Monthly Archives: July 2015

  • Little Plugins Can Have Odd Results

    Some time ago, I installed something called Viral Headlines on the Allpar news site. The idea behind that is that you put in different headlines, and sees how people respond to them. The only problem is, the coding of the plugin really, really caused a lot of work for the database. And by “a lot of work,” I mean changing its use of the processor time from 8% to 660%. (When you have eight processors, 800% is the maximum.) There were dozens of threads waiting for the table to be unlocked (reminder to self, when nobody is looking, take the server down, switch that table to something that’s not vulnerable to table locks.) In human terms, it made looking at Allpar News much…

  • Inventing The News

    Every day, news outlets have to report something to prove they’re alive and to pay the bills. When one focuses on a single company or specialty, that can be hard. There’s a surprising number of people in this situation, including me (at Allpar). Sometimes, it turns out to be a good thing, because it makes you stop and reflect and dig around at things that you wouldn’t point out during busier days. Sometimes, looking at a blank morning, I go back to past plans, which I learned from other sites after thinking people would just sate their curiosity with our “upcoming products” pages. Other sites do it, as well, e.g. tech sites suddenly asking, “What can we expect from the new Mac Mini? When’s it coming?”…

  • Turning points: When you realize it’ll be okay

    Sometimes, you have a definite turning point where your attitude towards life changes. I wonder how often it’s when someone tells you what you already know, but in a different way. When I had my third cancer, last April, I was told by several doctors that one in five people with it lived five years.  (The odds don’t really apply to me. That last cancer was detected early, and had probably travelled via capillaries, so all traces of it were probably taken out. Thus, there’s a good chance I’m taking mitotane (Lysodren™) for no good reason. Still, I don’t think the “make sure my family can carry on past my death” preparations helped me to evade having my mortality sitting on my shoulder all…

  • Oh, the irony

    There’s nothing like getting a nasty bout of food poisoning a couple of days after writing about a good blood test. Thanks to Bill Cawthon and Patrick Rall for taking care of the news while I’ve been in bed (or worse). You know it’s bad when I spend 36 hours without touching a computer. The good news is I am slowly getting better. Thanks to everyone who reached out before. Among the hundred messages waiting for me… Patrick had an idea for a fun new Allpar news feature. I think we’ll do the first one on Tuesday. Someone else told me Apple Map Vans (they use Dodge Caravans) are in Highland Park, NJ and they had one in Little Ferry…

  • Sometimes the tech stuff just gets weird
    feeder - chron

    Sometimes the tech stuff just gets weird. I understand it when I write some code badly, or screw it up later, which happened the other day when I put in a line about “if the device is a phone, show this footer, not that one” and hadn’t defined the variable for the device. I sort of understand it when a php include sometimes passes a variable, and sometimes doesn’t. (If there was ever an invitation for bathroom humor…) But it drives me nuts when software seems to do stuff on its own. I was just wondering why news items on Allpar weren’t showing up in the forums. It turns out that the scheduled “bring in these feeds” program had shut itself off. Or maybe…

Posts navigation