mPulse

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Random Tom Waits

Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon, independent as a hog on ice
HeÂ’s a big shot down there at the slaughterhouse
Plays accordion for Mr. Weiss

-- Cemetary Polka From Rain Dogs

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Making PHP-to-MySQL Connections Persistent

I have been seeing these bursts of traffic, mainly from spambot morons, that have suddenly been crushing my server. The main cause: excessive database connections.

This was quickly remedied today when I changed all of the mysql_connect statements to mysql_pconnect statements. This allows PHP to use an existing connection to the MySQL database to serve requests from the same Apache child process.

Now the truly geeky among you are going "DOH! Wadda ya mean you were opening a new connection for every request?". Well, believe it or not, I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that your blog app doesn't persist database connections. Not a big deal if your database is on the same machine, and you are using local named pipes to make requests. However, if that database is located on another machine, if you do a netstat, you will see a large number of connection on port 3306.

Persisting database connections is particularly important for large hosted services. A great deal of TCP overhead, and kernel space memory can be saved by simply not letting the Web server saturate the database with individual database connections for every page request.

Without persistent database connections, eventually the TCP queue will be full of database connections and no one will be able to connect to the server, or they will get a lovely "can't connect to database error".



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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Web Performance Implications: Podcasters and iTunes 4.9

Geek News Central is reporting that their server is getting crushed with all the new iTunes 4.9 users. You had to know this would happen. People have heard the buzz and want to hear what it's all about.

From a Web performance perspective, podcasts are hellish: large, uncompressible binary files. At least they are able to come along a single TCP connection. But at 10MB+ per file, iTunes is going to fill a lot of pipes, and max a number of bandwith caps.

Multicast streaming was supposed to alleviate this issue; podcasting is just going to make Web performance worse...or at least more noisy.

Now, how will the content distribution networks react? They are likely the only source that can help people relieve their load. The CORAL CDN Project is one source for open-source content distribution.

All in all, Web 2.0 is shaping up to be a bandwidth hog.



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Great Write-Up on my employer

Some great unsolicited positive feedback on the services my employer provides. [here]

Would love to answer any questions the author has about some of the inside-the-firewall services we provide.

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RIP: Shelby Foote

Shelby FooteShelby Foote, the the primary narrator of Ken Burns' Civil War mini-series, died Monday night at age 88. [here]

His voice was like butter melting in a hot frying pan. I loved listening to him speak. I will miss him.

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ZoneAlarm Borked…Again!

I hate running Windows.

I hate that the firewall app that I have run for years has suddenly decided to go and melt down into a giant puddle of goo, taking the CPU with it.

About two weeks ago, ZoneLabs released a broken update for their ZoneAlarm product.

Whoops! I did it again!

Yesterday, my Dell laptop slowed to a crawl, and began acting erratically. I thought it was me, and tried to re-boot. The re-boot hung, and I had to pull the battery out to go to shut down. Re-boot, and poof, it happens again.

Oh well, too hot to work anyway. Go to bed.

Get into the office this morning and the same thing begins to happen. Task Manager shows me that vsmon.exe is sucking 90%+ of my CPU. What the hell?

Turns out that this is the Vector Service that ZoneAlarm uses. Ahhh, corrupted ZoneAlarm. Uninstall, re-install, and poof! It happens again.

So I am sitting here, feeling VERY exposed right now. I am not enabling the Microsoft firewall, because it doesn't play nice with IPSec apps, like my VPN app.

ZoneAlarm was rock solid. What happened?

And would anyone like to donate an iBook or Powerbook to your dear author?



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Monday, June 27, 2005

LACNIC Connectivity Borked — My Damn Fault

Apparently, in my infinite wisdom, I threw up the following iptables rule:

/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -s 200.128.0.0/9 -j DROP


Guess what? This is the exact range that the LACNIC servers are hosted in! No wonder no LACNIC data had been coming into the GrabIP database lately!

This has been fixed.



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Mukhtar Mai / Mukhtarana Bibi Gets Appeal

Mukhtar Mai/Mukktaran Bibi (I have seen both names in print, not sure which one she uses), is going to have her appeal against the acquittal of the men who gang-raped her heard by Pakistan's Supreme Court. [here]

Her courage serves as a model for common decency trying to fight back against "cultural" norms.



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Sunday, June 26, 2005

MIT Blogger Study

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Connectivity changes coming up shortly.

