MetaFilter in meatspace September 22, 2010 5:41 PM   Subscribe

What comprises the total hardware used in delivering to us our beloved MetaFilter? Not just the main server, but also any personal electronics a mod might use to regulate.
posted by Joe Beese to MetaFilter-Related at 5:41 PM (69 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

20 Mhz, same as in town.
posted by kmz at 5:46 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Deep within an abandoned fallout shelter, a cluster of government grade supercomputers have been generating the comments you see at this website to train artificial intelligence scientists for the coming robot wars. The exact specifications of this system are, of course, classified.

Or it's two servers and an iPhone for each mod.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:49 PM on September 22, 2010 [23 favorites]


Each mod has two servers!
posted by Rumple at 5:54 PM on September 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have heard that there is some sort of sandwich machine in the server closet, but I'm not sure why the robots will need sandwiches in the coming robot wars. I think it's some sort of misdirection.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:56 PM on September 22, 2010


I have heard that there is some sort of sandwich machine in the server closet, but I'm not sure why the robots will need sandwiches in the coming robot wars.

SUBJECT KNOWS TOO MUCH - RECOMMEND TERMINATION
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


DU already answered this.

The setup only works because the mods are the hardest working men and woman in show business.
posted by lukemeister at 6:02 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't like the idea of my comments being deleted through an iPhone. A little gravitas in the execution of modliness would be appreciated.
posted by Rumple at 6:03 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait. The total hardware used in delivering to us our beloved MetaFilter includes a whole lot more than just the MetaFilter infrastructure itself.

I mean first we have these massive continent-spanning power grids with hundreds or even thousands of enormous generators spinning 24x7, all perfectly synchronized and controlled to keep the whole system stable, in turn powered by everything from windmills to nuclear reactions.

And then you have data centers all over the place with incredible cooling systems just to keep everything from melting down. And routers with custom hardware that would have been unthinkable a decade or two ago, all built out of chips with components so small you need an electron microscope just to see them.

That stuff is blasting out data at many gigabits per second, all over the world, using laser beams shot through tiny glass fibers. Fuckin' lasers, man!

And what about all the software, millions and millions of lines of code, that makes all that fancy hardware sing and dance?

It's really incredible how much technology is involved, when you think about it, and how incredible every piece of that technology really is. Then there's a whole new level of amazing stuff used to invent, design, and built all those pieces.

So next time you get a 404 error, just think about the sheer amount of stuff that has to be working right for you to get that error.
posted by FishBike at 6:04 PM on September 22, 2010 [30 favorites]


Rumple: "I don't like the idea of my comments being deleted through an iPhone. A little gravitas in the execution of modliness would be appreciated"

I'm just happy the mods haven't shown me the gravitas I deserve by replacing my user picture with one of a clown nose.
posted by boo_radley at 6:08 PM on September 22, 2010


I am clearly the only mod not at dinner. I only know about my own setup. I have an assortment of Mac products that work pretty well for me. Oh, and this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:13 PM on September 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


That's not how you "boot" a computer.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:21 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, that photo is charming.
posted by Phire at 6:21 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


We all used to live in Jason's closet.

Well, not you newbs. Just us geezers.
posted by maudlin at 6:33 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or it's two servers and an iPhone for each mod.

And by "servers," he is referring to the people who wait on the mods as they sit at a big banquet table and laugh at us all while downing bottle after bottle of expensive wine and deleting our comments gleefully.
posted by The World Famous at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think we should all chip in and buy Jessamyn a step-ladder so she can use those top shelves.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:44 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm the operator with my pocket calculator
I am adding and subtracting
I'm controlling and composing
By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody
posted by killdevil at 6:45 PM on September 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'll bet they're Dell boxes running Windows Server 2003 or 2008.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2010

any personal electronics a mod might use to regulate
Well Nate Dogg loaded his gat with 16 in the clip. If the mods are regulating, I certainly wouldn't want to step to them
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


I believe the record shows that there was also one in the hole.
posted by jedicus at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


You laugh. I know of at least one well-known website run on a RatShack CoCo III running OS-9 (not the Mac one, the Unix one), and another run on a Mac Classic running Frontier and WebStar. Both can saturate a T1, and have.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2010


Also, what the @#$% is the deal with kicking me out every time I try three different innocuous passwords for the SYSADMIN user ID? Jeez!

