Sunday, October 30, 2005

The World Is Clustered

A very insightful article on the clustering of wealth and innovation around the world, riffing on a theme by Friedman. [here]

I firmly believe this concept. I have lived three cluster areas -- Vancouver-Victoria, BC; San Francisco - San Jose Metro; Boston Metro -- and the level of innovation and original thinking here is unparalleled. When I travel to non-cluster cities, I am always stunned by how far out on the edge I feel; and I am boring and a follower.

It is also interesting, as a side-note, to mention the political leanings of the cluster cities. If you are talking geography, do these clusters tend to be more open to change, more welcoming of difference, and (at least in the Excited States) seen as more "liberal"?

Lisa, does Bill have a blog yet?

IceRocket doesn’t like GrabPERF

Guess Blake and the team at IceRocket don't want to be measured anymore.

Guess I will disable those measurements -- they will remain off until further notice.

Blake got back to me -- issue fixed! Yay!



PubSub: Anyone have issues getting to PubSub Today?

Just noticed this.


Anyone have troubles getting PubSub sites today?



Want to buy North America’s Oldest Company?

This makes me sad.

A South Caroline businessman is making an attempt to purchase the Hudson's Bay Company. [here]

The company, lovingly referred to as the Bay, was incorporated in 1670 and once owned more real estate in North America, in fact "all the land in the Hudson Bay watershed – a mass that amounts to about a third of present-day Canada." [here]

The HBC is the early history of Canada. Without their greed and ingenuity, Canada would never have grown beyond the Valley of the St. Lawrence.

Perhaps this is the revenge for War of 1812.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

GrabPERF: End of Daylight Savings Time in the US

At 2AM EDT Oct 30, 2005, it will become 1AM EST Oct 30, 2005. This shift will take us from GMT -4 to GMT -5.

As always, hang onto your hats, as I have no idea how the time change will affect the graphing in GrabPERF. My theory is that there should be double measurements for the 1 AM hour, and the hourly rollup will fail, as there will already be an entry for the time period.

I could write an exception for this twice yearly foobar, but let's just say this update is scraping the bottom of the GrabPERF punch-list.

At least I don't have this problem.

Feedster: Odd errors from the local GrabPERF Agent

I have been getting Partial File errors out of cURL on the Agent that is running on my home network. These started at around 16:15 EDT October, 28, 2005. This is why the availability for this measurement is running at around 50%.

Now, did the folks at Feedster make a networking/server change around that time?



Snowing, but not sticking…yet.

Need I say anything more?

Thus it began.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Jeff Nolan and TypePad

Jeff Nolan adds his voice to the TypePad rumblings. [here]

Take away quote:

Some very experienced IT professionals are chiming in that they understand how difficult it is to run a datacenter (something I myself have not done I would add) and I am sure the empathy is well meaning. However, there are ample examples of large datacenter operations that operate with a very high degree of uptime and performance so while running a high capacity and complex datacenter may be difficult, it is being done successfully elseware.

Mena and Ben (further putting the human face on the company, a good PR tactic) may be plenty sorry, but I'm still stuck paying for shitty Typepad performance. In fact, I'd like to see this subscription software model go even further to align with customers by putting a service level agreement (SLA) in place that lays out a series of financial penalties the provider incurs when performance and availability fall below predefined thresholds. I bet they would not have to be sorry then, because companies that have these kinds of service level agreements are always highly motivated to get it right the first time.

Blog Herald Slams TypePad

Wow. It's not often you read something like this.

Oh yeah, it's the blogosphere.

Take away quote:

The question then is: if you ran out of space and were having problems, why did you continue to take on new customers during this period? Surely a responsible business with serious capacity issues would have closed their doors to new business to assure that its current clients were taken care of.

Its called greed.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Switched to Pingoat

I've been using Ping-O-Matic for a long time, but in the last 2-3 days, it has simply not been responding.

Switched over to Pingoat -- hope that works better.

Rojo: Here Rojo! C’mon boy! Don’t run away from me!

Rojo has started showing unusual performance values over the last 24 hours.


Most of the gain has been in First Byte times -- the time between the Client issuing the GET, and the Server's response arriving back at the Client.

Since I use Rojo, this is a concern for me.

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LifeHacker Nails It: Rules of Engagement


  1. Engage. Participate. Be fully present. No auto-pilot.

  2. Meetings and multiple appointments are a fact of work-life; the least we can do is be on time so they can start on time and our peers are not kept waiting.

  3. Respect the attention of your peers. Come prepared means come prepared.

  4. Always have a pen and paper for note-taking. First, you respect others who are giving you information by acknowledging it, and secondly youÂ’re expected to capture it, and follow-up; forgetting is not an option.

  5. Whatever your role is, youÂ’re expected to be the expert in that role. Own it, and donÂ’t be shy about it. Stake your claim proudly. (This was part of the no bench-warmers philosophy.)

  6. When you say youÂ’ll follow-up on something, do. If itÂ’s not going to happen, say so. People trip when you sweep stuff under the rug.

  7. Own up to your mistakes and be okay with them. Making mistakes is perfectly fine for we all make them. However huffing and puffing about them with excuses and justifications is not fine. Get over it (we already did) and just correct it.

  8. Communicate. We have found that relying on mind-reading doesnÂ’t work that well for us.

  9. Trust and be trust-worthy. Much easier when Rules 1 - 8 are honored and we all keep it real.
ng this out now to be posted prominently.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

GrabPERF: Outage — 20:39-21:09 EDT October 26, 2005

For reasons that I have yet to discover, my outbound connection to the Internet appears to have been down between the times listed in the title.

As I have said before, my connection is less than "professional grade", i.e. "don't do this at home".

If I find a cause, I will update.

I apologize for the incovenience.


