Blake's blog

Server Updates

LISNews is pretty much settled on the new server over at Lottadot. This is the first time in several years LISNews isn't on a sever I have 'root' on, so it'll take some time to get used to the loss of control. So the failed move to a new server ended up costing me a couple hundred bucks, but I'm now paying $140 less than I used to pay for LISNews, so in the long run this will be a good financial move for me.

I should be...

Kelly's asleep, and I should be cleaning the kitchen. I should be cleaning up LISNews bugs. I should be answering email. I should be painting the basement walls. I should be finishing up my Fedora install on the linux box. I should be... oh hell, there's a million things I should be doing.

The New LISNews Stats

The new server is doing a helluva job so far. There's a few missing pages & images floating around, and a couple other small bugs, but I think things are running very well so far. The new server handles stats very differently, so you can check out the LISNews Web Stats for yourself from now on.

Thanks for all the bug reports, I'll get to them all as I have time.

I Need A 25 Hour Day

Kelly is in the middle of an unusually long nap. It's been about an hour and half, long enough for me to get caught up on my "fire list" and now I actually have time to pick what to work on next. Trouble is there's about a million things I can work on. Clean the house? Write something? Work on the bathroom wall? Clean up the logs on .org? Work on the LISNews marketing section? Gah. There's too much to do, I'm not sure where to start. My back hurts, this chair is awful (Can't wait til Christmas to get a new one) so maybe I'll get up and work around the house.

Decisions, Decisions....

The new server just isn't working out, but I have made a decision. I don't know if it's me, or the server, but it's not handling the load at all. It reboots itself several times a day and anytime I do *anything* it runs out of breath. So that's the bad news. The good news is one of the Slashcode guys hosts slashsites for $50 a month. For those of you keeping track at home that's about $130 less than running my own server, with far fewer headaches. So towards the end of the year I'll be moving LISNews to yet another server.

And The Winners Are...

For the past several weeks everyone who submited a story had chance to win. The Renaissance Library Calendar 2006 features two libraries which have been honoured with UNESCO awards in 2005. Biblioteca Palafoxiana, (the Palafoxiana Library) in Puebla, Mexico, dating from 1646, and the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, including its extensive library, dating from 1563. If you didn't win don't be afraid to go buy one, tell them LISNews sent you so we can do this again next year.


I just noticed birdie posted the 17,000th story to LISNews this morning. Wow, we're only a few away from 20k now.

LISNews RSS/RDF/Atom/XML Feeds

Blake Carver Is Out Of The Office

And so begins my 87 day weekend. I'm taking a few months off to take care of my baby Kelly. I grabed what I needed from work, and I'm heading home. I have all my mp3s and any other files I might need, access to email from home, and a pile of papers to work on. I am 90% excited, 10% worried. I'm not really sure how well I'll do without the normal work schedule, now I'll be living with a schedule set by an 11 week old baby. So, for the next 2 months, just call me Mr. Mom.

New Site/Server/Domain Name

The new server is now handling all LISNews (.com and .org) traffic. It's a slightly bigger/better/fast server, so it might serve up pages quicker (or will it do things more quickly?). The old server was rarely slow, so you might not even notice a difference.

Allota Work Left To Do

The new site/server seems to be running. There's much for me to do still, but it might be good enough to make the cut over before Wednesday like I had hoped for. I haven't messed with the colors or anything else on the front end yet, I'll be working on that tonite.

LISNews Numbers For October 2005

Busy month, mostly thanks to mdoniel's tale of winning a fax battle.

Total Sessions 417,829.00
Total Pageviews 1,248,102.00
Total Hits 3,219,288.00
Total Bytes Transferred 33.61 GB
Average Sessions Per Day 13,478.35
Average Pageviews Per Day 40,261.35
Average Hits Per Day 103,848.00
Average Bytes Transferred Per Day 1.08 GB
Average Pageviews Per Session 2.99
Average Hits Per Session 7.70
Average Bytes Per Session 84.35 KB
Average Length of Session 00:11:59

The Move Is On

I started the move this evening, grabbed a new server, updated DNS for and starting working through the perl modules so far.
It's going about as well as I thought it would.

Update: after two hours I've got it almost running. Template::Toolkit is giving me trouble, but other things have been fixed. So far so good I guess.

