Raiders of the Lost Ark

For those of you who know what I do for a day job, it will come as no surprise that my career choice tends to at times consume much of my time. Nor will it surprise you that when I get home the last thing I want to do is go on the computer. And so that partially begins to explain where I’ve been and why there hasn’t been too much going on at for the last few weeks. A harsh winter and an old house that demands me paying attention to how much snow is outside to avoid minor things like– oh I don’t know having my propane regulator freeze so I loose hot water or having my water pump freeze so I lose all water tend to occupy your time.

With all that said, those of a keen eye may have noticed the Code Info page of our site keeps going up a tick or two everyday. Appearances can be deceiving and just because the main page isn’t changing it does not mean there is nothing “going” with the site. So this was the case with my latest endeavor that required much experimentation and playing with our underlying code.

This was all in an effect to make a quick recovery of my employer’s web site at The site is the web portal for my employer (WVT Communications) and homepage to many of our broadband Internet subscribers. Literally taking down that site is like turning off Google as far as our little web world goes in Warwick, NY. There was therefore a sense of urgency to restore the site when a slight mishap took down the existing (though arguably older) web engine.

It took me about 16 hours of straight time, but I managed to get the framework and branding done. There’s going to be a lot of grunt work needed by my associates at work to get the content filled in, but what you see before you is a CMS driven site that is Web 2.0 in look and feel. It has consistent branding and sensible layout. It loads in less than six seconds. It has a web search feature. Access to our various online portals (including web mail and bill pay) and content fed via RSS streams, as well as, mash up widgets. The result is a full featured basic launch point that is easy to navigate and yet feature filled. It loads well in any browser and depreciates when accessed by mobile device to speed up load times. Considering the time line (three days) and the budget (zero bucks) I am quite pleased with the accomplishment.

In so many ways this is a preview of what I had planned for before I was drawn to put out this fire first, but in so many ways it also helped me understand some new directions I wish to go in that will lend itself to better structure here. So yes while there has been no news– there is good news nevertheless. Stay tuned.


Blowing Stuff Up

Atom Bomb Testing in 1951... yeah those are real troops.

Atom Bomb Testing in 1951... yeah those are real troops. Can you say crispy?

You may have noticed we had a major outage to from around 7 pm EST 12/8/09 into the early morning of 12/9/09 sometime. This was the result of a major spam attack against To prevent future attacks of this type against our site, yesterday afternoon I finished migrating email services from the same platform that serves our web page into burlier clustered email server solution. By splitting apart these services and using the web server to only serve web pages (a novel idea indeed) we should no longer see these type of spam attacks “downing” the web site.

While I was at it yesterday (12/9), I also did a whole bunch of OS updates, as well as, some plug in updates to This is too keep things up to date and secure, as well as, insure top notch delivery of the web site. As a result of all this work, we’re back in business and everything is loading pretty good on the site considering the recent spike in web page viewership. I’m still noticing some anomalies I’m trying to iron out, but ultimately it’s looking like I’m quickly outgrowing my current server. This is admittedly quicker than expected. I cannot complain about being so popular so soon after it’s return– clearly that is a blessing. Therefore my only real long term solution will be to move to a beefier web server and I plan on doing that sometime early in 2010 if all goes right. I may have to “speed up” that new web server deployment though if things continue getting hairy during high volume hours.

Now onto the real bad news, that same night of 12/8/09 of the spam attack my computer’s main hard drive completely failed (it’s a total coincidence– but what bad timing for irony to strike). While I won’t lose any of my music or web cast recordings (including the still in production digitalflood Pirate Radio Vol. 5 Episode 4) it certainly stops production of Pirate Radio for this week. Thus I’m regrettably (but without choice) going to have to move the release of Vol. 5 Ep. 4 into next week. If things change and I somehow get my hard drive replaced/rebuilt faster I’ll let you know right here on, but for the time being– consider this an unexpected week long hiatus in Pirate Radio production.

I’m finding that when it rains– it truly pours. *boom*


Firming Things Up

Mapquest - Losing people since 1996!

Mapquest - Losing people since 1996!

I spoke with Reverend Baker this evening via phone and we drew out the high level plans for his upcoming Pirate Radio session (Vol. 5 Episode 2), which is now due to drop some eight days and counting. The good Reverend has some pretty nifty plans for the show and I cannot wait until you hear what he’s thinking about. As with his past appearances, this one also promises to be a sure fire classic. Unfortunately I cannot let the cat out of the bag and reveal any of the details just quite yet. The wait will be worth it. Trust me.

I also had the chance to hang out with D.J. A.D.D. this evening. He’s up to some pretty neat things and about to go into public beta with a new web based project he is working on. I have to say I’m absolutely stoked about what I saw this evening. We went over some web site optimization strategies and I have to say even in pre-beta his web site absolutely rocks. I cannot wait to let you in on what he’s up to, but alas I will have to. Surprises are a lot better that way. I can promise you this much– the site is unique and at once also very promising as a catchy concept many will use. Stay tuned for more about that.

