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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Friday April 27, 2007
12:25 AM

Collection of nothings

[ #33116 ]

Wrote http://slowass.net/~scott/blog.cgi. blog.cgi is actually a copy of highport.c from Continuity that turns CGI hits back into HTTP hits and hits a daemonized server running on a high port. That service is a minimal threaded message board written in about 300 lines of code. I think there's a version at http://slowass.net/~scott/coromsg.pl.txt. Can't remember if I mentioned this thing. So, I'm going to resume my "daily programming log" thingie there. Moving from NetBSD/macppc to OpenBSD/sparc, I failed to get Perl talking to Postgres, so MovableType wasn't going, so I did this instead. Later I built GD, libgd, had it work fine, and then something happened where it stopped being able to load the so, and no amount of rebuilding and reinstalling with the same compiler and options will fix things. D'oh. The move to Sparc is still experimental.

Something that's piqued a lot of interest is that the new slowass.net is a 36mhz Sparc 10 (not Ultra, just plain Sparc... actually I think the chipset is a TI SuperSparc II or something like that). I had to fix up TinyWiki to cache rendered pages, get FastCGI going on some of the sites, optimize some of the CGIs on there (eg, use File::ReadBackwards rather than Tie::Array). For CGIs that don't do anything graphical, it seems to be bumping along almost passably fast.

The plan was to host it temporarily on the Sparc 10 and then move it to a 170mhz Sparc 20 later, but I ran out of money. I have a half-height SCSI drive that's 70gigs (the Mac has a 7gig drive and a 3gig drive) that already was hosting photos and some stuff as a sort of overflow server. I went to combine them. Half height, if you're not familiar, is significantly taller and bulkier than the quarter height drives you're used to (or are they third height now? Don't remember). I think I've blogged about this in the past. I think this whole post is a repeat. Schedule has been hosed so I can't remember what I've blogged and what I haven't. Oh well. So, I wanted to get a quarter height SCA drive that was large enough to host everything (70gigs or close to it) since the half height won't fit in the 20's. But, as I said, I ran out of money, so I kind of got trapped on the 10.

Another "optimization" I did was install gcc 3.3 with pkg_add and rebuild Perl from scratch. The gcc 2.9 on the thing builds stack guard by default (or non-optionally, I don't know) and that slows Perl down by about 40% on this machine. More cache would likely go a long ways towards negating the effects of the stack guard logic, but doing away with it helped immensely.

So, the vaguely interesting bit here is that my minimal message board is deadly fast even though it's completely dynamically generated, and even though it's running on a 36mhz machine. Perl, thttpd, highport.c, and Continuity are making me very happy here.

A new friend built Ruby on the thing and is playing with Camping. I know Ruby doesn't have a lightning fast interpreter, but it'll be interesting to see what can be done on this machine. Reportedly, Camping, a very tiny framework, deamonizes, so there's some potential there.

I have no idea who actually reads my blog, or if any of my friends do. If you know me, and you hang on the MUD, please use tact when bringing this up because I haven't made a formal announcement yet. And I'm not sure how.

My girlfriend asked me to move out, but not in a huge hurry. This was nearly two weeks ago now. She was dabbling with Linux back in 1999 though she never made the switch, and dabbled with Perl a bit. Before that, she dabbled with Photoshop on old Macs. She has a master's in statistics from Purdue. She likes good beer and knows good beer. She's tall, beautiful, and intelligent. I'll miss her, and she'll make someone else very happy, I'm sure. I'm sad it didn't work out, and I have that all over crappy feeling -- getting kicked off my contract at that one place and then this in the same week is a lot to deal with. And of course they were related. I was stressed out towards the end there. I always forget that what I do matters less than how I do it -- specifically the "be cool" part. I never yelled at any one, but either at home or at work, you don't want to be the guy who is so obviously stressed and pensive that people suspect he might whip out an AK-47 and start blasting people. I seriously doubt I'd ever do that, but I have no doubt that when I'm stressed out, I emit that aura. It's the intensity, adrenaline, and sheer resolve to a solve a problem that makes me the programmer I am. Working on typesafety, adrenaline coarsed my veins and my brayne went into overdrive -- it wasn't pretty, and I was doing that for fun. So, the relationship kind of came into the state where she didn't want to be around me when I was on the computer, so I was leaving or she was leaving, and for various reasons (such as the slowass.net crash and then migration), I didn't get out of the house. So, I fucked up. I've loved becoming known as "Scott and $gf" and I'm sure a lot of friends will want to know what happened. So I'm trying to sound out what to tell to them. So, it wasn't just me computing at her... she didn't go into the relationship with me as a serious thing and didn't intend for it to become serious; we dated for a long time, but I'm not the guy she wants to marry, and she's getting to the point where she has to start thinking about her future; communication is difficult (we're both sensitive); I'm too insecure (she's very private, by her own admission, and I often find out that I'm the last person to be told about things, such as plans she's made for both of us, or bad things that have happened in her life, so my habit of asking questions about her day emerged as a sort of counter to this, and no real balance ever emerged). And, just plain, "something is missing from the relationship".