After 4.5 years of customer loyalty, I have decided that I have had enough of Comcast's outrageous prices. I will be switching to Verizon DSL as soon as the install kit arrives.

Due to the way that my DNS is managed, you may encounter issues connecting to the server during the couple of days that it takes for the DNS to migrate and propagate.

Comcast has lost another customer. Does that surprise anyone?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Psst! Dick! … BOO! Ooops…

Dick Cheney's heart bothering him again. [here]

Aawwww, poor baby!

RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN!



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You expect blogging today?

Look, it's supposed to be 95F with a nearly matching humidity. In an old house with no air conditioning, you are unlikely to see me near the laptop between now and 9PM tonight.

For all of you folks at Gnomedex...PPPPPHHHHHHTTTTTT!

Back to your regularly scheduled disdain and employment dis-satisfaction.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Giving up logging my blog traffic

I should explain that. I am no longer inserting the blog traffic into my Web server log database. The amount of crap was getting ridiculous, and taking up too much space.

By doing this, I reduced about 50 days of logs from 450,000 rows to 81,000 rows, a better representation of the traffic that my other domains get.

I am continuing to monitor and capture traffic using a combination of AdSense counters, the built-in logging capabilities of b2evolution, and StatCounter. These sources will show the traffic that I am interested in, and not lose the true visitors in with the idiots.



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Thursday, June 23, 2005

It’s the suede denim secret police…

Followed a link trail to this post. Read the whole article here.

Ok folks. Your time has come. You may be incarcerated without your consent in the future by your government (not my government, your government) because they "suspect" you are mentally ill.

So, what are you going to do about it?



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Is that a PDA in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?

Merlin at 43Folders links to a great post by Robert Daeley. [here]

This post is extremely relevant to me, as I just spent 9 hours lugging my laptop backpack (still waiting for my Waterfield Cargo bag to arrive from a dedicated reader -- Large please) around SeaTac, Denver International and Logan.

It would have been even worse if I had been allowed to go to Europe this Sunday...but I digress.

What is in there?

Well, the contents are pretty much detailed here. Now, I can take out the European adapters -- need for those went way down all of a sudden. But, in a nutshell, my bag is substantially cleaner now than it has been in years.

The Moleskine Accordian Folder definitely helps, as I have a place to store all of my important documents, receipts and pieces of paper.

And the MEC backpack buddy helps keep the wires and cables and other odds and ends from rattling around.

But I still carry way too much. The 9 pound Inspiron doesn't help.

In my pockets, bare minimum, and always in the front pockets. A business card holder thing to hold the cards I need, and my car keys in one pocket; my very light Samsung R225M in the other.

Still, there is too much crap in our lives. Too much in mine.

If only I could capture it all and put it in my inbox...

 

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Search Referral Statistics — June 23, 2005

Ok, I don't have the most amazing traffic in the world, but here are the Search Engine results for the past 1100 visitors.

SEO Results -- June 23, 2005


Technorati is still out front!

Graph courtesy of StatCounter.



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Thoughts while travelling at 33,00 feet

On the plane between Seattle and Denver right now. Had one of those airport experiences this morning that started out poorly and, by a twist of fate, worked out fine.

Arrived at SeaTac at 4:30AM. United Easy Check-In barfed on my reservation, so I had to deal with a counter person. Turns out that United had moved me to a later flight, without noticing that this would force me to miss my connection in Denver. The agent placed on the list for the oversold 6:00AM flight and off I went...

...to promptly get the full baggage search/body cavity search security line.

When things go bad...

Get to the gate. They have oversold the TWO flights out of Seattle to Denver which leave simultaneously. Angry, frustrated people everywhere.

Then, I get a break. I get a seat; 9B. For those of you who fly 737s, you know this seat. It is the dream seat: the exit row. And I get to talk to the woman who gave up this seat to take her well-earned upgrade to business class.

So, I am halfway to Denver, feeling very relaxed, and glad to be on the way home.



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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Survived Training

I survived giving my first all-day training class in 2.5 years today. Man! I forgot how giving a class drains you! I feel like I have lost 10 pounds!

The group was interesting. It is always fun to watch the group dynamic when people from different divisions in a large company, all with different agendas and needs get together in the same room, and try to learn a new product together.

I think I was able to share some of the knowledge I have gained, but short of a mind-meld, you can't learn everything there is about Web performance in 6 hours.

