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An Epic Fail In Webmastering

Published on June 10, 2011 at midnight by XC

This post is going to be riddled with fail, most of it mine. The short version is, my site has been down for over two weeks and it took me a week and a half to even notice it. That, of course describes fail number one and fail number two, but there’s plenty more fail where that came from!

It all began when I started shifting around some of my own accounts in order to free up some IP addresses. Some of the domains had expired, some did not need their own IP and then there was this site, echoreply.us that had its own IP and I could not figure out why. So, I moved it to the main system IP, went to bed and forgot all about it.

What I completely forgot was that I had a 4 1/2 year old trial SSL certificate installed, and the stupid dolt that lives on my server (we’ll just say its name rhymes with zeb ghost scavenger) happily let me move the site to the main shared IP, despite the server name vhost also using it. That’s right, anyone who visited ‘/’ on this site for nearly two weeks got redirected to the Apache success page.

To fix it, I just removed the account and was ready to restore from a day old backup, when I realized .. oh crap, backups are corrupt. I think we’re somewhere near fail number 11 at this point, I completely lost count.

Thankfully, I store most parts of the site under version control. I was able to retrieve it from my build bot installation and restore the database from a week old copy that I received via e-mail.

Category: Humor
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Rare Knowledge Is Often Unrewarded

Published on July 1, 2010 at midnight by XC

I was reflecting today on a joke koan that I read, somewhere, I can’t remember where (and I’ve added to it):

A locomotive breaks down and an engineer is called in to fix it. The engineer listens to the sounds of the locomotive, reaches in his tool box and pulls out a hammer. He crawls under the train, bangs four times on something and then crawls out from under the train. He looks at the manager, hands him an invoice and says “All fixed, boss.”

The manager looks at the invoice that says $1500.00 then says “All you did was whack it with a hammer four times!”

The engineer smiled and said “Whacking that piece with a hammer four times: $100. Knowing where and how to whack it: $1400. You got a break, I usually charge per hit.”

The manager was then enlightened.
I thought those who read this blog might enjoy that
I’m almost positive that I saw the original version of this on Stack Overflow, but I can’t seem to find it now. It could be that the post has since been deleted. If you know where it is, please leave a comment.

Category: Humor

Site Stupidity – Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Read The News

Published on Feb. 19, 2010 at midnight by XC

There are some individuals and organizations that should be prohibited by law from making web sites. Just like free speech can quickly degenerate into disorderly conduct, web sites can quickly degenerate into viciously loud, annoying and angry fruit salads.

Here’s my morning routine – Get coffee, go through RSS reader, get email. I suppose it is rather mindless to expose yourself to such terrible dangers prior to finishing your first cup, but I like my routine and I’m a creature of habit. My news reading is pretty straight forward. Scroll down, read teaser, right click – new t ab. This opens up all of the articles that I want to read and I close them one by one as I finish. This has worked well for years, until today.
I have a rather slow wireless connection at home. Its not dial up, but its in no way like cable / DSL. It takes a while for stuff to load, so I just watch the tabs and start with the one that stops spinning first. I forgot to check my speaker volume, I had my headphones cranked up last night and unplugged them before going to bed. Just as I was bringing my coffee to my lips, I hear some guy (mind you, full blast) ranting about the Toyota recall mess. Coffee is not good when snorted.

Idiot webmonkey say: Always good to auto play video!

Needless to say, that tab soon died. On to the next tab, that greeted me with this “Take our survey now” box that was jumping around the screen. I felt like I was playing freaking hand ball trying to get rid of it.

Category: Humor
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But I Just Had A Vacation!

Published on Jan. 21, 2010 at midnight by XC

For the second time in a week, I forgot where I put something and then forgot what I was looking for, while looking for whatever it was that I lost. I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

Somehow, I suspect that this infinitely recursive need to recover from one’s own vacation plagues most 30 something year old parents. If someone writes a manual for life, make sure to put that in there.

Category: Humor

‘Crumby’ Engineering Shuts Down The Lhc (Again)

Published on Nov. 7, 2009 at midnight by XC

The truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. In case you did not know, the LHC was shut down again, this time due to a passing bird dropping a bread crumb into some of its external (exposed) machinery. Insert your favorite AHEM.. here.

This caused a spike that produced so much heat that the collider’s fail safes would have engaged, had the machine been in operation.

I don’t know which frightens me more .. the fact that a bread crumb caused this or that birds have apparently been watching Star Wars. Hitchcock was scary enough, thanks.

Category: Humor

How To Be A Software Architect

Published on Oct. 22, 2009 at midnight by XC

I noticed a rather subjective question on Stack Overflow today, someone wanted to know the ‘best way’ of moving away from being a software developer and in to being a software architect.

I was about to reply, but the first answer I saw really said it all:

Stop doing anything that might be misconstrued as “useful” and get some metal business cards pressed with your new title.

Thanks to stacker NSD for the humor.

Category: Humor

Why Not Use Stds As Server Names?

Published on Sept. 3, 2009 at midnight by XC

During recent conversation with fellow system integrators, I suggested that it is perfectly acceptable to name your servers after sexually transmitted diseases. After all, there are plenty of very descriptive diseases, take the following possible office chatter into consideration:

Senior Admin: You, login to herpes and hop over to gential-warts, flush iptables and make sure that crabs can get access. Make sure app armor on CUPS isn’t blocking syphilis and send a test page to gonorrhea.
See? All of those fun names to use and nobody is using them.

Category: Humor

Too Bad About The Lhc

Published on Sept. 26, 2008 at midnight by XC

This one will be short.

Fried transformers, magnets and scientists .. what a shame. Hopefully we’ll see it work in 2009.

However, the LHC did create a black hole .. the one where all of the money went.

All kidding aside, best of luck to everyone at CERN. Man, I was really hoping to see that thing work this year.

Category: Humor

What The Hell, Humanitarian Dating?

Published on Sept. 20, 2008 at midnight by XC

This is going to be a very short rant.

Please, anyone, describe any and all events that led to a dating site just for humanitarians. I can see some potential misconceptions, since we have vegetarians. Some people may therefore confuse humanitarians with cannibals.

Has it gotten that hard to meet people who just want to do good things? I am very happy to be settled down and raising a kid.. I was about to ask what non-humanitarians do on dates however I’m afraid to do so.

What a world.

Category: Humor

Enough With This ’2.0′ Craze!

Published on July 3, 2008 at midnight by XC

It all started with `Web 2.0′. Through the magic of some curious DOM fiddling and clever callbacks it became easy to simulate the behavior of desktop applications via any modern web browser. This was neat.

Then, someone decided that Web 2.0' was a catchy name to imply a web page with shiny graphics and rounded corners. Since that time, the term2 point oh’ has become as viral and inappropriate as a fart.

A friend of mine recently re-married. He alludes to her as Wife 2.0'. Another person that I chat with likes to put strange things in his coffee, which he callsJava 2.0′. Will people having their second child start calling the poor thing `Kid 2.0′ ?
Will advances in contraceptives result in Spermacide 2.0'? Will scientists coin this phrase to indicate new strains of common viruses likeFlu 2.0′? How about Herpes 2.0'? When is this madness going to stop? Will new forks of religions take the term? Will we haveMethodist 2.0?’ How about `Mormon 2.0?’

If 2 point oh' is supposed to indicate theway of the future’, shouldn’t we be at revision 4 or 5 by now?

You know, a while back I predicted diet water which has now appeared on the market. Sad to say, if this two dot oh' trend continues I predict that we'll all be breathingAir 2.0′ in the near future.

Category: Humor