Category Archives: Servers

Server move successful

Servers designed for Linux
Image via Wikipedia

On February 2, 2010 I finally completed the server move to the new co-location facility. I had, in the prior weeks, backup all data and files, did a clean install of the operating system and restored all functionality to the server. The new facility will not only help achieve faster load times, but a much better environment for the server than sitting at my house under my desk. With this move you all should notice faster page load, better usability and the RSS feeds hopefully will load and refresh across the Net faster.

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Server Going Offline For A Few Hours

Ubuntu 7.
Image via Wikipedia

Sometime within the next week I will be taking this server offline so I may perform some system maintenance and upgrades. At that time, I will also be locating it in a new data center so the actual speed will be what it should be and the performance should be increased dramatically.

There will be many system updates taking place at that time – some of them will include a complete Linux upgrade, WordPress upgrades, database upgrades and more. Most of these items will be performed in multitude to lessen the down time.

Once all the upgrades are done, within a day or two after I will be moving the server to a new data center. This will allow the server to operate at a fast connection, with much more ability to serve the growing needs of several blogs and other sites hosted on it.

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Entitlement Reaction

Social Media Landscape
Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

Jason Tryfon, a swell guy and app developer, writes on his blog about Entitlement and questions whether or not Social Media is furthering this mentality.  You can read his full post here:  The Culture of Entitlement, Is It Forming Thanks to Social Media Sites?

The sense of entitlement isn’t just confined to the Internet and Social Media.  More over, especially American society, has gained a perspective of it is for me, my benefit and you need to make sure you do what ever it takes to make sure I stay happy.  To the point that legal action gets taken, smearing across several avenues takes place, and generally ill will and the perception that it is okay to do whatever it takes to cause any type of harm because something did not work out as planned.

Far too often I think people feel that they have ownership in these services, products, companies, and even other people.  That somehow by providing content, value, or time they have a vested “ownership” that is merited a return on investment.  As the original article points out, most of the sites and services that are being questioned in creating a Culture of Entitlement are free and/or “freemium” services.  In other words there generally is no cost, save with some advertising being shown.

That brings me to another point that was discussed in the comments over on Jason’s site.  Fullbirdmusic states if people spend all this time creating content on these sites, putting time and sweat equity, there should be some form of return.  Randy stats that members on these are not just membership numbers in a database, but are partners in these networks or apps.  Which stands to reason – put something, get something out.  Is that true of life in general?

If we voluntarily use a service, without paying for it save viewing some advertisements and the time we “opt” to put into it, should we have any expectations of return on it?  When we go to work for the day, we expect that we will give an honest days work for an honest days pay.  When we volunteer in our community, we expect that we will see betterment of that community.  When we create content on a service or site of someone else, is it reasonable that we “expect” a return from that, even when they are providing us, the user, with the tools for free or next to free? Are we entitled to expect anything from a free tool when there are plenty of alternatives in any variety of locations, contexts to which we could still publish and push our content?

I used to always take advantage of the $4.95/month hosting specials.  Hey, you got a free domain name, they setup all the DNS, MX mail records and everything.  They even gave you a control panel so you could control any aspect of your account, your site, your email your everything online.  Yet, frequently in the early years of doing web development I constantly found myself persuing open source scripts to speed up development time and to learn from and unfortunately many times this allowed me to find limitations on the hosting provider.  Maybe I needed shell access, or root access.  Maybe I needed a special Apache configuration.  On these shared hosts, it just was not feasible.  My solution?  Instead of expecting them to fix my problem to better my return, I created my own solution and since 2004 have owned and operated my own web, email, dns and database servers.  Sure I could have purchased a dedicated server from the same hosting company – well leased it – but now I own the hardware and pay for a certain amount of bandwidth and IP address, to which monetary value is exchanged for a certain guarantee of service.

So if you are not getting the expected return from what ever tool you are using, maybe it’s time to find a new tool, make your own tool or change what you are doing.  Quite simply, you are getting a return – you are getting a free tool to use, free search traffic, free analytics, advertisement supported applications, services and more.  If there are issues with any of these services, to which you are not paying for a dedicated service level, use a different one, make your own or stop all together.

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ColdFusion and MSSQL NText Fields

Computer science
Image via Wikipedia

Late last week I was working on some new changes to PBR’s web site (my employer) and ran into a nasty snag of an issue. I was pulling data out of a table, and for an exceptionally strange reason, seemingly random HTML kept appearing in the source code. Needless to say, this HTML was breaking the layout I had been working towards and boggled not only my mind, but our SVP of IT’s mind as well.

In the end, we ended up changing the field type as it was held in the Microsoft SQL database. The field was originally set to be an ntext field, and we changed it to a varchar field, as it really had no purpose being an ntext field in the first place, but that’s another story. After we made the change, we did lose some data on the resulting trimming of the data field, however the parts that were trimmed were already migrated to another field, so big loss.

As soon as we changed this, the HTML injections ceased. What happened? I have put some sample code below to illustrate it.

What the code should have came out to be.

[quickcode]

My content was coming out of the db here

[/quickcode]

What the code actually came out to be before we changed the field type.
[quickcode]

My content out of the db here

[/quickcode]

You can see that my opening paragraph tag was automatically closed, a new one started and closed after the database content was published, and an empty paragraph added at the end.

Now it is possible that the site, with the many thousands of pages and hundreds of thousands of lines of code specified this in a CFC or CFTAG file – in other words it was tied to the field name/type to force the HTML output, but I could not find it anywhere.

Any thoughts or experience you may have on this? Share them in the comments.

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Been A While – .Net Coldfusion and More

.Net Code Snippet

.Net Code Snippet

Obviously, it has been a while since I have posted on my blog. Quite simply after starting my full time employment contract I have not had time. Why? I am working long hours doing many new things – such as programming in Coldfusion and .Net.

I took on a position of web developer and have now setup 2 Linux servers, coded a C# .Net app from the ground up and am looking at major site updates using Coldfusion. While entertaining, fun and challenging, it has meant a bit longer days at work than I had anticipated – however I am NOT complaining in the least amount. I have a full time job and am paying bills and getting caught up on things. That’s always good!

The past week and a half has brought more changes – I was told we are going to look at revamping the entire site and work and will be doing it in VB.Net, so more learning, which is one of the things I love most about IT and web development – the constant learning, expanding and maintenance of knowledge. With that, we are looking at making it easier to get content out, expanding on and integrating more with social media and getting an infrastructure in place that will allow forward motion, expansion and easier maintenance. This also means a more enhanced visitor and site user experience, which is always something that is highly important.

The other thing of note, is that I will try my best as I go through Coldfusion and .Net programming to get some tutorials, how-to’s and other related posts up on those subjects. I will be learning quite rapidly and am sure to have some struggles to fight through, and those are the items I would like to post about.