I’m a born twiddler. Even though something works quite happily, I’ll try something else.
So it was yesterday. In an effort to improve the ‘user experience’ and promote a bit of feedback on this website, I’ve been twiddling with various plugins.
Caching for Speed
Some time ago I changed caching methods from Donncha’s WP Supercache to Dmitry’s Db Cache. To be fair, there wasn’t much in it, especially then.
One reason was probably my sympathy for the little man! Donncha’s plugin is heavily plugged (pun intended), and even though that’s because he’s a good programmer and the tool has super ratings, I still thought I’d give something else a go.
Another reason is the “emperor’s new clothes” effect! Donncha is part of the core WP personnel and in my long and flawed life I’ve come to observe the obsequious nature of people in the most unlikely of places! So to eliminate that, it seemed fair to try alternatives. This is something I continue to do – i.e. not trust anyone’s word fully until I’ve tried or observed it myself. (Heroin is like this – it’s obviously crap by observation; I can see the effect on lives and society so I don’t need to test it. Beer is a different matter though…)
I’m not an expert, but I understand the arguments behind the two methods of caching. The query caching has actually worked very well, until yesterday. Then, all the plugin twiddling I was doing coincided with a big pile of hits (for me!) at about 21:00 GMT, mainly sourced from http://whatreallyhappened.com/ and other linked pages. I was getting about one every 3 secs at one point.
Then the website fell over.
I struggled to turn off plugins – my plugin permutation testing strategy now being consigned to a future date – and wondered what was happening. The database was alive but returning failed access. So I eventually went to bed!!
Today, I’ve gone back to WP Super Cache, cleaned out all duff caches I can find, turned off a few plugins and tested using http://ismyblogworking.com/. Well it is!
And very nippy it is too! (for me that is… as I said, I love twiddling and I love gadgets, and I’ve probably got way too many running for dedicated web purists – but that’s me!)
Never, ever, be afraid to experiment. All I’ve lost is few hits which in the scheme of the wider universe is pretty pathetic. But I’ve learned so much more. I’ll possibly go into this another time. But for now, it appears that Donncha’s WP Super Cache is super! The problems I had some months back were a combination of other things, and to some extent they are on-going. I’m not the first person, and I know I won’t be the last to be drawn down the wrong path when troubleshooting. The issue of my webhost is starting to come back again. I’ve checked out different hosts in my price band (actually that means as cheap as it’ll go…!) and they are all much the same. People are actually having much worse downtime rates than me among all the major players in this part of the market when I’ve checked forums etc. So that’s still to be looked at and decided upon…hmmm. Should I pay (a lot) more for a better service or just sit…..?
Two news items today confirm the inadequacy of any security system made by man. After all, once a secret is out, it’s no longer secret.
We have the simple human error of losing something combined with the natural inquisitiveness of human beings. Both these absolute facts of life should drive a big hole through any plans for National ID Cards as a means of improving security!
17-year-old Mikeyy Mooney, a computer programmer, almost brought down Twitter over Easter, the service Wildely beloved of Stephen Fry. He said he did it out of boredom to send users to a website which he was trying to promote. (See article here).
Mooney’s activities are not dissimilar to almost every website owner in the world. We all want more hits! Ha Ha. He had the skill and Twitter, in their openly-connected arrogance, left doors open so that anyone with that skill could walk right through. It’s highly reminiscent of Microsoft.
You can’t make a totally secure communication system. To pretend so and blame one’s failings on a third party is disingenuous. The key word is communicate. As soon as I speak, people hear my mind. If I don’t speak, my secret is my own. That’s the fundamental dichotomy. It worked in the old days before computer, newspaper and print. Before papyrus scrolls even.
So to trust our whole country’s security to ID Cards, bought in supermarkets (yes really!), a system that’s fallible, run by humans who are fallible, is (my word of the day) bollox.
I’ve recently set up Outlook 2007 as my main nerve centre software for marshalling my information. Don’t laugh – I’ve used it since Outlook 98 was given away free on a magazine cover disc. Despite all I’ve said about M$, it’s actually pretty good with a shed load of functionality and UI options. The only thing I have to watch out for is to be careful not to send non-outlook users (especially Lotus Notes), messages formatted in Outlook rtf (rich text format), as all they get is a winmail.dat file. Usually, everything I send and read is plain text for security – and has been so for years!
However, I had to laugh this morning. One of my long-time mail list subscriptions is to Microsoft TechNet and the source address is [email protected]
Amazingly, the default settings in Outlook 2007 are to class the message as Junk Mail!
Is someone trying to tell me something? Is this a kind of reverse Easter Egg thing from a disgruntled M$ programmer?
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