Friday, February 22, 2013

Updating vert.x examples on the Pi

As I mentioned earlier, I've been repeating earlier experiments around running vert.x on a 256 Meg model B Raspberry Pi. I was working through all of the Java examples and didn't have time to go through them all again. But here's an update on the rest.

For a start, I should Fanout Server works, but again you may need to install a telnet client on your Pi, or run remotely. However, the HTTPS example failed (on Safar, Chrome and Firefox) and I remember this happened in December when I first did this work. I reported the problem to Tim and hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this eventually:

The Proxy example works too, but you need to remember that the Pi isn't an i7 multicore laptop, so just be patient:

PubSub is another example that often requires a little patience before trying to telnet, but the results are worth it:

The Upload example is relatively simple:

Route Match works too, but remember that the text in the example is wrong and the actual directory is route_match and not routematch!
Make sure you have your CLASSPATH set correctly before running the Resource Load example:

And I think that's it. As I mentioned before, if you have any problems reproducing any of this then let me know and I'm happy to try to help.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More adventures in Pi land with vert.x

It seems that some people are seeing problems running vert.x on the Pi, so I decided to double check what I did over Christmas. I'm using the exact same configuration as the last time, so it's still the soft float implementation of Wheezy. If people still have difficulties duplicating what I'm seeing here then I'll try again with the hard float version.

So I worked my way through some of the vert.x Java examples only (I'll try the ones I missed at a later date). The thing to realise straight away is that if any of the examples tell you to point a browser, telnet or some other client at a running service then wait a while before doing so: the Pi isn't the speediest device on the block and sometimes it just takes that little bit longer to get going. Try running netstat in a different shell to see what ports have been created and bound as well:

Starting with EchoServer+Client (you may need to install a telnet client, or just connect from a different machine):

Through HTTP ...

And SendFile ...

SSL of course ...

... and a copy of top output to show the two instances running ...

It wouldn't be a good test of the capabilities of the Pi and vert.x without some WebSockets running, so here's what you should see upon success:

And finally Eventbus Bridge:

There were some failures. HTTPS for instance but I think this is a known problem and will investigate this further before posting anything. However, hopefully this is enough to be getting on with to show that it should be possible to run most (probably all) of the vert.x Java examples on a Raspberry Pi.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Move to e-books

Anyone who has known me long enough will know that I love books. Whether it's fiction or fact based, I love the physical medium that books provide. New books have a great smell and crispness about them. Old books often encapsulate their history within their very pages, whether in the form of turned pages, broken spines (something I hate!), stains or something else entirely. And if you return to an old book that you haven't read for years, these imperfections can often stir memories of times past, offering additional value than just reading the text (my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird is just such a book and each time I read it it's like seeing an old friend again.)

Over the years I've collected hundreds of books, ranging from fantasy, science fiction, classics and of course work related. And rarely have I discarded a book. So as I grew up it became harder and harder to get them all out of the boxes in which they often ended up. Then I met my wife who has just as much a passion for books as well as being a collector too. So something had to give.

Several years ago I converted an old HP Jornada to an ebook reader for her and she took to it. The convenience of the form factor, the ability to store hundreds of books on flash memory and the fact that she could get books instantly, sold it to her. I, however, remained unconvinced. The price difference between the physical copy and the electronic copy annoyed me and still does. And I still love the tactile aspect of a real book. Then my wife upgraded to a Sony reader with e-ink and she really fell in love with the format. Though she still buys physical copies of select books, the vast majority of the books she gets today are e-books.

Throughout this I have remained resolutely against moving. As I said, I love the old style format and don't think e-books are the same, no matter how good the technology gets. However, it is the reality of family life coupled with the masses of books we possess that is pushing me towards the electronic versions, at least in a limited way. I'm going to give it a go for selected books: those for which I won't necessarily build emotional ties. But I reserve the right to be disappointed in losing something in the transition and I may go back eventually. Finally, I find it interesting that given my background in computing and adoption of new technologies, I can't get over the hurdle of migrating to e-books. Maybe this is similar to the vinyl versus CD debate of two decades ago?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nice posting about Colossus and Brian

Brian's been a permanent part of Newcastle University for as long as I can recall, so it's nice to see this write-up on some of the things he's done over the years.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

HPTS 2013 CfP

15th International Workshop on High Performance Transaction Systems (HPTS)
September 22-25, 2013
Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA

Every two years, HPTS brings together a lively and opinionated group of participants to discuss and debate the pressing topics that affect today's systems and their design and implementation, especially where scalability is concerned. The workshop includes position paper presentations, panels, moderated discussions, and significant time for casual interaction. And of course beer.

Since its inception in 1985, HPTS has always been about large scale. Over the years the focus has shifted from scalable transaction processing to very large databases to cloud computing. Today, scalability is about big data. What interesting but out-of-the-spotlight big-data applications are out there? How are datacenter software and hardware abstractions evolving to support big data apps? How has big data changed the role of data stewardship‹not just data security, but data provenance and dealing with noisy data? How are big data apps affected by limitations in energy consumption? What advances have occurred in identifying patterns and even approximate schemas at petabyte scale? How have the provisioning of networking, storage and computing in datacenters had to shift to support these apps?

We ask potential participants to submit a brief technical summary or position, presenting a viewpoint on a controversial topic, a summary of lessons learned, experience with a large or unusual system, an innovative mechanism, an enormous problem looming on the horizon, or anything else that convinces the program committee that the participant has something interesting to say. The submission process is purposely lightweight, but we require each submission to have only a single author.

The workshop is by invitation only and is limited to under 100 participants. The submissions drive both the invitation process and the workshop agenda. Participants may be asked to be part of a presentation or discussion session at the workshop. Students are particularly encouraged to submit.

What to submit:
A 1 page position statement or extended abstract
Optional: the written submission can include a link to one or both of the following as an expanded part of the submission:
Maximum of 3 PowerPoint-type slides
 Maximum 2 minute video presentation ‹can be of you speaking with or without slides, a video demo or other video illustration of your proposed presentation, etc.
  Even if you choose NOT to submit these, the PC may decide to ask you for them later during consideration of submissions.
The length limits will be strictly observed. We won't consider too-long submissions.

How to submit:  Go to

When to submit:  Now would be good. Official deadlines are:
Submission of Papers:  March 11, 2013
Notification of Acceptance:  May 24, 2013
HPTS Workshop:  September 22-25, 2013

Organizing committee:  Pat Helland, Salesforce; Pat Selinger, IBM (General Chair); Shel Finkelstein, SAP; Mark Little, Red Hat

Program committee
Anastasia Ailamaki, EPFL
David Cheriton, Arista Networks/Stanford
Adrian Cockcroft, Netflix
Bill Coughran, Sequoia Capital
Armando Fox, UC Berkeley (Chair)
Sergey Melnik, Google
Adam Messinger, Twitter
Margo Seltzer, Harvard
Wang-Chiew Tan, UC Santa Cruz

Poster session chair
Michael Armbrust, Google