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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

MarkRose Re:About 7-8 years ago? (298 comments)

It really depends on scale. If you run a small site, one that gets less than 10 million hits a month or so, you're fine on a run-of-the-mill CMS like Wordpress. Though I should mention many frameworks will fall over at much less load due to poor design decisions.

It gets interesting when your concurrency goes higher. Things like ORM baked into many frameworks break down, and if your site is interactive, it's a lot harder to add effective caching.

Over the last six years I designed a Linux-Nginx-MySQL-PHP stack that currently does over 2 billion requests per month. Over 98% of the requests are served entirely from cache, and every request gets a live view (no reverse caching proxy or the like). This is possible because I designed and basically scratch-built a framework that does caching intelligently, in a way that's just not possible with any ORM-based framework I've seen. The front-end is mostly JS, which I did not build, and it does use frameworks like jQuery, angular, less, grunt, etc.

We're starting to see mild growing pains (but we could still handle ten times our current traffic) and are migrating to a Cassandra/Kafka/Storm/Java stack to take things multiple orders of magnitude higher and to make everything real-time. There are simply not any frameworks available, but there are many projects like Cassandra, Kafka, and Storm that do a lot of the hard work and that can be glued together with you own libraries.

It doesn't take a huge team to do it, either, if you're smart. We're a dozen people on the tech side, including design, front, back, ops, QA, and management.

4 days ago
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SystemD Gains New Networking Features

MarkRose Re:systemd... (552 comments)

Routers are probably the first thing you want to change. I don't use FreeBSD, but it features zero copy networking for insanely fast routing, which Linux does not.

about two weeks ago
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Being Colder May Be Good For Your Health

MarkRose Re:Hands and feet (234 comments)

I also have a fan on all the time. I'm simply uncomfortable in temperatures above 21C.

I'm comfortable in pants and a t-shirt down to 0C if it's not too windy, or -15C if it's calm and sunny and I'm moving around. Below those conditions I'll wear a jacket and perhaps gloves. Only once it gets to -25C do I get out the winter gear and start layering. I don't need it until then.

about a month ago
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US Internet Offers 10Gbps Fiber In Minneapolis

MarkRose Re:How fast is just too fast? (110 comments)

I have 175 Mbps symmetric at home, and it's good enough for my purposes at the moment. Having reasonable upload bandwidth like that with 3 ms ping to the office is useful for exporting X apps to my work desktop (yes, I do that). It's nearly as fast as a local app to the point where I could forget it's remote.

The decent upload is also really handy for doing remote backups. I have ISCSI targets in distant locations that I simply mount and use like a local file system. ISCSI without reasonable upload capacity or low latency is a frustrating experience.

I used to have 50 Mbps symmetric, and it was okay, but I did find myself waiting on things. I wait less now with 175 Mbps, but I'm also still throttling backup speed.

Most websites I visit don't fully utilize the bandwidth because of the TCP ramp up time, and generally downloads will finish before maximum speed is reached. Well designed services like Mega will easily saturate my connection though.

With a 1 Gbps connection at the office I've seen download speeds up to 80 MB/s from a local free software mirror. It's handy to download a new distro ISO in 15 seconds. It really changes your perspective on what data is worth keeping locally.

If I were regularly downloading and uploading multi-gigabyte files, such as backing up video, 10 Gbps would be very useful! If online storage prices keep dropping it will be very tempting to keep everything in the cloud. Right now the cheapest storage VPS providers are around $20 per TB per month.

But the key point is not so much increasing download bandwidth beyond 1 Gbps, but increasing upload bandwidth to match.

about a month ago
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LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

MarkRose Re:What's the Motivation? (179 comments)

A 50" 1080p TV has a dot pitch of approximately 0.58 mm. That's huge.

My 27" 1440p monitor has a dot pitch of 0.23 mm. I can clearly see pixels jaggies 2' away. It's not capable of producing fonts smaller than 8 px without collapsing the whitespace in and between letters. I can clearly read an 8 px font on that display from 7' away.

The pixels in the 50" TV would be discernible at 5'. I would have to be 18' away from that TV before I couldn't read an 8 px font on it. I would discern detail three times farther away than that, so 4k would be an improvement over 1080p for a 50" TV any closer than 50' away. People who disagree might have less than 20/10 vision (20/10 is actually common).

