Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Thursday, 2021.06.24
College: The fountains of knowledge, where everyone goes to drink.

2008.06.02

Fire In The Sky

After some relaxing time spend mixing and pouring concrete (Seriously. It’s for a walkway in the back yard.), I was cleaning up the tools when I stopped and noticed a very strange light shining on me. The sun had already set and it was getting dark, or should have been. For a split second, I thought there was a search light pointed directly at me from up above. Turning around revealed a magnificent, brilliant thunderhead rising up in the East, high enough so the crown could catch the sun just beyond the horizon. The reflected light was nothing short of spectacular.

(Click on image for larger picture.)

2007.02.01

It’s My Blog And I’ll Cry When I Want To

Althouse is having problems with the new Blogger. The “new and improved”, post-upgrade software seems to be as palatable as New Coke. She describes the issues from the blogger’s perspective and I can attest her site is taking a while to load. Haven’t tried to post any comments yet. I noticed similar problems with Gateway Pundit’s site a month or so ago when he was upgrading to the new Blogger. Gateway Pundit’s site always took longer to load, but for several weeks it took a really long time. Seems to be back to normal slow speed now so perhaps the Althouse issues, at least for the visitors, will resolve over time.

I had looked at Blogger several years ago and didn’t much care for the interface and functional layout from a blogger’s perspective. The steps for posting comments still strikes me as rather tedious. I have some doubts about how Blogger tracks web traffic, too. Over the past several months I’ve been working to sort out the JZ:TOL traffic patterns and the trends have been rather interesting. SPAM has been the biggest issue. As I identify IP addresses associated with SPAM, I ban them and they drop out of my traffic statistics. Bots are another big issue. In most cases, I want the bots because I want my blog to show up in search engines and such. But I don’t include bot traffic in my stats. Does Blogger count SPAM hits, even ones that are successfully filtered? Does Blogger count bot scans as if they were visitors? Same questions could be asked of the various third party site meter services.

Eventually, I settled on WordPress and have used it ever since. But there was a deeper criteria for me when looking for a content management system. I had to have complete control over the system. I wanted unfettered access to the web logs, the database, the code and the system. This means it had to be hosted on a machine I owned. This greatly expanded the options for software, backup and recovery strategies, and upgrades.

Granted, the capability to manage such a system is extra work and not something that is desirable for the vast majority of bloggers. It’s a question of trade-offs and accumulated experience. System administration tasks are for me what handling a saw is for a woodworker – not much effort because of the many years practice in handling the tools. Upgrades to JZ:TOL always occur on a non-public mirror site so I can see the effect and assess the impact of any upgrades or code changes. The upside is near transparent upgrades to the public blog. And in the unlikely event of a water landing after an upgrade to the public blog, I have a rollback strategy in place that can restore the previous site in a matter of minutes. Apparently, Blogger doesn’t have such capabilities. Having such a system in place also makes the blog more secure as patches and upgrades can be tested and pushed within hours of the announced patch or upgrade.

Like I said, it’s a question of trade-offs and accumulated experience. When I have a legal problem, even a relatively small one, I hire an attorney. With Althouse, probably not the case.

[Edit History]

2007.02.02

Didn’t mean to imply JZ:TOL is hosted on WordPress. Rather, I use the WordPress software application on my own javazen.com server. Ambiguity fixed.

2007.01.30

Return Of The Anti-SPAM Code

The dreaded comments CAPTCHA has returned to JZ:TOL. I dislike these, but the volume of comment SPAM has increased dramatically since this blog has been linked by several higher traffic blogs. There are also several common Google searches that seem to land here. I’ve been selectively banning IP addresses (virtually everything from China) for several months, which has helped, but it wasn’t enough. Hence the reintroduction of the anti-spam code requirement to post a comment. Hopefully, the balance between convenience for the commentators and sanity for the webmaster will be tolerable.

