Looking at a WPMU Object Cache

In the good ol’ days WordPress came with a filesystem object cache but it was removed some time ago because it was a pain to maintain, and caused problems for some users, especially those using NFS. Nowadays there is an object cache built in, but the cache only survives for as long as a page is being served.
Other developers have taken up the challenge and produced object cache plugins to fill in the gap. There are the neosmart ones including a filesystem object cache and a memcached one (Read Andy’s notes before installing).

The neosmart filesystem object cache (and the others according to #988) don’t work correctly with WordPress MU so I dug up a patched version of the filesystem object cache I worked on a year ago to look for testers.

Download object-cache.txt, rename to .php and copy into wp-content/. It should start working automatically but if you don’t see files and directories in wp-content/cache/, make sure that directory is writeable by the webserver.

The neosmart version on which this one is based doesn’t handle switching blogs at all. Cache collisions occur with data from one blog’s options polluting the options in others. The version linked above should fix that but I’d appreciate some testing by others.

Oh, check out WordPress MU trunk now. I merged WP 2.8 beta1 and I’m fixing bugs. Please install and try it out on a test server! The get_option() and related code is using the same code as WordPress.org which is one of the main reasons I went digging into the object cache. It leans a lot more on the cache than previously. Please test!

Google does hotel reviews now?

A couple of days ago my wife and I discussed our next holiday and she was quite taken with the idea of going to a particular hotel. I searched for the hotel and when I discovered that Google showed hotel reviews linked right from the search page I had to write about it.
After I had written the post I realised that someone might ring up the hotel and if they were feeling nasty or malicious they might cancel the holiday. Therefore, I’ll use the Radisson SAS in Limerick, an excellent hotel we stayed in a few months ago thanks to SuperValu Breaks.

So, search for the Radisson on Google.

radisson1

Clicking on the reviews link takes you here:

radisson2

I can only echo the good reviews. It’s a 4 star hotel, but book through SuperValu and you’ll get a big discount! (with the appropriate book of stamps of course)

Richard knows more about this sort of thing than I and he blogged about it 2 days ago. Looks like a good change for Irish businesses!

BTW, the break away is booked, the hotel is child friendly, we’re looking forward to it already!

PS. Richard has a post on Google’s local search which is definitely worth a read.

Memories of my first computer

A few weeks ago I splashed out on a 60GB Xbox 360, going for a reasonable 200 Euro in HMV and luckily for me I was able to enjoy the HD graphics of this next gen (next gen? It’s 4 years old now but the hardware specs are impressive!) console. Actually, “enjoy” is putting it lightly. Blown away, gobsmacked and amazed are probably better ways of describing my reaction to some of the graphics I saw this machine throwing about! Sometimes it feels like I’m taking part in one big movie.
I miss the Wiimote, I hope Microsoft do bring out a magic wand sooner or later.

One of the great things about being a late adapter is that I can buy most of the games I want in the pre-owned section. Instead of spending 50 Euro they sometimes cost half that!

I’ve gone searching for Xbox 360 blogs but only found a couple that weren’t full of adverts or blatantly self serving. I must be using the wrong keywords. Xbox fans, what are your favourite Xbox blogs?

30 or so years ago the first computer that I remember was a games console. I don’t remember the brand although my brother says it was an Atari. It was a simple machine, with a slot for a game cartridge. It had two grey boxy analog paddles, each with slender sticks and a small red button. Each controller would slot into a space in the console for easy storage. We only had one cartridge, a compilation of “sports” games, but as the machine used stick graphics they were fairly simplistic.
I remember the tennis game with two bats and a single large white pixel of a ball provided hours upon hours of entertainment for us kids.

What followed after that were more serious computers, the Commodore Vic 20, Speccy 48k, Commodore 64, Amiga 500, various PCs running Win 3.1, win 95, 98, Linux, and finally a Macbook and a Dell laptop running Ubuntu Linux. I didn’t own a console until I bought a Nintendo Wii, and then 2 weeks ago the Xbox 360.

Of the Vic 20, I remember typing in a BASIC programme that displayed a simple animated bird that flew around the screen. As we didn’t have a Datasette I couldn’t save it. I left the Vic 20 on while I went to school!

My son Adam’s first memories of games will probably be the Xbox. A far cry from the black and white stick characters of my youth!

John, my personal spammer!

With apologies to anyone named John. Spammers are getting more clever at spreading their links. Now legitimate website owners are using software tools that allow them to enter keywords of their choice to a create a list of related blogs with comment forms. Many of these applications list blogs that pass Google Rank to the websites of visitors. That’s why I stopped doing the “dofollow” thing several months ago. Since then the number of spam comments has gone down slightly. Cookie for Comments stops the spam bots dead but the human spammer scum still get through.

Next time Akismet marks a legitimate looking comment as spam (or you get a comment from someone who was supposedly christened Austin Texas Photographer by his parents), check your logs. Look up the IP address of the visitor. You may find something like this. Note the lack of a referrer, an old Firefox user agent and then “bsalsa.com” is in the UA of the next request for a post. Bsalsa make a Windows toolkit that this software obviously uses. They’re fans of Borland Delphi apparently!

"GET /2006/11/04/cork-cinema-listings/ HTTP/1.0" 200 43366 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en; rv:1.8.1.11) Gecko/20071127 Firefox/2.0.0.12"

"GET /feed/ HTTP/1.0" 302 84 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en; rv:1.8.1.11) Gecko/20071127 Firefox/2.0.0.11"

"GET /2006/11/04/cork-cinema-listings/ HTTP/1.1" 200 12089 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; GTB6; User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; http://bsalsa.com) ; User-agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; http://bsalsa.com) (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en; rv:1.8.1.11) Gecko/20071127 Firefox/2.0.0.11); .NET CLR 2.0.50727)"

When my blogs were dofollowing, I’d get loads of spam comments every day. The tools used fire off a request to the blog to examine the links on that page. They highlight dofollow links so the user knows their spam comment will generate Google Juice for their site.

