This release has been a long, hard slog, with a lot of work being done to get Awasu Server up and running, but it’s been worth it since it runs like a dream and is in production at several client sites.
The API has also been beefed up, and you can expect some really cool applications in coming releases that let you control your Awasu.
The update policy for this release is the same as before: since it’s been a while since the last release, if you had an active subscription on February 8th 2011 (the date of the last release), you are eligible for this one.
This is the last alpha before the final 3.0.1 release, so there’re only a few smaller changes.
One thing that’s been on my must-fix-because-it’s-so-totally-embarrassing list for a very long time is how Awasu imports large OPML files. I have clients with massive OPML files (several tens of thousands of channels ) and Awasu’s UI tended to hang a bit while it was loading it up. Since importing channels is often the first thing a new user does, it wasn’t a particularly good first experience, even if it is a bit of an edge case
There are also a few more Awasu API entry points, which is looking pretty comprehensive now There is an experimental web-based administration console floating around that uses it, which lets you manage your Awasu from a browser – very cool
I’m not one for link dumps but these are too good not to share.
One of the downsides of having been doing IT for as long as I have  is that you’ve heard all the jokes many times before, but here’s a list of some new ones.
Using if(constant == variable) instead of if(variable == constant), like if (4 == foo). Because it’s like saying “if blue is the sky” or “if tall is the man”.
The best one is hidden way down in the comments:
Yoda Exception Handling: Do, or do not; there is no try.
Next up is an amazingly interesting list of useful hidden features in Python. I tend to use Python as a better scripting language (since writing anything longer than a few lines in shell script or Windows batch files Truly Sucks®) but things like this remind me how really cool it is.
I’m hoping to have a bit of free time over the next few weeks (yeah, right ) and one of the things I want to do is to spend a bit of time looking into the new features of Python. If you’re into Python, JetBrains recently released a free version of their PyCharm IDE, and after a quick play with it, it looks pretty good. These are the same guys who make the IntelliJ IDE, which I have used , and is probably the only piece of Java software I’ve used that I have any time for
As an aside, I’m in Cebu in the Philippines right now , which is not far from where the big earthquake happened and I was woken up yesterday morning by the whole room shaking and big cracks appearing in the walls 24 hours later, we’re still getting tremors and I’ve been getting slightly seasick as I work in my room. I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination but I’m sure the floor is gently rolling from side to side Tomorrow I sail to Dumaguete, which was also affected, and then in a couple of weeks, I’m off to Taiwan, which is rather close to Fukushima and an incoming typhoon.
Awasu 3.0.1 will be coming soon (hopefully), possibly slightly hot…
 I won’t say it, since I’m sure all the kids are sick to death of hearing me say how I started out on punch cards  Yes, I have worked professionally using Java. Just shoot me now My favorite sign is still there, albeit slightly faded.
Most of the work has been in the Awasu API, in particular, the Python script provided to access it has been seriously beefed up. There is also a PHP version, making it easy to access your Awasu from a web page.
There have been some breaking changes to the API, so if you’re using it, please check the release notes to see what’s different. And drop us a line to let us know what you’re using it for, and if there’s anything we can add to make things easier for you
One of the computing center staff was walking by when I took this picture. He said that they have one in a museum in London that is roped off. When he remarked to one of the curators there that “Ours is better” they asked him why. “You can sit on ours.”
My very first job was in the late 80′s, working on Honeywell Bull DPS-8 and DPS-90 mainframes, and DadHacker’s comment that “your average cell phone will run rings around the CRAY-1″ piqued my interest, enough that I did a bit of digging around to get the hardware specs for those behemoths. Unfortunately, the best I could find was this press release for the DPS-9000, a successor to the DPS-90. It had 1 GB of main memory and 1 MB of cache memory, split amongst 1-4 CPU’s, which compares well against the Cray’s 8 MB of main memory and 0.080 GHz single CPU
And while we might laugh at this kind of hardware today, these computers were always about I/O. They were used as database engines, so it was important to have powerful I/O, and the DPS-9000 allowed for up to 1000 input/output channels. I remember the DPS-90′s could have up to 4 independent I/O processors, and devices were connected to them, not the mainframe itself, to offload some of the processing. These IOP’s were small computers in their own right, with their own operating system, and could be brought up and down individually.
When I started, a lot of the connected disk storage were disk packs, like this on the right. I’m not sure how much they held, but it was probably only a few hundred MB, which wasn’t much even in the 80′s.
We soon started getting 3380 disk systems, which were the absolute bee’s knees – up to 8 2.5GB drives, for a grand total of 20GB. I think we had at least a dozen of these monsters! To compare, the SD card on the right holds 32 GB, and is definitely not to scale – the 3380 cabinet’s were well over a metre high.
