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Topics - apankrat [ switch to compact view ]

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Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Disk IO Monitor
« on: April 11, 2018, 06:32 AM »
Hi fellas,

Would you just look at this thing I made yesterday?


As you've probably guessed from the post title it's a real-time disk IO monitor. Not hard to do by any means, but what makes it interesting is how it visualizes the data.

In short - when it draws a vertical bar to display a byte count, it factors the value into megabytes, kilobytes and bytes and then displays each of these separately, in their own dedicated "band".
In long - see here for an explanation how to read this graph and why it's done that way to begin with.

If you feel like playing with it, there's a dev build -

70 KB, no dependencies, just save somewhere and run.

It is hard-coded to monitor C:\ at 500ms sampling rate for now.

It defaults to monitoring C:\, but another drive can be selected by clicking on "Disk C:".
The sampling rate is still fixed at 500ms.
And, no, you can't resize the window yet either :)

Have a look, let me know what you think.


Hi fellas,

Long time, no post. I thought I'd show a little weekend hack of mine -


This is a tool for when you need to replicate files from A to B, but some files have timestamps so far in the past or in the future that they aren't supported by the B's file system. Think, for example, copying from NTFS to FAT and looking at a file that somehow got created in the early 17th century.

No, don't look at me. It turns out to be a common issue with the photographer kind as older cameras did weird things with timestamps. Like leaving them at all zeroes, which translated to whatever the earliest date/time supported by the storage file system was. So there's lots of photos around dating back to Jan 01, 1970 and some such.

In any case:

  • Uses parallel file system scanner, so it's rather fast.
  • Simple UI with in-place error feedback.
  • Drop-down list with predefined ranges for common file systems.
  • Preview / live mode.
  • Copy-pastable log, with full error reporting and summary stats.

Homepage: ...sort of
Download: -- 85 KB, no installation needed, no dependencies

Any comments or suggestions - I'm all ears.


Hi fellas,

I'd like to get your esteemed opinions on my little Xmas side project -

CCSIO stands for Cold-Cache Sequential IO

It's a little benchmark that tries to find the best way read/write large files at a given location, be it a local volume, a virtual mount or a remote share

You basically tell it "C:\Foo" and it tells you "Max read speed is 2144.3 MBps if using 8 x 2MB buffers in direct IO mode."


The way it works is that it goes through a list of (io-buffer-size, io-buffer-count, io-mode) combinations, measures bulk throughput for each and tallies up the results.

Homepage has exact benchmark description and there's a longer, more technical description over at Fundamentals of Fast Bulk IO page.

The back story of this is that I've been building myself a machine and considered various ways to settle in - with a VM, with a portable USB drive, with a TrueCrypt container, etc. - and, being a mature adult that I am, wanted to check what performance penalties I'd be looking at for each option. I found some benchmarking apps (CrystalDiskMark, HDTune Pro, etc), but all of them required manually changing the buffer size/count between the runs and none of them allowed testing with different IO modes. So as per usual I just did a teenage eye-roll and wrote what I wanted. You know the drill.

Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Diskovery
« on: March 30, 2016, 10:56 AM »

I'd like to solicit your esteemed opinions on a piece of software of mine called Diskovery.

There's a longer description on the home page, but in short it's basically an app that enumerates all local drives and volumes, extracts all information it can about them and then renders it nicely in the UI. In particular, it shows drives' SMART counters, temperature and it also allows to look into RAID arrays and see their individual drives († though some conditions certainly apply, YMMV, etc.)

It started as a unit test runner for a SMART diagnostics module for a backup app, but then as I played with it I kept adding this and that and it sort of started to evolve into something useful in its own right. Fast forward laughably short 3 months of abandoned kids, neglected wife and alienated friends and here it is - a brand new pile of bits entering its beta.

I haven't shown it publicly anywhere else, so I'm interested in all and any opinions - from the general idea to the functionality to the UI design to what have you and then some.


Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Bvckup 2 is in open beta !
« on: October 22, 2013, 08:01 AM »
Hi guys,

I'd like to announce that my long-running backup project is finally feature-complete and available for public testing!

