Sunday, 15 November 2020

Anything Good out of Covid? My Nails, maybe?

Yes, I've got something... Something trivial to most of you, but which has plagued me all my life.

My nails...

I'm sure a fair few of you out there do the same and I know it's terrible to watch, but when I'm sat programming and take a moment to think about something or just sat bored I chew my nails.  Really quite badly.

I'll gnaw at the nail itself, pulling around to tear off the quick, I'll eat into the skin too, I'll bit and suck and peel until my fingers bleed.

I've tried everything, no more chew stuff, I've put plastic caps on them, I've kept elasto-plasting all my finger tips.  But in forty two years it has never worked.

However, with covid I've an actual reason to NOT chew my nails, going out and touching things in stores or street furniture (like the button on the pedestrian crossing) I don't want to then stick my finger in my mouth; and I really would have before!  I am disgusting I know.

So to combat this, I wash my hands when coming in, I wash them through the day too whenever I've been out and about; which not often, but enough to make me think.

At my desk I've also taken to having a set of nail scissors too, so whenever I feel the urge, I can instead cut my nails.

I'm no expert at cutting my nails, I remember my mother doing it when I was a kid, her having me sit next to her, loop my arm under hers and she'd cut them, the scissors felt cold and alien under my nails... and I didn't like it, it scared me, someone else with a very sharp thing at my very sensitive finger tips.  And worse still she'd cut the nail and the fleshy pad underneath, it'd bleed... so I'd suck them....

Forty two years is a big habit to crack though.  However, I've done a fortnight now, in the new lockdown.  My finger nails were positively long last week, so I cut them, and I've just cut them again now.  I find it very strange to see my finger nails with actual white excess nail sticking out, as I'd have chewed th

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Noise Generators & The Conservatory (Work)

That moment you tell someone you're going to go do some programming work in the conservatory during a rain storm and their mind melts as they can't figure how the sound of rain helps with your concentrating and keeping the alpha brain waves flowing....

I use noise generators whilst I'm working all the time, such as this one:

And I really like this one:

But my favourite is this:

They're works of genius.

And as the new lock-down looms I'm relying on them more and more for that little taste of the outdoors whilst stick in doors.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Stupid Things I've Been Told

Throughout my life I've had moments where people simply nay-say what I've told them... This became a very real trope (until I took up a marshal art and became very good at it) in my life and lead to a loss of confidence on my part, today lets take a look at some of them which I still remember:

English (1991)    AMBULATE

I used the work "ambulate" in a sentence, I was 12 or 13.  My mother immediately said "There's no such word", and I said "there is, it means to walk, and it's where the word Ambulance comes from"... She flat refused to accept this and really made me unsure; she was wrong, she has been wrong about many things, but this was one of the earliest times I actively recall her being dead wrong.  Her response also made me second guess myself, so much so that I sat and read the dictionary, other kids at school ribbed me about this for years after, but I read the dictionary.  I was right, ambulate is a word, it does mean to walk.

Engineering (1985)    METAL SPARKS

My Dad was in the door way of my Grandfathers garage, angle grinding part of the front of the family car, and there were metal sparks flying all over the place, to the left of the closed wooden door was a fabric cover over some garden furniture.  The sparks were flying and landing on this dry fabric.  And I said "that's going to catch fire".... I was 7 years old and I could see this cascade of burning sparks would set light to the fabric if it carried on.  My Dad turned to me and said "don't be stupid, there's nothing in a spark".  As though it was a zero weight particle an ethereal nothing, of course, we all know that a spark is a red hot but admittedly tiny fragment of metal, not only could it have set light to the fabric, but it could also have gotten into someones eye... But, I was seven, I was clearly wrong... No, no I wasn't.

Electronics (1992)    CD PLAYER

I was sat in the library with a selection of the annoying, ignorant, bully children who were my class mates, when one of the boys Richard ventured something about CD's, about their spinning... of course CD's spin, we all know this, that's why they're round and the lazer is set to slide back and forth.  Richard wasn't known as a braniac, but he was right.  Immediately a boy called Zahid took the utter and total michael out of Richard, really horrible child this Zahid was and he was one of a bunch of morons in my class... Martin, Martin, Paul and Zahid were a group of utter moronic and bullies; each with their own insecurities; and they took it out most days on me, but this day they dragged this poor Richard lad into it, who looked quite abashed, I decided to stick up for him... Well, never had I been so quickly and thoroughly insulted by a moron who knew nothing but how to ride his mouth.  Zahid, I hope your now very bald head knows just how wrong you were, and what a moron you looked flat arguing that CD's don't spin, because they do.

Computing (1984)    TYPING

Sat before the first BBC Micro that the school had bought and the teacher was trying to explain LOGO to us, he was leaning over the computer typing one handed upside down, and I could tell what he was trying to type... For I had had a computer at home for the last year, and I'd been typing in simple BASIC programs, so this LOGO thing looked very rudimentary even to my six or seven year old mind.  So I offered to do the typing for him, he was copying off of a sheet, he'd have been able to tell the class the command and then see me type it in and the turtle robot (or just the screen) complete the command.  And better yet, I'd have been so much quicker making the class feel far more interactive.  This teacher, Mr Allison, turned his eyes down on me like I was a dirty stinking urchin (which I likely was) who not only couldn't understand what he was doing, but it was far far beyond anything I could ever do with a computer; see we were a school intended to produce manual workers, no-one expected a kid from that school to end up being a programmer... I'd hazard a guess that a fair few are now, and I look back on that day thinking... Why did he say I couldn't possibly type?  When I could and can....

