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There Is No Reason At All To Use MySQL: MariaDB, MySQL Founder Michael Widenius

StandardDeviant Re:or sqlite (241 comments)

The default configs for postgres are set for a fairly small memory usage profile (*), which is fine if that's what you need (e.g. tiny vm or something that makes it a huge production to raise things like max shm size), but if you have sufficient ram, you can crank a hell of a lot more performance out of the engine by making the configs less conservative. This page is a good start:

Not that it's a priori *wrong* to run with the defaults, it'll still work just fine, but once you start having significant traffic or complicated queries you'll be happier if it more fully uses the system resources available.

(*) It's been a good while since I last had to take a pg instance from stock and tune it, but I very vaguely recall the default settings were on the order of a eight megabytes of ram usage.

about a year ago

Building a Better Tech School

StandardDeviant Re:Well this sounds totally scalable (62 comments)

(assuming it really is a great school, which I have serious doubts)

For what it's worth, Cornell is currently ranked something like fifth in the US(*) in terms of their computer science department, and the Technion is hardly a degree mill either. I don't know what their hybrid programs are going to be like, but at least the source departments seem solid. Admittedly, rankings are largely bullshit and the student guarantees far more of outcome than the institution, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that the "Stanford/MIT/CMU/UCB/Cornell" group is good-to-great.

(*) source:

about a year ago

Uber Gives Up On New York Taxi Service

StandardDeviant Re:While I like the idea (180 comments)

Hahahaha. Have you ever visited NYC, let alone lived there? Getting a cab can be a pain in the ass even in mid-town. "Oh, look the 500th fuckin cab that's full or off duty! Might as well stand here with my arm in the air for another twenty minutes like a fucking tourist!"

The MTA may get you where you want to go, but might take two hours to do it. JFK to BX w/out MNR, anyone?

Seriously tell me hailing a cab is easy after you've tried to do it while standing in the snow an hour after bars close and you don't want to take three more God-forsaken hours to get home to an outer borough shithole apartment that costs $waytoofuckinmuch... Not that I'm bitter. :)

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Track Bugs For Personal Software Projects?

StandardDeviant github and bitbucket have issue trackers (221 comments)

For what it's worth, there are issue trackers offered alongside even the free levels of both github and (which lets you use both git and hg). Bitbucket's free tier even lets you have a private repo if your source needs to be private (issue tracking and wiki instantiation are configurable via admin there, and should be offered as part of project repo creation). This way you get source control for your personal work as well as an issue tracker. ;)

I vaguely recall that Sourceforge also has some sort of bug tracker as well, if you'd rather use cvs/svn. (It's been a long time since I looked in that level of detail at SF though, so ymmv.)

All of these are "cloud" (blech) solutions that don't require any server setup on your part. If you aren't familiar with source control, that's kind of another matter, but there are quality GUI clients for OSX for most of the common protocols and cvs, svn, git, and hg all have reasonably good documentation publicly available in various forms.

about 2 years ago

Indian Gov't Uses Special Powers To Slash Cancer Drug Price By 97%

StandardDeviant Re:Just keep in mind the tradeoff (556 comments)

The public drug companies are required to file financial reports with the SEC, which generally detail their budgets (at least to a sufficient level of granularity for this discussion). EDGAR is one avenue of getting at them (10-Q for example for quarterly reporting). But yeah, he's not lying, R&D expenditures are not the majority line item for most large pharmaceutical companies. If anything, Big Pharma has been on the whole aggressively cutting R&D over the past few years.

Just for one concrete example, here's Pfizer's 10-Q from late last year:

Click into "Financial Statements" there. I think the given figures are in units of "millions," so they spent about $2.1Bn on R&D during the given quarter, compared to $4.6Bn for "Selling, informational and administrative expenses" (which probably includes marketing) and $3.7Bn for "Cost of sales" (not sure, might be raw materials and manufacturing?).

more than 2 years ago

My current printer has printed ...

