Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

Category: Outages

May 5, 2008

Be careful with that mt-search.cgi

My hosting provider notified me Saturday morning that MovableType was consuming too much CPU by shutting off -- a really effective notification mechanism. There was no actual spike in usage, just a gradual uptick, so this was a tad aggressive. At first I agreed to the upsell to a higher-level hosting plan. When their tech mentioned that I would still exceed limits on that plan and I should consider a $200/month dedicated plan, I decided to do some more investigation.

At fault was mt-search.cgi, which powers tags on MovableType Web sites. Between Google, Yahoo, and Cuill, there was too much pounding on the puny server I'm hosted on. I've added mt-search.cgi to my robots.txt file, so hopefully search engines will steer clear of it. I've also agreed to temporary suspend mt-search.cgi so that the various crawlers out there can get it out of their system. This means that all the tag links on the site will be broken until then. I need to avoid having my site suspended without warning again for a few more days, so probably not until next week.

November 30, 2007

Site corrupted

The server this site is hosted got corrupted a bit. I've been able to catch a couple of obvious things but I'm not sure the full extent of what was affected. If you happen to notice anything, please shoot me a note.

On a separate note, I'm having a blast in Tokyo. Too busy to post for now, but I'll have plenty of robot photos from IREX2007 when I return.

June 22, 2007

Another outage

If I were to write a review of my hosting company right now, I guarantee it wouldn't be positive. This time around, they tried to make it sound like my fault. Before I was just annoyed at them; now I'm angry.

If you would like a clue as to who my provider is: they just got last and second-to-last place in this Digg/Reddit experiment.

April 23, 2007

5+ hour outage was down for at least 5 hours today. Apparently overpowered air conditioners took out the breakers in the server room.

February 15, 2007

F- You Slashdot!

Not really, but I do wish there was some content flag you could set that says, "if you are going to traffic-bomb my site, you have permission to mirror the content elsewhere."

I've been constantly restarting my server this morning trying to get some life out of it, but the fact is, I shouldn't be running Apache on Windows. The Windows Apache response to extra traffic is generally to lockup for a small period of time. If that extra traffic keeps coming in, the server gets knocked to the mat again repeatedly. I probably shouldn't be running over a DSL connection either, but I've actually been nowhere close to saturating the link: Windows Apache is the weakest link.

I know this is a bad setup, but its a whole lot cheaper than setting up an extra Linux box or paying a hosting company. Regardless, I am now looking into hosting providers. Dreamhost used to be a good one, but recent reviews seem uniform in saying that "Dreamhost used to be great until last summer." I shall investigate more, but the goal is to spend no more than $15/month.

July 6, 2006 is back home

If you are reading this, has returned from its vacation at the wonderful Tooch Ranch looking well rested and better than ever. Many thanks to Tooch for the hospitality to my server.

This side of the blog will probably stay quiet a bit longer as I continue my Tour de blogging over at spare cycles and gear up for the Team Uni's Comic-Con. We actually have enough people (over a dozen, I think) for two teams this year. I'll tentatively refer to the other team as the Van Condos, after their mode of transport and lodging, at least until a more proper name is passed on to me. I'm sticking with Team Uni, going for the schwag points, but I'm excited about hanging out with all the people headed down to San Diego.

Now that I have my computer back I'll also have to start processing photos from the gadget wedding (congrats bp and joy!). They're off in Hawaii right now so I have a bit more time -- they're hopefully not reading this, but my guess is one of them is.

June 29, 2006 is alive and tooch-ified

Many thanks to Tooch who is lending a wire and an IP address while I await DSL service at my new place. Comcast was hooked up this morning and I've found an open wireless network at my apartment complex so all should be set for the Tour-de-France-fest over at my spare cycles blog. The only problem right now is we can't seem to find any of my three TiVo remotes.

deut-sm.jpgWhile I was at Tooch's Norman Compound he showed off the manliest washer and dryer I have ever seen: the Whirlpool Duet. They have more switches and LEDs than an airplane cockpit. Tooch said that they were marketed at Nascar husbands, but doesn't that actually mean they are marketed at wives that want to get their husbands to do the laundry instead? And to think I had been thrilled earlier in the day to see that the dinky washer and dryer in my new place had been replaced recently.

June 26, 2006

Moving, possibly moving

Wednesday is set for the day of my move from one side of Shoreline Blvd to the other. A detailed plan of attack for each carload has been drawn up; it should be glorious.

A consequence of every move I make is that goes into identity reassignment. In the past, I have sometimes temporarily transferred some of the files to Now that I have separated out my mythbusters and cycling blogs, though, it may be too much of a headache to do the brain transplant. Also, with the Tour de France set to begin, nothing short of the real will do for the torrent of multimedia blogging that is set to ensue.

If you happen to know of a spare static IP address and line in Mountain View/Palo Alto/Sunnyvale that I can borrow for a week or so to hookup this server, please drop me a line. If you know of anyone at AT&T/SBC that I can bribe to not take the week or so they normally take to turn a DSL line on, also please drop me a line.

January 9, 2006 back online

BitTorrent has a habit of knocking out my DSL, which knocks out as well. 'tis a small price to pay for the new Battlestar Galatica episode.

June 28, 2005

Comments unbroken

Yet again, comments were broken (and now fixed). Apparently I neglected to reinstall some libraries, and SpamLookup is still definitely beta software. I should just have a flag like they do in shark-prone waters to indicate whether or not comment badness has recently occurred.

