Friday, September 30, 2005

MSIE 6 and HTTP Compression — get the service packs!

A colleague in Germany forwarded me this interesting Microsoft knowledgebase article.

Internet Explorer May Lose the First 2,048 Bytes of Data That Are Sent Back from a Web Server That Uses HTTP Compression

This appears to only happen if another program registers (Real8 Download is the example given in the KB article) to use some of the more obscure Internet Name-Space handlers with Urlmon.dll. These corner cases include rarely used protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP.

Also, this only applies if you haven't bothered to patch your MSIE 6 for like, oh, two years. So, if you have bizarre behaviour with sites that use compression, use that Microsoft Update thingie you may have heard of.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Possible New Project

I have a lead on a possible new project. Very exciting, and will build on some of the things I have been developing over the last year or so.

But it will mean changing my dream of a Powerbook to one of a functional Linux laptop.

Any recommendations?

GTD: David Allen Roadmap Session Tomorrow

I will be attending the David Allen GTD Roadmap session in Boston tomorrow (September 30, 2005).

Hope to see many Boston GTD freaks there. Should be fun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Delay: Another Texas Hog Off To Slaughter

Oooohhh! A surprise!

DeLay indicted, steps down as majority leader

I think he should personally be responsible for cleaning up Beaumont, TX.

GrabPERF: Measurement Location Outage

The Gomez measurement location suffered a mental lockup and system hang at approximately 04:00 EDT (08:00 UTC) this morning. Just figured it out, and the system has been restarted.

Sorry for the lack of data over the last few hours.

And, if you want to host a GrabPERF measurement location, drop me a line.

Armed Hamsters! Run!

What more can I add on this?

Via: The ever cute sweetney

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Tower Hill Insurance Group Hires Idiots

Found this charming set of entries in my logs this morning.


Apparently the Tower Hill Insurance Group (sent you past their flash entry page) hire folks with not much better to do than fill my logs with stupidity all day.

OrgName:    Tower Hill Insurance Group
Address: 7201 NW 11th Place
City: Gainesville
StateProv: FL
PostalCode: 32605
Country: USNetRange: -
NetName: THIGHQ1
NetHandle: NET-64-57-0-0-1
Parent: NET-64-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
NameServer: AUTH10.NS.WCOM.COM
NameServer: NS1.THIG.COM
RegDate: 2000-03-20
Updated: 2001-06-20
TechHandle: ZT82-ARIN
TechName: Tower Hill Insurance Group
TechPhone: +1-352-333-1777
OrgAbuseHandle: NS446-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Services, Network
OrgAbusePhone: +1-352-333-1777
OrgNOCHandle: NS446-ARIN
OrgNOCName: Services, Network
OrgNOCPhone: +1-352-333-1777
OrgTechHandle: NS446-ARIN
OrgTechName: Services, Network
OrgTechPhone: +1-352-333-1777

Domains for Sale: Part 2

Ok, I forgot to list all of the domains for sale in my post last night.

Buy these domains. Make me an offer I can't refuse.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Vlogging Mini-Conference — Monday, October 3, 2005

For all you local vloggers, there is a vlogging mini-conference coming up in Worcester, MA.

When: Monday, October 3rd, 6 p.m.
Who: You and your interested friends
What: "Meet the Vloggers" Worcester
Why: To learn more about videoblogging and build community
Directions to WPI:
Campus map to find the Campus Center:
(The Campus Center is #6, behind Alumni Gym (#3) and next to Olin Hall
(#23). The star is where they are building a new Admissions building and the
circle in the center of campus is a fountain. These are just mentioned as

Jan McLaughlin, a videoblogger (vlogger) from New York, will be visiting and
we will be presenting about videoblogging. This will include everything from
what equipment to use to how to drive traffic to your site, how to build
community through videoblogging and how to subscribe to news feeds using RSS
so you can watch other peoples' videos. This will be a fun, interactive
presentation. I hope you can make it.

Thanks to Carl Weaver for the info.

Domains for Sale

Ok folks. We sat down and did an evaluation of the finances today...and we're broke.

Very broke.

So, I have had to buckle down and put some of my high-value domains up for sale. Right now, they are up on Sedo.

Yes, is up for sale. Unfortunately, I need the money more than I need the domain right now.

And frankly, these are the only things of value I have to sell right now.

Let your friends know.

This blog no longer supports MSIE <= 6.x

I have been making some changes to this blog and MSIE continues to gibble the CSS layout.

Well, too bad for them.

Get a real browser.

This blog no longer supports MSIE <= 6.x.

