open-source tech

The Catalyst Perl Web Framework

I’ve been meaning to update the blog for a while as some important stuff has happened.

The MySQL High Availability project went live in early January and is a success 🙂 We made some changes though. Sadly, we decided against read query scale-out because we found that extremely large queries took a noticeable time to propagate. So now read and write queries both loopback. A shame as the application felt faster with read scale out and I deliberately upped the query cache on the read server. Of course, being reliant on a single database for reads also introduces a single-point-of-failure (SPOF). Thinking about SPOFs in other arenas has lead me to reliable ssh tunnel projects like autossh, which is something I can make use of elsewhere.

Debian 5.0, Lenny, was released! As a sysadmin it is both exciting… and a bit of a pain in the bum. Probably in equal measure. In non-production tests, Etch to Lenny dist-upgrades seem to be pretty painless apart for some small oddity in MySQL not coming back up (just start manually). Also we are faced with an upgrade of Apache1.3 to Apache2.2. Lets see what happens there.

I’m getting into Catalyst these days. Essentially, to Perl what Rails is to Ruby. I have plans to implement an existing Perl/mod_perl web app in Catalyst as a way of learning it. It’s quite exciting stuff. Tomorrow I attend an Advanced Perl class which also touches on Catalyst. I have been hacking it on and off for the last 6 months but I just feel I need to kick it into a higher gear and maybe this class will enthuse me. Another idea I had was to create my own blog in Catalyst (a bit like Jono Bacon). Part of the logic in doing that is that in theory it will be more resistant to automated attacks.

minidisc tech videogames

Sounds Great

Recently I have come into possession of two lovely gadgets that have increased my sonic pleasure immeasurably.

The first is a used Thrustmaster T510 from eBay for about £25. An absolute bargain with fierce bidding in the final few seconds for this baby. This unassuming little thing converts an analogue or digital surround sound feed into Dolby Headphone format. This effectively lets one achieve surround sound with regular headphones. I have tried it with two videogames – Metroid Prime (which by the way is just an amazing, fantastic game) and Final Fantasy XII. Both have excellent surround sound mixes, Dolby Pro-Logic II to be precise.

Final Fantasy XII in particular sounds superb – the battles are now more “spacial”, I can hear my archers arrows whoosing from behind my viewpoint over my left or right shoulder and the metallic clang of my swordsman in the center of the melee. Aside from that it means I can enjoy glorious surround sound from both games and movies without disturbing the rest of the house or at night. w00tage!

The other thing is a headphone amp – this is a gadget I’ve wanted to own for a long time actually. It amplifies the audio from any source with a 3.5mm jack and is especially suited to digital media players. You see these days a lot of sneaky manufacturers (like Apple), tend to put weedy amplifiers into their sleek mp3 players to lengthen the battery life. Sadly this is with a cost of crap sounding music.

This was partly my decision to switch back to MiniDisc because Sony, for all their other faults, know how to do music electronics properly. Anyhow, I eventually bought a “CMOY Amp” model from a friendly Latvian chap called Zigis. This guy hand makes his own stuff and matches the capacitors and resistors for a purer signal. I can safely say that the sound is much more punchy and detailed with new layers of details being revealed on familiar listening material. Well worth the £30 I paid.