Not Back, E-Mail Bouncing

My network is down, my e-mail is bouncing. It’s making me crazy!

Well, you won’t read this for a day or two at the earliest, but I’m gonna keep writing. My Internet connection is still down, and because I host my entire network myself, including web, mail, and DNS servers, it means everything is hosed.

Which might cause one to rethink the arrangement I have, except I do it this way so I get a lot more control, and I get to learn how it all works. I’ve become a decent Unix sysadmin, and had considerable fun.

One of the true benefits, though, is that I get to configure my mail server’s spam filtering. Because I control the server itself, I can add all the features and filters I want — or at least those I can figure out. My server is configured to bounce a lot of spam, in particular, any mail from any domain which does not actually resolve. Which right now is all of them.

My ISP says they’ll be back up tomorrow afternoon. That’ll be pretty much 72 hours, three full days, of being disconnected.

I better be getting this month free, or I’m gonna be pretty pissed…

We’re Back…?

I have a new ISP, having had my account sold to a new provider. And their current quality-of-service level is 0%: In the 36 hours since they flipped the switch, it’s all dead air.

I’ve been with my current ISP (or rather, the company they acquired, and then them) for more than seven years, with SDSL service for nearly four years. I’ve had great quality-of-service, with one outage in that entire time. And while I didn’t like paying the extra I was paying, I also wasn’t having any of the problems many friends and family passed on to me, so I figured it was worth it.

So two months ago they tell me they’re getting out of the DSL business, and will be selling transferring my account to another provider. Details to follow.

Except the details never follow, and last night they did the cut-over without any notice at all, and screwed it up completely. I’ve been without service for more than 24 hours, which to a geek like me is nearly a terminal condition.

If you’re able to view this, great. From my server logs it looks like some kinds of incoming connections are working, and when I tried accessing my web sites from work, I got through.

But I can’t get out! I can’t surf, or send e-mail. I can post to this weblog, but only because it’s on my internal network, not outside it.

Anyway, frustrating is not the word. My relationship with my new ISP is less than two days old and it’s already all bad.

BroadView Networks. Stay away.

Writing for the Boss

Someday someone I work for will read this. Hopefully they’ll like it, because I’m not stopping.

More of my noodling around, I found a great weblog by a very honest man, who’s boss wanted him to stop writing his weblog.

He said no.

Since someday someone I work for will surely run across this weblog, hopefully they’ll like it, or if not maybe they’ll read Mark’s article, and not ask me to stop writing. This weblog isn’t as interesting, as honest as Mark’s, but I’m working on it. And plan to keep doing so.

Brand Name Recognition

Rochelle and I are starting to get famous, via our web site covering the food we eat, and obsessively document.

Rochelle and I like to go out to nice meals, take pictures of the food we eat, and then post them on our web site with commentary. We do it more to amuse our tiny minds than anything else, but apparently some people do visit the site and read our sort-of reviews.

At least that was the news we got from our server at Bloo this morning for brunch. He asked “Aren’t you the people with the web site?” When we admitted it he said that some customers had mentioned it recently when they came in for dinner: “Who are those people? Are they trying to sell me something?”

Even Proctor & Gamble and McDonalds had to start somewhere.

Where’s Michael?

Why there haven’t been any posts in more than two weeks.

So, I haven’t been posting because I’ve been bouncing around Europe on a business trip, and I never got around to setting up remote posting on this weblog.

A two-week all expenses paid trip to Europe sounds like a lot of fun, but it wasn’t. “Grueling” is a much more appropriate word. I hope I never take another trip that long. I don’t like being away from my wife, cats, and house at all.

Anyway, I’m back, and mostly recovered from the brainburn, so I expect I’ll be posting regularly once again.

Looking Back at 2001

God knows we’re glad 2001 is over but, in retrospect, it wasn’t all bad.

Rochelle and I are both glad that 2001 is over with. It’s not as though a calendar can mark the boundaries of luck or experience, but as much as the date shouldn’t matter, you can’t help summing a year up into a theme. And 2001 sucked for lots of people.

But it wasn’t all bad. Rochelle and I were fortunate to be able to spend almost two months together, 24/7, and come out on the other side having more fun with each other than ever. It’s good to be married to a good partner.

