Autarchy of the Private Cave

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    An alternative to shared hosting

    4th June 2008

    Personal communication resulted in a link to slicehost, who provide VDS/VPS services at prices as low as 20$/mo, which is comparable in price to good shared hosting plans, and is cheaper than Dedicated plans.

    I’m considering a move from shared hosting, and found Slicehost attractive. For 20$/mo, you get guaranteed 256MiB RAM, 10GiB disk and 100GiB traffic, which is sufficient to host several under-1k-per-day sites.

    The only thing which isn’t spoken aloud is the guaranteed CPU speed. Based on the numbers provided: 16GiB total RAM per server, quad-core CPU, and CPU quotas set equivalently to RAM quotas, I came to a conclusion that 20$-plan guarantees ~125MHz of CPU (take 16 GiB, multiply by 4 20$-plans – you get 64 “slices” – virtual servers; quad core CPUs were quoted as 8+GHz – I assume that’s the sum of the core frequencies, thus 8GHz divided by 64 slices gives as little as 125MHz guaranteed per slice).

    The better slice you buy – the more CPU is guaranteed, so for 1024-RAM slice you’d have a minimum of 500MHz of CPU.

    However, slicehost describes their CPU-clamping system as the one allowing “bursted” performance, if others aren’t actively using their CPU shares. So it must be much better than what I’m calculating here. And even if it’s not, then for some applications it’s better to have a 125MHz-clamp on CPU, than have a 20-seconds maximal CPU time limit.

    Still, I’m looking for reasonably-priced collocation services in Ukraine – e.g. those (currently unavailable) from Volia, starting at 40$/mo for the rented physical VIA C7-based server with enough traffic included.

    Update: I now have my own server collocated in Ukraine. This blog still lives on a shared hosting, but I’m considering the move to own server (where I have the biomed half-dead site and resource-hungry COTRASIF tool).


    Posted in Hardware, Links, Notepad, Web | No Comments »

    Self-making machine: RepRap

    4th June 2008

    A year, maybe two ago, I came across the news that someone’s constructing a “building printer”, in the sense that it is first filled with liquid concrete, and then – given the schematics of the building – “prints” concrete, producing almost-any-complexity architectural forms. Unfortunately, the names and links to that instance of object printing was lost and forgotten.

    However, I have just stumbled upon the news item about RepRap, which is claimed to be “self-reproducing”. Clearly, this isn’t true, but RepRap – replicating rapid prototyper – is able to produce (some?) of the components necessary to build another RepRap.

    I’d like to point out that

    “Think of RepRap as a China on your desktop.”

    by Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc., is an offensive and unacceptable phrase, which shouldn’t have been put at the top of the quotes. I’d hack down that RepRap website for this single quotation, and would feel vende vindictive towards Chris, if I were Chinese. But that’s not a long time to wait to see China rising and this kind of jokes vanishing.

    That was a side note.

    Continuing on RepRap, I do find it’s uses intriguing. For the best of everybody, there’s a how-to build reprap page.

    First uses which came to my mind were… a new plastic cup, and a custom notebook/PC body/case, to put standard components into and enjoy the benefits of the perfect custom design :)

    Apart from simple things like cups and actually “fast prototyping” (which does depend on the precision of RepRap), there aren’t that much uses for the SOHO owner of RepRap. But as soon as some small-scale silicon-growing/cutting machines become available, that would definitely open up the whole new world of custom gadgeteering and home-brewed electronic wonders. Also, the level of global and local espionage activities will explode, and Big Brothers will grow like mushrooms after raining cats and dogs.


    Posted in Hardware, Links, Misc | No Comments »

    Statistics of Google HDDs failures

    11th February 2008

    Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population (or here, if that link doesn’t work)

    Worth reading for any IT guy, especially for people dealing with lots of HDDs.
    Also might be interesting for those, who have Gmail with (now) over 6GiB storage… :)


    Posted in Hardware, Links | 1 Comment »

    Ultimate boot CD – diagnostic, testing, and recovery utilities collection

    21st December 2007

    Today, using memtest86, system speed test, hddspeed and some other DOS utilities for diagnosing and testing PC hardware, I decided to put together my own simple bootable utility CD disk. But first, I did some searching to find if something similar exists.

    It does exist – Ultimate boot CD. That CD has numerous freeware testing and diagnosing utilities which will help you – if you are up to some good old (read “small fast”) DOS utilities. And not that old, actually – modern hardware is supported.

    The only modification I’ll do to the Ultimate boot CD will be adding freeware bin/hex viewer/editor. Surely, more utils to come – with original size of just 115MB, there’s plenty of room to add extensions. You can even extend the CD image with non-free software, like Partition Magic.

    P.S. To diagnose and fix software problems – have a look at System Rescue CD.


    Posted in Hardware, Links, Notepad, Software | 1 Comment »

    Digital photo cameras can capture infra-red light

    2nd May 2007

    This is quite a well-known thing among frequent and professional photographers, but still an interesting thing to know.
    I was also told that digital photo cameras can “see” in ultraviolet as well, but didn’t check if that’s true.
    As for infra-red light, this can be easily checked using any common “direct visibility” remote control. Most if not all use infra-red diodes to transmit signal. So I just pointed a remote at the camera, and made a shot. (Actually, camera real-time display also shows captured infra-red light, as it starts blinking in the remote.) Here is the proof of digital cameras ability to capture infra-red light. The bluish dot in the centre of the red-front-plastic-screen of the remote is infra-red light.


    Posted in Hardware, Misc | No Comments »

    The vehicle I’d prefer for the city

    7th April 2007

    The VentureOne by Venture Vehicles.
    Read the rest of this entry »


    Posted in Hardware, Misc | 1 Comment »

    Choosing simple flash-based MP3 player

    8th February 2007

    I decided to buy a digital companion to use while commuting, travelling for longer distances, creating voice memos, probably even listening to some FM.

    Quite quickly I figured out my list of basic requirements: Read the rest of this entry »


    Posted in Hardware | No Comments »