Apparently Im not alone with UPS problems, looks like even the big boys over at del.icio.us have been having more than their fair share of UPS issues. Its only when you need the UPS you really find out if its up to the job!
I have to take my hat off to them and complement them with the amount of feedback they are providing letting every body know whats going on. Great work!
Todays issue of Computing ran an article on the Power Shortages in IT, whilst its great to see the IT arena (and especially eCommerce) taking off so well after all we have been through since 2000 it is alarming to think about the amount of juice we are using. Something tells me with all the electric being consumed in London my self and del.icio.us wont be the only ones blogging about UPS problems.
So if you are relying on a UPS go give it a test now and if its not been exercised in a while (6+ months), go give it a deep discharge (when your computers not to busy), charge it up again then test it again. Do it whilst you dont need it next time you may just have spent an hour writing your blog for the electric to fail and the UPS to shut down with it!.
I should probably mention that whilst my UPS let me down just recently, its been good for about 3 years now and saved me a numerous times, the power in my part of Cambridge has been somewhat unreliable, I bought the best of the consumer market devices, it runs 3 machines and 2 monitors with about 60% load and if the power stays off for more than a blip I know its going to be off for hours so everything gets shut down cleanly and I plug the TV into the UPS! thats assuming its to dark to read otherwise Id be reading one of my many books, ok, maybe Id also be heading off to the pub - for erm, food you know!
Note to del.icio.us - Great name!, just somewhat of a nightmare for us dyslexics that cant spell! You can only imagine the attempts I have at entering the URL! Odd how I can spell dyslexia though.
My thought for today - it's when things go wrong that you really find out who you are dealing with.
Does the issue get covered up? Does it get swept under the carpet? Do you get a run around? Or are you dealing with a great company that knows how important it's customers are to take the time and write blog entries to let you know what's going on and communicate their pain with you.
The company I previously used for hosting are know offering a great deal on bandwidth (odd, they had a totally terrible deal before, now it's gone to unlimited - from one extream to the other!), still I know their business practices are anti-customer and the customer support is truly poor so no chance of me returning to them, on the other hand EV1 Server have just been fantastic!
It seams like every time I set up some new advertising something on the server knows and decides to throw a wobbly. I recently set up two new adverts for BookSwap.ws and as I submitted them, the server decided to fall over. Before you even think it, they hadnt even gone live, so it wasnt due to a sudden rush of traffic!
Fortunately the host providers did a great job of detecting an issue and sorting it out without me having to do anything, apparently there was a network issue that caused the server to fall over and resist attempts at rebooting. This appears now to be fixed.
As I write this and logged into my EV1 Servers account I see an announcement of some outages apparently caused by a linux worm exploiting a php issue. I guess this is probably what happened to my server.
Then the day after that, one of the configuration files for BookSwap.ws web server appears to have been corrupted which caused the default server page to be loaded as if the site was off line.
I do wonder if this was caused by an issue with automated backups because it only happened to one site on that server, the one I had a few hours before configured automated backups for!, or, perhaps it was just because it was Friday 13th.
I dont usually run the automated backups provided by the web server application as this takes the site off line and is a real pain to configure - everything about the site is data driven so the database gets backed up regularly to a different server and the rest is code that doesnt need backing up anyway.
Apologies to anybody effected by the recent server problems, hopefully these are now sorted out, I will be keeping a close eye on the situation.
As youve probably noticed Im not all that good at posting, you have to wonder why when this short entry has taken me about three hours, and with some of its original content missing, mind you, it nearly didnt get posted at all.
All I wanted to do was paste some simple text into the word processor Im using (no prizes for guessing which famous one Im using!). Because the text was from a certain web browser the word processor decided to connect to the internet why I dont know, so I naturally blocked it when Zone Alarm told me it was accessing the internet. So that locked it up for ages, I was hoping it would time out, but an hour latter I had to end task it, fortunately the auto save had saved much of my work, but I had still lost more than I wanted.
I have to say I really hate the way paste works in most of the Office product now days, all I wanted was a simple bit of text, no formatting etc, I wanted the data with MY format, not the format from the web page, Ahhh and dont get me started about the way a certain spreadsheet handles cut/copy and paste, when I copy something I want it to stay on the clipboard - its almost as bad as its graphs, come back Q-Pro all is forgiven well, I actually liked that app so not to much to forgive!.
Being the webmaster of a book site I decided I should share what Im currently reading with you in my posts.
At present I am reading Vincent Maraias The Build Master, Im only about 2-3 chapters in, although I have cheated a little and read a few bits at random. Basically its about the Windows NT build team at Microsoft, its very interesting and I would certainly recommend it, especially if you are remotely involved in the build process for software products, managing source code or managing a software department. Being dyslexic I really have to like a book to keep reading it and this is certainly one of those, who knows, when I finally finish it I may well write some more about it dont hold your breath though as Im a very slow reader.
Those good people at Computer Manuals are giving away a selection of programming e-Books.
So if you are into VB.NET, C#, PHP or perl be sure to take a look at the free titles on offer.
This offer is for a short time only so go now and download them whilst you can!
Be sure and keep an eye out at Computer Manuals as they are great source for, believe it or not, Computer Manuals! and regularly run special offers.
Well finally I managed to put my bad habits of being a software engineer behind me and open the doors on CDSwap.ws.
