Now it starts to get cold - the first frost of winter, the trees in the garden almost naked. But Hey! It's December now, and Christmas is coming.
Galleries added this month.
Stories added this month.
Movies added this month.
All hamsters running fast and cool. One of the news digestion servers got its hard disk in a tangle, so I swapped people's access over to its mirror, fscked it (that took a couple of days) and then told it to catch up from the mirror. Now it's working fine again, and I didn't have any downtime.
Spam! Don't we all hate it?
I have all the junk to wade through in my mailbox (I use a spam-sorter, which divides up my mail into probably-spam and probably-OK, which helps). But I have another problem caused by spam.
Each server that I run, has a limit to how much it can do. That's partly in processing power, partly in disk activity, partly in the number of connections people try to make to it. Which of those is the bottleneck, depends on what the server is doing.
Recently, I've noticed that one of my servers sometimes gets its table of connections filled up, which means that additional people trying to access it get a busy signal. It wasn't happening often, but once is too many times. So I looked at it to see how I could remove the problem.
The problem turned out to be spam (at least, I think it was). That server is being used as a web server, but it's also the mail server for a lot of the people I host. When I looked at it, I found a few dozen mail connections active, which meant a few dozen that couldn't be used for web access.
The solution was fairly simple - I'm changing the server that processes mail. This should be invisible to people using it, but it means that the spam will be processed by a different server, so that the web serving won't suffer from spam-clog.
The reason people send so much spam, is that it's really cheap to send. Free, in fact. It costs a spammer almost nothing to send millions of spams. But all that email has to be processed, by the servers that receive it. And in this case, I rather resent having to put resources into play in order to keep the spam flowing freely.
I got some revenge recently, though. I got cold-called by someone wanting to sell me double glazing. So I found out the company they worked for, and phoned up their managing director, their marketing director, and their IT director. What I wanted was simply to be put on their don't-call list. But that request has wasted a lot more of their timme than their cold call wasted of mine.
Until the Herbiceps Event (read about it last month's newsletter) I was using a Windows 98 computer as my main sit-in-front-of workstation. Which meant I have about 120 Linux computers, and a handful of Windows (there's a couple of other things that I have to run Windows for).
The Herbiceps Event took down one of my Windows computers, so I did something I've been thinking of doing for a while - I made a Linux machine my main sit-in-front-of workstation. And that's worked out pretty well. I still need Windows for a few things (AOL for example), but now I do almost everytning on the Linux box. And you know what? I don't have to reboot it every day! This also means I don't have to worry about things like this. My feeling is that at this point in time, running Internet Explorer is definitely a no-no unless you're running it under Windows XP Service Pack 2 (and I'm running Windows 98, for which Microsoft haven't done a service pack for this). And even if you're running XP-SP2, You're only safe until the next security problem.
Tansy crashed, it was a disk problem. And although the drive is only 16 months old, it's out of warranty. Fortunately, Tansy is just a backup machine, so all I had to do was replace the drive, reload linux, and tell it to do a backup.
Then I thought - I'm using three machines to backup three machines. I don't need to do that. So I built one big box called Islay (named for Pamela) to backup all of the non-DtV sites that I'm hosting. And once I have that data on a server here, I back it up from the server onto tape.
The conversion of my CD collection to "ogg" files went well, there's 32gb altogether. Now I'm not dependent on an enormously complicated juke-box machine. It was fun while it worked, but now that it's skipping and hiccuping, I'd need to get it fixed (I tried cleaning it, no joy) which would probably be horrendously expensive, since it's a Sony. Or buy a new one, which is also pretty expensive. But I've also realised something else - CDs are actually fragile. Oh, they're pretty robust, sure, but I found that one of my CDs has such a deep scratch on it, that it's unreadable. Not a disaster, of course, I can replace it with a new one for maybe $10. But why should I? When I bought that CD, I bought a licence to play that music to myself as often as I liked. And now I can't.
By converting the physical CDs to oggs, I avoid the risk of scratched CDs. I can back up the ogg files using my usual backup system.
And there's another advantage I hadn't thought of - because I've got my CD collection on my file server, I can immediately find the one I fancy. If I feel like playing my four Fred Astaire CDs, I don't have to hunt for them, or work out where on the juke bok carousel thing they are. I can just point, click and play.
I'm also going to convert the oggs to mp3s, because in my hardware workroom I don't have a Linux box with sound, just Windows. I can't find a Windows player which can handle oggs, so I wrote a little ogg-to-mp3 converter. This will also mean that I can put my collection on a portable thing, and play it in the car. Or wherever I happen to be. It's just like having a portable CP player and 400 CDs, only lighter, and without possible mechanical problems.
"I'm sorry to keep you waiting. Your call is important to us and will be answered as soon as a representative becomes available."
Heard this recently? Of course you have, you hear it all the time. Let me translate.