Update #2: Went much better than I'd hoped for. Lots of little CPAN and Perl Module bugs, and a few install issues, but looks like it worked. I'm not 100% sure yet, but Slashcode seems to be running. If all goes well I'll have things running this weekend. My plan is to flip the switch next Wed for our birthday. And yes, I'll move over everything, including user accounts. Must get some sleep.

Update #3: 24 hours later (no I haven't been working the entire time) Back at it, so far so good I guess. I blew everything out, started over, found some errors, fixedm', down graded to an old version so I can then upgrade, and import. No, makes no sense to me either, but that's what they say to do. So if all goes well, we'll have a mirror of .com on .org tomorrow. One more update later tonite to let you know how it goes.

Update #4: Forgot to update last night (Friday) I was just too tired. Worked till 11pm and got almost nothing accomplished. Started again at 10am today (Saturday) and have made some progress. Still having some issues, but at least I'm moving forward.

Update #5: Forgot to update ya'll again last night. I worked for about 12 hours yesterday and accomplished exactly nothing. It's now 10am on Sunday, starting again.

Update #6: 1pm on Sunday. Finally, I can report progress! I don't know why this didn't work the first 20 times I tried, but I've managed to load the old data from this server, into the new server and a newer version of slash. It's a "newer" version, not the newest one yet. That's next. Not sure it'll be done tonite, but I'm hopefully I'll have it done within a couple days at least.

Update #7: Sunday night: It's sorta kinda moving along still. I can't seem to fix a couple things, but I feel like I did make some progress finally. Blah. What a weekend.

Teachable Moment

One simple story to illustrate why I think libraries are in trouble. One simple story that should scare the shit out of you, especially if you're in a public library.

LISNews Will Move Soon (Hopefully)

This is a pretty big if at this point, but IF all goes well, I'll have the newest version of Slashcode up and running on a new server and new domain name for LISNews this weekend [available for beta testing]. LISNews will hopefully be within a couple weeks. If that goes well, I'd expect to move everything over to the new server the first weekend in November, just in time to celebrate our 6th anniversary.

On Finding Interesting Reading

A rather perceptive LISNewster dropped me an email this weekend to ask why I didn't point to something over on LJ last week they thought was a good fit for LISNews. In the ensuing email conversation we talked about how little I point to from "real" library stuff (magazines, journals, etc.) and how much I point to newspapers and other news sources outside of our little world. I'm not sure I have a really good reason, but I think it's largely because of 2 simple things.
1. I don't read much librarian stuff any more.
2. You should already be reading that stuff.
3. I'm not the only author, just the most obsessed.
My current gig as a solo "special" librarian working in an industrial environment doesn't require much study on librarianship. As a matter of fact, about the only thing that keeps me connected to the profession on a regular basis is LISNews. That and a bi monthly lunch with the library director of the college next door, and a conference or 2 a year are about the only things that keep me from drifting away completely. My philosophy with LISNews has always been simple. We point to things we find interesting, if you agree, then today's your lucky day. Primarily I find interesting things from reading about 200 Google alerts a day. I find other interesting things in the blogs and web sites I read on a regular basis. What I read when I'm looking for interesting things to post is outside of the LIS Press. The good thing is it doesn't really matter what I do, because I have lots of help here. LISNews isn't my site, its run by the dozen or so authors and the 4,000+ other members. Anyone in the world can suggest a story, leave a comment, or write in their journal about what ever they want. LISNews' greatest strength is its openness. Calls for me to clamp down on the community fall on deaf ears.

So, I'll just repeat here what I wrote in one email. I read LJ regularly but I rarely feel the need to point to it. Not because I think it's bad or not worth of note, but because I've always operated under the assumption that we all read LJ, and there's no need to point to it, or AL, or most other popular librarian publications. Maybe I'm wrong?

13 Bands You Might Not Know

I thought I'd change things up a bit and talk music. Now that I'm able to listed to music all day again I've discovered and rediscovered some good tunes I thought I'd share. I won't try to describe any of the bands here, I'll just point you to their sites (if they have one) and let you have a listen. My current favorite on the list, Tugboat Annie, broke up several years ago, but I'd highly recommend checking your favorite source for music and having a listen. There's a great accoustic version of "The Wishing Song" they did at a radio station here a few years back that is fantastic.

A Week With Bloglines

Here's a poorly kept secret: I don't use a feed reader. I was writing feeds when you were still in diapers. I run an entire site devoted to feeds. I run another site that has several dozen feeds. My experience has been almost 100% supply side for RSS.

