Monthly Archives: August 2006

sql vs. sql

Once again, UPHPU has had a minor stir about which database is faster / better / stronger, PostgreSQL or MySQL. All fanboyism aside, who really cares?

You want to know the way to *really* speed up your database? Normalization is probably going to be the largest factor. After that, use views, stored procedures, indexes, transactions and well-written queries, and your database is going to fly amazingly fast.

At work we have a large server we call “Zeus” because it is incredibly large. I won’t even go into specs because you wouldn’t believe me even if I told you. When I first started working here, the database running on it was incredibly slow. At first I blamed it all on the database software we are using (you can search my blog if you really wanna know which one it is. Hint: it’s neither of the two mentioned above), but as we cleaned up the databases and tables by removing columns that were complete cruft and then doing everything I mentioned above, this puppy flies. In fact, our “dev” database, which is running on nothing more than an Athlon XP 1800+ runs just as fast as our beast-monster does.

That’s how you get a fast database — doing things the right way. Who would have thought?

I have to apologize for the elitist feel of this post, but my point is this … the only magic bullet in improving performance is going to be quality code and design. Just replacing your database with something else isn’t going to make the speed fairy sprinkle your application with love.

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planet status

Here’s another status update report. As far as Planet Gentoo goes, there’s really not much to say. Things have been plugging away well. I have a few bugs I need to tend to, but nothing severe. I just noticed this morning that Planet Planet has released a version 2.0. I’d like to check that out and see if it offers any improvements.

The only thing on my wishlist right now for Planet Gentoo / Universe is a website redesign. Someone asked me once, “Why can’t we look nice — like Planet KDE?” Good question. I’m open to ideas.

Planet Larry is doing well, too. I have a lot of stuff I still need to work on, and I just haven’t had time. Since the flood of signups has stopped, I went ahead and setup three more language-only feeds, bringing the total to four:

The Polish and Chinese ones only have two users each, with the French only one, but that’s fine. Right after I originally added the German one (which only had four at the time, I think), I immediately got a few more users wanting to get added. I’m hoping the same will happen here. I hope I didn’t forget any other languages to add right now (yes, English is coming, it’s not nearly as easy though).

What I’d really like to do is add one for spanish-speaking Gentoo users. I know they’re out there too. Vamos, che, quiero leer de que pasa en las vidas latinas con Linux. Y viva la Argentina. :)

Oh, and one nitpick I have — if you’re being pulled on Planet Larry, and I don’t have a province (or city, or county, or state, whichever is relevant) for your user, please send it in to me (email: beandog@g.o). It’s really cool knowing where everyone’s from.

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a small comics trip

This entry is going to be a short little ditty since I’m at home being sick, and I can’t really think straight. I did want to at least get a small note up about this, though.

I read Scott McCloud’s online webcomic of “Hearts and Minds” today. I’ve been meaning to finish reading that for a while now. My timeline might be whacked, but I swear I remember when he first put that online, though that doesn’t seem to jive just right, since I would have been in Argentina at the time. But, whatever.

It was great stuff, though. I used to have the Zot books, volumes one and two, once upon a time. I probably sold them off in one of those phases of life where I was either completely broke or just cleaning out everything. I wish I had a copy, now.

That got me thinking about how much I used to be into comics, though. Man, was I ever. My favorites are the old EC Comics reprints of the sci-fi and horror stories. If you read too many of them though, the lettering starts to really bother you.

I grew up on comic books though. The first graphic novels I started reading were the Sandman series (gosh, that was a long time ago), but those were a little too graphic for me — I have a really low threshold for gore and bloody violence. I haven’t really picked up any since. I should find some.

I’ve got a box full of some old Gold Key comics I started collecting about a year ago. The Walt Disney ones are great stories. Nothing they’re putting out today compares, although that’s not saying much. Even for their time, though, the stories were better than anything else they had going in any other medium (I’m talking about movies).

I also discovered some Twilight Zone comics which are great, pretty much in the same vein as the EC comic books, but these are actually a tad more extreme in some cases. Still, they are a real treat. Great stories, cool colors.

I gotta get back into getting some comics again. The great thing about it is it gets me into *reading* which I never do, anyway. There’s just so much good stuff out there, too. Craziness.

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gentoo treecleaners status

Alec Warner (antarus) posted a good email on the gentoo-dev mailing list about how we rarely hear about updates from some teams. Since QA was one of them, I thought I’d give a quick ping on what I’m working on with the treecleaners project.

I won’t bore you with a rehash of what treecleaners is, you can read that on the project page. What I’m working on is GPNL, which is basically getting a clean index of what’s in the portage tree, and what stuff is unmaintained and needs a developer.

