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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in moskalyuk_en's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
2:02 am
Varnish HTTP accelerator
22:35 05.12.2006
Varnish HTTP accelerator

Newspaper Index has a lot of good words to say about Varnish - an HTTP accelerator. Varnish has been tested on FreeBSD and Ubuntu Linux and is a pretty basic and lean HTTP caching engine. Not the entire HTTP is supported, so some verbs are probably missing, but at least it’s something to play with over the weekend.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
2:02 am
SciAm on Bayes’ theorem
21:28 05.12.2006
SciAm on Bayes’ theorem

Scientific American expands on Bayes’ theorem with a simple riddle:

A patient goes to see a doctor. The doctor performs a test with 99 percent reliability - that is, 99 percent of people who are sick test positive and 99 percent of the healthy people test negative. The doctor knows that only 1 percent of the people in the country are sick. Now the question is: if the patient tests positive, what are the chances the patient is sick? The intuitive answer is 99 percent, but the correct answer is 50 percent, and Bayes’s theorem gives us the relationship between what we know and what we want to know in this problem.

Bayesian probability is another interesting read from Wikipedia.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
Tuesday, December 5th, 2006
4:43 am
Will wikis and blogs aid US intelligence?
10:39 04.12.2006
Will wikis and blogs aid US intelligence?

Any James Bond fan would be eager to tell you how the technology used by the intelligence community far supercedes anything available to mere mortals. However, as The New York Times Magazine discovers, the three-letter agencies asre consistently relying on twentieth-century technologies, where the information is not shared between agencies, making it extremely difficult to connect the dots, such as CIA reports, NSA findings and local police reports. The result? Impossibility to predict the September 11th attacks, even though anybody with access to all the pieces of information could probably alert the higher-ups. A small group of enthusiasts in CIA, FBI and Department of Defense are promoting the use of intelligence blogs and wikis for sharing information among the agencies.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
7:41 pm
Bjarne Stroustrup on C++ and why software sucks
12:33 28.11.2006
Bjarne Stroustrup on C++ and why software sucks

MIT Technology Review interviews Bjarne Stroustrup on C++ and why modern software is so bad. Some memorable quotes on why software is bad: “People reward developers who deliver software that is cheap, buggy, and first. That’s because people want fancy new gadgets now.” On problems developers might have with C++: “Often, when people have trouble with C++, the real problem is that they don’t have appropriate libraries - or that they can’t find the libraries that are available.” On some developers frequently complaining about C++: “There are just two kinds of languages: the ones everybody complains about and the ones nobody uses.”


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
12:42 am
Review: The Art of SQL
21:58 26.11.2006
Review: The Art of SQL

The Art of SQLI finished reading The Art of SQL by Peter Robson. It’s a pretty informative book, and has two pretty good uses:
1) It provides author-derived benchmarks for a bunch of special cases that you might encounter in the future, such as having indexes on a single column, having it on two columns, having it on three columns, and so on. It also has pretty good explanations of how expensive things like an index can be.
2) It provides a pretty good list of common beginner mistakes, such as running a SELECT COUNT(*) on your DB just to see if the number of results is larger than zero. That is a classic example of a wasteful query, since your programming language most likely allows you to run a SELECT query without COUNT, and then perform a foreach() on the set of results, therefore eliminating this step if the number of returned rows is zero.
The book is written with Sun Tzu’s Art of War in mind, and the chapters carry the same titles as Sun Tzu’s work.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
Sunday, November 26th, 2006
5:21 am
Ray Kurzweil on nanobots and pending immortality
02:03 26.11.2006
Ray Kurzweil on nanobots and pending immortality

Ray Kurzweil is in the news lately, first describing stock-picking to some hedge fund investors, where the most successful investment strategy is determined exactly in the way the best chess move is during any given move:

Because arbitrage opportunities disappear so quickly now, neural networks have emerged that can consider thousands of scenarios at once. It is unlikely, for instance, that Microsoft will begin selling ice cream or IBM declare bankruptcy, but a nonlinear system can consider such possibilities, and thousands of others, without overtaxing computers that must be ready to react in milliseconds.

The at SC06 the inventor described the nanobots that would cruise the human body, cleaning blood passages and doing a lot of useful work, which is required for a body to avoid heart diseases:

By the late 2020s, doctors will be sending intelligent bots, or nanobots, into our bloodstreams to keep us healthy, and into our brains to keep us young;

He even points at the exact year, when computational power will exceed the human intelligence:

Computer, or non-biological, intelligence created in the year 2045 will be one billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
Friday, November 24th, 2006
2:21 pm
Amazon.com has Sony PSP for $169.24
03:08 24.11.2006
Amazon.com has Sony PSP for $169.24

