NUMA and you, perfect together (Part 1)

I know this is a slightly more esoteric topic, even for me, but I want to address cc:NUMA platforms, and how they matter to Windows and Windows applications.  What is NUMA you ask?  NUMA stands for Non-Uniform Memory Architecture.  (The cc: stands for Cache Coherent, by the way, because there is non-cache coherent NUMA as…

6

The Frustrations with Social Engineering, Even in Support

I just got another first-hand experience in the difficulty of trying to affect computing through social engineering.  Our fax forwarding people do their forwarding based on the cover letter.  Whoever is listed on the From: line gets a TIFF of the fax forwarded to their e-mail inbox.  Normally, this works great.  However, just a few minutes ago,…

2

Support is not Manufacturing: Part 2

Ok, my arm is warm now.  Time to start tossing some theory bombs out there, and hope none get picked off.  They said Italians couldn’t quarterback, but look at Vinny Testaverde!  (Err…no, don’t.) The reason treating support processes like a manufacturing endeavor fails is because it doesn’t take into account the sheer mass of uncontrolled…

4

Support is not Manufacturing: Part 1

Ok, I know I said when I started this blog that I wouldn’t be going into the support aspects of my job much, but I lied.  I can’t resist being an armchair quarterback, so I am going to warm up my arm today, and start tossing Hail Mary’s tomorrow.  Just remember, this is coming from…

2

Self-Monitoring and Diagnosing Hardware

This is something that most people in the mainframe business have taken fom granted for decades now.  To the PC world, it’s relatively new…and to the PC OS world, even newer. Starting with the Pentium and Pentium Pro, Intel introduced the Machine Check Architecture (MCA), which was a way for the CPU and other components…

0

How a Bluescreen Button (NMI) can Save Your Bacon

I know, another title that seems ridiculous.  Why in the world would anyone want a button that intentionally bluescreens your system?!  When you’re confronted with a hard hang though, (no mouse or keyboard) you’re in for a heck of a time trying to figure out what’s wrong without one.  That’s where the NMI button can…

3

Execution protection (NX) and PAE

A comment from the earlier memory management entry posed a good question.  How does PAE factor into the new No Execute (NX) mechanism enabled by the Opteron, Athlon64, and new Prescott-based Xeon? In Windows XP SP2 and Server 2003 SP1, the two are inexorably linked.  The two level address translation scheme used by the non-PAE kernel…

10

If you can’t stand the heat…

You should get out of the PC kitchen.  This is another silent system killer that most people don’t want to acknowledge.  (Though I will admit it’s gotten easier the last 2-3 years, as Intel, AMD, nVidia, and ATI have cranked up the wattage to the point where even the most stubborn have to recognize heat…

11

THE Killer Server App for x64

IMO, it’s not what anyone else might think.  SQL, Exchange, and Web Services get all the hype, but I think Terminal Services will get the most immediate benefit from the backwards-compatible nature of the x64 architecture.  Let’s look at some of the benefits that the platform provides over x86 and IA-64: Huge VA memory space…

1

Bluescreen Debugging for Dummies: Prologue

That could probably help 90% of the developers at Microsoft, to be honest.  Kernel mode debugging is sometimes equated to black magic for devs who spend most of their time in the highly friendly (and deterministic) world of user mode. An analogy I like is to compare kernel mode to cutthroat corporate life, and user…

3