Guess What? People Don’t Know Who You Are On The Internet.

Something rather odd has been happening lately. I do something that someone doesn’t like (hey, I can’t please everyone). Then they start spewing about how I hate [insert whatever they are here] and am just out to repress/hold them down.

In the last week, I’ve been told I was repressing blacks, I was trying to destroy the Muslim religion (then also told I’m going out of my way to hurt Christianity). I’ve been told I’ve been oppressing women as well as “holding back” someone simply because they were a disabled war veteran.

In most cases it’s spawned because someone spams my forum with whatever great product/service they are offering for a limited time, so their account is terminate for spamming.

Okay, so uhm… here’s the deal people. If you spam for Viagra or pyramid schemes, your account was terminated because you spammed for Viagra or pyramid schemes. It’s not because I’m somehow clairvoyant and sensed you were a woman, Muslim, disabled war veteran, or whatever else. Let’s take this email for example…

fuck you for deleting my account!!! i hope you burn in hell you motherfucker. i’m a disabled war veteran. what’s your problem with war vets anyway? you go around deleting my account just because I’m a war vet? you are an unamerican asshole.

This was in response to being banned for spamming about “limited time cheap cell phones”. Kind of makes me wonder what goes through people’s head when they start spewing such funny accusations. Because uhm, I didn’t know you were a “disabled war veteran” until you just wrote me that email.

The good part about it, is it’s terribly entertaining. :)

I (Might) Have No Email Address

I’m curious what people would think about someone (talking about me) simply not having an email address in this day and age…

I’m not talking about pretending to not have an email address, but ACTUALLY not having one. Like if you sent me email at my old address it would bounce back with an “unknown user” error.

I get literally thousands of emails per day (mostly spam slipping through the spam filters), of which 3 or 4 actually require some sort of response. The 2,000+ other emails each day become so overwhelming that I check my email once per week these days (it would get to my eyes faster if you snail mail me a hand-written letter), and even when I do check it, 99.99% spam means as I’m clearing it out, inevitably I may throw out some non-spam if it’s not immediately recognizable. So I’m starting to think… so I really need email? All my friends have my instant message ID, and they all know about my email situation, so really… do I need email anymore?

Google Browser Sync

For anyone using Firefox, this is a great plug-in (made by Google). It will sync your cookies, passwords, bookmarks, history and window tabs (you can pick and choose just certain things if you want) to your Google account.

What that means is you can use Firefox on a different computer, and all your stuff will show up. I mostly wanted bookmarks, but it’s handy to have the other stuff too.

http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/browsersync/

(thanks to Bobby for pointing this plug-in out)

Monitor Everything

Okay, is anyone tired of my server admin tips yet? Yes? Too bad.

Monitor everything… Put as much info at your finger tips as easily as possible. Put that info in a place where you will always be looking at it for some reason. For example, I made a vBulletin plug-in that monitors 4 memcached servers (including a latency test it runs) as well as 10 blade servers. This shows every time I’m in the admin of the forum (which is a lot), so I can’t help but to not see it.

I wrote a little daemon that runs on my servers that can quickly report back whatever info I want (time, disk RAID status, server load, MySQL replication status, etc.)

The more info you have in one place (especially when you run a bunch of servers), the easier it is to see anything wrong. For example, I had an issue with a web server serving requests slow one day… it ultimately ended up not being a problem with the web server, but the memcached server it was using. The latency test was showing ~2,000 ms latency (2 seconds) vs. the normal 0.5 ms (1/2000 of a second).

And be proactive about monitoring stuff… don’t wait until something bad happens to start doing it! Then it’s too late.

Can I go to bed now?

Eyelash Transplant Surgery

Does anyone else besides me think this is weird?

Under the procedure, a small incision is made at the back of the scalp to remove 30 or 40 hair follicles which are carefully sewn one by one onto the patient’s eyelids. Only light sedation and local anesthetics are used and the cost is around $3,000 an eye.

The technique was first confined to patients who had suffered burns or congenital malformations of the eye. But word spread and about 80 percent are now done for cosmetic reasons.

The surgery is not for everyone. The transplanted eyelashes grow just like head hair and need to be trimmed regularly and sometimes curled. Very curly head hair makes for eyelashes with too much kink.