I was getting so sick and tired of them I contacted several spammers. Lindsay who commented on inphotos.org replied:

Hi Lindsay,

As a photographer, I’m always looking for other blogs to comment on but it’s hard to find interesting photoblogs that post anything other than photos. How did you find my blog? I didn’t see a Google search in my logs. Is it a special program?

Thanks,
Donncha

She was really helpful, even replying twice when I didn’t reply again:

I actually have a program called G-force fast blog finder. Basically, i put in some keywords and it searches ALL blogs with those keywords. THEN it tells me if those blogs do or do not have the “uComment iFollow” addon. Blogs that allow the “follow” tag are good for search engines if i post a comment with a link to my site.. SO basically, i get to look at photography blogs and comment on them while i help my website obtain some more links.

Basically, search engines rank your page based on a few things, one of them is link backs. Basically, a link from a site to my site is like a vote for my site saying it is good. So the more other websites link to my site, the better.. HOWEVER, some blogs and websites have the NOFOLLOW tag in them which does not let the search engines see it. Your site does allow the uComment iFollow.

We also created a link exchange program on our website. if you’re interested, it helps you too also have links for your site on other people’s site. If you go to my site here:

http://__________.com/catalog/links.php

You can submit your link and even a small picture to be displayed.
Let me know if you have any other questions

Lindsay

Yea. I Down loaded a program called fast blogger. They have a free trial and basically you add in search term and it searches all blogs for that term. It gives you lists of links to them and tells you if they are no follow or Ufollow IConment blogs. Basically, by findig blogs related to my webstie and blog and posting comments, it helps my website with the search engines when I post a link. It’s a win win situation. You get blog views and comments and the post gets a link back to third site.

If you are interested, I also have a blog. It’s at http://_____________.com/blog

Feel free to comment away and leave a link back to your blog.

We also have a link exchange. Basically you go to Http://____________.com/catalog/links.php

Click submit link and then we will add another link to our website. All we ask is you link back to us in return.

It’s basically everyone helping each other in order to get good page ranking for thief keywords

If you have any questions , Id be happy to answer.

Lindsay

Very helpful wasn’t she? Unfortunately it was the final straw. All links in comments are nofollowed again. Bloody spammers.

The spam comments continue but recently I’ve taken to changing the name of the person to “John”, removing their email and url and then allowing through the comment.

john the spammer

john the spammer

Thanks John!

Ubuntu Linux: Is your external usb drive slow?

I don’t know when this happened but my external USB drives were running really slow. Reading RAW images off them took ages, backups took forever, and moving files back and forth was plain slow.

I use two Seagate FreeAgent external drives. They’re both USB 2 devices so should sustain more than the maximum 1MB/s I was seeing. I decided to go looking. First stop was /var/log/syslog where I found the following:

usb 2-1.2.4.4: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 13
usb 2-1.2.4.4: not running at top speed; connect to a high speed hub

To cut a long story short, after a few searches I found bug 66115 where the same problem is described. Unfortunately the ticket has since been closed but the work around discovered by Jean Pierre Rupp works for me too. I haven’t modified any files in /etc/ but unloading ehci_hcd and uhci_hcd and reloading in the correct order worked for me:

rmmod ehci_hcd
rmmod uhci_hcd
modprobe ehci_hcd
modprobe uhci_hcd

Now I get a very respectable 15-20MB/s when using rsync to transfer files from my internal drive and reads are super fast:

hdparm -tT /dev/sdi1

/dev/sdi1:
Timing cached reads: 3964 MB in 2.00 seconds = 1985.16 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 82 MB in 3.03 seconds = 27.08 MB/sec

Next on the TODO list is making sure the modules are loaded in the correct order on reboot. Time to dive into /etc

Armalyte 2009

Armalyte This game should need no introduction to Commodore 64 fans, but for the rest, Armalyte is one of the best shoot ‘em ups on that amazing home computer.
The great news is that it’s finally seeing an officially approved remake from Psytronik in the UK. It’s due out later this year. Check out the following video for a taste of what’s to come. I hate to use this word, but all I could think of was, “Awesome!” when I watched it.
Did you notice they fixed the 3D bug in the main menu?

There’s more! Last week Gabe McGrath got in touch and told me he interviewed the three guys behind the remake: Stuart Collier, Trevor ‘Smila’ Storey and Chris ‘Infamous’ Bailey. It’s an entertaining and interesting read. Nice screenshots of each version side by side.
I didn’t know Retro Gamer had published a “making of” article on the original game. Must go dig out the RG DVD to read it.

Fingers crossed they decide to do a Mac or Linux version. Please don’t make me reboot into Windows just to play a game!

Many years ago I mentioned Armalyte here when I rediscovered emulators and an active online C64 scene. Still active!

My Public Representatives

While I was away last week John Handelaar announced his new project, kildarestreet.com. It’s a site dedicated to reporting all the goings on in the Irish Parliament, from the horses mouth so to speak. It makes available to the general public everything that TDs (our members of parliament) say in session. This information is available on the official Government websites but it’s not easy to find.

I live in Blarney, in Cork North Central. I checked the list of TDs and found those that represent me, my family, my neighbours:

Interesting stats on each of their pages, and I really like the “most recent appearances”. I wonder if TDs will watch more closely what they say come the general election to avoid giving ammunition to their competitors or to avoid “putting their foot in it” in front of a suddenly more well informed electorate.