procrastination diagram

Metacommentary

I wonder if lawmakers (and by extension trade associations) will ever figure out that propping up business models that have been obsoleted by the march of technology isn't doing anyone any favors.

Those interesting papers I mentioned last week

Seem to be a series of articles on a design patterns and anti-patterns in historical Unix, by Neil Brown, called "Ghosts of Unix Past":

Now, many of the things mentioned here I'm not sure count as "historical Unix" but that may just be a(nother) sign that I'm getting old. Still definitely worth the read.

In the historical UNIX vein, someone ported 7th edition Unix to the Intel platform (It has at least a couple of 2BSDisms, judging by the documentation but I haven't investigated further).

I have a feeling there was something else, but I can't come up with it right now.

I was going to blog about some interesting papers and news

But someone put all of James Burke's TV programs on the web so I've been watching television instead of blogging.

the bad old days

An old chestnut that I am fond of digging up from the vax 4.3bsd sys/vmparam.h:

 * Just for fun: current memory prices are 4600$ a megabyte on VAX (4/22/81),
 * so we loan each swapped in process memory worth 100$, or just admit
 * that we don't consider it worthwhile and swap it out to disk which costs
 * $30/mb or about $0.75.

Memory for a Mac Pro ("expensive" ECC, registered) cost $.04/MB last month.

A cheap WD 1TB disk cost $.00006/MB two weeks later.

Old memory-to-disk cost ratio: 153:1; currently 724:1 for admittedly somewhat expensive memory.

another week another cry for nothing in particular

Popular Mechanics noticed that data loggers and accelerometers and batteries were all cheap enough that evaluating shipping companies was totally something that was a practical thing to do. I've been telling people that this would be an interesting project for a while, and I'm happy to see that someone else had the idea. The result, apparently is that FedEx is hardest on packages, which I thought actually was really surprising. Certainly their customer service is better.

The Wikipedia List of Cognitive Biases continues to be interesting.

I spent a good chunk of time this weekend finally mostly evacuating my old VM host(/xen garden) (there's still one virtual machine running on it, that has other people's state on it; I'm giving them a few days warning). I had been dithering for months about potential clever approaches and how much state I wanted to preserve, when it finally occurred to me today to actually measure how long it would take to just dd the disk images between machines via ssh.

The answer was less than ten minutes in every case, which made "shut down the machine, dd the disk image into place, boot the new VM in single user to fix up the differences between Xen paravirtualization and KVM hardware virtualization" involve an acceptably small amount of downtime.

So now a big chunk of my personal infrastructure has changed it's physical instantiation, although with less logical adjustment than one might expect, although some stuff did get upgraded along the way. (I have one less etch machine in my life, and many fewer etch kernels; and I have an ETA on the two remaining etch machines; let's see if I can be etch-free before squeeze is released). (Which is to say, if anyone notices anything broken, please don't hesitate to say something.)

Boring week

The only interesting non-work related reportable is really that I painted a room in my apartment this weekend. This is a flash applet that will let you type in a color name: "spooky" which will then show you something that probably looks nothing like my wall, which is a nice dark green. In real-life conversation, I have said "It will be nice to have a proper Karl-colored room again."

Oh, and I got a good deal on a MovieSac which will hopefully solve the problem of there being nowhere good in my apartment to curl up and read other than my bed, at least once I have shoveled out an area near a window.

In other news, I am becoming increasingly certain that I am allergic to soy, which kind of fails to interact well with my fondness for Chinese food.

Two Minuets you probably thought were Bach

I recorded two minuets that tend to occur early in most piano teaching curricula, often attributed to J.S. Bach. It turns out that they're by a guy named Christian Petzold.

The first, more famous Minuet in G Major, BWV Anh.114, is immediately recognizable, and formed the basis of the 60s hit "A Lover's Concerto".

BWV Anh.114 by kcr

If you're familiar with Bach's work, once someone points it out, it's almost painfully obvious that this isn't actually Bach. (Although there's some clunkiness--repeated notes--that are only really obvious if you're playing it.)

The second one, in G minor, BWV Anh.115 is less famous, and I think more plausibly Bachish:

BWV Anh.115 by kcr

I can imagine Petzold mailing Bach a copy of the first, and Bach responding with the second. (This undoubtedly did not happen, I have no reason to believe that I am correct, but I do like the second one much better.)

I sequenced these in Ableton Live mostly to hear what the timings were like as written. All sound was generated by my Ensoniq SQ80, an interesting piece of hardware.

(This serves as part of an ongoing series to me trying to highlight the various bits of noisemaking hardware I've acquired.)

This may be a little out of hand

A while back, I posted about the Nord Modular. Well, I saw a good price for one on ebay, so:

And in a fit of enthusiasm, made "laser bass" noises:

Nord Modular: Laser bass by kcr

And drum sounds:

Nord Modular: Drums by kcr

I probably should have grabbed screenshots of the sound editor, too. Anyway, I really like the noises that it makes. Also cool is that though these are from the twentieth century, there's a company still making dsp expansion boards for them.

But really, as I said above, I think things have gotten slightly out of hand:

But it all does look really cool with the lights off:

Some things.

This is cool. I'm a little dubious about pure data being better than something described by text, but on the other hand, I've done some small things with pure data and have never gotten around to learning anything like csound.

I can't afford one of these, and I want one. I am told that they don't make a huge profit on them, either.

The Cairo Composite Manager is an X compositing manager in the same space as xcompmgr (so not inextricably integrated into a windowmanager that I don't want to use), but using modern, accelerated display mechanisms. I'm still not convinced it's good for anything, but it's nice to have the option (why would I want to make my windows harder to read?).

A History of the Karmann Ghia (which seems to be worth relatively more now than they were when I first considering buying one... oops.)

copout post

I'm in North Carolina this weekend. I'll post some pictures of food tomorrow.

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This work by Karl Ramm is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.