Right now I’m in the stage of development — getting some scripts cobbled together so that I can put the metadata into a database where it can be easily searched and turn out some queries. It would be similar to what you find on http://packages.gentoo.org/ but geared more towards a package’s development status.

Former Gentoo dev Daniel Ahlberg (aliz) has been kind enough to offer me a copy of his scripts that run the backend of this page here, which has always been a great tool to see what state the packages are in. Hopefully I can get those figured out, but even if I don’t, I’m feeling the itch to write my own tools to grep / index the tree at the very least to help with development (a merging of earch, eix and herdstat would be awesome).

So that’s what I’m up to. That, and breaking as many media-video ebuilds as fast as I can. :)

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nova

For the first time in my life, I saw an episode of Nova on PBS last night. It was great. Nova is one of those things that I always knew I would enjoy if I ever sat down and figured out when it was on and then watched it. Hey, it only took me 18 years to get to that one.

The show was pretty awesome, though. The title of the episode was “Elegant Universe” or something like that, and it was about how Einstein wanted to believe very badly that deep down the universe can be explained in an orderly fashion. The show covered all kinds of stuff like gravity, electromagnetics, string theory, physicists from the early 1900s, and quantam mechanics. Very cool stuff.

For the record, I’m a real PBS junkie, too. I’ve got basic cable at home (only $12/mo, woots) and I get about thirty channels or so. Thankfully, Utah has about four public television shows (UEN, KBYU, KUED, and I know I’m forgetting something else … BYUTV maybe?) and there’s always something worth watching on one of them. It’s great.

Here’s some random stuff I picked up:

  • Einstein was a bit of a star in his younger days
  • String theory believes that there is an explanation that covers everything (I think)
  • Gravity is very weak compared to electro-magnetism, and on the atomic level is almost completely non-existant
  • Quantum mechanics deals with measuring the probability of certain outcomes, since nothing is ever certain.  Einstein refused to believe that because he couldn’t accept that on the smallest level that things were disorderly.

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do you ever get the feeling …

… that no matter how much stuff you know, there is still a ton of stuff you don’t know?

Case in point, I’ve been working on writing ebuilds tonight, and it can be some incredibly difficult stuff.

First I started working on an ebuild for the wis-go7007 kernel drivers. Talk about biting off more than you can chew. I have to use the kernel eclasses, and I was looking at nvidia-kernel as a reference, but I couldn’t figure out why it was using eerror to get the output of linux_chkconfig_module.

The next one that I worked on (dev-libs/libebml) was changing something in the Makefile for Mac OS, and I had no flipping clue what it was changing or why. I’ll have to ping flameeyes on that one when he gets back.

Another one (media-video/oxine) has a lot of stuff to check for to make sure the deps were built correctly, and I couldn’t think of a good way to exit out if it was missing some without setting a bash variable.

On a good note, the one for mkvtoolnix came together great. That, and I fixed my alsa settings so my speakers don’t clip anymore.

I’m still bummed, though. I really need to learn more bash, it seems. I’ve been putting off learning other languages for a very long time now, since I’ve been so proficient in PHP, and now it’s really starting to bite me in the butt for not branching out.

*moop*

I’m gonna go get on my laptop, sit on my couch, crack open my awesome C++ book, and get learning. I figure if I could learn both extremes (C++ pretty hard, PHP pretty easy) then the stuff in the middle should make a lot more sense, right?

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planet larry: with love from germany (and austria)

One of the really cool things I like about Planet Larry is that we pull in feeds from bloggers all around the world. Obviously that was the general idea to start with, but to see it in action is just plain cool.

There are bloggers from Australia, Austria, Belarus, Canda, China, Denmark, England, Fance, Germany, India, Israel, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Thailand and the USA.

Something I’ve wanted to do since the start of this was to have different planet feeds for different languages. Now, this is in the very beginning stages, but at least I’ve started working on this. We already have four bloggers who live in German-speaking countries, so I’ve been playing with setting up their own planet feed first. Here it is: http://www.larrythecow.org/de/

The first question I know most of you are asking is if there’s going to be an English-only feed as well. The answer is yes, just as soon as I get some time. Managing a lot of planet config files isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it is getting there the more I learn.

Anyway, that’s going to be the basic setup for the language-feeds. I’ll pull in those that blog in a certain language and live in a country that speaks that language as well. Also, since we don’t do any kind of international split on Planet Gentoo, I’m thinking of pulling in the developers blog’s as well into these, if no one is opposed to the idea. What do you guys think?

By the way, I have to thank everyone whose been so supportive of the idea so far. Especially to Thomas Cort (tcort) who is hosting the thing for us. Right on. I’m getting all weepy. :)

Oh yes, something I almost forgot — if I don’t have your province and country, could you e-mail me those so I can get them in the config files?  The Planet webpages display those now, along with a little flag.

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