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Moving on...

 Ok, I want a public face again, I used to use LiveJournal for that, but LiveJournal is uh, not a healthy community any more. =p Any suggestions? Dreamwidth is the obvious place for former LJers, but it seems kinda insular. Tumblr's an option too.

Obviously, just hosting something myself -is- an option, but really, the distributed social networking features still leave something to be desired. (I have been meaning to install a Diaspora Pod, but's still a bit too quiet.)

Disk Array - Conclusion

What I actually got was the Calvary 8 Bay eSATA RAID enclosure. There are other, similar options that look, and probably are, identical.  And similar identical ones are available even cheaper if you go looking.

What it gives you is an 8 hotswap drive bays.  The drives go in sleds, which latch into place.  There's one large fan in the back for cooling, which is nearly silent.

The hardware itself is actually two 4 bay raid boxes in a single enclosure.  It presents two eSata ports to your computer, and if you have RAID setup, it will appear to be two drives.

However, I decided that I would be best served using Linux software RAID.  They're already plugged into a Linux machine which acts as my file server. The main reason for this is:

I wanted to present a single volume to my other computers.  This meant using LVM on top of the raid.  And that means that I can only present the drive via a Linux machine.  As such, I'm not gaining much from hardware RAID, other then administration headaches.

As an added bonus, using Linux software RAID let's me include all 8 volumes in the RAID array, which also gains me another 2TB of usable storage, as it's a single RAID 5 instance across all 8 drives, rather then two RAID 5 instances across 4 drives each.  Even if I wanted the added security of being able to handle two drive failures, it would have provided high reliability then as separate arrays, either as a hot spare or as RAID 6.

So my final configuration is a single, 14TB RAID5 volume.  That I have partitioned into two halves and then merged with LVM.  That combined volume is then formatted Ext4.

Now, this last part does deserve some discussion.  The reason for the split is that I previously had a pair of 2TB that were RAID1 mirrored.  These drives are a part of the final RAID 5 configuration.  In order to get their data on to the new RAID5 array, I provisioned half of the drives and copied the data over from the mirrored drives.  When that completed, I reformatted those drives and added them along with 2 new drives to the RAID 5 array, bringing me up to my final 8 drive configuration.  When the RAID grow completed, I added a second partition and then added that partition to LVM.  And then I resized the ext4 partition.

Using LVM in this way also means that if I get additional arrays in the future, they can still be merged into the same volume, if I so choose.

I've started a new project...

 I've decided hard drives are now big enough and cheap enough to start ripping my DVDs.  I picked up two external DVD readers to increase the rate at which I can read DVDs.  It takes about 30 minutes a disc, but the limit is entirely in the DVD reader's spead and not CPU, network or disk. 

My rough guess, at the moment, is that it will take about 5 TB to rip them all.  It's hard to estimate, as the amount of data per disc varies a LOT.  I've seen between 2GB and 8GB so far.  So I've been looking for inexpensive reliable large scale storage.  At the moment, I have a pair of 2TB drives in a two-disk enclosure, mirrored via Linux software RAID.  However, this did catch my eye:  It's a hard drive -dock- that has RAID built in.  I've seen these things (well, without the RAID) in stores for a little while but never seen one used in practice.

And yes, everyone always says "oh you should just get a Drobo".  But I'm still a little wary of the extra cost.  A 4 bay can go to 5.5TB, which is a bit close to my estimate for my comfort.  If I'm going to get one, I don't want to have to immediately have something else tacked on.  The 5 bay can go to 7TB with 2TB drives (which is what I'd be using for now) and -does- support 3TB drives which gets it up to almost 11 TB.  The 4 bay can be had for about $300 over the cost of the drives, but it's storage capacity is just too low.  The 5 bay is big enough, but starts at $600-$700.  So ya, too expensive, in my opinion.  

CPAN Growth

prog was recently complaining about hearing that old saw "Perl's just not popular any more". This got me curious about what CPAN growth looked like these days. It's just one measure of the languages success, but it seems like a pretty good one. I remember having seen this while ago (also this)... quite a while ago as it turns out.
So I went and did something similar, though without machine or ftp access I had to web scrape rather then just using ls-lR output. The results are here.