Found a MONDO huge problem with mysqldump in MySQL 5.0.15 -- it locked the tables. Totally.

I backup the database by taking a dump 4 times a day, 12 hours apart on two machines.

The Web server machine, where I was testing MySQL 5.0.15 prior to the production upgrade, is using the version mysqldump that shipped with that.

I need to read the docs and disable the table locks.

Ok. Does Gutter Helmet just not get it?

Ok, finally got some action from the people at the Customer Service Centre for Gutter Helmet towards helping us fix the final drip between the house and the gutter. This drip is, of course, right over the back door and targets anyone leaving the house when its raining.

The Customer Service Centre was having some trouble reaching their technician. Lucky for them, the technician was across the street, working on our neighbour's house. Maybe we should have told them...?

So, I call Samantha, and Samantha goes across the street to ask the gentleman to call in and speak to the rep handling our case.

Samantha called me after she did this and said that the technician did everything short of growl and bare his teeth at her.

Look, Gutter Helmet: your on-the-ground "technicians" are the face of your company (except for the fast-talking sales dudes). This is the third -- yes, THIRD -- technician we have encountered who has had the customer service skills of a molotov cocktail.

We don't ask for much; a little civility is all that is required.

"Yes ma'am. The Customer Service Rep got a hold of me and I will come over as soon as I'm done here. Thank you."

That's all it takes.


UPDATE (to the update): When Tracy from the Customer Service Centre called me back to follow-up, I told her that the technician had been and this had been confirmed by Samantha.

I then told her about the technician's attitude. In fact, it was the same technician who had come out previously, and given us some attitude. And the bad news was, he had also given Tracy some attitude.

Maybe this will be the final post on this topic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Upgrade to MySQL 5.0.15 Complete

Wait! Didn't he say he had done this already?

Yup. But forgot one stupid little step. You have to re-compile PHP to work with the new MySQL 5.0 libraries. I tried to restart Apache and it barfed all over the PHP module with MySQL library module mismatch errors...or something like that.

Done and the system is now using the right MySQL libraries.

Usual caveats about system weirdness apply. Operator weirdness is your own issue.

Gada.Be — Web Performance Art

I have never seen Web performance graphs as art, but this one is unique.

Gada.Be -- October 25, 2005

You could almost compose music around this pattern.

I have heard from Chris Pirillo about some of the work he has been doing to try and improve the performance of this site. It's hard to get something right when no one else has done it before.

But I still hear the music of this graph in my head.

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In case some of you want to host a GrabPERF Measurement Agent, the current prerequisites are available here.

I hope to get some folks signing up for this during this round.

Really. A river runs under my servers

Think I make this up?

GrabPERF/Newest Industry Server Room

These are the servers that power GrabPERF and this blog.

Don't worry. The UPS on the floor is dead.

Typepad: Ouch. Again.

The TypePad application is currently experiencing performance degradation.

You could say that.


UPDATE: Looks like TypePad has returned to something resembling normal. Slow, but normal.


UPDATE: Geek News Central commiserates with TypePad. [here]

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Using MySQL 5.0

Ok, so I lied; sue me.

The main database is now running MySQL 5.0.15.

Please report any weirdness you see with any of my applications.

Testing of MySQL 5.0

Ok Everyone, if you start seeing some odd behaviour from my sites (GrabPERF, Newest Industry,, it's because I am doing some testing to see if the scripts, processes, and applications I have built on top of MySQL 4.1 can stand the upgrade.

I will not be upgrading the primary database system until all of this testing is complete.

Venetian Server Room

Have I ever mentioned that when it rains, water comes into our basement?

Have I ever mentioned that said water flows less than an inch directly below the only place in the house my servers can go?


Monday, October 24, 2005

GrabPERF: CIA Web Site Run By Very Tired Hamsters

I have said it before, and I say it again: the performance profile of the CIA Web Site SUCKS.


How can you stand this if you are a major government agency? Guess no one at the CIA cares.

Technorati: IceRocket:

GrabPERF: Comparing Technorati Blog and Tag Search

Normally when I discuss the performance of a page I am measuring using GrabPERF, it's either good news ("you just got 5 times faster!") or bad news ("your page hasn't loaded in 6 months; you still there?").

Today, something a little different: a question. What's the question?

Why is the performance of a Technorati Blog (aka Traditional) Search so different from a Technorati Tag Search?

For those of you who have been around for a while, you know that Technorati allows you to search for results based on a Traditional search engine methodology, which is date-ranked, most recent first. It also provides a way to search through the user-defined tags that are appended to posts, or listed as category titles.

The issue that I have been seeing from my measurements is that Tag Searching is performance substantially worse than Traditional Search.



What I need to understand from the Technorati team is the particular technical challenges that differentiate Traditional v. Tag Searching, because the difference in performance is astonishing.

And then there is the success rate of the Tag Search.


When I examine the data, almost all of the errors on the Tag Search measurement are Operation Timeouts. I have set the GrabPERF Agent to time out when no response has come back for the server in 60 seconds. So, effectively 15% of the Tag Searches do not return data to the client in 60 seconds.

So, while the Traditional Search has been tuned and optimized, there appears to be much work left to make the Tag Search an effective and useful tool.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Never Work Alone: Integrating your IT Team…or vice versa

The gang at the Never Work Alone blog have a fantastic post describing some of the solutions to the Introverted IT / Extroverted Sales-Marketing integration issue.[here]

The best points:

  • When hiring, place a premium on being able to explain technical issues to users and determine whether they've mastered the material. Expect this to cost more.

  • Offer raises for taking training in oral technical communication

  • Offer "days off" learning the essential business function of the department. You don't understand what they do, they often don't really GET what you do either, nor why its important - gieve them a chance to understand each other

  • Train non-IT staff to repeat back in their own words what the IT person explained to them and confirm that they got it right (a good idea for any complex communication)

My eternal salvation comes from falling into the first category listed above. I can tear apart a packet trace and spot issues at the TCP layer, and then turn around and explain this issue to the VP of Marketing in terms that she can understand, and are relevant to her.

