Sunday, June 19, 2016

Entropic Time, by A Capella Science

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This is a really cool science song and an even more cool video. I don't want to think about how much work it must've been to make it (but I will soon find out, because they have a "making of" companion video, which I've embedded below the music video.)

And, the making-of video:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ars Technica: Digging into the dev documentation for APFS, Apple’s new file system

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Digging into the dev documentation for APFS, Apple’s new file system
Copy-on-write metadata, native encryption, instant cloning, snapshots, and more.
by Lee Hutchinson - Jun 13, 2016 4:35pm EDT

Though the feature wasn’t mentioned in Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote, I’m most excited about the introduction of the Apple File System, or APFS. The preliminary version of the developer documentation is online now, and it looks like the new file system introduces a whole boat-load of solid features—including a few out of the ZFS playbook.

APFS looks to be a major update over Apple’s old and creaky HFS+ file system, which has been around in one form or another for decades. It has been the subject of expansions and additions over the years, but HFS+ never approached the extensibility and flexibility of current next-generation file systems. Rather than continuing to bolt stuff onto the old code, we now (finally!) get a new file system that has some truly compelling features.

It'll probably be a while before this becomes mainstream, but what I've read so far looks really attractive. Especially support for snapshots, which is something I've been wanting ever since I discovered them as a part of Network Appliance's file server software almost 20 years ago. I assume Apple took so long to develop the tech because they were waiting for NetApp's patents to expire, or some other non-technical reason.

Once this ships (and has gone through the usual rounds of bug-fixing to fix the inevitable problems in something this big), it will be a truly compelling reason to upgrade to the latest version of Mac OS X ('scuze me, macOS.) Which is great, considering that the last few OS updates seem to be mostly cosmetic and app changes - things that really shouldn't need a whole-OS update.