"Your call isn't important to us. If it were, we'd have hired enough people to be able to talk to you. You're not important to us, and we're demonstrating this by wasting your time, keeping you on hold. Of course, if you try to do the same thing to us, we'll just hang up.
Here's another one. One of the suppliers I use has a web site that can't be accessed unless you use Internet Explorer. I've just changed over from Windows as my main workstation, to Linux, so I don't have Internet Explorer. So, a few days ago, I got a phone call from them; apparently I have a new "account representative" (salesman) and he was calling to see if everything was OK, and by the way, do I have an order for him. So I asked him the price of 300 gb drives (I buy a lot of those now), and told him about the web site problem. He passed me over to their tech people. I got several minutes of "Your call is important to us" and then a techie. After about five seconds of explanation he said, "Yes, I know." Apparently, this is the policy that's come down from Head Office, he thinks it's crazy, but he's just a humble techie. So I was nice to him, but I told him I planned to complain to the managing director of the company. Why? Call it a hobby of mine - sometimes I just like to be a bit ornery.
So I complained. Explained that they'd be losing business because I can't check their latest prices online without using Internet Explorer, and that we'd made a policy decision not to use it on account of the security problems (remember the Herbiceps Event?). I haven't heard back frmo them yet. But ...
I got another phone all, from another of my suppliers. They call me every couple of weeks, touting for business. I haven't told them not to, I reckon that if they call me, they must be keen to get the order, so I can get them to knock the price down a tad. And I asked him the price of 300 gb drives. I was very surprised to hear that they were £10 less than the other people. The reason I was surprised, is I'd checked the price on their web site only the previous day, and they were a couple of pounds higher than the other guys. So I got him to check his number, and he was sure - but that low number wasn't on their web site. And then we worked out what it was - Maxtor recently brought out a variation on the 300 gb, and that was the cheapie. So I thought, hmmm, I wonder what the price of this new cheapie is with the first supplier ... and then I thought, but I can't use their web site, and I'm not going to hang up on this guy (or put him on hold) while I phone up the other people and get a price. So the second supplier got the order for ten drives.
The moral of this story is, if you have a web site, then A) make it as universally usable as you can, and especially don't lock out people who don't use Explorer, and B) if you have new products and services at a great competitive price, make sure they get onto your web site, because people won't often phone you on the offchance that you might have what they're after.
I don't make these up, although the comments on the spams are mine, of course. These are actual spams sent to me, which just strike me as funny. I don't include their contact details - go find your own spammers!
By the way, if you're using StoneColdMail
(which is free to web site members) then you won't see most of these spams, they'll be delivered
into your "Spam" folder.
my stains have vanished
What, even those difficult-to-remove stains that ordinary soap powders leave behind?
Repiceive 4 Ins-tant Ofuifers with no Crepudit Chepuck, no Obliganation,
no SSN reqopuired
Re-finweance/Neow Maportapgage ratade for crepodit chal-lenged as loeqw
Louswest Intelirest-Ratuses in Yeroars
No Risuk, No Obliganation.
Fasuit, Profes-sional Seruvice.
Apalproval in as littrale as 24 hourels.
We spetocialize in Popior crepudit, No credcuit casotes
Quicok 30 seconesd Forupm
Ixnay ankthay oo-pay.
Crocodile: New antidote found.
Hey, great! So now, if I get attacked by a crocodile, I know where to go!
We've sponsored lots of the women; Nicole Bass, Andrulla Blanchette, Sheila Burgess, Christine Envall, Marilyn Perret, Peggy Schoolcraft, Larisa Hakobyan, Steph Parks.
We're also sponsoring individual events such as the Femsport Valkyrie Festival, and the New York Muscle Club, and funding athletes to go to events with grant dollars.
We're also doing free hosting and free bandwidth for many of our sponsored women. Bandwidth can mount up to a large bill when you're running a popular web site.
And we've sponsored Heather Foster, Kara Bohigian, Priscilla Ribic, KerryAnn Allen, Linda Cusmano and Jodi Miller. Also Anita Ramsey and Rhonda Dethlefs.
|Diana the Valkyrie||1606|
Madman is top dog again.
This month we had 4859 posts to the boards.
Most posted Board of the month
Poster of the month
|The politics board is still huge, with arguments over evolution, the quality of various politicians and lots more besides||Danryan's staunch defence of Creationism makes him the top poster this month.|
Mavis is counting the number of times the message list is checked for each board. This gives a very different picture from the one above.
Most listed Board of the month
Most read Board of the month
|It's all about FBBs and pictures.||The Grinch got the stats.|
I checked the site statistics that Sandra counts up each night.
At the end of November 2004, there were about 735,000 pictures (48 gigabytes), 157 gigabytes of video, 8800 text files (mostly stories) and a total of about 206 gigabytes. The Current Newsthumbs has 11 million pictures; there's over 100 million pictures altogether in Newsthumbs. How many web sites do you know that have 100 million pictures?