January 7, 2015

Top Ten Albums of 2014

Posted at 16:24 in Music . | | 0 Comments

A quiet year musically, for me. Didn't find anything that felt like an all-time classic, but some very solid releases. Without further ado -- the list.

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January 7, 2014

Top Ten Albums Of 2013

Posted at 12:54 in Music . | | 0 Comments

I blinked and it's 2014. Time to recap my favorite music of the past year.

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November 20, 2013

Qt 4.8.5 timers and high CPU usage on Linux

Posted at 15:52 in Computers . | | 0 Comments

I am using the QBasicTimer class in my application for a number of QObject timers. It's supposed to be the most efficient timer class Qt offers in terms of overhead (as per the documentation), but I noticed fairly high CPU usage (3%) on a 30ms timer even when the timer function was doing nothing. This seemed odd on a RHEL 6.4 server with multiple, very fast cores.

After some research, I discovered this is a known problem due to a timer granularity mismatch between glib (used for the event loop on Linux) and the Qt timer API. For some reason, the current code decides to use some busy-wait-type method to try and precisely handle the granularity matching, resulting in a short CPU spike right before the timer expires.

The bug was identified years ago. There's a simple one line fix -- the patch can be found here. The fix improved my performance measurably -- the CPU usage went down to 0.3%, a 10x improvement!

Apparently the patch has finally been incorporated into one of the Qt 5.x releases, but I hope it makes it into a future Qt 4.x patch soon!

September 27, 2013

Building Qt 4.8.5 libraries from source without WebKit for static linking

Posted at 16:02 in Computers . | | 0 Comments

Building Qt 4.8.5 libraries from source for static linking on Linux is not as simple as passing the "-static" option to the configure step.

Qt does not seem to support building the WebKit module statically. It tries to automatically disable building of WebKit for you during the configure step when building statically, but still proceeds to try to build it in the make step. Adding the "-no-webkit" flag does not help either.

The only option is to go down to the src/3rdparty directory and remove or rename the webkit subdirectory.

February 6, 2013

Baltimore Ravens, Champions Again!

Posted at 15:32 in Sports . | | 0 Comments

The Ravens made history with an unbelievable run to win the Super Bowl. It sure does feel good, even now that the parade is over and the dust has settled a bit. They've made the playoffs the last few years, but often as a lower seed, forced to play on the road, away from the best home field advantage in the NFL. Last year was particularly painful, as they made it to the AFC Championship game and played extremely well, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion at the very end, with victory (or at least overtime) within their grasp.

This year, all wrongs were righted in the playoffs. The Colts, Baltimore's despised former team, were dispatched in a home win without yielding a single touchdown. Then came a visit to the top seeded Broncos, led by playoff nemesis, future hall-of-fame QB Peyton Manning. The Ravens were 9.5-point underdogs. It was a double overtime game played in bone-chilling conditions at mile high altitude. Classic football, one for the ages. It took a 70 yard bomb, the Mile High Miracle, with 31 seconds left to get the Ravens to overtime, but that was only because Ravens special teams mistakes allowed 2 return touchdowns. Manning threw an interception in overtime, the Ravens moved into position, and Justin Tucker nailed the 47-yard field goal to pull off the huge upset. Next up were the Patriots, who the Ravens had faltered against last year. The oddsmakers had the Ravens as 9.5-point underdogs again, in spite of the fact that the Ravens have always played the Patriots very tough, even in their stadium. This time the Ravens would not be denied. Their hard-hitting, physical defense shut down the high-flying, finesse offense led by Tom Brady. In the Super Bowl, the 49ers were only 4-point favorites, but certainly seemed like the most balanced and dangerous team the Ravens had yet played (at least to me). They came out flat, though, and the Ravens took advantage, building a 28-6 lead early in the 3rd quarter. But just when thoughts of a blowout were swirling in my head, the lights went out in the stadium. When played resumed more than a half-hour later, the 49ers took control and put the Ravens back on their heels. The defense was looking tired, and the 49ers seemed to be moving the ball at will. In the game's penultimate sequence, the 49ers had 4 downs to get 5 yards for a touchdown and their first lead of the game. They had been running the ball with great success, but after an initial run on first down (which got them a couple yards), they inexplicably threw 3 consecutive passes on fade routes, failed to convert, and turned the ball over on downs. Baltimore ran down the clock and held on for the win. They had bent, but not broken, and they were champions!

Joe Flacco had one of the greatest postseason runs for a QB in history. Not only did he outduel Manning and Brady, he tied the mark for most postseason touchdowns (11) without an interception originally set by another Joe (Montana). He's a free agent, but I'm sure he'll be back with the Ravens next year. Hopefully he structures his new mega-deal such that other key veterans and free agents can be brought back as well. Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens GM, has always done a sterling job, and we fans are confident he will keep the Ravens in contention for years to come. The Ravens have become one of the great franchises in the NFL. I'm proud to be a fan.