Another Reason to Abandon Bloglines


In the middle of the day.


23 Miles of Desperation: Life, work, and emptiness on the East Coast

23 miles. Each way.

Every working day, I am supposed to merrily get in my little car and drive 23 miles to work. I know people who drive farther, sacrifice more, with nary a complaint.

Well, now I am complaining. I'm done. It's over. This gig has run it's course.

I won't go into the frustrations I have with my current job. It's not the company's fault. I suppose it is my own for missing the opportunities within the organization. But I guess it's hard to go for the brass ring, if you're not sure this is the ride you want to be on anymore.

I think that I have known that I was done for a long time, but it is very hard to admit it. I am an enemy alien, the only income-earner, 3500 miles from "home". With a mortgage, two kids and a bunch of other things, sometimes you just make do, hoping things will get better.

They aren't getting better.

Now I have to figure out what to do next. Until then, I will have to be the living dead in the office, going through the paces, feeling every second in this place become one more second that has slipped away from me.

What brought this malaise on?

On Friday, I had an interview with Microsoft. They were/are looking for bright people to help them grow their new ad service and analyze the reams of data that will be coming in.

And I bombed the interview.

I know I bombed; there's no way around it.

And you know what: I'm not good enough for Microsoft. And I knew it before the call was over. I could hear the screening interviewer saying to herself: "How do I get this guy off the phone?".

There it was, the chance to move back to the West Coast, to work with people who are trying to do cool things. Maybe not the coolest things, but cool things.

I miss the West Coast. I miss my in-laws. I miss being able to come and go when and where I please. I miss being able to work for the employer I want, when I want. I hate not being able to take on side contract jobs that interest me.

I miss the freedom of being at home.

23 miles gives you a lot of time to assess the future.

GrabPERF: Search Index Welcomes Findory

I have added Findory to the GrabPERF Search Index.

The current performance is good enough to see them enter the system in the Blog Top 5, now called the Blog Top 6.

Welcome Findory.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

GrabPERF: Search Index Weekly Results (Sep 19-25, 2005)

The weekly GrabPERF Search Index Results are in.

Week of September 19-25, 2005

-------------------------------- --------- ------- --------
PubSub - Search 0.1641161 99.82 7037
Google - Search 0.2469639 100.00 7037
Google Blogsearch (ATOM)- Search 0.5754907 99.89 6201
Google Blogsearch - Search 0.5844869 99.67 7037
MSN - Search 0.6129932 99.99 7036
Yahoo - Search 0.6375895 99.94 7031
eBay - Search 0.6750205 100.00 7036
Amazon - Search 1.0858985 99.95 1832
Technorati - Search 1.1052304 99.89 7036 - Search 1.3558370 99.52 7036
Newsgator - Search 1.5025822 99.97 7037
Feedster - Search 1.5255779 99.52 7036
BENCHMARK RESULTS 1.5572177 99.66 106498
Blogdigger - Search 1.7119017 99.94 7016
BlogLines - Search 2.6147261 97.24 7036
IceRocket - Search 3.4088173 99.86 7018
Blogpulse - Search 6.6481991 99.55 7036

These results are based on data gathered from two remote measurement locations in North America. Each location takes a measurement approximately once every five minutes.

The measurements are for the base HTML document only. No images or referenced files are included.

Technorati: , , , , ,

IceRocket: , , , , ,

Rojo: I’m following Peter

Peter Caputa of PC4Media has bailed on Bloglines for rojo. [here]

I tried it.

Been nice hanging with you Bloglines. Maybe Diller will throw a few bones your way sometime soon.

Must be something about Marlborough, MA.

GrabPERF: Sponsorship Logos Up, Sponsors Roll In

If you are a user of GrabPERF you have noticed a few changes.

Thanks to the sponsors we have so far:

There are a couple of more in the pipeline, and I look forward to working with all of the sponsors.

On this blog and the GrabPERF site, you will see the icon. If you want to support the developer, there are a few items there that will bring a smile to my face! ;)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Introverts Everywhere

Seems that us Introverts are busting out everywhere.

Jonathan Rauch hits for six with this article.

I work at a company run by Extroverts, who, without a second thought, promote the Extroverts and marginalize the Introverts.

The thing is that in my company, outside of sales, the company is dominated by Introverts. In fact, because it is a technology company, the Introverts are really the ones who have the power.

And the Extroverts wonder why the Introverts DESPISE the open plan office -- no cubes, no offices.

Where are the companies run by Introverts, for Introverts?

Friday, September 23, 2005 Problem solved

Looks like resolved their issues.

