Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 4 results for tag "downtime"
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Praise for CloudFlare!

DOUBLE UPDATE!!! I know I just posted an entry, but I was doing some in-depth analysis and found a major improvement since I switched my DNS records over to CloudFlare. I've posted some reports (by Pingdom.com) that monitor my main site, shadowdev.com, and give me more detailed results for how the site has been doing (server-wise, not user-wise - Analytics are for that).

Uptime

Uptime with CloudFlare

Downtime

Downtime with CloudFlare

Uptime Report

Pingdom Uptime Report

This isn't a sponsored post, but I wanted to say how happy I am with the CloudFlare DNS service. This is almost as good as my old server, when the uptime was 100% all the time, not between 20-90% depending on the phase of the moon, what hour it was, if the stars were aligned, and if I even found Wonka's golden ticket.


Tags:#cloudflare #uptime #downtime #report #dns

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Snow Day? Snow Way!

xkcd
(Snow comic for the Snow day)


Sorry for the bad pun, but that's the way it seemed today. We saw that it was snowing last night, so Keat got up a little early and found out that classes were on a 2-hour delayed schedule. So what did we do: we slept for 2 more hours. We finally got up at around 9:30 and got our things together to leave. I didn't want to get out of the comfy, thick, warm covers. I thought "the world can end before I'll get out," but Keat had to get to class.

There was snow on the ground, and more falling every minute. My hands were about to freeze off. After working up the courage to brave the cold, we went to my car only to find out that my doors were frozen shut. What luck. I went inside and got a pitcher of water to pour on the ice. I went back outside, and Keat had the passenger doors open. I guess that side was facing the sun. I focused back on the pitcher, and poured it on the driver-side windows and doors. After some wiggling, the doors finally opened and I started up the car. It was a little squeaky due to the cold, but we made it to HCC.

I dropped Keat off at class and I went to the Mill Pond to take some pictures of a snow-covered mill house on a pristine lake. What a picturesque moment! Too bad my phone doesn't take very good long-distance photos. I was driving to the office when Keat called me saying her class was over. Apparently, the teacher was just collecting papers. I went back to her and dropped some more stuff off. Then, I went to the office again.

I caught up on my email, RSS feeder, and other related interests. A few main things I wanted to take care of were the Uptime status report on the ShadowDev.com site, "Latest Comments" on the blog, and a few other items.

According to Pingdom, the new server has a surprisingly decreased downtime as compared to the old server. The report said that the old server had a 99% uptime ratings, and so far, the new server has a 74% uptime. So much for the guarantee...

I found out that there were a few things that didn't transfer from the old server to the new server, including some of the recent changes I made to the blog. I played "code catchup" for a few things (including re-referencing the format_link alrorithym from the old server to the new; apparently, the new server couldn't find the right file and couldn't parse the functions, so the Twitterfeed fetcher and RSS maker wouldn't work), then worked on the "Latest Comments" section, which took the most time. I put in the following code to retrieve the title of the responded entry the comment was left for:
$sql="select `title` from `journal` where id=$id";
 
list($title)=mysql_query($sql) or die("Error 30: ".mysql_error());
 
echo $title;

and ran the code. It didn't turn up what I expected. As a matter of fact, it didn't turn up anything! The source code, the output buffer, the error reporting...all were blank. I spent the next hour trying different things to figure out the issue. I finally gave up and referenced the PHP online documentation. What I found made me felt stupid. I had to add one line to the above code for it to work properly:
$sql="select `title` from `journal` where id=$id";
 
$result=mysql_query($sql) or die("Error 30: ".mysql_error());
 
list($title) = mysql_fetch_array($result);
 
echo $title;

Wow, did I feel stupid. I put that in, and it worked like a charm. Only then did I find out that there were 4 spam-based comments that I had to moderate.

Keat got out of class, we had lunch, then back to the office. We also found out that the next time our neighbors' dog starts being mistreated, we can call the Asheville Police and file a complaint, which allows the landlords to file a violation as well. This is great because now we have a plan of action instead of wildly guessing our next step.

Anyway, while she worked and took a nap, I watch Danny Phantom, Season 3 (which I have not seen before) and worked on the Expo report (which is due tonight) and the VIM coloration issue. On the old server, the VIM editor would automatically add colors to the proper code segments while editing. The new server didn't support this, and it was getting very confusing when I would edit files. After searching Google for about 10 minutes, nothing turned up. Apparently, I was calling it by the wrong name and should have been searching for "Syntax Highlighting." Long story short: the VIM version I had (7.0) was compiled with the TINY option, which is basically a minimalized installiation. I tried to re-compile it, but the configure file was missing. So, I tried to update it via yum, but yum said it was up-to-date. The latest version was 7.3, so I knew something was off. I downloaded and compiled VIM 7.3 and compiled it with everything under the sun. Therefore, I was guarenteed to get the Syntax higlighting I so wanted. After some initial testing, I also found out that the command vi was defaulted as a minimalistic editor (7.0), while vim is the full-fledge editor (7.3) with syntax highlighting included. So I fixed a few bugs and have the most up-to-date version for editing, along with a backup for emergency fixing. No harm done.

