The Sound Of A Tree Falling In The Forest

Wow – 5 years ago I started this little blog.  Such a very different life I live now – 2.75 children, wonderful dog, beloved wife (well, she was there at the start of things too).  A very different, and very full life.

Looking at the use of the site I see that I’m very popular with Google and Bing – their spiders come by quite frequently causing me to erect robot-patrolled fences around certain areas to stop them from chewing up my bandwidth.  But real live people just aren’t discovering my wit, wisdom, and general humour.

I’ve asked myself recently why I blog, why I tweet – it takes time and I’m not sure I want to continue spending time on it.  I came up with a few good answers (honestly!).  However all the reasons could be achieved with less time invested.  I don’t think anyone actually reads these posts – so essentially I’m posting to myself.  Which makes this post somewhat … weird.

I’m leaving off blogging and communicating via static pages in general.  I’ve avoided FaceBook and MySpace, Geocities and all that ilk.  I think the Internet has its purpose, but I do not think it is OK to have its main purpose to be self reflection and time sinking.

So I plan to re-examine the use of this domain.  I look back at 5 years of posts and smile as it is a good chronicle of some parts of my life.  This will be my 364th post here – there has to be some value in there somewhere, right?  But I’m ending things with you today – we may revisit our relationship soon enough, but first I need to make things officially over.

So goodbye, farewell, enjoy your freedom.  I plan to enjoy mine.


I’ve moved the WordPress blog (what you’re reading right now) and the Gallery to the new host – I believe everything is running smoothly. You may experience some new SLL certificate errors – please forgive me.

I don’t have everything moved over yet, but keeping things replicated across hosts was getting quite complex when I only wanted to replicate some of the things, some of the time. So for now we’ll ride with partial functionality, though I think the only things remaining were only used by me.

If something weird happens please let me know.

P.S. You might notice that things are a little faster?

Nice Demo of Benchmarking and Optimizing a WordPress Blog

Optimize WordPress for speed

Here are the results from my current (old) system for comparison:

Benchmarking (be patient).....done

Server Software:        Apache/2.2.9
Server Hostname:
Server Port:            80

Document Path:          /
Document Length:        26643 bytes

Concurrency Level:      10
Time taken for tests:   126.358 seconds
Complete requests:      100
Failed requests:        0
Write errors:           0
Total transferred:      2716600 bytes
HTML transferred:       2664300 bytes
Requests per second:    0.79 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       12635.836 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       1263.584 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          21.00 [Kbytes/sec] received

Connection Times (ms)
min  mean[+/-sd] median   max
Connect:        0    5  21.1      1     108
Processing:  3432 12418 1510.4  12669   15194
Waiting:     2785 7833 906.1   7867    9657
Total:       3433 12423 1507.4  12669   15195

Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms)
50%  12669
66%  12956
75%  13106
80%  13145
90%  13978
95%  14549
98%  14919
99%  15195
100%  15195 (longest request)

Specs of the old machine:

Athlon XP 2100+, 756 MB RAM

hdparm -tT /dev/sda1

Timing cached reads:   336 MB in  2.00 seconds = 167.97 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads:  192 MB in  3.03 seconds =  63.40 MB/sec

Now below are the numbers for my new hardware, though they may deteriorate as I add additional services.

Benchmarking localhost (be patient).....done

Server Software: Apache/2.2.11
Server Hostname: localhost
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /
Document Length: 28407 bytes

Concurrency Level: 10
Time taken for tests: 12.385 seconds
Complete requests: 100
Failed requests: 0
Write errors: 0
Total transferred: 2890200 bytes
HTML transferred: 2840700 bytes
Requests per second: 8.07 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 1238.451 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 123.845 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 227.90 [Kbytes/sec] received

Connection Times (ms)
min mean[+/-sd] median max
Connect: 0 9 30.1 0 119
Processing: 782 1220 163.2 1205 1781
Waiting: 499 790 145.2 757 1344
Total: 782 1229 182.8 1205 1781

Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms)
50% 1205
66% 1243
75% 1286
80% 1308
90% 1516
95% 1666
98% 1734
99% 1781
100% 1781 (longest request)

And the new server’s specs?

AMD Athlon Dual Core 5050e, 4GB RAM

hdparm -tT /dev/sda

Timing cached reads: 1292 MB in 2.00 seconds = 646.06 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 252 MB in 3.00 seconds = 83.94 MB/sec

So things are looking good!

Happy 4th Birthday theBside … Now Grow Up Already!

Wow, look at that.  I’ve been blogging here since March 2005 – a full 4 years.  292 posts about … stuff.

So Happy Birthday theBside – you’re 4 years old!

Now it’s time to talk turkey – I think it is time for a change.  Anyone who’s tried to blog on their own will agree that it actually is a bit of a time sink.  It takes time to find and vette interesting things, time to compose a post, and time to inject some degree of intelligence or thought into it.  I aimed at posting at least once per week and I think I accomplished that for a large majority of the 200-odd weeks I’ve been posting.

Today there are a few other blogging things around that didn’t exist in 2005, or at least were not as prevalent or popular back then.  For example there is Facebook, a service that you frankly have to ask how they plan on making money.  There’s also microblogging services like Twitter, and I can understand why microblogging is so popular.  It allows you to skip all that time I mentioned above, as you don’t need to inject intelligence or humour or anything into the posts.  It is much more stream of concious, simply posting about your rumbling tummy.

