It feels like it’s been a long week. The dark days take their toll and leave me tired. I’ve been visualising the Sun this week, sitting on a green hill under a clear blue sky, the sun warm on my face and a hawk circling above.


I hoped things would settle down a bit this week but on Tuesday I learned all about table bloat in PostgreSQL and not in a fun way. Out of the blue available disk space on one of our primary database systems began to rapidly drop. Turns out some long running queries were preventing autovacuum keeping things in relative equilibrium and more and more space was being allocated to a certain table. We’re still not exactly sure why this suddenly picked up speed when it did.

We ended up doing a bit of emergency maintenance to perform a full vacuum to free up the disk space once we’d cleared the culprits, plus we allocated some more space to the instance to give us a bit more headroom in future, just in case. Fortunately, this seems to have resolved the problem but I’m still reviewing our monitoring to make sure we get some more warning should this ever happen again.

At the moment I’m not handling certain types of stress very well, which isn’t ideal in a role with significant operations responsibilities. I’m usually fine once I hit my stride but the initial adrenalin spike when an unplanned incident hits isn’t much fun. I’ve been doing this sort of work for a long time so it is a bit demoralising to be finding it difficult at the moment.

Interesting things

I ended up reading lots of blogging about blogging. A spate of posts at Xenogothic, Velcro City Tourist Board and The Artist’s Notebook. A common theme being that despite the fact that (well, maybe) blogging and independent participation is increasing a bit, or coming “back” or whatever that might be, it’s not the same as it was “back in the day” - and nor should it be. Later in the week there was a related post from Simon Reynolds.

Also Tom Coates’ post on Meta and the Fediverse and Ben Cox on where the Fediverse is hosted.

Some interesting posts on the Fermi Paradox at Centauri Dreams, specifically the Copernican Principle and a two-parter on the Zoo Hypothesis, Can the ‘Zoo Hypothesis’ Be Saved? and Galactic ‘Nature Preserves’ over Deep Time.

A couple of potentially useful TILs from Simon Willison on running Varnish on and caching in Cloudflare.

I enjoyed Matthew’s 2023 in review post and Jukesie’s I use this, carry that and wear them. I’d quite like a pair of Hiut jeans, maybe that’s a birthday present idea as they are quite pricey!

Ruben Schade had some things to say about distractions and focus that I can identify with.

Yesterday Linda Nagata announced the fourth book in her Inverted Frontier sequence, Blade. Looking forward to this, I’ve been a fan since reading Vast many years ago and really enjoy the setting so it’s great to have new books in the sequence.