Posts 688 to 695:

Get It Faster

For the past 8 weeks or so, I’ve been slowly re-coding parts of my website to improve performance and fix a few bugs.  The work has been focused mainly on my visitor logger and my weblog script, with one big exception: I switched the entire site from PHP to pure SSI+Perl.  I switched mainly because SSI/Perl can do everything that I had been using PHP for, with the added bonus that SSI is built into Apache and Perl is installed on every Linux server already (and easily installable on Win32 systems), whereas PHP is often not installed by default and is somewhat of a pain to configure.  (At least compared to Perl, which requires no configuration whatsoever.)

If none of that means anything to you, you can still appreciate the results of the performance improvements and bugfixes.  The site loads much faster now, because the visitor logger now automatically rotates its logfiles and caches the site stats, so it’s not scanning through tens of thousands of lines of logfile every time a page is loaded.  (But don’t look at the rewritten stats page yet; the tables still need to be organized into a more presentable layout.)

On the bug-fixing tip, the blogger’s spell-checker now properly ignores any special tags (notably links) in posts, so the preview no longer barfs when trying to display them.  I also fixed a bug that truncated any posts that contained both an image and a double-quote character, but of course you’ve never noticed that bug since I don’t allow people to post images unless they are logged in with an admin account, and only I have such an account around here :)  (Well, the blogger on the photos pages allows image-posting even for not-logged-in users.)

I also fixed the bug whereby if you entered a name into the site that contained spaces, the spaces would be displayed in their encoded form, as ’%20’ instead of ’ ’.  The fix was trivial, notwithstanding allegations that I had been "making excuses" for it, ostensibly because I didn’t feel like fixing it.  In the process, I also discovered an off-by-one bug in Apache, which will be fixed in the next release of that program.

In other news, my trusty old (OK, maybe just "old") 233mmx system recently decided to start booting again, so I’ll now start to debug the strange disappearing-text bug that some people have reported when using IE.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Baby Moyer Update

For those of you who can tear yourselves away from the ever exciting google searches...

I am going to be induced on Monday night, hopefully we will have a baby sometime on Tuesday :)  Dan will be calling with the news...  Wish us luck :)

Posted by Tasha Moyer on 10 replies


It’s not that I want to keep posting these all the time, but they just keep pouring in... I’m #2 for:

Chief Elements of Krispy Kreme’s Strategy

Now THAT one I’m proud of  ( :

And interestingly, Belmont Club is #3, which is another blog that I frequent.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Rant For The Day

Go to this Launchcast support page and click on the "No" button, then type them a nice message like this:

This has to be some kind of joke, right?  Your software fails to work on all but 2 browsers on 2 operating systems?  So... your software doesn’t work at all for Linux users, it only works for Mac users if you use a browser that’s 3 years old, and it only works for Windows users if you use the most insecure program ever written as your web-browser.  Mozilla/Firefox is the most standards-compliant browser there is, it’s architecture is entirely open, and it runs on virtually every OS in existence; it can’t possibly be that hard to make Launchcast work with it...

Posted by Anthony on 6 replies

Endless Fun With Google

As you may have noticed, I am immensely entertained by the Google queries I find in my website’s referrer logs.  Barring the technical stuff, the things people are searching for are rarely found on my site, but sometimes they are.  I recently discovered that I am #5 for mcconnells mill photos and #13 #2 for just mcconnells mill, because of these photos.  Given that McConnells Mill is a really nice and big state park, that’s (apparently) pretty well-known around Pittsburgh, it’s kind of amazing that I’m #13 #2 overall for just the name itself.

I’m #2 for knee deep in nietzsche’s lies which is pretty cool.

Then I’m #8 for why does my screen blink whenever I click on something.  Come on people, it’s Google, not a magic 8-ball.  Generally speaking, treating Google like a librarian is not a good way to find what you’re looking for.  It’s not a person.  You need to put a few seconds of thought into your search efforts.

You have to remember that Google is just taking the words you enter and finding webpages that contain those words.  It’s not looking for "answers" to your input.  The state of search at this point in time just isn’t that intelligent, so your goal is to think of what terms would appear on a page that discusses your problem.  And the real secret to searching effectively is using phrases instead of individual words whenever possible.  The other day when someone found my site by searching for nonsense poems about moldy bread, they didn’t find what they were looking for.  Based on his query we can assume he wasn’t interested in nonsense poems about just any bread; it had to be moldy bread.  But that isn’t what he asked Google to find; he asked Google for all pages containing all of those words, even if "moldy" and "bread" appeared in completely different places on the page, as they do on mine.  What he should have done is put quotes around the phrase "moldy bread" in his search, because that tells Google that the pages must contain that exact phrase, not just the two separate terms independent of each other.

Of course, Google is programmed to try to figure out what you might have meant, in a crude sort of way, and will sometimes assume that if you have two words in a row, you might have wanted them to be a phrase, even though you failed to use quotes.  So you’ll probably see that the first results do indeed have either "nonsense poems" or "moldy bread" as phrases.  But again, search just isn’t that smart yet, so my site -- which contains neither of the phrases "nonsense poems" or "moldy bread" -- was still #10.  (Well, now I’m #2, but only because I now have a post containing that exact sequence of words.)

But back to the fun stuff: I’m #1 for when is googlebot coming.  (And he is, you know.)  (Coming.)  (For you.)  (Soon.)

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Double Standard (or, "White Male = Devil")

If you’re a white male, then your every action is potentially (nay, probably) motivated by some form of bigotry, bias, racism, sexism, or whatever the current -ism of the moment happens to be.  So goes the politically correct line of thought in America and much of the world today.  That’s why, for example, the only kind of person you’ll ever see being made fun of in a TV commercial is a white male.

Tonight I saw a commercial for Viactiv.  (It’s a calcium supplement for women.)  Guess what the last line in the commercial is?  "Because women should get exactly what they want."

Can you imagine what would happen if a commercial said, "because men should get exactly what they want"?  Every feminist on the planet would instantaneously simultaneously spontaneously combust, and the Earth would crash into the sun.

Posted by Anthony on 5 replies


I am #10 on Google for:

nonsense poems about moldy bread

My life is now complete.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

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