Check it out here - - or read on for the summary and what's new in the v2.


Here's a couple of screenshots just to spruce up the thread, but go and see the website, there's plenty more.

Main window (with log panel hidden)

Backup config


As you may or may not know, original Bvckup was a simple directory cloning tool that I wrote for my own use back in 2009. What made it unique is its use of delta copying (whereby it would only copy modified parts of every file after the initial copy) and its real-time (continuous) backup mode. I put it out on the Internets just for fun and almost forgot about it as it was after all just a pet project. Then a year after I looked at some stats and there's nearly 1000 people of the mailing list and I was all o_O, hmm, interesting.

So I posted it on DC (here), Jesse reblogged it, Stephen reviewed it and I got a lot of useful feedback to mull over.

Long story short, last October I finally bit the bullet, sat down and started working on the Version 2 nearly full-time. It was a complete rewrite and it took about 8 months to get to the first shippable beta. That was in May 2013. Then it stayed in private testing with about 100 people for 5 months and eventually got ready for the open beta. Ta-da!

Short diff against the v1 is as follows:

  •    A complete rewrite
  •    Native 64 bit support
  •    Faster and more robust delta copying
  •    Excellent user interface - not to pat myself on a back, but it is really good
  •    Major performance improvements across the board
  •    Removable device tracking
  •    Move / rename detection
  •    Run-as-a-service support

  •    Full year of full-time development
  •    5 months in private testing with 100 people
  •    Stable, robust and of a production quality

  •    About 140,000 lines of C and C++ code
  •    No dependencies on any 3rd party frameworks or libraries, only native Windows APIs
  •    Executable file weighing in a shy under 600KB
  •    Idle RAM usage - under 5 Megs

Having previously wrote firmware for firewalls and routers, I have a sticky preference for efficient and highly optimized code. I also happen to get a strong kick out of messing with pixels and so this puts me in an interesting position when I can comfortably wear several hats at once. Bvckup 2 is essentially of show case of that :)

Have a look, give it a try and let me know what you think.


General Software Discussion / Thoughts on this sort of UI styling?
« on: November 19, 2012, 02:21 AM »
Hi guys,

I am in the process of designing a UI for a Windows app, and the stylistic/visual side of it is proving to be quite a task. Unlike 5-10 years ago, the spectrum of employed design choices is now pretty wide. Native UIs are still here, but they are being supplemented by better looking UIs like those of Chrome, Firefox, Evernote, Acronis and others. There are also UIs that go for full customization and resemble more a web app than a Windows program, e.g. Kaspersky and iTunes.

What I'm trying to do is to find the balance between sprucing app the UI and still retaining the native look and feel. I have sketched out few options, and I'd like to get an opinion on one of them.


Does these customizations come across (even in a slightest way) as annoying or inappropriate? I'll take all opinions... i.e. not just from the UI purists :)


General Software Discussion / Antivirus-less setup
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:30 AM »
Does anyone here run their primary machine without a resident (always on) antivirus? Not because of the ignorance, negligence or laziness, but with it being a conscious choice. Simply be careful with installing and running 3rd party code (and have a dedicated VM for testing and trying random stuff).

Just curious if I'm an odd one out :-)

General Software Discussion / Looking for very light IM (ICQ) client
« on: September 02, 2011, 02:30 PM »
Hola comrades, got a favour to ask.

I've been using Trillian since it was first released... and given its rather abysmal quality I don't really know why I did :) And now that they started to stuff ads into the IM stream it seems like a good time to part ways with it.

Can anyone suggest a light and decently designed IM client?

Something along the lines of Easy Message. I don't really care for anything, but just IM chat. No need for the video, file transfers, smiley packs, skins and what not. Something almost like micq, but as a native Windows app.


Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Bvckup 2
« on: June 22, 2011, 05:43 PM »
Hi fellas,

I am very happy to announce the launch of the Bvckup 2 website, the real-time minimalistic backup for Windows -

While the site is a simple teaser, its main purpose is to showcase minimalistic design aesthetics employed in Bvckup 2. It is also my best webdesign work to date.

