Movie for our times: Tulip Fever

I was flying and managed to catch Tulip Fever. Interesting show, considering I have had many conversations recently where people had no idea what the Tulip Mania was all about. It’s a good “plane movie”, and maybe gives you some insight into what occurred then, but it didn’t open to great reviews (e.g. NYT). It has two themes – love, and of course the tulip mania. I choose to focus on the tulip aspect of things, considering I’m in tech, and the crypto space is often referred to as one. Naturally this is spoiler filled.

Some gems:

  • Q: Are they a good investment? A: Well the market’s going up, you won’t go wrong
  • Man has 18 Florens in total, and he spends it all in one go – “an excellent investment”
  • “Took his own life over a Tulip bulb”
  • Man: I paid 18 Florens for these bulbs, I’m told if they continue to rise, they will double. Nun in convent: A month ago, you could have had them for 10.
  • “Cut the flower and sell the bulb, you have a rare one”

Shortly thereafter the man gives up being a fishmonger to become a trader! (A bit like crypto today when Uber drivers talk about investment advice).

More quotes of choice:

  • “of course, free money”
  • Nun: “the more they weigh the more they’re worth” – best bulb, sold for 920 Gilders, but we sold it for 18.
  • “I would like to get a foot into the tulip business. Will you help me?”
  • If the market keeps going up why isn’t anybody selling? Because it can go up three times in a month.
  • “All we have to do is put all our eggs in one basket. A single bulb. The rarer the better.”

Eventually at auction, Admiral Maria – a 2,000 Floren tulip bulb, which goes for 1,500. He asks for 1,200 then they agree on 1,400. He is leveraging everything even though he doesn’t actually have the Admiral Maria. Due to his friend’s drunkenness, the bulb goes missing (eaten?), and the fishmonger sadly has been thrown into the sea

Eventually, 8000 Gilders and 2 houses is what the new owner sold the Admiral Maria for.

Then the Government stepped in to ban the Tulip trade. Prices crashed.

All this points to irrational exuberance and the theory of the greater fool.

This is not a movie I’d watch paying full attention to. You could get away with occasional reading on your Kindle/iPad. But it might get more people to remember a bit about the history of the tulip mania. After all, as George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Annus Horribilis, 2017

I’ve been writing New Year’s Notes for quite sometime, and in 2017 I ushered it in Lisbon. The year didn’t start particularly well, considering there was illness that befell (on Jan 1, with a doctor’s visit to the suite!). Not for me, I was still hale and hearty, but there was also a situation a week later in London, when there was a little snow, and a Uber driver riding over my dad’s leg, rushing to St. Mary’s Hospital, and finding out we had to pay absolutely zero thanks to the NHS. Like the late Sir David Tang said, there’s lots to praise of the NHS. (he passed away a week before I was to meet him).

My grandmother took ill in February (I admitted her to the hospital, a few hours before catching a flight to Los Angeles). She fought on for 50 days, and passed on April 18 2017. During that period I took extremely short flights and visited her twice a day (you’re limited when they’re in the ICU) when I was in town. I never really found time to grieve, because from death to burial, I hopped on a plane to San Francisco to go to the biggest event in the MySQL / open source database world. It surprised many people, who thought I’d be cancelling my appearance. But when I commit to something, short of being disabled myself, I will deliver.

I wrote this message on Facebook, but it was “friends only”, so I can’t actually link to it:

There is never a right time to say goodbye. At approximately 4pm on 18 April 2017, my grandmother, Amma, passed away. She had been in the hospital for about seven weeks, and was described as a fighter to me by her doctor a day before she passed. Alas.

She was a great cook. She hosted wonderful Christmas parties. I grew up with her, she looked after me superbly well. I’m in computing because she bought a computer in 1989 and it consumed my spare time. I have only fond memories of her.

I called her Amma. Which is what you call a mother. Because that’s what she was to me.

By July it has been confirmed my father had taken ill. This is going to be a tough battle ahead. And by December 26, I hear even more bad news from a personal standpoint, that I am still digesting and hoping & praying for the best.

So for me, I can’t wait for 2017 to end. I write this in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, at the Royal Lake Club, not overseas for the first time in a very long time. I want 2018 to be an annus mirabilis.

Travel stats are a good way to end this: 30 trips, 247 days on the road, 451,022km travelled, 53 cities, and 23 countries. I visited Montenegro (Budva in particular), which was a new place to check off. I also learned to dive, and had the best sushi at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Life’s all about moments, right? Anyway comparing to 2017, it was 5 trips more, 5 days less, about 12,500km less, 3 countries more, and 6 cities more.

Do I think I’ll achieve a lot less time on the road in 2018 (it is a goal)? Will my personal life get sorted? I’m really looking forward to the horror of 2017 to end. Fin. Here’s to annus mirabilis 2018!

December 2017 Crypto Tab Sweep

Cryptocurrencies? Blockchains? I’m sure you’ve heard of them before by now, unless you’re living under a rock. I’m an open source & database guy, so for me, I look at all this with a fine toothed comb. Probably doesn’t help that I enjoy reading the FT on a daily basis. Anyway, a selection of links… You may not be able to read all the links (subscriber only), but maybe I’ll think about something new come 2018.

Percona Live Santa Clara 2018 CFP

Percona Live Santa Clara 2018 call for papers ends fairly soon — December 22 2017. It may be extended, but I suggest getting a topic in ASAP so the conference committee can view everything fairly and quickly. Remember this conference is bigger than just MySQL, so please submit topics on MongoDB, other databases like PostgreSQL, time series, etc., and of course MySQL.

What are you waiting for? Submit TODAY!
(It goes without saying that speakers get a free pass to attend the event.)

Not all cloud instances are created equal

You know how anecdotally we say, “in the cloud, bad nodes exist” so you should always get a baseline?

Today I ran a query (repeatedly) on sqlite3, and on two instances, I got time measured as:

Run Time: real 13.405 user 13.243332 sys 0.046667
Run Time: real 10.989 user 10.963332 sys 0.010000

This naturally skewed results I initially got for something related to MySQL/MariaDB benchmarking. It really was such that while I had 2 instances, in the same region/AZ, I had one “good” node and one “bad” node.

Updating the locate database on macOS

Today I uninstalled CrashPlan on my macOS laptop since on August 22 2017 they announced they were exiting the home user market. I think the party is close to being over as even Amazon CloudDrive is now limited to 1TB of storage.

I wanted to ensure I removed any traces of CrashPlan. I use the locate command a lot. Ever wondered how to run the equivalent of updatedb on macOS? Its locate.updatedb (comes with a man page too). Run sudo /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb and that updates the locate database.

Pleased to say CrashPlan went away quite cleanly.