Monday, January 31, 2005

Brand Entrapment — NFL Style

Ok, via Brand Autopsy, this little nugget on the Washington Redskins requiring all credit card purchases for season tickets to be made with a Washington Redskins Extra Points Mastercard. [here]

Oh, did I mention that you can only buy tickets through Orbitz with the Orbitz Visa? Or pay for your purchases at Amazon with the Amazon Visa? Or pay for your Delta flight with your Delta SkyMiles American Express.

Whoever thought this little gem up in the Washington Redskins front office should lose their job. But, the season ticket subscribers are going along with it! Only 10 have complained?

Have we finally become the Culture of Sheep?

Haloscan on Typepad

Ok, all you Typepad hackers out do you get Haloscan to work on Typepad?


Yahoo (or ???) and TiVo

Never thought of this before Jeremy mentioned that anyone can write apps for TiVo now.

How about a link from to the TiVo?

Why Standards Matter

Here is another reason why standards matter.

Sam Palmisano, the CEO of IBM, challenged his entire company to
migrate to Linux for their desktop systems by the end of this year.
Turns out things aren't going so well.

IBM is running into this one tiny little problem. You may have heard
of it, it's called Internet Explorer. See, many internal IBM web
applications were written with IE-proprietary code, and darned if that
isn't just one big, huge migration hurdle right there.

From here.

SPECIES: esuvee GENUS: stupidus

Ok, this is brilliant.

United Airlines in the Blogosphere Crosshairs

When I travel, it is usually (90%) due to work-related events. For a long time, my preferred airline was United Airlines, as I lived within 7 miles of SFO (Ya know, the place with the huge aircraft that takes off like clockwork at 23:00 Pacific Time every night).

In fact, I was on a United 777 on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when it got turned around. After that, United seems to have been turned around.

Now I live in the Boston area. When I tried to fly to London on United, I got a rude shock -- all London flights go via Dulles or JFK. Flew British Airways instead.

I have a United Credit Card to collect Mileage Plus Points. I have lots of points. It is my primary form of payment for most things. I also have a Delta Credit Card to collect their points. And with Logan now opening the mysterious Terminal A (I have tried to start the rumour that it has been a secret NSA listening post due to its length construction) for Delta, I will likely start to rely on Delta more exclusively.

But it's not just because Delta is here. It is because United isn't the kind of airline that made me an enthusiast in the past. It was a joy to get on a United it is a chore.

A couple of comments on this. [here and here]

United, I want to be a customer. I want to be happy to fly on your planes again.

How are you going to make me a happy customer? How is United going to make me an evangelist?

I doubt that an organization as narrowly focused as United can even begin to address these questions.

Typepad S L O W to post this morning

Must be the post-weekend need for all interested parties to fulfill their addiction needs.

How to re-install MSIE

As soon as you see "This article contains information about modifying the registry", you know that it is likely to cause chaos.

How to Repair MSIE.

Go on. I dare you.

Good Design == Higher Profits 2

Henrik has found more evidence that good design pays! [here]

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Feedburner burning folks?

Over the last few days, I have read a couple of tales of woe and misery surrounding the FeedBurner service [here and here]. I am not sure what has happened, as a lot of the blogging community does use this technology.

Perhaps it falls back to my new philosophy: Free is Worth Less.

Submitted Presentation Proposal for OSCON 2005

I submitted a presentation proposal for OSCON 2005 just now. The abstract is below.

The Open Source community has driven the online world for the last decade. PHP, PERL, Apache, Java, and MySQL are all major components of large online enterprises.

However, putting an application online and ensuring that it satisfies the performance, availability and reliability demands of the increasingly knowledgeable online consumer are often two separate concerns.

Performance should not be an afterthought; performance should be a leading force in creating a Web application.

Using simple Open Source Tools, Web performance measurement solutions can be built that rival commercial solutions. But what does this data tell you? And how do you turn this into useful business information?

This discussion will expose the participants to key Web performance metrics that make sense to both technology and business leaders in your organization.

I have a snowball's chance in hell of having it accepted, as it is not hip, technical or trendy, and I am not an Open Source Guru, but if you design stuff for the Web, then you better be ready to have your site examined in detail, because if you don't do it, your customers will.

Why I read Marketing and Sales Blogs

Because when I read technology blogs, I stagger across elitist comments like this.

I happen to need abstractions, because I do not plan to re-write the MySQL connector for every app I build.

This blog has had the shortest stay on my watchlist -- about 3 minutes.

Got Flamed in the trackbacks to this post, but my opinion still stands. I am one of the PHP Web Grunts mentioned in some of the previous posts. I write PHP for my purposes, not for the ages. I do what I have to to get it done, with some eye to making sure that it is still functional and useful.

Apologies to the author of the post that started this post if this was taken as a personal attack: I don't know the history that lead to the breakdown of your project. I was simply commenting on what I saw as a stright down the nose look at those of us who just need to get stuff done.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Saturday Night Radon Noise

If you want some very cool dance tunes with a 60's Bond-ish theme, get DecksAndDrumsAndRockAndRoll by the Propellerheads. Someone at my former company lent this CD to me 3 years ago, and I still fire up BIGGER whenever I need to escape from the evil uber-villian.


Ok, History Repeating with Dame Shirley Bassey rocks too.

More than a few salepeople need to read this…

This is a good read. And most of the salespeople I have encountered would fail the test.

WGBH is having ANOTHER Pledge Drive

  1. WGBH is the richest PBS station in the nation.

  2. WGBH produces some of the finest Public Television in the United States

  3. When they have pledge breaks, they show programs that make commercial TV look amazing and spontaneous.

I am tired of Muzak, hits of the 50's, 60's and Disco, another tenor super-group, and self-help gurus who make me want to revoke my membership in WGBH.

Do people really watch this crap? Or do you put it on to show us how bad it could be if we don't give you money?

File Under: , ,

Performance Monitoring for Web Hosting

Just read an article in the dead-tree version of the Web Host Industry Review on Monitoring Performance. Interesting quotes in the article on why it is good for setting SLAs. My former employer is also mentioned.

Fair enough. But, SLAs are only one aspect. How do these solutions help you improve and more effectively manage your Web performance?

No discussion of that. Oh well. Maybe people wil get it eventually.

File Under: , , ,

0 Zero Gmail Invites

I have 6 3 1 0 (Zero) Gmail Invite(s) to give away.

Thanks to all of you who asked.

Too bad the last one bounced....

File Under:

Friday, January 28, 2005

One final thought: Who do I read?