The Introvert Advantage lists the top ten reasons to being an Introvert. As an INTJ, I can relate to these.

10) Work Well With Others, Especially In One-to-One Relationships
9) Maintain Long-Term Friendships
8) Flexible
7) Independent
6) Strong Ability To Concentrate
5) Self-Reflective
4) Responsible
3) Creative, Out-of-the-Box thinking
2) Analytical Skills That Integrate Complexity
1) Studious and Smart

Looks like I need to buy The Introvert Advantage.

GrabPERF: Corporate Donors Wanted!

If you or your company would like to donate to GrabPERF, here is what we need!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Opera: Free Browser, Web Site Issues?

Opera, my #2 browser choice is now free. Go get it!

Now, Netcraft reports that the site is slowing down as a result. I am also measuring it using GrabPERF


Now, if they turned on compression and had some explicit cache-control information, they might not be doing to badly.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 20:51:09 GMT
Server: mod-xslt/1.3.8 Apache/2.0.54 (Debian GNU/Linux) \
mod_perl/1.999.21 Perl/v5.8.4
Last-Modified: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 12:25:37 GMT
ETag: "771846-1277-63ed7240"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 4727
Content-Type: text/html

They are using Apache. Apache has mod_deflate. TURN IT ON!


GrabIP: IP Registrar Stats for September 22, 2005

Here are the IP Block and Address allocation by registrar, as well as the number of officially allocated IP Addresses in each country (with 65536 Hosts or more) as of September 22, 2005 00:30 UTC.

This data has been extracted from the GrabIP database


-------- ---------- ----------
arin 1484282368 36395
ripencc 363643440 19126
apnic 293023232 11504
lacnic 38634752 1551
afrinic 10626304 479


------------------------------------------ ------------ ---------- ----------
UNITED STATES US 1316020992 31251
JAPAN JP 141465088 1510
EUROPEAN UNION EU 113823420 4604
CHINA CN 72603904 889
CANADA CA 66684672 4926
GERMANY DE 50096208 1622
FRANCE FR 42913408 1197
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF KR 40838400 359
UNITED KINGDOM UK 39511928 1702
AUSTRALIA AU 26556416 4762
NETHERLANDS NL 16418208 1001
SPAIN ES 16367648 419
ITALY IT 16228448 733
BRAZIL BR 15075072 261
SWEDEN SE 12087680 533
MEXICO MX 11030528 154
SOUTH AFRICA ZA 8198656 255
POLAND PL 7411332 729
FINLAND FI 7364224 266
SWITZERLAND CH 6889408 763
DENMARK DK 6860064 277
HONG KONG HK 6193152 538
INDIA IN 5993472 360
AUSTRIA AT 5763744 388
NORWAY NO 5068448 244
BELGIUM BE 4318208 293
NEW ZEALAND NZ 4291072 1129
TURKEY TR 3674304 169
CHILE CL 3022592 316
ARGENTINA AR 2974720 241
IRELAND IE 2905504 116
THAILAND TH 2857472 296
ROMANIA RO 2774144 292
ISRAEL IL 2727296 122
SINGAPORE SG 2686976 307
PORTUGAL PT 2609216 98
MALAYSIA MY 2569472 191
HUNGARY HU 2220416 132
GREECE GR 1766656 162
VENEZUELA VE 1753088 79
INDONESIA ID 1615872 244
BULGARIA BG 1452032 196
UKRAINE UA 1369536 631
EGYPT EG 1280768 55
COSTA RICA CR 1254144 12
PHILIPPINES PH 1173248 189
SLOVAKIA SK 992256 89
COLOMBIA CO 938752 106
LATVIA LV 882496 107
LITHUANIA LT 812928 69
PERU PE 679424 59
SLOVENIA SI 668160 103
ESTONIA EE 649472 45
VIET NAM VN 627712 39
ICELAND IS 507904 28
PANAMA PA 469760 31
CROATIA HR 346688 34
PAKISTAN PK 345600 77
KUWAIT KW 297984 25
CYPRUS CY 274720 58
BOLIVIA BO 263424 20
ECUADOR EC 258816 127
MALTA MT 242432 32
MOROCCO MA 233728 9
PUERTO RICO PR 220928 30
URUGUAY UY 206592 25
JORDAN JO 191744 29
QATAR QA 176128 6
OMAN OM 163840 5
SRI LANKA LK 163840 29
NIGERIA NG 159744 24
EL SALVADOR SV 156672 13
GUATEMALA GT 145152 19
MACAO MO 143616 16
GEORGIA GE 126976 20
BELARUS BY 119552 16
LEBANON LB 112640 16
KENYA KE 107776 22
TUNISIA TN 106752 4
ALGERIA DZ 90880 16
FIJI FJ 88832 10
CUBA CU 87040 11
ARMENIA AM 86016 10
UGANDA UG 75008 4
GHANA GH 74496 13
BAHRAIN BH 73728 14
BERMUDA BM 66048 18

The attempt to post these weekly has been inconsistent. Let's shoot for monthly!

