Older blog entries for mikal (starting at number 906)

Starquake




ISBN: 0345312333
Del Rey (1986), Edition: First Thus, Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing
The sequel to the very excellent Dragon's Egg, this book covers the continued interaction between the humans and the super cute Cheela. Unfortunately for the Cheela they suffer a major natural disaster which destroys society. I love an author who is willing to kill of characters when it progresses the story, and there is lots of that happening in this book. Really enjoyable.

Tags for this post: book robert_l_forward hard alien aliens cheela
Related posts: Dragon's Egg; Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Humanity; Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Maverick; Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Changeling; Speaker For The Dead; Jupiter; Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Alliance; The Robot City, Robots and Aliens Series; The Coming; Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Intruder; Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Renegade


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Syndicated 2012-12-13 18:45:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Moving on

Thursday this week is my last day at Canonical. After a little over a year at Canonical, I'm moving on to the private cloud team at Rackspace -- my first day with Rackspace will be the 17th of December. I'm very excited to be joining Rackspace -- I'm excited by the project, the team, and the opportunity to make OpenStack even better. We've also talked about some interesting stuff we'd like to do in the Australian OpenStack community, but I'm going to hold off on talking about that until I've had a chance to settle in.

I am appreciative of my time at Canonical -- when I joined I was unaware of the existence of OpenStack, and without Canonical I might never have found this awesome project that I love. I also had the chance to work with some really smart people who taught me a lot. This move is about spending more time on OpenStack than Canonical was able to allow.

Tags for this post: openstack canonical rackspace
Related posts: Taking over a launch pad project; Got Something to Say? The LCA 2013 CFP Opens Soon!; Slow git review uploads?; On conference t-shirts; Further adventures with base images in OpenStack; Wow, qemu-img is fast; Reflecting on Essex; Are you in a LUG? Do you want some promotional materials for LCA 2013?; Announcement video; linux.conf.au Returns to Canberra in 2013; The next thing; Folsom Dev Summit sessions; A first pass at glance replication; Call for papers opens soon; Openstack compute node cleanup

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Syndicated 2012-12-08 12:56:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Fuzzy Nation




ISBN: 9780765367037
LibraryThing
Yet another excellent Scalzi novel. This one took me a while to really warm up to, but it was worth the patience. The ending is fast paced and excellent.

Tags for this post: book john_scalzi sentience mining colony


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Syndicated 2012-11-14 22:51:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Mockingjay




ISBN: 9781407109374
LibraryThing
This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. To be honest I don't think it is as the previous two books. This is mostly because while the plot is quiet believable, Katniss simply comes across as whiney for most of the book. The plot is believable so it doesn't feel insincere, its just annoying.

Overall an OK book but not her best.

Tags for this post: book suzanne_collins combat hunting post_apocalypse hunger_games human_shield
Related posts: The Hunger Games; Catching Fire; Death Bringer; Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow ; East of the Sun, West of the Moon; Canned hunting; Bolos 1: Honor of the Regiment; Iron Master; Cloud Warrior; Amtrak Wars; Earth Thunder; First Family; Emerald Sea; Body Armor: 2000; Without Warning; Blood River; Against the Tide; The Stars Must Wait; Bolos 2: The Unconquerable; There Will Be Dragons


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Syndicated 2012-11-14 22:43:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

On conference t-shirts

Conference t-shirts can't be that hard, right? I certainly don't remember them being difficult when Canberra last hosted linux.conf.au in 2005. I was the person who arranged all the swag for that conference, so I should remember. Yet here I am having spent hours on the phone with vendors, and surrounded with discarded sample t-shirts, size charts and colour swatches. What changed?

The difference between now and then is that in the intervening seven years the Australian Linux community has started to make real effort to be more inclusive. We have anti-harassment policies, we encourage new speakers, and we're making real efforts to encourage more women into the community.

linux.conf.au 2013 is making real efforts to be as inclusive as possible -- one of the first roles we allocated was a diversity officer, who is someone active in the geek feminism community. We've had serious discussions about how we can make our event as friendly to all groups as possible, and have some interesting things along those lines to announce soon. We're working hard to make the conference a safe environment for everyone, and will have independent delegate advocates available at all social events, as well as during the conference.

What I want to specifically talk about here is the conference t-shirts though. We started out with the following criteria -- we wanted to provide a men's cut, and a separate women's cut, because we recognize that unisex t-shirts are not a good solution for most women. We also need a wider than usual size range in those shirts because we have a diverse set of delegates attending our event. We also didn't really want to do black, dark blue, or white shirts -- mostly because those colours are overdone, but also because the conference is in January when the mean temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius.

Surprisingly, those criteria eliminate the two largest vendors of t-shirts in Australia. Neither Hanes nor Gildan make any t-shirt that has both men's and women's cuts, in interesting colours and with a large size variety. So we went on the hunt for other manufacturers. However, I'm jumping a little ahead of myself here, so bear with me.

First off we picked a Hanes shirt because we liked the look of it. We were comfortable with that choice for quite a while before we discovered that the range of colours available in both the men's and women's cut was quite small. Sure, there are heaps of colours in each cut, but the overlapping set of colours is much smaller than it first appears. At this point we knew we needed to find a new vendor.

