Archive for January, 2008

The Room (imdb) is a movie in the “so bad it’s good” category. Not having seen it yet, just reading the reviews in imdb and seeing the clips on Mahalo Daily got me giddy with excitement. I love how the interviewer managed to keep a straight face throughout the interview, except at the very end.

Comment excerpts:

So Independent it’s Cinematic Masturbation!

The centerpiece of this filmic holocaust is Mr. Tommy Wiseau himself. Without him, it would still be the worst movie ever made, but with him it is the greatest worst movie ever made. Tommy has been described as a Cajun, a Croatian cyborg, possibly from Belgium, clearly a product of Denmark, or maybe even not from this world or dimension. All of these things are true at any one moment. He is a tantalizing mystery stuffed inside an enigma wrapped in bacon and smothered in cheese.
Brickyard Jimmy

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bookmooch illustration
[Illustration credit Andrice Arp, courtesy of BookMooch.com]

Regarding my previous post about Twitter’s database architecture and scaling, here’s a post about bookmooch.com’s scaling troubles (bookmooch is a book swapping site).

Bookmooch had a search engine for books, using a single table that indexed each word in a book’s title/author/etc. This system was very efficient for searching (one query per word). The problem was that adding new books to the index was very costly (the more popular the word was, the longer it took to update). It was up to the point where the disk writes took as much as 20 seconds out of their alloted minute.

In short, the solution was to have two tables for the index instead of one. One table was optimized for queries (faster searches), while the other for updates (adding new books quickly). These tables would be synchronized periodically.

IMHO, the guy in charge did nothing wrong with the initial design of the search engine. There are certain characteristics of a system that are hard to predict and even then, one needs a lot of experience to correctly optimize things in advance (like the problem in the second paragraph). As in the Twitter story, profiling saved the day, but don’t forget to monitor your logs!

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Funny names

Out of boredom:

  1. Name for a site (only Hebrew speakers will get this): vayehi.org
  2. Name for a girl: lolcat

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Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is the alleged molecule that the brain produces during REM sleep that causes us to dream. Rogan claims in the video below that sleep is a psychedelic experience and that taking DMT allows you to experience that. One side-effect is that, just like regular dreams, you quickly forget the experience once it’s over.

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