2006.01.01

A New Year

Putting 2005 behind me, that’s a good thing. A new year. There is an implicit forgiveness about a new year. A resetting of life that allows us a new beginning to an existing life. That is, if we have the courage to seize the opportunity and act “as if” we have it all to do again. When we turn the calendar, its January again. We have had January’s in the past which makes us feel like we’ve been here before, yet hopefully with a bit more wisdom and insight. The seasons hold a built-in opportunity to do January again, only different. And by extension, an opportunity to do all the other months again, only different. Hopefully, better.

Happy new year and carpe diem everyone.

2004.10.20

Farewell to Quicken

I’ve been a Quicken user for a long, long time. The oldest version for which I could find disks was MS-DOS version 5.0. Although I have an earlier manual, the accompanying disk has long since been buried in a long forgotten box.

Prior to Quicken, I used a program called Pacioli 2000 (this was 1990, before marketing types hijacked versioning.) Named after the monk who invented double entry bookkeeping, Pacioli 2000 was also an excellent program. It was straightforward to use, the documentation was excellent (it contained one of the more concise MS-DOS tutorials I’ve every found and came with a cheesy video on accounting) and reporting was robust. But Pacioli 2000 was geared more for business and accounting principles confused the heck out of me.

Back then, Quicken was also straightforward and easy to use. Like your grandfathers roll top desk, everything had a place, organization was easy and reporting was concise. Everything in the package was yours. Customization was limited to screen colors and the like.

It’s different today. Everything isn’t yours and you don’t have access to all the cubby holes. Some of the drawers are locked and you don’t own the key. Tickers for mortgage loans scroll across the status bar and you cannot turn them off. Features you might find useful are displayed, billboard style, but only available via subscription. Grandfather’s roll top desk has become cluttered and stuffed with junk mail. Finding what’s yours consumes half the time spent floundering around in the program. (more…)

2004.08.26

Urban Scare Crow

I believe I’ve hit on a solution for the incessant door-to-door solicitations at my home. There used to be a sign on my front door that said, in bold, “NO SOLICITORS“. Except for a few self-rightious bible thumpers and the occasional butthole, the sign was honored. But someone, probably one of the more aggressive solicitors, pulled the sign down – screws and all. Frustrated after being hit three times within an hour one evening, I ordered the following placard from one of those custom on-line sign shops:

NO SOLISITORS
Violators will be charged a
$50 SOLICITATION FEE

This is taped next to the doorbell and on the inside glass of the storm door where it cannot be removed without serious damage to the door. Since posting this, there hasn’t been a single violation and summer is typically prime door-to-door sales time.

Apparently, the bastards don’t give a crap about respecting a homeowner’s wishes. But they sure as hell are sensitive to hits on their wallets.

😀

2004.05.20

Steel Belted Face Lifts

I’ve come to the opinion that automobiles are like affordable plastic surgery for the masses without all the blood, gore and recovery. By simply shelling out the requisite number of bucks, you can change your identity.

Presto! Zappo! That 55 year old baggy ass of yours can be zipping around town like a teenager, Miata style. Feeling flabby and weak? Bulk up with a shiny new SUV and power your way across even the most daunting of shopping mall parking lots. And of course, what better way to mask all that ugly debt than with a luxurious Caddy, just oozing opulence.

This must be the case, because people certainly drive like somebody other than who they are when outside of their little metal bubbles.

2004.05.07

Two New White Papers Published

I’ve published two new white papers today, “Making Decisions While Facing Major Illness” and “Two Dimensional Information in a Four Dimensional World”. These papers were written for the Cherubim Foundation White Paper Series. They may be downloaded from the Geckopad Solutions website. Go to the Resources > Documents section. Eventually they will also be available from the Cherubim Foundation web site.

2004.04.24

It’s a Beautiful Thing

It’s all in the setup. Months in the making, the Java Zen weblog is now on line. Whew. It’s time to lift the cap from a homebrew (an Imperial Stout, no less), kick back, and do a little free association. Where else is one to find enough garbage to fill this space?

Java Zen is still the place to find interesting items not suitable for blogging as well as the archives for the Friday Humor Break and Wha Zappenin’. I’ll be moving some of the older stuff from Java Zen and else where to this blog site as time allows. Sheesh. Some of us were blogging before blogging was cool.


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