**Please note that the total number of IP Addresses for the United Kingdom is the sum of totals for the two unique country codes used when registering IP Blocks -- UK and GB.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

IceRocket: , , , , , ,

Bush bought Florida in 2004

This story should come as no surprise to anyone.

Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports.

Via: raving lunacy

GrabPERF: Making Money on Free

I love Evelyn. And she nails the reason why I have made parts of GrabPERF not free. [here]


Netcraft: EV1 Hunkers down

Lovely Rita she ain't.

EV1Servers Hunkers Down for Hurricane Rita

CEO Robert Marsh says the company has more than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel on site, and has procured an extra generator in case grid power is unavailable for an extended period. "We anticipate that the coming storm will have no impact on our operations," Marsh said in a message to customers. "However, we are prepared to deal with any eventuality."

GrabPERF: Support comes from the most unexpected places

Later today, I will be discussing an offer of support for the GrabPERF System which came in last night.

I know that I have made my need for hardware and financial support for GrabPERF fairly clear over the last couple of days. However, I was impressed and surprised by this offer of sponsorship/support, especially given who the person making the gesture is.

I won't say reveal any details yet (yes, I am stealing a Buzz Marketing trick from Scoble and Wright), but this is a very exciting development for the GrabPERF System.

Perhaps corporate sponsorship is the model I need to look at for this.

GrabPERF: The PBS/NPR of Web Performance Monitoring.

JetBlue: Los Angeles Landing Great Buzz Marketing

Yesterday, a JetBlue plane suffered a failure of the front nose-wheel system shortly after take-off.

After 2 hours and an spectacular light show, the Airbus A320 slowed to a perfect stop on a runway at LAX. [here]

The winners? JetBlue. A perfect landing, flight attendants who were calm in-flight, and the ability to watch the whole thing from your seat on the plane via DirectTV.

Buzz Marketing at its most unique -- what does this experience say about the quality of JetBlue to you?

UPDATE: Shel Israel watched the whole thing. [here]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Slacker Manager Fast Tracks

The Slacker Manager had a great post about Fast Tracking yourself. [here]

When I read the article, I realized two things:

  1. I was coming up on my two-year anniversary with my current employer with no change in responsibilities or roles

  2. I was going to break one of the SM's cardinal rules

Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed. Now it is time to change the personal marketing campaign.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Important GrabPERF Announcement

Over the next few weeks, you will begin to notice a change in GrabPERF. For those who visit us to examine the summary Search and News Index data, this data will continue to be openly published.

However, by the end of October 2005, all of the detail you have come to expect from GrabPERF will no longer be freely available.

Why am I doing this to a great free service? Am I just greedy?

Two years ago, I started this project as an experiment. Using my six years of Web performance experience, I started measuring sites and analyzing data that wasn't interesting and profitable to my employer. In some short bursts over the last two years, I have sunk at least 3 months of time into developing the graphs, infrastructure, and systems that power GrabPERF

Lately, GrabPERF has attracted the attention of some folks that I truly admire and respect. Folks who value the service and have offered up great suggestions for improving the data that is collected. It is this attention that has lead me to realize that this service is worth something.

There are a number of reasons why I don't just take off on my own.

  1. I am a "guest" of the USA

  2. I would be in conflict with my current employer

  3. Wife. Kids. Mortgage.

  4. My strengths are as an analyst, not as a developer

  5. My strengths are as an analyst, not as a entrepreneur

I am sure there are more, but that should be enough for this point in my life.

What is my goal by moving the meat of the data into a protected area?

  1. Pay to have GrabPERF hosted in a real co-location

  2. Purchase some new hardware for the GrabPERF System

  3. Defray some of the intellectual property costs associated with developing GrabPERF

  4. Defray some of the development cost of a number of very cool features that I have in mind

  5. And the one greedy thing: Daddy needs a Powerbook

As always, if you have a question or comment, drop me a note.

Google: Dear lord. They own everything.

Google Wifi

I guess "Own All Data" does not fall under "Do No Evil".

Via: Geek News Central

Monday, September 19, 2005

Google Blogsearch: ATOM could be faster

Bob Wyman of PubSub suggested that I should add in the Google Blogsearch ATOM results to see if it any faster than the HTML results.