I then decided to check Facebook (for the heck of it), and while trying to get used to their new profile layout, saw that a friend of ours was having some trouble on the snowy roads in Asheville. I asked her to keep us updated, becasue we still have to come home. We had a small discussion and she posted photos of the snowy roads. After I saw the photos, all I thought was "Aw crap." Based on her reports, the roads were snowy and icy, and people were sliding all over the place. And me without my current car insurance card (it's in the mail and should be here within the next few days). Keat and I decided to try to find her teacher so she could possibly miss class if need be. We frantically searched the traffic reports and saw that I-40W was slow and I-40E was clear. However, that didn't say how the road conditions were. I was thinking back to last year when Keat and I had to walk to the nearest working grocery store, and how I didn't want to drive through that.

We drove to her school and tried to find her teacher. The roads weren't that bad (although that was a 5 mintue drive). After searching and waiting for about 45 minutes, the teacher finally arrived and wasn't too sure about class. We then decided to gain the courage and drive home. Keat didn't want to stay the night at the office.

We got on the highway and I followed a truck for about 10 miles. Thinking the roads got worse the further we got near the city, I was mentally prepared to face the icy roads. We finally passed the truck I was following since the roads weren't that bad (just a little snow dusting), and kicked it up the rest of the way home. Turns out the roads in West Asheville weren't bad at all, just had a little dusting. The roads in South Asheville had the brute of the storm and had icy roads. Luckily, we weren't in that area.

We got home, took care of the kitties, and Keat worked on a presentation and paper she had due. My laptop was used to catch up on our shows, and I played PS2 while I waited.

Chi's still in heat and it's driving us nuts! We are going to call the spaying service and get an appointment asap!

The temperature is in the mid-teens (with a wind chill of 3!) and there is a light flurry outside. This isn't right for NC! I just wonder how things will be different tomorrow with the class schedule. I still have to get the Expo report done and send it in before the SMDC meeting on the 8th. Wish me luck!


Tags:#xkcd #snow #class #pingdom #downtime #mysql #php #yum #vim

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YAY! Server issues are.....*meow* SHUT UP!!

Dilbert

Today was a very snowy day. Lots of snow and not a lot of travel. I wonder if we'll be snowed in tomorrow or not. Hopefully not.

Not much really happened today. Keat had the Marketing Plan to work on and finish, which she did while we watched a number of American Dad episodes. I received a call on the 800 number from a potential client, and after the call was done, I was super excited: the potential client fits our target market perfectly! I mean, after revamping our current marketing strategy, we're seeking out organizations and businesses who have gone through a web designer/developer/firm already and were dissatisfied with the results, either through the vanishing points of contact to the updated site design, and even with something as simple as missing updates. When the client becomes frustrated with their current site provider and they want to seek out a better firm, that's where we come into play! As the motto says, "Simply Professional, Professionally Simple™", and we hold that true to today!

I also received an email from the support guy saying that he couldn't find anything wrong that would cause the downtime on the server. He said that there was a cron job (Geek-to-English: a cron job is a scheduled task in a Linux system) set to run every 30 minutes, and he changed it to every hour. I haven't received any downtime-related emails since about 6 or so tonight, so I guess that solved the issue. I checked the cron jobs and only saw 1 other cron job aside from the one I set. The other cron job was a system-wide backup (or so I can guess), and doing one every 30 minutes may cause the downtime issue. As I said, I haven't received any downtime emails since then, so hopefully that solved it.

I also received an email from our vet-tech friend discussing Chi. She said:
Cats go into heat from about Feb to Nov. They usually don't go 
 
into heat in Dec and Jan, though they can certainly do so. Cats 
 
essentially go into heat all year long, constantly, until bred. 
 
They can go into heat, be out of heat for a week, and go right 
 
back into heat. they can even go into heat while still nursing 
 
their young, and get pregnant again. They are very prolific 
 
breeders.

Apparently, female cats can go in and out of heat quite frequently (just great) and she gave us a reference to check out for getting Chi spayed. If all else fails, we can take Chi down to her and she'll do it (although she's about 1.5 hours away from our home, so that may take a while or a weekend trip). Chi's been pretty good all day, especially when she was asleep on the bed. BUT when she was up and about, all we heard was "MEROW MEROW MEROROROW mrrrrrRRROOW" again and again and again (she likes to turn purr's into meow's). I think my favorite phrase today was "Chi, I love ya, but please SHUT UP!" I think I also said "For the sake of my sanity, please SHUT UP!" a few times during the day. I know Chi didn't listen, but it felt better to say that. Although it's been a pain trying to keep her from peeing on stuff.

