Hey Everybody look! It’s Midtown Plaza!
As sociologists and urban planners debate the relevance of these classic American brick-and-mortar shopping spaces in the era of e-commerce and Amazon Prime Day, a group of architecture enthusiasts will gather this weekend to celebrate the birthday of Victor Gruen, the man known as “father of the modern shopping mall,” and the first annual Gruen Day.
In the invitation to the event, on July 18 at the Bay Area Fair Center mall in a suburb of San Francisco, California, organizers Tim Hwang and Avery Trufelman of the Bay Area Infrastructure Observatory challenged the notion that malls were a bad idea from the beginning. “While it’s easy nowadays to dismiss enclosed shopping centers as boring eyesores, Gruen Day celebrates the important role they were originally intended to play in civic life,” they…
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I’m going to watch this when I get home today.
So, what are you doing for the next five and a half hours? If you’re as busy as we are, you might have to digest this amazing 18 part series of videos over the course of a week or so, but we can almost guarantee you’ll learn a lot. It’s a speedrun through the best collection of Mechanical Engineering knowledge we’ve every come across.
In this epic Youtube video series [Dan Gelbart] shares his knowledge of 40 years of prototyping mechanical designs in a way we’ve never seen before. Not only does he show you how to build things, but he gives away a life time of “tips and tricks” that only a veteran builder would know. There are so many little gems of wisdom in this video series, it’s hard to know where to start with our description. He covers all the usual topics: everything from materials, adhesives, coatings…
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Another day and another friend of my wife meet up. This time we went to West side of Tokyo to a little community center. My wife’s friend instructs a class in Fulongon. And I got drafted to participate so I did my best, gambatte.
I was surprised to discover I could cross my legs over top one another and hold the lotus position for roughly 10 minutes before I lost circulation in my legs!
After the morning Fulongon session we hopped another train even further West. My wife has relatives out that way, and we met at thier house for lunch. We got to see thier daughter who had a very young baby during our last trip. Today we saw herband she’s walking and talking and feeding her self. After lunch we went to an open air museum, called the Edo Tokyo Museum. It’s an architecture collection of houses disassembled and rebuilt onsite. Each one is significant for the era it depicts. So there are farm houses, businessmen’s houses. Near the end they had an interesting collection of commercial store fronts from the early 20th century including a really cool urban style bath house (which btw are slowly going away each passing year). I have some photos of museum at the end of this entry for you to peruse.
From android to wordpress
We met with Mariko’s college friend to attend an exhibit of old art. It’s the oldest known example of fanciful artwork of anthropomorphic animals. What’s really odd is it was in the collection of an old Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
It’s notable for art historians and pop culture types who follow manga (the written cartoons) and the anime (the animated cartoons). Some speculate and say these artworks are the historic precedent to Japan’s current day manga. I don’t know if that’s true but let me tell you, this exhibit was very crowded as it is closing down tomorrow (Sunday June 7th). I’ve been in long lines while in Japan. Both Tokyo Disney Sea and the Skytree had long lines. But we spent the whole part of 1 day waiting to see the vital first volume of the Choju-Giga. And it was worth it. It was very well drawn and funny. A lot of frogs and rabbits wrestling or presenting gifts to an Emperor figure drawn as a monkey. So here now is also the visual component of today’s outing as that’s what most people want anyways is to see where you’ve been rather than READ about where you’ve been.
I’m traveling in Japan and wanted to take advantage of my WordPress site and document my travel. Here now an essay on how I love NHK Morning shows. They do more international stories than their US counterparts. There was a short segment on India (I think as I’m not Japanese proficient). But I feel I can sometimes figure out the gist of these stories. When I don’t know exactly the story I fill in the details in my head. (screenshot below, note we were up early today)
Netlist and the Present
Netlist are the owners of the patent on key parts of Sandisk’s UtraDIMM technology (licensed from Diablo Technologies originally, I believe). While Netlist has lawsuits going back and forth regarding its intellectual property, it continued to develop products. Here now is the EXPRESSvaultTM EV3 announcement. It’s a PCI RAM disk of sorts that backs up the RAM with a ultracapacitor/battery combo. If power is lost an automated process backs up the RAM to onboard flash memory for safe keeping until power is restored. This design is intended to get around the disadvantages of using Flash memory as a disk and the wear and tear that occurs to flash when it is written to frequently. Less expensive flash memory suffers more degradation the more you write to it, eventually memory cells will fail altogether. By using the backing flash memory as failsafe, you will write to that flash only in the event of an emergency, thereby keeping the flash out of the grindstone of high levels of I/O. Note this is a very specific niche application of this technology but is very much the market for which Netlist has produced products in the past. This is their target market.