StandardDeviant Over 10k pages = (310 comments)

"I am, or have as a significant other, a graduate student." ;)

more than 3 years ago

High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay

StandardDeviant 100k in nyc (1018 comments)

... buys you a middle class -- and I don't mean upper middle class -- lifestyle; esp. if you've got dependents to support as well. You can pull that nyc income and live in places where it goes a lot further, but you'll be commuting an hour or more (sometimes much more) to do so. After taxes, 100k there is roughly 65-70k take home (estimating broadly). In a place where a completely boring, typical one bedroom apartment goes for 1500/mo (outer boroughs) to 3000/mo (manhattan), monthly transit and commuter rail passes can set you back another 300/mo combined, and electricity is 3x as expensive as it is in the interior states, and groceries average 2x as expensive, that doesn't go very far.

about 4 years ago

Clues That Apple's Bought Another Processor Design House

StandardDeviant I worked there years ago; some historical irony... (183 comments)

I worked there briefly years ago back when they were EVSX. EVSX was in turn founded by folks from the Austin branch of Exponential Technologies, which ironically was a company based around making fast processors for the Apple clone market of the 90s (for extra irony given Apple's years-later switch to intel cpus, exponential tech apparently worked both in PowerPC and x86, with Austin focusing on the x86 branch of development). In a sense, this acquisition is kind of like full circle for the company. I wish them all the best; they are an extremely bright and friendly group who were great to work with. I ended up leaving for a job paying slightly more with less commute, but ultimately I wish I'd stayed on as the people were better to work with at EVSX.

more than 4 years ago

"Logan's Run" Syndrome In Programming

StandardDeviant 24 months to burnout on average? (599 comments)

Two years seems to be the developer half-life in most shops. By that point if you're worse than average they've canned you, and if you're better than average your responsibilities have grown to the point that you're spending as much or more time dealing with cross-team organizational bullshit as you are doing what you actually love (writing code) and hence wanting to quit. :) The thing is, I think every gig has problems, and often they're the same tedious set of problems, but people jump in the hopes that maybe, maybe the grass will actually be greener THIS time. (After a decade or two of corporate culture, further, it's all too likely that the truly idiosyncratic individuals will have accumulated enough capital and enough disgust with the system that they give it all the finger and go run a bar just to pick one prominent example.)

The other direct motivator that comes to mind is money. All too many shops hire you at a rate that approximates more-or-less-if-you're-lucky Market Rate for your skills and so forth, then want to give you sub-10% raises for ever and ever thereafter. Ergo it's easier to ramp your salary in tune with your experience by jumping periodically. This is perhaps most prevalent in the first ten years of a programming career as there are big deltas at roughly two and five and seven-ten years of experience as you start to [potentially] hop up the org chart some from junior to regular to senior dev.

So in short I think that getting fed up with a given situation and taking steps to change it for (hopefully, maybe not, probably not... but hopefully) the better is both normal and healthy. Or are you of the opinion that backing the same crappy horse for years is the best way to go through life?

more than 4 years ago

Using Outlook From Orbit

StandardDeviant verbs and wishful thinking (268 comments)

If only that headline used "Nuking" instead of "Using" Outlook from Orbit.

My company recently switched from a really screwball lotus notes install to msexchange and thereby screwed every unix and mac user -- which is to say, 95% of the technical staff. Some of that I can't blame MSFT for, we do have some real chimpanzees on our email team, but the experience does have me shaking my fist in Redmond's direction even more than usual of late.

more than 4 years ago

Science Gifts For Kids?

StandardDeviant a quality calculator? (368 comments)

A decent quality scientific calculator and enough training with it that they can start using to discover the joys of solving problems. I think I had my first solar powered scientific calc when I was about ten. A handful of years later in high school I moved up to a more complicated graphing model. I'm sad to say I don't have the original calculator but I still have the latter. It served me well through high school, college admissions exams, and then a bachelors degree in the sciences. Of course these days I write boring but comparatively lucrative line of business web apps, so the most complicated math I ever have reason to do can be done with gcalctool in simple mode. ;) I still feel a bit of a rush when I look at my old calc though; we had such times together. :D

I won't get into the emacs-vs-vi wars of TI/HP/whatever, but get them a solid useful tool that can be used for most any science endeavor and you'll have done them a favor, imho.

