31 October 2002
Today was a day of

Today was a day of net-zero work. Tried a few things, they didn't really work, started over. Ah well. (And now Andreas has discovered that a really clever fix from a few days ago was, in fact, a disaster in disguise. What a sweetie.)

Phil arrived today, and we talked about lots of geeky stuff over sushi. "Nine Queens" was an OK movie. Maybe even better than OK, but I'll need to think about it a bit.

Tomorrow, we're going to go climbing in the middle of the day, because nobody else will be doing so. And since we have lots of interesting stuff to discuss, it'll probably even count as work.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
30 October 2002
It was very sweet of

It was very sweet of Mom to mail me and say that she wasn't at all hurt by my flagrant disregard for her birthday. Even if it's true, though, I still feel kinda bad.

More bug fixing at work, and 15 minutes of utter terror on the phone with Phil before we realized that we hadn't actually designed a requirement for Impossibilium into our precious software. Instead, I just have to throw out a few days' work on recovery fixups, but I'm not too upset. (Just between you and me, I'd done some pretty ugly stuff.)

Jacob is correct, of course, in his assertion that language needs to serve its users. Aven and I discussed this briefly — well, she lectured me a little bit, and I made some pointless and content-free reply — as well, and the OED has, as we all know, always been built on submissions and whatnot. But once you wipe away my overstated and bitter interjections, my real point is that, as in software design, you don't just add somethig because a user asked for it. More than just the submitter has to use the resulting language, just as a given application will be used by more people than set-of-one who thinks it needs a big red button for flipping the display upside-down. People who use the language are obviously — maybe not obviously, OK, but if I say obviously it will perhaps keep people from disagreeing as casually — the right people to be guiding it forwad, but simple ignorance shouldn't be the basis of the evolution of a language. But maybe I shouldn't come down so hard on ignorance, because I used to be very annoyed at the simple existence of "administrate", before I discovered that it wasn't simply a faux root of "administrator". I guess I simply fear for the loss of beauty, elegance, and even function that so frequently accompanies universal input. (mpt can tell you all about that.) What happened to the glory of elitism, anyway?

I'm really frustrated with Mozilla right now — the project, I mean; the software still serves me admirably — and I'm wondering if maybe I don't need a cleaner break than simply not doing it for a living. Might be time to get off the staff and drivers lists, but then the vast majority of my email would start to bounce. Boy, that'd be a pain. Ah well, back to complaining about sloppy approvals and bogus "design" documents.

I'm pretty cranky these days. I think I need to get more sleep, or something.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
29 October 2002
I was going to write

I was going to write a bunch of stuff about how I wrestled a big bug to the ground today, and talk at some length about why I'd like to go to law school, to say nothing of actually elaborating on the history profiling stuff I mentioned yesterday.

But none of that matters when compared to the fact that I forgot my own mother's goddamned birthday, which was, of course, yesterday. I suck, and she deserves so much better. Bah.

Sorry, mom. =(

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
28 October 2002
I had a bit of

I had a bit of a heart attack this morning, when Brian reported that he was crashing before he even got to the interesting part of recovery, but it turned out to be an easy fix, and then we were very much off to the races. I'm psyched to run a pile of recovery tests this week, and get them behind us.

Em had a pretty rough day today, starting with an apparent cancellation of a very early class, and then followed by the discovery that her office building had caught fire quite recently. It was clearly a sign that she should come over and watch Buffy for 6 hours, so she did. Good on her.

I spent the rest of the day chasing a really frustrating bug, for which I think I now — finally! — have a solution, and being generally grumpy about some nonsense in the Mozilla universe. I hope I'm degrumped by the time I sit on that panel in a few weeks, or I'll be giving them a very different perspective from the one they're likely expecting me to provide. Hrmph.

I also had a good chat with my friend Deb about the pricing models for online games, and a pleasant dinner — with, of course, drinks — with Em and Sara Kirouac and Tyla, and then picked up the last book in the series I'm reading on the way home. Queen Video didn't have the DVDs of the first season of 24 available for my rental and subsequent enjoyment, so I'll have to find them elsewhere. And soon, since the second season starts tomorrow, and I won't be able to resist watching it for very long, once it's taped.

I wanted to write something about dougt's blurb on history mining — I did a lot of thinking about that when I was at ZKS — but I'm too tired now.

I'm even too tired to book the rest of my travel stuff. Tomorrow, I guess.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
27 October 2002
I am such a good

I am such a good person. I got up early today, jogged to climbing, climbed for three hours — even with just Madhava, Tyla and I, it was a fun trip — and then ate a yummy lunch. And after that, I went to work and had a fantastic evening.