Computing (1993)    FLOPPY DISK FORMATS

I was always curious about computers and when my senior school created a "lab" with twenty Acorn A3000 computers I was eager to give these 2megabyte machines a whirl.  My machine at home was an Atari ST and it's floppy format was compatible with the Acorn machine (they both being nearly perfect compatible matches with MS DOS's format on the IBM PC).  But this lab was always closed, not always locked, but closed... But I started to let myself in; and one day I was caught in there, learning, programming and typing notes, by one of the teachers; I don't remember this guys name, he was never my actual teacher, but his lab was his coveted land and I think he was a little put out that I was there with two of his machines going doing different things at the same time, not just that, but I was doing things so much more quickly because I'd learned that the Acorn OS came with a RAM disk, and with 2MB of RAM I could assign 500-720K and basically copy the Floppy disk straight into RAM, work on it incredibly quickly, and then sync the data back to the disk... So I could do the work I was doing incredibly quickly.  He didn't like this, he didn't want to learn, he just wanted to make me look a fool.  So he asked me what the disks I was using were.  So I showed him, "You have an Acorn at home?"  No, I have an ST... Silence, he just stared at me, and he paced off to his desk and pulled a disk out his desk... "Go home and make me 10 copies of this".. and he handed me a box of blank disks... The disk was Lemmings... This teacher was literally giving me homework to commit copyright fraud... I didn't take that disk home, but I did return to his lab... turn on all the machines, and copy the disk once.. then with the two copies copied it on two more, then on the four machines I made the next four copies, and then I had the last two machines running the write of the disk as he walked back in... A mere ten minutes later.  "That should have taken you all night!".... Why... it's binary maths... 1 becomes 2... 2 becomes 4... 4 become 8.. here's your last two... "Aren't you the IT teacher?".... he just stared as I handed him his contraband and left the room.  I didn't like the man, but I was a black-belt in karate and knew who I was by then...

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Four Drives Enter, two Drives ... Well they're fine, read on

Very much like my prior post I've come to turn on the wall mounted server, which is no longer on a wall... only to find the ZFS pool is degraded.  Two drives are AWOL.

They are plugged in, the cables are checked and good, the power is good.... But for two to just vanish is a mystery, they're nice new WD Green SSD's.

And you can see the disks are added to my pool by ID, so it makes no difference which SATA port I plug them into.

I've got six SATA ports on this Motherboard, in three banks of two.  I wondered if the two other banks (as the boot and first mirror in the pool were in the first bank/pair) had gone bad, so many reboots later and checking, no it seems just these two drives are outta there.

I'm going to remove them and come back to this once I have a firm back up of the data.

Here they are.  So I bought these in June, they're marked March 2020.  My plan is, take the data off of the surviving drive in the pool, then sacrifice of of these two to the fdisk gods and see what it does.....  

There we are, that's one of the two in my SATA to USB caddy and... It's fine... Shows itself as very little use, it admittedly is a ZFS formatted drive, but the SMART information is all normal, so I'm thinking....

I'm thinking maybe the PSU on that wall mounted server is doing strange things.  Once moment, I'm going to try that hunch by removing the SATA power from the detected single drive and putting it in the other of these two I have laying here.

YES!... Right, so the disks are good, but the SATA power is on the wonk.  This is a horrid cheap PSU, so maybe time for a replacement.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Phantom Recruiter Calls

This post actually got corrupted... and wasn't that funny, so I'm just nuking it.

Basically the guy called me, and I had NO idea who he was.... wasted my time, as did this post.

Monday, 12 October 2020

That 32 Core build....

 I've just been sorting out the 32 core server and setting it up to do me a test build.  I chose to build the llvm-project, with clang, clang-cl, libcxx, libcxxabi, libunwind, lldb, compiler-rt and lld enabled.  As a release only....

Anyway, I had to share this awesome screenshot of the build progress window, and then the inset window of a second terminal session showing htop...

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Twelve Drives Exit - Only Ten Drives Survive

 I've spent the morning doing a bunch of hard work, like using a surface compactor to lay a 60 meter gravel track... I was knackered come lunch, so I decided to have a play in the server world.

Now, some of you may know we're between properties at the moment, this means I had to take all my servers offline and move them.

However, I've been desperate to get the 32 core machine back online.

Booting up just now though and a couple of the drives had gone bad, like physically bad.  As such my ZFS pool was just a total write off, so I've decided to restore from my offline back up.  There's not actually that much data on that cluster, it was only running raid 2.... And with two disks dying in a simple move, I thought it better to go for raid3.

But remember folks, RAID is not a back up.  My important server is a triple mirror Zfs pool.  I can lose any 2 of the three drives over there, and they're brand new nice WD SSD's... plus the server is ONLY turned on for backups.

This serer is my scratch working/coding project server, on which I host my build slaves and nodes in network tests etc.