I tell kids today that I’ve been doing IT for so long, I started on punch cards (true – we had the MONECS time-sharing system at school), and it’s easy to forget how far things have come, so quickly. There’s a brief history of disk technology here, with some great pics. My Galaxy S2 does indeed run rings around the old DPS mainframes (on paper, at least – you would never try to run the whole of Telecom Australia’s customer database on it ), far more cheaply, uses less power and doesn’t take a whole secure, air-conditioned facility to do it. And I can play Defender on it
Ha, and y’all thought I was dead or had abandoned Awasu! Far from it, I’ve been insanely busy building several systems, all using Awasu as the underlying information retrieval engine:
A news retrieval and analysis service.
A medical search engine.
A customizable vertical search engine.
One part of all this work has been upgrading Awasu to run as a high-performance server application. Without a UI slowing things down, Awasu absolutely screams now, pulling down feeds from web servers, databases, anywhere, at a very high rate of knots, all the while indexing and analysing it. Shoot us an email if you’re interested in running this version.
Since it’s been a while since the last release, the policy for upgrade subscriptions will be a bit different for the this release cycle: if you had an active subscription on February 8th 2011 (when 3.0 was released), you are eligible for 3.0.1.
A while back, I raved about Reaper, a really cool piece of software for recording and mixing music. Yesterday, it was their 7th birthday and they’ve certainly come a long way.
This is the early v0.0 version….
…and this is where they’re at today, seven years later, using White Tie’s stunning Imperial theme.
Good things take time to create, and it must be amazing feeling for the Reaper team to look back and think about how far they’ve come. Awasu has been around for a little longer – we started in 2002 – and our before screenshot looks pretty good as well
I’m currently stress-testing The Beast and it’s coming along well – it’s quite cool watching Awasu madly creating channels and running reports, all via automated scripts running on another machine. Awasu Server is just the next stage of a larger plan for the product, so stay tuned…
Even though things have been quiet here in the weblog, that doesn’t mean we’ve gone into hibernation or abandoned the project. Indeed, it’s been the exact opposite – I’ve been busy building customized versions of Awasu and various extensions for some of our corporate clients (as well as my many other side-projects ).
One thing that we get asked for on a semi-regular basis is if there is a server version of Awasu. Corporate users who use Awasu to gather information on a large scale often run it on heavy-duty servers, and would prefer a version that runs as a system service, stripped of all the fancy GUI fluff, that focuses solely on the job at hand: retrieving and processing information.
While we’ve had an unofficial version for quite a few years now, I’ve been busy in the Awasu cave these past few months hacking away refactoring and upgrading the code base to make Awasu Server a real product. It’s in the final throes of testing now and will be released to the testers in a few weeks, so if you’re interested in beta testing The Beast, drop us a line and we’ll sort something out.
I’ve always preferred writing server code – dealing with pesky users is a such a hassle – and stripped of all the GUI issues, Awasu Server really runs like a dream
Yes, yes, it’s been very quiet here lately but as always, it’s because I’ve been insanely busy.
As some of you know, I’ve taken an interest in sound engineering and have been busy teaching myself how to record and mix. Some of my early attempts are here but this week, my first real CD is coming out.
Nok “La Fiesta” is an old friend of mine (I used to play in her band, many years ago) and she’s been playing at The Bear Bar for the past few months. During March, we recorded a couple of sessions and I’ve been locked away in the dungeons these past few weeks, madly mixing everything, and this Thursday, it all comes to a head and we’re having the launch party If you’re in town, come on down and join the party, otherwise you can listen to the tracks here and if you like them, buy them here (it’s the price of a cup of coffee! how could you say no?!).
Videos of the sessions are also up here, and you know the musicians are cringing because I had to leave in all the mistakes that I took out for the CD
Dutch Tilders, the father of the blues in Melbourne, passed away yesterday
Some videos of him playing are here. They’re from quite a few years ago but I recently saw an interview with him on the community TV channel where he played a few songs and they had an amazing depth and subtlety that reflected his decades playing the blues, not just your standard bumpa-bumpa 12-bar.
The link above also has a great story about him
[Dutch] had finished his set and had killed it as usual & we were having a talk side of stage. The DJ from the venue butted in with something about how him & Dutch were “really talented beacuse they were both in the music business” or words to that effect. Dutch just glared at the idiot and said “I’ve spent years learning my craft… you play fuckin’ records. Piss off!”
I’m definitely getting more irascible in my old age but the Dutchman undoubtedly set the gold standard
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