And then their cafeteria tried to kill me some raw chicken disguised as chicken strips. If I keel over from salmonella, at least I will know the cause!

Also, I was able to quickly respond to this groups needs. They weren't going to get anything from the "prepared" Powerpoint; immediately spun off into interactively using the application.

Time to re-design and re-implement my company's training initiative. Beyond Bullet Points, here I come!



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World Tour — CANCELLED

Just got word that due to an unexpected opportunity, my company has decided to send someone "better suited to handle the situation" to Europe next week.

Anyone need an underemployed Web performance analyst?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sea-Tac and tired.

I am in my hotel in Seattle.

I am exhausted.

I am in bed.

Good night

Logan — June 21, 2005

WiFi -- 54Mbps
Cost -- $7.95/day
Location -- Gate C17
Weather -- Gorgeous, clear, warm
Destination -- Denver, en route to Seattle

Looks like a great day for flying. Seattle weather looks great.

Will be up at RedWest between 15:00-17:00 today. Then back to my hotel at Sea-Tac.

Rambling entry here at the airport. Wondering if this trip will help clear the writer's block I have been suffering with for the last few days. Ok, not really a block, just more of a distraction. Other things, like the boys and the yard.

Samantha is digging out a patio; at the rate she is going, it will be done by the time I get back from Europe.

See you all on the other side.



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Monday, June 20, 2005

Light Blogging

There will be light blogging for the next couple of days as I fly out to Seattle to meet with some folks at MSN and a training for a new customer.

I will check-in and make some comments when I can.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Inexperienced Travelleritis

Just spent 20 minutes cleaning my backpack of all the extraneous detritus that I collect moving through my life, adding inportant numbers to my paper address book and being ready to have long periods of time offline during the next couple of weeks, as the World Tour kicks off.

But, it seems that I am moving in the opposite direction to everyone else. Gnomedex, JavaONE: all on the West Coast.

Oh well, it will be fun to be out and about.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mukhtaran Bibi: Freedom for Pakistani Women

Tim Bray writes about Mukhtaran Bibi, a Pakistani woman who was sentenced by her tribal council to be gang-raped as punishment for a crime of honour. [here]

NPR had a great story on her on All Things Considered yesterday (audio here).

The US government continues to covet Pakistan as an ally. I agree that religious freedom is a must for any country; however, religious freedom is outweighed by the need to preserve the equality, dignity, and freedom of all individuals.

Update: Tom Watson has a great commentary on this.



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Friday, June 17, 2005

ROAD TRIP!

Ok, the Newest Industry Factory Tour, 2005 continues! With a stop in Seattle already planned for June 21-22, popular demand has forced us to add additional dates!

London: June 26, 27, 28
Hamburg: June 29, 30

Drop me a line if you will be in those cities, and maybe we can do a Blogger Meetup.

And no! I am not going for a suit! Down, Hugh! Down!

And the whole trip looks like it will be handled on BA!



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A bunch of yahoos clean out the pipeline

Seriously, Jeremy Zawodny presents the tale of the Yahoo led rescue of ten ducklings from a storm drain on their Sunnyvale campus. [here]

Warning! High "AWWWWWWW! So cute!" Factor.






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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Doubt the effectiveness of tagging?

I don't. I just checked my blog stats for referrals from search engines.



Technorati outpaces Google. All because I started tagging my posts.

Cool.



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A380 Goes to … Nunavut?

Ok, this is just weird. Airbus is going to do cold-weather testing of the Airbus A380 in Iqaluit, Nunavut. [here]

Hmmm...this aerodynamic freak is coming to the Canadian Arctic. I'm not sure this is a good thing.



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What’s in my bag?

My Bag 2
My What's in your/my bag? pics are up.


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A pen I found

At my last job, I moved desks a lot. Not because I was being shuffled from department to department, but because the company was in a constant state of flux, expanding with the Internet Bubble 1.0, and then collapsing on itself.

I often found interesting things when I took up residence at my new desk. Once, I found a huge group of files belonging to finance, detailing many contracts with clients. This lead me to have other concerns, but, oh well, no matter.

My best find is one that I carry to this day: a pen.

Not just any pen. A S.T. Dupont.

It's engraved with a "sales club" outing date. You remember those? The boondoggles that sales gets as a reward for "good" performance? Well, this was part of the kit for one of those.