I also was sure to egg Mr. D.J. A.D.D. on about coming back to do a Pirate Radio show this season. With the web site development going on though that may not be an option, but he is sure that once things do calm down he’s going to be back and is even promising to deliver a new DJ mix set for the show. Again, I cannot wait.

There’s many things going on in the background right now at and even more going on with our many collaborators. I hope you can make it out to the Armed Suspect’s 11/21/09 show I posted about this morning. I certainly wish I could, but it’s not exactly a great idea to go to a rock show with a recently repaired shoulder. They actually played a show in Warwick, NY about a week ago and I’m still kicking myself about not being able to go. I heard it absolutely rocked and I’m sure this one will as well.

You’ll notice starting with this post I’m adding what’s called “tags” to each post. This will, down the road, make it easier to find what you want on using our in house search or another outside web search provider (such as Google or Bing) to find what you’re looking for. Eventually you’ll see a “tag cloud” appear on the left side menu (in a day or two). This will let you know what is a hot topic on the site right now and and again maybe help you find what you’re looking for quicker. Like many of the improvements at, this is seemingly a baby step; but in the long term will deliver an even better experience.

Finally, I leave you with my picture of the day. I dedicate this one to something I’m sure we’ve all had happen if you’ve ever used for directions and ended up quite not where  you suspected. As always, thanks for checking and being patient.


I Am The Definition of “Lazy”

I know what you’re saying– there’s been no News updates for like five days. What’s up with that? Well, if you’ve been staring at the Code Info page on a daily basis (I doubt you have– really I seriously hope you have better things to do) you’ll notice we’ve crept up everyday a few code revisions and are now at version 11.6.1c. Most of that work has been seamless background web page engine tomfoolery such as:

  • I upgraded web engine to latest WordPress code to fix known exploits with Flash and Flash image upload tools to insure security best practices are maintained.
  • I did updates to various widgets and plug-ins that run our site’s many features such as the Artwork gallery, the script optimization tools I use to speed up web page loads, the security tools I use to keep the site from going down, and the comment anti-spam tools I use to keep the comments free of spammers and scammers.
  • I moved the DF Pirate Radio FAQ to the Music sub-menu for consistency/logical organization (previously under the About sub-menu). I also updated page’s content to reflect some better MP3 players that have come out since the page was originally authored.

More notably (and of entertainment value) I added additional videos to our YouTube channel, which can also conventionally be browsed on our site in the Videos section. Our YouTube channel has also been branded in our color scheme. We now have 36 videos in our channel including some of my seminal favorites from Skinny Puppy, Chamillionaire, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Jay Z. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Physically, I’m feeling a lot better. My range of motion and endurance is improving every day. Therapy continues to help a lot. So lack of updates has not been because of that. I guess the main culprit has been all the background work I’ve been doing on the site and our various third party social network profiles, as well as, my continued focus on my rehab exercises and PT visits.

Don’t be fooled though by the appearance of laziness because of lack of main page News updates. If you dig around on the site you’re always sure to stumble upon my latest experiment or some new content. You just never know what you’re going to find and you’re always sure to be surprised as to what I’m up to. Keeping it fresh; that’s what does best!

Stewie Griffin – “Everything I do, I do it for you”

Served from the YouTube Channel


The Catch Up

When you spend hours laying around unable to move one thing you do manage to do is catch up on the tech world. With that, here are some of the neatest things I’ve been following in tech lately:

  • Check out MaximumPC’s Top 50 Web Sites list. You’ll find some of my favorite daily clicks including, DrinkHacker, and What The Font.
  • If you’re as confused as me about the whole FaceBook Farmville and Vampire sim thing, there still may still be online multi-player gaming hope yet for the nerd community as a whole– Civilization is coming to FaceBook by 2010!
  • Remember a few days back I told you about Verizon’s new Droid phone and how both open availability of both the Moto Sholes hardware and the Android OS itself could lead to other things? Word is Dell is working on a mobile Android hand held of its own right now.
  • The US FCC Commission has unanimously declared Net Neutrality as a top mandate in regulation for online access and that is great news for consumers as a whole.
  • If you’re into on the go computing like me, be sure to check out Portable Apps. They rock!
  • The BK Windows 7 Whopper is amazing, but only sold in Japan.
  • Kudos to the US Executive Branch IT team for moving the White House site over to an open source CMS saving all tax payers money and developers’ time. Excellent job!
  • R.I.P. to GeoCities. Your wealth of poorly designed sites may have not been much to brag about, but being the first to offer the masses free web space is not only notable, but changed the way web content hosting would forever be offered to the residential market as a whole. There would be no MySpace, AOL, or Facebook had there been no GeoCities.
  • At the end of this month, Ubuntu’s latest OS (9.10) will be released. Looks slick. Why would I pay for an OS again? Windows who? iPhone what?

Right arm is still sore and 95% unusable, but the intense pain has died down. Able to take a sponge bath, which is nice. You forget how much you take simple pleasures like bathing until you can’t do them.