Yet another boring day at the office, so I decided to dust off my Perl book and try to relearn some basic chops in the language and maybe find a good use for it. Unfortunately that was not the case and in the process of getting myself familiar with it I ported some old code I wrote for artificially creating a load on my servers by crunching prime numbers. Its a pretty ghetto piece of code and I’m not sure about its limitations so if it causes your machine to catch fire or start making noises like a dying goat I’m not responsible, actual bad code after the break.
First let me lay out the issue, then I will explain the title. I help manage a small niche site for a community in NYC which I happen to host out of a NearlyFreeSpeech.net account that also is home to a few other projects of mine. So far the numbers show that the site uses the lion’s share of resources available to the account, roughly 20$ every 4 to 6 months to keep the hosting going and I suspect costs will only go up. Faced with figuring out how to head off rising costs before they become an issue I picked the site apart to figure out what was costing the most money and what areas could increase costs in the future.
After a quit poke about the site and looking at the breakdown of the hosting price I found that the two main consumers of money were the MySQL processes and the disk storage. Without showing a bunch of math it would cost $19.68 roughly for the rest of the year provided no more images were uploaded to the site. The current total size of the site is 169 MB, which works out to 1.69$ per month just to store the content irregardless of it being accessed. Each MySQL process runs $0.02 per day, so thats $7.30 per year on top of the cost of storage, working out to a grand total of $26.98 for storage and a single database to run the site; and all of that ignores the cost of bandwidth (NFS.net uses a micro-transaction system for bandwidth charges) and whatever else I might be forgetting.
Now I know anybody out there with serious hosting experience is laughing their ass off that I’m doing a breakdown of such a simple site and what is arguably a very inexpensive hosting setup when compared to major sites, but when the site doesn’t generate any money at all every penny is important. First I looked into Content Delivery Networks used by major websites; it didn’t take me long to realize that such a venture was going to be absurdly expensive for such a small project.
With the big CDN providers out of the picture I started kicking around ideas of a more DIY nature, such as building my own CDN apparatus that I could host out of my home. Naturally this had risks of downtime due to power outages, etc so that ruled out a home brew setup. I started thinking about other places that played the hosting game and how they got it done when it dawned on me, to host images places like Reddit use imgur.com to host their images. Over to their site I went and lo and behold they have an API and pro accounts which don’t limit you to a certain number of hosted images. This was the pay-dirt I was looking for, and now I have a lead on a way to cap the one dynamic cost of the site for a reasonable price that won’t break the bank.
The end of the year is almost here, and over the course of it I’ve come across some things that are either enjoyable, indispensable or just plain awesome which I figured I would share with the world even if nobody really is reading.
YouTube Options (Chrome Plugin)
This extension is simply amazing, not only does it hide the stupidity of comments but it works well at stripping out annoying ads that precede almost every movie it seems lately. Add to it the fact that it can give you a download option for videos and disable auto-play and you have probably one of the slickest and simplest mods for Chrome yet.
I picked one of these up last month because I was tired of lugging around my cumbersome i7 based ASUS laptop when I wanted to relax in the living room or put some time in on a project at work. The battery lasts for roughly 2 and a half hours on a full charge and it despite the small size its fairly comfortable to type on.
By far the simplest video converter I have used yet, and the best part is that its FREE! It converts things fast and offers pretty much any output format you could possibly want, even MP3 output for YouTube videos that you really don’t need the video from.
This site is the hub for all things USB and portable, both of which make me a very happy Panda indeed. I carry a stick full of the apps with me pretty much everywhere these days and its been a blessing on numerous occasions when I needed a web browser that wasn’t jacked up with toolbars and stupid features like IE tends to be.
It especially becomes a bitch when you stop and look at your life only to realize that you are becoming something you hated for so long. My brother informed me that his son is afraid of me and doesn’t even like coming to my house when my brother stops by to visit every now and then. What it all boils down to is that I’m a selfish asshole it seems; my brother didn’t say that but I know that is what it amounts to when you get right down to it.
I get off work and instead of calling and talking to my brother and nephew I get on the computer, maybe play a little bit of WoW. The weekend rolls around and I spend more time on the computer, or otherwise laying about the house doing things that aren’t cohesive to getting to know my nephew or hanging out with my brother. Growing up I think I saw my uncle just about as much and needless to say now I don’t exactly hold him in the highest regard.
