Category Archives: Uncategorized

Links for 2019-02-08

Marc Brooker on leases Good advice from Marc Brooker on using leases as a way to handle leader election in a distributed system: ‘Leases are a nice primitive because they are easy to understand, easy (if subtle) to implement correctly, require very little co-ordination, optimistic, and don’t require much load on the strongly consistent service.’ […]

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Links for 2019-02-07

using BGP to compute best paths across the London Underground this is deeply silly, but also very impressive (via Tony Finch) (tags: via:fanf bgp networking internet routing london-underground trains) hrvach/fpg1 a PDP-1 implementation in FPGA: DEC PDP-1 is a computer designed and produced in 1959. Considering the pace of change in computing, that might seem […]

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Links for 2019-02-06

Revealed: The dark-money Brexit ads flooding social media | openDemocracy Oh god, here we go again. Facebook ads need to be regulated. Over the last four months, the People’s Vote and Best for Britain campaigns spent £266,369 and £183,943, respectively. Neither of these anti-Brexit groups is fully transparent either: both publish some details about themselves, […]

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Links for 2019-02-04

An In-Depth Guide to Nginx Metrics decent list of what nginx offers in terms of instrumentation (tags: nginx metrics ops graphing scalyr) Google Hired Gig Economy Workers for Project Maven Other tech giants are reportedly interested in engaging the military as it continues to deploy artificial intelligence technology. Much larger machine-learning projects may require vastly […]

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Links for 2019-02-02

Understanding the bin, sbin, usr/bin , usr/sbin split omg. /usr/bin came about because Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie ran out of disk space on the root volume. Mind = blown You know how Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie created Unix on a PDP-7 in 1969? Well around 1971 they upgraded to a PDP-11 with a […]

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Links for 2019-02-01

NYC cops now using Chinese “Sky Net” video surveillance systems This is absolutely scary. Systematic surveillance: The surveillance tools are identical to those used in Sky Net in China, the largest video surveillance system on Earth, Chinese government research institutes and a company involved in the project said. At a time when China and the […]

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Links for 2019-01-31

The right-wing history of the urban models which inspired SimCity Largely forgotten now, Jay Forrester’s Urban Dynamics put forth the controversial claim that the overwhelming majority of American urban policy was not only misguided but that these policies aggravated the very problems that they were intended to solve. In place of Great Society-style welfare programs, […]

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Links for 2019-01-30

The 26,000-Year Astronomical Monument Hidden in Plain Sight at the Hoover Dam This is amazing! I wish I’d noticed it when I visited Hoover Dam. The center of the circle traced by the axial precession is actually the massive flag pole in the center of the plaza. This axial circle is prominently marked around the […]

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Links for 2019-01-29

Amendment-apocalypse: Spineless MPs just voted against reality … in a way, it was typical May tactics. She prioritised vague promises over content. She sabotaged something – anything – in order to fight another day. She made promises she could not keep on issues she knew to be false. Once again, she said anything, anything at […]

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Links for 2019-01-25

Daniel Edward Heffernan’s Map of Dublin, 1861 These maps are really remarkable work: Heffernan’s map of Dublin, published 1 May 1861, is both highly unusual and very fine. No other map of the time gives such a bird’s eye, almost axonometric, view of the city’s edifices. It shows in exceptional elevational detail both a number […]

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Links for 2019-01-24

We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it This is amazing: If you bled when you brushed your teeth this morning, you might want to get that seen to. We may finally have found the long-elusive cause of Alzheimer’s disease: Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease. That’s […]

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Links for 2019-01-21

PhoneNumbers.ie ‘Do you want to find out information about an unknown caller?’ — reputation service for random callers in Ireland. Very useful to find out if others have received scammy calls from a given number (tags: reputation phone telephone callers scams phishing ireland) The Plot Against George Soros The anti-Soros campaign was entirely artificial, as […]

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Links for 2019-01-18

Instance Price Guide Nicely done EC2 instance price comparison site, with spot instance and reserved pricing discounts taken into account; possibly better than ec2instances.info (tags: ec2 instances aws pricing hosts spot-instances money) mbasic.facebook.com Super-basic HTML-only view of Facebook — ugly but blisteringly fast with no HTML5 crapola (tags: light facebook basic html javascript)