Someday, I will get around to posting the OPML of who I read.

Doing a quick inventory of the people I read regularly, it turns out that the vast majority of them are in strategic sales and/or marketing professions. This should surprise a few people, given that I am, for the most part, a techno-dweeb.

The insights and views that these authors bring to me helps rattle my cage and gives me a perspective on the ideas that shape the business forces which affect my day-to-day life. And they also help me think differently (Sorry Apple) about everything I do.

How does this project affect my professional development? Does it contribute to my personal and professional brand? Does it help my company gain additional market share? Does it help us sell more? Does it contribute to our strategic goals, or is it a useful tactical device?

Whenever I work on anything, I consider many more things than I did before. Doing something because you love it isn't enough anymore.

Springtime in Vancouver/Victoria

First was my Mother-In-Law.

Now it's Tim Bray.

Crocuses on the West Coast.

There is four feet of snow on the ground where I live, and back home they have crocuses.

West Coast Employers, my resume is easily accessible in the left-hand column...

Look who’s looking!

I look at my blog logs fairly often -- I don't get 100,000 a day like Eschaton.

Today, I found this:

CustName:   Us Gov Fbi
Address:    303 2nd st
City:       san francisco
StateProv:  CA
PostalCode: 94107
Country:    US
RegDate:    2000-10-07
Updated:    2000-10-07

They were looking at one of my more popular articles, on someone scanning my IP (I suspect Comcast).

What am I supposed to make of this?

Booking a room can be a headache when…

...but two hours is a long-time for the main page of a major hotel chain to be down.

Major Hotel

I will not name them.

This is a serious issue, as the error indicates that the Web serving layer cannot talk to the application layer that is creating the dynamic page data. I hate to see companies have this happen, and when it happens in the middle of the business day, you have to wonder if there was something that went very wrong within the infrastructure.

Some online systems used by hotels are also tied into the overall reservations system; if this is true for this company, then no one would be able to access the reservation status of a guest, book a new reservation, etc.

I hope for their sake that it is just in the Web layer.

Hi, my name is Brand X…Part 2

Ok, this brands as people trend appears to be spiralling out of control. The Vision Thing posted more on a company that asks questions that tags brands as people.

This is a very unusual trend...considering that I worked for a company that is named after a real person.

My Nerd Score: 87!

Thanks to The Vision Thing, I was able to check my nerd score.

I got 87. I Rock! ;-)

Hello, my name is Brand X and I will define my company for you…

Jennifer Rice: Brands are Human.

Very interesting ideas, which I suscribe to. The people at a company are the ones that define the brand. If Microsoft was actually in the retail sector, wouldn't that change them from being perceived as "bossy and arrogant, but we're stuck with them like a bad marriage"?



Web Performance Affected by Router Security Flaws

Information Week (and likely other more technical sources) is reporting that Juniper and Cisco routers have a security flaw that will allow DoS attacks to be launched.

Likely you will see interruptions and hiccups as IT teams work madly to patch all of their devices.

The Philosopher King

Hans Henrik points us to an article discussing how the philosophy of a business leader should be a criteria during the selection process.

This is relevant to me, as the company I work for is currently conducting a CEO search. Now, based on my experience with the leadership of my company, I know some of the criteria that they are looking for. I just hope that the search committee also considers how the candidates envision possible upheavals in our industry over the bext 5, 10, 20 years.

One thing that never happens when a CEO is chosen is the interview by the staff below the board and the C-level. My company is very small; I would love the opportunity to listen to the CEO candidates speak to me as a member of the team he will lead. But that will never happen, as boards and C-level leaders are focused across and up; they very rarely look down, how a leader actually is seen by the people who make the company go.

I have mentioned that I am reading Execution, where Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan speak about how great leaders execute on strategies and ask the questions that need to be asked about how things get done. However, as all business books are, it is aimed at the MBA, director, VP and C-level players. What about the majority of us, the individual contributors? How do we make an impact on a company? What say do we have on the vision?

Being in a leadership position does not mean you are a great leader. Company leaders, how do you inspire your individual contributors on a daily basis?

Addendum: Tom Peters says it best. CEOs are idiots because....

20. Their egos distract them from the Real Work of Business.

The Diagnostic Channel

Darren Barefoot and Travis Smith both comment on a channel that shows weird Dr. Who-like graphs.

Believe it or not, the graph channel is a diagnostic tool used by Cable Companies to be able to determine how their headends are performing.

At least that is how it was explained to me by someone who has worked for 3 different cable companies in two countries.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Good Design == Higher Profits

Allan Jenkins has posted a link to a paper posted by Hans Henrik (don't you love blogs) on how companies with good design have outperformed the FTSE 100 over the last decade.

Very cool. It would be interesting to see if the paper also correlates whether good design can make or break a company.

Free == Worth Less

The non-billable hour is back again with a great comment via PschoTactics on the true value of FREE. [here and here]

As a consultant in a product organization, I often see my services thrown in for free to close a deal. The clients who we then work with value our efforts less, and as a result, they do not invest adequate time, money or energy into the ideas and projects we are working on.

Free means that the service is Worth Less.

Process, Not Task, Management

The non-billable hour continues its run of quotables on this blog, by finding an article detailing that businesses will grow and be more successful if they undertake the very difficult task of implementing process management. [here]

This idea links the entire business end-to-end in process maps instead of departmental silos.

This is the entire philosophy that we have been attempting to pursue with companies in the area of Web performance. The objective of a successful company is that departmental silos exist, but are meaningless. "Cross-functional teams" becomes a meaningless term, because you don't have to make it seem like you are doing something new, as everyone just does it, and understands how they fit into the process map.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More News on my former company…

My former company announced earnings yesterday. The Internet Stock Blog has some interesting comments on the call and the guidance. [here and here]

Wonder what's happening back at the ranch....

Small World

It's a small world here in the Blogosphere. Seems that Darren Barefoot (who I read daily), worked at Tourism Victoria.

Oh, and the article has some good advice about being on hold.

General Radon Noise

  1. It snows in Massachusetts -- why can't people drive in it?

  2. I am going home in a few minutes.

  3. Buy the Sonics. [here and here]

You have heard the Sonics -- Think Land Rover. [here: The Edge and The Split].

Seattle Garage Band...yeah you have heard that before. But from 1962-1967?

Their music sounds like someone took the masters and dragged them behind a Land Rover...on Titan, then committed them to wax. I am amazed that the recording needle didn't go through the wax when they made these albums.

And the ads cleaned up the sound!