We are so much closer to feature-completeness for my portion of Lustre than we were on Friday, and it's a tremendous boost to my spirits. When Phil comes to visit this weekend, it's quite possible that we'll actually be able to take time off, and perhaps even have fun.

This whole Russian theatre hostage thing led me to brush up on my aging knowledge of special forces techniques, which in turn led me to crave Raven Shield more than I have in recent weeks. I think that, and Splinter Cell may be enough for me to risk marital strife for the acquisition of an Xbox. Mmm.

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26 October 2002
So much drinking this week.

So much drinking this week. So much. First the Johnnie Walker event on Tuesday, and then yesterday's Madhava Celebration. Next week will involve very, very little alcohol, I predict.

After our hangovers were eliminated, or at least muted, Tyla and Emily and Madhava watched Buffy while I sat on the computer. I had intended to do some more work, but I couldn't really get into it and ended up just playing AC2 instead.

I had my heart and stomach set on Korean food, so after we managed to actually get out of the house, we had a tasty and very large meal at Mul Rae Bang-A (formerly "World Pop's Sportsbar", it seems). While Koreans tend to be on the small side, the portions at Korean restaurants are usually quite generous. Maybe it's some sort of overcompensation thing. Once we declared defeat, the rest of the crew headed to the Bloor Cinema to see tonight's the Mental Hygiene film festival offering, and I walked home to nap. On the way, I picked up a copy of Massive Online Gaming, which actually looks quite good.

I'm going to go fall asleep in front of the TV now.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
25 October 2002
Here's this week's Friday-morning mystery:

Here's this week's Friday-morning mystery: why did I use the word plaintiff in yesterday's entry, when I clearly meant defendant? Ponder that one as you go about your end-of-week business.

Up early to beat the recycling truck to the curb, so I'll be at the office before 9AM. Phil's poor heart probably can't stand this sort of shock.

Christ. This is the last thing the English language needs: random internet losers puking all over the OED. And I thought it was ugly when "wrong" became an adverb.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
24 October 2002
A US appeals court has

A US appeals court has overturned a multi-million-dollar verdict in the case of a Jenny Jones guest who was killed by another guest after the first guest admitted to a homosexual crush on the second guest. Yes, well. I find myself wondering if that case would have turned out differently in Canada, where the "thin skull" rule holds that a plaintiff is responsible even in cases where the victim is unusually susceptible to the injury in question. In this case, the rule would perhaps apply to the murderous guest, whose mental illness and apparent potential for tragic violence wasn't known to the show. Maybe one of my lawyer friends can point me at some case law that's isomorphic to this case. I've found some cases like this one which indicate that the US has a similar "thin skull" rule (second paragraph), but maybe I'm not interpreting it correctly. It's been a long time since I actually studied anything resembling law, and that was in a pretty shallow manner. (That case also cites another case, called "Brake v. Speed", which is a pretty cool name.)

The vet called back, and Chester does have a urinary-tract infection. No uric crystals in the sample, though, which means that a simple course of antibiotics should be enough to get him back in fine working order. Yay!

I didn't write a lot of code today, but I read a ton. And Phil and I yet again combined our massive, throbbing brain-organs in search of solutions to some of the problems that crop up when a thousand clients all try to get the attention of one metadata server. I have a lot more work to do for our November 1st milestone than I had previously expected, which will interfere only the slightest bit with my other plans for the remainder of the month (eating, sleeping, being at home). If all else fails, I could just get a new face and head for the hills.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
23 October 2002
Last night's Johnnie Walker shindig

Last night's Johnnie Walker shindig was quite fun, and very well orchestrated. Good food, good booze, interesting presentation, and, of course, great company. Made my otherwise-not-so-great day much, much better.

We got heat today. Turns out that in addition to the radiators being stone dry, and the autofiller being seized, the thermostat was wired in backwards. In the words of our nice heating-repair man, that's the only thing worse than it not being wired in at all. (If we'd had central air, it would have turned on the cooling cycle, in fact. What fun that would have been!) Of course, I asked about the thermostat on the very first conversation with the landlord's handyman, 15 days ago. Alas. Toasty now, though.

Chester had a bad day. Tyla took him to the vet to get his outdoor shots, and to see if there is any biological or medical factor contributing to his recent transgressions. (I half-suspect a urinary-tract infection, but I'm no vet.) By the time I picked him up later that evening, he had thoroughly soiled his cage, due to a combination of terror and the diuretic drug they gave him to help with the tests. Poor thing. He didn't much like the bath we gave him when we got home, either, but the alternatives were too horrifying to contemplate.