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Links for 2019-01-17

Opinion | The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class – The New York Times Pankaj Mishra wastes no time getting the boot into the ineptitude of the ruling-class Brexiteers. it’s glorious Politicians and journalists in Ireland are understandably aghast over the aggressive ignorance of English Brexiteers. Business people everywhere are outraged by their cavalier […]

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Links for 2019-01-16

_Amazon Aurora: On Avoiding Distributed Consensus for I/Os, Commits, and Membership Changes_, SIGMOD ’18 One of the more novel differences between Aurora and other relational databases is how it pushes redo processing to a multi-tenant scale-out storage service, purpose-built for Aurora. Doing so reduces networking traffic, avoids checkpoints and crash recovery, enables failovers to replicas […]

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Links for 2019-01-15

Serverless Computing: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back – Speaker Deck So much agreement with this slide deck, particularly the list of limitations of current FaaS: 15 min lifetimes; I/O bottlenecks; no inbound network comms; no specialized hardware; and the general horribleness of using DynamoDB or S3 state as a platform for distributed computing protocols. […]

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Links for 2019-01-14

The Embroidered Computer an exploration into using historic gold embroidery materials and knowledge to craft a programmable 8 bit computer. Solely built from a variety of metal threads, magnetic, glass and metal beads, and being inspired by traditional crafting routines and patterns, the piece questions the appearance of current digital and electronic technologies surrounding us, […]

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Links for 2019-01-13

certain Irish surnames inherited ‘the cure’ This is quite an odd superstition — the belief that people with a certain surname could cure a specific ailment. Wicklow-born reader Mattie Lennon reminds me that certain Irish families used to hold monopolies over the treatment of individual disorders, based solely on their surnames. Mattie knows this from […]

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Links for 2019-01-11

PRNG-predicting bot ascends in Nethack in 7 minutes 15 seconds This is a really amazing hack! So, we could now go from starting inventory to RNG-seed in no time, but we still had to ascend. While we could write a simple “wish”-bot, get +127 Magicbane and then ascend by hand from there, achieving both fastest […]

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Links for 2019-01-10

A UK police force is dropping tricky cases on advice of an algorithm Wow, this is a terrible idea. It will definitely launder existing human bias into its decisions. However, because the technology bases its predictions on past investigations, any biases contained in those decisions may be reinforced by the algorithm. For example, if there […]

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Links for 2019-01-09

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation That realization recast my recent struggles: Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life […]

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Links for 2019-01-08

AWS Service SLAs The goal of this page is to high-light the lack of coverage AWS provides for its services across different security factors. These limitations are not well-understood by many. Further, the “Y” fields are meant to indicate that this service has any capability for the relevant factor. In many cases, this is not […]

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Links for 2019-01-04

We’ll Never Know Whether Monorepos Are Better This makes sense to me where the monorepo-vs-polyrepo argument is concerned — it’s another religious war: About six months after the project was declared “done” (but there was always more to do, more improvements to make to our homegrown dependency management solution), we had a retrospective meeting. The […]

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Links for 2019-01-03

I Accidentally Made Myself Lactose Intolerant With Whole30 A few years back, I had a nasty bout of food poisoning while travelling, which made me lactose-intolerant for several years. Sounds like this may be more common than you’d think, based on this article: If you haven’t heard of Whole30, some information: It’s a month-long eating […]

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Links for 2019-01-02

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Scam The need to have a massive and costly buildout of [hydrogen refuelling] infrastructure remains one of the most glaring problems of a supposed transition to a hydrogen economy. The cost of a single hydrogen fueling station is likely to be over $2 million. This is in contrast to the relatively […]

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Links for 2018-12-21

“Thread on climate change & Irish agri lobbyists” ‘The massive levy income raised on beef & dairy gives the IFA a financial incentive to promote beef & dairy expansion and a disincentive to support any fundamental changes to Ireland’s agricultural model, regardless the public interest.’ (tags: dairy beef ireland farming climate-change climate lobbying government)

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Links for 2018-12-20

slides from “Distributed Log-Processing Design Workshop”, SRECon Americas 2018 Fantastic presentation discussing the kinds of design criteria used when architecting a large-scale data processing and storage service. Interesting to see some Google terminology, e.g. “dimensioning” — ballparking the expected scalability numbers, bandwidth, qps, and limits. (tags: distributed-systems coding design architecture google photon logs log-storage slides […]