June 27, 2005

Data Casualties

poisonAs a reminder to myself to back things up, here's a list of data casualties (files that I failed to backup and were unrecoverable from the dying disk):

  • entire iTunes library: not a huge loss, as I do own the CDs and have an old version backed up, but it will take quite some time to reburn, and I've also lost all the ratings (unless someone knows how to extract that data off my iPod)
  • some Daily Show clips: also not a huge loss, possibly some missed laughs down the line, but so much of my Daily Show archive survived that I should be more than fine.
  • my Desktop: this is an unknown. A lot of what's on my desktop is copies of data that I'm staging for printing, etc... but it's also where I put a lot of data that's awaiting filing. I can't remember what these files might have been, so this is an unknown loss.

The important thing is that my Web server and photos made it through unscathed. I await a future in which data loss is eliminated by massive network replication -- a future that is quite possible with today's technology.

June 3, 2005

Feeling lonely

So, it appears that I may have lost ~15 comments in my little snafu. It's rather silly, as the thing that broke it had never really been working anyways -- it just started not working in a very different way.

Anyway, I'm curious as to what those 15 comments were, so, if you're willing, comment away. Some examples:

  • "Everyone would have seen my answer to the number puzzle if you weren't such crappy admin."
  • "I was using one of the comment fields on your Web site to solve Fermat's Last Theorem, and now all my work is lost thanks to you."
  • "I was going to propose to my fiance on your blog, but instead we flew to London."

Important: if you post a comment on this entry and get a message saying that it's been moderated, send me an e-mail if you can as I might still be having problems.

June 2, 2005


It has recently come to my attention that my blog comments were hosed. A plugin that I had installed decided to start acting up. Many, many apologies to those who may have commented. Sadly, I have no way of recovering your comments.

I hopefully have fixed the problem and will test again later tonight.

update: fyi, it was the banascii plugin that started acting up and not playing nice with the commenting system. If you have SpamLookup and/or Blacklist installed, you may want to disable it.

February 15, 2005

Sorry for the outage

It was Valentine's Day -- like I'm going to spend my day worrying about my website, right?

January 31, 2005


It turns out that I've been doing too good of a job blocking comment spam and had inadvertently disabled all comments on this site. If you have commented in the past two weeks or so your comment probably went into the vapor (sorry).

December 16, 2004


The new isn't living up to expectations right now. It's hard to tell whether it's the: * new DSL line underperforming * barrage of comment spam attacks across many MovableType servers that are causing high server loads * wireless setup the server is running over (due to the unfortunate location of the phone line)

As I try to diagnose this, I'm turning off comments and will be fiddling with other bits. I may have to give up and move the setup to a web hosting company, something I've been reticent to do in the past.

November 5, 2004

Most systems go

Reinstalled everything last night, took a bit longer to get everything up and running than I planned. If you notice any problems, please let me know. The main problem I have noticed is that TypeKey logins no longer work, though this started happening when I upgraded MovableType awhile back.

October 22, 2004

Recent breakage

My apache server keeps breaking and I can't seem to figure out why, so I am temporarily disabling comments as a last ditch effort to see if that might be the reason. So sorry, no comments today.

October 18, 2004

Technical difficulties everywhere and are having some technical difficulties right now. If you notice pages not loading or whatnot, we are trying to fix it.'s are being caused by a firewall upgrade necessitated by Windows XP SP2 breaking my previous firewall, while movabletypo got a little too worked up about that Red Sox victory last night and is a bit hung over.

October 3, 2004


Thanks to pqbon, is now running with a brand new power supply. was on its deathbed earlier tonight, only able to stay up for 20 seconds or less before failing. The old power supply might make a good discus.

My devices seem angry at me, as I had to replace the memory card in my camera today as well. It was happily eating one photo out of every 100, which could make an interesting art project -- handing out cameras that randomly delete photos. Would you still take the time to preserve that moment for posterity knowing that there was a 1/100 chance that the moment would disappear forever? Would the small probability of deletion remove the layer of mediation the camera creates, as the camera would no longer be a trustworthy mediator?

September 20, 2004

Technical difficulties

The disk running the database for my computer looks like it might be ready to burnout. Its getting old and its been hit by a wave of power outages. If you had/have trouble commenting or reaching this site, this is probably why. I will have to take everything offline soon and fix it, but in the meantime apologies for the outages.

July 18, 2004

I be back

As my home server has become a functional brain in some regards, serving as both memory and recall, the title for this entry holds a grain of truth.

The real is back now, which means some previous crippled content and functionality is back online now, including:
- movie list
- reading list
- ability to post photo galleries
- monthly and category archives
- the search bar should actually work again

Note to people upgrading to MovableType 3.0D with MTRssFeed, the following patch to from TweezerMan seems to work:

# return MT->VERSION<'2.50'?_decode_xml_fallback($value):decode_xml($value); my $mt_ver = MT->VERSION; $mt_ver =~ s/^(.*)\D$/$1/; return $mt_ver<'2.50'?_decode_xml_fallback($value):decode_xml($value);

July 1, 2004

Systems at 75%

The feed aggregator has flown over to its permanent home at movabletypo. Sorry for the interruption in service, but from now on things should be much more stable. No more random DSL interruptions, etc... so I hope you enjoy the not new, but more stable feed aggregator at movabletypo.

The real is still lying in a helpless heap, but most of it's functionality has been temporarily transferred here, and the temporary server lets me play around a bit more nimbly as it doesn't have to rebuild 1300 entries.

June 11, 2003

Site outages

Hopefully the frequent site outages will come to an end tonight. I will be moving my dsl over to my roommate's connection. If is unavailable, you may want to try until the DNS caches clear.

Update: the switch has been flipped. For the next couple of hours things are going to be screwy until DNS caches clear (certain images won't load).