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Web Log - Website Updates

Downsizing

By Andrew Price, 2006-08-14 15:38:33 in Website Updates. (Permalink)

I've finally gotten around to mucking out the rest of the old, purple junk from my website. With the PBF getting its own RSS feed and Dave offering to give me maintainership of pybackpack, I decided it was about time to scrap the old pages, scripts and programs that made up the "Geekiness" section of the website and replace it with a slightly more grown-up Projects section that will contain details about things that I've been hacking on or just taking part in. At the moment the list isn't very impressive but once I've embedded myself deeper into the open source world I expect it will grow and get less waffly.

I still haven't gotten around to implementing comments for my web blog but then I haven't yet figured out the best way to handle comment spam. I don't want to add verification images that bots can't read and I'm not keen on the idea of comment moderation. But I'm open to suggestions.

Oh, I've also ditched the Links page. I mean, who reads them?

Bye Bye, PBF RSS Feed

By Andrew Price, 2006-05-26 01:49:25 in Website Updates. (Permalink)

Last night I received an e-mail from Cheston Gasik, the person who hosts the PBF comic, asking me to change my RSS feed to stop his site getting so much traffic from it. It started off with something about favicons, which really is nothing to do with my RSS feed but I saw his point - he was having web server bandwidth issues:

On 25/05/06 00:33, Cheston wrote:
> Hi -
> 
> My name's Cheston Gasik.  I'm the web-host of PBF, my friend Nick 
> Gurewitch's comic strip.
> Can you please change your RSS feed for the PBF so that the resource 
> directory is NOT cheston.com?
> 
> I've recently had server trouble involving excessive errors on the 
> favicon.ico file - which your RSS tries to load.
> You're probably not individually causing the problem, but I did stumble 
> across your feed while researching it, and I noticed that your feed does 
> try to read the ICO file from my main directory.
> (As of today, the ISP has stuck a dumb little check-mark image in there, 
> which might stop it from constantly 404ing, but please change your feed 
> anyway)
> 
> It's also not very cool that your feed is directly loading the images 
> off the server (using someone else's bandwidth), instead of hosting them 
> on your own webspace, but that's a separate issue.
> 
> I hope I don't come off sounding like too much of a jerk, but this kind 
> of thing winds up creating a lot of needless stress for me.
> Thank you for your time.
> 
> - Cheston Gasik

(I have his permission to use these e-mails)

So I replied to him explaining my own opinion of the situation but stating that I would change my feed and I tweaked my PBF RSS feed to stop it from containing <img> tags which loaded the strip images from his website. I saw this as the most bandwidth hungry part of my feed. I guessed that he didn't have direct access to the server in order to stop remote image linking like many sites do. I was surprised to receive e-mail from someone who used my feed and seemed a bit unhappy that I removed the images from the feed.

Anyway, I thought that would help things and it would all go back to normal but a few hours ago I received another e-mail from Cheston, which was also sent to some other PBF RSS feed maintainers, asking us to take our feeds offline:

On 25/05/06 21:10, Cheston wrote:
> Hi -
> 
> If you're receiving this e-mail, you either created an RSS feed for the 
> PBF (Perry Bible Fellowship comic strip, by my friend Nicholas 
> Gurewitch) or you host one.
> 
> I am sorry to say this, but I need you to stop.
> PLEASE DELETE YOUR FEEDS ASAP.
> 
> My ISP has recently (today) threatened to revoke my hosting, due to 
> overwhelming traffic.  No, RSS is not the entirety of that, but it makes 
> a significant difference due to how often RSS readers load the content 
> (and it's possibly the cause of lots of strange server errors).
> 
> A side note that may not make any difference to you: Hosting the PBF is 
> not a paying job.  In fact, it is one where I spend money on hosting.  
> There is also a man in Australia who runs another part of the hosting, 
> and he puts even more into it than I do.
> So, in the future, please think twice before you develop RSS feeds that 
> run primarily on the bandwidth of others.
> 
> Andrew: I know you just recently changed yours because of our recent 
> conversation
> AJ: I know you just made yours very recently
> 
> So I truly am sorry.
> 
> But I am trying to not lose my own hosting, as well as that of the PBF.
> 
> Thank you for your time and understanding.
> 
> - Cheston Gasik
> [Contact details removed]
> 
> P.S.: If you know of any other PBF RSS feeds, please forward their info 
> to me so I can send them this same message.

Now, I don't know what kind of set up they're running but I get the feeling that whatever hosting solution they opted for to host the PBF site was a bit lacking considering the popularity of the PBF. I replied to this e-mail with a bit of curiosity about what kind of strange errors the server was getting. I was thinking of explaining that such is the Internet that if there is demand for an RSS feed somewhere then an RSS feed will get written, but I decided to not get all idealistic and information-freedom-fighter-ish on him.

So that's about it. My feed is no longer updating. The site has been changed to reflect as much and the PBF website appears to be not working. Let's hope they get it fixed (hopefully with an official RSS feed) soon.

To be fair, the latest couple of strips were substandard anyway ;)

Blog Updates and New Design

By Andrew Price, 2006-04-07 08:57:18 in Website Updates. (Permalink)

Firstly, apologies for any flooding my blog has been doing on aggregators lately (SUCS, Rupamsunyata) and to bloglines readers. I've been fiddling with my RSS feed to make it a bit more sane. Hopefully the addition of the <gid> element will prevent future floodings.

As those of you who don't read my blog via RSS can see, I've made a change in its design. I'm aiming for a more readable, minimal and easy to maintain design that will look pretty much the same across different browsers while not straining the eyes as much as the design of the old one did. It's still early days and I might tweak it here and there but I think I've just about cracked it. Opinions are very welcome.

I've also implemented a better URL system for the blog to make the addresses of the entries more descriptive and disabled comments (I need to think of a smarter comment system which will avoid spam actually hitting my blog) so if you have any comments for me, feel free to email them to andy_AT_andrewprice.me.uk

I'll be rolling the new design out to the rest of my site when I have a bit more time and imagination. The problem with redoing a personal website is finding out just how boring you are :)

Browse My Blog's Categories

By Andrew Price, 2006-01-13 09:54:33 in Website Updates. (Permalink)

Thanks to a bit of sleeplessness last night I've hacked together a blog category listings page to make it easier to read back over and find my old blog entries. It either lists all the blog entries in a selected category or lists all the categories when no category is specified. I also made bits of the main blog class less bloaty. I'm still pleased with how easy it is to add new features to my blog scripts. It's not exactly point n' click simplicity (or an example of well structured code for that matter) but at least I don't have to rewrite the whole system in order to get a new feature into it. And when I do it doesn't take long at all. Spiffy.

TODO: Implement trackback pinging (At a more convenient date)

PBF RSS Feed: A More Official Announcement

By Andrew Price, 2006-01-12 01:49:04 in Website Updates. (Permalink)

My PBF RSS feed has been chugging along quite stably for a while now so I thought it might be a good idea to actually link it into the website properly, with its own info page to aid googleers in their quests if nothing else. It seems to be gaining popularity so I made sure to mention that it isn't official and that I'm not affiliated with the PBF and it isn't creating a high load on their server (yadda yadda). In fact it's probably reducing the load on the PBF website slightly, because it reduces the amount of file transfers made in a person browsing to the latest comic. Go me.

So, uh, yeah... here it is, the (unofficial) PBF RSS Feed info page (the actual feed is here).

PBF RSS Feed Update

By Andrew Price, 2005-12-15 02:58:24 in Website Updates. (Permalink)

For those of you who use my PBF RSS feed, it now lives at http://andrewprice.me.uk/geek/pbfrss/. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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