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Links for 2018-12-19

CRDTs in Production at PayPal (via Carlos Baquero) (tags: via:xmal crdts distributed-systems distcomp prod coding data-structures)

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Links for 2018-12-18

Remove Background from Image A fully automated background-removal tool. Nicely done (tags: images editing tools background graphics) Google used a Baidu front-end to scrape user searches without consent The engineers used the data they pulled from [acquired Baidu front-end site] 265.com to learn about the kinds of things that people located in mainland China routinely […]

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Links for 2018-12-13

GDPR Subject Access Request helper for Dublin Bus vs bike incidents ‘A new tool has been created to assist people who want to request video footage of incidents involving Dublin Bus under GDPR rules.’ (tags: dublin-bus bus bike cycling dublin cameras gdpr sars) 8 Myths of Abortion in Ireland from the Abortion Rights Campaign’s “8 […]

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Links for 2018-12-11

Notebookcheck’s Top 10 Tablets under 250 Euros a decent list of low-end tablets, given the season (tags: tablets devices hardware android gadgets xmas) A primer on privacy as “contextual integrity” A primer on privacy as “contextual integrity” and why privacy notices on mobile platforms (both Android and iOS) are insufficient for attaining informed consent. If […]

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Links for 2018-12-10

Makisu Uber’s Fast, Reliable Docker Image Builder for Apache Mesos and Kubernetes. we built our own image building tool, Makisu, a solution that allows for more flexible, faster container image building at scale. Specifically, Makisu: requires no elevated privileges, making the build process portable. uses a distributed layer cache to improve performance across a build […]

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Links for 2018-12-09

Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change That’s largely because there is no “free market” incentive to prevent disaster. An economic environment where a company is only considered viable if it’s constantly expanding and increasing its production can’t be expected to pump its own brakes over something as trivial as pending global catastrophe. Instead, […]

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Links for 2018-12-06

Irish agricultural CO2 emissions actually INCREASED by 2.9% last year Irish EPA: agriculture greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.9% in 2017 “The most significant drivers are higher dairy cow numbers (+3.1%) which reflects national plans to expand milk production” Feck’s sake. (tags: epa ireland co2 greenhouse-gases emissions green farming agriculture) “Bring home the bacon” debate […]

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Links for 2018-12-05

Rudy Giuliani doesn’t understand how links work As waxy noted: ‘this might be funny if he wasn’t Trump’s cybersecurity advisor’. Twitter allowed someone to invade my text with a disgusting anti-President message. The same thing-period no space-occurred later and it didn’t happen. Don’t tell me they are not committed cardcarrying anti-Trumpers. Time Magazine also may […]

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Links for 2018-12-03

Convert an RSS feed to ActivityPub for autoposting to Mastodon or similar. Via Nelson (tags: via:nelson mastodon rss blogging scripts)

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Links for 2018-12-01

A Serverless Journey: AWS Lambda Under the Hood (SRV409-R1) – AWS re:… Marc Brooker on Lambda internals (tags: lambda aws marc-brooker ops slides) Nice heatmap visualisation of mortality ratios between men and women ‘Age and period specific mortality ratios of females and males (a “Lexis-surface” in demographers parlance)’ (via apenwarr) (tags: via:apenwarr mortality heatmaps dataviz […]

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Links for 2018-11-30

House Democrats Sent A New Letter To Jeff Bezos About Amazon’s Facial Recognition Tool The House Democrats’ questions focus largely on possible embedded bias in Amazon Rekognition, including how the tool’s accuracy breaks down by race, gender, ethnicity, and age. Also of particular concern is whether Amazon will build privacy protections into its facial recognition […]

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Links for 2018-11-29

Presto Performance for Ad Hoc Workloads on AWS Instance Types good benchmark/review of instance types from Qubole (tags: qubole presto performance benchmarks ops aws instances ec2) Party Parrot as a Service Enter an image URL and it’ll generate an animated GIF of the party parrot version (tags: party-parrot gifs funny slack emojis) event-stream vulnerability explained […]

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Links for 2018-11-28

Leeroy Jenkins was taking the piss I had no idea! “We didn’t think anyone would believe it was real, we thought it was so obviously satire.” (tags: leeroy-jenkins warcraft gaming memes satire videos at-least-i-have-chicken) cryptoshredding A way to handle immutable blockchains and GDPR: “have an encryption key for each user (stored outside of this ledger) […]

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