Friday, October 19, 2007

Isolated illness


Today I never bothered to get up for work. Illness was on the rise this past week, today was too much.
After shipping the lad to kindergarten, the girlfriend and baby decided to go to town. I was alone...for the first time't say, actually. Almost 1½ months, maybe?
That is the one thing that bothers me most about family life. The lack of privacy. I think I have discovered myself to be a loner these past years, relatively speaking. I really need those occasional puffs of solitude at the surface - and then it's all a matter of making this acceptable and even scheduled, if possible. But, when you're not big on schedules these things tend to slip - and then the pressure cooker starts whistling. I've got to get better at planning steam-venting getaways =)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nothing like a good rant

This is a great summation of the worst things religion has to offer in America.

Friday, October 12, 2007

We want 3D datamining

At work we have this system...this big, huge 20-year-old system. Consisting of 1500 programs and who knows how many subprocesses.

They are currently discussing how to get on from here, since the framework support will cease within a few years - and the idea of a completely new start (named "The Big Bang" approach) is nothing but scary. Platform migration was done once before - and was entirely cumbersome, resulting in years of patching.

So, the idea is to cut the system up into more or less self-contained parts that may be swapped for specialized new commercial pieces of software.
Main problem now is getting to grips with the connections between software parts, users, and organisational structures. It reminds me of a process I saw with LEGO a few years ago - in which they also were trying to abolish, maintain and develop their software system - all at the same time.

I suddenly thought of visualising the whole thing, when dozing off at a meeting yesterday - so now I am on the lookout for 3D data visualisation tools that may have system data added (preferably along several dimensions) and then show the entirety of the mess. I've looked into a few already on this page - unfortunately, many are quite old...and have no easily accessible interface - which is sort of key - if you want many different actors to use them readily.

Things of note, so far: GraphViz, Atlas info, Tinderbox,
The latter points to an interesting list, with 3D Topicscape as the first reference. Promising at first sight - but I quickly found that it was really only a narrowly hierarchical structure that it could visualise. A shame with all that 3D and then they only use it for things better shown on regular diagrams.
I want the x,y,z dimensions to hold parameter references - and nodes that are equally dependent, not necessarily in a parent-child relationship. I want navigation around clouds of connected elements, coloured by their business value, ordered by their program hierarchy, translated by their [insert parameter here].
Still looking....makes me annoyed I didn't become a graphical coder.

Seems I have found something useful in TheBrain. Not exactly 3D...but the way of adding, linking and dragging nodes has me somewhat persuaded. After all, what good is a big, shiny 3D structure if it is impossible to update easily or navigate quickly. Seems like TopicScape actually imports TheBrain maybe I can visualise it all more deeply later on.
Next step is to get to work and start adding systems data...=)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Time for an upgrade

The past two years have gone by like a maglev - it really dawned on my when I bought the new game Bioshock, expecting my hardware to be just around the absolute minimum requirements. No way, José.
My gfx-card (ATI x800 pro) was nowhere near even the bottom of Tom's Hardware tests. And I've hardly played anything but WoW with it...wasted my money on it back then, I did.

I find it a bit odd that games are also still pushing Moore's envelope. But then again it is only a few games that can provide the quality of content that Bioshock supposedly does.

The trick is trying to avoid wasting my money this time - a colleague just assembled a fairly nice machine for about 3000 Dkr in parts, which is peanuts. I'd like to spend a bit more maybe - but then again come 6 months and it's worth half already.

The worst thing is RAM systems - I tried to find an internet guide on it but most are 5-6 years old. Luckily, I found this table - which also shows the formula by which SDRAM is calculated. One of those things you need to study again each time you need it :)

RAM typeTheoretical max. bandwidth
SDRAM 100 MHz100 MHz X 64 bit= 800 MB/sec
SDRAM 133 MHz133 MHz X 64 bit= 1064 MB/sec
DDRAM 200 MHz (PC1600)2 X 100 MHz X 64 bit= 1600 MB/sec
DDRAM 266 MHz (PC2100)2 X 133 MHz X 64 bit= 2128 MB/sec
DDRAM 366 MHz (PC2600)2 X 166 MHz X 64 bit= 2656 MB/sec
RDRAM 600 MHz600 MHz X 16 bit= 1200 MB/sec
RDRAM 700 MHz700 MHz X 16 bit= 1400 MB/sec
RDRAM 800 MHz800 MHz X 16 bit= 1600 MB/sec