Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Namebench

December 27, 2009

The Google Code site has a DNS Benchmark Utility to test if your DNS server configuration is really the best. You can read about it here.

I thought it would be good to test my use of Google Public DNS from my location in Bangkok, Thailand. It occurred to me that sending every request to servers that are most likely in the USA may not be the best for me.

And so it proved. I ran the test using a data source of all the sites in my Firefox history. I was surprised it contains over 47,000 domains.

Namebench told me that a Thai-based DNS Server called AsiaNet-2 TH is 27% faster than Google DNS.

Namebench Results. Click to see full size.

I decided to put that one as my primary DNS Server but use Google DNS as the secondary. Google DNS had a respectable performance. It seemed wise to have a backup server in a different location.

Don’t use these recommendations without testing yourself. My results in Bangkok with my ISP won’t be the same as yours.

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Site Performance

December 19, 2009
BKKPhotographer Site Performance

BKKPhotographer Site Performance. Click for a larger picture.

I took a look at the Google Webmaster Tools “Site Performance” metrics for this blog.

I was surprised that the page load times have shot up recently and they say the average is 4.8 seconds: slower than 72% of all web sites.

They don’t say how many samples they took, so the mean is not very useful. It looks like there was a spike in December but the load time has gone down again. The sloth could be related to problems with the pictures I include on almost every post. I have noticed that Picapp has been very slow recently.

The page content changes every time I make a new post and WordPress splits the page and includes an “Older Entries” link  after 10 posts. (I think that’s the rule they use).

I am not going to get too excited about the mean metric but I will watch the graph more frequently.

Please leave a comment if you have been annoyed (or pleased) by the performance of this blog.

Faster Internet in Thailand!

December 16, 2009

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/Thailand-Connected-High-bandwidth-t322310.html

AAG LogoThis is very good news: Thailand connected to the new Asia America Gateway (AAG). It should mean faster internet speeds for me.

I looked at the official AAG web site: http://www.asia-america-gateway.com/index.php. It isn’t informative to visitors and I did not see an announcement.

I will make a note of any speed improvements.

Google Public DNS

December 4, 2009

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/introducing-google-public-dns.html

I just saw this article from Google and tried updating my DNS Servers from the ones provided by my Thai ISP to the Google Public DNS Servers: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. They said they want users from all over the world.

I was amazed. My internet seems two or three faster! (I did not do any measurements – I am not that patient – but my perception is reality.)

I have noticed in the past how much time my computer spends looking up IP addresses “Resolving host …” and grumbled at how many servers it needs to do something like access e-mail. Also it used DNS for what seemed like every request. Does the Flickr server move so often that the Time to Live (TTL) for DNS records cached on my computer needs to be measured in minutes?

Of course, I am suspicious. I wonder if Google can connect my identity to my DNS requests and thus gather a guaranteed complete record of everything I touch on the Internet to increase their knowledge about me for marketing purposes.

Despite that worry Google Public DNS seems like a great service. I may be one of the first million users so perhaps it will get slower as more people find out about it. I expect my ISP’s DNS servers are used by most of the Internet users in Thailand.

Kudos to Microsoft that they allow me to specify my preferred DNS servers separately from the IP address and gateway which I get using DHCP.

Camera / Lens Test

November 6, 2009

I’m always looking out of my apartment window at the grand view I have of Bangkok. The window faces west and I have a fine view all the way from Rachadapisek Road all the around to the tall office buildings in the Chatuchak District.

Today I noted someone had erected a new billboard on a building about three miles away to the north. I thought I’d see if I could read it from a photograph.

I have two Canon DSLR bodies: a 2004 vintage EOS-300D (the original silver Digital Rebel) and a 2006 EOS-30D.

My longest lens is the Canon EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 zoom (non-IS). It is good for a US$200 lens but of course not up to “L” standards.

I decided to do a test using the same lens on both bodies with the same shooting conditions. Fortunately today was clear in the morning so I had a good view.

I set the cameras up on a tripod with a cable release with these settings:

  • Aperture priority – F8. (I read this is the len’s optimum aperture)
  • ISO 100.
  • RAW
    • 3072 x 2048 for the EOS-300D‘s 6.3MP sensor.
    • 3504 x 2336 for the EOS-30D‘s 8.2MP sensor.
  • Pattern metering mode.
  • Zero exposure compensation.

I took photos at 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm with the same lens on both cameras.

I imported all the pictures into Lightroom 2.4, converting them to DNG and the Pro Photo RGB colour space in the process. I used the Lightroom “Camera Landscape” camera calibration profile (which matches Canon’s Landscape Picture Style). I set the white balance to Daylight (5500K).

Here are the views taken at 75mm:

Bangkok Chatuchak District from the Apartment (EOS-300D)

EOS-300D

Bangkok Chatuchak District from the Apartment (EOS-30D)

EOS-30D

You can examine larger pictures on Flickr by clicking on each picture.

