Hacking around memory limitations in shared hosting.

Longtime readers are aware that I've been a customer of Dreamhost for quite a few years now, and by and large they've done all right by me.  They haven't complained (much) about all the stuff I have running there, and I try to keep my hosted databases in good condition.  However, the server they have my stuff on is starting to act wonky.  Periodic outages mostly, but when my Wallabag installation started throwing all sorts of errors and generally not working right, that got under my skin in a fairly big hurry.  I reinstalled.  I upgraded to the latest stable …

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Autostarting Kodi on an Arch Linux media box.

Not too long ago, when the USB key I'd built a set-top media machine died from overuse I decided to rebuild it using Arch Linux with Kodi as the media player.  The trick, I keep finding every time, lies in getting Kodi to start up whenever the machine starts up.  I think I've re-figured that out six or seven times by now, and each time after it works I forget all about it.  So, I guess I'd better write it down for once so that I've got a snapshot of what I did in case I need to do it …

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A thought on memorization and memory techniques.

In many memorization techniques it is often taught that you should make use of overly vivid, even absurd imagery to make sure that bits of information stick in whatever organizational technique you might use, be it a ladder of pegs or something as elaborate as the method of loci. Sometimes you have to work to make something stick, and sometimes the absurd makes itself known spontaneously.

Have you ever pondered why there are so many things that you simply can't unsee on the Internet?

Stop and think about all the things that you wish you'd never seen over the years …

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Printing memory circuits on paper and the first memristor based computer?

Computer memory chips are manufactured identically to any other kind of integrated circuit. Wafers of ultra-pure silicon are selectively doped, masked with layer after layer of circuit diagrams, etched.. you get the picture. The extreme sensitivity of the process is one of the reasons behind the cost of microprocessors and memory these days. What if, however, there was a less touchy and expensive process? A research team lead by Der-Hsien Lien, a graduate student at the National University of Taiwan in Taipei figured out how to print memory circuitry on paper with an inkjet printer. The team fabricated a form …

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Setting up encrypted swap.

As computers go these days, it is not unusual for the amount of free RAM to reach a critical level at which no other processes will fit into what little unused memory is left. Modern operating systems will then start swapping pages of memory to disk to make room; the data can be read back in later if necessary. This is a procedure called swapping, and it can take several forms. Windows maintains a large hidden file somewhere on the drive (usually in the root directory of C:) which it uses for this purpose. Linux, UNIX, and UNIX-alikes most often …

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Cutting the power doesn't necessarily mean that memory is cleared.

It has long been a piece of grassroots wisdom that when the power to your computer goes dead, you're up a certain creek without a means of propulsion: Whatever you were doing at the time had gone to the great bit bucket in the sky, and unless you'd just saved your work you could kiss your next couple of hours goodbye while reconstructing everything. However, from a technical standpoint this isn't actually true. Modern-day DRAM can actually hold usable data for a finite but non-zero period of time after the main power's been cut off. This has actually been known …

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BitTorrent users beware - your favorite tracker might start tracking YOU.

Earlier this week, Torrentspy, one of the largest BitTorrent tracker search engines on the Net made a startling announcement: They were ordered by the district court of California to start logging access information from users to make it easier to hunt them down. The judge presiding over the case, however, decided to grant the people who run Torrentspy some time before enforcing this order to give them an opportunity to file an appeal, which had to be in by 12 June 2007. As it turns out, they're being sued by the MPAA because they're making it easier for people to …

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New superdense memory cells at UCLA.

And the hits just keep on coming.. researchers at UCLA have developed a memory circuit that can store 20KB of data in a physical space the size of a white blood cell. Compared to current random-access memory circuits of 2007, this new circuit has a data density of 100 gigabits per square centimeter, which is a new world record, if nothing else. That single memory cell can store the complete text of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America and still have some room left over. Unfortunately, this is just a lab toy, and isn't anywhere near …

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