That is not dumbing it down, as many IT people feel. This strategy (or survival mechanism) allows a technical person to appeal to a wider audience. Being recognized across your organization, not just in your team, leads to greater rewards in the long run.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Search Engine Referral Statistics

Jeremy Zawodny asked the community for stats on where their search engine referrals were coming from.[here]


Google is crushing all other engines. However, I have noticed that my traffic has dropped substantially since the new Page Rank indexing began this week. Wonder what's up there...

Happy Birthday Mighty Girl

Mighty Girl got the hippest 30th Birthday Present anyone could ask for. [here and here]

Bryan, make mine an Orange VW "Thing".

VW Orange Thing ... I think I love you!

Step Right Up for the new…It!

This needs this theme song.

Via Business 2.0

Ok, this falls under freaky spam

This was in my mailbox just now. Huh?!?!?


Thinking about having a baby?

We are looking for couples to take part in a new BBC series exploring the science behind getting pregnant and pregnancy. If you are thinking about trying for a baby or have already started trying and would like to find out more, please call us on 0141 204 6620 or e-mail:


We'd like to advise you that we got your email address from a mailing list company. Their lists are compiled from those who have agreed, when visiting relevant websites, to receive contact from third parties

If you would like to be removed from our list please reply to

I am trying to figure out what list I said yes to to get this email.

GrabPERF: Yahoo BlogSearch Tuning

The Yahoo! BlogSearch started off showing less than remarkable results in terms of performance (I leave the qalitative judgement to other critics). Over the last 11 days, the team at Yahoo! have realized that there may be an issue, and they have been working on it.

On Thursday afternoon (Oct 20, 2005), they obviously implemented a major change that caused performance to improve dramatically.

Yahoo! BlogSearch -- Oct 22 2005

This improvement was due to some back-end changes in the search itself. How do I know this? All the improvement came in first-byte (server response time).

------------------- -------------------

10/20/2005 00:00:00 1.2159322
10/20/2005 01:00:00 1.2658667
10/20/2005 02:00:00 1.3596000
10/20/2005 03:00:00 1.1870328
10/20/2005 04:00:00 1.1672373
10/20/2005 05:00:00 1.2970500
10/20/2005 06:00:00 1.2220333
10/20/2005 07:00:00 1.3705500
10/20/2005 08:00:00 1.4188667
10/20/2005 09:00:00 1.4439000
10/20/2005 10:00:00 1.5772000
10/20/2005 11:00:00 1.4943559
10/20/2005 12:00:00 1.4794426
10/20/2005 13:00:00 1.4017333
10/20/2005 14:00:00 1.6012500
10/20/2005 15:00:00 1.4380333
10/20/2005 16:00:00 1.1326441
10/20/2005 17:00:00 0.5613000
10/20/2005 18:00:00 0.5656833
10/20/2005 19:00:00 0.5766833
10/20/2005 20:00:00 0.5219831
10/20/2005 21:00:00 0.4722131
10/20/2005 22:00:00 0.5022333
10/20/2005 23:00:00 0.4569138

Would love to hear from the Yahoo team, and learn exactly what they did to bring about such a massive improvement.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Is Web 2.0 Suffocating the Internet?

At my job, I get involved in trying to solve a lot of hairball problems that seem obscure and bizarre. It's the nature of what I do.

Over the last 3 weeks, some issues that we have been investigating as independent performance-related trends merged into a single meta-issue. I can't go into the details right now, but what is clear to me (and some of the folks I work with are slowly starting to ascribe to this view) is that the background noise of Web 2.0 services and traffic have started to drown out, and, in some cases, overwhelm the traditional Internet traffic.

Most of the time, you can discount my hare-brained theories. But this one is backed by some really unusual trends that we found yesterday in the publicly available statistics from the Public Exchange points.

I am no network expert, but I am noticing a VERY large upward trend in the volume of traffic going into and out of these locations around the world. And these are simply the public peering exchanges; it would be interesting to see what the traffic statistics at some of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 private peering locations, and at some of the larger co-location facilities looks like.

Now to my theory.

The background noise generated by the explosion of Web 2.0 (i.e. "Always Online") applications (RSS aggregators, Update pings, email checkers, weather updates, Adsense stats, etc., etc.) are starting to really cause a significant impact on the overall performance of the Internet as a whole.

Some of the coal-mine canaries, organizations that have extreme sensitivity to changes in overall Internet performance, are starting to notice this. Are there other anecdotal/quantitative results that people can point to? Have people trended their performance/traffic data over the last 1 to 2 years?

I may be blowing smoke, but I think that we may be quietly approaching an inflection point in the Internet's capacity, one that sheer bandwidth itself cannot overcome. In many respects, this is a result of the commercial aspects of the Internet being attached to a notoriously inefficient application-level protocol, built on top of a best-effort delivery mechanism.

The problems with HTTP are coming back to haunt us, especially in the area of optimization. About two years ago, I attended a dinner run by an analyst firm where this subject was discussed. I wasn't as sensitive to strategic topics as I am now, but I can see now that the topics being raised have now come to pass.

How are we going to deal with this? We can start with the easy stuff.

  • Persistent Connections

  • HTTP Compression

  • Explicit Caching

  • Minimize Bytes

The hard stuff comes after: how to we fix the underlying network? What application is going to relace HTTP?

Comments? Questions?

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

GrabPERF: Silly Bug Caught and Squashed

Was looking at some data in the interface tonight and I realized something. In Scatter Charts where there is an error, the average times where far higher than they should be.

Guess what?