For desktop work, where I'm usually about 24-30" away, 8k in a 30" format (~294 ppi) would be really nice. I have a feeling I'll be waiting a while for that though.

about a month and a half ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

MarkRose Re:Not a bad place.... (409 comments)

Not radioactive wolves, but rabid wolves. Probably the biggest danger in the zone along with decaying/collapsing buildings.

about 2 months ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

MarkRose Re:What a shock (409 comments)

You can eat some stuff grown there. It just depends on what, and the soil where the plant was grown. Why not eat an apple? I would. It can be safe! You have to test everything though, just like Norwegian reindeer meat.

about 2 months ago
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

MarkRose The First Attempt (194 comments)

I heard the first attempt was with Chuck Norris discs, but they burnt holes through the panels.

about a month ago
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Worrying Aspects of Linux Gaming

MarkRose Re:"It took significant resources" (265 comments)

That's me. I'm a casual gamer. I use Linux because it simply works better for me. It's not worth booting into Windows to play a game, because I'd be locked out of everything else. I don't watch or own a TV, so I've never bought a console. So I simply didn't play games for years.

But Humble Bundle started making me aware of the Linux games available out there. Then Steam came out. A little over a year ago I spent several hundred dollars on decent graphics card to drive my 1440p display. I've spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours playing games.

I'm not too cheap to buy a Windows license. Money is not the issue. Booting into Windows is simply not worth the hassle.

about 2 months ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

MarkRose Re:Or they will simply get it banned or restricted (517 comments)

In some areas of the US (especially the south eastern states where cheap dirty coal rains supreme)

Did you mean acid rain's supreme? Or reigns supreme?

about 4 months ago
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NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs

MarkRose Re:Anyone else notice the low DP numbers? (125 comments)

I recently bought 2 used 580's for their 32-bit integer compute performance, for $280 total. Buying GTX 780 Ti's with comparable performance would have cost me 5 times as much.

about 4 months ago
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My degree of colorblindness:

MarkRose Re:Different colors (267 comments)

That's the funniest thing I read on slashdot in a very long time. Well played.

about 6 months ago
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Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

MarkRose Re:Everybody skips the interesting bits (299 comments)

At the surface of a reactor pool, the biggest dose of radiation is actually from the tritium created by neutron absorption by the hydrogen in the water molecules. The heat given off by the fuel will create a convective current, so the tritium will be evenly dispersed throughout the pool. Swimming in or drinking the water would obviously not be the best thing due to the tritium contamination (while skin will block the very weak beta radiation, tritium ingested or absorbed through the skin can cause DNA damage). A small amount will also be present in the air around the pool due to evaporation. Would I drink or swim in the water? No. But I have stood over a reactor pool for several minutes without concern.

about 7 months ago
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New Middleware Promises Dramatically Higher Speeds, Lower Power Draw For SSDs

MarkRose Re:Wear leveling (68 comments)

It was 128 KB for smaller, older drives. For instance, the Samsung 840 EVO series use an erase block size of 2 MB. Some devices even have an 8 MB erase block size. 8 KB page sizes are common now, too, much like how spinning rust moved to 4 KB pages. Using larger pages and blocks allows for denser, cheaper manufacturing.

about 8 months ago
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7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated

MarkRose Re:Sanity check (197 comments)

Didn't you mean to say.... a phony number?

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

MarkRose Depends on the position (466 comments)

What is the position? Is it to fill a chair? Is it to produce one-off work? Or is it to produce a larger project that's maintainable for the long term?

It's not simply enough to have some skill: for every bit of skill a person brings to the team, there is the additional overhead of communication with that person. After a point, adding more people to a project is simply not productive and even a hindrance, regardless of the calibre of those people. A small number of great programmers can often outperform a large team, and cost a lot less in salary and benefits.

If someone is 5/10 skilled, that person should spend time to get better at something. Read more books. Watch more talks. Study algorithms, design patterns, anti-patterns, etc. Write more code. Get good at something. I'm not a good C programmer. I like C, but I've never done enough to get good at it (maybe someday). But I built a distributed, fault-tolerant auto-scaling LNMP stack that services thousands of API requests per second, without a rearchitecture, because I studied how to scale and wrote scaling into the system from day one.

Embedded software experience is an in-demand skill. Many programmers can create bloated, slow code, but few can write lean, efficient, and fast code. That's highly valued in the embedded space, of course, as it's needed, but it's also very in demand at scale, because being inefficient costs a lot of money. If I were hiring, I'd look very fondly at someone with this skill, much more than someone who is focused on simply the language de jour. It's easy to find people who can produce code. It's hard to find people who can solve problems well.

