birthday! Ars Technica is helping to celebrate with a write-up about OS X and it’s history – check it out. They give a good history of OS X, and bring up a few points to show how much it’s changed from 10.1 to 10.4.

I personally can attest to the change. I would not have been a happy user of 10.1, but once Tiger came out it really showed the Windows world (and then Windows users like me) what a modern operating system can do!

Don’t shoot the puppy

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Don't shoot the puppy

Dad – this one is for you: Don’t shoot the puppy! It’s perverse genius at its best condensed into a miniature flash game. I beat level 15, can you?

Update:
changed the link URL to match a mirror. The original site melted under the pressure of having too many puppies shot.

Tape clone

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Tapeclone

I just found a great link detailing how to make a plastic clone of yourself using only saran wrap and a ton of packing tape. The pictures look neat, and I really want to try this. Anyone up for doing a MAKE style cloning party sometime this weekend?

Barking wet

Monday, March 20th, 2006

I feel great! Not 100% mind you, but 80% which is a good deal closer to where I should be than the dread sickness I had last week. It’s actually really nice to be feeling decent and have my energy back.

I even had enough energy back that I decided to undertake the dreaded Skype bath upon getting home from work. It’s hard to understand how such an otherwise large and masculine creature such as a 70lb pit bull reduced to a wet, quivering, whimpering, puddle of pathetique!

As normal the moment we were done he went from limp and needy to hyperactive and fussy. It took the usual two hours for him to calm down and now he’s all passed out on my lap, as soft and oder-free as ever!

Crichton Vs. the PTO

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

One of my favorite authors is Michael Crichton who author of Jurrasic Park and more recent sci-fi thrillers like Prey. I was tickled pink to see digg linking to an article he wrote for the New York Times on patent reform. I love his personal attack by exampling him patenting writing a story about dinosaurs.

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