I was trying to be cute by combining the average time calculation and the availability calculation into a single query. But by doing this, I was including error measurements in the calculation of the average component and total times.

Not good.

Fixed now.


Colour Printers — “They know when you’ve been bad or good…”

The EFF is letting us know that the US Government (your government, not mine) has secretly collaborated with printer manufacturers to embed a unique tracking code in every document coming from your colour printer. [here]

Via: Travis Smith

GrabPERF: MSN Search gets snarky

Looks like the folks at MSN Search have decided to block the GrabPERF measurements of the standard search term.

Oh well, doesn't bother me. I never really considered them a viable contender for any search title. "Too little, too late" is my personal opinion on the MSN Search experience.

Also, it was the slowest of the Big Three.

Average Performance -- Oct 1-19, 2005

--------------- --------- ------
Google - Search 0.3524125 18891
Yahoo - Search 0.6395253 18849
MSN - Search 0.7182230 18876

Looking forward to see if anyone from MSN notices...or cares.

UPDATE: MSN Search appears to have fixed their problem. the measurement is now re-instated.

Would sure like to know what happened here.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Comcast and Hotmail: 1d10ts Untie!

Seems there is an unannounced little issue sending mail from Comcast to Hotmail. [here]

I use a Web mail program; guess the twits at comcast think that everyone should be.

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Gutter Helmet: Not alone with installation problems

Hey everybody! Looks like someone else had a bad experience with a Gutter Helmet installer. [here]
Berry was dismayed to discover that his $3,500 gutter-protection system appeared to be inviting one of the very maintenance nightmares it was supposed to protect against: roof rot. Two leaks sprang up after the pricey helmets had been installed, he claimed, which caused rainwater to build up underneath the custom-fitted panels and drip down behind the gutter "for days" after a rainfall.

Hmmm...I sure hope that my local rep manages to find some time in his busy schedule to call me back. Soon.

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Gutter Helmet: An Update

The update on my Gutter Helmet posts (1 and 2) is that there is no update.

We received a phone call from a local Gutter Helmet rep about 2 weeks ago. He spoke to Samantha who, outlined some of our concerns and issues. I then called and left him a message last week, re-iterating these same concerns, and noting that there was still a leak between the new roof and the new gutters which needed to be fixed by flashing.

Nothing. No response. Silence.

I know it's Gutter Helmet's busy season. I know this because the number of hits to my previous posts are increasing.

Maybe some customers are experiencing better installations; I hope so. All I can do is continue to recount my experience to you.

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GrabPERF: Feedster Makes A “Huge” Improvement

Ok, for the average viewer a 0.25 second improvement doesn't look like much.


However, this is extrememly deceptive. The searches were using the the bare minimum terms necessary.[SEARCH TERM]

This stopped working correctly last night. Effectively, it looks like Feedster's Date Search is broken. How did I figure this out? Well, the size of the results page went from 30,000+ bytes to 15,000+ bytes. This is always a clue that either:

  1. The server has started using a compression technology

  2. The page being returned is not the one you expect

I have switched the measurements back to Relevance Searches; these are less important to blog searches (more like old-school search engines). This will keep Feedster on an even par with everyone else, it will have to stay this way until Feedster fixes their Date Search.

The new search is:[SEARCH TERM]&sort=relevance

I would love to hear from the Feedster team when they have fixed this issue.

UPDATE: Scott Johnson and Jeff Kletsky from Feedster dropped by. The relevance search is back up and running, and the measurement has been updated accordingly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More Random Tom Waits

For lack of anything intelligent to say right now...

Step Right Up
Tom Waits
from Small Change

Step right up
step right up
step right up
Everyone's a winner, bargains galore
That's right, you too can be the proud owner
Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar
one-tenth of a dollar
we got service after sales
You need perfume? we got perfume
how 'bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady
something for the little lady
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar
We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
And a smoke-damaged furniture
you can drive it away today
Act now, act now
and receive as our gift, our gift to you
They come in all colors, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills
you're tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go
going out of business
going out of business
Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price
skip the middle man
Don't settle for less
How do we do it?
how do we do it?
volume, volume, turn up the volume
Now you've heard it advertised, don't hesitate
Don't be caught with your drawers down
Don't be caught with your drawers down
You can step right up, step right up

That's right, it filets, it chops
It dices, slices, never stops
lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn
and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair
it gets rid of embarrassing age spots
It delivers a pizza
and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that's been at large
under the chaise longe for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
And it's only a dollar, step right up
it's only a dollar, step right up

'Cause it forges your signature.
If not completely satisfied
mail back unused portion of product
For complete refund of price of purchase
Step right up
Please allow thirty days for delivery
don't be fooled by cheap imitations
You can live in it, live in it
laugh in it, love in it
Swim in it, sleep in it
Live in it, swim in it
laugh in it, love in it
Removes embarrassing stains from contour sheets
that's right
And it entertains visiting relatives
it turns a sandwich into a banquet
Tired of being the life of the party?
Change your shorts
change your life
change your life
Change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy
get rid of your wife
And it walks your dog, and it doubles on sax
Doubles on sax, you can jump back Jack
see you later alligator
See you later alligator
And it steals your car
It gets rid of your gambling debts, it quits smoking
It's a friend, and it's a companion
And it's the only product you will ever need
Follow these easy assembly instructions
it never needs ironing
Well it takes weights off hips, bust
thighs, chin, midriff
Gives you dandruff, and it finds you a job
it is a job
And it strips the phone company free
take ten for five exchange
And it gives you denture breath
And you know it's a friend, and it's a companion
And it gets rid of your traveler's checks
It's new, it's improved, it's old-fashioned
Well it takes care of business
never needs winding
Never needs winding
never needs winding
Gets rid of blackheads, the heartbreak of psoriasis
Christ, you don't know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
'Cause it's effective, it's defective
it creates household odors
It disinfects, it sanitizes for your protection
It gives you an erection
it wins the election
Why put up with painful corns any longer?
It's a redeemable coupon, no obligation
no salesman will visit your home
We got a jackpot, jackpot, jackpot
prizes, prizes, prizes, all work guaranteed
How do we do it
how do we do it
how do we do it
how do we do it
We need your business
we're going out of business
We'll give you the business
Get on the business
end of our going-out-of-business sale
Receive our free brochure, free brochure
Read the easy-to-follow assembly instructions
batteries not included
Send before midnight tomorrow, terms available
Step right up
step right up
step right up
You got it buddy: the large print giveth
and the small print taketh away
Step right up
you can step right up
you can step right up
C'mon step right up
(Get away from me kid, you bother me...)
Step right up, step right up, step right up
c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
Step right up
you can step right up
c'mon and step right up
C'mon and step right up

