Degraded performance in Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (N. Virginia) or EC2 is down. This brought down Heroku and Reddit together with many others. It kinda serves as a reminder how reliant companies are on Amazon if anything.

What’s worse is that Amazon EC2 console is down too. Amazon says, “We are experiencing elevated error rates with the EC2 Management Console.”

The North Virginia facility seemed more unreliable than other availability sites. I used to run 2 EC2 instances in Singapore (Asia Pacific) for work and they’re much more reliable than this. There was a case where they had to do some hardware migration but that’s mostly minor.

Microsoft proposes S&M

Just learnt about Microsoft’s S&M proposal. Horrible naming — almost like dark humour for journalists.

S&M vs. SPDY: Microsoft and Google battle over the future of HTTP 2.0

Lumbered with the truly awful name of HTTP Speed+Mobility, or HTTP S&M for short, Microsoft’s vision of HTTP 2.0 is mostly very similar to SPDY (and it admits as much on the Microsoft Interoperability blog), but with additional features that cater towards apps and mobile devices. “The HTTP Speed+Mobility proposal starts from both the Google SPDY protocol and the work the industry has done around WebSockets,” says Jean Paoli from the Microsoft Interoperability team. WebSockets in this case refers to a feature in HTML5 that allows websites (or indeed web apps) to open up bidirectional, real-time channels with remote servers over TCP, which is something that neither HTTP nor SPDY is capable of.

In short, the entire purpose of SPDY is to speed up the web — which isn’t a bad thing, and nor is it surprising, considering Google’s fanatical penchant for speed, but Microsoft is basically saying that speed isn’t everything. With HTTP Speed+Mobility, Microsoft is saying that we should also take into account factors such as battery life and bandwidth cost, both of which will play a big part in Windows 8 in specific and mobile computing in general.

Source: Extremetech

Not exactly new news but still worth watching.

How to play Rachmaninov’s impossible Prelude in C# minor

Igudesman & Joo performs Rachmaninov’s impossible Prelude in C# minor, Op. 3, No. 2, performed as it is written.

As Rachmaninov’s hands are probably gigantic, he can play his music. Little guys like Joo have no big hands to show off. “Small hands,” Joo admits and then emphasizes, “but only hands small.”

Rachmaninov had big Hands

Good sense of humor. That lighten my day.

My blog went down

It was a little sluggish yesterday and I had to do a hard reboot ’cause a soft reboot just hung there. I am running on very limited resources. I have only 256 MB of RAM and every little bit counts. I am on Slicehost by the way.

Previously there wasn’t any problems. It was until recently my friend Daryl have his new blog in my VPS and my new little personal project that’s a little database intensive.

I logged into the web console only to find error messages with MySQL processes. They’re out of memory. I hard rebooted it and tweaked MySQL settings to reduce table caching. Honestly I have no idea what I was doing. People said it worked and I just followed.

That sort of fixed the MySQL problems, but this evening my site become inaccessible again. This time, it was Apache. After reducing the number of Apache servers running, things seem to be doing better.

Here’s my Apache settings, it’s reduced to work on 256 MB RAM:

StartServers 2
MinSpareServers 2
MaxSpareServers 3
MaxClients 70

Then the super cache plugin in WordPress started to misbehave. It just refuse to load anything in the cache after I upgrade super cache. I spent an hour on this one. And I learnt something – when in doubt, just reboot.