We’re Back (Again)

After a brief absence due a hardware failure, Weblogs.us is back. A slue of new hardware accompanies the return. From this time forward service outages should be rare (unless someone gets Dugg).

JD installed a new 8 core Woodcrest server with 8GiB ram for the new Apache/PHP/file server, and the SQL server was replaced as well. Since some nasty traffic was making it to the old Apache server, a dedicated hardware firewall was installed a good thing all around as the bad traffic was at times taking up to half of the network activity. Look forward to some more interesting updates here as some projects wrap up and the semester winds down.

One final thing, Happy Birthday James (jmweirick)! (This may be off by a day or so)

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Forget MATLAB

Yep, forget it, use GNU Octave instead. For calculus 3, rather linear algebra and differential equations, there is a lab which requires the use of MATLAB to do things that can get ugly. One particular use is for Gaussian elimination for finding values of several variables that solve a set of equations.

Occasionally, a write up is required for certain parts of the problems completed in lab. Checking work previously done in lab when doing the write-up is always reassuring. Going back to the computer lab is not convenient, and the 200USD that it costs for a student license of MATLAB can go to better use. That’s where GNU Octave comes in; it’s GNU’s MATLAB replacement that accepts nearly all of MATLAB’s commands. For Gaussian elimination, Octave sure beats writing a PHP script to do it (which I did on Monday).

On a side note, getting Aptana to work on Gentoo is fairly painless, though its installation doesn’t comply with the Gentoo philosophy. Maybe when it comes out of beta I’ll help get it into portage. I’ve also written a simple bash script for loading Aptana, which will be available in the tools section on this site once I figure out exactly where Aptana’s files should go to be consistent with Gentoo’s installation methods. Since at the U of M they don’t automatically load the modules necessary to run MATLAB at login, and the matlab command doesn’t do it automatically I’ve written a simple bash script that should take care of this. It’s available for download in the tools section.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Sammy’s Banished

Sammy Kamkar, the one who over a year ago unleashed an exploit on MySpace that caused anyone who viewed his profile, or his friends’ profiles to automatically request to be his friend. MySpace filed a civil suit against Kamkar, who plead guilty and is now banished from the Internet for a classified amount of time. The plaintiffs claimed that they are “committed to protecting our community from any abusive misuse of the site.”

Frankly, after reviewing the code and reading the explanation of his method, the hack only worked for IE and certain versions of Safari. In reality the exploit was of both the browsers and MySpace, his code should never have executed in the browsers. News Corp. should go after Microsoft as they are equally responsible for this exploit. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how they will go about keeping him off the Internet.

In other news, Boston needs to get a brain. Overreacting to the ten or so PCBs with LEDs attached and a black plastic bag protecting the batteries was idiocy. If the police can’t tell the difference between a bomb and a LED sign, how are they supposed to do their job? Seriously the media needs to stop spreading misinformation and disinformation before the people revolt against them, oh wait that’s already about to happen (the Internet, YouTube, p2p, etc).

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Not Tonight

It won’t happen tonight, or tomorrow.
Not tomorrow night, or the next.
Not next week, month, year.
Not now.

It will happen when it does,
When it has matured,
When it’s complete,
When it arrives.

Do not fret nonetheless,
I promise it shall come to pass.
Just not now,
Not tonight.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Finally, Some Success

Over the last few days, I’ve attempted to solve a bug relating to WordPress’ behavior of pinging the PRC services even on drafts and edits. There is a plug-in for resolving this. But, if the user doesn’t have this plug-in, the result is multiple entries of the same thing on the Updated Blogs section of the new Weblogs.us site.

However, if the article URI is the same as some previous URI in the database the ping can be ignored (no need to go out and fetch the RSS feed). Now that this works, I will test a few refinements, which will result in a slightly heavier load (possibly neutralized by sending less data) for the database server, to reduce the load greatly on the Apache/PHP server. After this optimization, I will continue writing the code for the listings system.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]