Earthquake during brunch in Tokyo

This morning’s brunch was interrupted by the building gently quietly swaying, without any warning. It started gently enough, and because I’ve been on enough trains recently, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the room doing that. At first. Then I wondered maybe it was a train/truck driving by, until I remembered that despite all the nearby traffic in this large busy city, I’ve never felt any vibrations/rattles in the hotel at all.

Oh, that’s right. They get earthquakes here too.

Um. Wait. I’m on the 12th floor. In a city where I don’t speak the language. For lack of any better plan, I quickly finish getting dressed and put on my shoes. By then its all over. So I sit back down and finish my coffee.

(ps: reports it as 6.6, while the Washington Post reports it as 6.9, which would make it equal to the 6.9 earthquake that hit Loma Prieta in 1989.)

Monjya boat around Tokyo bay

While in Tokyo, Gen and a bunch of his friends in Tokyo organized a “monjya boat” dinner around Tokyo bay after work. (If you don’t know what Monjayaki, click here and here!)

Quite an unusual experience. Small little boat, with one low cabin of all glass windows. Freezing cold outside. Roasting hot inside. Crowded, with groups of 4-6 seated on the floor around a small low table, all packed close to each other. There was a cooking surface in the middle of the table. The cooking surface was gas powered (you could see the flames), with a plastic hosepipe heading under the mats – it looked like we were all sitting on stockpiles of fuel. The crew politely warned us to not put anything under the table as it got hot and would burn. Once everyone started cooking, the cabin heated up *fast*.

You cooked the meal yourself with bowls of ingredients that the crew on the boat gave you. The joke was that no matter how you cooked it, or what ingredients you were given, it all tasted the same! It was all the food you can eat, and all the beer you can drink – but you dont get any more until you have proven that you have finished what they gave you already. It was oddly yummy, and lots of fun. At our table, most of the cooking was done by Gen and his wife, but I managed to cook one without burning it – anyone who knows my cooking skills understands the enormity of that!

The conversations were great, and it was really interesting to meet others in the Tokyo software business, including some expats. The background of the water-level views of Tokyo made it even more wonderful.

Randomly while we waited for our boat, there was a guy standing there blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back – in a giant chicken costume! Turns out he was on our boat. Something weird about watching a guy nervously being walked down the gangwalk to a boat at night tied up in a chicken suit. His group were taking good care of him but we never figured out if it was a birthday party, some work initiation/promotion party, or the beginning of some bachelor party.

(Here’s a quick photo Gen took of us all heading back to the train afterward – with Gen invisible behind the camera!)

monjya yaki dinner

Great great evening, and many thanks to Gen for making this happen.

Don Quijote in Tokyo

No trip to Tokyo would be complete without a few hours wandering lost inside a DonQuijote store. Best done late at night, after food and a bar or two. Their website doesn’t give you any idea of the madness that awaits you – and there’s no real way to describe it! You have to see it to believe it!

My personal favorite this year was the brightly colored stuffed-bean-bag-pigs cascading down from the ceiling. Sorta like what some travelers bring as neck pillows on airplanes, only…worse? better?

Last year while I was in the same store, my favorites were

  • the AA battery that you could recharge by plugging into a USB port
  • the USB plug-in fragrance dispenser
  • the savings bank with motion-sensor activated mouth
  • the full-size R2D2 robot-trashcan – press either pedal to open its head!

What is Mozharness?

Summary: Mozharness is a project to refactor internal ReleaseAutomation code. This includes moving code out of buildbot custom libraries and into standalone scripts/programs/Makefiles.

This is important, exciting, work because:

1) upgrading buildbot will be easier:
Today, upgrading buildbot in production is complicated because of all our code in buildbot custom. Every upgrade requires significant testing of these custom libraries, and some recoding if buildbot internals change. Moving this logic out of buildbot custom to external scripts makes it easier for us to upgrade buildbot in production going forward.

