Sat, 31 Mar 2012

VMWare Fusion Memory

For a side-job I've got, there's a bunch of VMs running via VMWare Fusion. In trying to start another VM, Fusion kept reporting that it didn't have enough memory to start the new VM.

The inner workings of Fusion are a bit of a mystery, but it appears that all of the VMs run as vmware-vmx processes running as root, with the GUI frontend running as whichever user lauched the VM, the two halves communicating via a pipe. There are various hints online for decypering a WSSCAN line that appears in a particular VM's log, but nothing definitive and no indication of what limits, if any, apply to Fusion, how to determine what those limits are, and what knobs may apply to change the limits.

Activity Monitor on the host was able to tell me how much memory was wired (top will also tell you the same, along with other things). I could verify that there was memory left to be wired, and, with a small python script I was able, as root, to malloc and mlock 1.5GB of memory (and could see the memory actually being used and being wired). So, it wasn't a system-wide or per-user limit.

In the end, it appeared that a reboot fixed the issue. The amount of wired memory used dropped signifcantly, even with all the previous VMs plus the new one running, although I have no idea how Fusion decides to wire memory. So, no idea if over time this amount will grow and then at some future date we'll be unable to create a new VM even with memory free.

There's also some indication that you can put:

prefvmx.allVMMemoryLimit = "20480"

in your /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion/config configuration file to change the amount of memory that Fusion thinks it can use (the amount in the quotes is memory in megabytes). But, again, no definitive guide to that that I can find; just a bunch of cargo-cult thinking that it works.

Posted at: 19:24 | category: /computers/vmware | Link

Wed, 21 Mar 2012

Homemade Cottage Cheese

I've been wanting to do this for some time, ever since I came across the recipe on Good Eats.

In a large pot, bring the milk up to 120 deg. F. Slowly add the vinegar while gently stirring. Shortly you'll feel the milk start to thicken and then see the curds separate from the whey. Stir for a couple of minutes.

Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain the curds out of the whey by pouring through a colander lined with a clean tea towel. Let it drain for five minutes, then rinse with cold water until it's completely cooled.

Chop it up into your desired curd size, add salt to taste and the heavy cream to get it to the consistency you want. If you're not going to eat it right away, hold off this step until you are.

Tomorrow night: using the saved whey to make ricotta cheese.

Posted at: 22:08 | category: /food/2012 | Link

Avocado Pudding

A friend passed along this recipe for avocado pie last week, and I've been wanting to make it since then. At the store after work today I couldn't find a graham crust and didn't really feel like making one, so I made it as a pudding.

Juice enough lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Cut the avocados and scoop out the filling into the juice (if you do it quickly and stir the avocado as you add it, the lemon juice will coat the pieces and keep them from browning). Pour this mess into a blender, and pulse until it's mostly broken up. Add the sweetened condensed milk, and pulse and stir (and pulse and stir...) until it's perfectly smooth. Let chill for an hour.

The original recipe made this into a pie, I just scooped it into cocktail glasses. My batch was mostly with lemon juice, although when I had juiced lemons and was just under 1/2 cup instead of juicing another I did a lime — next time, I might do equal parts lemon and lime.

Surpisingly tasty, and for someone who hasn't had sweet avocado dishes before, surprisingly not like "guacamole pie". Very rich too.

Posted at: 22:07 | category: /food/2012 | Link

Wed, 14 Mar 2012

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

Inspired by a conversation this evening:

Combine the first four, stir well (using pickling salt will help it dissolve easily). Pour into a rocks glass, top up with tonic water. No ice, no garnish, you baby.

Posted at: 22:46 | category: /cocktails | Link