Both Rochelle and I experienced job changes we hadn’t intended, mine because my company died, and Rochelle because her boss wasn’t right for her. Now we’re both in jobs we like better than what we started with last year, and which are overall more financially rewarding to boot.

We replaced the nasty carpets in much of our house with wonderful hardwood floors. The floors bring joy to us every day, and may go down as the best investment we made in 2001 (not that the others were hard to beat).

Inspired by the success of the floors, we got serious about lighting, and replaced five existing lights with 4 “new” (to us) period fixtures (this was the source of my Fun With Electricity postings). The one that gives me the greatest pleasure is in the office, which replaced a ceiling light and a 500-watt halogen lamp, lighting the office about 20% better using half as much electricity.

We also started in on our water closet renovation, but have stalled on that, because we decided that getting all of the excess crap out of our parlor and office was more important. Both of these jobs will be with us through most of 2002, I predict.

We threw or attended some really good parties, the best of which was Rochelle’s birthday, and the most impressive was David’s birthday. (One of these days we’ll get the food photos from that up on our site.)

We took some nice trips, including Mexico, Texas, and LA. We ate a whole lot of good food on those trips, most of which we photographed, and most of which we’re behind on publishing. A resolution for 2002, surely.

I bought a new Mac and transitioned entirely to Mac OS X. This is something which gives me pleasure daily, for a whole lot of reasons, one of which is that it enabled me to start this weblog.

I said goodbye to Tex, whom I miss dearly, but who is certainly living a better, happier life in her new household, where she’s the top kitten, with cat companions she likes, neither of which was true in our house.

Rochelle and I both made tremendous progress on our crap reduction and abatement programs, though we clearly have more to accomplish in 2002 (another resolution).

I’m sure we accomplished many other things we’re happy with in 2001, and my feeble mind can’t remember them. That’s why one of my resolutions for this year is to regularly update this weblog. I’m a little behind at this point…

Improvements for This Weblog

My biggest requests for improvements to this weblog.

So after using this weblogging software for a few months now, I have a list of things I’d like to see added to it:

  • Graphics management, and easy insertion of graphics into stories
  • Better, more automatic ways to refer to previous stories
  • More complete logging of page views, click-throughs, etc.

Are there things you (my many readers, ha) would like to see done differently on this weblog? Send me e-mail, at the address in the sidebar.

Don’t just say “post more,” either. I want that, too…

Bit Me!

Yes, it’s already happened, my ass has been bitten.

Ha! Well, it happened already. (My one-line modification coming back to bite me in the ass, that is)

I just added the date information to the end of each story, and it’s not quite right. Close enough, though, I’ll just work around the corner cases…

Sorting, Part Two

I figured something out.

OK, I figured something out to get the sorting behavior to be what I want (this item should appear above the first sorting story).

It’s not truly correct behavior, but it’s close, and it was a one-line change, which was a lot better than doing it the “right” way.

Which, of course, means that this will come back to bite me in the ass.

Sorting of Multiple Stories…

Why this weblog sorts stories funny.

A couple weeks ago I complained that the weblog software I’m using is doing something funny when sorting stories. Each day is sorted correctly, from most recent to least. But when a day has multiple stories, the stories are ordered the opposite, from oldest to youngest.

When I complained, I also vowed to fix. Unfortunately, in digging into the code that runs the site, that’s kind of hard, because only the publication date is being stored, i.e., there’s no time information to sort on.

So now instead of modifying a simple SQL statement, I will actually have to go in and modify the database, and hack at the application logic to keep some time information.

Probably more trouble than it’s worth. I’ll look for a shortcut.

Radio UserLand

First thoughts on the new Radio UserLand Weblogging tool.

I use some Open Source software to run this site, called monaural jerk. It does a passably good job, doing most of what I want it to do, and not too many things I hate.

Recently UserLand shipped a new Weblogging tool, called Radio UserLand, which has an awful lot of features and groovy stuff. Since they did a version for Mac OS X, I went ahead and bought it (it’s only $40, but a 30-day trial version is fully functional), and have been playing with it much of this afternoon.

It’s fairly cool, a much deeper product than the software I’m currently using. It has some downsides, too, and I’m figuring out some of those as I go. You can read more of that at my Radio ‘blog.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a Weblog, though, Radio might be the thing for you. It’s affordable, simple, and powerful. Check it out!