March 21st, 2005 § 2 comments § permalink

Nothing like two weeks without being able to work to generate a backlog so huge as to seem beyond any possibility of ever being fully processed. There were so many things to do, so many e-mails to read and answer, so many calls to return, so many small tasks to complete that I almost despaired of life (and I shouldn’t even mention the three thousand entries that the blogs I read produced in the two weeks I was away).

Anyway, after spending a whole week and weekend working on the most pressing issues, things are almost back to normal, although I still have enough unresolved issues to last the rest of the month. The problem with having your own company is that when you get sick, things quickly left you behind if you don’t pay attention.

Fortunately, I’m a lot better now, almost 100% recovered. Thanks for all e-mails and best wishes. I hope that’s another experience I can leave behind, even though things went all right.


January 18th, 2005 § 1 comment § permalink

It seems I’m finally getting free of the bug that tried to colonize me in the past two weeks. It’s the worst case of flu I remember enduring in my relatively short life. For the whole past week, I felt like a rhinoceros had run over me.

The most amusing thing about the whole thing was the doctor saying: “I don’t think you have pneumonia; I think it’s just bronchitis”. Very nice thing to say when you are out of breath, feeling like hell’s gone loose inside you.

Quick notice

January 3rd, 2005 § Comments Off on Quick notice § permalink

I’m testing a new strategy to fight referrer spam using a bit of voodoo programming. So if you can see my site via RSS, but can’t access it on a browser (or vice-versa), please drop me an e-mail.

SF&F online

December 21st, 2004 § Comments Off on SF&F online § permalink

Some links for those of you who like science fiction and/or fantasy:

The best place to buy SF&F e-books: excellent selection, nice prices, good support, and a site that works.
Greg Egan’s Home Page
Greg Egan’s personal site. In the Stories section you will find more than 15 free stories you can read online or download.
Free Reads by Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly, another very well-known science fiction writer, has recorded various of his stories in MP3.
Futurismic: Fiction
Online science fiction by the same guys who brought us the excellent Futurismic blog.
Infinity Plus
Science fiction, fantasy, and horror by famous and non-famous alike.

Apache dying

November 17th, 2004 § Comments Off on Apache dying § permalink

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that the Apache server that runs this site and others in my server was dying unexpectedly at odd times due to an unidentified problem. After some searches in the server logs, I found the problem was related to logrotate. Every time logrotate ran, it reloaded Apache, but the Apache service failed to come back up after it had been shut down.

After some fruitless googling, I gave up and hacked the logrorate command to reload Apache twice. I tried other approaches, but that was the only one that worked. It’s a real kludge, but since I couldn’t find another way, I figured it was better than nothing.

Anyway, searching for some details about Debian’s Apache package today, I came across a bug listing that described the very problem I was experiencing. As it turns out, that’s an old known bug in Debian’s Apache, with no available fix. There are some kludge solutions, much like the one I’m using, but it won’t be fixed until Debian’s next big release.

At least I found out that I’m not the one to blame for that one.

DNS and Apache issues

October 29th, 2004 § Comments Off on DNS and Apache issues § permalink

Apologies for the spotty service of the past day.

My hosting provider renumbered the IP addresses of a bunch of machines hosted by them, including mine. They provided simple instructions to help admins effect the change, but I managed to follow them incorrectly, resulting in DNS problems.

I also have an unidentified problem in my Apache installation that it’s causing it to die abruptly. I have not found the cause of the problem yet so if the site is down, you know who to blame. 😛


July 30th, 2004 § Comments Off on Hiatus § permalink

The recent hiatus was caused by the usual things: little sleep and too much work — both augmented by the presence of a newborn at home. But I’m coming back; yes, I’m coming back.

By the way, to all you people who wrote to us about our son’s birth, many thanks. :-)


May 19th, 2004 § 2 comments § permalink

For some strange reason I don’t understand, the layout of this blog is not working properly under IE. A horizontal scrollbar has appeared out of thin air, and the links in the menu move when the mouse hovers over them. As the layout has not changes and didnt’t behave like that before, I’m at loss about what may be causing it. Please accept my apologies while I work to fix the issues.

Update: I changed the blog’s main stylesheet as a reader suggested and that did the trick. Thanks, Phu Ly.


May 14th, 2004 § Comments Off on Backups § permalink

Regular readers of this blog know that I had no recent backups of the sites I hosted when they went offline. I know, I’m an idiot. The fact is that I managed to recover some backups after a while because a secondary server in my former hosting provider had a copy of my files at the time. They lacked the last two weeks of the content, but were far better than the ones I had at home. I also managed to find copies of the MovableType databases used in the sites, containing pretty much the same information but in a much more useful format. As soon as a new hosting provider was found it would be just a matter of upload the database, wouldn’t it? Wrong. As I found yesterday, Murphy decided to intervene in the affairs: the backup containing my two blogs are corrupted. I don’t know how I didn’t discover before. You are allowed to call me an idiot again. Ironically, all others backups are perfect.

The database backup is almost completely garbled. I recovered the category and comments data but pretty much everything else is useless. Luckly, the site backup was not as corrupted, and, as far as I know, has all the files generated by MovableType from the corresponding database. Some files are corrupted, but not in the weblog directories.

Now I will need to create a program to read those files, extract the information in them, correlate it, and rebuild the database. It’s not a complicate thing to do, but it’s boring and tiresome. Also, some information will be lost as not all that was in the database is in the files — like the exact date a entry was posted, for example. Anyway, until I write that program, the previous entries in this blog won’t be available. I apologize for the incovenience. To those who request things I wrote, I will e-mail them directly to you.

Moral of the story: don’t trust backups, especially those generated by automated tools. Never forget to test and replicated them in multiple locations. Some bytes go missing or get garbled in a zipped file and you’re toast. That’s one more lesson learned. I think.

I’m baaaaaaack!

May 12th, 2004 § 6 comments § permalink

Three months, two servers, a lot of sleepless nights figuring out configuration problems, and some lost backups later, I’m finally back to the blogosphere. It’s nice to be back. I’m still struggling with some configuration and DNS issues, but things are becoming better by the minute.

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