Steven M. Cohen will be so proud! I've been using Bloglines on a regular basis for about a week. I loaded a bunch of feeds last week, including all the feeds from LISFeeds thanks to my new secret LISFeeds OPML file. So all week I've been hitting my Bloglines account a few times a day. It's been working well for some feeds, and not so good for others. There will still be sites I continues to visit via the good ol' web browser, and, if I stick with it, there are a few sites I won't. I don't think I'll ever be gaga over aggregators, to me they are just one more tool that, if used correctly, can help me learn more. I'm not entirely sure they even save me much time. I don't read that many sites to begin with, and I don't really have the time or curiosity to read that much more.

I've been quickly taking feeds out that aren't in English, and others that seem to post too much crud I don't want to read. I've learned using an aggregator is a bad way to keep up with general news. There's just too much going on for me to ever get caught up. What I do like is having very small niche topics with just a few sites in each.

I've discovered how much I still like the Motley Fool. I'm keeping up with several "lifehacks" sites that I really enjoy. I see a lot of overlap between sites, more than I thought was out there. I think I need to take out allota more feeds. There's too much in there already, and I'll never be able to find good stuff in the endless piles of posts. A few other bits: It's great for comics! Bloglines is surprisingly slow, all the time. I don't really feel like I've learned more, even though I've been reading more.

Most importantly, I've been seeing LISNews through a reader for the first time and I can see how I can make some improvements. My strip_tags is stripping too much formatting out of the feed, it can use a new image, and more useful information might make them more, uh, useful. So hopefully I'll have some time this weekend to work on adding more things into our many feeds.

LISNews Numbers For September 2005

Date Range: 09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
Total Sessions 369,876.00
Total Pageviews 1,053,283.00
Total Hits 2,552,961.00
Total Bytes Transferred 26.18 GB
Average Sessions Per Day 12,329.20
Average Pageviews Per Day 35,109.43
Average Hits Per Day 85,098.70
Average Bytes Transferred Per Day 893.47 MB
Average Pageviews Per Session 2.85
Average Hits Per Session 6.90
Average Bytes Per Session 74.21 KB
Average Length of Session 00:12:58

RSS hits on journals now outnumber hits to the HTML versions by about 100:1.
Most popular journals:
slashgirl, Walt, Blake, Daniel, nbruce, mdoneil, GregS*, Bibliofuture, Samantha, birdie, show, djfiander and Jay.

The page was our most popular, hit about 162,000 times, followed by the lisnews.rss (110,000), index.rss (70,000), / (48,000) and (21,000).

Nothing interesting or unusual in the referral or domain logs at all. We had hits from about 45,000 unique IP addresses.

IE made up about half of the hits, Firefox about 15%, followed by the always mysterious " Mozilla Compatible Agent" and about 13%. Safari and Netscape had about 1%.

That's about it from the Apache logs, as reported by Urchin.

Numbers from the Slashdb for September
Busiest Authors:
Blake: 223
Rochelle: 62
Bibliofuture: 15
birdie: 12
John: 8
Amke: 6
bentley: 4
Dan G.: 3
Samantha: 3
Curmudgeony: 2
Mock Turtle: 2
Ryan: 1
Louise: 1
Tania: 1
Steven: 1
Bill Drew: 1

Total Number Of Articles:

Total Number Of Submissions:

Number of Accounts logged in:

Total Number Of Comments:

Total Number Of Commentors:

10 Busiest Commentors:
Anonymous Patron 106
GregS* 56
mdoneil 54
Fang-Face 38
nbruce 25
Daniel 24
Rochelle 22
Blake 21
leeb 18
tomeboy 17

10 Busiest Journalors:
nbruce 22
Daniel 15
slashgirl 14
mdoneil 9
Durst 8
Bibliofuture 8
Jay 8
GregS* 7
Blake 6
Debra 5

Total Journal Entries:

Total Journal Comments:

Total Metamoderations:

Total Moderations:

Distinct Annonymous Patrons Comments:

I Ripped Them All, Finally

3374 MP3s
239 hours and 40 minutes
13.33 Gigabytes

That's the final count for my CD collection I've finally finished converting to MP3s. I've just been doing a few each week, I started ripping them back in February, and finally finished last night. I'm not even sure how many CDs I have, probably about 400. It's nice to have them all ripped again. I'd actually done this a few years back, but the hard drive I had them stored on blew up.


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