The next most obvious choice is Gildan. Gildan does some really nice shirts, and I immediately fell in love with a colour called "charcoal". However, once bitten twice shy, so we ordered some sample t-shirts for my wife and I to try out. I'm glad we did this, because the women's cut was a disaster. First off it didn't fit my wife very well in the size she normally wears, which it turns out is because the lighter cotton style of t-shirt is 10 centimeters smaller horizontally than the thicker cotton version! It got even worse when we washed the shirts and tried them again -- the shirt shrunk significantly on first wash. We also noticed something else which had escaped our attention -- the absolute largest size that Gildan did in our chosen style for women was a XXL. Given the sizing ran small, that probably made the largest actual size we could provide a mere XL. That's not good enough.

Gildan was clearly not going to work for us. I got back on the phone with the supplier who was helping us out and we spent about an hour talking over our requirements and the problems we were seeing with the samples. We even discussed getting a run of custom shirts made overseas and shipped in, but the timing wouldn't work out. They promised to go away and see what other vendors they could find in this space. Luckily for us they came back with a vendor called BizCollection, who do soft cotton shirts in the charcoal colour I like.

So next we ordered samples of this shirt. It looked good initially -- my shirt fit well, as did my wife's. However, we'd now learnt that testing the shirts through a few wash cycles was useful. So then my wife and I wore the shirts as much as we could for a week, washing them each evening and abusing them in all the ways we could think of -- using the dryer, hanging them outside in the sun, pretty much everything apart from jumping up and down on them. I have to say these shirts have held up well, and we're very happy with them.

The next step is I'm going to go back and order a bunch more sample shirts and make my team wear them. The goal here is to try and validate the size charts that the vendor provides and make sure that we can provide as much advice about fit as possible to delegates. Also, I love a free t-shirt.

After all this we still recognize that some people will never be happy with the conference's t-shirt. Perhaps they hate the colour or the design, or perhaps they're very tall and every t-shirt is too short for them. So the final thing we're doing is we're giving delegates a choice -- they can select between a t-shirt, a branded cap, or a reusable coffee cup. In this way we don't force delegates to receive something they don't really want and are unlikely to use.

When you register for the conference, please try to remember that we've put a lot of effort as an organizing team into being as detail oriented as possible with all the little things we think delegates care about. I'm sure we've made some mistakes, but we are volunteers after all who are doing our best. If you do see something you think can be improved I'd ask that you come and speak to us privately first and give us a chance to make it right before you complain in public.

Thanks for reading my rant about conference t-shirts.

Tags for this post: conference lca2013 swag t-shirts canonical
Related posts: Taking over a launch pad project; Got Something to Say? The LCA 2013 CFP Opens Soon!; Slow git review uploads?; Further adventures with base images in OpenStack; Wow, qemu-img is fast; Reflecting on Essex; Are you in a LUG? Do you want some promotional materials for LCA 2013?; Announcement video; linux.conf.au Returns to Canberra in 2013; The next thing; Folsom Dev Summit sessions; A first pass at glance replication; Call for papers opens soon; Openstack compute node cleanup

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Syndicated 2012-09-21 14:42:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

The Tuloriad




ISBN: 9781439134092
LibraryThing
This book's underlying premise isn't really my thing. The escape of the remnants of the Posleen works for me, and I think holds together. However, I'm unconvinced by a religious mission setting out after the Posleen to convert them to one of the Earth religions. That just seems a bit far fetched to me. However, this book is rescued by the insights into the Posleen's history that it offers. Its worth wading through the other stuff that isn't all that interesting just to find out a bit more about how the characters ended up in this state.

Tags for this post: book john_ringo tom_kratman aliens combat personal_ai rejuv legacy_of_the_aldenata religion
Related posts: Watch on the Rhine; Yellow Eyes; Hell's Faire; Cally's War; Gust Front; A Hymn Before Battle; When the Devil Dances; The Last Colony ; Runner; The Diamond Age ; The Accidental Time Machine ; Patron saints; Logos Run; Polar City Blues; Snow Crash ; Old Man's War ; The Ghost Brigades ; Jupiter; Old Man's War (2); The Ghost Brigades (2)


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Syndicated 2012-09-08 22:14:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Yellow Eyes




ISBN: 9781416555711
LibraryThing
This book is pretty preachy (if you're not a republican your wrong and you're what's wrong with the universe), and long. The story also centers around haunted warships, which is a bit of a leap for this series. On the other hand, its a good read if you can put up with those bits. Overall ok, but not the best in the series.

