Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

9L30 != 9L31a

Somehow I got out of sync with everyone else in the local distcc cluster at work. How? Weirdly, the XCode settings showed that while there were plenty of peers around to build with, they were all slightly off (har) in their OS version number, and therefore returned the dreaded "Incompatible Service".

Some googling revealed that Apple shipped two 10.5.8's!. A regular software-update won't trigger the required update, either. Luckily, re-applying the stand-alone updater got me up to 9l31a, and I can once again abuse my co-worker's CPUs instead of my own. Phew!

Dojo Developer Day, TOMORROW

I've been so busy with with work and such that I totally forgot to mention that tomorrow, Sept 10th there will be a Dojo Developer Day in Mountain View, generously hosted by AOL.

Come for the whole day, drop by for a bit, or just join us for dinner/drinks afterward. In the ramp up to 1.4, there's some great engineering happening in nearly every area of the toolkit, including some great new visual improvements that I expect to see and hear a lot about tomorrow.

As usual, folks will be on IRC throughout the day should you not be able to join us in person, and in a first, we'll have a live feed of the event going.

Hope you can join us!

A Contract With America

Dear Republican Senators (and Max Baucus):

Since you do not believe that health insurance should always be available via large-group policy to the vast majority of Americans, and since you seem to believe that the individual insurance market functions well, I believe it is only proper for you to buy insurance in the individual market.

As a taxpayer, I'm sure you're as galled as I am that we're continuing to insure America's Senators through a nearly socialist system, and while you haven't yet discovered the presence of mind to submit legislation to end this objectionable practice and free all of America's Senators from the yoke of tyranny, you can personally act to see this deeply un-'merican policy corrected. In short, I urge you to find the courage of your convictions and put your health where our money is.

I recognize that legislating in good faith is no longer "on the table" for you. It has to be hard being the party of "no", never having anything constructive to offer -- never being asked to think independently about anything -- but this is something that you can do for your country. A contract with America, if you will. Or if not with America, a contract with an individual insurer in the greater District of Columbia and/or your home state...anyway, you get the idea. It'd be a contract for America at the very least.

On this Labor Day, I urge you to do the right thing. Join your constituents and say, with one voice, "what do you mean you won't cover Timmy's ear infection? He was just born! How can that be pre-existing!?!" This is "rugged individualism" at its finest. Just you against the private-sector Man. The way it should be.

True, this won't be a 1:1 comparison since you're in the top 3% of all earners. But don't worry, you'll soon find that you can't afford the coverage you're currently enjoying when you buy in the individual market. Your new, terrible, and terribly expensive insurance will doubtless give you the flavor of what the rest of us experience.

Ingeniously, this plan doesn't even require that you do anything constructive toward health care reform. You can keep stiffing both your country and your constituents and you won't have to hold any of those awkward "town hall" meetings to explain yourself. After all, this is the fiscally conservative thing to do; you'll be saving taxpayers money, and who can argue with that?

Pretty soon, you might even be able to find the courage to do what your instincts -- and terrible economics -- tell you to do: advocate that our retirees buy in the individual market too! Once you discover how great the individual market is, you shouldn't have any qualms in making the case that everyone should join it. Just think how many people you'll be able to lift out of the oppressive regime of socialized insurance. The elderly will surely make their thanks known at the ballot box. As someone who's most likely "getting up there" yourself, you'll have added credibility on the issue...and seriously, when was the last time you had credibility? This is political gold.

You can even continue to play the part of hostage to broken, antiquated economics if it suits you (and your major campaign contributors, 'natch).

It's the very least you can do for your country, and for your (tiny) efforts you'll be set on a personal journey of discovery. You've never seen the pain and burning anger caused by "pre-existing condition" denials for things that are laughably routine. You've never wondered in awe at how large a deductible you were suckered into, and you've probably never had a plan with a lifetime cap on benefits; so when you really need them, they won't be there. In fact, I suspect that you have never considered that the majority of us don't even have actual health insurance.

By buying in the individual market, you can set an example. This is your chance to be a real pioneer! This could even be your first step towards representing a growing constituency -- something you Republicans have been searching for: those who have gone bankrupt under a mountain of medical bills because they had the temerity to get sick before they turned 65. Those folks might not have wealth, they might not even have their health, but they sure-as-hell are voters. Just think, you can get in on the ground floor of that action!

Yes, dear Senator, by simply finding your moral compass (you've got it back there somewhere, even if you haven't used it in a while) and following it for just one step, you can help us right this great nation again and return it to glory. I urge you to do this thing for your country, follow your ideology, and deny yourself the kind of care that you've worked so hard to deny the rest of us. It's the Right thing to do, after all.


Alex Russell

American? Voting age?

Then please do yourself and your family a favor and read this piece by T.R. Reid on how health care in the rest of the world actually works (hint: better, cheaper, faster).

It distresses me that our health-care debate has been launched from false premises and has deteriorated from there. We cannot ignore the ongoing harm being done, cannot deny that others are doing it better (across the board), and must not succumb to the false equivalencies and misdirections being vacuously peddled. Now is the time to arm yourself against the tragedy of ideology with real, observable facts.

Note To Self: Faster Chromium Builds (Updated)

I spend my days in C++ on 32-bit Windows XP in Visual Studio 2005. The build and link times for Chromium are painful on this setup, in part because there has been flakiness with the multi-process build option for VS, in part because the incremental linker which can dramatically speed up builds can run out of memory on some boxes (so is disabled by default), and because Visual Studio steadfastly refuses to give developers any options about how, when, where, and why to rebuild the IntelliSense database. The last one is probably the most intractable. On 64-bit windows, incremental linking is turned on based on the assumption that you'll have lots of RAM on that shiny 64-bit box. Similarly, Chromium builds using multi-process flags under VS'08 since it's known to be less flaky there. It seems I run with the "please hurt me more" configuration.

"Distributed builds!", I hear you scream.

That's not a bad path. For Mac builds, the office's ad-hoc distcc cluster is a godsend (particularly given that my Mac is a lowly laptop). For Visual Studio, there's IncrediBuild, but it has left me wanting a better option. Recently I've just thrown caution to the wind and started over-riding the safety valves on /MP and incremental linking via my ~/.gyp/include.gypi file:

  'variables': {
    'msvs_multi_core_compile': 1,
    'msvs_large_module_debug_link_mode': '2'

You can get these settings to take effect without updating your repo by running gclient runhooks --force from the top level directory if your Chromium checkout. VS should then prompt you to reload the project (assuming you're using the GUI).

Hopefully this recipe will help others. It has dropped small rebuilds on my system from north of 10 minutes to below 2.

Update: So the real answer, apparently, is to get dual quad-core i7's running Vista 64 under VS 2008. Holy cow, what a world of difference. All hail the Powers That Be for new, awesome hardware!

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