I managed to get some work done today, though I'm not especially proud of it. Remember, this hackery is going to be protecting the American nuclear stockpile. Have a nice day!

I got a really long mail from my Mom today, as, apparently, did everyone else she knows. I feel that I should make a point of not replying to it, just to provide some stability and continuity in her life.

I didn't go climbing today, because I suck. Tomorrow, though, oh sweet tomorrow.

If I'm going to keep Madhava in my prestigious other-diaries sidebar, he'd better keep up with the updates. Or come by tomorrow with a really cool shirt.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
22 October 2002
Happy 14th Birthday, Phil. This

Happy 14th Birthday, Phil. This is for you.

In addition to being Phil's birthday, today also marks the solemn occasion of two weeks elapsed since we first told our landlord that we didn't have heat — not that it should really be our responsibility to point that out in early October, when Toronto law requires, I believe, that it be functioning and available to the tenant on September 15. We still don't have heat, and he's going to hear about it today, when I get to the office. Sweet heavens, is he going to hear about it.

Tonight, Madhava, Tyla and I are going to go hang out with some people from Johnnie Walker, and sample their wares. Should be fun, especially the drinking part. (Remember, kids: you don't need to be having a good time to drink alcohol.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
21 October 2002
At last, my license and

At last, my license and I are reunited. Huzzah. Let trumpets sing forth cries of victory.

Tyla got her hair cut today, and it looks quite nice, but you'll be able to read about all that in detail once she puts up her own site. Soon, we all hope. She also popped by the office, so that I could take her to MEC for the second part of her birthday present: climbing equipment. She should have a much better time now. And if not, well, at least we got to spend some money. Cough, cough.

Work could have been really stressful, since we were on the hook to deliver a timeline for the rest of my recovery work, but it turns out we're really in pretty decent shape. I predict and proclaim — where did I put those trumpets, again? — that we will stay ahead of the testers until Lustre Lite is well-past feature completion on the recovery front. Might not get a lot of sleep before the end of October, though.

After we got all that timeline stuff squared away, and Phil beat me with his bamboo rods for not being done yet, I did some tidy-up work, and generally got ready for my massive assault on metadata replay. Tomorrow I will make REINT_CREATE squirm under the might of my editor, ignoring all pleas for mercy and probably forgetting to eat lunch until 3 PM.

Here's a press release about another cluster that we're going to be putting Lustre on. Ignore the fact that we're barely mentioned, and where you read "subcontractor", you should mentally substitute "lynchpin". But I'm not bitter at all.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
20 October 2002
I had grand plans for

I had grand plans for today, including a bike ride to pick up my license and a trip to the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, but they didn't really materialize. In fact, I never got out of my pajamas. Mind you, based on reports from last year, maybe we didn't miss a lot.

I did manage to play a fair bit of AC2, though, and now I'm going to go to bed and read until I fall asleep. Tomorrow, I have a few bugs to track down, and I have to talk to Andreas about OST/MDS recovery synchronization, so that I can help Phil put together a schedule for the rest of the recovery goodness. It's going to be pretty complicated to decide which parts we'll implement with sticks and tape atop the current architecture, and when I'll take 2-3 days and implement the new design. If it were easy, I guess, everyone would be doing it. (The CXFS guys seem to have found a way to share files without moving over the network, which I confess I find quite impressive.)

I guess I was a little cranky at Tyla today too, though I don't know why. Leftover brain-fatigue from last week, I guess. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.) I'll do better this week, honey. Promise.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
19 October 2002
This weekend thing is awesome.

This weekend thing is awesome. Why was I not informed?

I got up around noon, because I didn't want to sleep through the whole day — and I certainly could have, let me assure you — and then basically just lazed around the house. Played a little Asheron's Call 2, read my book in the bath — hey, look, my "current reading" sidebar section is woefully out of date! — and then watched some entertaining hockey with my good friend Alasdair. We were going to watch the second game, or maybe put on Contact, but I started to drift off. Three hours of sleep doesn't go as far as it used to.

Tyla made me some tea, to help me get all settled into bed, which was very nice of her. Not quite as nice, perhaps, as Aven reading Harry Potter to her sick Mark, but still, it's quite the gesture. (And I've already read the books, of course.)

