As I’ve talked about recently, as a background task, I’m setting up a new Ubuntu server to take over the main file server, mail server, build server, backup server, web server, and you-name-it-server duties of my home office. It will eventually be taking over from a venerable Debian server, which was built on some old hardware left over from retired machines (except with 2 new mirrored hard drives) and has basically sat in a corner being rock-solid for years without me touching it, at least until the PSU failed (and was rapidly replaced), reminding me that I’ve been meaning to upgrade it for over a year.
Oh, please let this come to pass soon. TechCrunch reports that YouTube is due to drop support for IE6 ‘soon’, pointing users at Chrome (obviously), IE8 and Firefox 3.5. Finally, one of the worst pieces of software ever to pollute the Internet with its presence is getting taken out to the barn with a double barelled shotgun, and not a moment too soon. Sure, Digg already said they might do this, but YouTube is far more significant; if YouTube stop supporting IE6, then in practice it means I can too 😀Bye bye IE6, please do let the door hit your ass on the way out, preferably hard enough to fracture your pelvis.
I’ve been running Firefox 3.5 and Internet Explorer 8 on this machine for a little while now. Both are worthy upgrades to their line, addressing their previous shortcomings quite nicely - Firefox is now faster and more importantly leaner on memory use, and Internet Explorer seems to have mostly shaken off the dull, bare bones feel that it’s had in the past, and is definitely faster and more standards compliant.
I just assembled a new server machine, which in the end I chose to house in a shiny aluminium Thermaltake Lanbox, which is relatively compact but still roomy enough for two hard drives, a bog-standard power supply, and plenty of airflow, which is what I wanted. I also knew that the fans on this case were nice and quiet (I have a black steel version as a GPU test box, I wanted a lighter version this time!
I’ve harped on many times about how I think centrally controlled services like Facebook are the antithesis of what the Internet was supposed to be about - a distributed, decentralised place with authority controlled at the leaves by those with most interest in maintaining it, rather than some corporate hub holding all the cards. Well, it seems like a small bunch of companies are starting to latch on to this idea too, a welcome respite from the huge number of ventures that just want to be the new singular nexus of your internet life.
Ok, so I’ve been doing a bit of looking around for my new server builds. As I’ve thought about this, I’ve firmed up my requirements to the following: Low-power, low-noise 2 x 3.5″ SATA2 hard drive bays (hot plug not required, I’m just going to use Linux’s built-in RAID1 again) All standard, replaceable components - no custom PSUs especially Small form factor (as much as possible given the other requirements) Cost-effective Performance almost irrelevant The things I have decided on:
I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to get my local server situation sorted out - I’m still running an old version of Debian on my primary server, which works fine but really needs swapping for Ubuntu LTS now, and in addition, the hardware is getting long in the tooth. It’s still running on an ancient discarded home PC, an Athlon 1Ghz with 512Mb RAM and software RAID1 disks - and runs all my office functions (mail, web, test environs, backups, data sync, databases, you name it) beautifully with that.
I can’t remember who made the assertion / joke that if you looked through an infinitely powerful telescope you’d end up seeing the back of of your own head, but I was reminded of that by a certain event today. In the last couple of years I’ve often Googled for a particular subject and ended up with the top hits pointing me back at one of my own posts in the OGRE Forum or on my blog, in a weird self-citing manner.
In the grand scheme of things, nothing really very surprising was announced at the WWDC 09 keynote; sure, we got a few hardware revisions and some more specific details on the next version of OS X, but there wasn’t anything singularly shattering about it. And yet, when taken as a whole, I think it was one of the most important WWDC’s yet. iPhone 3GS A speed increase, more memory, better battery life, better camera, addition of a compass so it can know which direction you’re facing as well as where you are.
I posted about this in the artist’s section of the Ogre forums already, but I figured I’d post it in my blog too. I’m looking for a content pipeline to generate normal, displacement and specular maps from reference photos, and I’ve been playing with the demos of both CrazyBump ($299) and ShaderMap Pro ($19.99). In my tests, CrazyBump seems to give me the superior results very quickly, and I’ve been impressed by both the default setup and the amount of tweakables it has.