Coming of age in my musical appreciatin in Victoria, BC, the Sonics were a normal part of the background noise that I heard. And everyone covered them, especially The Witch and Strychnine. And you haven't heard Louie, Louie until you hear the Sonics version...with the amps at 11.

Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds. Buy these cds.

Then put your ScobelizerHeadphones on and melt your mind. No one will notice; it's a snow day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

New Book

I have a new book: High Performance MySQL

Looks like I may have to make some configuration changes.

Thanks to Jeremy Zawodny for writing this.

Steve the Super-Villian

The strange thing, I know people like this.

A lot of them...

Ok, I am one...

Gotta run; have to re-build the kernel on my Orbiting Brain Lasers...

Evangelism as Blogging

Jennifer Rice has some great comments on blogging and evangelism.

Evangelism is key to what I want to evolve to professionally. It involves developing my skills and desire to such a point that I infect everyone I meet with the same enthusiasm I have for my area of interest.

Catch-phrases ("Be your own brand", "Get on the cluetrain", "blog or die") are meaningless to me. They all boil down to loving what you do.

Read Tom Peters' blog sometime. Whenever I am flagging or in a funk, I read him. His passion for what he does invigorates me. Find those people and work with them.

Be all that you can be. [Apologies to the Army.]

Now he’s going to Napa!

Jeremy Wright, master of Ensight, is going to be in Napa this week.

Life is tough for the A-List Bloggers top-tier, uber-connected bloggers.

[Jeremy is vehement that he is not an A-Lister.]

GrabPERF: Donations Gratefully Accepted

For those that use the GrabPERF system, or the performance libraries on the site, I have posted a PayPal Donation button.

Costs for developing, documenting, and maintaining the site is starting to mount, and the wear and tear on my very ancient systems is starting to show. In order to bring the GrabPERF system up to snuff, I will need new database and Web server machines in the very new future, a cost that I have no hope of covering.

Plans to expand the system beyond the single measurement location cannot go ahead without a more stable, secure and appropriate hosting environment.

If you use the GrabPERF System and want to see it improved, please donate.

This happened to me…but all they got was spam

Rick Heller on Blog Name Hijacking.

When my Blogger space was hijacked (after I had abandoned it), someone else took it over, name and all.

Just sad to see that this is going to become an issue.

SNDREC32 iz l33t!

Go here. Put on headphones. Be in awe.

Monday, January 24, 2005

BloggerCon in Seattle

I really wish I was there. But then again, I am not an A-List blogger.

Blogging is great for me. But it is not likely that I could make it an adjunct to a successful career. I look at the A-list bloggers, and they have all had careers that I have dreamed of, but have never been able to breakthrough into.

  • No MBA

  • No Money

  • No lucky break

  • No brush with fame or infamy

I look at the world and wonder how you get there. How do you take your passion and turn it into a career?

I know I can...and there are a ton of you out there who know that. It's just that most of them are in Seattle right now!

Much running through my head…

I have had one of those days that leaves me thinking if what I do matters.

I have a great message; I am enthusiastic about my message. But the more I try and push my message, the more mundane the tasks I am handed. I need a new challenge, one where I am not battling a lackadaisical sales force who just wants to get by, does not want to push the limits.

We have great customers, who have amazing technologies and interesting business challenges. Meanwhile, I am doing basic jobs, jobs that do not challenge me to think strategically or in new ways. Why? I see the challenges everyday, but here I sit.

The question is: what have you done to change this? What steps have you taken to resolve this?

I have blogged my ideas. I have tried to implement them, present them to customers, co-workers. My enthusiasm for this is still there. The only place I have for my ideas is here, and here is where they will be.

Bring on your Web performance challenges. I want them, I want to see them as bad as they get. I live for them.

A worthwhile tirade on UIs

Johanna Rothman has nailed a credit card company with a stupid UI.

I liked it, because I agree that a core component of Web performance is transparent and seamless Web design. I particularly enjoyed this TakeAway:

Why do you care what browser your users use? The world is full of browsers.
That's why we have Java. Accomodate all the browsers. Sure it means that you
have to write code more carefully and test on many platforms. Is it worth losing
any customers because your developers were too lazy to write good code?

I often ask myself the same question.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I am whacked

I think that tomorrow will be a snow day for me -- I'll work from home. I have a presentation to put together for Wednesday, so hanging out in my frigid attic work room is where it will happen.

We went back out around 4PM EST to do some more shovelling. We can now get out if we have to, but why?

Someone else is snowed in.

Stephen O'Grady of RedMonk is snowed in in Portland, ME [here].

Good day to do nothing but wonder how the Scobelizer feels now that he is 40...a fate I won't have to suffer for four more years!

The Power and Magic of Testers and QA

Brian Marick has a great article on testers.

I am one of those who is a tester. And frankly, I agree with everything he says.

SNOW: Thoughts of Johnny Cash

Why Johnny Cash?

How high's the water snow, momma?
2 feet high and risin'....

Took the Damnation out...ok, I dragged her behind me. The snow is shoulder deep on her, knee deep on me. And it is still falling. And it is still blowing.

I am not even going to try and dig out until the snowfall stops.

ADDENDUM: Dave Winer has a great movie of guys digging out in Cambridge. Shot from his hotel room.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Considering GrabPERF Expansion

Since I think that I have stabilized the GrabPERF System into a happy near-production environment, I am considering an expansion of the system. This expansion would include adding more measurement locations.

Much like Ian Holsman's WebPerf.Org, I want to know if there are any volunteers who would like to participate in a BETA of this system when I have it ready to go.

Requirements for BETA participants would be the following:

-- crontab
-- Perl DBI
-- Perl dbd-mysql
-- Perl CURL-Easy
-- A stable IP address
-- Ability to talk to my server on port 3306

I would establish some very basic Agent verification (hence the stable IP address). This would include allowing the IP address to talk to my database server through IPTABLES, and then verifying that the Agent ID and it's IP address match, in the database.

Drop me an e-mail if you are interested.

Halley Suitt from the Scoble House

Halley Suitt is at Robert Scoble's 40th b-day in Seattle...near Victoria. Seems that people from the East Coast are getting snowed in and missing the party [here].

At least 8 inches here at The Embassy...with a stiff wind...and now sign of stopping.

I hate you the nicest possible way! ;-)

A few days late: Comment on a press release from my former employer

Here are some comments on a press release from my former employer.

Sort of what I thought at the time...

eBay: Theoretical Limits of the Network?