Good night.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
18 October 2002
Well, we're off to a

Well, we're off to a fine start. Woke up before 10, even without a wake-up call, and then I got a phone call from my Montreal branch about the missing wire. (They hadn't deposited it in the US account because the wire information referred to the Canadian account, and they weren't sure if it was just a routing error within TDCT. Fair enough, and they've now added a note to my account so that this will all happen magically and quickly in the future. TD Canada Trust has yet again utterly failed to suck.)

I guess it's time to head to work.

...

Boy, did I ever head to work.

Today I worked on one of our acceptance tests involving a client failing and not really bothering other people too much in the process. It took until 7AM — with a break to join my officemates at Ruth's Chris for dinner, to celebrate their merger with Wiznet, of course; it would have been rude to refuse! — and it took a bit of ugly code, but it all seems to work pretty nicely. I'll let Girish find places where that's not true next week, while I work on another part of the acceptance tests. I'm really starting to hit my stride now.

Between tests, I booked my travel to San Diego, and I'll add the Austin portions of it once I find out if Phil is coming along, and if so when. I also listened to a lot of Tragically Hip.

I think I'm going to take the weekend off, largely, so that I don't go insane. Well, to be honest, I'm having a blast and could quite happily continue this nonsensical schedule for a while, it wouldn't be good for me. And because I'm a grown-up, I know that. (Hi, Mom!)

Confidential to Alasdair: tomorrow afternoon, before hockey. (And after I pick up my license and subway pass from the nice man, who called today.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
17 October 2002
Getting up this morning was

Getting up this morning was really hard. Phil's wake-up call was right on schedule, but it took me a good 20 minutes after that to gather the will required to actually get out of bed. So tired.

I dropped by the house of the nice man who has my driver's license, but he was not home. I tried again after dinner, too, and he still wasn't home. I left a note, hopefully he'll call.

When I got to work, I read email and code for a bit, and then took a little break to configure vim to my liking. Like the work yesterday with mutt and procmail, this was long-overdue customization. I also installed a build of Mozilla 1.2b with blizzard's Xft bits turned on, and the web is now very pretty.

Once I was done with that, Andreas and I had a long, and ultimately quite fruitful, conversation about the architecture of our recovery notifications and responses. ("Who do we tell when something goes wrong? What will they do about it? Have you seen my keys?") I'm glad we had that talk, because I now have a design for this subsystem that does not make me want to scrape my eyes out with fragments of my own skull, but it does mean that I have to write a lot of code this weekend.

In the interests of expediency, and also to reinforce my belief that this redesign was Virtuous and Right, I also wrote a bunch of code today in the current framework. A bit painful, and I felt dirty every time I hacked some piece of code off and copied it somewhere else, but I'm well on my way to passing one of our acceptance tests tomorrow. That'll be nice, and it'll give me more test cases against which to validate my rearchitecture work.

I think I'm going to go home early tonight — it's only 1! — because I want to call first thing tomorrow and find out whose account, exactly, my wire transfer ended up in, because it sure wasn't mine. Sigh.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
16 October 2002
Today has been a pretty

Today has been a pretty good day already, and it's only quarter to four. Well, it could have been a little bit better if Phil had got my wake-up call request before I woke up at 11, but that's a small matter, and to be honest the sleep was wonderful.

With reference to Phil's most righteous setup, I now have procmail and mutt doing wonderful things with my mail, like auto-archiving, and list filtering, and setting my From headers correctly for different Mozilla/work/personal roles. Joyous.

And then I got a phone call from my bank that really just made my day:

Hello, Mr. Shaver. You just received a wire transfer from a US company in US dollars, but it was sent to your Canadian account. Would you like us to deposit it in your US dollar account instead? You'll get a better exchange rate that way.

Uh, yes. Yes, I would like that very much. (It's certainly better than the telemarketing calls I usually get when I'm home for the day.)

I was going to work from home today, since the office is a bit of a nuthouse these days — all the desks are getting rearranged to make room for more people — but, of course, my stuff is also being moved around, so I have to clean off my old desk and move my computers and such. Ah well.

There are nice heating-repair people flitting and hammering and plumbinging around outside and downstairs, so we might even have heat soon. That would, truly, be a wonderful way to end today (even if I don't go eat horse or watch TV with the boys tonight, and instead stay late to make more of recovery work).

...

I did go and eat horse, and it was good, and now I'm back at the office. Phil and I had another great conversation tonight about the work items left for complete recovery signoff in Lustre Lite, and although the list is not what you would call small, just having a finite list of tasks makes me feel much more like I'm in control of my own destiny.

I dropped my driver's license today, with my subway pass, and a nice man picked it up. I'll grab it tomorrow on the way to work, I guess.

