A Rant on Redis
It's been a while since I posted, and I've been spending a lot of time fighting with Redis, one of the darling databases of the NoSQL era, at work, so I thought I'd grace y'all with a brief rant on Redis, what it's good at, what it's bad at, and so on.
What is Redis?
Redis is an open-source moderately-structured in-memory key-value store. This means that, unlike full relational databases, it doesn't have a fixed schema, and it can't perform server-side operations like joining and filtering data, and theoretically it's faster. Redis looks an awful lot like memcache, but …
GPG (2013 Update)
In light of all of the hullabaloo about PRISM and other spying
technology, I thought it'd be good to remind all of your dear readers
that we've had the technology to ensure private communications on the
Internet for 22 years in the form of Pretty Good Privacy (and
the much-more-commonly-used implementation, GnuPG). Ars Technica had
an okay article about e-mail encryption with PGP which I recommend
reading, although you should keep in mind that most security
professionals would consider infrastructural PKI like SSL and S/MIME to
be compromised by nation-state-level adversaries (and all associated
Anyhow, my GPG …
*nix Tip of the Day: Unix Time
As the unix-savvy among you probably know, there is One True Way to tell
the time: the number of seconds elapsed since midnight on January 1,
1970 +0000. It's an extremely convenient way for computers to represent
the time, since it's just an integer that goes up. There's no parsing to
be done, and arithmetic is just regular math. If you want a
brain-numbingly-detailed overview, Wikipedia's article on unix time
is, as usual, sufficient.
However, what I'd like to talk about here is converting back and forth
between unix time and meatware time. I imagine that when your beard gets …
*nix Tip of the Day: VMS
Okay, so this is maybe a little unusual, but today's "*nix Tip of the
Day" isn't about Unix/Linux/etc. at all. Instead, it is about their
antiquated archenemy: VMS. First, a little bit of history:
Way back in 1970, the PDP-11 was hot stuff. Ken Thompson, Dennis
Richie, Brian Kernighan, and others at Bell Labs were writing what would
become Unix for the PDP-11 (well, for the PDP-7 at first, but nobody
talks about that). Unix was a huge improvement over what DEC shipped
with the PDP-11, DOS-11 and RT-11. This couldn't stand, so Dave Cutler
at DEC designed VMS. It was a new operating system, with lots of fancy
features, like networking and, uh, lots of upper-case letters.
VMS and Unix sort of battled on. Or so some people would have you think.
Really, Unix won early on and VMS stumbled along with corporate
financing and an obnoxiously difficult-to-use interface. It passed from
DEC to Compaq to HP, from the PDP-11 to the Alpha to the Itanium. And it
still lives on, churning away in scary back-rooms here and there.
So, why do I bring this up? Well, as some of you may know, Harvey Mudd
College has a few VMS machines around. The most well-known of these (to
students) is thuban, which is a 667MHz DEC Alpha running OpenVMS
7.3-2. Today, I had the, uh, interesting experience of using it, and
thought I'd share my impressions with my readers. You can see the proof
of my VMS skills at my VMS homepage. That's right, I'm on the
Internet. And on DECnet.