Tags for this post: book john_ringo tom_kratman aliens combat personal_ai rejuv legacy_of_the_aldenata panama
Related posts: Watch on the Rhine; Hell's Faire; Cally's War; Gust Front; A Hymn Before Battle; When the Devil Dances; The Last Colony ; The Diamond Age ; Polar City Blues; Old Man's War ; The Ghost Brigades ; Old Man's War (2); The Ghost Brigades (2)


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Syndicated 2012-08-22 20:01:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Watch on the Rhine




ISBN: 9781416521204
LibraryThing
If you knew you were in deep trouble, had the technology to rejuvenate any soldier you wanted, and happened to be a late nineties Germany desperate for cannon fodder, would you return the SS to service? A harsh reality is that they're some of the only soldiers you have left with real combat experience, even if their politics is abhorrent. This book has an interesting underlying concept, but to a certain extent its ruined by the politics of the authors -- any concern for anything other that military strength is dismissed as another example of rampant nimbyism. However, the book tells a good story and made me think about some stuff I wouldn't have otherwise thought about, while being entertaining. So, overall a success I guess.

Tags for this post: book john_ringo tom_kratman aliens combat personal_ai rejuv legacy_of_the_aldenata germany
Related posts: Hell's Faire; Cally's War; Gust Front; A Hymn Before Battle; When the Devil Dances; The Last Colony ; The Diamond Age ; Polar City Blues; Old Man's War ; The Ghost Brigades ; Old Man's War (2); The Ghost Brigades (2)


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Syndicated 2012-08-04 18:13:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Bodyguard




ISBN: 044100105x
LibraryThing
While it isn't immediately obvious, this book is quite similar to Johnny Mnemonic. The brain damage aspect is played up a bit, and gets repetitive, but the overall story is interesting and fun, even if the ending is a bit obvious from about half way through.

Tags for this post: book william_c_dietz combat corporations


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Syndicated 2012-07-28 23:34:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

A first pass at glance replication

A few weeks back I was tasked with turning up a new OpenStack region. This region couldn't share anything with existing regions because the plan was to test pre-release versions of OpenStack there, and if we shared something like glance then we would either have to endanger glance for all regions during testing, or not test glance. However, our users already have a favorite set of images uploaded to glance, and I really wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to use the new region -- I wanted all of their images to magically just appear there. What I needed was some form of glance replication.

I'd sat in on the glance replication session at the Folsom OpenStack Design Summit. The NeCTAR use case at the bottom is exactly what I wanted, so its reassuring that other people wanted something like that too. However, no one was working on this feature. So I wrote it. In fact, because of the code review process I wrote it twice, but let's not dwell on that too much.

So, as of change id I7dabbd6671ec75a0052db58312054f611707bdcf there is a very simple replicator script in glance/bin. Its not perfect, and I expect it will need to be extended a bunch, but its a start at least and I'm using it in production now so I am relatively confident its not totally wrong.




The replicator supports the following commands at the moment:

livecopy
glance-replicator livecopy fromserver:port toserver:port

    Load the contents of one glance instance into another.

    fromserver:port: the location of the master glance instance.
    toserver:port:   the location of the slave glance instance.


This is the main meat of the replicator. Take a copy of the fromserver, and dump it onto the toserver. Only images visible to the user running the replicator will be copied if you're using Keystone. Only images active on fromserver are copied across. The copy is done "on-the-wire", so there are no large temporary files on the machine running the replicator to clean up.

dump
glance-replicator dump server:port path

    Dump the contents of a glance instance to local disk.

    server:port: the location of the glance instance.
    path:        a directory on disk to contain the data.


Do the same thing as livecopy, but dump the contents of the glance server to a directory on disk. This includes meta data and image data, and this directory is probably going to be quite large so be prepared.

load
glance-replicator load server:port path

    Load the contents of a local directory into glance.

    server:port: the location of the glance instance.
    path:        a directory on disk containing the data.


Load a directory created by the dump command into a glance server. dump / load was originally written because I had two glance servers who couldn't talk to each other over the network for policy reasons. However, I could dump the data and move it to the destination network out of band. If you had a very large glance installation and were bringing up a new region at the end of a slow link, then this might be something you'd be interested in.

compare
glance-replicator compare fromserver:port toserver:port

    Compare the contents of fromserver with those of toserver.

    fromserver:port: the location of the master glance instance.
    toserver:port:   the location of the slave glance instance.


What would a livecopy do? The compare command will show you the differences between the two servers, so its a bit like a dry run of the replication.

size
glance-replicator size 

    Determine the size of a glance instance if dumped to disk.

    server:port: the location of the glance instance.


The size command will tell you how much disk is going to be used by image data in either a dump or a livecopy. It doesn't however know about redundancy costs with things like swift, so it just gives you the raw number of bytes that would be written to the destination.




The glance replicator is very new code, so I wouldn't be too surprised if there are bugs out there or obvious features that are lacking. For example, there is no support for SSL at the moment. Let me know if you have any comments or encounter problems using the replicator.

Tags for this post: openstack glance replication multi-region canonical
Related posts: Further adventures with base images in OpenStack; Openstack compute node cleanup; Taking over a launch pad project; Got Something to Say? The LCA 2013 CFP Opens Soon!; Slow git review uploads?; Wow, qemu-img is fast; Reflecting on Essex; Are you in a LUG? Do you want some promotional materials for LCA 2013?; Announcement video; linux.conf.au Returns to Canberra in 2013; The next thing; MySQL Users Conference; Folsom Dev Summit sessions; Call for papers opens soon

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Syndicated 2012-07-10 16:09:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

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