Jun 23

File systems with a billion files, making forests, parallel multitouch

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Making file systems with a billion files is interesting for feeling out scaling issues.

The Intro post for file systems with a billion files, with a table of contents. This is yet another way to make file systems with a billion files.

While working on the upcoming archiving and compression post, with various obstacles, yet another method for making those file systems came to mind: running multiple multitouch methods in parallel. Spoilers: It’s the fastest method for making file systems with a billion files that I’ve run.

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Apr 14

Time Machine, migrating from a network share to an external drive

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I was restoring an entire computer, and restoring from my network share on a NAS wouldn’t work: it would quietly hang, a day in. Copying the backups to an external drive and restoring from that worked.

This is the simpler migration. I’m planning to post the opposite direction separately.

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Mar 21

Making file systems with a billion files

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this is part 2 – part 1 has an intro and links to the others

I forget where I picked up “forest” as “many files or hardlinks, largely identical”. I hope it’s more useful than confusing. Anyway. Let’s make a thousand thousand thousand files!

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Mar 20

File systems with a billion files, intro / TOC

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This is a story about benchmarking and optimization.

Lars Wirzenius blogged about making a file system with a billion empty files. Working on that scale can make ordinarily quick things very slow – like taking minutes to list folder contents, or delete files. Initially, I was curious about how well general-purpose compression like gzip would fare with the edge case of gigabytes of zeroes, and then I fell down a rabbit hole. I found a couple of major speedups, tried a couple of other formats, and tried some other methods for making so many files.

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Sep 10

Domain expiration monitoring

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I want to keep an eye on domains and their expiration dates without signaling that, avoiding middlemen who would like a signal of interest, to front run the purchase, and auction it off.

This is, to me, surprisingly hard to do.

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May 3

Updating an Apple Watch that couldn’t see the Internet

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Trying to pair an Apple Watch to a phone, an update was required; upon requesting it, the Apple Watch (through the iPhone) would cancel, reporting:

Unable to check for update, not connected to the Internet

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May 3

Posting notes

Category: Uncategorized

I’ve long braindumped notes into a specific app, which has issues with, say, command line details and links; smart quotes can lead to really unpleasant surprises and breakage, for example. I’ve been spreading notes across other apps and locations, and it’s tripping me up when I reach for notes.

So, I might post some of my notes to my blog. They might be helpful to other people. Just having them tagged here might make them easier for me to find.

(to do: switch themes to one that displays tags)

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Jan 2

Hourly Dong, from Glass Onion

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In the movie “Glass Onion”, there’s a recurring background chime: every hour, a resounding “dong!” with some chimes. Turning this into a ringtone sounded like fun.


Here’s the playable mp3 (I didn’t make the mp3, see below for the source):

And here’s the m4r version, usable as a ringtone on iPhones. It’s an aac / mp4 (audio-only) file.

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Feb 4

Afterlife Wingdings

Category: Uncategorized

Edit, 2019-02-05: WhatTheFont was able to recognize the decoder ring! It’s Deniart Alchemy B – see also MyFonts and Linotype. Alchemy C looks like the fuzzy text on Shawn’s computer screen; some decoding matches some Latin lorem ipsum text, though that’s not done yet.

I’m a fan of the TV show, “The Good Place.” The makers of it are fond of easter eggs, and some weird fonts made an appearance. Some folks on Reddit decoded them; I thought I’d make a font out of it. I made a quick lofi draft with iFontMaker on an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil.

I present: Afterlife Wingdings v 0.1, as a Truetype font (15k).

Currently missing: Q, Z, q.


Edit, 2019-02-09: From a behind-the-scenes video, there’s the door to Heaven (about 1:31 in), in Alchemy A:


Before that, a sign (around 1:16 in):

Adam is the land of the
small and the mighty
ill powerful bageljohn-
nys should be on the
look out for wonder?
ful cruises

Zacks Is a land of slugs
and waterfalls slugs
love waterfalls so
that should be a sur-
prIse I mean really

IHOP be careful what
you touch In thIs mIs-
tIcal realm of danger
and IntrIgue ???
dont eat an???
fInd on the ???

s03e01, “Everything is Bonzer!”

Shawn’s computer earlier in the season used Alchemy C, blurred (see the podcast, around 1:14 in):

aspernitur aut odit out fugit, sed q…

equuntur magni dolores eos qoi r…

voluptatem sequi nesciunt.

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dol …

ipsum quia dolor sit amet,. e porro

consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non

re et dolore magnam aliquam qu

“Neque porro quisquam” led me to a page about lorem ipsum’s origin, and I think the translation kinda defends me spending time on translating this.

s04e04, “Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy”

The tub of Glenn did have “1 GLENN” in Afterlife Wingdings.

s04e12, “Patty”

Around 7 minutes in, the contract that Michael signs:

… ed and eIght shall In any Manner affect the
… the fIrst ArtIcle[;?] and that no
…prI … of Its equal Suffrage In the Senate

[Michael’s signature]
New Leader of the Good Place

The first part was identified on Reddit, as being part of the Constitution.

I’d thought there was a glimpse, when Eleanor was looking over the green folders, but on rewatch from Hulu, I don’t see it.


  • DenaPhoenix on Reddit decoded the Wanted poster on the bulletin board (s03e09, Janet(s)).
  • kodiakuma on Reddit decoded the other notes on the bulletin board.
  • Lixa123 on Reddit decoded the first page of the subject transcript (s03e12, Pandemonium).
  • carrythenine on Reddit decoded the second page of the subject transcript, and noted there could be another language to work on.
  • TV/AV Club mentioned “afterlife Wingdings,” and I thought, “ooh, that’s a good font name.”
  • A Day in the Life on Set – The Good Place is behind-the-scenes video with closeups of the door to Heaven, and an IHOP sign.
  • The Good Place Podcast – Season 3 Premiere with Jameela Jamil & Jen Statsky
  • The Metafilter discussion of season 3 finale, Pandemonium, pointed to the previous work from Reddit.
  • TuvalPollack on Reddit covered some new territory, with images:
    • s02e09, “Best Self,” hot air balloon instructions – lorem ipsum, and some other text, not covered
    • s03e01, “Everything is Bonzer,” a closeup of Michael’s papers: “Lorem upsu” and (not mentioned) “1584354e”
    • s03e09, “Janets (part 2)”, various places
    • s03e10, “The Book of Dougs,” (not decoded) “MUYDHS”
    • “The Selection” webisodes – the menu says “JJ’s Coffe Shop MENU”, a Parks and Rec reference
    • s04e05, “Employee of the Bearimy,” the are signs for the prisoners
    • s04e08, “The Funeral to End All Funerals,” the files for the people still on Earth and a little more
    • (huh, extra bullet)

I’d love to know if you do anything fun with this!

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Aug 17

Server on fire

Category: Uncategorized

Note: I’m in the midst of a web developer bootcamp. I feel like writing this up to help others, but I’m going to show the sausage getting made, because (1) I’m not sure I’d cover everything, and having all the details might help others in this position, and (2) I don’t have the time to make it more concise.

As background: I run a few websites, some for myself, and some for other people. When the sites for other people break, I pay more attention. And when I check the traffic to see what’s being requested, and the most frequent is a page for suicide and depression prevention resources, right after Robin Williams’ taking his own life, when the resources could be timely and helpful, well, that really lit a fire under me. Some sysadmin geekery ensued…

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