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July 11, 2003


Attended the keynote presentation this morning by George Dyson about Von Neumann at the IAS (Institute for Advanced Studies). Fascinating look into some of the origins computing.

Dyson went to IAS and dug through documents and retrieved a collection of diagrams, photos and memos about the process and design of the original computer. The presentation intertwines all of them into a humorous and insightful look at engineering and programming in mid 1900's.

A few thoughts:

Used tubes to record the binary data, grid of spots stored in each tube and then could be checked, provided they could keep them in focus and no one walked by with a static sweater.

Back then the hardware was sloppy and the question was how to build reliable programs on sloppy hardware, today the hardware is good and the software is the sloppy element in unreliable programs.

Phil Windley's write-up gets some stuff I missed.

Spent the morning in Jeremy's MySQL talks. Both good, got a slew of great tips on tuning and benchmarking our MySQL database. I wish I had two or three weeks that I could dedicate to fiddling with our MySQL install. The only way that would happen is if MySQL started to fail, nothing like downtime to prioritize tuning. The demo on super-smack was cool, seems fairly straightforward to configure and run, am excited to use it.

Posted by mike at July 11, 2003 12:30 PM