Now that I stop and think about it I never did have role models that I actually wanted to be like, most of them were people I didn’t want to end up like; for example my father who wasn’t really much in the way of a father. I thought to myself that I would rather die without having ever had children or a wife rather than even remotely risk becoming the deadbeat, slack-ass piece of shit that he was, and for the most part I have succeeded in that effort, but I never did put much thought into avoiding becoming the secondary characters in my life growing and it looks like now I am paying the price for that oversight. Now I am faced with the issue of deciding to either put forth the effort to attempt to repair a broken relationship with my nephew and thus my brother or simply say to hell with it and give up before I even begin and simply avoid contact with the nephew completely so that hes not forced to put up with someone he obviously isn’t comfortable around.
But Ubuntu 10.04 sure as hell is! Just got a new laptop in today from Newegg and decided to make a solid attempt at getting Linux to work on it to a level that would let me not rely on Windows anymore. First off the bat was getting a browser that doesn’t suck (aka Chromium) installed, naturally with its popularity there were awesome guides on getting it installed at least half a dozen ways. After that it was on to getting MP3 support as well as all the other deliciously varied video formats like Matroska Video and such, this time instead of having to do a bunch of hand work in a terminal there was a single link on the ubuntu support area that actually installs all the needed codecs and files without so much as a single bash command! After that I made an attempt to get Flash working and hit the only brick wall so far; the office network at work doesn’t always play nice and refused to let me download the files I needed in order to get flash working, but I know what needs to be done and once home it won’t be a challenge in the least. With all the audio sorted out I copied over my World of Warcraft install directory that I keep on a USB HD while installing Wine; yet again a victory ensued when the game ran decently (19 fps) with virtually no config tweaking what so ever. As a final test I looked into support for my iPod touch and was blown away by the fact that support for it is now rolled into the 10.04 LTS flavor of Ubuntu, a year ago this would have been pretty much impossible without at least jailbreaking the device, now its just there without me even having to do anything beyond plugging it in.
Aside from a few fringe programs like Photoshop CS5 I don’t think I’m going back to the land of Microsoft if I can avoid it; Linux finally supports all the things I want to do on my computer.
So it seems that the unthinkable has happened, a tornado has touched down in Bushwick, Brooklyn. As a person who works in disaster services I can safely say that the idea of a tornado rampaging around in New York City positively scares the living crap out of me, about the only thing worse would be a Category 5 Hurricane cutting loose and destroying shit. Fortunately nothing catastrophic like that happened, just the usual mild damage to building exteriors and as far as I have heard there were no fatalities.
I really wish this was a joke, prank or just misinformation but sadly these people honestly believe that the signal from 802.11x wireless access points and routers are causing their children to get sick.
A group of central Ontario parents is demanding their children’s schools turn off wireless internet before they head back to school next month, fearing the technology is making the kids sick.
Some parents in the Barrie, Ont., area say their children are showing a host of symptoms, ranging from headaches to dizziness and nausea and even racing heart rates.
They believe the Wi-Fi setup in their kids’ elementary schools may be the problem.
I don’t even know what to say really, it seems like these people lack the common sense to realize that if such signals really did make people sick then perhaps it would be more widespread as opposed to just in selective areas where the insanity levels must be a little bit higher than normal. I personally have a router modified with the dd-wrt firmware in my bedroom running at above-average transmit power and I haven’t been sick lately, my city is covered in wireless and last I heard parents here weren’t moaning about ill children to the school board. If there was any truth at all to this nonsense don’t they think that kids all over NYC would be sick 24×7 given the proliferation of wireless in such places?
I can only hope that the school boards who get hit with complaints about these kind of things are intelligent enough to realize that the parents making the complaints are about as stupid as you can get and fail to realize their children are bullshitting them plain and simple. The whole thing is nothing more than the logical evolution of the cell phone cancer debate that cropped up as cell phones became widespread, with any luck it will die the same fate given enough time and force-fed sanity.
Well this domain has sat dormant for ages, and finally on a boring Sunday at work I decided to slap someone else’s code on up here to save me time, effort and headache of using my own. Odds are that this might fall into disuse like every other time I attempt to blog, but just perhaps given the nature of how bored I get at work I might be able to make this into something that doesn’t completely suck.