And that earlier email about the bank account info - you know, the job opportunity I was talking to your people about - could you get with that? Thanks.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:15 PM on September 22, 2010


I don't like the idea of my comments being deleted through an iPhone. A little gravitas in the execution of modliness would be appreciated.

Get used to it. In the future they'll delete your comments with just their brains!
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:52 PM on September 22, 2010


Or it's two servers and an iPhone for each mod.

There's a destination a little up the road
From the habitations and the towns we know

A place we saw the lights turn low
No I/P posts and the YouTubes flow

Pulling out cortex and jessamyn handouts
Two servers and a mod's iphone

Bottles and cans
Just clap your hands and just clap your hands

Where it's at.
*just two servers and a mod's iphone*

Where it's at.
*just two servers and a mod's iphone*

Where it's at.
*just two servers and a mod's iphone*

Where it's at.
*just two servers and a mod's iphone*
posted by GuyZero at 8:12 PM on September 22, 2010 [18 favorites]


The whole thing runs on a super cluster of HP-35s.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:49 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


red flag joe
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 PM on September 22, 2010


call walter
posted by clavdivs at 9:31 PM on September 22, 2010


order food
posted by clavdivs at 9:31 PM on September 22, 2010


So next time you get a 404 error, just think about the sheer amount of stuff that has to be working right for you to get that error.

That was a great comment. Is it strange I heard it in my head in Owen Wilson's voice?
posted by zarq at 9:53 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a bunch of Apple stuff that I do most of my work from, and it's entirely Matt's fault. Main workstation in my office is an aging Mac Pro that passed on to me when he upgraded a while back. Also have a new Macbook that replaced an Air that did okay for a couple years before finally shitting the bed, which is my main out-of-the-house workstation. iPhone fills in the gaps when lugging around or pulling out a laptop would be more trouble than it's worth (so e.g. lately I've been painting my house some more and I'll pause every 15-20 minutes, up on a ladder, to pull out the phone and look for any serious emergency situations).

I also very occasionally do some mod work on my iPad, but it's not a 3G so I mostly just use it at home and it's pretty redundant there.

I've probably deleted a couple things from my personal PC, but it's really just a gaming machine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:47 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


"To make a MetaFilter from scratch, you must first invent the universe..."
posted by knile at 12:03 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't like the idea of my comments being deleted through an iPhone.

Just be thankful you can't hear what's going on.

*flush*

*jiggle handle*
posted by pracowity at 4:30 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just use my 2-year old Macbook for checking Mefi on London mornings. I don't have any kind of mobile device (by choice) so when I am out of the house, I can't check in on metafilter.
posted by vacapinta at 4:31 AM on September 23, 2010


I am clearly the only mod not at dinner.

Wow, banned from the communal dining hall AGAIN? When will you learn?!
posted by nomadicink at 5:35 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, first there's the switch closet. Then there's the Metafilter Data Center. The call-in Cabal support line. And the mods all have their own iFone Portable Admin Devices.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:56 AM on September 23, 2010


Moderators
You moderate any shitting in AskMe, we damn good too.
But you must be some geek off the streets
Gotta be handy with your Mod Panel if you know what I mean, earn your keep.
Moderators!
Log on!
It was a clear black night, and things were jake
Jessamyn was in her house in the middle of a lake
Cortex was painting, iPhone in hand
Prolific on MeMu like a 20-piece band.
Mathowie in the office with his man pb
They were solving social problems with technology
Then the stateside folks slept so they could rest their bods
Vacapinta put the cape on of the Midnight Mod
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:58 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've probably deleted a couple things from my personal PC, but it's really just a gaming minecraft machine.
posted by inigo2 at 7:12 AM on September 23, 2010


Rumple : I don't like the idea of my comments being deleted through an iPhone. A little gravitas in the execution of modliness would be appreciated.