So wait… what? You need to go get your eyelashes a haircut once in awhile? And if you let them just grow out, they could grow as long as your normal hair? Bahahaha! rad.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/10/24/eyelash.transplant.reut/

Magsafe Airline Power Adapter

Okay, normally Apple products are extremely polished and well thought-out. But this airline power adapter they came out with today is just plain stupid.

I bought one today when I ordered one of Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops at the same time. Well I just noticed some fine-print on it…

Important notes:

  • Using the MagSafe Airline Power Adapter provides power for your computer but does not charge the battery.
  • The MagSafe Airline Power Adapter is not compatible with automobile power ports.

Well isn’t that lovely… there is no technical reason why they couldn’t have made both of those things happen, that’s just plain stupid IMO.

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=MA598Z/A

strace

Yay, more server admin fun! :) Here’s a useful *nix command that will let you determine what system calls a program uses… For example, I wanted to double check that libevent calls within memcached were using epoll() and select() or poll() calls (epoll scales better) on my SuSE Linux machines…

server:~ # strace memcached -u root

...clipped...
epoll_ctl(5, EPOLL_CTL_ADD, 3, {EPOLLIN, {u32=5313904, u64=5313904}}) = 0
epoll_ctl(5, EPOLL_CTL_ADD, 4, {EPOLLIN, {u32=5313920, u64=5313920}}) = 0
epoll_ctl(5, EPOLL_CTL_ADD, 7, {EPOLLIN, {u32=5313968, u64=5313968}}) = 0
epoll_wait(5, {}, 1024, 1000) = 0

Sure enough! :)

Use Server-Side Caching When Possible (memcached)

Purely out of necessity, I’ve become a system administrator/architect for digitalpoint.com servers… and a few people have been asking me for general admin tips to make things stable and scalable, so here’s a good one for you…

Use memcached… no really, use it.

memcached is a distributed memory caching system that allows multiple servers to access the same shared memory (you can use it just for single local server too of course). You can cache pretty much anything… SQL query results (especially ones that can’t hit indexes), dynamically generated web pages, dynamic RSS feeds, etc.

If you compile the memcache() functions/class directly into PHP, you have a an easy (yet powerful) way to incorporate it.

For example, let’s say I have some existing code that makes a call to some sort of API (I use memcached for the keyword suggestion tool in this way)… you can add a couple lines of code to cache the results.

[code=php]$data = @file_get_contents ("http://some_api_call_url?keywords=$keywords");[/code]

could become this:

[code=php]$memcache = new Memcache;
$memcache->addServer('192.168.1.1');
$memcache->addServer('192.168.1.2');
if (!$data = $memcache->get($keywords)) {
$data = @file_get_contents ("http://some_api_call_url?keywords=$keywords");
$memcache->set($keywords, $data, false, 86400); // 24 hour cache
}
$memcache->close();[/code]

Now we are only hitting the API for the same keywords once every 24 hours… that setup utilizes 2 memcached servers working as a single entity for pooling and failover.

I use memcache for all sorts of things (this blog’s pages are cached for 60 seconds as another example because WordPress sucks, and protects against a massive influx of traffic [front-page digg for example]).

Here’s some things I personally use it for…

  • Caching this blog’s pages (for 60 seconds)
  • Caching Keyword Suggestion Tool queries (for 7 days)
  • Caching AdSense Sandbox queries (for 24 hours)
  • Temporary counters in Keyword Tracker (using decrement() for displaying remaining keywords on a “Check All”)
  • Recent forum topics that show on all the webmaster tools
  • vBulletin forum datastore

Any high-traffic site that is dynamically generated (especially if it includes SQL queries) could benefit from it… you could manage which memcache items need to be updated when you insert/update to the database, or an easy way to do it is just check the cache for the pages that potentially have high traffic… if they aren’t in the cache, put them in the cache with a certain expiration date. Then the page is dynamically generated no more often than the cache expiration time (in the case of this blog, the pages are generated no more than once every 60 seconds).

P.S. - Make sure you block outside access to your memcached port since there’s no authentication used!

White And Nerdy

I have to thank my old roommate Tracy for this… she apparently thinks of me whenever she hears this song. haha Great.

