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Purple crocus

Today is Spring, or at least, Spring for me. The weather was warm and the daffodils, tulips, and other flowers were in full bloom. The Magnolia is just now starting too bud, and the Missouri witch hazel ending its cycle, leaving behind a most wonderful fragrance.

I walked Botanical and grabbed some sunshine and photos. Though I know you’re all tired of flowers and that sort of thing I’ll still add a couple to this writing, just to break up the words. Between you and me, I like seeing something besides red, yellow, and orange on the page from time to time.


Walking over the bridge in the Japanese Garden, the koi fish followed along in hopes of getting some of the fish food you can buy from gumball-like machines at either end. While I was dropping food into hungry mouths, a fairly large group of people approached and several exclaimed in surprise when they saw the fish. They had strong southern accents — more mountain than plantation — and evidently had never seen koi before.

A couple of women and a young girl ran down the hill to the stream that fed the lake and dropped down for a closer look, while one guy, who seemed out of place, walked around with a quarter in his hand, trying to break into the chatter and laughter.

Another guy yelled down the women, “Watch out, Hannah. That sucker’ll jump out and take your head off!” I finished my feeding and my photos and started to pass the increasingly loud group when the same wit yelled out, “They are the ugliest things I’ve ever seen.”

I glanced at him when I passed, this guy with pasty white arms, sparse straggly black chin whiskers raggedly covering blotched, pink chin and cheeks; matted dull, black hair under an old baseball cap, and huge gut falling out from under his too tight and too short gray t-shirt.

Botanical isn’t the only place with the sights of Spring. Tonight when I went downstairs to get a bottle of water, I noticed Zoë at the window, intently looking out. I peeked through the glass and saw several young bunnies hoping about, grazing on the grass.

And the daffodils are up. Life is good when the daffodils are up.

Bright Daffodils

Technology Weblogging

Another update

I was asked to help a group weblog with its new look a week or so ago and it ended up being more work than I expected. However, I finally finished that work today — really, really finished– and have started my final descent for the first release of this product.

I found a couple of things I need to change. First of all, WordPress creates page titles the first time you save a post. However, I think the page title should match the post title up and until you publish a post. But, there’s a difference between a title being generated and one manually entered, so if go this approach, I’ll need to add a flag to the database.

However, I’m tired of numbered posts appearing because I forget to title a post when I save a draft, and then forget to change the post SLUG before publishing.

Some more clean up in Admin to pull all SQL separate from the processing.

And I’ve finally taken my first shot at integrating RDF API in as an extension to support the metadata effort. That one isn’t going as well as I would like — but it is optional, and if need be, I’ll leave it off the first release.

Oh, I do love my interface, and my comment management, but magic quotes got screwed up again.

All in all though, it’s movin’ along.


MT free servers

I’m in the middle of preparing my annual “Burningbird’s Bash of Etech” presentation. It will have the usual: laughs, tears, and passionate outrage and sad reflection in equal measure–not to mention, intense inspection of photographs with an accompanying “is the one with a shaved head, tattoos, bulgy chest, and eye liner a boy or a girl?” discussion. You know. The usual.

First, though, thanks to Rogi, I found out my host has created its first “Movable Type” free server, named Circe. (Hee, good name.) The thread to discuss this can be found here.

I’ve been watching the processes the last week or so, on the server and in my logs, and what I’m seeing is a lot of hits for trackbacks. And I mean a lot. Many are to Movable Type weblogs but the WordPress weblogs are getting their share, too. Now, because of whatever spam protection you have, these may not be showing up in your pages; but the pings are creating a significant strain on the database, which in turn strains the CPU and the disk I/O.

For instance, if I had trackback enabled, even with spam protection in place, each trackback requestion would still generate, at a minimum, four requests to the database and over thirty function calls. This isn’t that big a deal–until you multiply that several times a minute, and across many, many weblogs. Then repeat this daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, because that’s how often it’s happening.

Of course, since I’ve pulled every aspect of trackback from Wordform, the most that happens is that the web server returns a “404″ whenever one of my pages is accessed with “/trackback” appended.

I have no doubts that if this much activity is happening with WordPress, which is relatively stripped down as these types of applications go, much more is happening with the increasingly complex comment spam management in Movable Type. In addition, as Annette details in the HM thread — CGI applications such as MT spawn a new thread for each trackback request. I can say that the most limited resource on a server are these threads of execution.

I most likely will ask that my site be switched to Circe, as soon as I can. And to be honest, I’m feeling pretty damn smug for deciding to yank trackback out of Wordform, right about now. For you MT folks — if you’re not running the PHP version by now, you should be. And you also need to start pressing Six Apart into providing a PHP-based comment and trackback management system.

Or switch to new software.

Or continue dealing with problems.

Your choice.