I can't speak for every area, but in my locale there are plenty of hardware-oriented startups that have a tough time finding qualified people. The jobs are out there, but I agree the market is smaller than for pure software. One place hardware companies struggle is writing good drivers and application software. Someone who got good at that, along with having the embedded knowledge, would be very in demand.

about 8 months ago
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China May Build an Undersea Train To America

MarkRose Re:Rail+ ferry (348 comments)

If building rail line from western Alaska to connect to the continental system, no significant mountain ranges need to be crossed. Assuming the rail lands at the closest point across the Bering Straight, there is an almost flat route following the Koyukuk and Yukon Rivers over to the Mackenzie River. The North American rail network reaches as far as Hay River, near the south end of the Mackenzie River.

For a shorter route, the Tanana River could be followed past Fairbanks, and the route could continue paralleling the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse. At Whitehorse it could travel next to Teslin Lake and over land to Dease Lake. While Dease Lake is not currently connected to the continental rail network, but the track bed had been fully prepared in the 1970's, and it would be easy to install the necessary bridges and rail.

Still, ships would be more efficient.

about 8 months ago
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Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains

MarkRose Re:This is why we need the government regulation (211 comments)

You're blaming railroads for a lot of things they have no control over:

  • Railroads don't classify the goods being shipped, shippers do.
  • Railroads can't refuse to take dangerous goods. They're classified as common carries and have to carry anything that's allowed by regulation, including hazardous materials.
  • Railroads do own older, less safe equipment, such as older DOT-111 tank cars and can reasonably be blamed for spotting the cars they own to industries shipping volatile chemicals. However, they cannot refuse to move cars delivered from other railroads, or leased by the industries. Furthermore, the factories making replacement vehicles are backed up for two years. Even so, railroads are replacing the cars they own. They are being responsible.
  • Most rail lines were built in rural areas, and the cities grew up around them. Don't blame the railroad when a city builds up next to a transportation corridor that transports dangerous goods. In the cases where railroads have rebuilt outside of cities, the cities have again crowded around the lines. What do you expect railroads to do? They were there first.

The solution is to put hydrocarbons (and other dangerous liquid goods) in pipelines that are statistically far safer. Pipelines, carrying one a single product, can be routed far away from urban areas. But those in power refuse to allow it, in cases stalling for over half a decade.

Or blame the shippers, who purposely make their shipments more volatile and mislabel the contents.

Railroads can be blamed for runaway trains, like the one that got away in Lac-Megantic (a train that had safely passed through Toronto earlier). Derailments happen, despite the best efforts to prevent them (they cost a lot of money, so no railroad wants them). But most of the blame for the explosive situations that have resulted cannot be placed on the railroads: their hands are tied.

about 9 months ago
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How Engineers Are Building a Power Station At the South Pole

MarkRose Re:Why not nukes? (108 comments)

Load following with a nuclear plant isn't difficult if you can easily control the moderator. This can be controlled by computer. In designs with large negative temperature coefficients (such as LFTR) the reaction speed can be controlled by the rate heat is removed from the reactor, making load following is as simple as controlling the speed of a pump in a coolant loop. Most (all?) current commercial reactors are not designed to habitually operate this way.

Commercial reactors are usually run full power for capital cost recovery reasons. The cost of fuel for nuclear versus the capital cost of current reactors is such that it is always cheaper than the fuel (or storage) for alternative power generation, so in periods of low demand, nuclear wins. Capital costs are high because it is difficult to handle high pressure water (and the 1700 fold expansion in volume if containment is lost) in current commercial designs. Designs using molten salts operate at atmospheric pressure and will be dramatically cheaper to construct. Companies such as Terrestrial Energy and Flibe Energy are working on commercialization of molten salt reactors, which are feasible from megawatts to gigawatts. Such a reactor would be ideal for a remote research base.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Several American States Going Bankrupt

MarkRose MarkRose writes  |  more than 6 years ago

MarkRose (820682) writes "Blogger Mish points out that several States are in serious financial trouble. New Jersey is insolvent, and Goldman Sachs is drawing ire for advising default swaps against the State, as well as California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Several more are not far behind. Without Federal welfare, many will be forced to make drastic service cuts and lay of millions of people across the country. What will you do if and when your State goes bankrupt? Are you prepared for the ensuing economic collapse? (orig)"
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