It's black lacquer, heavy, and writes exquisitely. Why someone, even if they were let go and were angry at the company, would leave a work of art such as this behind is beyond me.

And I just rediscovered it at the bottom of my backpack. It feels exquisite sliding over the paper of my Moleskine.

Today is looking up.
S.T. Dupont and My Hipster PDA


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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Journalists starting to get it…

Remember my post on Multiple OSs on Intel Macs?

Well, guess eWeek has figured it out! [here]

<sigh>

Dear Sales…

Please read this. Then come back and ask me why I get upset when you say "free consulting" in my presence.

Lane Smith



Lane Smith, the winner of the lifetime Dan Rather look-a-like contest, died Monday at age 69. I liked everything that he was in. With his senatorial baritone, and midwestern "aw shucks" attitude, he always made me smile. An inspired choice to play Perry White in the 1990's series "Lois and Clark".

Different Perspectives, Same Result

Rick Segal and I have different, if not complementary perspectives on the United States. He is a US citizen living in Canada; I am a Canadian living in the US. I have met Rick in person, and he is an intelligent and insightful person to speak with.

Last night, he posted his reaction to the US Senate's lack of unanimous support for the apology for lynching. [here]

This story hits home for me as well. I have chosen to live in this country. I know that as a guest, I should be quiet and not rock the boat. But when a situation such as this arises, along with the increasing levels of spitfire rhetoric and poisonous debate, I have to step back and ask: why?

For the most part, my life in the US has been one of comfort and ease. However, when I moved to the US in 1999, I was surprised at just how different two countries could be who looked so much alike.

Last year's presidential campaign, the second one I have been through while here, further highlighted that the voices of moderation and rational thought are lost in the need to polarize and inflame.

But, as Rick says, at 32,000 feet, all of that is gone. There aren't countries; or red states and blue states. Just the ever morphing tapestry of the world we live on. The hand of man can be seen from this height. Nature is still in control, shaping how man shapes the land.

We will come and go. We all die. But our legacy will be remembered, and, increasingly, recorded for all posterity.

Be true to yourself. Remember, the way history judges you is beyond your control.

David Janes is maintaining a list of the non-sponsoring Senators.

Mukhtaran Bibi: Freedom for Pakistani Women

Tim Bray writes about Mukhtaran Bibi, a Pakistani woman who was sentenced by her tribal council to be gang-raped as punishment for a crime of honour. [here]

NPR had a great story on her on All Things Considered yesterday (audio here).

The US government continues to covet Pakistan as an ally. I agree that religious freedom is a must for any country; however, religious freedom is outweighed by the need to preserve the equality, dignity, and freedom of all individuals.

Update: Tom Watson has a great commentary on this.



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Eric! You Fool! Be Quiet!

Another Canadian espousing Robertson screws. [here]

We will be send the team to ensure he stops trying to spread this virus to the US.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Seth G Discovers Robertson Screws…

...and I have heard a rumour that David Allen is adding them to GTD, Merlin and Dave Winer are porting them to MacOSX, SOGrady is building them on Gentoo, and Scoble uses them on his tablet. Kathy Sierra is evangelizing how they make happier screwers (???) and Darren Rowse has pointed out how to optimize your layout to take advantage of Google ScrewSense.

Great. Thanks Seth. Now everyone will want Robertson Screws. One more thing Canadians will lose their exclusive superiority in. Losing hockey was bad enough. Now you want our screws.

Time to move back to Canada, where all cool things -- including weather and excluding Nortel and Corel -- start.

Seth Godin's post

My Rant on the Cool Tools post



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Military Gay Wedding — NOT A JOKE!

The CBC is reporting that the Canadian Armed Forces has held its first official same-sex wedding between two members at a military base in Nova Scotia. [here]

This will send the religious right in the US into a complete conniption fit. I say so what. And congratulations to the happy couple!



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Clients that should be fired

Christopher Hawkins posts about the clients that need to be fired, and breaks them into 11 typologies. [here]

This post is in my clippings and I will likely read it again and again. I have seen them all. The question is, can you also apply these typologies to your managers?



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Business Trip: Seattle

I am going to be in Seattle next week (the longest I-90 commute possible) to do a training at Boeing. I will be in town for two nights June 21 and 22), likely staying near Redmond Town Centre (I know the area and like it).

If any of you Seattle/Microsoft blogger types want to have dinner or after-dinner caffeine, send me an e-mail (see link in right-hand column).

