End of Days

I was driving with the kids to the local garden centre, listening to a news item on the radio about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. It struck me that, as a Stephen King fan from a while back, driving the kids to the local garden centre and hearing about a disease outbreak far away is not a good sign for you or the people around you.

Monsters vs Aliens

We all went to see Monsters vs Aliens today because, well, it’s called Monsters vs Aliens. What’s not to like? Well it turns out the film is what’s not to like. Great voice work, sadly drowned out by the constant dull thud of dead punchlines, plus animation that at times barely looked one dimensional, let alone the 2 we’d paid for or the three that is available in some places (though at other spots it was truly great), meant that I spent way too much time wondering when I could have my next candy.

The kids loved it though, so I recommend sending the smallest number of parents you can get away with.


An interesting bit of trivia, I think: If you play with the graph here you can show that since Obama came to power the S&P 500 (which I chose because it’s a better indicator than the Dow of the overall market, though still far from perfect) has fallen around 10%. That’s pretty shocking. Not as bad as the previous incumbent, though, who experienced a drop of over 12% in the same timeframe. This doesn’t indicate anything, of course, it’s just a curiosity.

On Chimps

Here’s an interesting article on the perception of African American as apes even today:

The researchers consistently discovered a black-ape association even if the young adults said they knew nothing about its historical connotations. The connection was made only with African American faces; the paper’s third study failed to find an ape association with other non-white groups, such as Asians.

In case you’re wondering about those historical connections, this (perhaps biased) source has a couple of pointers.

Performance Testing – A Simple Plan

I was asked to outlline what I’d expect someone to decide before they started a performance test exercise. A quick look at StickyMinds shows this document, which looks very good. It is, however, 8 pages long, which is about 7.5 pages longer than I need if my target audience is going to bother with it. Here, then, is my simplified version. Slightly cryptic, perhaps, but workable (at least for a web server, which is what we’re dealing with).

*Performance Test – see what it will do
*Stress Test – see the most it will do
*Load Test – see what happens when it does more than that
*Sizing – Guide to customers on hardware requirements

Test platform?
*Number of machines
*Machine specs
*Network spec

Test Application?
*Low complexity to concentrate on platform
*High complexity to simulate real-life loads
*Think times emphasize load or real-life use.

Finally, how will results be measured?
*Throughput (or equivalents)
*Constraints (e.g. is app under test memory bound, CPU bound, network bound)
*Recommended hardware – e.g. X users per Y GB of memory and Z GHz of processor.