Baseball Toaster Fairpole
Monthly archives: August 2005


I Am Firing Our ISP
2005-08-18 18:19
by Ken Arneson

They have very responsive customer service, but what does that matter if they can't keep the damn machines online?

Sorry for the downtime today. I'm on vacation, and it was hard for me to keep on top of things from where I was.

I'll start shopping for a new ISP as soon as I get home from vacation.

Site Changes: Ads and Search
2005-08-15 16:55
by Ken Arneson

I'm currently making a few changes to the page templates. Expect the look of the pages to change from minute to minute as I fiddle with this for the next hour or two.

I'll let you know when I'm done.

If you see something that looks way out of whack, feel free to comment below, but I'm probably all over it.

Update: I am done, for now. I added a Google search box to the sidebar, and a Google ad on each page. I also moved the login/logout information to the upper right corner of the page.

This layout will probably change in the coming weeks and months. We're going to experiment with different styles to see how it affects revenues.

Note: the page layout breaks if your window is too narrow. I'll fix that soon...

Update: I fixed the window-too-narrow problem. Unfortunately, I fixed it with HTML tables, but I don't have time to fiddle with the fickle behaviors of CSS right now.

Speaking of CSS, if the site looks weird, just reload this (or any other) page. If your browser is using a cached version of our CSS files, you'll need to refresh it.

Server Is Upgraded...Almost
2005-08-11 04:44
by Ken Arneson

Update 2:: Still had some trouble getting the site up, and then I had to leave because my daughter was getting five teeth pulled. Sorry, she takes priority over y'all.

So I restarted the server, but I may have to bounce it a couple more times before it's running smoothly again.

Update: No sooner did I post the following than our ISP shut down our server, for some reason. So we were down for five hours over night because of my stuff, then we were down an additional three hours because of our ISP. ISP says it was a "kernel failure". OK, whatever...

I also got a (bogus) $250 parking ticket from an AC Transit cop yesterday. If the A's hadn't won last night, I'm not sure how many things there'd be around my house that weren't smashed.

Original post:

Well, the upgrade took me a heck of a lot longer than I thought it would. One of these days, I'm gonna pay for a development environment that's identical to the production one, so I can figure these problems out before it affects y'all. Perhaps after we get some revenues coming in...

I was trying to do two things:

  • Remove some database indexes that didn't look like they were being used (which slowed down inserting new data, such as comments)
  • Switch over from a non-threaded Apache server to a threaded one, to see if that would help speed things up.

Seems that you can't just drop an index in MySql and forget about it. MySql then wants to rebuild all the indexes on that table. That took a while, about 10 minutes per index.

Then when I upgraded the Apache server, mod_perl wasn't happy anymore. So I had to recompile it, and reinstall it, and that broke some code. So I had to fix the code to work with the new version of mod_perl.

Then when all that was over, it seems that I needed one of those dropped indexes after all, because the site was slower than ever. So I had to figure out which of those indexes I dropped was the one I still needed with some step-by-step debugging. So I had to recreate that index again, which meant rebuilding all the indexes on that table, which again took time.

I finally got the site working at about 4:30am. But then it seemed a little unstable, so I backed out the threaded version, and went back to the non-threaded server, because I need some sleep.

So if the site seems slow or has a bug or two, I'll fix it when I wake up. Perhaps I should set my alarm for the A's game at 12:35...

Anyway, thanks for your patience...

Server Downtime Tonight
2005-08-10 12:14
by Ken Arneson

I tried to make a configuration change on the fly this morning, but my attempt to do so screwed up the site. D'oh!

I plan to turn off the site tonight at 11pm PT to make the change.

If the site continues to be too slow, however, I may decide to shut the site down earlier, and get it over with.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Designs for Ads?
2005-08-09 15:37
by Ken Arneson

Hey folks,

We're gonna be (finally) making some changes here at the Toaster pretty soon. Among other things, we're going to put up a few ads to see if we can make some money.

I'm having a little trouble, though, designing the pages. If I make the pages look nice, the ads aren't noticeable. If I make the ads noticeable, the page looks like crap.

So what I'm looking for right now are some examples. Do you know of any well-designed blogs with noticeable ads?