I think the microblogging phenomenom will fade soon enough, as the lack of substance in anything eventually catches up to all fads.  Twitter will morph into something else though.

And that’s what I’m thinking needs to happen to theBside.  It needs to morph into something else.  I’d like to spend less time blogging, and more time being productive in real life.  However I find the blog useful for looking back or keeping track of resources for later reference.

Since my audience is currently minimal, I’m not sure the change is important to anyone other than me.  But I’m officially giving myself permission to post things with less thought, less commentary, and less … well … time investment.  I’m not ruling out thoughtful commentary posts, but I’m also going to start putting things up that really will just be things I want to keep track of for later.

Since my inaugural first post under this new regime is now nearing record-breaking length, I’ll sign off.

Let’s see what the 5th year holds for theBside.

Well That Was Fun … Disaster Recovery For All!

Imagine if you will a Thanksgiving that kept on giving for weeks after the day’s events wound down.  I’m not talking about leftover turkey either – I’m talking some serious giving …. or is that more likely spelled ‘givin’?

Thanksgiving, around 1 hour before our big family dinner, the power went out.  Over the next 3 hours the power went out two more times.  Now, we managed the dinner just fine with a little “gravy on the BBQ” action.  But my server?  Ah, it did not do so well.  Sure, the surge protector did its job and protected my precious from the surges, but it couldn’t help the silly hard drive and its silly reading head from somehow crashing into a platter.  What’s it all mean, you ask?  Unbootable hard disk, and immediate disaster recovery.

But that was weeks ago, you say!  True, true.  It has taken me this long to finally piece back together the various aspects of my blog and image gallery.  I did manage to pull back all the data from the toasted hard disk, as you can probably tell (it’s all here, right?).  The real bottleneck has been those crazy things in real life that take up my time.  Two in particular: Marley and Cohen.

So expect a few picture albums going up by Alisa very soon.  Look for a few updates from the blog, all that good stuff.  It looks to be back to business as usual.  I still have a large degree of work to do to get things back to where they were before the crash, but I’m working through it in priority sequence, as it were.

So forgive me for going dark for almost a month.  I know you’ve all been going through withdrawal and all that.  So let’s get back to business here, shall we?  Let’s start with a new theme – this one looks like it will do!

It’s Quiet … A Little Too Quiet

So the last month and a half has been an interesting month at Goggs Avenue.  You may have noticed that my post frequency dropped, and we had a couple of days of complete blackout for theBside this last week.  OK, you may not have noticed it – I won’t hold it against you.

We’ve claimed ownership of our entire house!

Our tenant officially moved out July 31st, and since then we’ve been busy giving the downstairs a mini-makeover.  We’ve moved the den downstairs, including the electronics (which was why theBside dropped off the Internet for 3 days or so).  We’ve just tonight applied the first coat of paint to the old den, which will soon become Marley’s new room.  We’ve started making the large room downstairs into a playroom … the list goes on (and on and on).

In the meantime we’ve secured a coveted place at Peace Arch Hospital’s maternity ward for September 8th, so that will be our new baby’s birthday (unless the baby decides to come earlier than that).  The countdown begins!

So forgive my relative silence (if you felt you needed an apology).  There are many more things “to-do” before the baby arrives and I assure you there will be pictures to follow.

P.S. If you are ever in need of help understanding the tenancy rules and how to forcibly remove a tenant, I can now say that I might be able to give you some advice, unfortuntely, or at the very least some insight into the formal processes that can take place around it all.

A Good Yarn Improves With Age

In reading my daily dumb quotes calendar this morning I came across a brief story of Engineer Charles Steinmetz.  I’ll quote another site that has done a write up:

Here’s an interesting anecdote, as told by Charles M. Vest, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during commencement on June 4th, 1999. “In the early years of this century, Steinmetz was brought to General Electric’s facilities in Schenectady, New York. GE had encountered a performance problem with one of their huge electrical generators and had been absolutely unable to correct it. Steinmetz, a genius in his understanding of electromagnetic phenomena, was brought in as a consultant – not a very common occurrence in those days, as it would be now. Steinmetz also found the problem difficult to diagnose, but for some days he closeted himself with the generator, its engineering drawings, paper and pencil. At the end of this period, he emerged, confident that he knew how to correct the problem. After he departed, GE’s engineers found a large “X” marked with chalk on the side of the generator casing. There also was a note instructing them to cut the casing open at that location and remove so many turns of wire from the stator. The generator would then function properly. And indeed it did. Steinmetz was asked what his fee would be. Having no idea in the world what was appropriate, he replied with the absolutely unheard of answer that his fee was $1000. Stunned, the GE bureaucracy then required him to submit a formally itemized invoice. They soon received it. It included two items: 1. Marking chalk “X” on side of generator: $1. 2. Knowing where to mark chalk “X”: $999.”

Now other sites have him asking for $10,000, while others have him simply pacing around the machines for a few moments and figuring it out.  I prefer the quoted version because it feels the most real to me.

A nice little story about the value of knowledge.  Note that he lived from 1865 to 1923.