The product itself is a step up from the original version in all areas. I will be putting up some concrete speed improvement numbers in a bit, but to give a rough idea - the scan of directory tree on a network share is now under 3 seconds versus over 30 second taken by Windows Explorer. The scan of a tree on a local disk is about 5 times faster than in the original version, and this is largely thanks to a custom lock-free slab memory allocator used internally by the program. Note the lock-free part. If you are partial to programming, you may recognize this as fairly complicated stuff... and it is just that. But it yields 5x speed up, so it's worth an effort.

Previous DC thread on the original version is here. Technical details on the version 2 are here. The dev blog is here, and if you are truly bored, there are some bits and pieces of graphic design goodness on Dribbble.

Got a thought or an opinion? A snide remark, perhaps? Most excellent, I am all ears. Be it on the idea, design or the time it takes to get it done :)


Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Bvckup
« on: October 14, 2010, 08:35 PM »
Ahem... tap tap tap... Is this thing on?


I would like to introduce a little creation of mine called Bvckup.

In short, it is a folder cloning utility. One points it at a pair of folders and it makes sure the second folder is exactly like the first one.
Do I see a puzzled expression on your face? Not a rocket science, you say? Just give me a minute :)


Bvckup's default mode of operation is to constantly monitor for changes. Once the changes are detected, it propagates them to the destination. This makes Bvckup a real-time backup utility.

Its default copying mode is delta copying. Which is a fancy way of saying that it copies only changed parts of the file. This makes Bvckup fast, really fast. Lots more details on why and how along, mind you, with the list of drawbacks of this particular approach is available here - Delta copying, explained.

Bvckup is not a two-way sync utility, it's a backup utility and it makes full use of the core difference. By default it assumes that the destination copy does not change between the backups. This allows it to not scan the destination directory to detect what changed, but rather rely on a locally saved summary from the last backup.

I hear you say "bah, so what?". Two words - NAS backups. Not needing to scan the destination directory eliminates a lot of network traffic, and it removes the need for spinning up otherwise idle disks on NAS devices. This adds up to some major time savings, on top of those delivered by delta copying.


Still with me? A bit more perhaps? :)

The user interface. It is not about utilizing all 16 million colors in a single toolbar icon. Verbosity is not a feature, multitude of options is not a convenience. Properly designed user interface is all about simplicity and unobtrusiveness of the day-to-day interaction flow. A small example would probably go a long way here - Bvckup toolbar - but the only sure way to appreciate the UI polish is to take the app for a spin.

In fact Bvckup is as much about the UI design as it is about technical features. This bit explains how tightly these two are intertwined in case of Bvckup and how they shaped the design of the app - Short history of Bvckup.

It is small and very lean. The installation package is about 480 KB. That's as much as a splash screen logo of some other backup products :) The app is written in C++ but without any extensive use of ++ features. It's much more like C with Classes... just like Bjarne envisioned before he got sucked into that bloody language design committee... but I digress.

It is technically sophisticated. It doesn't copy just the file contents and the attributes, but also the timestamps, NTFS security and ownership information. If it finds a file that it cannot copy (locked, open, etc), it will try and use Volume Shadow Copying to work around the problem. If it is running under stripped-down administrator account on Vista or W7, it will prompt and offer to elevate itself to full admin privileges.

Also, and it's for true Windows connoisseurs only - it can run in elevated and filtered modes using the same executable. In fact, the even more amazing feat is that the very same executable can interact with Shadow Copying service on both XP and Vista; even though Microsoft explicitly requires linking to two different VSS libraries for these two platforms. Took a while to figure this one out, I can tell you that :)


A bit more...
Assorted bits and pieces of some interest - built-in software updates, linear regression ETA estimator, the built-in interactive Mini Guide shown on the first run, a bit of a logo and web design goodness and a bit about myself.

And lastly...
All beta versions are free, with some tasty perks in store for the beta users.


So that's about it. I hope you got the feel for what this program is about, and what the design approach behind it is.

Here is the URL - - check it out, let me know what you think.



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