I have it on good authority* that for some of our comments, the iPhone is strictly used as an alert device. When it comes time to actually delete the words themselves, all the mods gather in a dark room at midnight, they sacrifice a cockerel (or eat fried chicken, I'm honestly not clear on this part) and they, with great ceremony and ritual, purge every single byte of data that makes up the offending statement from the database, and overwrite those sectors with random data, before locking them off so nothing can ever be written there again.

This is done to ensure that the evil is contained and can't be spread accidentally to nearby unsuspecting words.

*: do the voices in my head count as "good authority"?
posted by quin at 7:30 AM on September 23, 2010


Each mod has is two servers! FTFY.
posted by tommasz at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2010


so e.g. lately I've been painting my house some more and I'll pause every 15-20 minutes, up on a ladder, to pull out the phone and look for any serious emergency situations

You could mount a camera on your head, shoot this activity with it, and post the resulting video on YouTube. It would be fun to see how many people cringe when you let go of the ladder with both hands. Unless that was you in the TV broadcast antenna climbing video earlier.
posted by FishBike at 8:28 AM on September 23, 2010


Mefi's ass is so fat it need TWO servers.
posted by bonehead at 9:09 AM on September 23, 2010


I don't like the idea of my comments being deleted through an iPhone. A little gravitas in the execution of modliness would be appreciated.

Yeah. You want them to stand in the heather atop a wind-swept hill, with coal-black clouds and lightning.

"Breaks the guidelines! By Odin's beard, I SMITE THEE!"

FLASH! KRACKA-THOOM!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:46 AM on September 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Or, deep in the silo, two mods could do a countdown and then simultaneously turn their respective keys.

"May god have mercy on us all."
posted by Zed at 11:28 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


(so e.g. lately I've been painting my house some more and I'll pause every 15-20 minutes, up on a ladder, to pull out the phone and look for any serious emergency situations).

This sounds like a really bad, risky idea Cortex. You might get paint on your phone.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:13 PM on September 23, 2010


I like my devices to look like they actually get used.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:47 PM on September 23, 2010


> You might get paint on your phone.

Oops
posted by Burhanistan at 12:50 PM on September 23, 2010


I have heard that there is some sort of sandwich machine in the server closet...

I like to imagine all of the mods living together in the house from Help. As you can see, it has a sandwich machine.
posted by brundlefly at 4:37 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised it is only two servers. What's the load on those servers, this runs on SQL2008 right? I assume it scales up nicely? The license costs were always high and I've always gone with something ... not costing money.
posted by geoff. at 5:07 PM on September 23, 2010


Hardware? MetaFilter doesn't need hardware, it exists in the internet. Christ, haven't any of you guys seen Lawnmower Man?
posted by qvantamon at 5:27 PM on September 23, 2010


the house from Help.

Oh, man, dig the Spanish subtitles. One of my grand schemes in life is to "retire" to Mexico, and perform in a Rock cover band that does mediocre Spanish translations. I can now add ¬°Socorro! to Estamos Campiones on my so-far short-ish set list.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:35 PM on September 23, 2010


I assume it scales up nicely?

Well, not as nicely as I'd like. We still have to worry about poorly coded bots putting too much strain on the servers once in a while. Improving performance on our existing hardware is a constant process and I'm happy with where we are now compared with where we were a while ago. Hopefully I can say the same thing a while from now. We've talked about database clustering and adding caching servers and someday we might have to go that route if we have a big jump in trafic for some reason. For now at our current rate of growth we're running fine on two servers.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:50 PM on September 23, 2010


So next time you get a 404 error, just think about the sheer amount of stuff that has to be working right for you to get that error.