See you soon!



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Daily Humour — BizSpeak Generator.

Heh! Chaos and Madness in this tool is there. [here]

Via: GMSV

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ohhh! Square-Drive Screws…IDIOTS!

Geez, Cool Tools is all over "square-drive screws". [here]

BFD.

For you people in the US, you have missed out on this technological advancement. These screws have been standard issue in Canada for at least 40 years -- 85% of the screws sold in Canada are "square-drive".

Oh, and BTW, they are ROBERTSON screws, not "square-drive". How lame is "square-drive"?

Another BTW: know how you remove a stripped out Phillips screw? With a Robertson screwdriver.

FeedBurner feed back up

Ok everyone, the FeedBurner feed is back up, if you prefer to use this method to subscribe.

Icon in the right-hand column.

lifehack: Notepaper as a Bookmark

lifehack brings us yet another great idea: notepaper as a bookmark. [here]

Before I started using 3X5 index cards, I bought a ahck of 4X6 cards. Turns out that the 4X6 cards don't fit in the Mead Hipster PDA case (here and here). But now, I think I have found a use for them.

The Hipster PDA Bookmark Kit. Use it like a regular Hipster, but make notes (using chapters and page numbers to track them. When you are done with the book, file the bookmark PDA for that book somewhere so that you can retrieve it later.

Hey, filing it with the book is perhaps the best solution.

Yeehaa! GTD inspiration at 7:45AM on a Monday!



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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mmmm…Beer!

Samantha bought some of this for a friend of hers when we lived in California...still the best named beer.



What are you drinking tonight...?

Dave Winer Edited out of Podcasting History

Dave Winer: Expunged. Want to know when and who?

With Dave

Without Dave

If the timestamps on Wikipedia are correct, around 06:00 GMT May 23, 2005, Dave Winer was expunged from the history of Podcasting.

Offending IP address: 68.174.103.8. A RoadRunner IP.



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Personal mail and domain borked

If anyone has been trying to send me e-mail over the last couple of days, please re-send (Also GMail icon in right-hand column). Looks like the place in Canada where I hosted the domain pulled the records. My fault: didn't pay them.

But I simply moved the DNS info to the place where the domain is registered and that is that!

Should be back to normal in a couple of days. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Technorati Searchlet Added

Added the Beta Technorati Searchlet to the right-hand menu (scroll down a bit you lazy people! <smile> ).

Let me know if it works for you!



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PSPad: My new Windows test editor

TDavid turned me on to PSPad. [here]

Like TDavid, I have been a fervent Notetab user for years. But the lack of development on Notetab and the native syntax highlighting and built-in hex editor make PSPad very appealing to me.

I will try it and I will see.



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Geek Irony: Adult Entertainment, Bandwidth Leeching and Apache Modules

Port80 tells a great story about a product that they had in the pipe that would prevent bandwidth leeching (defined in the post). [here]

Their observation that technology that could do this would be of particular interest to purveyors of adult-oriented sites does not surprise me. However, their rationale for stopping development was not based on any moral issues; the fact is that LAMP development platforms are preferred in this industry because of their cost.

Now, I am sure that some enterprising Apache hacker could very quickly develop a functional module that would plug right onto the server to deliver on some of the basic design elements laid out by the Port80 Team. This would be a benefit to both the IIS and Apache communities, as interest in this feature would push for a similar feature in IIS, allowing Port80 to finally release this software.

Rightly or wrongly, porn has fueled a large number of the developments in the open source community. My place is not to judge; it is to benefit from the advancements.



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Nortel Does More Wrong

Nortel lost their President-COO and CTO today. [here]

Analysis: Company is more screwed up than Siebel.




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GTD Update: Moleskine Diary Didn’t Work Out

I tried. I really did. I tried to use the Moleskine Planner as a supplement to my daily Outlook calendar, but it didn't work out. It's too heavy, too bulky. I think that one of the spiral bound planners might work better for me; I will try that next year.

It is a beautiful book. I may convert into a daily diary, writing an entry that fits each page, with comments on the day. But too carry around in my backpack, it just doesn't work.

 

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New Databaser Server

Last night I built a new dedicated database server for my applications. Up until this morning, the databases resided on the same machine as the Web server.