Monday, October 17, 2005


I have permanently blacklisted all of people making comments from -- it appears that Google's little nightmare is getting worse.

Thankfully b2evolution makes that easy. I hate to think about what the the other blogging platforms will have to go through to make this happen.

PS: This is in response to Chris Pirillo's well-timed rant on this topic. [here]

Sunday, October 16, 2005

GrabPERF: Agent Upgrade (PERL Module)

Last night, I upgraded the Local Network GrabPERF measurement Agent to the WWW-Curl-3.02 PERL module. I will be doing the same thing on the Gomez Agent tomorrow morning, once I bring it back up from it's power-outage induced slumber.

GrabPERF: Interesting Blog Search Data

Ok, this is a little weird.

First, go look at this page.

What's weird in this data is the difference that you can see between the one-word and the two-word searches.

I was asked to look into this by someone at one of the Blog Search Engines (who shall remain anonymous), under the suspicion that there would be some difference in the performance of these these two-searches.

I want to watch this for a while before I publish the next Search Index results. What I am seeing here is that there could be a methodological issue in the search. Be interesting to see how these react to three word searches.

If any of the folks from the search engines want to chat about this, drop a comment in the usual place.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

GrabPERF: Lost an Agent for the Weekend.

The Gomez Network Agent is offline due to a power failure at the hosting facility. I will bring this Agent back online on Monday morning.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

GrabPERF: Water in the basement

Woke up to 3 inches of water in my basement. Where the GrabPERF Web and database servers are hosted.

Oh, and this blog and my personal Web site.

Given the amount of rain we have had lately, this is the only water we have had.


Friday, October 14, 2005

MySQL Replication

I am thinking about setting up MySQL replication for the GrabPERF database so that the massive number of inserts done does not interfere with the performance of the Web interface.

Does anyone out there have any advice/comments/concerns/experiences on doing this for an active database with large amounts of data in it?

Apache 2.0.55

The Web server has been upgraded to Apache 2.0.55.

Let me know if you see any unusual weirdness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

TypePad: Server failure leads to outage


'nuff said.

UPDATE: From Technorati

TypePad Service

The TypePad application is currently experiencing performance degradation. You may be experiencing application errors due to the issue with published blog content noted below. We are aware of the issue and are working hard to correct it as soon as possible; we apologize for the inconvenience.

UPDATE (1:10 pm) We have been working on correcting this and you should see the improvement currently.

At present, the stats page continues to be disabled. We expect that stats will be restored today.

Posted by Six Apart Ops at 11:15 AM

TypePad Blogs

UPDATE (1:10 PM). Service has been restored to published weblogs shortly after the last update and is continuing solid.


UPDATE (12:31 PM). We are currently restoring service to published weblogs. While we restore service, you may experience degraded performance. We appreciate and thank you for your patience.


UPDATE (12:02 PM). One of the main servers has gone off line. We are in the process of restarting it.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and we will post an update here as soon as possible.

Posted by Six Apart Ops at 11:16 AM

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Rojo Rojo Double Double

I am seeing an awful lot of doubled posts on Rojo today. Anyone know what's up?

Yahoo Blog Search: Compression?

I guess bandwidth doesn't matter to Yahoo. They don't use gzip/HTTP compression any more.

Ok, not completely true. It's there on the Portal Page. But nowhere else.


I give up.

Oklahoma University Bombing Coverup

Ok, I love inflammatory headlines. But they go with this story: In Bombing At OU Stadium There Are More Questions Than Answers

Travis Smith was the first to clue me in that this happened. [here]

I wonder this one is being swept under the rug? If it was a suicide, it's sad; but is there more to this?

GrabPERF: Yahoo Blogsearch added to Search Index

Ok, the GrabPERF Search Index has a new member: Yahoo Blogsearch.

We'll see how it works out in term of performance; Scoble has some initial comments on quality of results. [here]

Monday, October 10, 2005

GrabPERF: Search Index Weekly Results (Oct 04-10, 2005)

The weekly GrabPERF Search Index Results are in.


  • Level3/Cogent Peering Dispute affected all results this week

Week of October 04-10, 2005

-------------------------------- --------- ------- --------
PubSub - Search 0.4032768 99.86 6644
Google - Search 0.5196460 100.00 6735
Yahoo - Search 0.6926705 100.00 6694
MSN - Search 0.7543688 100.00 6722
Google Blogsearch (ATOM)- Search 0.8480318 99.82 6725
Google Blogsearch - Search 0.8880010 99.84 6731
eBay - Search 0.9723281 100.00 6736
Newsgator - Search 0.9935382 99.61 6685 - Search 1.2988528 99.94 6721
Findory - Search 1.3819290 99.93 6693
Technorati - Search 1.4609834 99.88 6671
Amazon - Search 1.6579611 98.94 1799
BENCHMARK RESULTS 1.7649221 99.56 108774
Feedster - Search 2.4226014 99.73 6671
IceRocket - Search 2.6644861 99.51 6698
Blogdigger - Search 2.7916678 99.14 6378
BlogLines - Search 3.5648172 96.84 6735
Blogpulse - Search 6.6344053 98.96 6736

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.

