Category Archives for This web site
For the last decade or so this site has been running a custom built Perl blogging engine that I wrote in the late 1990s. It’s gone through a number of revisions over the years as technology advanced through permalinking, viewer comments, RSS feeds, enclosures, videoblogging and other bits and pieces. Oddly enough for the decade it’s been around, I’ve been mostly designing and building enterprise CMS’ of varying flavours, but never bit the bullet to convert this site to something a bit more substantial. That is, until now.
I’ve been wanting to do this for about a year now, and not had the chance, but recent improvements in WordPress have excited me, so here we are, my Richard BF site is now converted to WordPress.
If you’re an RSS subscriber, then your feed URL has been automatically redirected to the new URL http://www.kashum.com/feed, and I’d suggest changing the old URL to this new one before it goes away. Permalinks are unchanged, any blog post on the old site will have the same URL on the new site.
Some miscellaneous links and pages are currently broken and I need to fix those, but the basic blog and associated functionality should all be there. I’d appreciate it if you let me know of anything that’s broken.
Every now and then I upload a video, or make a post, which I secretly wish would get BoingBoinged. You know the feeling, you sit back thinking “Yeah, this is pretty cool, a nice commentary on pop culture”, hoping that someone will think to submit it to Cory and Co. Of course I’d never submit it myself, that would be cheating.
There are about 3 or 4 I thought might get a look in, but no, I’ve never been BoingBoinged. I reckon I got close with Five Minute Matrix, but when it got ripped without credit and uploaded to iFilm, that pretty much ended that idea. I even considered my Images of Culture video might get a look in, but no…
So, figuring that my best bet would be a follow up of another BoingBoing story, instead of trying for a story of my own, I remixed an answering machine message from BoingBoing, where a reader was complaining that they showed how to detect counterfeit U.S. money. I didn’t know what to put in visually, so I reused an idea I had about a year ago, that Google Images, and now Flickr, are snapshots of our culture as at now, sort of like a web based MD5. You basically take each word from the audio track, and match it with the first result for that word in Google Images.
I admit it, I was grinning a little, thinking this one might just get BoingBoinged, but then the archive died, and I couldn’t upload for two days. Then when it came back up, there was a backlog of a few days. Then when the video cleared, it disappeared altogether. So I checked Ourmedia, because I use their front end, and they said the tool may not be working, and to use SpinXpress, which had just been updated to support the archive. Anyways, I had problems with that as well, it wouldn’t upload both my format files, and even then it didn’t appear on the archive. Grrr.
Today four copies suddenly appeared on the archive, so here it is, a week too late to get BoingBoinged, and yet again, foiled.
By the way, here’s the original video on scanning money.
8:56am? at posts earth on who like, example prime a is post This. again times Australian represent correctly to code the fix could I before weeks few a me took it, job rush a was this Because. time Australian than earlier hours 18 around are which, times/dates U.S. using were they that was, ones based U.S. to sites web hosted Australian my all moving with problems the of One.
It must be the month for technical problems.
I signed up with my current ISP Zip back in the early 1990s, when they were a bunch of mates in Canberra who wanted a gaming network to play on, but ended up running an ISP instead. They were great, they knew their tech, they were well priced, and there was rarely any network downtime. Eventually they changed their name to Zipworld, and the ‘net truly was wonderful.
Many years later, I’m not sure when because the nightmares have blurred my memory, Pacific Internet, a Singapore based telco wanting to get into the Australian market, bought Zipworld and a bunch of other local and backyard ISPs, and rebranded them as Pacific Internet. The quality went down hill from then.
Not a week goes by without some kind of downtime. In one case, back when they had custom overnight unlimited bandwidth accounts, they’d do all their system maintenance right in the middle of the night, instead of running additional boxes for those special accounts. Clueless.
So I ended up for some reason hosting a whole bunch of web sites with them over the years, pouring thousands of dollars each year into their coffers, meanwhile their service and technical expertise was getting worse and worse.
In March 2006, they actually deleted my main email account, the one I’d been using for nearly 15 years, and my personal web space which was hosting my videoblog. Nice work. It took them four days to get it sorted and restore an old backup of the data. Meanwhile all my emails had been bouncing, with me being suspended from various email lists, and a lot of people who needed to get in touch with me about projects I’m working on, unable to do so. I think some of the bounces are still affecting me 4 months later.
Then I went to the U.S. in June for Vloggercon 2006. I was away for 7 days, including travel time, and Pacific Internet for some reason decided to delete my main mailbox again about an hour before my flight was due to leave. I didn’t realise this until I was able to check my email in the U.S. a few days later, and I couldn’t login. Calling them from the U.S. was near impossible, with most people having cell phones which don’t do international, and the few public landlines I found, would be cut off when I got anywhere near Pacific’s switch board.
When I got back and reported the problem, the first client service person I spoke to said:
We have no record of you ever having that email address. I’m sorry, but we cannot help you.