The answer: they might be. But they aren't.

Why not?

Some bright bulb at Google's Blogsearch team hasn't enabled HTTP Compression on the XML results.

Boys, go back and check your config file and make sure that the text/xml (maybe even text/*) MIME-type is enabled for compression.

Then we will have a race on our hands.

Database Abuse: Fun you can have without the optimizer

You know it's going to be a good day when the DBA comes up to you and says:

"You know those really huge and stupid queries that we always yell at you about? Well, we have some database hardware in place and we thought of you as someone who could stress the system."

Fast hardware. Fast Drives. And a query headed quickly towards the 2-3 million row count and 10 minutes of running time.

I love abusing hardware.

Gap.Com: Finally somebody else notices!

At my real job, we monitor and report on the performance of a number of different e-commerce verticals.

[I will now try and stop using marketing-speak.]

In the retail index, the Gap has been down for nearly 3 weeks. Well, they have come part way up, but it is flaky, and they don't have a search function.

No search function? Oh yeah, let's go shop somewhere else.

Anyway, Erick Schonfeld at Business 2.0 just linked to a story at adfreak about this little re-design outage.

20 days. And counting.

This is unheard of in the Internet economy. Well, not unheard of, but the only other site I know that had a similar re-design outage was Wal-Mart back in 2000.

The Gap is a savvy online retailer. Why couldn't this been done in a more intelligent way? What has made this re-design so problematic?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

GrabPERF: Search Index Weekly Results (Sep 12-18, 2005)

The weekly GrabPERF Search Index Results are in.

This Week's Notes

  1. Agent location taken offline

  2. Addition of Google Blogsearch to the Index

  3. Numerous performance improvements to the GrabPERF interface

Week of September 12-18, 2005

-------------------------- --------- ------- --------
PubSub - Search 0.2688096 99.82 6532
Google - Search 0.4013164 99.97 6532
Google Blogsearch - Search 0.5818507 98.60 4214
MSN - Search 0.6981630 99.83 6532
Yahoo - Search 0.7159974 99.95 6527
eBay - Search 0.8345692 100.00 6528
BlogLines - Search 1.0204595 99.95 6531 - Search 1.1687228 99.97 6530
Feedster - Search 1.3112797 99.82 6531
Technorati - Search 1.3240335 99.95 6528
Amazon - Search 1.5195445 99.72 2481
Newsgator - Search 1.5823492 99.72 6529
Blogdigger - Search 1.7142475 99.97 6506
BENCHMARK RESULTS 2.0313721 99.50 76849
IceRocket - Search 4.2792600 98.79 6515
Blogpulse - Search 6.5226776 99.29 6522

These results are based on data gathered from two remote measurement locations in North America. Each location takes a measurement approximately once every five minutes.

The measurements are for the base HTML document only. No images or referenced files are included.

Technorati: , , , , ,

IceRocket: , , , , ,

Friday, September 16, 2005

Performance Improvements to b2evolution

I upgraded b2evolution yesterday to 0.9.1, which the developers claim had substantial performance improvements.

I believe them.

Kudos to the b2evolution team!

Songs That Won’t Die: Make…It…Stop!

Now it's your turn to suffer with this.

Tom Waits

Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon
Independent as a hog on ice
He's a big-shot down there at the slaughterhouse
Plays accordion for Mister Weiss

Uncle Biltmore and Uncle William
Made a million during World War II
But they're tightwads and they're cheapskates
And they'll never give a dime to you

Auntie Mame has gone insane
She lives in the doorway of an old hotel
And the radio is playing opera
All she ever says is go to Hell

Uncle Violet flew as pilot
And there ain't no pretty girls in France
Now he runs a tiny little bookie joint
They say he never keeps it in his pants

Uncle Bill will never leave a will
And the tumour is as big as an egg
Has a mistress, she's Puerto Rican
And I heard she has a wooden leg

Uncle Phil can't live without his pills
He has emphysema and he's almost blind
And we must find out where the money is
Get it now before he loses his mind

Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon
Independent as a hog on ice
He's a big-shot down there at the slaughterhouse
He plays accordion for Mr. Weiss

Buy Rain Dogs. End my suffering.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Upgraded Blog Code

Ok, the site is now running b2evolution 0.9.1 -- took some swearing and a weird hack to get it to work, but we're back!

If you see any weirdness, let me know.

GrabPERF: Agent Location Disabled

This morning, I asked the measurement location to turn down, as we have completed testing the remote measurement code.