I was interested in the pink billboard at the centre of the pictures.

I used Lightroom to make two crops of the 300 mm pictures’ DNG files to show only the billboard. Here they are:

Billboard (EOS-300D)

EOS-300D

 

Billboard (EOS-30D)

EOS-30D

 

Yes! I could read them.

They are advertising new “Paradise” condominiums on Chaeng Watthana Soi 14. They have an offer of free furniture.

But I was surprised that the picture from the old EOS-300D seemed clearer. I think I applied the same processing parameters in Lightroom. I would have thought that the newer EOS-30D would have delivered a better result.

Maybe the EOS-30D’s sensor is dirty. I don’t have the courage to try to clean it myself.

I have not yet found anywhere in Thailand where I can rent Canon camera equipment. It would be great to rent a L telephoto lens for a few days to compare the results in real use.

Is there anything wrong with my methodology?

My Biggest Hope for Lightroom 3

October 23, 2009

I posted the following to Terry White’s Tech Blog about Lightroom 3:

http://terrywhite.com/techblog/archives/3747

I am downloading the beta now in Bangkok, Thailand. My internet connection is very slow but I’ll get there.

My biggest question is about database capacity and performance. I’m approaching 50,000 images in LR 2 now and my catalog is about 1GB not counting the previews cache. That’s about one year’s work.

I want to be able to use one LR catalog for every photo I take for the rest of my life. If I have a powerful machine and sufficient disk, is this a reasonable expectation that LR will be able to support many hundreds of thousands of images?

The way I work I often need to go back to pictures I took years ago so splitting into multiple catalogs (e.g. 1 per year) would be very inconvenient.

Clearly database technology can handle that kind of task – e.g. MySQL – but I am not so sure about SQLite.

Thanks! I am looking forward to trying the new features.

I did not get an immediate response, although Terry is good about responding to other questions.

Adobe has been vague about performance and capacity in everything I have seen. The LR 3 beta is no exception. They say:

Lightroom has been stripped down to the “engine block” in order to rebuild a performance architecture that meets the needs of photographers with growing image collections and increasing megapixels.

But what does that mean? Did they change the SQLite database engine? What are their performance and scalability objectives for LR3?

Adobe has this appearance of openness with their blogs but I feel they don’t share much beyond the standard marketing-approved talking points.

As always I see both sides. I was nervous about talking publicly about performance and scalability when I worked for HP. There are so many variables and it’s easy for one’s words to come back to haunt you (and the company). But that is a long time ago and we should be better at it now.

Are my scalability expectations reasonable or not? I cannot believe I am unique.

iPhone Users Love the Device, but Hate Its Slowness

September 4, 2009

iPhone User at Penn Station

iPhone User at Penn Station

IPhone Users Love the Device, but Hate Its Slowness – NYTimes.com.

Here’s the reality after the hype – you may have the slickest phone but if the network is overloaded it is less useful than my 5 year old Nokia.

The iPhone is available in Thailand through True Move. They may well have a better service here than AT&T in the US because fewer people can afford one here in Thailand so their network does not get overloaded. It’s also possible to buy an unlocked iPhone (although maybe not a 3G model) here.

I’m feeling better about delaying my purchase of anything like a smart phone. The hardware is ahead of the network.

I recall at the time of the “dot com bust” how people said the industry had built too much fibre optic network capacity. Finally, nearly a decade later, it looks like we’ve found the client that needs all that bandwidth – and more.

Optimizing Lightroom for Best Performance: Top Ten Lightroom Speed Tips | TheLightroomLab.com | Written by Scott Rouse

August 3, 2009

Optimizing Lightroom for Best Performance: Top Ten Lightroom Speed Tips | TheLightroomLab.com | Written by Scott Rouse.

Tip #9 – Watch Your Catalog Size recommends no more than 50,000 pictures per catalog. That’s a rule-of-thumb, not a hard number.

I guess I was very naive to think that I could keep on adding pictures to Lightroom and the technology will keep up. I have over 35,000 since November 2008. My catalog is 761MB. Thus Lightroom is storing about 22K of data per picture, excluding the previews.

I’ve read elsewhere users saying that Adobe should move to a more scalable database. There’s a cost in complexity but an open source database like MySQL would hold metadata for millions of pictures on a large drive without problems.

Good old ThumbsPlus used the Access database as native but allowed users to substitute any database with an ODBC driver. Years ago I actually tried MySQL and it worked fine. Of course ThumbsPlus did not (and still doesn’t) work on the Mac.

I think professional photographers who do assignments have different needs. Maybe they rarely need to revisit completed assignments or do searches across assignments. I am constantly adding to my collection of, for example, vehicle photos and often want to see other photos of the same or similar vehicles. I want them all in the same catalog.

Subject based catalogs would be such a pain to administer that I discard that notion. Maybe I will have to go the “one catalog per year” route and accept the consequences.

That’s annoying in the 21st Century.