As you probably know from my other blog entries, I already have BookSwap.ws and DVDSwap.ws up and running. Naturally I have been seeing how they are used and trying to improve the sites based on that.
Unfortunately I had been holding back CDSwap.ws until I got a number of new features in place and some bugs fixed, well Im pleased to say that I have a number of them sorted out now.
However I still have more stuff to put on the site to improve it further (as with the book and dvd sites!). The decision to have multiple sites each aimed at a specific function has worked well, but really causes problems for configuration management!, the headache or rolling out a new piece of functionality and ensuring it doesnt break anything in the process makes it all very slow to add new bits.
Well anyway, if you have a large CD collection and want to catalogue it so you can check what CDs you have before going and buying the same one again
Or if you want your friends to be able to browse what CDs you have (or vicky verka),
Maybe you have friends that borrow CDs and forget to return them you can let CDSwap.ws manage your loans so you and your friends know whos borrowed what and how long ago
Or just want to buy and sell CDs then please go and take a look around CDSwap.ws Membership if FREE!.
Well I really managed to do it again didnt I, forgetting to add bits to the old blog. I cant believe its been 2 months since I last wrote.
I started this blog to give customers an incite into what I was up to with the various web sites and I had also read that it was a good marketing tool to help promote the web sites, so I guess Im failing miserable with these so far!
Last time I wrote I mentioned a lack of snow here in Cambridge, well as it turns out blogs are more powerful than I ever imagined, the very next day the best covering of snow Ive seen here in the UK for quite some time, it must have been at least an inch thick!!!.
Now Im thinking that if blogs are really this powerfully perhaps its about time I started complaining about my lack of wining lottery tickets! although I guess really not buying a lottery ticket in the first place doesnt help the matter.
Big apologies to all of you how make use of Dollars2Pounds.com (and the other exchange rates sites), the federal reserve who I get the currency feed from kindly changed the data format in the xml file at the beginning of April, how nice!, they didnt even bother to update the URI or anything to keep backwards compatibility, just a new format.
Well after some major stupidity on my behalf (requesting the rates for the next day) I finally managed to update the xml parsing routines to work with the new file format. Its times like that I wish I was using asp.net or PHP5, but for now my servers running PHP4, one day soon Ill be getting a Windows Server 2003 server and getting ASP.NET running for my sites, C#/.NET is a very nice language to write in and really improves developer performance however with the way things are Ill be needing 40hour days and a time machine to even get started with that.
In good news I managed to get some updates to the way each site gets the exchange rates, the way they worked was left over from the days on shared hosting accounts when I couldnt get all the sites to access a single database to store the rates in, thats now fixed and sites like Pounds2Euro.com should be somewhat faster now.
Also, if you use the Bango numbers to access either Dollars2Pounds.com or BookSwap.ws please not that these are no longer supported.
So I guess one of the main things about having a blog is actually writing to it, so I thought Id try and squeeze in a moment to give you all an update on whats happening, in particular with BookSwap.ws.
I have recently been working on some store style additions to the site, its all looking nice, these are going to be added free of charge for every member automatically. I had been aiming to get the RSS feeds working better to integrate these at the same time, unfortunately after accidentally sending my self 117,000 emails one night due to a little bug in the RSS generator Im revisiting and working on these again (Interesting how Outlook 2003 couldnt cope with more than 65535 emails, lets hope the spam never reaches that level!).
Im also currently working on the BookSwap.ws helper application, this is looking really good and its top priority to get this completed and released into the wild for all you to play with.
Youve probably spotted the obvious problem with thing at present, I have 3 mini projects running at the same time, not something that is really a good idea, I do like being able to divert my thoughts from one to another when I get stuck on something, this helps me remove my self and come back to it with a fresh mind, unfortunately it also means that have split loyalties between these projects.
The highlight of the week has to be getting the ADSL upgrade here at home, I now have a 1M line, although I do think a prize should go to the ISP, they warned me that my User ID may change during the regrade, it indeed did, and they kindly sent me an email telling me this and what the new one is, unfortunately they sent it at the same time the line got regarded, hence I was unable to login and pick it up, pure quality!.
Well, youve heard enough from me for a bit, Im off to look out side and see if weve had any snow, its been fairly poor on the Snow front here in Cambridge.
Hello and welcome to my blog, I decided that it was about time for me to tell the world what I'm up to in a central location as well as my occasional ramblings on the community areas of the various web sites that I run.
So let me introduce myself, I'm Steve (OK, really Stephen, but Every one calls me Steve), I'm the director of Analysis UK Ltd, a UK based company. At this time it is very much a MicroISV, with myself as the only employee (and even then I'm part time).
Under the Analysis UK umbrella you will find a number of software based products, these include
BookSwap.ws, DVDSwap.ws, and Dollars2Pounds.com not to mention a few other related sites.
Analysis UK was initially formed by myself to provide Analytical software and hardware, however as happens I got a little side tracked with the other projects and decided it was better to focus on them.
In-between developing BookSwap.ws and the other site, I am also selling books (on Amazon.co.uk market place and eBay.co.uk as well as on BookSwap.ws) so that I can understand how a book seller operates and improve my sites based on this, also trying to hold down a 9-5 job as a software engineer developing applications for the life science industry.