SunSpider etc.

A while ago, in response to someone commenting about Opera being faster than Firefox I posted this, among others, based on my own testing:

(Results are from the Sunspider JS benchmark. Opera 9.60, Chrome 0.2.149.30, Firefox nightly is from the 17th October 2008)

Before anyone points it out, I get that there are issues comparing an Fx3.1-ish nightly with a release version of Opera but

1. There was no “nightly”/pre-release version of Opera that I could find, at the time
2. Even if you compare to Fx 3.0.3, Opera 9.60 takes~1.33 times longer to finish the test

Anyhoo, out of interest I reran the tests adding Firefox 3.0.6 and the latest Firefox trunk nightly, Chrome 2.0.160.0 and Webkit’s 40471 nightly.

I can’t be bothered testing IE because a) it would take too long and b) I wouldn’t get comparable numbers, because the machine I ran all of these on only has IE6 and it’s too much hassle upgrading and downgrading and sidegrading. The general trend (from messing about with it on Windows 7 and Vista on other machines) I’ve observed is that each new version is faster than its predecessor and IE8 more so than IE7.

TM = TraceMonkey, the new bit to Firefox 3.1’s JS engine. For the purposes of this, I set javascript.options.jit.content = true for TM, and false otherwise. True is now the default.

Obviously Sunspider isn’t representative of, well, anything (Dromaeo tests DOM manipulation too, and there are loads of benchmarks around, some more useful than others) but it’s interesting to see (I guess) that the general trend is for things to get faster…

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Sorry Qmail, it’s over

Since the dawn of time (even before switching from RedHat to Debian ~6 years ago) I’ve used the Qmail MTA, with a whole pile of other crud piled on top (like vpopmail to handle virtual users, and some Perl to hook up to SpamAssassin and ClamAV).

Most of the parts had to be compiled from source (especially Qmail, since it needed a bundle of patches) and in the early days, not being used to the Way of the Swirl, even ClamnSpam were compiled from sauce. Down the line, that changed, but there was some manual intervention required to make qmail-scanner-queue.pl pick up on changed version numbers. Despite the avalanche of suck inherent to his setup, it worked…so there wasn’t much impetus to break it.

A while back, I played with Exim but never made any real progress making it work and somehow arrived at Postfix, finding guides to do what I wanted (which I’ve since wikified and mangled for my own uses). The current setup uses Postfix MTA, Amavisd with SpamAssassin and ClamAV and Courier for IMAP, with virtual user details stored in a MySQL database and the mail stored under /var/vmail.

Because Postfix can check if a virtual user is valid at SMTP-time it can reject invalidly addressed mail then, whereas the Qmail setup accepted everything then let Vpopmail bin the invalid ones, generating loads of crud to postmaster@domain.

These images should speak for themselves:

There’s just one small annoyance – apparently, there’s no way to get Amavisd-new to include the verbose spam report from SA unless the message is tagged as spam.

Daytum

After hearing Nicholas Felton talking on Boagworld about his annual reports and Daytum, I thought it might be interesting to sign up.

After being bitten by an issue — having reject_non_fqdn_hostname (which apparently now lives in a separate config option and calls itself reject_non_fqdn_helo_hostname) in smtpd_recipient_restrictions results in

postfix/smtpd[10468]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from 209-20-86-76.slicehost.net[209.20.86.76]: 504 5.5.2 <daytum>: Helo command rejected: need fully-qualified hostname;

— with the Postfix configuration for the box handling mail for one of my domains, I finally got an invite.

I couldn’t actually think of anything I’m that desperate to count (that isn’t already, like RSS feed stats on Google Reader) though, but someone else was doing drinks so I might as well jump on the bandwagon…

WordPress 2.7 beta 3, movement to VPS

Sooo…installed WP 2.7b3 on my BitFolk VPS, and it seems pretty decent so far, though FigureRender’s settings took some fun with MySQL’s command line (not to mention the images that were deleted but weren’t and caned my upstream no end).

“Long term”, it seems like a  pretty good not bad idea to run this from here, rather than hanging off my Zen (will it ever be Be?) ADSL…

Vista weirdness

So Wednesday, Windows (Vista) on my laptop did an Xbox (crapped itself and died). Woke it up from standby, started up, black screen. Forced the power off and started it up, black screen for ages, Windows finally starts, Event Log/Sidebar/Wireless all kaput.

Some Googling later, and found this. Long and short, run NETSH WINSOCK RESET CATALOG and restart. Job done, it all works again.

New Hard Drive == BSOD == Brown Trousers

On Friday I got a Seagate ST3500320AS – 500GB, SATA2, 32MB cache – and used it to replace the 250GB IDE Western Digital as the Windows boot drive (removing a 120GB WD which used to be the boot drive and became purely for storage when I built this machine a little over 2 years ago).

Used Acronis True Image to copy one drive to the other to dodge installing Windows (last installed 25th April 2006!). All goes well except the next morning, the machine’s back at the login prompt. Fair enough, maybe I restarted the machine and forgot to log in. Until the same happened the next morning…long story short, it turned out that ntbackup.exe was using Volume Shadow Copy, and for whatever reason that made the machine chuck a BAD_POOL_HEADER BSOD.

Much Googling suggested a driver issue, and eventually I found this post on techspot.com, with the following:

• open regedit from the run menu.
• goto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE-10318}
• Export this key so you have a backup of it. (I know this solves the MSbackup but I don’t know if other problems will pop up.)
• delete the key “UpperFilters”
• re-boot
• My computer did a “Found new hardware” when it re-booted and required another re-boot.

Worked fine, so I’m happy.

Which Office 2007 App Are You?

Which 2007 Office Application Are You?

You are Excel 2007!
People trust you to find the right answer. They call you “the wizard” and are in awe of your PivotTable. When you say you love functions, it’s understood that you’re referring to spreadsheets, not social events. You import and export with ease, always maintaining balance. Thanks to your mastery of numbers, people are constantly asking you for help with their own budgets. With the new Microsoft Office Excel 2007, you’ll see how those people can get their own answers – better and faster. They will be amazed that they, too, can create a new chart with only five clicks. You may not have been known as a trendsetter, but your ability to use conditional formatting to “see” new trends was well worth any wait. You can analyze the impressive productivity and efficiency gains in Excel 2007 and prove that the benefits justify the costs. Your favorite new feature in Office 2007 is likely to be the charting feature in Excel 2007.

Lightbox Resizing

The Lightbox should now resize the image if the image is bigger than the browser window.

The lightbox JS is awful though.

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LaTeX

No, it isn’t some kinky fun with rubber :-p

$F(hkl) = \sum _{j} f _j (\theta) \cdot \exp[-8\pi^2U_j\sin^2 \frac {\theta} {\lambda^2}] \cdot \exp [2 \pi i (hx_j + ky_j + i z_j]$

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