I'm not sure what it is -- none of the really obvious stuff except maybe true love or fantastic compatability. I'm not writing this to make excuses or to justify the breakup... I'm just feeling (perhaps incorrectly) lucid and I'm sure I'm going to wonder about all this later. I don't know if I dwell on my failures, but I do try to figure out how to relate to them. I decided at one point that I put my heart into my work and my mind into the relationship, which is utterly completely stupid. At work, I'm driving by instinct and love of technology and the craft, but in the relationship, nothing makes any sense, and I try too hard to figure it out, even imposing my quest on $gf. That didn't fly very well. What was meant as trying to bridge the communication gap just came across as me being minipulative and insecure. Bleah.

So, I now have a third chance to fuck up royally. I have to move. I'm trying to figure out whether to go back to Minnesota, where I still have some roots, or try to stick it out here in Arizona. I have a dojo here that I love, and a climbing gym that's just more fun, laid back, cool, technical, and relaxing than any I've seen, but love for humanity is conspiciously abscent from Arizona. People really don't seem to roommate here, except a little bit among college goers who get a house. I've had a few kind offers to crash at people's place for a while, but something in the back of my brain tells me that a stray human is far more likely to be adopted in Minnesota than here. And with my current consulting business, I just can't afford a place of my own. I've looked at rooms on craigslist -- I keep emailing people, asking them if they spray and telling them I need to find a place that doesn't, and getting replies of "yeah, come look at the place!" -- idiots. College students. So, I might be able to make that work, but I feel like I'm forcing a situation that's unlikely and not appropriate -- something I tend to do... confuse possibility with reasonableness.

When it boils down to it, in this modern world, for the majority of us, no one wants us. We all, independently, make our own way, anonymously doing what we have to to earn money, then anonymously trading the money for food, shelter, clothing, and Internet access. And then we pretend to need each other. Consider the contrast between the "go team" rah rah rah at companies and their actual policies and behavior with regards to their most valuable assets. We have friends, and as long as they build our egos, and listen to us babble on the cell phone ("oh my god! I'm in the grocery store! I'm in the checkout line! Oh my god!"), we keep them around, but as soon as they show any independant initiative, they've passed their usefulness. If we really needed each other, for something fundamental, not just for babbling at, we'd have close bonds, but the anonymous, consent agnostic world sabotages this. We just plain don't need each other. It just so happens that Minnesota is populated with a lot of northern european immigrate's chlidren with recent ancestors who survived the great depression, and the historical vestiges of needing each other haven't been removed from the culture yet. Silicon Valley kind of seems to enjoy a renewed needing-each-other culture because of, as Paul Graham identified, startups require partners. Jobs and Woz. Hewlett and Packard. Sergey and Brin. It's almost subconcious at this point... two complimentary geeks and make great things happen, and that's how it works.

So, do I stay or do I go?

-scott

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  • Yo man, I read your entries because I love your no BS take on the corporate world vs developers. I'd consider myself an "open source" developer but I do mostly PHP and only a little Perl. But, I've been getting inquiries on a daily basis about start-ups in NYC and Philadelphia looking for Perl talent. You may want to check it out. Hang in there. It's always darkest before the dawn (and coldest too).
    • Hey rzygler,

      Thanks for your encouragement (on writing and on "hanging in there"). Both of them are self serving ventures for me, so chances are good I'll stay at it ;) Seriously though, it's nice to know why people read this stuff when they do so I can at least try to be a good host.

      Hmm, I think I'll go pontificate about startups...

      Thanks for the tip. A few people have privately (or publicly) pointed things out to me, so if I can muster the energy to move somewhere besides "not far" or "home", well, ther
  • Sorry to hear about that. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.