I have created a Best Of page with links to the better posts I have written in the blog. This should help people who want to read all of the Software Illustrated posts. I expect to write new posts this next year, covering more internals stuff as well as other programming topics.
To everybody who wrote during my hiatus with encouragement and wondering if I was dead, a huge thank you, and no. To folks who asked technical questions, I am sorry I haven’t replied, but between work and play I have had zero time available.
Speaking of which, I’ll be in Summit County between Jan 2nd and Feb 20th, riding at Breck, Keystone, ABasin, and Vail. If you’d like to ride or ski together, drop me a line.
I hope you have a wonderful 2011!
People often ask me what tool I use to make the diagrams in my Software Illustrated posts. I use MS Visio 2007. It has a ‘themes’ feature that allows you to set fill and line options that apply to all the shapes in a diagram, making it faster to produce decent looking things. It still takes a surprising amount of work to get good pictures, but overall I’m pretty happy.
Also, I have tried to use colors to convey meaning. They’re not just for pretty. For example, memory colors follow these conventions across all diagrams:
These colors hold from the earliest post about memory to the latest. This convention is why the post about Intel CPU caches shows a blue index for the virtually indexed L1 cache. So far I’ve written a lot about kernel and x86 internals, but that’s sort of a coincidence. I’m a generalist, not an OS guy; there’s a wide range of CS topics I hope to write about. (All this internals talk though made me want to write Linux kernel code again. I might look for some subsystem or driver to work on. What’s that sleep supression pill again?)
Finally, in the next couple of months I plan to change my blog template. The new one will have a hand-maintained ‘Archive by Topic’ page to serve as a coherent index to all posts, plus other usability improvements. I hate the current site as far as that goes. I can handle the logic and markup, but if anyone out there is interested in doing a small design/CSS job on this blog, please drop me a line. I also have a quick question. Many people access the site via iPhones and other mobile devices. How does image width impact you? Would it be painful if diagrams were wider than their current 700-pixel limit? I’d appreciate input on this and suggestions in general. Thanks! I’m off to check out the Denver LAMP meetup. Here’s a good song if you’re bored.
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I’m looking at it myself, specifically The Planet’s deal for a dedicated dual Xeon 2.8 GHz with two 10k RPM 73GB disks, 2 GB RAM, 2500 GB bandwidth, free Red Hat Enterprise for $125 a month. I am sharing it with a friend so it’ll work out to only ~60 bucks a month.
So far I’ve grossly neglected the technical operation of this blog in a Cobbler’s Children sort of way. At the same time, interacting with readers, learning, sharing, and talking has been incredible. I can’t tell you how honored I am that you read my posts. It’s time to take it up a notch. I’ll start with the hosting, for which splitting a dedicated server seems like a great way to go.
I’m also looking for a beefier Unauthenticated Windows box for a client, probably a quad-core, 8-gig box with SQL Server. The Planet has one for $675 a month, including RAID 1, two 250-GB hard drives, and a SQL Server processor license.
If you have any suggestions or questions, say it out loud and it’ll be ok.
I have finally migrated my blog to WordPress! You do not need to change anything in your feed reader though; the feed URL has remained the same. Posts have prettier URLs now, but the old ones still work thanks to mod_rewrite. I have migrated all of the comments, including some that had been lost in the third and final crash of BlogEngine.NET (the one where it took down a dual-core, 4-gig box all by itself after the quad-core server post made front page on Reddit). Commenting is back to normal, and my overdue replies are coming. The only impact to readers, I hope, is that some RSS aggregators will show duplicates of previous posts marked as unread (luckily it’s only a few posts since the blog is new). Google Reader is smart enough not to do this though. I’m happy to resume writing and thrilled to be on a more stable platform. Thank you for your patience.
So, I just heard about this 'blogging' thing. I doubt it'll ever become popular, but as an early adopter I figured I'd give it a shot.
I plan to write weekly entries, mostly about software. Some of them will be announcements for more in-depth articles.
Here we go.