It was Monday September 27th, 1993 and I was not even a month into my Junior year of High School. This day started out like most others, and as my Mother was dropping me off for school, one of the Secretaries came running out of the Administration building to eagerly greet me.
While in my Sophmore year I took a Computers elective class that was that was normally only available to Junior and Senior students, but because it was the last year they were offering it, I was able to enroll. This class was at the tail end of the 8-bit Apple computer era in schools, we had a bunch of Apple IIe, and some Apple IIgs computers. The teacher had successfully lobbied to purchase an IBM clone computer, it was a 386DX-25 with a VGA monitor, a pretty nice machine for the day.
Back when Hotmail was the biggest thing in email, WebCom deployed a secret weapon that turned the tide in the email wars. WebCom SMTP (WSMTP) was a multi-phase project to create an entirely new email server from the ground up, something that could handle thousands of emails per second and HUGE attachments. But most importantly, it was designed to allow sysadmins to sleep at night!
WebCom started out humbly using off the shelf tools for the time, Sendmail for email, NCSA httpd for web serving, PERL for our web control panel, and Sybase for our customer database. NCSA httpd was the first component that needed upgrading, it was replaced with Netscape Enterprise Server.
Memory speed isn’t often a consideration when building a system except for those seeking ultimate Overclocking performance. While OC memory exceeds the JEDEC standards, there are other considerations which may rob you of maximum performance.
I will discuss memory technologies ranging from DDR2 FB-DIMM to modern DDR4 ECC memory and how CPU memory controller limitations affect the actual performance you can expect. The TL;DR is that when you add more DIMMs per channel or more ranks, the memory frequency goes down.
Working on IT problems often requires intense focus and research to find the solution to the problem. I’ve previously written about Rabbit holes and Time sinks, this axiom is an extension of those. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit and regroup, rather than continuing to bang your head against the wall.
I’ve become familiar with Docker over the last year, using it for testing and educating myself on current technologies. My day job is working as a Principal Technical Support Engineer for MySQL, so I encounter every type of deployment you can imagine. We also have new product releases from time to time and I decided to dive into Kubernetes so that I can be knowledgeable in that domain.
I use the XFCE desktop environment and have 3 4k screens. These screens are 162.56dpi, which is a little hard to read at native 1:1 rendering. The benchmark for displays is 96dpi, I prefer somewhere around 112dpi natively. Applying a 144dpi custom multiplier will result in an effective 112.88dpi. You may ask: “Why 112dpi, where did that come from?” I have an IBM A30p laptop from 2001 that has a 1600×1200 screen which is 15.1 inches, I used this laptop for many years and prefer the native 112dpi. It’s not too tiny and not to big, it’s the goldilocks of native resolutions.
These are the changes I make to have a comfortable environment with very legible text reading. Yes, you are “throwing away” resolution, but the tradeoff is that everything is sharper.
The phrase “End of an Era” sounds cliche, but in this case it really is the end of an era. Fry’s Electronics was the last bastion of geekdom, it was the WalMart of electronics/computing/snacks. The closing of Fry’s Electronics bookends the era that I grew up in.
Fry’s Electronics wasn’t especially good at any one thing, what they lacked in specificity was made up for in grandeur and selection. If you wanted to buy an external DVD drive, they had 40 different examples in different speeds, dual layer, not dual layer, R/W, ROM, etc. If you needed some RAM for your computer, you could choose from 10 different manufacturers in different speeds and densities. What Fry’s brought to the table was an overwhelming volume of stock on hand. If you NEEDED a new hard disk right now, you could hop over to Fry’s and get one.
Fry’s was the last of the original electronics retailers in Silicon Valley, they were the biggest and outlasted the rest. Storied institutions such as WeirdStuff and Halted’s (HSC Electronic Supply) to the more obscure shops such as A-Z Surplus and Action Computer, and companies such as NCA computer tried to compete with Fry’s, but loss leaders every week are hard to compete with.
I have worked at several disciplines throughout my life, a good while ago I made a conscious decision to pursue working in technology roles because that was my most marketable skill set. I have worked as a metal fabricator, machinist, software developer, system administrator, manager, and in a hybrid of various roles.
My current employment is highly analytical, it involves solving problems, doing research, communicating, and helping people with everything from the mundane to crises. I’ve always performed roles like this, but I’ve also pursued more creative and artistic endeavors.
This article is as much a piece of documentation as it is commentary. I recently decided to rejigger my home network after being quite comfortable in the current configuration for almost 7 years. The impetus was actually quite simple: one day I suddenly got paranoid when I realized what damage could be done if someone compromised my personal account. I am reasonably careful and competent about how I run things, but in spite of how careful I am, the services I’ve added in the last year increase the attack surface of my home network considerably. I would be foolish to ignore the increased risk these services pose.
Rabbit holes can be interesting or frustrating distractions to a relatively direct plan or process. Sometimes those rabbit holes turn from distractions into time sinks. Getting my home network upgrade completed was filled with both rabbit holes and time sinks. This isn’t the first major upgrade I’ve been involved in, I’ve moved datacenters multiple times, deployed new services, migrated services, but I’ve never had to completely duplicate all running services while also juggling new firewalls and network renumbers.
I was 21 when I purchased my first home. My good fortune was the byproduct of the dot com era and it afforded me the ability to put a down payment on a home in Boulder Creek California. This past month the San Lorenzo Valley experienced a hundred year event: a wildfire that tore through neighborhoods and erased much of the landscape.
I tried to sell my home twice, right before the great real estate crash, and again in 2014 when the market was fairer. In 2007 I used a Nikon D40 DSLR camera to photograph my house for the real estate listing and I happened to have some old high quality RAW photos of the house.
I had the opportunity to acquire some Enterprise hardware from a former employer. This hardware is equipment I purchased and built when I worked there, almost 10 years ago. At the time, I was trying to balance cost with performance, some of the components were not top of the line and others were performant for the day.
In all I acquired a couple LGA771 dual socket 2U systems and a 4U system with a 24 drive enclosure and LGA1366 Xeon. All systems had Adaptec 5x05Z RAID controllers with 2TB Seagate drives. The LGA1366 Xeon is/was relatively modern because it represents the first generation of the Core i series architecture. The LGA1366 E5500 Xeons have a base clock of 133Mhz with 3 memory channels, and 4.8GT/s, 5.6GT/s, or 6.4GT/s transfer rates on the QPI bus. Depending on the model number, the max memory speeds are 800Mhz, 1066Mhz, or 1333Mhz.