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An epic fail in webmastering

Posted on | June 10, 2011 | 1 Comment

This post is  going to be riddled with fail, most of it mine. The short version is, my site has been down for over two weeks and it took me a week and a half to even notice it. That, of course describes fail number one and fail number two, but there’s plenty more fail where that came from!

It all began when I started shifting around some of my own accounts in order to free up some IP addresses. Some of the domains had expired, some did not need their own IP and then there was this site, that had its own IP and I could not figure out why. So, I moved it to the main system IP, went to bed and forgot all about it.

What I completely forgot was that I had a 4 1/2 year old trial SSL certificate installed, and the stupid dolt that lives on my server (we’ll just say its name rhymes with zeb ghost scavenger) happily let me move the site to the main shared IP, despite the server name vhost also using it. That’s right, anyone who visited ‘/’ on this site for nearly two weeks got redirected to the Apache success page.

To fix it, I just removed the account and was ready to restore from a day old backup, when I realized .. oh crap, backups are corrupt. I think we’re somewhere near fail number 11 at this point, I completely lost count.

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Overhaul in progress

Posted on | April 20, 2011 | 1 Comment

The latest WordPress / Plugin update was a bit more than my old, extremely hacked Performancing theme (from 2006) could handle. The resulting mess was so unbearable that I felt compelled to switch to the new stock theme.

I’ve been putting off a complete overhaul of this site for far too long. As it happens, this is also the week that my company is releasing new offerings. Hopefully, I manage to get some time to work on my personal stuff by the end of the month.

Dispelling Common Cloud Myths

Posted on | December 30, 2010 | No Comments

Is there someone in your office that complains constantly yet offers no useful suggestions on how to fix the problem at hand? Do you wonder if some people just thrive on complaining and tickling the skeptic bone in others? Are you sick of the abundance of conflicting and often confusing information? When it comes to the cloud hosting industry, so am I. In this article, I’m going to present some very common arguments designed to lead you away from a modern hosting platform and tell you why those arguments are bogus.

In any hosting related banter, one must conceive that there are innovative companies and companies who just lease the same software that everyone else is using and put up a fancy site. That is hardly news. The term “buyer beware” applies to any industry.

Argument #1: “There is no definition for ‘Cloud Computing’, it is all marketing hype!Read more

The Difference Between Temperament And Wisdom

Posted on | December 13, 2010 | No Comments

This is a quickie :)

Temperament: Knowing that you lack experience to come up with a solution to a given problem.

Wisdom: Asking others for help.

Knowing that you don’t know is not wisdom. Thinking that you couldn’t possibly know is stupidity.

I said it would be quick :)

We Need More Scary Movies

Posted on | December 12, 2010 | 1 Comment

Do you like scary, I mean really really scary movies? I do, and Hollywood is seriously letting me down. Compare anything that you saw in the last five years with The Shining and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  If Hollywood wants nerds and geeks to flock to the theater, they’ll have to do better than Harry Potter. We want stuff to watch that offers us little choice but the reward of our undivided attention for a brief time.

I realize that it is entirely conceivable that we’re soon to run out of thriller plots. Believe it or not, the ways that someone could meet with demise that they might object to are quite limited, given the fact that lightning strikes and other phenomenon are quite rare.  This brings me to Final Destination (and sequels). The creativity rocked, but it just wasn’t plausible enough to be scary.

Hollywood and Indie producers, I’m begging you .. come up with a plot that could be applied to the person at the end of your finger once you have stood on an average street, closed your eyes and spun around while pointing a dozen or so times. I know the creativity is there, and I’m sick of marveling at special effects while forgiving a shallow plot. Could I do better? Probably not, but I’m not paid to write plots, I just pay to watch them unfold on a big screen.

This is an open challenge. Come up with the next best thriller that will unseat everything that any popular director has ever done.  Gore, social taboo and shocking gratuitous scenes are up to you. Just ensure that I walk away inspired by the plot.

If the actors aren’t incidental, you’re doing it wrong.

Strange G-Mail Delays

Posted on | December 11, 2010 | No Comments

This morning, I began noticing that e-mail was being delivered up to several days late via G-Mail. I haven’t seen anything on Google’s blogs or updates regarding it, so I’m guessing that I’m the beneficiary of a very minor and localized bug. How fortunate for me.

If you have been sending e-mail to my G-Mail address and I have not replied, it probably means that your mail has yet to be delivered. I have updated my contact form to deliver mail to an alternate address.

Hopefully, this gets sorted out soon :)

Update: It looks as if some mail I sent found its way into the same black hole.

Mercurial Tricks : Counting Insertions

Posted on | December 10, 2010 | 2 Comments

Do you have a policy where patches that make above nn number of insertions or deletions require review before being pushed? We do, but the policy is quite loose. Actually, it is sufficiently loose to manage the whole process with simple commit hooks.

I was digging through Mercurial today to see if it had a feature to tell me how many lines I added or removed, but I didn’t see anything. So, I’m using this (somewhat inaccurate) hack to determine if a hook has to send e-mail:

hg diff -r tip | grep ^+ | sed -e '/^+++/d' | wc -l

hg diff -r tip | grep ^- | sed -e '/^---/d' | wc -l

Not 100% accurate, but it does let commit hooks do trivial things for you when you commit a substantial patch.  It’s basically just counting the number of insertions and removals from a diff against the previous tip.

May come in handy for someone, so I decided to post it. My last commit was 12,550 lines inserted .. and it wasn’t even a merge :) Yeowzers.

How Assertions Became “Evil”

Posted on | December 10, 2010 | 1 Comment

I’ve spent the better part of two days tracking down what turned out to be a very stupid and avoidable bug in a library (that shall remain nameless).

Examine the following piece of seemingly innocent code:

    str = realloc(str, len);
    assert(str != NULL);
Some of you are probably howling at your monitor by now. Guess what, there’s more, ‘len’ turned out to be a signed integer. Read more

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