The new DB server has less RAM than the Webserver, but has much faster SCSI drives, with plural being the operative word. Data lives on one physical device, and apps on another. The Web server currently only has one physical drive, which meant lots of thrashing on large queries.

If you experience any weirdness, let me know.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Reader Recommendations: Travel Power Adapters

There is a slight chance that I could be going to Germany at the end of the month, so I need some help.

I am looking for reader comments/suggestion on a solid, robust, multi-country power adapter for my emergency bag (I fly off to foreign countries to solve Web performance issues almost daily -- NOT!).

So far I am looking at the Kensington or the Belkin. But I want to hear what you folks out in radio-land can contribute to my buying decision.

Thanks!



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My GTD Kit

For those who who like GTD photos.

Notes on photo at Flickr.

 

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Traffic Increase Cause Located.

Ok, my theory of having reached a tipping point was completely and totally unfounded.

It seems that Google re-worked their algorithm. As a result, my Google results skyrocketed, both personally and for this blog.





This shocked me, and I am trying to decide whether I like the new alogorithm or not. I can say that it is nice to see the numbers go up more quickly than they have in a while.



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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Frank Lloyd Wright

I do as little as I can to promote Google, as they are adept at doing it themselves. However, today's logo celebrates the life of one the American greats: the arrogant, bombastic, conceited, brilliant architectural genius, Frank Lloyd Wright.



Happy Birthday, Mr. Wright.



Cameron Reilly recounts his personal memories of Mr. Wright's buildings.

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Comcast: Lower Your Prices Or Lose More Customers

Dear Arrogant Monopolistic Cable Operator:

The day of reckoning is upon you. Your formerly monopolistic power has been drained by years of failed mega-mergers, media plays, satellite providers and gross mis-management. Your cash cows are showing signs of Mad Cow Disease.

The final straw for me is your incredibly pig-headed strategy of price inflexibility on your high-speed Internet service. I pay what I consider a ridiculous amount every month for what is a necessary service for me. Now I see that your Telco competitors are slashing prices every way they can to win back business.

I read that you will lower your price if I call you and threaten to move to an alternate provider. But only for 3 months.

You really need to step back and realize how dead your business is going to be in 2 years.

I live in the testbed for fiber-to-the-home in Massachussetts. Every day, Verizon linemen, training to string fiber to every home, drive up and down our street, leaving spools of high-speed goodness on every corner.

They say that in a year, I can have incredible speeds to my home, for less than what I pay for your high-speed Internet service.

So, Mr. Cable Operator (you have to be a man, because only a man would be this pig-headed), what are you going to do to keep me a customer?

Sincerely,
me



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Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Leadership Paradox

Skip has some great thoughts on what leadership means when you reach the VP or C-levels in an organization. [here]

What does a true leader do?

So, I began to delegate by better defining the roles of people, provide them with the right level of responsibility and accountability, and make sure I was available for any questions that was a result of lack of clear direction. I, on the other hand, needed to ensure that each person has what they needed to get the job done (equipment, training, skills, communication, etc) and then get out of their way and let them do it!


The worst managers and VPs I have ever encountered were those who could not delegate. These managers failed because the did not, would not, could not admit that their job, and their only job, was to be a conciliator, facilitator, negotiator, reporter, and mentor.

A leader is great by not trying to do the job. A leader's job is to ensure that the job gets done by the team best able to do it.

Leadership is a Zen Koan: Being, not doing, shows leadership.

Read it.



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Apple: So you might run Windows….how about linux? FreeBSD?

A Tri-Boot Powerbook: MacOSX, Windows, AND LINUX!

Or a QUAD BOOT Powerbook: MacOSX, Windows, Linux and FreeBSD.

The mind boggles.


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Apple: On Sales Strategies

As many have said now, Apple may have committed a serious marketing and sales error by announcing the move to Intel for 2006-2007. Ppersonally, I would have no problem buying a PowerPC Powerbook right now, especially if Apple is forced to lower the price to reduce stock or drive sales.

We will have to see how that plays out. There must be something else going on. Maybe there will be a G5 Powerbook...and an Intel Powerbook. That would be a tough choice.

If Apple lives that long.



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Monday, June 6, 2005

The Tipping Point

It appears that over the weekend, this blog reached a tipping point of sorts. Traffic hasn't skyrocketed, but over the weekend, there wasn't the usual drop-off.

I have started using Technorati tags on posts where they are relevant, but based on an analysis of the traffic, it's not one or two posts that is increasing traffic. It is the volume of total posts on topics that people are searching for.

