2017-01-20

Fourth Time Lucky?


This is at least the fourth time someone's been around to stick signs in the snowbanks on this street. On Tuesday we had the "no parking overnight" signs, then Wednesday morning they were gone -- but the snowbanks were still there. Last night, the "no parking overnight" signs were back, and this morning we have "no parking through the day".

This street isn't well designed for dealing with snowbanks -- our side has the nice decorative trees on the piece of grass between the sidewalk and the street, so the snow removal operations have to be careful not to kill any of them, and in doing so they end up leaving around 50% of the snowbank untouched. And our side is the south side of the street, so it gets less direct sun through the day too. Add it all up and our side is stuck with snowbanks longer than the people across the street are.

2017-01-19

Lava


I know nobody except me cares about my progress through a 5 year old iPhone game, but I'm a little amazed that this particular technique actually works.

2017-01-18

Finally


This map on "Intermediate" has been beating me on round 63 for seemingly for ever. Sooo many attempts, soo close, only to fall on level 63. But this time I actually got through. On to new maps!

2017-01-17

Scale


This picture really brings home how large the Space-X rocket that landed on the barge is.

2017-01-11

Trump And The Russians

Even if the US Intelligence services are right, and that Russia did influence the US election, I think it is a stretch to say that it was that influence that got Trump elected -- you can have it both ways.

I think it would be pretty clear that nobody, the Russians included, expected Trump to actually win -- the goal was merely to make Clinton (and, by extension, the US) look ridiculous and perhaps redirect some of the incoming administration's attentions in directions other than towards Russian interests. In that, the strategy paid off in spades, except that I'm sure that the Russians are just as worried about an unpredictable Trump administration as many of the American progressive voters are.

2017-01-10

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

I'll be honest -- I never read any of the original books and I bailed on the movies after number two or three. So maybe I missed a lot. But even without all that history (or maybe because I don't have that history) I thought this was a pretty good movie. Set up for the inevitable sequel(s), but stands on its own well enough. Good creature design, reasonable story. The effects fell down in a few places where they over-reached themselves a bit, but overall I'm glad I saw it in the theater.

2017-01-09

Let's Hear It For Happy Accidents

So about a year ago I obtained for myself a Dell PowerEdge 1950 Generation 3 server for use in my basement as a ESXi sandbox plaything. One of the guys at work found it online and wanted one for himself, since the seller was selling them by the skid -- obviously off-lease equipment -- I decided I wanted in on it, too. It was less than $400 for a 2x4 core with 16GB RAM, two disk sleds and no disk. Clearly the basic minimum for ESXi -- enough headroom to start up a couple real VMs, plus a small fleet of "cattle" VMs that would get churned as I played around.

Well I recently started playing with CentOS 7 instead of CentOS 6, and the memory headroom for the VM load was on the server was just too tight. So it was clearly time to get more RAM, right?

I was lucky in that I had a Generation-3 server, which could take 8GB DIMMs instead of just 4GB DIMMs. So that gave me the option to expand to 32GB by either buying 8x4GB DIMMs (which would probably necessitate me throwing away the 8x2GB DIMMs I undoubtedly had already installed) or I could buy 4x8GB DIMMs instead, permitting me the ability to A) keep 4x4GB DIMMs for a total of 40GB, and B) upgrade in the future to 64GB with another 4x8GB purchase. Part of this equation turned out to be cost... which I'll get to in a moment.

So I went off to my friendly neighbourhood reseller and asked him for the RAM. Turns out that this is premium PC2-5300 — DDR2 667 MHz stuff -- not easy to come by new. And he came back with pricing around CDN$1K for the memory.

Well that's clearly out of the question for a hobby system. If I had $1K to spend I could buy one or two whole systems with 32GB of memory EACH on eBay. So that's not going to happen.

The rule for this stuff is, when in doubt, google. So I googled RAM for Dell PowerEdge 1950 computers, and found... Server Monkey, landing on this page. Through this page I learned all about memory configurations and generation types and everything else... looked at the pricing to get this upgrade done.

Option one would be 8x4GB for US$60 delivered.

Option two would be 4x8GB for US$85 delivered. That's a 50% premium for essentially the same immediate amount of memory, or in other words, a $25 premium for the ability to run slightly more RAM now and still have the option of going to 64GB later.

Those options are probably worth $25, so I went with option 2.

This is the part of the article where I tell you how wonderful Server Monkey was -- but really I can't gush too much. They took my money and shipped me what I ordered and it got here in a little over a week. The Canada Post guy who dropped it off at the door apparently did a ring-and-run, which would have perhaps been more disturbing if there was actually expensive computer parts inside... but since Jenn was home, it wasn't an issue.

And so, laboriously, I come to the point of the article. It turns out I had never opened the dust shroud of my 1950 when I got it, because when I did open it I discovered 4x4GB installed, not 8x2GB. So this means that instead of  having to throw away 4 DIMMs, I ended up being able to keep everything I had, so at the end of the process I have 48GB available.

(It does mean that I would have felt like an idiot if I'd ordered the 8x4GB -- yes it would have been cheaper, but I wouldn't have used half of it.)

I've powered it up and it all goes -- we're back in business.

Half again what I'd hoped for!
So let's hear it for happy accidents!