Archive for category Rants

The site is getting hammered

No, I don’t mean it is getting drunk. (curse you english language with you double meanings for everything) Since I added the Better WP Security plugin I am geting site lock out notifications at about 2-3 a day now. Tracing the requesting IP’s all go back to one nefarious country…dun dun dahh…China. The performance of the over server is degraded as well with the number of requests coming in. I would love to say that I am really that popular, but it seems I am directly in the crosshairs of some individuals in China with a lot of bandwidth.

I should really just blacklist the whole country really. I used to run my web server out of my house but the bandwidth was pretty poor on a home DSL line. It didn’t help that I was getting attacked pretty regular as well. I ended up blacklisting most of Russia, China, and Korea. It cut down on the amount of serviced requests greatly and saved on my server wear and tear but it still ate up bandwidth.

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Do you ever get the feeling?

I have been working to implement a Google custom search engine into a clients website. I have had to pour through the documentation to fully understand how it works and I am both impressed and revolted simultaneously. I keep getting the feeling that this stuff was originally developed by people that are obscenely smarter than I am. Its obviously brilliant, but like any brilliance, its usually offset by some other glaring omission.

First off, the search API from Google. Why is the primary search API deprecated and the recommended replacement not even out of labs yet? So let me get this straight, I can either use the API that will EOL’d at some unknown time by Google without warning, or I can use the unstable labs API that could and most likely will change in the future. Sounds like a call from the client complaining that their site is broken just waiting to happen.

Second, the API is written in a way that leaves massive holes of undocumented functionality. Usually when you document an API you include ALL the functionality so people can fully utilize all the features. So I am continually finding blogs and other bastions of literary excellence revealing ‘hidden’ features of the Google search API. I have implemented a fair amount of the code I have found on these sites and I am still flabbergasted as to why Google would just leave this stuff out of their documentation.

I am going to be writing up an article on implementing a Google custom search engine over the next few days, one, so I can remember if I have to do it again in the future, good documentation is sparse on this subject, and two so others can refer to it and hopefully avoid some of the frustration I have gone through to get this to work.

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These are not the same

I have been coding for over a decade now and one thing about other coders has never ceased to annoy me. In defense of my rant, I present two snippets of HTML code, see if you can pick out the difference and the source of my exasperation, I’ll leave it up to you to make the determination as to which is the good and which is bad:

<div id="content">
    <div id="content-wrapper">
        <h1 class="layout-indent">Page Title</h1>
 
        <div class="separator thick-separator">
            <div class="thick-separator-cap thick-separator-left-cap">
                &nbsp;
            </div>
 
            <div class="thick-separator-cap thick-separator-right-cap">
                &nbsp;
            </div>
        </div>
 
        <div class="layout-indent">
            <div class="yui3-g">
                <div class="yui3-u-1-3">
                    <a href="#" class="link action-link ">Filler Text....<br />
			<img class="link-arrow" src="img.png" alt="" />
		    </a>
                    <div class="clear">
                        &nbsp;
                    </div>
                </div>
            </div>
        </div>
    </div>
</div>
<div id="content"><div id="content-wrapper">
<h1 class="layout-indent">Page Title</h1>
<div class="separator thick-separator">
<div class="thick-separator-cap thick-separator-left-cap">
&nbsp;</div>
<div class="thick-separator-cap thick-separator-right-cap">
&nbsp;</div></div><div class="layout-indent">
<div class="yui3-g"><div class="yui3-u-1-3">
<a href="#" class="link action-link ">Filler Text....
<br /><img class="link-arrow" 
src="img.png" alt="" /></a>
<div class="clear">&nbsp;
</div></div></div></div></div></div>

The structure of these snippets is identical, they probably layout the same between browsers too. I guarantee you that if anyone ever had to make a change, the first one would be far and away easier to change. So why do people still insist on editing spaghetti code? This isn’t just an HTML issue, it happens in every coding language I have ever encountered. I just want to say to people, “Would it kill you to use the tab and enter key from time to time?”, its as if not indenting their code will somehow make them work faster. “Look boss, I saved 2.78 seconds last week, by not formatting my code!!” In my opinion it really shows that someone [programmer] has pride in their work if they spend the extra few minutes documenting and formatting their code.

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Common meeting where I work

I promise I won’t post too many Dilbert comics on the site, but this one was entirely too true…

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CentOS, let me count the way I hate thee

First, the default IPTables configuration is just plain stupid. Seriously, everyone I have talked to about this recommends flushing all the default rules and starting from scratch. Even the CentOS wiki recommends this procedure. I understand this might be a RedHat thing, but seriously, change it in the default config if all you are going to do is recommend everyone throws it out once setup is complete. Yes, I am referring to the esoteric RH-Firewall-1-INPUT chain..