The RIAA/MPAA should take a note here… I never heard of this song until Tracy told me to go find it on YouTube… and I just purchased the whole album via iTunes Music Store because of it. I would have never gone to the store to buy it, but one-click purchasing of the album makes it easy. Now if you could just do this with DVDs, I would buy/watch more. And I guarantee I don’t have a unique viewpoint.

Update

Hahahaha… speaking of which, I’ve been listening to the album and just heard “Don’t Download This Song”, which you can download for free over here.

Lyrics

Once in a while
Maybe you will feel the urge.
To break into national copyright law
By downloading mp3s
From file sharing sites
Like morphous or grogster or limewire or kazza.
But deep in your Heart.
You know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
Cause you start out stealing songs
Then you’re robbing liquor stores
And selling Crack
And running over school kids with your car

[Chorus]
So Don’t Download This Song
The record store is where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Oh you don’t want to mess
With the R I Double A
They’ll sue you if you burn that Cdr.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a grandma
Or a seven year old girl
They’ll treat you like the evil Hard-bitten criminal scum you are

[Chorus]
So Don’t Download This Song (don’t go)
Pirating music all day long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Don’t take away money
From artists just like me
How else can I afford another solid gold Hum V
And diamond studded swimming pools
These things don’t grow on trees
So all I ask is everybody Pleaseeeeee

[Chorus]
Don’t Download This Song (Don’t do it No No)
Even Lars Urlich Know it’s wrong (You could just ask him)
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should (You Really Should)
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Don’t Download This Song (Oh please don’t you do it or you)
Might Wind up in Jail like Tommy Chong (Remember Tommy)
Go and buy the CD (Right Now) like you know that you should (Go out and Buy it)
Oh Don’t Download This Song.

Don’t Download This Song (No no no no no no)
Or you’ll burn in hell before to long (And you deserve it)
Go and buy the CD (Just buy it) like you know that you should (You should get it)

Using Textbooks As Shields

What a good idea… maybe we should send old textbooks to soldiers in Iraq to give them some added bullet protection…

A candidate for state superintendent of schools said Thursday he wants thick used textbooks placed under every student’s desk so they can use them for self-defense during school shootings.

“People might think it’s kind of weird, crazy,” said Republican Bill Crozier of Union City, Oklahoma, a teacher and former Air Force security officer.

Yeah, people think it’s weird because it *is* weird.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/10/20/school.shootings.textbooks.ap/

Google Crawl Rate

Here’s something cool that Google has added to Google Sitemaps for site owners…

Let’s you see how much Google’s spider crawls your site in the last 90 days, and even gives you the option to instruct Googlebot to increase or decrease their crawl activity on your site.

Here’s the stats for the Digital Point forum… Google crawling an average of 52,000+ pages per day (without putting it on “increase activity”)… Getting close to a page per second 24/7. :)

Stingrays Are Terrorists

Is it me, or do you think there might be a worldwide stingray terrorist campaign going on?

A leaping stingray stabbed an 81-year-old Florida boater in the chest, authorities said Wednesday, leaving its poisonous stinger lodged close to his heart in an incident recalling the one that killed Australian TV naturalist Steve Irwin last month.

Fire Department officials in Lighthouse Point, about 30 miles north of Miami, said James Bertakis was in a small recreational boat with two grandchildren Tuesday when the spotted eagle ray leaped aboard and struck him.

“It’s just a real freak thing,” Lt. Mike Sullivan told Reuters, saying the incident occurred on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, where stingrays are rarely seen leaping in the air.

“For an 81-year-old man he’s in really good shape,” Sullivan added, saying Bertakis was expected to make a full recovery after surgery at a local hospital to have the stinger removed from his chest.

“Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, 44, died when a stingray’s stinger punctured his heart off Australia’s north coast last month. It was one of only a handful of stingray fatalities on record.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/10/19/stingray.reut/

Joe Theismann Doesn’t Know Jack

Since the Chargers are pretty much bad ass this year, I’ll continue posting stuff I run across

Seems all the experts are pretty smart… except for that Joe Theismann guy. He must be drinking again…

5. Who’s the favorite now in the AFC?

Allen: The San Diego Chargers are the best team in the AFC. They would be undefeated if it weren’t for some poor coaching decisions in their loss to the Ravens. There aren’t many weaknesses on this team. The one weakness teams thought they could exploit at the beginning of the season was quarterback Philip Rivers, but he has turned into a strength. This team is playing excellent, aggressive football and can play any style. If a team wants to try to get into an offensive shootout, the Chargers can oblige, and if an opposing team wants to play a smashmouth game with a lot of running, the Chargers can do that, too. But what separates them from the other teams in the AFC is their defense led by “Lights Out” Shawne Merriman. This defense has played great this season and is one of the best in the league.