Google Reader

I switched to Google Reader for all of my feed reading quite a while ago, but only recently started using the Shared Items feature. You can subscribe to it here, if you like:


Meme trace: kmusser

What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college

Interestingly, most of this was around the time I entered elementary school. My father had previously started college right out of highschool but dropped out after a year or so.

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
9. Were read children's books by a parent

During my childhood my family often didn't have a lot of money (ie, times below the poverty line), but my parent's always valued education, reading, intellectualism a great deal. We used our local library heavily. By the time I was in high school we were in the same economic bracket as my high school teachers by and large.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18<
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

I'm not exactly sure what "lessons" are. I mean, one could say school is a set of lessons, but obviously that's not what they mean. And if they meant "college courses" you'd think they'd say. Is this some class-specific term or something? I didn't have a credit card till my 20s. I didn't go to college so I can't really pay those parts, though I know my parents would have helped as much as they were able with paying for my college costs had I gone.

16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

Very rarely did we stay at a hotel on a vacation... typically one night out of a two or three week vacation. The closest I ever came to a traditional summer camp was something my elementary school did in sixth grade. I did, however, go to much geekier summer camps. (ie, computer camp, space academy)

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

I was an only child so hand-me-downs weren't an option. As for buying second-hand, I don't know if that ever happened. The clothing I remember being purchased was from department stores.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child.

Everything here has caveats. My parents owned the first house I lived in (they built it themselves). But then, we didn't have electrical power or a phone for many years and never had running water or flush toilets. At times my family lived in a single family house, other times we had an apartment in an apartment complex. I had my own room (again, only child), though in our first house we didn't have any doors on any of the rooms so I'm not sure how much that counts. There was original art, but, I think, not of the kind this is asking about. There was some from sources I'm not too clear on, but not, I think, anything of great value. More of the craft fair variety.

Home ownership is a clearly class divide in areas around cities, but in very rural areas (ie backwoods Maine) I don't believe it's much of one. Home ownership is more common if only because there's hardly anyone to rent from.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in High School
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16

I didn't have a phone in my room, but I did have my own phone line. It was hooked up to the family computer.

31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

Museums and art galleries were a standard part of family vacations.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Kind of... I was never aware of dollar amounts, but then, my parent's never discussed finances with me while I was a child. I do recall being one of those homes where you wore a sweater in the winter. I didn't learn just how tight finances had been until I was an adult.

My advantages seem to have come mostly from what things my parent's valued rather then anything material. That said, by the time I'd reached adulthood my parent's had achieved a good deal of material success, and that's undoubtedly helped me as an adult. One of these days I'll have to talk to them about how they got their values.


Let us consider the following code to loop over the keys from a dictionary in Python:

  for key in a_dict.keys():
This would be nearly the same in Perl:

  for my $key in (keys %a_dict) {
And Perl 6*:

  for %a_dict.k -> my $key {
But now you say: I want to have in a sorted rather then arbitrary order!

In Python you have to allocate a temporary variable, sort it, then loop over the result:

  the_keys = a_dict.keys()
  for key in the_keys:
Where as Perl takes a functional approach that is, in my opinion, a lot clearer:

  for my $key in (sort keys %a_dict) {
And Perl 6*:

  for sort %a_dict.k -> my $key {
* I vaguely recall something about the temporary variables used in loops not requiring an explicit "my" but I can't seem to find something saying that explicitly now.

[Edit] So as many people pointed out to me, this was fixed for Python as of 2.4 (my laptop and work machines all use 2.3) with: for key in sorted(a_dict.keys()): What's more, the .keys() is assumed so you can actually just do for key in a_dict: or for key in sorted(a_dict):

On programming...

Programming well is act of balance between arrogance and humility. If tilt too far toward one you'll fall and your creations will crumble to dust, too far to the other and you won't do anything at all.

Pan's Labyrinth

So imomus posted a review of Pan's Labyrinth. I didn't come out of feeling as actively negative about the movie, but that was in large part because I came out feeling stunned by it's brutality. As he says, it truly brutalizes its audience. It was a movie that I would have been happier not having seen.

That's so aggregating

I'm pleased to say my personal RSS aggregator is working again, so I'm actually reading blogs again for the first time in months. Stupid POE::Component::Client::HTTP doesn't allow you to repost HTTP::Requests the way LWP does. This caused many problems for me.


A kind of organic engine

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August 2011



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