So, it goes to show that if you don't have a specific topic, but you do post frequently and often, eventually you will begin to attract a wide-range of readers, some of whom may actually stay for the show.

Not getting rich, but there is a certain happy feeling to see traffic stats going up, not down.

Oh…and I still haven’t gotten my Powerbook!

How much of a hint do I have to drop? I will do ANYTHING for a Powerbook.

I know some of you have been meaning to get me one; maybe this is a good time!



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Wow. Apple thinks ahead.

From MacRumoursLive:

Catch up - two major challenges - making OS X think on intel procs. Every release of OS has been compiled for intel x86 for the last 5 years - cross platform by design.


Wow. Wish I could have snuck out those binaries.



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Apple: Ok, it’s Intel. But which chip?

Apple goes to Intel. But which chip? I can't see getting a dual-boot Powerbook.

More info! Now!



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Garden Geekery and Gadgets Galore!

Being a gardening geek in charge of watering in my spare time, I appreciated this post on automated drip systems.

I do it manually right now, because for me, watering is a Zen-like therapy. However, my mother-in-law's garden is extensively dripped due to the scale and density of the plantings, and the fact that they want to spend more time gardening than watering.

Go forth and be lustful of this system!



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GTD: Meeting Mantra

Jeffrey Philllips has a GREAT post on how to make your meetings more effective. [here]

I had already started applying these instinctively, but to see it codified gives me hope that we can pound this into a few people's skulls. It is a serious contributing factor to people failing at GTD.

When you start to actually analyze the meetings you attend, ask yourself some basic questions:


  • Was the organizer prepared?

  • Was it clear who the organizer was?

  • Did this meeting actually require your attandance?

  • Were you expected to take a next action?

  • Is another meeting necessary to report on your next action, or can it be done informally?

  • Do you consider the meeting a success?



If you pass along your comments to the meeting organizer, or simply talk to that person informally, you may be able to evolve meetings in your organization into useful activities.



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Backpack: I still don’t get it

37Signals' Backpack is the current darling of the GTD crowd. The praise and joy is flooding through the universe as the influencers and blogerati espouse this new saviour. One example here.

Maybe I still don't get it. Maybe I never will.

It's a ToDo list. Electronic ToDo lists don't do it for me. I think I live a very digital life. But electronic organizing tools have never helped me get organized. I have to go through the act of writing the task or action down in a physical format for it to be real.

When I look at something like BackPack, I realize that my HipsterPDA is far better at helping me be organized.

Turning on my laptop or PDA to see my ToDo list? No. That is not getting things done. I see that as letting the tool get in the way of the next action.

This is how I get organized. Others obviously find BackPack useful.

For me, GTD is about freeing myself from the burden of my digital life, not tying myself to it more and more. And in order to do that, all I need is deck of blank 3X5 index cards and a Moleskine (Ok, a large supply of both!).



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United Airlines to offer Stupidly Expensive WiFi in the air

Rumour over at Techdirt is that United Airlines is going to offer very pricey WiFi to their passengers. [here]

Scoble tells us that SAS offers this service for $30. On a flight to Europe or to the West Coast, $30 for connected WiFi is a very good deal.

However, Scoble also points out the other problem: power.

United is where I collect my airline loyalty miles. If they would get some customer service, I would be happy to fly with them more often.

Peter Davidson has more on this here.




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Sunday, June 5, 2005

Long Day…

We had a party for the boys at the Consulate today, complete with an inflatable moonwalk jumper.

They are completely fried: deep, crispy and Kentucky. But they both had a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of the parents I hear about, but never see in person.

And it is still stinkin' hot up here. One of those nights where you wish the storm would come.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

G5 Powerbook = Fake; Dual-Core Pentium4 Powerbook = ???

It's all over the web tonight. Intel-powered Apples. Back in the middle of May, I speculated that given the slow development on cooling the G5 enough to fit into a laptop, Apple was stuck. It had to choose either Intel or AMD to move forward.

Even if this predicted marriage does not come true, Apple has a tough choice to make soon. The PowerPC chip is falling behind.

Then again, Jobs could surprise us all, again.



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Friday, June 3, 2005

G5 Powerbook Release: Gotta Be A Fake

Enough with the G5 Powerbook rumours.