(The aforementioned wire transfer has not actually showed up in my account yet, which is really too bad. I hope it's there tomorrow morning, because things are looking lean. Especially if Tyla keeps buying cables at Bay Bloor Radio, and I keep eating nummy bifteck de cheval at La Palette.)

Time to go home, since Phil is going to call me tomorrow at 10h45, and if I hurry I can get 7 hours of sleep before then. What a task-master!

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
15 October 2002
I got my wake-up call

I got my wake-up call from Phil, right on time, but my morning email ritual put a bit of a roadblock into today's plans for hyper-productivity. Overnight, the HP folks in India had discovered that my big change completely, utterly, and totally broke recovery. Since recovery is basically my whole job, I burned a while reading through their debug logs and reviewing last night's changes before deciding I needed to run it under the debugger and headed to work.

Once at work, I found out that my changes had also caused:

  • An every-time, no-doubt, guaranteed-or-your-money-back deadlock at startup, on systems with multiple processors. (My workstation, in fact, has multiple processors, but the debugging environment hides that fact from me. Alas.); and
  • A crash during any attempt to use more than one storage device for file data. (We call this an "LOV" configuration.)

Given that the clusters we're developing for are all dual-processor computers splitting file data across dozens of storage devices, I'd really done the world a favour with my work last night.

Once I got gdb to stop throwing up its hands in confusion every time I hit the crash, it wasn't too hard to fix the deadlock and LOV cases. Truth be told, I knew what the deadlock problem was as soon as Phil mentioned that he was seeing it, but that was small comfort indeed.

I'm still working on the original problem, as reported by my Indian colleagues, but I think I'm getting close. I might even be able to eat dinner soon, and then I can come back and start on the work I was supposed to do today.

Of course, I'm not the only one that would like to take a mulligan on today. Tyla's also having a crappy day — ha! see, there's the cat and the bed and...never mind — and from the prison sentence that Waksal is facing, you'd think he'd been caught with pot or something.

...

It took until 2am, and it required me to turn up my music until I could feel it in my eyes, but I finally got enough of recovery repaired that I could do a simple failover. Now Girish can find some more bugs while I sleep. I actually think recovery is in the best shape it's ever been in, since a lot of left-over cruft has been cleaned up and set right. We'll see if I still feel that way after I read Girish's test results in the morning, though.

And goddamn, I love working with Phil.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
14 October 2002
It was a balmy 17C

It was a balmy 17C in our apartment today when I awoke, so the landlord was not beseiged. Hopefully tomorrow will turn out just as well, though I was looking forward just a bit to venting some frustration.

After much lazing around the house — much of it in bed, where it was toasty and soft and suchlike — I went into the office around 2pm and finished up a large patch to fix some of our message-passing infrastructure, and generally make things a little less fragile. Phil reviewed that while I grabbed some nummy Indian food across the street, and then we spent an hour or so on the phone. That was an amazing conversation about locking and metadata intents and replay and all sorts of geeky and complex stuff. I had a blast, and I understand that part of Lustre so much better than I did before. Nothing like a full-force epiphany to end a long weekend.

In fact, we were so excited about this stuff that phil agreed to give me a wake-up call tomorrow morning, so I can get back in here by 10 and start into hacking on it.

And that means that I need to get to sleep very soon. G'night.

(But one last thing: duh.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
13 October 2002
We got back at 11:30pm,

We got back at 11:30pm, after a perfectly lovely Thanksgiving at Tyla's dad's farm. It was great to see everyone again, especially Mom, whose apartment isn't half the disaster I was led to expect. I guess her standards are different, since she's, well, not me.

I think phil and I just found a bug that I should work on tomorrow, after I get one of the recovery acceptance tests under our collective belt. I'd work on it now, but I don't want to spend the next three days debugging the crap I'd write now, in my fatigued state. I hate nothing more than a false economy.

Zach and Alice are married now. We were going to call, but we'd have had to call Zach's cell phone, and while he would probably have had it turned off, I didn't want to be the guy that found out he didn't after interrupting his vows or speeches or something. You never get those few minutes back.

There is still no heat in our house — "Wednesday", we were told, when we spoke to our landlord's minions on Friday. That was after "Friday", which was, in turn, after "[Tuesday] night". It's going to be one goddamn degree tonight, reaching a blistering high of four degrees tomorrow. If it's less than 15 degrees in the house when I wake up tomorrow, I am going to get on the phone and unload. Un-fucking-load. What we pay in rent doesn't match up well in my mind with a week without heat in mid-October. Not that anyone should really be without heat now, and I realize that there are certainly thousands of people, in this very city, who are far worse off than we are, but still: for 30% of a month's income on this building, he could have a member of the Swiss Guard pumping heated holy water through our rads, by hand, until the aforementioned minions decided that they had enough time to fix whatever (they currently think) is wrong with our heating.