Even tried multi!
posted by dirigibleman at 8:40 PM on September 23, 2010


"The setup only works because the mods are the hardest working men and woman in show business"

Whilst I respect the quality and quantity of the work done here by all the mods and pb, the hardest working man in show business title was retired when Sammy Davis, Jr passed. May he rest in peace.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:03 PM on September 23, 2010


two servers and an iPhone for each mod.
That's what Henry IV, le bon roi, offered the peasants as I recall.
posted by Abiezer at 11:54 PM on September 23, 2010


The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.
posted by box at 5:34 AM on September 24, 2010


KRACKA-THOOM is my new favorite onomatopoeia.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:54 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn...

Why are you wearing socks with birkenstocks/sandals?

Im not the fashion police by any means...but socks with sandals?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:37 AM on September 24, 2010


but socks with sandals?

Bad ass enough for legionnaires, bad ass enough for mods.
posted by quin at 11:41 AM on September 24, 2010


Socks with sandals is a nice way to have warmer feet than sandals without socks. I will never understand what kind of horrorshow is going on in the minds of people who find this combination so objectionable that they comment on it unbidden. But I don't really like wearing sandals, either, so who knows.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:47 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are you wearing socks with birkenstocks/sandals?

Because it is cold outside and I am too lazy to switch to shoes-with-laces yet. Is this a trick question?

I realize that sort of look may get you expelled from whatever club you happen to be a member of, but around here it's how I fit in.

Or if I'm trying to be all special snowflake I could explain that I have some sort of sensory defensiveness problem which results in a strong desire to wear pajamas [or other soft non-binding] clothing all day and this is as compromising as I have to be to still be able to work without people giving me grief.

Everyone lives in Vermont for a reason. My reason is so I can wear sandals with socks [or whatever other nonsense apparel strikes my fancy] and no one ever says anything about it or even cares.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:59 AM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with wearing socks with sandals in general. I suspect most people who are horrified by the whole concept are picturing somebody's dad who wore black socks and brown sandals with shorts, and where, other than the footwear, all of their attire was beige or white. Because that is indeed a funny-looking combination.

It's also not such a great idea to wear socks with sandals (or in fact, sandals at all) while out walking in the winter in places like Toronto. I have personally witnessed several occasions when people suddenly found themselves wishing their feet were covered by something a bit more waterproof, as the practically cryogenic briny slush-water found at intersections soaks through their previously cozy warm socks.
posted by FishBike at 12:06 PM on September 24, 2010


I am clearly the only mod not at dinner. I only know about my own setup. I have an assortment of Mac products that work pretty well for me. Oh, and this.

Oh, oh my.... I see 270's in there! Flee!
posted by Barmecide at 12:32 PM on September 24, 2010


Wait, socks first, THEN sandals? I've been doing it wrong!
posted by not_on_display at 12:46 PM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Point on mister Buisnessman,
You can't dress like me.
posted by The World Famous at 12:51 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Im not the fashion police by any means...but socks with sandals?

More like the fashion rentacop who hasn't washed his uniform in a few weeks. Socks with sandals is fine. Comfort is king.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:58 PM on September 24, 2010


More like the fashion rentacop who hasn't washed his uniform in a few weeks.

"I am the Paul Blart of fashion."
posted by qvantamon at 3:54 PM on September 24, 2010


I like to imagine all of the mods living together in the house from Help.

Poor Ringo. He was the Zoidberg of the Beatles.
posted by Gator at 4:25 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


*Grabs beer from the cooler on the way in, shuffles up next to Zarq at the bar using elbow and looks around*
posted by The Lady is a designer at 8:17 AM on September 25, 2010


Why are you wearing socks with birkenstocks/sandals?
Im not the fashion police by any means...but socks with sandals?


This is pretty much standard foot wear in many alternative / university town communities in the (esp. Northeast) U.S., particularly once the temperature starts dropping below 60 degrees F and until it snows (i.e., now), for what it's worth.
posted by aught at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2010


It's pretty standard here in the Pacific Northwest too. A Seattle insurance company even put out a commercial featuring Sandals & Socks Guy.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:32 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


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