Sony PSPIf you missed out on Xbox 360 for $100, at least this deal is not in limited quantities. Sony PlayStation Portable is on Amazon.com for $169.24 with free shipping and no sales tax, unless you happen to order to a WA state address. No limited quantities or anything - looks like it’s either their day after Thanksgiving special, or regular price from now on.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
2:21 pm
Bill Gates on Charlie Rose
02:10 24.11.2006
Bill Gates on Charlie Rose

Bill Gates was on Charlie Rose tonight, and I managed to catch 20 last minutes of the interview. It was pretty packed with interesting information on Microsoft’s chairman views of competition. He derided the European Union and the lobbying competitors a bit for spending so much effort to make Microsoft ship a MediaPlayer-less version of Windows that no consumer wanted. Gates strongly believed shipping parental controls with Vista is worth it, even though a free version inside Windows sort of kills the cottage industry of paid parental control packages - in the end it’s better for consumer, and companies in that industry can always offer more added value on top of Microsoft’s controls.

He disagreed with Charlie Rose regarding any suspicions on Microsoft “tuning” the defaults in Vista to favor MSN Search. First off, there’s an entire branding going on inside the company, as far as switching to Live brand, and Microsoft as well as other search engine players will be fighting for the privilege to be the search engine of choice on user’s PC. Second off, most of the new computers sold today are reconfigured depending on who paid more payola to PC manufacturer, such as Google+Dell and Yahoo!+HP deals. So the competitive field is more or less leveled.

He things of Google as a strong competitor, primarily because
(a) they overlap in several markets
(b) Google is fundamentally a software company
(c) Google’s aggressive hiring of top talent is something Microsoft is seeing for the first time in the industry

With the Zune they don’t have success metrics, at least not the ones that Bill Gates is willing to divulge. He said that the market will hopefully appreciate the innovations such as wireless sharing. Meanwhile, he called iPod a phenomenal success.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
2:21 pm
Top books of 2006
19:09 23.11.2006
Top books of 2006

Going through 100 notable books of the year from the New York Times was a bit depressing, since out of 100 books that NYT deemed the most notable I have read zero. Even worse, just one looked interesting - Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos. Ok, to be fair, I managed to get through quite a few books lately - The Art of SQL, Condensed Knowledge, Data Structures and Algorithms, In search of Stupidity, 2nd ed., but none of those made the list this year.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
2:21 pm
Amazon crashed itself
18:51 23.11.2006
Amazon crashed itself

That Amazon promotion on XBox 360 for $100 did not go too well this morning. I logged in at roughly 10:45, checked My Account, just to make sure the cookie that’s saved into Amazon system is fresh and new, so I am not presented with the login screen somewhere in the process. At about 11:00 am the site was completely inaccessible with Firefox tab icons spinning away for minutes at a time.

Greg Linden provides some insight as a former Amazonian:

When I was at Amazon, every year we in engineering would try to avoid spikes in traffic, especially around peak holiday loads, and every year marketing folks would want to run some promotion specifically designed to create a mad frenzy on the site. Usually, we convinced them to change the promotion, but apparently engineering lost (or was asleep at the switch) this year.

People who didn’t get the console got kinda upset with the site performance.

In related news, did you know you could build MySQL clusters on Amazon’s E2 service, while utilizing S3 for storage? Due to sudden availability of free time I did some reading on MySQL Cluster this morning.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
Monday, November 20th, 2006
7:22 pm
memcache for MySQL
12:05 20.11.2006
memcache for MySQL

Brian Aker of MySQL AB released version 0.3 of memcache_engine for MySQL. memcache_engine marries in-memory object caching engine memcache (originally developed by Danga Interactive) with SQL query capabilities, basically enabling you do to SELECT/INSERT/UPDATE against your cache servers. The source is pretty light - take away the make files, and it’s just ha_memcache.cc and ha_memcache.h with round 25k worth of code.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
7:22 pm
XBox 360 for $100
15:16 19.11.2006
XBox 360 for $100

Vote on the deal Amazon.com should introduce on the Thanksgiving day. According to the current state of voting, it looks like Xbox 360 will be sold for $100 on September 16th at 11:00 am. Only 1,000 consoles will be sold at this price.


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
7:22 pm
PHPFreaks.com announces PHP competition
15:11 19.11.2006
PHPFreaks.com announces PHP competition

There’s a contest to write a PHP GD graphing calculator annojunced on PHPFreaks.com. The deadline is December 16th, 2006. Not sure what the prizes are, but the contest is open to solo coder teams only. The entry should minimally support:
* Basic math: addition/subtraction/division/multiplication
* Logrithmic functions - ln, log, x^y
* Trig functions - sin(), cos(), tan() of basic 2D equations
* Traversal of the axis (x and y)


read more at Alex Moskalyuk Blog
Friday, November 17th, 2006
9:01 pm
New storage engines for MySQL: NitroEDB and BrightHouse
12:00 17.11.2006
New storage engines for MySQL: NitroEDB and BrightHouse

Zack Urlocker, Vice President for Marketing at MySQL AB, wrote a post introducing new MySQL storage engines, NitroEDB and BrightHouse. What’s their claim to fame?