In the Business 2.0 Blog, the author posits on the possibility that eBay may be reaching the theoretical limits of its network growth potential. In this case, I do not mean the technical TCP/IP network; I mean the business to client network that has been created around this community.

eBay has been trying to move into new markets and diversify -- classifieds and rentals being two new oppotunities. And the recent price increase has infuriated some of their long-term community members.

From personal experience, the treatment that Samantha received from the PayPal division has been enough for both of us to walk away from using it.

So, eBay, what are you going to do to make your user-community ecstatic to use you again? How are you going to make yourself a place where people want to do business, not a place where they grudgingly do business because you are a near-monopoly?

How will you make your community love you again?

The VARY Header: Appropriate Compression and Caching

The team at Port80 has a great article on why the VARY server respose header is important for caching and compression in HTTP/1.1 [here]. It succintly sums up this method for determining what should be cached and which cached content should be delivered to requesting clients.

Laptop is now geeked out

My work laptop is now a fine machine, running Apache, PHP, Zend Optimizer and MySQL. A true development environment for a geek like me!

And just in time: storm's a-comin'!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Mangled IIS Log Files and REGEXP

A while back I asked if anyone had a REGEXP to deal with IIS log files. Well, It was more complex than that. It seems that the logfiles are mangled by the MSFT log parser tool into a very weird format.

And here is the REGEXP I had to use.

/^(S+) (d+) (d+-d+-d+) (d+:d+:d+) (S+) (-) (S+) (S+) (S+) (d+) (S+) (.+?) (.+?) (S+) (S+) (-) (S+) (S+) (S+) (S+) (S+) (S+) (.+?) (.*)$/

Nice, isn't it?

Web DESIGN Standards

Jakob Neilsen has a great article on Web Design Standards. You often hear me discuss things along these lines at the application and HTML layer -- HTTP and (X)HTML/CSS standards. I agree with what Jakob is saying: designers must consider how people will use their site, not just how they want them to use their site.

The Takeaway:

Why Websites Should Comply With Design Standards

One simple reason:

  • Jakob's Law of the Internet User Experience: users spend most of their time on other websites.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

FULLTEXT Indices — The Final Homer!

Ok, figured out the problem with the "/" [root document] query using FULLTEXT indices. It's actually two problems,

  1. It is less than the minimum character count, which is four by default; I reduced that to three.

  2. It isn't an alphanumeric character.

So, my corner-case hack would have been necessary anyway.

Things All of Us Should Remember

Esther Derby has some great advice for managers...heck, for all of us.

1. Notice that what you are doing isnt working.
2. Notice what you are
feeling about that.
3. Center yourself.
4. Generate options.
5. Ask for
help if you need it.
6. Acknowledge your mistake.
7. Apologize if

Cost Recovery for the Unrecoverable

The non-billable hour has this great post on the idea of recovering costs for items such as printers, faxes, phones, etc.

Oh this is nice. What a great way to get your customers to come back to you. Lets bill them for everything we touch. Can't wait for the cost-recovery implant that gets stuck into professional's brains by their firms in order to capture the exact amount of brain-power a project took.

More stupidity in my Web Server Log Application

Ok, as Tim Bray does, I am here to expose the stupid with the great in all the code I write.

Mine was even more brain-damaged. I generate a series of aggregate Web Log stats,after filtering out bots/crawlers/images/css/robots.txt/etc., to generate meaningful information on the visitors to my sites.

However, the aggregate stats were not meshing with the drilldowns I was generating to examine data views, such as who hit what pages, who hit during what hour, etc.

Well, it helps if you look at the same data. The drilldowns used the following SQL filter:

ap.bytes != 0

Ummm...if I built the TEMP table for aggregate data view page using the same filter, the information would be aligned.

A Homer Moment...DOH!

Cooling my Servers

Well, don't have to worry about cooling my systems lately! Went downstairs last night and it was about 29F in the basement.

I figure since my main systems have two PIII processors, there should be no problem with them getting too cold!

Feedburner Subscribers — Update your info!

I changed the info at Feedburner to reflect the new name of this blog. Please update your subscriptions.

Web performance paper

Peter Lin has a Web performance paper here. Focuses on Java and Tomcat. Comments here.

Too bad he misses the point of external monitoring, because some of the other points he makes are very good. Too much focus on the data, not enough on how this improves performance.

Appears that he lives in the area. Peter, if you read this, say hi!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Auschwitz on PBS

Watched Auschwitz on PBS tonight. It is terrifying to see this happening, but a historical perspective must be jarred to reality by the knowledge that the over-arching goals of the extermination camps still apears in human activity.

Sometimes I wonder if we are fit to consider ourselves the primary species on this world.

New Name — Same Author

I have decided to change the name of this blog. This new title reflects what I well as my personal philosophy.

It is also a great song by Husker Du.

Hang ride ahead.

The Problem with MySQL FULLTEXT Indices

Ok, know that I have discovered the beauty of FULLTEXT indices, I know have discovered their dark side: even set for "IN BOOLEAN MODE", I get way more results than I was expecting.

Using the logic of the FULLTEXT search, it makes total sense. If I pass "/compression/" as a variable to the listing page, it returns everything that matches that string, including the sub-pages.

Time to haul out a regular expression. Using PHP's ereg function, I perform a case insensitive match on the string.

if (ereg("^$page$","$row[DATABASE_URL]")) {

So I am skipping all of the overzealous returns, and displaying only the exact matches. And, believe it or not, this process is still far faster than using the REGEX engine in the MySQL query to start off with the exact matches.

If anyone has a less brain-damaged way to get MySQL to quickly return exact string matches, let me know.

Addendum: I found yet another brain-damaged thing with FULLTEXT searches: if you search to match against "/", exactly zero results are returned, even with "IN BOOLEAN MODE" turned off. This baffled me for a while, and is important enough for me to waste some mental energy on, as all requests for the root document in an Apache log file are referenced as "/".

After trying a few things, I actually had to write a corner-case "if" statement, that, if the passed URL exactly matches "/^/$/", use the REGEX method to pull the pages. All other pages are processed using FULLTEXT matching.

This behaviour is very weird.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Re-write of GrabPERF Data Insertion Process

I re-wrote the data inserting mechanism for the GrabPERF script. Previously, I had been looping through the measurements, then looping through the results to insert them.

Now I open two database connections, loop through the measurements and insert them after the data is collected. Much more efficient, although I am still a hack programmer.

I will be glad to share a sanitized version of the measurement script with anyone who asks.

Hey Martha? Throw this Peekahso thang in beside the beans!

As Darren states: Universe Collapses -- Picasso on sale at Costco.