This will have some effect on results going forward, mostly positive. The location had an unusual DNS configuration which was affecting the overall measurement statistics.

I am still recruiting for measurement locations on the West Coast. Drop me an e-mail or leave a comment if you are interested in hosting a measurement location on your linux server.

Fatal Flood: Mississippi River Flood of 1927

I watched part of Fatal Flood last night. It was brutal. And, unfortunately, was echoed far too recently not to be a disturbing insight into the nature of the American mind.

The attitude in this nation towards the disadvantaged and disenfranchised has not changed since 1927. This country is falling away from the city upon a hill, the emblematic vision that fuels the misguided and selfish leadership of the United States.

Katrina exposed the raw, festering wounds in the United States. The stench from the Delta is the rotting of the American Soul.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

GrabPERF: Bob Wyman Riffs About Online Consistency

Bob Wyman of PubSub has a great post on the value of online consistency to companies and services. [here]

This is a critical component that is too often overlooked. The need for speed is an addictive goal. But as I have said before, fast is not enough.

Go, Bob, Go!

GrabPERF: Welcome Google Blog Search to the Blog Search Index

You knew it was coming.

Google Blog Search is now in the Blog Search Index.

GrabPERF: Why EXPLAIN is such a useful SQL tool

Now, EXPLAIN seems like such an old school SQL tool. Well, I am here to explain why it's not something you should ignore.

The Index Chart queries were all doing table scans. This can be pretty painful; ok, this can be stupid and EXTREMELY painful. The cause: I was setting sub-optimal date ranges on my queries and making all kinds of crazy date_format calls to format the dates IN THE QUERIES.

Once I changed the code, even when the query cache is cleared, the Index Charts now all run at less than 1 second.

Colour me stupid.

GrabPERF: Whole bunch of bug/performance fixes, part 2

Greg Gershman from BlogDigger found a bug in the Index charts just now. Seems that the chart legend was out of whack with the lines on the chart.

Easy fix. Turns out I was submitting the test ids in a random order. The graph generation component was fine with this, but when I went to build the legend, MySQL ordered the dynamic legend build result in a proper ascending fashion.

Simple fix: when I convert the test ids to an array, I sort the array before proceeding.

Thanks Greg!

GrabPERF: Whole bunch of bug/performance fixes, part 1

Over the last two days I have been trying to optimize the performance of the Index Charts/Graphs. I think I have found the fix, and you should see results for these charts in the sub 1-second range.

To explain how this works, I have to open up the GrabPERF data model and let you folks peer under the hood.

The Daily Index graphs are created using two tables: hourly_site and data. hourly_site is a rollup produced asynchronously at the end of every hour that aggregates the Arithmetic and Geometric means, as well as a count of successful measurements. data contains over 30 days of raw measurement data which is purged at the end of each day.

All of the days in the daily graph, and all of the hours in the hourly graph are pulled from hourly_site. That is with the exception of the most recent day (daily) and the most recent hour (hourly). These are pulled dynamically from data to ensure that all current results appear on the right-hand side of the graph.

With this design, performance was awful. I have tweaked the code as much as I feel comfortable doing (I am an analyst, not a developer!), but it was slow. I increased the size of the query cache, but the boost only lasted for a while. Then I realized that the data I most cared about was being pushed out of the cache by all of the other cached data.

I have now set MySQL to cache queries only on demand. This reduces the load and means that only the results I care about, and which are accessed most frequently, are cached.

When I restart the database, the Daily Blog Search chart takes about 5.5 seconds to generate, and the hourly chart takes about 30 seconds. Yikes!

After this initial pain, both charts take less than one second to be generated.

I am still working on it, so let me know if you see any weirdness.

UPDATE: Seems that the first query of every hour pays the performance penalty, and all other queries will not.

MaxMind: GeoIP Database

Got a quick note from Ed Lin at MaxMind that their free, country-level GEOIP database is updated monthly. You can get the updated files here.

This is in response to some out-of-date info in an old article (here and here) I wrote.

Most of this article is now deprecated, and the GrabIP service is the only remaining element on my site.

Crowsnest Pass: Alberta Weather is Weird

People laugh when I say that I am from a part of the world where, in my lifetime, snow has fallen in every month of the year.

Crowsnest Pass still recovering from freak storm

Power still out for 100 after Crowsnest Pass snowfall

Heavy snow cuts power

I don't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

GrabPERF: Updates to the Index/Multi-Test Graphs

Well, I am starting to try and improve the performance of the slowest graphs on the site, the Index/Multi-Test graphs.