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Gada.Be — Gotta Be Up To Be Useful

I love Chris Pirillo's new search tool, Gada.Be.

I fired up the standard measurement on GrabPERF: "new york"


I just de-activated the measurement, it was hanging the whole measurement system. I'll fire it up again tomorrow and see if there is some improvement.

UPDATE: has become usable, but performance does vary substantially.


My Hidden Talent

For all the people I know: Please get off the floor and stop laughing.

***Your Hidden Talent***

You're super sensitive and easily able to understand situations.
You tend to solve complex problems in a flash, without needing a lot of facts.
Decision making is easy for you. You have killer intuition.
The right path is always clear, and you're a bit of a visionary.

What's Your Hidden Talent?

Via: Jason Womack

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Web 2.0: It is as bad as I feared

Renee Blodgett confirms my fears about the Web 2.0 bubble starting. [here]

Hope you have a parachute or a soft spot to land...

GrabPERF: Come kick the tires before you buy

GrabPERF is now officially back in the open: All data; All the time.

I hope you like some of the changes I have made in the site navigation pages. I am slowly adding new features when I can, so watch for a trickle of new items appearing.

GrabPERF is still up for sale. I can't dedicate the time necessary to making this system world-class given my current responsibilities, unless I can find some serious sponsors to help out.

Enjoy, and let me know if you want your site added!

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Friday, October 7, 2005

Google Feed Reader: YUCK!

Ok, I thought I was missing something about the Google Feed Reader. I thought it was clumsy and flashy and mostly usefless for the way I read blogs.

Chris Selland makes me feel less alone. [here]

Paul Kedrosky is not amused. [here]

Brad Hill says interesting, but call me when you're ready. [here]

Bud at The Community Engine says that it is not user-friendly. [here]

Sean Coon: flashy AJAX + proprietary sandbox == Google wants to own your experience. [here]

GoogleÂ’s UX staff take a vacation, return to horror and destruction

I'm sticking with Rojo.



MindMapping with Mayomi

Lifehacker points us all to Mayomi.

  1. Ajax Rocks

  2. MindJet better buy these guys quick or they will lose a lot of us who can't afford MindManager

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Level3 and Cogent Reconnected…For Now

UPDATE: Geek News Central sees it another way. They see Cogent as hitching a free ride and getting thrown off the bus finally. Either way, the bacbone providers are about to realize that they aren't the ones with power anymore.

The lawsuits from this should be interesting, and are likely going to expose many of the dark edges of the connectivity market that will shock most people who use the Internet.

Cnet has the news here.

One of the sites most notably affected was the Boston Museum of Fine Arts -- quoted in this story. So I took the MFA as a bellweather of when the Internet would return to normal.


Using the GrabPERF system and one other measurement network, it appears that the Level3 and Cogent networks started speaking to each other again at approximately 16:00 EDT (20:00 GMT) today, with recovery times varying by company, backbone, and location.


I was having a conversation on a completely unrelated matter with one of the journalists who covers the Internet space, and mentioned this event to him. He hadn't heard of it (hey, I know how hard he works), but we both were kind of shocked that this could still happen.

A large backbone provider rarely does this just because they can; if that were the case, the Internet would be divided into petty fiefdoms where no one could talk to anyone else, which sounds awfully familiar to some of us who remember pre-Internet networks.

A large backbone provider does this to strengthen their position, and diminish that of their peering partner.

There is a lot of money being made on the Internet again. This breakage was, in my opinion, is a result of the Tier 1 backbone providers staking out their turf for what they see as another flow of big and stupid spending resulting from the frenzy around Web 2.0.

Level3 summarily terminated the peering arrangement in an attempt to marginalize Cogent, perhaps in an attempt create the impression that Cogent is less valuable to the Internet than "real" Tier 1 backbones.

What does this pre-emptive attack on Cogent's reputation gain them? I think that the core reason is that Level3 may be trying to reduce the perceived market value of Cogent, making them a more vulnerable target for acquisition.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in a month when this flares up again.

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TypePad: Blog Monster devours posts, CEO devours ego

The Blog Herald reports on how TypePad suffered a catastrophic drive failure this week that lead to some lost content.

Steve Rubel was one of those affected, and he got a very appropriate response from the CEO of TypePad to explain the situation.



GrabPERF caught the outage at about 21:00 EDT on October 4, 2005. Not a long one, but obviously long enough.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

GrabPERF: Non-Subscriber Services Minmized to Index Overviews

GrabPERF is slowly winding down as a public-facing entity. All that is left for non-subscribers are the Search and News Index Overviews.

I will continue to use the data as a demonstration tool, and graphs and data will dot my my blog posts.

And remember, the whole system is on the block; no reasonable offer will be dismissed.

Thanks for your comments and support over the last few months. It's been a great run.

Level3: Your homepage poorly constructed.

Dear Level3:

Your homepage is full of useless empty spaces, including a very large screen full of empty space after the server response. Have you not heard of HTTP Compression?

At least I know you are using what used to be called ColdFusion to manage your content; ColdFusion is notorious for leaving large gaping holes in a Web page web the application code is stripped away for presentation.

Why would I by transit from a company that seeks to maximize their own bandwidth usage, not conserve it?

Can you spot when Level3 got greedy?


Level3 got greedy at about 19:00 EDT (23:00 GMT) October 5, 2005. [here]

UPDATE: News.Com has a longer article up. As of now, packet loss is the highest I have ever see at my hosting facility.

Can you spot when Level3 got greedy?

Bush has Curridge

Every time Bush opens his mouth, he starts babbling about curridge.

