Stuff changes; don't take things on faith, get the facts

A number of years back I saw a mail thread around Java performance. One person made the claim that Java was slow; if you wanted performant apps then write in a different language. This matched my experience, so I felt a little confirmation bias. However the reply really made me think; this may have been true 10 years ago (and, indeed, it’d been over 10 years since I’d done any real Java) but modern techniques meant that Java was perfectly fast.

Technical Debt

My home server I was doing an upgrade on my home “server” today, and it made me realise that design choices I’d made 10 years still impact how I build this machine today. In 2005 I got 3*300Gb Maxtor drives. I ran them in a RAID 5; that gave me 600Gb of usable space. It worked well. In 2007 I upgraded the machine to 500Gb disks. This required additional SATA controllers, so I got enough to allow new and old disks to be plugged in at the same time (cables galore).

Breaking the MBR on every hard disk

I was reminded of a backblaze article about SMART numbers. This nudged me to look up the stats on my drives to see if any numbers had budged. Let’s collect the data for processing: for a in /dev/sd? do smartctl -a $a > $a done Spot the error. I ran the code. Did an “ls”… and didn’t see any output. I started to panic a little… I didn’t just do what I think I just did… did I?