Monday, December 3, 2012

Fixing OpenAdmin Tool (OAT) for Informix on Ubuntu 12.10

After a long battle, I finally got OpenAdmin Tool (OAT) to work with Informix CSDK 3.70.FC6 on Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit. After symlinking all the libraries to fake the fact that I don't have the versions IBM wants (protip: use ldd on the php and apache binaries) and after installing OpenSSL 0.9.8, I still couldn't run StartApache. It kept failing with:

httpd: Syntax error on line 492 of $INFORMIXDIR/OAT/Apache_2.4.2/conf/httpd.conf: Cannot load $INFORMIXDIR/OAT/PHP_5.4.4/ into server: $INFORMIXDIR/OAT/PHP_5.4.4/ undefined symbol: __dn_expand

The solution? Edit $INFORMIXDIR/OAT/StartApache

Change this line:

"$INFORMIXDIR/OAT/Apache_2.4.2"/bin/apachectl -f "$INFORMIXDIR/OAT/Apache_2.4.2/conf/httpd.conf" -k start

To this line:

LD_PRELOAD=/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ "$INFORMIXDIR/OAT/Apache_2.4.2"/bin/apachectl -f "$INFORMIXDIR/OAT/Apache_2.4.2/conf/httpd.conf" -k start

StartApache now runs successfully.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Switch to workspace 5, etc. with recent metacity

So, I had some trouble when I updated Debian sid (unstable) this morning. I could no longer switch to workspace 5 with my keybinding. Apparently, this is a result of the switch from gconf to gsettings. I always remap to ALT+F[1-5] because I hearken back to the fvwm and enlightenment days. You can just go to the normal "System Tools / Preferences / System Settings / Keyboard / Shortcuts / Navigation" menu to set switching to workspaces 1-4.

For workspace 5, though, you should go to "System Tools / dconf Editor". Navigate to "org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings". I just copy/pasted my setting for "switch-to-workspace-4" and changed the 4 to a 5. It is saved when you change it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Firefox Jumping to Other Workspaces in Linux

Random Ubuntu 12.04 note. If you are using Gnome Classic and Firefox and other windows keep switching ("jumping") to other workspaces, install compiz config and disable the "Place Windows" plugin (it's under Window Management).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MIT Fusion Researchers Update Us on Current Research

MIT Fusion Researchers Answer Your Questions

This is an awesome read! They really get into the nitty gritty of what fusion research has tackled over the last 10 years or so. Compliments of Slashdot.

Arrakis on Earth: The Caprivi Strip

When I imagine the world of Leto II in God Emperor of Dune, it looks something like these linear dunes of the Caprivi Strip.

"After the dunes formed, conditions in the Caprivi Strip moistened enough for the dunes to support vegetation — woodlands on the dune ridges, and grasses and shrubs in the valleys between."

It's just amazing to look at. Instead of regular hills and mountains carved by wind and water, you have sand dunes carved by wind alone and over the centuries, the build-up of moisture allows soil to form. From there, you get grass, trees, and the rest. But underneath it all is this history of sand and desert. Beautiful.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Can Grid Computing Go Mobile?

Jennifer Howard's article One Researcher's Solution to the Data Deluge: Enlist 'Citizen Scientists' takes the position that scientists craving additional computing power should turn to the Internet at large for help.

Unfortunately, this initiative is largely predicated on the existing generation of desktops and laptops-used-as-desktops. A great concern I have with BOINC, etc. is that as home desktops are replaced with tablets, the amount of CPU (and, electricity) available to grid science will drop precipitously in the same way screen real estate paused for 5 years as LCDs slowly overtook CRTs as the monitors of choice; the same way laptops have always been slower than their desktop brethren but in the last few years have (finally) become fast enough that it doesn't matter anymore.

There are smaller grid science apps like SIMAP and EON that can probably make the move to mobile phones and tablets sooner. But big powerhouse grid apps like LHC@Home and World Community Grid face an enormous challenge in reengineering their codebases to work with mobile devices that may only have wall-power for a few hours, once or twice a day, and have less than 1/4 the power of a same-generation desktop.

There had been some hope that consoles like the Playstation 3 could add serious computational firepower as always-on, Internet-connected grid computers. However, further uptake in consoles seems unlikely as mobile gaming continues its march to dominance (c.f., Wii U which does both). The jury will be out for a long time before the Xbox 720 and Playstation 4 rollouts demonstrate the continuing viability of console gaming (or not).

If consoles are successful, they will have to satisfy the grid computing public with performance and not just in living room heating, which brings me to my next point:

Grid appliances.

I bought one of those newfangled heat pump water heaters (actually, this is their second attempt at a market — they were around in the 70s/80s, as well) which heats water via heat exchange with outside air. This is all well and good, but my desktop computer is also an excellent heater. If heat is a desirable quality, your device is nearly 100% efficient. So, why not build grid computers into household water heaters? It's technically feasible, annoyingly complicated in some ways, but definitely doable. You could use it for other things than scientific research, as well. E.g., botnets (ha-ha), but I digress.

Computing and household heating are two peas in a pod and its time has come. Let's do this before our wall-wart dominated mobile universe halts the expansion of grid science.