XBOX360 and XBOX games

You know, I am consistently (and pleasantly) surprised at the compatibility of old XBOX games on the on the XBOX360. When you consider that the games are running and emulation (the platforms are completely different), the speed difference between the two is difficult to discern. It is also interesting to see which games look as good when viewed at the higher res. Black, for example, looks just as good on my 20″ LCD panel and the XBOX360 at more than twice the resolution than it did on the XBOX. Far Cry, however, looks particularly pixellated at times. The only time I use the original XBOX now is when playing Dancing Stage Unleashed where the screen and mat are easier to use together.

Geekbench results for iMac 24

I’ve just completed running Geekbench results for my 24″ iMac (3GB, Intel T7600, 2.33GHz) and the Sun Ultra 20M2 I have on test (4GB, AMD Opteron 1200 2.8GHz).The overall rates are interesting: iMac: 246*U20M2: 273.5*The U20M2 is slightly faster, although in use I think it’s much faster. I’m still completing some tests on the U20 under different operating systems on the U20 to see whether there is some advantage to different OS on the U20M2. *: The iMac is updated to the latest BIOS and latest updates, with other applications not running*: The U20M2 is updated to the BIOS and drivers (from the 1.4 driver update CD), with other applications not running

Controlling OS X volume through Cron

One of the biggest annoyances of working from home is that with the computers in the room next door, the volume of your computers can cause a problem if someone suddenly calls you on Skype, or your backup software suddenly kicks in and starts beeping. I never remember to mute the volume, so I started looking for a way to this automatically through cron at specific times. I also wanted to be sure that rather than setting a specific volume (and having to remember it), that I could just use the OS X mute function. The solution is to combine Applescript, which you can run from the command line using the osascript command, with the command line limitations of cron. There are three components, the two Applescripts that mute and unmute the volume, and the lines in a crontab to run the scripts. To mute the volume with Applescript:

set volume with output muted

To unmute:

set volume without output muted

Save both these into Applescripts (use the Applescript editor so they are compiled). Then we can just set the scripts to execute when required:

0 9 * * * osascript /usr/local/mcslp/volume-unmute.scpt0 19 * * * osascript /usr/local/mcslp/volume-mute.scpt

I’ve set this on the three machines and now we get a silent night!

What’s going on?

Just in case you think I’ve forgotten about things, I haven’t, I’m just somewhat buried.What’s been happening? Well Busy New Year will explain part of it.On the Sun/Solaris front:

  • Sun shipped me a new card to fit into the T1000 to get some better performance on the network interface. This was after a really good conversation with Sun about Squeezing the last drops of performance from the T1000. It arrived right between Christmas and New Year, so I haven’t had time to play with it yet.
  • I’m still testing the Ultra 20M2, but let’s just say it’s cool and fast. There’s a review going out on my ComputerWorld blog soon that gives a quick overview.
  • Solaris testing – I’ve been putting together some more detailed examples on using Solaris with Parallels, particularly for testing ZFS. This is particularly cool because you can play around with pools and other elements without requiring a hardware solution, and then start all over again if you muck it up.

Stay up to date with Planet MCslp.

MySQL on Solaris

Frank Mash has started a brilliant series on making the best of running MySQL on the Solaris platform:

No, I haven’t missed one out, Frank assures us that Part 5 is on the way!I wish we had a DTrace interface to MySQL…

Busy New Year

Wow – if you hadn’t noticed, it’s been pretty quiet round here recently, and the reason is that things have simply been very busy. I’ve been churning out the IBM stuff (including some that hasn’t made it yet) – the main highlight is the big three-part tutorial series on using Application Virtualization as a grid-enabling solution (start with Application virtualization, Part 1: Level 1 – Abstracting your grid infrastructure). Part 3 should be coming out soon. Also, things at MySQL are hectic – probably as best evidenced by posts like Slashdot | MySQL Falcon Storage Engine Open Sourced. One of the links embedded in there is the documentation on Falcon – written by yours truly – and accessible directly in the documentation The Falcon Storage Engine.At the moment, I’m mostly working on Replication, some improvements to the APIs section (and some further updates for Connectors, now that C/ODBC 5 is on the way). Hopefully things wont be as busy though; there’s a bunch of stuff to follow up on here.