Archive for the ‘Self-referential’ category

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.)

Attention continues…

13 March 2006
Categories: Self-referential

Sat, 11 Mar 2006
“Kevin S. Forsyth has made great use of interactive maps—he’s located the places in Chicago and surrounding areas where The Blues Brothers movie was filmed and placed them on an interactive map so you can find them easily. Click on the different pins, and a picture of the place will pop up, with a bit of information about the movie.” Nice, included my full name and didn’t fiddle with the page title. (no longer online)

Domo arigato

13 December 2005
Categories: Self-referential

This month’s web site traffic strangeness involves… Mister Roboto.

My goofy, six-year-old musing on an old Volkswagen ad is currently the number 3 page on my site. Six months ago it wasn’t in the top 30, but since then it’s been on a steady climb. Until this month.

Suddenly, my top ten search keyphrases include “volkswagen mr roboto”, “volkswagen roboto”, “volkswagen mr. roboto”, (note the dot) “mr roboto”, and “mr. roboto”. I know that the first three all place my page in the top 3 results on Google, and I think maybe “volkswagen mr. roboto” scored #1 earlier this week. But I have no idea whether it’s an improvement in Google ranking, or a resurgence of interest in an old ad, or a combination of the two, that has spurred this rise.

I do know one thing, and that’s that it feels a little weird to me. I wrote that silly piece of crap at age 30, and wrote it solely for the sake of writing it (oh, and to exorcise a bit of nostalgia for my youth as I entered my third decade). I don’t think I’d bother today, and it’s a tidbit of personal trivia that I don’t doubt is of zero interest to the many visitors who stumble in. Certainly, none have sent a response.

Another Blues Brothers linker

10 October 2005
Categories: Self-referential

Sun, 9 Oct, 17:13 CDT (GMT-5)
Conversations claiming that Jake and Elwood were Sox fans, rather than Cubs fans. Although this is almost a certainty since they were Southsiders, the errors in the accompanying text make me skeptical that there was ever a line like “Wrigley Field is the last place the cops would find us, we’re Sox fans.” (If there was, at the very least it’s a good line to cut, being much too self-obvious to the characters.) As usual, lots of misinformation flying around this thread—must resist the urge to set these bozos straight. Oh, and it now includes an attempt to bandwidth-steal my image of the parking tunnel, so I get a 403 error with every hit on that posting. (permanent link)