I hang my head in shame and seek a South Pacific Island to flee to.

The Beauty of FULLTEXT Indices

I insert all of my Web server hits into a MySQL database, and a few of the queries I run were really slow. Then I discovered that using FULLTEXT Searches, as opposed to LIKE or REGEXP, were far superior.

Cut the query time by 80%. Ouch.

If you use non-binary CHAR, VARCHAR, or TEXT columns, consider a FULLTEXT Index on those columns.

Hip Trends: Vintage iPods

Dave Winer points to Paolo's site: Vintage iPods Club

Sort of like driving a vintage Prius, I guess.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Canadian executives are slow to follow U.S. peers in setting up Web logs

Despite what some of my readers might think, the statement in the title is one I know, in my heart, to be true. Canadian CEOs are far more conservative and risk-averse than their US brethern, and there is no real cult of the CEO in Canada as there is in the US.

Canadian business culture is very chummy, and probably a little older than US business culture. This means that e-mail has just become a useful tool for many Canadian CEOs. IM and Blogs? Maybe in the next generation.

Thanks to the Blog Herald.

Chris Anderson on the road


If you showed up in Boston, I would buy you a neat, 25 year-old scotch and take you to a nice quiet place out where I live so you can scream in the woods.

Good luck with your trip.


Ok, that’s it…

Nothing happening today. My databases are up, my Web server is up, my sample report is generating real data and I am heading home before the atmosphere freezes.

Supposed to be very cold tonight; I am sure the Damnation will appreciate that when I take her for her walk tonight.

Continuing to read Execution -- a very good book. Highly recommend it. Is making me consider where my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can help my company execute more effectively.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Iron Chef America

Do I need to say anything else? Food Network

[A lack of] Project Management

Suddenly this weekend, a project at work, which had been back-burnered for all of Q3 2004, became a screaming hot topic to be completed ASAP.

This is not much of an issue, as the code that needs to be written will consist of re-using a group of functions that I have already developed and refined. What is curious is that they decided to expose the document used to define this specification to more than one customer. At the time of the initial scope definition for the project, this was to be for a partner who we had developed a contractual relationship with, including and SLA. Now management has decided that exposing this document to other customers, who can then also hold us to the same SLA, is a good idea.

Sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into.

The Schwimmer Concept: Commercial Aggregation v. Non-commercial Aggregation

Martin Schwimmer, a tradmark lawyer, has ignited a controversy over "commercial" aggregation services (here and here).

It poses an interesting argument. The gut-reaction instinct is to marginalize his comments as fringe element of the blogosphere. But Russell Beattie's comments point out that line between public and private, personal and commercial use become extremely blurred in a new medium.

Perhaps what Martin Schwimmer should do is leap from the Trademark bubble and help DEFINE how a service such as Bloglines can use his content in a way that he agrees with. The law profession is far to reactive and non-solution oriented.

Don't quote old broken rules; be a leader and make new, effective ones. Leadership comes from bold new initiatives and the willingness to see what is, and make what should and can be.

I issue a challenge to Martin Schwimmer: lead, don't follow.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Scraping the Ceiling..and other “stories” the sellers told us

Samantha has discovered that the ceiling in the guest room is one coat of water-based paint on top of raw plaster. Idiots. The people who have owned this house before us are idiots.

Add that to the "very small" water problem in the basement "only during the heaviest rains". Try a flowing stream whenever more than 20 minutes of rain falls.

In British Columbia, the sellers would be considered in breach of contract for not making a full-disclosure about the condition of the house. Obviously in the US, it is always caveat emptor.

Called for Jury Duty…NOT!

Got my first ever notice for Jury Duty today.

Immediately circled disqualification #1: Not a US Citizen.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Yahoo! Search Buzz Index on Firefox

Interesting how the Firefox Buzz Index at Yahoo matches the hit graph on my server.

Gecko Hits

Firefox Hits

Go Firefox!

Cool Site for Web Performance Geeks

James Governor sent me this link to some BBC support information. I assume that this is public knowledge and I am not exposing some kind of UK National Secret by exposing this for the Google Monster to crawl.

The best thing is the Network Diagram. Very nice.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Chinook in Massachusetts

Now, technically, it is not a true Chinook, but it sure feels like one. Where else can the temperature rise 20 degrees in 2 hours? It was eeriely warm when I came to work this morning. When I go home, it will be a surprising cold that will great me.

Gotta love weather, the last random element.

James Governor on Analyst Relevance

Having had contact with more than a few "industry analysts" (and seen former colleagues make the move into this are), James Governor, of RedMonk, makes a few comments on the relevance of analysts.

The Takeaway:

"what are you going to do to revolutionize your industry?"
                            Susan Koehler, Microsoft

Musing on Correlation Systems

In the world of Web performance, the agreed upon state of Nirvana is the development of an automated system that will isolate, identify, diagnose and resolve (or suggest a resolution) to an issue.  However, the question for me is whether these systems are really useful.

Why do I say that? Because they solve the tactical issues. The day-to-day issues. But there is no solution for poor design, inadequate eqipment, overloaded systems, and other strategic decisions. Automated performance systems do not solve the underlying problem -- delivering reliable and relevant information on Web performance metrics that matter to business customers.

Who consumes Web performance data? Technology teams.

Who needs holistic Web performance information? Business leaders.

Who does the Web performance industry currently serve?

Employers Beware

Blue Skies for Job Hoppers?

Looks like a smaller version of the glory days may be returning. Employers should take the time to carefully evaluate their salary and benefits packages before they lose key emloyees who tolerated their positions because the employers had the upper hand.

Another Large Government IT Project Implodes

Despite the doom-and-gloom title to this post, I fully sympatize with what the FBI is trying to accomplish, and the very public pain that they will feel as a result of the failure of Virtual Case File 1.0.

What I find interesting is that the biggest technology company no one has ever heard of, SAIC, failed to deliver a product that met the client's needs. They are noted for their cutting-edge development and technology, especially in skunkworks and black ops.

This project demonstrates that incredibly complex software projects can and will fail to deliver unless the needs of the users are carefully considered, and the project is not rushed for political purposes.

What is the goal of Virtual Case File? I hypothesize that it is to make the process of handling case documentation and correlation more effective and efficient, with the additional benefit of being able to link disparate bits of information into a more effective whole more quickly, saving lives, etc.

Ever line of code needs to be developed with this purpose in mind. Does this function allow a user to achieve the goals that have been defined for the entire project? If not, what do we need to do to improve this function?