I have managed to completely eliminate the need for the temp tables I had been using, migrating to a pure associative array method. This is in the code that ensures that any tests that return no results for a given time period don't cause PHPlot to throw a hissy fit.

There has to be a way to do it faster. I have a couple of methods I am considering, but arrays within arrays scare me just a little!

Let me know if you see any performance degradations.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Truth Police


Count on SkyNews to bring you an unintended laugh.

Via: Fred Wilson

Then do the following:

Turns out that if you type "failure" into Google and hit "I feel lucky" you'll get the official biography of, well, I don't want to ruin the suprise.


Via: Scoble

Katrina — Zane Comments on the Slave Labour Exemption

Zane hits for six with this commentary.

Why? Why does this nation do these things? What makes people simply shrug their shoulders and say, "oh well; thankfully it's not me".

Next time, it will be you. Or someone you know. And what then?

Katrina — The Facts the Bush Cabal Won’t Be Sharing

Here you go. Read this.

New Orleans has exposed the lie that is the Melting Pot.

The United States is one white, christian nation, indivisible, except when profit is to be made.

Then slave labour is allowed.

Technorati satire


Technorati accelerator.

This one has to hurt. They are getting better...

Via: The Blog Herald

Siebel: Dog has a new owner

Oracle Agrees to Buy Siebel for $10.66 a Share
Vaults Oracle to Number 1 in Customer Relationship Management

Nice to be number one...unfortunately, the well is deep and it will be a while before this shotgun wedding finds any love.

GrabPERF: Search Index Weekly Results (Sep 5-11, 2005)

The weekly GrabPERF Search Index Results are in.

Week of September 4-11, 2005

-------------------- --------- ------- --------
PubSub - Search 0.5421396 99.72 5680
Google - Search 0.5741554 100.00 5681
Yahoo - Search 0.8028792 99.95 5678
eBay - Search 0.9255761 100.00 5681
Feedster - Search 1.2524916 99.86 5679
MSN - Search 1.2737601 98.40 5681 - Search 1.3964269 99.91 5680
Technorati - Search 1.4128937 99.98 5681
BlogLines - Search 1.6020669 99.16 5681
Amazon - Search 1.9909649 99.74 3108
BENCHMARK RESULTS 2.0313721 99.50 76849
Blogdigger - Search 2.3336642 98.53 5577
Newsgator - Search 2.5181818 99.68 5681
IceRocket - Search 4.3043685 99.77 5680
Blogpulse - Search 7.4959768 98.40 5681

These results are based on data gathered from three remote measurement locations in North America. Each location takes a measurement approximately once every five minutes.

The measurements are for the base HTML document only. No images or referenced files are included.

Technorati: , , , , ,

IceRocket: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina — Stupid, Rich White People Run Your Country

Don't you love this country?

Bush lifts wage rules for Katrina

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

Oh, and in the arrogant, rich, white people category, the award goes to Jefferson Parish near New Orleans. It seems that the righteous folks there have decided to re-water parts of New Orleans so that their area can get up and running faster. [here]

Remind me again why the United States continues to think that they are the moral leaders of the world community.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

GrabPERF: Search Index Weekly Results (Aug 29-Sep 4, 2005)

The weekly GrabPERF Search Index Results are in. Sorry for the delay.

Week of August 29, 2005 - September 4, 2005

-------------------- --------- ------- --------
PubSub - Search 0.4132426 99.95 5561
Google - Search 0.5546451 100.00 5570
MSN - Search 0.7807107 99.87 5572
Yahoo - Search 0.7996602 99.98 5571
eBay - Search 0.9371296 100.00 5571
Feedster - Search 1.1738754 99.96 5569
Newsgator - Search 1.2168921 99.96 5569
BlogLines - Search 1.2857559 99.71 5571 - Search 1.4136253 99.98 5572
Blogdigger - Search 1.8896126 99.74 5462
BENCHMARK RESULTS 1.9096960 99.79 75419
Amazon - Search 1.9795655 99.84 3123
Technorati - Search 2.7727073 99.60 5566
IceRocket - Search 5.0256308 99.43 5571
Blogpulse - Search 6.5206247 98.98 5571

These results are based on data gathered from three remote measurement locations in North America. Each location takes a measurement approximately once every five minutes.

The measurements are for the base HTML document only. No images or referenced files are included.

Technorati: , , , , ,

IceRocket: , , , , ,

GrabPERF: Graphing Performance

One of the issues with not being a coder is that development tends to be kludegy. Add in SQL queries and the mess gets worse.

I have made some mods to the Index graphs (daily and hourly) that should only penalize the first person in one of my persistent database connections. After that, the queries are cached.