(And yeah this might not be appropriate for the 7 year old, but I'd wager the 9 year old is mature enough or on the cusp of it...)

more than 4 years ago

Software Glitch Leads To $23,148,855,308,184,500 Visa Charges

StandardDeviant triggered an overlimit fee, as I recall (544 comments)

I saw this earlier on another site which included a screen-cap, wherein there was a $20 Negative Balance Fee shown after the huge erroneous charge, so it would seem that it did trigger issues on the business logic level.

about 5 years ago

Fertility Clinic Bows To Pressure, Nixes Eye- and Hair-Color Screening

StandardDeviant not all uses of sex selection are social (847 comments)

Not all uses of sex selection are for social reasons. For example, I am male and have an X-chromosomal genetic disorder that I'd very much like to avoid giving to any of my (as yet purely hypothetical) children. Ergo, for my putative offspring to be healthy [or at least avoid the disorder I've been afflicted with], they would have to be male as well. So it might be appropriate to look at things with a bit more of a nuanced view than "it's absolutely evil and should be totally banned."

more than 5 years ago

Lala Invents Network DRM

StandardDeviant oh great, DivX all over again (212 comments)

starting to think "D" in DRM stands for "Doomed" and "Dickheaded" more than "Digital". Customers may on average be pretty fucking dumb, but even the truly dense will feel themselves getting screwed if you do it hard enough, and the content cartel just can't ever quite seem to figure out how far they can push things. If by some outlandish chance this moves from "patent application" to "products on shelves", I expect that it'll die on the vine just as badly as the movie industry's attempt at obnoxious tetherware (DivX) did ten years ago.

more than 5 years ago

The Coder Behind the Mortgage Meltdown

StandardDeviant Oh, jeez, not more CRA-blaming (379 comments)

The idea that giving loans to THOSE PEOPLE (implicitly poor, black, and whatever other qualities our society is calling moral failings this week) is behind the collapse of the financial industry and had nothing whatsoever to do with the saintly finance industry's business practices itself is a meme that really needs to bite the dust. Was CRA part of the problem? Maybe, but there's no such thing as a single cause to a collective fuckup/fiscal meltdown of this magnitude. I'd argue that the repeal of Glass-Steagall is an even larger singular driver.

I'm sorry if it seems like I'm singling you out or jumping down your throat in particular, I'm just real tired of simplistic finger-pointing at the CRA. (I even vaguely recall seeing numbers that said CRA-driven loans were actually less likely than average to be in foreclosure, but it's been a good while and I can't remember where to dig up the particular citation.)

more than 5 years ago

Obama Taps a 5th Lawyer From the RIAA

StandardDeviant Re:disappointing but not really surprising (587 comments)

The last administration was interested in unilateral projection of policy and access to resources moreso than flag planting, an ideological and commercial empire more than one of borders. As regards oil, I'd argue that it was never about cheap oil (another common red herring in this discussion) as it was access to oil in light of ongoing demographic shifts in the southern Arabian peninsula. As for control over oil supplies, consider this: which was the first ministry occupied by Coalition forces in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion? Which company was given total operating rights on Iraqi oil fields in May of 2003 lasting until 2007?

more than 5 years ago

Obama Taps a 5th Lawyer From the RIAA

StandardDeviant disappointing but not really surprising (587 comments)

It's a broad brush, admittedly, but generally entertainment and non-defense technology have their leashes on the Democrats and oil/defense/defense-tech have their leashes on Republicans. When GWB was elected I thought that I should have gone out and bought up shares in defense and oil, only I was a poor college kid at the time, and history I think well illustrates how those bets would have paid off 2000-2008. All things considered, yes it's disappointing that this Democratic administration will likely pander to the above corporate interests, but I'll take DRM and p2p stupidity over bloody oil wars and dreams of empire any day and twice on Sunday.

more than 5 years ago

Google Challenging Proposition 8

StandardDeviant stratospheric whoosh (1475 comments)

Whew, that's a level of whoosh I'm having a hard time distinguishing from trolling, but I'll make a go at explaining it. I'm not talking about workplace discrimination (which is a separate evil that I will leave aside for brevity), I'm talking about the laws of the society itself being altered by bigots to discriminate against a group of citizens. In my mind Prop 8 is functionally indistinguishable from the anti-mixed-race-marriage laws of the last century, which aptly met their demise in the 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia.

Now I'm sure the nimrod brigade will respond with "BUT DUH STDDEV, WHY NO WORKPLACE IF GOOGLE COMPANY WORK WORK WORKPLACE DUH PC DUHHHHHH????". Let me try to fill in the very short lines and dots here: Google is a company whose primary operations are in California. If California passes laws that negatively impact the civil liberties of current or potential Google employees, Google is an interested party in trying to get those laws repealed because it places an artificial restraint on their already difficult job of finding the cream of the computing crop to solve hard problems. That supporting the efforts to repeal Prop 8 is a morally correct decision is just icing on the cake, from a business standpoint.

more than 5 years ago


StandardDeviant hasn't submitted any stories.