It is very easy to lose sight of the corporate goal when working on atomic-level components of a larger project. Happens to me every day. That is why I sit back at the end of each day and consider how my efforts contributed to my strategic personal and professional goals. I have to do it, or else I get trapped by the minutiae.

I wish the FBI luck, as this project is a much-needed advance for law-enforcement.

Light Posts Today

Working on a White Paper with a colleague. WIll be posting very little today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Looking for Web Server Log Files

Got Web server log files that are not top secret? Then I want to talk to you! I am working on a project that requires me to be able to parse and extract relevant data from a large number of Web server log files. Apache CLF I have nailed. Now I need log files for the following platforms:

  • IIS -- 4, 5, and 6

  • Netscape Enterprise/iPlanet/SunONE

  • WebLogic

  • Zeus

  • ???? I am sure there are more!

Let me know via e-mail (link on the left-hand side of the page) if you can help out!

Stupid 404 Tricks

The team at Port80 Software has come up with a cool side-project: cool 404 pages.

The best: CLICK HERE. (May force you to download a file in Mozilla/Firefox)

QoS — Something to consider

From Down Under, some QoS questions that every manager needs to consider.

Performance Article in the Washington Post

I read this article, and although it applies to the Public Sector, it is completely true in the area of Web performance excellence.

The Takeaway Quote

"[T]he magical performance system doesn't exist. Even a good performance
system doesn't exist. Systems don't improve performance; leaders do."
                    Robert Behn

Bloglines…now I get it!

Bloglines this...bloglines that. What's the big deal?

Now I understand. I don't have to worry about the feeds that I read anymore, and I can get them from anywhere! So much understanding flowing to me now!

Subscribing to Bloglines also forced me to clean out some of the detritus in my subscription list. I went nuts at the beginning, subscribing to everything with an RSS feed. Have to be a little more discriminating now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Challenge to Canadian Internet Firms

A few posts ago, I made some statements which I may come to regret. However, as I wrote to the one person who commented on my statement, what I said was more of a back-handed challenge to Canadian employers to show me that they are truly innovative and world-busting.

I issue a challenge to Canadian Internet firms: Show me that you understand Web performance excellence, and are willing to take on a process to implement this concept from the CEO to the receptionist. I want to participate in this; I want to make a Canadian firm the example that the can be shown to the world as the leader.

It may be a niche area, but if you think about it, it means that a company has to understand how its Web property fits into or defines its business model from top to bottom. There are few companies in the world who can say that they understand this, especially not those who did not begin with an explicit ebusiness focus.

There may be firms that think that they have a handle in this. They key question is this: Do your business performance metrics talk to your Web performance metrics?

Let's work together to make your business and technology speak the same language.

Mac Mini — I want one

If anyone wants to buy me one of these, I will gladly start to use a Mac.

Great article on Customer Service — Again, Performance Excellence

Matthew Homann of the [non-billable] hour has a link to a great read at Working Knowledge, a journal from the Harvard Business School. Titled Nail Customer Service, it reminds us that quantifying good customer service sometimes means stepping back and re-examining how you are trying to deliver it.

A good quick read with some great insights.

Yahoo! Desktop Search — First Comments

So far, YDS seems to be ok. A bit of hacking to get it to look into PST files (this should be a default!). However, I am re-building the indices (not indexes, please!) because the file search was having issues finding the string "doc". But my Outlook e-mail was all searchable (except for the PST files).

I will write more as I use it more.

YDS has a Fatal Flaw in my opinion -- it does NOT search inside PST files. I believe that Copernic did.

Also, the searching interface is not real intuitive, and I am a non-linear thinker.

Off to get Copernic.

Microsoft Gets Web Site Security — and breaks performance

Sigh. The team at Port80 Software discovered this little nugget around Microsoft's ISA Server. I quote it here in its entirety because the permalink is returning a 404.

UPDATE (January 10, 2005, 21:29 EST): The article is available here.

Does Microsoft ISA Server 2004 support compression?

One of the most popular questions of 2004 was, without a doubt, "Why does Microsoft ISA Server 2004 break HTTP compression?"

Many users of our httpZip and ZipEnable compression products have
been scratching their heads over why implementing ISA Server suddenly
makes their compression products stop working. Actually, what is
happening is that ISA Server by default removes the Accept-encoding
header from all inbound requests. This is the header that the
Web server uses to determine whether it is OK to return compressed
content to the browser making the request. Without this header,
compression products are just doing what they are supposed to do:
responding with uncompressed content.

Although they have not done a good job of getting the word out,
Microsoft has published this informative article that explains how Web
publishing rules can be written for ISA Server 2004 to ensure that the
Accept-encoding request headers get passed to the web server. If you're
new to ISA, or just confused about why compression worked perfectly on
your test server but is mysteriously MIA in your production server
environment, check it out:;en-us;838365

Lost a Rock?

Damien has found it.

Yahoo! (Another) Desktop Search Beta

Go try it here.

Good luck!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Do I want to participate in a book project? Yes.

Jeremy Wright has asked for new authors to join him in a book project. It looks truly interesting. And the approach is new.

What would I write on? Well, if you have followed this blog for any length of time, you should know that my passion is in the area of Web performance, and the process necessary to effectively management world-class Web sites.

A prime example of this is not one of the big players, but one I use daily -- TypePad. With very few exceptions, the TypePad interface works flawlessly for me, and what I do with it. I could download Moveable Type and run my own blog; but TypePad does such a good job, that I have no need to do this.

How does a company such as Six Apart run a Web site that scales so effectively? How do they keep costs down? What are they doing to ensure that this level of excellence, performance so good it is transparent, will continue?

These are the questions I would ask in my 1,000 words; this is my passion.

Some resolutions that I buy into

Sam Decker has some 2005 resolutions that you can really sink your teeth into.

Number 6 and 8 are my favourites.

6. What will you remove from your web site?

Web sites are magnets for content and pages that build up over time. Eventually, many of these pages get one visit per month. Its often why large companies do a redesign every 2-3 years sort of a web site colonic!

Have you looked at your page visits lately? What pages get little traffic and can be removed. What content on the remaining pages can be removed because it doesnt make an impact? Get an outside perspective.


8. What meetings will you decline?

A couple months ago (as has happened before) I had to take an emergency business trip and my admin cancelled all my meetings for two days. As you might imagine, everything was fine. But they seemed so important when they were set up!

An executive once told me that choosing meetings is a conscious decision every executive needs to make. The meetings should be used to make strategic decisions, where multiple functions are involved. Decline or delegate informational meetings. Cut back recurring meetings. When my team went through the important/urgent exercise, meetings were a major part of our ability to gain back some work/life balance.