Hoge: I’ve been saying it for weeks and my answer is the same — the San Diego Chargers. With their abilities they are as good as any team in football. They have the best young quarterback (Rivers), best tight end (Antonio Gates) and best running back (LaDainian Tomlinson). Rivers is making throws that no quarterback would even think of making. I’d put them as the best team in football even ahead of the Bears.

Salisbury: The Chargers are the best team in the AFC right now, and I’ll tell you why. They are being led by a young quarterback (Rivers) who is not playing as though he’s getting his first starts this season but instead is playing as though he’s a 10-year veteran. When he drops back to throw the ball, he drops with confidence, and he’s backing it up with the correct throws and check downs. There were some who thought it was a mistake for the Chargers to jettison Drew Brees in the offseason in favor of an unproven commodity, but Rivers has proved the Chargers correct. He’s utilizing every piece of talent on the field and looks great. He’s the reason the Chargers are the No. 1 team in the AFC.

Schlereth: It’s hard to argue with the San Diego Chargers. They are stout defensively and while they haven’t played great teams, they’ve handled their business. There is no other team in the AFC that can handle them. They are better offensively than the Broncos and I’m not thoroughly impressed with the Colts.

Theismann: The Indianapolis Colts are still the favorite in the AFC. They are undefeated and are winning games in different ways. Gone is the team that was soft and could win only in blowouts and in domes, and it has been replaced by a team that can win a smashmouth game late. The credit for that goes to Peyton Manning and offensive coordinator Tom Moore, who have responded extremely well to the departure of former running back Edgerrin James. Instead of trying to do the exact same thing they did in the past, Moore and Manning have changed up their game plans and made the team more deliberate, and we’re seeing the results in the record.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2627326

Mike Tyson To Fight Women

Hmmm… what the hell? :)

At a news conference at an Italian restaurant, Tyson said he would likely go just four rounds and that future stops on the tour might include bouts with women, possibly professional boxer Ann Wolfe.

Wolfe, from Waco, Texas, is 21-1 with 15 knockouts.

“She’s such a prominent, dominant woman in the boxing field,” Tyson said.

When asked if he was joking about fighting women, Tyson said, “I’m very serious.”

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=2628718

UFC 64

I went to Vegas this weekend for UFC 64 at Mandalay Bay. I’ve never been to a UFC fight before, but man they are bloody. This is a picture of the second to last match tonight. Uhm, can I have some blood please? Thanks.

(The guy being picked up actually started with white shorts… no joke)

New Business Model For Catching Movie Pirates

Well first of all, I was just checking this site out because this is probably the most amazing homemade halloween costume ever made, but it gave me a really good marketing idea for the MPAA…

They should just setup an affiliate program and pay affiliate marketers 25% of the fees they collect from the lawsuits/threats. Dude, I would be the biggest affiliate marketer for the MPAA in the world (seriously, I can guarantee that). Anyway, here’s a freebie for the MPAA (if they want to do an “under the table” affiliate program, they have my address for the check)… ;)

Nate used Photoshop to enlarge an image of Wolverine’s claws from the X-Men movie that he had downloaded.

Oh also, I would like to turn in Mark Cuban for movie piracy. :)

http://www.muc.muohio.edu/~natedogg/main.htm

I Have A Basement

This is a live webcam shot (well live as of this posting) of my basement. The only reason I think it’s cool is because the three important sides are backfilled now, so we can finally start digging the footings for the main house (the front side isn’t backfilled yet because the dirt from the footings will be put in there, and there’s nothing above it, so there’s no slab there).

Chargers vs. Steelers

To make up for the Padres’ loss today, the Chargers beat the Steelers today. The first half looked terrible for the Chargers, but after they let Philip Rivers do his thing in the 2nd half, they actually looked pretty good). The Chargers won this one with their defense and passing game and not their running game.