Monday, April 30, 2007

Top 10 Presentations On Scaling Websites

A great blog post listing all those great scaling presentations. I really enjoy watching those (most of them are on Youtube too).

Here's one of them (about Twitter):

Ubuntu Feisty - Second Problem

Another problem (on another machine) was that it refused booting the new kernel.

Also: the live cd didn't work either, with the same error. A lot of people have problems of this kind, and most of the times they get the following errors:

ata2 is slow to respond, please be patient
ata2 failed to respond (30 secs)
ata2: command 0xa0 timeout, stat 0xd0 host_stat 0x20

And finally it quits to an initramfs shell:

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

Note that this last message is normal and has nothing to do with the actual problem. This caused some confusion with some people.

So people have tried various things, here are a few suggestions, most of them came from users and developers:
  • Is there a floppy in the drive? Remove it, otherwise, insert a floppy and see if that makes any difference. I didn't care much for this solution. However, it did work for some people...
  • Check your IDE configuration in the BIOS, put it on Standard IDE.
  • Boot with libata.ignore_hpa=0 added to boot options. (Press e to edit a menu item in the GRUB list, then go to the line which contains the kernel. Always remove quiet and splash and add the above command.) This didn't work with me.
  • The solution which worked for me was the following one: add break=top to the boot parameters (see above), don't forget to delete splash and quiet. Once you boot, you will immediately break to an initramfs shell. Try the following commands.
    modprobe piix
    modprobe libata
    modprobe pata_jmicron
    modprobe ata_piix
    modprobe ahci
    modprobe ata_generic
    modprobe ide-disk
    modprobe ide-generic
    Then type exit to continue booting. You don't have to try them all at once. I first tried ide-disk and ide-generic but those didn't work, then I tried only piix, which worked! If that doesn't work, I would suggest trying piix, libata, pata_jmicron, ata_piix, ahci and ata_generic.
    Once you get it running, we must make sure these modules get loaded automatically (instead of always adding break=top). Edit the following file: /etc/initramfs-tools/modules/. E.g., type:
    sudo gedit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules
    And add the modules which worked for you (without modprobe). In my case, I only had to add piix. Save and exit the editor, then execute the following command:
    sudo update-initramfs -u
    Done. Try to restart normally. It should work now. If it doesn't, continue checking the forums and Launchpad.

Feisty Upgrade - First Problem

We recently updated all our Ubuntu machines from Edgy to Feisty. Updating went smooth, apart from a few problems.

The first problem was that X was freezing at random intervals. Xorg log said nothing special, but the GDM log did:

Error in I830WaitLpRing(), now is 7023360, start is 7021359
pgetbl_ctl: 0x3ffc0001 pgetbl_err: 0x0
ipeir: 0 iphdr: 1810000
LP ring tail: 9b38 head: 938c len: 1f801 start 0
eir: 0 esr: 0 emr: ffff
instdone: ffc0 instpm: 0
memmode: 306 instps: f0000
hwstam: ffff ier: 0 imr: ffff iir: 0
space: 129100 wanted 131064

Fatal server error:

So I did the only thing I could think of: I removed the Videoram lines from xorg.conf. And the freezes seem to have stopped.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Games: Supreme Commander And Command And Conquer 3

I've just finished all the campaigns of Command And Conquer 3. I must say I am pretty impressed.

I also played a bit of Supreme Commander but I didn't really like that game and I've already uninstalled it.

Supreme Commander is good because:
  • Huge maps.
  • Cool units.
  • Strategic zoom is really helpful.
  • Multiplayer.

But bad because:

  • Boring maps.
  • Though you can build hundreds of units, they are all so tiny...
  • Repetitive missions... always the same.

Command And Conquer has:

  • Kane!
  • Kaaaaaane! (Yes, he counts for two points!)
  • Full-motion video is back and you can't help but love the cheesy acting.
  • Nice detailed maps.
  • A superb engine. The maps load incredibly fast, and there is no huge framerate drop - ever! Even with a lot of units on screen... how do they do it? (Supreme Commander takes ages to load.)
  • Cool units.
  • Fun multiplayer.
  • Did I mention Kane?
  • Spectacular effects.

It does need better patching though (especially for people without high-end systems). On my system however the game ran like a dream in 1600x1200 with all options on highest (except AA, which is level 1).

However, if you adored Total Annihilation, you will like Supreme Commander. If you loved C&C, you'll love Tiberium Wars. I liked both, but I do prefer to play a game of CC3.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Huh?" Or "Where have my past two days gone?"

I've been kinda bored lately. I enjoy playing a game when I stop working. The problem is that lately I haven't been able to find a really good game which kept me hooked. Where are the times of those good atmospheric games like Half Life 2 (Episode 1 if you wish), Beyond Good And Evil, Psychonauts, GTA San Andreas, Fahrenheit, Dreamfall (how I loved that game), Prince Of Persia... Wait a minute... Prince Of Persia.

I decided to reinstall The Two Thrones, which I didn't finish last time I played it. (I only played for half an hour through the game and then became distracted).

While I was thinking about the fact that installing this game would certainly take a lot of my time away I was listening to some PoP-game-music. Hearing Time Only Knows and I Still Love You again enough to convince me. I inserted CD 1.

We're now two days later, it's past midnight again, and I have completed the game. I must say: what an experience. The ending was fantastic. I just can't understand why I am so hooked on that game (I always believed I wasn't the guy for platformers).

Sigh... and now I'm bored again :), but at least I have a sense of accomplishment now (if you can call it that).