Nortel Making Bad News Again

Nortel given more time to file updated fiscals

This story of woe and misery goes on and on.

Blogger Fired; I hear the stampede coming

Ok, Just read this at News.Com.

Frankly, if what this former employee of Waterstone's (a partner of Amazon for the UK market) is alleged to have done is proved to have occurred, I have no problem with his dismissal. It comes down to common sense. Don't talk about something in your Blog that you would not be willing to say to the same person or organization in person.

I know I am not really good about this myself, but since this trend appeared, I have been self-editing (not self-censoring) what I say to take into account who it is directed to, and how it might affect me if someone I know were to read the comment.

If more people used this common-sense approach, we would not be hearing of so many blog-related dismissals.

Frank Patrick describes it this way:

How often have you made a quick-and-dirty assessment of a situation "...unencumbered by the thought process"....(*)

All of that protein consumption gave us these brains; let's use them,


New Articles up on my site

Ok, so only one is really new; the other is heavily revised from its original state.

  • Hit Tracking with PHP and MySQL demonstrates how to build your own simple tracking code, using PHP and MySQL. Relevant in the light of the recent SiteMeter outage

Geographic IP database using PERL, PHP and MySQL allows you to build your own geographic IP database using freely available data**

Have fun with them; any feedback is greatly appreciated.

[**] I have removed this article due to the traffic it was generating.

Drabinsky finally charged in Canada

Garth Drabinsky has finally been charged in Canada (here).

I worked in the event ticketing industry for a few years, and had a few friends who worked for Livent in a variety of capacities. I will not repeat the tales they told me, as I am not a sucker for legal punishment. Needless to say, when the Livent sandcastle began to crumble, no one in the industry was surprised.

It's too bad because he did revive "event theatre" (as opposed to real theatre) in Canada. But, he and the Donald do have the most famous hair...

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Not so happy times at Google

Guess that not everyone at Google became a millionaire and the happy GOOG is no longer the happy dorm it once was (here).

When the last company I worked for went public, one of the employees came bounding through the building showing off his multi-hundred thousand dollar cheque from his stock sale. Needless to say that this person was not my favourite after that.

Getting in on the ground floor means you have good connections or you are lucky, not that you are a better human being.

Radon Thoughts

  1. The Packers deserved to go down in flames. They played awful football.

  2. I am saddened that both the Chargers and the Seahawks got the boot. The Seahawks because they are the closest NFL team to my point of origination (Victoria, BC); the Chargers because I have a soft spot for Doug Flutie, having seen his best years in the CFL.

  3. The Colts look unstoppable.

  4. Go Pats!

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Sitemeter — a tale of woe

Just heard that the reason my past comments on the availability of SiteMeter are so popular today is because the service is unavailble currently.

I cancelled my SiteMeter subscription last week, and went back to free status, which is really irrelevant as I took the tracking code off of my blog pages.

If anyone is interested, I am more than willing to share the PHP code and database structure I set up to track my own blogs. It works fine, except when my connection to the outside world goes down. It is more limited in scope, but I use an array of IP tracking tools and queries to slice and dice my data.

Some info available here.

Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, Tort Reform and Asbestos

The Great Confusicator (Obsfucator?) has spent a lot of time stumping for Tort Reform this week. His primary example has been firms hit by Asbestos lawsuits.

I wonder if this is because Halliburton subsidiary KBR ended up going into Chapter 11 fighting an Asbestos lawsuit? (More here and here)

Wonder why no one is talking about this...or does the Washington press corps have a short memory?

I stand corrected -- CBS MarketWatch does mention Halliburton in an Asbestos story. Right at the very bottom.

Snow Hits Vancouver Island

Samantha and I hail from Victoria, BC, on Vancouver Island, the largest island off the Pacific Coast of North America. It is blessed with a mild mediterranean climate, year-round.

Except now.

Apparently they are having a winter storm that has dumped more snow on the area than we have seen in Massachusetts this year.

Have fun!

NY Times to charge?

Dan Gillmor mulls over the thought of whether the NY Times will charge for its online service.

My answer is: NO.

I am increasingly angered by newspapers that make their sites more and more irrelevant to me by hiding behind subscriptions and registrations. Do they need my marketing information?

If they will only make their online content available to subscribers, why have a dead-tree edition? Or vice-versa?

Online news is how the majority of my generation and younger get their information. Lead, follow, or get offline.

Jeremy’s Final Word on the Firing

Jeremy has one final swing at the termination of his employment.

My take is that the response of HSC is very typical of any large firm who has been caught in a very public and almost untenable situation. And that they chose to discuss a personnel issue at all makes me see them in a very bad light. HR should know about the confidentiality rules in Canada.

The response of former employees also is typical of the response of full-time, politically-tenured employees to contractors in all organizations. I have seen this in almost all work cultures -- "How dare he smear our company's name; and he was just a contractor anyway".

Glad Jeremy has moved on; I will now drop the topic.

Friday, January 7, 2005

New GrabPERF Features

Added two new features to the GrabPERF system this morning.

  1. Display the Arithmetic and Geometric Mean by aggregated hour. This uses the datapoints in the 'data' table, which reaches back 10 days.

  2. Display the Success Rate by aggregated hour. Uses the same data as above.

These are attached to each individual test screen.

Have fun!

Chris Anderson talks to Jeff Bezos

In this interview, Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail fame) speaks to Jeff Bezos of Amazon about that very topic.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Thoughts on Web Performance Excellence

In writing the last post, I was thinking about what factors go into making the Web performance of a site "excellent". What defines in the minds of the sites users/customers/visitors/critics/competitors that the performance of a Web site is excellent?

These are usually judged by the standard factors:

  • Usability

  • Responsiveness

  • Availability

  • Traffic

  • Reliability

  • Security

  • Clarity

But within the company itself, how is the performance of their Web site judged to be excellent?

Right now, most people use the external metrics mentioned above to determine excellence. However, it must be remembered that there are two other critical factors that need to be considered when managing a large IT infrastructure.

  • Ease of Management. This is a metric that is often overlooked when determining if a Web site is excellent from an internal perspective. Often it is simply assumed that running a large IT infrastructure is incredibly complex; in most cases this is true. However, is it too complex too manage efficiently and effectively? How much time is spent finding the cause of problems as compared to resolving them?

  • Cost of Operation. This is always a big one with me. I look at sites that are trying to squeeze as much performance and availability out of their sites as they can. At some point, the business has to step back and ask, "How much does another half-second of speed cost us?". When this context is placed around the "need for speed", it may open a few eyes.