At least we don't have a gas leak.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
12 October 2002
Happy birthday, honey!. Off to

Happy birthday, honey!.

Off to Kingston now, Ottawa tomorrow. Back on Sunday as well, and I'll write more then about movies and bugs and suchlike.

Everyone remind Alasdair to cheer for the Leafs!

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
11 October 2002
Slept in, hacked on the

Slept in, hacked on the bug that Brian (of course) found in the recovery stuff — more than one failover leads to a hang, since we don't enter recovery at all — had dinner, saw two movies, now sleeping.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
10 October 2002
Tyla's birthday gift arrived today,

Tyla's birthday gift arrived today, much to my pleasant surprise, and since I'm not very patient about those things, I gave it to her right away. This way she'll be able to read it on the train to Kingston or something, as well.

We ran the MDS test today, and it failed over pretty well, but then the filesystem went to heck, so I've got some debugging to do after climbing. I'm sure Alasdair will cheer the Leafs for me.

Climbing sort of sucked, since I jammed my poor little left-hand pinky pretty hard when shifting my grip on the third climb. I got an ice pack for it right away — which requires filling out an incident report at Rock Oasis, since they have to crack open the first-aid kit; I think they probably don't get a lot of injuries, because only one person on staff was at all confident about how to fill it out — and it seems fine now, but it still sucked. Sucky.

What doesn't suck is that once I got back to the office, phil and I were able to get to the bottom of the aforementioned heck-bound-filesystem, and now that's nice and fixed. It's pretty exciting, now that it all seems to work. By the time I get up tomorrow, I'm sure that Brian will have a litany of critical bugs for me, but for now I've got that nice "hacking high" going.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
9 October 2002
It's really cold in our

It's really cold in our house. The radiators aren't producing any heat, although the landlord's handyman came by last night to poke at furnacey things downstairs. He didn't, as promised, come to bleed the radiators afterwards, but I can't imagine that it really would have helped. The landlady (I think) loaned us a space heater, which is currently keeping the frost off my office furniture. We called the landlord again today (well, Tyla did), to inform him that we still didn't have heat, and he said that he'd found a heating specialist that would be by...on Friday afternoon. Joy.

I was going to have a nice hot bath to raise my core temperature, but of course the drainage people were still puttering with pipes and whatnot, blah blah. They're done now, so I think I might take that bath after all.

I think I found the deadlock bug that caused our last MDS test to fail. I'll know for sure when Brian or I rerun the test on MCR — this bug does not, of course, show up on my test system at present. We'd better hurry, though, because they're dismantling the whole cluster soon to move it to Livermore early. Seems that the air conditioning at Center 7 isn't able to keep things under 100F. Eeep.

Most importantly, though, today is Madhava's birthday. Foon! His party isn't until later in the month, I hear, which is very clever planning on his part: it gives slackers like myself weeks to disguise the fact that I haven't yet figured out what to get him.

In other birthday-related news, Amazon shipped one of Tyla's presents today, which means that I might well get it before the weekend.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
8 October 2002
Today, we started in on

Today, we started in on the MDS-failover tests again on the MCR cluster. Most of the day (easily 75%) was spent fixing up errors in our configuration, and dealing with some less-than-helpful error reporting in lctl, but then we got to find a real bug in recovery. So I have finally derived some useful information from the dozens and dozens of hours spent trying to run this damned test. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to fix that bug, dammit.

Emily and Aven came over for Buffy Night, and then there was some cutting and licking (envelopes, you pervs) in service of the preparation of invitations for this year's Cocktail Party. They're pretty spiffy, I have to say.

Phil is back from his DC trip today, so we spent some time on the phone plotting the rest of the path to recovery acceptance. I might be getting some help with the test infrastructure soon, in addition to HP's work, which would help my productivity immensely. Dicking around with UML images and such is really cramping my style.

I have grand plans for Alasdair and myself this Friday: double feature.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
7 October 2002
I feel like crap today.

I feel like crap today. I had a headache last night that kept me awake until about 2am, at which point mild-to-moderate nausea was tagged in, until I collapsed from exhaustion at 5am. Today is not going to be an optimally-productive day, assuming the tea and soup and silken tofu and bath are enough to even get me to the office.

