1Mbps is inadequate

So there I am, playing along in League of Legends, a tense game but we might win yet if I just position Annie right and time her stuns (an exercise in counting to 4). It’s exciting and fun. Suddenly the game lags out; characters freeze, skills don’t respond, things start sliding around and teleporting. Basically unplayable, 10 seconds later suddenly I get the packet that says “you died”.

Curse and swear. Switch to the bandwidth monitor, some random IP address is taking all my bandwidth. All 1 megabit. Go to the router status page, do the OUI identification of the Mac address, see it as an iPhone. That narrows it down to 3 iPhones. During death timers I find all three and put them in airplane mode, but by then it’s too late.

1 Megabit internet is just not adequate anymore. Seems crazy to say it, but there it is. The direct cause this time is some random iPhone deciding that right then was a good time to download a software update. At full speed, of course, because throttling is not a concept that’s well implemented in TCP/IP. In San Francisco I have a 100 Mbit link that’s either faster than the server or else the download completes so quickly I don’t notice. In Grass Valley, with the 1Mbps fixed wireless (the best I can buy), nope.

The underlying problem here is the US broadband infrastructure and the FCC’s collusion with the cable/telco duopoly ensuring no investment in the captive market. Fuck them.

 

softwareupdated (MacOS sucks)

I’ve lost track of all the confusing ways MacOS updates itself. But one of them that keeps biting me is that it insists on updating iTunes. I don’t want iTunes, I’ve set it to mode 000, I don’t want to waste my limited bandwidth downloading copies of it. Sometimes a popup appears in the upper right saying “updates available Install?” and there’s no way to see what it will install. So as a sucker I click Install, and suddenly here I am downloading iTunes.

The best part of all this is there’s no way clean to cancel the update. The App Store program will show the update progress bar, but the Cancel button does nothing. Using MacOS’ excellent Activity Monitor I can see the process doing all the downloading is softwareupdated. It ignores or catches ordinary kill signals. My only option seems to be a kill -9. Awesome.

WebGL vs Shutdown (MacOS sucks)

I went to a WebGL test page that warned it might crash your machine by drawing lots of polygons. Boy it wasn’t kidding. Locked up Chrome, locked up the Mac graphical shell. I could log in via ssh and the machine was fine, not even anything spinning CPU, but couldn’t kill the Chrome processes. kill -9 did nothing. So then I rebooted. It didn’t reboot either, the best MacOS could do was to shut down sshd so I couldn’t even log into my machine.

It’s pretty awful that some Javascript can kill all of MacOS. Chrome should know better. V8 should know better. WebGL should know better. OpenGL should know better. The Mac graphical shell should know better. The Mac kernel really should know better, because you really can’t count on anything else to. All fail.

Gaming PC parts list

A friend of mine just ordered parts for a PC, using the Logical Increments lists. Here’s what he came up with.

 

Title Price Quantity Has
Cooler Master HAF X – Full Tower Computer Case with High Airflow Windowed Side Panel and USB 3.0
$159.99 1 0
Intel Core i7-4790K Processor- BX80646I74790K
$339.99 2 1
Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 2.5″ 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT256MX100SSD1
$109.99 2 1
MSI ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97-GD65 GAMING
$175.99 2 1
Noctua NH-U14S for Intel LGA 2011,1156,1155​, 1150 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3/3​+,FM1/2 Sockets, U Type, 6 Heatpipe,140mm CPU Cooler Cooling

Offered by Amamax (USA Seller).

$69.99 2 1
Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003
$52.92 2 1
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams

Offered by LLYtech.

$7.70 1 0
EVGA GeForce GTX760 w/EVGA ACX Cooler 2GB GDDR5 256bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready Graphics Card (02G-P4-2763-K​R) Graphics Cards 02G-P4-2763-KR
$239.99 2 1
EVGA SuperNOVA 750G2 80PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V/EPS12V 750W Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR
$112.99 1 0
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory F3-1600C10D-16​GAO

Offered by DotComFriday.

$149.99 1 0

Remote file system bad display (MacOS sucks)

Finder’s access to remote filesystems will sometimes show stale data. I’m copying a 2.5GB file to an SMB share (Linux samba). While copying I look at a folder, then click the little down arrow to open the subfolder in the window. It shows no contents, it must be an empty folder! So go to delete, and then it pauses saying “deleting 5 items”. Ha  ha, joke’s on me. Cancel the delete, try again. This time wait 3–5 seconds for the file content to list, and poof there are the files now. At least I cancelled the delete in time.

I’m not complaining that the remote filesystem is slow, particularly when a big copy is happening. No. I’m complaining that Finder is showing incorrect information.

 

Some quick ad campaign stats

I ran some simple ads to promote Logs of Lag, my League of Legends netlog parser. I’m having a hard time getting attention and thought it’d help to get a bit of paid traffic. I invested, oh, $20 in all of this, trying to bottom feed some traffic. Results after a week or two of trying:

Google Adwords

0.18% CTR. 4468 impressions, 8 clicks, $2.73

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.03.14 PM

Very bad results, particularly on the search ads. Google’s minimum bid for a relevant keyword like [league of legends lag] seems to be at least $1, and apparently Google is happier showing no ads than showing cheap ads. 4339 of the impressions were via the Display Network. Near as I can tell AdWords gives me no way to see where those ads actually displayed. Bummer.

Bing Ads

0.59% CTR. 848 impressions, 5 clicks, $0.17

Straight-up clone of the Google ad campaign. But Bing Ads is quite happy to show ads for $0.10 CPC, so the good keywords I wanted got some impressions and clicks. No display ads at all; not sure if I wasn’t eligible or there was just no inventory.

Twitter Ads

Too early to tell. But my ad is a poor match for Twitter. All you can promote is a tweet, and I didn’t want to write a special ad tweet for my website. Also hard for me to imagine a Twitter user will be inspired to try my tool by a Twitter ad, particularly on a mobile device. I think Twitter Ads may be better suited for brand campaigns.

Reddit Ads

0.94% CTR, 14030 impressions, 132 clicks, $10.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.11.33 PM

 

By far the most successful of my ads. In part because I could target it so specifically to /r/leagueoflegends, a big community. Also Reddit ads are cheap. It’s a pretty interesting ad product really, particularly the way ads become stories that get Reddit votes, comments, etc. I’m surprised it’s not better known. Reddit has a blanket $0.75 CPM rate which seems fairly cheap to me, particularly given the value of Reddit’s audience. The ad tool sure is primitive though. I’m left wondering why Reddit doesn’t pursue an ads business more aggressively.

Conclusion

Small ad campaigns are cheap. OTOH I didn’t set up any way to measure actual conversion. What I want is to get my tool in people’s minds so they remember to try it a month from now, and I’m not about to do the necessary work for such a small side project of mine. I don’t regret the $12.90 I spent though. I’d definitely go back to Reddit ads to get attention for something there, particularly if the organic way of getting Reddit attention doesn’t work out.

 

Directory symlinks (MacOS sucks)

Try this on a Mac

cd /tmp
ln -s ~/Docum <press TAB>
ln -s ~/Documents/ .
ln: ./: File exists

Trollface

 

Yes, MacOS “ln” is too stupid to understand that if something has a trailing slash you probably meant to symlink the directory with that name, not the implicit “Documents/.” name. And bash completion is just helpfully providing slashes because 99% of the time you want them when talking about directories. Of course this works fine on Linux; another legacy of MacOS being based in SysVile.

(To be fair the with/without trailing slash thing has always been ambiguous in Unix. rsync even assigns different semantics to the two names, confusing me every single time.)