June 28, 2003

Not So Fast

I started out with the best intentions, but it seems that my body has decided to veto the idea of running on a regular basis.

It began rather well. I tried to be careful not to over-work myself. All the experts warn that it's easy to do too much too soon. So I paced myself.

I decided to try for every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. I started on a Friday. It was hard. The first time was all about feeling my limits and how my body would respond. I'd walk for a few minutes, run for one, and repeat. I did the before and after stretches.

My body was clearly not used to this.

I skipped the next Monday and tried again on Wednesday. Much to my relief, it was quite a bit easier. And the iPod helped too, I'm sure. Friday wasn't bad either.

The next week, I walked/ran on Monday but noticed something odd. My legs were unhappy. There was pain. I've yet to accurately pinpoint it, but it's just below the front of my knees--I think. Anyway, it's not good.

An old college injury (nearly breaking my right ankle) also decided to remind me that it could bother me if it wanted to.

I took off Wednesday, expecting to be better on Friday, but I wasn't. In fact, I'm still not. It's now mildly painful to walk. Climbing stairs isn't fun either. I can do it, but I don't enjoy it. Actually, climbing isn't so bad, it's going down that gets me.

Needless to say, this is quite a setback. I'm going to probably go back to biking as soon as I can. I'll try tomorrow, but I'm not sure how my legs will react.


I hate you, Murphy.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:34 PM

Mt. Dew to the Rescue!

My ass has been dragging all day. I went back to bed twice. I got up at 9am, then 11am, then 2pm. It was really quite hot by then.

I showered and ate. Still had little energy. Did dishes, paid bills, and random other crap.

Still tired.

Watched TV.

Still tired.

Walked to the 7 Eleven to buy some Mt. Dew at 8pm. Noticed it was finally cooling off outside.

Poured it into a big frosty mug.


If only I'd thought of this 9 hours ago.

I haven't had Dew in about a week, so don't call me an addict. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 08:12 PM

Russell on Vacation Time

One of the first blogs I began reading was Russell Beattie's Notebook. I don't remember how I found him, but I immeditately like his writing style and the fact that his posts often taught me things or made me think about something.

Go read his Vacation Time post. It's good to hear a U.S. citizen's perspective on the European approach to vacation time. They're a lot smarter than we are.

This caught my interest because I came very close to working for a European software company a few months ago. I'd have remained in the U.S. but would have still been on the stanard company vacation program--roughly 25 days per year. I have to say, it was difficult to pass that up. Not Russell is making me think about it again.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:36 PM

June 27, 2003

Whoring your PageRank

Okay, this has gone too far. Yesterday I received an e-mail from someone who wanted to buy some text links on my blog. I figured it was a humorous response to Google AdSense rejecting me.

No. He was serious.

I am interested in buying text link advertising promoting my internet pharmacy off of your website. The links would not have to be in a very prominent place on the website, as I am not looking for traffic from your site. I am looking to increase my PageRank in google.

(Emphasis mine.)

Does anyone else find this both amusing and disgusting at the same time?

On the other hand, I wonder what it was worth to him. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 02:50 PM

June 26, 2003


So damned hot. It's at least 100 degrees now.

I, like an idiot, saw the soaring forecast and couldn't resist going to fly for a bit before work (thus starting work late).

Bad move. I got really hot. And I never got to the "good lift" that others found. There are still gliders at 10,000 feet or more now. But I'm home. And hot. And pissed.

Time for a cold shower.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:46 PM

June 25, 2003

Salon on The Google Backlash

Salon is running a front page story titled The Google Backlash (that's the single page printable version) in which I'm quoted heavily.

(BTW, I love the Google muscle image on the first page. That cracks me up.)

Who'd have thought that my complaints about PageRank would get that sort of attention.

Heh. Don't worry. Blogs are still just a fad, right? :-)

At least that's what I keep hearing... We'll see. There's a heck of a lot of momentum here right now. But we all remember what happened to push technology, right?

Posted by jzawodn at 03:39 PM

Speaking about MySQL at OSCON 2003

Since the conference is right around the corner and I'm finally motivating myself to do something about organizing my talks, I figured it was time to pimp the conference one last time. (O'Reilly likes it when we do that.)

So, click on the logo at the left for my speaker page, or go directly to my talk descriptions: Benchmarking MySQL Queries and MySQL Scaling Pains

I'm really looking forward to the Scaling Pains talk. I get to bitch about MySQL for 45 minutes. :-)

If you're going to be there, drop by and say hi sometime. Or throw rotten food at me while I'm speaking. That's always fun. If you're not going, I will have the slides on-line after the conference, so you'll have an idea of what I talked about.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:55 AM

June 24, 2003

Disk wait monitoring in Linux?

