Little Projects on Blogger

2009/01/05 21:52:00
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In my effort to deal with the economic crisis, I’ve began looking at lower cost alternatives to renting my own server. I would like to affirm that eSecureData is an excellent hosting service that has given me far more than I could have expected. Their prices and hardware offerings definitely eclipsed those of Layered Tech.

At this point, though, with the availability of services like flickr and Picasa, I no longer need the disc space for my photos that pushed me to begin renting a server. Also, with the services and amount of space available on Gmail, I no longer need a server for my mail either.

So, I’ve gotten myself a Google Apps Account and am moving items over to Blogger as you read this. I’ve been running Gmail, as part of Google Apps For Your Domain, for more than two weeks now and am quite happy with the results.

This will save me roughly $65 per month on server rentals and free my time up a bit. If you need a simple web hosting service with email, I heavily suggest Google Apps.

Web site technology brainstorming

2008/10/11 17:55:00
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A year ago, after much consideration of differing tools, I looked at all of the open source Content Management Solutions and came to the conclusion that nothing solved every one of my needs well.

I needed the following:

  1. A blog
  2. A photo gallery
  3. A web mail program

I tried quite a few solutions and came down to the following solutions that seemed to do their respective jobs best:

Then I ran into the following problems:

  • No common authentication scheme for these three tools. In essence I had to log into each of them separately. This is a common problem to using multiple tools.
  • A strange Out Of Memory error that occurs on my Apache web server when it runs too long. I don’t know if it’s B2 Evolution or Gallery 2 doing that. Currently the web server restarts its process every hour to avoid this (not really an optimal solution, don’t visit at the top of the hour)
  • Squirrelmail has many of the features I want, but the interface is lacking.
  • No way of tying the information together. I can not use the same categories for blog entries, photos, and email messages together. This was not an original requirement but became more apparent over time as I began using other tools, like Agendus on my PDA.
  • PHP seems to have quite a few security holes, requiring a lot of patching/restarts of the web server.

So, with the hubris that most developers have, I decided it would be better to just write my own tools to do this.

I have looked at the following programming environments:

Each has its own pros and cons. Both Zope and Ruby on Rails appear to be very much tied to database design and relationships. J2EE is looking like a good choice for complete abstraction, but with that power comes a lot of work.

Then, there is the research needed to make certain aspects of blogs and photo galleries work.

In order to understand the implementation of Trackbacks and other Blog-related concepts, I’ll end up diving into B2Evolution’s code. In order to find out how caching is handled for photos, I’ll end up diving into Gallery 2’s code.

At that point, I might as well force those tools to do what I want.

Brickfair 2008 Photos are up!!!

2008/09/03 19:59:00
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Hey folks, 281 photos exist under the photo section in the album aptly named “2008 Brickfair”. Or you can click here to get to the album directly.

Bon appetite!

Server Fixes

2007/12/19 23:59:00
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Hi folks, it’s your friendly blogger here.

Check out the photos. I’m quite happy to have most of the ones up that were previously down. Unfortunately, I couldn’t maintain the pages made by the old HTML-based tool, BINS. Gallery 2 is a much better tool. One day I’ll get off my butt and make a decent template for it so that both parts of the web site, blog and photos, match.

You may have noticed problems with the site/mail server being down. I think we’ve fixed that now. I got a discount server several months ago, but I don’t think it came with enough RAM to support my needs. I was amazed at how I couldn’t squeeze a normal web server’s needs into such a tiny amount of RAM. Linux has gotten a bit more memory hungry in its later years. Now we should be good.

After this post I’m taking down the comments and trackers areas of the blog until I can find a better way of dealing with blog spammers. At the moment, I’ve got hundreds of comments/trackbacks waiting to be deleted that are from blog spammers. The solutions offered out of the box by this version of b2evolution are not sufficient for my dilemma, so I’m going to experiment a bit and find something better. So, sorry, no comments/trackbacks until I can fix that. There must be a solution out there somewhere.

Until then, you can email me at with anything questions or comments you may have.

Catch y’all later. I’ll keep plugging on the pics that haven’t been posted yet (rest of Hawaii, the Basilica at the Catholic University of America, etc.).

Update: The trackback/comment spam was much worse than I had thought. Not to mention that I now feel guilty that I had enabled trackbacks to be published by default. Again, I apologize if some of the trackback/comment spam offended anyone. It’s been cleaned out now.

Update to the Update: I’ve re-enabled comments as it was all trackback spam that was the problem. I turned off trackbacks entirely. Other discussions have led me to realize that my comment settings are ok the way they are and that they were driving the spammers toward the use of trackback spam. Bon appetite, feel free to comment! :-)