Edited Why I shouldn’t write while dealing with a fever… under discussion.

I fix my CPU miner to produce 1740 kH/s instead of 990 kH/s with a few check boxes.

So I am mining some coinage in the Cryptocurrency world. Mainly because the miners make GREAT performance testing resources. Nothing like maxing out CPU or GPU or both whenever you need it (and making a little speculative coin on the side).

But, Windows the mining program was doing me wrong. By default, the thread scheduler thing sets a new process to use ALL cores available and apparently go in sequence. This is ‘ok’ but I find I get MUCH better results when I don’t let the thread scheduler miner handle my CPU-based miner threads.

Case in point:

miner going slow

Note CPU #6. Why is it 70,000 hashes/second faster than it’s peers? Because it’s the only miner thread that doesn’t have it’s partner CPU also running at 100%.

Let’s look at this in Task Manager, this is what it looks like:

task manager core count.png

So see the pairings? CPU 0/1, CPU 2/3, CPU 4/5, CPU 6/idle.

That’s why CPU 6 can run faster. It’s hyper-threaded pair isn’t mussing it up. Plus it perhaps has better caching since it isn’t using pipeline cache for another busy thread (conjecture).

Anyway, changing this is trivial. I found my miner in task manager and right clicked it and selected Processor affinity.

proc affinity

See how it’s spread out on all CPUs? Yeah we’re going to fix that.

better proc affinity.png

Now I’m using every odd CPU, and every even CPU is not used by my miner process. Fair enough. I am only allocating 7 miner threads by the way, so we’re giving the miner an extra thread. Who cares. It might not use it. Don’t care.

Hit ok and see the results:

change.png

See, CPU 0, 2, 4, 6 are falling. The odds are all increasing.

The results? Pretty damn good. I went from 990 kH/s on 7 mining threads to 1746 kH/s.

I’ll take it.faster.png

All this because Windows thread scheduling leaves something to be desired…since like, a while ago. But that’s another story…

Carl schooled me.

Outlook.com BETA kicks tail!

Dude here. I give credit where credit is due. Today I was offered a preview/beta version of Outlook.com to use. And. It’s awesome.

beta

Dude here. I give credit where credit is due. Today I was offered a preview/beta version of Outlook.com to use. And. It’s awesome.

Frankly, I was migrating off Outlook.com’s property due to bloat. My Google Chrome browser would be over a GB just for the worker of Outlook.com given enough time. 1GB of RAM used for a web-based email client. Gmail is the same basically, so not a bash on MSFT. The one reason that really got me was Outlook.com took so long to receive mails sent to me. Some extra filtering to keep me safe maybe. Dunno.

ANYWAY, check this out.

Fresh browser, old version of Outlook.com:

old

 

New version:

new.jpg

I’m keeping an eye on it. Will report after a day of use. But HOLY MOLY it’s faster, sleeker, and uses less resources. Good job Microsoft.

The crucible – My first training week as a Senior Support Escalation Engineer at Microsoft Charlotte.

Anyway I wrote this partly for me to remember. More than anything really. The mind, has a way of filing things off in those weak brain cells that slip and falls destroy it seems. So this is sort of a log. Week 1 at Microsoft.


In my face-to-face interview with Microsoft, I had a great time (after my horrible experience with Google in Mountain View, on which I may write someday). In the manager portion, I was teased on my 4 page resume with jobs (not contracts) ranging from 6 to 18 months a piece for the last 12 years or so. “Why should we hire you knowing you don’t stay places for long?” – “Those jobs were too easy. I fixed everything, got bored, left. I hope this is different.”

But it was the technical portion that I really remember. I LOVED it. At ING, where I was at the time, I was basically the go-to engineer for weird stuff.

  • <redacted cause I sound pompous>

Someday I swear I’ll get a degree. Somewhere. Someday.

Anyway the guy who intervised me on Exchange storage/DB was a contributor to the white paper I read on Exchange 2003 storage tuning I used at ING to fix our issues. The client connectivity person I had read their content on for Exchange 2000 while at a previous job. Connectors person was an unknown, and an unknown part of Exchange to me really (I hadn’t touched connectivity to other systems at ING sadly).

So Nick, the storage tuning guy, started with a basic, level 100 question. I was nervous though, so I mistook it as a real question out of the gate. He asked, “What is the impact of adding the /3GB switch to the boot.ini in Windows 2003?”

“Obviously this was a trick question”, I thought to myself. Clearly they are looking for more than “it changes the kernel memory of Windows so Exchange runs better” or some such nonsense…

I was stopped maybe 10 minutes into my answer to question #1 in the tech panel. I thought I had done something wrong…

I was on the conference room whiteboard, drawing out the internal data structure of Page Table Entry and why when you switch /3GB in boot.ini, the architecture changes on what it holds where. Something like this I guess:

pte

And CPU architecture and and advent of x64 support and what /PAE and DEP did (because really, how can one discuss boot.ini and 3GB and NOT talk DEP and PAE…. and how AWE worked with SQL and and and …


So my start date was an unorthodox December 31st, 2007. New Years Eve for most of the world. I drove from Atlanta to Charlotte, filled out some paperwork and sat around on my first day. The place was pretty empty. I had New Years Day off as vacation. So I drove back to Atlanta at the end of the work day and had time with my family. Came back to learn that same week.

They were not prepared to train a new hire. Generally folks came in batches. And until recently, Escalation Engineers (EEs are they are known internally) are promoted from within rather than outside industry hires with no internal knowledge of a product. Combine these two and it is a somewhat unique scenario. My mentor, Nick Basile, lined up a week of training for me in January.  To say is was deep training was an understatement.

My first day, I learned internal database mechanics from him.

The differences of Jet Blue and Jet Red databases. Why Jet Blue was used at Microsoft so predominately (think Active Directory, Exchange, Branch Cache, Windows Search). How it worked. How each 4KB page was handled How B+ tree worked under the hood. How power failure was handled, what was the impact of antivirus filter drivers on saying “hey that 4KB write is virus activity” or “hey that .log file write is virus activity”.

Things like that.

Another day with Tim McMichael, aka Mr Cluster, who was not a Microsoft Certified Master of Exchange, but helped make the questions for the high availability portion of the exam just the same..

David Goldman spoke to me for 4 hours or so on the mechanics of OAB distribution and creation. David was a debugging engineer who later went on to help build out/support o365 as I recall.

Amy Mack mentored me on Netmon interpretation. Amy passed away recently. Survived by her husband, Austin Mack, who is one of the brightest engineers I know for troubleshooting/break fix. Hands down.

I wish I remembered the rest of the names. I see faces. But I can’t connect them anymore.

Anyway,

It was a humbling experience. A week of rigor with people who were essentially at the level 400/legendary skill level in their craft. It took me some time to regain composure from that experience. To, as I liked to call it, wear the mantle of Microsoft. The person who hops on a conference call with 10-15 people and someone says “Microsoft has joined the call, they are going to walk us through the solution”.

So much knowledge, in the halls of the Microsoft Charlotte office at that time.

My first ticket was a SEV-A. Colossal world-wide corporation was down. No email. No one was available to pick it up. So I figured, sink/swim, feet first, I was ready.