Any Linux sysadmins reading this?

In FreeBSD, I can use systat to find out how busy a given disk is. It looks like this:

Disks   da0   da1 pass0 pass1   md0
KB/t  26.67 22.10  0.00  0.00  0.00
tps       1     8     0     0     0
MB/s   0.02  0.18  0.00  0.00  0.00
% busy    0     4     0     0     0
queue     0     0     0     0     0

See, disk da1 was 4% busy during that 5 second snapshot. (I ran systat -v 5).

That's very useful when diagnosing a disk-bound MySQL server that's not doing lots of I/O but ends up waiting for lots of disk seeks on a slow RPM drive.

How do I do that in Linux?

I don't want to know how much I/O it's doing--that's easy... I want to know how often it's servicing an I/O request ('cause it may spend a lot of time seeking). I need to know how busy the disk is--even if it's not doing any I/O at the moment.

vmstat will give me I/O figures (read & write) but not % busy.

On Solaris, I'll use iostat to look at the average wait time for disk requests. It turns out that Linux can do the same thing. The await value tells you this.

However, I ran iostat -d -k -x 5 but got no data--just headers. It seems that -x only works in post 2.5 kernels. Damn.


My questions are two-fold:

  1. Can I get those stats for a 2.4.xx kernel? How?
  2. Can I get something like FreeBSD's systat % busy value in Linux? How?

Thanks to any pointers you might offer.

Update: Steve tried iostat -x on his RedHat 8 box and got meaningful output. Now I'm really puzzled.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:46 PM

Rude Blog Readers

No, I'm not talking about aggregators that suck down too much bandwidth. It seems that comments are being disabled in the Surfin' Safari blog.

I have decided to permanently disable comments in my Safari blog. Despite my repeated insistent attempts to explain that my blog is not a bug database, people still come here complaining about every random Web site that doesn't work. When I blog about a topic like "Standards Charts" instead of getting relevant feedback, I get more bug reports. In the real world this would be clearly impolite, somewhat akin to interrupting someone in the middle of a conversation in order to babble about a completely different subject, so what makes you think it's any less rude to do it in my blog comments?

Always refer to rule #1: People are stupid. (Even computer people. Especially some computer people.)

Posted by jzawodn at 08:31 PM

June 23, 2003

PHP5, MySQL, and Licensing

It seems that Sterling and others are talking about the licensing conflict between PHP (BSD) and MySQL's updated client library (GPL).

This may be a bit premature, since the folk at MySQL are considering a blanket exemption for Open Source projects with OSI approved licenses.

Yo, MySQL folks! What's the word? Can we get this straightened out before too many people blow it out of proportion?

Zak? How 'bout it?

If there's anything the Open Source freaks are good at, it's blowing stupid licensing debates way out of proportion.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:26 PM

DVD Audio Extraction?

I have a few DVDs that contain concert or concert-like music. I'd like to extract this audio so that I can listen to it on my iPod. Any idea how to do that? (Presumably it's encrypted, so I'd need to somehow DeCSS it first.)

The few searches I've tried produced so much other noise that I wasn't able to anything fruitful.

I know I can run the audio back thru the input of the sound card to capture it and all that junk. But I'd rather use a more direct solution--sort of like the way I can use cdparanoia to pull audio from CDs.

I'm game for a Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, or FreeBSD solution here. Any of 'em will do. Really. Free software, of course, is preferred.

Anyone doing this?

Posted by jzawodn at 03:12 PM

Does Google Like Me?

It's hard to tell anymore. On the one hand, I'm [temporarily?] back in the #1 slot for jeremy searches.

On the other hand, I applied to their AdSense program--just for kicks. I was rejected.

Your website is a type of website that we do not currently accept into our program. Such websites include, but are not limited to, chat sites, personal pages, search engines, sites that contain predominately copyrighted material, and sites that drive traffic through cybersquatting.

Heh. I guess I'm not worth their ad-serving time.

No, I really didn't plan to advertise on my site, but I was curious to see how the process worked. Now I know. Sort of.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:11 PM

June 22, 2003

Linux Desktop Woes

Scott has been using Linux as his day to day desktop for a while now. Probably a few months, I'd guess. The other day he posted a rant about Evolution, the Linux Open Source world's answer to Outlook. Evolution wouldn't export his task data.

He's since followed up with another post in which he says:

What about the person who goes to desktop Linux because its "open" and then finds out that Outlook for practical purposes is more open than Redhat's default mail client. What does that say about us the "open" community.

Very good point, Scott.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:20 PM

American Traveler International Apology Shirt

I want one.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:03 AM