#sc09 : my talk at Minnesota Supercomputer Insitute's booth on Tuesday 3-3:30pm

Please do come by, I may have shirts for people attending the talk if they ask good questions at the end (no, “what is your name” or “what is the airspeed of an unladen swallow” doesn’t count). We will be talking about the first installed siCluster storage cluster system, designed to enable scalable performance and … Read more#sc09 : my talk at Minnesota Supercomputer Insitute's booth on Tuesday 3-3:30pm

OT: comparing Droid to iPhone

My Blackberry is dying. And Verizon seems to like to disable useful things, like GPS, Wifi, and all manner of other things. So these nice fancy phones … its hard to make full use of them.
I am looking at two options for replacement: iphone and droid. The latter is in a Motorola device, brand new, from Verizon. Verizon is at least getting the clue that disabling features is not a wise move in a competitive environment. Droid has Wifi.
It also has a terrible keyboard. Its display is … while bright and large … not smooth. There are noticable pauses. Its browser works, but is a little klunky, some things don’t render or render well.
I looked at iPhone. Its browser works. It has a virtual keyboard, one I find, when oriented sideways, that I can type on as fast as the blackberry, with nearly as few mistakes. Display is smooth (gorgeous even).
Everything works, save one, glaring omission. This one could be a show stopper for corporate adoption.
There is no “select all” button or capability in the email client, so you can delete all your current mail (or messages for that matter).
The magnitude of this omission cannot be understated. A business phone will have this. Its not merely a check box of a “would be nice to have” feature, it is an absolute unshakable requirement for a company-based user who gets 150-200 emails per day on average, and sometimes more than 300 (these are the non-spam emails, I get many more spam that I never see).

Read moreOT: comparing Droid to iPhone

This doesn't look like its going to end any other way but badly

News from the EU regulators. They are objecting to the hookup between Sun and Oracle.
Whether or not their objections have merit … their focus appears to be a loss of competition to Oracle from the “loss” of an independent MySQL … this is not good for Sun.
There are 2 possible outcomes from the EU at the end of the process. They will either accept the acquisition, or disallow it. If they disallow it, Sun is in trouble. Serious existential trouble.

Read moreThis doesn't look like its going to end any other way but badly

SC09 talk bits

I’ll be giving a talk at SC09 about the design and installation of our new siCluster (storage cluster) product. The talk is entitled “Feeding the hungry Gopher”. I’ll explain that in a moment. It is Tuesday, November 17th, 3-3:30pm, at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute booth. The gopher is the mascot of the University of Minnesota. … Read moreSC09 talk bits

SC09 booth bits

Ok, here’s the scoop. We will be in the Intel Partner Pavilion booth #3077. We are going to be bringing a nice JackRabbit JR4 and a Pegasus-GPU unit. The JR4 will have a pair of nice fast Intel Nehalem CPUs in it (probably X5550’s), and the Pegasus will have a pair of W5580’s. Both units … Read moreSC09 booth bits

The joy that is mmap …

Mmap is a way to provide file IO in a nice simple manner. Create a buffer area, and as you read/write into that buffer, this is reflected physically into the file.
Oversimplification, but this is basically what it is.
In most operating system, mmap makes direct use of the paging paths in the kernel.
Why am I writing about this?
Because the paging paths are some of the slowest paths in modern kernels, typically doing IO a page at a time. In the case of Linux, this is 4k bytes at a time for most systems.
Unfortunately, it gets worse.

Read moreThe joy that is mmap …