StandardDeviant StandardDeviant writes  |  more than 11 years ago I guess the thing to do on days like this, after the fact, is to maybe try to write about what you were doing when the thing (whatever the thing was) happened. I was driving to work... late, as usual. I think it was about 9:15 my time, and I was cruising along westpark rd to work. I was worried by being late and thinking about what I had to code that day, so I hadn't turned on the radio. Subliminally I noticed less traffic, and no air contrails in the sky (Houston gets lots of air traffic). I turned on the radio, tuned to KLOL (101.1fm), the local alternarock station. Instead of music, I heard Dan Rather talking about combat air patrols over new york and DC. I had no clue what the hell was going on. For a second I thought maybe it was some sort of War of the Worlds parody. When I got to work, I came in still not having heard what was happening in NYC. Everybody was clustered around one of the big moniters watching a realmedia stream from someplace. CNN and most other news sites were hosed, I think this stream must have been coming off a local affiliate station's site or something. The footage... what can I say, it looked like a bad Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Unbelievable, sickening. We all went home after an hour or two becuase nobody could think straight to work. That night my roommate and I sat next to each other on her piano stool, iirc, and searched for what we could find on the web. I thought at the time "I never thought I would be alive during a time in which my country declared war, real war, not War on {Poverty|Drugs|etc}." It was a sensation of almost complete doom, terrible inertia carrying me (us) towards an unpleasant and suddenly unpredictable future. The past year sometimes feels like a bad dream, terrible but ludicrous, laughable even with the current administration's buffonery on the world stage. Like you'd wake up the next morning and wonder what you'd eaten that gave you such silly dreams...


... but windows sucks more

StandardDeviant StandardDeviant writes  |  more than 12 years ago So I'm hacking along on some work. Computer starts acting flaky (yeah, like an xterm, small xserver, and a browser window represents a crushing load). Thankfully I take the time to save what I was doing (on the server). I reboot... and now it's saying that several important windows files (like HIMEM.SYS, DBLBUFF.SYS, IFSHLP.SYS, and WIN.COM) are gone. Oh, and some of the directories and files in c:\windows are just binary-gibberish for names now... Thanks, Bill! I was afraid I might get some work done today, but once again your products came to the rescue.


oracle sucks

StandardDeviant StandardDeviant writes  |  more than 12 years ago Eh, so. All these people keep writing about or telling me about how cool oracle is. Alright, so I figure maybe I should check it out. Fuck me! I think oracle should win some lifetime acheivement award for either a) most needless complexity or b) worst documentation that's actually written by native speakers of your language. I'd _like_ to learn sql*plus, but seeing as how I can't get oracle to even install anywhere (linux, solaris, win32, enterprise, or personal) correctly, I think I'm basically just fuqt. I've got a particular bone to pick with Oracle 8i Personal 8.1.7R3 on win32 at teh momemnt becuase apparenly teh installer just silently neglected to do some important things like set up registry entries, and boy do I just love nothing better than guessing my way through hand hacking the winsuck registry with no docs. :-( Bah! Humbug! At this point I think sqlserver should win the enterprise storage "war" just becuase it will piss of Ellison, regardless of the strengths of the databases invovled...


Sleep Deprivation

StandardDeviant StandardDeviant writes  |  more than 12 years ago jwz says it best. that was commercedna to me, but add classes and failure at the end (both of commercedna and of some of my classes). Ah, the hopelessly naive days of ... 2 years ago. now i'm feeling sleep deprived again for no good reason. no school stress, no job stress, just. can't. sleep. Oh, and of course the fucking pisswit shitstain cockslappers down and to teh right of me are playing gangsta rap at three in the fucking morning. Probably they just got home from some bar, because after all, the weekend fucking well starts on thursday now, right? Times like these I'm glad I know all about Pygmy Shrews...



StandardDeviant StandardDeviant writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Hrm, so my friend matt weigel's slashdot user name is "Matthew Weigel" with a space, which means that the URL encoding is "Matthew%20Weigel". But when you click on the "go to user's journal" link, slashdot makes it "Matthew%2520Weigel", which of course isn't right. Doh!

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