What is curridge?

Never heard of it before.

Oh well...back to being tuned out.

Chitika: It’s all Jeremy’s Fault

So, Jeremy turned me on to Chitika this morning, hence the new ads you see.

Turns out that their offices are less than 10 minutes from my house.


We will see what the head-to-head comparison between Chitika and AdSense will be.

GrabPERF: Think you have Packet Loss? This is what it looks like

So, I mentioned earlier that I have packet loss on the uplink from my Web server where GrabPERF and this blog are hosted. How do I know it's packet loss and not some other issue?


Notice the banding of measurements around 3 and 9 seconds? These values are the set TCP re-transmission timeouts for new connections for almost every operating system. When you see this pattern, check your packet loss stats from your routers/switches/network equipment.

Now...I wonder what my connectivity provider has mucked up?

CBC Wants To Purge History

Apparently, the CBC wants all of the negative blog posts by the Canadian Media Guild members locked out for the last 50 days removed from their personal blogs.

CBC: Please consult the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Most notably, Section 2:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

Oh, and if the CBC isn't going to hire Shelagh Rogers or Rick Mercer or ANY of the CBC Unplugged Bloggers back because of their blog posts, I will tear up my Canadian Passport and become a US citizen.

I am ashamed of my country, and especially of the CBC.

Via: Mutually Inclusive PR

Newest Industry Performance — connectivity provider issues

I'm not sure where they are in the path, but there is a serious connectivity issue with the Newest Industry.

Going to re-boot the Web server and see if that helps.

Gutter Helmet: On the persistence of blog posts

When I look at my logs, I am always astounded by the items visitors come to read.

The one posting that I am most proud of is this one, where I do not sing the praises of Gutter Helmet.

b2evolution only maintains local hit logs for 30 days. In that time, there is a serious pattern appearing.
----     ------
Home Page    116
Why I Will Not Recommend Gutter Helmet 105
This is your host on South Park  30

I have been watching this for a while, so on Monday, I wrote a letter to some of the executives at Gibraltar Industries [here], the holding company that now owns Gutter Helmet.
Dear Gibraltar Industries:

I saw that your company has just purchased Gutter Helmet. Congratulations.

I thought you and your team would like to know that my blog post detailing my experience with a Gutter Helmet installation is near the top of Google Search for the phrase "gutter helmet". --> it's the link from the IceRocket blogsearch engine

I get between 5 and 10 visits a day where people are reading what my experience with the Gutter Helmet installation team was like.

Gutter Helmet is a great product. The team that installed it failed miserably in making us happy.

Good luck, and remember: the conversation you don't hear will be the one that hurts you the most.


On Monday, there was a huge flurry of hits from Gutter Helmet IPs and others, including what looked like Gibraltar's very high-priced law firm.

And you know what?

They didn't bother to respond.

So, I will continue to de-evangalize Gutter Helmet, as they are stuck in a negative customer experience death-spiral. If they can't get over the big company, "One complaining customer is nothing" attitude, they will continue experience the force of a customer scorned. And when new prospects research the Gutter Helmet product, they will continue to encounter my negative experience high on the search engines' lists.

Gibraltar Industries: I am now defining the conversation around the Gutter Helmet product, and you have no control over that. If you don't believe this has an impact, follow the thread and conversation around Jeff Jarvis' experience with Dell [here].

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Please stay on the beaten track

Via: Moleskinerie

Hey CTO, I’d like some software, with open and extensible on the side

The CTO of the blogosphere asks: What kind of software would you like developed?

Option 1: Build a product in 12 months that is simple and easy to use but only meets basic requirements. Upon completiion, this company will only fix bugs and provide minimal updates every six months; training through FAQs and some simple documentation; and support through basic email, forums, but no phone contact. The cost to you to pay for the development and ongoing support of this product is low.

Option 2: Build a product in 24 months that meets all the requirements including features that you might want to use in the future but is complex to configure and use. Upon completion, this company will fix bugs and provide enhancements or new functionality through a elaborate support agreement that includes frequent updates every three months; extensive training through onsite, manual and online and support through 24/7 phone,email and web. However, the cost to you to pay for the development and ongoing support of this product is high.

Option 3: Build a product in 18 months that is simple, basic and easy but an open architecture is developed that will allow others such as end users or other developers to make it as complex as they would like it through the development of addons and extensions. Upon completion, this company will fix bugs or enhance existing functionality only and provide moderate updates, training and support through a combination on in-house and community resources. The cost to you to pay for the development and ongoing support of this product is a little more expensive than Option 1. In addition, you will be on your own regarding support and future development of any additional functionality that is provided by third parties.

Only an idiot or a dinosaur would build software under Options 1 and 2.

The Imagination Age: The Growth of the American Minimum Wage Class

CCUCEO has a great take on the arrival of the Imagination Age.[here]

The Minimum Wage Class is the result. In some cases, people fall into this group as a place to start when they arrive.

In other places, like here in Massachusetts, it is almost carried like a badge of honour to just scrape by.

And then there are those that have moved beyond Industrial, beyond Information.

I just wish the people who paid the bills joined us out here.



I have reached the limits of my coding, database administration and time available to keep GrabPERF growing and evolving.

What is for sale?

  • The GrabPERF Domain --

  • Measurement scripts

  • Database design and current contents of the database

  • Automated processing scripts and batch jobs

  • Web GUI code

  • Consulting time from me to install, and configure the GrabPERF system at your location, with your team

There is a lot of potential in the code. I have a lot of ideas to make it better.

There are 24 hours in a day.

Now, when I mean for sale, I mean FOR SALE. There is a lot of work in this code and infratstructure; I am not going to simply give it away. I am also going to be very careful when selecting the buyer.

Drop me a line if you or your organization would like to present a proposal to me for the purchase and transition of GrabPERF.