And while sitting here, I just realized I could improve the speed of this process even more.

I. Am. An. Idiot.

I will fix it....later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

GrabPERF Server updated to PHP 5.1 RC1

I was having issues upgrading the site to PHP 5.1, mainly because it broke a number of the GrabPERF graphs.

Then I read the PHP docs. Turns out that there have been some internal changes to the strtotime() function. I had been using strtotime(date(Ymd H), time()) in the broken graphs; this now returns FALSE, not a numeric value.

A simple switch to strtotime(date(YmdH0000), time()) resolved the problem entirely.

If you see any weirdness, let me know!

Monday, September 5, 2005

Rove and Bush: Staging Photo-Ops, Disposing With Lives

This is enough. Do something.

Read this. Then come back to this forum and tell me how you can support this man.

He and his cronies claim to support the little people. So far, the poor and desperate have suffered the indignity of having their humanity stripped from them by their own government.

Yesterday, we saw a car from Louisiana pass us on the 495. Samantha and I both thought poor buggers. Yet now, I realize that they were driving a very expensive minivan. They weren't suffering. And they were likely staying in hotels.

The United States should be ashamed of their President, their government, and what they have down to their own people.

What will you do to bring humanity back to the United States.

MSIE: Mmmmmm…humour

Tim Bray makes a comment on the new MSIE exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.[here]

Yummy geek humour.

Dear Karl Rove: Shut Up, and Go To Kansas


George Bush is lame, and a lame duck.

He is a stooge, only in place to ensure that the right-wing packs the Supreme Court for a generation (Think Pelican Brief).

Now, after playing politics with 9/11, Karl Rove is playing politics with Katrina.


What does playing politics mean? How many lives does it save?

FEMA failed. DHS failed. Santorum wants to gut NOAA so it can fail during the next crisis.

Karl Rove committed treason. George Bush committed stupidity. Brown and Chertoff were shown to be useless in the face of a disaster.


Unless you are going to New Orleans to DO something, stay home. Stay off the TV. Stay out of the media.

The White House has NOTHING to add to the conversation. It has added nothing to the effort to save these people.

The president of the oil companies and conservative religious fanatics failed the United States. And Karl Rove is trying to make the chimp look good.

Karl, you have failed. You are the most reviled man in America. I think that Karl Rove should be made to clean the Superdome. By hand. Alone.


Saturday, September 3, 2005

Friday, September 2, 2005

Tags: Bye-Bye, and write when you find work

I am basically a lazy sod.

However, I have been dutifully tagging my posts, but being less and less enamoured of the process. For me, it is a manual process, involving visits to Technorati and copy and paste.

People would say, well, just write a widget to do it for you.


It's over. And Darren Barefoot finally pushed me over the edge. [here]

The search tools have to get smarter. It's not 2004 anymore. The obsolesence cycle is getting shorter. The search tools should be able to classify the data without a nudge in the right direction.

Just goes to show that two malcontents from Canada who survived Tourism Victoria can start something.

My final tags.

Technorati: , ,

IceRocket: , ,

Google: purple monkey dishwasher

Web Performance: Dear American Red Cross, You have a problem

American Red Cross:

I know you have other things on your plate right now, but you seem to have a DNS problem.           86400   IN      NS 86400 IN NS 86400 IN NS
;; Received 172 bytes from in 46 ms 3600 IN A 3600 IN NS 3600 IN NS
;; Received 122 bytes from in 33 ms

The name server ( either doesn't exist, or is broken. Unfortunately, the Top-Level DNS servers still have it on file.

The site is working great [here]. Except for the DNS issues.

Keep up the good work. Not Using HTTP Compression

Ummm, this one floored me. If wants to reduce their traffic, turn on mod_deflate in Apache 2.0.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 14:13:10 GMT
Server: Apache/2.0.46 (Red Hat)
Last-Modified: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 14:09:54 GMT
ETag: "ac0b3-3559d-840c3080"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 218525
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

I know it won't solve everything, but it's a start.

GrabPERF: Technorati Uses GrabPERF to Track Improvements

Dave Sifry released a state of the search post yesterday. Between re-building my laptop and getting a client project out, I missed the original post.[here]

Thanks Dave! And continued success.

Technorati: , , , , ,

IceRocket: , , , , ,

Thursday, September 1, 2005

The last thing I needed…

Looks like today is the day I either swap out my laptop for a new one or re-build this one from scratch (or a disk image). MSIE does not retrieve pages anymore, and I have been using this machine for nearly 9 months and the registry is likely a complete mess. that shiny, new install smell.