Second, unless I am running some enterprise government high-load zombies-at-the-door, the end is nigh server, enabling SELinux by default is over-kill. No seriously, if you wanted to make a more secure system, take a page from the Ubuntu server playbook and try disabling some services on default setup. Do I really NEED printing capability on a headless server that is most-likely running in a remote NOC somewhere? Then there is avahi, seriously!?, on a server?? Did the decision to include that in a default SERVER install come from the Playskool development team? I spent an hour ripping the guts out of needless services installed by default.

Third, and this may be applicable to RedHat-based distros in general. But not including core functionality in the PHP RPM is just…well, I am at a loss for words here. Thank you ever so much to http://benlancaster.wordpress.com/ for his writeup on Installing PHP’s JSON extension, I would have been totally lost with out it. Unfortunately, it just underlines the issue..

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SAP and techie-talk

I have been working in IT in one manor or another for over 10 years. Yes, just an infant in comparison to many others, but I have a solid understanding of my field and related technologies. I like to say, “I make my business, my business”. A tad ambiguous and obvious, but I am amazed at how many people in my field (and probably many other fields for that matter) don’t bother to learn more about their profession than what is immediately necessary to complete their day-to-day activities.

Its pretty easy to smoke these people out with just general conversation. As soon as the talk moves to the fringe of their understanding, they shut down completely or babble on with techie-talk that is completely unrelated to what is being discussed. (definition ‘techie-talk’: as with doctor-speak, this refers to sentences strung together with acronymns and topic specific terminology, which to the outside observer is no more comprehensible than infant babble)

Nothing is more frustrating in the IT industry that dealing with another person whos entire career is wrapped up in some piece of proprietary software. Yes, I am referring to SAP. Most software develops its own set of terminology, and with the bigger the software the bigger the base of incoherent babble. When you talk to this person, they are quite used to talking to two types of people. A person who has no technical knowledge, and a person who works in the same field. The first knows nothing, so they speak as if talking to a small child. The second, knows all the ins and outs and the two can babble away and be perfectly understood.

Now, there is a third person that they are NOT used to dealing with and that another technologist who just doesn’t know their particular software. They try to speak as if talking to a child and the third type person ends up getting ticked and reminds them who built the flippin infrastructure their micky mouse software is running on. Then they try to speak as if talking to the second type, which in all reality only makes sense to those that know the special SAP hand shake and can make the $100,000 a year membership dues. In the end both people end up blaming each other for not understanding the other and nothing gets accomplished. At least not until someones job gets threatened, then they make all sorts of progress until the whole process breaks down again.. *sigh

…not that I have any first hand experience with this or anything..purely hypothetical, purely

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Spam, Ham, and other unwanted advances..

I am not sure if this is just me (more than likely not), or everyone that uses WordPress, but the spam comments have been particularly thick the last couple of weeks. I have gotten almost 1500 spam comments this month, I am averaging about 125 a day! Major thanks to Akismet for their great spam filtering software for WordPress, it has caught about 98% of the spam leaving me with 3-4 a week I have to manually mark and delete.

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Bathrooms and toilets

Alright, just in case anyone was wondering. When they say, “Don’t over-tighten the screws holding the tank to the toilet base”, it is a warning that should be heeded by the prudent individual. I can say this with perfect clarity since I personally tested the theory and was rewarded by a torrent of water bubbling happily from a cracked tank. What joy emanated from my persona as I writhed maddeningly trying to stop 70 gallons (its a big toilet) of water from saturating my newly laid bathroom floor.

I should really just put my tools away for good…

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Bug me not

If you haven’t used bugmenot.com you should. I have used it on numerous occasions when I had to register for some site that wanted nothing more than to collect my information for their statistics. I really hate that. There isn’t any benefit to registering, just that they can now track my downloads and activity. The two sites that I am constantly running into with this is nytimes.com and oracle.com.

Do you want to read an article? You need to register to read it on the NYTimes.

Do you want one of the free Oracle software downloads? You need to register.

Seriously, its just a lame attempt at a data collection from a web development department that can ‘t properly implement their own logging. Why in the blazes would you need a username to track my activity, what would it matter if you can associate my name with my downloads? You can collect all that information my my IP, why wast my time making me fill out a frickin-huge (industry term) form that I am probably not going to fill out truthfully anyway, just to download an IDE that I simply want to try out?

Alright, I am done now.

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Digg this pal

Well, I think I have read my last Digg comments. I am pretty much convinced that everyone on there is a flaming idiot. If anyone says anything even remotely pro-religion, or conservative they get jumped by neo-athiest zealot that thinks they are somehow enlightened by their complete lack of judgment on any subject. I guess its just not cool to stand for something anymore. I suppose the new cool is anything goes. Child molesters, terrorists, bring them all in! Who are we to tell you your wrong!?

So yeah, there was my rant for the month. I am going to shut up now.

BTW, I have been looking at the GTK bindings for Java, and I am intrigued. I might have to play a bit.

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