Thank you all for your support.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Boeing Conexion WiFi: US Airlines caught in a nasty death spiral

Lifehacker has a great list of the airlines that offer WiFi. [here]

They also offer this quote:

BoeingÂ’s Connexion, the wifi service for airplanes, adds 600 to 800 pounds to a plane. With rising fuel costs and U.S. airlines struggling to stay afloat, the system hasnÂ’t yet been adopted on this side of the pond.

This is a catch-22 for the airlines.

  1. Lack of innovation and stupidly high fares

  2. Low-cost alternatives

  3. Attempt to copycat low-cost alternatives

  4. Go bankrupt and claim poverty

  5. See #1

The first airline in the US to implement onboard WiFi (most likely JetBlue, given their record and the fact that they have a lot of the hardware already installed to handle the DirectTV thing), will win.


eBay: It’s the Internet, not the Internet Explorer-net

Go sign the position asking eBay to make their Web site open standards compliant, instead of Microsoft-compliant. [here]

Via: Mozillazine

Monday, October 3, 2005

Google, Sun, And OpenOffice: Ballmer has a stroke and Massachusetts does the jig of joy

Ok, huge title for this little gem.

Next Up: Google Office?

Oh...I can feel the pain in Redmond tonight.

Steve, I hope your platinum parachute is packed well. I have a feeling the board may start asking for your head.

And the Massachusetts' decison to go with OpenOffice/StarOffice looks to be not so weird.

GrabPERF: 296MB of data and climbing…

Now, there is 296MB for of data in the GrabPERF database.

Not a big database, by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is it a complex one. But I was impressed to see this this morning when I did routine maintenance.

And you know what? Most of you only have access to less than 10% of the available data.

I am not hiding it. It's there. It's just in the subscription section.

And this database is growing by the minute.

What are you waiting for?

Career and Life: This is the new reality

Maybe Going to Work Should be the Exception

Damn straight.

I get more done in my corner desk, in my attic, away from the dysfunctional environment know as the open-plan office.

And a 50 mile-a-day roundtrip commute -- oh yeah! We all live for that!

In my case, the motto is simple: It's the INTERNET, stupid!

GrabPERF: “Your love is like a see-saw..”

"Your love is like a see-saw
Up, down, all around
Just like a see-saw"
Don Covay & Goodtimers is Inactive again, as they started throwing massive numbers of timeout errors just after 12:00 EDT (16:00 GMT) yesterday.


It will be Inactive until further notice.

UPDATE: Guess this is further notice. appears to have fixed whatever indigestion they were suffering from.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

GrabPERF: Search Index Weekly Results (Sep 26 - Oct 03, 2005)

The weekly GrabPERF Search Index Results are in.


  • Findory blog search added to index

  • Google standard search takes top spot with 100% availability

Week of September 26 - October 03, 2005

-------------------------------- --------- ------- --------
Google - Search 0.2477162 100.00 7062
PubSub - Search 0.2538995 99.80 7043
Google Blogsearch (ATOM)- Search 0.5839898 99.90 7064
MSN - Search 0.6146201 99.99 7063
Yahoo - Search 0.6154676 99.99 7060
Google Blogsearch - Search 0.6547768 99.92 7064
eBay - Search 0.6940026 100.00 7058 - Search 1.0745931 99.91 7056
Technorati - Search 1.1970990 99.92 7062
Findory - Search 1.2055845 99.91 6725
Amazon - Search 1.2378869 99.33 1803
Feedster - Search 1.2583286 99.92 7061
BENCHMARK RESULTS 1.4132893 99.73 114382
Newsgator - Search 1.5429696 99.29 7062
Blogdigger - Search 1.7054253 99.99 7058
BlogLines - Search 1.7401694 98.99 7061
IceRocket - Search 3.7427026 98.57 7012
Blogpulse - Search 5.5294509 99.72 7062

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.

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Recruiters: Please read the damn resume

I have flamed two recruiters this week.

Why? Because they never bothered to read the resume.

One wanted me to be a technical support rep. The other wanted me to be an Oracle DBA/Developer.

One recruiter saw me copy the top executives at his firm with this lack of intelligence. This had a very positive result: I was able to engage in a conversation with these executives; they realize know that they need to approach things differently.

Why were these recruiters so stupid? Why don't they get the new world? Why don't they want to engage me in a proactive conversation about my future?

Why didn't they bother to read the resume and then ask me what I want?

If this is what most recruiters do, then they are doomed, bound to go the way of the foosball table. They need to understand what Doug has: Candidates have the power.

Ignore this at your own risk.

Attic Insulation: COMPLETE!

We live in a house built in 1920. One of the finest homes of that era still standing in our town.

But, like many homes of that era in the US, some of the main systems have been neglected since the house was built. One of these has been insulation.

Mission accomplished.

It was a dirty, nasty job, but now it is done.

And we used the coolest stuff to do it -- Ultra-Touch COTTON Insulation.

No full body hazmat suit required with this stuff. You can put it up with your bare hands.

Warm and comfy, here we come.

GrabPERF: Yahoo Blog Search will be added…

...when it's released. [here]

Now, if I had any sort of pull, Yahoo would have let me know when this relase was going to happen so I could be prepared and begin monitoring immediately.

Eh, what am I thinking? I am a mere flea out here -- no chance of any advance heads up from Yahoo. They are too busy catching up to Google, and beating Microsoft off their heels to notice little ol' us out here.

I will add the standard measurement from Yahoo blog search as soon as I hear about it.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

@GTD: The Roadmap

I went to David Allen's GTD Roadmap seminar here in Boston yesterday. Frankly, it was the best 10 hours of my life in a very long time. Great speaker, re-affirming content, and amazing folks in attendance.

Kudos to the David Allen team for putting together a great day!

You should see my list of Next Actions.