I also seem to have forgotten to send something for Dad and Lisa's anniversary, though I've been "planning" the gift in question for more than a month. What is wrong with me?

Found out which phone causes the DSL speed to drop to around 160KB/sec (the kitchen one), so it's now disconnected and I'll be picking up a new one sometime today or tomorrow. We're back at 315KB/s from various places on the Interweb, which is much more pleasant.

I had a very pleasant experience with the people at Funcom regarding a failed credit-card transaction. They were professional and polite and generally pleasant to deal with — and all that in addition to promptly resolving the(ir) problem. I wish I had more time to play their game, but I really, really don't.

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6 October 2002
I thought I'd discovered a

I thought I'd discovered a miracle unfolding before me: gap.com sells clothes in all sorts of sizes that you can't find in their stores. And they had some other stuff on sale that I was interested in as well. But, no, they don't ship to Canada. Growl.

I also discovered that, although it has capable hardware, and can apparently produce progressive scan video in games, it doesn't support it for DVD playback. So much for the plan of getting an Xbox as a DVD-player replacement. Growl.

Apparently I can get all sorts of great connectivity on the UCSD campus, which means that my Miriam visit will be almost completely guilt-free.

I think I'm going to do some weight work, have a snack and then go buy either a DVD player or an Xbox. Or maybe I should wait until Tyla returns, and get her opinion on that. I'm feeling oddly spendy, so the sober second thought might be of substantial value.

I decided against the purchasing, but the weight work was good. I finally took the time to figure out what the right weight levels were for the various exercises, which should help the quality of my workouts a fair bit. I think I need to buy some more weights soon, because switching them around for 15/25/30-pound settings is already pretty old, and I've only done it once. Also, I'm going to need more than 30 pounds for two of the exercises soon (!), and these dumbbells don't fit more than that, due to the selection of weight disks and the size of the dumbbell rods.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
5 October 2002
Oh, my aching hands. And

Oh, my aching hands. And arms. The arms are aching as well. Climbing was great, though my left knee gave me some trouble — I dinged it on Alasdair's futon on Wednesday, and it's been a little sore since, in addition to which I think said knee has been sort of grumpy with me ever since I totally destroyed it at an Ultimate tournament last year — but at brunch afterwards I could barely cut my mostly-phyllo food. Lifting the TV onto the stand was also a real treat, but it was worth it: the living room looks a fair bit better, and the new TV setup worked out quite nicely. I hope Alasdair and Madhava agree that it was worth it; their help was invaluable.

Alasdair also repaired — at least temporarily — the video cable from the Playstation 2, so we were able to chase our Greatest American Hero and A-Team with the commentary track from The Usual Suspects. A good time, I believe, was had by all.

And now that Andreas as uncovered a seething morass of suboptimality in the replay code, I think I might go to sleep now, so that I can get up in time to spend a few hours at the office diagnosing in more detail, if not actually fixing.

(phil would have me tell you about the horror that was the third of this month, but it's not like I want to dwell on it either. I think we'll both just concentrate on making this next week involve as few of those days as possible.)

It struck me today how much I miss living with phil. Alas. Good times, good times.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
4 October 2002
When we rented our apartment,

When we rented our apartment, we had a front yard. At the time of this writing, however, we have an enormous pile of dirt covering the walkway and stairs, and requiring us to wander into the next yard to safely leave the house. I'd say that it's really ugly, too — and it very much is — but we are responsible for a very large, very brown cardboard box on the front stoop at the moment. (We need to keep it until we're sure we're not returning the TV, or something.)

I got forced-disconnect working today, with only one really stupid bug in the process (so far). That was nice, because it makes cleaning up — and therefore our testing, which require a lot of cleaning up — a lot more pleasant. Next up is some polishing of that, and wiring it into the recovery goodies. It sounds like the magic DDN box at MCR is back on its feet, so I'll get to try the MDS recovery test soon as well.

In the evening, my good friend and office-mate Fixy came to me with a problem. Long story made short: when they switched from using a "fast" network card to a "slow" network card in their new test router, they got their routing performance cut in half. But only in one direction. Truly curious, and since I'd just realized that my approach to fixing my next bug was totally wrong, I decided to help them investigate.

We poked a little bit with the device polling stuff in FreeBSD, but weren't able to make it really work very well. It was a little better, but nothing like what the machine should be capable of. I'm tempted to see what Linux can put through on that box, maybe over the weekend, but it would sort of be a vain pursuit, since the chances of them actually deploying a Linux router are less than zero. I did get to hack the FreeBSD kernel for the first time, and it was pleasant enough. Almost makes me want to hack on a driver — as though filesystems weren't low-level enough.

