Archive for August 2006

A new tool

23 August 2006
Categories: Self-referential

May have found a workable replacement for SSHTerm, which all along has shown signs of Java-related memory leaks, an unwelcome tendency to delay redrawing the screen when it regains focus, slow directory browsing, and some awful limitations (like not being able to sort a file-browsing window by date during a batch of uploads)… and the parent company having abandoned its development for a next-generation (i.e. payware) solution.

It’s called Bitvise Tunnelier, and while I always hesitate to say nice things about software that hasn’t yet failed me, it has some nice features. For one, when I connect to my SSH service, it will open both a terminal session and an SFTP session, while using the same single port. No more open this, then open that, and having multiple live connections between the client and server. For another—it’s free for individual use.

Major Upgrade

10 August 2006
Categories: Self-referential

Last night saw a new, replacement web server go active and online at This was a rebuild of my former desktop Dell (Pentium 4, 1.8GHz, 768MB RAM, two 40GB hard drives), which replaced the even older Gateway (Pentium II, 400MHz, 192MB RAM, one 5.4GB hard drive [and another 500MB drive that never quite worked]).

Thank god for Mark Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu distribution—a complete LAMP (Linux + Apache + Mysql + PHP) installation that builds a fully-functional box in about 20 minutes. I’m sold on it and will forever bag RedHat/Fedora.

Certainly this new server is worlds faster and more responsive than the old one—a fact that’s made clear by the following graph, generated by the IPCheck software running on my work computer.

IPCheck 09 August 2006

It shows a glorious drop in response time—nearly 20 percent!—happening almost exactly at 20:00 on 9 August. One may assume that server response is now virtually immediate and all latency is the product of the intervening network (or, it turns out, IPCheck itself). IPCheck’s history from 4-Jul-05 to 7-Aug-06 shows an overall average of 880ms; so far today it’s 644ms. We’ve never seen a weekly average go below 700, so let’s hope this keeps up. For one thing, Samba has yet to be installed on it.

Words just don’t express the warm glow of excitement and satisfaction this successful transition has engendered in me. I can’t wait to nuke the old Gateway and put Ubuntu Desktop on it for my mother-in-law to use.

By the way, one little rant about this change… fucking Microsoft and their goddamned Word program. Every web page that originated as a Word document wound up with special characters that, in the new server, are sent as little inverse question-mark-filled diamonds. Ellipses, apostrophes, umlauts, etc. Total pain in the ass to track them all down. Who was it that said, “the benefit of Microsoft products in no way exceeds their limitations”?

update for 8/11… well, nuts. Guess I have to take back what I said about Microsoft. Turns out that apache2 defaults to use the UTF-8 character set, rather than ISO-8859-1. Once I made the change to /etc/apache2/conf.d/charset, everything was fine. (Turns out the degree symbols in delta2.htm were all screwed up, and that’s clearly something I created in raw text.)