I called back a second time, and was able to speak to someone else who would at least look into the problem. The first allocated tech thought he knew what the problem was, but simply redirected one of my other email addresses to my main one. After finally insisting that I speak to one of the tech managers, they managed to sort out the problem. Meanwhile, any emails to me for the previous 9 days, had bounced, with countless people assuming that I no longer existed. Even my sister was calling to make sure I was OK.
And what would you expect as compensation for being off air for 9 days? Nothing. Not even a “Sorry about that”, or even “Let us know if we can be of any further assistance.”
So that afternoon I made the decision to move. All my sites are developed by me, so moving to a new hosting provider can be pretty time consuming if the hosting environment isn’t right. Over the next two weeks, I moved each of my sites away from Pacific Internet, cancelling each one as I went, and I have a new broadband provider lined up as well, as soon as everything is ready.
Today I called up to cancel the final web site that Pacific Internet have been hosting, and while on the phone to the service guy, it took him, I kid you not, several minutes to look me up in their database, and just when he found it, his computer crashed. Apparently. Today is the last billing day for the month, so it is important that the account be cancelled today. So he offers to call me back when his computer has rebooted, to which I said I’d prefer to wait on, considering I’d already been on hold for 40 minutes. But no, he insisted that he’d call me back in 5 minutes once he’d rebooted. An hour later, no call…
So I called again, spoke to someone else, and managed to get the site cancelled. Pending my broadband connection, I’m now Pacific Internet free, and it feels great. I just feel sorry for all the people I used to recommend them to.
It was tempting to finish this rant with a simple Pacific Internet fuck you!, but on the other hand, maybe I could be of assistance to them, pointing out where they failed, making suggestions as to how they can improve their processes and services… Nah, I’m over them…
Pacific Internet, fuck you!
One of the problems with moving all my Australian hosted web sites to U.S. based ones, is that they’re now using U.S. dates/times, which are around 18 hours earlier than Australian time. Because this was a rush job, it will be a few weeks before I can fix the code to correctly represent Australian times again. This post is a prime example, like who on earth posts at 8:56am?
I just bought an iPod 5G, you know the one with video support. Problem is, my current video standard is widescreen 512×288 H.264 at 750 kb/s, which doesn’t work on the iPod.
So I’ve created another feed for the down rezed iPod version of each video. I haven’t gone back and converted any older videos, but hopefully you’ll be able to get all the new ones in either the high quality 512×288 or the new iPod 320×180.
Standard feed is at http://www.kashum.com/rss2.xml
iPod feed is at http://www.kashum.com/ipod.xml
When upgrading my site recently, I noticed that I no longer linked to the companies where I work, a fairly stupid oversight considering that I own them, and it is probably in my best interest to publicise them.
So on the side bar you’ll now see Aggmedia. We specialise in microcontent, software architecture/development and audio/video production. Underneath that, you’ll find Ludic Creative, providing improv tools and storytelling for business.
I’ve always hated SQL. From the day I installed one of the first IBM VM/SP versions on our 4361 mainframe back in the early 1980s, until today, with still no end in sight. It ran like a dog back then, which is geek speak for s l o w l y, and still has a whole swag of issues to deal with which ignorant sysadmins and amateur database architects still get wrong.
So the other day I converted this blog from using super fast Perl DBI hash ties, in which I’ve simulated a relational database, to good ol’ SQL, MySQL in particular. The choice was not mine, but the complexity of some code I was working on, which needed a bit more order than ordinal arrays of pseudo database columns.
Anyway, so I converted the code over, and it runs like, you guessed it, a dog. It was initially taking 30 seconds to load the main page, and then the following day that stretched out to about 5 minutes. Once a dog, always a dog.
My hosting provider then found a server problem, which they haven’t fully fixed or conveyed to me yet, but the site is running a little faster now, which saves a bit of backout work. Suffice to say, it may not be MySQL, but I like to tar everything with the same brush, so MySQL it is.
SQL, the COBOL of databases.
Shoot video, put it online, hope people watch. If it weren’t about the audience, it wouldn’t be on the web. It’s not about the media, it’s about the me, duh. If we change the world at the same time, then that’s an added bonus. Causality. Deal with it.
I rarely shoot me, for me, but this is my 150th video, so please excuse me while I indulge myself with my first 99 or so videos.
The song “One day” is by The Jones’, a Canberra band from 1984. I think I have one of only 20 copies of their EP, which I ripped from vinyl a few years back. Not one of the better songs on the EP, but appropriate. Saw them live a couple of times, when they travelled up to Sydney. Another great record, lost in time.
One day, everybody will be happy… believe me…
I made a big decision today, to turn off my feed from my old site. It has been simply redirecting to the new one for the last six months, which means it appears in vlog directories like mefeedia as two feeds, with two lots of stats. Not only that, but no matter how many times I say to change URLs, people just don’t. The old feed in mefeedia has 27 times more subscribers than the new feed. Go figure. Oh for URL independence.