When this two critical internal factors are combined with the raw external data that can be collected, collated and analyzed, some other ideas come to the forefront as KPIs in Web Performance Excellence:

  • Cost Per Second. The cost of a Web site is usually only calculated based on the negative metric of how much it costs when the site is down. Well, how much does it cost when the site is up? Can that number be reduced?

  • Revenue By Speed. Which customers spend the most on your site: LAN, home-broadband, or dial-up?

  • Person-hours per day. How many person-hours per day does it take to manage your Web site?

  • True Cost of Performance Issues. When there is a performance issue, the cost is usually associated with lost revenue. Reverse that and ask how much did it cost in time and materials to resolve the issue.

The creation of new Web performance excellence metrics is crucial if companies truly want to succeed in the e-business arena. Business management has to demand that IT management become more accountable to the entire business, using metrics that clearly display the true cost of doing business on the Web.

Heavy-Tail Distribution in Web Performance Data

I found a great example of a Heavy-Tailed Frequency distribution in my performance data today.


This clearly shows how data in the wild can be distributed in a non-normal fashion. In this case, there is a very heavy weight on the end of the tail, not simply a few straggling outliers.

It has become very unusual to find sites that exihibit this degree of heavy-tailed behaviourĂ‚  over the last year. When I started in this industry, this was more the norm than the exception.

Ideas on Evolving Excellence

A good read on evolving excellence through simplicity.

The concepts that apply in the manufacturing process also apply in Web performance. Simplicity makes Web performance excellence easier to achieve.

What does your Web performance process look like?

Jeremy Wright Adds More On His Firing

Jeremy has added more on his firing (here).

I am going to burn my bridges with more than a few potential Canadian employers by saying that this does not surprise me at all from the Canadian management mentality. In some ways, it is still stuck in the Victorian era: paternalistic and vindictive. My interviews with Canadian companies have always left me going, "I don't want to work for them!".

Why? Because the HR Teams at Canadian companies are designed to remove critical thinkers and free spirits. I have yet to find a Canadian company of any size where innovative thought and inventive concepts were allowed to flourish.

I would name some examples, but that would get me into even more hot water.

Corporate Canada -- and Corporate America, for that matter -- has to accept that people talk about companies: to friends; colleagues; and the world. Blogging just makes that more global.

As Jeremy states, companies need to understand that blogger and companies have to agree where the line is, and soon.

Hmmm...more than a few hits on this article from HSC, Jeremy's former employer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Jeremy Wright Fired for Blogging

Jeremy Wright was fired for blogging. This is likely the trend of 2005.

I like Jeremy and as a fellow Canadian, this doesn't surprise me. But I will hold my tongue on this topic.

More here and here.

HTTP Standards Exist — USE THEM!

I am extremely steamed at an article that just read on Caillon's Blog which basically encourages people to disable HTTP Pipelining.

This is the wrong approach.

If a server announces that it is HTTP/1.1 compliant, then  it should be able to handle a browser that is using all of the HTTP/1.1 features. If someone is using a server version which cannot handle all of the features of HTTP/1.1, then they should be forced to fall back to HTTP/1.0.

By continuing to bow to the lowest common denominator, Web performance will not improve and Server developers will not be forced to accept that they must fix their code.

The only reason that server developers have gotten away with lousy pipelining support is because MSIE still does not support it. If MSIE begins to implement pipelining, then watch the mad scramble to resolve this issue.

Proactive Web performance excellence. Do it.

GrabPERF Upgrade: cURL

The GrabPERF system has been upgraded to cURL 7.12.3.

Let me know if you see any weird behaviour.

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Stupidity at two levels

Ok, I did two very stupid things yesterday.

  1. Left the power supply for my laptop at home

  2. Dropped a Unique Index on my database log table and ended up with a huge number of dupes in the table. Spent two hours teaching myself how to rebuild the table without the dupes.

Ok, so I know a lot more about indices and how they work now.

InnoDB Retired; Back to MyISAM

I have moved my logging and GrabPERF databases back to the MyISAM type; I was not seeing a massive performance increase, and I don't do a lot -- any? -- of transactions, besides inserts and selects.

I also get a lot of RAM back when I do this.

Zend Optimizer Running on Server

Thanks to a suggestion from the Blog Herald, I put the Zend Optimizer on my Web server to see if I can squeeze anymore performance out of that already creaky box.

Let me know if you see/feel anything weird or freaky with the WebPerformance system.

Monday, January 3, 2005

Why I am not an A-list Blogger

  • I have never used OSX or owned a Powerbook

  • I don't own a tablet PC

  • I don't own a sexy cell phone

  • I have never owned/started a company

  • I have never had my own column/tv show

  • I haven't had to hide my true identity to protect my job/family/unnamed federal agency

  • I have never written my own Internet Standard or protocol

  • I have only been quoted by the mainstream media once

  • I have not written a book

  • I only go on one business trip every 2-3 months

  • I have never had comment spam

I am sure there are more reasons; I will add them as they come to mind.


  • I am not in a band

  • I think podcasting is vain and useless

  • I don't own an iPod/Zen Micro/Digital Player

  • My digital camera is worth $60

  • I have never mixed my own music

  • I have never written a desktop application

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Scammers everywhere

I stumbled across this URL last night.

This is a scam URL -- the real URL for the Canadian Red Cross is

Damn I hate people like this. Where's WIPO when you need it?

Give Tsunami Aid to the Canadian Red Cross

Why should you donate to the Canadian Red Cross?

  1. The Canadian Federal Government is matching all private donations dollar for dollar

  2. Your US dollar is worth $1.24 (CDN)

Go Canada!

MySQL and PHP 5 woes

Discovered some things tonight.

  1. When you upgrade a local MySQL database on a system with PHP 5, you have to recompile PHP or else you get some sort of weird libmysqlclient error

  2. 'url' is a reserved word in PHP 5 using the MySQL 4.1.x MySQL clients

  3. Running two InnoDB Databases on the same machine == bad.

My Apache log database is now running on the Web server itself, while the GrabPERF Database is on a stand-alone machine. That should prevent some of the locking problems that I was seeing at log insertion time.

Oh, and my log flushing script was not being run. I was calling the wrong filename in the crontab. <DOH!>

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Problems with Browser Percentage Graphs

I had a small issue with the rollove to the new year. Seems that the PHPlot package that I use requires strict date precedence...year first. Once I figured that out, I was able to get the graphs back up and running.

I hate surprises like that on the first day of the new year.