So, yeah. A nice geeky finish to the week, and now I'm going to go home and...I dunno what. I should look into some cheap tickets to San Diego, especially since I can earn extra status miles in the process. Maybe I'm a sheep, but that sort of offer really calls out to me. I need to book travel to Austin and Boston and Washington/Annapolis, as well. Going to be a busy end of the year, but a little travel-burst can be a nice thing from time to time.

Furthermore, and likely finally — unless, of course, something truly astounding happens in the next hour, perhaps on the subway, in which case I will hestitate not at all to use the right, so carefully reserved, to return with more over-punctuated and italicized blather; you may consider it, perhaps, a form of eminent domain exerted over your attention, but only if you don't know exactly what that means — I would like to encourage your enthusiasm and appreciation for the news that Ron MacLean is returning to Hockey Night In Canada. Raise a glass, or something. Go on. And, of course, Go Leafs.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
3 October 2002
The good news is that

The good news is that we found a bunch of bugs today (crashes in recovery, infinite loops in some debugging code, outdated test scripts) and fixed them. The bad news, I guess, is that most of them were my bugs, and silly ones at that. After blowing several hours over the last few days on configuration issues, I seem to have celebrated my return to productivity by sticking my fist clean through the Lustre source tree.

If Chris and Brian can't settle their differences in Bugzilla, maybe they should take a hint from this Iraqi vice president. I'd hate to lose Chris, but I think he's the calmer one through this ordeal, and that should be reflected in better aim.

I remembered to invoice for September, I think I have a strategy for handling forced unmounts, I made runfailure-net limp along a bit better, and I hardly swore at all. Quite the day. Not sure I'm going to go climbing tonight (Tyla's not up for it, and Madhava's got some silly work thing, etc.), but we'll decide that for certain later. Maybe Tyla has found people to help with the TV hefting!

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
2 October 2002
Phil and I have to

Phil and I have to kick some ass on recovery this week, and he's pretty busy with some other high-pressure debugging, so that means I have to kick twice as much ass. Today started off promisingly in that direction, with the writing of some good code — including a rearchitecture that had been put off too long — and the refinement of some important strategic elements. After that, though, I started to get into trouble: UML started to behave very oddly under my new Red Hat 8 installation, so I ended up downgrading my system temporarily to 7.3. Sigh. Cost me a few hours, so guess who's coming back to work after watching The West Wing at Alasdair's? Hint: not Tyla.

Our TV came today, and I hear it's quite pretty. Maybe I'll get to see it at some point.

Andreas and I spent an hour or so tracking down another "can't happen" bug, but this one we found: on my system, if nowhere else, an assumption about the layout of the extN superblock — specifically, that it matched the layout of the ext3 superblock — was no longer holding. I got to wade through the deepest recesses of the kernel's memory management code, which was sort of fun, but even more fun will be making some actual progress tomorrow morning, after Andreas checks in a fix.

Hopefully my tomorrow will go better than phil's today. Poor guy.

(The TV is rather pretty, I must say. And Tyla did a great job setting up the stand for it. Now we just need to rally troops sufficient to move the 230lb TV onto the stand. I bet Tyla will do a great job of that, too.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
1 October 2002
The first of October, and

The first of October, and it's frigging 28 degrees here in Toronto, 35 with Humidex. Hello? I live in Canada.

I found the busy-wait, and checked that fix in; if we can't run the user-space helper for recovery, it's not really a great idea to just keep trying. Not really a busy-wait, I suppose, but still not especially clever design.

Now I get to go and write tons of little test utilities, to see how well our MDS code can handle real-world recovery loads. That will be buckets of fun — seriously, I'm looking forward to it — and should help stabilize our system substantially. And that's what they pay me for! (Speaking of which, it's now a new month, which means I get to start forgetting to invoice again!)

Confidential to Red Hat 8.0:

[X] Please, for the love of god, emulate a 3-button mouse.

Phoenix had another release today, 0.2, and it's looking really, really sweet. In some ways, I guess it's a little embarrassing that a handful of hackers can produce better autocomplete, better toolbar management, and much better performance than that found in the much more heavily attended Mozilla CVS tree. But we've always known that small, sharp teams are vastly more productive than those diluted with a few dozen mediocre-or-worse additions, so it's certainly not surprising. Anyway, it looks good on them, and on Mozilla. I can't wait to see what they do with it next. (And I can't wait for an Xft-enabled build, so that I can stop using Mozilla 1.0 on my various Linux boxes. To dream!)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)