Well, unless Steve Jobs has found a way to defy the laws of physics, a picture of the G5 Powerbook can be found here.

A G5 Powerbook violates the zeroth, first, second, third, and most likely the Illuminati-held secret fourth law of thermodynamics.

Calm down. Not physically possible.

Oh, I forgot: you're Apple people. Reality is as The Steve preacheth.

Flickr: Search Maintenance Taking a LOOONNNGGG Time

Flickr:

I like to entertain myself by typing random words into your search engine and seeing what comes up.

I know: blows GTD all to hell. But it is interesting to see what is out there.

Anyway, the search function has been busted all day.

Gonna be back soon?

Thanks!

Fisher Space Pen and other Friday Night Madness

Ok, I caved. Purple Metallic and Black Matte.

I am slave to fashion.

Damn they feel good on Moleskine paper.

Damn you Merlin.

Ok, you're not the only one...but you can take it...and it's hard to tag Joi Ito with the blame -- he moves around too much!

Maybe I should blame Parmet again...nah! He turned me onto the G2s.

Hey! David! You owe us an updated "What's in your bag?" photo with the Waterfield!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

California Schools Again

Back in March I commented on some things that Dave Winer said about California Schools. [here]

The main point of the discussion was that the California Public School system is in a near third-world state (with apologies to the oppressed in the third-world) due to the short-sightedness and greed that grew out of Proposition 13.

Today, Tom Foremski chimes in with pretty much the same point. [here]

It is shocking to me that the world's sixth largest economy can have a public education system that is the shame of the nation. When I explain to people in Massachusetts, when they complain about schools here, that teachers have to ask parents to supply paper towels and toilet paper, they are shocked.

California has a beautiful veneer over a core that is disintegrating and changing rapidly. This morning, I heard a story on NPR [link to follow later] about a South LA school torn apart by racial conflict -- latinos against blacks. Many will chalk this up as a city issue, one unique to LA. It's not. The latino population of California is growing, and the public school system is failing these children.

What to do?

It comes down to one thing -- avarice. Until the people of California can overcome their greed, the children of California will wallow in a public education system that is the shame of the industrialized world.

Bad Managers and How to Deal With Them

Having worked for the world's absolutely worst manager -- legal reasons prevent me from releasing details -- I can sympathize.

Scott Berkun has some great advice for those who think that their manager is really awful. Sometimes, it's not as bad as it seems, and something can be done.

Leon at Lifehack adds to this by telling us how to turn around a conversation.

More Stupid Trackback and Comment Spammers

Ok, started to notice a dramtic and sudden increase in traffic to my site yesterday. Turns out that all of these folks were headed to the same place at this host:

/index.php?disp=stats


So, when I checked this out, they were all indicating referrals from the usual illicit medication and adult sites.

<sigh> More trackback and comment spam.

Now, I know that this page exists in b2evolution, and it is a way for visitors to view my traffic stats. However, a link to this page does not exist in my main display page. The only link to my stats is to my StatCounter stats.

Enter mod_rewite.

A simple rule disposes with these morons.

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} disp=stats
RewriteRule ^.*$ http://www.pierzchala.com:9080/ [R,L,NS]


Please do not attempt to load the redirected URL; you will get nothing. NADA! That port is set to be dropped by iptables, effectively hanging the client end as it attempts to make a TCP connection.

/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 -s 0/0 --dport 9080 -j DROP


I use iptables to handle a lot of these morons. As the only people who view this page are infected with some virus or spyware, then I feel no shame in tying up their systems

Moleskine: The Sensual Paper

Pen glides across paper, silently. Simple meeting notes are an act of pleasure. No resistance to ideas; paper begging me for more, more.

What do I write?

What is worthy of this paper?

Gel ink glistens on the page. The page is waiting, wanting more.

The idea.

A fury of writing. Paper absorbing words, a glistening trail of thought left behind as ideas move forward, a mind empties onto the paper.

Oh, the paper.

Then, like an impatient lover, I must wait for the ink to dry. Eager for the next page, ideas flowing forward, tide unstoppable.

All for this paper, this sensual paper.

Moleskine.

 

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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Robert Scoble: The George Hamilton of Blogging

I came up with the pithy, off-the-cuff remark about Scoble this morning, referring to him as the George Hamilton of Blogging.

Every week, he pops up at the latest hip conference, hanging with all the "right" people, saying all the cool things.

How's your tan, Robert?


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