2) refactoring is needed for Fennec:
Fennec Release Automation still runs on buildbot 0.7.x, while Firefox Release Automation runs on (incompatible) buildbot 0.8.2. Refactoring and consolidating these gets us improved Fennec automation, and one code base for RelEng to maintain going forward.

3) others can use the *same* scripts as RelEng:
Moving the consolidated logic out of buildbot custom means that others outside of RelEng can run the *exact* same scripts and Makefile targets that RelEng uses. This is a big help to developers debugging build/test differences between something running on their machine vs a RelEng system.

Obviously, anyone using undocumented internal buildbot custom code will have to modify their code as we refactor. Going forward, we recommend that people do not rely on undocumented internals. Instead, we recommend using the JSON feed available and already being used by TBPL. If this “supported API” isn’t sufficient, please file bugs to have us fix the supported API – its much better then using undocumented internals and having to rewrite your code every time we fix something internally.

For anyone who wants LOTS more details, you should start by reading Aki’s posts here and here before joining the discussions in dev.planning.

Infrastructure load for September 2010


There were 2,436 pushes in September 2010. This is below the record of 2,707 in August. I note Sept 15th set a new record of 160 pushes in one day.

The numbers for this month are:

  • 2,707 code changes to our mercurial-based repos, which triggered 336,910 jobs:
  • 46,175 build jobs, or ~64 jobs per hour.
  • 145,509 unittest jobs, or ~202 jobs per hour.
  • 115,608 talos jobs, or ~160 talos jobs per hour.

Yet again, TryServer continues to be almost half the load of all branches combined on the entire infrastructure.


  • September 15th set a new record high of 160 pushes in a single day!
  • We are still double-running unittests for some OS; running unittest-on-builder and also unittest-on-tester. This continues while developers and QA work through the issues. Whenever unittest-on-test-machine is live and green, we disable unittest-on-builders to reduce wait times for builds. Any help with these tests would be great!
  • The entire series of these infrastructure load blogposts can be found here.
  • We are still not tracking down any l10n repacks, nightly builds, release builds or any “idle-timer” builds.

Detailed breakdown is :

Here’s how the math works out (Descriptions of build, unittest and performance jobs triggered by each individual push are here:

Real-time traffic status: San Francisco and Tokyo

On the bus from Narita into downtown Tokyo, I noticed the traffic signs show real-time traffic updates. By contrast, in the San Francisco area, traffic signs are fixed displays, so most people use Google maps to get live traffic updates on their phones.

Both approaches use yellow (slow traffic) and red (stopped traffic) indicators, so they felt very similar to each other. Having the info displayed on traffic signs seems safer – after all you don’t have to look down at your phone while driving. But I wonder how the Tokyo signs display info about traffic outside the immediate area.

Anyway, the differences and the similarities, struck me as noteworthy. Click the thumbnails for more detailed photos, and let me know what you think!!

Election pamphlets in San Francisco

Today was election day here in San Francisco.

When I first started getting election pamphlets in the mail months ago, I simply tossed them into recycling along with the junk mail. Eventually, it struck me that there seemed to be a lot, so out of curiosity, two weeks ago I started collecting them, putting all the various election pamphlets I’ve received in a pile. All unread.

Last night, I sat down to read them all, with a fresh cup of coffee.

There were so many, it was almost as tall as my coffee mug. Reading them all took hours.

Having avoided all the political TV/radio ads, reading these flyers was my first real exposure into the style of the election ads going on all campaign. Reading them all in one large pile like that was a bit of a culture shock, and frankly, disappointing.

Lots of “dont vote for the other person; they’re corrupt/evil/wrong! Instead you should vote for me; I’m honest/good/correct”. All the pamphlets were very destructive of the other candidates. Calling them “attack ads” glosses over the personal destructive nature of these pamphlets.

Very few leaders, with positive and open constructive discussions.

This doesn’t bode well for my hope of seeing elected officials working together to solve some (any!) of the pressing problems facing us today.