Four short links: 28 October 2009

Great Mail Feature, Speed Talks, Virtualisation History, Science Literacy

  1. GMail Labs: Got The Wrong Bob?When’s the last time you got an email from a stranger asking, “Are you sure you meant to send this to me?” and promptly realized that you didn’t? Looks at the clusters of CCs you send and, if you normally send to Bob X but are trying to send it to Bob Y, asks you “did you mean Bob X?”. This might be the best thing to happen to email since webmail and full-text search–it’s ridiculous how little innovation is happening in email given how widely and heavily it is used.
  2. Speedgeeks LA at Shopzilla — eight talks about making websites faster. Latency Improvements for PicasaWeb – Gavin Doughtie (Google) – Great tips from a web guru about what makes PicasaWeb fast. Watch for when the slides to more talks become available.
  3. 10 Years of Virtual Machine Performance Semi-Demystified — fascinating history of virtualisation from someone who worked for VMware. Since 2005, VMware and Xen have gradually reduced the performance overheads of virtualization, aided by the Moore’s law doubling in transistor count, which inexorably shrinks overheads over time. AMD’s Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI – 2007) and Intel’s Extended Page Tables (EPT – 2009) substantially improved performance for a class of recalcitrant workloads by offloading the mapping of machine-level pages to Guest OS “physical” memory pages, from software to silicon. In the case of operations that stress the MMU—like an Apache compile with lots of short lived processes and intensive memory access—performance doubled with RVI/EPT. (Xen showed similar challenges prior to RVI/EPT on compilation benchmarks.)
  4. Pew Research Science QuizTo test your knowledge of scientific concepts and recent scientific findings and events, we invite you to take this 12-question science knowledge quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with the 1,005 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions.
tags: , , , , ,