Stay tuned…

by Steve, January 24th, 2007

technologyFor a new, improved More Hockey, Less War blog. Same bat channel, same bat time.

But with a new, improved Web server, new, improved blogging software, and a new, improved design.

Two years ago, I set up the current Web server to host family photos and my wife’s blog (because I didn’t like Google/Blogger’s privacy policy). This server is a 1997 Dell with a 200MHz Pentium MMX processer and a whopping 32 MB of RAM. It’s performed admirably for two years, and would still be fine except, well, Wacky Mommy’s gone and gotten popular. Her blog’s getting 50,000 hits a month, transferring a half a gigabyte of data to her legions of fans. She’s averaging 500 unique visits a day, and when you add to that my relatively puny readership, this little dinosaur of a Web server is starting to creak under the load. We’ve had a couple of outages in the past month when I’ve had to hard reboot the poor thing.

Meanwhile, back on the desktop, our home-built workstation has been getting creaky, too. We’ve been running a 700 MHz Athlon with 256 MB of RAM for several years now, and with the commodity pricing on new machines being what it is, it’s time to move up. So I bought a new dual core, 64 bit box with 1 GB of RAM and a new 19″ flat panel monitor for the desktop, and rebuilt the old desktop with Open SuSE 10.2 (Linux) to use as a new Web server.

The current server is running a very stripped down installation of Debian Linux, which has served us well. But I wasn’t able to run X because the machine was such a dog. With the “new” Web server, I installed the full monty, including the very fancy KDE desktop manager, OpenOffice (a free Microsoft Office clone), and everything else you can imagine you’d need in a home computer (not to mention all the server stuff I really need). Since the new desktop came with a monitor, my Web server now has a monitor, too! What a concept.

Anyway, since the new Web server has more horsepower, I decided to step up to using WordPress for blogging software, which uses MySQL for a database. I am currently running Pivot, which uses flat text files for storage. This does not scale very well, but it was very adequate before our blogs became popular. Well, since Wacky Mommy’s became popular. It would still be fine if she were a loser blogger like me. So anyway, what’s all of this mean to you, dear reader?

First, everything should be faster, particularly when viewing single entries or comments, or leaving comments. Second, I’m redesigning the blog for (hopefully) better usability. WordPress behaves more like most people expect blogs to behave. (Pivot’s a little funky in many ways.) But really, that’s it. All of my existing entries, and all comments will be transfered to the new blog, and the URL to the front page will remain the same. Some URLs to individual entries (permalinks) may be broken, though. Sorry about that.

The big switch is scheduled for this Sunday. I probably won’t post again until after the new server is up and serving.

Next step: more bandwidth. Stay tuned for that.

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