One last note: ......GREAT SCOTT!!! There's a Back to the Future Game! Saw it on my reader via GameTrailers.com, and just had to share it! After 25 years, when the first one came out, there is finally a BttF game! YAY! Had an interest in obtaining the trilogy, and found that Wal-mart has it for $32! What a deal!

Another last note: the neighbors finally came home and took care of their dog. The "female" came home at about 6am and stayed for a while, then we knew she was gone when the dog went "HROOOOWWWLLLL" again. We realized that both of them came home around 6pm, so (for the dog's sake) we're glad they're home.


Tags:#bttf #backtothefuture #chi #cron #downtime #americandad #dilbert

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Subdomain trouble again

The System

Before I get started, I wanted to share this major issue that I just discovered. I was standing downstairs in our apartment today, and I thought I felt a slight breeze. After trying to narrow down the source of the mysterious wind, I found out that the door wasn't completely sealed! There was a constant gust of freezing air blowing in from between the door and the frame. Keat and I jury-rigged a light insulation system made from blankets (see below). Afterwards, I also found out that a breeze was also coming in from the window next to the door! Somehow, the sliding window frame wasn't flush with the wall, so that was poorly insulated as well! The make-shift insulator worked well, but not perfect. Hopefully, we won't be paying high electricity bills again if this works (and as soon as it gets fixed - Keat sent an email to the landlord yesterday).
Make-shift insulator



On to Today:
Today wasn't much better with the subdomain issues. As you may (or may not know), I contacted the support guy yesterday with a concern about the subdomains. I received an email at about 1:30 on Thursday:
Hello,
 
Thank you for your email.
 
01. Most of your sub domains are manually configured pointing to 
 
a folder in shadowdev.com (sub net). You might need to reconfigure 
 
the httpd conf file which locates at /var/www/vhosts/shadowdev.com/conf/
 
Let us know which one is not working.
 
02. Please fill out this form:
 
http://####.com/company/cancel.php
 
Make sure you cancel the old account. Or email billing@####.com 
 
about it after you fill out the cancellation form.
 
Let us know if you have any question.

Again, notice the lack of grammar. Additionally, after I stopped the old server and requested a service termination (which I assumed was the correct course of action), I now have to fill out a stupid info form for canceling my account. I don't have an issue with forms, but this form was anything BUT professional:

Cancelation Form

Aside from being very unprofessional, the "Password" field was just a plan text field! Talk about lack of security. You would think they would at least make the Password field a password-type field!

After the old account was canceled (it took about 10 minutes after I sent the cancelation request), I received a response email at about 2:30 talking about the subdomains. My email had a dig request for the subdomains, and it showed all of the subdomains pointing to the old IP address. This is the response I received:
Hello,
 
Thank you for your email. They all point to the new IP now. What i did 
 
was that i logged on the old control panel, go to each sub domains, and
 
switch the 'subscription' to the new one. DNS record will automatically 
 
pick up the new ones on the new VPS account. Let us know if you have any
 
question.

Again, notice the lack of grammar.

I then sent another email saying that the subdomains are pointing to "Apache Test Pages." This basically meant that the subdomains were pointing to the correct server, but to the wrong location. For those of you who know the Plesk system, it seemed that the web server was ignoring the custom file locations in httpd.include and going back to the original file locations for when the subdomains were created. What a pain! As far as a response....none yet.

Later, I received an automated email saying that my server space was almost used up. At first, I thought, "How can that be possible? I transfered about ~20GB of info from a 30GB server. How can I use up 50GB already?" I didn't really install anything super-large and there wasn't anything added to the domains that was huge. I remembered that I told the control panel to perform a backup, about 2 days ago. I guess it finally got done (and duplicated the whole server, which can easily eat up any remaining space). So I went through and told it to delete it. I think it's still doing it...

Lastly, I don't mind the spotty support service or the server transistion issues, but if there is one thing that bugs me about 3rd party hosting, it's downtime. I subscribe to a free service called Pingdom which pings the web server every minute testing for downtime. Here's the latest result of uptime:
Pingdom Report: Uptime

Yeah, one major issue there.

I finally got home, and Keat and I watched American Dad while we ate dinner (gotta love Netflix). After about 4 episodes, we went to bed. So....'Nite!

PS: Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!


Tags:#netflix #thesystem #pingdom #apache #downtime #subdomain