NitroEDB concentrates on dealing with large data sets: “NitroEDB is the only relational data management product that supports the full spectrum of data management needs, from extremely fast in-memory applications to huge-volume, very large database (VLDB) on-disk server systems.”

BrightHouse is also dealing with large data sets, but for a different problem - it solves the problems of data compression in large data warehousing projects: “BrightHouse compresses data at an average ratio of 10:1 (peak compression ratios exceed 30:1). For example, BrightHouse compresses 30 TB into 3 TB whilst maintaining immediate and comprehensive query capability. Additionally, BrightHouse operates on commodity-based Intel hardware thereby allowing installation on existing, low-cost platforms.”


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
9:01 pm
PHP class graph generator
11:55 17.11.2006
PHP class graph generator

Ever found yourself with too many PHP classes and not too much understanding of how they all tie together? PHP class graph generator parses your source code directory and produces the dependency graph. Here’s the bash source file from Jacob Westhoff.


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
9:01 pm
Caching dynamic content with Apache
11:41 17.11.2006
Caching dynamic content with Apache

Caching is easy if all you gotta cache are some static files that need to be served over and over, and they never change. Unfortunately, most of the sites on the Internet are not in the business of serving that kind of content, and allowing Apache to cache dynamic content is frequently a problem. O’Relly Network has an article on mod_cache:

If you run a reverse proxy server–if your Apache server sits in front of some other back-end server, proxying requests to it–mod_cache will cache the content retrieved from those back-end servers, as well as local content. This is the configuration that folks seem to be most familiar with. Indeed, caching is often most effective in this scenario. When you have a slower legacy back-end server producing some of your content, this setup is useful to give it a little more pep.


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
3:42 am
$175 in free clicks from MSN and Yahoo!
21:18 16.11.2006
$175 in free clicks from MSN and Yahoo!

MSN AdCenter provides a credit of $100 when you sign up for an AdCenter account here and enter code DM-1-1106 on the final sign up screen.

Yahoo! Search Marketing is offering free $75 in credit via this link.


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
Thursday, November 16th, 2006
6:23 am
Object databases and where they’re at
16:30 15.11.2006
Object databases and where they’re at

Dr. Dobb’s Journal reports from OOPSLA conference’s panel Objects and Databases: The State of the Union in 2006, where the participants talk on the status quo of the object database world. The statement from Bob Walker of Gemstone Systems is pretty interesting:

What we found since we’re already doing transparent access to objects without having to do anything other than to say “Wait or I want an egg” and the egg is still there. I think that problem has been solved in terms of OR mapping or impedance mismatch, I like your analogy, I think that is very good. I think the next step and from what I’m hearing from programmers, I hear things like “I just want my objects. I just want them here and I want them now and I don’t want to have to mess with it, I just want them there, I don’t want to have to deal with the database, I want all that stuff taken care of for me.” I think the next step, and I think we’re seeing this at Gemstone, is what basically is a distributed in-memory live object cache that has transactional attributes but it doesn’t deal with disk space storage what so ever. I think, five years from now, we are going to memory cheap enough and fast enough that there won’t be any discs. There will simply be in memory objects, ubiquitous throughout the enterprise, a robust sea of objects always available for the programmer. They don’t have to mess with OR mapping, they don’t have to mess with object databases, they don’t have to mess with SQL, the objects are just there ready for the taking and for the use.

There’s also an article in Dr. Dobb’s on an open source object database engine:

db4o, an open-source object database for embedded Java and .NET applications, is promising a significant performance and memory improvement in a new release.


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
Wednesday, November 15th, 2006
3:43 pm
HTTP POST without cURL
12:27 15.11.2006
HTTP POST without cURL

Need to do a HTTP POST, but your PHP for whatever reason does not have access to Curl? Wez Furlong wrote a simple function that does HTTP POST via stream_context_create, which should work out to be faster than Curl-based HTTP POST, since stream functions do not have the overhead.


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
12:24 pm
SiteTimer debugs slow-loading pages
11:24 15.11.2006
SiteTimer debugs slow-loading pages

SiteTimer from OctaGate loads a URL you give it and tracks how many milliseconds it took to connect, request, load the first byte and load the last byte of every single element of your Web site. It produces a graph of all the components with their respective load times, which could be used for debugging the slow sites. One caveat though: it does not attempt to interpret the JavaScript, it simply records the time it took to load the script.

They also have a few pointers if you find your site on a slow side of their graphs:

* Use JPG instead of GIF or BMP. Sometimes PNG files are smaller than JPG files
* Use harder compression on your jpg images
* Make the images smaller in size
* Reduce the number of images
* Use HTTP compression on your web servers, which may compress code/text by up to 90%


read more at alexmoskalyukblog
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