The Future is lower latencies-Enter UltraDIMM
Turn now to a recent announcement by Lenovo and it’s X6 server line announcing further adoption of the UltraDIMM technology. Lenovo at least is carrying on trying to sell this technology of Flash based memory interspersed with DRAMs. The idea of having “tiers” of storage with SSDs, UltraDIMMs and DRAM all acting in concert is the high speed future for the data center architect. Lucky for the people purchasing these things Netlist and Diablo’s legal wrangling began to sort itself out this Spring 2015: http://www.storagereview.com/diablo_technologies_gains_ground_against_netlist_in_ulltradimm_lawsuit
With a final decision being made fairly recently: http://www.diablo-technologies.com/federal-court-completely-dissolves-injunction/
Now Diablo and Sandisk and UltraDIMM can compete in the marketplace once more. And provide a competitive advantage to the people willing to spend the money for the UltraDIMM product. By itself UltraDIMM does make for some very interesting future uses. More broadly the adoption of an UltraDIMM like technology in laptops, desktops, tablets could see speed improvements across the board. Whether that happens or not is based more on the economics of BIOS and motherboard manufacturers than the merit of the design engineering of UltraDIMMs. More specifically Lenovo and IBM before that had to do a lot of work on the X6 servers to support the new memory technology. Which points to another article from the person I trust to collect all the news and information on storage worldwide, The Register’s Chris Mellor. I’ve followed his writing since about 2005 and really enjoyed his take on the burgeoning SSD market as new products were announced with faster I/O every month in the heady days of 2007 and beyond. Things have slowed down a bit now and PCIe SSDs are still the reference standard by which I/O benchmarks are measured. Fusion-io is now owned by Sandisk and everyone’s still enjoying the speed increases they get when buying these high end PCIe products. But it’s important to note for further increases to occur, just like with Sandisk’s use of UltraDIMM you have to keep pushing the boundaries. And that’s where Chris’s most recent article comes in.
Memory Meshes, Present and Future
Chris discusses the how Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface (NVMHCI) came about as a result of legacy carry-over from spinning hard drives in the AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) standard developed by Intel. AHCI and SATA (Serial ATA, the follow-on to ATA) both assumed spinning magnetic hard drives (and the speeds at which they push I/O) would be the technology used by a CPU to interact with it’s largest data store, the hard drive. Once that data store became flash memory, a new standard to drive faster access I/O and lower latencies needed to be invented. Enter the NVMe (Non-volatile Memory Express) interface, now being marketed and sold by some manufacturers. A native data channel from the PCI bus to your SSD however it may be designed, is the next big thing in hardware for SSDs. With the promise of better speeds it is worth migrating, once the manufacturers get onboard. But Chris’s article goes further to really look out beyond the immediate concerns of migrating from SATA to NVMe as even Flash memory may eventually be usurped by a different as yet unheard of technology. Given that’s the case, NVMe abstracts enough of the “media” of the non-volatile memory that it should allow future adoption of a number of possible technologies that could usurp the crown of NAND memory chips. And that potentially is a greater benefit than simply just squeezing out a few more Megabytes per second read and write speed. Even more tantalizing in Chris’s view is the mixing of DRAM and Flash memories in a “mesh” lets say of higher and lower speed memories like Fusion-io’s software uses to make the sharp distinction between DRAM and Flash less visible. In a sense, the speed would just come with the purchase of the technology, how it actually works would be the proverbial magic to the sysadmins and residents of Userland.
The ever-increasing density of virtual infrastructures, and the need to scale databases larger than ever, is creating an ongoing need for faster storage. And while flash has become the “go to” performance option, there are environments that still need more. Nonvolatile DRAM is the heir apparent, but it often requires customized motherboards to implement, for which widespread availability could be years away. Netlist, pioneer of NVRAM, has introduced a product that is viable for most data centers right now: the EXPRESSvaultTM EV3.
The Flash Problem
While flash has solved many performance problems, it also creates a few. First there is a legitimate concern over flash wear, especially if the environment is write-heavy. There is also a concern about performance. While flash is fast compared to hard disk drives it’s slow when compared to RAM, especially, again, on writes.
But flash does have two compelling advantages over DRAM. First it is…
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Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Slaps A Hot Dog & Potato Chips On A Cheeseburger, Calls It “Most American Thickburger”
In Rochester NY, they would serve it open faced and call it a “Garbage Plate”.
When it comes to stacking meat-upon-meat, pretty much nothing surprises us these days. So a hot dog on a hamburger? Pretty much inevitable (see: bacon on hamburgers). Adding potato chips? Sure, why not get it all done with at once. That’s the lineup for the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s upcoming Most American Thickburger.
Along with the meat and Lay’s chips will be ketchup, mustard, tomato, red onion, pickles and American cheese, reports the Associated Press, with the whole thing weighing in at 1,030 calories and 64 grams of fat. It goes on sale for $5.79 alone or $8.29 for a combo at both restaurants starting May 20.
“The hot dog is like a smoked meat product, so it’s not unlike bacon,” Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of CKE Restaurants, the owner of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s told the Associated Press. “We’ve had this idea, believe it or not, for a long time,”…
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